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Deep In the Heart of Kamrup District in Assam, Rahman Family Is Taking Care of Shiva Temple for Centuries

New Age Islam News Bureau

27 Oct 2019

All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) chief Badruddin Ajmal. (Photo: PTI)


Assam Govt's New Job Criteria of Two Children: Below 2 Per Cent Muslims Get Government Jobs So They have Nothing to Lose

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ISIS Terror Chief, Believed Killed in Major US Raid in Syria

Sri Lankan Muslims ‘Not Responsible For Easter Attack’: Investigation Report

Pakistan Partially Destroys Mosque of Ahmadi Muslim Minority

US Says Making Progress with Saudi Arabia on Possible Nuclear Program Deal

Modern Muslims Too 'Obsessed' With Rituals, Afterlife - Indonesian Scholar

Erdogan Says Turkey Will Clear Kurdish Militants Alone If Sochi Deal Fails

67 Killed In Anti-Abiy Protests, Ethnic Violence in Ethiopia: Police



Deep In the Heart of Kamrup District in Assam, Rahman Family Is Taking Care of Shiva Temple for Centuries

Assam Govt's New Job Criteria of Two Children: Below 2 Per Cent Muslims Get Government Jobs So They have Notnhing to Lose

Twitter Curbs Anti-Muslim Hashtag After Storm Over Kamlesh Tiwari Murder

Tipu Sultan Contradictions within BJP Surface

6 CRPF personnel injured as terrorists hurl grenade in Srinagar

Bitter exchange between India, Pakistan at NAM summit over J&K

Militants trying to damage infrastructure in Kashmir: DGP

India asks world capitals to act against Pak’s ‘Kashmir cells’


Arab World

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ISIS Terror Chief, Believed Killed in Major US Raid in Syria

Muslim World League Signs Agreement to Allocate Site for Museum of Prophet’s Life and Islamic Civilization

Arab Paper: UAE, S. Arabia Plotting Coup in Iraq under Cover of Protests

We’ll turn the world green, say young Saudis

Helicopter fire on Daesh-linked fighters kills 9 in northwestern Syria

Nearly 50 dead as Iraq protests take new violent turn

Lebanese take to streets for 10th day, defying Hezbollah

Lebanese Paper Reveals US Mission's Role in October Protests in Iraq

Spokesman: No Force Used by Iraqi Police against Protestors

15 dead in Syria clashes between pro-Turkish forces, Kurds: Monitor

At least seven Iraqi protesters shot dead by militia in Hilla: Sources

Iraq MPs tied to populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr declare sit-in at parliament


South Asia

Sri Lankan Muslims ‘Not Responsible For Easter Attack’: Investigation Report

Russia, China and Pakistan Call For Early Resumption Of U.S.-Taliban Negotiations

Airstrikes kill 45 Taliban and ISIS militants in 9 provinces

Deadly airstrike kills 53 Taliban militants in Faryab province

Special Forces kill, detain 4 Taliban militants; destroy caches of weapons in 3 provinces

Myanmar rebels kidnap over 40 police, soldiers in Rakhine: Army



Pakistan Partially Destroys Mosque of Ahmadi Muslim Minority

Pakistan declares JUI-F senator Hafiz Hamdullah Saboor as 'confirmed alien'

JUI-F moves IHC against ban on Ansarul Islam wing

Black day in support of Kashmiris today in Punjab

IHC irked by TV anchorpersons’ claims of ‘deal’ in Nawaz bail case

Azadi marchers agree to stay away from Islamabad’s Red Zone

Pakistan Army says has killed over 60 Indian troops since Feb 27

Imran Khan’s authoritarian recipe spells disaster for economy

Govt, opposition strike deal; 'Azadi March' to be held away from Islamabad's Red Zone


North America

US Says Making Progress with Saudi Arabia on Possible Nuclear Program Deal

US meets China, Russia and Pakistan to talk Afghan peace

US troop deployment to Syria oil field ‘recruiting tool for Daesh’: Analyst

Turkish opposition party slams US stance on terror head


Southeast Asia

Modern Muslims Too 'Obsessed' With Rituals, Afterlife - Indonesian Scholar

For Uighur Muslims in China, Life Keeps Getting Harder

Pro-China comic book spells trouble for activist in Malaysia

Uniting Malaysians? How about tackling poverty first, forum told

Former UM student body leader denies DAP links



Erdogan Says Turkey Will Clear Kurdish Militants Alone If Sochi Deal Fails

Erdogan Should Be Prosecuted Over Syrian Offensive: Former UN Investigator

Turkish FM: Germany’s proposal on the int’l safe zone in Syria is not realistic

Iran closely watching developments in neighboring Iraq: Spokesman

Iran FM calls for end to killing of civilians, blockade of war-torn Yemen

Yemen’s Houthis, Saudi-sponsored militiamen exchange 7,000 prisoners: NCPA head



67 Killed In Anti-Abiy Protests, Ethnic Violence in Ethiopia: Police

Kenya’s Grand Mosque Hosts People Of All Faiths

Ethiopia PM Abiy warns ethnic violence could worsen

Six Nigerian schoolgirls, 2 staff members released weeks after being kidnapped: Official

38 UN, aid workers killed in Nigeria: official

Boko Haram: Over Seven Million People Need Assistance in Adamawa, Borno, Yobe, Says UN

Yobe Has Recovered from Devastation Caused by Boko Haram, Says Gov



Russia: US Move To Control Syrian Oil Fields 'Banditry'

PKK terrorist supporters arrested in Norway

Macron 'positively assesses' Sochi deal on Syria

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Deep In the Heart of Kamrup District in Assam, Rahman Family Is Taking Care of Shiva Temple for Centuries

(IANS Special Series)

27 OCTOBER 2019

Rangmahal (Assam), Oct 27 (IANS) Deep in the heart of Kamrup district in Assam, under a centuries-old banyan tree sits a pious Muslim offering ''azaan'' five times a day. You might say what is extraordinary about that? Well, Mati ''kai (elder brother) or Haji Matibar Rahman prays by a Shivling, after offering flowers at the Hindu religious icon symbolic of Lord Shiva. Set against the current ethos of intolerance and hate, the small village of Rangmahal not far away from the Assam''s capital Dispur sets a unique example in communal harmony.

Rahman is the seventh generation of the family who have long taken care of one of the oldest temples of Lord Shiva in north Guwahati, only 45 km away from Dispur.

It''s 5 a.m., and although all members of his family are still fast asleep Rahman is awake and has just completed his namaz after taking his. The 73-year-old then slowly walks towards the backyard to clean the ancient ''Burha Gosai er thaan'', a sacred place where Lord Shiva is worshipped.

His family has been the keepers of this place for over five centuries now. Like his forefathers, Mati kai sweeps clean the ''thaan'' (worshiping place) every morning and lights candles for Lord Shiva, who the villager believe, lives there.

"Our family had been taking care of the ''thaan'' for several generations. And accordingly my father Tayab Ali gave me the responsibility in 1977 to maintain and take care of it. I took it with great pride and I feel blessed to have served it," said Rahman as he swept the floor.

"I am the seventh generation taking care of the temple and I hope that after me, my sons will look after it," he said.

Explaining the significance behind the family tradition, Rahman narrates a folklore about his forefather Baran Shah, who had a spiritual ''encounter'' with Lord Shiva and Shah was given the responsibility to take care of the place.

"The first man in our family to start this tradition was Borhansa. Lord Shiva came to Borhansa and told him that he wanted to live in this place. ''From now on it will be the responsibility of your family to take care this place. I shall accept service from your family only and no one else'' was what Bhanguri Nana told Borhansa. Since my family started maintaining this thaan," said Rahman. (''Bhanguri'' is one addicted to cannabis and ''Nana'' means grandfather).

"We follow Islam and I try to offer all the five namaz. Likewise, I also come here every day to clean this place and light the candles and incense sticks. There is no temple here but for years people are coming here seeking the blessings of Bhanguri Nana. He listens to everyone and fulfils everyone''s wish," Rahman said.

"I am getting old now. So after me it has to be my sons who are duty-bound to look after this place. I went for Haj in 2001. During that period one of my two sons looked after this place. I believe once I am gone, one or the other will keep looking after this abode of Bhanguri Nana," he said.

During the month of Shravan, Hindu priests come here to offer puja. "I cannot offer puja but Hindu the priests come here and offer puja. Lots of devotees throng this thaan in the month of June and July. And during the rest of the year it is particularly on Monday that the crowds gather," he said.

"Apart from the Hindus, lots of Muslims also come here and offer ''dua'' (prayers). They have a lot of faith as prayers get answered. The numbers of devotees coming here over the years have only increased," said Rahman.

"The Hindus come here to offer prayers, sing ''naam-kirtan'' (local religious songs). Bhanguri Nana wants his surrounding to be clean. Without His permission, nothing can be taken from here. Even a branch of a tree cannot be taken without His permission," Rahman, dressed in a long blue kurta, lungi and topi says, "At this old age, I find it difficult to sweep the floor every day. But I try my best to keep it as "clean as possible", he said.

People in this land of Sankardeb and Azan Fakir believe in peace and brotherhood, he insists. Assam is often referred to "Sankar-Ajan''or Desh (land)" after Assamese polymath of the 15th-16th century Sankardeb, and Sufi preacher from Baghdad Azan Fakir -- both had devoted their lives uniting the people of the Brahmaputra valley.

Rahman is proud of the communal harmony in his village. "We have great people here. We have never ever witnessed nor even heard of any kind of communal hatred. The place is surrounded by Muslim families right next to another village that has Hindu majority.

"I have been coming here for last 25 years. I know Rahman and his family for last several years. They have been keeping this place for generations. I come here often as my prayers have been answered and wishes fulfilled by Lord Shiva," said Banti Das, a resident of Guwahati town who often visits the Thaan.

"We know Rahman and his family for generations. They are the keepers of this Than. It is very old and popular," said Md. Salen Ali, a resident of Rangmahal village in North Guwahati.

(This feature is part of a positive-journalism campaign by IANS and the Frank Islam Foundation. Anup Sharma can be contacted at



Assam Govt's New Job Criteria of Two Children: Below 2 Per Cent Muslims Get Government Jobs So They have Nothing to Lose

Hemanta Kumar Nath


October 27, 2019

While the Assam government decided against providing government jobs to people having more than two children, All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) Chief Badruddin Ajmal on Saturday said that Muslims will not listen to anyone and will continue to produce children.

"Muslims will continue to produce children; they will not listen to anyone. Now, the government has brought this law to stop Muslims from having jobs. According to the Sachar committee, below 2 per cent Muslims get government jobs. Literate people are now increasing among the Muslim community and they are working across the world," Badruddin Ajmal said.

Badruddin Ajmal said, "Our religion and I personally believe that those who want to come to the world will come and no one can stop it."

Hitting out at the BJP-led Assam government, Badruddin Ajmal said, "Whatever laws you make, they will have no impact on the Muslims. Tampering with nature is not good. Muslims will do whatever they want to bear children. Don't shout later that we have more children. Don't fight with nature."

Badruddin Ajmal further said, "On one side, the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat asks to produce 10-10 children and on the other side, the government says that no government jobs will be given to the people having more than two children. First, they should decide what they want. They don't follow what RSS said."

On October 21, The Assam cabinet ruled that no government jobs will be given to the people having more than two children after January 1, 2021.

The 126-member Assam assembly had passed the "Population and Women Empowerment Policy of Assam" in September 2017.



Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ISIS Terror Chief, Believed Killed in Major US Raid in Syria

Oct 27, 2019

WASHINGTON: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the shadowy leader of the Islamic State group who presided over its global jihad and became arguably the world's most wanted man, is believed dead after being targeted by a US military raid in Syria.

A US official told The Associated Press late Saturday that al-Baghdadi was targeted in Syria's Idlib province. The official said confirmation that the IS chief was killed in an explosion is pending. No other details were available. The official was not authorized to discuss the strike and spoke on condition of anonymity.

President Donald Trump teased a major announcement, tweeting Saturday night that "Something very big has just happened!". A White House spokesman, Hogan Gidley, said only that the president would be making a "major statement" at 9am EDT Sunday.

The strike came amid concerns that a recent American pullback from northeastern Syria could infuse new strength into the militant group, which had lost vast stretches of territory it had once controlled.

Al-Baghdadi led IS for the last five years, presiding over its ascendancy as it cultivated a reputation for beheadings and attracted hundreds of thousands of followers to a sprawling and self-styled caliphate in Iraq and Syria. He remained among the few IS commanders still at large despite multiple claims in recent years about his death and even as his so-called caliphate dramatically shrank, with many supporters who joined the cause either imprisoned or jailed.

Something very big has just happened!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 1572139419000

His exhortations were instrumental in inspiring terrorist attacks in the heart of Europe and in the United States. Shifting away from the airline hijackings and other mass-casualty attacks that came to define al-Qaida, al-Baghdadi and other IS leaders supported smaller-scale acts of violence that would be harder for law enforcement to prepare for and prevent.

They encouraged jihadists who could not travel to the caliphate to kill where they were, with whatever weapon they had at their disposal. In the US, multiple extremists have pledged their allegiance to al-Baghdadi on social media, including a woman who along with her husband committed a 2015 massacre at a holiday party in San Bernardino, California.

With a $25 million US bounty on his head, al-Baghdadi had been far less visible in recent years, releasing only sporadic audio recordings, including one just last month in which he called on members of the extremist group to do all they could to free IS detainees and women held in jails and camps.

The purported audio was his first public statement since last April, when he appeared in a video for the first time in five years.

In 2014, he was a black-robed figure delivering a sermon from the pulpit of Mosul's Great Mosque of al-Nuri, his only known public appearance. He urged Muslims around the world to swear allegiance to the caliphate and obey him as its leader.

"It is a burden to accept this responsibility to be in charge of you," he said in the video. "I am not better than you or more virtuous than you. If you see me on the right path, help me. If you see me on the wrong path, advise me and halt me. And obey me as far as I obey God."

Though at minimum a symbolic victory for Western counterterrorism efforts, his death would have unknown practical impact on possible future attacks. He had been largely regarded as a symbolic figurehead of the global terror network, and was described as "irrelevant for a long time" by a coalition spokesman in 2017.

Al-Baghdadi was born Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri al-Samarrai in 1971 in Samarra, Iraq, and adopted his nom de guerre early on. Because of anti-US militant activity, he was detained by US forces in Iraq and sent to Bucca prison in February 2004, according to IS-affiliated websites.

He was released 10 months later, after which he joined the al-Qaida branch in Iraq of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. He later assumed control of the group, known at the time as the Islamic State of Iraq.

After Syria's civil war erupted in 2011, al-Baghdadi set about pursuing a plan for a medieval Islamic State, or caliphate. He merged a group known as the Nusra Front, which initially welcomed moderate Sunni rebels who were part of the uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad, with a new one known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Al-Qaida's central leadership refused to accept the takeover and broke with al-Baghdadi.

Al-Baghdadi's fighters captured a contiguous stretch of territory across Iraq and Syria, including key cities, and in June 2014, it announced its own state - or caliphate. Al-Baghdadi became the declared caliph of the newly renamed Islamic State group. Under his leadership, the group became known for macabre massacres and beheadings - often posted online on militant websites - and a strict adherence to an extreme interpretation of Islamic law.

Over the years, he has been reported multiple times to have been killed, but none has been confirmed. In 2017, Russian officials said there was a "high probability" he had been killed in a Russian airstrike on the outskirts of Raqqa, but US officials later said they believed he was still alive.



Sri Lankan Muslims ‘Not Responsible For Easter Attack’: Investigation Report


October 27, 2019

COLOMBO: Political analysts and Muslim leaders said here on Saturday that an investigation into the Easter Sunday bomb blasts in Sri Lanka blamed the government, not the Muslim community, for the attack. The attack on April 21, carried out by eight suicide bombers, killed 269 people and injured about 500 in three churches and four hotels across the island nation.

