New Age Islam
Fri Aug 14 2020, 06:53 AM

Islamic World News ( 28 Sept 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan to Join Jihad in Kashmir; Gives Fresh Call to Attack Indian Security Forces
















Pakistan Taliban has given a fresh call to start jihad in Kashmir and attack Indian security forces.

 

ISIS Shares Information of Belgian Military to 300 Contacts in Europe - Reports

Erdoğan Says Treaty That Formed Modern Turkey Presented As Though It Were a Victory

70 Terrorists Killed in Massive Attack in Hama   

 

India

Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan to Join Jihad in Kashmir; Gives Fresh Call to Attack Indian Security Forces

Army Conducts Surgical Strikes on Terror Camps across LoC

Payback Time: Marathas Vouch For Muslim Community’s Demand for Reservation in Govt Jobs

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Europe

ISIS Shares Information of Belgian Military to 300 Contacts in Europe - Reports

How Putin's High-Risk Syria Gamble Is Paying Off

Those Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes 'Soaring to Their Highest Levels' Since 2001

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Mideast

Erdoğan Says Treaty That Formed Modern Turkey Presented As Though It Were a Victory

Turkish Security Council Recommends Extending Three-Month State of Emergency

Three village guards killed in PKK attack in eastern Turkey

32,000 arrested in coup probe: Minister

Iran Commander Claims Tehran Has Missile Capable of Striking

Bahrain might have just recognized Israel’s right to exist

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Arab World

70 Terrorists Killed in Massive Attack in Hama

Saudis Unable to Impose Hegemony over Yemen through Bombing

Hawsh al-Nasri, Al-Farah Towns under Syrian Army Control Again

Bahrainis Stage Demo in Solidarity with Senior Opposition Cleric Sheikh Qassim

Army Wins Back Handarat Camp in Aleppo

Army Destroys Bomb-Laden Drones in Northern Dara'a

Army Further Advances in Hama, Fatah Al-Sham Sustains Heavy Blows in Airstrikes

Russia Reacts to US Ultimatum over Syria, Blames Washington on Failure to Separate Militants

Syrian Army Repulses ISIL's Heavy Attack in Deir Ezzur

Fatah Al-Sham Harshly Harmed in Talbiseh, Rastan, Kissin

Syrian Army Gains Military Superiority over Jeish Al-Islam in Douma

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South Asia

Hekmatyar Asks Afghanistan’s Neighbours Not to Seek Interests in Violence

Jamaat-e-Islami, Bangladesh Appeals for End to Muslims Bloodshed, HR Violations

Taliban supported by ISI still on the run in the north: Gen. Dostum

Hekmatyar has signed draft peace agreement with Afghan government

Karzai under fire for supportive remarks towards Taliban group

Afghanistan neither Exports Terrorism nor Calls Terrorists Brothers: Abdullah

Rights group urges Bangladesh to stop 'kneecapping' detainees

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Southeast Asia

Indonesia Sharia Stronghold Wins Rare Praise for Rights

Contrary to allegations, Rafizi says Anwar brought moderate Islam to Malaysia

15 Indonesians, 4 Malays carrying Philippine passports nabbed

New Muslim-only halal logo won’t confuse, issued for free

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Pakistan

MQM-Dominated City Council Adopts Joint Resolution against Altaf Hussain

Don’t Take Our Peaceful Intent for Weakness: Sharif

UNDP launches SME support programme in Balochistan

Jamaat-i-Islami Facebook page restored

Babey Di Beri Gurdwara renovated after decades

FIR of missing Baloch activist registered

Another repatriation centre for Afghan refugees opened

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North America

US Lists Italian Rapper Turned Islamic State Jihadist as Global Terrorist

US Pursues Policy of Threats, Blackmail over Syria Deals

FBI Director: Somali Muslim Immigrants More ‘Susceptible’ To Radicalization By Terror Groups

Muslim youth organize hunger walkathon in Zion

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Africa

Sheikh Zakzaky, His Wife in Dreadful Conditions in Nigerian Prison

Has Algeria taken an anti-IS vaccine?

Kenya police account of Mombasa 'terror attack' questioned

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/tehreek-e-taliban-pakistan-to-join-jihad-in-kashmir;-gives-fresh-call-to-attack-indian-security-forces/d/108711

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Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan to Join Jihad in Kashmir; Gives Fresh Call to Attack Indian Security Forces

Thu, 29 Sep 2016

Even as India steps up efforts internationally to expose Pakistan’s nefarious plans and to hold it accountable for sponsoring terrorism into Indian territory, one of the deadliest terror groups operating from its soil – Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan – also known as the Pakistan Taliban has given a fresh call to start jihad in Kashmir and attack Indian security forces.

