New Age Islam
Wed Nov 25 2020, 08:44 PM

Islamic World News ( 6 Jan 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Mufti Mohammad Sayeed dies, Mehbooba likely to succeed as CM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: At least 60 people were killed when a truck bomb hit a police training centre in the Libyan town of Zliten. (REUTERS File Photo)

 

India

Mufti Mohammad Sayeed: India's First Muslim Home Minister

Islamic State launches Bangla site for recruits

Muslims in India are safe: Sakshi Maharaj

Choryasi bypoll: 25 Independents in fray, mostly Muslims

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Africa

Libya: Truck bomb kills at least 60 policemen, wounds 200

Nigerian Islamic court sentences cleric to death

Tunisia PM reshuffles cabinet amid challenges

Libya oil storage tanks on fire after Daesh attacks

IMF chief calls on Nigeria to take hard decisions

Djibouti aligns with Saudi, cuts Iran ties

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Mideast

Saudi anti-Muslim acts unacceptable: Iran

Saudi jets pound Yemen, kill civilian by cluster bomb

Turkey's Erdogan says Saudi executions 'internal legal matter'

Commander: Tens of Saudi Soldiers Killed in Cross-Border Clashes with Yemen

Yemen seizes crucial port from Houthi militias

Abbas: Palestinian Authority will not collapse

Jordan summons Iranian ambassador over Saudi tensions

Iraq offers to mediate between Saudi and Iran, fearing for ISIS campaign

Erdogan: Saudi executions 'internal matter'

Head of Arab Muslim Council slams Tehran

All missing Iranian Hajj pilgrims identified: Iran

Saudi anti-Muslim acts unacceptable: Iran

Iran's Rouhani censures Saudi ‘unwise, hasty and provocative’ actions

Palestinians to continue Intifada until demands met: Hamas

Saudi jets pound Yemen, kill civilian by cluster bomb

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Arab World

‘About 2,500’ ISIS fighters killed in Iraq and Syria last month

Bangladesh pledges to join KSA to fight terror, extremism

Bahrain claims dismantling ‘terror’ cell linked to Iran

Qatar recalls ambassador to Iran

Saudi People Continue Protest Rallies in Qatif

ISIL Continues to Suffer Heavy Losses in Homs

Militants' Tunnels Destroyed in Damascus

Damascus: Militants Pounded by Airstrikes, Artillery Shells

Obama expected to name new commander for Mideast

Up to 26 dead as Syria regime, rebels trade fire

Envoys back Saudi anti-terror fight

Bangladesh pledges to join KSA to fight terror, extremism

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South Asia

Pakistan-Bangladesh 'spy' row: Expelled diplomat leaves for Dhaka

Daesh judge among 18 killed in clash with Taliban in Nangarhar

Special force formed to counter ISIS in Afghanistan

Tajik, Uzbek, Turkmen inducted into Taliban Leadership Council

Afghan forces to receive over 100 M1151 Humvees for 2016 fighting season

President Ghani, CEO Abdullah praise Afghan National Cricket Team for historic win

Egypt won't support Pak interference in Bangladesh affairs

Bangladesh SC upholds war crimes accused Jamaat-e-Islam leader Motiur Nizami's death sentence

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Southeast Asia

Why so few Indonesians are joining Islamic State

Indonesia turns to China as ethnic Uighurs join would-be jihadis

Review governance in Islamic institutions, Putrajaya told after Baitulmal college graft claims

Why jobs, education only for Syrian refugees? Rights groups ask Putrajaya

Nur Jazlan: Malaysia-bound Syrians are ‘migrants’, not refugees

Negri Sembilan allows vape sale but bans Muslims from using it

Indonesia turns to China as ethnic Uighurs join would-be jihadis

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Pakistan

Two ISIS members arrested in Lahore

5 terrorists killed in Rao-led shootout

Muttahida mayoral candidate gets bail in two cases

Record of another Zardari case missing

Fazl joins opp to target govt over CPEC route issue

Saudi foreign minister due today

5 terrorists killed in Rao-led shootout

Two ISIS members arrested in Lahore

BD upholds death sentence for top JI leader

Italy FM says world paying price of ‘war on terror’

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Europe

Germany to send more troops to Mali, Iraq

UK has sold $8bn of arms to Saudi Arabia in five years

More than half of Britons want to leave EU

S. Arabia left out of UK's death penalty strategy

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North America

US citizen who 'trained with Al Qaeda in Pakistan' charged in Afghan US base bomb attack

US: Saudi-Iran row may effect anti-ISIL effort

US sees Assad outlasting Obama

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/islamic-state-launches-bangla-site-for-recruits/d/105907

 

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India

Mufti Mohammad Sayeed dies, Mehbooba likely to succeed as CM

Jan 7, 2016

NEW DELHI: Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, a crafty politician who took on the powerful Abdullah family and rose to become the country's first Muslim home minister, died on Thursday at AIIMS here after his platelets dropped dangerously.

Sayeed, 79, who took charge of the state on March 1 last year heading a PDP-BJP alliance, breathed his last on Thursday morning after remaining on ventilator for the past few days.

He was flown from Srinagar in a special plane on December 24 and admitted to the AIIMS where he was diagnosed with sepsis (life threatening complication of an infection) and pneumonia. During hospitalisation his platelets had dropped dangerously, doctors said.

He is the second J&K chief minister to die in office, the first one being Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah who died on September 8, 1982.

Sayeed's daughter 56-year-old Mehbooba is expected to take over as the first woman chief minister of the state with PDP leaders throwing their weight behind her. But this will require the approval of BJP.

Sayeed is survived by his wife, three daughters and a son.

Jammu and Kashmir government has declared a seven-day mourning and holiday today. Flags will be flown at half mast.

The mortal remains of the chief minister would be flown to Srinagar where the body will be kept for people to pay homage. He is likely be buried in his ancestral village Bijbehera in South Kashmir, about 48km from Srinagar.

Sayeed took over as chief minister of PDP-BJP coalition on March 1 last year. In the 87-member J and K assembly PDP won 28 seats and BJP 25 while opposition National Conference got 15 and Congress 12.

Condoling the death of Sayeed, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it left a huge void in the nation and that the leader who provided a healing touch would be missed.

"What stood out about Mufti Sahab was his statesmanship. In his long political journey he won many admirers across the political spectrum," Modi said.

Home minister Rajnath Singh will be flying to Srinagar to attend Sayeed's funeral.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi also expressed grief over the demise of Mufti as she communicated her condolences to his wife and Mehbooba.

"In his death, the state of Jammu and Kashmir as indeed the entire nation has lost a great leader," she said.

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah, who expressed his condolences to Sayeed's family at AIIMS, tweeted, "Just heard the terrible news of Mufti Sahib's passing away. I'm shocked and deeply saddened. May he rest in peace".

Former Union minister Farooq Abdullah also condoled the death of Sayeed.

In a political career spanning nearly six decades, Sayeed carved a niche for himself in national and Jammu and Kashmir politics with the craftiness and unwavering focus of an avid bridge player he was.

He emerged as a rival power centre to the mighty Abdullahs, always playing his cards close to the chest, while making friends with parties following conflicting ideologies to suit his political agenda.

The high-points in the political journey of Sayeed, who would have turned 80 on January 12, was his being catapulted to the chair of free India's first Muslim home minister in 1989 in the V P Singh government and, years later, becoming the chief minister of the restive state for a second time in 2015, heading a coalition with BJP, which had its first brush with power in the only Muslim-majority state.

Sayeed's stint in the home ministry, at a time when militancy had begun to rear its ugly head in his home state, would, however, be most remembered for the kidnapping of his third daughter Rubaiya by JKLF. The militants demanded freeing five of their comrades in exchange for Rubaiya's freedom and let her off only after their demand had been met.

The kidnapping and subsequent release of the militants, according to Sayeed's rivals, projected India as a "soft state" for the first time.

Born in Baba Mohalla of Bijbehara in Anantnag district on January 12, 1936, Sayeed had his early education at a local school and graduated from S P College, Srinagar. He went on to obtain a law degree and Master's degree in Arab History from Aligarh Muslim University.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Mufti-Mohammad-Sayeed-dies-Mehbooba-likely-to-succeed-as-CM/articleshowprint/50480425.cms

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Islamic State launches Bangla site for recruits

Snigdhendu Bhattacharya

Jan 07, 2016

Can you carry 20 kg of weight for four hours at a stretch? Can you run 3 km in 13 minutes 30 secs? Can you crawl 50 m in 70 seconds? These are some of the eligibility requirements for the potential recruits of Islamic State (IS) which have been uploaded on a Bengali website launched by the terror outfit recently.

“The points below will be your first step towards your preparation. This will prove your sacrifice...,” says the website. Then it proceeds to put down the criteria – jogging 10 km at a stretch in less than 70 minutes, running 3 km within 13.5 minutes, carrying 20 kg for at least four hours, doing 70-100 push-ups at a stretch (10 to begin with and increasing by 3 every day), crawling 50 meters in 70 seconds, nonstop skipping 1,000-1,500 times with a rope.

