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Islamic World News ( 9 Jul 2018, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Muslim Law Board Plans To Open Sharia Courts in All Districts of India

New Age Islam News Bureau

9 Jul 2018

East meets West in the dreamy spire of the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies. Top left, students gather to pray and break their fast during Ramadan. Reuters



 Muslim Law Board Plans To Open Sharia Courts in All Districts of India

 Pakistan Election: Religious Parties File Record 460 Candidates for National Assembly

 Saudi Arabia Urges Taliban to Stop War, Recognise Kabul Govt

 Oxford University, UK’s Oldest Seat of Learning, Now A Place More Muslim Students Are Calling Home



 Muslim Law Board Plans To Open Sharia Courts in All Districts of India

 Dubai honours Indian expat for 'green message'

 PM’s remarks at my farewell considered departure from accepted practice, says former VP Hamid Ansari

 Kashmir IPS officer’s brother among new Hizbul Mujahideen recruits named on Burhan anniversary



 Pakistan Election: Religious Parties File Record 460 Candidates for National Assembly

 Imran Vows To Make Pakistan a Nation Where ‘Justice’ Is Served

 Qureshi advises Bilawal to get rid of Zardari’s baggage if he wants to succeed

 Nawaz, Maryam to be arrested at airport, says law minister

 MMA candidate holds PTI leader responsible for Bannu blast

 The multiple layers of TLP’s campaign

 Pakistan honours Abdul Sattar Edhi on his second death anniversary


Arab World

 Saudi Arabia Urges Taliban to Stop War, Recognise Kabul Govt

 Syrian Soldiers Recapture Um Al-Mayazen Town in Dara’a Province

 Most Militant Commanders Endorse Peace with Syrian Army in Dara'a

 Turkish Troops, Ankara-Backed Militants Killed in Clashes with Kurds in Northern Syria

 Tens of Terrorists Killed in Infighting with Rival Groups, Blasts in Northwestern Syria

 More US-Backed Militias Killed in Bomb Blast in Eastern Syria

 Kurdish Militia Willing to Hand over Oil Facilities to Damascus Forces

 Syrian Army on Alert for Dara'a City Liberation Operation

 Syria Regime Pounds South, Rebel Evacuations Postponed

 Iraqi court hands death sentence to Daesh militant over killing 16 civilians



 Oxford University, UK’s Oldest Seat of Learning, Now A Place More Muslim Students Are Calling Home

 French Watchdog Accuses Muslim Leader of Incitement

 Erdogan to attend NATO meeting in Brussels

 Turkey awaits justice for neo-Nazi terror victims

 UN names Pakistani as rapporteur on HR situation in Iran


South Asia

 64 Militants Killed, Wounded In During Walid-9 Operations: Shaheen Corps

 Myanmar court rules Reuters reporters can face full trial

 New political coalition share demands regarding the cases of Dostum and Qaisari

 Taliban militants suffer heavy casualties in Ghazni airstrikes



 Israel Draws ‘Red Lines’ On Saudi Nuclear Ambitions

 New Areas Liberated in Yemen’s Saada amid Houthi Clashes

 Iran to remain in Syria to keep Israel out: Official

 Palestinian youth injured by Israeli gunfire succumbs to wounds

 UAE Prolongs Compulsory Military Service to 16 Months amid Yemen War

 Five foreign policy challenges Erdogan faces in new term


North America

 US, Afghan Forces Clear IS From Eastern District

 US military identifies soldier killed in 'insider attack' in Afghanistan

 US SC ignores int’l law in upholding Muslim ban

 US coalition commander: Iran influences Syria’s security negatively



 ‘Terrorist Attack’ Kills 6 Tunisia Security Forces

 Sudan appoints former spy chief as top envoy to US

 Turkey condemns twin suicide blasts in Somalia capital


Southeast Asia

 Mahathir Meets Zakir Naik Day after Ruling out His Deportation to India

 With A Conservative Opposition, Analysts Say Race, Religion Time Bombs for Pakatan

 Yameen picks Islamic university chancellor as running mate

 Suggestion to axe tahfiz schools ‘baseless’, minister says

 Tahfiz school fire victims’ families agree on distribution of funds

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Muslim Law Board Plans To Open Sharia Courts In All Districts Of India

July 08, 2018

LUCKNOW: The All India Muslim Personal Law Board or AIMPLB, the highest decision making body on Muslim affairs, plans to open Darul-Qaza (Sharia courts) in all districts of the country to resolve issues in line with Islamic laws.

The proposal will come up for discussion at a meeting of the Muslim Law Board in Delhi on July 15.

"At present there are 40 such courts in Uttar Pradesh. We plan to open one such court in every districts of the country. The objective of Darul-Qaza is to resolve matters in light of Shariat laws instead of going to other courts," senior member AIMPLB, Zafaryab Zilani, told news agency PTI.

Noting that around Rs. 50,000 is spent on running a Darul-Qaza (Sharia court), he said, "They will be discussing ways to generate resources for this during a meeting of AIMPLB in Delhi on July 15".

With an aim to make lawyers, judges and the common man aware about Sharia law, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board will also be activating its Tafheem-e-Shariyat (TeS) committee.

"We will be activating Tafheem-e-Shariyat committee to make lawyers, judges and common man aware about Shariat laws. We will be discussing this at the All India Muslim Personal Law Board meet," Mr Jilani said.

He said the Tafheem-e-Shariyat committee has been around for 15 years, and is entrusted with the task of making lawyers and judges, if possible, aware of arguments related to Sharia law.

"The committee was used to organise conferences and workshops all over the country, with Islamic experts trying to delve in details about Shariat laws and address queries of participants. It is now felt that the committee should be activated and more such programs should be held," he said.

The issues taken up by the committee in various programs, included "Triple Talaq and Virasat" (divorce and inheritance) besides others.

Asked about the other matters that will figure in the meeting, he said progress of the Babri Masjid (mosque) case will be discussed, and future course of action will be decided. "The Muslim faction does not want delay in the Supreme Court's decision on the matter as reported in the media," he said.

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board meeting comes against the backdrop of statements by some leaders favouring construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.

"Statements are being made on the Ayodhya issue. Some are saying that the decision will come in a particular month and it will be in favour of a particular side. Such statements are an attempt to belittle the highest court of the country. This should be taken into consideration. It will be discussed in the meeting," a Muslim Law Board member said, according to news agency PTI.

He confirmed that the Muslim Law Board has already said it would accept any decision made by the Supreme Court on the issue.



Pakistan election: Religious parties file record 460 candidates for National Assembly

08th July 2018

LAHORE: Religious parties in Pakistan, including the banned Jamaat-ud Dawa's political wing, have fielded more than 460 candidates on the National Assembly seats for the July 25 general elections, breaking all previous records, a media report said today.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has issued the final list of candidates, according to which, 3,459 candidates will contest on 272 general seats of the National Assembly.

Although Jamaat-e-Islami had come up with a long list of candidates in 1970 against the then nominees of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's Awami League in East (Bangladesh) and West Pakistan, and Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) had also fielded candidates across the country in 2002, the number stands the highest this time, The Nation reported.

Over 460 aspirants have been fielded separately by MMA, Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, Hafiz Saeed-led JuD's political wing Milli Muslim League-backed Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek and other small entities, the paper said.

These candidates might play a decisive role in the victory and defeat of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) and PPP candidates on a number of seats.

The results would show total religious vote bank in Pakistan besides clearly narrating the number of well wishers of each party, defining its political weight and putting it at a bargaining position with mainstream political parties in future elections, the paper said.

The MMA, an alliance of five parties -- Jamiat Ulema-e Islam-F (JUI-F), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan (JUP), Islami Tehreek and Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadith -- representing all schools of thought (Barelvi, Deobani, Shia and Ahle Hadith), has come up with a list of some 192 plus candidates on NA seats, mainly focusing on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan, the paper said.

The MMA has not introduced any candidate on 65 seats of Punjab's total 141 and seven of total 61 of Sindh for different reasons.

"We will not only form government in KP but also emerge powerful parties in Balochistan, Sindh and the Punjab.

People will elect clean leadership on July 25," said Amirul Azeem, JI's central leader and MMA candidate in Lahore.

The Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan, a political wing of Tehreek-i-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah, came up with a list of 178 candidates across the country.

Led by firebrand cleric Khadim Hussain Rizvi, the party gained popularity on the issue of Khatm-e-Nabuwat and showed surprising results in the by-polls held in Punjab and KP a few months before the end of the PML-N government's tenure.

The TLP, representing Barelvi school of thought, mainly focused on Punjab, but fielded 16 candidates in KP, 32 in Sindh and six in Balochistan, the paper said.

TLP leader Pir Ijaz Ashrafi said the people across the country would vote for those who stood firm to protect the finality of prophethood (Khatm-e-Nabuwat).

An amendment had changed the wordings of a clause relating to a candidate's belief in the finality of the prophethood of Prophet Muhammad, which is submitted at the time of election by candidates, turning it into a declaration form instead of an affidavit, which puts a candidate under oath.

The then law minister Zahid Hamid resigned after violent clashes broke out between the TLP supporters and security forces which had left several people dead and hundreds injured in Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed's Milli Muslim League (MML) mainly focused on Punjab, although it did not field candidates in important districts of central and southern Punjab.

As MML has failed to get registered as a political party with the Election Commission of Pakistan, its candidates are contesting on the platform of Allah-u-Akbar Tahreek (AAT).

Saeed 's son, son-in-law and 13 women are among 265 JuD candidates contesting on AAT platform in general elections on national and provincial assemblies seats across Pakistan.

Saeed, who also carries a USD 10 million American bounty on his head for his role in terror activities, is not contesting the election.

MML Spokesperson Nadeem Awam said his party was promoting the Pakistan Ideology and believed in pious politics.

He claimed the MML backed candidates will give surprise at many seats.

Maulana Samiul Haq's Jamiat Ulema-i-Islami, Sahibzada Hamid Raza's Sunni Tehreek, Shia group Majlise Wahdatul Muslimeen besides some other small religious entities also fielded more than a dozen candidates in different areas of the country.



Saudi Arabia urges Taliban to stop war, recognise Kabul govt

Tahir Khan

JULY 9, 2018

ISLAMABAD: In an unprecedented move, Saudi Arabia has asked Afghan Taliban to stop fighting and recognise the government in Kabul as the Kingdom is set to host an international conference of Islamic scholars this week, which is likely to issue a decree against the war.

Saudi Arabia is holding the International Ulema Conference for peace, security and national reconciliation in Afghanistan in Jeddah and Makkah on July 10 and 11, respectively, in collaboration with the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

This is the first time Saudi Arabia and the OIC have sprung into action in Afghan conflict with the clerics’ moot that has also invited angry Taliban reaction, who insist the United States has pressed Saudis to hold the event as Americans want through these conferences to “find justification for their military occupation, legitimise their stooge Kabul administration and thus weaken the resistance of Afghan Muslim nation being put up against them”.

The role of OIC in Afghan peace process had been zero since the US and its NATO allies invaded Afghanistan in late 2001.

Daily Times has seen the invitation letter sent to scholars in Pakistan and Afghanistan in which all armed groups in Afghanistan have been declared terrorists. The letter is signed by Yousef A Al-Othaimeen, OIC secretary-general and a former Saudi cabinet minister.

The invitation says that the main purpose of the conference is to reject the “erroneous interpretations of Islamic views by terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan”.

“From this platform, we call on all armed groups to shun terrorism, recognise the Afghan government, sit at the negotiation table and participate in political process,” contents of the letter said, adding the progress and development of Afghanistan are seriously impeded by the activities of violent and extremist groups, illegal armed groups and criminals.

It says that the OIC is committed to peace, security, stability and development of all member states, including Afghanistan. It said a number of OIC summits and Council of Foreign Ministers (CFMs) had mandated the OIC General Secretariat to organise the conference.

Taliban are seemed concerned at the issuance of a possible decree against their fighting to “undermine the legitimacy of their struggle from a religious perspective”.

An Afghan analyst Nazar Mutmaeen says Afghan war has religious, cultural and regional aspects and no edict can stop the war.

“Fatwa will have no value when foreign troops are stationed in Afghanistan. Saudi Arabia should do whatever is practical while keeping in view the religious, economic, regional, cultural aspects of the Afghan war,” Mutmaeen, who writes for the Afghan and foreign media, told Daily Times from Kabul on Sunday.

“Saudi Arabia will not remain an impartial player if it serves the interests of few countries or accepts demands of some countries,” he said, adding, Saudis must play an impartial role and maintain a balance approach in relations with the Afghan government and the Taliban.

Scholars from over 30 countries have been invited to attend conference that can be a major boost for beleaguered President Ghani, whose all offers for the dialogue have been rejected by the Taliban, who want direct talks with the US.

Pakistani scholars in a fix:

Some of the Pakistani scholars, who had participated the clerics’ moot in Indonesia in May and supported Ghani’s peace plan and condemned suicide attacks in Afghanistan, are undecided whether or not to join the Saudi conference.

A 15-member scholars, including Maulana Anwarul Haq, deputy of the “madrassa Haqqania” Akora Khattak, had attended the Indonesia conference. Anwar ul Haq is the brother of Maulana Samil ul Haq, who publicly supports the Afghan Taliban armed resistance. Anwar-ul-Haq’s office did not confirm to Daily Times if he will attend.

A senior Deobandi scholar, Peer Aziz ur Rehman Hazarvi, who was part of the Indonesian moot, confirmed to Daily Times, that he won’t attend the Saudi moot.

Allama Tahir Ashrafi, head of the Pakistan Ulema Council, said he won’t attend the Saudi conference, citing health reasons.

Maulana Fazal ur Rehman Khalil, who heads Ansar ul Ummah group and was also part of Pakistani delegation at the Indonesia meeting, will travel to the Kingdom for the conference.