Traditionally operating from the tribal badlands of FATA, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the neighboring Afghanistan, the TTP’s turn of focus towards the east in Jammu and Kashmir is curious. Last month, TTP’s Umar media released a statement defending its stand of not participating in the conflict in Kashmir as it said there was bigger enemy to fight first: the Pakistan military which, it said, plays a devious role against the Mujahideens.

The ongoing unrest in the Valley, first triggered by the death of Hizb ul Mujahedeen commander Burhan Wani, and later complicated by violent protests against government, pellet gun attacks on the civilians and a record 80-day curfew, has provided a tempting opportunity to extremist Islamist groups in the region to gain foothold in Kashmir and launch and expand their jihadi operations.

In a video statement released on Tuesday juxtaposing images of civilians in Kashmir being beaten by security forces, the swollen faces of pellet shot victims, injured children and women in hospitals, a voice over states, “The anti-Islamic forces have started a tirade against Islam and our Kashmiri brothers, so the emir (chief) of TTP has called all the mujahedeen brothers to join hands and change the muzzle of our guns against the Indian army.’’ It is not known whether this statement was made by TTP’s current emir Maulana Fazlullah, head of Swat Taliban and also known as the Radio Mullah.

In the later part, one of the four militants with masked face and holding loaded assault rifles says the UN and other infidel world bodies have turned a blind eye against the atrocities committed by the Indian army against Kashmiri brothers and sisters, playing with their lives, damaging their property and martyring children. “In the prevailing situation, there is a need to unleash jihadi forces that will give a befitting reply to the infidel Indian Army and once again restore Islam to its glorious heights in this land.’’

Both TTP and al Qaeda, whose main focus has been to defeat the American forces and enforce Sharia-based laws in Afghanistan, are looking to make gains in Jammu and Kashmir. Last week, the al Qaeda in the Indian Sub-continent also announced its plans for jihad in Kashmir, the one that is waged on religious grounds minus the help of Pakistan military. Since the 90s when al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden earned himself the moniker of Arab jihadi, the group has tried to join the militancy and send its militant into Indian Kashmir. Laden, was prevented from doing so by the Pakistani military as it would’ve downed the ‘Kashmir cause’ and given it a colour of `terrorism’.

Explaining this new shift in strategy, US-based Arif Jamal, author and scholar on Islamic extremist group, says it once again shows that links between the Pakistan Army and the TTP remain intact even though they reject it on the surface. “It also shows that Pakistan Army is again activating TTP and other Deobandi groups in Kashmir and India for jihad,’’ he said, adding that this interesting situation should be seen in the context of developments in Afghanistan where Pak Army is supporting the Afghan Taliban in the short term at least.

“On the one hand, bringing Deobandi TTP and Jaish-e-Mohammad to Kashmir will divert their jihadi activities outside Pakistan and, on the other hand, it will please Afghan Taliban whose support is crucial to Pakistan Army. From the TTP viewpoint, it is a good strategy to get support from Pakistan Army and lower its pressure on the group TTP. Behind the smokescreen of jihad in Kashmir and India, they will expand their jihadist infrastructure inside Pakistan,’’ Jamal said.

It remains to be seen whether the TTP that is considered as anti-Pakistan military will be given operational gateway from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir to cross the Line of Control. So far Pakistan based Lashkar e Taiba, Jaish e Mohammad and Hizbul Mujaheedin have found to infiltrate the LoC to participate in Kashmir militancy.

Source: dnaindia.com/india/report-tehreek-e-taliban-pakistan-to-join-jihad-in-kashmir-gives-fresh-call-to-attack-indian-security-forces-2259737

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ISIS Shares Information of Belgian Military to 300 Contacts in Europe - Reports

28 Sep, 2016

The Islamic State’s (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) infamous French speaker, Rachid Kassim, was found distributing details, including pictures, of several Belgian soldiers to hundreds of his contacts in what authorities believed to be an incitement to terrorism.

According to the Belgian La Dernière Heure and Het Laatste Nieuws newspapers, Kassim sent the information to his network of around 300 people through the encrypted messaging service Telegram.

