New Age Islam
Wed Aug 12 2020, 11:27 AM

Islamic World News ( 14 March 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Islamic State Claims Murder Of Muslim Preacher In Bangladesh














Photo: Islamic State Burns ‘Blasphemous’ Christian Books in Mosul


Islamic State Burns ‘Blasphemous’ Christian Books in Mosul

Obama Says Islam Needs Modernist Reformation

------------

South Asia

Islamic State Claims Murder of Muslim Preacher in Bangladesh

15 Militants Killed In Latest Air and Ground Operations of Afghan Forces

Khanshin District Has Reportedly Fallen To Taliban Control In Helmand

Taliban secretly meets Pakistani officials, rejects pressure for peace talks

Tajik national among four terrorists detained in Kundoz

Nuristan’s Duab district police chief killed in militants ambush

11 suspects detained in Herat’s Shindand district

Construction of $5.4 million Bamyan Cultural Centre to begin soon

----------

Arab World

Islamic State Burns ‘Blasphemous’ Christian Books in Mosul

About 100 People Left Finland to Fight alongside Daesh

IS commander 'Omar the Chechen' dead, US confirms

Algerian Army Kills Top ISIL-Linked Commander

Hellfire Missiles Found on US-Bound Air Serbia Passenger Flight

Tanks for Nothing! US-Backed Syrian Rebel Division Attacked & Looted by Al-Qaeda Affiliate

Terrorists' Tunnel Destroyed by Syrian Army West of Damascus

Syrian Army Repels Terrorists' Attack in Deir Ezzur

Syrian Army Winning Battles against ISIL West of Ancient Palmyra

Syria: Turkish Artillery Shells Kurdish Base in Hasaka

Homs: Syrian Army Inflicts Heavy Casualties on ISIL

Iran Condemns ISIL's Chemical Attack in Iraq's Kirkuk

------------------

North America

Obama Says Islam Needs Modernist Reformation

Top U.S. General Wants Resumption of Strikes against Taliban

CAIR Requests Apology from Trump for “Islam Hates Us” Comment

Donald Trump says Saddam Hussein was 'very good' at killing terrorists

-------------

Mideast

Definition of ‘Terrorists’ Should Be Broadened To Include ‘Accomplices,’ Says Erdoğan

Third Attack in Five Months Kills At Least 37 in Ankara

Turkish PM: ‘Almost certain’ PKK behind Ankara attack

Turkey May Use Ankara Attack to Invade Neighbouring States

Aliyev in Turkey for historic summit

Syrian Gamble: What's at Stake for Turkey and the Oil Monarchies

FM Inaugurates Honorary Consulate to Palestine in Amman Due to Flight Restrictioni

-------------

Europe

HRW Urges Egypt to Quash Prison Sentences of Four Children Convicted Of Blasphemy

Putin Orders Start of Russian Forces' Withdrawal from Syria

Russian Warplanes Bomb Column of Terrorists Entering Syria from Turkey

Russian Air Force, S-400 Anti-Aircraft Missiles to Remain in Syria

Russia, Tajikistan hold massive military drills near Afghan border

--------

Southeast  Asia

Indonesia Detains 14 People Allegedly Heading To Syria

----------

Pakistan

JUI-F Chief Puts His Grievances over Women Act Before PM

Allegations against MQM Made Without Evidence, Says Farooq Sattar

Did Pakistan Actor Just Thank The Afghan Taliban?

Pak trying to get more F-16s from US: Report

--------

India

Hamid Husain Nadwi: Teaching Urdu through Hindi

--------

Africa

Terrorism Does Not Respect Territorial Boundaries - Buhari

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/islamic-state-claims-murder-of-muslim-preacher-in-bangladesh/d/106660

 

--------

Islamic State claims murder of Muslim preacher in Bangladesh

15 Mar 2016

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for murdering a Muslim preacher in Bangladesh, an online group that monitors extremist activity said on Tuesday, the latest killing declared by the militant group in the South Asian nation.

Islamist violence has surged in recent months in the Muslim-majority country, but the government has rejected Islamic State's claims, blaming the violence instead on homegrown militant groups.

The U.S.-based SITE Intelligence Group said Islamic State had claimed to have killed the man late on Monday in Jhenaidah, a district about 100 miles (161 km) west of Dhaka, the capital.

"Soldiers of the caliphate in Bangladesh were able to assassinate the polytheist apostate Hafidh Abdul Razzaq, one of the top preachers for the Rafidha religion," SITE quoted the group as saying.

Although the statement called the victim a member of the Rafidha religion, or the Shi'ite Muslim minority group, police identified the dead man as a homeopathic doctor, Abdul Razzaq, 45, and denied that he was a preacher or a Shi'ite.

Anowar Hossain, the officer in charge of the police station handling the case, said he was not aware the killing had been claimed by any militant group.

"We suspect local militants are behind the latest killing," he added. "The pattern of killing bore the hallmarks of previous killings of priests. He was not a Shi'ite. We have checked with his family."

Over the last few months, Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the killings of two foreigners, attacks on members of minority Muslim sects and other religious groups, but police say domestic militant group Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen is behind the attacks.

At least five militants of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen have been killed in shootouts since November, as security forces have stepped up a crackdown on Islamist militants looking to establish a sharia-based Islamic state.

reuters.com/article/us-bangladesh-isis-idUSKCN0WH10Y

------------

 

Islamic State Burns ‘Blasphemous’ Christian Books in Mosul

14 Mar 2016

The U.S. State Department is currently facing pressure to formally recognize the purge of Christians from Iraq and Syria as genocide. The Islamic State added to the mountain of evidence against it by releasing a video that shows hundreds of Christian books burned in the captive city of Mosul.

The UK Daily Mail reports the video is titled “Diwan of Education Destroys Christian Instruction Books in Mosul.”

The title refers to the Diwan al-Hisba, whose title translates to “Chamber of Morality Police.” They are essentially the enforcers of sharia law inside the Islamic State’s conquered territories, imposing “penalties ranging from flogging for minor misdemeanors like smoking to amputations and beheadings.”

The book bonfire in this new ISIS video is not their first assault on “blasphemous” writings. Last February, the Islamic State blew up the major library of Mosul, wiping out over 10,000 books, some of them irreplaceable volumes dating back to the Ottoman Empire. A systematic effort to wipe out other libraries on Mosul has been under way ever since, along with the Islamic State’s efforts to wipe out “pagan” historical sites.

“These books promote infidelity and call for disobeying Allah, so they will be burned,” an ISIS militant explained to Mosul residents at the time.

ARA News reports the jihadis described the Christian works they burned as the “books of infidels,” collecting them from schools and churches across Mosul.

Christians have been forced out of their ancient communities in Iraq and Syria to flee as ISIS took over, so these book burnings represent a mop-up operation to erase all trace of their presence from regional culture.

“I wish I were in my hometown Mosul right now, but we can’t come back to our areas and live with Daesh,” one Iraqi Christian refugee in Germany told ARA News. “It was difficult to stay there as a Christian.”

breitbart.com/national-security/2016/03/14/islamic-state-burns-blasphemous-christian-books-in-mosul/

------------

 

Obama Says Islam Needs Modernist Reformation

While Obama's statements about a modernist reformation are certainly welcome, the right goal can only be achieved with the right strategy.

BY RYAN MAURO Tue, March 15, 2016

For the first time, President Obama said that Islam needs a modernist reformation. This is what was missing from his speech at a Maryland mosque (see video below) on February 3, which presented a critical opportunity where Obama could have had his "tear down this wall" moment.

In a comprehensive interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, Obama referred to his speech in Cairo at Al-Azhar University in 2009, saying:

"I was hoping that my speech could trigger a discussion, could create space for Muslims to address the real problems they are confronting—problems of governance, and the fact that some currents of Islam have not gone through a reformation that would help people adapt their religious doctrines to modernity."

Obama also said, "There is a need for Islam as a whole to challenge that interpretation of Islam, to isolate it, and to undergo a vigorous discussion within their community about how Islam works as part of a peaceful, modern society."

The Cairo speech was written to chip away at two boulders standing in the way of such a reformation, he explained: The scapegoating of Israel, which serves to distract Muslims from self-reflection and concerns about wholesale negative impressions of Muslims.

"I do not persuade peaceful, tolerant Muslims to engage in that debate if I'm not sensitive to their concern that they are being tagged with a broad brush," Obama argued.

Here, a word of caution is due: Not every "reformation" is equal. As Raymond Ibrahim explains, the hardline Islamic movements that President Obama wants swept away actually are a reformation movement. In fact, Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna and "Wahhabism" founder Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab styled their movements as "reformist."

President Obama's qualifier of a modernist reformation is helpful in guarding against these types of reformers. But again, another word of caution: Democratic elections are not necessarily the engines of this modernist reformation, since Islamist movements like the Muslim Brotherhood participate in them. 

One interesting point in the interview is when Jeffrey Goldberg reflects on President Obama's early closeness to the democratically-elected Islamist leader of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan (who was then prime minister and is now president of Turkey).

Goldberg writes that Obama now "considers him a failure and an authoritarian." Obama's mistaken hope in Erdogan and his deceitful "moderate Islamism" should be a hard-earned lesson.

An equally surprising part of the interview is when Goldberg explains how President Obama has noticed Indonesia "move from a relaxed, syncretistic Islam to a more fundamentalist, unforgiving interpretation" (Goldberg's words). Obama saw the proliferation of the hijab in Indonesia as indicative of this trend he is concerned about and for which he largely blames Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.

Obama's statements about the need for an Islamic modernist reformation are certainly welcome, but the right goal can only be achieved with the right strategy.

Similarly, the right reformation can only be achieved with the right reformers. And we have no reason to believe that the current administration has picked them, much less come up with a strategy to empower them.

clarionproject.org/analysis/obama-says-islam-needs-modernist-reformation

---------

South Asia

Islamic State claims murder of Muslim preacher in Bangladesh

15 Mar 2016

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for murdering a Muslim preacher in Bangladesh, an online group that monitors extremist activity said on Tuesday, the latest killing declared by the militant group in the South Asian nation.

Islamist violence has surged in recent months in the Muslim-majority country, but the government has rejected Islamic State's claims, blaming the violence instead on homegrown militant groups.

The U.S.-based SITE Intelligence Group said Islamic State had claimed to have killed the man late on Monday in Jhenaidah, a district about 100 miles (161 km) west of Dhaka, the capital.

"Soldiers of the caliphate in Bangladesh were able to assassinate the polytheist apostate Hafidh Abdul Razzaq, one of the top preachers for the Rafidha religion," SITE quoted the group as saying.

Although the statement called the victim a member of the Rafidha religion, or the Shi'ite Muslim minority group, police identified the dead man as a homeopathic doctor, Abdul Razzaq, 45, and denied that he was a preacher or a Shi'ite.

Anowar Hossain, the officer in charge of the police station handling the case, said he was not aware the killing had been claimed by any militant group.

"We suspect local militants are behind the latest killing," he added. "The pattern of killing bore the hallmarks of previous killings of priests. He was not a Shi'ite. We have checked with his family."