The findings from the report submitted by the parliamentary select committee said that former head of the state intelligence service, Nilantha Jayawardena, had received information about possible attacks as early as April 4, 17 days before the suicide bombings took place, but was slow to act on it.

The committee said that if the intelligence officials had been briefed about the threat from Zahran on April 9, “steps may have been taken to prevent the Easter Sunday attacks.”

The report said that the extremist preacher Mohamed Zahran, the alleged ringleader of the attacks, who was one of the eight suicide bombers, had been on the radar from 2015 and an arrest warrant had been issued for him in March 2017.

International Human Rights Activist, Muheed Jeeran, based in Colombo, said that the proceedings of the parliamentary select committee and its report was only a “blame game” conducted by the government.

He said that the report should have looked into the causes that led to the attacks and highlighted the motives of the extremist bombers.

“Instead, some innocent Muslims who are not involved in the attacks are still behind bars without any proper court proceedings,” he said.

Former Western Province Governor and National Unity Alliance Leader Azath Salley told Arab News that he was happy the Muslim community in Sri Lanka was not blamed for the attacks.

Quoting Archibishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, he said that some external forces had been instrumental in the bombings and expressed hope that the cardinal would reveal the real people behind the attacks who are currently living abroad.

“It was very unfortunate a good number of Muslim scholars were arrested during the investigations,” he said.

Leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress N.M. Ameen said that the report has clearly explained that a handful of misguided Muslim youths have been used for the attacks due to extremist Buddhist activities.

“We are really happy about the report which has really identified the reasons for the attacks and has accused the government’s failure to take swift action,” Ameen said.

The committee said that an open row between the president, Maithripala Sirisena, and the prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, and the ensuing political crisis, also contributed to the security failures.

The report said that Sirisena failed on “numerous occasions to give leadership and also actively undermined government and systems, including having ad-hoc national Security Council meetings and leaving out key individuals from meetings.”



Pakistan partially destroys Mosque of Ahmadi Muslim minority

October 27, 2019

An Ahmadi Mosque in Punjab province, in south-eastern Pakistan, was partially destroyed on October 25, the latest casualty in Pakistan’s campaign against the tiny Muslim minority.

Assistant Commissioner of Hasilpur, Mohammad Tayyab led the Friday operation which saw the destruction of the Mosque’s Mihrab. He was accompanied by the Police officers and officials from Bladia, the local development authority.

A spokesperson for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Pakistan, Saleemuddin, confirmed the incident saying the Local Government & Community Development authority “destroyed parts of the building without notice”. He added that members of the Ahmadi community who filmed the illegal demolition were also falsely charged by Police.

Saleem ud Din


Today the assistant commissioner of Hasilpur along with Baldia workers attacked the 70 year old Ahmadi place of worship in 161 Murad District Bahawalpur & destroyed parts of the building without notice.@GOPunjabPK @mohrpakistan

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11:42 PM - Oct 25, 2019

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The mosque which is located in Chak 161 Murad was constructed in 1949 on land owned by the local Ahmadi community. In May 2018 another 100-year-old Ahmadi mosque located in the city of Sialkot was destroyed by an angry mob.

The Assistant Commissioner of Hasilpur could not be reached for comment.



US says making progress with Saudi Arabia on possible nuclear program deal

Oct 26, 2019

US Energy Secretary Rick Perry says conversations with Saudi Arabia on a nuclear program are going forward, despite fears that Riyadh aims to acquire nuclear weapons.

“The kingdom and the leadership in the kingdom .. will find a way to sign a 1,2,3 agreement with the United States, I think,” Perry said on Saturday at a round table in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

Progress on the discussions has been difficult because Saudi Arabia does not want to sign a deal that would rule out the possibility of enriching uranium or reprocessing spent fuel - both potential paths to a bomb.

Saudi officials, however, have said they would not agree to a deal that denies them the possibility of enriching uranium or reprocessing spent fuel, which could lead to a nuclear bomb.

Companies from the US, China, Russia, South Korea and France are speculated to be involved in preliminary talks about the project estimated to be worth billions of dollars.

Saudi Arabia claims that it wants to tap nuclear technology for peaceful purposes but enrichment of uranium is a sensitive step in the nuclear fuel cycle as it can open up the possibility of military uses of the material.

Concern over Saudi nuclear ambitions has mounted both because of the regime’s dark record of violating human rights, particularly for detention of women’s rights activists and the cruel murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey, as well as its brutal war on Yemen.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman laid the foundation of the kingdom’s first nuclear research reactor last November amid nuclear talks with the United States.

Mohammad bin Salman, who enjoy strong support from US President Donald Trump, has stated that Saudi Arabia would promptly acquire nuclear weapons if Iran did.

Riyadh is a staunch critic of the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world countries that placed certain limits on Tehran’s nuclear energy program in exchange for removal of nuclear-related sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Iran has warned that it has noticed some of its neighbors with a “proven black record of supporting terrorist movements” working on “suspicious nuclear projects,” which would force Tehran to revise its defense strategy..



Modern Muslims too 'obsessed' with rituals, afterlife - Indonesian scholar

October 27, 2019

An obsession with the exterior dimension of Islam and on the afterlife has halted the progress of the Islamic civilisation, according to Indonesian academician Prof Yudi Latif.

Where various Islamic civilisations throughout history used to gain strength by learning from other cultures and gained strength, Yudi noted that many modern-day Muslims, including in Indonesia, are now too focused on the exterior expression of the religion.

"The ethos spreading in the Muslim world today, I think, places too much emphasis on the exterior dimension of religion [...] formalities, symbolisms, ritualisms," said Yudi, a guest speaker at a talk on advancements of knowledge culture in Islam, hosted by the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilisation.



Erdogan says Turkey will clear Kurdish militants alone if Sochi deal fails

Oct 26, 2019

Turkey has vowed to “clear” Kurdish “terrorists” from the so-called safe zone single-handedly in its border area with northeastern Syria if they do not withdraw by the end of a deadline agreed with Russia this week, days after Ankara launched a cross-border offensive into the Arab country.

Turkish military forces and militants of the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA), who enjoy Ankara’s patronage, on October 9 launched a cross-border offensive into northeastern Syria in a declared attempt to clear Kurdish militants from the so-called People’s Protection Units (YPG) from border areas.

Ankara regards the US-backed YPG as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group, which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984.

The YPG, which itself is the military wing of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), constitutes the backbone of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an anti-Damascus alliance of predominantly Kurdish militants.

The military operation came after the US abruptly pulled out its forces of the region, clearing the path for Turkey to go ahead with a planned military action against Washington’s longtime Kurdish allies.

The Syrian government has condemned the offensive as an act of aggression.

Ankara agreed on October 17 to pause the offensive for 120 hours while the US facilitates the withdrawal of the YPG militants from the safe zone, which will be 32 kilometers deep, and 444 kilometers long.

The US-brokered truce expired on Tuesday, when President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, reached an agreement in Sochi, stating that Kurdish YPG forces must withdraw from the Turkish-ruled “safe zone” in northeast Syria within 150 hours, after which Ankara and Moscow will run joint patrols around the area.

The deadline ends at 6 p.m. local time (1500 GMT) on Tuesday.

“If the terrorists are not cleared at the end of the 150 hours, we will take control and clean it ourselves," Erdogan threatened during a televised speech in Istanbul on Saturday.

He also said Ankara had achieved "to a large extent" its goal in terms of establishing a “safe zone” to protect against possible attacks from the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group and the YPG.

Erdogan also called on the international community to support Turkey's wish to establish the “safe zone” for some of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees now reportedly live in Turkey.

The European Union has already condemned the Turkish offensive – called Operation Peace Spring – and branded it as an invasion.

Earlier this month, Erdogan vowed to flood Europe with 3.6 million Syrian refugees if the EU kept condemning Turkey’s operation and failed to support it. The bloc, for its part, threatened to impose sanctions against the Anatolian country, accusing Ankara of blackmailing.

Elsewhere in his remarks on Saturday, the Turkish president renewed his threat against the EU.

“If there is no support for the projects we are developing for between one and two million [refugees] in the first stage for their return, we will have no option but to open our doors, and let them go to Europe,” Erdogan warned, insisting that he was “not blackmailing anyone” but “putting forward a solution.”

Turkish foreign minister reacts to Germany’s safe zone proposal

Separately on Saturday, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu of Turkey rejected a German proposal for an international safe zone.

Berlin has criticized the Moscow-Ankara agreement on the “safe zone,” reasserting the need for an “international response” on the issue and creating an “international security zone” in northern Syria.

Cavusoglu said Berlin’s line was “unrealistic.”

Speaking at a joint press conference with his German counterpart, Heiko Maas, Cavusoglu also noted that Turkey would not tolerate any human rights violations in northeastern Syria and would surely probe any such allegations.

“We will investigate to the very end even the smallest bit of violation (of human rights) and complaint.”

The Turkish foreign minister said “even the least violation of human rights” would be intolerable.

The Turkish military has previously launched two cross-border incursions in northern Syria, namely the Euphrates Shield in August 2016 and the Olive Branch in January 2018, with the declared aim of eradicating Kurdish militants and Daesh Takfiri terrorists near Turkey’s borders.



67 killed in anti-Abiy protests, ethnic violence in Ethiopia: Police

Oct 25, 2019

Violence in Ethiopia that began with protests against Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and quickly morphed into ethnic clashes has left 67 people dead in Oromia state, a police official said Friday.

The spike in the death toll came as the high-profile activist at the center of the violence accused Abiy, this year's Nobel Peace Prize laureate, of acting like a dictator and suggesting he might challenge him in elections planned for next year.

"The total number dead in Oromia is 67," said Kefyalew Tefera, the regional police chief, adding that five of the dead were police officers.

Violence erupted in Addis Ababa, the capital, and in much of Ethiopia's Oromia region on Wednesday after the activist, Jawar Mohammed, accused security forces of trying to orchestrate an attack against him -- a claim police officials denied.

Kefyalew told AFP that the violence had ended in Oromia but Amnesty International researcher Fisseha Tekle said late Friday that he was still receiving reports of attacks.

The defense ministry said Friday that it was deploying forces to seven hotspots to restore order, according to the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate.

Jawar is credited with promoting protests that swept Abiy to power last year but he has recently become critical of some of the premier's policies.

In an interview at his residence in Addis Ababa, Jawar told AFP that Abiy -- named Nobel Peace laureate two weeks ago -- seemed to be taking Ethiopia back to "the old ways" of authoritarian rule.

"He has resorted to the early signs of dictatorship, of trying to intimidate people, even his very close allies who helped him come to power who happen to disagree with some of the policies and positions and ideologies he's advocating," Jawar said.

"Intimidation is the start of authoritarian rule."

Both men are members of the Oromo ethnic group, Ethiopia's largest.

Their feud highlights divisions within Abiy's Oromo support base that could complicate his bid for a five-year term when Ethiopia votes in elections currently planned for May 2020.

Jawar said that running against Abiy was "one possibility," though he also said he could be convinced to back Abiy if he changes course.

"I want to have an active role in the coming election. In what capacity I'm not sure but I want to make sure that the influence I have in the country has a positive contribution," he said.

Religious, ethnic conflict

After two days of violent protests, tensions had cooled Friday in Addis Ababa, although the total damage inflicted by the unrest was still being tallied.

Fisseha of AI said the violence had included instances of security forces opening fire on protesters but was increasingly taking the form of ethnic and religious clashes.

"Some people have lost their lives with sticks, with machetes, some houses have been burned. People have been using even bullets and light arms to kill each other, to fight each other," he said.

At least six people were killed in the town of Ambo, west of Addis, after security forces opened fire on protesters, Fisseha said.

Ethnic and religious violence has been reported in the towns and cities of Dodola, Harar, Balerobe and Adama.

Property belonging to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, which some associate with the Amhara ethnic group, has been targeted in several locations, Fisseha said.

Daniel Bekele, head of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, urged public figures to tamp down virulent rhetoric that could contribute to additional unrest.

"It is extremely depressing that public officials and community leaders don't appreciate the consequences of their actions and words leading to this senseless loss of lives, destruction of property and disruption of ordinary life," he said.

"As security forces are struggling to calm the crisis, everyone has a responsibility to do their share and cooperate."





Twitter curbs anti-Muslim hashtag after storm over Kamlesh Tiwari murder


22 October, 2019

New Delhi: Twitter saw the social media version of a communal riot, lasting over a day, in the wake of the murder of Kamlesh Tiwari, the 45-year-old leader of ultra-Right outfit Hindu Samaj Party. The social media platform said it stopped an extremely provocative anti-Muslim hashtag from trending after complaints.

Tiwari, who was stabbed and shot on 18 October, rose to prominence with his strong anti-Muslim and pro-Hindutva stance, hate speeches and role in the Babri Masjid demolition in Ayodhya in 1992.

Over the weekend, the hashtag #मुस्लिमो_का_संपूर्ण_बहिष्कार (Total boycott of Muslims) became a top trend, garnering tweets from trolls, self-proclaimed Hindutva bhakts, pro-Right users and even some BJP leaders.

Boycott and stop buying any goods and services from these converted 🇮🇳🇮🇳


(((Fearless Hindu))) (@_Hinduism_) October 20, 2019

Defamatory and inflammatory tweets did the rounds, including one video, which shows a young Muslim boy saying anybody who speaks against Islam will be gunned down. The video was retweeted nearly 1,000 times.



The Muslim madrasas taught  Hindus are Kafir , convert them to Islam those who do not convert kill them.  Why does the govt funding madrassa to makes terrorist #मुस्लिमों_का_संपूर्ण_बहिष्कार

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Other posts on the micro-blogging site called for ostracising Muslims.

After users flagged the tweets for their content, Twitter responded to ThePrint saying, “We do not tolerate the abuse or harassment of people on the basis of religion. As per our Help Center, there are Rules for trends and we have prevented this hashtag from trending as it was in violation of the Twitter Rules.”

By the time the hashtag was taken off top trends Tuesday, other hashtags had picked up, which called for a revolt against using or buying goods from Muslims. The content escalated to extremely graphic videos and images threatening violence.

A Twitter spokesperson said the singular goal of the platform is to “improve the health of the public conversation.”

Attempting to game trending topics is a practice as old as trends on Twitter themselves, and we’ve invested heavily in thwarting spam and other attempts to manipulate trends. Importantly, as bad actors change their tactics, we actively modify our technological tools to stay ahead,” the spokesperson said in response to why Twitter took more than a day to act on the hashtags.



Tipu Sultan contradictions within BJP surface

By K.M. Rakesh


Tipu Sultan and his birth anniversary celebrations have found rare support from within the BJP, which abhors the 18th-century Mysore ruler and scrapped the state-funded Tipu Jayanti events within days of coming to power in July.

BJP Yuva Morcha leader Sharath Bachche Gowda, son of Lok Sabha member Bachche Gowda, on Friday promised a “grand Tipu Jayanti” on November 10.

P.C. Siddaramaiah’s Congress government had begun celebrating Tipu Jayanti every November 10 since 2015, and the H.D. Kumaraswamy administration that followed it continued the tradition last year.

The Sangh parivar, which accuses Tipu of being a tyrant, proselytiser and tormentor of non-Muslims, always protested against these events.

“We were always told not to celebrate Tipu Sultan’s birthday, but I promise to host a grand Tipu Jayanti in Thamarasanahalli (in Sharath’s native Hoskote),” Sharath, a disappointed by-election ticket hopeful who has recently turned dissident, told a meeting in Mysore.

Thamarasanahalli is near Tipu’s birthplace, Devanahalli, located on Bangalore’s outskirts.

Sharath had contested the 2018 Assembly elections on a BJP ticket but lost to Congress nominee M.T.B. Nagaraj, one of the 17 rebels whose resignations toppled the Congress-Janata Dal Secular coalition government in July. Sharath has revolted against the party’s decision to field Nagaraj in the December 5 Assembly by-elections.