Belgian police officers stand guard outside the main police station after a machete-wielding man injured two female police officers before being shot in Charleroi, Belgium, August 6, 2016. © Francois Lenoir ISIS claims responsibility for Belgium machete attack on police officers

The message, entitled “orders to brothers of Belgium,” also included soldiers’ details taken from their social networks.

The authorities requested that the media refrain for 24 hours from publishing the sensitive information. A Belgian Ministry of Defense spokesperson confirmed that a “very serious” inquiry was now taking place and “being closely monitored by army intelligence services.”

“We must put these threats in the overall context,” said Belgium’s Chief of Defense General Marc Compernol. “This is something we are following with our intelligence and security services.”

“In the current environment we must be vigilant regarding the published content.”

The soldiers whose information was shared have been alerted and extra precautionary measures have been put in place.

Kassim, a 29-year-old French citizen from Lyon, has reportedly become the most dangerous propaganda agent for the Islamic State in the French-speaking world. Authorities suspect he orchestrated the recent terrorist attacks on French soil online, from an unknown location somewhere on the Iraq-Syria border.

French intelligence services were credited with intercepting Kassim’s messages on Telegram since the murder of a Catholic priest in the sleepy French town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray in July. His contacts are often vulnerable minors, many of whom have since been arrested in France.

Source:rt.com/news/360984-isis-info-belgian-military/

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Erdoğan Says Treaty That Formed Modern Turkey Presented As Though It Were A Victory

September 29, 2016

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has criticized those that signed the Lausanne Treaty in 1923 that largely gave Turkey its present borders instead of the rump state envisioned in the Treaty of Sèvres, saying some had tried to present Lausanne as a victory.

“July 15 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. At Lausanne, we gave away the [now-Greek] islands that you could shout across to,” Erdoğan said Sept. 29 at his 27th gathering with village chiefs in Ankara.

“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 said.

Signed on July 24, 1923, the Treaty of Lausanne, which was signed by İsmet İnönü, who later succeeded Mustafa Kemal Atatürk as president, is regarded as the final treaty concluding World War I that 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/erdogan-says-treaty-that-formed-modern-turkey-presented-as-though-it-were-a-victory.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104386&NewsCatID=338

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70 Terrorists Killed in Massive Attack in Hama

September 29, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army repulsed a massive attack by the terrorists of Jeish al-Fatah, Jund al-Aqsa and Ahrar al-Sham on Karah and al-Zaghba villages in the Northern parts of Hama province, killing tens of militants.

According to a military source, pro-government forces killed at least 70 Takfiri militants and wounded tens of others and destroyed their weapons and ammunition.

Earlier, the Syrian Air Force destroyed terrorists’ positions, gathering centers, a number of tanks and tens of vehicles in Atshan, Zour al-Tibeh, Ma'ardes, Eneiz, al-Kabbariyeh, Tal al-Zaatar and Qbeibat Abu al-Huda in Hama province, the source added.

On Wednesday, the Syrian army soldiers pushed the terrorist groups back from more positions in Northeastern Hama and captured a small but key town in the region.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950708000285

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India

Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan to join jihad in Kashmir; gives fresh call to attack Indian security forces

Thu, 29 Sep 2016

Even as India steps up efforts internationally to expose Pakistan’s nefarious plans and to hold it accountable for sponsoring terrorism into Indian territory, one of the deadliest terror groups operating from its soil – Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan – also known as the Pakistan Taliban has given a fresh call to start jihad in Kashmir and attack Indian security forces.

Traditionally operating from the tribal badlands of FATA, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the neighboring Afghanistan, the TTP’s turn of focus towards the east in Jammu and Kashmir is curious. Last month, TTP’s Umar media released a statement defending its stand of not participating in the conflict in Kashmir as it said there was bigger enemy to fight first: the Pakistan military which, it said, plays a devious role against the mujaheedins.

The ongoing unrest in the Valley, first triggered by the death of Hizbul Mujaheedin commander Burhan Wani, and later complicated by violent protests against government, pellet gun attacks on the civilians and a record 80-day curfew, has provided a tempting opportunity to extremist Islamist groups in the region to gain foothold in Kashmir and launch and expand their jihadi operations.

In a video statement released on Tuesday juxtaposing images of civilians in Kashmir being beaten by security forces, the swollen faces of pellet shot victims, injured children and women in hospitals, a voice over states, “The anti-Islamic forces have started a tirade against Islam and our Kashmiri brothers, so the emir (chief) of TTP has called all the mujaheedin brothers to join hands and change the muzzle of our guns against the Indian army.’’ It is not known whether this statement was made by TTP’s current emir Maulana Fazlullah, head of Swat Taliban and also known as the Radio Mullah.