The potential candidate should also know swimming, how to ride bikes, drive small vehicles and survive on dry food for a long time.

The eligibility criteria were uploaded on October 15 last year, a month before IS formally declared its presence in Bangladesh in its mouthpiece Dabiq published last November. IS chief Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi’s message released in December-end was translated into Bengali and uploaded by January 3.

“There is evidence that IS has launched an aggressive bid to wean hardliner and terrorist elements in Bangladesh from the folds of al-Qaeda, which is also trying to spread its tentacles in the country,” a senior intelligence officer said on Wednesday.

In October 2014, HT reported how an al Qaeda leaflet propagated formation on a ‘Syria-like’ caliphate in Bangladesh, also comprising the Indian states of West Bengal and Assam. “Bangladesh might be the prime target of both the outfits, but they also have their eyes on Bengal, Assam,” said another intelligence officer.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/islamic-state-launches-bangla-site-for-recruits/story-LRM9kt3UaeFwvm1PN2S3NP.html

 

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Muslims in India are safe: Sakshi Maharaj

07 January, 2016

BJP leader and Unnao MP Sakshi Maharaj on Wednesday said if Muslims are safe anywhere in the world it is in India.

He also claimed that Muslim population was the biggest beneficiary of the programmes launched by the Narendra Modi-led NDA government at the Centre.

Speaking to mediapersons on the sidelines of an event here Maharaj praised Modi saying the Opposition was scared by the programmes and policies implemented by him, so, in Parliament, whenever, he tries to speak about development of the country, they create disruptions.

On Indo-Pak talks, he said "If the PM talks to Pakistan they (the Opposition) have a problem and if he doesn't, then they have a problem too."

Attacking the opposition leaders the BJP MP said that Mulayam Singh Yadav, Nitish Kumar, Mamata Banerjee and (Arvind) Kejriwal are a danger to the nation.

On cow slaughter, he said the BJP-ruled state are making strict laws against the practise.

Slamming the critics for accusing the BJP government of being "intolerant", he said, after Bihar Assembly elections these people have gone in silence.

He also claimed that one lakh Muslims from MP have favoured construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya and also put their signature to it.

"If people of the country want Ram Mandir to be built at Ayodhya then what is the controversy," he said.

http://www.thestatesman.com/news/india/muslims-in-india-are-safe-sakshi-maharaj/114992.html

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Choryasi bypoll: 25 Independents in fray, mostly Muslims

Jan 7, 2016

As many as 25 of the 27 candidates currently in the fray for the upcoming Choryasi Assembly bypoll are Independents, mostly Muslims. There are around 35,000 Muslims among 3.91 lakh voters, including a large number of migrants. The unusually large number of Muslim candidates, as may as 18, has left Congress worried. The party was banking on the migrant voters and the Muslims to pip BJP in the bypoll.

While BJP has fielded Jankhana Patel, daughter of the late MLA Raja Patel, Congress named Dhansukh Rajput for the seat. “We are also shocked after learning that 18 candidates contesting the bypoll are Muslims. BJP is afraid of losing and they have indirectly fielded Muslims candidates, so that votes of minorities get divided,” said Rajput. Though Congress alleged a “conspiracy” behind the high number of candidates from the minority community, advocate Nazir Godil (Dhoraji Memon), an Independent candidate, has a different opinion. “This is my second election as Independent candidate. During the last Assembly election, I fought from Surat West and got only 977 votes. This time, I am contesting from Choryasi seat and I hope to get around 1,500 votes as I have cordial relations with both the Hindus and the Muslims. I have worked for both Congress and BJP, but now, I have found that both parties do not think about the lower strata of the society. I like AAP, so I will join it soon.” Another Independent candidate, 55-year-old Bhagwati Brahmakshrtirya, is a resident of Sector-24 in Gandhinagar. Bhagwati, fighting on the symbol of nt of Sector-24 in Gandhinagar. Bhagwati, fighting on the symbol of pressure cooker, has studied till Class VII and, earlier contested from Kamrej Assembly constituency in Surat. “I am fond of becoming a political leader and travel in a car having a red beacon,” said Bhagwati who has fought nine elections. The byelection is on January 21.

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/choryasi-bypoll-25-independents-in-fray-mostly-muslims/

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Africa

Libya: Truck bomb kills at least 60 policemen, wounds 200

January 7, 2016

A truck bomb attack on a police training centre in Libya’s western city of Zliten has killed and wounded dozens of people, local media reports said on Wednesday.

A report from the LANA national news agency under the control of Libya’s internationally recognised government said at least 15 people had been killed and 30 wounded.

A rival news agency loyal to authorities in Tripoli, who are in control of Zliten, said at least 50 people had been killed and 127 wounded.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

Libya has been beset by chaos since the 2011 overthrow of longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi and the Islamic State group has been gaining increasing influence.

The UN envoy to Libya, Martin Kobler, said on Twitter that the blast was a suicide attack.

“I condemn in the strongest terms today’s deadly suicide attack in Zliten, call on all Libyans to urgently unite in fight against terrorism,” he wrote.

Libya has had rival administrations since August 2014, when an Islamist-backed militia alliance overran Tripoli, forcing the government to take refuge in the east.

The United Nations is pressing both sides to accept a power-sharing deal agreed in December.

http://indianexpress.com/article/world/world-news/at-least-15-killed-in-bombing-at-libya-police-school/99/print/

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Nigerian Islamic court sentences cleric to death

Jan 6, 2016

KANO: An Islamic court in Kano, northern Nigeria, has sentenced a Muslim cleric to death for blasphemy against Islam's holiest figure, the Prophet Muhammad, prosecutors and justice officials said on Tuesday.

"The sharia court found Abdul Nyass guilty of blasphemy against the prophet, which is punishable with death in accordance with the provisions of the sharia legal system Kano state operates," prosecutor Lamido Abba Soron-Dinki told AFP. "The convict had legal representation throughout the trial which was done in secret to avoid a repeat of the mob action that disrupted a court session on the case."

Nyass drew public outrage in May last year when he made derogatory remarks about the Prophet to followers as they marked the birthday of the former leader of the Tijaniyya Sufi order, Ibrahim Nyass.

An angry crowd attacked the ceremony in the Makwarari district of Kano and later burned down Abdul Nyass' home, police said at the time.

Abdul Nyass belongs to a separate branch of Tijaniyya that includes beliefs considered heretical because of their different interpretation of some basic Islamic principles. He fled in the wake of the violence while nine of his followers were arrested and charged before a sharia court in the city in June last year. Five of them were later sentenced to death and have since launched appeals, while four were acquitted.

The trial of the nine followers was also held in secret to avoid violence, after crowds set fire to a section of the sharia court when they first appeared.

Nyass' comments, made during a religious ceremony, sparked anger and violence across Kano, which is a historic seat of Islamic scholarship. The cleric was arrested last August in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, where he was in hiding. He was brought back to Kano and charged, said Soron-Dinki.

"He has up to a month to appeal the sentence and it is most likely he is going for appeal," he added.

Nyass' lawyer declined to comment and concealed his identity for fear of reprisals. Kano's justice commissioner Haruna Mohammed Falali welcomed the death sentence and said the state government would pursue the matter "to its legal conclusion".

"It is their right to appeal, but we will follow this case through all the legal appeal stages and ensure the sentence is carried out," he said.

Sharia courts in Muslim-majority northern Nigeria have handed down death sentences for adultery, murder and homosexuality since they were set up in the early 2000s. But to date, no executions have been carried out.

Twelve states in the north operate Islamic courts, which run parallel to the state and federal justice system.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/Nigerian-Islamic-court-sentences-cleric-to-death/articleshow/50470331.cms

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Tunisia PM reshuffles cabinet amid challenges

7 January 2016

Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid named 12 new ministers on Wednesday in a cabinet reshuffle he hopes will boost the effectiveness of his government as it battles jihadist violence and tries to revive the economy.

Tunisia has been under a state of emergency since an Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) suicide bomber attacked presidential guards in November in the capital Tunis following two previous militant attacks on foreign tourists that have damaged the country’s economy.

Essid named new ministers of the interior, justice and foreign affairs, among others. He gave no reason for the changes but late last year he said he would replace ministers to increase the efficiency of his government.

Tunisia, praised as a model for democratic transition since its 2011 revolt ousted autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, has mostly avoided the violent turmoil of other “Arab Spring” countries which also toppled long-standing rulers.

But an attack by jihadist gunmen on the Bardo museum in Tunis in March, and a gun attack on foreign tourists at a beach hotel in Sousse resort in June, have left the government struggling to find the best strategy to counter militants.

In a statement Essid’s office named Hedi Majdoub as the new interior minister and a former presidential adviser, Khemais Jinaou, as foreign minister.

More than 3,000 Tunisians have left to fight for ISIS and other groups in Iraq and Syria and increasingly in neighboring Libya. The government has cracked down on militants at home but has faced criticism about how security forces are protecting human rights.

