New Age Islam
Wed Aug 12 2020, 05:57 AM

Islamic World News ( 27 Sept 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

ISIL Forcing People to Send Children to Terrorists' Schools


A new social media campaign is trying to fight discrimination against American Muslims.

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Taliban Recruiting Children as Soldiers in Their Ranks: Ghor Officials

Will Use Nuclear Weapons, Destroy India If It Declares War, Says Pakistan

In A First, Indian to Address Organisation of Islamic Countries' Global Youth Meet

If ISIS Could Vote In Our Election, It Would Choose Donald Trump

 

Arab World

ISIL Forcing People to Send Children to Terrorists' Schools

Christian and Muslim Syrian Children to Unite In Prayer for an End to Violence

ISIL Tax Officials Flee Iraq's Kirkuk with Huge Cash

Iraqi Army Starts Fresh Military Operations to Win Back Key Region

Iran's Top Security Official Blasts US for Disloyalty to JCPOA

Another ISIL Drone Shot Down in Iraq

Syrian Army Continues to Advance against Terrorists in North-eastern Hama

Syrian Bombers Hit Militants in Khan Touman as Aleppo Battle Enters Sensitive Stage

Foreign States Supply Militants with New Missiles in Response to Syrian-Russian Operation in Aleppo

Syrian Commander: Israel Activating Operations Room in Quneitra

Iran Captures ISIL Terrorists Plotting to Blow Up University of Tehran

Syrian Fighter Jets Pound Gatherings of ISIL, Fatah Al-Sham across Homs Province

Yemeni Speaker Asks for Iran's Help, Blasts Arabs' Attempts to Display Parliament as Illegitimate

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South Asia

Taliban Recruiting Children as Soldiers in Their Ranks: Ghor Officials

IS Releases First Propaganda Video Filmed Inside Bangladesh

Taliban splinter group welcomes signing of peace deal by Hezb-e-Islami

Top ISIS leaders among 18 killed in East of Afghanistan

President Ghani and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar to sign peace deal tomorrow

US releases $100 million for Afghanistan through new development partnership

7 Afghan students disappear from military facilities in US

Post Uri attack, prevailing situation not conducive for SAARC summit: Bangladesh envoy

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Pakistan

Will Use Nuclear Weapons, Destroy India If It Declares War, Says Pakistan

Revoking of Indus Water Treaty will be treated as ‘act of war’: Sartaj Aziz

Sindh CM, Jamiat Ulema-i- Islam-Fazl Leaders Discuss Bill on Seminaries

Sindh Assembly passes bill seeking tighter rules on arms sales

No Soft Corner for Extremists: Punjab Law Minister

Pakistan approaches World Bank to stop Indian projects on Neelum, Chenab

Imran warns of ‘aggressive protests’ in next phase

26/11 attacks case: Pak judicial commission to inspect boat used by terrorists

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India

In A First, Indian to Address Organisation of Islamic Countries' Global Youth Meet

For Tourism, We Welcome People from Pakistan, Says Minister Mahesh Sharma

Pakistan warns of 'water war' with India if decades-old Indus Water Treaty violated

Udaipur: Kashmiri students raise ‘anti-India’ slogans, ABVP stages protest

Pak allegations are like ‘radio jutistan’: V K Singh

Muslim groups plan meetings across Mumbai to demand quota

India launches campaign to “punish” Pakistan

India, Nigeria discuss intelligence sharing on terrorism

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North America

If ISIS Could Vote In Our Election, It Would Choose Donald Trump

New York City Is Taking Aim at Islamophobia

U.S. Drone Air Strike in Afghanistan Kills 18

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Africa

Muslims in Nigeria Beg Boko Haram to Free Kidnapped Girls

Malian jailed for war crime of cultural destruction

Libya’s Terrorist Descent: Causes and Solutions

Somali Journalist gunned down in Mogadishu

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Europe

Mosque Bombed In Dresden, German Police on High Alert

Five jihadi suspects arrested in Spain, Belgium, Germany

EU cannot close doors to Muslim refugees

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Mideast

Locals on Alert after Suspected UFO Sighting in Turkey’s South

AKP to Evaluate MPs’ Photo with Gülen

US diplomat pays tribute to ‘those stood against the coup attempt’ in Turkey

Turkish FM says cooperation with YPG against ISIL risks Syria’s future

Three Turkish soldiers wounded in ISIL drone attack in Syria

Israeli ex-president and Nobel laureate Peres dies

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Southeast Asia

Jakarta’s Mayor Inspires Citizens to Look Past Race and Religion

Members of Abu Sayyaf behind sea kidnappings of Indonesians, Malaysians killed

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/isil-forcing-people-to-send-children-to-terrorists--schools/d/108699

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ISIL Forcing People to Send Children to Terrorists' Schools

September 28, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Parents in the Southern parts of Damascus province have received serious threats from ISIL to avoid sending their kids to ordinary schools or wait for harsh punishment, local sources said Wednesday.

"ISIL has forced people in al-Yarmouk Palestinian Refugee Camp to send their children to two so-called schools, established by the terrorist group," the sources said, adding, "ISIL's decision has made people in Yarmouk angry, but any disobedience will be confronted harshly by the ISIL security forces."

"ISIL has only two schools in Yarmouk camp. One in al-Aroubeh neighborhood for boys and another one in Hajar al-Aswad neighborhood for girls," the sources said.

"People in Yarmouk have denied registering their kids in ISIL-established schools and the Takfiri group has threatened to whip those people who do not comply with its rules," the sources said.

"ISIL is, meantime, trying to mandate a Wahhabi method of education in Southern Syria in its schools that have only eight students," the sources said.

Al-Yarmouk camp in the Southern Countryside of Damascus is controlled by the terrorists of ISIL and Fatah al-Sham Front (the newly-formed al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group previously known as the al-Nusra Front).

Almost the entire range of extremist and terrorist groups are supported by Saudi Arabia and Turkey, with their key commanders and leaders being Saudi nationals. ISIL, Al-Nusra and other extremist groups pursue the same line of ideology exercised and promoted by Saudi Arabia, Wahhabism. Hundreds of Saudi clerics are among the ranks of ISIL and Al-Nusra to mentor the militants.

Wahhabism is now the only source of the textbooks taught at schools in the self-declared capital of the ISIL terrorist group, Raqqa, in Northeastern Syria resembling the texts and lessons taught to schoolgoers in Saudi Arabia. The Wahhabi ideology, an extremist version of Sunni Islam that is promoted almost only in Saudi Arabia, sees all other faiths - from other interpretations of Sunni Islam to Shiism, Christianity and Judaism - as blasphemy, meaning that their followers should be decapitated as nonbelievers.

The ISIL is trying to promote the Wahhabi and Takfiri ideology among the Syrian children in areas under its control in the school textbooks.

Full report at:en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950707001034

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Taliban recruiting children as soldiers in their ranks: Ghor officials

Wed Sep 28 2016

The Taliban militant group and other irresponsible militant groups are recruiting children as soldiers in their ranks, local officials in Ghor province said.

Zabiulalh Jawad, the provincial Independent Human Rights Chief, has told RFERL that they have credible evidences and documents to prove that Taliban are recruiting children to fight for the group.

Provincial governor’s spokesman, Abdulhai Khatebi confirmed the remarks by the Independent Human Rights Commission, saying the group is actively recruiting childre in the ares under their control.

The recruitment of children as soldiers is not in Afghanistan specifically by militant groups formed to fight the Afghan government.

Earlier reports emerged from the eastern Nangarhar province suggesting that the loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group are forcing the children and young men in the districts under their control to fight for the group.

The group is also accused of forcing the young women and girls to marriage in a bid to match the atrocities committed by the main group in Syria and Iraq.

Source: khaama.com/taliban-recruiting-children-as-soldiers-in-their-ranks-ghor-officials-01965

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Will Use Nuclear Weapons, Destroy India If It Declares War, Says Pakistan

September 28, 2016

Islamabad: In a fresh anti-India tirade, Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khawaja Asif has threatened to use nuclear weapons in case of war with India, saying his country has not made atomic device to display in a showcase.

“We will destroy India if it dares to impose war on us. Pakistan army is fully prepared to answer any misadventure of India,” the defence minister told private TV channel SAMAA.

He was replying to a question about India’s intention to carry out surgical strike in Pakistan.

“We have not made atomic device to display in a showcase. If a such a situation arises we will use it and eliminate India,” Asif said the channel.

He said Pakistan Air Force is ready to give a befitting response to India if it violates Pakistan’s airspace.

The Pakistani minister claimed that the “entire world knows now that India is not as serious about resolving the Kashmir dispute as Pakistan is”.

He claimed India has not received support from anywhere despite launching a diatribe against Pakistan and added that China had, on the other hand, supported Pakistan’s viewpoint.

Asif also alleged that the assault on an Indian army base in Uri that killed 18 soldiers was a ‘plan devised by India itself’.

Maintaining that no proof implicating Pakistan in the Uri attack had surfaced yet, Asif told DawnNews that “it was evident the attack was a plan devised by India itself.” He claimed that India “orchestrated Uri attack to divert the attention of the world from the Kashmir issue”.

India has said it has evidence showing involvement of Pakistan-based terrorists in the Uri attack and demanded that Islamabad refrain from supporting and sponsoring terrorism directed against this country.

One of the four terrorists involved in the Uri attack has been identified as Hafiz from Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Commenting on a bill moved in the US Congress to label Pakistan as a terrorist state, he said that anti-Pakistan elements are present in each and every country but the impacts of their voices depend on the policies of these countries.

“Five or 10 voices raised against us are not enough evidence to declare Pakistan a terrorist state,” he said.

Meanwhile, military spokesman Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa has said Pakistan’s eastern borders are under close monitoring of the security forces who are ready to respond to any aggression.

He urged people to be vigilant and keep an eye on any suspected movement in the border areas.

Source: deccanchronicle.com/world/neighbours/280916/will-use-nuclear-weapons-destroy-india-if-it-declares-war-says-pakistan.html

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In a first, Indian to address Organisation of Islamic Countries' global youth meet

Sep 28, 2016

MUMBAI: In a recognition of the country's Muslim community, the second-largest in the world, an Indian has been invited to attend a prestigious conference of the Organisation of Islamic Countries' Islamic Conference Youth Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation (ICYF-DC).

Haji Syed Salman Chishty of Dargah Ajmer Sharif has been invited to address the ICYF-DC's Third Islamic Conference of Youth and Sports Ministers opening in Istanbul on October 4.

"This is a great honour for India and Indian Muslims. I shall speak on 'Empowering Youth for Peace, Solidarity and Development', which is the main theme of this global conference to be attended by representatives from 52 countries," Haji Chishty, the 27th direct descendent-custodian of the Sufi saint, Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishty, told IANS on the phone from Istanbul.

The recommendations of the conference will be included in "The OIC 2025 Action Plan", encompassing the adoption of the OIC Youth Strategy, he said.

Haji Chishty said that under the leadership of its Secretary General, Iyad Ameen Madani, the OIC has declared youth engagement in the Islamic world as one of its key priorities and the member-states have made investing in youth their main priority.

"This is the first time India -- which is home to the world's second largest Muslim population after Indonesia -- has been invited to the OIC forum. In fact, since nearly a decade, India's application for an OIC membership or getting observer status has been denied due to Pakistan's objections," explained the 33-year old Haji Chishty.

He said Russia, which is not an Islamic nation but has a substantial Muslim population, has been granted observer status at OIC. So why should India not get membership or at least an observer status, he wondered.

By current projections, he said, India is expected to house the largest chunk of the world's Muslim population by 2050 -- from the existing 176 million or 11 percent of the world's Muslims, to over 300 million. India will be followed by its neighbour Pakistan (9.9 per cent), Indonesia (9.3 per cent), Nigeria (8.4 per cent) and Bangladesh (6.6 per cent).

"Under such a changing scenario, it would be unjust for Indian Muslims to be deprived of a voice in a major forum like the OIC to share their aspirations and expectations on the world arena," pointed out Haji Chishty.

He said the latest development came after pursuing with the OIC authorities for over two years since the last ICYF-DC held in Istanbul in 2014, even as the OIC has acknowledged that one-third of the Islamic population by 2050 would comprise youth.

Haji Chishty is also in communication with the Indian government to revive its application for OIC membership and simultaneously lobbying with the OIC leadership to grant India some kind of formal entry.

Haji Chishty describes the upcoming event as "an excellent window of opportunity to showcase Indian Muslim youth, their achievements, the challenges they face in the future and their role as Indian Muslims on the world stage".

Contrary to belief, he said Muslim countries have notched an impressive record in terms of youth education with 24 OIC member-states achieving literacy levels of 97 per cent or more.

However, at the other extreme, there is Niger (23.5 per cent) with the lowest rate of literacy in the OIC, above whom are Guinea (31.4 per cent), Burkina Faso (39.3 per cent), Benin (42.4 per cent) and Afghanistan (47 per cent).

On the employment front, of the 76 million unemployed youth or 13.1 percent as per ILO in 2013, the situation was alarming in the Middle East at (27.2 per cent) and North Africa (29.4 per cent), with Mauritania and Guyana notching 40 per cent plus figures, he said.

Besides, there are other youth-related issues like early marriages, with 27.3 per cent being performed before the age of 18, with prevalence maximum in Bangladesh (29.1 per cent) and Chad (29 per cent). This needs to be regulated in terms of age and consent for a better future for the youth and their children, Haji Chishty said.

Source: economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/in-a-first-indian-to-addressorganisationof-islamic-countries-global-youth-meet/articleshow/54560709.cms

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If ISIS Could Vote In Our Election, It Would Choose Donald Trump

September 27, 2016

Countless foreign affairs experts (including plenty of Republicans) and weathered military brass all agree: Donald Trump is grossly unfit to be Commander and Chief. But in reality, it’s not just that Trump lacks presidential qualifications; is that he’s uniquely qualified to make things a lot worse.   

It’s already happening. ISIS is using Donald Trump as a recruitment tool, galvanizing support and boosting their momentum.

Think of it this way: if ISIS is a fire that we have to put out, having no access to water or a fire hose would render one unfit to fight it. However, the frightening truth is that Trump and his Republican backers are actively, willingly, and ignorantly throwing gasoline on the flames. 

If you don’t trust U.S. politicians, then at least trust U.S. enemies: ISIS is rooting for a Trump presidency because it gives them a leg up. But why?

First,  the ISIS worldview is simple: They see the world as believers vs. non-believers, divided between land governed by their version of Islam and the lands of its enemies. ISIS fears religious freedom and secular society, which is why their main goal is to “destroy the gray area of coexistence.” ISIS approves of Western Islamophobia, because it fuels their binary “us vs. them” doctrine; they gain power and support from the irresponsible and hateful brand of divisiveness Trump flings around when he solicits cheers for anti-Muslim rhetoric — like he did when he insulted the family of a fallen Muslim-American soldier. 

What’s more, scholars agree that Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. is outright illegal under U.S. and international law, citing the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause and the First Amendment’s doctrine of freedom of religion. It’s not just illegal, it’s also not possible:  there’s no ‘religion’ column on passports. So Trump’s nonsensical proposal has the sole effect of playing into ISIS’s narrative–basically doing their dirty work for them.

This isn’t all just theory, either. In a new analysis, Foreign Affairs magazine recently interviewed ISIS supporters, and according to a former ISIS fighter and self-identified jihadist, “We don’t need to convince Muslims in the Middle East that the West is against them … The next step for the Islamic State is to reach Muslims in America and Europe.” Another said, “Congratulations to us on the victory of Trump! Sit back and relax and watch the end of America at his hands.”

From the same Foreign Affairs analysis, another man who left ISIS said that ISIS wants to make the West an “incubator” for locally inspired attacks. ISIS is currently using video footage of Trump’s anti-Muslim sentiments around the attacks in Brussels and Orlando to recruit and galvanize support.