Adding to the BJP’s embarrassment, party legislative council member Arun Shahpur has opposed a hard-line MLA’s demand to remove all references to Tipu from the state’s school textbooks.

“No one can question the existence of Tipu Sultan. We need neither glorify him nor show him in a poor light,” Shahpur said in Bijapur on Friday.

“School textbooks should carry his life’s story and mention his contributions without tweaking any facts.”

Shahpur’s stand apparently stems from the respect many Kannadigas feel for the “Tiger of Mysore” who valiantly fought the British.

Shahpur smartly sidestepped the question whether he would attend any Tipu Jayanti events, saying Islam prohibited birthday celebrations.

Kodagu MLA Appachu Ranjan had recently written to primary and secondary education minister S. Suresh Kumar seeking the deletion of a lesson on Tipu from the Class VI social studies book and any other reference to him in any other school textbook. The minister has not commented so far.

Sharath could not be contacted since he was busy with meetings through the day, and Shahpur’s phone was switched off.

The state BJP played down the two men’s comments. “Sharath is the son of one of our senior leaders. We can convince him that the party is more important. Arun (Shahpur) has not said anything against the party,” a state BJP functionary said, asking not to be named since the party has not reacted officially.

November 10 will witness several private Tipu Jayanti events organised by the sultan’s admirers.

Full report at:



6 CRPF personnel injured as terrorists hurl grenade in Srinagar

Oct 26, 2019

SRINAGAR: Terrorists hurled a grenade at a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) team, injuring six personnel, in the Karan Nagar area of Srinagar on Saturday, police said.

The CRPF team was manning a checkpoint when the grenade attack took place.

Six personnel were injured, they said.

The grenade exploded with a bang causing panic in the area, police said.

The security forces fired some shots in the air in retaliation, officials said.



Bitter exchange between India, Pakistan at NAM summit over J&K

Oct 27, 2019

NEW DELHI: India and Pakistan were involved in a bitter exchange on Jammu and Kashmir at the NAM summit with Islamabad calling New Delhi’s actions illegal, immoral and unethical and India, in turn, describing Pakistan as the epicentre of terrorism.

India has mostly avoided directly referring to Pakistan on international fora, even while talking about cross-border terrorism, but Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu named the neighbour, calling it the contemporary epicentre of terrorism.

Describing terrorism as the most potent threat to not just international peace and security but to also all the principles of NAM, Naidu regretted that Pakistan had used the forum to justify once again its long-standing policy of conducting cross-border terrorism against its neighbours. Pakistan President Arif Alvi had earlier said at the summit that the steps taken by India recently to revoke the special status of J&K were “draconian measures (which) found no parallel in this age and time”. He said the attempt to link the “legitimate struggle” of the Kashmiris with terrorism had run its course.

Naidu said India spoke for the larger region while expressing its deep concern over Pakistan’s behaviour. “All of us in NAM are focused on meeting our developmental goals and aspirations. Pakistan clearly needs to do much more to earn the confidence of the international community. It must decisively abjure terrorism — for its own good, for that of its neighbours and for the good of the world,” he said.

In his speech, Naidu said terrorism’s capacity to inflict damage has multiplied with the diffusion of information technology, giving terrorist organisations offensive cyber capabilities.

“The only way to fight this menace is to strengthen and implement, without exception, all existing international laws and mechanisms to combat terrorists and their enablers,” he said, adding that there cannot be any justification for violent extremist ideologies and terrorist actions.

“I call upon all our NAM partners to come together to forge a common front against terror in all its forms. We must do this by stepping up inter-agency coordination, exchanging information, and strengthening the existing legal framework by endorsing the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) proposed by India in 1996. All this is really possible when we have a clear commitment to zero tolerance towards terrorism,” Naidu said.

Full report at:



Militants trying to damage infrastructure in Kashmir: DGP

Oct 26, 2019

SRINAGAR: Militants are trying to damage infrastructure facilities like water and electricity supplies in the Kashmir Valley, J&K Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbagh Singh said on Saturday.

He was replying to questions on the damages caused to a transmission tower in Shopian in South Kashmir by suspected militants earlier this week.

"Damaging a tower is an attempt to damage the necessary infrastructure linked to water and electricity supplies that benefit the people so that they are inconvenienced," Dilbagh Singh told reporters on the sidelines of a function of the Border Security Force (BSF).

He said steps are being taken to foil any further attempt by the militants to damage the infrastructure in the Valley.

"We have taken some steps. I am hopeful that this case will be cracked soon and people involved will be brought to book," he added.

"Investigation in the truckers' killings is underway and some important clues are available with us about the case," Singh said while reacting to the recent killings of truckers in south Kashmir, adding that the police have identified the attackers and measures have been taken to provide security to the truckers and people associated with horticulture from outside the Valley.

The DGP, however, said that it is not possible to provide security cover in remote areas though he asserted that forces have been deployed in many areas in south Kashmir to prevent such attacks.

The DGP said this is a direct attack on the earnings of the people of the Valley who are condemning such acts.

"This is an attack on the economy and the livelihood of the people. It is being done to disrupt the daily lives of the people," Dilbagh Singh said.

"Such actions are not in the interest of the people. To a large extent, people are condemning such acts. Our first priority is to help people associated with apple trade. It is not possible to cover all the areas, but majority of the areas which could be covered have been secured," he said.

The DGP also said that though there are no specific inputs about any possible militant attack, terrorists are always on the lookout to carry out strikes on security forces.

Full report at:



India asks world capitals to act against Pak’s ‘Kashmir cells’

by Shubhajit Ro

October 27, 2019

The “Kashmir cells” that Pakistan opened in its embassies and high commissions across the world two months ago have emerged as the latest point of friction between New Delhi and Islamabad.

New Delhi is now reaching out to partner countries to seek action against these “Kashmir cells”, whose essential purpose is to drive Pakistan’s campaign against India. The Ministry of External Affairs has asked Indian diplomats in world capitals to raise the issue of “false propaganda” by Pakistan, sources told The Sunday Express.

India recently asked the United Kingdom to act against Pakistan’s mission for inciting the local population against India, as protests are being planned on the occasion of Diwali. Protests outside the Indian High Commission in London in September had turned violent.

“We all are aware that the government of Pakistan has set up Kashmir cells across all their high commissions in the world,” Ministry of External Affairs official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said earlier this week. “The main objective of these cells is to incite the local population with a nationality where they belong to, and to radicalise them through false propaganda,” Kumar said.

“We hope that countries where these Kashmir cells have been opened, they do realise that it is very dangerous since such cells openly incite violence and should be closed,” he added. “All countries should take appropriate action against such cells operating from their soil.”

Full report at:



Arab World


Muslim World League signs agreement to allocate site for museum of Prophet’s life and Islamic civilization

October 27, 2019

Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL) and chairman of the International Organization of Muslim Scholars, has signed an agreement to allocate the site of the museum of the Prophet’s life and Islamic civilization.

Al-Issa signed the museum agreement under the patronage of Madinah Gov. Prince Faisal bin Salman.

The historic building is planned to occupy an area of 20,000 square meters in the Knowledge Economic City in Madinah. It will also be built according to the latest modern museum technologies.

Al-Issa said that the museum with its headquarters reflects its importance and merit, highlighting that Saudi Arabia is the land where Islamic civilization began.

MWL has received requests from 24 countries, including Indonesia and the UAE, to establish branches of the museum. “MWL will feature a replica of the museums at Expo 2020 in Dubai,” he added.

Al-Issa thanked Prince Faisal for giving his directives to establish the museum in Madinah and continuously following up on the project, which is in line with the support of the government to Islam and Muslims.

The project will be one of the important landmarks in the Kingdom to serve the history of the Prophet and Islamic civilization while employing the latest techniques and technologies.

The museum will house scientific and research centers, training, development and translation centers, galleries, international conference rooms and scientific seminars, and activity centers that will make it a global resource.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed between MWL and Umm Al-Qura University, represented by Wadi Makkah Technology Company, to establish the museum, which will be located as part of the Al-Faisaliah project.

The MoU includes steps to improve cooperation between the two parties to contribute to the spreading of the Prophet’s story, educating the world about it, and presenting the true image of Islam.



Arab Paper: UAE, S. Arabia Plotting Coup in Iraq under Cover of Protests

Oct 26, 2019

The Arabic-language al-Akhbar newspaper wrote on Saturday that since Abdul Mahdi was entrusted with formation of a cabinet in Iraq and the al-Fatah and Sa'eroun coalitions gained the most seats in the Iraqi parliament, attempts have been made by Abu Dhabi and Riyadh to overthrow Abdul Mahdi's government.

The paper said the coup plot was designed in the US, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, adding that the UAE was the center for masterminding the scheme, and a number of officials, including Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE National Security Advisor, and his advisor Mohammad Dahlan (a Palestinian accused of ties with Israel), have been responsible for planning the coup.

It added that Saudi Arabia has invested a sum of $150mln in the planning and implementation of the coup project, and said the plot has been implemented by Iraq's civil society which receives the financial support of the US embassy.

The newspaper reminded the remarks made by former Saudi Ambassador to Baghdad Thamer al-Sabhan who had said that Iraq will be different in October, saying that al-Sabhan had cautioned that a major incident would rock the country's political process.

The protests in Iraq that started early in this month subsided after the public got engaged in holding the annual massive march of Arbaeen, but restored on Friday after religious rituals of the second month of the Islamic calendar were over.

In the first round of public protests 3 weeks ago, analyses revealed that 79% of hashtags about protests in Iraq on Twitter originated from Saudi Arabia and only 6% were from Iraq, in a stark contrast with claims that the demonstrations were popular and spontaneous.

Iraq's Grand Ayatollah Seyed Ali Sistani warned against the infiltration of agents with malevolent intentions into public protests in the Arab country, calling upon demonstrators and security forces to keep anti-occupation rallies peaceful.

“Don’t let those with vicious intentions to infiltrate among you and attack security forces,” the official representative of Ayatollah Sistani in Iraq Abdul Mahdi al-Karbalai said on Friday, conveying a message of the senior cleric.

Full report at:



We’ll turn the world green, say young Saudis

October 27, 2019

DUBAI: A young Saudi team competing in a major international robotics competition vowed on Saturday to play their part in creating a pollution-free world.

“We represent hope for the future not only for Saudi Arabia, but also humanity at large,” team leader Maysoon Humaidan told Arab News.

More than 1,500 contestants from 190 countries are taking part in the FIRST Global Challenge 2019 in Dubai, which focuses on creating robots to clean up the world’s seas by eliminating waste and pollutants.

Humaidan said the Saudi team was “strapped in” for the contest, and described the team members as “young enthusiasts for science and knowledge.” Their dream was to “motivate Saudi youth to enter the fields of science, technology and mathematics in order to find solutions to the problems and challenges facing humanity,” she said.

Team member Sulafa Al-Shehri, 14, said the robotics challenge had expanded her knowledge of technology, sustainability and environmental protection. Fadel Younes, 15, said modern technology could solve many of the world’s most pressing problems.

The team’s ambitions reflect the giant strides the Kingdom has made in involving youth in the tech sector and its applications across all walks of life.

Full report at:



Helicopter fire on Daesh-linked fighters kills 9 in northwestern Syria

October 27, 2019

BEIRUT: Helicopter gunfire early Sunday killed nine people near a northwestern Syrian village where “groups linked to the Islamic State group” were present, said a Britain-based war monitor with sources inside Syria.

The helicopters targeted a home and a car on the outskirts of the village of Barisha in the northwestern province of Idlib, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, after US media said Daesh leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi was believed to be dead after a US military raid in the same province.

Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said the helicopters likely belonged to the US-led military coalition that has been fighting the extremist group in Syria.

“We cannot confirm or deny that Baghdadi was in the area,” he said.

An inhabitant of a camp for the displaced on the outskirts of Barisha said he had heard unidentified helicopters around midnight, followed by what he described as coalition air strikes.

They “were flying very low, causing great panic among the people,” Ahmed Hassawi told AFP.

Long pursued by the US-led coalition, Baghdadi has been erroneously reported dead several times in recent years.

Officials told ABC News that biometric work was underway to identify those killed in the raid.

Full report at:



Nearly 50 dead as Iraq protests take new violent turn

Oct 26, 2019

BAGHDAD: Nearly 50 people have died in renewed anti-government protests across Iraq, officials said on Saturday, with clashes breaking out as demonstrators turned their fury against government and paramilitary offices.

The death toll from protests this months has climbed to 205, including dozens who were killed as they torched government buildings or offices belonging to factions of Hashed al-Shaabi force over the past two days.

The demonstrations first erupted on October 1, with protesters railing against government corruption and unemployment, while a second wave broke out late Thursday.

This latest round of demonstrations has been notably violent, with 48 people killed in as many hours.

Three protesters were killed in the capital Baghdad on Saturday, with medics and officials reporting trauma wounds sustained by tear gas canisters lobbed at demonstrators.

But the majority of victims have been in the Shiite-majority south, where protesters torched dozens of provincial government buildings, party offices and Hashed centres.

On Saturday, three people were shot dead while setting fire to a local official's home, a police source told AFP.

The previous night, 12 protesters died in Diwaniyah while setting fire to the headquarters of the powerful Badr organisation.

Top Hashed commanders have threatened "revenge" after their offices were attacked, and denounced those they said aimed at sowing "discord and chaos" in the country.

In a bid to contain the violence security forces have announced curfews across most of Iraq's southern provinces — but brief protests nevertheless took place in Diwaniyah, Nasiriyah, Babylon and Najaf.

In the southern port city of Basra, protesters failed to come out in large numbers after security forces strictly enforced a curfew.

The Hashed was founded in 2014 to fight the Islamic State group but its factions have since been ordered to incorporate into the state security services.

"Public anger is directed at them in addition to governorate councils, for they were the obvious face of 'the regime'," wrote Harith Hasan, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Middle East Center.

But the attacks could also hint at political rivalries between the Hashed and populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who has thrown his weight behind the demonstrations.

"The Sadrists, especially in their traditional strongholds such as Missan, saw this an opportunity to act against competing militias," such as Asaib Ahl al-Haq, Badr, and Kataeb Hezbollah, Hasan said on Twitter.

The United Nations on Saturday said it was "tragic" to see renewed violence but also warned against "armed spoilers".

"Armed entities sabotaging the peaceful demonstrations, eroding the government's credibility and ability to act, cannot be tolerated," said the UN top official in Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert.

Protesters gathered in Baghdad's emblematic Tahrir (Liberation) Square on Saturday morning despite efforts by riot police to clear them with tear gas.

"It's enough — theft, looting, gangs, mafias, deep state, whatever. Get out! Let us see a (functioning) state," said one protester, referring to perceived cronyism and corruption in the country.

"We don't want anything, just let us live," he added as puffs of smoke from tear gas rose behind him.

Oil-rich Iraq is OPEC's second-highest producer — but one in five people live below the poverty line and youth unemployment sits at 25 per cent, according to the World Bank.

About 60 per cent of Iraq's 40-million-strong population is under the age of 25.

The staggering rates of joblessness and allegations of corruption sparked the widespread protests on October 1 and the government has struggled to quell public anger by proposing reforms.

Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi has suggested a laundry list of measures, including hiring drives, increased pensions and a cabinet reshuffle.

New education and health ministers were approved by parliament in a session earlier this month, the only time it was able to meet since protests began.

But a scheduled meeting of parliament on Saturday to discuss the renewed protests failed to take due to a lack of quorum.

Protesters so far have seemed unimpressed by the government's efforts.

"They told young people: 'go home, we'll give you pensions and come up with a solution'. They tricked us," said one of the rare woman protesters on Saturday, her young son at her side.

They have even directed some of their anger at Sadr and country's top Shia religious authority, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who is deeply revered among most Iraqis, "Sadr, Sistani — this is a shame," a protester in Tahrir said on Saturday.

Full report at:



Lebanese take to streets for 10th day, defying Hezbollah

October 27, 2019

BEIRUT: Demonstrators across Lebanon blocked roads and took to the streets on Saturday for a 10th consecutive day, defying what they said were attempts by Hezbollah to defuse their movement and despite tensions with the army.

