New Age Islam
Wed Oct 21 2020, 12:20 PM

Islamic World News ( 29 Sept 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Pakistan's Top Cleric, Mufti Muneeb-Ur-Rehman, Calls for Killing of Ahmadis

















Speaking at a "Khatme Nabuwat" rally in Lalyan village near Chenab Nagar, Mufti Rehman, Pakistan's top cleric calls on govt. to execute Ahmadis

 

ISIS Soldiers 'Beheaded' and 'Cooked' By Anti-Islamic State Machete-Wielding Woman Jihadi Hunter in Iraq

Desperate Leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, BEGS Fighters Not To Ditch Failing Terror Network

Obama: 'There’s No Religious Rationale' For Jihad Terror

BRICS Incomplete Without Islamic Country: Goa University V-C 

 

Pakistan

Pakistan's Top Cleric, Mufti Muneeb-Ur-Rehman, Calls for Killing of Ahmadis

We Will Defend Our Homeland against Any Aggression: PM Nawaz

Pakistan's chief justice to skip global conference in India

Pakistan Army the most battle hardened force in the world: COAS

Fazl compares Fata situation with Kashmir

Funeral of fallen Pakistan Army soldier offered in Faisalabad

Pakistan captures one Indian soldier at LoC, several others killed

Pakistani cabinet reviews LoC situation

Post surgical strikes, Sharif rakes J&K; calls it unfinished agenda of partition

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Arab World

ISIS Soldiers 'Beheaded' and 'Cooked' By Anti-Islamic State Machete-Wielding Woman Jihadi Hunter in Iraq

Desperate Leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, BEGS Fighters Not To Ditch Failing Terror Network

Fighting for the Soul of Islam: A Battle of the Paymasters

Majority of Daesh Militants to Leave Syria for Libya by End of 2016

18 ISIS leaders recently killed ahead of expected Mosul operation, US military says

Gov't Forces Continue to Beat Terrorists Back From More Positions in Northern Aleppo

Senior Commander of Turkey-Backed FSA Terrorists Killed by Rivals in Aleppo

ISIL Centres Receive Sever Blow in Syrian Military Forces' Offensives

Senior Terrorist Commander Killed in Clashes with Syrian Army

Scores of Terrorists Killed, Wounded in Failed Attacks on Gov't Positions in Hama

Islamic State Struggling to Reinforce Mosul Ahead of Iraqi Offensive

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North America

Obama: 'There’s No Religious Rationale' For Jihad Terror

Islamic Terrorists Blast Trump for Israel Support

Why Obama refuses to say 'radical Islamic terrorism'

What Muslims Fighting ISIS in the Middle East Say About Trump

US urges India, Pakistan to exercise restraint

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India

BRICS Incomplete Without Islamic Country: Goa University V-C

Meet the Muslim Family Offering ‘Seva’ Every Navratri for 15 Years In Pune

Afghanistan Supports India on Surgical Strike and Ditches “Muslim Brother” Pakistan

A day after surgical strikes, Pak army opens fire on Indian posts along LoC

India turns heat on Pakistan to release jawan taken captive

Pakistan to inform UNSC over India’s ‘surgical strikes’

Muslims back action against Pakistan at government-hosted Panchayat

Jains excels while Muslims lag Behind in Higher Education

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South Asia

Bangladeshi Leader's Son Snatched From Home As State Crackdown on Jamaat-e-Islami Gathers Pace

US Drone Strike Killed 15 Civilians in East of Afghanistan: UNAMA

Taliban Bomb Leave 10 Afghan Civilians Dead in Badghis Province

Pakistan welcomes peace deal between Afghan govt, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar

US says $3 billion a year in Afghan aid expected at Brussels conference

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Europe

The Awe-Inspiring Untold Story Of The First Muslim To Win A VC Who Prevented A German Break-Through At Ypres By Repelling Wave After Wave Of Enemy Soldiers

Socialists and Democrats Call On EU to Connect With Muslim Communities

FBI Director Comey Said ISIS Fighters Welcome Back from Syria in 2014, Now Warns of 'Terrorist Diaspora'

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Southeast Asia

Court Rules Islamic Body Has No Rights over Non-Muslims

Malaysia's stock exchange halts trade after bomb threat

Will Duterte's offensive against Islamist militants in the Philippines backfire?

Indonesia, Philippines monitoring return of Indonesians from Haj

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Africa

Algerian Troops Kill Five Takfiri Militants: DM

Thousands of Nigerian children doomed by Boko Haram to starve to death

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Mideast

Probe Launched into Imam Who Closed down Mosque in Turkey’s Black Sea To Take Holiday

Turkey proposes using Arabs in SDF and FSA for Raqqa and Manbij

Denmark ‘impressed’ by Turkey’s anti-coup stance

Erdoğan’s remarks on treaty that formed modern Turkey irk opposition

Turkey ready to cooperate with Russia on Syrian cease-fire, aid: Turkish FM

Turkey says will complete Syria border wall within 5 months

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/pakistan-s-top-cleric,-mufti-muneeb-ur-rehman,-calls-for-killing-of-ahmadis/d/108723

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Pakistan's Top Cleric, Mufti Muneeb-Ur-Rehman, Calls for Killing Of Ahmadis

September 28, 2016

Chenab Nagar: Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman, a top cleric on the federal government's payroll, has called for the execution of Ahmadis who, he claims, do not believe that the prophethood had ended with the Prophet Muhammad.

Mufti Rehman heads the Ruet-e Hilal Committee of Pakistan which is responsible for managing an armature-class telescope used in moon-sighting for certain Muslim festivals.

Speaking at a "Khatme Nabuwat" rally in Lalyan village near Chenab Nagar, Mufti Rehman referenced the Pakistani constitution in claiming that Ahmadis deny the concept of Khatme Nabuwat (Finality of Prophethood) and are, therefore, outside the fold of Islam.

The cleric further asserted, although erroneously, that the punishment for not accepting the constitution is execution. "And, therefore," he said, "those who deny the finality of the Prophet Muhammad should also be executed."

Mufti Rehman promoted a boycott of the Ahmadiyya products and advised the youths at this anti-Ahmadiyya rally to connect with Islamic seminaries (madrassahs) "in order to save themselves" from the Ahmadi propaganda.

Mufti Rehman paid tribute to several cleric of the past who had instigated the 1974 anti-Ahmadiyya riots in Pakistan and they were instrumental in enacting anti-Ahmadiyya amendment in the Pakistani Constitution.

Source: timesofahmad.blogspot.in/2016/09/pakistans-top-cleric-calls-on-govt-to.html

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ISIS Soldiers 'Beheaded' and 'Cooked' By Anti-Islamic State Machete-Wielding Woman Jihadi Hunter in Iraq

09/29/16

A widow twice over in Iraq whose husbands were killed by the Islamic State group is seeking revenge against the militant group's Jihadis, becoming one of its most ardent, if not brutal, foes in the country, according to a new report. Wahida Mohamed, also known as Wehda al-Jumaili whose nickname is Umm Hannadi, said she was part of the militia that helped drive ISIS forces from her hometown last week.

Part of how Mohamed made a name for herself is mirroring the brutality and torturous methods for which ISIS first gained notoriety, CNN reported. She has taken it upon herself to create her own militia group targeting ISIS to avenge the deaths of her first two husbands, her father and three brothers, who she says were killed in combat fighting the terror organization. Because of that, she said, she chooses to fight fire with fire.

"I fought them, I beheaded them, I cooked their heads, I burned their bodies," she told CNN reporter Ben Wedeman in Iraq of ISIS fighters. As proof, she posts the grisly images to her Facebook page, the Daily Star reported.

Her weapon of choice? A machete.

Mohamed's approach has made her a prime target for ISIS militants, she said. "Six times they tried to assassinate me," she said to CNN. "I have shrapnel in my head, legs, my ribs were broken, but all that didn’t stop me from fighting."

However, ISIS was once again unsuccessful in killing has, as shown Sept. 22 when Iraq's military pushed ISIS out of the strategic town of Shirqat, which is situated near a main thoroughfare to Baghdad, according to the Wall Street Journal, which used a photo of Mohamed to accompany its story online. The Iraq army commander who oversaw the military operation made sure to credit her and her militia for their role in the operation.

“She was as competent as any army officer was in the way she led her fighters,” Gen. Jumma Ennad said.

It is her pride as an Iraqi that motivates her to keep fighting.

"If we lose Iraq again, we'll lose it forever," she said.

Source: ibtimes.com/isis-soldiers-beheaded-cooked-anti-islamic-state-machete-wielding-woman-jihadi-hunter-2424220

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Desperate Leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, BEGS Fighters Not To Ditch Failing Terror Network

Thu, Sep 29, 2016

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi made the last-ditch plea to fanatics as he warns them that everyone is against them and they won’t get through this difficult time without them.

It has been reported that the terror network no longer holds any cities in Iraq and fighters have been told to concentrate their efforts in Syria.

In the video, a desperate al-Baghdadi says: “Our Muslim community is passing through a difficult time in its journey.

“This period has seen a massive change to its journey going all the way back through the history of the Caliphate.

“The breaking of the Sykes/Picko borders has allowed jihadists to begin appearing across the Islamic world and inside their own countries.

“Because of this everyone will be, and is, against us.

“The Mujaheddin are still in the Caliphate today, and those that are connected to it are still fighting for the Muslim Revolution.”

This comes as US troops are encircling a jihadi stronghold in Syria claimed by ISIS to be in old Islamic prophecy as the site of the final battle – triggering the apocalypse.

According to the extremists' warped ideology, Dabiq – a tiny town in northern Syria – will see a “major apocalyptic showdown with the armies of the infidel” that will result in the collapse of civilisation.

Turkish troops backed by America commandos are understood to be just three miles from the town.

One of the founders of ISIS, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, is quoted in the grotesque group’s propaganda magazine as saying: “The spark has been lit here in Iraq, and its heat will continue to intensify – by Allah’s permission – until it burns the crusader armies in Dabiq.”

In recent days Turkish artillery fire has hit the town, in the northern countryside of Aleppo.

Amaq – the bloodthirsty group’s own ‘news agency’ – claimed a man died in the strike last Friday.

ISIS supporters believe the final battle could be coming sooner rather than later.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon – who has just returned from Iraq – said there was “no doubt” that ISIS is now “facing defeat”.

They have lost significant amounts of territory in both Iraq and Syria, including strategic points close to Dabiq that have allowed weapons and fighters to be smuggled in Turkey.

Source: express.co.uk/news/world/715928/ISIS-leader-begs-fighters-to-stay

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OBAMA: 'THERE’S NO RELIGIOUS RATIONALE' FOR JIHAD TERROR

September 30, 2016

Here we go again. This is like having to prove that water is wet or that Hillary Clinton is crooked, but since Barack Obama has once again affirmed that jihad terrorists are twisting and hijacking the Religion of Peace, once again it is necessary to prove that unfortunately that is not the case. Obama is right about one thing: this question matters for what strategy the U.S. and the free world should pursue against the jihadis. That’s what makes his denial and willful ignorance nothing short of catastrophic.

CNN reported Thursday that Obama said the question of whether or not to use the term “Islamic terrorist” was “sort of manufactured” issue. He claimed, yet again, that “terrorist organizations like al Qaeda or ISIL…have perverted and distorted and tried to claim the mantle of Islam for an excuse for basically barbarism and death.”

Warming to his point, Obama said: “These are people who’ve killed children, killed Muslims, take sex slaves, there’s no religious rationale that would justify in any way any of the things that they do.”

Is he right? Of course not.

“Killed children”: “It is reported on the authority of Sa’b b. Jaththama that the Prophet of Allah (may peace be upon him), when asked about the women and children of the polytheists being killed during the night raid, said: They are from them.” — Sahih Muslim 4321

“I was very happy to learn about the relevant hadith. I felt overjoyed when I heard it. [Mus’ab Ibn Juthama] told the Prophet Muhammad that while the Muslims would attack the polytheists at night, women and children would be harmed. The Prophet Muhammad answered: '[Their offspring] constitute part of them.' They are part of them, said our beloved Muhammad. This is not merely someone’s opinion. Thus, killing their women and children is permitted.” — Sudanese Muslim cleric Muhammad Al-Jazouli

“Killed Muslims”: “They but wish that you should reject faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing: but do not take friends from their ranks until they emigrate in the way of Allah. But if they turn renegade, seize them and kill them wherever you find them…” — Qur’an 4:89. To “emigrate in the way of Allah” would involve their becoming Muslim — but if they “turn renegade” after that, then they are to be killed.

Full report at: frontpagemag.com/fpm/264358/obama-theres-no-religious-rationale-jihad-terror-robert-spencer

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BRICS Incomplete Without Islamic Country: Goa University V-C

September 30, 2016

Panaji: Underlining the need for expansion of BRICS and opening up the doors for new members to the influential grouping, Vice-Chancellor of Goa University Prof Varun Sahni said that inter-civilisational format of the forum is incomplete without the participation of Islamic countries.

Saying that there is a need to involve at least one Islamic country in the grouping, Prof Sahni said that Indonesia being the largest democratic Islamic country should be allowed into the grouping mainly to counter China as like India, Indonesia is also wary about it.

Sahni was speaking at the lecture-cum-interactive session on ‘BRICS: Yesterday’s story or a sign of the coming times’ organised by Goa Study Group on Thursday. The lecture was chaired by Eduardo Faleiro, chairman of World Council for Peace – India and former Union minister of state for external affairs.

Calling for immediate transformation of governance structure, Sahni said BRICS in order to become genuinely revisionist force in global governance and world politics, will have to transform from preserved conglomeration of five large countries by adding new members to the grouping as it can then play a bigger role.

However, he said that the expansion is not possible before this Summit as the preparatory work should have been started 7-8 months ago.“The faster the pace of the decline of US power, the better it will be for China, Russia and Brazil. I don’t think it will benefit India much,” he informed.

BRICS consists of members from the continents of Asia, Africa and Latin America – the three continents which are different from the continents of the North America and Europe in terms of economic growth and political clout.

Addressing the gathering, Sahni said that only India is doing well among BRICS countries. Matters became worse for others in the recent years with Brazil registering two consecutive years of negative growth and Russia’s economy in total disarray with the collapse of oil prices and European sanctions. South Africa economy grew only by 1.5 per cent. China slowdown is reported to be the slowest in last 25 years.

“BRICS have enormous economic and political potential and, significantly, share a goal to change the existing world order at all levels, from instruments of the global financial and economic system to vital security issues,” he said.

As a multilateral organisation, the BRICS have had moments of success that have built on this economic strength to bring opportunity to both India and the remaining four members. One example of this is the BRICS Development Bank, which is currently headed by the former leader of India’s largest private bank. He further pointed out that India has never been and cannot be the member of the security community of the western democracy which includes countries of Atlantic alliance, Israel, Australia, Japan and South Korea. “We have not been the part of it and we were never considered because we are too large to be considered security community of US or of any other country. We are now large, strong and ever strengthening powers and we just cannot fit in any other security umbrella”, he added.

He also suggested that India has to actually bring cooperative security architecture in Asia pacific adding, “We are moving into a part of the world almost has no architecture institution at all. I argue that India has to put in capital and get American and Chinese on the table.”[

Source: goacom.com/brics-incomplete-without-islamic-country-gu-v-c/

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Pakistan

Pakistan's Top Cleric, Mufti Muneeb-Ur-Rehman, Calls for Killing Of Ahmadis

September 28, 2016

Chenab Nagar: Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman, a top cleric on the federal government's payroll, has called for the execution of Ahmadis who, he claims, do not believe that the prophethood had ended with the Prophet Muhammad.