Other participants who will attend the conference include the chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology and some Pakistani members of the Islamic University Islamabad.

Saudi response:

Daily Times could not receive any response of Saudi Embassy to the queries about the purpose of the conference and the Taliban’s criticism of the conference.



Oxford University, UK’s oldest seat of learning, now a place more Muslim students are calling home

July 09, 2018

OXFORD: Arriving at the University of Oxford to begin her studies, Mahdiyah Rahman suddenly felt anxious. “I didn’t know how many other Muslim students would be there. I wasn’t sure what to expect.”

During her first week, the 19-year-old student discovered that there were just two other Muslims in Oriel, the Oxford college where she would eat, sleep and study during her time at the university. “I was the only one there wearing a headscarf,” she recalled. Over the summer Rahman had given little thought to the realities of practicing her faith at university, but standing in the crowded hall at Freshers’ Fair, surrounded by hundreds of stalls advertising student clubs and societies, she felt overwhelmed. Then a banner for the Oxford University Islamic Society (ISoc) caught her eye. “They make you feel like there’s a community that will look out for you while you’re here,” she said. “No one who has joined the ISoc ever wants to leave.”

Muslim students starting out at Oxford University — an institution steeped in tradition where the earliest colleges date back to the 13th century — can struggle with a profound sense of alienation.

“A lot of the Muslims here are also ethnic minorities, so there is already this feeling that you’re going to be on the periphery,” Rahman told Arab News. Historically seen as the preserve of a white, upper-class elite, the student body has grown gradually more diverse, reflecting the changing character of modern, multicultural Britain in the country’s oldest seat of learning.

Faith societies such as ISoc allow students to engage with people who share their values and beliefs, and expand their network outside college life. Attending some activities during Freshers’ Week, as well as college parties and balls, can be difficult for Muslim students trying to avoid the alcohol-fueled atmosphere of university social life.

Getting halal meals in the college dining halls can also be a challenge, as Ayesha Musa, 19, the ISoc secretary, discovered when she arrived at Jesus College, Oxford to study medicine.

“That was a big adjustment — having to be vegetarian,” she said. “I wanted to eat with people in college and was reluctant to miss out on that social experience for the sake of getting something different to eat.”

But many Muslim students say they are “pleasantly surprised” by provisions made to accommodate their faith. “Overall I’ve been really impressed,” Musa said. Being part of ISoc means “you never miss an aspect of practicing your faith the way you would do at home with your family.”

Rahman was surprised by the size of university’s central prayer room, which “even has ablution facilities.”

Famously described as the “city of dreaming spires” — a reference by British poet Matthew Arnold to its scholarly atmosphere — Oxford, in southeast England, is one of the UK’s fastest-growing and most ethnically diverse cities.

Muslims account for 10,320 of the city’s population of 151,906, according to a 2011 census — up from 5,309 Muslim residents the previous decade. The findings also showed that a third of people living here were born abroad, contributing to the atmosphere of multiculturalism flourishing in the country’s oldest seat of learning.

“It’s very cosmopolitan. We live in one of the most beautiful and cohesive places in the country,” said Imam Monawar Hussein, who founded the Oxford Foundation to support disaffected young people and is also the Muslim tutor at Eton College, another of England’s renowned academic institutions.

In the university, this is reflected across the departments, where course names are beginning to reflect the demand for a wider educational experience in branches of Islamic studies.

The theology faculty, one of the oldest and most distinguished in the world, now offers a paper in Islam, while the Department of Economics has a professor specializing in the economics of Muslim societies.

“Oxford is possibly the most international university in the country and the preferred (higher learning) destination for many around the world,” said Farhan Nizami, founder director of the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies.

In recent years, he said, “the complexion of the Muslim student body has changed,” with most, he expects, now British citizens rather than overseas students.

Set up in 1985 to promote the study of Islam and the Muslim world, the center has been instrumental in broadening the remit of oriental studies at the university to incorporate Muslim societies outside the Middle East and, increasingly, the study of Muslims in the West.

Last year the center, which is under the patronage of Prince Charles, opened the doors to an impressive new facility that rivals the traditional Oxford colleges for scale and grandeur.

With its domed roofs and columned cloisters opening on to the King Fahd quad — named after its Saudi benefactor — the building captures the lofty feel of its older neighbors with a design rooted in Islamic architecture.

“We wanted a building that would blend with Oxford and sit comfortably here,” said Nizami.

Inside the center’s white walls, which still have the gleam of fresh paint, different areas are named

after the countries that funded them, including the Malaysia Auditorium. Downstairs, polished bookshelves laden with volumes are tucked under the well-lit arches of the Kuwait Library, which is empty on the first day of the summer holidays.

A few professors eat lunch in the sunny Oman hall ahead of a guest lecture, part of a program of prestigious speakers that includes heads of state, members of the Arab League and royalty. From here, glass doors open out into tranquil gardens, where a satellite fountain runs between rose beds and down through an immaculate sloping lawn.

The mosque — a gift from the UAE — is one of four in Oxford, where for many decades Muslims had to make do with makeshift prayer halls, starting with the basement beneath an Indian restaurant in Jericho, which is one of the oldest quarters of the city.

Today, the eatery is a popular venue for university students, its faded facade now painted a smart powder-blue and the shabby neon sign replaced by elegant gold lettering.

Tables booked by groups from the university reflect the social, religious and ethnic diversity of Oxford social life, which groups such as ISoc actively promote. “I know in other universities the Islamic societies can be a bit polarizing and are sometimes inaccessible to non-Muslims,” but the ISoc, first-year student Rahman said, is open to all.

“I often bring my non-Muslim friends along to our events,” she said, adding that some envy her extended ISoc family. “They offer so much support. After exams I had messages from at least 20 ISoc girls congratulating me.”

During Ramadan, 80 to 90 students congregated every evening to pray together and break their fast. “I’m a bit sad it’s over, actually,” said Rahman, who found that the communal atmosphere made up for spending Ramadan away from home — a first for many students.

The society also hosts interfaith events as well as weekly socials and activities such as the Sisters’ Mocktails Party “to make sure Muslims don’t feel alone and can socialize with people who have the same values as them.”

“It is difficult and does require a thick skin,” Rahman said. But looking back on her first year, the experience of being a Muslim student in Oxford has been “overwhelmingly positive.” Now she is more daunted by the prospect of a whole summer away from college and her ISoc friends.





Dubai honours Indian expat for 'green message'

July 4, 2018

The Dubai Municipality has honoured a 10-year-old Indian expat

who turned his love for the World Cup into an innovative way to reduce plastic bag waste.

Using his own Eid money, Faiz Mohammed distributed hand-decorated reusable bags to a number of groceries near his home in Karama after he grew tired of seeing so many plastic bags being wasted on home deliveries, the Khaleej Times reported on Wednesday.

To combat the excess wastage, he distributed the free tote bags in place of plastic ones.

Abdulmajeed Abdulaziz Saifaie, Director of Dubai's Waste Management Department, on Tuesday named the youngster one of the Dubai Municipality's Sustainability Ambassadors.

The Sustainability Ambassador initiative was launched in 2013 with a view to train students on how to carry out lectures and workshops on various environmental topics.

"The fact that this boy didn't use that Eid money to buy a ball, toy, something for himself, is commendable. He has a good hobby. If his family and community keep encouraging that, he will have a good future and so will the environment," Saifaie said.

Thanking the municipality, Mohammed said he felt honoured to be named a Sustainability Ambassador, the Khaleej Times reported.

"I will keep urging friends, family and shop workers about the importance of using reusable bags in place of plastic ones," he said.



PM’s remarks at my farewell considered departure from accepted practice, says former VP Hamid Ansari

July 8, 2018

Former vice-president Hamid Ansari on Saturday said that prime minister Narendra Modi’s remarks at his farewell, about a year ago, were a departure from accepted practices. “The Prime Minister participated in this and while being fulsome in his complements also hinted at what he perceived to be a certain inclination in my approach on account of my having spent, as he put it, both a good part of my professional tenure as a diplomat in Muslim lands and in post-retirement period on minority-related questions,” Ansari told news agency PTI.

“The context, presumably, was my reference in the Bengaluru speech to what I perceived as ‘enhanced apprehension of insecurity’ and in the TV interview to ‘a sense of unease creeping in’ among Muslims and some other religious minorities,” said the former Rajya Sabha chairman who in his last interview before demitting office had pointed out that Muslims in the country were experiencing a “feeling of unease”.

Ansari has addressed these issues in his new book “Dare I Question? Reflections on Contemporary Challenges”, a collection of his speeches and writings. Having served two consecutive terms in the office of the Vice president of India, he believes the debate on nationalism has wider ramifications for Indian democracy

“Muslims are a religious minority, like other faith-based minorities… and what was insufficiently recognised till the Sachar (Committee) report of 2006, is that many among them also suffer from multiple developmental deficits and therefore require empowerment through focused affirmative action to enable them to join others and take their place at the commencement point from which ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’ becomes meaningful,” Ansari had said in March earlier this year.

Full report at:



Kashmir IPS officer’s brother among new Hizbul Mujahideen recruits named on Burhan anniversary

by Bashaarat Masood

July 9, 2018

On the death anniversary of its commander Burhan Wani, militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen has released pictures of over 20 youth who have joined the outfit since May 21 this year. The pictures include that of Shams-ul-Haq, brother of an IPS officer. Haq went missing in May this year, a month after seven militants were killed in an encounter at his ancestral house in Shopian.

The pictures that have been posted on social networking sites show young men wielding assault rifles to announce joining the militant ranks. “We already had inputs about many youths whose pictures have come out today,” a police officer told The Indian Express. “For the past two months, they (Hizb) didn’t release pictures of their new recruits on the social media. Perhaps, they were waiting for this day”.

A police officer said releasing the pictures of so many new recruits simultaneously seems yet another attempt by Hizbul Mujahideen to glamourise militancy. “It seems they have deliberately chosen the death anniversary of Burhan Wani,” he said. “Burhan is the one who first used social media to attract young men towards militancy”.

While most of the new recruits hail from south Kashmir, there are youths from north and central Kashmir too.

The prominent faces among the new recruits include Shams-ul-Haq, Waseem Ahmad Rather, Tauseef Ahmad Thoker, Irfan Rashid Dar and Feroz Ahmad Dar.

Haq, who originally hails from Draggad village in south Kashmir’s Shopian and was living at Hyderpora in Srinagar, was pursuing a degree in Unani medicine before he went missing in May.

On April 1 this year, seven Hizbul Mujahideen militants were killed in an encounter in Haq’s ancestral house at Shopian.

Waseem Ahmad Rather, a resident of Ashmuji in south Kashmir’s Kulgam, has completed a Master’s in English and was pursuing a doctorate before he joined the militant ranks. Tauseef Ahmad Thoker, a resident of Charsoo in Awantipore, holds a Master’s in Mathematics and a Bachelor’s in Education.

The new recruits also include the Special Police Officer Irfan Rashid Dar, who decamped with his service rifle from Pampore police station on June 27. Dar was the Personal Security Officer of Pampore’s Station House Officer.

A resident of Heff village in Shopian, Feroz Dar has a Master’s in Arts besides a Bachelor’s degree in physical education.

Full report at:





Imran vows to make Pakistan a nation where ‘justice’ is served

Jul 09, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Sunday continued his election campaign in Islamabad and said there can be “no justice in a jungle”.

While addressing a workers’ convention, he said, “We cannot expect justice in animal kingdoms,” adding that, “I want to make a Pakistan where there is justice and work appointments are made on the basis of merit.”

He upheld, “We want to make a Pakistan in which humans are valued.”

Imran further vowed, “If given the chance, we will make Chaudhry Rehmat Ali’s Pakistan on July 25.”

He vowed to empower the weak and the neglected, Imran said, “Funds will be allocated to less developed areas in the budget.”

“The funds of South Punjab were allocated to Lahore and this is why people of those areas are demanding a separate province,” he upheld.

He further said, “We will progress if we serve the weak.”

Earlier as the PTI chairman arrived at the Jinnah Convention Centre, a few people chanted slogans in favour of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

A day earlier, Imran addressed the Ulema Mashaikh convention and urged a state like Madina should be formed in order to steer the country out of its problems.

Speaking about the country’s problems, the PTI chief said that the country’s total debt had exceeded Rs10,000 billion. He further said that over 250 million children were not enrolled in schools.

Imran stressed that the law should be the same for the rich and the poor.



Qureshi advises Bilawal to get rid of Zardari’s baggage if he wants to succeed

July 09, 2018

UMERKOT: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) vice chairman Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi has advised Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chief Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari to get rid of his corrupt father and his equally unscrupulous team and follow in the footsteps of his grandfather Z.A. Bhutto if he truly wants to be a successful politician.

Mr Qureshi, who is also spiritual leader of Ghausia Jamaat said at different public gatherings in Pithoro, Shadi Palli and Samaro towns on Sunday, said that PPP was no more a party of martyrs, a party of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto as it had been occupied by Zardari and his henchmen. Bhutto’s vision had been dumped and Zardari group was making fool of people to plunder national exchequer once again, he said.

He said that ‘Zardari League’ candidates were facing tough questions from people and public humiliation wherever they were going to canvass for votes. The next government would be formed by PTI and it would indeed be a revolution of development, he said.

He said that until Zardari’s politics and money had a free rein there was no hope of development and change. How surprising, the greedy and the avaricious coterie had launched a manifesto, calling for controlling poverty and malnutrition, while the fact was that they were the very cause of poverty and hunger in Sindh, he said.

He said that people of Punjab had taken the right decision by expelling the corrupt dynasty of Nawaz Sharif. It was now Sindh’s turn to get rid of Zardari and the likes, he said.

Mr Qureshi said that PTI had ousted PPP from Punjab and as a result out of 144 constituencies PPP had not fielded any candidate on 104 constituencies.