Over the last few months, Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the killings of two foreigners, attacks on members of minority Muslim sects and other religious groups, but police say domestic militant group Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen is behind the attacks.

At least five militants of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen have been killed in shootouts since November, as security forces have stepped up a crackdown on Islamist militants looking to establish a sharia-based Islamic state.

reuters.com/article/us-bangladesh-isis-idUSKCN0WH10Y

------------

 

15 militants killed in latest air and ground operations of Afghan forces

By Khaama Press - Tue Mar 15 2016

At least 15 anti-government armed militants were killed and 24 others were wounded in the latest counter-terrorism operations, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said.

Acccording to an operational update by MoD, the operations were jointly conducted by Afghan army, Afghan police and other security institutions who were supported by the Afghan Air Force.

At least 7 of the militants were killed in air and ground operations in Nawa and Khanshin districts of Helmand province, MoD said, adding that 11 others were wounded.

MoD further added that 2 militants were killed and 4 others were wounded in a seprate operation in Shahid Hasas district of Uruzgan province, while 4 militants were killed and 6 others were wounded during an operation in Dasht-e-Archi district of Kunduz province.

A weapons cache of the militants was discovered and seized during ongoing operations in Dand-e-Ghori and Dand-e-Shahabuddin districts of Baghlan province and a suspected militant was arrested, MoD added.

At least 2 militants were killed, 2 militants were wounded and 3 others were wounded in seprate operations in Maiwand district of Kandahar, Nejrab district of Kapisa, and Shindand district of Herat province, according to MoD operational update.

The anti-government armed militant groups have not commented regarding the reports so far.

khaama.com/15-militants-killed-in-latest-air-and-ground-operations-of-afghan-forces-0345

---------

 

Khanshin district has reportedly fallen to Taliban control in Helmand

 Mar 15 2016

Taliban 2Heavy clashes continue in Khanshin district of southern Helmand province amid reports the control of the district has fallen to the control of the Taliban militants.

A security official speaking on the condition of anonymity confirmed that the Taliban militants have overrun some security posts which were providing security to the district administrative compound.

The official further added that clashes still continue between the Taliban militants and the security forces after the control of the security posts were lost.

He said at least security personnel lost their lives during the attack and some others were wounded.

In the meantime, a source in the Afghan Border Police forces said the Afghan security personnel still has control in some parts of the district.

The Taliban militants group has not commented regarding the report so far.

Helmand is among the volatile provinces in southern Afghanistan where anti-government armed militant groups are actively operating in its various districts and frequently carry out insurgency activities.

khaama.com/khanshin-district-has-reportedly-fallen-to-taliban-control-in-helmand-0341

---------

 

Taliban secretly meets Pakistani officials, rejects pressure for peace talks

By KHAAMA PRESS - Tue Mar 15 2016

Taliban-insurgent-faceSecret meetings among the senior Afghan Taliban leaders and Pakistani officials have reportedly been organized amid efforts to revive the stalled Afghan peace talks.

The meetings were reportedly organized in Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan more than two weeks ago as the members of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group were expecting direct talks between the Afghan government and Taliban group representatives.

However, the officials have said Taliban have rejected pressure by Pakistan to sit-in for peace talks despite they were threatened to face expulsion from the country.

A member of the Taliban group council told Reuters that the group’s supreme council met at an undisclosed location and voted to reject the talks scheduled for early March with the Afghan government.

The voting done following the secret meetings with a retired Pakistani military officer saying Taliban no longer need their bases in Pakistan.

“They no longer need their Pakistan bases in the same way, so if Pakistan threatens to expel them, it does not have the same effect,” the retired military officer close to the talks said.

The Taliban group rejected to sit-in for peace talks with the Afghan government by issuing a statement following the conclusion of the 4th QCG meeting.

The group the decision to refrain from direct negotiations was taken due to deployment of troops by US to Afghanistan, ongoing airstrikes, and expansion of military operations by Afghan government amid ongoing efforts to revive peace talks, which the group called a ‘propaganda’.

The group once reiterated on its pre-conditions to sit-in for peace talks, saying ”unless the occupation of Afghanistan is ended, black lists eliminated and innocent prisoners freed, such futile misleading negotiations will not bear any results.”

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz admitted that Islamabad has influence on the Afghan Taliban leaders based Pakistan and that the country could use certain leverages to bring the Taliban leaders to negotiations table with the Afghan government.

Speaking at an event organised by the Council on Foreign Relations earlier this month, Aziz said the leadership of the group is based in Pakistan along with their families who are using certain facilities, including health centers in the country.

khaama.com/taliban-secretly-meets-pakistani-officials-rejects-pressure-for-peace-talks-0340

---------

 

Tajik national among four terrorists detained in Kundoz

By KHAAMA PRESS - Tue Mar 15 2016, 10:39 am

0 Comments93 viewsEmail Email Print Print

ndsThe National Directorate of Security (NDS) – Afghanistan’s intelligence agency has arrested four militants in northern Kundoz province.

A statement released by NDS on Tuesday states that two of the four militants arrested were supplying weapons to Taliban and another is a Tajikistan national who is member of the Islamic Movement.

The press release identifies the terrorists as Arif S/O Abdul Rahman –the Tajik national, Mohammad Azim S/O Habibullah, Zabihullah S/O Habib-ur-Rahman and Ahmad alias Omar S/O Nazik Mir.

22 walki-talkies, 30 antennas for radios, weapons, ammunition and other terrorist materials were recovered from their possession.

Statements released by NDS usually do not contain exact date of the achievements but they normally come after recent activities.

khaama.com/two-weapon-suppliers-arrested-in-kundoz-4739

---------

 

Nuristan’s Duab district police chief killed in militants ambush

By KHAAMA PRESS - Tue Mar 15 2016, 11:53 am

0 Comments112 viewsEmail Email Print Print

district police chief killed in LaghmanThe district police chief for Duab district of the restive Nuristan province was killed in militants ambush earlier today, local officials said.

Acting provincial governor for Nuristan province Hafiz Abdul Qayum confirmed the report and said the district police chief was killed in an ambush in eastern Laghman province.

He said Enayatullah was on his way to his house when the militants ambushed him in Alingar district, leaving the police chief dead and his driver wounded.

No group including the Taliban militants has so far claimed responsibility behind the attack.

This comes as the Taliban led insurgency has been rampant during the recent months across the country despite efforts to end the ongoing violence through reconciliation process.

Laghman and Nuristan provinces are among the relatively volatile provinces in eastern Afghanistan where anti-government armed militants are active in a number of its districts and often carry out insurgency activities.

The Taliban militants have recently attempted to carry out deadly attacks on government institutions in this province but the attack plots were foiled by the security forces.

The Afghan intelligence operatives arrested a would-be suicide bomber before he carry out an attack in a busy part of Mehtarlam city late last month.

khaama.com/nuristans-duab-district-police-chief-killed-in-militants-ambush-0342

-------

 

11 suspects detained in Herat’s Shindand district

By KHAAMA PRESS - Tue Mar 15 2016

arrested-in-Afghanistan

Security forces have arrested 11 suspects for having connections with armed militant groups in western Herat province.

A statement released by the government media and information center of Herat states that the suspects have been rounded up during different raids from the jurisdiction of Shindand district.

The statement adds that three Taliban militants were also killed when a clash erupted between them and security forces during the clearance operation yesterday.

Security forces also confiscated a vehicle from the militants during these raids, the press release states.

According to the statement, Kushkak, Jambran, Azizabad, Qala-e-Mirza and Deh Shafi areas of Shindand district have been cleared of militants.

Security forces have not suffered casualties during these raids, the statement adds.

Shindand is the most restive district in Herat province where large number of Taliban militants exist.

khaama.com/11-suspects-detained-in-herat-4738

--------

 

Construction of $5.4 million Bamyan Cultural Centre to begin soon

By KHAAMA PRESS - Tue Mar 15 2016, 1:01 pm

0 Comments51 viewsEmail Email Print Print

Bamyan Cultural Centre

The construction work of Bamyan Cultural Centre will begin in the near future, almost 13 months after an Argentina-based team was selected for the design of the cultural centre.

Provincial governor Mohammad Tahir Zahir said the construction will begin in the next Afghan calendar year which will be implemented in two phases.

The first phase will include ground work involving pavement and excavation which has already been announced for tender and will run until 28th March.

The second phase of the project will include the main construction work and the tender for the project will be announced on 25th March.

According to the provincial government officials, the construction work of the cultural centre will cost around $5.4 million and will be built with the financial support of South Korea.

An Argentina-based team was selected out of 1,070 design entries from 117 countries for the design of Bamiyan Cultural Centre and the winning proposal was announced by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in collabortion with the Ministry of Information and Culture of Afghanistan last year.

The winning team is led by Carlos Nahuel Recabarren alongside Manuel Alberto Martínez Catalán and Franco Morero.

In a bid to support the project, the Ministry of Information and Culture and the Bamiyan Municipality has given UNESCO the most prominent site overlooking the Buddha Cliffs.

Bamiyan Buddhas were destroyed by Taliban group back in 2001 in three weeks period which sparked global objection.

Taliban group tried to destroy the Buddhas by firing artillery rounds towards the Buddhas but later used explosives after they did not achieve any results by firing artillery.

Only two holes of 35 meters and 53 meters have remained and the Buddhas have completely been damaged however thousands of tourists are still touring Bamiyan annually to visit the remains of the Buddhas.

khaama.com/construction-of-5-4-million-bamyan-cultural-centre-to-begin-soon-0343

------

Arab World

Islamic State Burns ‘Blasphemous’ Christian Books in Mosul

14 Mar 2016

The U.S. State Department is currently facing pressure to formally recognize the purge of Christians from Iraq and Syria as genocide. The Islamic State added to the mountain of evidence against it by releasing a video that shows hundreds of Christian books burned in the captive city of Mosul.

The UK Daily Mail reports the video is titled “Diwan of Education Destroys Christian Instruction Books in Mosul.”

The title refers to the Diwan al-Hisba, whose title translates to “Chamber of Morality Police.” They are essentially the enforcers of sharia law inside the Islamic State’s conquered territories, imposing “penalties ranging from flogging for minor misdemeanors like smoking to amputations and beheadings.”

The book bonfire in this new ISIS video is not their first assault on “blasphemous” writings. Last February, the Islamic State blew up the major library of Mosul, wiping out over 10,000 books, some of them irreplaceable volumes dating back to the Ottoman Empire. A systematic effort to wipe out other libraries on Mosul has been under way ever since, along with the Islamic State’s efforts to wipe out “pagan” historical sites.

“These books promote infidelity and call for disobeying Allah, so they will be burned,” an ISIS militant explained to Mosul residents at the time.

ARA News reports the jihadis described the Christian works they burned as the “books of infidels,” collecting them from schools and churches across Mosul.

Christians have been forced out of their ancient communities in Iraq and Syria to flee as ISIS took over, so these book burnings represent a mop-up operation to erase all trace of their presence from regional culture.