Mufti Rehman heads the Ruet-e Hilal Committee of Pakistan which is responsible for managing an armature-class telescope used in moon-sighting for certain Muslim festivals.

Speaking at a "Khatme Nabuwat" rally in Lalyan village near Chenab Nagar, Mufti Rehman referenced the Pakistani constitution in claiming that Ahmadis deny the concept of Khatme Nabuwat (Finality of Prophethood) and are, therefore, outside the fold of Islam.

The cleric further asserted, although erroneously, that the punishment for not accepting the constitution is execution. "And, therefore," he said, "those who deny the finality of the Prophet Muhammad should also be executed."

Mufti Rehman promoted a boycott of the Ahmadiyya products and advised the youths at this anti-Ahmadiyya rally to connect with Islamic seminaries (madrassahs) "in order to save themselves" from the Ahmadi propaganda.

Mufti Rehman paid tribute to several cleric of the past who had instigated the 1974 anti-Ahmadiyya riots in Pakistan and they were instrumental in enacting anti-Ahmadiyya amendment in the Pakistani Constitution.

Source: timesofahmad.blogspot.in/2016/09/pakistans-top-cleric-calls-on-govt-to.html

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We will defend our homeland against any aggression: PM Nawaz

September 30 2016

ISLAMABAD: The prime minister stated during a Federal Cabinet meeting held on Friday that Pakistan will take all necessary steps to protect its people and territorial integrity in case of any aggression or violation of the Line of Control.

"We will defend our homeland against any aggression. The entire nation is standing shoulder to shoulder with our armed forces," the premier said.

"Kashmir is the unfinished agenda of Partition, which cannot be wished away. The Indian atrocities cannot suppress the passions of the Kashmiri people," Nawaz said.

The Federal Cabinet met under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and discussed the deteriorating situation in India-held Kashmir (IHK) and the ceasefire violations by India along the LoC.

Indian forces on Thursday morning opened fire across the LoC, leading to the death of two Pakistani soldiers. While India has claimed that what transpired yesterday was a "surgical strike," the cabinet today rejected the Indian claim of carrying out “surgical strikes." It was concluded that India has acted in complete violation of her commitments under bilateral arrangements as well as international law.

The prime minister said in order to achieve the government's goal of eliminating poverty and unemployment, peace was essential, but stated that in the face of hostility the country would have to be protected.

He also said Indian aggression poses a serious threat to regional peace and security, adding that the leadership and people of Pakistan are united in their resolve to counter any aggressive Indian designs.

The Cabinet praised the brave and valiant soldiers of the armed forces of Pakistan for their "befitting response" to the Indian aggression on Thursday.

The Cabinet deplored the allegations levelled against Pakistan by India regarding the Uri attack and stated that Indian statements and actions are a strategy to redirect attention away from Indian atrocities in IHK

During the meeting, the Cabinet called upon the international community to take notice of the massive human rights violations being perpetrated by the Indian occupation forces in IHK, expressing concern over the killings of over 110 people there.

Source: dawn.com/news/1287092/we-will-defend-our-homeland-against-any-aggression-pm-nawaz

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Pakistan's chief justice to skip global conference in India

September 30 2016

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali on Friday refused to attend a global conference scheduled to be held in India from Oct 21-23.

The CJP was invited by his Indian counterpart to attend the conference on a national initiative towards strengthening arbitration and enforcement in India. The Indian High Commissioner, Gautam Bambawale had personally extended the invitation to Justice Jamali. No official statement or reason behind the refusal was given.

The refusal to participate in the conference comes as tensions between the South Asian rivals mounted on Thursday after a small arms fire exchange between Pakistani and Indian troops along the LoC, leading to the death of two Pakistani soldiers.

An Indian soldier was captured by the Pakistan Army, while Indian soldiers have also been killed in the episode of firing across the Line of Control, it emerged Thursday.

Tensions between India and Pakistan have been simmering since an Indian crackdown on dissent in India-held Kashmir following the killing by Indian forces of Burhan Wani, a young separatist leader, in July.

Last week, India initiated a diplomatic drive to isolate Pakistan after blaming it for the Sept 18 attack on the Uri army camp in India-held Kashmir which killed 18 soldiers a claim which Pakistan has rejected.

Later, India pulled out of the Pakistan-hosted 19th Saarc summit scheduled to be held in November. Following suit, several members of Saarc, including Bangladesh and Bhutan, pulled out of the summit leading to its postponement.

Source: dawn.com/news/1287087/pakistans-chief-justice-to-skip-global-conference-in-india

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Pakistan Army the most battle hardened force in the world: COAS

September 30 2016

RAWALPINDI: The Pakistan Army is the most battle hardened army in the world and this is primarily due to the highest standard of physical fitness, professionalism and motivation of officers and men who face the challenges dauntlessly, said Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif.

He said this at the finals of the fourth COAS Young Soldiers Inter-Central Physical Agility and Combat Efficiency System (PACES) Championship at the FF Centre during a visit to Abbottabad on Thursday. He also awarded prizes to the winners.

A total of 406 contestants from 22 regimental centres participated in the championship. Sepoy Sheeraz Khan did 1,214 push-ups in 30 minutes to clinch the first position in this category.

Sepoy Jamshaid Khan stood first in the chin-ups competition by doing 68 chin-ups. Sapper Akmal Hussain did 2,134 sit-ups to secure the first position in the category. Sepoy Muhammad Asif was declared `fit of the fittest’ in the competition by securing 2,474 points.

The COAS appreciated the participants along with their trainers for achieving very high standards of physical fitness and professionalism, said an ISPR release.

Source: dawn.com/news/1286994/pakistan-army-the-most-battle-hardened-force-in-the-world-coas

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Fazl compares Fata situation with Kashmir

September 30 2016

ISLAMABAD: Even as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is busy highlighting the plight of the Kashmiri people at the international level, key government ally Maulana Fazlur Rehman surprised the National Assembly on Thursday when he said that the government was meting out similar treatment to its own people, living in the tribal areas.

On the second day of discussion on the findings and recommendations of the Committee on Fata Reforms, the chief of his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) said: “I don’t see any difference between the people of India-occupied Kashmir and our tribal areas as far as the curbing of their rights is concerned.”

For some reason, he said, the suffering of the people of Fata was not being highlighted as compared to the media coverage of the Kashmir issue.

He did not stop there. Criticising the ongoing military operation in Fata, he said it seemed as if the action actually targeted peaceful tribesmen rather than the Taliban, since the latter continued to rule the roost with a monthly income of Rs1.5 billion, which they extorted from government agencies and other coercive measures.

Mr Rehman claimed that every second shopkeeper in Peshawar was receiving threatening messages from extremists, warning of dire consequences if they failed to pay ‘protection money’.

In the cleric’s words, the kind of disgrace and humiliation that had been meted out to the people of Fata as a result of the ongoing military operation was unrivalled in recent history.

“First, they were dislocated in the name of the country’s greater national security; now their identities are being questioned and they are being forced to cross the Durand Line,” said the JUI-F leader who has the distinction of being part of the last three successive governments, under Gen Pervez Musharraf, Asif Zardari and now Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Adopting an acerbic tone against the government of which he has been an integral part from day one, Fazlur Rehman drew parallels between the Line of Control (LoC) and the Durand Line, saying: “The two lines are undefined international borders; just as we have claims across the LoC, those living on the other side of the Durand Line have their own views. This is why the Fata region needs careful handling.”

He claimed that the committee’s report on Fata reforms was far removed from ground realities and termed it a mere “show-piece” and wordy account. “Reports prepared sitting inside the Governor House had no weight,” he said.

Disapproving its findings and recommendations, Mr Rehman asked how people sitting in Islamabad could recommend the merging of Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Urging both the federal and KP governments not to impose their own solutions on the tribal region, the JUI-F chief called for allowing the people of Fata to decide their future.

Although he proposed a referendum for the people of Fata to decide their future, he was of the view that a separate province could better serve their rights within the federation.

It was surprising to see Fazlur Rehman — who is also chairman of the Special Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir — ignoring the rising tensions between India and Pakistan in his speech.

Towards the end of his remarks, the burly JUI-F leader said he had predicted 15 years ago that India would encircle Pakistan through Afghanistan, adding that Pakistan could only counter India by fostering friendly ties with neighbouring countries.

Throughout the JUI-F chief’s speech, PkMAP leader Mehmood Khan Achakzai kept on thumping his desk and even verbally endorsed the former’s point of view. However, many on the treasury benches curled up in their seats, disapproving of Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s assertions.

But it took Ghalib Khan, a PML-N MNA from Fata, to hit back at the JUI-F leader. Without naming him, the tribal lawmaker said that successive governments had ignored tribesmen and those in power only sought to benefit themselves and their parties.

Mr Khan wondered why and on whose behest the JUI-F leader spoke about controversial issues such as the Durand Line and requested the latter not to sabotage the government’s ongoing efforts for the betterment of Fata’s people.

Also on Thursday, MNAs and officials from the NA secretariat were briefed by PTI chief whip Dr Shireen Mazari on various dimensions of the Kashmir dispute. The talk was the first in a series of lectures where subject-matter experts from among MNAs will be invited to speak on their areas of specialisation.

A former faculty member at the Quaid-i-Azam University’s strategic studies department, Dr Mazari proposed various solutions to the intractable Kashmir conflict, drawing parallels between the conflicts in East Timor, Aland Island, Trieste, Andorra models and Kashmir. However, she suggested that the most viable model for the resolution of the Kashmir issue was the Good Friday Agreement, which had led to the cessation of hostilities in Northern Ireland.

Source: dawn.com/news/1287000/fazl-compares-fata-situation-with-kashmir

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Funeral of fallen Pakistan Army soldier offered in Faisalabad

September 30 2016

FAISALABAD: The funeral prayers of the fallen Pakistan Army soldier, who was killed by Indian firing earlier today, were offered in his village in district Faisalabad on Thursday evening.

The soldier, Naik Imtiaz Ahmad, was killed in the Bhimber sector of Line of Control (LoC).

Senior military and civil officials attended the funeral. Later he was laid to rest with full military honours.

Besides army officers, relatives and friends, hundreds of people attended the soldier’s funeral. They also chanted slogans in the favour of the military.

According to a statement issued by the military, Naik Imtiaz Ahmed is survived by a wife and three children.

At the funeral, Ahmed’s father told DawnNews that he had five sons and three daughters, and Ahmed was the youngest among them.

"He was a very obedient son and we all loved him very much," said the father of the slain soldier.

Earlier today, at least two Pakistan Army soldiers were killed as Indian troops fired across the Line of Control in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.

The Pakistani military confirmed the deaths of its soldiers and also dismissed the Indian claim of 'surgical strikes'.

Source: dawn.com/news/1286907/funeral-of-fallen-pakistan-army-soldier-offered-in-faisalabad

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Pakistan captures one Indian soldier at LoC, several others killed

September 30 2016

MUZAFFARABAD: An Indian soldier has been captured by the Pakistan army, while Indian soldiers have also been killed in the episode of firing across the Line of Control, it emerged Thursday.

Confusion over the capture of the soldier persists as neither Indian nor Pakistani officials are issuing any official statements on the matter, as yet.

An Indian army official based in New Delhi said, “It is confirmed one soldier from 37 Rashtriya Rifles with weapons has inadvertently crossed over to the Pakistan side of the Line of Control”.

Avoiding connecting the capture to today's firing incident, he said such incidents of people including civilians crossing the frontier by mistake have happened in the past from both sides.

Building a case in favour of India, he added that those who strayed are returned.

“Pakistan has been informed [of the soldier's crossing] through the DGMO on hotline,” ANI News quoted Indian Army sources as saying.

Pakistan's Ambassador to the United Nations Dr Maleeha Lodhi, while talking to Al Jazeera, confirmed that Pakistan Army has "captured an Indian soldier who was trying to enter” into Pakistani territory.

Lodhi, however, denied that there was any surgical strike inside the territory of Pakistan, as claimed by the Indian forces.

“India is trying to divert global attention from the war crimes it is committing in occupied Kashmir, where more than a 100 people have been killed in cold-blood by Indian forces,” said the Pakistan's ambassador.

She said that India is trying to provoke a conflict with Pakistan to calm its domestic opinion, because even India’s domestic opinion is questioning its role in Kashmir. “My country [Pakistan] has exercised maximum restraint in the face of what happened in the early hours of Thursday.”

“What we saw on Thursday was cross border shelling, by mortar fire as well as small arms fire. We have captured one Indian soldier who was trying to cross while two Pakistani soldiers were martyred in cross border shelling. But there was no surgical strike inside territory controlled by Pakistan.”

“It is very irresponsible of India to act this way. We want the international community to urge restraint upon India,” she maintained.

On Pakistan's side, two officials based in Chhamb sector said the Indian soldier with weapons was captured at 1330 local time on Thursday.

Separately, security sources confirmed the same to Dawn.com. The sources said a 22-year-old Indian soldier by the name Chandu Babulal Chohan was taken into custody by Pakistani forces.

They added that at least eight Indian soldiers were killed. The bodies of the Indian soldiers have not been recovered by the Indian Army from the site of the skirmishes at the LoC. Security sources claim an attempt to recover the bodies by the Indian Army has not been made yet as they fear coming under fire from Pakistan Army troops.

In his show Capital Talk on Geo News, Hamid Mir said that 14 Indian soldiers were killed in two sectors. Defense analyst Major General (Retd) Ijaz Awan, who was on his show, confirmed his claim.

Early morning firing

An exchange of fire between Pakistani and Indian LoC troops began at 2:30am and continued till 8:00am in the Bhimber, Hotspring, Kel and Lipa sectors in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, the ISPR statement said.

"Pakistani troops befittingly responded to Indian unprovoked firing on the LoC."

Shortly after the exchange of fire, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Defence held a joint press conference in New Delhi in which DGMOLt Gen Ranbir Singh alleged that surgical strikes were conducted by the Indian army on "terror launch pads along the LoC". The strikes will not continue, he said.

The Indian DGMO claimed that "some terrorist teams had positioned themselves at launchpads along the Line of Control".

"The Indian army conducted surgical strikes last night at these launchpads. Significant casualties have been caused to these terrorists and those who are trying to support them... The operations aimed at neutralising the terrorists have since ceased."

Pakistan rubbished the Indian claims of conducting a surgical strike.

"The notion of surgical strike linked to alleged terrorists bases is an illusion being deliberately generated by Indian to create false effects," a military statement said.

"This quest by the Indian establishment to create media hype by rebranding cross-border fire as a surgical strike is fabrication of the truth. Pakistan has made it clear that if there is a surgical strike on Pakistani soil, the same will be strongly responded."

The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) said Pakistan’s airspace would be safeguarded at any cost. "PAF is always alert and ready to issue a befitting response to foreign aggression," a spokesperson said.

Source: dawn.com/news/1286910/pakistan-captures-one-indian-soldier-at-loc-several-others-killed

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Pakistani cabinet reviews LoC situation

September 30, 2016

Islamabad: Pakistan’s cabinet met on Friday to review the situation on the Line of Control (LoC) in the wake of surgical strikes by the Indian Army.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif chaired the meeting, which is expected to put across the collective response of the nation to the challenge thrown by the latest events, Radio Pakistan reported.

The meeting comes in the wake of the surgical strikes that India carried out on terrorist launch pads across the LoC on Wednesday night. Pakistan has denied that no surgical strike took place and that there were only firing and artillery shelling between the two armies across the LoC that killed two of its soldiers.