He urged people to bring about a revolution as they did in 1970. People had always trusted and voted for PPP without making any demands but the party had disappointed them time and again, he said.

He said the party would organise a power show in Umerkot on July 17 and claimed he was not in the run for a seat, he just wanted to free people of fear and corruption of Zardari.

He said that work on girls’ college had not been completed over the past 10 years because its funds had been usurped by PPP. Rs50 million had been spent on the cricket ground in Umerkot which was unbelievable because 75 per cent amount had been swallowed up by contractor Sarfraz Shah who was brother of then minister for culture Syed Sardar Shah.

‘Bilawal failed to see the writing on the wall’

MITHI: Mr Qureshi during his addresses at public gatherings in different villages falling within the constituencies of PS-54 and NA-221 (Tharparkar) said that he had always advised Bilawal to part ways with his father but he preferred to be exploited by Zardari. Bilawal did not take his advice seriously and avoided to read the writing on the wall, he said.

The situation had aggravated so much that now the party faced total alienation even in southern Punjab, he said, adding PPP had ceased to exist in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces. “When people of Punjab and KP have changed why not Sindhis,” he said.

Full report at:



Nawaz, Maryam to be arrested at airport, says law minister

Mansoor Malik

July 09, 2018

LAHORE: Federal law and information minister Ali Zafar has said the government will implement accountability court’s orders in letter and spirit and arrest ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz on their arrival at any airport in Pakistan.

He was speaking at “Meet the Press” programme at the Lahore Press Club here on Sunday Mr Zafar said the (caretaker) government had no mandate to interfere in the state institutions’ working or criticise their decisions, he said, adding that anybody having reservations against any court judgment should file an appeal.

“The law enforcement agencies will arrest Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz on airport, if they did not get bail before landing in Pakistan,” Mr Zafar told journalists.

He said the court’s judgment against the Sharif family would not affect holding of general elections on July 25.

“General elections will be held on time and that too in a free, fair and transparent manner,” he asserted.

Answering a question about the arrest of Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law, Mr Zafar said the government would extend full support to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to implement court orders that called for retired Capt Safdar’s arrest. “The law enforcement agencies are on the move to arrest Capt Safdar,” he said.

In a later development, Safdar surrendered himself to NAB officials in Rawalpindi, after leading a protest rally.

With regard to putting the names of former president Asif Ali Zardari and his sister on the Exit Control List (ECL), the minister said it was the government’s responsibility to properly assess the law enforcement agencies’ requests before putting names on the list.

Acknowledging that it was a common practice to put names on the ECL just on law enforcement agencies’ requests, Mr Zafar said the courts had given relief to many and chided the government for putting people’s names on the ECL without assessing such requests. “The caretaker government is assessing every request and questioning investigators about the grounds (on which a request is made) before putting names on the ECL,” he said.

A cabinet committee discussed the law enforcement agencies’ separate requests for putting some 50 to 60 people on the ECL, he said and added that after assessment many names were put on the list, while requests for several others were declined. “It is a two-stage consultative process that helps (the government) take judicious decisions regarding putting names on the ECL,” he said.

Responding to a question about PTI chairman Imran Khan’s close aide Zulfi Bukhari, the law minister said Mr Bukhari was never on the ECL. He was on a temporary ‘black list’ that could be decided at interior secretary’s level, he claimed.

About holding of general elections and permission for giving journalists access to information, Mr Zafar said the Election Commission of Pakistan was preparing a code of conduct and the caretaker government would readily implement it.

Acknowledging the need for transparency, he said, the journalists and international observers would be allowed to monitor the July 25 elections. He said the government had requested the ECP that local journalists should be allowed access to polling stations unlike the by-elections. He, however, said the foreign journalists would be monitored to know whether they were focusing on the elections or trying to “do some other things” as well.

About the construction of dams for water storage, the minister said a 1965 report had suggested that Pakistan should have constructed 14 to 20 dams. He said the country needed reservoirs to store water and dams to generate power. “Not constructing dams is tantamount to throwing diamonds in the sea,” he said.

Regretting that Pakistan could construct only two dams since independence, he said most country’s were spending 20 to 25 per cent of their development budgets on the conservation, storage and use of water, while Pakistan was spending just five to seven per cent of it on the most important sector.

He said Pakistan was also using 90 per cent of its water resources in agriculture sector while employing age-old irrigation methods. “Modern systems, including the drip irrigation, need to be introduced to conserve water,” he said. He also called for treating sewage for reuse, except for drinking purposes.

“A committee has been formed to develop a document, which will be left for the elected government to implement, take action and save water,” he said.

Full report at:



MMA candidate holds PTI leader responsible for Bannu blast

Jul 09, 2018

Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) candidate for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly from Bannu Malik Shereen has held Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s Malik Shah Muhammad Khan responsible for the bomb attack on his convoy on Saturday which injured him and six other people.

In the FIR on Sunday, the MMA candidate for PK-89 has blamed Malik Shah and his brother Malik Gulbaz Khan for the IED blast in Bannu that left seven people injured including a Frontier Constabulary worker. The FIR includes charges of terrorism. Where Shah has previously served as a provincial minister, Gulbaz is a district member of PTI.

Full report at:



The multiple layers of TLP’s campaign

Hamid Riaz

JULY 9, 2018

Its 10 pm in Mandhiawala, a slum settlement off Jagawala Road in Hafizabad. About 150 male residents have gathered in an empty plot next to the downtrodden house of Qari Ahmad Raza, a prayer leader in an area mosque.

Ignoring the sewage-laden mud carpeting the plot, the men remain occupied with raising passionate slogans of “Sunniyon K Rehnuma, Waseem Shah, Waseem Shah.”

The congregation is a corner meeting held as part of the election campaign of Sayed Waseem Shah Naqvi, Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan’s (TLP) candidate from PP-70.

“Unlike bigger parties, we aren’t resourceful enough to offer food at our corner meetings. This is not a rented crowd. These people are here because they are dedicated to the cause,” comments Ahmad Raza, before gleefully proceeding to join in the sloganeering.

The sloganeering stops suddenly. Waseem Shah takes the podium and begins his address with a raging proclamation “The ulema did not come into politics out of their own self-interest. We were forced to join the fray only after the dignity of the whole Muslim Ummah was challenged. Our tehreek started with a single goal to resist Mumtaz Qadri’s arrest. Afterwards it became about avenging his martyrdom.”

The crowd responds with a thundering chorus of Labaik-Ya-Rasul-Allah (‘O Prophet (PBUH), we submit ourselves to your will’).

Though his speeches begin with what he says is the ‘core mission’ of the party, they are not limited just to that. Very soon, he moves on to secular concerns of the electorate. At the Mandhiawala corner meeting, he picked common themes from popular political discourse about prioritising human development over large infrastructure and making development spending more equitable. “We do not need roads, we need hospitals and universities. Why is it that we (the people of Hafizabad) have to go to Lahore for education or for decent medical treatment? Why do we have to send our children away?” he asks, and continues to assert the importance of education, calling it the ‘key to our chains’.

Contrary to the image of the hardline, illiterate mullah that comes to mind with the mention of barelvi outfits like the TLP, Waseem Shah is an eloquent speaker who easily weaves in and out of English, probably because of his brief stint in London where he studied for his masters in law degree.

None of the candidates are campaigning in working class areas, and the peasantry … the small peasants are being sucked dry by the artis (local loan sharks) and the dodhis (middle men in milk supply chain) on the one hand, and by the corruption of the Zarai Taraqiati Bank, on the other,” says Qari Imran, a retired school teacher and an active TLP campaigner

“I could have easily stayed in Britain since my wife is British, but I came back to Pakistan to serve my people,” says Waseem Shah, while sipping tea in the study room at his ancestral home in Hafizabad. Waseem Shah owns a house in Lahore’s Defence Housing Authority (DHA), but these days he spends most of his time canvassing for votes in Hafizabad. Oddly, he is a fan of ‘Bhutto’s style of pro-people politics’, and believes that the traditional way of electioneering in Pakistan is skewed in favour of the rich. He admires election campaigns in Britain for their strong focus on manifestos and policy debates instead of a focus on personalities. Rather than looking at the TLP as an extremist or sectarian outfit, Waseem Shah explains it as a ‘movement with legitimate constitutional demands’.

“Murders on blasphemy issues arise out of the state’s failure to uphold its own law. If the law says that a blasphemer should be hanged, they should be hanged,” he says in response to a question on Article 295-C of the Constitution, completely ignoring instances where mobs take the law into their own hands on the call of clerics as well as where the law gets abused for settlement of personal scores.

A pragmatic alliance

Waseem Shah’s family enjoys overwhelming influence among barelvi circles in Hafizabad. His father Pir Shabir Ali Shah was a local imam who rose to prominence because of his fiery oratory. Pir Shabir remained associated with the Jamiat Ulema Pakistan (JUP) during the 1970s and 80s, contesting the 1988 election on the party’s ticket. In 1993 election, Pir Shabir contested for an MPA seat on Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) ticket, albeit unsuccessfully.

Now, the family is running a vast network of Islamic centres, seminaries and mosques in Hafizabad, besides owning a network of private schools. Waseem Shah talks with great pride about the fact that he recently got his seminaries affiliated with the Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU). He says that now students from his seminaries can easily get an equivalence made. Despite this seemingly progressive outlook, Waseem Shah partakes in all the rituals associated the custodianship of an influential shrine. His murids kiss his hands and touch his knees to offer respect whenever they meet him.

Perhaps in recognition of his influence in the area, even before he joined the TLP, Waseem Shah was receiving offers from a political heavyweight, Chaudry Liaqat, to join him and his panel of independents, comprising of Asad Arain and Shoaib Shah against the PML-N and PTI panels in Hafizabad. A former Q-Leaguer, Liaqat unsuccessfully tried to get tickets for Hafizabad’s only NA seat from both PML-N and PTI (his nephew is the PTI’s candidate), before considering the independent route.

Both former MPAs, Arain and Shoaib Shah recently parted ways with Q-League and PML-N, respectively.

Eventually, however, Waseem Shah convinced the trio to contest the election on TLP’s tickets. “It was our resilience that brought these heavyweights to our side, the side of the cause,” he boasts, conveniently missing the underlying political calculus based on factions and delimitations.

Liaqat Bhatti explains the alliance in the following words, “Our campaign is a beautiful marriage of my performance in my traditional stronghold and the ideologically charged cadres of the Labaik Ya Rasool Allah.” Shoaib Shah invokes his family’s religious roots, and says, “I am a Sayed and my family is well rooted in the spiritual tradition of Golra Shareef.”

Notwithstanding these explanations by the candidates, there is widespread discontent among the rank and file TLP workers regarding ‘the moral standing of these candidates’. In casual conversations at corner meetings, Liaqat, Arain and Shoaib Shah are often criticised for their decadent lifestyles.

However, some politically active supporters have a more pragmatic approach. Preferring anonymity, Rajput*, a former local body councilor from the PML N who is now actively campaigning for the TLP, says, “Every party has an antibiotic for the people, be it corruption or the sanctity of the vote. We have Khatam-e-Nabuwwat”.

He continues, “Apart from the dominant rhetoric, electioneering is pretty much the same. You need resourceful candidates and you need to be able to tilt the baradari dynamic in your favour, otherwise you lose.”

Rajput is familiar with the dirty art of politics in Pakistan and he has played an instrumental role in bringing Hafizabad’s Rajput vote bloc, traditionally allied with the PML-N, to the TLP camp. A majority of the Rajputs in Hafizabad have historically associated with the Deobandi school of thought, and bringing them over to a party that showcases it’s barelvi identity is an achievement he takes pride in. “Hafiz Saeed’s candidate has no social base to campaign in because we swayed a large portion of the deobandi vote to our side, so now he is supporting our campaign as well,” Rajput says.

Reaching across sectarian, economic fault lines

TLPs campaigners in Hafizabad have not only been able to consolidate the

‘Sunni vote’, but they are also making inroads into the local Shia populace.

An old friend of Pir Waseem Shah, Liaqat Ali Khunnu, a popular Shia khateeb of the Muhalla Hussain Pura Imambargah, is an active member of the TLP’s campaign team, and is playing an instrumental role in swaying the Shia vote in the party’s favour. TLP has organised several corner meetings in Shia-dominated neighborhoods like Dhabala on Farooq-e-Azam Road, Muhalla Hussain Pura and Muhallah Peer Kalay Shah.

Oddly enough, the TLP activists have been granted access to a couple of imambargahs (in Ward 1 and Ward 2) for their campaign.

In addition to consolidating the ‘Islamic vote’, the TLP campaign has adopted an aggressive ‘anti-status quo’ rhetoric. In their speeches and their pamphlets, party leaders refer to ‘rampant inequality that persists in a society that has seen years of economic development’. TLP cadre in Hafizabad understands that a large portion of the society has missed out on opportunities created by development projects. They lay special emphasis on two particular socio-economic classes i.e. the urban labouring class and the small farmers/landless peasants. “None of the candidates are effectively campaigning in the katchi abadis, working class areas and the peasantry. The most they do is meet their wadairy (elders). In villages, the small peasants are being sucked dry by the artis (local loan sharks) and the dodhis (middle men in the milk supply chain) on the one hand, and by the corruption of the Zarai Taraqiati Bank, on the other,” says Qari Imran, a retired school teacher and an active TLP campaigner who was among prayer leaders arrested during a crackdown on violations of the Loudspeakers Act. They were released followed protest demonstrations.

He continues, “The peasantry has become a slave to this [rentier] class and none of the mainstream candidates want to talk about it.”

“A few families rule our political system. We want to break free from the stranglehold of traditional politics and represent the un-represented masses,” he continues.