“I wish I were in my hometown Mosul right now, but we can’t come back to our areas and live with Daesh,” one Iraqi Christian refugee in Germany told ARA News. “It was difficult to stay there as a Christian.”

breitbart.com/national-security/2016/03/14/islamic-state-burns-blasphemous-christian-books-in-mosul/

------

 

About 100 People Left Finland to Fight alongside Daesh

15 Mar 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini said that 100 people left to fight among the Daesh terrorists, 20 of them have died.

Some 100 people have left Finland to fight in the ranks of the Islamic State (ISIL or Daesh) jihadist group, Foreign Minister Timo Soini said Monday, Sputnik reported.

"We have about 100 people, who left Finland to fight in IS forces… It is a large number of Finnish [people], considering how small the community is," Soini told the Finnish Yleisradio Oy broadcaster in an interview.

The top Finnish diplomat added that it was a worrying phenomenon, as Finland’s radicalized nationals would return home and try to recruit others to join Daesh, which is outlawed in many countries, including in the United States and Russia.

Some 20 Finnish citizens have died fighting alongside the extremist group in war-torn regions, according to Finnish Foreign Ministry estimates.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941224001246

-------

 

IS commander 'Omar the Chechen' dead, US confirms

PTI | Mar 15, 2016

A top Islamic State group commander known as "Omar the Chechen" is dead, the Pentagon has confirmed<span class="redactor-invisible-space"></span><br></p>

A top Islamic State group commander known as "Omar the Chechen" is dead, the Pentagon has confirmedRead More

WASHINGTON: A top Islamic State group commander known as "Omar the Chechen" is dead after suffering injuries in a US-led coalition strike in northeastern Syria, the Pentagon has confirmed.

The announcement would appear to clear up the fate of the notorious Omar al-Shishani, a week after a US official said the most-wanted militant had been targeted in a March 4 attack on the jihadist's convoy.

"We believe he subsequently died of his injuries," Navy captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, told AFP.

On Sunday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said Shishani had been "clinically dead" for several days.

Shishani -- the nom de guerre of Tarkhan Batirashvili -- was one of the IS leaders most wanted by Washington, which put a $5 million bounty on his head.

---------

 

Algerian Army Kills Top ISIL-Linked Commander

Mar 15 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- A militant leader who joined ISIL terrorist group last year was killed in an army operation West of the Algerian capital, a security source said.

Mouloud Baal, nom the guerre Abou El Moundhir, was a former member of the militant group called “Islamic Front” which battled against the Algiers government during the 1990s, al-Masdar News reported.

He later formed his own group which participated in twin suicide attacks against Algeria’s Cherchell military institution in August 2011, claimed by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

Baal, who joined ISIL in 2015, was killed during a military raid in the Oued-Sebt area of Gouraya region, west of Algiers, the source said.

The operation took place in the same area where Baal’s men planted a roadside bomb two weeks ago targeting a police convoy, the source added.

The defense ministry said a “dangerous terrorist” was killed in the Oued-Sebt operation, during which a Kalashnikov assault rifle and ammunition were seized.

A brutal war in the 1990s between the government and extremists killed 200,000 people.

Despite adopting a peace and reconciliation charter in 2005 aimed at turning the page on the conflict, armed groups remain active in the center and east of Algeria.

A total of “157 terrorists, including 10 commanders” were killed or arrested in military operations last year, according to the defense ministry.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941225000316

------------

 

Hellfire Missiles Found on US-Bound Air Serbia Passenger Flight

15 Mar 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Belgrade airport security service has discovered two Hellfire missiles on an Air Serbia passenger flight heading from Lebanon to the US. The munitions, packed in wooden crates, were found by bomb-sniffing dogs.

Serbian officials are investigating the incident, a source at the prosecutor's office told Reuters on Monday. Air Serbia has said it is helping with the probe, RT reported.

The shipment was accompanied by proper documentation and would have passed unnoticed, but for the dogs which sniffed out the explosives, local media reported.

"Experts are determining whether the missiles were equipped with live or training warheads... . They were packed in proper transportation crates and supplied with paperwork which is also being scrutinised," a source close to the investigation told Reuters. According to the same source, the Lebanese and US authorities were aware of the shipment and ensured that the missiles posed no threat to the public.

The rockets arrived on an Air Serbia flight from Beirut to Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport on Saturday. They were to be transported to Portland, Oregon.

As of Sunday afternoon, the FBI office in Portland remained uninformed of the incident.

“We don't have any information on that yet,” AP cited FBI spokeswoman Jennifer Adams as saying on Sunday.

Last month US officials retrieved an inert Hellfire air-to-ground missile that had been mistakenly delivered to Cuba in 2014. The missile had been sent to Europe for a training exercise but somehow ended up on the island, the Wall Street Journal reported in January.

AGM-114 Hellfire missiles are produced in the US by Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrup Grumman. The 1.6-meter-long projectile can be armed with various warheads, such as armor-piercing or thermobaric. They are mostly laser-guided, but can home in on a target using onboard radar in some versions. The solid-fuel missile weighs just under 50kg and engages targets up to 8km away with an operating speed of 1.3 Mach (about 1,600 km/h).

A single Hellfire missile costs from $US110,000.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941224001236

-------------

 

Tanks for Nothing! US-Backed Syrian Rebel Division Attacked & Looted by Al-Qaeda Affiliate

15 Mar 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- In what could be one of the worst failures of the Pentagon’s program to arm Syrian rebels, several bases with American weapons, armored vehicles and US-trained fighters were plundered by Al-Nusra Front. The jihadists and “moderate rebels” are blaming each other for the attack.

Division 13 of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which had received both US weapons and training, on Sunday said it was attacked by Al-Nusra Front militants – radical Islamist fighters affiliated with Al-Qaeda. The jihadists looted the FSA group’s depots in the town of Maarrat Al-Nuuman in Syria’s Idlib province, RT reported.

Though it has widely been reported that weapons and dozens of Division 13 fighters have been captured, there are conflicting accounts of how much the jihadists could actually carry. Some media reports claimed that the haul included US-supplied TOW anti-tank missiles, firearms and ammunition, and unspecified armored vehicles, including a tank. The rebel group’s chief has denied they have lost anti-tank missiles, telling AFP that only “light weapons” have been taken.

Moreover, up to 40 Division 13 fighters have been taken hostage and four killed, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said, though the remote “sources on the ground” routinely cited by the UK-based organization are often hard to verify.

Adding to the rebel group’s dismay, Al-Nusra was also the first to release an online statement – blaming Division 13 for provoking the attack. In turn, the rebels denied attacking Al-Nusra and accused them of an unexpected armed assault on a checkpoint, set up at the request of the local population.

The reason reportedly given by the US-backed group as to why they couldn’t have attacked the Islamists? Too weak for the job.The feud between the militant factions, once close allies in fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces, has been brewing for some time, according to AP. Al-Nusra has recently suppressed demonstrations and arrested protesters in the city of Idlib, and reportedly replaced the tricolor of the Syrian rebels with the black Al-Qaeda flag there.

On Friday, in Maaret al-Numan, motorcyclists waving the black flag of Al-Nusra threatened to fire on a protest, shouting “Allahu akbar” or “God is greatest.”

Interestingly, Al-Nusra has a history of looting US-backed opposition forces: last summer, jihadists kidnapped members of the US-trained Division 30, while in September a whole stock of US-supplied weapons and hardware was captured.

The Pentagon’s failed rebel-training program was canceled in October, after dozens of US-trained rebels abandoned Division 30 and handed the weapons they had been supplied to Al-Nusra upon crossing from Turkey into Syria.

However, the head of US Central Command, General Lloyd Austin, proposed to restart training for Syria’s so-called “moderate” rebels.

A month later, the US State Department admitted that some of the “moderates” had been successfully recruited by Al-Nusra in Syria.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941224001228

----------

 

Terrorists' Tunnel Destroyed by Syrian Army West of Damascus

Mar 15 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian government forces detected and destroyed a tunnel used by the militants in Western Ghouta, military sources said Tuesday.

"The tunnel had connected the militant groups' position to a hospital," the sources added.

Reports said on Monday that terrorists of al-Nusra Front attacked on the Syrian army’s defense lines at Jabal Waqa’at near the strategic town of al-Tal in the last couple of days, resulting in a violent confrontation with pro-government troops.

The Syrian Armed Forces repelled the al-Nusra attack, killing Eight militants before the group retreated towards the village of ‘Ein Mineen in the Western part of Damascus province.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941225000756

------------

 

Syrian Army Repels Terrorists' Attack in Deir Ezzur

Mar 15 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army thwarted the ISIL's attack on the military centers in a key district in the Eastern city of Deir Ezzur, inflicting heavy casualties on the terrorists.

The ISIL attempted to attack the Syrian army's military positions in al-Sina'ah, but its terrorists were driven back by the government troops.

Scores of ISIL militants were killed or wounded in the army heavy fire.

On Thursday, the Syrian artillery units heavily pounded ISIL's positions in Deir Ezzur province, destroying the terrorists' military hardware and annihilating dozens of them, military sources said on Thursday.

The sources said that "the Syrian artillery units heavily pounded the Takfiri militants' positions in the Tal al-Mahrouqat area in Ayyash village North of the city of Deir Ezzur, managing to destroy a Bulldozer ISIL used for building fortifications in the area".

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941225000639

------------

 

Syrian Army Winning Battles against ISIL West of Ancient Palmyra

Mar 15 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army and its popular allies continued to advance against the ISIL terrorists in the Western side of the city of Palmyra (Tadmur) in Homs province and seized one more key height in the region.

The Syrian army men backed by the Desert Hawks Brigade and Liwa Imam Ali (Iraqi paramilitary) continued their ground operations near Palmyra (Tadmur), striking several sites under the control of the ISIL.

The Syrian Armed Forces pushed the ISIL back from more positions and imposed full control over Height 853 in Jabal Hayyal after a violent battle with terrorists entrenched around these mountains.

Military sources said on Monday that the Syrian ground and air forces inflicted major casualties on the ISIL terrorists and significantly slowed down the militants' logistic movements in Homs province.

"The Syrian army's recent achievements in the Eastern part of Homs province near Palmyra are mainly indebted to the aerial coverage of the Syrian fighter jets and heavy shelling of the artillery units which have not left any chance for the ISIL to bring in fresh forces and arms and food supplies," the sources said.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941225000260

------------

 

Syria: Turkish Artillery Shells Kurdish Base in Hasaka

Mar 15 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Turkish Army's artillery units targeted Kharzeh border base of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) near a border town in the Northern part of Hasaka province.

The Turkish artillery shelling of the Kurdish strongholds near the town of Amouda near border with Turkey inflicted heavy losses on the Kurdish fighters' military equipment.

Informed sources announced on Monday that the Turkish army troops crossed the border line with Syria in Northeastern province of Hasaka and embarked on building a wall of separation along the border.