In their remarks before the meeting, the cabinet members reiterated resolve of the government to defend the nation at all costs. Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said support to the struggle of the Kashmiri people would remain Pakistan’s main priority.

He said India was “indulging in diversionary tactics in a bid to deflect attention of the international community from its brutalities against Kashmiris.” He said Pakistan would confront India diplomatically but “our armed forces are also fully prepared to defend the country.”

Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif reiterated that Pakistan does not want escalation of tension but it was ready to meet any eventuality. He said Pakistan would respond befittingly to any firing across the LoC. The Defence Minister said India was displaying irresponsible attitude and trying to play with the galleries in a bid to hoodwink its public opinion. He said India cannot suppress legitimate aspirations of Kashmiri people.

Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir said India was creating artificial tension in its attempt to divert attention of the world from its atrocities against Kashmiris. He said Pakistan’s defence is in strong hands and the country would continue to raise voice for rights of Kashmiris.

Minister for Kashmir Affairs Barjees Tahir said the world pledged right to self-determination through UN resolutions decades back and now fifth generation of Kashmiris is protesting for this right.

He said Indian policy of suppression of legitimate struggle of Kashmiris would neither benefit India nor the region. Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Syed Riaz Hussain Pirzada regretted that instead of giving right of self-determination to Kashmiris, India was resorting to terrorism against Pakistan. He said the world community should take notice of India’s belligerence. Secretary Foreign Affairs will brief the Cabinet on Kashmir issue and tensions between Pakistan and India.

Source: siasat.com/news/india-strikes-pakistani-cabinet-reviews-loc-situation-1031525/

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Post surgical strikes, Sharif rakes J&K; calls it unfinished agenda of partition

September 30, 2016

Islamabad: In a fresh rhetoric, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday said that Kashmir was “unfinished agenda of partition” and Pakistan would continue to provide support to Kashmiris in their struggle for self-determination.

“Jammu and Kashmir dispute is an unfinished agenda of the partition of the sub-continent,” Sharif said.

“No power can deter us from supporting our Kashmiri brethren in their just and legitimate struggle for the exercise of their right to self-determination guaranteed to them by the UNSC relevant resolutions,” he said.

Sharif condemned what he described as Indian violation of LoC and said Pakistan was capable of defending itself. “No external force has the capability or capacity to challenge the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan. We have the best armed forces in the world and we are proud of that,” he said.

According to several statements by PMO, Sharif spent hectic day, consulting his aides on the security situation. Sharif was briefed regularly by the security institutions on the situation on the LOC.

National Security Adviser Nasir Janjua submitted a comprehensive report on the LOC situation to the PM office. Sharif showed satisfaction on the level of preparedness of Pakistani armed forces.

Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan met Sharif and discussed the security situation.

Sharif has convened a cabinet meeting tomorrow. He also called a meeting of National Security Committee on Tuesday with special invitation to all the Chief Ministers to deliberate at length the emerging scenario across the Line of Control and “brutal state oppression” in Kashmir.

Another statement said that he convened the joint session of the Parliament on Wednesday to reaffirm the national resolve for safeguarding the sovereignty and preserving the territorial integrity of the motherland against any kind of external or internal threat as well as reiterating the moral, political and diplomatic support to the people of Kashmir.

Sharif will take nation and Parliament into confidence, it added.

Source: siasat.com/news/post-surgical-strikes-sharif-rakes-j-calls-unfinished-agenda-partition-1031401/

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Arab World

ISIS Soldiers 'Beheaded' and 'Cooked' By Anti-Islamic State Machete-Wielding Woman Jihadi Hunter in Iraq

09/29/16

A widow twice over in Iraq whose husbands were killed by the Islamic State group is seeking revenge against the militant group's Jihadis, becoming one of its most ardent, if not brutal, foes in the country, according to a new report. Wahida Mohamed, also known as Wehda al-Jumaili whose nickname is Umm Hannadi, said she was part of the militia that helped drive ISIS forces from her hometown last week.

Part of how Mohamed made a name for herself is mirroring the brutality and torturous methods for which ISIS first gained notoriety, CNN reported. She has taken it upon herself to create her own militia group targeting ISIS to avenge the deaths of her first two husbands, her father and three brothers, who she says were killed in combat fighting the terror organization. Because of that, she said, she chooses to fight fire with fire.

"I fought them, I beheaded them, I cooked their heads, I burned their bodies," she told CNN reporter Ben Wedeman in Iraq of ISIS fighters. As proof, she posts the grisly images to her Facebook page, the Daily Star reported.

Her weapon of choice? A machete.

Mohamed's approach has made her a prime target for ISIS militants, she said. "Six times they tried to assassinate me," she said to CNN. "I have shrapnel in my head, legs, my ribs were broken, but all that didn’t stop me from fighting."

However, ISIS was once again unsuccessful in killing has, as shown Sept. 22 when Iraq's military pushed ISIS out of the strategic town of Shirqat, which is situated near a main thoroughfare to Baghdad, according to the Wall Street Journal, which used a photo of Mohamed to accompany its story online. The Iraq army commander who oversaw the military operation made sure to credit her and her militia for their role in the operation.

“She was as competent as any army officer was in the way she led her fighters,” Gen. Jumma Ennad said.

It is her pride as an Iraqi that motivates her to keep fighting.

"If we lose Iraq again, we'll lose it forever," she said.

Source: ibtimes.com/isis-soldiers-beheaded-cooked-anti-islamic-state-machete-wielding-woman-jihadi-hunter-2424220

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Desperate Leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, BEGS Fighters Not To Ditch Failing Terror Network

Thu, Sep 29, 2016

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi made the last-ditch plea to fanatics as he warns them that everyone is against them and they won’t get through this difficult time without them.

It has been reported that the terror network no longer holds any cities in Iraq and fighters have been told to concentrate their efforts in Syria.

In the video, a desperate al-Baghdadi says: “Our Muslim community is passing through a difficult time in its journey.

“This period has seen a massive change to its journey going all the way back through the history of the Caliphate.

“The breaking of the Sykes/Picko borders has allowed jihadists to begin appearing across the Islamic world and inside their own countries.

“Because of this everyone will be, and is, against us.

“The Mujaheddin are still in the Caliphate today, and those that are connected to it are still fighting for the Muslim Revolution.”

This comes as US troops are encircling a jihadi stronghold in Syria claimed by ISIS to be in old Islamic prophecy as the site of the final battle – triggering the apocalypse.

According to the extremists' warped ideology, Dabiq – a tiny town in northern Syria – will see a “major apocalyptic showdown with the armies of the infidel” that will result in the collapse of civilisation.

Turkish troops backed by America commandos are understood to be just three miles from the town.

One of the founders of ISIS, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, is quoted in the grotesque group’s propaganda magazine as saying: “The spark has been lit here in Iraq, and its heat will continue to intensify – by Allah’s permission – until it burns the crusader armies in Dabiq.”

In recent days Turkish artillery fire has hit the town, in the northern countryside of Aleppo.

Amaq – the bloodthirsty group’s own ‘news agency’ – claimed a man died in the strike last Friday.

ISIS supporters believe the final battle could be coming sooner rather than later.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon – who has just returned from Iraq – said there was “no doubt” that ISIS is now “facing defeat”.

They have lost significant amounts of territory in both Iraq and Syria, including strategic points close to Dabiq that have allowed weapons and fighters to be smuggled in Turkey.

Source: express.co.uk/news/world/715928/ISIS-leader-begs-fighters-to-stay

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Fighting for the Soul of Islam: A Battle of the Paymasters

30/09/2016

A gathering of prominent Sunni Muslim leaders in the Chechen capital of Grozny that appeared to have effectively excommunicated Saudi-backed ultra-conservatism potentially opens not only a theological but also a geopolitical rift in the Muslim world. The conference, sponsored and attended by some of Saudi Arabia's closest allies, suggests that Saudi funding of ultra-conservative worldviews may be meeting its match in more liberal interpretations of Islam backed by the United Arab Emirates and Russia.

The conference was hosted by Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov, an Islamist with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, recently convened some of Islam's most prominent leaders to determine the theologically and politically explosive question of who is a Sunni Muslim. Professing to be a Sufi, a more mystical interpretation of Islam, Kadyrov lacks the religious credentials beyond his native Chechnya where he was recently re-elected with 98 percent of the vote.

Kadyrov's ability to bring together an illustrious group of Muslim scholars highlights successful behind-the-scenes manoeuvring by the United Arab Emirates to counter Salafism despite the UAE's close collaboration with Saudi Arabia as a member of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and in the war in Yemen. It also shines a light on Russian efforts to cultivate Muslim religious leaders.

This is a first. When a terrorist outfit denounce you , you know you have hit rock bottom.

Participating in the Grozny conference were, among others, the imam of the Al-Azhar Grand Mosque in Cairo, Ahmed El- Tayeb; Egyptian Grand Mufti Shawki Allam; former Egyptian Grand Mufti and Sufi authority Ali Gomaa, a strident supporter of Egyptian general-turned-president Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi; Al Sisi's religious affairs advisor, Usama al-Azhari; the mufti of Damascus Abdul Fattah al-Bizm, a close confidante of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad; and influential Yemeni cleric Habib Ali Jifri, head of the Abu Dhabi-based Islamic Tabah Foundation who has close ties to UAE Crown Prince Mohammed ibn Zayed al-Nahyan.

In a frontal assault on Saudi-backed ultra-conservative movements such as Wahhabism, Salafism and Deobandism, the conference charged that the label Sunni had been hijacked by heretics whose deviant practices distorted Islam. In defining Sunni Islam, the conference explicitly excluded Wahhabism, the Saudi state's adopted version of Islam, as well as Salafism and Deobandism from its definition. The assault is all the more significant given that Saudi Arabia has over the last four decades invested tens of billions of dollars into promoting globally ultra-conservative interpretations of Islam.

The conference suggests that the UAE, together with Russia, is succeeding in countering the Saudi effort that has enabled ultra-conservatism to make significant inroads into Muslim communities across the globe. The heavy Egyptian presence suggests further that the UAE, which together with Saudi Arabia is Egypt's foremost financier, has effectively driven a wedge between the kingdom and the Arab world's most populous state.

It also serves as evidence that Russian efforts to woo mainstream Muslim as well as Islamist leaders have begun to pay off despite Moscow's support of the Assad regime in Syria. In a political fete, Russia managed to gather four years ago leaders of a host of Islamist stripes, including Saudi-backed Salafists, Muslim Brothers and Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah at one table. Russian officials have stressed that conservative Russian Orthodox values are similar if not identical to puritan Islamic ones.

The Grozny conference was co-organised by the Tabah Foundation, the sponsor of the Senior Scholars Council, a group that aims to recapture Islamic discourse that many non-Salafis assert has been hijacked by Saudi largesse. The Council was also created to counter the Doha-based International Union of Muslim Scholars, headed by Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, widely viewed as a spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.

UAE backing for anti-Salafi initiatives and opposition to the Brotherhood, even though it does not adhere to Salafi ideology, is rooted in Prince Mohammed's deep-seated aversion to political Islam. The crown prince is credited with having persuaded the late Saudi King Abdullah to ban the Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation.

Prince Mohammed has been troubled by suggestions that King Salman since acceding to the throne may be less strident in his opposition to the Brotherhood. Mohammed also differs with King Salman's son, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, on the conduct of the war in Yemen and tacit cooperation on the ground in Yemen with groups associated with Al Qaeda.

The participation in Grozny of Egypt's Sheikh El-Tayeb suggests that substantial Saudi funding of large numbers of Al Azhar's scholars as well as the kingdom's multi-billion dollar backing of Al Sisi since his toppling in a military coup in 2013 of Mohammed Morsi, a Muslim Brother and Egypt's first and only democratically elected leader, has not bought the kingdom the kind of religious and political loyalty it expected.

A prominent Islamic legal scholar, who rejected a nomination for Saudi Arabia's prestigious King Faisal International Prize, recalls El-Tayeb effusively thanking the kingdom during panels in recent years for its numerous donations to Al Azhar. Al Azhar scholars were said to have competed "frantically" for sabbaticals in the kingdom that could last anywhere from one to 20 years, paid substantially better, and raised a scholar's status.

"Many of my friends and family praise Abdul Wahab in their writing," the scholar said referring to Mohammed ibn Abdul Wahhab, the 18th century religious leader whose puritan interpretation of Islam became the basis for the power sharing agreement between the ruling Al Saud family and the country's religious establishment. "They shrug their shoulders when I ask them privately if they are serious... When I asked El-Tayeb why Al Azhar was not seeing changes and avoidance of dogma, he said: 'my hands are tied.'

To illustrate Saudi inroads, the scholar recalled being present when several years ago Muhammad Sayyid Tantawy, a former grand mufti and predecessor of El-Tayeb as imam of the Al Azhar mosque, was interviewed about Saudi funding. "What's wrong with that?" the scholar recalls Tantawy as saying. Irritated by the question, he pulled a check for US$100,000 from a drawer and slapped it against his forehead. "Alhamdulillah (Praise be to God), they are our brothers," the scholar quoted Tantawy as saying.

Source: huffingtonpost.in/entry/fighting-for-the-soul-of_b_12259312

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Majority of Daesh Militants to Leave Syria for Libya by End of 2016

30.09.2016

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The major part of Islamic State (ISIL or Daesh) militants will leave Syria, including the city of Aleppo and its stronghold of Raqqa, and relocate to Libya until the end of the year,

Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISS) Director Leonid Reshetnikov stated that within this year the majority of Daesh militants will leave Syria and Iraq for Libya. © FLICKR/ SYEEFA AKA RUZI95 Life Going Back to Normal in Syria’s Palmyra Liberated From Daesh Terrorists MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The major part of Islamic State (ISIL or Daesh) militants will leave Syria, including the city of Aleppo and its stronghold of Raqqa, and relocate to Libya until the end of the year, Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISS) Director Leonid Reshetnikov told Sputnik on Friday. "I think that within this year the majority of militants will leave for Libya. They will flee from Aleppo and Raqqa. They would have to leave for Libya, maybe some of them will stay in Iraq," Reshetnikov said in an interview.

Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011, with government forces loyal to President Bashar Assad fighting numerous opposition factions and extremist groups, including Daesh and Nusra Front, a Syrian division of al Qaeda that has changed its name to Jabhat Fatah al Sham, which are outlawed in many countries including Russia.

Friday, September 30, marks a year since Russia launched its aerial anti-terror campaign in Syria after an official request from the Syrian government that has been fighting numerous extremist groups and opposition factions since 2011. In March, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the pullout of the bulk of the Russian contingent in Syria as the anti-terrorist campaign's objectives had broadly been completed. At the same time, Russia did not abandon its obligations to provide the Syrian government with weapons and military equipment, train military specialists. Hmeymim air base and a naval facility in the port of Tartus remain operational while Russia's S-400 and Pantsir air defense systems continue to be on duty in Syria to protect Russian servicemen in the war-torn country.

Source: sputniknews.com/world/20160930/1045863239/syria-libya-daesh.html

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18 ISIS leaders recently killed ahead of expected Mosul operation, US military says

September 29, 2016

At least 18 Islamic State leaders have been killed in Iraq and Syria in the past month, a Baghdad-based U.S. military spokesman told reporters at the Pentagon Thursday.

Fox News had reported last week on Special Report that more than a dozen ISIS leaders had been killed in Mosul ahead of the expected ground operation next month in Iraq's second largest city. Some of the ISIS leaders are Chechens who hold a "special place" with the terror group, said Col. John Dorrian, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition.