And since ISIS is losing ground on its home turf in the Middle East, they’re increasingly focusing their propaganda less on battles in the region and more on the Trump-type content that will encourage homegrown terrorism and lone-wolf attacks in the U.S. and Europe. Picture a room full of jihadi social media operatives splicing islamophobic Trump-isms into their recruitment videos, woven between footage of beheadings — what more do they need to justify their hateful narrative?

In an increasingly combative election, one of the few things we still all agree on is countering ISIS’s ideology and evil mission. Donald Trump, however, seems intent on designing”‘policies” and advancing an attitude that plays right into their hands, both ideologically and operationally. He claims that he alone can keep the country safe, but he’s actually singularly bad for our national security–and our enemies are taking notice, and using his rhetoric as fuel.

It all boils down to a simple question all American voters must ask themselves: If ISIS would vote for Donald Trump, why would you?

Kevin Samy is a political Partner at the Truman National Security Project and a communications strategy consultant. Views expressed are his own.

Source: nationalmemo.com/if-isis-could-vote-in-our-election-it-would-choose-donald-trump/

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Arab World

ISIL Forcing People to Send Children to Terrorists' Schools

September 28, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Parents in the Southern parts of Damascus province have received serious threats from ISIL to avoid sending their kids to ordinary schools or wait for harsh punishment, local sources said Wednesday.

"ISIL has forced people in al-Yarmouk Palestinian Refugee Camp to send their children to two so-called schools, established by the terrorist group," the sources said, adding, "ISIL's decision has made people in Yarmouk angry, but any disobedience will be confronted harshly by the ISIL security forces."

"ISIL has only two schools in Yarmouk camp. One in al-Aroubeh neighborhood for boys and another one in Hajar al-Aswad neighborhood for girls," the sources said.

"People in Yarmouk have denied registering their kids in ISIL-established schools and the Takfiri group has threatened to whip those people who do not comply with its rules," the sources said.

"ISIL is, meantime, trying to mandate a Wahhabi method of education in Southern Syria in its schools that have only eight students," the sources said.

Al-Yarmouk camp in the Southern Countryside of Damascus is controlled by the terrorists of ISIL and Fatah al-Sham Front (the newly-formed al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group previously known as the al-Nusra Front).

Almost the entire range of extremist and terrorist groups are supported by Saudi Arabia and Turkey, with their key commanders and leaders being Saudi nationals. ISIL, Al-Nusra and other extremist groups pursue the same line of ideology exercised and promoted by Saudi Arabia, Wahhabism. Hundreds of Saudi clerics are among the ranks of ISIL and Al-Nusra to mentor the militants.

Full report at:en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950707001034

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Christian and Muslim Syrian Children to Unite In Prayer for an End to Violence

September 28, 2016

Aleppo, Syria, Sep 26, 2016 / 04:17 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Christian and Muslim children of Aleppo, Syria will gather together in prayer on October 6 to plead for an end to the violence and devastation in their city and country.

Archbishop Boutros Marayati, the head of the Armenian Catholic archieparchy in Aleppo, told a mission society news agency that the initiative will involve mostly primary school-aged children, who will add their signatures and fingerprints to an appeal to all world leaders, asking them to help stop the violence.

"But above all, they will pray. They will pray for all of their peers,” the Archbishop told Agenzia Fides, the information service for the Pontifical Mission Societies.

“And we trust in the fact that children's prayer is more powerful than ours," he added.

Last month, the bloodied, dusty face of five-year-old Omran Daqneesh, sitting shell-shocked in the back of an ambulance after his house had been bombed, brought new attention to the plight of Syrian children caught in the crossfires of the ongoing war. Since then, many more photos and videos of children caught or killed in the rubble have emerged, sparking increased humanitarian pleas on their behalf.

The already dire situation in Syria has only worsened in recent days and weeks as an attempted ceasefire collapsed and other diplomacies failed. Since Friday morning, hundreds of airstrikes have battered neighborhoods in rebel-held eastern Aleppo, killing an estimated 100 people and leaving at least 50 more, including children, trapped under the rubble.

The recent use of so-called bunker-busting bombs, which weigh about a ton and can blast through two meters of underground, reinforced concrete have only added to the horror and destruction in the past few days.

A humanitarian truce, called for by the United Nations and brokered this month by the United States and Russia, fell apart less than a week after its institution after U.S. forces struck a Syrian position killing dozens of soldiers, though the move was reportedly unintentional.

The Syrian civil war, which began in March 2011, has claimed the lives of between and estimated 280,000 and 470,000 people, and forced 4.8 million to become refugees, about half of them children. Another 8 million Syrians are believed to have been internally displaced by the violence.

The civil war is being fought between the Syrian government’s regime and a number of rebel groups. The rebels include moderates, such as the Free Syrian Army; Islamists such as the Army of Conquest and the Islamic State; and Kurdish separatists.

Catholic leaders in the city, including Archbishop Jean-Clement Jeanbart of Aleppo, have made continual appeals to the international faith community for prayers and humanitarian aid.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said last week that the continued fighting and horror in Aleppo shows the failure of the international community.

"The Syrian tragedy shames us all," he said. "The collective failure of the international community should haunt every member of this Council.

Source: catholicnewsagency.com/news/syrian-children-to-unite-in-prayer-for-an-end-to-violence-23245/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=email

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ISIL Tax Officials Flee Iraq's Kirkuk with Huge Cash

September 28, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Over half a dozen ISIL tax-collecting officials fled the Iraqi city of Hawija, taking large amount of money and properties with themselves.

"A sum of eight ISIL tax officials disappeared with 600 million Iraqi dinars (equal to $500,000) in Hawija in the Southwestern part of Iraq," a local source in Kirkuk province said.

The source noted that after the ISIL fled the Hawija city, the terrorist group started wide-scale search, but it has not found anything yet.

In mid-April, the ISIL terrorist commanders have fled the Iraqi city of Mosul to Syria, taking large amount of money and properties with themselves.

Sheikh Osama, ISIL's operations commander near Mosul dam, has escaped to Syria with a large amount of cash.

ISIL's trade office manager known as Abu Hazem who had access to huge amount of cash has also fled Mosul city.

Two other ISIL commanders named Abu Omar and Abu Hajar have also escaped from Mosul.

In a relevant development in early March, a senior lawmaker disclosed that the ISIL terrorists were escaping from the city of Mosul to the Syrian borders after the Iraqi forces' joint operations in Anbar and Salahuddin provinces and as the country's armed forces were preparing to attack Mosul.

"The military operations of Iraq's joint armed forces in Anbar province and Western part of Salahuddin have caused the withdrawal of the ISIL from Mosul in Nineveh province and the terrorists fleeing toward the Syrian borders," Ahmad Al-Jabouri told FNA.

The Iraqi lawmaker reiterated that the ISIL has lost swathes of lands due to the recent military operations of the Iraqi forces in the Western provinces of Iraq.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950707001017

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Iraqi Army Starts Fresh Military Operations to Win Back Key Region

September 28, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iraq's joint military forces started fresh military operations near Ramadi to seize back a strategic area in the Western part of Anbar province.

"The Iraqi forces kicked off their military operations to take control of al-Doulab region in Northern Ramadi," the Arabic-language media quoted a senior commander of Anbar Liberation Operations as saying on Wednesday.

The Iraqi security forces, counterterrorism department and the country's federal police have joined hands to seize back al-Doulab region.

Al-Doulab region is located 70 kilometers to the West al-Ramadi and to the Northwest of the city of Heet.

Since mid-2014, al-Doulab region has been under the ISIL occupation and terrorists have used the region for dispatching bomb-laden vehicles to the other parts of Anbar province.

On Friday, Iraq's Joint military forces managed to seize back the strategic region of al-Baghdadi after fresh advances against the ISIL terrorist group.

Al-Baghdadi region on the Northern banks of the Euphrates River came under the Iraqi forces' control.

The Iraqi army has made considerable advances in Ramadi, Heet and Haditha regions in Anbar province.

Last Wednesday, the Iraqi security forces and tribal fighters managed to liberate four villages Northwest of al-Baghdadi region from the ISIL control.

 “The Iraqi Army’s Seventh Division as well as the police and tribal forces managed to liberate the villages of Ebla, Abu al-Ela, al-Sawer and al-Judafiya in al-Baghdadi region, 90 kilometers West of Ramadi,” Commander of Anbar Liberation Operation General Ali Ibrahim Dboun said in a statement.

“These forces raised the Iraqi flags over a number of buildings in those villages,” he noted.

“The liberation process of the villages came after the killing of 23 ISIL terrorists and the destruction of two booby-trapped vehicles driven by suicide bombers,” the commander concluded.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950707000848

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Iran's Top Security Official Blasts US for Disloyalty to JCPOA

September 28, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani slammed Washington for not fulfilling its ukndertakings under the nuclear deal reached betwn Tehran and the six world powers (the US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany) last year, saying that the European negotiators have also acknowledged this.

"The US is not fulfilling its undertakings under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and the Europeans have also admitted Washington's lack of commitment," Shamkhani said.

He also pointed to the meetings held between the Iranian and G5+1 top officials on the sidelines of the 71st UN General Assembly meeting in New York, and said, "Iran has briefed the G5+1 officials about the US non-compliance.

Shamkhani said the US refusal to sell civilian aircraft to Iran and Washington attempts to hinder banking and financial relations with Iran also stand in the list of Washington's disloyalties and non-compliance with its nuclear deal undertakings.

The top security official, meantime, criticized the European countries for following suit and failing to reassure their banks to enter business with Iran.

In mid-August, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif underlined that a Joint Commission would hold sessions soon to discuss the US disloyalty to the JCPOA.

"We will have another session of the Joint Commission to discuss the US violation of commitments and some other issues in the near future," Zarif told reporters.

The Iranian foreign minister noted that the commission has convened whenever deemed necessary, and said, "Necessary solutions to problems have always been worked out during the meetings."

Earlier in August, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister and senior negotiator Seyed Abbas Araqchi warned the US and other world powers against breaching the contents of the nuclear deal signed with Tehran last year.

"There are still some laggings, negligence and disloyalty by the other side and we confront them very strongly and remind the other side of its responsibilities," Araqchi said after meeting the Iranian legislators in Tehran.

Stressing that Iran will pursue and act against any shortcomings and lagging of the world powers in implementing the nuclear deal, he said that if needed, the legal procedures stated in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the nuclear deal) will be paved (in case of facing the other sides' violation of the agreement).

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950707000947

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Another ISIL Drone Shot Down in Iraq

September 28, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iraqi volunteer forces (Hashd al-Shaabi) shot down another drone of the ISIL terrorist group in al-Qayyara region in Nineveh province.

"The drone was downed in al-Qayyara region located 65 kilometers to the South of Nineveh and was equipped with a camera that the ISIL used for monitoring the movements of Iraq's security and tribal forces," Iraqi MP from Nineveh province Ahmad al-Jabouri said.

In late August, Deputy Governor of al-Rataba Emad al-Dailami announced that the Iraqi security forces had shot down an ISIL drone in the town of al-Rataba.

"The downed drone was equipped with a camera that the ISIL used for monitoring the movements of Iraq's security and tribal forces," he added.

In mid-may, a security source in Iraq's Salahuddin Province announced that the Iraqi security forces had shot down a drone belonging to the ISIL terrorist group in Eastern Tikrit.

“Security forces stationing in oil facilities in Ajil oil field, 40 km East of Tikrit, dropped a drone while hovering over the field,” the source said in a statement, Iraqi News reported.

“It was found out that the drone was a hostile aircraft used by ISIL for espionage," the source added.

“The Iraqi security forces fired at the drone and were able to shot it down near Ajil field in Eastern Tikrit," the source explained.

Also in mid-April, the Iraqi volunteer forces shot down another spy drone in al-Jarayeshi region in Al-Anbar province in Western Iraq.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950707001075

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Syrian Army Continues to Advance against Terrorists in Northeastern Hama

September 28, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian Army soldiers pushed the terrorist groups back from more positions in Northeastern Hama and captured a small but key town in the region.

Syrian army men inflicted major losses and casualties on the militants and seized back al-Talisiyeh.

Tough battle is underway between the Syrian military forces and militants in the town of al-Sha'aseh.

Earlier reports said that Syrian Army troops and the country's fighter jets stormed terrorists' positions in Southern Idlib and Northern Hama, destroying at least 13 tanks and armored vehicles.

The army soldiers, backed up by warplanes, targeted the terrorists' defense lines in Ma'an, Taybat al-Imam, Morek, Tal Bazam and Ma'ardes.

Meantime, Syrian government forces and warplanes stormed the terrorist groups' strongholds in Ba'arbou, al-Tamanna, Khan Sheikhoun and Ma'arat al-Nu'aman.

Three tanks, four armored vehicles and six machinegun-equipped vehicles were destroyed and a number of terrorists were killed or wounded in the attacks in Idlib and Hama.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950707001138

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Syrian Bombers Hit Militants in Khan Touman as Aleppo Battle Enters Sensitive Stage

September 28, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian fighter jets intensified their airstrikes on militants' positions in Aleppo on Wednesday as the soldiers of President Bashar al-Assad continue to recapture more lands in the province.

The Syrian warplanes carried out combat flights over terrorists' positions in the strategic town of Khan Touman and surronding areas in Aleppo province, inflicting major loss and casualties on the terrorists.

The air raids killed and wounded scores of militants and also demolished several military vehicles which were equipped with heavy machine guns.

The latest reports from Syria indicats that the country's army and popular forces, backed by Syrian and Russian Air Force, continue advances in Aleppo province, forcing the terrorist groups to push back from several strategic territories, military bases and vital supply routes.

The Syrian Army Command Center has called on civilians to leave militant-held districts of Aleppo as soon as possible, vowing to launch a large-scale operation in the Eastern neighborhoods of the city to route out militancy.

The Syrian Army Commander Center in Aleppo said the government forces are getting ready to launch a large-scale operation in the Eastern districts of Aleppo, urging the remaining civilians near terrorist centers to move to safer districts or regions.

Meantime, Syrian army planes, for their parts, have dropped thousand of surrender-now leaflets over the terrorist-held districts in Aleppo. 

The General Staff of Syria's Armed Forces said on Sunday that the recent advances of the Syrian army and popular forces in Aleppo caused scores of terrorist groups' commanders and religious leaders to leave the militants alone in the battlefield and move to Turkey with a large amount of stolen funds.

"Religious and military leaders of Jeish al-Fatah coalition are fleeing the battlefields in Aleppo. It is a long time that they have been trapped in Aleppo districts. They are hopeless. They are fleeing to Turkey with the money they received from the backers of the terrorist groups and the money they took by force from civilians in Aleppo," the General Staff the Syrian Armed Forces said.

In the meantime, one of the commanders of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), in an audio file, disclosed that a number of commanders of the terrorist groups have left their forces alone and have Escaped to Turkey.

"You commanders, who stole a large amount of people's money and fled the battlefields, you have been trading the Syrian people's blood," the audio file said, adding, "Where are the religious leaders of the militants fleeing now, those who once claimed they were close to the God."

Syria has been mired in bloody war since March 2011, with government forces loyal to Syrian President fighting numerous terrorist groups.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950707001121

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Foreign States Supply Militants with New Missiles in Response to Syrian-Russian Operation in Aleppo

September 28, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Several foreign states have given rebels surface-to-surface Grad rockets of a type not previously supplied to them in response to a major Russian-backed offensive in Aleppo, a militant commander revealed on Wednesday.

The Grad rockets with a range of 22 km and 40 km have been supplied in excellent quantities and will be used on battlefronts in Aleppo, Hama and the coastal region, rebel commander Colonel Fares al-Bayoush told Reuter on Wednesday.

While Grad missiles have previously been supplied to rebels, Bayoush underlined that it was the first time this particular type had been delivered.

Each salvo contains 40 rockets, he said, without giving further details. The rebels had previous stocks of the rocket captured from army stores, he added.

The militant commander claimed that there was as yet no sign of the rebels being supplied with anti-aircraft missiles they have demanded, while other terrorist groups, including Fatah Al-Sham (Nusra) Front and ISIL have already started using such weapons systems.