Full report at:



Pakistan honours Abdul Sattar Edhi on his second death anniversary

JULY 9, 2018

ISLAMABAD: July 8 marks the second death anniversary of Abdul Sattar Edhi, a renowned Pakistani philanthropist, ascetic, and humanitarian who founded the Edhi Foundation.

The departed noble soul was born on February 28, 1928 in Gujarat before the partition of the sub-continent. He breathed his last on July 8, 2016 at the age of 88 in Karachi.

Edhi has been honoured with some of the most prestigious awards for his unselfish devotion to society and humanity, and promotion of peace and interfaith harmony.

Many humanitarian organisations have paid rich tributes to the late Edhi on his second death anniversary, and observed him as a model for humanity.

Edhi, the only social worker who has been honoured with a commemorative coin, established and managed Edhi Foundation, the country’s largest charity organisation, which transformed lives of many poverty-stricken families of Pakistan.

Edhi Foundation is famous for organising the world’s largest volunteer ambulance network and maintaining homeless shelters, animal shelters, rehab centres and orphanages across the country.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Caretaker Chief Minister Hassan Askari released a message on his anniversary, and urged the general public to follow him as a role model in their life.

“His promotion of human rights can serve as a noble aspiration for others to follow. Edhi was an invaluable asset and the true identity of Pakistan,” he said while remembering him.

Full report at:



Arab World


Syrian soldiers recapture Um al-Mayazen town in Dara’a province

Jul 8, 2018

Syrian army troops have managed to regain control over yet another strategic town in the country’s southwestern province of Dara’a following the elimination of the last gatherings of militants in the area.

On Sunday, Syria’s official news agency SANA, citing an unnamed military source, reported that earlier in the day units of Syrian Arab Army, backed by the allied forces, established their full control over Um al-Mayazen town, located some 10 kilometers to the east of Dara’a, the provincial capital.

The report added that the liberation of Um al-Mayazen came after days of intense operations against militants’ gatherings and their fortified positions in the town, situated not far away from Nassib, another town near the Jordanian border, which was liberated on Friday.

Syrian bomb disposal units are now combing the liberated area for hidden ordnance and explosive devices, which foreign-backed terrorists have arguably planted there to slow down the advance of army forces.

Since June 19, the Syrian government has been engaged in a major military campaign to recapture the militant-held areas in southern Syria near the Jordanian border and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, including Dara’a province, together with the neighboring provinces of Quneitra and Suwaida.

The recapture of Dara'a is highly important because it borders the occupied Golan Heights which Israel has used to treat wounded militants that are fighting the Syrian government since 2011.The territory's return to the Syrian government control would cut the much-reported collaboration between Israel and the militants and accordingly deal a blow to Tel Aviv's plans to annex the Golan Heights.

The Syrian army's advances are also upsetting to US plans in the Arab country where it is believed to have deployed about 2,000 troops to carve out a statelet in the country's north with the help of Kurdish militants.

Meanwhile, the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that tens of thousands of internally displaced people had returned to their homes in southern Syria since a ceasefire deal signed on Friday between the Russian military and militant outfits to end airstrikes against their positions.

The UK-based monitor also said the returns were continuing on Sunday.

Moscow launched its military campaign against Daesh and other terror outfits in Syria in September 2015 at the Damascus government’s request. Russia's airstrikes have significantly helped the Syrian forces deal heavy blows to foreign-backed militants operating in the Arab country.

Under the truce deal, the government forces were to deploy along the frontier with Jordan, while militants were to hand over their heavy weapons. The militants who oppose the deal will be evacuated with their families to the militant-held northwestern province of Idlib.



Most Militant Commanders Endorse Peace with Syrian Army in Dara'a

Jul 08, 2018

The ministry said that most terrorist commanders have joined peace agreement with the Syrian army only a few hours after the start the reconciliation plan in Dara'a.

It further said that a major number of terrorist commanders have decided to end battle and join the peace process with the army following talks with government troops.

In the meantime, the terrorist groups in the townships of Jidrou region in Western Dara'a, including Ankhal, Nawa, Jasem, Nemr and al-Harrah formed a joint delegation to enter talks with the Russian-Syrian delegation.

Terrorists formed a joint delegation after militants in Eastern Dara'a laid down arms and signed the peace agreement with the army.

Field sources said that terrorists in Western Dara'a have been given only a 48-hour-long ultimatum to decide about peace talks.

On Saturday, the army troops imposed control over almost 95 percent of Eastern Dara'a after government forces drove terrorists out of Nasib border-crossing.

The army men managed to capture the strategic Radar and Air Defense Battalion Bases in Basar al-Harir region East of Dara'a city after they imposed control over Nasib passageway at the border with Jordan.

The army soldiers also freed several regions and townships in Eastern Dara'a, including Samad, Samaj, Arz al-Atrash, Tisiya, Khirbet Qolo, Abu Qatouneh, al-Mashafi, Abu Ra'as, al-Samaqiyat, al-Aman, Neda, Maqtala, Khirbet al-Qouta, Khirbet al-Deir and Khirbet Ma'araba.

Full report at:



Turkish Troops, Ankara-Backed Militants Killed in Clashes with Kurds in Northern Syria

Jul 08, 2018

The Kurdish-language Hawar news reported that the Kurdish militias targeted a convoy of the Turkish troops in the village of Kafr Jenah in Shera region, killing two Turkish soldiers identified as Mohammad Kara and Urhan Damir.

In the meantime, Hawar news said that three Ankara-backed militants were killed in a heavy fighting between the Kurdish militias and Turkey-backed Ahrar al-Sharqiyah in the village of Shadiyeh in Rajou region.

Hawar news further said that a base of Ankara-backed Firqa al-Hamzah in the village of Satiya in Jandaris region came under attack by an unidentified drone.

The Ankara-backed militants engaged in another round of infighting on Tuesday over their share of the assets looted from civilians' houses and shops in Afrin which came under occupation by the Turkish troops almost four months ago.

Two militant groups, affiliated to the Turkish army, exchanged heavy fire in Saleh al-Ali School in al-Asharfiyeh neighborhood in the town of Afrin over their share of the civilians' assets and properties they had previously plundered.

In the meantime, the Turkish army and allied militant placed their forces on alert after a hand-made bomb went of near Afrin Hospital in Afrin.

Full report at:



Tens of Terrorists Killed in Infighting with Rival Groups, Blasts in Northwestern Syria

Jul 08, 2018

The sources said that the ISIL attacked one of the positions of Tahrir al-Sham East of the town of Saraqib in Idlib province, killing all the 12 militants in the position, including three Uzbek, Chechen and Turk fighters.

In the meantime, a number of Tahrir terrorists were killed in a roadside bomb blast near the town of al-Dana in Northern Idlib.

Also, a Turkish member of Tahrir was gunned down by unknown attackers in farms West of Idlib city.

Meanwhile, a bomb blast near al-Abrar mosque in Idlib city killed and wounded number of Tahrir terrorists.

Al-Jazrawi, a field commander of Tahrir al-Sham in Jabal al-Turmmen, was killed by unknown assailants near the small town of Hazarin in Southern Idlib last week.

In the meantime, Tahrir al-Sham captured the town of Sarmin in Eastern Idlib after heavy fighting with ISIL rival terrorists.

Also, a number of terrorists were killed after a bomb-laden vehicle went off near the small town of Harza in Northeastern Idlib and also in another blast in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Southern Idlib.

Full report at:



More US-Backed Militias Killed in Bomb Blast in Eastern Syria

Jul 08, 2018

A bomb-laden vehicle went off near an SDF base in the center of al-Basireh township in Deir Ezzur province, killing at least 18 US-backed militias, including a commander.

Field sources said that the ISIL terrorists were possibly behind the blast.

Earlier reports said that Joudi Hasaka, one of the most notorious commanders of the SDF, was gunned down by unidentified raiders in Western Hasaka.

Unknown assailant opened fire at SDF field Commander Joudi Hasaka near al-Tahouneh region in Jabal Abdul Aziz in Western Hasaka, killing the commander and two of his aides.

In the meantime, tens of people gathered in al-Nashwa neighborhood's square in Hasaka and protested against the Kurdish militias, hoisting the Syrian government flags.

Full report at:



Kurdish Militia Willing to Hand over Oil Facilities to Damascus Forces

Jul 08, 2018

The Arabic-language al-Watan daily quoted some opposition sources as disclosing that several government delegations have had meetings with commanders of the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) that control the Eastern bank of the Euphrates River, adding that some Syrian military officers, and governor generals of Raqqa and Hasaka provinces had attended the meetings.

In the meantime, some Kurdish-affiliated sources disclosed that a new agreement has been endorsed by the YPG and the Syrian government based on which the Kurds will hand over oil facilities to Damascus to the sole exporter of Syria's crude oil.

The daily further said that a team of repair and maintenance experts have left Damascus for the town of Tabaqa in Western Raqqa and entered regions that are under the control of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to have meeting with the managing committee of Tabaqa Dam presided by Mohammad Oso.

In the meantime, local sources reported that the Kurdish units have taken photos of their commander Abdullah Ocalan and the group's flags down from Qanat al-Sowis street in Hasaka city.

Al-Watan reported on Monday that the Kurdish militia groups were showing strong signs in their talks with Damascus authorities of their desire to give up their quest for autonomy and surrender the Kurdish-ruled territories to the Central government in return for insignificant demands

 Al-Watan daily reported that several meetings were held between senior officials of Damascus government and the Kurdish militias in the town of Qamishli in Northern Syria and also in Damascus.

"Under an agreement held by the two sides, the Kurdish groups have agreed to take a number of actions that also include collecting the entire images of Abdullah Ocalan, one of the founding members of the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party, as well as the Kurdish militias' official signs and flags from all their territories," the report continued.

It went on to say that retreat of all Kurdish militias to Hasaka province and erecting joint checkpoints to be run by the Kurds and the government forces across Hasaka province are also among other terms of the agreement.

Other sources said that the agreement endorsed by the Kurds and the army entails several more paragraphs that include the presence of the Kurdish militias among the ranks of the Syrian army, surrender of Tal Kojar and Simalka border-crossing with Iraq and al-Darbasiyeh and Ra'as al-Ein border-crossing with Turkey to the Damascus army and delivering control over oil and gas fields to the Syrian Oil Ministry.

The sources further said that, in return, the Kurds have asked for the start of Kurdish-language courses in the educational program in Kurdish regions and appointment of a Kurdish official to a high post in the Syrian oil ministry.

Al-Watan went on to say that the Kurdish units already embarked on collecting PYD flags and the photos of its leader from streets in Qamishli and Hasaka city.

In the meantime, other Syrian media outlets said that the Syrian Democratic forces' decision to hand over Raqqa city to the army will be the first confidence-building measure between the two sides.

Full report at:



Syrian Army on Alert for Dara'a City Liberation Operation

Jul 08, 2018

The army forwarded a large number of forces and equipment to Dara'a city after its advances in Eastern Dara'a and liberation of Nasib border-crossing.

Field sources reported that the army is preparing for an imminent operation to liberate Dara'a city.

The sources further said that only a few villages in Eastern Dara'a are still under terrorists' control and the region has militarily fallen into the army that controls almost 95 percent of Eastern Dara'a.

A few groups of ISIL and the Al-Nusra front (Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at or the Levant Liberation Board) are still operating in Southern and Western Dara'a and some other terrorist groups are active in the Northern part of the province.   

On Saturday, the army troops imposed control over almost 95 percent of Eastern Dara'a after government forces drove terrorists out of Nasib border-crossing.

The army men managed to capture the strategic Radar and Air Defense Battalion Bases in Basar al-Harir region East of Dara'a city after they imposed control over Nasib passageway at the border with Jordan.

The army soldiers also freed several regions and townships in Eastern Dara'a, including Samad, Samaj, Arz al-Atrash, Tisiya, Khirbet Qolo, Abu Qatouneh, al-Mashafi, Abu Ra'as, al-Samaqiyat, al-Aman, Neda, Maqtala, Khirbet al-Qouta, Khirbet al-Deir and Khirbet Ma'araba.

Full report at:



Syria regime pounds South, rebel evacuations postponed

8 July 2018

Regime forces bombarded southern Syria on Sunday, as the evacuation of rebel fighters under a ceasefire deal for the region was postponed, a monitor and an opposition official said.

Opposition fighters in the southern province of Daraa announced a ceasefire deal late on Friday with regime ally Russia to end more than two weeks of deadly regime bombardment.

Under that deal, rebels who wished to do so were to leave areas in the strategic southern province to be retaken by President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

But on Sunday morning, regime air strikes killed four civilians, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.  

Um al-Mayazeen village targeted

Syrian warplanes pounded Um al-Mayazeen just five kilometers north of the Jordanian border, killing three civilians, said the Britain-based monitor.

“Regime forces launched an assault on the village,” Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said, two days after they retook control of the key border crossing of Nassib to the south.

Earlier, rebel fire on a regime convoy on the highway near Um al-Mayazeen had killed several soldiers, Abdel Rahman said, without providing a toll.

A regime air strike on the rebel-held half of the provincial capital of Daraa also killed one civilian, he said.

A rebel official said the evacuation of opposition fighters and their families to rebel-held areas in northern Syria was temporarily put on hold.

“A hundred buses were supposed to arrive but (the operation) has been postponed to a later date, in around two days,” the official said.

“There was an exchange of fire between both sides and the first (wave) has been postponed.”

The regime bombardment campaign on rebel-held areas in Daraa since June 19 had killed more than 160 civilians and displaced tens of thousands of people.

Many had fled the violence south towards the closed border with Jordan, setting up makeshift tents for shelter in the arid fields along the frontier.

Full report at:



Iraqi court hands death sentence to Daesh militant over killing 16 civilians

Jul 8, 2018

A court in Iraq has handed down death sentence to a member of the foreign-sponsored Takfiri Daesh terrorist group over his involvement in the massacre of more than a dozen civilians in the country’s northern province of Nineveh.