One of the critical tasks facing the Iraqi government in retaking Mosul from ISIS is handling as many as 800,000 refugees expected to pour out of Mosul after ISIS is defeated, Dorrian said. He adds that refugee screening is one of the most important components of the Mosul operation, saying it's a conversation the U.S.-led coalition has with the Iraqis "every day."   Dorrian says the screening process must be done under the "command and control" of the Iraqi government.

In June, following the liberation of Fallujah by Iraqi forces, hundreds of Iraqi Sunni refugees escaping the city reportedly were abducted and later killed by Iranian-backed forces outside the city, including Kataaib Hezbollah. The State Department labeled the group a terrorist organization in 2009 for attacking U.S. forces in Iraq.

The United Nations reported in July that 900 Iraqi refugees who left Fallujah were missing and at least 50 had been executed and blamed Iraqi Shia militias, many backed by Iran.

Some of these Iranian-backed forces are now located on the outskirts of Mosul, according to U.S. officials.

Dorrian said the 615 additional troops going to Iraq, an increase that Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced Wednesday, would be the last boost needed to help the Iraqis take Mosul. "We believe this is all the force we will need to liberate Mosul," he said.

Dorrian said a sizable number of the new U.S. troops going to Iraq are intelligence personnel that will be needed to sift through terabytes of information ISIS fighters are expected to leave behind when they either escape the city or are killed.

When the ISIS supply hub of Manbij was liberated near Syria's border with Turkey, U.S.-backed forces recovered 20 terabytes of information, Dorian said. He called it a "treasure trove" of information about ISIS that has since been shared with Western intelligence agencies including those in Europe.

When asked why some troops are going to a remote airbase in western Iraq's Anbar province, Dorrian said the goal is to turn al-Asad airbase located northwest of Ramadi into a 24/7 airport to fly drones and support Iraqi military aircraft.  At the moment, the airbase can only support daytime operations, he said.

Source:foxnews.com/world/2016/09/29/18-isis-leaders-recently-killed-ahead-expected-mosul-operation-us-military-says.html

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Gov't Forces Continue to Beat Terrorists Back From More Positions in Northern Aleppo

Fri Sep 30, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian Army soldiers and popular forces continued their advances against Jeish al-Fatah in the Northern districts of Aleppo city after pushing the terrorists back from Handarat Palestinian Refugee Camp, and captured a key medical center in the region.

Syrian government forces, after hours of non-stop battle, drove Jeish al-Fatah out of al-Kandi hospital, inflicting heavy casualties on the terrorists. 

The Syrian army and popular forces, backed by Russian and Syrian warplanes, managed to recapture Handarat Palestinian Refugees camp in Northern Aleppo on Thursday.

The Syrian army troops first regained 8 strategic military points, and completed control over the camp at a round midday, a local source said.

The Syrian army deployed a large number of soldiers in the Northern outskirts of Aleppo city on Monday to join the Syrian Army's operation to recapture the Handarat camp from Jeish al-Fatah.

The Syrian army and Liwa al-Quds forces took the camp last week but had to withdraw after two days.

Syrian Army commanders pulled their forces back from Handarat Camp on Sunday morning to evade more casualties.

Hours later, Russian and Syrian fighter jets carried out scores of combat flights over Handarat, pounding heavily the positions of the terrorists inside the camp.

Minutes after the raid, the Army troops and the Palestinian Liwa al-Quds fighters launched joint attacks on terrorists' defense lines in the Camp to retake its control.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950709000292

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Senior Commander of Turkey-Backed FSA Terrorists Killed by Rivals in Aleppo

Fri Sep 30, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior commander of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) was killed in heavy fighting with the rival terrorist group of ISIL in Northern Aleppo.

Commander of FSA-affiliated Liwa (Brigade) Ahsam Mostafa al-Satouf was killed in infighting with ISIL.

Last Friday, informed sources in Northern Syria said that the Ankara-backed FSA and its ISIL rivals had both dispatched a large number of fighters to the regions close to a key town near the border with Turkey.

"The FSA has gathered a large number of militants near Dabiq to capture the town from the ISIL, while, the latter has also reinvigorated its positions near the town and its Jund al-Baghdadi forces have been deployed near Dabiq," the sources said.

"Large-scale clashes between the ISIL and FSA are to start in the region any moment," they added.   

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950709000523

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ISIL Centers Receive Sever Blow in Syrian Military Forces' Offensives

Fri Sep 30, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian Army soldiers and National Defense Forces (NDF) launched fresh rounds of attacks on ISIL's strongholds near two villages in Northeastern Sweida, leaving several terrorists dead and several more wounded.

ISIL's positions near the villages of Bord and al-Qasr sustained heavy damage in the Syrian government forces' attacks, while ISIL suffered a heavy death toll in the clashes too.

In the meantime, the NDF seized a vehicle of the terrorists carrying several missiles and B7 bombs in Western Sweida.

Earlier this week, army soldiers and the NDF stormed a convoy of ISIL's tankers carrying Syria's oil and did not allow the terrorists to transfer the stolen crude to other regions.

Syrian government forces attacked the convoy of ISIL's smuggled-oil tankers and other vehicles carrying arms and ammunition in Badiyeh al-Sweida and prevented the terrorists from transferring their cargo to their destinations.

In the meantime, the Syrian soldiers targeted ISIL's fuel tankers East of the village of Sha'af in Mashbak al-Wadyan region, destroying most of the tankers.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950709000501

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Senior Terrorist Commander Killed in Clashes with Syrian Army

Fri Sep 30, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Notorious commander of Katibat Souyan was killed in cross fire with the Syrian Army in Southern Aleppo.

The commander of Katibat Souyan, known as Karamo al- Qanas (sniper), was killed during the Syrian government forces' offensives in Khan Touman.

In the meantime, the Syrian Air Force bombed concentration centers of the terrorists in Khan Touman, Saraqib and Bostan al-Pasha, leaving scores of the terrorists dead or wounded.

The Syrian army units and popular forces, supported by warplanes, launched massive offensives and airstrikes against the terrorist groups in Aleppo and its Southern, Western and Northern countryside on Thursday.

A military source said that the army troops destroyed the stronghold of Fatah al-Sham Front (the newly-formed al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group previously known as the al-Nusra Front) on Aleppo-Damascus highway in Southwestern Aleppo.

The stronghold was used as a base by the terrorists to load suicide cars with bombs.

Also, the Syrian army units smashed a position used by Fatah al-Sham for meetings in Salah al-Din district, killing a number of its commanders.

Also, a field source reported that the air force strikes targeted the positions and tens of vehicles of the terrorists in Khan Touman, Ma'arata, Western Dar al-Izza, Western Qabtan al-Jabal, Babis, Kafar Hamra and Huryatayn in the countryside of Aleppo city.

The source added that a large number of terrorists were killed in the airstrikes and their armored vehicles equipped with heavy machineguns were smashed.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950709000409

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Scores of Terrorists Killed, Wounded in Failed Attacks on Gov't Positions in Hama

Fri Sep 30, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian Army soldiers and popular forces repelled Ahrar al-Sham's offensives in Northeastern Hama, inflicting tens of casualties on them.

Syrian government forces defended their strongholds near the small town of al-Janineh towards farms in Northeastern Hama and pushed back the invading terrorists of Ahrar al-Sham.

On Thursday, the Ajnad al-Sham terrorist group confirmed that its top commander, Basel Marwan al-Bakri, known as Abu Marwan, who was responsible for training suicide-bombers, was killed by the Syrian army soldiers in al-Shouaatha village in Hama province.

Abu Marwan had participated in several battles in Hama province in recent weeks, leading Ajnad al-Sham's militants alongside Jund al-Aqsa.

He was also responsible for training scores of recruits and suicide-bombers at the group's training camps.

Killing of the notorious terrorist commander came after the Syrian Army and its allies started wide-scale and special military operation to recapture the lost lands in the Northern parts of Hama province.

According to a battlefield source, in the first hours of the operations, the pro-government forces hit the defense lines of the militant groups, advancing against Takfiri terrorists in the region.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950709000321

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Islamic State Struggling to Reinforce Mosul Ahead of Iraqi Offensive

September 29, 2016

The size of the force left to defend the Islamic State terror group's last stronghold in Iraq has been cut by as much as two-thirds with perhaps just weeks to go until Iraqi forces launch an all-out assault to recapture the city.

U.S. military officials said Thursday IS has only 3,000 to 4,500 fighters left in Mosul, describing the force as a mix of Iraqis and foreign fighters.

"They know they don't have what it takes to stop that offensive," Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman, Col. John Dorrian told Pentagon reporters via a video link from Baghdad.

As recently as July, IS was thought to have as many as 10,000 fighters in Mosul. Since then, coalition estimates have continually revised that number downwards as intelligence indicated many top IS officials and their families had fled Mosul for the group's Syrian stronghold of Raqqa.

Iraqi militia leaders also told VOA there was evidence many of the foreign fighters who had once been based in Mosul were leaving.

Additionally, the terror group's attempt to reinforce Mosul has been "limited" due to U.S. and coalition airstrikes.

"Kind of trickling in," Dorrian said. "What you see is small formations, single digit fighters, people with backpacks and things like that."

"They can't move in large columns, formations and convoys," he said.

According to the officials, those IS fighters who do make it to Mosul are often coming from areas to the north, retreating from towns and villages that have fallen to U.S. and coalition-backed ground forces.

Still, U.S. military officials are expecting the IS fighters left in Mosul to put up a tough fight and use a variety of tactics, including oil fires and chemical weapons, to turn Iraq's second largest city into "hell on earth."

"They show no signs of trying to leave," Dorrian said. "They're fixed in place. That's a good situatio

Source: voanews.com/a/islamic-state-struggling-reinforce-mosul-ahead-iraqi-offensive/3530679.html

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North America

OBAMA: 'THERE’S NO RELIGIOUS RATIONALE' FOR JIHAD TERROR

September 30, 2016

Here we go again. This is like having to prove that water is wet or that Hillary Clinton is crooked, but since Barack Obama has once again affirmed that jihad terrorists are twisting and hijacking the Religion of Peace, once again it is necessary to prove that unfortunately that is not the case. Obama is right about one thing: this question matters for what strategy the U.S. and the free world should pursue against the jihadis. That’s what makes his denial and willful ignorance nothing short of catastrophic.

CNN reported Thursday that Obama said the question of whether or not to use the term “Islamic terrorist” was “sort of manufactured” issue. He claimed, yet again, that “terrorist organizations like al Qaeda or ISIL…have perverted and distorted and tried to claim the mantle of Islam for an excuse for basically barbarism and death.”

Warming to his point, Obama said: “These are people who’ve killed children, killed Muslims, take sex slaves, there’s no religious rationale that would justify in any way any of the things that they do.”

Is he right? Of course not.

“Killed children”: “It is reported on the authority of Sa’b b. Jaththama that the Prophet of Allah (may peace be upon him), when asked about the women and children of the polytheists being killed during the night raid, said: They are from them.” — Sahih Muslim 4321

“I was very happy to learn about the relevant hadith. I felt overjoyed when I heard it. [Mus’ab Ibn Juthama] told the Prophet Muhammad that while the Muslims would attack the polytheists at night, women and children would be harmed. The Prophet Muhammad answered: '[Their offspring] constitute part of them.' They are part of them, said our beloved Muhammad. This is not merely someone’s opinion. Thus, killing their women and children is permitted.” — Sudanese Muslim cleric Muhammad Al-Jazouli

“Killed Muslims”: “They but wish that you should reject faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing: but do not take friends from their ranks until they emigrate in the way of Allah. But if they turn renegade, seize them and kill them wherever you find them…” — Qur’an 4:89. To “emigrate in the way of Allah” would involve their becoming Muslim — but if they “turn renegade” after that, then they are to be killed.

Full report at: frontpagemag.com/fpm/264358/obama-theres-no-religious-rationale-jihad-terror-robert-spencer

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ISLAMIC TERRORISTS BLAST TRUMP FOR ISRAEL SUPPORT

September 30, 2016

The PLO terrorists are not very happy with Trump's recent remarks about Israel. The Islamic terror group funded by the United States has a very good relationship with Hillary. And it's starting to get nervous.

Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat condemned on Monday Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump who said that, if he is elected, the United States would recognize Jerusalem as the "undivided capital of the State of Israel."

Trump "shows disregard for international law … regarding the status of Jerusalem, including the occupation and illegal annexation of occupied East Jerusalem," Erekat, the secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said in a statement.

Trump's statement was issued following a meeting between the Republican contender and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Sunday at Trump Tower in New York. At the meeting, the statement said, "Mr. Trump acknowledged that Jerusalem has been the eternal capital of the Jewish People for over 3000 years, and that the United States, under a Trump administration, will finally accept the long-standing Congressional mandate to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the State of Israel."

Jerusalem was occupied by the Muslim invaders who ethnically cleansed the part of the city that they occupied of its Jewish population. The occupation ended with the Six Day War of liberation.

The Palestinian Authority is an artificial entity imposed on Israel by foreign support from the US, the EU and Japan. Without US backing, it would rapidly collapse.

Source: frontpagemag.com/point/264362/islamic-terrorists-blast-trump-israel-support-daniel-greenfield

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Why Obama refuses to say 'radical Islamic terrorism'

SEPTEMBER 29, 2016

What’s in a phrase? When it comes to terrorism, more than you think, says President Obama.

In a town hall at Fort Lee, Va., on Wednesday, the president was asked about his choice not to use the phrase “Islamic terrorist” to describe ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other terrorist groups. Gold Star mother Tina Houchins wanted to know why Obama wouldn’t use the term, if he believed that terrorist groups themselves considered their activities grounded in Islam.

The decision to use the term – or not – has gained in political significance over the course of the 2016 election campaign. Donald Trump and other Republicans have said avoiding the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” is equivalent to avoiding the problem. Yet neither Obama or former president George W. Bush has used the term, describing it as counterproductive to efforts to combat terrorist groups.

Recommended: How much do you know about the Quran? Take our quiz!

“When you start calling these organizations Islamic terrorists, the way it’s heard, the way it’s received by our friends and allies around the world is that somehow Islam is terroristic. And that then makes them feel as if they’re under attack. In some cases, it makes it harder for us to get their cooperation in fighting terrorism,” Obama told the town hall meeting on Wednesday.

Avoiding the term “radical Islam” has therefore been US policy for more than a decade. Elliot Abrams, deputy National Security Advisor under President Bush, told Bloomberg, “We were invading two Muslim countries, and we were being accused of being at war with Islam. So the administration wanted to make it very clear that we are not at war with Islam and every Muslim in the world.”

That attitude is clear in the way both Mr. Bush and Obama have described terrorist groups and their relation to Islam as a religion. On Wednesday Obama said terrorists have “tried to claim the mantle of Islam for an excuse,” while Bush described them as having “hijacked a great religion.”

That distinction, they say, prevents sowing dissent among Muslims and recognizes the contribution of Muslims in America and around the world to a more peaceful society. Obama explained that he wants to “make sure that we do not lump these murderers into the billion Muslims [around the world] who are peaceful, who are responsible, who in this country, are our fellow troops and police officers and firefighters and teachers and neighbors and friends.”

But others have expressed concern that by refusing to describe the actions of Al Qaeda and ISIS as “radical Islamic terrorism,” the US risks misunderstanding what's fueling terrorism and being unable to effectively combat it. Some Republicans suggest that using the term would make Americans safer.

Mr. Trump has been outspoken in calling for use of the term. At a campaign rally this spring, he told his supporters, “Unless you’re going to talk about it, you’re not going to solve [the problem].” Following the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, he suggested that Obama should resign if he was not willing to describe the attack as ‘radical Islamic terrorism.’