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2016/01/06/Tunisia-s-prime-minister-announces-cabinet-reshuffle.html

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Libya oil storage tanks on fire after Daesh attacks

Jan 7, 2016

At least five massive oil storage tanks have caught fire in two oil terminals in Libya after attacks by Takfiri Daesh terrorists.

The attacks originally ignited fires at the key terminals in Sidra and Ras Lanouf, located between the city of Sirte – which is controlled by Daesh – and the eastern city of Benghazi.

Ali al-Hassi, a spokesman for the Petroleum Facilities Guards, said on Wednesday that the fires have now spread to the storage tanks.

Daesh terrorists, however, were not able to take control of Sidra and Ras Lanouf in the attacks, he added.

At least 10 guards were killed and dozens were injured in the attacks on Monday and Tuesday.

The militants are said to have received air cover from forces loyal to the General National Congress (GNC), one of the two rival governments in Libya that is in control of the capital, Tripoli.

Full report at: http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/01/07/444843/Libya-Daesh-oil-tanks-Sidra-Ras-Lanouf/

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IMF chief calls on Nigeria to take hard decisions

06 January 2016

Nigeria is facing massive pressures and challenging prospects, particularly because of the country's dependence on oil revenue, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde said in a speech to the Nigerian parliament Wednesday.

"Already, lower oil prices have sharply reduced Nigeria’s export earnings and government revenues. Both are likely to remain at depressed levels, reducing the space for policy interventions to address Nigeria’s social and infrastructure needs," Lagarde said.

She pointed out that private sector investment will also suffer. "Investor confidence about the outlook has remained weak, and financing is likely to become more difficult and more costly for everyone. With U.S. interest rates expected to continue to rise, albeit slowly, the likelihood of capital outflows will increase, and exchange rate pressures could mount as investors re-assess their appetite for risk," she said.

Worse still, the outlook has weakened, Lagarde warned. She forecast Nigerian economic growth in 2015 at about 3.2 percent, its slowest pace since 1999, with only a modest recovery expected in 2016.

Full report at: http://www.worldbulletin.net/africa/168155/imf-chief-calls-on-nigeria-to-take-hard-decisions

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Djibouti aligns with Saudi, cuts Iran ties

06 January 2016

Djibouti said Wednesday it has cut diplomatic relations with Iran amid a diplomatic crisis with ally Saudi Arabia.

The tiny Horn of Africa nation is a strategic port on the Gulf of Aden with a key position on one of the world's busiest shipping lanes.

Djiboutian Foreign Minister Mahamoud Ali Youssouf has "severed diplomatic ties with Iran," a government statement read.

The small state lies at the mouth of the Red Sea, just across from Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition launched an air war in March against Iran-backed Huthi rebels who seized control of the capital Sanaa.

Tehran on Wednesday warned Riyadh to stop working against it as the row between the two rivals intensified.

The crisis began at the weekend when Saudi Arabia executed prominent Shiite cleric and activist Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr as well as 46 other convicts, prompting a furious reaction from Tehran.

Iranian protesters then ransacked the Saudi embassy in Tehran. Riyadh, Bahrain and Sudan severed relations with Tehran while Kuwait recalled its ambassador.

http://www.worldbulletin.net/africa/168153/djibouti-aligns-with-saudi-cuts-iran-ties

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Mideast

Saudi anti-Muslim acts unacceptable: Iran

Jan 6, 2016

A senior Iranian official has criticized as “unacceptable” Saudi Arabia’s exploitation of its potentialities to harm Muslims' interests in the Middle East region.

Saudi “inexperienced rulers’ negligence of the interests of Muslims and Islamic countries and exploiting their potentialities... for derogation and killing of Muslims is a shocking and unacceptable approach,” Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani said on Wednesday.

Shamkhani made the remarks in a meeting with visiting Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari in Tehran, where the pair discussed the latest developments in the region.

The Iranian official expressed regret that certain countries are "hiring foreign mercenaries" to kill civilians in Yemen and exacerbate insecurity across the region.

Saudi Arabia began the campaign against Yemen in late March 2015. The strikes are supposedly meant to undermine the Ansarullah movement and restore power to fugitive former Yemeni president, Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi. More than 7,500 people have been killed and over 14,000 others injured since the strikes began.

Shamkhani further described as “regrettable and unacceptable” the execution of top Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr by the Saudi regime, saying the killing "arises from sectarianism" policy of Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia announced the execution of Sheikh Nimr and 46 others on Saturday despite international calls for the release of the opposition cleric and other jailed political activists in the kingdom.

Sheikh Nimr was shot by Saudi police and arrested in 2012 in Qatif in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province, which was the scene of peaceful anti-regime demonstrations at the time.

He had been charged with instigating unrest and undermining the kingdom’s security. He had rejected all the charges as baseless.

The Iraqi foreign minister, for his part, denounced the killing of Sheikh Nimr, underlining the need for unity among Muslims to counter enemy plots.

All Muslim countries should prioritize fighting Takfiri terrorism and mobilize their efforts in the establishment of security and stability in the region, he said.

Jaafari further heaped praise on the Islamic Republic for its anti-terror efforts and called for the continuation of Tehran-Baghdad consultations to settle the problems in the region.

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/01/06/444778/Iran-Shamkhani-Iraq-Jaafari-Saudi-Arabia-Yemen-Nimr/

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Saudi jets pound Yemen, kill civilian by cluster bomb

Jan 7, 2016

At least five people have lost their lives in fresh Saudi airstrikes on Yemen, including one killed by a cluster bomb in the capital, Sana’a.

According to Yemen’s al-Masirah news channel, Saudi jets pounded various districts of Sana’a, using cluster bombs early on Thursday.

A civilian was killed and a number of others were injured during the raids. Witnesses said some of the bombs were left unexploded.

Saudi warplanes also bombarded residential buildings in the al-Marzaq district of Hajjah Province, killing four people and injuring two others.

Saudi Arabia began the military campaign against Yemen in late March 2015. The strikes are supposedly meant to undermine the Ansarullah movement and restore power to fugitive former Yemeni president, Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.

Rights groups had earlier exposed Saudi Arabia’s use of cluster bombs in the war on Yemen. The Human Rights Watch said in late May 2015 Saudi warplanes had targeted civilians and residential areas with cluster bombs in the northern province of Sa’ada.

More than 7,500 people have been killed and over 14,000 others injured since the strikes began. The Saudi war has also taken a heavy toll on the impoverished country’s facilities and infrastructure.

Yemenis have responded with attacks against Saudi forces deployed in the country as well as targets inside Saudi Arabia.

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/01/07/444842/Yemen-Saudi-Arabia-cluster-bomb-Sanaa-airstrike/

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Turkey's Erdogan says Saudi executions 'internal legal matter'

January 07, 2016

ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday refused to condemn Saudi Arabia for its execution of 47 convicts including a prominent Shia cleric, saying it was an "internal legal matter" of the kingdom.

“The executions in Saudi Arabia are an internal legal matter. Whether you approve or not of the decision is a separate issue,” Erdogan, who last month visited Riyadh in a new sign of Ankara's warm ties with the kingdom, said in a televised speech in his first reaction to the controversy.

Related: Mass execution: Saudi Arabia beheads 47 on terror charges in one day

Saudi Arabia on Saturday executed 47 people, most of whom were convicted of Al Qaeda attacks. Four of those executed were Shias, including prominent cleric Nimr al-Nimr.

Iran's hardline Revolutionary Guards had promised "harsh revenge" against the Saudi royal dynasty for Saturday's execution of Nimr who is considered a terrorist by Riyadh but hailed in Iran as a champion of the rights of Saudi Arabia's Shia minority.

The Guards compared Saudi Arabia's execution of Nimr to attacks carried out by the militant Islamic State group and said that Saudi Arabia's “medieval act of savagery” in putting Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr to death will lead to the “downfall” of the monarchy.

Protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran the other day and Iran’s top leader predicted “divine vengeance” for Saudi Arabia’s execution of the cleric

http://www.dawn.com/news/1231168/turkeys-erdogan-says-saudi-executions-internal-legal-matter

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Commander: Tens of Saudi Soldiers Killed in Cross-Border Clashes with Yemen

Jan 06, 2016

"At least 82 Saudi-led forces were killed as they were attempting to open their way into Yemen's border regions through Tawwal crossing which links Jizan province in the Southern part of the kingdom to Northern Yemen," Senior Ansarullah Commander Ali al-Houthi told FNA on Wednesday.

He noted that five armored vehicles of the Saudi forces were also destroyed during the clashes with the Yemeni forces.

The Yemeni forces thwarted a similar attack by the Saudi-led forces at Tawwal border crossing.

The Yemeni troops reported tens of casualties on the part of the Saudis following heavy clashes at the border crossing.

In a relevant development on Monday, a large number of Saudi soldiers were killed in a surprise attack of the Yemeni army and popular forces on a strategic military base in the Southern part of the kingdom.