The demonstrators — who have thronged Lebanese towns and cities since October 17 — are demanding the removal of the entire political class, accusing many across different parties of systematic corruption.

Numbers have declined since October 20, when hundreds of thousands took over Beirut and other cities in the largest demonstrations in years, but could grow again over the weekend.

The chief of the powerful movement Hezbollah on Friday called on his supporters to leave the streets, warning that any cabinet resignation would lead to “chaos and collapse” of the economy. His statement sowed divisions among Hezbollah supporters, some of whom were still protesting on Saturday.

Hassan Koteiche, 27, from a Hezbollah stronghold in Beirut, said he agreed with most of Nasrallah’s “excellent” speech, but had some reservations.

“This does not mean we are against his discourse but there is a divergence in opinion,” he said.

“The main thing I disagree with is his belief that if the government or parliament falls then we would have no alternative,” he added.

“That is not true. We have alternatives. We have noble and uncorrupt people,” who can govern.

Main roads remained closed across the country on Saturday morning, as the army tried to reopen key routes.

The General Security agency — one of Lebanon’s top three security bodies — said it has started to implement a plan to open key roads.

An army spokesman said that security forces would negotiate with protesters, without resorting to violence.

But troops clashed with residents of the Beddawi area near the northern port city of Tripoli as they were trying to close a main road, according to the state-run National News Agency.

A medical source in the area said that at least four people were wounded by live fire and seven others in confrontations with the army.

Soldiers fired rubber bullets in the air after being hit with fireworks and stones, according to the spokesman.

Northeast of Beirut, dozens of demonstrators formed a human chain to prevent the army from removing a dirt berm blocking a seaside road.

In central Beirut, they sat cross-legged on a key artery that connects the capital to its suburbs and surrounding regions.

Demonstrators who had slept in tents near Martyrs Square, said they were still defiant. “We will stay on the streets,” said Rabih al-Zein, a 34-year-old from the Shia stronghold of Tyre in southern Lebanon.

“The power of the people is stronger than the power of the parties,” he said.

Lebanon’s largely sectarian political parties have been wrong-footed by the cross-communal nature of the mostly peaceful protests.

Waving Lebanese flags rather than the partisan colours normally paraded at demonstrations, protesters have been demanding the resignation of all of Lebanon’s political leaders. “All of them means all,” has been a popular slogan.

In attempts to calm the anger, Prime Minister Saad Hariri has pushed through a package of economic reforms, while President Michel Aoun suggested banking secrecy should be lifted from the accounts of high-ranking officials.

Full report at:



Lebanese Paper Reveals US Mission's Role in October Protests in Iraq

Oct 26, 2019

The Arabic-language al-Akhbar paper wrote on Saturday that it has gained access to a security document which shows the US mission's role in organizing a secret formation to add fuel to the flames of unrests in Iraq last month.

According to the newspaper, the US embassy has formed a high committee of protests, which coordinated field activities during the protests and the embassy provided it with intelligence and a number of politicians and government workers supported it.

A psychological operations team to guide the media and spread rumors, an electronic mobilization team to lead people through social media, a team, trained in Erbil and Amman, to report on the security services' mistakes and produce fake news on the protests, a team to exert international pressures on the Iraqi government, to organize protests in front of Iraq's embassies in foreign states, a team for releasing reports about the protest rallies in cooperation with different media outlets, an IT team to resolve problems related to filtering of the internet and social media, a medical team stationed near the protestors and hospitals to help the wounded and a team to provide logistical support, including food, water and preliminary aid, to the protestors were also formed by the US embassy's secret committee to foment unrests in Iraq, al-Akhbar added.

In relevant remarks earlier today, a senior Iranian political analyst warned that the recent violent unrests in Iraq and Lebanon were being misused by certain foreign states to turn the people's peaceful protests for restoring their legal rights into a ground to attain their ominous goals.

"The main purpose of protests in Iraq, Lebanon, Tunisia, Algeria and even Sudan was protesting at the financial and administrative corruption," Seyed Hadi Seyed Afqahi told FNA.

He added that the protest rallies in the regional states had two dimensions; one is the protests of average citizens and ordinary people and unions for their living difficulties and expenses; on the other side of the protests the foreign hands can be seen and they want to misuse the rallies of people to their own benefit.

"Unfortunately, we see this ugly phenomenon in Lebanon and Iraq too. People in Lebanon have held peaceful protests and the government has heard the people's voice but a series of norm-breaking images were displayed and slogans were shouted in the protests that turned them into political rallies," Seyed Afqahi said.

The protests in Iraq that started early in this month subsided after the public get engaged in holding the annual massive march of Arbaeen, but restored on Friday after religious rituals of the second month of the Islamic calendar were over.

In the first round of public protests 3 weeks ago, analyses revealed that 79% of hashtags about protests in Iraq on Twitter originated from Saudi Arabia and only 6% were from Iraq, in a stark contrast with claims that the demonstrations were popular and spontaneous.

Iraq's Grand Ayatollah Seyed Ali Sistani warned against the infiltration of agents with malevolent intentions into public protests in the Arab country, calling upon demonstrators and security forces to keep anti-occupation rallies peaceful.

“Don’t let those with vicious intentions to infiltrate among you and attack security forces,” the official representative of Ayatollah Sistani in Iraq Abdul Mahdi al-Karbalai said on Friday, conveying a message of the senior cleric.

Full report at:



Spokesman: No Force Used by Iraqi Police against Protestors

Oct 26, 2019

The Arabic-language Baghdad al-Youm news website quoted al-Muhanna as saying on Saturday that the Iraqi security forces safeguarded security of protestors and places in which protest rallies were held and did not use ammunition or force against protestors at all.

He added that during the protests, several Iraqi security forces were wounded and even killed by some individuals who attempted to misuse the peaceful protests and hurled stone and fired shots at security forces.

Meantime, Muhanna noted that heavy damage has been inflicted on government buildings, schools and public places, criticizing the protestors who misused the peaceful protests and attacked government centers in Baghdad.

"This is a big danger to the country and public order," he warned.

The protests in Iraq that started early in this month subsided after the public get engaged in holding the annual massive march of Arbaeen, but restored on Friday after religious rituals of the second month of the Islamic calendar were over.

In the first round of public protests 3 weeks ago, analyses revealed that 79% of hashtags about protests in Iraq on Twitter originated from Saudi Arabia and only 6% were from Iraq, in a stark contrast with claims that the demonstrations were popular and spontaneous.

Iraq's Grand Ayatollah Seyed Ali Sistani warned against the infiltration of agents with malevolent intentions into public protests in the Arab country, calling upon demonstrators and security forces to keep anti-occupation rallies peaceful.

“Don’t let those with vicious intentions to infiltrate among you and attack security forces,” the official representative of Ayatollah Sistani in Iraq Abdul Mahdi al-Karbalai said on Friday, conveying a message of the senior cleric.

Full report at:



15 dead in Syria clashes between pro-Turkish forces, Kurds: Monitor

27 October 2019

Clashes in northeast Syria between pro-Ankara fighters backed by the Turkish air force and a regime-backed force led by Syrian Kurds left 15 dead on Saturday, a monitor said.

Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP that nine pro-Turkish fighters and six members of the Syrian Democratic Forces were killed in a zone between the towns of Tal Tamr and Ras al-Ain.



At least seven Iraqi protesters shot dead by militia in Hilla: Sources

27 October 2019

At least seven protesters were killed and 38 wounded in the Iraqi city of Hilla early on Sunday when members of the Iranian-backed Badr Organization militia opened fire on demonstrators, police and health sources said.

Protesters had gathered across Iraq on Saturday in a second day of anti-government protests, in which at least 65 people have died.



Iraq MPs tied to populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr declare sit-in at parliament

27 October 2019

Iraqi lawmakers linked to populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr began an indefinite sit-in on Saturday night at parliament headquarters, two MPs told AFP, amid widespread anti-government protests.

A second wave of demonstrations demanding an end to corruption and an overhaul of the political system have rocked the capital Baghdad and the south since late Thursday.

Al-Sadr has already demanded the current government resign, but on Saturday members of his Saeroon bloc - parliament’s largest with 54 MPs - said they would escalate.

“We are on our way now to parliament for the sit-in, until the enactment of all reforms the Iraqi people are demanding,” said MP Badr al-Zayadi.

Saeroon lawmakers were in touch with others to persuade them to join the move, he added.

Al-Zayadi told AFP the bloc had sent an “official request” to Iraqi President Barham Saleh who, according to Iraq’s constitution, could then ask parliament to withdraw confidence from the premier.

MP Raed Fahmy, a member of Iraq’s Communist Party who is allied to al-Sadr, confirmed the sit-in.

“We have joined the opposition and we demand the government resign,” Fahmy told AFP.

Protests first erupted in Iraq on October 1, over unemployment, poor services and perceived government graft.

More than 150 people died in the initial six-day wave of protests, and another 63 have lost their lives since the rallies resumed this week.

Al-Sadr has called for early elections under the supervision of the United Nations.

But he himself was effectively kingmaker of the current government, after his bloc secured 54 seats in the May 2018 legislative elections.

At least 63 people have died in two days of anti-government protests in Iraq’s capital and across its south, a national rights watchdog said Saturday.

Full report at:



South Asia


Russia, China and Pakistan call for early resumption of U.S.-Taliban negotiations

26 Oct 2019

The representatives of Russia, China and Pakistan on Friday called for an early resumption of peace talks between the United States and the Taliban group.

The U.S. President Trump called off peace talks with Taliban last month after a series of deadly attacks killed several people in capital Kabul including an American soldier.

According to a statement released after the conclusion of the meeting in Moscow, the representatives of Russia, China and Pakistan supported the earliest resumption of peace talks between the United States and Taliban.

The statement further added that the negotiations leading to an agreement between the U.S. and Taliban will pave the way for intra-Afghan dialogue.

Furthermore, the participants of the meeting emphasized that the warring parties should observe a ceasefire for the duration of the intra-Afghan dialogue.

They also called on the Afghan government and the Taliban group to release the prisoners at the start of the intra-Afghan dialogue.

This comes as reports emerged earlier this week suggesting that China would host the intra-Afghan dialogue later this month but latest reports indicate that the talks haven been briefly postponed.



Airstrikes kill 45 Taliban and ISIS militants in 9 provinces

26 Oct 2019

A series of airstrikes killed 45 militants of the Taliban and ISIS Khurasan groups in nine provinces in the past 24 hours.

The military officials said Saturday an airstrike killed 12 Taliban militants and destroyed a cache of weapons in Kush district of Herat province.

The officials further added that airstrikes in Deh Bala district of Nangarhar killed 7 ISIS Khurasan militants.

An airstrike in Sar Rowzad district of Paktika killed 5 Taliban militant and destroyed a vehicle, the officials added.

Another airstrike in Muhammad Agha district of Logar killed 4 Taliban militants and destroyed a small cache of weapons, the officials said, adding that a similar airstrike in Nad Ali district of Helmand killed 4 Taliban militants.

The officials also added that airstrikes in Khanabad district of and Chimtal district of Balkh killed 4 Taliban militants.

Full report at:



Deadly airstrike kills 53 Taliban militants in Faryab province

27 Oct 2019

A deadly airstrike killed at least 53 Taliban militants in northern Faryab province of Afghanistan, the military officials said.

The officials further added that the security forces conducted the airstrike late on Saturday night.

Meanwhile, the 209th Shaheen Corps in a statement said a large group of Taliban militants launched coordinated attacks on security posts in Khwaja Namosi area of Pashtun Kot district at 8:30 pm local time.

The statement further added that the security forces responded to the attack sparking heavy clashes which continued for several hours.

The security forces conducted an airstrike in support of the ground forces which killed at least 53 Taliban militants while forcing the others to retreat, the statement added.

Full report at:



Special Forces kill, detain 4 Taliban militants; destroy caches of weapons in 3 provinces

27 Oct 2019

The Afghan Special Forces killed 3 Taliban militants, detained another Taliban fighter and destroyed three caches of weapons in three provinces.

The military officials said Sunday the Special Forces conducted the operations in the past 24 hours in Paktika, Ghazni and Helmand provinces.

The officials further added that the Special Forces killed the 3 militants in Zurmat district of Paktika provinces.

The Special Forces also arrested a Taliban fighter and destroyed a small cache of weapons during the same operation, the officials added.

Full report at:



Myanmar rebels kidnap over 40 police, soldiers in Rakhine: Army

26 October 2019

Ethnic Rakhine rebels took more than 40 police officers and soldiers hostage in a brazen raid on a ferry on Saturday, Myanmar’s military said, the latest flare-up in the restive western region.

The military has deployed thousands of troops to try to crush Arakan Army insurgents in the state, where the ethnic group is fighting for more autonomy for Rakhine Buddhists.

But the Arakan Army has inflicted a heavy toll through violent raids, kidnappings and improvised explosive devices.

On Saturday morning rebels in concealed positions on a river bank shot at a ferry carrying off-duty police and soldiers north from the state capital, forcing it to dock, military spokesperson Zaw Min Tun said.

“More than 10 soldiers from the army, about 30 police and two staff from the prison department” were among the more than 40 passengers forced to disembark before being taken away, he said.

Authorities were using helicopters in their pursuit of the rebels, and had spotted a large contingent crossing a river, he added.

The Arakan Army could not immediately be reached for comment.

The flare-up comes less than two weeks after suspected rebels disguised as a sports team stormed a bus and abducted dozens of firefighters and civilians in Rakhine.

Tens of thousands have been displaced in the state due to the fighting.

Rakhine is the same area where the military drove out more than 740,000 Rohingya Muslims in a 2017 campaign UN investigators have called genocide.

Rights groups have accused soldiers of committing war crimes including extrajudicial killings in its fresh campaign against the Arakan Army.

But monitors have also singled out the rebels for alleged abuses.

Full report at:





Pakistan declares JUI-F senator Hafiz Hamdullah Saboor as 'confirmed alien'

Oct 26, 2019

Ahead of anti-government protest led by Jamiat Ulema-a-Islam (JUI-F), Prime Minister Imran Khan-led government has declared Senator Hafiz Hamdullah Saboor as a "confirmed alien".

In a letter, dated October 11, 2019, the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) said that Hamdullah "is not a citizen of Pakistan."

"Therefore, NADRA has cancelled and digitally impounded the CNIC (Computerized National Identity Card) issued to Hafiz Hamdullah Saboor," the authority said, reported Express Tribune.

In pursuance to the NADRA`s decision, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) directed all television channels to stop inviting him in their talk shows.

"Since it is established that the said person is an `alien`, therefore all the TV channels (News & Current Affairs) are directed to refrain from inviting and projecting Hafiz Hamdullah Saboor in their programs/talk shows, news, etc.," PEMRA said in a letter to TV channels.

The move by the government comes ahead of `The Azadi March` in Islamabad on October 31 called by JUI-F-led by Fazl-ur Rehman against the government.

All major opposition parties including the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz of jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and the Pakistan People`s Party of former president Asif Ali Zardari have announced their support.

Fazl has demanded Khan`s resignation, alleging that the election held in July 2018 was rigged to help his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan government has decided to let the march proceed as long as parameters laid out by courts for lawful protest are not breached, reported Dawn.



JUI-F moves IHC against ban on Ansarul Islam wing

October 27, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) on Saturday challenged the government’s decision of banning its volunteer group, Ansarul Islam, before the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

The federal government on Oct 24 authorised the provinces to take appropriate actions against Ansarul Islam, saying that it is capable of functioning as an “armed wing of the organisation”.

The JUI-F through its counsel, Kamran Murtaza, filed the petition before the IHC.

The petition said that “out of fear of the protest of petitioner party gaining momentum due to its genuine demands and grievances, the incumbent regime has actively started a vicious campaign against the petitioner party by using various methods to suppress the voices of petitioner party and to stop the protest/Azadi March from even starting”.