“I am trying to save lives and prevent the next terrorist attack,” he said in a statement. “We can’t afford to be politically correct anymore.”

The terrorism fight would probably not be more successful if it was framed as “radical Islamism,” according to Daniel Serwer, director of the Conflict Management Program at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. He told CNN that the label could alienate moderate Muslims and hinder coordination efforts.

“Anything that stands in the way of Muslims joining the fight against ISIS is not a good thing,” he added.

Though she has in the past expressed concern about the term, Hillary Clinton told CNN’s New Day in June that actions are ultimately more important than words.

“From my perspective, it matters what we do more than what we say. And it mattered we got bin Laden, not what name we called him…Whether you call it radical jihadism or radical Islamism, I’m happy to say either. I think they mean the same thing.”

Source: csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2016/0929/Why-Obama-refuses-to-say-radical-Islamic-terrorism

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What Muslims Fighting ISIS in the Middle East Say About Trump

September 29, 2016

At an outpost near the town of Tuz Khurmatu, Iraq, a dozen or so members of the Badr Organization, an Iran-backed Shiite militia fighting the Islamic State, seat themselves on the floor and begin to eat lunch. They dip bread into a meat stew poured over hot mounds of rice, then sip from cups of Kurdish ayran, a watery, yogurt-like drink swimming with white chunks.

When the men are finished, they light slim Iraqi cigarettes and smoke them over small glasses of dark, sweet tea. The subject of the upcoming 2016 United States presidential election is raised, a topic that, unsurprisingly, has sparked some interest among the Badr fighters. The Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) or Hashd al-Shaabi, an umbrella group of Iraqi Shiite militias to which the Badr Organization belongs, are ideologically opposed to the United States, which considers some of its leaders to be terrorists. But the PMF's fight against ISIS has called for a tenuous quasi-alliance with American forces providing military assistance to the Iraqi army and other enemies of the notorious terrorist group.

One round, mustachioed captain offers his thoughts on a certain former reality TV star and presidential candidate.

"I can tell from Trump's words that there is something wrong with him," he says with a chuckle. "He says he will not allow Muslims in the US, and he will bring an army to conquer Iraq. I do not think a person who says this is an appropriate candidate. It is illogical.

"If the Americans have any reason, they will not vote for Trump," the captain continues. "But if he wins and says he will come to Iraq by force—well, he can try it. The Americans left [the country] based on [diplomatic] agreements. Let Trump come without any agreements and see what will happen. We would love to welcome him to Iraq."

It's unlikely that the Badr fighters, whom I visited earlier this month, watched the first debate between Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton on Monday. Middle Eastern militiamen aren't usually that plugged into domestic American politics, and there isn't all that much time for livestreaming on the front lines of the war with ISIS.

Full report at: vice.com/read/muslims-trump-isis-kurds-al-badr-iraq-islamic-state-election-2016

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US urges India, Pakistan to exercise restraint

September 30 2016

WASHINGTON: The United States reminded India and Pakistan on Thursday that nuclear capable states do not threaten to use atomic weapons in any conflict.

The US government also categorically said that it considered the Sept 18 attack on an Indian military facility in Uri a terrorist attack.

The warning to avoid a nuclear conflict followed reports in the international media that both Indian and Pakistani governments had intensified their rhetoric and hinted at the possibility of nuclear military actions against each other.

“Nuclear-capable states have the responsibility to exercise restraint regarding nuclear weapons and missile capabilities,” a spokesperson for the US State Department told Dawn when asked to comment on these reports.

“Let’s be clear – the attack against the Uri army brigade headquarters was a terrorist attack, and we have strongly condemned it,” said the US official when responding to a series of questions from Dawn on the current situation along the Line of Control.

“We have seen the reports and are following the situation closely,” said the US official without confirming or denying if India had indeed carried out surgical strikes inside Azad Kashmir. “We urge calm and restraint on both sides. We understand that the Indian and Pakistani militaries have been in communication, and we believe continued communication is important to reduce tensions,” the official added.

While referring to cross-LoC attacks inside India-held Kashmir, the State Department official called the Uri incident a terrorist attack.

“We have repeatedly expressed our concerns regarding the danger that cross-border terrorism poses to the region, including the recent attack in Uri,” the official said.

“We continue to urge actions to combat and de-legitimise terrorist groups like Lakshar-e-Taiba, Haqqani network, and Jaish-i-Mohammed.”

The spokesperson said that US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday and reiterated his strong condemnation of the Uri attack. “He condemned terrorism in all its forms, and cautioned against escalation of tensions.”

Responding to another question on the broader issue of Kashmir, the US official said: “The pace, scope, and character of any discussions on Kashmir is for India and Pakistan to determine. We support any and all positive steps by India and Pakistan to resolve their disputes.”

Earlier in the day, the White House too called the Uri incident a cross-border attack and urged Islamabad to combat and delegitimise Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and their affiliates.

US National Security Adviser Susan E. Rice made the demand in a telephone call to her Indian counterpart Ajit Doval on Wednesday for condemning the Uri attack.

India claims Pakistan-based militants carried out the attack. Pakistan rejects the charge as baseless and claims that India stage-managed the incident to discredit a popular uprising in the Valley. Indian troops have killed more than 100 protesters, blinded hundreds and injured more than 10,000 in a brutal crackdown on Kashmiri protesters.

In her call to Mr Doval, Ambassador Rice “strongly condemned the Sept 18 cross-border attack on the Indian army brigade headquarters in Uri” and offered condolences to the victims and their families, said Ned Price, a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council.

Ambassador Rice also affirmed President Barack Obama’s commitment to redouble US efforts to bring to justice the perpetrators of terrorism throughout the world, Mr Price said.

“Highlighting the danger that cross-border terrorism poses to the region, Ambassador Rice reiterated our expectation that Pakistan take effective action to combat and delegitimise UN-designated terrorist individuals and entities, including Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, and their affiliates,” Mr Price said in a statement.

Source: dawn.com/news/1287005/us-urges-india-pakistan-to-exercise-restraint

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India

BRICS Incomplete Without Islamic Country: Goa University V-C

September 30, 2016

Panaji: Underlining the need for expansion of BRICS and opening up the doors for new members to the influential grouping, Vice-Chancellor of Goa University Prof Varun Sahni said that inter-civilisational format of the forum is incomplete without the participation of Islamic countries.

Saying that there is a need to involve at least one Islamic country in the grouping, Prof Sahni said that Indonesia being the largest democratic Islamic country should be allowed into the grouping mainly to counter China as like India, Indonesia is also wary about it.

Sahni was speaking at the lecture-cum-interactive session on ‘BRICS: Yesterday’s story or a sign of the coming times’ organised by Goa Study Group on Thursday. The lecture was chaired by Eduardo Faleiro, chairman of World Council for Peace – India and former Union minister of state for external affairs.

Calling for immediate transformation of governance structure, Sahni said BRICS in order to become genuinely revisionist force in global governance and world politics, will have to transform from preserved conglomeration of five large countries by adding new members to the grouping as it can then play a bigger role.

However, he said that the expansion is not possible before this Summit as the preparatory work should have been started 7-8 months ago.“The faster the pace of the decline of US power, the better it will be for China, Russia and Brazil. I don’t think it will benefit India much,” he informed.

BRICS consists of members from the continents of Asia, Africa and Latin America – the three continents which are different from the continents of the North America and Europe in terms of economic growth and political clout.

Addressing the gathering, Sahni said that only India is doing well among BRICS countries. Matters became worse for others in the recent years with Brazil registering two consecutive years of negative growth and Russia’s economy in total disarray with the collapse of oil prices and European sanctions. South Africa economy grew only by 1.5 per cent. China slowdown is reported to be the slowest in last 25 years.

“BRICS have enormous economic and political potential and, significantly, share a goal to change the existing world order at all levels, from instruments of the global financial and economic system to vital security issues,” he said.

As a multilateral organisation, the BRICS have had moments of success that have built on this economic strength to bring opportunity to both India and the remaining four members. One example of this is the BRICS Development Bank, which is currently headed by the former leader of India’s largest private bank. He further pointed out that India has never been and cannot be the member of the security community of the western democracy which includes countries of Atlantic alliance, Israel, Australia, Japan and South Korea. “We have not been the part of it and we were never considered because we are too large to be considered security community of US or of any other country. We are now large, strong and ever strengthening powers and we just cannot fit in any other security umbrella”, he added.

He also suggested that India has to actually bring cooperative security architecture in Asia pacific adding, “We are moving into a part of the world almost has no architecture institution at all. I argue that India has to put in capital and get American and Chinese on the table.”[

Source: goacom.com/brics-incomplete-without-islamic-country-gu-v-c/

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Meet the Muslim family offering ‘seva’ every Navratri for 15 years in Pune

September 30, 2016

Amidst widespread religious intolerance in the country, here’s an example of unity and sensibility. Every Navratri, a city-based Muslim family, as a “seva” to Goddess Durga, polishes the silver jewellery of idols at various temples, including Laxmimata Mandir at Satara Road and Mahalaxmi Mandir at Saras Baug, across the city for free.

Karim Usman Gilder, 47, who is from the fourth generation of the family, locally known as Usmanbhai Gilder and Sons, said, “Our family has been into this profession for more than 100 years. We have a shop at Ravivar Peth, Moti Chowk. Navratri brings people of all castes together. And hence, as a ‘seva’ to the Goddess Durga, we offer our services free of cost. The temple trusts pay us only for the material we use for polishing the idol’s jewellery and other items like crown, wall and chhatri (canopy), etc. We have been associated with the Pune Navratra Mahotsav for last 15 years.”

When people raise eyebrows on our initiative, “we just tell them that we do it as a seva,” said Karim. Admiring Gilder family’s gesture, Aba Bagul, the organiser of Pune Navratra Mahotsav, said, “They are setting a very good example for everyone. People of all religions should take up such noble initiatives for one another.”

The respect and regard given by the Gilders is reciprocated by the temple trustees also. “Once, we were working for Sachchaimata Mandir in Katraj during Ramzan. They had made arrangement of food items we needed to break the roza. We go wearing our traditional caps to all temples and no one has ever stopped us,” said Karim.

At all the temples where they work, the temple trustees give them a separate space on the temple premises to read namaz in-between working hours.

Source: indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/meet-the-muslim-family-offering-seva-every-navratri-for-15-years-in-pune-3057012/

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Afghanistan supports India on surgical strike and ditches “Muslim brother” Pakistan

September 30, 2016

New Delhi, September 30: The situation between India and Pakistan has reached an almost feverish level. In the middle of growing diplomatic tensions, Pakistan’s western neighbour, Afghanistan has come out in support of India. In what can only be called a big blow to Pakistan, Afghanistan not only thinks that India did the right thing in conducting cross-border surgical strikes in Pakistan against terrorists, but also that India is entitled to such an operation.

In a statement issued today, representatives from Afghanistan issued a statement saying that Afghanistan backs India’s surgical strikes. The statement further added that  if terror groups continue to operate, India has the right to defend itself. Speaking to the media, Afghanistan’s envoy to India, Shaida Abdali said, “We hope no one will allow safe havens for terrorists to be used against neighbours.” Abdali further added, “I applaud Prime Minister Modi’s boldness and seriousness to fight terrorism.” (ALSO READ: Pakistan Cabinet discusses tension with India post-surgical strikes)

Afghanistan’s ambassador Abdali also hinted at the continuation of such surgical strikes by the countries in the region if Pakistan continues to harbour terrorists. Speaking on the issue, Shaida Abdali said, “Pakistan cannot live in denial, denial has to end.If terror group exists, self-defence in the form of action we saw, will continue. “

Afganistan was one of the four countries along with India that has decided not to attend the SAARC summit. The other countries include Bangladesh and Bhutan. Afghanistan’s statement to SAARC chair Nepal was one of the fiercest in terms of accusations allayed on Pakistan. The statement read, “Due to increased level of violence and fighting as a result of imposed terrorism on Afghanistan, H.E. the President of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani with his responsibilities as the Commander in Chief will be fully engaged, and will not be able to attend the Summit.” Speaking on this Afghanistan’s envoy to India, Shaida Abdali said, “Right now the environment is not conducive to conduct SAARC summit with terrorism continuing in region.”

Abdali also expressed Afghanistan’s  solidarity with India on the issue of human rights violations in Pakistan’s largest province, Balochistan. The Afghan envoy said, “We sympathise with people of Balochistan. We hope the Baloch will have a life free of terror and live peacefully” These statements deal a big blow to Pakistan who is standing isolated more and more diplomatically both in the region and in the world. Bangladesh too has expressed solidarity with India on the issue of surgical strikes in Pakistani territory.  (ALSO READ: Border areas in Jammu Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat on alert post-surgical strikes by Indian Army )

Indian army forces had infiltrated Pakistan-occupied territory in the wee hours of Thursday and destroyed seven terror launch pads. The declaration was made by the Indian Director General of Military Operations Lt. General Ranbir Singh in a press conference on Thursday morning. The official statement reads that the operation was a pre-emptive strike against terrorists who were about to attack India. However, according to the popular  narrative, the action was to avenge the death of the 18 soldiers who were killed by Pakistani terrorists in a dastardly attack on an army base in Uri.

Source: india.com/news/india/afghanistan-supports-india-on-surgical-strike-and-ditches-muslim-brother-pakistan-1524237/

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A day after surgical strikes, Pak army opens fire on Indian posts along LoC

September 30, 2016

New Delhi: Violating the ceasefire again, Pakistani troops opened fire from small arms along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir’s Akhnoor district.

This is the fifth ceasefire violation in the month of September and the third in the past 36 hours.

“There was small arms firing (from Pakistan on forward posts) along the LoC in Pallanwala, Chapriyal and Samnam areas of Jammu district during the night,” Deputy Commissioner, Jammu, Simrandeep Singh said.

He said the firing started at 0030 hours and ended at 0130 hours. There was no loss of life or injury to anyone in the firing, he said.

on Thursday, Pakistani troops had resorted to firing in Balnoie area of Mendhar sector without any casualty.

On September 28, the Pakistan Army had violated the ceasefire by opening fire on Indian Army posts along the LoC in Sabzian area Poonch sector.

Pakistani troops had fired on Army posts along LoC in Poonch sector on September 6.

On September 2, Pakistan troops had violated the ceasefire by firing on forward Army posts along the LoC in Akhnoor sector.

Last year, 16 civilians were killed and 71 others injured in 405 incidents of cross-border firing by Pakistan, the officer said.

Source: siasat.com/news/day-surgical-strikes-pak-army-opens-fire-indian-posts-along-loc-1031546/

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India turns heat on Pakistan to release jawan taken captive

September 30, 2016

New Delhi: All attempts are being made to secure the release of an Indian soldier, who inadvertently crossed over to Pakistan, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Friday.

Singh said the government has taken note of the reports which stated that an Indian soldier is in Pakistan’s captivity.

“All attempts are being made to secure his release,” he told reporters here.

The Home Minister also said that New Delhi will take up the matter with Islamabad for his early release.

Indian Army sources had said yesterday that “one soldier from 37 RR with weapon has inadvertently crossed over to the other side of the Line of Control. Pakistan has been informed by the DGMO on the hotline.”

The sources had said that his crossing over was not related to the surgical strikes.

“Such inadvertent crossing by Army and civilians are not unusual on either side. They are returned through existing mechanisms,” they had said.

The Indian Army had yesterday rejected as “false and baseless” reports in a section of Pakistani media that eight Indian soldiers were killed and one captured by Pakistani military in retaliatory fire.