The Turkish officials and army men, backed by several Tanks and armored vehicles, entered the territories of the small town of Tal Halaf in the Western part of Ra'as al-Ein and launched construction operation of buffer wall at eight meters inside the Syrian territories.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941225000667

------------

 

Homs: Syrian Army Inflicts Heavy Casualties on ISIL

Mar 15 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- A large number of terrorists were killed in the Syrian Army troops' continued anti-ISIL operation in the Southeastern part of Homs province.

The ISIL suffered a heavy death toll and its military hardware sustained major damage after the Syrian soldiers stormed on their lines of defense near the ancient Assyrian town of Quaryatayn. 

A report said on Monday that the Syrian army troops alongside the popular forces continued to smash the ISIL terrorists in the Eastern Homs province and pushed the militants back from more strongholds.

The ISIL Takfiri terrorists left behind several dead and several more wounded members and fled their positions in al-Maqateh region in the Western part of the ancient city of Palmyra (Tadmur).

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941225000775

------------

 

Iran Condemns ISIL's Chemical Attack in Iraq's Kirkuk

Mar 15 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari strongly condemned the ISIL terrorist group's chemical attack on civilians in the Northern Iraqi province of Kirkuk.

On Monday, Jaberi Ansari expressed sympathy with the Iraqi nation and government as well as those injured in the terror attack that, as he said, amounts to a crime against humanity.

"The incident is yet another wake-up call for the international community and highlights the need for adoption of transparent policies to firmly confront the Takfiri terrorist groups, particularly the ISIL, and punish their supporters," the Iranian official added.

Last week, the ISIL terrorists fired mortar shells and Katyusha rockets filled with “poisonous substances” into the village of Taza, located some 20 kilometers south of Kirkuk.

The attacks killed one child and injured hundreds of other civilians.

Kirkuk province has repeatedly been at the epicenter of fierce clashes between the ISIL, which is prohibited in many countries, including Russia, and Iraqi forces since the terrorist group captured vast parts of Iraq in June 2014.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941225000371

Russian Warplanes Bomb Column of Terrorists Entering Syria from Turkey

Mar 15 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Russian Air Force tracked and targeted a long column of terrorists crossing Turkish border to join their comrades in Northern and Northwestern battlefields in Syria.

The terrorists, that were mainly Turkmen, were caught by the Russian Air Force’s reconnaissance planes attempting to enter the Lattakia province from one of the Turkish border-crossings near Yayladagi.

Upon the entry of Jeish al-Turkmen and al-Nusra Front into Syria, the Russian air fleet struck their convoy of vehicles in the Furniluk Forests, ending in the rebel fighters scattering around the border in order to evade the powerful aerial assault.

When the Russian warplanes backed off, the Syrian Air Force launched their own airstrikes over the Furniluk Forests, keeping up the pressure on the trapped rebel fighters.

Meantime, the Syrian Army, the Syrian Resistance, the National Defense Forces (NDF) and the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) carried out a ground assault on the final villages located before the Turkish border-crossing into the city of Yayladagi.

Currently, the Syrian Armed Forces are only 7.5 km away from the Turkish border-crossing at Yayladagi; however, 3 km of that distance is empty forests.

On Monday, the Syrian army advanced in the Northeastern part of Lattakia province and encircled a large number of terrorists in the key town of Kabani, leaving them with only one way out.

The Syrian soldiers and allies imposed full control over Hill 1154 at the Southwestern perimeter of Kabani after a violent battle with al-Nusra Front, Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham and the Free Syrian Army’s “1st Coastal Brigade” and “Al-Ghaab Hawks Brigade”.

As a result of their success at Hill 1154 inside Jabal al-Akrad (Kurds Mountain), the Syrian Armed Forces were able to advance on Kabani from three different direction, leaving the extremists with only one outlet to retreat from this strategic town.

The military strategy used by the Syrian Armed Forces at Kabani is similar to that of their previous battles at Ghammam, Salma, Kinsibba, and Al-Rabi’ah, meaning they will surround the enemy combatants and leave only one road for the latter to use in order to retreat from the fight.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941225000390

------------

North America

Obama Says Islam Needs Modernist Reformation

While Obama's statements about a modernist reformation are certainly welcome, the right goal can only be achieved with the right strategy.

BY RYAN MAURO Tue, March 15, 2016

For the first time, President Obama said that Islam needs a modernist reformation. This is what was missing from his speech at a Maryland mosque (see video below) on February 3, which presented a critical opportunity where Obama could have had his "tear down this wall" moment.

In a comprehensive interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, Obama referred to his speech in Cairo at Al-Azhar University in 2009, saying:

"I was hoping that my speech could trigger a discussion, could create space for Muslims to address the real problems they are confronting—problems of governance, and the fact that some currents of Islam have not gone through a reformation that would help people adapt their religious doctrines to modernity."

Obama also said, "There is a need for Islam as a whole to challenge that interpretation of Islam, to isolate it, and to undergo a vigorous discussion within their community about how Islam works as part of a peaceful, modern society."

The Cairo speech was written to chip away at two boulders standing in the way of such a reformation, he explained: The scapegoating of Israel, which serves to distract Muslims from self-reflection and concerns about wholesale negative impressions of Muslims.

"I do not persuade peaceful, tolerant Muslims to engage in that debate if I'm not sensitive to their concern that they are being tagged with a broad brush," Obama argued.

Here, a word of caution is due: Not every "reformation" is equal. As Raymond Ibrahim explains, the hardline Islamic movements that President Obama wants swept away actually are a reformation movement. In fact, Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna and "Wahhabism" founder Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab styled their movements as "reformist."

President Obama's qualifier of a modernist reformation is helpful in guarding against these types of reformers. But again, another word of caution: Democratic elections are not necessarily the engines of this modernist reformation, since Islamist movements like the Muslim Brotherhood participate in them. 

One interesting point in the interview is when Jeffrey Goldberg reflects on President Obama's early closeness to the democratically-elected Islamist leader of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan (who was then prime minister and is now president of Turkey).

Goldberg writes that Obama now "considers him a failure and an authoritarian." Obama's mistaken hope in Erdogan and his deceitful "moderate Islamism" should be a hard-earned lesson.

An equally surprising part of the interview is when Goldberg explains how President Obama has noticed Indonesia "move from a relaxed, syncretistic Islam to a more fundamentalist, unforgiving interpretation" (Goldberg's words). Obama saw the proliferation of the hijab in Indonesia as indicative of this trend he is concerned about and for which he largely blames Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.

Obama's statements about the need for an Islamic modernist reformation are certainly welcome, but the right goal can only be achieved with the right strategy.

Similarly, the right reformation can only be achieved with the right reformers. And we have no reason to believe that the current administration has picked them, much less come up with a strategy to empower them.

clarionproject.org/analysis/obama-says-islam-needs-modernist-reformation

---------

 

Top U.S. general wants resumption of strikes against Taliban

By KHAAMA PRESS - Tue Mar 15 2016

generalA senior American general has proposed resuming offensive strikes against the Taliban, exposing a rift between the military and senior administration officials over the U.S. role in the war in Afghanistan, according to military officials, The Washington Post reports.

Senior Pentagon officials complained that Gen. John F. Campbell, who commanded U.S. forces in Afghanistan until earlier this month, broke with standard military procedure when he forwarded his proposal in recent weeks directly to the White House without the knowledge of Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter.

Campbell said he followed normal channels in submitting his recommendations, which could draw the United States back into a broader air campaign against the Taliban.

The dispute comes as Afghan forces struggle to hold back resurgent Taliban forces, which have reclaimed some areas won at great cost during the U.S. troop surge. Many Taliban fighters think “they are operating from a position of strength,” according to Campbell, speaking recently to troops at an American base in Afghanistan.

Any escalation of the U.S. role underscores the ongoing vulnerability of Afghan forces and what is expected to be a violent 2016 summer fighting season, even as President Obama attempts to meet his campaign promise of ending the war.

While Carter is open to enhancing support to Afghan forces and even targeting some Taliban leaders, “that doesn’t mean that he’s ready to veer in a different direction without a lot of careful analysis,” said a senior defense official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal Pentagon debates. “There’s been no good, strong case for why doing that would change things in a way that’s helpful.”

Campbell, who is in the final weeks of a 37-year career in the Army, denied trying to go around his civilian bosses at the Pentagon. “Absolutely NOT,” he said in an email. “I forwarded my recommendations through my chain of command, always have and this time was no different.” An official at U.S. Central Command supported Campbell’s account.

The proposals made by Campbell, before he left Kabul on March 2, include authorizing some U.S. air support for Afghan operations against the Taliban, conducting strikes against Taliban leaders and placing American advisers with conventional Afghan forces closer to the front lines.

Campbell declined to discuss the specifics of his request, but a senior military official described it as a stopgap measure to give the Afghan forces time to build up their tiny air force and intelligence capabilities over the next several years. “The way you end this insurgency is you got to beat them down to a lower level of violence,” said the military official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal planning. “The Afghans won’t have any real air power capability until 2017. ... We can take more of the edge off the enemy until their capabilities are fully online.”

Currently, U.S. commanders can strike the Taliban only when its fighters pose a direct threat to U.S. forces or when Afghan troops are in grave danger of being overrun. Campbell’s request to broaden authorities to strike the Taliban is one of the few levers at the military’s disposal to increase pressure on militant leaders and drive them to the negotiating table for peace talks.

“We aren’t going to get more people — politically there’s no appetite because we are downsizing,” Campbell said in a recent interview with The Washington Post. “So the only thing I can affect is my authority to strike different groups and my authority to provide different enablers to the Afghans.”

Pentagon officials said they would wait until Gen. John W. “Mick” Nicholson Jr., who assumed command from Campbell, concludes his initial review, which will address the question of striking the Taliban and the feasibility of sticking with the White House’s plan to cut U.S. force levels in half, from 9,800 to 5,500, later this year.

“Secretary Carter has not made a recommendation to the President on further changes to the U.S. mission in Afghanistan,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said in an email.

The White House said it is reviewing Campbell’s request but made clear that the emphasis for the U.S. military should be on helping Afghan forces develop the capabilities they are lacking, such as an effective air force, rather than taking on new missions in Afghanistan.

“The president expects that his military commanders at all levels will provide their best military advice and has remained open to recommendations from his military commanders regarding possible modifications of the U.S. military role,” said a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the president’s thinking. “Any potential consideration would balance the need to close any gaps in how we currently execute our mission with our efforts to continue to develop the capabilities of the Afghan national security and defense forces.”

During his first term, Obama is said to have felt boxed in by military officials, including his top Afghanistan commander, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, who were committed to a major increase in the size of the U.S. force as part of a broader counterinsurgency strategy designed to drive the Taliban from many of its traditional havens.

In the end, Obama acceded to most of McChrystal’s troop requests but put an 18-month time limit on the military surge; many believed that sent a signal to the Taliban that it could wait out American forces.

Campbell’s proposal is controversial in part because it would upend the White House’s policy that the United States, in keeping with the 2014 cessation of official U.S. combat operations, is no longer at war with the Taliban.

Asked during congressional testimony last month if the United States views the Taliban as an enemy, Campbell offered a clipped response.

“I think the Taliban have killed many of my soldiers,” he said.