The Saudi military base in Alhajleh region of Najran province came under the Yemeni forces' attack.

Tens of Saudi military men were killed and dozens more injured during the attack.

The latest reports said that the Saudi military base is still under the control of the Yemeni forces.

Full report at: http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941016001363

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Yemen seizes crucial port from Houthi militias

7 January 2016

Troops loyal to Yemeni President Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi seized a Red Sea port town on Wednesday in the country’s northwest following fierce fighting with Iran-backed Shiite militias, a military chief said.

“We have full control of the port and the town, along with its historic castle,” Fifth Military Region commander General Adel al-Qumairi said of Midi.

Intensive clashes had raged in the area since mid-December when government forces trained in nearby Saudi Arabia crossed the border and seized the town of Haradh.

The militias, known as Houthis, have reportedly used Midi’s port to bring weapons into their traditional stronghold in the north.

Despite losing Midi, they and their allies of renegade troops loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, continue to control a long stretch of the coastline.

Government forces have enjoyed air support from the Saudi-led coalition, which launched a campaign against the militias in March after they advanced on the southern city of Aden where Hadi had taken refuge before fleeing to Riyadh.

On Wednesday, coalition warplanes bombed militia positions in Sanaa, including the presidential complex, witnesses said.

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2016/01/07/Yemen-troops-seize-northwestern-port-from-Houthis-militias.html

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Abbas: Palestinian Authority will not collapse

7 January 2016

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas dismissed on Wednesday weeks of rumors that the Palestinian Authority could collapse, saying he would “never give up” on it.

Abbas, 80, was speaking publicly for the first time since rumors surfaced last week that he was in poor health, which the PA has categorically denied. He did not discuss the matter and appeared well.

He also spoke as three months of violent attacks by frustrated Palestinian youths on Israeli targets have made the PA and its leadership appear increasingly out of touch.

The PA, the governing authority set up under the 1993 Oslo peace accords with Israel, has faced funding shortages, and its ongoing security cooperation with the Jewish state has been heavily criticized.

Full report at: http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2016/01/07/Abbas-denies-concern-of-Palestinian-Authority-collapse.html

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Jordan summons Iranian ambassador over Saudi tensions

6 January 2016

Jordan summoned Iran’s ambassador in Amman on Wednesday to condemn an attack on the embassy of Saudi Arabia in Tehran and “Iranian interference” in Arab affairs, Jordanian state news agency Petra reported.

Also on Wednesday Arab League member Djibouti announced it has cut off its diplomatic ties with Tehran, an official source told Al Arabiya News Channel.

Djiboutian Foreign Minister Mahamoud Ali Youssouf has “severed diplomatic ties with Iran,” a government statement read.

Tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia have spiraled since the execution of a Shiite cleric in Saudi Arabia.

Full report at: http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2016/01/07/Iraq-offers-to-mediate-between-Saudi-and-Iran-fearing-for-ISIS-campaign.html

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Iraq offers to mediate between Saudi and Iran, fearing for ISIS campaign

6 January 2016

Iraq dispatched its foreign minister to Tehran on Wednesday with an offer to mediate in an escalating feud between Saudi Arabia and Iran, reflecting Baghdad's fears that new sectarian conflict could unravel its campaign against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Saudi Arabia's execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr on Saturday has inflamed anger across the Middle East, infuriating Iran.

After demonstrators sacked the Saudi embassy in Iran, Riyadh and some of its allies cut off diplomatic ties with Tehran.

Iraq, where a Shiite-led government is urgently trying to reach out to minority Sunnis as it seeks to retake territory controlled by ISIS militants, is particularly vulnerable to any upsurge in anger between the Muslim sects.

Powerful Iran-backed Shiite militia called on Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi -- a Shiite who has staked his credibility on efforts to reconcile with Sunnis -- to shut a Saudi embassy that reopened only last month after decades of strained ties.

Full report at: http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2016/01/06/Turkey-s-Erdogan-says-Saudi-executions-internal-legal-matter-.html

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Erdogan: Saudi executions 'internal matter'

6 January 2016

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday refused to condemn Saudi Arabia for its execution of 47 convicts including a prominent Shiite cleric, saying it was an "internal legal matter" of the kingdom.

"The executions in Saudi Arabia are an internal legal matter. Whether you approve or not of the decision is a separate issue," Erdogan said in a televised speech, his first reaction to the controversy which has raised tensions between Saudi Arabia and its regional rival Iran.

Erdogan had last month visited Riyadh for talks with King Salman and the political elite, in a new sign of Ankara's warm ties with the kingdom.

Turkey and Saudi Arabia share the same vision over the conflict in Syria where they believe only the ousting of President Bashar al-Assad can bring an end to almost five years of civil war.

Full report at: http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2016/01/06/Turkey-s-Erdogan-says-Saudi-executions-internal-legal-matter-.html

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Head of Arab Muslim Council slams Tehran

RODOLFO C. ESTIMO JR.

7 January 2016

RIYADH: Secretary-General of the Arab Muslim Council Mohammed Ali Al-Husseini has expressed dismay over the Iranian religious leadership.

“The Kingdom’s severance of diplomatic relations with Iran is proper and reflects a correct attitude,” an Arabic daily report quoted Al-Husseini as saying.

The Kingdom severed diplomatic ties with Iran on Sunday in the wake of attacks on Saudi missions in Tehran and Mashhad.

Al-Husseini said that the Walayat-Al-Faqih religious system could not comply with international commitments and ensure the security and protection of embassies in Iran.

The Walayat-Al-Faqih refers to the religious leader in a Shiite-ruled country like Iran. It supports religious groups in other countries such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen.

Full report at: http://www.arabnews.com/saudi-arabia/news/861511

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All missing Iranian Hajj pilgrims identified: Iran

Jan 6, 2016

All Iranian pilgrims listed as “missing” in last year's deadly crush during Hajj rituals in Mina, near the holy Saudi city of Mecca, have been identified, the head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization says.

Saeed Ohadi said on Wednesday the case of the Iranian pilgrims unaccounted for following the Mina tragedy was closed after 65 immediate families of the victims were dispatched to Saudi Arabia to help the identification process.

Stating that some 79 Iranian pilgrims had been buried in Mecca, Ohadi said that the families of 37 buried victims wanted the bodies to be returned to the country.

The bodies of 10 Iranian pilgrims arrived in the Iranian capital of Tehran on Wednesday, he said, adding that 16 more are expected in the next few days.

Full report at: http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/01/06/444801/Iran-Hajj-Mina-Ohadi-/

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Iran's Rouhani censures Saudi ‘unwise, hasty and provocative’ actions

Jan 6, 2016

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says Saudi Arabia’s “unwise” and “provocative” policies will further heighten tensions in the Middle East region.

In a meeting with visiting Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Jaafari on Wednesday, President Rouhani once again denounced Riyadh’s recent move to execute top Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, saying the move was aimed at sowing discord in the region.

“Today, in circumstances under which we need, more than ever, unity and unification among countries to fight terrorism in the region, [such] unwise, hasty and provocative decisions will definitely lead to the escalation of tensions and will be to the detriment of countries in the region,” Rouhani said.

Saudi Arabia announced the execution of Sheikh Nimr and 46 others on Saturday despite international calls for the release of the opposition cleric and other jailed political activists in the kingdom.

Full report at: http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/01/06/444790/Iran-Rouhani-Saudi-Arabia-Iraq-Jaafari-Saudi-Arabia-Nimr/

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Palestinians to continue Intifada until demands met: Hamas

Jan 7, 2016

Top Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh says Palestinians will continue their Intifada (uprising) against Israel until all their objectives are achieved.

Haniyeh said the "sacrifices of the Palestinians and their heroic resistance in the face of Israel will eventually come to fruition," Arabic-language Palestine al-Yawm news agency reported.

He made the remarks during a telephone conversation with the family of slain Palestinian teenager Ahmed Younis Koazibh on Wednesday.

Haniyeh further praised the young Palestinian men killed at the hands of the Israeli military forces, saying they can "thwart Israeli schemes and disrupt all its calculations."

Seventeen-year-old Koazibh, a resident of the town of Sa’ir, northeast of the West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron), was shot and killed by Israeli military forces at the Gush Etzion Junction after allegedly stabbing an Israeli soldier last month.

Tensions have been running high in the West Bank after Israel’s imposition in August of restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East al-Quds (Jerusalem). Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam.

Full report at: http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/01/07/444845/Hamas-leader-Ismail-Haniyeh-Palestinians-Intifada/

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Arab World

‘About 2,500’ ISIS fighters killed in Iraq and Syria last month

7 January 2016

The U.S.-led coalition that has been carrying out air strikes against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria killed (ISIS) about 2,500 extremists last month, a military spokesman said on Wednesday.

The Pentagon has previously been wary of giving body counts, but Wednesday’s figures come as officials hope to portray ISIS as being on the defensive after the jihadists suffered a series of setbacks - including last week’s loss of the Iraqi city of Ramadi.