Indian Army sources said, “As regard (to the) report of killing of eight Indian Army personnel reported in sections of Pakistan media, the report is completely false and baseless.”

Army’s reaction had came after Pakistan’s Dawn News reported that Pakistani military has claimed that it has killed eight Indian soldiers and captured one while retaliating to India’s firing at the first line of defence at the Line of Control (LoC) at Tatta Pani.

India had carried out surgical strikes on seven terror launch pads across the LoC with the Army inflicting “significant casualties” on terrorists preparing to infiltrate from PoK.

Source: siasat.com/news/india-turns-heat-pakistan-release-jawan-taken-captive-1031540/

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Pakistan to inform UNSC over India’s ‘surgical strikes’

September 30, 2016

Islamabad: Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi is set to meet UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Friday to inform him about the “surgical strikes” that India carried out on terrorist launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC).

On Thursday, Lodhi met with New Zealand’s UN Ambassador Gerard van Bohemen, who is the current president of the 15-member Security Council and urged him to informally brief the body on the escalating tension along the border, Radio Pakistan reported.

Talking to the media after the meeting, Lodhi said she brought to his attention the dangerous situation that was building up in “our region as a result of Indian provocation”.

She said, “our call to the international community is to avert a crisis before there is one.”

Lodhi said Pakistan was “showing maximum restraint but there were limits to our restraint if India continues with provocations.”

An unspecified number of terrorists and Pakistani troops were killed in the late Wednesday operation across Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara and Poonch sectors as the army moved Special Forces into Pakistan-held Kashmir.

Pakistan, however, insisted that no “surgical strike” took place and that there were only firing and artillery shelling between the two armies across the LoC that killed two of its soldiers and left some others wounded. Pakistan threatened to repel any Indian attack.

Pakistani media said one Indian soldier, identified as Chandu Babulal Chohan, 22, from Maharashtra, had been captured and eight others had been killed.

Source: siasat.com/news/pakistan-inform-unsc-indias-surgical-strikes-1031312/

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Muslims back action against Pakistan at government-hosted panchayat

Mohua Chatterjee

Sep 30, 2016

MEWAT (HARYANA): On a day when Indian Army conducted a military strike in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) in retaliation to the terror attack in Uri, minority affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi launched "Progress Panchayat," the government's Muslim outreach programme for development and empowerment of the minority community, from the Mewat region of Haryana which has a large Muslim population. He called out to the community to support Prime Minister Narendra Modi's offensive against Pakistan as it was a reply to the terror attack in Uri and other such attacks from across the border.

"Prime Minister Modi works 24 hours for development and security of the people of this country. When there is any threat to our security he stands shoulder to shoulder with every countryman in defence. Do you feel there should be befitting reply to those forces that are against the lives in a nation of 1.25 billion Hindu and Muslim people. If you do raise your hands to show you stand with PM Modi." And, the crowds raised their hands in assertion, cheering for Modi.

Seeking to "remove any misconceptions" among Muslims at the first 'Progress Panchayat' Naqvi hit out at "so- called political champions of secularism" who he said are only engaged in exploitation of minorities.

The launch of the outreach programme from this Muslim- dominated area comes days after Modi said that Muslims should be treated as "own" and should be empowered. "We have come to hold dialogue with people as per Modiji's instructions. Earlier the outreach was limited to electioneering but ministers will reach out to people even after elections and this is the prime example," Naqvi said.

"Our steadfast concern remains development and we will not deviate from that agenda," the Union minister said.

He said the objective of the 'Progress Panchayat' was not political but to reach out to the minority community and apprise them of the development initiatives taken by the government.

Naqvi assured the crowds that the NDA government was against votebank politics and was only committed to empower and provide equal opportunities.

Union Minister and local MP Krishan Pal Gurjar was also present at the event.

Another Progress Panchayat was held in Palwal which was attended by local MP and Union Minister Rao Inderjit Singh.

Both the districts where the programme was held have a sizable Muslim population. Mewat had witnessed tension following the murder of a couple and gangrape of two members of the family allegedly by a cow protection group last month.

Sarpanchs of nearby villages raised the issue of brackish water, education and power.

Naqvi will take part in a similar programme at Tijara in Rajasthan's Alwar district on October 3 and is expected to attend a total of 100 such panchayats across the country in areas which have a significant presence of minorities.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Govt-launches-Progress-Panchayat-to-reach-out-to-minorities/articleshow/54592353.cms?

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Jains excels while Muslims lag Behind in Higher Education

September 30 2016

New Delhi September 30 (ENA) The first decade of 21st century in India has witnessed substantial improvement in the field of education in general and higher education in particular. However, if one looks at the performance of 25-59 age group population with regard to education levels and religion, the disparities among different religious groups become evident.

While during the first decade of 21st century the Jain population in the 25-59 age group has made incredible advancement in the field of higher education, Muslims have lagged behind other religious groups.

As the above tables show from 2001 to 2011 all the religious groups have witnessed increase in the proportion of 25-59 age group population having higher education. However, the performance of Jains stand out.

Although even in 2001 with 32.1% of the population having higher education, the Jain community was way ahead of other religious communities, during 2001 to 2011 it has witnessed the highest growth. During 2001-11 the proportion of Jain population in the 25-59 age group having higher education increased by around 10 percentage points to reach 41.3%.

After Jains it is the Christian community that has witnessed the highest growth of higher educated population among the 25-59 age group Christian population during 2001-2011.

In 2001 apart from Christians and Jains all other religious communities had a proportion of less than 10%. However, by 2011 these communities, except the Muslims and the other religious communities, were able to enter the two digit proportion with regard to 25-59 age group population having higher education.

The matter of concern with regard to the above phenomenon is the fact that Muslim community is not only behind other religious groups, but also the fact that the gap between Muslims and others has increased overtime. While the proportion of 25-59 age group Muslims having higher education was 4 percentage points lower than the overall average in 2001, the gap reached 5 percentage points in 2011.

Muslims account for about 15% of the total Indian population representing the second largest religious group in the country after Hindus. Despite this there performance with regard to education has been dismal. The poor condition of education among Muslims that was highlighted by the Sachar Commission in its report still exists.

Source: enaindia.in/news/newsdetails/knowledge-resource/research-papers/jains-excels-while-muslims-lag-behind-in-higher-education

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South Asia

Bangladeshi leader's son snatched from home as state crackdown on Jamaat-e-Islami gathers pace

September 30, 2016     

Syeda Afifa Azam was at home with her son, Amaan Azmi, on 22 August when 30 officers of the Bangladeshi Detective Branch stormed her house in Moghbazar, Dhaka. Syeda, 83, lost her husband Ghulam Azam in 2014 and now had to watch her son being dragged into a van and driven away. Amaan has not been seen since.

The Azam family are well known in Bangladesh. Ghulam, who died two years ago in prison, was serving a 90 year sentence for war crimes allegedly carried out by militias linked to his party, Jamaat-e-Islami, during Bangladesh's war for independence in 1971. Ghulam's family have always claimed that his conviction was politically motivated.

Five of Ghulam's sons now live in the UK and cannot return to Bangladesh since Jamaat-e-Islami was banned in 2013. Amaan was the only son able to live in Bangladesh, and had been taking care of his ageing mother on behalf of the family when he was seized by the authorities.

A month later, the family still have no information on why Amaan was taken or where he is being held.

"If they could produce him in court at least we would know he was alive. But still we fear the worst. They still won't acknowledge that they took him," Salman al-Azami, Amaan's brother, told IBTimesUK.

Salman said that when the police raided the house a month ago they cordoned off the street and beat the family's caretaker unconscious. When the officers entered the house they threatened to shoot a maid and then dragged Amaan from the house in front of his two children, who are two-and-a-half and one year old. Salman said that the police confiscated CCTV footage of what happened.

The incident is the third time in as many months that the sons of prominent leaders of either Jamaat-e-Islami or the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) have been arrested. In August, Hummam Quader Chowdhury, 33, and Mir Ahmed Bin Quasem, 32, were both detained.

Chowdhury is the son of the late Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, a BNP leader who was executed in 2015. Mir Quasem Ali, Mir Ahmed Bin Quasem's father, was a jailed Jamaat-e-Islami leader who was hanged on 4 September, 2016.

Between 1991 and 1996 and 2001 and 2006 Jamaat-e-Islami formed a coalition government with the ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) but in 2008 the rival Awami League took power. Almost immediately, the government set up an international tribunal to investigate alleged war crimes carried out during the 1971 conflict between the Pakistani army and Bangladeshi separatists.

Jamaat-e-Islami had long been accused of colluding with Pakistan and in 2012, nine leading figures in the party – including Ghulam Azam – were indicted. Ghulam was originally sentenced to death but the court converted it to life imprisonment. On 1 August 2013, Bangladesh's Supreme Court declared the registration of Jamaat-e-Islami illegal, meaning it could not content the 2014 elections. Ghulam died of a heart attack in 2014 at 91.

The arrests of Amaan and the other two sons of prominent BNP or Jamaat-e-Islami leaders have come as part of a government crackdown that followed the 1 July attack on the Holey Cafe in Dhaka, which left 28 people dead. But Human Rights Watch Bangladesh specialist Tej Thapa told IBTimes UK that all three were "illegal detentions".

"These arrests appear to be driven by government crackdown against persons suspected to be behind the attack on the Holey Café on 1 July. However, the government has neither provided evidence, nor charges, let alone admit that these three men – all of whom are sons of men who were convicted and hanged in flawed proceedings by the war crimes tribunals – are in their custody," she said.

"This is the worst nightmare any family can have."

Salman insists that his brother was not involved in Jamaat-e-Islami and stressed his three decades in the national army, during which time he rose to the rank of brigadier-general and served as a peacekeeper with the United Nations. In 2009, a year after the Awami government came to power, Amaan was dismissed from the military and, Salman claimed, denied the pension and benefits typically granted to veterans in Bangladesh.

Mir Quasem Ali

Bangladeshi Jamaat-e-Islami party leader, Mir Quasem Ali, waves as he enters a van at the International Crimes Tribunal court in Dhaka on 2 November 2014STRINGER/AFP/Getty Image

"The only thing my brother did was he was active on Facebook, giving his views as a citizen. He was not a member of Jamaat-e-Islami, let alone being a leader. None of us are active in politics. We have close links with the people because my father was leader of the party. He was looking after my mother. He never broke any law." he said.

Jamaat-e-Islami is a democratic party.

Salman compares the government treatment of Jamaat-e-Islami in Bangladesh with that of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. In both countries, the state has used the radical Muslim terrorism of Islamic State (Isis) as an excuse to crack down on Islamist parties.

"Jamaat-e-Islami is a democratic party. The ideology is Islam but it says that it wants to establish Islam through elections. They never took up arms. There are terrorist elements, IS sympathisers [and] fanatics in Bangladesh and because Jamaat-e-Islami is Islamic party, they are trying to blame everything on them. But they have no evidence of any Jamaat-e-Islami leader at any time giving any statement that goes even 1% to supporting terrorism," he said.

But such concerns are remote for Salman, his brothers and his mother, who have repeatedly asked the Bangladeshi authorities to reveal where their brother is being held and on what charge. IBTimes UK approached the Bangladesh High Commission in London for comment on Amaan's case, but received no response.

"We can't go and look after our mother because we are not allowed to. My mother, at her age, does not know whether her son is alive or dead. This is the worst nightmare any family can have," Salman said.

Source: ibtimes.co.uk/bangladeshi-leaders-son-snatched-home-state-crackdown-jamaat-e-islami-gathers-pace-1584006

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US drone strike killed 15 civilians in East of Afghanistan: UNAMA

Thu Sep 29 2016

At least 15 civilians were killed in an airstrike conducted by the US forces in eastern Nangarhar province in a raid which was apparently aimed at eliminating the loyalists of the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS) terrorist group.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) confirmed that the civilians suffered casualties in the airstrike on ISIS loyalists in Achin district of Nangarhar on Wednesday.

“In the early morning of 28 September, an international military forces unmanned aerial vehicle conducted an airstrike, reportedly targeting members of ISIL/Daesh, that struck a civilian home killing the 15 civilians,” UNAMA said in a statement.

condemning the civilian casualties in the attack, the UN mission said at least 1 civilian men were killed and 13 others were wounded in the raid.

“The civilians had gathered in a village to celebrate the return of a tribal elder from the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca and were reportedly sleeping in a guesthouse of the elder when the airstrike occurred. Civilian victims of the strike included students and a teacher, as well as members of families considered to be pro-Government. Government sources report that ISIL/Daesh personnel also died in the attack,” the statement said.

UNAMA further added that United States Force-Afghanistan acknowledged conducting the airstrike through a statement released on 28th September but refrained from elaborating further while they “are still reviewing all materials related to the strike.”

“UNAMA reiterates the need for all parties to the conflict to adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian law,” the statement added.

Source: khaama.com/us-drone-strike-killed-15-civilians-in-east-of-afghanistan-unama-01975

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Taliban bomb leave 10 Afghan civilians dead in Badghis province

Fri Sep 30 2016

At least 10 Afghan civilians were killed in an explosion in the northwestern Badghis province of Afghanistan, local officials said Friday.

Provincial governor’s spokesman Khalid Safi said the incident took place late on Thrusday in Qads district after a civilian vehicle struck an Improvised Explosive device (IED).

He said the vehicle carrying civilians was on its way from Langar area to the outskirts of the district when it struck an IED planted by the Taliban militants.

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

Taliban insurgents and militants belonging to the other insurgent groups frequently use Improvised Explosive Device (IED) as the weapon of their choice to target the security forces but the ordinary civilians are often targeted in such attacks.

IEDs are considered as the main motive behind the growing casualties of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) besides contributing largely to civilian casualties.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in its latest report said the anti-government elements remain responsible for 60 percent of the civilian casualties with ground engagements continuing to cause the highest number of civilian casualties, followed by complex and suicide attacks and improved explosive devices (IEDs).

http://www.khaama.com/taliban-bomb-leave-10-afghan-civilians-dead-in-badghis-province-01978

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Pakistan welcomes peace deal between Afghan govt, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar

Fri Sep 30 2016

Pakistani has welcomed the conclusion of a formal peace agreement between the Afghan government and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the leader of Hezb-e-Islami Afghanistan.

“Pakistan has consistently emphasized that there is no military solution of the conflict in Afghanistan.Politically negotiated settlement through an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process is the most viable option for bringing lasting peace and stability to Afghanistan,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan said in a statement.

The statement further added that the successful conclusion of the peace deal between the Afghan Government and Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan is, therefore, encouraging.

“It is our earnest hope that this peace agreement provides an opportunity for similar agreements between Afghan government and other Afghan insurgent groups for achieving durable peace in Afghanistan,” the statement said.

Hekmatyar formally signed the draft peace agreement concluded between Hezb-e-Islami and Afghanistan High Peace Council last Thursday.

The agreement was then signed by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani during a ceremony organized in ARG Presidential Palace yesterday which was attended by several high level government officials and political figures.

Source: khaama.com/pakistan-welcomes-peace-deal-between-afghan-govt-gulbuddin-hekmatyar-01977

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US says $3 billion a year in Afghan aid expected at Brussels conference

Fri Sep 30 2016

The United States expects the upcoming international conference will bring pledges of over $3 billion a year to Afghanistan for development support.

The US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Olson made the remarks ahead of the conference which is expected to kick of next week in Brussels.

He was speaking at a forum on 29th September in Washington and said the U.S. government would seek through Congress to maintain U.S. assistance to Afghanistan “at, or near” current levels during the next four years.