Campbell’s proposal, even if it is rejected by the White House, tees up the issue for the next president, who may have a more expansive view than Obama of how to wield American military force.

Earlier this year, the White House backed a request from Campbell for greater authority to strike Islamic State forces, which are battling both the Taliban and Afghan military forces in eastern Afghanistan.

khaama.com/top-u-s-general-wants-resumption-of-strikes-against-taliban-4738

--------

 

CAIR REQUESTS APOLOGY FROM TRUMP FOR “ISLAM HATES US” COMMENT  14 MAR 2016  

POSTED BY COREY BARNETT

TRUMP IS UNDER FIRE AFTER SWEEPING “ISLAM HATES US” STATEMENT ON CNN. Anderson Cooper, the primary anchor of the CNN news show Anderson Cooper 360°, asked presidential frontrunner Donald Trump during an interview whether he believes that Islam is at war with the Western countries. Trump responded by saying that he thinks that Islam hates Western countries. He said that there is a tremendous and unbelievable hatred, however, he is not sure whether the hatred is held by Islam itself or by Islam extremists. Trump said that they have to get to the bottom of the issue. The interview was aired last Wednesday night. CAIR Requests Apology from Trump for “Islam Hates Us” Comment TWEET THIS Following the interview, CAIR (Council on American–Islamic Relations), the biggest Muslim advocacy group in the United States, castigated Trump's comments and demanded that Donald Trump apologize for his anti-Muslim remarks. Nihad Awad, the national executive director of CAIR, stated that Trump's remarks are beneath that of a true leader and that sentiments like this will only serve to further divide the nation and the world. Ibrahim Hooper, the National Communications Director of CAIR said that outrageous remarks like this are already endangering the lives of ordinary Muslim people staying in America. He said they are receiving a lot of reports with regards to threats and assaults against Muslim American citizens as a result of the anti-Muslim comments and remarks made by Donald Trump. Replying to the question from Cooper with respect to whether the threat is from radical Islam or Islam itself, Trump said that it is very hard to distinguish between the two since it is extremely difficult to identify who is who. To emphasize his point, he cited the terrorist attack at the San Bernardino Regional Center, California and the Paris terrorist attack. From the beginning of the presidential campaign, Trump has been very firm on his views regarding Islam. From his comments on banning the Muslims from entering the United States to going after the family of terrorists, from bringing back waterboarding to his latest “Islam hates us” comment, Trump has always been in the middle of some form of controversy or the other. His recent anti-Muslim remarks even put his friend Rick Scott, Florida's Republican Governor, in a tight position when MSNBC asked him whether the Muslims in Florida hates the United States. He sidestepped the question by answering in general that Florida welcomes all. CAIR is planning to challenge all the hatred growing towards Muslims with love and kindness.

worldreligionnews.com/issues/cair-requests-apology-from-trump-for-islam-hates-us-comment

-------------------

 

Donald Trump says Saddam Hussein was 'very good' at killing terrorists

Andrew Buncombe | The Independent | Mar 15, 2016

Donald Trump has criticised Barack Obama for pulling US troops out of Iraq too quickly and claimed that Iran had taken control of the world's second biggest oil reserves.

Speaking in Ohio ahead of primary elections in five states on Tuesday, Trump claimed that he had always been opposed to the US's 2003 invasion of Iraq. He said he had warned it would destabilise the Middle East and that the rise of ISIS was proof of that. "Saddam Hussein was not a good person. Who cares," Trump said, speaking in a private hangar at the city's airfield.

"He was very good at killing terrorists. Now, Iraq is the Harvard for terrorism."

Trump, who was introduced to the crowd of around 1,500 by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, said that Iran had stepped into the vacuum created by the withdrawal of most US combat troops.

"Iran is taking over Iraq. They're taking over the second largest oil reserves in the world," he said.

"I said 'take the oil' and they said 'you can't do that - it's a sovereign country'. Sovereign country? These were corrupt people.

"ISIS turned out to be a lot smarter than the people we backed."

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/us-elections-2016/Donald-Trump-says-Saddam-Hussein-was-very-good-at-killing-terrorists/articleshow/51410471.cms?

-------

Mideast

Definition of ‘terrorists’ should be broadened to include ‘accomplices,’ says Erdoğan

March 15th, 2016

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks during a dinner to celebrate doctor’s day on March 14, 2016. AA Photo

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks during a dinner to celebrate doctor’s day on March 14, 2016. AA Photo

The definition of “terrorists” needs to be broadened to include supporters of terrorism, who are equally guilty, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has argued in the aftermath of the third major suicide bomb attack to hit Ankara in the past five months.

“Their titles as an MP, an academic, an author, a journalist do not change the fact that they are actually terrorists. An act of terror is successful because of these supporters, these accomplices,” Erdoğan told reporters and an audience of medics during a dinner to celebrate doctor’s day on March 14.

“It’s not only the person who pulls the trigger, but those who made that possible who should also be defined as terrorists,” he added.

The gist of the matter was not freedom of speech or freedom of the press, the president claimed, but rather counter-terrorism.

“Some circles, at home and abroad, are at a junction. They will either side with us, or with terrorists. There is no middle way,” he said.

Erdoğan had previously urged the Turkish parliament and the judiciary to take steps to lift the immunities of Kurdish problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies.

A summary of proceedings asking for the removal of the immunities of five HDP deputies, including co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, was submitted to the parliament speaker on March 9.

One of the other deputies who faces losing their immunity is Sırrı Süreyya Önder, who was an active member of a HDP group involved in talks with jailed outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan during the now-failed “peace process.”

The other two deputies are Ertuğrul Kürkçü from the Aegean province of İzmir and Selma Irmak from the eastern province of Hakkari.

At least 37 people were killed and over 100 were wounded when a suicide car bomb attack struck a busy spot near Ankara’s Güvenpark in the capital’s central Kızılay neighborhood on March 13.

Although no official statement has been made on the identities of the perpetrators, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said on March 14 that PKK involvement in the attack was “almost certain.”

hurriyetdailynews.com/definition-of-terrorists-should-be-broadened-to-include-accomplices-says-erdogan.aspx?pageID=238&nID=96461&NewsCatID=338

-------

 

Third attack in five months kills at least 37 in Ankara

March 15th, 2016

A bomb attack in Turkey’s capital – the third in just five months – killed at least 37 people and wounded more than 100, with security sources saying the perpetrator spent months in training camps of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Turkish Health Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu put the death toll at 37 early March 14 hours after the deadly attack that struck a busy spot near Ankara’s Güvenpark – a park in Ankara’s central Kızılay neighborhood on March 13.

“The number of those who lost their lives over the terrorist attack that happened by Kızılay’s Güvenpark at 6:45 p.m. yesterday has risen to 37. Some 60 people – 13 of them in intensive care units – are being treated in multiple hospitals,” Müezzinoğlu told reporters during a press conference early March 14.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who was in Istanbul at the time of the attack, was briefed by Interior Minister Efkan Ala about the blast on the phone, presidential sources said.

“Turkey has become a target of terror attacks due to the instabilities in the region,” Erdoğan said in a written statement released by the presidency to express condolences to friends and relatives of those who died in the attack.

Erdoğan said Turkey would continue its determined fight against terrorism.

“Terror attacks – which intend to target the integrity of Turkey, unity and solidarity of our people – do not diminish our will to fight against terror, but further boost it,” he added.

The presidential sources said a planned trip by Erdoğan to Azerbaijan that was previously scheduled for March 15 had been delayed.

The car used in the bombing exploded at a busy spot between a police checkpoint and 10 bus stops.

“A bomb-laden car caused the blast,” Ala said at a press conference following a security meeting with several cabinet ministers on the deadly bombing late March 13. He said a few hours after the attack that they would have more information about the perpetrators of the attack by March 14.

Security sources said the perpetrator was identified only by the initials S.Ç.D., a female college student from a university in the northwestern province of Balıkesir. She – a PKK militant nicknamed “Avaşin” – joined the outlawed organization in 2013 as she headed to PKK’s training camps in northern Iraq. She has been trained on bombing and covert acts the militant group carries out to target Turkish security forces, the sources told daily Hürriyet without giving their names.

The perpetrator, according to the sources, committed the attack with a partner in crime who is considered to have taken reconnaissance rides around the scene of the bombing. The car used in the attack was transferred to the capital 15 days ago and passed through four provinces before coming to Ankara, they added.

The BMW car had been in the southeastern provinces of Gaziantep and Diyarbakır as well as the southern province of Hatay ahead of the attack, the sources said. The explosives were placed inside the car in early January and the car was sent to the capital on Feb. 27, they added.

The attack sent shockwaves throughout the country as it was the third in five months to have struck central Ankara since October last year.

Davutoğlu said 11 people had thus far been detained over the bomb attack.

“Eleven suspects have thus far been detained in regard to the attack,” said the Turkish premier at a press conference in Ankara on March 14.

Hours after the blast, the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) immediately declared a broadcasting ban on images of the scene and victims.

The United States warned its citizens in a March 11 statement over a potential terror attack in Ankara.

“The U.S. Embassy informs U.S. citizens that there is information regarding a potential terrorist plot to attack Turkish government buildings and housing located in the Bahçelievler area of Ankara. U.S. citizens should avoid this area,” read the statement.

In a statement after the attack, the embassy said the source of the information in the warning was Turkish authorities and that it was a routine procedure.

“Last week, the U.S. Embassy became aware of threat information through a Turkish government warning circulating in social media. After confirming the warning with Turkish authorities, the embassy issued a notice to all American citizens in Ankara – both government employees and private citizens – and to Turkish employees of the U.S. Embassy, as we routinely do when we learn of Turkish government information about threats,” the statement read.

Previously, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants bombed a peace rally near the Ankara Railway Station, leaving at least 103 dead on Oct. 10, 2015.

Four months later, a suicide car bomb attack targeted military shuttles in the city on Feb. 17, killing 29 people and injuring 81 others.

hurriyetdailynews.com/third-attack-in-five-months-kills-at-least-37-in-ankara.aspx?pageID=238&nID=96451&NewsCatID=509

------

 

Turkish PM: ‘Almost certain’ PKK behind Ankara attack

March 15th, 2016

Findings point to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) involvement in the March 13 Ankara attack “almost certainly,” Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has told reporters.

So far 35 bodies have been identified, the prime minister said in a press conference on March 14, a day after a bomb-laden car killed at least 37 people in Ankara’s central Kızılay district. While the identities of the perpetrators remain unclear, Turkey’s interior minister said earlier in the day that “at least one” of the 37 bodies belonged to the attacker(s).

DNA investigations are ongoing after the blast, the prime minister added, saying 11 suspects have been detained over their suspected involvement in the attack.

Health Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu earlier said in a joint press conference with Interior Minister Efkan Ala and Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ that at least 37 were killed while 125 wounded people were hospitalized after an explosion hit central Ankara on March 13.

A bomb-laden car caused the blast, Interior Minister Efkan Ala said at the same conference after a security meeting in Ankara.

Thirty people were killed at the scene of the incident while four others died on their way to hospital, Müezzinoğlu said, adding that at least one of the 30 was one of the assailants.