The Criminal Court of Nineveh issued the verdict against the unnamed defendant on Sunday after he was convicted of killing 16 people at Mosul General Hospital, and planting hundreds of bombs east of the provincial capital city of Mosul, located some 400 kilometers (250 miles) north of Baghdad, the Arabic service of Russia’s Sputnik news agency reported.

Abdul Sattar al-Biraqdar, spokesman for the Supreme Judicial Council, said the convict has confessed to the execution of the civilians, and placing 250 explosive devices across the town of Bartella.

Biraqdar noted the Daesh terrorist had also participated in terrorist attacks against government forces, namely in the area of Ain al-Safra.

The senior Iraqi judicial official stressed that the death sentence against the Takfiri was passed in accordance with Article IV of the Anti-Terrorism Law.

On June 30, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who is also the commander-in-chief of Iraqi forces, pledged to hunt down Daesh militants across Iraq after recent attacks and abductions carried out by the terrorist group.

“We will chase the remaining cells of terrorism in their hideouts and we will kill them, we will chase them everywhere, in the mountains and the desert,” Abadi said.

Abadi declared the end of military operations against Daesh in the Arab country on December 9, 2017.

On July 10 that year, the Iraqi prime minister had formally declared victory over Daesh extremists in Mosul, which served as the terrorists’ main urban stronghold in the conflict-ridden Arab country.

In the run-up to Mosul's liberation, Iraqi army soldiers and volunteer Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters had made sweeping gains against Daesh.

The Iraqi forces took control of eastern Mosul in January 2017 after 100 days of fighting, and launched the battle in the west on February 19 last year.

Full report at:





French Watchdog Accuses Muslim Leader Of Incitement

JULY 8, 2018

A prominent watchdog group on antisemitism in France filed a police complaint against a leading Muslim community leader for alleged incitement to hatred of Jews.

The National Bureau for Vigilance Against Antisemitism, or BNVCA, filed the complaint Thursday against Dalil Boubakeur, rector of the Great Mosque of Paris and the president of the French Council of the Muslim Faith, BNVCA said in a statement.

The unusual move against Boubakeur, a highly respected representative of French Muslims, follows his defense Monday of an imam from Toulouse who was filmed speaking during a sermon about Israel’s demise and a war in which Muslims would kill Jews.

The imam, Mohammed Tataï, “protests firmly and in good faith” the controversy that last month grew around the video of his sermon from December, Boubakeur wrote in a statement Monday. Tatai also “apologizes to anyone who was accidentally offended by the pulling out of context” of the sermon, Boubakeur added.

B’nai B’rith France condemned the sermon in a statement on June 27, drawing the attention of media to the video’s existence.

In the video, which Tatai’s own mosque posted on YouTube, he says, “The Prophet Muhammad told us about the final and decisive battle: ‘Judgment Day will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews. The Jews will hide behind the stones and the trees, and the stones and the trees will say: Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him – except for the Gharqad tree, which is one of the trees of the Jews.’” BNVCA also complained to police against the imam.

In an interview for the La Dépêche du Midi daily, Tatai said the video “takes what I said out of context.” He told the daily that during the sermon, he also said that “we must do everything not to arrive” at a Muslim-Jewish war, but the assertion was not recorded in the video.

Boubakeur said Tatai “engages in efforts that promote coexistence” between followers of different faiths.

Franck Touboul, the president of the Toulouse-region branch of the CRIF umbrella of French Jewish communities, rejected Tatai’s statements about lacking context and condemned both the sermon and its defense by Boubakeur.

CRIF will not continue to engage in dialogue with the imam, the Jewish community leader told the daily.

“How can we engage in dialogue with someone who wishes for our death?” Touboul asked.



Erdogan to attend NATO meeting in Brussels

08 July 2018

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will attend his first major international summit since getting reelected on Wednesday when he attends the NATO heads of state and government meeting in Brussels.

The NATO meeting will take place for the first time at the new alliance headquarters.

At the meeting, Erdogan will meet and hold bilateral meetings with a number of world leaders, including American President Donal Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May.

It is expected that Erdogan and other leaders will discuss the support YPG/PKK terror group receives from some NATO member countries and the S-400 missile system that Turkey is getting from Russia.

Erdogan is also expected to meet European Council head Donald Tusk, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Parliament President Antonio Tajani.

Full report at:



Turkey awaits justice for neo-Nazi terror victims

08 July 2018

Turkey has called for justice for the victims of neo-Nazi terrorist group NSU ahead of a verdict in a major trial that revealed “institutional racism” problem in Germany.

“We hope that the result of the NSU trial would meet the expectations of all who want an end to such racist and xenophobic murders, and demand a fair decision that would satisfy people’s conscience,” Turkish Ambassador Ali Kemal Aydin told Anadolu Agency on Sunday.

“We want to trust the German justice system,” he added.

The NSU killed eight Turkish immigrants, a Greek citizen and a German policewoman between 2000 and 2007 -- but the murders remained long unsolved, although the suspects were under the radar of a German intelligence agency since late 90s.

After a five year-long trial of the suspects, the NSU’s last surviving member Beate Zschaepe and four suspected accomplices, the Higher Regional Court in Munich is set to deliver its ruling on Wednesday.

Aydin underlined that families of the victims, their lawyers and many experts still believe that the NSU was not a three-member group, but had ties to a larger network of far-right extremists.

Many questions still remain unanswered,” he said, referring to speculations of a possible role or involvement of security or intelligence officials.

Aydin said the court’s ruling would also be significant for future efforts to uncover facts about the NSU, its motivations and possible links.

The shadowy neo-Nazi group was only revealed in 2011, when two members -- Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Bohnhardt -- reportedly committed suicide after an unsuccessful bank robbery and later police found guns and propaganda in their apartment.

Zschaepe has so far denied any role in the killings and tried to lay the blame on her friends.

The scandal surrounding the NSU has led to widespread criticism of police and security agencies in Germany, which were accused by opposition parties for tolerating right-wing extremists, stereotyping and discrimination against immigrants.

Until 2011, Germany’s police and intelligence services excluded any racial motive for the murders and instead treated immigrant families as suspects in the case, questioning them over alleged connections with mafia groups and drug traffickers.

While recent revelations have shown that German domestic intelligence agency had dozens of informants who had contacts with the NSU suspects, officials insisted that they had no prior information about the NSU terror cell and its suspected role in the killings.

Full report at:



UN names Pakistani as rapporteur on HR situation in Iran

Anwar Iqbal

July 09, 2018

WASHINGTON: The United Nations has appointed Javaid Rehman, a British-Pakistani legal scholar, as UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran.

Mr Rehman succeeds Asma Jahangir who passed away in February at age 66. Mr Rehman’s appointment was announced on Saturday during the 38th session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

The UN special rapporteur can hold office for six years at most. Tehran has always rejected reports of the rapporteurs on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran as biased, politically motivated and invalid.

Iran claims that UN rapporteurs mostly use sources opposed to the Islamic republic system for their reports on the situation in the country.

In 1984, the UNHRC appointed Andrés Aguilar of Venezuela as its first special representative to Iran. Tehran refused to engage with him and he eventually resigned, saying he was doing so because he was “unable to persuade Iranian officials to cooperate with him in any way”.

In May, the UNHRC issued a list of three candidates — Javaid Rehman of Pakistan, Miloon Kothari of India and Antonio Stango of Italy — and eventually selected Mr Rehamn.

Mr Rehman is professor of international human rights law and Muslim constitutionalism at Brunel University in London.

He has advised international human rights bodies, tribunals and courts on human rights issues, including the prohibition of torture, counterterrorism and minority rights.

As a human rights advocate, Mr Rehman has engaged with a range of stakeholders at the United Nations, the Council of Europe,

the Organisation of Islamic Coopera­tion and the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation.

He has also advised non-governmental organisations in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and in Pakistan on substantive legal issues as well as on implementation mechanisms, appeal procedures and advocacy campaigns.

Full report at:



South Asia


64 militants killed, wounded in during Walid-9 operations: Shaheen Corps

Jul 08 2018

At least sixty four militants were killed or wounded during the ongoing military operations, Walid-9 operations, in three northern provinces.

The 209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan Military in the North said the militants were killed or wounded during the operations in Balkh, Faryab, and Baghlan provinces.

According to a statement released by Shaheen Corps, at least 38 militants were killed in total in the past 24 hours in the three provinces while 26 others sustained injuries.

The statement further added that 22 of the militants were killed during the operations in Chamtal district of Balkh where at least 16 others sustained injuries.

According to Shaheen Corps, at least 10 militants were killed and at last 7 others sustained injuries during the operations in Almar district of Faryab province.

Shaheen Corps also added that 6 militants were killed and at least 2 others sustained injuries during the operations in Dahan-e-Ghori of Baghlan province.

Several weapons, munitions, vehicles, and motorcycles were also destroyed during the operations, the Shaheen Corps added in its statement.

According to Shaheen Corps, the operations are being with the support of the Afghan Air Forces which are providing close-air support to the ground forces.

The anti-government armed militants including Taliban insurgents have not commented regarding the report so far.



Myanmar court rules Reuters reporters can face full trial

July 9, 2018

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — A judge in Myanmar ruled Monday that the prosecution of two Reuters journalists charged with illegally possessing official information can go to a full trial.

The case of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo went through several months of hearings to determine if there was enough evidence to support the charges, which the reporters denied.

The two had been working on stories about the Rohingya crisis in western Myanmar, where state security forces are accused of carrying out massive human rights abuses that caused about 700,000 of the Muslim ethnic Rohingya to flee across the border to Bangladesh.

The charges they are facing carry a punishment of up to 14 years in prison.

Reuters urged the authorities to release the two.

"We are deeply disappointed that the court declined to end this protracted and baseless proceeding against Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo. These Reuters journalists were doing their jobs in an independent and impartial way, and there are no facts or evidence to suggest that they've done anything wrong or broken any law," Stephen J. Adler, Reuters' president and editor-in-chief, said in a statement.

"Today's decision casts serious doubt on Myanmar's commitment to press freedom and the rule of law," it said.

Full report at:



New political coalition share demands regarding the cases of Dostum and Qaisari

Jul 09 2018

The members of the new political coalition, Coalition for the Salvage of Afghanistan, on Sunday shared their demands regarding the cases of Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum and Nizamuddin Qaisari.

The leaders of the political coalition, Ata Mohammad Noor and Mohammad Mohaqiq, appeared in a press conference with Enayatullah Babur Farahman, the Chief of Staff Gen. Dostum’s Office, to declare their stance regarding the recent political upheavals.

The members of the political coalition once again criticized the government for its recent steps, specifically the arrest of Nizamuddin Qaisari and preventing the return of Gen. Dostum from Turkey.

Noor said the government must take immediate steps to resolve the case of Gen. Dostum as he emphasized that no one has the right to keep a person in exile.

He also called the detention of Nizamuddin Qaisari by security forces a move against the law.

Another member of the coalition Mohammad Mohaqiq said Gen. Dostum is being kept in exile without the decree or verdict by any court or the parliament.

He said “Until now we were demanding that Gen. Dostum must return but after this we are saying that we will bring Gen. Dostum back to the country.”

The Chief of Staff Gen. Dostum’s Office Enayatullah Babur Farahmand warned that the protests and unrest would expand to the other provinces if immediate actions are taken to free Nizamuddin Qaisari.

Full report at:



Taliban militants suffer heavy casualties in Ghazni airstrikes

Jul 08 2018

The Taliban militants suffered heavy casualties during the airstrikes conducted in southeastern Ghazni province of Afghanistan in support of the ongoing operations.

The 203rd Thunder Corps of the Afghan Military in a statement said the airstrikes were conducted in Khumar Khel and Esa Khel areas of Moqor district.

The statement further added that the airstrikes were conducted as part of the ongoing Palang Sahra military operations which are jointly being conducted against the anti-government armed militants.

According to Thunder Corps, at least 41 militants were killed and at least 17 others sustained injuries during the airstrikes and military operations.

Two Dshk heavy machine guns installed on pickup type vehcles were also destroyed during the airstrikes along with a rocket launcher and PKM machine gune, Thunder Corps said, adding that the dead bodies of at least three militants were left behind by the other militants.

In the meantime, the Thunder Corps said a militant was killed during a separate clash with the security forces in Khair Kot district of Paktiak province and a Ak-47 assault rifle, a motorcycle, and Pakistani national identity card were also confiscated.

Full report at:





Israel draws ‘red lines’ on Saudi nuclear ambitions

Jul 9, 2018

Israel has reportedly drawn a number of “red lines” it expects the US to observe regarding a deal being finalized for the sale of nuclear reactors to Saudi Arabia.

According to Israel's Channel 10 News, Israeli officials have realized that they would not be able to thwart the deal because of billions of dollars which it would bring in profit to the US.

Israel’s energy minister and top nuclear official Yuval Steinitz met with his US counterpart Rick Perry in Washington and presented him a series of steep demands about the need to keep a strict tab on the kingdom's activities.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman raised eyebrows when he told CBS in May that his country was prepared to pursue nuclear weapons.

The announcement sparked uproar around the world as it raised fresh worries about a country which is home to the extremist Wahhabi ideology, having inspired such terrorist groups such as Daesh, Nusra Front and al-Qaeda.  

Following the outcry, a Saudi journalist with ties to the royal family, Louai a-Sharif, released a video statement aimed at Israelis and delivered in Hebrew.

In the video statement, a-Sharif said that any potential nuclear weapons program in his country would not target Israel.

Nevertheless, Steinitz made it clear to Perry that Israel wanted to prevent uranium enrichment in Saudi Arabia, know all the details of the deal in advance and be consulted on the planned location of the nuclear reactors.