It questioned such government actions as using state institutions such as the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to issue verbal instruction to media houses to completely ban transmission or reporting of speeches of JUI-F leaders and the government officials/office holders openly threatening the use of force to stop and disperse the protesters or trying to bring its leaders in to custody of the National Accountability Bureau under the garb of accountability.

The petition said that the government was also trying to spread panic in the public to stop them from participating in the JUI-F’s “Azadi March” by issuing a threat alert through the National Counter Terrorism Authority, claiming that there was a threat of attacks.

The petition said that no show-cause notice was issued to the petitioner or Ansarul Islam prior to issuance of “impugned notifications”, as such the right of hearing was denied.

According to the petition, the JUI-F is registered with the Election Commission of Pakistan and in the party’s constitution submitted to the Commission, Ansarul Islam is also mentioned.

Full report at:



Black day in support of Kashmiris today in Punjab

October 27, 2019

LAHORE: The Punjab government in collaboration with the federal government is holding Black Day on Sunday (today) to express solidarity with Kashmiris and against Indian atrocities.

Chairing a meeting of Kashmir Committee Punjab, law minister and committee chairman Basharat Raja said the longest and worst curfew in Indian occupied Kashmir was extremely deplorable. He said the issue of Kashmir at Punjab level was being highlighted effectively worldwide under instructions of Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief Minister Usman Bazdar.

The meeting was informed that a website created for the activities of the Kashmir Committee and a petition based on one million digital signatures in favour of Kashmiris would be inaugurated by Chief Minister Usman Buzdar soon.

The Kashmir Committee decided that the transport department would run buses in each district with banners and posters based on awareness messages of the same design.

Secretary to the committee Raja Jahangir Anwar said an awareness campaign on Kashmir would be carried out on cable networks in all districts. Raja Basharat set up an administrative committee headed by the secretary information to make arrangements for a Kashmir Conference in Lahore.

At the conference, the Kashmir experts, intellectuals and human rights activists would be invited. The committee agreed with the proposal to construct a Kashmir monument in Lahore and designate Kashmir park and Kashmir roads in every divisional headquarters of Punjab.

Committee members PML-N MPA Dr Mazher Hussain, MPA Mahendra Singh Pal, secretary information and culture Raja Jahangir Anwar, and other officers concerned attended the meeting.

PML-N: The PML-N will hold rallies across the country to express solidarity with the Kashmiris on Sunday (today).

PML-N secretary general Ahsan Iqbal has appealed to the party workers to observe a black day on Oct 27 against India for occupying Kashmir.

Full report at:



IHC irked by TV anchorpersons’ claims of ‘deal’ in Nawaz bail case

October 27, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Saturday expressed concern over the debate on court proceedings in Nawaz Sharif’s bail plea on TV channels and asked several anchorpersons and PEMRA to submit their reply.

The bench also served showcase notice to Bol TV’s CEO and its anchor Sami Ibrahim for maligning the court proceeding regarding Nawaz’s bail. The court also asked other TV anchors including Hamid Mir, Aamir Mateen, Kashif Abbasi etc to submit their reply on the matter.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Mohsin Akhter Kiyani conducted hearing on contempt of court matter against the TV anchors.

The bench observed that the court had been maligned in TV debate where several anchors had claimed an alleged ‘deal’ regarding the bail plea of Nawaz Sharif.

The court also expressed displeasure with the director general (DG) Pakistan Electronic Media Regulator Authority (PEMRA) for not demonstrating its duty properly. Chief Justice Athar Minallah remarked that elected prime minister, judiciary and other state institutions had been maligned during talk shows of TV channels, however, the PEMRA had turned a blind eye to it.

The chief justice said anchorperson Sami Ibrahim had confidently claimed in the TV show ‘that a deal had been done on the matter.’ Whether prime minister and judiciary were part of this alleged deal, he questioned.

He said such baseless claims used to make the cases proceeding as controversial.

Expressing displeasure with PEMRA DG, Justice Kiyani said the department’s people just enjoy the criticism on courts on TV channels while sitting at their homes. Justice Athar Minallah remarked that everyone had played its role to damage the country.

He asked whether the PEMRA was demonstrating its responsibility properly.

TV anchor Hamid Mir said he had not used word of ‘deal’ in his programme.

Full report at:



Azadi marchers agree to stay away from Islamabad’s Red Zone

October 27, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Defence Minister Pervez Khattak said on Saturday that an agreement has been reached between the government and Rahbar Committee of the joint opposition according to which participants of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F)-led Azadi March will not enter Islamabad’s D-Chowk in the high security Red Zone.

Addressing a press conference, the head of the government’s committee Khattak said that both sides had reached an understanding.

“(JUI-F leader) Akram Durrani has assured me that participants of the march will not enter the Red Zone,” he said, adding that the government would remove the containers placed in Islamabad to thwart the protest rally and would also provide food to the protesters.

“Whether it be a sit-in or a political gathering, it should be peaceful,” he added.

Khattak said that the Rahbar Committee had not asked for the prime minister’s resignation neither had it put forth the demand for elections.

“We hope the JUI-F will conduct its protest within the limitations of the constitution,” he said. “If that happens, then the government will not block any roads or create any hurdles for the march. The containers will start going away,” he added.

Khattak said that according to the agreement, the JUI-F will hold its rally at the Peshawar Mor ground. He refuted allegations that a deal has been reached between the government and the Rahbar Committee.

“No deal has taken place. We are democratic people. This is not like NRO. That happens when someone does something bad,” he said.

In a separate statement to the press, Akram Durrani confirmed that the participants of the Azadi March “will not enter the Red Zone” of Islamabad.

“All 11 of the committee’s members are in agreement over the fact that the protesters will not enter the Red Zone,” he said.

Durrani said the protest march will be held “on a road” and “won’t be prolonged”. “We will make further decisions as and when appropriate.”

He reiterated the party’s demands, namely, the prime minister’s resignation, fresh elections, no interference from the military, and the protection of clauses pertaining to Islam within the constitution.

Durrani also called for NAB to release all political prisoners.

He rejected the ban on ‘Ansar-ul-Islam’, the “militant” wing of the JUI-F. “All parties have such wings and it is beyond my understanding why this one was banned.”

The JUI-F leader insisted that the march will be “peaceful” and called on the government “to open all pathways and roads in the face of an existing threat to the law and order in the country”.

He said that the caravans of protesters from the southern districts as well as North and South Waziristan will be personally led by him.

Durrani expressed confidence that the marchers will be given a warm welcome by all districts that they pass through and said that people from Peshawar, Nowshera and other southern areas will join the caravan. He said that caravans from Chitral and the adjoining areas will take the Karakoram Highway.

According to the agreement, the government will not stand in the protesters’ way and “neither will the participants face any difficulty in getting food delivered”.

The participants will not be allowed to venture far from the designated venue. Another condition is that the responsibility of the internal security will lie with the organisers.

The organisers will be required to submit to the Islamabad administration a written affidavit guaranteeing that all conditions will be met.

It was further outlined that in the event of a violation of the terms and conditions and of damage to lives or property, the relevant action as per the law will be taken.


JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman himself will “lead the Azadi March caravan in Karachi at 10am on October 27”, a statement issued by the party on Thursday had said.

The caravan will proceed to the Superhighway (M9) after smaller demonstrations will depart from the city’s six districts and gather at Sohrab Goth, according to the statement.

The Azadi March will officially begin “after an address by Maulana Fazl at Sohrab Goth” to show solidarity with the people of India-occupied Kashmir, the party had said in the statement.

Senior JUI-F leaders have been busy finalising arrangements, which largely include hiring of buses and other vehicles. A senior party member said that the number of buses had already crossed 400.

At present, Sindh emerges as the only province where the JUI-F finds a favourable atmosphere to launch its journey towards Islamabad after the remaining three “pro-Centre” provincial governments announced measures that do not sound promising for the right-wing opposition party.

Full report at:



Pakistan Army says has killed over 60 Indian troops since Feb 27

October 27, 2019

RAWALPINDI: Chief military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor on Saturday said the Pakistan Army has killed more than 60 Indian soldiers during firing at the Line of Control (LoC) since February 27.

On February 27, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) had shot down two Indian aircraft which had violated Pakistani airspace. An Indian pilot was also arrested but he was later released by Pakistan as a goodwill gesture.

Tweeting from his personal account, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Ghafoor said many Indian troops were also injured and their bunkers destroyed by Pakistani forces since the February tit-for-tat airstrikes.

“Artillery gun positions also damaged [and troops] forced to relocate,” he wrote.

Asif Ghafoor


Since 27 Feb 19 Pak Army has killed over 60 Indian soldiers on LOC besides injuring many & destroying their bunkers. Artillery gun positions also damaged forced to relocate. 2 IAF Jets shot down by PAF, 2 helis met fratricide under fear. Indian Navy under deterrence.#CostForCDS


1:05 PM - Oct 26, 2019

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The head of the army’s media wing noted that since February the PAF had downed two Indian Air Force jets, two Indian helicopters had “met fratricide under fear” and the Indian navy was “under deterrence”.

Ghafoor’s tweeted was accompanied by the hashtag #CostForCDS.

On Friday, the ISPR had said that Indian army chief Bipin Rawat with “irresponsible statements” and “blood of innocents on his hand” seeks to become India’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).

CDS is a proposed position for the combined head of the Indian army, Indian air force and Indian navy. The creation of the post was announced by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his independence day speech in August.


The ISPR had accused Gen Rawat of converting the Indian army into a “rogue force” and wasting lives of his men because of his reckless command and for the attainment of personal ambitions.

The tweets came in response to Gen Rawat’s latest comments at a lecture in which he alleged that Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan were controlled by “terrorists”.

The Indian army chief’s statement came days after Pakistan exposed his claims of having neutralised three “terror launch pads” in Azad Kashmir in heavy artillery strikes in the early hours of Sunday. The Foreign Office and Army later took a group of 23 foreign diplomats and media to the areas hit by Indian shelling to show that India had actually targeted civilian population instead of the claimed “terror launch pads”.

Indian High Commission representatives had been invited to the trip, but they stayed away.

Moreover, Indian authorities did not even provide the coordinates of the terrorist targets they claim to have destroyed.

The Indian army chief has made a number of careless statements on Pakistan in the past also, which served to escalate tensions between the two countries.

Full report at:



Imran Khan’s authoritarian recipe spells disaster for economy

By Ali Salman Andani

October 26, 2019

The situation within Pakistan’s border is worsening with every passing day. It seems that after slow-poisoning the democracy for the last 72 years, now is the time for this ‘almost failed state’ to taste the consequences of it. A stark warning from Financial Action Task Force on October 18, 2019, must have caused great damage to the morale of Imran Khan administration and to the major stakeholders–after all, when you see your greatest strategy getting exposed on the international stage but you can’t react to that properly is indeed frustrating in many ways.

Warnings won’t work.

But the FATF could have done more to ensure that the country like Pakistan would consider taking some reasonable action against the terror groups that are operating freely and fearlessly on its soil to organize and sponsor cross border terrorist activities. See, if Pakistan ‘wanted’ to address this issue properly, it would have done that long ago after it was placed on the grey list last year. Unfortunately, it didn’t do anything to address such an important issue. I believe that the Task Force is just wasting its time if it still expects from the government of Pakistan to voluntarily apply strict targeted financial sanctions on individuals, organizations and institutions involved in money laundering and terror financing violations till the latest February 2020 deadline.

Here is the rule of thumb: You hit its bad image and it won’t take it seriously; you hit its crippling economy hard and they will act responsibly.

Sanctions on Pakistan’s financial institutions, I believe, will force the country to fulfil its obligations towards the protection of the international financial system. Now it’s crystal clear that a $10 billion annual loss to its economy as a result of being there on the grey list wasn’t enough to push it to cooperate like a responsible nation-state. I’m indeed not talking about taking strict measures (as we observe in the case of North Korea and Iran), but at least on this stage, the Pakistani government must be given a taste of real financial sanctions, ranging from having weak to medium intensities.

Say, if the banks in Pakistan would have experienced a bit of dither and delay in getting its customers’ international transactions processed owing to the time required to scrutinize them at the intermediary institution level, the government would get a taste of the possible consequences of noncooperation. This way the Task Force would have seen positive results during 3-4 month period ahead of the February 2020 deadline.

For countries like Pakistan, there must be a level between black and grey lists. I still don’t see Pakistan on the list of High-Risk Monitored Jurisdictions (Black List) after February deadline. Its ties with the major world powers are still normal due to its important geostrategic location; to a certain degree owing to its nuclear-armed status among Islamic countries, and very importantly, the country will never hesitate to provide huge favours in return for mere candies, after all, Turkey seems to be quite interested in acquiring nuclear weapons, and China has her eyes on Gwadar port and Reqo Diq gold and copper mines –by the way, Saudi Arabia is also interested in the later. So when it comes to securing votes to avoid getting blacklisted, Pakistan could find the assistance of its ‘so-called friends’ and/or an ‘all-weather friend’ and/or a couple of ‘Islamic Brethren states’.

Stop lying about the economy, Mr Khan!

On Saturday last week in yet another deliberate attempt to mislead his countrymen and the world, Prime Minister Imran Khan posted some incomplete and meaningless statistics about foreign investment and current account deficit of Pakistan, and called it an economic turnaround! A 111.5% increase in foreign direct investment in September 2019 as compared to the corresponding month last year (September 2018) could be attributed largely to the $224.6 million in licence renewal fees paid by the Norwegian multinational telecommunication company Telenor that was issued to it fifteen years ago. The total FDI in September 2019 without Telenor’s licence renewal fee inflow actually reduced by almost 12% compared to the corresponding month last year.

Direct investment from China reduced by almost 70% in the first quarter of 2020 (July 2019-September 2019) fiscal year as compared to the same period of the fiscal year 2019. The truth is, since the puppet has been selected as the Prime Minister of the unfortunate 72-year South Asian country, there’s been an overall trend decrease in the direct investment (month-on-month). No sensible human being would see an increasing trend in FDI since Mr Incompetent has been brought to power.

Mr Khan, it’s just hot money coming in after the State Bank of Pakistan announced lately in its September Monetary Policy Statement that it has no intention to change its policy rate, that is 13.25%, for the next two months. And for that reason, public portfolio investment rose 253.2% in the month of September 2019 as compared to the previous month.

The difference in public portfolio investment is humongous when we compare the first quarter of FY 2020 to the same quarter of FY 2019. A sane individual could observe a 321,700 % rise in the short-term Public Portfolio Investment (investment in government’s debt securities) in the first quarter of the fiscal year 2020 as compared to the corresponding quarter last year.

Total quarter to quarter change (Q1: FY19 and Q1: FY20) in total foreign investment – that is 137% – is mainly a result of an increase in public portfolio investment from $0.1 million to $321.8 million.

Mr Khan, the quicker this hot money filters through the economy, the faster it leaves it. It leaves behind it an economy with greater uncertainty and instability than before. And if one properly scrutinizes your government’s FY20 national budget, it can certainly be concluded that your government won’t spend this money on the country’s development. Your intentions are written on the wall. After all, there is a reason why your countrymen call you an autocrat! Furthermore, your incapable administration won’t be able to control the inflationary pressure if this hot money will continue to flow in at this pace, and of course, the deflationary spiral at its outflow when a public outcry will force you to do what you never expected in your life! Your country is standing on a verge of an economic collapse and you’re celebrating it.

The way Mr Incompetent’s administration is trying to reduce Pakistan’s current account deficit will hit the economic growth hard in both the short and long term. Imports dropped down by 22.7% in the first quarter of FY20 as compared to the corresponding quarter of last fiscal year. Exports have risen by just 2.37% during the same interval. Large Scale Manufacturing is plunging, and the primary reason for this reduction is high-interest rates, increased taxation and rupee’s sharp devaluation against the dollar that resulted in the fall of aggregate demand for the imported raw materials. With no local substitute of these raw materials, large scale manufacturing sector is suffering since the Khan administration has taken charge. It will eventually skyrocket the unemployment rate and deteriorate the aggregate consumption and thus the aggregate real output.