“We expect strong pledges of renewed support to be announced next week, collectively totaling over $3 billion a year in development support through 2020,” he said.

Olson further added that the aid would be dependent on Afghan progress in implementing reforms including countering corruption.

He said he expects the Afghan government to announce “ambitious” medium-term plans to wean itself of donor support and stimulate economic growth.

The conference in Brussels will be hosted by the European Union and Afghanistan on 4th and 5th of October and some 70 countries and 30 international organizations and agencies will participate.

Source: khaama.com/us-says-3-billion-a-year-in-afghan-aid-expected-at-brussels-conference-01976

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Europe

The awe-inspiring untold story of the first Muslim to win a VC who prevented a German break-through at Ypres by repelling wave after wave of enemy soldiers

SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

Ferocious fighting was raging all along the front line, with each side trying to gain territorial advantage.

It was late October 1914 during the First Battle of Ypres in western Belgium and the Germans had been bombarding the Allies for days in a frantic attempt to break through and take the vital Channel ports of Boulogne and Nieuwpoort, which were supplying the British and Empire troops. If they succeeded, the Allies' war would be over.

Bodies were piled high in the soggy, shallow British trenches that had been hastily scraped out in the rain. The smell of death filled the air.

The Germans, unleashing an onslaught of unprecedented ferocity, had just repulsed the advancing British 2nd Cavalry Division in the Hollebeke sector of the ancient city of Ypres. They were now driving the British back, and Allied lines — pushed out in a defensive bulge or 'salient' from Ypres — were dangerously stretched.

Too many Allied men had been lost and those still fighting were exhausted and ill-equipped, with misfiring weapons. As one officer remarked, 'the line that stood between the British Empire and ruin was composed of tired, haggard and unshaven men, unwashed, plastered with mud, many in little more than rags'. It seemed inevitable the Germans would push through.

During the battle, 164 Baluchis were killed or wounded, and 64 others were missing in action. A further three British officers were killed and three more wounded, while three Indian officers were killed and two wounded.

Full report at: dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3814838/the-awe-inspiring-untold-story-Muslim-VC-saved-British-Ypres.html

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Socialists and Democrats Call On EU To Connect With Muslim Communities

SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

Young Muslims and other minority groups should be encouraged to engage in European politics and work in the EU institutions, according to the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) Group in the European Parliament.

S&D held a conference on September 29 to promote Muslim success stories in Europe. The event was hosted by S&D MEP and Special Representative for Muslim Communities, Afzal Khan.

“I am often struck by the real lack of understanding of Islam and Muslims among colleagues in Brussels and also in the UK,” said Khan. “This partly stems from a lack of Muslims and other people from minority backgrounds working in politics both in the UK and in Brussels. We need to find ways to encourage more to apply for positions and reach out to groups who are underrepresented.”

According to Khan, the conference was organised to provide a counter-narrative to the growing environment of mistrust and bigotry towards Europe’s 25 million Muslims.

“We have so many events in the Parliament focused on Islamic terrorism or radicalisation, we wanted to highlight how Muslim individuals and communities are contributing to Europe and making it a better place to live,” he said.

“The narrative of Muslims as outsiders is not only incorrect. It plays into the hands of extremist groups. As the Daesh [Islamic State] narrative grows, so does the far-right in Europe, each using fear to advance their own agendas.”

Khan also said the 25 million Muslims in Europe bring a rich heritage of civic responsibility, justice, generosity, family life, and faith in God.

“I hope that today’s event by presenting just a handful of the millions of successful Muslims: doctors and entrepreneurs, artists and activists, will help give a more positive image of Muslims in Europe. They deserve the media attention that is so often reserved only for the fundamentalists.”

Source: neweurope.eu/article/sahrawi-women-address-eu-parliament/

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FBI Director Comey Said ISIS Fighters Welcome Back From Syria in 2014, Now Warns of 'Terrorist Diaspora'

SEPTEMBER 29, 2016

Earlier this week FBI Director James Comey told the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs about a looming "terrorist diaspora" that would come from the eventual defeat of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and yet in October 2014 he told 60 Minutes that any American with a passport who fought with the Islamic State was welcome to return to the U.S.

Testifying on Tuesday in the wake of the NY-NJ bombings by Ahmad Rahami just over a week ago, Director Comey issued this ominous warning:

The number of Americans traveling to Syria to fight alongside the Islamic State group has slowed to a trickle in the last year, but as the so-called caliphate is "crushed," many militants from Western nations who are already there will stream out of the region and create new security threats.

"There will be a terrorist diaspora sometime in the next two to five years like we've never seen before," Comey said.

This is identical to his warning in late July, when he told a cybersecurity conference about the "terrorist diaspora" threat:

At some point, there is going to be a terrorist diaspora out of Syria like we’ve never seen before. Not all of the Islamic State's killers are going to die on the battlefield. Hundreds and hundreds of them, when the coalition succeeds and I'm confident they will in crushing the Islamic State--through the fingers of the crush--are going to come hundreds of really dangerous people and they're going to flow out primarily towards Western Europe, but we might as well be right next door to Western Europe given the ease with which people can travel.

And this is an order of magnitude greater than any diaspora we've seen before. A lot of terrorists fled out of Afghanistan in the late 1980s and the early 1990s. This is 10 times that or more.

But in an interview with 60 Minutes' Scott Pelley in October 2014, Comey said that any American with a passport who had fought with the Islamic State (and presumably with any other designated terrorist organization operating in Syria) was welcome to return:

Pelly: How many Americans are fighting in Syria on the side of the terrorists?

Comey: In the area of a dozen or so.

Pelley: Do you know who they are?

Comey: Yes.

Pelley: Each and every one of them?

Comey: I think of that, dozen or so, I do. I hesitate only because I don't know what I don't know.

Pelley: With American passports, how do you keep them from coming home and attacking the homeland?

Comey: Ultimately, an American citizen, unless their passport's revoked, is entitled to come back. So, someone who's fought with ISIL, with American passport wants to come back, we will track them very carefully.

As I noted here at PJ Media in April 2015 -- six months after Comey's 60 Minutes interview and after the 2014 mid-term elections -- the number of Americans who had traveled to Syria had risen from "a dozen" to 180 individuals.

Remarkably, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in March 2015 that forty of those individuals had already returned.

A report exactly a year ago today stated that the number of Americans who had gone to Syria and Iraq had risen to 250.

How many of those had returned to the U.S. is not clear, but a February 2016 report by the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security on Muslim Americans involved in violent extremism stated that only five individuals who had fought in Syria and Iraq had been charged.

But nearly a year earlier Clapper was saying that forty had already returned.

Source: pjmedia.com/homeland-security/2016/09/29/fbi-director-comey-warns-of-coming-isis-terrorist-diaspora-he-publicly-welcomed-back-in-2014/

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Southeast Asia

Court rules Islamic body has no rights over non-Muslims

September 30, 2016

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal ruled today that the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Council (MAIWP) cannot intervene in a Sabah church’s lawsuit as it has no rights over non-Muslims.

However, in allowing the Sidang Injil Borneo’s (SIB) appeal to set aside a lower court’s order on its judicial review on seizure of certain religious books, the Court of Appeal said MAIWP could act as amicus curiae ( friend of the court) in SIB’s court proceedings.

The panel, led by Justice Hamid Sultan Abu Backer, unanimously found that MAIWP had failed to show that it had a direct interest in the judicial review bid.

Other judges on the panel were Justices Zamani A Rahim and Zaleha Yusof.

Noting that the Attorney-General’s Chambers was already representing the Home Ministry and the Federal Government, which are being sued by SIB, Justice Hamid Sultan said the most important person in public interest litigation was the AG.

And since the AG was duly represented and vigilant, it was enough to protect the public interest, under the watchful eyes of judges who had taken the constitutional oath to defend and protect the Constitution.

“MAIWP has no rights over and owes no liabilities to the appellant or non-Muslims,” Justice Hamid Sultan said.

No order was made to cost.

Haniff Khatri Abdulla and Ilyani Noor Khuszainy represented MAIWP.

Lim Heng Seng and Bobby Chew were the church’s lawyers.

The High Court ruled on Feb 23 that MAIWP had a direct interest in the constitutional rights that SIB was seeking by way of reliefs.

SIB and its president Rev Jerry Dusing filed the judicial review on Dec 10, 2007, after three boxes of Malay-language Christian educational books that contained the word “Allah”, and that had been imported from Indonesia, were seized by the Customs Department at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal in Sepang in August 2007. The books were returned to SIB in January 2008.

The Church is also seeking a declaration that it has the constitutional right to use the word “Allah” in religious publications and purposes.

The church obtained leave in October 2014 for its judicial review application to be heard.

However, the Kuala Lumpur High Court stayed proceedings until the disposal of today’s appeal. Case management is scheduled for October 10.

Source: freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2016/09/30/court-rules-islamic-body-has-no-right-over-non-muslims/

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Malaysia's stock exchange halts trade after bomb threat

September 30, 2016

The Malaysian Stock Exchange in Kuala Lumpur on Friday halted operations after the building was evacuated following a bomb threat.

A team of bomb squad experts inspected the building as the exchange personnel waited outside for over two hours, during which time trading was halted, Efe news reported.

Police had cordoned off the area and blocked adjacent roads during the inspection, although they were yet to disclose if any explosive was found or if it was just a hoax.

Malaysia has witnessed a rise in Muslim radicalism through groups that sympathise with terrorist organisations like the Islamic State.

Since February 2013, Malaysia has arrested over 220 alleged jihadists while 132 of its nationals are or were fighting in the IS ranks in Iraq and Syria.

Source: business-standard.com/article/international/malaysia-s-stock-exchange-halts-trade-after-bomb-threat-116093000522_1.html

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Will Duterte's offensive against Islamist militants in the Philippines backfire?

30 September 2016

At dusk, the blue-grey peaks of Basilan look serene, rising out of the tranquil sea that separates them from the Philippine city of Zamboanga on the southernmost tip of the large main island of Mindanao.

But the peaceful scene is a mirage. In reality, Basilan and the remote islands of Sulu, further south but still part of the Mindanao group, are home to Abu Sayyaf.

The Islamist militant group has been active since 1991 and had early ties to al-Qaeda. More recently, Abu Sayyaf members have pledged allegiance to so-called Islamic State. But mostly, the group is feared for its beheadings and frequent kidnap for ransom operations, which occur mainly in the maritime junction between the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Rodrigo Duterte, the recently elected strongman president of the Philippines, has ordered the army to “destroy” Abu Sayyaf. During a 17 September speech to soldiers, he said the group is “hungry to establish a caliphate”.

The first three months of Duterte’s presidency have been characterised by a toxic mix of blood and bluster. In his latest gaffe, responding to criticisms of his war on drugs, which has seen more than 3,000 people killed by police and vigilantes, he likened himself to Hitler and said he’d be happy to “slaughter” three million drug addicts.

Some of Duterte’s remarks about the ramped-up war against Abu Sayyaf have been similarly off-colour. In an angry outburst during a recent regional summit in Laos, Duterte warned Abu Sayyaf: “I will open your body – just pass me the vinegar and salt and I will eat you.”

Strong words have been followed by strong actions: 10,000 troops were deployed to Sulu and Basilan along with the country’s newest and biggest warship, the BRP Tarlac.

But will the new offensive succeed in defeating Abu Sayyaf or might it actually help foster more militancy?

Critics accuse the campaign, which has largely consisted of shelling Abu Sayyaf locations, of having limited impact on militants, who flee into the jungle, whilst displacing tens of thousands of civilians.

Basilan island looms in the distance from the seawall in Zamboanga

If the military continues to use such tactics, it could actually drive young men to join the group, said Sheikh Loderson Gustham, a religious leader from Sulu.

“Most of the people in the province work in either fishing or agriculture,” he said in an interview in Zamboanga. “People are not being allowed back onto their land, because military operations are there.

“It will even contribute to the violence, because if people are without jobs and Abu Sayyaf has its own money, they can just recruit,” said Gustham.

Full report at: irinnews.org/news/2016/09/30/will-dutertes-offensive-against-islamist-militants-philippines-backfire

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Indonesia, Philippines monitoring return of Indonesians from haj

Fri, September 30 2016

Indonesia and the Philippines continue to monitor the return of Indonesians who have been accused of illegally going on the haj through Manila by using quota spots left over in the latter country, an Indonesian official has said.

"The legal processes in Indonesia and the Philippines have already begun after dozens of Indonesians were detected," the Foreign Ministry's director for the protection of Indonesian nationals and entities abroad, Lalu Muhammad Iqbal, told reporters on Thursday.

Iqbal said the Philippines is entirely responsible for the identification of any illegal haj pilgrims. Undetected pilgrims would subsequently not be processed by Indonesia, he added.

A special team from Jakarta has been stationed in Manila to ensure identified pilgrims would have access to proper treatment and legal assistance.

The majority of the Indonesians who allegedly had previously passed through immigration on their way to Mecca are largely those who are familiar to the Filipino language and culture, Iqbal revealed, saying that this had allowed them to go undetected since they blended in.

They include citizens who resided in areas near the Philippines, such as Sabah in Malaysia and Sebatik in North Kalimantan.

Following discussions with the Philippines, Iqbal said it was estimated that around 700 of them were Indonesians who had posed as Filipino pilgrims. The remaining number are alleged to have been pilgrims from Malaysia and Singapore, both of which also have long waiting lines created by quota limitations.

Source: thejakartapost.com/news/2016/09/30/indonesia-philippines-monitoring-return-of-indonesians-from-haj.html

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Africa

Algerian troops kill five takfiri militants: DM

September 29, 2016

Algerian troops killed five armed militants and seized weapons, munitions and food supplies on Thursday in an ongoing operation east of Algiers, the defense ministry said.

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Algerian troops killed five armed takfiri militants and seized weapons, munitions and food supplies on Thursday in an ongoing operation east of Algiers, the defense ministry said.

The five were killed during an army sweep of the forests of Tazoult in the Batna province, about 430 km (268 miles) from Algiers, the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry has said the army had killed 50 armed radical Islamists in the first half of this year.

Violence has declined in Algeria since the end of its 1990s war with radical Islamist militants that killed 200,000 people. But Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and small bands of fighters allied to ISIS have been active in some remote areas.

Source: en.abna24.com/service/africa/archive/2016/09/29/782290/story.html

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Thousands of Nigerian children doomed by Boko Haram to starve to death

September 30, 2016

LAGOS // As many as 75,000 children will die over the next year in famine-like conditions created by Boko Haram — far more than the 20,000 people killed in the seven-year Islamic uprising.

The United Nations Children’s Fund says the severity of malnutrition levels and high number of children facing death make the humanitarian crisis confronting northeastern Nigeria perhaps the worst in the world. But donors are notresponding to appeals for help.

Most severely malnourished children die of secondary illnesses like diarrhoea and respiratory infections. "But with famine, you actually die of hunger, "said Arjan de Wagt, nutrition chief for Unicef in Nigeria.

Severe malnutrition is being found in 20, 30 and even 50 per cent of children in pockets of the region.

"Globally, you just don’t see this. You have to go back to places like Somalia five years ago to see these kinds of levels," said Mr de Wagt said. Nearly 260,000 people died in Somalia between 2010 and 2012 from severe drought aggravated by war. At the time, the United Nations said aid needed to be provided more quickly.

Unicef on Thursday doubled the amount of its appeal for Nigeria, saying $115 million is needed to save children whose "lives are literally hanging by a thread." But only $24 million has been raised so far. The lack of funds has meant about 750,000 people living in accessible areas received no help this year, said Unicef spokeswoman Doune Porter.