Moreover, Israel sought full coordination and transparency on the negotiations and requested the US provide all the fuel to the reactors with the precondition that the spent fuel was removed from Saudi Arabia so that it would not be reprocessed.

Prince Mohammed, who also serves as Saudi defense minister, is the architect of an ambitious plan to flesh out the kingdom's military muscle.

Last May, he oversaw the signing with the US of an agreement worth $350 billion over 10 years and $110 billion that will take effect immediately to prop up Saudi Arabia's military.

The supply of sophisticated weapons to Saudi Arabia and its allies has been disturbing to Israel which fears its perceived "qualitative military edge" in the Middle East might be eroding.

Israel is widely known to be the only possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, with hundreds of nuclear warheads in its arsenal.

Saudi officials have tried to solace those fears by suggesting that the kingdom was on the same page with Israel with regard to perceived Iranian threat.

Riyadh says it plans to build 16 nuclear power plants over the next quarter century in a bid to reduce its consumption of gasoline and free up more for export. 

The US and Saudi Arabia discussed possible nuclear cooperation during the administration of former US President Barack Obama.

Those talks were frozen, however, after the Saudis refused to accept the “gold standard” which bans Riyadh from enriching uranium or reprocessing spent nuclear fuel to extract plutonium.

Unconfirmed reports have said US President Donald Trump, who has described Saudi Arabia "a big purchaser of equipment and lots of other things", had shown willingness to drop that requirement.



New areas liberated in Yemen’s Saada amid Houthi clashes

8 July 2018

The Yemeni army liberated new areas in the Kataf district, east of the Saada Governorate, and killed 10 Houthis after violent clashes with the militia.

According to an Al Arabiya English correspondent, the army, with the support of the Arab coalition, managed to gain control of the al-Zour and Khashba Mountains, as well as cut off Houthi militia supply lines in the al-Atfain and al-Muleil front east of Saada.

According to sources, 10 Houthi militias were killed and many others were injured during the operation, while various weapons and mechanisms were seized.

The Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen confirmed the continuous progress of the Yemeni National Army, supported by Arab coalition forces on all fronts of the fighting over the last three days, which resulted in heavy losses for Houthis.

The coalition also confirmed the death of 341 Houthi militias in the past 72 hours.

Full report at:



Iran to remain in Syria to keep Israel out: Official

Jul 8, 2018

A senior Iranian official says Iranian military advisers will continue their presence in Syria to help the Arab country defeat an all-out foreign-sponsored militancy.

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, the Iranian parliament speaker's special adviser on international affairs, stressed that Syrians would not permit the Zionists in their homeland following the collapse of the Daesh terrorist group.

"The Zionist regime tries to gain dominance over Syria after Daesh, but resistance forces and military advisers from the Islamic Republic of Iran will continue their presence alongside Syria to counter terrorism, " he said in a meeting with Palestinian Ambassador to Tehran Salah al-Zawawi.

"The Syrian people will not allow the country to be turned into the hotbed of Zionist terrorists once again," Amir-Abdollahian noted.

Over the past few years, Israel has frequently attacked military targets inside Syria in an attempt to prop up terrorist groups that have been suffering defeats at the hands of Syrian government forces.

Tel Aviv has also been providing weapons to anti-Damascus militants as well as medical treatment to the Takfiri elements wounded in Syria.

Iran has been offering military advisory support to Syria at the request of the Damascus government, enabling its army to speed up its gains on various fronts against terror outfits.

Amir-Abdollahian also said Tehran will keep up its "decisive support" for the resistance and will not give in to pressures as regards the Palestinian issue and Israeli threats against the security of the regional countries.

Zawawi, for his part, warned that Israel's right-wing Likud party, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is seeking to control the Muslim world.

He further said the US is exerting economic pressure on some regional countries to advance the plans of President Donald Trump, who himself is implementing the will of the international Zionism.

Iran’s role in Syria is reported to be addressed at the July 16 meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, in the Finnish capital, Helsinki.

John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser, said last weekend that the summit offered the possibility of a “larger negotiation on helping to get Iranian forces out of Syria."

Such a deal, he said, would amount to “a significant step forward” in promoting Washington's interests in the region.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, however, rejected reports that Iran's role in Syria would be raised at the Helsinki summit.

Full report at:



Palestinian youth injured by Israeli gunfire succumbs to wounds

Jul 8, 2018

A young Palestinian man has died, nine years after being shot by Israeli military forces during clashes between a group of Palestinian protesters and the latter in the southern part of the occupied West Bank.

The Ramallah-based Fatah movement reported that Yacoub Fayiq Nassar, a local resident of Fawwar refugee camp, died on Sunday morning.

Nassar was shot by Israeli forces in 2009, which left him paralyzed from the waist down and eventually requiring leg amputation.

His injury prompted him to also suffer from renal failure, which became severe in recent months and is thought to have caused his death.

Fawwar refugee camp, which is located six kilometers southwest of al-Khalil (Hebron), has endured much violence at the hands of Israeli troops.

Two years ago, Israeli forces laid siege to the camp as collective punishment for a shooting attack on an Israeli car nearby. Medicine for the elderly and food for needy, could not enter the camp in the wake of the clampdown.

Israel extends detention of female Palestinian lawmaker

Israeli authorities have extended the detention without trial of prominent Palestinian legislator and senior member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Khalida Jarrar, for another four months.

A large number of Israeli troopers raided Jarrar’s home in the central West Bank city of Ramallah, located 10 kilometers (6 miles) north of Jerusalem al-Quds, on July 2 last year, and arrested her.

Her husband, Ghassan, said Israeli forces seized computers during the raid.

Israel's internal spy agency, Shin Bet, later announced in a statement that Jarrar was arrested along with a Palestinian activist for “promoting terror activities,” without providing any further information.

Jarrar is one of the most outspoken critics of the Israeli occupation and has repeatedly slammed the Tel Aviv regime’s atrocities against Palestinians.

The Israeli regime has been denying the lawmaker the right to travel outside the occupied Palestinian territories since 1988. She campaigned for months in 2010 before receiving the permission to travel to Jordan for medical treatment.

In August 2014, Jarrar received a “special supervision order” from the Israeli military, instructing her to leave Ramallah to the West Bank city of Ariha (Jericho).

However, she set up a protest tent outside the Palestinian Legislative Council in Ramallah, where she lived and worked, until the controversial order was overturned later in September that year.

Israeli forces last arrested the Palestinian lawmaker on April 2, 2015 after storming her house in Ramallah. She was released from prison on June 3, 2016 on a suspended sentence of 12 months within a five-year period.

Full report at:



UAE prolongs compulsory military service to 16 months amid Yemen war

Jul 8, 2018

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has extended compulsory military service for Emirati nationals from 12 to 16 months amid the Abu Dhabi’s involvement in the Saudi-led military campaign against Yemen, which has claimed the lives of thousands of innocent civilians and reduced the impoverished Arab country’s critical infrastructure to rubble.

“The general command of the armed forces ... announced the extension of the legal period for national service ... to 16 instead of 12 months,” state news agency WAM reported late on Saturday.

The UAE introduced mandatory military service in 2014 for Emirati men. It also allowed the optional participation of women, who can serve only nine months upon approval of their legal guardians.

Men who hold a high school diploma or its equivalent will serve 16 months instead of 12, while those who do not have a high school qualification continue to serve for two years.

The Associated Press reported last month that Emirati officers have tortured and sexually abused hundreds of detainees at their detention centers in Yemen.

The report highlighted that the inmates, who are held without charges, have been sodomized, raped, probed and stripped down in at least five prisons.

In one case, detainees suffered sexual abuse at Beir Ahmed prison in Aden on March 10, when fifteen Emirati officers ordered prisoners to undress and lie down for cavity checks, claiming they were looking for contraband cell phones.

Those prisoners who resisted were beaten until they bled, and threatened with barking dogs.

“They tortured me without even accusing me of anything. Sometimes I wish they would give me a charge so I can confess and end this pain,” said a prisoner, who was detained last year and has been in three different jails.

“The worst thing about it is that I wish for death every day and I can’t find it,” he said.

The UAE is Saudi Arabia’s key partner in its deadly war against Yemen.

The Yemeni Ministry of Human Rights announced in a statement on March 25 that the Saudi-led war had left 600,000 civilians dead and injured since March 2015.

The United Nations says a record 22.2 million Yemenis are in need of food aid, including 8.4 million threatened by severe hunger.

A high-ranking UN aid official recently warned against the “catastrophic” living conditions in Yemen, stating that there was a growing risk of famine and cholera there.

Full report at:



Five foreign policy challenges Erdogan faces in new term

July 09, 2018

ISTANBUL: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set to take a tough line with the West on key foreign policy issues including the Syria conflict, Russian relations and migrants in his new term, but he may also show signs of compromise.

Foreign policy will be immediately on the agenda after Erdogan’s inauguration Monday, as the president heads this week to a NATO summit in Brussels where talks are expected with leaders including US President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Here are the five foreign policy issues Erdogan will need to address during his new tenure:

Turkey and the United States have been at loggerheads over a number of issues, from American support for a Syrian Kurdish militia despised by Ankara to Washington’s failure to extradite Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, accused by Ankara of ordering a failed 2016 coup.

“The new Erdogan administration will carry on these negotiations with the hope of fixing the relationship with the US,” said Ozgur Unluhisarcikli, Ankara office director of the German Marshall Fund of the US.

One of the stumbling blocks is US backing for the Syrian People’s Protection Units (YPG), deemed “terrorists” by Ankara and linked to the outlawed PKK militants who have waged a bloody insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.

However analysts say Washington has been willing to make concessions despite the tensions, as shown by the US delivering its first shipments of F-35 stealth fighter jets to Turkey last month.

Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin have forged an increasingly strong alliance based on seeking peace in Syria after patching up relations poisoned by Turkey’s downing of a Russian war plane in 2015.

Washington has been particularly concerned by Ankara’s decision to buy Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile batteries, which are not compatible with NATO’s defense systems.

Putin, a frequent guest of Erdogan in Turkey, swiftly congratulated the Turkish strongman on his re-election, saying that the result showed his “great political authority.”

Gareth Jenkins, Istanbul-based non-resident senior research fellow at the Silk Road Studies Program, said “ultimately Erdogan is going to have to choose between the US and Russia –- and he will pay a price whichever he chooses.”

Since the Syrian war erupted in 2011, Turkey has been a fervent opponent of President Bashar Assad’s regime and ruled out any form of direct dialogue with Damascus.

But with Turkey already hosting 3.5 million Syrian refugees, Ankara has focused more on border security and helping those displaced go home.

Aaron Stein, resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, said Turkey has already found a “formula” with the Assad regime.

“It works through Russia to achieve its interests -— and those interests don’t include regime change,” he told AFP.

Ties between Turkey and the European Union have been particularly strained since the crackdown that followed the attempted overthrow of Erdogan in July 2016, with EU member states calling on Ankara to lift the state of emergency.

However veteran Turkish diplomat Ozdem Sanberk said he believed an era of compromise would start and “relations will reach a more healthy ground than before.”

Turkey and the EU agreed to a deal in 2016 to curb the influx of migrants into Europe which has been criticized by rights groups, but has helped slow down arrivals.

Erdogan, who raised eyebrows in the West when he threatened to send millions of migrants to Europe, was sidelined from the agreement but so far it has remained in place.

Over the past few years Erdogan has pressed what Ankara calls a multi-vector foreign policy and championed the Palestinian cause and those of Muslim minorities around the world.

He has hosted Muslim leaders several times, including earlier this year for a summit aimed at coordinating a united Islamic response to the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The countries who rapidly congratulated Erdogan on his re-election were symbolic of Ankara’s foreign policy stance, with leaders such as Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and Sudan’s President Omar Al-Bashir, who have pariah status in the West, among the first to hail his win.

Full report at:



North America


US, Afghan forces clear IS from eastern district

JULY 9, 2018

US and Afghan Special Forces are completing an operation to clear Islamic State fighters from a remote district in Nangarhar, the eastern province where they have their main stronghold in Afghanistan, officials said on Saturday.

The operation in Deh Bala, on the border with Pakistan, began at the end of April and was largely complete in early June but final mine clearance operations are still under way, said Lt. Col. Josh Thiel, from the US First Special Forces Group.

“This was one of the main green zones that did two things. One, it provided money, finance, logistics to ISIS (Islamic State) and we’ve taken that away from them,” he said. “Additionally, ISIS was using this as a site to prepare and move high-profile attacks on Kabul and Jalalabad.”

The operation, involving three companies of Afghan commandos supported by US air strikes and American Special Forces teams, began with troops arriving by helicopter and setting up an operations base near the village of Gargari, where the Islamic State fighters were trying to establish a local capital.

Several days of heavy fighting ended in early June with 167 Islamic State fighters killed and large quantities of equipment captured.



US military identifies soldier killed in 'insider attack' in Afghanistan

Jul 9, 2018

The US military has identified the American soldier killed during an apparent “insider attack” in southern Afghanistan.

The Department of Defense said in a press release issued on Sunday night that Cpl. Joseph Maciel was 20-year-old and from South Gate, California.

The US-led Resolute Support Mission (RSM) announced that Maciel was killed and two others were wounded on Saturday. 

The Pentagon did not identify the two wounded US troopers but said they were in “stable” condition.

According to the Department of Defense, Maciel was deployed to Afghanistan from Fort Benning, Georgia, which straddles the Alabama and Georgia border, near Columbus, Georgia, and he was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division.

Maciel was reportedly deployed in February to Afghanistan to help provide security for the brigade’s military advisers. No other details of the attack were provided.

“Cpl. Maciel was an excellent soldier beloved by his teammates and dedicated to our mission,” Lt. Col. David Conner, Maciel’s battalion commander, said in a statement to the news website

The insider attacks, in which a member of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) attacks US service members, have taken place every year since 2008. The Afghan province that has seen the highest number of attacks is Helmand, south of the country and a major Taliban stronghold.