Azadi March, food Insecurity & a revolution.

Imran Khan can be seen begging on his knees in front of Maulana Fazlur Rehman –the President of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam– as he seems all set to hold a nationwide rally –Azadi March (Independent March)– against Khan’s administration on October 31, 2019.

Maulana is quite clear about his party’s demands. He wants Imran Khan to resign from the Prime Minister’s office and the Parliament to be dissolved so that free and fair elections could be held eventually. He believes that Imran Khan has no real mandate to form a government –in short, Imran Khan is a puppet and the 2018 General Election was a ‘fixed match’. In his view, Khan administration is a bunch of highly incompetent lunatics and is responsible for the ongoing economic crisis. Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz and many other opposition parties are standing shoulder to shoulder with Moulana.

I see the country moving towards a serious food insecurity level. Food security requires both the availability plus affordability of fresh nutritious food. Food prices in the first quarter of FY20 have increased by 15% as compared to the same quarter of last fiscal year. In the same quarter of Nawaz Sharif’s government’s last year (FY18), the food prices got increased by just 1.3% as compared to the same quarter of FY17.

Asian Development Bank’s 2015 data shows that 24.3% of the total population of Pakistan lives below the poverty line. I strongly believe that today this figure must be more than that. Government of Pakistan has still not published 2019 figures. If the figure is close to 30%, let’s suppose, just imagine what must be the total percentage of the population living on the poverty line!

Effects of a 15% rise in food prices would be reinforced by the standstill in the manufacturing sector as it will result in more unemployment. Food insecurity is a real issue, and if it won’t be addressed properly, no doubt, Mr Imran Khan –the Puppet– will witness a Hong Kong, Lebanon, Iraq, Chile, Egypt or Venezuela like uprisings.

Nawaz Sharif has been allegedly poisoned in the jail. His medical condition is extremely serious. The former democratically elected Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif is suffering from acute immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), a bleeding disorder in which the immune system destroys platelets.

Full report at:



Govt, opposition strike deal; 'Azadi March' to be held away from Islamabad's Red Zone

Javed Hussain | Shakeel Qarar

October 26, 2019

The government and opposition, after an earlier deadlock, on Saturday night inked a deal whereby the terms and conditions of the anti-government 'Azadi March' were chalked out.

The foremost development, which had remained a sticking point in the meeting held a day earlier between the two sides, was the agreement of a venue. The protest, it was decided, will be held in Islamabad's H-9 area, in the Sunday bazaar grounds.

In a press conference, the head of the government's negotiation committee, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak reiterated Prime Minister Imran Khan's promise that the participants will "see no obstacles" from the government as long as the protest is peaceful. According to the agreement, the government will not stand in the protesters' way and "neither will the participants face any difficulty in getting food delivered".

The participants will not be allowed to venture far from the designated venue. Another condition is that the responsibility of the internal security will lie with the organisers.

The organisers will be required to submit to the Islamabad administration a written affidavit guaranteeing that all conditions will be met.

It was further outlined that in the event of a violation of the terms and conditions and of damage to lives or property, the relevant action as per the law will be taken.

Earlier on Saturday evening, JUI-F leader and head of the opposition Rehbar Committee Akram Khan Durrani had announced that the participants of the anti-government 'Azadi March' "will not enter the Red Zone" of Islamabad.

"All 11 of the committee's members are in agreement over the fact that the protesters will not enter the Red Zone," he had said.

Durrani had said the protest march will "not be prolonged". "We will make further decisions as and when appropriate."

He had reiterated the party's demands, namely, the prime minister's resignation, fresh elections, no interference from the military, and the protection of clauses pertaining to Islam within the Constitution.

He had also called for NAB to release all political prisoners.

He had rejected the ban on ‘Ansar-ul-Islam’, the "militant" wing of the JUI-F. "All parties have such wings and it is beyond my understanding why this one was banned."

The JUI-F leader had insisted that the march will be "peaceful" and called on the government "to open all pathways and roads in the face of an existing threat to the law and order in the country".

He had said that the caravans of protesters from the southern districts as well as North and South Waziristan will be personally led by him.

Durrani had expressed confidence that the marchers will be given a warm welcome by all districts that they pass through and said that people from Peshawar, Nowshera and other southern areas will join the caravan.

He had said that caravans from Chitral and the adjoining areas will take the Karakoram Highway.

'Azadi March' to kick off in Karachi tomorrow

JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman himself will "lead the Azadi March caravan in Karachi at 10am on October 27", a statement issued by the party on Thursday had said.

The caravan will proceed to the Superhighway (M9) after smaller demonstrations will depart from the city's six districts and gather at Sohrab Goth, according to the statement.

The Azadi March will officially begin "after an address by Maulana Fazlur Rehman at Sohrab Goth" to show solidarity with the people of India-occupied Kashmir, the party had said in the statement.

Senior JUI-F leaders have been busy finalising arrangements, which largely include hiring of buses and other vehicles. A senior party member said that the number of buses had already crossed 400.

At present, Sindh emerges as the only province where the JUI-F finds a favourable atmosphere to launch its journey towards Islamabad after the remaining three “pro-Centre” provincial governments announced measures that do not sound promising for the right-wing opposition party.

According to a no objection certificate (NOC) issued by the office of the deputy commissioner of Karachi's East zone, permission has been granted to JUI-F leader Maulana Fatehullah, for the party to hold a rally adjacent to Super Highway, near Total petrol pump in Sohrab Goth.

The permission has been granted subject to the following conditions:

No secetarian speeches/objectionable activity which can create hatred among various sects.

No display of arms, sticks, or batons, or any article of such nature.

Use of sound amplifying devices will be subject to the West Pakistan Amplifier Ordinance 1965.

No road obstruction or disturbance to the general public and traffic.

The organiser will be responsible for any harm or damage caused to any person or property during the event.

The organiser is solely responsible for any mishap and will have to face the consequences.

The internal security of the programme is the responsibility of the organisers.

The applicant will abide by the orders of the administration and other law enforcing agencies.

The organiser shall be responsible for ensuring timings are strictly adhered to and that the situation remains normal.

The violation of this permit shall be seriously viewed and action taken within the relevant laws.

Full report at:



North America


US meets China, Russia and Pakistan to talk Afghan peace

26 October 2019

Representatives of Russia, China, the US and Pakistan have agreed that negotiation is the only road to peace in Afghanistan, including an early resumption of direct US talks with the Taliban.

The day-long talks in Moscow on Friday came ahead of an intra-Afghan dialogue to be hosted by China. The Beijing talks, which initially were to be held next week, have been postponed, according to officials familiar with the talks. Speaking on condition they not be identified because of they were not authorized to talk about the subject, they said the postponement would be brief but no new date was given.

When the China talks take place, they will be the first face-to-face discussions between Afghan warring sides since July. Even President Ashraf Ghani, who has objected to any talks not led by his government, said late Friday that he would send representatives.

There has been no official announcement of a postponement, but previous intra-Afghan talks have been delayed while both sides squabbled over participants.

Earlier on Friday, a government official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity for the same reason, had said Ghani was opposed to participation in the talks.

It wasn’t clear what changed Ghani’s mind or whether he had requested a postponement, but a number of prominent Afghans from Kabul are expected to attend the China meeting, including former President Hamid Karzai, who has been a strong proponent of direct talks with the Taliban. He participated in earlier sessions of talks with the Taliban held in Moscow.

The Taliban delegation to China will be led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, co-founder of the movement, who spent eight years in a Pakistani jail after he secretly opened peace talks in 2010 with Karzai, who was president at the time. Baradar was arrested in a joint American CIA and Pakistani anti-terrorism agency operation. Neither Pakistan nor the US were ready for peace talks with the Taliban in 2010, Karzai previously told The Associated Press.

The Taliban are the strongest they have been since being ousted in 2001 by a US-led coalition holding sway in nearly 50 percent of the country.

In a draft statement released at the end of Friday’s meeting in Moscow, China, Russia and Pakistan called on Washington to return to the negotiation table with the Taliban and sign an agreement that will set the stage for Afghans on both sides of the protracted conflict to start face-to-face negotiations on what a post-war Afghanistan would look like.

After nearly a year of direct talks, US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad had all but signed a peace deal with the Taliban until President Donald Trump in September declared the talks dead after a series of Taliban attacks killed several people, including a US soldier.

It’s not clear what it would take for Trump to agree to restart talks, but the US president has insisted he wants American troops out of Afghanistan and an end to American involvement in what has become their longest military engagement.

Trump has vowed at recent rallies to make good on his 2016 campaign promise to end American involvement in what he has described as endless wars, including Afghanistan, generating fears among some observers of a surprise tweet suddenly ordering troops home.

Friday’s statement called for a reduction in violence, which some observers say might convince Trump to agree to renewed talks.

The United Nations, however, earlier this month called for all sides to reduce their attacks, which have caused more than 8,000 civilian casualties so far this year. The casualties have been caused by all sides in the conflict, including stepped-up US airstrikes in combat operations.

The representatives, which have met previously, agreed to meet again.



US troop deployment to Syria oil field ‘recruiting tool for Daesh’: Analyst

Oct 26, 2019

US President Donald Trump’s decision to deploy more troops to northeastern Syria to allegedly protect oil fields and keep them from falling into the hands of the Daesh terrorist group is a “failed policy,” an American political commentator says, arguing that the measure was adopted under pressure following Washington’s abrupt withdrawal of troops from the region and would serve as “recruiting tool” for the Takfiri outfit.

Daniel McAdams, the executive director of the Ron Paul Institute, made the remark during a Friday edition of PressTV’s The Debate program while commenting on Trump’s approval of a new plan to keep 500 American troops in northeastern Syria in order to help the US’s Kurdish allies retain control of oil fields.

The US president indicated on Thursday his desire to protect the oil fields, saying in a tweet that, “We will NEVER let a reconstituted ISIS (Daesh) have those fields!”

“He was under universal pressure by the Democratic party and by his own allies in the Republican party, many of whom broke away and voted for a resolution condemning the US exit from Syria although none of them were clamoring to vote when [former] President [Barack] Obama took the US into Syria in an unconstitutional and illegal manner,” McAdams said of Trump.

“President Trump has surrounded himself with foreign policy advisors who do not share his view that having a global US military empire is detrimental toward economic and moral health,” the political analyst said. “He’ll get himself in trouble, he looks like a flip-flopper and now instead of taking troops out of Syria and finally ending Obama’s idiotic regime change policy he is doubling down on a bad bad and he looks foolish in the process.”

Describing the decision as “absurd,” McAdams added: “The US occupation in the Middle East is really a magnet, it’s a recruiting tool for ISIS (Daesh)… So, any occupation of any country is never a force for stabilization, it’s a force for destabilization, history tells us that.”

Michael Lane, founder of American institute for foreign policy in Washington DC, was the other panelist invited to The Debate program, who backed the US decision to deploy troops in northeastern Syria, claiming that the measure would serve the world’s interests.

“The fact is that the United States does have critical interests at stake,” Lane said.

“The entire Middle East region is the world’s critical supplier of energy to the world and that needs to be a stable environment so that energy can flow to world markets. When you have destabilization that occurs as a result of power vacuum and you have groups like ISIS being able to reconstitute and reform themselves and to threaten the stability of the region then it’s not only the United States’ interests but the world’s interests that are at stake. So, anything we can do to continue to the maintenance of stable relations among the various parties in the area is a good thing for the world and good thing for the region,” he added.

In a major U-turn in US military policy, the White House announced on October 6 that the US would be withdrawing its forces from northeastern Syria, clearing the path for an expected Turkish incursion into the region.

Three days later, Turkey launched the offensive with the aim of purging the northern Syrian regions near its border of US-backed Kurdish militants, whom it views as terrorists linked to local autonomy-seeking militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The Kurdish-led administration in northeastern Syria says the Turkish offensive has killed 218 civilians, including 18 children, since its outset. The fighting has also wounded more than 650 people.

On October 17, following meetings between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US Vice President Mike Pence, Ankara agreed to pause" the assault for five days allowing Kurdish fighters to withdraw from a determined "safe zone" north of Syria.

Pence told reporters on the same day that Ankara’s incursion "will be halted entirely on completion" of the withdrawal of the fighters.

Trump called the ceasefire a "major breakthrough" and said he didn't want the US troops caught in the middle of a Turkish-Kurdish fight.

Full report at:



Turkish opposition party slams US stance on terror head

Ali Murat Alhas 


A Turkish opposition party leader on Saturday blasted U.S. praise for the leader of a terrorist group Turkey has targeted in its anti-terror operation in northern Syria.

“It is shameful, illegal and despicable that an allied country [U.S.] shows favors and appreciates a murderer [Ferhat Abdi Sahin] sought with [an Interpol] red notice,” said Devlet Bahceli, leader of the Nationalist Movement (MHP).

Bahceli was referring to U.S. praise for Ferhat Abdi Sahin, or Mazloum Kobani, leader of the YPG/PKK, the Syrian offshoot of the terrorist group PKK.

Speaking at his party’s headquarters in Ankara, Bahceli went on to say that Turkey is not at a stage where it will question its alliance with Western countries, some of whom have raised objections to its counter-terrorism operation in northern Syria.

Earlier this week, U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Chris Van Hollen asked the U.S. State Department to issue Sahin a visa so he could visit Washington.

U.S. President Donald Trump has spoken highly of Sahin on Twitter, saying: "I look forward to seeing you."

This attitude was criticized by senior Turkish officials, saying as Sahin is a terrorist wanted with a red notice he should be treated accordingly in line with Ankara’s agreements with Washington.

At the direction of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul Friday said Turkey would get in touch with U.S. officials about the terrorist’s extradition if he sets foot on U.S. soil.

Full report at:



Southeast Asia


For Uighur Muslims in China, Life Keeps Getting Harder


OCTOBER 26, 2019

Over the past several years, Chinese repression of ethnic Uighurs has become increasingly harsh. From sending them to detention camps in remote places to tracking the activities of their global diaspora, Beijing is making it more and more difficult for members of the predominantly Muslim minority to simply exist. With the plight of Uighurs again in the news after a member of the community, Ilham Tohti, won the European Parliament’s top human rights prize for his activism, Foreign Policy has collected its top reads on the subject.

At the beginning of the year, news that four Chinese provinces had removed their halal food standards dominated headlines on the subject. It was “a move heralded by government officials as fighting a fictional pan-halal trend under which Muslim influence was supposedly spreading into secular life,” wrote Foreign Policy’s James Palmer in January. The decision came as China also closed several mosques across the country, sparking protests.

This campaign against the Uighurs, explained an academic writing under the pseudonym Liwei Wu, is part of an effort to Sinicize not just the Uighur community, but other Muslim groups as well. In January, the author wrote, China even released an explicit five-year plan for doing so amid other efforts to limit religious freedoms across the country, including through “re-education camps for as many as a million Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang province, demolition threats for a Hui Muslim mosque in Ningxia, and the closing of Protestant ‘mega-house churches’ in Beijing, Chengdu, and Guangzhou.”

For a long time, China denied that the reeducation camps even existed (according to some estimates, they house 1.5 million detainees). In the last few years, though, it has started to publicly defend them. As Nur Iman, a Uighur whose family was detained in one camp, wrote, China describes them “as ‘reeducation’ camps focused on potential terrorists or job training and takes carefully selected groups on Potemkin tours to visit them,” although the jailed Uighurs’ connection to terrorism is dubious.

After acknowledging the camps’ existence last fall, China also started letting some detainees out of them. But “this so-called ‘letting out’ has rarely meant real freedom, however,” noted writer Gene Bunin, “with the ex-detainees typically being shunted into other forms of the carceral network that China has built to contain the people of Xinjiang.” Indeed, “for most of the released, the freedom obtained is only partial at best. While a large number have been placed under what appears to be surveilled house arrest, some of the documented releases were let out only to be transferred to factories or other compulsory labor.”