Most of the estimated 2.6 million people who fled Boko Haram’s insurgency are subsistence farmers who have been unable to plant for two years or more.

Several thousand people returned this month from refugee camps to towns being secured by Nigeria’s military, but with the rainy season now drawing to a close, it is too late to plant new crops. Meanwhile, Boko Haram still attacks outside urban areas.

Four million people are in desperate need of food and of those, about 2.2 million people trapped in areas where Boko Haram is operating or in newly liberated areas that are still too dangerous to reach by road, said Mr de Wagt said. Among them, 65,000 are living in famine-like conditions.

According to the aid group Doctors Without Borders (MSF), the crisis has reached "catastrophic levels" for people who have sought refuge in towns controlled by the military but who are "entirely reliant on outside aid that does not reach them." the highest levels of starving children are in camps in Maiduguri, the northeastern city free of conflict where aid workers have been active for two years. "The mortality rate is five times higher than what is considered an emergency, with the main cause being hunger," said an MSF statement.

There have been recent allegations by displaced people and aid workers that food aid is being stolen in Maiduguri. Responsibility for ensuring aid is delivered falls to the Nigerian authorities but MSF described the overall aid response as "massively insufficient, uncoordinated and ill-adapted." But Muhammad Kanar, the area coordinator for Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency, denied there were any cases of malnutrition in Maiduguri. Some officials from his agency, which manages the camps, are among several accused of stealing food aid.

Christina Corbett of the aid group Oxfam said, "Many families are only able to eat once every few days and usually only watered-down porridge. They are going to bed hungry and waking up with no way to change that."

Unicef restricted its work in the region after Boko Haram fighters attacked a humanitarian convoy in July, wounding a Unicef worker and others when a rocket hit an armoured car. The attack happened despite the convoy having a military escort.

But Mr de Wagt said the agency continues to deliver some therapeutic food by helicopter and to train local health workers to treat malnourished children living in dangerous areas.

Source: thenational.ae/world/africa/thousands-of-nigerian-children-doomed-by-boko-haram-to-starve-to-death

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Mideast

Probe launched into imam who closed down mosque in Turkey’s Black Sea to take holiday

30/09/2016

Religious authorities have launched an investigation into an imam who closed down a mosque in the Safranbolu district of the Black Sea province of Karabük to take his annual leave, Doğan News Agency has reported.

The news of the mosque’s closure emerged during Karabük Gov. Mehmet Aktaş’s visit to the district on Sept. 28 to make inspections at TOKİ buildings and a 150-year-old historic mansion that was burnt down on Sept. 26.

During his inspections in the Kalealtı area, Aktaş spotted imam Cemil Başak’s note on the door of Eski Camii (Old Mosque), expressing his anger. He immediately ordered his bodyguards to remove it.

Aktaş said he would personally follow the developments in the issue.

“Can such a thing ever happen? Can Allah’s home be kept closed? Call the mufti; he will perform prayers himself until the imam comes. I will follow the issue personally,” he said.

Meanwhile, Safranbolu District Mufti Halil Bektaş said an investigation had been launched into Başak, assigning another imam to the mosque until he returns from his annual leave.

“None of our mosques can be kept closed to prayers. An assignment has definitely been made in replacing the personnel who is taking leave. It has been revealed that there is a mistake here. The imam acted completely individually. No mosque personnel has the right to say ‘I am closing down the mosque since I am taking leave.’ We are still investigating where the mistake occurred and what kind of negativity it created,” Bektaş said.

Necessary proceedings will be brought against Başak following the result of the investigation, he said, adding that it would also reveal how long the mosque had been closed down to prayers.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/probe-launched-into-imam-who-closed-down-mosque-in-turkeys-black-sea-to-take-holiday-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104433&NewsCatID=341

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Turkey proposes using Arabs in SDF and FSA for Raqqa and Manbij

30/09/2016

Turkey has proposed using a collaboration of Arab elements from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Free Syrian Army (FSA) in an offensive on Raqqa and the administration of the Manbij region in Syria, a formula which would exclude the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

“The Arab elements of the SDF should learn to cooperate with the Free Syrian Army. We want the Arab elements of the SDF and the FSA to establish a joint administration in Manbij. These Arabs should act together in a military offensive towards Raqqa, too,” a senior Turkish official told Hürriyet Daily News.

The official said the U.S. did not object to the proposal, but stressed the outcome of the practice should be seen on the ground. “Disintegration” within the SDF was inevitable, since Arab elements approached the group out of “desperation,” the official said. “They go towards where they feel secure, comfortable, where they can meet their needs. If they achieve these with the FSA, they will work with them,” the official added.

Meanwhile, the Mosul and Raqqa offensives were on the agenda of talks with of U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken in Ankara on Sept. 28.

Ankara once more told Blinken it would not be part of the operation if YPG forces took part in the offensive. Ankara told the U.S. official that Raqqa was an Arab town and an offensive with 8000 Kurdish fighters into the town carried the risk of inflaming an ethnic fight, according to the official.

Turkey and FSA work to establish hold force before al-Bab operation

As part of the visit by the U.S. delegation chaired by Blinken to Ankara, the official said the first “military-to-military” talks regarding planned military operations on Syria’s Raqqa and Iraq’s Mosul against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) were launched. Turkey had not ruled out providing aerial or land support for the Raqqa offensive, the official said, adding both Turkey and the U.S. would continue to exchange views for further coordination.

The official noted they would not “hurry up” Operation Euphrates Shield’s military action in the Syrian city of al-Bab, an ISIL stronghold 40 kilometers south of the Turkish border, adding the FSA was working to establish a hold force in areas cleared of ISIL in the region.

“The Euphrates Shield operation will continue as long as needed,” the official said. When reminded of remarks by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu that the military intervention in Syria could continue for “seven or eight years,” the official said, “It will continue for as long as needed.”

Turkey awaits operation plans for Mosul

Operation plans for Mosul have not been drawn up, according to the Turkish official, who noted that Ankara would take a position on its military contribution to the upcoming Mosul offensive after those plans became clear.

In talks with the U.S., Turkey underlined that the “proper composition of Iraqi forces” during a military action on Mosul was needed to not incise the current sectorial problems in Iraq. Ankara and Washington will continue to discuss “establishing a hold force in Mosul,” the official noted.

Turkey would also watch “its local partners’ interests” during a Mosul offensive, added the Turkish official. 

Iran wants truce for Shia villages in Syria

During an unscheduled visit by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to Ankara on Sept. 28, a cease-fire to deliver humanitarian aid was discussed. Iran wants a cease-fire for the delivery of humanitarian aid in Syria “since there are Shia villages that are besieged,” the official said, adding that Tehran c

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-proposes-using-arabs-in-sdf-and-fsa-for-raqqa-and-manbij-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104429&NewsCatID=352

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Denmark ‘impressed’ by Turkey’s anti-coup stance

30/09/2016

Denmark has voiced support for Turkey’s “counter-terrorism efforts” and its people’s role in suppressing the deadly July 15 failed coup.

“I was impressed by the stance of the Turkish people against the coup attempt. They really took a strong stance. They protected their democracy, parliament and government,” Danish Foreign Minister Kristian Jensen said in a press conference with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, in Ankara on Sept. 29.

Jensen also expressed support for Turkey’s fight against any kind of terrorism, adding that Denmark would also “continue to combat all terror groups wherever or whoever they are.”     

A total of 241 people were killed and nearly 2,200 others were injured during the failed coup attempt, believed to have been masterminded by the followers of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.

Turkey declared a three-month-long state of emergency after the failed seizure of government.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/denmark-impressed-by-turkeys-anti-coup-stance-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104432&NewsCatID=351

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Erdoğan’s remarks on treaty that formed modern Turkey irk opposition

30/09/2016

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s suggestion that the Treaty of Lausanne, which largely gave Turkey its present borders instead of the rump state envisioned in the Treaty of Sèvres, was “presented as a victory” has drawn an angry reaction from the Republican People’s Party (CHP).

Pointing to the historic significance of the treaty, CHPAnkara deputy Gülsün Bilgehan said Lausanne was the title deed of the Turkish Republic.

“Erdoğan can learn the importance of Lausanne from the cabinet meetings which he chairs these days. Because Lausanne is the title deed of the Turkish Republic and a certificate of honor for those who signed it as Mr. Erdoğan said in his message. In his speech today, he said ‘They cannot make us take one step back even if the whole world comes together.’ I invite him to read a real history book based on documents telling about Lausanne and İsmet Pasha [İnönü] to learn how it was made,” Bilgehan said in a written statement.

Bilgehan is also the grand-daughter of Turkey’s second president İsmet İnönü, who was the chief negotiator of the Turkish delegation in Lausanne

In addition, CHP Istanbul deputy Gürsel Tekin also condemned the president’s remarks on Lausanne, describing  them as a “great shame.”

“I listened to Mr. President in dismay. It is extremely saddening that he disregarded a significant process such as Lausanne. The fact that he brings an important victory up for discussion is a great shame and I strongly reject it. I evaluate it as very inappropriate,” Tekin said.

Meanwhile, CHP Istanbul deputy Mahmut Tanal stated that discussing the Treaty of Lausanne amounted to saying “yes” to capitulations and colonialism, adding that Turkey would have ended up like Syria, Afghanistan or Pakistan without the treaty.

Speaking at a 27th gathering with village chiefs in Ankara on Sept. 29, Erdoğan said some had tried to present the Treaty of Lausanne as a victory.

“July 15 [coup attempt] is the second War of Independence for the Turkish nation. Let us know it like that. They [threatened] us with Sèvres in 1920 and persuaded us to [accept] Lausanne in 1923. Some tried to deceive us by presenting Lausanne as victory. In Lausanne, we gave away the [now-Greek] islands that you could shout across to,” he said.

“We are still struggling about what the continental shelf will be, and what will be in the air and the land. The reason for this is those who sat at the table for that treaty. Those who sat there did not do [us] justice, and we are reaping those troubles right now. If this coup had succeeded, they would have given us a treaty that would have made us long for Sèvres,” he added.

In July, Erdoğan had said the Treaty of Lausanne was the title deed of the republic in a message issued on the 93rd anniversary of its signing.

“The victory, which our glorious nation gained by faith, courage and sacrifice, was registered by transferring it to the ground of diplomatic and international law with the Treaty of Lausanne. This treatment is the title deed of our newly founded state,” Erdoğan said in his message.

Signed on July 24, 1923, the Treaty of Lausanne, which was signed by İnönü, who later succeeded Mustafa Kemal Atatürk as president, is regarded as the final treaty concluding World War I and which secured the foundation of the modern Republic of Turkey after the War of Independence against the occupying forces of Britain, France, Italy and Greece. The treaty recognized the boundaries of Turkey as well as the conditions under which non-Muslim minorities would live in the new republic.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/erdogans-remarks-on-treaty-that-formed-modern-turkey-irk-opposition.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104386&NewsCatID=338

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Turkey ready to cooperate with Russia on Syrian cease-fire, aid: Turkish FM

30/09/2016

Turkey is “more than ready” to cooperate with Russia on a new Syrian cease-fire and the delivery of humanitarian assistance if Moscow is willing to do so, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Sept. 29.

“In talks with our Iranian counterpart, Mr. [Javad] Zarif, yesterday, we discussed how we can maintain the cease-fire and deliver humanitarian aid. After the normalization of our relations, we are discussing the same issues with our ally Russia,” he said.

Çavuşoğlu made the comments to reporters during a joint press conference with Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics.

Diplomatic sources speaking on condition of anonymity said that during Çavuşoğlu’s meeting with Zarif on Sept. 28, the two foreign ministers discussed ways to pave the way for a new cease-fire and the delivery of humanitarian aid in the two countries’ spheres of influence in Syria.

“We have to try harder for a cease-fire and political resolution. If Russia is prepared to cooperate with us on the cease-fire and humanitarian aid, we are more than ready,” Çavuşoğlu added.

He recalled that Turkey had always supported and facilitated decisions for a cease-fire and delivery of aid, adding that those decisions were violated by “the regime and its supporters.”

On the Russian side, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Sept. 29 that Russia’s cooperation with Turkey on Syria was increasingly constructive amid possible joint action in the future.

“Now, after nearly a year has passed since the cooling of relations, there is a tendency that cooperation with Turkey on the Syrian track will be constructive. And the concern that we have, as well as issues on which we are far from agreement, we are discussing constructively,” Zakharova said in an interview with the Russia-Grece2016.ru website, according to Russia’s Sputniknews website.

Çavuşoğlu also said an extension of the state of emergency declared following the July 15 failed coup attempt, which was blamed on the Gülenist organization, was required due to the “complexity” in their methods and the “support they have received.”  The minister said the group’s “different links with new dimensions had come out of the investigation” into the group.

Ümit Yalçın named FM undersecretary

Meanwhile, Deputy Undersecretary Ümit Yalçın will be named the Foreign Ministry’s new undersecretary, Çavuşoğlu said.

Turkey and Israel will also mutually seek to exchange ambassadors in the near future, the minister said.

The appointment was verbally notified to the ambassadors by Çavuşoğlu, but the official process will follow after being published in the Official Gazette.

Yalçın was responsible for Middle East affairs, including the Syrian crisis. He has previously served in the Rotterdam consulate and the Turkish Embassy to Moscow before being appointed as Turkey’s ambassador to Kuwait in 2012.

After serving as undersecretary since August 2009, current Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu was appointed as the permanent representative of Turkey to the United States.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-ready-to-cooperate-with-russia-on-syrian-cease-fire-aid-turkish-fm.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104405&NewsCatID=510

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Turkey says will complete Syria border wall within 5 months

30/09/2016

A concrete wall being built to stop illegal crossings along the length of Turkey's 900-kilometer (560-mile) border with Syria will be finished by the end of February 2017, an official at a Turkish state institution with knowledge of the project said on Wednesday.

Ankara has long been under pressure from its NATO allies to seal off the border with Islamic State-controlled territory in Syria and is also concerned by the presence of the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which controls most of its Syrian border.

Construction on a border wall to combat smuggling and illegal migration started as early as 2014 even as Turkey maintained an open-border policy that has seen nearly 3 million Syrians seek refuge in the country.

"Construction will be completed within five months," the official said. He said winter conditions would be a challenge to the timetable, however.

Turkey last month launched an operation dubbed "Euphrates Shield" in alliance with Syrian rebels to drive Islamic State operatives away from the border area and stop the YPG's advance.

Turkey regards the YPG as closely tied to Kurdistan Workers Party militants fighting an insurgency in southeast Turkey and deems both as terrorist organizations.

The United States, meanwhile, sees the YPG as an ally in its operations targeting Islamic State -- a source of tensions between Ankara and Washington.

A 200-kilometer (120-mile) stretch of the wall has already been completed and state housing developer TOKI will build the rest, the official said. He likened the project to border walls in other countries, such as the one between parts of Mexico and the United States.

The official declined to give an estimate for the cost of construction. But the Turkish daily Hurriyet said that including a road for military patrols planned alongside it, the wall was expected to cost 2 billion lira ($660 million).

Made up of seven-ton portable blocks topped with razor wire, the wall will be 3 meters (10 feet) high and 2 meters (7 feet) wide. The official said private companies would be hired once construction tenders were completed.

Hurriyet cited the head of TOKI as saying that 200 to 250 concrete blocks were currently being produced daily at five work sites, and that the latest construction work had begun around 20 days ago.

New watchtowers on roads patrolled by armored vehicles have already been erected along the border this year as part of increased security measures.

Source: israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=36847

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