“In December, we estimate approximately 2,500 enemy fighters were killed in coalition air strikes across Iraq and Syria,” Baghdad-based military spokesman Colonel Steve Warren told Pentagon reporters.

He said that since coalition air strikes began in August 2014, ISIS had lost as much as 22,000 square kilometers (8,500 square miles) -- or about 40 percent -- of the territory it once held in Iraq, and about 10 percent, or 2,000 square kilometers, of the land it claimed in Syria.

“We believe that ISIL is now in a defensive crouch,” Warren said, using an alternative acronym for the extremist group.

Full report at: http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2016/01/07/-About-2-500-ISIS-fighters-killed-in-Iraq-Syria-last-month.html

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Bangladesh pledges to join KSA to fight terror, extremism

MOHAMMED RASOOLDEEN

7 January 2016

RIYADH: Visiting Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmoud Ali expressed his firm resolve to join with the Kingdom to fight against terrorism and extremism through meaningful cooperation.

Hassan met his counterpart Adel Al-Jubeir in the capital on Wednesday. He said that both ministers reviewed the whole gamut of bilateral relations between the two countries as well as exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual interest including mutual cooperation at the UN and other international fora, including the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Bangladesh has condemned the recent attacks on the Saudi Embassy in Tehran and its consulate in Mashhad, and said such acts were “clear violation” of the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations.

“It is the responsibility of the host government to accord necessary protection to the diplomatic and consular missions within its jurisdiction as these are inviolable under international law,” read the statement.

Hassan is on a two-day official visit to the Kingdom on an official invitation from his counterpart Al-Jubeir.

Full report at: http://www.arabnews.com/saudi-arabia/news/861476

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Bahrain claims dismantling ‘terror’ cell linked to Iran

January 07, 2016

DUBAI: Bahrain said on Wednesday it had dismantled an Iran-linked “terror” cell that was planning attacks in the kingdom, amid a growing diplomatic crisis between Gulf Arab states and Tehran.

The cell was allegedly linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and Lebanon’s Tehran-backed Hezbollah militia and planning to carry out a “series of dangerous bombings” on the tiny kingdom, an interior ministry statement said.

Members of the “secret terrorist organisation” have been identified and many arrested, said the statement on the official BNA news agency, adding that others remain at large. Among those arrested were 33-year-old twins Ali and Mohammed Fakhrawi identified as leaders of the group.

The cell is allegedly linked to the little-known Al-Ashtar Brigades which has reportedly claimed responsibility for bombings in the Shiite-majority kingdom, including one outside a Sunni mosque in 2013.

It is also linked to suspects involved a July 28 bombing that killed two policemen and wounded six others.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1231238/bahrain-claims-dismantling-terror-cell-linked-to-iran

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Qatar recalls ambassador to Iran

January 07, 2016

DOHA - Qatar has recalled its ambassador to Iran following an attack on the Saudi Arabian embassy in Tehran, state media in Doha said on Wednesday.

“Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs recalled today Qatar’s Ambassador to Tehran following the attacks on the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Tehran and general consulate in Mashhad,” said foreign ministry director, Khalid bin Ibrahim al-Hamar, quoted by the Qatar News Agency. The response by Doha is similar to action taken by other countries in the Gulf following the attack on the Saudi missions. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have broken off diplomatic ties with Iran in response and Kuwait has recalled its ambassador.

IRAN WARNS KSA TO STOP ‘ADDING FUEL TO FIRE’

Iran warned Saudi Arabia to stop working against as their diplomatic crisis intensified despite efforts to defuse a row that has raised fears of greater regional instability.

As diplomats arrived home after being told to leave Saudi Arabia, Shia-dominated Iran fired the latest verbal salvo in a dispute that has seen Riyadh and some Sunni Arab allies cut diplomatic ties with Tehran.

Full report at: http://nation.com.pk/national/07-Jan-2016/qatar-recalls-ambassador-to-iran

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Saudi People Continue Protest Rallies in Qatif

Jan 07, 2016

The protestors held rallies in 7 different parts of Qatif on Wednesday night, holding placards in support of Sheikh Nimr and chanting slogans against the Saudi officials for his execution.

In their slogans, they also underlined that the sentences issued by the country's judiciary system are cruel.

The people in Saudi Arabia's Eastern province have been holding continued protest rallies since the interior ministry announced on Saturday that it has executed 47 people, including Sheikh Nimr.

The rallies were held after hundreds of Saudi soldiers and security forces raided people's houses in the region of Qatif in the Eastern part of the kingdom on Tuesday beating residents and arresting tens of people.

Full report at: http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941017000385

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ISIL Continues to Suffer Heavy Losses in Homs

Jan 07, 2016

Syrian army destroyed mortars, two machine gun-equipped vehicles of ISIL, killing scores of Takfiri terrorists in Tal al-Kharoub al-Kabeer near al-Quaryatayn in Homs on Wednesday.

Military sources also said that scores of ISIL Takfiri terrorists were killed and injured by the army in the countryside of Palmyra city.

The sources added that a unit of army clashed with a terrorist group affiliated to ISIL in al-Dawa area, 17km West of Palmyra city.

Some 11 Takfiri terrorists were confirmed dead during the clashes and three machine gun- equipped vehicles.

Earlier reports said, the Syrian Army and the National Defense Forces (NDF) launched a counter-assault at the ancient city of Palmyra (Tadmur) in the province of Homs after they successfully repelled ISIL's attempted advance.

Full report at: http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941017000247

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Militants' Tunnels Destroyed in Damascus

Jan 07, 2016

Field sources said Wednesday that the army destroyed two tunnels which link Harasta Farms with al-Hijaria neighborhood in Douma city in Damascus countryside.

The sources also said that the army regained control over a number of farms and buildings in the vicinity of al-Nashabiyah town after killing many terrorists.

The army also destroyed militants' mortars, and killed a large group of terrorists in Misraba and to the East of Zamlka Bridge.

Meanwhile, the Syrian forces targeted positions and movements of Takfiri terrorists in the Northeast of Marj al-Sultan in Damascus Countryside and killed tens of militants.

Also on Wednesday, the Syrian army engaged in fierce battles with militants in Jobar district to the East of Damascus city, leaving a group of militants dead and injured. The Syrian army also fired artillery shells at militants' positions in Jobar.

The Syrian army also launched artillery attack on terrorists' positions in Darayya city in Damascus province.

Full report at: http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941017000322

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Damascus: Militants Pounded by Airstrikes, Artillery Shells

Jan 07, 2016

A group of militants were killed and injured in clashes with the Syrian army in al-Marj region in Eastern Ghouta in Damascus countryside, informed sources said Thursday.

The Syrian warplanes also bombed militants positions in Jobar district East of Damascus city, Zamalka city, Hazza town and al-Marj Region in Damascus countryside.

Separately, the army fired artillery shells at militants' concentration centers in the cities of Douma and Darayya.

The Syrian Army Forces, including the Army, Air Force and Artillery-Missile Units carried out several attacks against the militant positions in Eastern and Southwestern Damascus province, army said Wednesday.

"The Syrian army troops and their popular allies engaged in fierce clashes with the militant groups near Jobar in Eastern Ghouta, and killed or wounded scores of them," the army said.

"The Syrian fighter jets carried out several combat fights over the militant groups' defense line near Darayya in Western Ghouta, which left many terrorists dead or wounded," the army added.

"In the meantime, the army's artillery units shelled heavily the militant groups' military sites near Darayya city in Western Ghouta and the towns of Otaya, Ein Tarma, Hazarma and al-Shifouniyah in Eastern countryside of Damascus city, claiming the lives of many militant and destroying their military grid," the army went on to say.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941017000370

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Obama expected to name new commander for Mideast

7 January 2016

U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to put a special operations officer in charge of U.S. Central Command, the headquarters that oversees U.S. military operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as well as the war in Afghanistan, a senior defense official said on Wednesday.

The president’s choice is Army Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, to succeed Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, the official said. The official was not authorized to reveal the choice and so spoke on condition of anonymity.

The unusual choice of a special operations commander to head Central Command aligns with Obama’s heavy reliance on special operations forces in the intensifying war against ISIS, as well as the prominent role that the commandos are playing in Afghanistan a year after the U.S. combat role there officially came to an end.

Votel, 57, is a former commander of the 75th Ranger Regiment and a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He headed the secretive Joint Special Operations Command before becoming commander of Special Operations Command in 2014.

Austin, 62, is expected to retire. He took command of Central Command in March 2013 after serving as vice chief of staff of the Army.

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2016/01/07/Obama-expected-to-name-new-commander-for-Mideast.html

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Up to 26 dead as Syria regime, rebels trade fire

7 January 2016

Government and rebel bombardment killed up to 26 civilians and wounded dozens in the Syrian capital and a nearby opposition bastion on Wednesday, state media and a monitoring group said.

Mortar rounds fired from the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta region onto residential areas of Damascus left eight civilians dead and 23 wounded, the official SANA news agency reported.