For her part, Iman is still waiting for news of her family. “In July,” she noted, “an official claimed that ‘most people’ had been released from the camps.” But, she continues, “if most people have been released, then I would like to ask China this question: Where are my parents?”

Iman lives in the United States, but Uighurs in China are starting to raise similar questions—a very dangerous proposition. Over the summer, Foreign Policy’s Amy Mackinnon described one such act of defiance, in which social-media users post videos to the app Douyin: “A young woman in pink lipstick leans in to adjust the camera, but as she gives a nervous smile, a tear rolls down her cheek. Behind her is a photograph of two men, thought to be relatives who have disappeared into the vast system of internment camps in China’s Xinjiang region. While she doesn’t say a word in the 15-second video clip, it is a powerful statement of defiance in one of the most heavily surveilled places on Earth.”

For some Uighurs, the pressure is too much. According to the journalist Simina Mistreanu, “in the past few years, more and more Uighurs, a minority who speak a Turkic language and call Xinjiang home, have moved to Turkey as they flee an assimilation campaign led by Beijing.” In Turkey, they are working to preserve their culture as best they can: “In Zeytinburnu, Uighurs have rebuilt some of what has been erased from Xinjiang. Uighur restaurants serve slippery noodles in rooms adorned with symbols of their ancient culture, such as wall carpets depicting the now silent Id Kah Mosque or a famous painting of a Uighur musical ensemble. Women wearing headscarves shop at fragrant fruit and vegetable stands wrapped around street corners, while children play football in the cobblestone streets.” But the threat of spies reporting their activity back to China still looms large in the minds of many of immigrants.

Throughout it all, the rest of the world has largely looked on. This fall, the U.S. Senate did pass a bill to urge U.S. President Donald Trump to respond to the repression. But, as Wilson Center fellow Bradley Jardine argued, the act “is a positive step, but it won’t reverse decades of inconsistent U.S. policy in Central Asia.” In fact, after 9/11, the United States generally accepted the idea that Uighurs were terrorists. It even held 22 at Guantánamo Bay—a move, Jardine wrote, that is “now widely seen as a mistake.”

Muslim leaders around the world are doing no better when it comes to the plight of the Uighurs. For example, “when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the self-styled defender of Muslims worldwide, visited China” in July, writes research professor Azeem Ibrahim, “state media reported that he said all the people in Xinjiang were ‘living happily’ there, thanks to China’s general upward economic trajectory.” Similar sentiments prevail, he said, in Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and others. Ironically, he concluded, it may be that “Trump’s administration has been the most robust in its censure of Beijing over its treatment of the Uighurs.”

For Uighurs around the world, there is little recourse. In a profile of four brothers stranded in Kazakhstan, Nathan Thompson put the plight of these Muslim minorities into sharp relief. “The four of them are staying with distant relatives, a couple and their three children, in little more than a hovel on the edge of Nur-Sultan, the capital of Kazakhstan. They have a single stove to heat the place during winter when temperatures drop to minus 58 degrees Fahrenheit.” Their parents disappeared in China, and they have no idea where they are. “‘It’s difficult to be a Kazakh in China,’ [the oldest] started before falling silent, staring at his hands, pressed tightly together. I asked if he wanted to continue. He inhaled deeply and then said: ‘I’m afraid for my parents who are still in China … but I still want this article to be written because the situation over there is getting worse and worse.’”



Pro-China comic book spells trouble for activist in Malaysia

October 27, 2019

KUALA LUMPUR • These are turbulent times for "Superman", as Mr Hew Kuan Yau is often called.

The Malaysian firebrand activist famous for his coarse oratory and left-leaning views was last Thursday called in for the third time by the police to be questioned about his controversial comic book.

Mr Hew was not wearing his trademark Superman T-shirt, and seemed rather sober as he stopped to speak to reporters. He told the media that he had been on a fast since Tuesday so that he can better reflect on what has happened.

It has been a crash landing for Mr Hew, who was a superstar on the campaign stage of the Democratic Action Party (DAP) during the general election and who had been flying high since then.

But his comic book has had very few people amused. Instead, it left a number of ministers red-faced, riled up communal feelings and has put DAP in a tight spot.

The book, published earlier this year, was a decidedly pro-Beijing look at China's policies, including its handling of the issue of the country's minority Muslim Uighur community, plus a highly partisan sprinkling of Malaysia's politics.

The book also carried a foreword by Mr Lim Guan Eng in his capacity as Finance Minister and DAP secretary-general.

However, all that might have passed without much fanfare had Mr Hew not used his DAP connections in the Education Ministry to distribute the Bahasa Malaysia version of the book to more than 2,000 schools.

A photograph of Mr Hew and Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching posing with copies of the book has been circulating through cyberspace.

It was what some have described as a "big blunder" to try and disseminate political literature in Malaysia's schools. Some even linked it to spreading China's communist ideas in schools.

But it was not until Bossku, that is, former premier Najib Razak highlighted it on his Facebook page that everything blew up.

That was when the government realised that the comic book was one of the "mementos" Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad had presented to Chinese President Xi Jinping when they met in April.

Leaders of the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) often try to ignore what Najib says on Facebook, but they could not ignore this one and there was an immediate scramble to do damage control.

The Education Ministry withdrew the book from schools, the Prime Minister's Office distanced itself from it, and the Home Ministry ordered an investigation.

Mr Hew initially tried to defend the publication but he could sense the enormity of the issue and deactivated his Facebook page last Tuesday. On Thursday, he resigned as chief executive officer of the Malaysia-China Business Council because his position was no longer tenable.

The appointment had been widely seen as a reward for his role in the general election campaign but the comic book issue has now called into question his sense of judgment and understanding of government and power.

"He is supposed to be the bridge between Malaysia and China but the issue has affected his credibility as the representative for Malaysia," said a Penang lawyer.

Mr Hew's appointment to the council had raised eyebrows, because he got into trouble and had to resign from the DAP a few years ago for declaring that the South China Sea belongs to China.

The future of the state-funded Asia Comic Culture Museum in Penang, of which Mr Hew is CEO, is also in the balance.

Mr Hew is known as an ideologue. He is also some sort of Chinese influencer - his Facebook account had some 400,000 followers - and top DAP leaders try not to offend him for fear of being attacked by him.

The comic book fiasco could not have happened at a worse time for PH - race tensions are at their worst in years, while relations between DAP and Tun Dr Mahathir's Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia have deteriorated to the point where politicians openly criticise each other's party.

There has been a deafening silence on the part of top DAP leaders, leaving the impression that Mr Hew has been hung out to dry.

"DAP used him to campaign from coast to coast in the general election. He helped DAP to win big, but now they are giving him the cold treatment. It is ethically wrong for DAP to disown him like this," said former DAP parliamentarian Jeff Ooi.

Only a few leaders of the DAP youth wing have come forward to lend Mr Hew moral support.

Mr Hew told the Chinese vernacular press: "Some (leaders) send their best wishes, some cut off from me. It has made me learn more about human nature and see everything more clearly."

He also borrowed a saying from the Han Dynasty, alluding to a sword dance where the sword is pointed at one man but is actually meant for another.

The thing about politics is that people tend to remember the bad rather than the good things, and Mr Hew's reputation for using vile language at political rallies has returned to haunt him at his most vulnerable moment.

Some in the DAP disapprove of his style and had frowned on what they saw as "showing off" on his social media postings.

"Everything he does, he uploads on Facebook - from trips to China to sightseeing and even when somebody sponsors a TV set for his office," said a DAP politician from Selangor.

Mr Ooi, meanwhile, senses some power play with the DAP smack in the centre of it all.

Full report at:



Uniting Malaysians? How about tackling poverty first, forum told

Saturday, 26 Oct 2019


BANGI, Oct 26 — Panelists at the nation building seminar have identified several aspects that both the government and Malaysian citizens needed to acknowledge if it wanted to achieve a united nation.

In a forum titled “Nation Building: The Challenges, Direction and Future”, one of the panelists Mohd Parid Sheikh Ahmad, said the government needed to focus on solving everyday issues faced by the people — poverty and the rakyat’s hardships — before preaching about  how to improve unity among Malaysians.

“The government needs to address things like poverty. How do you expect the people to listen to you with an empty stomach?

“These issues must be solved and only then the people will listen to talks of unity,” said Mohd Parid who is president of Muslim NGO IKRAM.

He added that, focusing on things like “‘uniting the ummah” is not enough.

“Malaysians need to be open minded and progressive.

“We may be ideals, but we need to understand the problems faced by the people today,” he added.

Professor Dr Suresh Kumar P. Govind, a Parasitologist from Universiti Malaya (UM) said through his observations, there is a lot of unwillingness to talk things out and to try to understand each other’s race and religion.

“The ‘semangat bangsa Malaysia’ of ‘Malaysian spirit’ cannot exist if we don’t want to understand each other,” he said.

Dr Suresh also said, problems related to disunity stemmed from one’s mindset.

“When the mindset isn’t right, whatever aspect we think of will not be right,” he said.

He also said that Malaysians have a “syndrome” called the “cicak syndrome” or “lizard syndrome” (the sound made by a lizard).

“Among medical professionals we have this syndrome — the ‘cicak syndrome’.  The sound that lizards make is similar to a reaction often given when you express sympathy.

“Malaysians often express sympathy, it is very easy to do so, but they are not doing anything to help because they don’t have enough empathy.

“They only want to look at a problem from afar, and say ‘very kesian’ or ‘so pitiful’. Malaysia cannot progress if its people only look at situations from afar,” explained Dr Suresh.

Bersih 2.0 steering committee chairman Thomas Fann on the other hand highlighted that the country is in need of a system where all voices are represented and accounted for.

“Right now, although we practice democracy system, but it is still not perfect.

“Not all races have a voice. We need to find a system where it takes into account all voices of all races,” he said.

Another panelist Malaysian Youth Council secretary-general Atiqah Syairah Shaharuddin said, the youths are the future and that communities must place this as a priority to educate the youth.

“Right now, youths are only associated with social problems. They need to be associated with definitions that place them as important figures who will one day lead the country,” she said.

Full report at:



Former UM student body leader denies DAP links

October 25, 2019

PETALING JAYA: The Universiti Malaya graduate who sparked controversy after carrying out a lone protest during his convocation has denied claims the student body he once headed was linked to the DAP.

Former University of Malaya Association of New Youth (Umany) president Wong Yan Ke said none of its members have joined political parties, including the DAP.

Wong said the association had, in fact, spoken out against the government and opposition on a number of topics, including the minimum wage and the budget cuts for universities.

“Just because there are those who do not share your view, it does not make them DAP members,” he said in a statement.

Earlier today, Gabungan Mahasiswa Islam Se-Malaysia (Gamis) president Muhammad Ikhwan Nasyriq Salahin claimed during a gathering to support embattled Universiti Malaya vice-chancellor Abdul Rahim Hashim that Umany had ties with the DAP.

Wong also expressed regret that one of the participants at today’s gathering was arrested by police even though it was a peaceful event.

“I urge the police to release the student immediately and respect the right to assemble and speech,” he said.

Wong sparked controversy when he carried a placard on stage after he received his scroll to protest against Rahim, saying he had shamed the university when it co-organised the Malay Dignity Congress on Oct 6.

Full report at:





Erdogan should be prosecuted over Syrian offensive: former UN investigator

October 26, 2019

ZURICH: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan should be investigated and indicted for war crimes over his country’s military offensive in Syria, former prosecutor and UN investigator Carla del Ponte said in an interview published on Saturday.

Del Ponte, a former member of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria, said Turkey’s intervention had broken international law and had reignited the conflict in Syria.

Ankara says its incursion — launched after US troops withdrew from the Syrian-Turkish border area — solely targeted the Kurdish YPG militia, which it regards as terrorists linked to Kurdish insurgents operating in southeast Turkey.

“For Erdogan to be able to invade Syrian territory to destroy the Kurds is unbelievable,” said del Ponte, a former Swiss attorney general who prosecuted war crimes in Rwanda and former Yugoslavia.

“An investigation should be opened into him and he should be charged with war crimes. He should not be allowed to get away with this scot free,” she told the Swiss newspaper Schweiz am Wochenende in an interview.

Ankara halted its military offensive last week under a US-brokered cease-fire. Erdogan then negotiated an accord with Russian President Vladimir Putin whereby Syrian border guards and Russian military police began clearing the YPG from within 30 km (19 miles) of the Syrian-Turkish frontier.

From Tuesday Russian and Turkish forces will start to patrol a narrower, 10-km strip of land in northeast Syria where US troops had been deployed for years alongside their former Kurdish allies.

Turkey’s NATO allies, including the United States, have criticized its military incursion in northeast Syria, fearing it will undermine the fight against Daesh militants.

But del Ponte said European nations were reluctant to confront Turkey over its actions after Erdogan threatened to “open the gates” for refugees to head to Europe.

“Erdogan has the refugees as a bargaining chip,” she said.

Del Ponte joined the three-member Syria inquiry in September 2012, chronicling incidents such as chemical weapons attacks, a genocide against Iraq’s Yazidi population, siege tactics, and the bombing of aid convoys.

She quit in 2017, saying a lack of political backing from the UN Security Council made the job impossible.



Turkish FM: Germany’s proposal on the int’l safe zone in Syria is not realistic

26 October 2019

Turkey’s foreign minister said on Saturday that Ankara does not find Germany’s proposal on the international safe zone in Syria realistic.

Speaking at a joint news conference with his German counterpart Heiko Maas, Cavusoglu also said Turkey would not tolerate any human rights violations in northeast Syria and would investigate any allegations that they had taken place.

Full report at:



Iran closely watching developments in neighboring Iraq: Spokesman

Oct 26, 2019

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi says Tehran is closely watching the recent developments in neighboring Iraq, where scores of people have been killed or injured in clashes between security forces and protesters.

Mousavi said on Saturday that Iran deeply regretted the loss of lives as well as destruction of public properties during protests in Iraq, saying Tehran was confident that the Iraqi government and people would overcome the current crisis through unity and cohesion.

“Iran is following developments in Iraq with care and sensitivity,” said Mousavi in a statement covered in the official IRNA agency, adding that Iran supports demands of the Iraqi people as endorsed by the religious authorities as well as the government of the Arab country.

He said that Iran also regretted the fact that the popular demands for change in Iraq had been “confiscated” by certain groups.

The official said Iran had always offered its help to the “neighborly and brotherly” country of Iraq during sensitive periods of time, adding that Tehran’s policy since the fall of the former dictatorial regime in Iraq in 2003 has been to continuously remain supportive of the Iraqi government and nation.

The statement came as protests escalated in the Iraqi capital Baghdad and other cities with reports suggesting that at least 10 people had been killed in the violence on the streets on Saturday.

That brought the total number of those killed during a renewed wave of protests that began on Friday to 62 people, prompting calls on the government to refrain from violence and to start responding to the demands of the protesters.

The United Nations reacted to the escalation of violence, with UN’s Iraq Envoy Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert saying on Saturday that an escalated crackdown on protesters, as promised by the government, would not be tolerated.

In another major development, a powerful political bloc led by popular cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said that it would stage a sit-in the parliament until the demands of the protesters are met.

A spokesman of the Sairoun parliamentary bloc, the group which came first in the 2018 election, said on Saturday that it will go into political opposition in the House of Representatives.

The spokesman, speaking in a news conference in Baghdad, would not elaborate if ministers representing the bloc in the government of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi would resign.

Full report at:



Iran FM calls for end to killing of civilians, blockade of war-torn Yemen

Oct 26, 2019

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the ongoing crisis in Yemen should only be solved through political approaches, calling for an end to the killing of civilians and the Saudi-led blockade of the war-ravaged country.

The Iranian foreign minister made the remarks in a meeting with the spokesman of Yemen's Houthi Ansarullah movement, Mohammed Abdul-Salam, in Tehran on Saturday.

He expressed regret over the grave situation of the Yemeni people caused by the Saudi war against Yemen over the past five years and said the Islamic Republic is ready to dispatch humanitarian aid to the war-stricken country.