On March 14, the health minister announced that three more people had also succumbed to their wounds.

Nineteen people are in critical condition, while seven were in surgery, he said.

Ala said they would have more information about the perpetrators of the attack by March 14.

The area was evacuated as a precaution against a second attack.

The wounded were transferred to 10 different hospitals across Ankara, CNN Türk reported.

The blast took place where around 10 bus stops are located.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who was in Istanbul, was briefed by Ala about the blast on the phone, according to presidential sources. Erdoğan condemned the attack in a written statement, adding that “Turkey has become a target of terror attacks due to the instabilities in the region.”

Turkey will continue its determined fight against terrorism, he said.

“Terror attacks – which intend to target the integrity of Turkey, unity and solidarity of our people – do not diminish our will to fight against terror, but further boost it,” he added.

The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) immediately declared a broadcasting ban on images of the scene and victims.

The United States had warned its citizens in a March 11 statement over a potential terror attack in Ankara.

“The U.S. Embassy informs U.S. citizens that there is information regarding a potential terrorist plot to attack Turkish government buildings and housing located in the Bahçelievler area of Ankara. U.S. citizens should avoid this area,” read the statement.

In a statement after the attack, the embassy said the source of the information in the warning was Turkish authorities and that it was a routine procedure.

“Last week, the U.S. Embassy became aware of threat information through a Turkish government warning circulating in social media. After confirming the warning with Turkish authorities, the embassy issued a notice to all American citizens in Ankara – both government employees and private citizens – and to Turkish employees of the U.S. Embassy, as we routinely do when we learn of Turkish government information about threats,” the statement read.

This is the third major blast to hit the Turkish capital since October 2015.

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants bombed a peace rally near the Ankara Railway Station, leaving at least 103 dead on Oct. 10, 2015.

Four months later, a suicide car bomb attack targeted military shuttles in the city on Feb. 17, killing 29 people and injuring 81 others.

Turkey will develop a new security approach and mechanism for Ankara, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said, following a nearly five-hour security meeting with senior officials on Feb. 20 in the aftermath of the Feb. 17 attack. 

“Every province has special [security] needs,” the prime minister said, adding that Ankara had a special position as it was the capital hosting many government, state and opposition buildings, along with the envoys of many countries.

Elaborating on the new mechanism, Ala said technology would be used more in the implementation of the new security mechanism.

“That would be more prominent. Civil servants will be in official uniforms... Electronic devices will be used more,” Ala said Feb. 21.

The parliament building will also be surrounded by high-security metal fences.

hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-pm-almost-certain-pkk-behind-ankara-attack.aspx?pageID=238&nID=96403&NewsCatID=509

-------

 

Turkey May Use Ankara Attack to Invade Neighboring States

March 15th, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Kurdistan National Congress Spokesman Selahattin Soro said that Turkey has plans for some military actions in neighboring countries.

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was not complicit in carrying out the recent terror attack in Ankara, but the blast may be used by the Turkish government as a pretext for interfering in the foreign affairs of neighboring states, Kurdistan National Congress spokesman Selahattin Soro said Monday.

A car bomb exploded late on Sunday at a bus stop near Ankara’s central Kizilay square, killing at least 37 people. Following the blast, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would never lose its right to defend itself against threats, which might include military operations abroad.

"It is not yet known who did it, there are no details, and Erdogan is already making such statements. It is no coincidence: apparently, there is a plan for some actions in neighboring countries," Soro told RIA Novosti.

According to the spokesman, the PKK could not have carried out the attack, as it is not its style to fight against civilians, rather than those who oppress ordinary people.

Turkey has been shelling Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) positions in northern Syria along the Turkish border since February to prevent the Kurds from seizing more ground in the area.

Ankara considers the YPG to be an ally of the outlawed PKK, a separatist movement fighting for Kurdish self-determination in southeastern Turkey, which has been a target of Ankara’s military campaign since summer 2015.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941224001256

--------

 

Aliyev in Turkey for historic summit

March 15th, 2016

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev arrived in Turkey. President Erdogan, Azerbaijani President Aliyev was welcomed with an official ceremony at the Presidential Complex.

Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev, Turkey-Azerbaijan High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council (YDSK) came to Turkey to attend the 5th Meeting. The plane came to Ankara from Baku at 10:00 am-01 Aliyev was welcomed at Esenboga Airport by Deputy Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan.

President Erdogan was welcomed with an official ceremony

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev was welcomed with an official ceremony at the Presidential Complex.

Aliyev cavalry meet the street in front of the Presidential Complex, guests were escorted to the door of the President protocol. At the ceremony, which was established on the date of 16 flags representing the Turkish government and the military also it took place.

President Erdogan, Aliyev welcomed the Presidential Complex's main gate. After Erdogan and Aliyev to take their place on the parade ground, the national anthem of the two countries in the presence of 21 artillery salute was stolen. Aliyev, the Turkish Armed Guards Ceremony continent, "Hello, soldier," he greeted.

After a presentation of the delegation of the two countries, Erdogan and Aliyev posed for the stairs in front of the flags of Turkey and Azerbaijan shook hands press.

Welcome ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak, Economy Minister Mustafa Elitaş, Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications Minister Binali Yildirim, Presidential Secretary General Emeritus hurricane, Deputy Secretary General Ibrahim Ankara Governor Thick Mehmet Swords also he attended.

zaman.com.tr/aliyev-tarihi-zirve-icin-turkiyede/

-------

 

Syrian Gamble: What's at Stake for Turkey and the Oil Monarchies

March 15th, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- In an attempt to analyze how durable the Syrian ceasefire might turn out to be, Czech military and security analyst Lukáš Visingr arrives at the conclusion that it is just a temporary pause in military actions, as Turkey and the “oil monarchies” have much at stake in the region.

“Petrodollar kingdoms are apparently beginning to play a very risky game that could even lead to a direct confrontation with Russia,” the expert suggests in his blog on the Echo24.cz news website.

Perhaps, he suggests, this is why there is speculation that Riyadh is planning to strengthen its weakened position in this power game with an exceptionally strong trump card: by announcing that it has nuclear weapons.

“It is not actually a new topic, but surely not a coincidence that it was brought up again in relation with Syria,” he says.

The author further explains what interests these countries are pursuing in the region.

It is not only about their dominance in Syria, but about a dominant position in the Middle East and throughout the Muslim world.

Sunni monarchies are involved in a rivalry with Iran and it seems that they are currently losing. Only several years ago their positions in the region were quite strong, but since the “Arab Spring” a number of tremendous changes have taken root, wrecking a number of established alliances and launching new processes in the region.

The author notes that the truce in Syria came just at the very moment when the international community was expecting fierce fighting for Aleppo, the last big town which was under the control (at least partially) of the so-called “moderate opposition.”

Its fall would have led to a definite split in the opposition forces and to an extremely vital victory for the coalition of the Syrian government, Russia and Iran.

The Syrian Kurds from the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the main armed service of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) have contributed to the siege of Aleppo and finally joined the coalition. This is not welcomed by Turkey, the main adversary of the Kurds, supporter of the Syrian Turkmens and sponsor of a number of opposition groups.

Many “moderate” factions of the opposition also enjoy the support of Saudi Arabia and other “oil monarchies” which have invested a lot into the defeat of President Assad and who now do not want to give up the bet.

In this way, the situation in the north of Syria could give them favorable consideration of an armed intervention in favor of their “protégés.”

Besides, Visingr reasons, by withdrawing of its forces from Iraq, the US has demonstrated that it no longer has any intention to get as actively involved in this turbulent region as it was before. Washington is attempting to improve its relations with Iran through the nuclear agreement with Tehran regardless the fact that it causes friction in its relations with Israel and the Arab countries.

And while the regional powers (mostly the US allies), be it Israel, Turkey or Saudi Arabia, regard the above as a potential threat, they apparently also interpret it as a new opportunity.

As US is backing off from the Middle East, on the contrary, Moscow and Beijing are expressing more and more interest in the region.

Why shouldn't the regional powers fight for their “place in the sun” then? This has already been demonstrated during the intervention in Libya, where the US had an unusually limited participation, while the Gulf monarchies sent unexpectedly strong contingents.

Therefore, the expert suggests, there is still the possibility of a ground invasion into Syria by Turkey and Saudi Arabia, which could lead to confrontation with Russia.

In addition, he adds, Moscow has already unofficially warned both Riyadh and Ankara that while considering the invasion into Syria, the two should not forget that Russia is a nuclear power.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941224001248

------

 

FM Inaugurates Honorary Consulate to Palestine in Amman Due to Flight Restrictioni

March 15th, 2016

Amman. Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi on Sunday (13/03) inaugurated the first Honorary Consul for Palestine, Maha Abu-Shusheh, at the Indonesian Embassy in Amman, Jordan, due to a flight restriction by Israeli authorities.

The Jordanian Air Force helicopter scheduled to take Retno to Ramallah was not allowed to pass Israeli airspace to reach Ramallah. However, the Indonesian Embassy in Amman was able to coordinate swiftly to hold the inauguration in Amman.

Retno said the opening of the Indonesian Honorary Consulate in Ramallah is evidence of the country’s support to the Palestinian people.

“Support for the Palestinian people’s struggle has never ceased, and today we move one step forward with the inauguration of the Indonesian Honorary Consul in Ramallah,”she said in a Foreign Ministry statement.

Politically, Indonesia has been consistent in supporting Palestine in various regional or international forums, such as co-sponsoring Palestine as the non-observer state and hoisting the Palestinian flag at the United Nations headquarters in New York; supporting Palestine’s membership in The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization; as well as establishing the Declaration on Palestine at the 60th anniversary of Asia-Africa Conference.

“I hope the Indonesian Honorary Consulate in Ramallah may bridge the brotherhood between Indonesian and Palestinian people,” Retno said.

Indonesia wants to play an active role in boosting bilateral relations between the two states, as well as protecting its citizens living in Palestine, or those visiting the region. The duties of the consulate, among others, are to increase economic and cultural relations, as also to promote partnerships, trade, tourism, investment, employment and services to the people of Palestine.

The ceremony was attended by Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki, Indonesian Ambassador to Jordan Teguh Wardoyo, ambassadors of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Organization of Islamic Countries, chairman of the Indonesian House of Representatives Commission I Mahfudz Siddiq, as well as Palestinian and Jordanian officials.

Maha Abu-Shusheh is listed in Forb Arabia's Top 50 most influential businesswomen. She also chairs the Palestinian Business Women Forum, heads the board of directors of Riwa and the chair of the Palestinian Shippers Council.

jakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/news/fm-inaugurates-honorary-consulate-palestine-amman-due-flight-restriction/

------------

Europe

HRW Urges Egypt to Quash Prison Sentences Of Four Children Convicted Of Blasphemy

Ashley Cowburn 

Egyptian authorities should drop prison sentences against four Coptic Christian teenagers convicted of blasphemy after mocking an Isis video, Human Rights Watch has said.

In February, three of the children were sentenced to five years in a prison and a fourth placed in a juvenile facility for imitating Islamic prayer.