The attack came after the regime fired rockets onto the Eastern Ghouta town of Douma earlier in the day, killing six civilians, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based monitor.

The monitor gave a slightly different toll of nine dead and 30 wounded, some critically, in the bombardment of Damascus.

Ten other civilians, including a child, were later killed in government air strikes on the town of Hazzeh and one in Mesraba, east of the capital, the Observatory said.

Eastern Ghouta, which is largely controlled by the Jaish al-Islam (Army of Islam) rebel group, is regularly bombarded by government forces.

More than 260,000 people have been killed since Syria’s conflict erupted in 2011 with protests against President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2016/01/07/Up-to-26-dead-as-Syria-regime-rebels-trade-fire.html

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Envoys back Saudi anti-terror fight

MOHAMMED RASOOLDEEN

7 January 2016

RIYADH: Several foreign ambassadors on Wednesday expressed their support for the Kingdom’s fight against terrorism.

These sentiments were expressed to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman at Yamamah Palace, where 21 ambassadors from Muslim, Arab and other countries presented their credentials.

Kenyan Ambassador Mohammed Abdi Mohamud, who spoke on behalf of the new ambassadors, said that Saudi Arabia was a prosperous and peaceful country under the leadership of King Salman.

Full report at: http://www.arabnews.com/featured/news/861526

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South Asia

Pakistan-Bangladesh 'spy' row: Expelled diplomat leaves for Dhaka

January 07, 2016

ISLAMABAD: Senior Bangladeshi diplomat Moushumi Rahman who was posted at the Bangladesh High Commission in Islamabad left the country Thursday morning after being declared persona non grata by the Pakistani government.

Rahman, who was a political counsellor and head of chancery in Islamabad left for Dhaka on Turkish Airlines flight TG711 via Istanbul, airport sources confirmed.

The Bangladesh foreign secretary did not offer any reason for Pakistan's decision to expel Moushumi Rahman.

Diplomatic sources in Islamabad told Dawn.com that Rahman indulged in 'anti-state activities in Pakistan' and that concerned security agencies continued to monitor her.

This is the first time that Pakistan has expelled a Bangladeshi diplomat.

Full report at: http://www.dawn.com/news/1231165/pakistan-bangladesh-spy-row-expelled-diplomat-leaves-for-dhaka

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Daesh judge among 18 killed in clash with Taliban in Nangarhar

Jan 07 2016

18 militants belonging to Daesh group have been killed and a number of others wounded in a clash with Taliban in eastern Nangarhar province

Spokesperson for the police headquarters of Nangarhar told Khaama Press that the clash erupted in Farm-e-Chahar area of Bati Kot District on Wednesday.

According to Colonel Hazrat Hussain Mashriqiwal, those killed include the group’s so-called military commander and judge for Bati Kot District.

Col. Mashriqiwal identified the judge as Mawlawi Atiullah.

He said Taliban also lost one fighter in the same clash.

“Before police arrived they made their way out of the area leaving eight dead bodies behind,’ Col. Mashriqiwal added.

A photo of the dead bodies provided by Col. Mashriqiwal shows at least of them has been severely burnet.

However, it is unknown whether the person was burnt alive or after he died.

The clash erupts a day after they killed 31 of each other’s fighters in two clashes in Bati Kot and Achin districts.

Nangarhar has turned into a hotspot of fanatics of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) which also goes by its Arabic name Daesh. The group is trying to establish a regional command in Nangarhar.

http://www.khaama.com/daesh-judge-among-18-killed-in-clash-with-taliban-in-nangarhar-4473

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Special force formed to counter ISIS in Afghanistan

Jan 07 2016

Amid growing concerns regarding the expansion of terrorist activities by the loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defense of Afghanistan has announced that a new special force has been formed to counter the insurgency and threats posed by the terror group.

The acting Afghan Defense Minister, Masoom Stanikzai, has said the special force will mainly focus to counter the insurgency activities of ISIS loyalists in eastern parts of the country.

The loyalists of the terror group have recently increased their insurgency activities and anti-government propaganda besides terrorizing the residents of eastern parts of the country as they aim to establish a regional base in eastern Nangarhar province.

Full report at: http://www.khaama.com/special-force-formed-to-counter-isis-in-afghanistan-1936

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Tajik, Uzbek, Turkmen inducted into Taliban Leadership Council

Jan 07 2016

Leadership council of Taliban, which is also known as Quetta Shura, was reportedly comprised of Pashtoons only but the group has now included members of Tajik, Uzbek and Turkmen tribes into it.

According to Pakistan’s The Express Tribune news agency, a news source of Taliban, the new leader of Taliban Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour has almost completed re-organisation of the Taliban movement after the death of Mullah Mohammad Omar and at least three non-Pashtoons have been inducted into the leadership council to quash the impression that the Taliban only represent ethnic Pashtoons.

The report which is published today states that Maulvi Abdul Rehman, an ethnic Uzbek, and Sheikh Sharif, an ethnic Tajik, have been inducted into the council. A Turkmen has also been given a berth in the new council, it adds.

Full report at: http://www.khaama.com/taliban-bring-tajik-uzbek-turkmen-into-leadership-council-4471

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Afghan forces to receive over 100 M1151 Humvees for 2016 fighting season

Jan 07 2016

The Afghan national security forces will receive over one hundred M1151 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs) as part of efforts by the NATO-led Resolute Support mission to equip the Afghan forces for 2016 fighting season.

According to the alliance, the first batch of over 100 HMMWVs has already arrived to Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan’s Security Assistance Office.

The vehicles will be delivered to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces. In total, more than 100 will be arriving in the next few weeks, the alliance said in an online statement.

The vehicles are part of the Resolute Support Mission’s effort to equip Afghan National Army units for Fighting Season 2016.

Full report at: http://www.khaama.com/afghan-forces-to-receive-over-100-m1151-humvees-for-2016-fighting-season-1935

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President Ghani, CEO Abdullah praise Afghan National Cricket Team for historic win

By ZABIHULLAH MOOSAKHAIL

Jan 07 2016

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah have praised Afghanistan National Cricket Team for the historic win over Zimbabwe in One Day International (ODI) series.

“What a fab win & what an amazing batting by G. Naib! Thoroughly enjoyed it. Would also like to congratulate the fans. Keep it up our heroes!” states a post on the official twitter account of the President.

CEO Abdullah hailed Gulbadin Naib’s performance as a heroic effort to win the final for Afghanistan last night.

Full report at: http://www.khaama.com/president-ghani-ceo-abdullah-praise-afghan-national-cricket-team-for-historic-victory-4467

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Egypt won't support Pak interference in Bangladesh affairs

January 07, 2016

Egypt will not support any foreign intervention, including the one made by Pakistan, in Bangladesh's internal affairs, particularly in war criminals' trials, said Egyptian Ambassador in Dhaka Mahmoud Ezzat yesterday.

If Pakistan has “any ambition” to intervene, Egypt will obviously be the first country to say “no”, Ambassador Ezzat, also the dean of diplomatic corps, said in response to a question at a tea party hosted for diplomatic correspondents at Egyptian embassy in the capital.

The Supreme Court yesterday upheld the death sentence of war criminal and Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami. Pakistan has been criticising the ongoing trials of war criminals and executions of war crimes convicts who collaborated with Pakistan during the Liberation War.

Full report at: http://www.thedailystar.net/city/egypt-wont-support-pak-interference-bangladesh-affairs-198322

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Bangladesh SC upholds war crimes accused Jamaat-e-Islam leader Motiur Nizami's death sentence

January 6, 2016

Bangladesh's apex court on Wednesday upheld the death sentence of Jamaat-e-Islam's leader Motiur Rahman Nizami. Nizami, a former minister, had been found guilty of murder, rape and masterminding the murders of top intellectuals during the 1971 Liberation War of Bangladesh.

Nizami, the leader of the largest Islamist party in Bangladesh, had been sentenced by the International Crimes Tribunal — a special court set up by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government — in 2014.

"The court upheld the death sentence in three out of four charges. We're very happy. Most importantly, the death penalty was upheld for the killings of the intellectuals," prosecutor Tureen Afroz told AFP.

Nizami, who was a minister from 2001 to 2006, is said to be an "internationally acclaimed Islamic scholar" by Jamaat in a statement on its website, reports AFP.

Full report at: http://www.ibtimes.co.in/bangladesh-sc-upholds-war-crimes-accused-jamaat-e-islam-leader-motiur-nizamis-death-sentence-662225

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Southeast Asia

Why so few Indonesians are joining Islamic State

JANUARY 6, 2016

Security forces in Indonesia, the country with the largest Muslim population in the world, launched a manhunt for the militant leader Santoso who has publicly pledged loyalty to Islamic State.

In recent days, there have been reports that Islamic State is trying to establish a “distant caliphate” in the Southeast Asian island nation.