Full report at:



US SC ignores int’l law in upholding Muslim ban

Jul 09,2018

THE Supreme Court’s opinion last month in Trump v Hawaii, affirming Donald Trump’s Muslim ban, has permitted the United States to act in flagrant violation of international law.

Under the guise of deferring to the president on matters of national security, the 5–4 majority disregarded a litany of Trump’s anti-Muslim statements and held that the ban does not violate the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, which forbids the government from preferring one religion over another. Neither the majority nor the dissenting opinions even mentioned the US’s legal obligations under international human rights law.

The travel ban violates two treaties to which the United States is a party: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. It also runs afoul of customary international law.

Both of these treaties and customary international law prohibit the government from discriminating on the basis of religion or national origin. Trump’s Muslim ban does both.

Trump v Hawaii ‘signals strongly that international law in general, and international human rights law in particular, no longer binds the United States in federal courts’, Aaron Fellmeth, professor at Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, wrote me in an email. ‘Fortunately, it does not squarely hold that, but the effect may prove to be the same. For now, the Supreme Court appears determined to be complicit in U.S. human rights violations and cannot be relied upon as a check on the Executive Branch.’

The case that the Supreme Court ruled on involved the legality of Trump’s third travel ban. Issued by Trump in a ‘Proclamation’ on September 24, 2017, the third iteration of the ban restricts travel by most citizens of Libya, Syria, Iran, Yemen, Chad, Somalia and North Korea. The ban forbids everyone from Syria and North Korea from obtaining visas. Nationals from the other six countries have to undergo additional security checks. Iranian students are exempted from the ban. The ban also forbids Venezuelan government officials and their families from traveling to the US.

More than 150 million people, roughly 95 percent of them Muslim, are affected by the ban.

Two prior iterations of the ban restricted travel of citizens from only Muslim-majority countries. After federal courts struck them down, Trump appeared to cosmetically added Venezuela and North Korea to avoid charges of religious discrimination.

As Justice Sonya Sotomayor, joined by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, wrote in her dissent, ‘it is of no moment’ that Trump included ‘minor restrictions’ on North Korea and Venezuela — two non-Muslim-majority countries. Travel by North Korean nationals was already restricted and the ban only bars travel by Venezuelan officials and their families.

Court never addressed international law

ALL of the justices on the Supreme Court ignored significant international law arguments in their majority and dissenting opinions in spite of an amicus brief signed by 81 international law scholars, including this writer, and a dozen non-governmental organizations. The amicus brief drew attention to the travel ban’s violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, both of which the United States has ratified.

Ratification of a treaty not only makes the United States a party to that treaty, its provisions also become part of US domestic law under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, which says treaties ‘shall be the supreme law of the land.’

Customary international law arises from the general and consistent practice of states. It is part of federal common law and must be enforced in US courts, whether or not its provisions are enshrined in a ratified treaty. Courts have a duty to rein in federal executive action, which conflicts with a ratified treaty.

In Trump v Hawaii, the high court concluded that the ban did not violate the Immigration and Nationality Act. The international law scholars argued in their amicus brief:

‘The Immigration and Nationality Act and other statutes must be read in harmony with these international legal obligations pursuant to the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution and long established principles of statutory construction requiring acts of Congress to be interpreted in a manner consistent with international law, whenever such a construction is reasonably possible.’

But the Court did not construe the legality of the travel ban in light of US treaty obligations and customary international law.

The the scholars argued that the primary thrust of the ban is to prohibit Muslims from entering the United States and thus constitutes religious discrimination. By singling out specific countries for exclusion, the ban also makes a prohibited distinction on the basis of national origin.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights prohibits distinctions based on religion or national origin, which have ‘the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by all persons, on an equal footing of human rights and fundamental freedoms’, the United Nation Human Rights Committee, which monitors compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, has said.

Although the Covenant does not generally ‘recognize a right of aliens to enter or reside in the territory of a State party… in certain circumstances an alien may enjoy the protection of the Covenant even in relation to entry or residence, for example, when considerations of non-discrimination, prohibition of inhuman treatment and respect for family life arise’, the Human Rights Committee opined.

The Covenant also prohibits discrimination against the family: ‘The family is the natural and fundamental group of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.’ Immigrants and refugees who flee their countries of origin and come to the United States to reunify with their families are protected by the Covenant against discrimination based on religion or national origin. They need not be physically present in the United States to enjoy these protections.

The non-discrimination provisions of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights also constitute customary international law. In 1948, the United States approved the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is part of customary international law. The declaration forbids discrimination based on religion or national origin, guarantees equal protection of the law, and shields family life against arbitrary interference.

The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination also prohibits discrimination based on religion or national origin and doesn’t confine its non-discrimination provisions to citizens or resident non-citizens. While the Convention ‘does not speak specifically to restrictions on entry of nonresident aliens’, the scholars’ amicus brief states, ‘The general language of [the Convention Against Racial Discrimination] expresses a clear intention to eliminate discrimination based on race or national origin from all areas of government activity.’

States parties to the convention ‘shall not permit public authorities or public institutions, national or local, to promote or incite racial discrimination.’ Parties are required to outlaw speech that stigmatizes or stereotypes non-citizens, immigrants, refugees and people seeking asylum.

Discriminatory nature of travel ban

EVEN though the Supreme Court majority held that the ban did not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, much evidence exists to the contrary.

The Establishment Clause says, ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.’ That means ‘one religious denomination cannot be officially preferred over another’, according to Supreme Court case law.

After quoting a few of Trump’s anti-Muslim statements, Chief Justice John Roberts noted, ‘the issue before us is not whether to denounce the statements’ but rather ‘the significance of those statements in reviewing a Presidential directive’, that is ‘neutral on its face’ because he text doesn’t specifically mention religion. Roberts said the Court was ‘addressing a matter within the core of executive responsibility’, adding, ‘We must consider not only the statements of a particular President, but also the authority of the Presidency itself.’

Roberts wrote that the Court could consider the president’s statements ‘but will uphold the policy so long as it can reasonably be understood to result from a justification independent of unconstitutional grounds.’ Courts must give great deference to the president in immigration matters and will uphold his policy if it has any legitimate purpose, Roberts argued. ‘The entry suspension has a legitimate grounding in national security concerns, quite apart from any religious hostility’, he said.

Sotomayor spent seven of the 28 pages of her dissent listing more than a dozen statements by Trump denigrating Muslims. She cited, in Trump’s words, the policy’s initial purpose as a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.’ But that policy ‘now masquerades behind a façade of national security concerns’, Sotomayor wrote.

She quoted a Trump adviser who said, ‘When [Donald Trump] first announced it, he said, “Muslim ban.”’ Sotomayor also listed Trump’s declarations that ‘Islam hates us’, ‘we’re having problems with Muslims coming into the country’, and ‘Muslims do not respect us at all.’

Trump said president Franklin D Roosevelt ‘did the same thing’ with his internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, Sotomayor noted. Trump told a story about General John J. Pershing killing a large group of Muslim insurgents in the Philippines with bullets dipped in pig’s blood. When he issued his first ban, Trump explained that Christians would be given preference for entry as refugees into the United States. He also retweeted three anti-Muslim videos.

‘Taking all the relevant evidence together’, Sotomayor wrote, ‘a reasonable observer would conclude that the Proclamation was driven primarily by anti-Muslim animus, rather than by the Government’s asserted national security justifications.’ The Proclamation, she added, ‘is nothing more than a ‘religious gerrymander.’

Looking ahead

THERE is hope that the most abhorrent effects of this case can be mitigated. Yale law professor Harold Hongju Koh wrote on Scotus blog that transnational actors — including nation-states, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, multinational enterprises and private individuals — will invariably file litigation in international fora based on international law to lessen the impact of the ruling in Trump v Hawaii:

‘[A]s they have done against other Trump policies, other transnational actors will invoke what I have called “transnational legal process” to contest and limit the impact of the court’s ruling. As they did after losing the Haitian interdiction case at the Supreme Court 25 years ago, litigants will surely seek out international fora to make arguments against the travel ban based on international law.’

Full report at:



US coalition commander: Iran influences Syria’s security negatively

8 July 2018

The commander of special operations for the US-led coalition, James Jarrard, told Al Arabiya English that international forces will remain in Syria until a political process has been recognized in the country to establish peace and security.

Iran’s ongoing activities in the country are not helpingin normalizing the situation in the war-torn country, he said.

Jarrard warned about the role played by Iran , saying that it is not helping create stability and are supporting activities that create violence.

Jarrard also hinted at parties seeking to disrupt the alliance’s relationship with Syria’s Democratic Forces (SDF).

Speaking to Al Arabiya reporter Huda al-Saleh, he said: “The SDF are very close to liberating all of the terrain in north-east Syria. The world owes them gratitude for that accomplishment.”

With 77 organizations, “this is the greatest coalition that has been formed in the history of the world to defeat the evils of  ISIS, but we have a small number of those countries helping here in northern Syria, and so any assistance from these countries will be helpful,” he said.

Jarrard added that the US-led coalition will provide internal security force training so that the ISIS will never return to this part of the country.

“There is no confrontation with the Russians but there is deconfliction to make sure the forces are working separately but together for the goal of defeating ISIS,”he said.

With regards to the disputes between the United States and NATO allies, Jarrard said there is no reason for disagreements as the countries work towards the same goals.

Full report at:





‘Terrorist attack’ kills 6 Tunisia security forces

JULY 9, 2018

Six members of Tunisia’s security forces were killed Sunday in a “terrorist attack” near the border with Algeria, the interior ministry said, the country’s deadliest such incident in over two years.

The Tunisia-based division of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) late on Sunday claimed responsibility for the assault.

The attack comes as Tunisia is hoping for its best tourist season since a spate of jihadist attacks in 2015 sent visitor numbers plunging.

A national guard border patrol in the Ain Sultan area of the Jenduba border province “was hit in a landmine ambush that killed six agents” at 11:45 am (1045 GMT), the ministry said in a statement.

Ministry spokesman General Sufyan al-Zaq said the blast was a “terrorist attack” and that assailants had “opened fire on security forces” after the mine exploded.

“Combing operations” were under way, said Zaq, who had earlier told AFP that eight guards were killed in the attack.

AQIM said in a statement its “mujahadeen detonated an explosive device on the two vehicles of the enemy and clashed with them”, claiming that nine soldiers were killed, according to the SITE group that monitors jihadist online activity.

“We are aware that the war on terrorism will be long,” interim Interior Minister Ghazi Jeribi said on state TV, adding that three security forces were also wounded in the attack.

“We will go into their (the terrorists) dens and we will avenge the Tunisian people,” said Jeribi, who was ordered to go to Jenduba.

A memorial service for the victims is to be held on Monday in Tunis.

The attack is likely to exacerbate an ongoing political crisis in Tunisia, where Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, who recently fired the previous interior minister, is facing heat from his own allies.

There are regular attacks along the Algerian border, but this was the first time in two years security forces suffered such a loss.

Algeria’s foreign ministry “strongly condemned the terrorist attack”, while the European Union offered its condolences and pledged its “full support” to Tunisia “in the fight against terrorism”.

France’s foreign affairs ministry also condemned the attack and said it would “stand with the Tunisian people and authorities at this difficult time”.

– Tourism ‘recovery’ –

Sunday’s assault marks the bloodiest attack in Tunisia since a March 2016 attack on security installations in the town of Ben Guerdane on the Libyan border.

That attack killed 13 security forces and seven civilians.

Tunisia’s tourism industry is still rebounding from a string of devastating attacks in 2015, including one at the National Bardo museum in Tunis and another targeting a beach resort in Sousse that together killed 59 foreign tourists and a Tunisian guard.

In May, Tourism Minister Selma Elloumi Rekik said the industry had made a “real recovery”.

“People are coming back to Tunisia because there is security… we are at the same level (of security) as any European city,” she said.

Since the 2011 uprising that toppled dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, jihadist attacks in Tunisia have killed dozens of members of the security forces and foreign tourists.

Since Ben Ali’s fall, “at least 127 militants and 118 soldiers, national guardsmen, and police officers have been killed in the northwest”, according to figures compiled by analyst Matt Herbert and published in June by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

“This new attack shows that there are still pockets where security problems have not been solved,” he told AFP on Sunday, while stressing “the vast majority of Tunisia remains safe”.

The country has been under a state of emergency since November 2015, when an IS-claimed suicide bombing in Tunis killed 12 presidential guards.



Sudan appoints former spy chief as top envoy to US

July 08, 2018

KHARTOUM: President Omar Al-Bashir Sunday appointed Sudan’s former spy chief as Khartoum’s top envoy to Washington, state media reported, in a bid to boost bilateral relations that have improved since last year.

Mohamed Atta, who formerly headed the country’s powerful National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), has been appointed as Khartoum’s new charge d’affaires to Washington, the official SUNA news agency reported.

“President Bashir has asked me to work hard to improve relations between the two countries,” SUNA quoted Atta as saying after he met Bashir earlier on Sunday.

Atta’s appointment comes at a time when relations between Khartoum and Washington have entered into a new phase after last year’s lifting of decades old US sanctions on Sudan.

Although the sanctions were lifted, Washington kept the East African country in its “state sponsors of terrorism” list along with North Korea, Iran and Syria.

US and Sudanese officials are now engaged in discussions on how to remove Khartoum from the blacklist, and Atta is expected to play a crucial role in these negotiations.

On July 4, US Charge D’Affaires in Khartoum, Steven Koutsis, vowed to work with Sudan to remove it from the US “terrorism” blacklist.

“I pledge to you that this embassy will work with all its energy and focus to create the conditions for Sudan’s removal from the list,” he said at a ceremony marking the July 4 celebration at the US mission in Khartoum.