A video posted on YouTube on Monday showed Free Syrian Army (FSA) militants firing Grad missiles at Syrian government positions near Aleppo. Meanwhile, Bayoush confirmed the weapons being fired in the video were newly supplied.

Militant groups fighting under the Free Syrian Army banner have received military aid from states opposed to President Bashar al-Assad via a US-backed coordination centre in Turkey.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950707001165

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Syrian Commander: Israel Activating Operations Room in Quneitra

September 28, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior commander of the Golan Regiment in the Syrian army disclosed that Israel has activated an operations room in the Southwestern province of Quneitra near its border with Syria to aid the Fatah al-Sham (Nusra) Front terrorists.

"The recent terrorist attacks in Quneitra, codenamed by the terrorists as 'the Southern Qadesiya Operations', clearly showed the Zionist regime's support for the terrorist groups in Southern Syria," Arwa Satter told FNA on Wednesday.

He referred to Israel's activation of an operations room in Syria's Jabat al-Khashab region of Quneitra, and said in their recent offensive, 600 terrorists, who had been called from Dara'a, took order from the Zionists' operations room and sought to take control of al-Rabe'a or Sha'ban bases in Northern Quneitra but they failed given the army and the resistance forces' timely reaction.

"The army and its allies are ready to repel the terrorists' heavy offensives in this region as well as any new Zionist or Zionist-led aggression," Satter said.

Meantime, Israeli media disclosed that Tel Aviv has deployed a number of drones in the Golan Heights to detect the Syrian Army's movements in the region.

Israeli media said these reconnaissance drones will play a crucial role in monitoring military developments in Southern Syria, particularly in the Golan Heights. 

"These drones are equipped with advanced cameras able to take images from very far distances. The drones also can identify people in their cars," the media sources claimed.

Terrorist groups fighting against Syrian government and army have been provided with Israeli intelligence and air support frequently.

The Israeli military aircraft have violated Syrian territories to back the terrorist groups' offensives on government forces' positions near the Golan Heights in Quneitra.

In a last case, the Syrian army shot down a drone, a fighter jet and a hellicopter of the Israeli regime earlier this month.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950707000815

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Iran Captures ISIL Terrorists Plotting to Blow Up University of Tehran

September 28, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Secretary of Iran's Expediency Council (EC) Mohsen Rezayee disclosed that the country's security forces have captured a number of ISIL terrorists who plotted to carry out suicide attacks at the University of Tehran.

"The ISIL has entered Iran but our security and Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) forces have detained a large number of them," Rezayee said, addressing a gathering in Tehran on Tuesday night.

"Three months ago, this group sought to carry out suicide operations at the University of Tehran during the Friday prayers but they were arrested on their way between Hamedan and Kurdistan provinces (Western Iran). They were due to be equipped with bombs in Tehran to carry out their mission," he added.

His remarks came after reports said on Tuesday that the Iranian security forces identified and captured members of an Iraq-based terrorist group near the Western town of Marivan in Kurdistan province.

Members of the terrorist team that, local security officials said, has been dispatched by a "group whose main base is in Northern Iraq" were captured by the security forces after they were sighted at a garden in Savoji village.

According to officials, they sought to start terrorist operations in Iran with the support of two unnamed Iranians, "but their plots were nipped in the bud".

A number of weapons and military equipment, including three Kalashnikov weapons, 16 magazines, a large number of bullets, night goggles and cell phones were seized from the terrorists.

Also, earlier this month, the Iranian intelligence and security forces dismantled a team of 12 terrorists sent by "Saudi Arabia and certain trans-regional states to foment insecurity in Iran".

The terrorist team which was equipped with light and semi-heavy weapons and intended to carryout sabotage acts inside Iran was disbanded in the Western bordering areas of Sardasht city through cooperation with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) forces.

Reports said in September that ten terrorists of the outlawed Democrat Party were also killed in armed clashes with the Iranian border guards in the Western province of Kurdistan.

The terrorists who were trying to sneak into the country through the Western Iranian borders in the village of Baneh and Khalfi in Sardasht region, sought to foment insecurity in Iran's Kurdistan province.

Based on the latest information, 10 terrorists of the outlawed group were killed during the clashes.

Early July, the IRGC forces had also disbanded an anti-revolutionary cell in Western Iran which plotted to sneak into the country for sabotage acts, killing all its 11 members.

"An 11-member anti-revolutionary group affiliated to the outlawed Democrat Party sought to enter Iran but the intelligence officials of Kurdistan (province)'s IRGC force monitored them since the very first moment," Commander of Kurdistan's IRGC force Brigadier General Mohammad Hossein Rajabi told FNA at the time.

Noting that the IRGC forces blocked the group's move towards their destination and pushed them towards Kouhsalan district of Sarvabad region after 10 days of tracing, he said, "It was there that our forces killed all the 11 members of the team."

Three local IRGC forces were also killed in clashes with the outlawed group.

IRGC Ground Force Commander Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour announced at the time that Kaveh Javanmard, a commander of the anti-revolutionary group, was killed in the Western parts of Iran.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950707000987

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Syrian Fighter Jets Pound Gatherings of ISIL, Fatah Al-Sham across Homs Province

September 28, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian warplanes launched heavy airstrikes on the concentration centers of ISIL and Fatah al-Sham Front (the newly-formed al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group previously known as the al-Nusra Front) in Eastern and Northern Homs respectively, inflicting major damage on the terrorists' hardware.

ISIL's centers East of the ancient city of Palmyra (Tadmur) near the village of Um al-Qabibeh were badly targeted in the airstrikes, while other combat jets of the Syrian army hit Fatah al-Sahm's strongholds in al-Rastan.

Both ISIL and Fatah al-Sham suffered heavy casualties and their military equipment sustained major damage in the attacks.

Reports said earlier today that Russian warplanes targeted a long convoy of ISIL vehicles carrying a large number of fresh terrorists heading towards Deir Ezzur province, inflicting major loss and casualties on the column.

Russian fighter jets hit the ISIL convoy near the villages of al-Shoulah and al-Sukhnah along the highway connecting Homs to Deir Ezzur, killing or wounding scores of fresh fighters.

In the meantime, a command center of ISIL terrorists in the desert small town of Arak near the ancient city of Palmyra (Tadmur) was attacked by the Russian fighter jets.

Several vehicles of ISIL were destroyed in the air raids. 

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950707000843

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Yemeni Speaker Asks for Iran's Help, Blasts Arabs' Attempts to Display Parliament as Illegitimate

September 28, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Yemeni Parliament Speaker Yahya Ali al-Raee in a letter to his Iranian counterpart Ali Larijani called for Tehran's assistance to reconstruction efforts in his country, and lambasted certain Arab states' attempts to question legality of the legislature.

"Coming under aggression by foreigners and facing with the terrorist groups' crimes in many provinces, the Yemeni nation pins hope on those who have always stood beside them," al-Raee wrote in his letter released on Wednesday.

He called for the Iranian nation and government's further assistance to the Yemeni people in the reconstruction of their war-torn country.

Stressing that the Yemeni parliament has taken its legitimacy from the constitution, al-Raee rapped certain Arab states for their attempts to display the country's legislature as illegal.

Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen since last March to restore power to fugitive president Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh. The Saudi-led aggression has so far killed at least 10,800 Yemenis, including hundreds of women and children.

Despite Riyadh's claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, Saudi bombers are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.

According to several reports, the Saudi-led air campaign against Yemen has drove the impoverished country towards humanitarian disaster.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950707000708

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South Asia

Taliban recruiting children as soldiers in their ranks: Ghor officials

Wed Sep 28 2016

The Taliban militant group and other irresponsible militant groups are recruiting children as soldiers in their ranks, local officials in Ghor province said.

Zabiulalh Jawad, the provincial Independent Human Rights Chief, has told RFERL that they have credible evidences and documents to prove that Taliban are recruiting children to fight for the group.

Provincial governor’s spokesman, Abdulhai Khatebi confirmed the remarks by the Independent Human Rights Commission, saying the group is actively recruiting childre in the ares under their control.

The recruitment of children as soldiers is not in Afghanistan specifically by militant groups formed to fight the Afghan government.

Earlier reports emerged from the eastern Nangarhar province suggesting that the loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group are forcing the children and young men in the districts under their control to fight for the group.

The group is also accused of forcing the young women and girls to marriage in a bid to match the atrocities committed by the main group in Syria and Iraq.

Source: khaama.com/taliban-recruiting-children-as-soldiers-in-their-ranks-ghor-officials-01965

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IS Releases First Propaganda Video Filmed Inside Bangladesh

Tue Sep 27 2016

A propaganda video that features footage of five men who carried out an Islamic State-claimed terrorist attack in Dhaka in July was filmed in Bangladesh, officials there acknowledged, with one expert suggesting that the terror group had expanded its influence in the South Asian nation.

The video was released online on Sept. 24, two days after the five slain militants were buried in Dhaka, according to a statement sent to BenarNews by the Singapore-based International Center for Political Violence and Terrorism Research.

“This is the first official IS Bengali video released by a media unit identified as Bengal,” the statement said.

Senior Bangladeshi officials, who have long denied an Islamic State (IS) presence in Bangladesh, repeated that claim even while acknowledging that footage in the 15-minute film was recorded on home soil.

“This is an old video. It was made of some small pieces of videos freely available. The video was made in some parts of Bangladesh, and they sent it abroad. What I always say is that these militants are home-grown, not foreign. The IS is from Syria and Iraq. Can anyone show a Syrian or Iraqi fighting in Bangladesh?” Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told BenarNews.

“Our investigators have been examining the video and we have yet to find out who filmed it,” the home minister said.

“We have not eliminated all the militants; some of them are still active. They released the video to cheer up the militants who are still out of our net,” he said, adding that the government had blocked circulation of the video.

Consolidating

The new video calls for Bangladesh’s democratically elected government to be toppled and replaced with an Islamic caliphate. It includes graphic images of the butchered remains of hostages who were among 20 slain during an overnight siege at the Holey Artisan Bakery café in Dhaka on July 1.

“They urged Muslims to join IS and kill infidels wherever they find them, and threatened Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, and the anti-terrorism unit Rapid Action Battalion,” the International Center for Political Violence and Terrorism Research statement said of the video’s soundtrack.

“With IS facing mounting territorial losses in Syria and Iraq, the establishment of an IS Bengali media unit suggests that IS is consolidating its influence and strength in Bangladesh, asserting that it remains strong and capable of spreading its ideology and terror internationally in the face of setbacks,” it said.

The men who appear in the video are the same ones pictured in images of the alleged attackers released by Islamic State’s propaganda wing shortly after the attack. They have since been identified by police and through DNA testing as Rohan Ibn Imtiaz, Mir Sameh Mobashwer, Nibras Islam, Khairul Islam Payel and Shafiqul Islam Ujjal.

These men were members of Neo-JMB, a faction of home-grown militant group Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh that espouses IS ideology, according to officials.

Second Bengali video

The video is the second Bengali-language IS propaganda video to appear online since the attack.

In the older video, released in July, three men praised the attack, warning of more terrorist acts to come. That video was shot in Raqqah, the group’s Syrian stronghold, according to SITE Intelligence, a U.S.-based group that monitors jihadist material online.

Retired Brig. Gen. Shahedul Anam Khan, a security analyst, said the new video was shot in a rural location inside Bangladesh to show IS leaders in the Middle East that supporters had been active in Bangladesh.

“The recent video was filmed at an isolated place. It was recorded much before the Holey Artisan attack. The militants had the plan to stage a massacre, escape the scene and later claim the responsibility through the video message,” the analyst told BenarNews.

“The newly recruited members of the JMB are very highly educated. The government may deny that IS presence. But it is a harsh truth that they [IS] have attracted … some educated youths from Bangladesh,” Khan said, referring to some of the slain café attackers who came from well-to-do families.

“The Muslims, the Hindus and other faiths have been living in Bangladesh for centuries. But they want to destroy the multicultural heritage of this land. They have brainwashed the youths through wrong interpretation of Islam,” said Khan, referring to IS and JMB.

The new video also threatens some Bangladeshi Muslim clerics who have spoken out against militant groups. These include Maulana Farid Uddin Masud, president of the Bangladesh Jamatul Ulema, who spearheaded a fatwa against extremism in Bangladesh.

“Islam has not come into being to kill people. The militants’ Islam is not Islam,” Masud told BenarNews in commenting on the new propaganda video.

Source: benarnews.org/english/news/bengali/is-propaganda-09272016170432.html

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Taliban splinter group welcomes signing of peace deal by Hezb-e-Islami

Tue Sep 27 2016

A splinter group of the Taliban led by Mullah Rasool welcomed the signing of a draft peace agreement between the Afghan government and Hezb-e-Islami led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

Sources close to Hezb-e-Islami have said Mullah Rasool has endorsed the party’s stance and signing of the draft peace agreement with the Afghan government.

The sources further added that the endorsement by Mullah Rasool faction of the Taliban is based on the stance of Hezb-e-Islami to work for the withdrawal of the foreign forces from the country.

The Mullah Rasool has also called on other militant groups including the main Taliban group to adopt a similar stance as Hezb-e-Islami and work for the liberty of the country, the sources added.

The endorsement by Mullah Rasool group comes as the Taliban slammed Hekmatyar for signing of the draft peace agreement, calling his move as ‘a major crime’.

“Not only will he face the wrath of Allah for leaving jihad, but he has committed a major crime,” the group said in an article published in its website.

Hezb-e-Islami is the first militant group to sign a draft peace agreement with the Afghan government following a call made by the government to join peace process in a bid to end the ongoing violence through reconciliation process.

The Taliban group however rejected the plea and announced its spring offensive in April this year forcing the Afghan government to give up peace efforts and respond to Taliban’s insurgency with military option.

Source: khaama.com/taliban-splinter-group-welcomes-signing-of-peace-deal-by-hezb-e-islami-01959

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Top ISIS leaders among 18 killed in East of Afghanistan

Wed Sep 28 2016

At least 18 loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group were killed in an airstrike in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

The provincial police commandment said Wednesday that a commander of the terror group and a shadow judge were among those killed.

According to the provincial police commandment, the commander of the terror group has been identified as Qari Hamza while the shadow judge was identified as Mohammad Khan.

The airstrike was carried out in the early hours of Wednesday morning targeting the militants of the terror group in Shedal area of Achin district.

It is yet not clear if the airstrike was carried out by the US forces or the Afghan Air Force.

The loyalists of the terror group have not commented regarding the report so far.

The latest airstrike comes as reports have emerged from the area suggesting that the loyalists of the terror group have started regaining control of the areas lost to the Afghan forces.

The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) launched a major operation in districts under the control of ISIS loyalists around two months ago.

The operations were launched amid concerns that the loyalists of the terror group are attempting to expand foothold in the country.

Source: khaama.com/top-isis-leaders-among-18-killed-in-east-of-afghanistan-01963

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President Ghani and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar to sign peace deal tomorrow

Wed Sep 28 2016

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and leader of Hezb-e-Islami will sign the peace agreement during a major ceremony scheduled to be organized in ARG Presidential Palace tomorrow.

Over 500 prominent political figures are expected to participate in the ceremony for the signing of the peace agreement as Hekmatyar will participate in the ceremony through video teleconference, Hekmatyar’s son, Habib-ur-Rehman Hekmatyar told Tolo News during an exclusive interview.

Habib-ur-Rehman further added that the international community has agreed to lift restrictions and sanctions on Hezb-e-Islami and meetings have been organized with the key embassies in Kabul in this regard.

He said the party will focus to compensate to the families of the victims who sustained losses during the jihad times against the Soviet forces and at least 80,000 families are registered with Hezb-e-Islami.

The draft peace agreement between Afghan government and Hezb-e-Islami party was signed during a ceremony organized in a compound of Afghanistan High Peace Council on Thursday.

The Afghan National Security Adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar signed the agreement on behalf of the Afghan government while Mohammad Amin Karim signed the agreement on behalf of the delegation of Hezb-e-Islami.