According to a report published by The Atlantic, however, the flurry of activity doesn’t tell the whole story about Islamic State’s inroads in Indonesia. Consider, for example, that while the number of foreign fighters travelling to Syria and Iraq to join IS and other violent extremist groups is estimated to have more than doubled between June 2014 and December 2015, relatively few are coming from Indonesia – at least for now.

The question is: Why?

According to The Atlantic, whatever the extent of Islamic State’s support in Indonesia, that support has not translated into Indonesians heeding the call of jihad and heading to the Middle East in large numbers.

Full report at: http://neurope.eu/article/why-so-few-indonesians-are-joining-islamic-state/

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Indonesia turns to China as ethnic Uighurs join would-be jihadis

7 Jan 2016

JAKARTA - Indonesian authorities are working with their counterparts in China to stem a flow of ethnic Uighur militants seeking to join Islamist jihadists in the world's most populous Muslim country, Indonesia's counter-terrorism chief said.

Saud Usman Nasution's comments come amid mounting concern in Indonesia about possible attacks by sympathisers of the Islamic State group and follows the arrest of 13 men across the island of Java, including a Muslim Uighur with a suicide-bomb vest.

The appearance among Indonesian militant networks of Uighurs, who come from the Xinjiang region in far-western China, is likely to add to Beijing's concerns that exiles will return to their homeland as experienced and trained jihadists.

China says Islamist militants and separatists operate in energy-rich Xinjiang on the borders of central Asia, where violence has killed hundreds in recent years.

Full report at: http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/asean/818752/indonesia-turns-to-china-as-ethnic-uighurs-join-would-be-jihadis

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Review governance in Islamic institutions, Putrajaya told after Baitulmal college graft claims

BY RAM ANAND

January 6, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 6 ― Poor governance in Islamic institutions results from years of protection from public scrutiny, opposition lawmakers said today amid allegations of corruption against Islamic college Baitulmal Professional Institute (IPB).

The graft accusations against the college by IPB CEO Dr Syed Omar Syed Aqil, who claimed he was suspended for whistleblowing, come amid the controversy surrounding Islamic charity Yayasan Pembangunan Ekonomi Islam Malaysia (Yapeim) and questions of how the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) uses its funds. 

"There is an urgent need for the government to review the standards of governance in these institutions," PKR secretary-general Rafizi Ramli told Malay Mail Online.

Full report at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/review-governance-in-islamic-institutions-putrajaya-told-after-baitulmal-co

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Why jobs, education only for Syrian refugees? Rights groups ask Putrajaya

BY BOO SU-LYN

January 7, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 7 ― Local human rights groups are questioning Putrajaya's plans for the 3,000 Syrian refugees headed to Malaysia, noting that while this group will get shelter, employment opportunities and even education, over 150,000 others from different nationalities continue to struggle here without legal protection.

Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) executive director Sumitra Visvanathan, who has 16 years of experience with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), said Malaysia should offer the same deal to refugees already residing here.

“If Malaysia only accords legal protection to these 3,000, then it would beg the question, why this group and not others?” Sumitra told Malay Mail Online.

Full report at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/why-jobs-education-only-for-syrian-refugees-rights-groups-ask-putrajaya

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Nur Jazlan: Malaysia-bound Syrians are ‘migrants’, not refugees

BY BOO SU-LYN

January 7, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 7 ― The 3,000 Syrians coming to Malaysia to flee civil war in their country are “migrants” and not refugees, Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said after Putrajaya earned criticism for planning to offer them jobs and education while thousands of refugees here are struggling with legal issues.

Explaining this, the deputy home minister pointed out that the eight Syrians who arrived here last month ― the first batch of the 3,000 ― all have passports and even relatives working here.

He added that it was not Putrajaya’s responsibility to provide shelter and the right to work for the estimated 150,000 refugees currently residing in Malaysia.

“The refugees who are already here are stateless since they have no identification or passports.

“They are only recognised by the UNHCR (United Nations Refugee Agency) who will arrange for them to be placed in a third country and not to stay here. So it’s not our responsibility,” Jazlan told Malay Mail Online yesterday, when asked if Putrajaya will provide other refugees in Malaysia jobs and education, just like what the government is planning to do for the 3,000 Syrians.

Full report at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/malaysia-bound-syrians-are-migrants-not-refugees-nur-jazlan-says

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Negri Sembilan allows vape sale but bans Muslims from using it

January 6, 2016

SEREMBAN, Jan 6 — The Negri Sembilan government today decided to allow the sale of electronic cigarette or vape products in the state, taking into account the interests of non-Muslim consumers.

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan said, however, the state government had agreed to ban the use of vape among Muslims, in adherence with the decision of the National Fatwa Council for Islamic Religious Affairs.

“We live in a multiracial and multi-religious country, we must be fair to all, the fatwa is a guide for Muslims. So unless the Federal Government decides that vape cannot be sold openly, no ban will be implemented by the state.

“We do not want a polemic that is not really because of vape, as the act of vaping and selling of its products are two different issues,” he told reporters after chairing the state executive council meeting at Wisma Negeri here today.

He said that even if vape was decreed unlawful because it causes more harm than good, but eventually it’s up to the individuals themselves, whether to continue vaping or stop the habit.

“I hope the enforcement bodies do not arrest people (Muslims) who vape in public because the ruling has not yet been enacted. Also those vaping cannot do so in non-smoking areas,” he said. — Bernama

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/negri-sembilan-allows-vape-sale-but-bans-muslims-from-using-it

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Pakistan

Two ISIS members arrested in Lahore

January 06, 2016

LAHORE: Police on late Tuesday night arrested two members of the militant Islamic State (IS) from Awan Town locality of the city.

Accused Talha and information technology expert Amjad Rizwan were held in a raid conducted on their house on a lead provided by IS militants, Dr Usman Malik and Ahsan, Siddiq, who were already in custody.

Banned literature, laptops and numerous DVDs were also recovered from their possession.

Meanwhile, 17 suspects were arrested by the police a search operation in Nadrabad, Bhatta Chowk, Bedian Road and surrounding areas for incomplete identification documents and for violation of Rental Act.

http://nation.com.pk/lahore/06-Jan-2016/two-isis-members-arrested-in-lahore

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5 terrorists killed in Rao-led shootout

January 07, 2016

KARACHI - Police claimed to have shot dead five militants, while four operatives of a banned outfit were apprehended here on Wednesday.

As many as five suspected militants were killed during an encounter in Sohrab Goth area.

Being tipped off, extra contingent of District Malir police led by District Malir SSP Rao Anwar rushed to carry out the raid.

The police team cordoned off the suspects’ hideout at Qayyumabad area in Sohrab Goth.

The militants offered resistance and during exchange of fire, five militants sustained bullet wounds and died on the way to hospital.

This was the first major operation carried out in the District Malir since Rao Anwar reappointed as District Malir SSP.

Full report at: http://nation.com.pk/national/07-Jan-2016/5-terrorists-killed-in-rao-led-shootout

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Muttahida mayoral candidate gets bail in two cases

ISHAQ TANOLI | TAHIR SIDDIQUI

January 07, 2016

KARACHI: While a magistrate issued another non-bailable arrest warrant against the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s mayoral nominee, Waseem Akhtar, on Wednesday, the Sindh High Court gave him a respite when it granted him pre-arrest bail in two other cases pertaining to supporting party chief Altaf Hussain’s telephonic speech against the army.

A two-judge bench headed by Justice Sadiq Hussain Bhatti gave bail to the MQM leader, who won a union com­m­ittee chairman seat in Karachi’s East district, in the two cases in the sum of Rs50,000 each till Jan 18.

Earlier, Mr Akhtar had filed a constitutional petition seeking cancellation of the cases. The petition is still pending disposal.

Full report at: http://www.dawn.com/news/1231231/muttahida-mayoral-candidate-gets-bail-in-two-cases

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Record of another Zardari case missing

SYED IRFAN RAZA

January 07, 2016

ISLAMABAD: The original record in the assets reference against former president and PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, which has been dragging on for around 15 years now, has gone missing from the custody of an accountability court.

This is not the first time that the original records of a case against Mr Zardari have gone missing. The original case record in two other references — where he was eventually acquitted — had also gone missing.

On Wednesday, the National Accountability Bureau submitted an affidavit before the Rawalpindi Acco­untability Court, saying that the bureau had provided the original case record to the court some 15 years ago, which had not been returned to NAB to date.

The court could not record the statements of witnesses due to the non-availability of the case record and adjourned the hearing until Thursday (today) and Accountability Court judge Khalid Mehmood Ranjha summoned a complete record of the case for the next hearing.

Full report at: http://www.dawn.com/news/1231316/record-of-another-zardari-case-missing

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Fazl joins opp to target govt over CPEC route issue

January 07, 2016

Abrar Saeed

ISLAMABAD - Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Islam (Fazl) is joining opposition parties and openly criticising the government for not addressing the concerns of the leadership from the smaller provinces over the western corridor and other related matters.