A 30-second clip showed the students pretending to pray, with one kneeling on the floor while reciting verses from the Quran. One ran his hand on another one's throat, mimicking a beheading.

The video was filmed on a mobile phone by a teacher, who is also a Christian. He was sentenced to three years in prison for insulting Islam in a separate trial.

“These children shouldn’t face prison for expressing themselves, even with an immature joke,” said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East director. “The continued prosecution of blasphemy cases in Egypt goes against the government’s claim to be promoting a more inclusive vision of religion.”

Ruled by fear: Egypt 'disappears' 1,840 people in just 12 months

The juvenile court, in the town of Bani Mazar in Minya, sentenced Mueller Edward, 17, Bassem Hanna, 16, and Alber Ashraf, 16, to five years in prison, while ordering Clinton Yousef, 17, to be placed in a juvenile facility.

“They are just teenagers,” said Mr Edward’s father. “They were psychologically troubled by the killings of Coptic Christians in Libya and went for entertainment. They didn’t deliberately intend any offense…. How can you try someone for mocking Isis.”

He added: “They didn’t talk much about what happened inside…We were just happy they got out. My son got 98 per cent in the high school exams, even though they were taking the exams inside the police station. He wants to study medicine. He’s loved by his Muslim colleagues. They were the first ones to warn us that something bad might happen.”

Human Rights Watch also called on Egyptian authorities to revoke the penal code used to prosecute blasphemy.

The organisation claim a flurry of recent blasphemy cases in Egypt is part of a culture of intolerance within the judicial system at a time when President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi is seeking to position himself as an advocate for religious reform.

independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/egypt-urged-to-quash-prison-sentences-of-four-children-convicted-of-blasphemy-after-mocking-isis-a6931436.html

--------

 

Putin orders start of Russian forces' withdrawal from Syria

REUTERS

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday he was instructing his armed forces to start pulling out of Syria, over five months after he ordered the launch of a military operation that shored up his ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Putin, at a meeting in the Kremlin with his defence and foreign ministers, said Russian military forces in Syria had largely fulfilled their objectives and ordered an intensification of Russia's diplomatic efforts to broker a peace deal in the country.

But the Russian leader signalled Moscow would keep a military presence: he did not give a deadline for the completion of the withdrawal and said Russian forces would stay on at the port of Tartous and at the Hmeymim airbase in Syria's Latakia province.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin had telephoned Assad to inform him of the Russian decision.

The move was announced on the day United Nations-brokered talks between the warring sides in Syria resumed in Geneva.

“The effective work of our military created the conditions for the start of the peace process,” Putin said.

“I believe that the task put before the defence ministry and Russian armed forces has, on the whole, been fulfilled. With the participation of the Russian military... the Syrian armed forces and patriotic Syrian forces have been able to achieve a fundamental turnaround in the fight against international terrorism and have taken the initiative in almost all respects,” Putin said.

Questions remained about the practical implications of Putin's announcement. It was not clear if Russian air strikes would stop. Russia will retain the capability to launch them, from the base in Latakia province.

Through its intervention in Syria, Putin has restored Russia status as a major international player capable of exerting its influence far from its borders, and forced the United States to reckon with Moscow's interests.

Fundamental turnaround

“The effective work of our military created the conditions for the start of the peace process,” Putin said at the Kremlin meeting.

“With the participation of the Russian military ... the Syrian armed forces and patriotic Syrian forces have been able to achieve a fundamental turnaround in the fight against international terrorism and have taken the initiative in almost all respects,” Putin said.

“I am therefore ordering the defence minister, from tomorrow, to start the withdrawal of the main part of our military contingent from the Syrian Arab Republic.”

By signalling the start of a withdrawal, Russia is likely to soothe tense relations with the United States, which has accused the Kremlin of inflaming the Syrian conflict and pursuing its own narrow interests.

“I think we did it to show the Americans that we do not have military ambitions and don't need unnecessary wars,” said Ivan Konovalov, director of the Center for Strategic Trend Studies in Moscow.

“They have been accusing us of all kinds of things and this is a good way of showing them they are wrong.”

Russia has said it was in Syria to fight Islamist terror groups, but a large part of its air strikes were on anti-Assad groups which Washington and its allies designate as moderate opposition groups.

dawn.com/news/1245625/putin-orders-start-of-russian-forces-withdrawal-from-syria

---------

 

Russian Air Force, S-400 Anti-Aircraft Missiles to Remain in Syria

Mar 15 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Russian Air Force is not going anywhere; in fact, the Russian Federation is only withdrawing its ground forces that were primarily stationed in Lattakia to protect their aerial assets, informed sources said.

The sources said that the Russian fighter jets and aerial facilities, including their sophisticated S-400 anti-aircraft missiles deployed to the country after the Turkish Air Defense shot down a Russian fighter jet over the Lattakia province, will continue their fight against terrorism in Syria.

The Humaymim Airfields, used by the Russian air force, and the entire lands of Lattakia province are on the verge of being under the complete control of the Syrian Army and their allies.

So, in fact, the Russian Marines stationed in the Lattakia are not currently needed anymore.

On Sunday, the Russian Air Force continued to carry out anti-terrorism combat fights over the ISIL concentration centers near the ancient city of Palmyra (Tadmur) in the Central province of Homs and targeted them heavily.

The Russian fighter jets hit the ISIL combatants heavily around Sukhanah-Palmyra Road, which not only ended in the killing or wounding of several terrorists but inflicted major damage on their military hardware.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941225000561

------------

 

Russia, Tajikistan hold massive military drills near Afghan border

March 15th, 2016

DUSHANBE: Russia and fragile ex-Soviet ally Tajikistan have begun large-scale military drills close to the Central Asian state's restless border with Afghanistan, a Tajik military official confirmed Tuesday.

A spokesman for Tajikistan's defence ministry said the drills involving around 50,000 Tajik troops and 2,000 Russian troops, including paratroopers flown in from Russia.

"The manoeuvres involve around a thousand armoured vehicles, artillery, and 32 combat and transport aircraft," spokesman Faridun Makhmadalizoda told AFP, adding that they would continue until the end of the week.

This is the first time troops from Russia's Central Military District have been involved in exercises in Tajikistan, highlighting Moscow's growing unease over chaos in Afghanistan's northern provinces.

The other Russian troops engaged in the exercises are from Moscow's 201st military base in Tajikistan, the spokesman confirmed.

Last year a contingent of 2,500 troops from the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, a military bloc led by Russia and including Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, also staged military exercises in the country.

Afghanistan's northern provinces have been rattled by militancy amid government infighting in Kabul and the drawdown of the US-led military presence.

Skirmishes along the porous 1300-kilometre frontier Afghanistan shares with Tajikistan occur frequently.

Earlier this month the Tajik border service confirmed that one of its officers and a militant had been killed in a shootout after an armed group crossed into Tajikistan from Afghanistan.

dawn.com/news/1245826/russia-tajikistan-hold-massive-military-drills-near-afghan-border

---------

Southeast Asia

Indonesia detains 14 people allegedly heading to Syria

March 15th, 2016

Jakarta - Indonesia has detained 14 people, including several children, as they allegedly tried to travel to Syria, police said, where hundreds of their countrymen have joined extremist groups like the Islamic State (IS) group.

The Indonesians were stopped Sunday at the international airport serving Jakarta as they tried to board a flight to Bangkok, from where they planned to continue on to Syria, Jakarta police spokesman Muhammad Iqbal said.

Among those identified were a family of five with three children from Tangerang, west of Jakarta, Iqbal said in a statement late Sunday. Five others, including at least one child, were from the Indonesian part of Borneo island.

The group is being held at the airport while police work to establish the identities of the remaining suspects.

Police did not say whether those detained planned to join IS.

Hundreds of Indonesians, many in families, have travelled to join the jihadists since they seized large swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq and proclaimed a "caliphate".

As of December 2015, more than 200 Indonesians had been deported by Turkey after trying and failing to enter Syria, Jakarta-based think-tank the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict said in a report last month.

The flow of Indonesians heading to join IS and other extremist groups has sparked fears that sophisticated terror networks could be revived in the world's most populous Muslim-majority country.

IS claimed a January suicide and gun assault in Jakarta that left four militants and four civilians dead, and was the first major terror attack in the country for seven years.

Indonesian authorities have complained that weaknesses in the country's anti-terror laws make it difficult to stop would-be militants heading abroad, and parliament is considering adopting tougher measures.

news.asiaone.com/news/asia/indonesia-detains-14-people-allegedly-heading-syria

-------------

Pakistan

JUI-F chief puts his grievances over Women Act before PM

March 15th, 2016

LAHORE: Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman says he has explained his reservations about the Women Protection Act to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who has promised to take ‘appropriate steps’.

Talking to reporters after his meeting with the prime minister at his residence in Jati Umra here on Monday, Maulana Fazl said that he had met the prime minister and discussed the women protection bill on the latter’s invitation. He said the prime minister informed him that Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had constituted a committee to discuss and remove ulema’s reservations on the women protection law. He said the government was ready to amend the clauses in the law that confronted the Consti­tution, law and Shariah.

The JUI-F chief said the chief minister and others were present in the meeting.

In the meantime, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said: “The government will amend the law and exempt Maulana Fazl from wearing a ‘bracelet’”.

He said “Maulana Fazl is otherwise an obedient husband at home but takes a tough stand in public to maintain his stature”.

dawn.com/news/1245719/jui-f-chief-puts-his-grievances-over-women-act-before-pm

--------------

 

Allegations against MQM made without evidence, says Farooq Sattar

March 15th, 2016

KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Farooq Sattar while responding to accusations made against the party by dissident Raza Haroon a day earlier said all allegations were made without evidence.

"Accusations being made now will meet the same end as accusations and those who made them in the past," Sattar said.

Earlier, MQM's mayoral nominee for Karachi, Waseem Akhtar, when questioned about rumours of a well-known personality joining the party on March 18 said, "Everything will become clear very soon."

A handful of MQM members have joined former Karachi mayor Mustafa Kamal's yet-unnamed party after his no-holds barred press conference earlier this month when he returned to Pakistan after a prolonged absence from mainstream politics.

Kamal has pulled Raza Haroon, Dr Sagheer, Iftikhar Alam and Waseem Aftab into his 'new party', which he said would be named on March 23.

Explore: Major blow to MQM as Raza Haroon joins Kamal

Speculation is rife as to why a number of senior MQM members left the country suddenly around the time Kamal returned to Karachi. Haider Abbas Rizvi, Faisal Sabzwari, Khushkbakht Shujaat and Khwaja Izharul Hassan are among those who left the country recently.

Certain party members left before Kamal's visit to Karachi, but uncertainty regarding the reasons for the absence of other party members remains.

Kamal's party to hold rally in April

Dr Sagheer Ahmed announced, while speaking to the media, that his as yet-unnamed party plans to hold a massive rally in Karachi in April.

Ahmed added that he and his fellow party members will reveal the name and structure of the party on March 23. Although he did not specify a date for the rally, he announced it will be held during the second week of April.