The Afghanistan High Peace Council chief Pir Syed Ahmad Gilani and the High Peace Council deputy chief Ata-ur-Rehman were also present during the signing of the agreement.

The agreement was signed today after almost six months of continued negotiations between the Afghan High Peace Council and the delegation of Hezb-e-Islami.

Source: khaama.com/president-ghani-and-gulbuddin-hekmatyar-to-sign-peace-deal-tomorrow-01962

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US releases $100 million for Afghanistan through new development partnership

Wed Sep 28 2016

The United States government released $100 milion for Afghanistan through the new development partnership, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) said Tuesday.

The funds were released following the signing of an agreement between the US government and Ministry of Finance of Afghanistan.

“As part of the ongoing commitment by the U.S Government to improve the welfare of the Afghan people, the release of these funds is tied to the Afghan government’s achievement of specific development results and implementation of key policy reforms, including improved revenue collection, reducing corruption and reducing poverty by helping the poor and marginalized, especially women,” USAID said in a statement.

The statement further added that USAID concluded verification of the results and associated indicators under Tranche III of the NDP for mid-year 2016. USAID and the Ministry of Finance have agreed that the GNU is eligible to receive $100 million for achievements of result indicators of fundamental development reforms that will improve the welfare of the Afghan people.

“Linking U.S. assistance funding to achievable and important development results enables the Afghan government to implement its reform agenda, while increasing Afghan ownership and transitioning to a more Afghan-led development approach,” said William Hammink, Assistant Administrator, USAID/Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs.

“NDP is an effective mechanism that aligns U.S. assistance with the Afghan government’s reform agenda. As an on-budget funding modality, it has given the Afghan government the required fiscal space to implement its development priorities that will improve the lives of the Afghan people,” said the Minister of Finance, Eklil Hakimi.

The U.S. Agency for International Development will continue to work with the Ministry of Finance to help advance the Afghan government’s achievement of further milestones, each of which would trigger the release of additional funds. The New Development Partnership is anticipated to provide incentive funds of up to $800 million through 2018.

With almost $17 billion spent on development programs in Afghanistan since 2002, USAID provides the largest bilateral civilian assistance program to Afghanistan. USAID partners with the government and people of Afghanistan to ensure economic growth led by the country’s private sector, to establish a democratic and capable state governed by the rule of law, and to provide basic health and education services for all Afghans.

Source: khaama.com/us-releases-100-million-for-afghanistan-through-new-development-partnership-01964

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7 Afghan students disappear from military facilities in US

Wed Sep 28 2016

At least 7 Afghan military students sent to US for training have disappeared from the military facilities, it has been reported.

According to the local media reports, citing sources in Pentagon, the military students from Afghanistan disappeared during the ongoing month.

A Pentagon spokesman Patrick L. Evans has confirmed to Fox News that four students were considered absent without leave, or AWOL, from International Military Student programs over the Labor Day weekend, and three more during the September 17-18 weekend.

Two of the four students disappeared during the Labor Day were from Fort Benning in Georgia, one from an Army facility in Little Rocks Arkansas and one from Fort Lee in Virginia.

Another local newspaper, the Washington Free Beacon, reported that the officials have since accounted for at least two of the Afghans — who may have left the US.

This comes as military launched a search after two Afghan airmen disappeared from Moody Air Force Base in Georgia in December last year.

According to the officials, one of the two men was found six weeks later in Virginia, possibly seeking political asylum while the whereabouts of the second man remained unclear.

Source: khaama.com/7-afghan-students-disappear-from-military-facilities-in-us-01961

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Post Uri attack, prevailing situation not conducive for SAARC summit: Bangladesh envoy

September 28, 2016

New Delhi [India]: With four of the eight South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations deciding to boycott the November summit in Islamabad, Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Syed Muazzem on Wednesday said the prevailing situation was not conducive for holding a successful meeting, especially after the Uri terror attack.

Muazzem told ANI, “Even before the Uri attack, Bangladesh did not take part at the ministerial level in both home and finance minister’s conference. So, it was almost a fore grown conclusion that our Prime Minister may not attend the SAARC summit in Pakistan. But, we still have kept our options open. But after the Uri attack, the situation as it prevails in the region, we believe is not conducive towards holding a successful SAARC summit. We have to defer the SAARC summit for a better time when peace and tranquillity will be restored in the region.”

Asserting that Bangladesh did not take part in SAARC Home Ministers and Finance Ministers conference, Muazzem said they had merely tried to indicate that Pakistan has been interfering in all internal affairs of its neighbours.

“Pakistan has interfered in terms of our judicial decisions as well as the executive order those relating to the trail of war communists. Pakistani envoy was regularly called to our ministry and we had expressed that they should not meddle, but they have continued. Bangladesh also believes that Pakistan has continued to assist and aide the home-grown terrorists, who from time to tie create problems. Pakistan has been asked time and again to desist from doing such an act, but I believe we still continue to differ from this,” he added.

Holding Pakistan responsible for creating an un-conducive situation for holding the summit at this stage, Muazzem said, “SAARC basically tries to promote regional cooperation and we can promote cooperation when we are at peace with each other. Bangladesh has never harboured terrorists.”

Muazzem said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina took a very firm decision on this and she had promised that Bangladeshi territory would never be used for launching any attack against any of the neighbouring countries, adding that she had been very steadfast in the implementation of this.

Asserting that Bangladesh would like to continue with the SAARC process, Muazzem expressed hope that there would be a change in the Pakistani mindset and they would come back to the path of cooperation, instead of confrontation.

“We want the same pledge from other member countries. Pakistan has continued to interfere in the internal affairs. I didn’t see the interference from any other member countries. Basically, I don’t want to jump to a final conclusion at this stage, but as you know, we have tried to side by side promoted sub-regional cooperation…Bangladesh, India, Bhutan and Nepal, so far our sub-region is concerned,” he added.

Dubbing the non-participation of four SAARC members from the summit as a ‘setback’, Muazzem said Bangladesh would like to include Pakistan in order to promote regional harmony and cooperation.

“We would also like them to follow the path of peace and tranquillity. We have communicated this to the SAARC chairman, who will take the final decision. As per the charter of the SAARC, it requests the presence of all heads of states and government to be present at the SAARC summit because all decisions are taken on the basis of unanimity. So, when four-member countries are not going to take part in the SAARC summit, obviously the SAARCS summit cannot take place in Pakistan,” he added.

While pointing out that there had been postponement of the SAARC in the past as well, the Bangladesh High Commissioner to India said on each occasion, SAARC has decided to restore the situation and then it was possible to hold the summit.

“So, we are hopeful that we will be able to restore peace in our region and we will be able to hold the SAARC summit soon,” he said.

Reacting on Pakistan’s interference in the judicial matters of Bangladesh and supporting the home-grown terrorists, Muazzem said, “The war criminals who were tried in the Bangladeshi courts…we had a war crime tribunal and they were given the full opportunity to defend themselves. The tribunals also had the provision for an appeal by the normal Supreme Court review committee. Then it went through the process of clemency and eventually their execution.”

He said the war crimes tribunal process was transparent in accordance with its own Constitution.

“Pakistan has continued to question the trial procedure as well as the impartiality of the tribunal, which we construe as nothing but interference in our internal affairs, because courts are completely free and independent of an executive or any other branch.Basically we have seen during 2013 and 2014 that a lot of home-grown terrorists who were throwing these cocktail bombs, we have reasons to believe they have got supply routes from Pakistan,” he added.

After India said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not be going to Islamabad to attend the 19th SAARC Summit, scheduled to take place in November, Afghanistan, Bhutan and Bangladesh have also pulled out of the meet.

The SAARC summit cannot take place even if one of the eight members withdraws.

India yesterday announced that it would not attend the summit conveying the current SAARC Chair Nepal that in the prevailing circumstances, the Government of India is unable to participate in the proposed Summit.

Source: siasat.com/news/post-uri-attack-prevailing-situation-not-conducive-saarc-summit-bangladesh-envoy-1029910/

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Pakistan

Will Use Nuclear Weapons, Destroy India If It Declares War, Says Pakistan

September 28, 2016

Islamabad: In a fresh anti-India tirade, Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khawaja Asif has threatened to use nuclear weapons in case of war with India, saying his country has not made atomic device to display in a showcase.

“We will destroy India if it dares to impose war on us. Pakistan army is fully prepared to answer any misadventure of India,” the defence minister told private TV channel SAMAA.

He was replying to a question about India’s intention to carry out surgical strike in Pakistan.

“We have not made atomic device to display in a showcase. If a such a situation arises we will use it and eliminate India,” Asif said the channel.

He said Pakistan Air Force is ready to give a befitting response to India if it violates Pakistan’s airspace.

The Pakistani minister claimed that the “entire world knows now that India is not as serious about resolving the Kashmir dispute as Pakistan is”.

He claimed India has not received support from anywhere despite launching a diatribe against Pakistan and added that China had, on the other hand, supported Pakistan’s viewpoint.

Asif also alleged that the assault on an Indian army base in Uri that killed 18 soldiers was a ‘plan devised by India itself’.

Maintaining that no proof implicating Pakistan in the Uri attack had surfaced yet, Asif told DawnNews that “it was evident the attack was a plan devised by India itself.” He claimed that India “orchestrated Uri attack to divert the attention of the world from the Kashmir issue”.

India has said it has evidence showing involvement of Pakistan-based terrorists in the Uri attack and demanded that Islamabad refrain from supporting and sponsoring terrorism directed against this country.

One of the four terrorists involved in the Uri attack has been identified as Hafiz from Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Commenting on a bill moved in the US Congress to label Pakistan as a terrorist state, he said that anti-Pakistan elements are present in each and every country but the impacts of their voices depend on the policies of these countries.

“Five or 10 voices raised against us are not enough evidence to declare Pakistan a terrorist state,” he said.

Meanwhile, military spokesman Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa has said Pakistan’s eastern borders are under close monitoring of the security forces who are ready to respond to any aggression.

He urged people to be vigilant and keep an eye on any suspected movement in the border areas.

Source: deccanchronicle.com/world/neighbours/280916/will-use-nuclear-weapons-destroy-india-if-it-declares-war-says-pakistan.html

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Revoking of Indus Water Treaty will be treated as ‘act of war’: Sartaj Aziz

September 28, 2016

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Advisor to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz has warned India that if it revokes the Indus Water Treaty, Islamabad would treat it as “an act of war”, adding that such a step would “provide China a justification to consider the suspension of waters of the Brahmaputra river”.

Speaking at the National Assembly, Aziz yestarday said the Indian act can be taken as a breach of international peace, which will give Islamabad a good reason to approach the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

“Its revocation can be taken as an act of war, or a hostile act against Pakistan. It is highly irresponsible on the part of India to even consider revocation of the Indus Water Treaty. Unilateral revocation of IWT can pose a threat to Pakistan and its economy. This Indian act can be taken as a breach of international peace, and hence, will give Pakistan a good reason to approach the UNSC,” Aziz said.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday met with officials to review provisions of the Indus Water Treaty with Pakistan.

New Delhi ruled out cancelling the Indus Water Treaty with Pakistan but is looking for ways of increasing its use of waters that flow from India but are controlled by Pakistan.

This development comes as ties between India and Pakistan have hit a new low following the Uri attack in Kashmir in which 18 Indian soldiers were killed.

Aziz maintained that statements and actions from the Indian leadership for considering unilateral revocation of the Indus Water Treaty are a blatant violation of International law, and also constitute a breach of the Indus Water Treaty.

“The Treaty is of indefinite duration, and was never intended to be time-specific, or event-specific. The treaty is binding on both the states equally and offers no exit provision. There is an arbitration mechanism provided in the Indus Water Treaty to resolve the disputes related to the implementation of the Treaty only,” he added.

Asserting that according to international law and provisions of the Indus Water Treaty, India cannot unilaterally revoke IWT, the advisor said the move will not only undermine India’s international standing but also pertains considerable risk of war and hostilities.

“It will not only violate Indus Water Treaty but also set a regional state practice under which international law can serve as a precedent. It will provide China, for example, a justification to consider a suspension of waters of the Brahmaputra river. India has already damaged its credentials by even considering invoking IWT and disrupting water flows into Pakistan,” he said.

The treaty was inked in 1960 by the India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and then Pakistan President Ayub Khan, which allocates 80 percent of water to Pakistan from the six-river Indus Water System, including Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum that flows from India to Pakistan.

The treaty, brokered by the World Bank, is often considered to be one-sided and there has been growing clamour to relook at it. The pact has survived wars and phases of frosty ties between India and Pakistan.

According to reports, India currently generates about 3,000 megawatts of energy from hydropower plants along rivers in Kashmir, but believes the region has the potential to produce 18,000 megawatts.

Source: siasat.com/news/revoking-indus-water-treaty-will-treated-act-war-sartaj-aziz-1029604/

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Sindh CM, Jamiat Ulema-i- Islam-Fazl Leaders Discuss Bill on Seminaries

September 28, 2016

KARACHI: A six-member delegation of the Jamiat Ulema-i- Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) called on Sindh chief minister Syed Murad Ali Shah at CM House on Tuesday and discussed, among other issues, the Sindh government’s bill on regulation of madressahs in the province, which is expected to be tabled during the current session of the provincial assembly, officials in the government said.

The delegation was led by chairman of the standing committee of the National Assembly on States and Frontier Regions Maulana Mohammad Jamaluddin and leader of the opposition in the Balochistan Assembly Maulana Abdul Wassay.

Sources privy to the meeting said the primary point of discussion at the meeting was the coming madressah bill in which the Sindh government has promised to streamline seminaries for which it sought cooperation of the religious scholars.

The chief minister had said last month that his government would provide all support to the seminaries in the province needed for that matter, expecting the same from their side.

Source: dawn.com/news/1286469/cm-jui-f-leaders-discuss-bill-on-seminaries

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Sindh Assembly passes bill seeking tighter rules on arms sales

September 28, 2016

KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly on Wednesday unanimously passed a bill seeking tightened legislation on firearm sales in the province.

The “Sindh Arms Amendment Bill 2016” will be implemented with immediate effect.

The bill bounds arms dealers to get thumb impression of every buyer verified from the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) before making a deal.

No sale of firearms or ammunition could be made without having a computerised national identity card (CNIC), the bill stated.

To ensure tracking down the culprits in case of a weapon’s use in any crime, the bill makes it mandatory for the dealer to deposit two fired casings of bullets from the weapon before handing it over to the buyer. The bullet casings will be deposited to a forensics lab.

Moreover, copies of each document relevant to the sale of a weapon will be passed on to governmental authorities.

The bill was proposed by PPP senior leader Nisar Khuhro.

The Sindh chief minister was informed last month that some 540,000 firearm licences had not been verified by their holders with the relevant offices in the province.

Source: dawn.com/news/1286669/sindh-assembly-passes-bill-seeking-tighter-rules-on-arms-sales

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No Soft Corner for Extremists: Punjab Law Minister

September 28, 2016

BAHAWALPUR: No soft corner in the Punjab government for extremists: Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said this at a meeting of the divisional peace committee and districts heads of civil administration and police at the local circuit house on Tuesday.

The minister said government’s opponents were propagating that the Punjab government had a soft corner for extremists. This impression, he added, was totally baseless and contrary to the facts. He said that political opponents, instead of giving credit to the Punjab government for its solid measures to eliminate terrorism across the province, were only out to criticise it for the sake of criticism.

He said the masses had rejected critics’ propaganda time and again. He urged the public circles to be vigilant about the activities of strangers and police should be immediately informed about any suspicious activity.

Mr Sanaullah directed the civil administration to keep peace committees functional and convene the meetings of district bodies every month and divisional committees every two months.

He said a march by public representatives, members of peace committees, religious leaders and civil administration would be organised at district headquarters in the province on Muharram 9.

He stressed the need to promote harmony among sects in Muharram and make fool proof security arrangements.

Inspector General Mushtaq Sukhera said two army platoons would be provided to help police on Muharram 10.