The top Iranian diplomat once again reiterated Tehran's support for the Yemeni-Yemeni talks and the establishment of a ceasefire in the country.

Javad Zarif


Met with Yemen’s Mohammad Abdul-Salam in Tehran today. Discussed range of issues, incl latest efforts to end the Saudi-led war & humanitarian catatastrophe.

There is only a political solution to this man-made calamity, and it can only be achieved with participation of all actors.

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10:17 PM - Oct 26, 2019

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Abdul-Salam, for his part, hailed Iran's support for the Yemeni people and briefed the Iranian foreign minister on the latest developments in Yemen, possible political ways to settle the ongoing crisis and the humanitarian situation in the country.

Back on October 13, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said a proper end to the ongoing war waged by Saudi Arabia and its allies on Yemen can have "positive" effects on the region, highlighting Iran's plan as a suitable solution to this crisis.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran has for a long time presented a four-point plan to end the war in Yemen," Ayatollah Khamenei said in a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in Tehran, adding, "The end of this war in the proper way can have positive effects on the region."

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing Ansarullah.

The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 91,000 lives over the past four and a half years.

Full report at:



Yemen’s Houthis, Saudi-sponsored militiamen exchange 7,000 prisoners: NCPA head

Oct 26, 2019

The head of Yemen’s National Committee for Prisoners Affairs (NCPA), Abdulqader al-Mortada, says the Houthi Ansarullah movement and Saudi-sponsored Yemeni militiamen loyal to Yemen's former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi have exchanged thousands of detainees.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Yemen’s official Saba news agency on Saturday, Mortada said tribal mediation efforts have succeeded in exchanging 7,000 prisoners between the two sides in 300 swaps, emphasizing that the United Nations has not contributed to the process at all.

He then blamed Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for obstructing prisoner swaps under an agreement reached during a round of UN-sponsored Yemeni peace negotiations in Sweden last year, arguing that the Riyadh regime is insisting on the release of Saudi troopers only.

“The UAE is concealing the fate of hundreds of our prisoners, and preventing many parties in southern (Yemeni) provinces from exchanging prisoners with us. Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, has dismissed all proposals put forward by the UN envoy (Martin Griffiths) and stopped many parties, particularly in Ma’rib and al-Jawf and Ta’izz, from conducting prisoner swaps with us,” Mortada commented.

The head of the Houthi-affiliated NCPA further highlighted that the fate of an estimated 15,000 people from both Saudi-backed Yemeni militia forces and the Houthis remains unclear, stating that they are believed to either have gone missing in action or have been kept as prisoners.

Ansarullah delegates and Hadi loyalists held a round of peace negotiations in Rimbo, north of the Swedish capital city of Stockholm, in December 2018. The talks resulted in the announcement of a break-through agreement.

The document included three provisions: a ceasefire along the Hudaydah front and the redeployment of armed forces out of the city and its port; an agreement on prisoner exchange; and a statement of understanding on the southern Yemeni city of Ta’izz.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of Hadi back to power and crushing Ansarullah.

The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 91,000  lives over the past four and a half years.

Full report at:





Kenya’s Grand Mosque hosts people of all faiths

Andrew Wasike  



The largest mosque in East Africa located in the heart of Kenya’s capital Nairobi hosted people of all faiths on Saturday.

The people were invited to the Jamia (Grand) Mosque to share their views in general discussions. They were also taken on a tour of the mosque, served with refreshments and they watched live Islamic prayers.

"It was a pleasure drinking tea with Muslim friends and having various discussions concerning everything about Kenya, this is the first time I have ever set foot inside a Mosque," Mary Teresa Wambui, a college student, told Anadolu Agency.

Esther Faith Njoki, an accountant by profession, said it was the "best opportunity for Kenyans to learn and understand Islam […] they [Muslims] are loving and peaceful people and today I witnessed that."

She urged other Kenyans to use the opportunity to meet new friends and learn more about their religion. "They share the same values with me," she added.

Abu Saleem, a Muslim businessman who frequently visits the mosque, for his part, said: "We are one people. My friends have always wished to understand Islam and wished to see activities in the Mosque. Today, I transported them to the mosque in my car."

Faisal Kasim, one of the organizers who was moderating at the event, told Anadolu Agency: "We welcome all our brothers and sisters from all faiths. Come learn about Islam, come and be my friend, let us share tea and mahamri [a form of fried bread] and pray together for our country."

Among those attending the event were Christian and Muslim parliamentarians, religious leaders and people from all walks of life.

The Jamia Mosque was built in September 1925.



Ethiopia PM Abiy warns ethnic violence could worsen

 27 October 2019

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed warned Saturday of further instability and vowed to bring to justice those responsible for violence that left at least 67 people dead this week.

“The crisis we have faced will become even more fearsome and difficult if Ethiopians don’t unite and stand as one,” Abiy said in a statement issued by his office, his first remarks since the violence broke out.

“We will unswervingly work to ensure the prevalence of the rule of law and to bring perpetrators to justice.”

This year’s Nobel Peace Prize laureate also noted that what began as protests against his government had quickly morphed into clashes that took on an ethnic and religious dimension.

“There has been an attempt to turn the crisis into a religious and ethnic one. In the process our comrades have become victims in terrible circumstances,” he said.

He added that homes, businesses and places of worship had been destroyed, and that an untold number of Ethiopians had been displaced.

Violence erupted in Addis Ababa, the capital, and in much of Ethiopia’s Oromia region on Wednesday after a high-profile activist accused security forces of trying to orchestrate an attack against him - a claim police officials denied.

The activist, Jawar Mohammed, is credited with promoting the protests that swept Abiy to power last year but he has recently become critical of some of the premier’s policies.

Both men are from the Oromo ethnic group, Ethiopia’s largest, and their feud highlights divisions within Abiy’s Oromo support base that could complicate his bid for a five-year term when Ethiopia votes in elections currently planned for May 2020.

On Friday, Oromia police chief Kefyalew Tefera said 67 people had been killed there, including five police officers.

He said most of the dead had lost their lives in “clashes between civilians” rather than at the hands of security forces.

He also claimed that calm had been restored but the defense ministry announced on Friday that it was deploying forces to seven hotspots to restore order, and reports of violence persisted through Friday night and into Saturday.

Abiy was in Sochi, Russia, for the Russia-Africa summit when Jawar’s supporters first started mobilizing in Addis Ababa.

Prior to Saturday’s statement, he was facing criticism for saying nothing about the unrest.

Full report at:



Six Nigerian schoolgirls, 2 staff members released weeks after being kidnapped: Official

Oct 26, 2019

Six Nigerian schoolgirls and two staff members have been released unhurt three weeks after they were kidnapped from their dormitories in northern Kaduna state, regional authorities said Saturday.

Armed assailants seized the six students, school vice principal and matron in a dawn raid on their mixed boarding school on October 3.

‘The students and staff of the Engravers College who were abducted have regained their freedom today,’ Samuel Aruwan, Kaduna state internal security and home affairs commissioner said in a short statement.

Aruwan did not say how the kidnapped students had been released or if a ransom had been paid.

Kaduna state governor Mallam Nasir El-Rufai told reporters days after the abduction that the kidnappers had made contact demanding ransom payment.

Although the governor declined to give details of those demands, some parents of the hostages said the abductors had demanded 50 million naira ($140,000) for the release of their daughters.

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria and the school is located near a highway linking Kaduna with Nigeria's capital Abuja that is frequently targeted by criminal gangs.

The area is far to the west of the region notorious for attacks by the Boko Haram militant group.

Full report at:



38 UN, aid workers killed in Nigeria: official



Nearly 40 United Nations staff and aid workers have been killed in the last decade by Boko Haram violence in the volatile Nigeria northeast region, a UN official said Friday.

"A total of 38 UN and NGO workers, most of them Nigerian, have been killed since 2011," according to UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock who said the figure includes 10 aid workers who died in nearly two years.

Lowcock announced plans by the military to lift the suspension on activities of two international aid organizations.

The military in September suspended Action Against Hunger and Mercy Corps, two aid organizations providing humanitarian support in the northeast on suspicion of collaborating with Boko Haram.

He said six aid workers abducted by Boko Haram in June have yet to be rescued but maintained that all humanitarian groups working in Nigeria which received support from the UN operate in conformity with international standards.

Lowcock said counterterrorism operations of the Nigerian military cannot succeed without humanitarian support from aid organizations.

The envoy said the UN has received assurances from authorities to lift the ban placed on two international aid organizations by the military for the resumption of humanitarian interventions of about 400,000 people in the northeast region.

Full report at:



Boko Haram: Over Seven Million People Need Assistance in Adamawa, Borno, Yobe, Says UN

October 27, 2019

More than seven million people currently need humanitarian assistance in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States, as a direct result of the Boko Haram attacks, United Nations Undersecretary-General, Mark Lowcock, has said.

According to Lowcock, who coordinates UN’s Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief, this year alone, another 140,000 persons had been displaced by the resurgence of Boko Haram attacks in Borno State.

Lowcock, who was in Nigeria last week on an official visit that took him to Maiduguri, the base of Boko Haram insurgency, from where he carried out an assessment of the situation in the Northeast, issued a statement through the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA)

In the statement, Lowcock appreciated the efforts made by Nigeria and other bodies between 2016 and 2018 to regain control of areas previously ravaged by the insurgents, which assisted more than two million displaced people to return to their homes.

“But renewed violence, most of it perpetrated by Boko Haram insurgents, has sparked an upsurge in forced displacement in Borno, with more than 140,000 people forced to move this year alone,” he said.

He said many farmers had missed multiple planting seasons and more than three million people were food insecure.

Lowcock said he had over the past year watched with growing concern, the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Borno.

He said a ten-year conflict and violence committed by Boko Haram and other non-state armed groups had destroyed communities in Borno.

“In my visits to Borno on September 2017 and October 2018, I met many of the ordinary people, who have been the victims of this crisis.”

The UN official acknowledged that though “military and security measures against the insurgents were a crucial and valid part of the response led by the Nigerian authorities, such action needs to be proportionate and avert amplifying the hardship of civilians, huge numbers of whom have suffered terribly as a result of the actions of the terrorists and insurgents.”

He, therefore, noted that military action alone would not solve the problem.

“It is therefore extremely important that the Nigerian Government, including through institutions like the Northeast Development Commission, is also implementing wider measures to address the root causes of the crisis, relieve humanitarian suffering, and promote stabilisation, recovery, and development. I strongly support these measures.”

He said he had reviewed the situation with senior officials in the Nigerian government, as well as the military and other authorities in Borno and NGOs.

“With everyone I have met, I have agreed that NGOs – through their rich networks and capacity to reach people, and their expertise and experience in operating at the community level – have a very important role to play,” he added.

Lowcock called on humanitarian organisations working in Nigeria with funding from the international community to operate in full compliance with international standards, including counter-terrorism related conditions, national laws, and humanitarian principles.

He added that maintaining such standards was not only perfunctory but practical prerequisite for funding from the major donors.

Full report at:



Yobe Has Recovered from Devastation Caused by Boko Haram, Says Gov

October 26, 2019

The Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, has said that peace has returned to the state after recovering from the devastation caused by Boko Haram insurgents.

Buni disclosed this weekend during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Qatar Charitable Organisations held at Yobe Governor’s Lodge in Abuja.

He said: “Let me use this opportunity to thank the Qatar Charitable Organisations for extending this gesture to Yobe State. We are happy that Yobe is part of the state that is recovering from the devastation of Boko Haram and peace is now returning gradually and Yobe is now safe and the security situation has tremendously improved.”

The governor assured the organisation that the state had provided all the land that would be used for the projects, which included building of schools, boreholes and mosques in all the local governments in the state.

He added that the state would partner with the organisation in ensuring that these projects were carried out successfully to the benefit of the people.

On his part, the Executive Director, Qatar Charitable Organisations, Mr. Hamdi Elsayed, said that the organisation would visit Yobe State very soon to ascertain that the locations for the projects are ready after which its headquarters in Qatar would be notified.

Full report at:





Russia: US move to control Syrian oil fields 'banditry'

Oct 27, 2019

Russia has slammed as "banditry" plans by the United States to deploy more forces in Syria, accusing the administration of US President Donald Trump of seeking to seize the Arab country's oil resources under false pretexts. 

US President Donald Trump and Pentagon chief Mark Esper confirmed Thursday that, while Washington was pulling some troops out of Syria following Turkey's military incursion into northern parts of the country, it was still sending in additional troops to ensure oil facilities in eastern Syria would not fall into the wrong hands.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said Saturday that Washington was basically moving in to take over the oil fields.

“What Washington is doing now, the seizure and control of oil fields in eastern Syria under its armed control, is, quite simply, international state banditry,” he said in a statement.

He said Syria's oil belonged to Syrians only and not the Daesh terrorists or Washington.

“All hydrocarbon deposits and other minerals located on the territory of Syria do not belong to the IS terrorists, and even less to the ‘American defenders from IS terrorists,’ but exclusively to the Syrian Arab Republic,” Konashenkov added.

“The real cause of this illegal action by the United States in Syria lies far from the ideals that Washington has proclaimed and from the slogans of fighting terrorism,” Konashenkov said.

Earlier in the day, Konashenkov presented satellite imagery that he said showed the US has been smuggling Syrian oil to other countries under the protection of its troops before and after the defeat of Daesh.

Upon announcing his decision to withdraw American troops from northern Syria on October 6, Trump said some 300 forces will remain in southern parts of the country.

Esper told a press conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels that the number would be bigger as “we are reinforcing our position” in Syria.

He said the new deployment “will include some mechanized forces,” suggesting that tanks and armored vehicle will be also deployed to the designated areas. He said the final number of troops won't go beyond 1,000.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discussed the situation in Syria with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a phone call on Saturday, urging Washington to avoid actions that stir more tension.

“From the Russian side, the necessity was emphasized of refraining from steps undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of that county,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The US seems to have already started moving troops according to the new plan. On Saturday, a US convoy of over a dozen vehicles was spotted driving south of the northeastern city of Qamishli, likely heading to the oil-rich Dayr al-Zawr province.

According to the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based war monitor, the convoy arrived earlier from Iraq.

A large convoy of Syrian government troops was also spotted heading toward the M4 highway, in an extension of what is said to be the first deployment of Syrian armed forces to the country's northern parts since 2012.



PKK terrorist supporters arrested in Norway

Atila Altuntas



Norwegian security forces arrested seven supporters of the PKK terror group Saturday for attacking Turks in the capital of Oslo.

Police used pepper spray against the attackers who staged the attack against Turks at a cafe.

The cafe sustained major damage and additional police officers were sent to the scene to restrain terror supporters.

In a separate incident, 70 PKK supporters at Landvetter Airport in Gothenburg occupied the operation counter of Turkish Airlines while disturbing passengers traveling to Turkey.

Police were forced to used pepper spray in that incident to disperse terrorist supporters.



Macron 'positively assesses' Sochi deal on Syria

Elena Teslova  



The French president has “positively assessed" the recent Turkish-Russian deal on Syria in a phone talk with his Russian counterpart, the Kremlin said on Saturday.

During his conversation with France’s Emmanuel Macron, Russia’s Vladimir Putin stressed that the agreement addresses the interests of all involved parties, the Kremlin said in a statement.

"[…] the measures specified by the Sochi Memorandum are a good basis for stabilization in the Euphrates region and will contribute to the settlement of the Syrian crisis as a whole," the statement said.

Both presidents expressed hope the first meeting of the Syrian Constitutional Committee in Geneva next week will be results-oriented.

On Oct. 9, Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria east of the Euphrates River in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.

On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin held a meeting in Russia's Black Sea resort town of Sochi.

Ankara and Moscow reached a deal under which YPG/PKK terrorists will pull back 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) south of Turkey’s border with northern Syria within 150 hours, and security forces from Turkey and Russia will conduct joint patrols there.

Full report at:




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