Despite being in coalition with Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) in the federal government, JUI-F chief Moulana Fazlur Rehman has come up with a very strong-worded criticism on the government for deviating from the pledges they had made with them in the all parties conference (APC) organised on the issue.

Sources in the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) commenting on the position taken by JUI-F, a junior coalition partner with them, said that when Moulana Fazlur Rehman met the Prime Minister he said nothing against the project but in public he took altogether a different position.

Full report at: http://nation.com.pk/national/07-Jan-2016/fazl-joins-opp-to-target-govt-over-cpec-route-issue

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Saudi foreign minister due today

January 07, 2016

ISLAMABAD - Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Bin Ahmed al-Jubeir is due today to discuss bilateral relations with Pakistan as well as regional and internal developments.

He was scheduled to visit Pakistan on 3-4 Jan 2016 but the visit was postponed on the request of Saudi govt because of his pressing engagements at home after the Kingdom executed 47 militants, including a Shiite scholar which evoked serious public reaction in Iran.

His execution led to attacks on Saudi foreign mission in Iran.

Iran government has arrested dozens of people allegedly involved in the attacks.

During his visit, al-Jubeir will meet PM Nawaz Sharif and Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and other senior government functionaries.

http://nation.com.pk/national/07-Jan-2016/saudi-foreign-minister-due-today

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BD upholds death sentence for top JI leader

January 07, 2016

DHAKA - Bangladesh's top court on Wednesday upheld the death sentence on the leader of the largest Islamic party for alleged crimes during the 1971 war, paving the way for his execution within months.

The Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by Motiur Rahman Nizami, head of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, who was convicted of alleged murder, rape and orchestrating the killing of top intellectuals.

"The court upheld the death sentence in three out of four charges. We're very happy," prosecutor Tureen Afroz told reporters. "Most importantly, the death penalty was upheld for the killings of the intellectuals." Nizami, 72, Jamaat's leader since 2000 and a minister in a former Islamist-allied government of 2001-2006, faces the gallows within months unless his case is reviewed by the same court or he is granted clemency by the president.

Full report at: http://nation.com.pk/international/07-Jan-2016/bd-upholds-death-sentence-for-top-ji-leader

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Italy FM says world paying price of ‘war on terror’

January 07, 2016

ROME : Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni says the world is still paying the price of a misguided ‘war on terror’ launched by the United States in reaction to the 9/11 2001 attacks on its soil.

In a defence of Italy’s decision not to actively participate in the current bombing campaign against the so-called Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, Gentiloni argued Wednesday that defeating terrorism would take more than a generation to achieve and that military action could only play a limited role.

“We are still paying, after 15 years, the consequences of what was supposed to be a lightning war to eliminate the terrorist threat,” the minister wrote in a letter to Corriere della Sera.

Full report at: http://nation.com.pk/international/07-Jan-2016/italy-fm-says-world-paying-price-of-war-on-terror

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Europe

UK has sold $8bn of arms to Saudi Arabia in five years

 07 January 2016

The UK has sold $8.2 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia since David Cameron became Prime Minister, despite widespread human right concerns, a new report has shown reports the Middle East Eye.

Since May 2010, Cameron's governments have overseen the sale of Hawk fighter jets and bulk sales of machine guns, bombs and tear gas, according to research released on Wednesday by the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) .

The report says that the UK has sold arms to 24 of the 27 states that it considers to be “countries of humanitarian concern”.

According to reports in The Daily Telgraph, published in May, Saudi Arabia has access to twice as many British-made warplanes in its bombing campaign in Yemen than the entire Royal Air Force.

British-made Tornado GR4 ground attack fighters and Eurofighter Typhoons are playing a central role in the Royal Saudi Air Force’s bombing campaign in Yemen.

While the Saudi's boast of having 100 battle-worthy planes for the operation, around 50 percent of which are believed to have been manufactured in the UK, the UK could only muster 36 Tornado GR4 bombers if it were to conduct a similar air campaign, military experts told The Telegraph.

http://www.worldbulletin.net/europe/168168/uk-has-sold-8bn-of-arms-to-saudi-arabia-in-five-years

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Germany to send more troops to Mali, Iraq

06 January 2016

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet decided Wednesday to deploy an additional 550 troops to missions against extremist fighters in Mali and Iraq.

They will be deployed in Mali, to relieve French forces in their fight against extremists, and in northern Iraq, to train Kurdish troops also battling ISIL.

The boost to the two missions must be approved by parliament, which is seen likely in coming weeks given the strong majority of Merkel's coalition government.

Some 500 of the additional troops will be sent to the UN mission in Mali, MINUSMA, to monitor a peace deal between the government and northern rebels in the west African country.

Full report at: http://www.worldbulletin.net/europe/168150/germany-to-send-more-troops-to-mali-iraq

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More than half of Britons want to leave EU

07 January 2016

Britain shows the highest level of support for leaving the European Union, according to a survey of some countries in the 28-member bloc.

More than half (54 percent) of the respondents would vote to leave the EU once those who have not yet made up their minds (21 percent) are discounted, ORB International found.

Although Britain was the only country with a majority wanting to leave the bloc, the survey found significant shifts in other countries, including Italy where 42% percent of people want to leave compared with a quarter last year.

Full report at: http://www.worldbulletin.net/europe/168170/more-than-half-of-britons-want-to-leave-eu

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S.Arabia left out of UK's death penalty strategy

07 January 2016

The UK government has left Saudi Arabia off its list of thirty countries to be challenged by diplomats over their continued use of the death penalty - despite executing over 90 people a year, The Independent reported.

Saudi Arabia is the only major death penalty state to be neglected by a 20-page Foreign Office document setting out the UK's five-year strategy to reduce the use of executions around the world.

Among the countries given a greater priority were Barbados Singapore and Jordan that between them passed less than ten death sentences in 2014.

Full report at: http://www.worldbulletin.net/europe/168164/uk-has-sold-8bn-of-arms-to-saudi-arabia-in-five-years

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North America

US citizen who 'trained with Al Qaeda in Pakistan' charged in Afghan US base bomb attack

January 07, 2016

NEW YORK: A United States (US) citizen already accused of going to Pakistan to train with Al Qaeda was charged Wednesday with helping build explosives for a 2009 suicide attack on an American military base in Afghanistan.

A revised indictment charges Muhanad Mahmoud Al Farekh with conspiracy to murder US nationals, conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction and other crimes.

He is to appear Thursday in federal court in Brooklyn. There was no immediate comment by his lawyer.

The charges stem from an attack on Jan 19, 2009, involving two vehicles driven by unidentified suicide bombers that were rigged with explosives, the new indictment says. Only one of the bombs detonated.

Full report at: http://www.dawn.com/news/1231372/us-citizen-who-trained-with-al-qaeda-in-pakistan-charged-in-afghan-us-base-bomb-attack

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US: Saudi-Iran row may effect anti-ISIL effort

06 January 2016

Tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran has not had any effect on overall anti-ISIL campaign, but could, a top U.S. envoy said Tuesday.

"So far we have not seen any impact on the overall ISIL campaign," said Brett McGurk, U.S. presidential envoy for the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIL.

"Obviously, it’s something that we’re concerned about, and that’s why the secretary has spent so much time on it," he said, referring to Secretary of State John Kerry.

He also expressed concerns that polarization in the region could enable extremists on both sides to take advantage of the situation, which might play "into the hands of groups like ISIL".

A State Department spokesman said Kerry will remain in close communication with regional leaders in the Middle East after having spoken to Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.

Full report at: http://www.worldbulletin.net/america-canada/168125/transcanada-to-file-15b-claim-over-keystone-xl

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US sees Assad outlasting Obama

06 January 2016

The Obama administration's best-case scenario for political transition in Syria does not foresee Bashar Assad stepping down as the country's leader before March 2017, outlasting Obama's presidency by at least two months, according to a document obtained by The Associated Press. 

An internal timeline prepared for U.S. officials dealing with the Syria crisis sets an unspecified date in March 2017 for Assad to "relinquish" his position as president and for his "inner circle" to depart. That would be more than five years after Obama first called for Assad to leave.

The timeline is based on a broad UN-endorsed plan that was initially laid out at an international conference in Vienna in November. Syria, according to that strategy, would hold elections for a new president and parliament in August 2017 -- some 19 months from now. In the interim, Syria would be run by a transitional governing body.

If the ongoing Saudi-Iranian tensions can be overcome, if peace talks between the Syrian government and opposition go ahead later this month as planned and if they are successful, the biggest challenge to the U.S. timeline is still that no one else has yet agreed to its specifics, particularly those related to Assad’s departure. The timeline offers no explanation for exactly how Assad would leave or what his post-presidential future might hold.

Russia and Iran, Assad's chief backers, have resisted all efforts by outside powers to determine Syria's future leadership, insisting that is a decision for the Syrian people. Russia and Iran may object to the U.S. timeline's call for Assad to leave six months before elections would be held.

Full report at: http://www.worldbulletin.net/america-canada/168144/transcanada-to-file-15b-claim-over-keystone-xl

 

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