Punjab Home Secretary Agha Salman directed the officials to arrange lights, generators and surveillance cameras for the security of mourning gatherings and processions in the area.Punjab Minister for Cooperatives Iqbal Channar, MPAs Jahangir Khawanzada, Rana Abdul Raoof, Shaukat Ali Laleka, Mian Fida Hussain Wattoo and Begum Hasina Naz, Divisional Commissioner Saqib Zafar and acting regional police officer Gauhar Mushtaq Bhutta were present.

Source: dawn.com/news/1286627/no-soft-corner-for-extremists-sana

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Pakistan approaches World Bank to stop Indian projects on Neelum, Chenab

September 28, 2016

Islamabad: Pakistan has approached the World Bank amid reports that India could revoke the 56-year-old Indus Waters Treaty, with senior Pakistani officials taking up the matter with the international lender which had mediated the water-sharing deal.

A delegation of the Government of Pakistan led by the Attorney General for Pakistan, Ashtar Ausaf Ali, met with senior officials of the World Bank at the World Bank Headquarters in Washington DC, to discuss matters relating to Pakistan’s recent Request for Arbitration given to India pursuant to Article IX of the Indus Waters Treaty, 1960, Geo News reported.

The report also said Pakistan approached the International Court of Justice, but did not provide any details.

On August 19, Pakistan had formally requested India for settlement of outstanding disputes pertaining to India’s construction of Kishenganga and Ratle hydroelectric plants on rivers Neelum and Chenab respectively, by referring the matters to the Court of Arbitration as provided in Article IX of the Treaty.

Under the treaty, the World Bank has an important role in establishment of the Court of Arbitration by facilitating the process of appointment of three judges, called Umpires, to the Court, while each country appoints two arbitrators.

The Pakistani officials met with senior officials of the World Bank to insist on early appointment of the judges and empanelment the court, it said.

The Pakistani delegation consisted of Attorney General for Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf Ali; Secretary, Ministry of Water & Power, Muhammad Younus Dagha; Pakistan Commissioner for Indus Waters, Mirza Asif Baig and others, it said.

Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Jalil Abbas Jilani and World Bank’s Executive Director for Pakistan Nasir Khosa were also present.

In the meeting with the Pakistani delegation, the World Bank committed itself to timely fulfilling its obligations under the treaty while remaining neutral, the report said.

Under the treaty, which was signed by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan President Ayub Khan in September 1960, waters of six rivers – Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum were to be shared between the two countries.

The treaty provides specific design criteria for any hydro-electric power plants to be built by India. Pakistan has held the position the Kishenganga and Ratle hydroelectric plants violate the design parameters of the treaty.

Earlier, Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs and Security, Sartaj Aziz said an attempt by India to block Pakistan’s water could be seen as “an act of war.” Yesterday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with officials to review provisions of the Indus Water Treaty with Pakistan.

In that meeting it was decided that India will “exploit to the maximum” the water of Pakistan-controlled rivers, including Jhelum, as per the water-sharing pact.

The meeting came as India weighed its options to hit back at Pakistan in the aftermath of the Uri terror attack that left 18 soldiers dead, triggering demands that the government scrap the water-sharing deal to mount pressure on the country.

Source: siasat.com/news/pakistan-approaches-world-bank-stop-indian-projects-neelum-chenab-1029928/

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Imran warns of ‘aggressive protests’ in next phase

September 28, 2016

LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan has said the party may opt for an aggressive agitation in the next phase, if its ongoing peaceful protest failed to make Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif present himself for accountability.

“If Nawaz Sharif will not be punished, Pakistan will be ruined because of lost credibility of state institutions,” he told journalists at a local club on Tuesday.

Mr Khan said the PTI was staging peaceful protest demonstrations to push the corrupt rulers to present themselves for accountability because massive corruption had been proved against them.

Stating he was mobilising people for participation in peaceful Sept 30 march on Raiwind, he warned the PTI could opt for aggressive agitation in the next phase that was part of democracy.

Warning the Punjab government and its “Gullus” against resorting to violence, the PTI chairman said the ruling PML-N had so far been using violent tactics against the party’s peaceful rallies in Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Jehlum and Islamabad.

“Enough is enough”, he said and added that the PTI would this time respond very sharply and forcefully.

To a question, Mr Khan said the party had yet not discussed alliance with any other political party or parties for the next general elections. “I can’t say anything on this subject right now,” he said and added that all opposition parties were on the same page in the parliament on the issue of framing Terms of Reference (ToR) to hold those accountable whose names had appeared in Panamagate.

He said the PTI was participating in the parliamentary committee to reform electoral process, which had so far been discredited.

Regarding the PTI’s defeat in by-elections and local polls, Mr Khan said these elections did not reflect mass following of the winners but the government pressure. He regretted that the government functionaries, including superintendents of police, had been found asking people to vote for the ruling party candidates. Still, he said, the PTI was giving tough time to the ruling PML-N in all elections.

In Punjab, he said, the ruling PML-N had even lodged FIRs against him and his top party leader, what to say of workers. On the other hand, he asserted that the PTI government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had not got registered even a single FIR against its political opponents.

He said KP was progressing leaps and bounds in all sectors, particularly with regard to social services and facilitating masses at their doorstep, but the PTI did not have hefty budget to flash its successes through massive media campaigns like the federal and Punjab governments.

About differences within his party, Mr Khan said such things did happen in big democratic political parties where people struggle for positions. Rejecting allegations of giving important party positions to wealthy people, he said the positions were offered to workers who had done something good in the past, had administrative and managerial experience and potential to do good for the party.

“When I will be prime minister, I can’t offer ministries on the pretext that such and such worker is an old guard. This type of thinking and administration will ruin the country,” he asserted.

Answering a question about atrocities being committed against Kashmiris by the Indian forces, Mr Khan said occupied Kashmir was now going out of India’s hands as Kashmiris were being persecuted only for demanding freedom.

Chiding Indian media for jingoism, he said as the world started exerting pressure on India in the wake of atrocities, the country started blaming Pakistan for Uri attack.

PTI general secretary Jahangir Tareen, information secretary Naeemul Haq, Abdul Aleem Khan, Ijaz Chaudhry, Waleed Iqbal, Samsam Bukhari and others were also present.

Source: dawn.com/news/1286643/imran-warns-of-aggressive-protests-in-next-phase

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26/11 attacks case: Pak judicial commission to inspect boat used by terrorists

September 28, 2016

Islamabad: A Pakistani judicial commission has been ordered by an Anti-Terrorism court in Islamabad to visit Karachi to inspect a boat which was allegedly used by LeT terrorists in the 2008 Mumbai attack.

An ATC Judge on Tuesday heard the Mumbai attack case and accepted a request filed by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to inspect the boat ‘Alfoz’ in Karachi.

The FIA had requested the court to send a judicial commission to examine the boat as it was difficult to produce it before the court, In addition to examining the boat, the commission would also record the statement of a witness, Munir, during its visit to Karachi.

Earlier, ATC-II judge had allowed the FIA’s application requesting the court to exhibit the boat as evidence as it was allegedly used for transporting the assailants to India and ultimately led to the attack in Mumbai.

The court’s decision to inspect the boat in Karachi comes days after India wrote a letter to Pakistan, suggesting legal ways to expedite trial of the Mumbai terror attack case.

India had written the letter after the FIA dropped charges against a suspect in the Mumbai attack case after failing to find any incriminating evidence.

The FIA had submitted a chargesheet before the ATC and placed the suspect, Sufiyan Zafar, in the second column of the charge sheet, which means no evidence was found against him.

According to the prosecution, Zafar had reportedly provided financial assistance to the other suspects.

In the chargesheet, the FIA said that Zafar had transferred Rs 14,000 into a suspect’s account. During the course of investigation, the investigators said it had emerged that Zafar had lent the money to the other suspects also without asking why they needed it.

LeT operations commander Lakhvi, Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younis Anjum are accused of abetment to murder, attempted murder, planning and executing the Mumbai attack that killed 166 people in November, 2008.

Lakhvi, believed to be the mastermind of the Mumbai attack, is living in undisclosed location after being released from jail on bail a year ago. The other six suspects are in Adiala Jail Rawalpindi. The case has been underway in the country for more than six years.

Source: siasat.com/news/2611-attacks-case-pak-judicial-commission-inspect-boat-used-terrorists-1029947/

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India

In a first, Indian to address Organisation of Islamic Countries' global youth meet

Sep 28, 2016

MUMBAI: In a recognition of the country's Muslim community, the second-largest in the world, an Indian has been invited to attend a prestigious conference of the Organisation of Islamic Countries' Islamic Conference Youth Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation (ICYF-DC).

Haji Syed Salman Chishty of Dargah Ajmer Sharif has been invited to address the ICYF-DC's Third Islamic Conference of Youth and Sports Ministers opening in Istanbul on October 4.

"This is a great honour for India and Indian Muslims. I shall speak on 'Empowering Youth for Peace, Solidarity and Development', which is the main theme of this global conference to be attended by representatives from 52 countries," Haji Chishty, the 27th direct descendent-custodian of the Sufi saint, Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishty, told IANS on the phone from Istanbul.

The recommendations of the conference will be included in "The OIC 2025 Action Plan", encompassing the adoption of the OIC Youth Strategy, he said.

Haji Chishty said that under the leadership of its Secretary General, Iyad Ameen Madani, the OIC has declared youth engagement in the Islamic world as one of its key priorities and the member-states have made investing in youth their main priority.

"This is the first time India -- which is home to the world's second largest Muslim population after Indonesia -- has been invited to the OIC forum. In fact, since nearly a decade, India's application for an OIC membership or getting observer status has been denied due to Pakistan's objections," explained the 33-year old Haji Chishty.

He said Russia, which is not an Islamic nation but has a substantial Muslim population, has been granted observer status at OIC. So why should India not get membership or at least an observer status, he wondered.

By current projections, he said, India is expected to house the largest chunk of the world's Muslim population by 2050 -- from the existing 176 million or 11 percent of the world's Muslims, to over 300 million. India will be followed by its neighbour Pakistan (9.9 per cent), Indonesia (9.3 per cent), Nigeria (8.4 per cent) and Bangladesh (6.6 per cent).

"Under such a changing scenario, it would be unjust for Indian Muslims to be deprived of a voice in a major forum like the OIC to share their aspirations and expectations on the world arena," pointed out Haji Chishty.

He said the latest development came after pursuing with the OIC authorities for over two years since the last ICYF-DC held in Istanbul in 2014, even as the OIC has acknowledged that one-third of the Islamic population by 2050 would comprise youth.

Haji Chishty is also in communication with the Indian government to revive its application for OIC membership and simultaneously lobbying with the OIC leadership to grant India some kind of formal entry.

Haji Chishty describes the upcoming event as "an excellent window of opportunity to showcase Indian Muslim youth, their achievements, the challenges they face in the future and their role as Indian Muslims on the world stage".

Contrary to belief, he said Muslim countries have notched an impressive record in terms of youth education with 24 OIC member-states achieving literacy levels of 97 per cent or more.

However, at the other extreme, there is Niger (23.5 per cent) with the lowest rate of literacy in the OIC, above whom are Guinea (31.4 per cent), Burkina Faso (39.3 per cent), Benin (42.4 per cent) and Afghanistan (47 per cent).

On the employment front, of the 76 million unemployed youth or 13.1 percent as per ILO in 2013, the situation was alarming in the Middle East at (27.2 per cent) and North Africa (29.4 per cent), with Mauritania and Guyana notching 40 per cent plus figures, he said.

Besides, there are other youth-related issues like early marriages, with 27.3 per cent being performed before the age of 18, with prevalence maximum in Bangladesh (29.1 per cent) and Chad (29 per cent). This needs to be regulated in terms of age and consent for a better future for the youth and their children, Haji Chishty said.

Source: economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/in-a-first-indian-to-addressorganisationof-islamic-countries-global-youth-meet/articleshow/54560709.cms

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For Tourism, We Welcome People from Pakistan, Says Minister Mahesh Sharma

September 28, 2016

NEW DELHI: Amid rising tension between India and Pakistan in the aftermath of the Uri terror attack, Union minister Mahesh Sharma today extended invitation to tourist from all countries, including those from Pakistan.

Speaking on the sidelines of a programme to mark the World Tourism Day today, he said India is a diverse country and welcomes tourists from across the globe in the spirit of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (the world is one family).

“For tourism, we welcome people from there (Pakistan),” he said when asked about the impact of souring India-Pakistan relations on the tourism sector.

On reports of India considering a review of ‘Most Favoured Nation’ status given to Pakistan, he said, the call has to be taken by the External Affairs Ministry which “issues advisory from time to time” on such issues.

He was speaking to reporters after presenting various awards, including for a painting competition organised by India Tourism.

He said people’s faith and perception about India has improved as is evident among others things in higher Foreign Direct Investment at a time the world struggles with economic sluggishness and witnesses bouts of terrorist activities.

He said the country has “proved itself” as “Incredible India” with increasing foreign footfalls at various tourism destinations in the country.

Mr Sharma said India will offer tourists a “swachh (clean) and safe tourism experience and welcome them in the spirit of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”.

Stressing “tourism is for all”, he said his ministry will make all tourist destinations “divyang-friendly (friendly for differently-abled people)” by introducing facilities like ramps in the coming months.

The minister also flagged off a sightseeing tour for ‘Divyang’ children. Thirty five students from class II-VI of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya School for Divyang Children, Minto Road, New Delhi, are part of this sightseeing tour.

Theme for 2016 World Tourism Day is: ‘Tourism for All!! – Promoting Universal Accessibility’.

Tourism Secretary Vinod Zutshi said, “On this year’s World Tourism Day help us spread the word of both importance and immense benefits universal accessibility has and can bring to society at large.”

Later in the day, the minister also flagged off ‘Swachh Paryatan Run’ from Transport Bhawan, where Tourism Ministry is housed, to India Gate.

Source: indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/pakistan-world-tourism-day-mahesh-sharma-3053211/

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Pakistan warns of 'water war' with India if decades-old Indus Water Treaty violated

Sep 27, 2016

ISLAMABAD/NEW DELHI: Pakistan would treat it as "an act of war" if India revoked the Indus Water Treaty regulating river flows between the two nations, Pakistan's top foreign official said on Tuesday

Tension has been mounting between the nuclear-armed neighbours since at least 18 soldiers in the disputed Kashmir region were killed this month in an attack that New Delhi blames on Pakistan.

India on Tuesday summoned Pakistan's High Commissioner in New Delhi to inform him about two men from Pakistan now in Indian custody who it alleges helped gunmen cross the disputed Kashmir border before the attack. Pakistan denies involvement in the raid and has urged India to conduct a proper investigation.

One retaliatory move being considered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is for India to "maximise" the amount of water it uses including by accelerating building of new hydropower plants, along three rivers that flow into Pakistan, a source with knowledge of a meeting attended by Modi on Monday told Reuters.

The source said India does not plan to abrogate the decades-old Indus Water Treaty. But using more of the rivers' water is still likely to hurt Pakistan as the Islamic Republic depends on snow-fed Himalayan rivers for everything from drinking water to agriculture.

Sartaj Aziz, foreign policy adviser to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, said Islamabad would seek arbitration with the Indus Water Commission which monitors the treaty if India increased the use of water from the Chenab, Jhelum and Indus rivers.

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However, if India revoked the treaty, Aziz said Pakistan would treat that as "an act of war or a hostile act against Pakistan."

"It's highly irresponsible on part of India to even consider revocation of the Indus Water Treaty," Aziz told the national assembly.

The treaty was signed in 1960 in a bid to resolve disputes, but India's ambitious irrigation plans and construction of thousands of upstream dams has continued to annoy Pakistan. India says its use of upstream water is strictly in line with the agreement.

India currently generates about 3,000 megawatts of energy from hydropower plants along rivers in its portion of Kashmir, but believes the region has the potential to produce 18,000 megawatts and says it can use more water and still remain within the terms of the treaty.