Atta had previously traveled to Washington when he was head of NISS and had been part of Khartoum’s team that negotiated the lifting of trade embargo.

The US had imposed sanctions on Khartoum in 1997 over its alleged support to Islamist militants. Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden lived in Sudan between 1992 to 1996.

Full report at:



Turkey condemns twin suicide blasts in Somalia capital

08 July 2018

Turkey on Saturday condemned the terrorist attack in the Somali capital Mogadishu.

At least nine people, including three al-Shabaab attackers, were killed when twin bomb blasts targeted the Interior Ministry building in Mogadishu on Saturday.

"We have learnt with great sorrow that many civilians lost their lives and were injured as a result of terrorist attacks perpetrated in Mogadishu," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"We condemn these heinous terrorist attacks aiming to undermine the security and stability of Somalia, wish God’s mercy upon those who lost their lives, convey our condolences to their families and wish speedy recovery to the wounded," the statement added.

The ministry also said that Turkey "will continue to stand by the Somali people and its Government in the fight against terrorism and in providing stability".

The attackers were killed by security forces in the gun battle between militants and security forces, according to state media.

Full report at:



Southeast Asia


Mahathir meets Zakir Naik day after ruling out his deportation to India

JULY 08, 2018

Deporting the Islamic preacher would be akin to deporting Uighur Muslims to China, says a strategist of the country’s ruling party.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has met Zakir Naik, wanted in India for alleged terror activities and money laundering, and a ruling party strategist has stoutly defended the government’s decision not to deport the controversial Muslim preacher, Malaysian media reported on July 8.

The meeting, which may not go down well in New Delhi, took place on July 7, a day after Dr. Mahathir ruled out deporting Dr. Naik unless he breaks Malaysian laws. Dr. Naik has permanent residency status in Malaysia, .

“I can confirm that Naik went to see Tun (Mahathir) this morning (Saturday),” Free Malaysia Today reported quoting a source as saying.

It is unclear as to what Dr. Naik discussed with Dr. Mahathir in their first meeting since the ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition assumed power in Putrajaya, the report said. The meeting, which was unscheduled, was said to be brief, it said.

The meeting between Dr. Naik and Dr. Mahathir comes a day after the Prime Minister gave the clearest indication yet that the Malaysian government would not deport Dr. Naik, who is wanted in India over allegations of money laundering and terrorism.

There had been intense media speculation in India that the Malaysian government would act on an extradition request made in January. The Ministry of External Affairs confirmed on July 4 that an official request had been made.

But on July 6, Dr. Mahathir said that the government would not deport Dr. Naik as he has been granted Malaysian permanent resident status, unless he causes trouble in the country.

Meanwhile, a strategist of Malaysia’s ruling Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) has defended Dr. Mahathir’s decision not to deport Dr. Naik to India, saying doing so would be akin to deporting Uighur Muslims to China. PPBM strategist Rais Hussin said he personally could see no wrong in Dr. Naik’s activities and speeches.

Deporting him would be akin to deporting Uighur Muslims to China, he said, referring to China pressing Malaysia for the extradition of 11 Uighur men who entered Malaysia illegally in 2017 after their dramatic escape from a jail in Thailand.

China accuses separatist extremists among the Uighur minority of plotting attacks on China’s Han majority in the restive far western region of Xinjiang and other parts of China. But rights groups have accused China of rights abuses in Xinjiang and imposing tight control on the religion of Uighurs, a charge denied by Beijing.

Mr. Rais also took issue with criticism of Dr. Naik on social media. He said the Indian Islamic preacher had his own way of articulating his views through debates.

Dr. Naik’s detractors — those with “a mob mentality” — should debate him rather than asking him to be deported to India, he said. Mr. Rais also questioned the motives of the Indian authorities whose action, he said, might not be grounded in justice.

In January, India made a formal request to Malaysia to deport Dr. Naik, wanted by India for allegedly inciting youngsters for terror activities through his hate speeches. India also has an extradition treaty with Malaysia.

Mr. Rais also said that it was unfair of some Malaysians to compare the country’s attempts to bring back convicted killer Sirul Azhar Umar and businessman Low Taek Jho with Malaysia’s stand on deporting Dr. Naik to India.

“Sirul was found guilty of murdering Altantuya Shaariibuu, while Jho Low is implicated in grand theft in relation to the 1 Malaysia Development Berhad case. How does that compare to Naik’s comparative debates on religion?” Mr. Rais was quoted as saying. In 2009, Sirul was convicted in Malaysia and sentenced to death for the sensational murder of a Mongolian woman, Altantuya Shaariibuu.

Dr. Naik has also accused the media in India of subjecting him to a campaign of vilification over the past two years. He said “fake news” about his deportation would be exposed. “Most of the articles published against me will be proved as having no basis and that they were false,” he said in a new video message through his Facebook page.

Dr. Naik is being probed under terror and money laundering charges by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). He left India in July 2016.

The NIA had first registered a case against Dr. Naik under anti-terror laws in 2016 for allegedly promoting enmity between different religious groups. Dr. Naik is also under investigation for issuing alleged hate speeches that inspired a deadly terror attack on a popular cafe in Bangladesh capital Dhaka in 2016.



With a conservative Opposition, analysts say race, religion time bombs for Pakatan

09 July 2018

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid

KUALA LUMPUR, July 9 — Conservatives who are now the vanguard of the political Opposition could pose a genuine threat to Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) rule and progressive politics if the newly-elected government botches handling race and religion issues, analysts warned.

Attempts to derail the current administration by exploiting communal prejudices are already visible, they said, pointing to the rapid spread of nativist propaganda that aimed to stoke fear among the majority of Malay voters who are on the fence.

“Yes Umno, PAS won many Malay majority seats. For the first time since 1957, it is majority Malay-Muslims,” Datuk Denison Jayasooria, political analyst with Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, told Malay Mail.

“Yes some sections are dwelling on race and religious issues post GE14 there are already attempts to derail the democratic process.

“Democratic space is open now so all groups have freedom to raise their view this will be a challenge to the new government,” he added.

Umno and PAS control over 80 seats in the Dewan Rakyat and each rule two largely rural and super Malay-majority states; the former kept Perlis and Pahang while the Islamist party retained Kelantan and won Terengganu.

Umno also nearly bagged as many seats as PH in Kedah and had enough support to tilt the balance in Perak.

Although both parties are technically enemies, they have a power base that share common characteristics — poor, conservative and religious.

Jayasooria and other analysts Malay Mail spoke with said this demographic group may not necessarily identify with pro-Malay racism, but fear the erosion of traditional values to so-called “liberal” forces.

One analyst pointed out too that this group was the key that helped propel PH into power, but stressed that it would be wrong to assume that these Malay voters are entirely progressive and open to the kind of cosmopolitan politics espoused by the four-party coalition.

And as the new government pushes for structural reform and make way for a more open democratic space, it will face enormous challenges in trying to contain these fringe but vocal groups from exploiting the freer political environment to stir racial suspicion, they added.

Conservative fence-sitters

On the contrary, PH’s core support is typically multiracial, urban and middle class. Despite enjoying a significant surge in Malays support that led to its shock 14th general election victory, they mostly came from lower-income Malay fence-sitter voters frustrated by their economic condition, not so much due to the

coalition’s push for progressive politics or greater civil liberties.

This is evident in the backlash that followed the debacle over Tommy Thomas’ appointment as Attorney-General or the uproar after Minister of Finance Lim Guan Eng’s move to issue a translated press statement in Chinese.

For the latter case, pro-Malay groups linked to the former ruling Malay party Umno were said to have succeeded in drawing Malay ire by harping on Thomas’ ethnicity and Christianity, and also his article in support of the Catholic Church over its legal tussle to use the Arabic term “Allah” to describe God in its Malay-language Bibles.

The furore over Lim’s Chinese statement on the other hand led to the revival of past allegations of a conspiracy for a Chinese power takeover, an accusation that some political analysts said have stuck with the DAP and was only partially allayed after Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his all-Malay party, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, joined PH last year.

In both instances, Malay backlash were evident on social media and included those who professed to have backed PH on May 9.

But whether or not the fearful sentiment is shared by majority of the Malays is debatable. As the May 9 polls and past elections have indicated, economic issues always trumped over communalism, argued Penang Institute executive director, Ooi Kee Beng.

“Much of the opposition from now on will come from that front, and it won’t be based on fear necessarily but on the fact that that constituency can still be exploited until and unless the new government manages to improve the socio-economic conditions of the lower 40 per cent including all ethnic groups,” he said.

Jayasooria shared a similar view, but noted that PH has so far been unable to keep its pledge to lower prices of basic goods even after rolling back the goods and services tax (GST).

“Key for PH is to address cost of living issues and B40 concerns in a way that no community feels left behind..while PH addresses GST but it has not had the impact on the low income,” he said. The term B40 refers to the bottom 40 per cent of income earners nationwide.

Placate the Malays?

Though cost of living pressure was the decisive factor in almost all past elections, but some political analysts have argued there were instances where race and religion played the rare decider.

The “Allah” case, for example, was cited as having swung Malay voters back to Umno and Barisan Nasional in the 13th general election.

But still, both Jayasooria and Ooi believe it is still early to suspect the new administration’s ability to tackle delicate and sensitive issues. They feel Dr Mahathir has so far done well to contain communal fear without compromising reform.

“As it looks now, I think it will manage things quite well. It is very early days yet, and the transition so far has gone very smoothly. This is not only thanks to the government but to the goodwill of many other actors,” Ooi said.

Yet, PH was cautioned against taking the threat posed by groups that will attempt to harp on communal prejudices lightly. Jayasooria said the trick will be in rolling out laws to safeguard racial harmony and effective media campaign not only as a means to educate, but also to empower moderate voices.

“PH has not addressed ethnic and religious issues, they must explain terms like is Malaysia an Islamic state etc,” he said.

Full report at:



Yameen picks Islamic university chancellor as running mate

July 8, 2018

Dr Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed, chancellor of the Islamic University of Maldives, was announced Saturday night as the running mate of President Abdulla Yameen.

The pick was unanimously endorsed by the Progressive Party of Maldives council.

“I urge everyone to unite behind President Yameen and for scholars, youth and all women of the country to work towards winning this election in one round,” Shaheem tweeted after the announcement.

At a press briefing with the party’s new running mate, MP Abdul Raheem Abdulla said the PPM leadership was pleased with his assurances of loyalty to the president.

Shaheem was ready to begin campaign trips across the country as soon as arrangements are made, the PPM deputy leader said, adding that he will resign from the chancellor post and officially sign for PPM tomorrow.

Yameen’s choice of a prominent scholar shows his love of Islam, he said.

As in 2013, an appeal to religious-nationalist sentiment has been part of the PPM’s campaign, with the president insinuating that the country’s 100 percent Muslim status would be threatened by an opposition victory.

Shaheem was appointed Islamic minister by former president Dr Mohamed Waheed and retained his post as when Yameen took office in November 2013.

A founding member of the religious conservative Adhaalath Party, he resigned from Yameen’s cabinet in May 2015. After announcing his retirement from politics, Shaheem was appointed vice chancellor of the newly established Islamic University of Maldives in July 2015.

Shaheem’s resignation from the cabinet came after the arrest of Adhaalath Party president Sheikh Imran Abdulla during a mass anti-government protest. He was later convicted of terrorism.

Born in Gaaf Dhaal Maamendhoo, the 41-year-old holds a PhD in Islamic fiqh. He pursued higher education in shariah at the Islamic University of Malaysia and Islamic University of Medina.

Full report at:



Suggestion to axe tahfiz schools ‘baseless’, minister says

09 July 2018

By Ram Anand

KUALA LUMPUR, July 9 ― The suggestion by a former minister to shut down tahfiz schools ― which teaches Quran memorisation ― in Malaysia has has no basis or rationale, Datuk Mujahid Yusof Rawa said today.

In a Sinar Harian report, the minister in the Prime Minister's Department in charge of religious affairs said that the suggestion by Tan Sri Zainuddin Maidin has no “concrete excuse”.

“I consider that as a statement that has no issues whatsoever. Why do we have to close tahfiz schools? I'm asking him,” he reportedly said.

He also said that closing down tahfiz schools will not solve any problems.

“If there are weaknesses in terms of curriculum or security, we must monitor to improve them, not close them down,” he added.

Zainuddin made the suggestion, which has caused controversy, claiming that such schools do not give hope for the new generation of Muslims.

Tahfiz schools in Malaysia are largely outside the purview of the Education Ministry, instead reporting to the religious departments in order to operate. Many utilise their own syllabuses and teaching methods to educate students.

Full report at:



Tahfiz school fire victims’ families agree on distribution of funds

09 July 2018

KUALA LUMPUR, July 9 — The families of victims who perished in the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah tahfiz centre fire at Kampung Datuk Keramat here, have agreed that 70 per cent of the public donation be distributed among the next-of-kin of the deceased and those injured, while another 30 per cent will go to the tahfiz centre.

Tahfiz Welfare Association of Malaysia (Pertama) chairman Zamzuri Zakaria, whose son Muhammad Aidil Aqmal, 10, died in the tragedy said, the amount to be distributed was as first promised by the centre’s principal, Mohd Zahid Mahmood following the incident.

“A meeting was held today to come to an agreement on how the public funds should be divided and the decision made today would be tabled for discussion between the next-of-kin and the tahfiz centre management before the fund distribution is managed by a lawyer,” he told Bernama after chairing the meeting here yesterday.

The tahfiz centre fire tragedy which took place on Sept 14 last year, resulted in the death of 21 students and two teachers.

Two 16-year-old boys were jointly charged with murdering and causing the deaths of the 23 victims,

Mohd Zahid had earlier reported that he was informed the auditing process of the donations collected following the fire, had completed and would be distributed after Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

Full report at:




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