Responding to continuing speculations about the mysterious party, he responded, "We do not want to make any claims. We want to take the country on the path to peace and prosperity, and we want to offer people security, goodwill, and brotherhood."

"Please take note this party is based here, in Karachi,and we are all here."

In a press conference on Sunday, Farooq Sattar accused the Rangers of torturing and interrogating "40 under-trial prisoners" belonging to the MQM imprisoned at Karachi Central Jail, and "pressuring the workers to leave the party".

He alleged the workers were being forced to fill out a pro forma and told that they would be given every facility in the prison, cases against them would be withdrawn and they would be released only if they changed their loyalty.

dawn.com/news/1245824/allegations-against-mqm-made-without-evidence-says-farooq-sattar

----------

 

Did Pakistan Actor Just Thank The Afghan Taliban?

March 15th, 2016

We have been reassured that not all Taliban are the same, which is true. One endangers our children, and the other threatens someone else’s.

One fully expects Mr Hamza Ali Abbasi’s social and political commentary to ruffle feathers left and right — mostly left. He may not be praised much but one can admit that what he says, he says with great passion and courage.

Alas, I have no more obligatory compliments to offer in the interest of civility, and it is time we address the obvious problem.

In a recent Facebook post, Mr Abbasi celebrated the return of Shahbaz Taseer, as many of us have. However, this was followed by veneration of an organisation whose name is rarely accompanied with positive adjectives.

Taliban. No, wait. The Afghan Taliban.

Mr Abbasi writes ‘Afghan Taliban’ in capital letters, to ensure that no confusion remains.

Let there be no doubt that Hamza is not praising the “NDS/RAW funded” bad Taliban that have conducted terrorist activists on Pakistani soil; he is only expressing his gratitude towards the “legit” Taliban, who happen to be someone else’s problem and not ours.

This is followed by the uncatchiest, most bizarre hashtag since #NobelForTrump:

#ThankYouAfghanTaliban

Any non-jingoist, who acknowledges the universality of human rights, will have no problem finding the flaw in this hashtag.

Surely, it must’ve been a typo four times in a row. Hamza Ali Abbasi may have his faults, as everyone does, but he couldn’t possibly be lionising the same Afghan Taliban which Amnesty International accused of involvement in “mass murder, gang rapes, and house-to-house searches”?

Could he actually be referring to the organisation blacklisted by the UN, responsible for a seemingly endless volley of terrorist attacks, not simply against the US presence, but the Afghan government structures and civilians?

It’s one thing to say that the Afghan Taliban, particularly the Haqqani network, “are not the enemy of Pakistan”.

Boko Haram is technically not the enemy of Pakistan either, but it’s very unlikely that any decent, educated Pakistani would endorse that group.

After all, hasn’t Sartaj Aziz, the Adviser on Foreign Affairs and National Security, assured us that Pakistani forces are actively disrupting the Haqqani network in North Waziristan in the interest of regional security?

Did our government not claim to uproot the terrorist infrastructure “without discrimination” in contradiction to Mr Abbasi’s good Taliban/bad Taliban worldview?

Mr Abbasi thanked the terrorist organisation specifically for its role in the series of events that eventually led to the safe retrieval of Shahbaz Taseer as a section of the Pakistani media reported.

However, the Afghan Taliban themselves have explicitly denied awareness of the incident, claiming that they did not recover Taseer.

If one still insists on thanking the Afghan Taliban, asserting that their attack inadvertently created an opportunity for Taseer’s escape, then we may as well be thanking earthquakes and tornadoes for fortuitously tearing through an enemy base once in a while; their effect on countless innocent civilians in the area being acceptable collateral damage.

One doesn’t have to scroll too far down Mr Abbasi’s Facebook page before hitting on to something alarming.

It’s where he addresses the murder of Salman Taseer by the hands of Mumtaz Qadri, a man who had sworn to protect the former governor, in an apologetic light.

Furthermore, he misrepresented Mr Qadri’s execution as a case of the state only punishing those who aren’t powerful, conveniently forgetting Mr Qadri had a significant support base and backing from scores of lawyers that outnumbered security personnel at the Islamabad High Court.

He has repeatedly slammed progressive values, to the delight of a hefty Islamo-nationalist base. He has abused his male privilege to patronise female actors for their roles in ‘item songs’, and back-peddled when his own racy performances were brought up.

He has engaged in endless moral policing, with only occasional minced-word stands for social justice for the women and religious minorities, that too in the safest way possible, while ardently opposing secular reform.

I would never assault Mr Abbasi with condescending remarks, such as how he ought to stick to acting and modelling, and leave social and political commentary to analysts better informed on the subject. He’s a spirited Pakistani citizen, and his freedom to express his opinion is inalienable.

But he is a social media icon blessed with a massive fan-following, and it would be appropriate to speak responsibly to avoid reinforcing potentially dangerous ideas.

Pakistan is not aiming to become of those nations defined by tunnel-vision, whose policies cater to nobody’s interest but their own.

Pakistan is striving for regional peace and stability, or ought to.

And, we simply cannot do that while we’re ending our speeches on social media with #ThankYouAfghanTaliban.

dawn.com/news/1245442/did-hamza-ali-abbasi-just-thank-the-afghan-taliban

------

 

Pak trying to get more F-16s from US: Report

PTI | Mar 15, 2016

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is trying to get more F-16s from the US as well as looking towards countries like Russia and France for new aircraft to replace old ones to match India's defence purchases, according to a report.

Jane's Defence Weekly reported this week that Pakistan would seek to purchase ten F-16 additional planes from the United States if the current deal for eight of these fighter jets is successfully concluded.

Dawn quoted the Jane's Defence Weekly that Pakistan wants new 16C/D Block 52 multi-role fighters, which are equipped with precision strike capability, as it would enhance its capability to reduce collateral damage in the war against terrorists who often hide among civilians.

A "decision in principle has been made to buy 10 more F-16s," a senior Pakistani government official told Jane's, while adding that "the exact timing to place an order is yet to be decided".

He said Pakistan Air Force needed to retire 190 planes by 2020, forcing the country to look for various options.

The official said that the strong resistance it faced in the US Congress for buying a small batch of eight planes was "discouraging".

"That's why we are looking at other options too, such as buying them from Russia or France."

The official noted that while French planes were "very expensive, the Russians are not and they are equally good".

Last week, the US Senate rejected a move to shoot down the proposed sale of eight F-16, which is now in its final stages.

On Saturday, the 30-day mandatory period, that allows Congress to block an arms sale to a foreign country, also passed.

Although some technical details are still being worked out, the deal for these eight aircraft is almost final, the report said.

In September last year, Russia offered to sell Su-35 planes to Pakistan, which are among the fifth generation aircraft, it said.

Pakistani officials say that India's defence purchases also influence their search for a matching technology.

India is already working on a plan to replace its current fleet of planes with fifth generation aircraft by 2020, forcing Pakistan to do the same.

They say that while Pakistan is not looking to match the exact number of planes the Indians have but they would like to maintain a fleet of 350 to 400 aircraft.

Pakistani officials point out that they also have a large-scale defence collaboration with China, "which is a great source of strength" for the country.

The eight planes that Pakistan is buying from the United States include two single-seat F-16Cs and six twin-seat F-16Ds, along with associated equipment - for about USD 699 million.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pak-trying-to-get-more-F-16s-from-US-Report/articleshow/51409857.cms

--------

India

Hamid Husain Nadwi: Teaching Urdu through Hindi

March 14, 2016

Patna:In an age when Urdu as a language is not the preferred one among Muslims, an alumnus from Nadwat ul Ulema, Lucknow, UP and author of several nursery Urdu books Hamid Husain Nadwi has developed an Urdu handbook meant for learners of Urdu especially for Hindi speaking population.

The book titled ‘Aaiye Urdu seekhen’ (Come and learn Urdu) is getting accolades from across section of society be it intellectuals, academician, bureaucrats.

Talking to Muslim Mirror about the book Mr Hamid told that the content of the book is devised in such a way that  a Hindi reader can easily grasp Urdu words  because the similarity of words and vowels of both the language have been woven brilliantly and practically shown to the readers.

Hamid middleEndowed with an innovative mind, Mr Hamid on earlier occasions has managed to teach hundreds of Urdu learners with Hindi background in different batches at city based Bihar Urdu academy centre which is dedicated to promotion of Urdu as a language. The learners, Mr Hamid told, included IAS Officers, Lawyers, Journalist, and Doctors apart from common people. For this service, the academy has awarded him also.

Asked about what prompted him to bring out the book, he narrated one incident that while attending a workshop under ADRI at Ranchi some time ago, he met Dr Shubhash Sharma, advisor to Bihar State Planning Board, who told him that he wants to learn Urdu.”I want to learn Urdu and it is you who can teach me Urdu”, said the bureaucrat seeing my acumen at the event. This was the moment when the idea was born in Hamid mind and he worked on it and he successfully taught Urdu to Mr Subhash.

Hamid front pageThe book is his practical experience packaged in this Hand book which surely will help learners of Urdu of Hindi background, exudes Mr Hamid.

Mr Hamid who hails from East Champaran District of Bihar has received ‘Bihar Shiksha Ratna ‘award from none other than Nitish Kumar, the Chief Minister of Bihar for his contribution towards Urdu language.

Mr Hamid Husain Nadwi is presently working as a Principal, Nursery section of a private school based at Patna.

muslimmirror.com/eng/hamid-husain-nadwi-teaching-urdu-in-a-hindi-way/

------

Africa

Terrorism Does Not Respect Territorial Boundaries - Buhari

By Jonathan Isaiah

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that terrorism does not respect territorial boundaries as he condemned Sunday's terrorist attack on the Grand Bassam Resort in Cote D'Ivoire.

In a telephone call to President Alassane Ouattara after the attack, President Buhari in a statement by his special adviser media,Femi Adesina, conveyed the sympathy of the federal government and people of Nigeria to the people of Cote D'Ivoire as they mourn their compatriots and foreign visitors who lost their lives in the attack.

The president assured his Ivorian counterpart of Nigeria's full solidarity and support as his country grapples with the consequences of the heinous attack and strives to overcome the new security challenges posed by the terrorist incursion.

Remarking once again that terrorism now transcends all national boundaries, President Buhari restated his call for greater international cooperation against terrorists and their sponsors.

"They have attacked a hotel in Mali, leaving 21 people dead. They killed over 130 people in attacks on Paris and they murdered 28 persons in Burkina Faso.

"Terrorism does not respect territorial boundaries again. That is why the world has to come together, present a common front and deal with these merchants of evil," President Buhari said.

President Ouattara thanked President Buhari for Nigeria's sympathy and solidarity.

allafrica.com/stories/201603150743.html


URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/islamic-state-claims-murder-of-muslim-preacher-in-bangladesh/d/106660

 

New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News,South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Womens in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Womens In Arab, Islamphobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism, Moderate Islam, Moderate Muslims, Progressive Islam,Progressive Muslims, Liberal Islam, Liberal Muslims, Islamic World News

Loading..

Loading..