Aziz said India's provocative posturing constitutes a breach of the Indus Water Treaty and "threats of a water war are part of a military, economic and diplomatic campaign to build pressure on Pakistan", and deflect attention from civil unrest by the Muslim population in the Indian-ruled side of Kashmir.

DETAINED BY VILLAGERS

The attack on the Indian brigade headquarters in the Kashmir town of Uri before dawn on Sept. 18 was the deadliest in 14 years in the disputed Himalayan region and has sharply raised tensions between the arch-rivals.

India on Tuesday told Pakistan's High Commissioner that security forces had in their custody two men - a 19-year old and a 20-year old - who helped a group of gunmen cross the de facto border dividing Kashmir before launching the Sept. 18 raid, and that they were from Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.

In a statement, India's foreign ministry said the two men were apprehended by local villagers on Sept. 21, and that one of them had since admitted their role as guides and also identified one of the gunmen as a Pakistani from Muzaffarabad.

Reuters could not independently verify these claims.

A Pakistan foreign ministry spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Source: economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/pakistan-warns-of-water-war-with-india-if-decades-old-indus-water-treatyviolated/articleshow/54548970.cms

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Udaipur: Kashmiri students raise ‘anti-India’ slogans, ABVP stages protest

September 28, 2016

Udaipur, Rajasthan: Workers of youth wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad on Wednesday staged protest at Techno India NJR Institute of Technology after some Kashmiri students allegedly raised ‘anti-national’ slogans. The protestors denounced Pakistan and chanted pro-India slogans.

According to protestors, few Kashmir students raised ‘anti-India’ slogans and spoke ill about the Uri brave hearts.

“Few Kashmiri in this hostel were raising anti-India slogans. This is not the first time that this has happened.

We tried to sort things out but they are adamant,” said a protestor.”Few students raised pro Pakistan and Anti-India slogans, we tried to stop them but they did not. Moreover they said that 17 was a less number more of your army men should have died.

This is why we are now protesting,” said another protestor. 18 soldiers were killed in a militant attack in Uri area of Baramulla district earlier this month on 18 September.

It has been reported as “the deadliest attack on security forces in Kashmir in two decade Militants stormed an Army camp in Uri near the Line of Control (LoC) and carried out the attack.

Source: abplive.in/india-news/udaipur-kashmiri-students-raise-anti-india-slogans-abvp-students-stage-protest-422745

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Pak allegations are like ‘radio jutistan’: V K Singh

September 28, 2016

Thiruvananthapuram: Taking a jibe at Pakistan, Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh today compared its recent allegation of India sponsoring terrorism with ‘radio jutistan’, the radio which only talks about lies.

“In good old days, there used to be radio…called radio jutistan… the radio which only talks about lies. I think, that is what keeps on happening,” he said here.

He was responding to a question by reporters about Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Asif’s allegation that India was sponsoring terrorism.

“The Pakistan Minister’s comment was something which not even worth mentioning,” he said. However, Singh did not elaborate much when his reaction was sought on Pakistan’s move to approach International Court of Justice if India suspends Indus Waters Treaty. “Let the things come to a particular level. Then only we can comment. Now we are talking in air. We will cross the bridges when we come to it,” he said.

Stating that India had every right to take a look at the Indus waters treaty, Singh said he had nothing more to say than the Prime Minister’s statement that blood and water cannot flow together.

On a question why India did not react fiercely against Pakistan in the wake of Uri attack, Singh said the country’s reaction should be logical and not emotional. “India has to look at every options. Everything is open. But India should not be very emotional but logical. Everything should be done in a cool and calculated manner,” he said.

Pakistan had no local stand on Kashmir, he said adding that it would be better Pakistan introspect on what they are doing. Dismissing Congress’s charge that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s speech at UNGA was disappointing, he said “Congress will criticise everything what BJP does…what is new in it. I really don’t know what the Congress expected. Did they want her to take out a sword there?”.

Source: siasat.com/news/pak-allegations-radio-jutistan-v-k-singh-1029596/

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Muslim groups plan meetings across Mumbai to demand quota

September 28, 2016

The growing mobilisation of the Maratha community and its clamour for reservation has prompted Muslim groups in Maharashtra to raise a similar demand.

Over the next month, several Muslim organisations would hold consultations and public meetings in Mumbai, asking the state government to provide reservation to Muslims in education.

While the Bombay High Court had struck down the quota for Marathas granted by the last government, it had upheld the order of five per cent reservation to Muslims in education.

After the BJP-led government came to power, it scrapped the benefit in March 2015, claiming that the ordinance had been passed in December 2014, bot not converted into an Act. The BJP had earlier claimed that it was against reservation on grounds of religion.

On Monday, four Muslim MLAs — Samajwadi Party MLA Abu Asim Azmi, AIMIM MLA Waris Pathan and Congress MLAs Arif Naseem Khan and Amin Patel — said they would form a committee to lobby for Muslim reservation. Early next week, Congress Rajya Sabha MP Hussain Dalwai has organised a gathering of Muslim activists at Haj House to discuss how the community should take forward its demand for reservation.

The All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen, which will also hold consultations, has decided to organise a rally to the state legislature in Nagpur during the winter session to push for the demand.

“It is a demand that has been acknowledged even by the courts. We will undertake a march to the state legislature during the winter session to shake the government out of its slumber on this issue,” AIMIM MLA Imtiyaz Jaleel said.

All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, one of India’s oldest Muslim social organisations, has also decided to hold a daylong public discussion on the way ahead for Muslim reservation on October 14 in Mumbai.

“No political leader is ready to talk about this issue even though the courts had stated that Muslims deserved reservation. The Congress and NCP have kept mum on this issues so far,” Aamir Idressy, convener of the Association of Muslim Professionals said.

The Congress-NCP government had decided to give 5 per cent reservation to 50 communities within Muslims by including them under the newly formed category called the Special Backward Category-A.

Source: indianexpress.com/article/mumbai/muslim-groups-plan-meetings-across-mumbai-to-demand-quota-3053458/

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India launches campaign to “punish” Pakistan

28 September 2016

India has taken a series of high-profile steps in recent days aimed at “punishing” Pakistan for the September 18 attack on the Uri military base in Indian-administered Kashmir. The attack, which was carried out by Islamist opponents of Indian rule over Jammu and Kashmir, India’s only Muslim-majority state, killed eighteen Indian soldiers.

The publicly announced steps that India has taken are of a diplomatic and economic character. But there is no doubt that behind the scenes feverish preparations continue for a lethal Indian “counterstrike,” whether in the form of military or covert action.

Within hours of the Uri attack and before any credible investigation, Indian government and military leaders publicly declared Islamabad responsible. Soon the media was full of commentary baying for military action against Islamabad and enthused reports that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was huddling with India’s senior-most military and intelligence officials to plot a robust response. The measures under consideration reportedly included air or cruise missile strikes on Islamist Kashmiri separatist bases in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, cross-border raids, and/or the assassination of Pakistani intelligence officials.

The Indian government and military have subsequently signaled that they still intend to bloody Pakistan. However, given the logistical difficulties in carrying out an attack and in rebuffing the inevitable Pakistani military response, they have said that they do not intend to act precipitously. Any action will be at a time and in a form, including potentially “deniable” covert operations, of India’s choosing.

In the meantime, India is mounting a diplomatic and political offensive against Pakistan, and Modi and his government continue to incite the population against Pakistan. In this they have the full support of the opposition Congress Party, which has called for an emergency session of parliament to discuss reprisals against Pakistan.

Full report at:wsws.org/en/articles/2016/09/28/inpk-s28.html

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India, Nigeria discuss intelligence sharing on terrorism

September 28, 2016

India and Nigeria have held discussions on the perception, exchange of information or intelligence related to terrorism and have agreed, if at all, to evolve joint action to counter this ever looming threat.

Briefing the media over delegation-level talks between Vice President M Hamid Ansari and his Nigerian counterpart Yemi Osinbajo here on Tuesday, Secretary, Economic Relations (ER), Ministry of External Affairs, Amar Sinha said, "Terrorism, of course, was a common theme and, of course, with a difference that Nigeria has been lucky that it has got collaborations and cooperation from all its neighbours unlike ours, where one of our neighbours seems to become a source for a lot of terrorist activities that happen in India."

"The discussion on terrorism took place around the perception, exchange of information or intelligence and, the joint action that could be taken, if at all," said Sinha.

"Nigeria is acting together with its neighbours and they are quite effectively reducing the space that the Boko Haram had occupied here before," he added.

On the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Sinha said, "India says Nigeria is an influential member of the OIC and its needs to speak up, like all other members need to speak up at the OIC, so that the entire agenda and discourse are not hijacked by the one interested party, and since it is through consensus, if even one of them spoke up, you would have more balanced statements coming out of the OIC, especially on Jammu and Kashmir."

"And, of course, we also made the point that the OIC; we don't see that they have a locus standi in Jammu and Kashmir," he added.

When asked about the mention of the Uri terror attack during the talks, he said, "We apprised them of the Uri terror attack; whereas soon after the attack, on September 19, they met the acting High Commissioner in Delhi. So, I think, on behalf of the government, they have already condemned it."

Vice President Ansari is on a five-day official visit to Nigeria and Mali as part of efforts to bolster New Delhi's ties with both West African nations.

The historic State visit to Nigeria by then prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh in October 2007 after a gap of over forty five years elevated the strategic partnership.

Nigeria is India's largest trading partner in Africa with the bilateral trade amounting to $12.6 billion in 2015-16.

India is also the largest buyer of crude oil from Nigeria, and more than 100 Indian companies have a large presence there as well as both the countries have strong defence cooperation.

On the second leg of his trip, the Vice President will reach Mali on September 29 for the first ever high-level visit at the invitation of Prime Minister Modibo Keita.

Source: business-standard.com/article/international/india-nigeria-discuss-intelligence-sharing-on-terrorism-116092800148_1.html

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North America

If ISIS Could Vote In Our Election, It Would Choose Donald Trump

September 27, 2016

Countless foreign affairs experts (including plenty of Republicans) and weathered military brass all agree: Donald Trump is grossly unfit to be Commander and Chief. But in reality, it’s not just that Trump lacks presidential qualifications; is that he’s uniquely qualified to make things a lot worse.   

It’s already happening. ISIS is using Donald Trump as a recruitment tool, galvanizing support and boosting their momentum.

Think of it this way: if ISIS is a fire that we have to put out, having no access to water or a fire hose would render one unfit to fight it. However, the frightening truth is that Trump and his Republican backers are actively, willingly, and ignorantly throwing gasoline on the flames. 

If you don’t trust U.S. politicians, then at least trust U.S. enemies: ISIS is rooting for a Trump presidency because it gives them a leg up. But why?

First,  the ISIS worldview is simple: They see the world as believers vs. non-believers, divided between land governed by their version of Islam and the lands of its enemies. ISIS fears religious freedom and secular society, which is why their main goal is to “destroy the gray area of coexistence.” ISIS approves of Western Islamophobia, because it fuels their binary “us vs. them” doctrine; they gain power and support from the irresponsible and hateful brand of divisiveness Trump flings around when he solicits cheers for anti-Muslim rhetoric — like he did when he insulted the family of a fallen Muslim-American soldier. 

What’s more, scholars agree that Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. is outright illegal under U.S. and international law, citing the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause and the First Amendment’s doctrine of freedom of religion. It’s not just illegal, it’s also not possible:  there’s no ‘religion’ column on passports. So Trump’s nonsensical proposal has the sole effect of playing into ISIS’s narrative–basically doing their dirty work for them.

This isn’t all just theory, either. In a new analysis, Foreign Affairs magazine recently interviewed ISIS supporters, and according to a former ISIS fighter and self-identified jihadist, “We don’t need to convince Muslims in the Middle East that the West is against them … The next step for the Islamic State is to reach Muslims in America and Europe.” Another said, “Congratulations to us on the victory of Trump! Sit back and relax and watch the end of America at his hands.”

From the same Foreign Affairs analysis, another man who left ISIS said that ISIS wants to make the West an “incubator” for locally inspired attacks. ISIS is currently using video footage of Trump’s anti-Muslim sentiments around the attacks in Brussels and Orlando to recruit and galvanize support.

And since ISIS is losing ground on its home turf in the Middle East, they’re increasingly focusing their propaganda less on battles in the region and more on the Trump-type content that will encourage homegrown terrorism and lone-wolf attacks in the U.S. and Europe. Picture a room full of jihadi social media operatives splicing islamophobic Trump-isms into their recruitment videos, woven between footage of beheadings — what more do they need to justify their hateful narrative?

In an increasingly combative election, one of the few things we still all agree on is countering ISIS’s ideology and evil mission. Donald Trump, however, seems intent on designing”‘policies” and advancing an attitude that plays right into their hands, both ideologically and operationally. He claims that he alone can keep the country safe, but he’s actually singularly bad for our national security–and our enemies are taking notice, and using his rhetoric as fuel.

It all boils down to a simple question all American voters must ask themselves: If ISIS would vote for Donald Trump, why would you?

Kevin Samy is a political Partner at the Truman National Security Project and a communications strategy consultant. Views expressed are his own.

Source: nationalmemo.com/if-isis-could-vote-in-our-election-it-would-choose-donald-trump/

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New York City Is Taking Aim At Islamophobia

28/09/2016

NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - New York City kicked off a social media advertising campaign on Monday to combat negative perceptions of Muslims and counteract increasing instances of threats and violence, officials said.

Showing an array of photographs of Muslim men and women, the campaign reads “I am Muslim. I am NYC”, according to the New York City Commission on Human Rights.

Those American men who lamented that Hillary Clinton not being "attractive" enough, should demand during the next debate Trump must field his "stunning" Slovekian "trophy" third wife Ivanka in a bikini (after all she was a model who had posed nude) ! Trump is then certain to not just win the debate but also sweep the national election on 8th November !

Anti-Muslim sentiment has been playing a major role as the U.S. presidential race has heated up. Republican nominee Donald Trump claimed he saw thousands of people cheering after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and has called for shutting down mosques and banning Muslims from certain countries from entering the United States.

In New York, an Afghan-born man is accused of wounding 31 people in a bombing on Sept. 17 that authorities called a “terrorist act”. The suspect had embraced militant Islamic views, authorities say.

“Now more than ever, it is important for every New Yorker to stand united as one city and reject hate and violence,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement announcing the ad campaign.

“In New York, everyone deserves to be treated with respect. Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, Hindu, agnostic and atheist — it doesn’t matter,” he said. “We are all New Yorkers and we all deserve to live safely and free from hatred or discrimination.”

Some 3.3 million Muslims live in the United States, and thousands live in New York City, according to the commission.

The ads will be placed on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #IamMuslimNYC.

Investigations by the Commission on Human Rights into cases of discrimination based on race, national origin and religion have grown over the last two years, from 194 cases in 2014 to 326 cases in 2015, officials said.

Nationwide, since the first candidate announced a presidential bid in March 2015, there have been about 180 reported incidents of anti-Muslim violence, including 12 murders, according to a study by researchers at Georgetown University released in May.

By comparison, prior to the Sept. 11 attacks, according to the FBI, there were 20 to 30 anti-Muslim hate crimes annually, the study said.

Along with the ad campaign, New York City is planning events and outreach efforts such as public forums, cultural workshops and publicizing information on laws against religious discrimination.

Source: huffingtonpost.in/entry/new-york-city-is-taking-aim-at-islamophobia_us_57eaab46e4b0c2407cd9ddc3?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Religion+092716&utm_content=Religion+092716+CID_900d882a856b76a91a4453b5027733d4&utm_source=Email+marketing+software&utm_term=New+York+City+Is+Taking+Aim+At+Islamophobia

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U.S. drone air strike in Afghanistan kills 18

September 28,2016

Kabul,Sept28:A suspected U.S. drone strike against Islamic State in Afghanistan killed 18 people on Wednesday, most of them militants but possibly including some civilians, Afghan officials said.

Civilians casualties in U.S. air strikes against Taliban and other militants in Afghanistan have long been a source of friction between the allies who have been fighting since 2001 to end militant opposition to the government in Kabul.

The strike in Nangarhar province, on the eastern border with Pakistan, killed 18 people, 15 of them militants and three civilians, said Mohammed Ali, police chief of Achin district where the attack occurred.

“They were in a house to visit someone who had just come from the Hajj pilgrimage,” he said. “A drone targeted the house and killed most of them.”

Provincial police spokesman Hazrat Hussain Mashriqiwal said several Islamic State leaders had been killed, but he denied there were any noncombatants among the victims.

Islamic State has enticed hundreds, perhaps thousands, of fighters in Afghanistan and Pakistan to join, and it holds some territory in Nangarhar, with Achin a stronghold.

But it has not been able to expand its influence in Afghanistan beyond a few districts and the Taliban remain the dominant Islamist force.

A spokesman for the U.S. military command in Kabul confirmed that U.S. forces conducted a “counter-terrorism” air strike in Achin, but would not discuss the details of the target.

“U.S. Forces – Afghanistan takes all allegations of civilian casualties very seriously,” said Brigadier General Charles Cleveland.

“We are aware of some claims of Afghan casualties, and are currently reviewing all materials related to this strike. We are continuing to look into these allegations.”

Determining which victims were civilians and which were militants would not be possible until an investigation was complete, said Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the provincial governor.

Thousands of U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan, with many recent air strikes and special operations missions aimed at Islamic State in Nangarhar, as well as helping Afghan forces in their fight against the Taliban in various parts of the country.

Between January and August this year, American aircraft released more than 800 weapons and flew more than 3,500 close air support missions in Afghanistan, according to U.S. military reports.

Source: indialivetoday.com/u-s-drone-air-strike-afghanistan-kills-18/38192.html

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Africa

Muslims in Nigeria beg Boko Haram to free kidnapped girls

September 28,2016

Abuja - The Muslim community in Nigeria's Osun State has appealed to Boko Haram insurgents to release the over 200 missing Chibok schoolgirls who were abducted in 2014, Punch reports.

The vice president of the Osun State Muslim Community, Alhaji Mustafa said that the girls had been in captivity for a long time and would be best served if they were released.

"We can only appeal to them to release them from where they are being kept. It is strange how they abducted over 200 girls in the first place, they didn’t take them away by aircraft, they used vehicles and no single vehicle could convey them at a time," Mustafa was quoted as saying.

Mustafa, however, said it was wrong for the terrorist group to be labelled as an Islamic organisation, Boko Haram in no way represented Islam.

Credible leadership of the sect

Mustafa's remarks came a few days after President Muhammadu Buhari requested the United Nations to help mediate with the terror group in order to free the girls.

The girls were kidnapped in April 2014 from their government-owned school in Chibok, Borno State. The Buhari administration has faced heavy criticisms for its inability to secure their release.

Speaking in New York during a bilateral meeting with UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, Buhari said his government was willing to accept the UN as a mediator. He reiterated his earlier stance that it was difficult identifying the credible leadership of the sect.

"The challenge is in getting credible and bona fide leadership of Boko Haram to discuss with. The split in the insurgent group is not helping matters. Government had reached out, ready to negotiate, but it became difficult to identify credible leaders. We will welcome intermediaries such as UN outfits, to step in," Buhari was quotyed as saying.

Source: news24.com/Africa/News/muslims-in-nigeria-beg-boko-haram-to-free-kidnapped-girls-20160927-2

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Malian jailed for war crime of cultural destruction

SEP 28, 2016

THE HAGUE • War crime judges yesterday found a Malian guilty of destroying Timbuktu's fabled shrines during Mali's 2012 conflict and jailed him for nine years.

Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi is the first militant to face the International Criminal Court in The Hague in a trial that focused on cultural destruction as a war crime.

The verdict from the three-judge bench is a landmark judgment that experts hope will send a strong message to safeguard the world's ancient monuments.

"The chamber unanimously finds that Mr al-Mahdi is guilty of the crime of attacking protected sites," judge Raul Pangalangan said, adding that the chamber "unanimously sentences you to nine years of imprisonment" for the "war crime".

Prosecutors had asked for a jail term of between nine and 11 years.

UN chief Ban Ki Moon recently condemned those bent on razing the world's cultural heritage as "tearing at the fabric of societies".

In an unprecedented move, Mahdi, around 40, last month pleaded guilty to the single war crime charge of "intentionally directing" attacks in 2012 on nine of Timbuktu's mausoleums and the centuries-old door of the city's Sidi Yahia mosque.

The slight, bespectacled man with a mop of curly hair asked his fellow Malians to pardon him as videos were shown of him and other Islamist extremists knocking down ancient earthen shrines with pick- axes and bulldozers.

As the head of the so-called Hisbah or "Manners Brigade", it was Mahdi, a former teacher and Islamic scholar, who gave the orders to ransack the sites. Apologising for his actions in court, he said he had been overtaken by "evil spirits".

Mr El-Boukhari Ben Essayouti, who oversaw the reconstruction with Unesco aid, said Mahdi's trial was an important lesson.

The trial "has to be useful for something, showing to everyone that in the same way that we cannot kill another person with impunity, we cannot just destroy a world heritage site with impunity either", he said.

Founded between the fifth and the 12th centuries by Tuareg tribes, Timbuktu has been dubbed "the city of 333 saints" and the "pearl of the desert" for the number of Muslim sages buried there.

Revered as a centre of Islamic learning during its golden age in the 15th and 16th centuries, it was, however, considered idolatrous by the militants who swept across Mali's remote north in early 2012.

Source: straitstimes.com/world/africa/malian-jailed-for-war-crime-of-cultural-destruction

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Libya’s Terrorist Descent: Causes and Solutions

September 27, 2016

Chairman Poe, Ranking Member Keating and members of the subcommittee, thank you for inviting me here today to discuss the turmoil in Libya. Obviously, the multi-sided conflict in Libya is complex, with various forces pulling the country in multiple directions. My testimony today focuses on the jihadist groups operating inside Libya, especially the Islamic State’s arm and groups belonging to al Qaeda’s network. I am going to emphasize five key points:

1. The Islamic State is on the verge of losing its safe haven in Sirte, Libya. The loss of Sirte would be a major blow to the so-called caliphate, as Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s organization has invested significant resources in this state-building project. From the Islamic State’s perspective, Sirte was one of the most important cities under its control. This was true even though most of the city’s citizens had fled the jihadists’ occupation. By controlling Sirte, the Islamic State was able to portray its “caliphate” as having significant territory outside of Iraq and Syria. If Baghdadi’s loyalists are cleared from Sirte in the coming weeks, then the U.S. and its allies should trumpet the group’s loss. During its rise to power, the Islamic State’s motto was “remaining and expanding.” This was a key part of the organization’s marketing message. But in Libya, as in Iraq and Syria, it is no longer true.

2. Despite losing its grip on Sirte and the surrounding towns and villages, however, the Islamic State will retain a presence inside Libya. The group has cadres in Benghazi and elsewhere. The Islamic State’s leaders likely evacuated some of their men from Sirte as the offensive on the city progressed. It is important to note that even though the Islamic State is on the verge of a significant defeat, the effort required a robust commitment by local Libyan ground forces, as well as more than 170 “precision” American airstrikes to date. As the Islamic State’s men have been cleared block by block from Sirte, they have demonstrated that they continue to maintain a strong operational capacity, launching suicide bombings in neighborhoods they’ve lost and killing dozens of their Libyan enemies. The U.S. and its partners will have to make sure that they hold Sirte once it is cleared, as well as prevent the Islamic State from seizing significant terrain elsewhere.

3. The Islamic State’s loss of Sirte will be viewed in jihadist circles as a vindication of al Qaeda’s strategy. Al Qaeda’s senior leaders, including Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri, repeatedly warned that the premature declaration of an Islamic state harms the jihadists’ cause. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb’s (AQIM) emir, Abdulmalek Droukdel, has made the same argument. Al Qaeda has consistently argued that a jihadist state cannot survive if the U.S. and its allies decide to intervene. This is exactly what happened in Sirte.

4. Some assume that, unlike the Islamic State, al Qaeda does not seek to control territory and build Islamic emirates (states). But this is an erroneous assumption. A wealth of evidence shows that this is, in fact, al Qaeda’s primary goal. However, al Qaeda and the Islamic State have very different strategies for achieving this same end. AQIM and its allies briefly controlled much of Mali beginning in 2012. Documents recovered in Mali show that AQIM was laying the groundwork for an Islamic state .

Full report at:longwarjournal.org/archives/2016/09/libyas-terrorist-descent-causes-and-solutions.php

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Somali Journalist gunned down in Mogadishu

September 28,2016

A Somali journalist, Abdiaziz Ali Haji has been killed by unidentified gunmen on Tuesday evening, in the capital Mogadishu.

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) released a statement condemning the killing and appealed to the government to urgently investigate and punish the perpetrators.

Image result for Somali Journalist gunned down in Mogadishu

Journalists in Somalia have been a regular target for militant group, al-Shabaab, which is fighting the Western-backed government to set up an Islamic caliphate in the country.

A young Somali female journalist, Sagal Salad Osman, who worked for state-run media SNTV, was also killed in June.

Source: africa.tvcnews.tv/2016/09/28/somali-journalist-gunned-mogadishu/#.V-urvYh97IU

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Europe

Mosque bombed in Dresden, German police on high alert EPA/SEBASTIAN KAHNERT

SEPTEMBER 28, 2016

German police in Dresden beefed up security of Muslim institutions after two home-made bombs exploded – one at a mosque and the other at an international conference centre – on September 26. No one was injured.

The first blast was reported just before 10pm outside a mosque in the eastern neighbourhood of Cotta. An imam was inside the building at the time, along with his wife and two children. A second explosion occurred 30 minutes later outside the International Congress Center near the Maritim Hotel.

As reported by the Reuters news agency, police investigating the two incidents believe there may be a link to celebrations for the coming weekend in the city to mark the anniversary of German reunification on 3 October 1990.

“Even if we so far have no claim of responsibility, we must go on the basis that the motive was xenophobic,” Horst Kretzschmar, president of Dresden police, said in a statement. He also said police are protecting three mosques, a Muslim social centre and a prayer room.

According to Mehmet Demirbas, founder of the mosque that was targeted on September 26, the local Muslim community has been expecting some kind of attack for a long time.

“Glass panes have been broken in the past, or graffiti on the wall. But this is the first time something like this happens. Hopefully it will be the last time and we carry on happily living in Dresden,” he said.

Last year, the anti-Islam PEGIDA grassroots movement held weekly rallies in this eastern German city, fuelling xenophobia. Social tensions have increased nationwide following the influx of some 1m refugees and migrants, mostly Muslims, to Germany last year.

Support for the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, whose members argue that Islam is not compatible with the country’s constitution, has increased.

Nevertheless, AfD co-leader Frauke Petry condemned the attack on the mosque, saying: “Attacking a building in which people worship God is barbaric, whether it be a church, a mosque or a synagogue.”

According to Reuters, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble stressed at an annual conference on Islam on September 27 that Islam belonged to Germany, repeating a view that Merkel voiced in 2015 ahead of a PEGIDA demonstration in Dresden.

In a separate report, Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, noted that security will be boosted on October 3 for the Day of German Unity celebrations in Dresden. German President Joachim Gauck and Chancellor Angela Merkel will be in attendance, officials said. The September 26 bombings also came just after PEGIDA staged its latest march through the city.

Source: neweurope.eu/article/mosque-bombed-dresden-german-police-high-alert/

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Five jihadi suspects arrested in Spain, Belgium, Germany

September 28, 2016

Police in Spain, Belgium and Germany on Wednesday arrested five people suspected of forming a cell that spread propaganda and sought to recruit militants for the Islamic State armed group, officials said.

The Spanish Interior Ministry said the cell, made up of four Spaniards and one Moroccan, posed “a grave, concrete and continued threat to security in Europe.”

A ministry statement said the five worked for the Islamic State group by spreading information on several internet sites, among them a Facebook page called “Islam en Espanol” (Islam in Spanish). The site, allegedly managed by two suspects arrested in Belgium and Germany, had 32,500 followers and was growing rapidly, the ministry added.

The statement said one suspect was arrested in Brussels and another in Wuppertal, Germany. Two arrests took place in the northeastern Spanish city of Barcelona and one in the north African Spanish enclave city of Melilla.

The ministry said the group praised and encouraged IS attacks and sought recruits. The ministry said the cell directed its activities toward young Muslims of northwest African background.

The ministry said 113 suspected pro-jihad activists have been arrested in Spain since 2015 while Spanish police had helped arrest 30 more in other countries.

Source: indianexpress.com/article/world/world-news/five-jihadi-suspects-arrested-in-spain-belgium-germany/

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EU cannot close doors to Muslim refugees

September 28,2016

Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed Tuesday that EU member states should provide shelter for refugees fleeing terror and civil war, irrespective of their religion or faith.

Speaking at a joint news conference with visiting Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in Berlin, Merkel underlined Europe’s humanitarian responsibility and common values that protect freedom of religion.

“In Europe, we have certain humanitarian obligations towards refugees who fled from civil war in Syria and those who fled from ISIL in Iraq,” Merkel said, in response to a question by a Malaysian journalist.

“We are not making any difference here between people of Christian faith and people of Muslim faith, and we are not saying that one group will be protected by us and others not. I think that this must be reflected in the policy of each and every EU member state. This is my opinion, has always been my opinion, and continues to be my opinion,” she stressed.

Right-wing populist governments in Slovakia, Poland and Hungary have raised objections to the relocation of Muslim refugees from Italy, Greece or Turkey, and proposed instead taking in a limited number of Christian refugees.

Despite an agreement reached by the EU Council last year to relocate 160,000 refugees from Italy and Greece, EU member states have so far relocated only 5,000 people.

Merkel also expressed concern over the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria, and sharply criticized the regime’s air strikes targeting civilians.

“What is happening in Aleppo is a brutal violence against the people, against the civilian population to an extent that is totally unacceptable,” she said.

Merkel expressed regret for the failure to stop fighting, but said it was worth every effort to continue trying to achieve a ceasefire deal which actually works.

Source: worldbulletin.net/world/177860/merkel-eu-cannot-close-doors-to-muslim-refugees

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Mideast

Locals on alert after suspected UFO sighting in Turkey’s south

September 28, 2016

Witnesses said the unidentified object was seen in the sky from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and suddenly disappeared after moving around 40 kilometers north. They immediately informed the gendarmerie about the flying object.

After seeing the flying object, locals called their relatives living in nearby neighborhoods and urged them to look into sky to see the object.

Mehmet Gümüş, one of the witnesses, said the flying object was almost at the size of a minibus.

“I had the opportunity to inspect [the object] with my brother’s binoculars. It had a shape similar to a balloon. When I zoomed in, I saw colorful particles. However, we could not clearly identify what the object was,” Gümüş said.

A number of people informed the gendarmerie about the same flying object. However, the gendarmerie did not prepare a report on the incident after interviewing locals who claimed they also saw the suspected UFO.

In addition, social media users posted pictures of the object, with some claiming that it might have been an unmanned aircraft or a balloon.

Meanwhile, another local captured video footage of a suspected UFO in the Aegean resort of Bodrum.

Oya Öztürk said two bright lights immediately appeared in the sky on Sept. 27, adding that the objects were turning and disappearing constantly.

Öztürk also stated that she had sent the footage to a research center where it was determined to be a UFO.

Öztürk also noted that she captured the image of a UFO in the same region.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/locals-on-alert-after-suspected-ufo-sighting-in-turkeys-south.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104344&NewsCatID=341

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AKP to evaluate MPs’ photo with Gülen

Wednesday,September 28 2016

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will “evaluate” a photo of a group of party MPs posing with Fethullah Gülen, an Islamic cleric based in the U.S. who the government says was behind Turkey’s failed coup attempt, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş has said.

The photograph in question was taken during a visit by 12 AKP deputies to Gülen in Pennsylvania in 2012 and was published on the front page of daily Sözcü on Sept. 26.

Asked about reports that some AKP deputies were identified as using the ByLock app, known to be used predominantly by members of the Gülen movement, Kurtulmuş referred to the ongoing investigation into the case. He added that it was “not appropriate” to accuse some AKP politicians based on “rumors,” vowing that the AKP would take the necessary steps if the information is confirmed.

Approached by daily Hürriyet, the AKP deputies who posed in the photograph commented on the visit as follows:

Bayram Özçelik (Burdur deputy): “We made the visit based on the information of the party group executive board.”

Adem Tatlı (former Giresun deputy): “We traveled to the U.S. for the celebration of ‘Turkish Days.’ The visit was well known by the party group executive board. I visited under the information of then party group head Mahir Ünal. Others got permission from Nurettin Canikli. We would not have posed for the picture if we were visiting in secret. We spent 15 minutes there. My children were not educated in Gülen schools and we have never sent money to [the Gülen movement] or paid money into its banks.”

İsmail Tamer (Kayseri deputy): “The [Fetullahist Terrorist Organization] FETÖ detained me in 2010 and then released me. I was in Pennsylvania for the photo because I was travelling with that group [of MPs]. We traveled to the U.S for the Turkish Days. They took us to a big shopping mall in New Jersey and said FETÖ [Gülen] lived 30-40 km from the mall. They asked to perform prayers there. Our female deputes performed prayers there and that’s why they covered their heads.”

Mustafa Hamarat (former Ordu deputy): “Those attacking AKP deputies with photographs supplied by FETÖ are also targeting our president. But Muslims do not become priests just by visiting a church.”

Safiye Seymenoğlu (former Trabzon deputy): “I can’t understand why the issue is being exaggerated. Back then there was no crisis [between the AKP and Gülen] ... We visited merely out of curiosity.”

Fatoş Gürkan (former Adana deputy): “Our friends simply offered to visit Gülen. This photograph has no news value. Such news stories only service FETÖ.”

Dilek Yüksel (former Tokat deputy): “We made the visit as politicians at that time. I wish we had never paid that visit.”

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/akp-to-evaluate-mps-photo-with-gulen.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104334&NewsCatID=338

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US diplomat pays tribute to ‘those stood against the coup attempt’ in Turkey

Wednesday,September 28 2016

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sept. 27 visited the Turkish parliament, which was bombed during the failed military coup of July 15.       

Blinken was accompanied by U.S. Ambassador to Turkey John Bass and Cemalettin Tuney, the head of the foreign affairs commission at Turkey’s parliament.

Following his visit to damaged parts of the parliament building, Blinken told journalists he was “deeply touched.

“It is great and moving to be here. [This is] the place where the Turkish people, through their representatives, stood up for democracy and against the coup,” he said.

“It is personally moving to me because I worked at our own congress for six years. To see a house where the people’s representatives meet become a victim of this kind of attack speaks very clearly and powerfully. I want to start my day by paying respect to those who stood up [for] Turkish democracy and stood against the coup,” Blinken added.

He was scheduled to hold a series of meetings with Turkish officials on cooperation in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and other bilateral and strategic issues.

During his visit, Blinken is being accompanied by U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, Brett McGurk, and the U.S. deputy assistant secretary at the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, Jonathan Cohen.        

He is expected to leave Turkey on Sept. 28.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/us-diplomat-pays-tribute-to-those-stood-against-the-coup-attempt-in-turkey.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104320&NewsCatID=510

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Turkish FM says cooperation with YPG against ISIL risks Syria’s future

September 28, 2016

Cooperating with the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in any potential operation against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria’s Raqqa would mean “putting Syria’s future at risk,” said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.

Speaking at a joint press conference with the visiting U.K. Secretary of State Boris Johnson, Çavuşoğlu said the anti-ISIL coalition member countries lack a “results-oriented strategy,” leading to “mistakes” such as reliance on “terror organizations.”

Çavuşoğlu said that more than 200 members of the YPG, the military wing of the Syrian Democratic Union (PYD), are still west of the Euphrates River. He also criticized the U.S. for not meeting its promise of securing the withdrawal of the Syrian Kurdish fighters from the region.

“Either they cannot influence the YPG, or they don’t want to send them [to the east of the Euphrates],” Çavuşoğlu said on Sept. 27.

While Çavuşoğlu expressed Turkey’s satisfaction with the U.K.’s stance against terror “that does not exclude” the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), he stressed that “some European countries are engaging in double standards” in the fight against terror. He condemned those countries, naming Belgium primarily.

He particularly referred to the PYD congress recently held in Brussels, and said the group is not interested in preserving a united Syria but rather aims for a “separate canton” to be governed by itself.

Çavuşoğlu said the joint congress by the PKK and YPG convened in Brussels was evidence of the link between two groups.

For his part, Johnson said his Turkish hosts had not brought up the controversy caused by the crude poem he composed mocking Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan earlier this year. He was yet to meet Erdoğan when he made the statement.

When a reporter asked during the news conference whether he would apologize for the poem, Johnson simply said no one had yet brought it up.

He also said he hoped for a new “jumbo” free trade deal with Turkey after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, adding that “We are leaving the EU, but we are not leaving Europe.”

Johnson noted that the U.K. and Turkey have very similar positions on Syria, saw grounds for “cautious optimism” on the Cyprus issue, and vowed to continue supporting Turkey’s bid for European Union membership.

He stressed that Turkey and Britain stand together against terrorism and added that Turkish officials had asked London to identify and deal with outlawed Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) elements in the U.K.  “We’ll do our best,” he said.

Johnson, one of the most prominent public faces of the campaign for Britain to leave the European Union, previously made a strong case for Turkish membership of the bloc. He made his first visit to Turkey as Britain’s foreign secretary after leading the successful Brexit campaign that played on anti-Turkish sentiments.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-fm-says-cooperation-with-ypg-against-isil-risks-syrias-future-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104313&NewsCatID=510

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Three Turkish soldiers wounded in ISIL drone attack in Syria

Wednesday,September 28 2016

Three Turkish soldiers were slightly wounded in a drone attack by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) jihadist group on Sept. 27, on the 35th day of Euphrates Shield operation in Syria.

Military sources said ISIL militants detonated a bomb-laden mini drone in the Wukuf region targeting Turkish soldiers. Three were slightly wounded in the attack and transferred to the border province of Kilis for treatment.

Meanwhile, Turkish warplanes also destroyed four buildings used by the jihadist group in the Tal-ar, Amiriyah and al-Eyyubiyah areas with Turkish-made HGK-1 bombs.

In addition, Turkish artillery units deployed on the border also fired 57 artillery rounds at 30 ISIL targets, according to the military.

The advance of Ankara-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters to the south is continuing in the Azaz and al-Rai regions.

The Turkish General Staff said in a statement that a total of 1,337 targets have been hit since the beginning of the operation on Aug. 24.     

The Euphrates Shield Operation in Syria aims at bolstering border security, supporting U.S.-led coalition forces and eliminating the threat posed by terror elements in the region, especially ISIL.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/three-turkish-soldiers-wounded-in-isil-drone-attack-in-syria.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104339&NewsCatID=352

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Israeli ex-president and Nobel laureate Peres dies

September 28, 2016

Israeli ex-president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Shimon Peres died on Sept. 28, some two weeks after suffering a major stroke, triggering an outpouring of grief for the beloved elder statesman.

The 93-year-old died in his sleep at around 3:00 am (0000 GMT), Rafi Walden, who is also Peres's son-in-law, told AFP. 

He had been surrounded by family members, a source close to Peres told AFP.    

His family held a press conference later in the morning, praising Peres's tireless work ethic and what they called his devotion to peace. 

"He had no interest other than serving the people of Israel," said his son Chemi, his eyes moist as he read a letter on behalf of the family at the hospital. 

US President Barack Obama immediately hailed Peres as a friend who "never gave up on the possibility of peace."   

"There are few people who we share this world with who change the course of human history, not just through their role in human events, but because they expand our moral imagination and force us to expect more of ourselves," Obama said in a statement. 

"My friend Shimon was one of those people."   

Former US president Bill Clinton, who helped usher in the Oslo peace accords of the 1990s, said: "The Middle East has lost a fervent advocate for peace and reconciliation. 

"I'll never forget how happy he was 23 years ago when he signed the Oslo accords on the White House lawn, heralding a more hopeful era in Israeli-Palestinian relations."   

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his "profound sadness". Opposition leader Isaac Herzog, the head of Labour, Peres's longtime party, said he will be "forever remembered as an icon of Israel's history."   

Peres held nearly every major office in the country, serving twice as prime minister and also as president, a mostly ceremonial role, from 2007 to 2014. 

He won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for his role in negotiating the Oslo accords, which envisioned an independent Palestinian state. 

The former hawk turned dove was widely respected both in Israel and abroad.         

Peres had been in hospital near Tel Aviv since Sept. 13, when he was admitted feeling unwell and suffered the stroke with internal bleeding. He had been under sedation and on respiratory support in intensive care. 

But there were signs of improvement last week, and on Sept. 18 Peres's office said doctors planned to gradually reduce his sedation and respiratory support to judge his response.

Walden had said at the time that Peres had seen "very slow, moderate improvement". 

But on Sept. 27 a source said his condition had taken a downturn and he was "fighting for his life". Family members arrived at the hospital. 

In January, Peres was hospitalised twice because of heart trouble. 

In the first case, the hospital said he had suffered a "mild cardiac event" and underwent catheterisation to widen an artery. 

He was rushed to hospital a second time just days later with chest pains and an irregular heartbeat. 

Peres had sought to maintain an active schedule despite his age, particularly through events related to his P

eres Center for Peace.

When leaving hospital in January, Peres said he was keen to get back to work.

"I'm so happy to return to work, that was the whole purpose of this operation," he said.

In March, he met British supermodel Naomi Campbell at his Peres Center for Peace during an event linked to International Women's Day. On the same day, he met visiting US Vice President Joe Biden.

Born in Poland in 1923, Peres emigrated to what was then British-mandated Palestine when he was 11.

He joined the Zionist struggle and met David Ben-Gurion, who would become his mentor and Israel's first prime minister.

eres became director general of the nascent defence ministry at just 29.

Beyond his accomplishments in the public eye, he was also seen as a driving force in the development of Israel's undeclared nuclear programme.

Peres once confided that the secret to his longevity was daily exercise, eating little and drinking one or two glasses of good wine.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/israeli-ex-president-and-nobel-laureate-peres-dies-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104337&NewsCatID=352

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Southeast Asia

Jakarta’s mayor inspires citizens to look past race and religion

Sep 28th 2016

MANY pundits have predicted that the race to become the next governor of Jakarta will be an especially nasty one, fraught with racial and religious discord. It began harmoniously enough on September 24th, the day after the deadline to register as a candidate, with all three contenders and their running mates smiling and laughing as they posed together for a photo. But the front-runner, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, known to all as Ahok, is both Christian and of Chinese descent—both rarities in an overwhelmingly Muslim, Malay country. How voters will respond is anyone’s guess.

Ahok is already governor (in effect, mayor) of Indonesia’s teeming capital, a city of about 10m people. He had been deputy governor, but won an automatic promotion when his predecessor, Joko Widodo, stood down to run for president in 2014. That means he has only faced the voters as the running mate of Jokowi, as the president is known, during the previous election for governor, in 2012—never at the head of a ticket.

As recently as 1998 hundreds of ethnic Chinese were raped and killed in riots in Jakarta. Christians have been the victims of pogroms elsewhere in the country in recent years. Were Ahok to secure his own mandate in the upcoming elections, which are scheduled for February 15th, it would be startling and heartening proof of Indonesians’ open-mindedness.

Throughout Ahok’s four years in office hardline Islamists have sought to unseat him, staging frequent rallies against him and deriding him as a kafir, or infidel. But his blunt speech and impatience with pettifogging bureaucrats have won over many in Jakarta. A recent survey by Poltracking, a local pollster, put his approval rating at a towering 69%. Voters seem to care more about his efforts to curb Jakarta’s infamous floods and traffic jams than his race or religion. Evan Laksmana of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, a think-tank in Jakarta, says they are smart enough to realise that they will end up “paying the price” of poorer municipal services if they elect a leader on a sectarian basis.

The campaign for governor seems to be following a similar pattern. Amien Rais, a former speaker of parliament, recently labelled Ahok a “false prophet”, only to be shouted down by various Islamic authorities. At a recent gathering at Jakarta’s largest mosque, several speakers claimed it was haram, or sinful, for Muslims to vote for a non-believer. But Muhammadiyah, one of Indonesia’s biggest Muslim organisations (formerly headed by Mr Rais, as it happens) swiftly condemned such talk.

Encouragingly, Ahok’s main rival for the governorship, Anies Baswedan, until recently education minister in Jokowi’s government, is a noted moderate. The other candidate is Agus Yudhoyono, the eldest son of Indonesia’s previous president, who revealed his resignation from the army on deadline day to file his papers, catching everyone by surprise. Neither looks the type to resort to dog-whistle politics.

As the election draws nearer, however, chauvinist attacks will doubtless proliferate. Moreover, not all Indonesians are as open-minded as Jakartans. Elections will also be held early next year for thousands of posts in local government across the sprawling archipelago. Minorities, many of whom have been targeted by discriminatory local by-laws in recent years, worry that they will face more hostility during the campaign. And even in Jakarta, Ahok is by no means a shoo-in. Polling shows that Mr Baswedan, a charismatic academic who made his name through a volunteer scheme that sends young graduates to teach in remote corners of the country, poses a credible challenge. With luck, whichever candidate triumphs, it will be because of his ideas and abilities, not his background.

Source: economist.com/news/asia/21707891-unlikely-candidate-leading-race-run-indonesias-capital-jakartas-mayor-inspires

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Members of Abu Sayyaf behind sea kidnappings of Indonesians, Malysians killed

September 28, 2016

MANILA, Philippines – Two Islamic militants linked to the abductions of 26 Malaysian and Indonesian sailors this year were killed Tuesday, September 27 in a military raid off a remote Philippine island, Manila said.

Nixon Muktadil and his brother Brown Muktadil, both members of the Abu Sayyaf group, died in "strike operations" by an anti-terror task force at dawn, a Philippine military statement said.

The Abu Sayyaf is a loose network of militants formed in the 1990s with seed money from Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network that has earned millions of dollars from kidnappings-for-ransom.

While its leaders have in recent years pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, analysts say the group is mainly focused on a lucrative kidnapping business rather than religious ideology.

"The death of the Muktadil brothers is a major blow to the group... because they serve(d) as the sea guides and navigators during (the) conduct of kidnapping at the high seas," the military statement said.

The brothers helped snatch crew members of five tugboats carrying coal and other commodities on waters bordering Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, it said.

The kidnappings took place over a 6-month period earlier this year, the military added.

The spike in abductions sparked Indonesian warnings that the region could become the "next Somalia" and pushed the three neighbours to pledge coordinated patrols.

Most of the 26 sailors are thought to have been released but the Philippine government has said the Abu Sayyaf is still holding 5 Indonesian hostages – although it is not clear if they include any of the sailors.

The militant group freed 4 Indonesians earlier this month and a Norwegian hostage. It beheaded two Canadian captives and released Indonesian and Malaysian sailors in batches earlier in the year.

The military operation Tuesday occurred off Tambulian island in the Sulu island group, a mainly-Muslim archipelago and Abu Sayyaf stronghold about 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) south of Manila.

Separately, police announced Tuesday they had arrested in Manila a Sulu politician accused of having sold government-issue guns to the Abu Sayyaf.

The raid Saturday on the house of Unding Kenneth Isa, turned up grenades, assault rifles and thousands of rounds of ammunition, most of them government-issue weapons.

Isa, who ran for vice governor of Sulu in May elections but lost, is accused of sending weapons by ferry to the Abu Sayyaf and other armed groups in the south, police said.

Source: rappler.com/world/regions/asia-pacific/indonesia/bahasa/englishedition/147571-abu-sayyaf-kidnapping-muktadil-brothers

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