In the later part, one of the four militants with masked face and holding loaded assault rifles says the UN and other infidel world bodies have turned a blind eye against the atrocities committed by the Indian army against Kashmiri brothers and sisters, playing with their lives, damaging their property and martyring children. “In the prevailing situation, there is a need to unleash jihadi forces that will give a befitting reply to the infidel Indian Army and once again restore Islam to its glorious heights in this land.’’

Both TTP and al Qaeda, whose main focus has been to defeat the American forces and enforce Sharia-based laws in Afghanistan, are looking to make gains in Jammu and Kashmir. Last week, the al Qaeda in the Indian Sub-continent also announced its plans for jihad in Kashmir, the one that is waged on religious grounds minus the help of Pakistan military. Since the 90s when al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden earned himself the moniker of Arab jihadi, the group has tried to join the militancy and send its militant into Indian Kashmir. Laden, was prevented from doing so by the Pakistani military as it would’ve downed the ‘Kashmir cause’ and given it a colour of `terrorism’.

Explaining this new shift in strategy, US-based Arif Jamal, author and scholar on Islamic extremist group, says it once again shows that links between the Pakistan Army and the TTP remain intact even though they reject it on the surface. “It also shows that Pakistan Army is again activating TTP and other Deobandi groups in Kashmir and India for jihad,’’ he said, adding that this interesting situation should be seen in the context of developments in Afghanistan where Pak Army is supporting the Afghan Taliban in the short term at least.

“On the one hand, bringing Deobandi TTP and Jaish-e-Mohammad to Kashmir will divert their jihadi activities outside Pakistan and, on the other hand, it will please Afghan Taliban whose support is crucial to Pakistan Army. From the TTP viewpoint, it is a good strategy to get support from Pakistan Army and lower its pressure on the group TTP. Behind the smokescreen of jihad in Kashmir and India, they will expand their jihadist infrastructure inside Pakistan,’’ Jamal said.

It remains to be seen whether the TTP that is considered as anti-Pakistan military will be given operational gateway from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir to cross the Line of Control. So far Pakistan based Lashkar e Taiba, Jaish e Mohammad and Hizbul Mujaheedin have found to infiltrate the LoC to participate in Kashmir militancy.

Source: dnaindia.com/india/report-tehreek-e-taliban-pakistan-to-join-jihad-in-kashmir-gives-fresh-call-to-attack-indian-security-forces-2259737

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Army conducts surgical strikes on terror camps across LoC

September 29, 2016

New Delhi : The announcement of the sudden action by the army to target terrorists was made by the DGMO Lt Gen Ranveer Singh at a hurriedly called news conference during which External affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup was also present.

India conducted surgical strikes on terror launch pads last night across the Line of Control (LoC) and inflicted significant casualties and heavy damages.

The announcement of the sudden action by the army to target terrorists was made by the DGMO Lt Gen Ranveer Singh at a hurriedly called news conference during which External affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup was also present.

Gen Singh said India shared with Pak army details of the surgical strikes which followed “very specific information” that terrorists were positioning themselves in the launch pads along the LoC.

Details of duration of the surgical strikes or when it was conducted or the place was not immediately given.

“Indian Army conducted surgical strikes last night on terror launch pads across the Line of Control(LoC),” Singh said, adding India was ready for any kind of contingency.

Gen Singh said heavy damages were caused to the terror camps and there were significant casualties, adding that as of now there was no plan for further operation.

Sources said that at least two terror camps were struck during the surgical strikes.

“We can’t allow terrorists to operate across the LoC. There has been a surge in infiltration,” Gen Singh said.

Gen Singh said the operation to neutralise terrorists has since ceased and “we don’t have any plans for any further operation as of now” but added the armed forces will not allow terrorists to carry out any attacks in J and K or any major Indian cities.

He said the strikes were launched after getting “very specific and credible” intelligence input that the infiltrators were being pushed to carry out attacks in Jammu and Kashmir and in some major Indian cities.

Source: siasat.com/news/army-conducts-surgical-strikes-terror-camps-across-loc-1030852/

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Payback time: Marathas vouch for Muslim community’s demand for reservation in govt jobs

September 29, 2016

Muslim community’s demand for reservations in the government jobs has been strengthened with the pitching in of the Maratha leaders as well. Whether this pitching will actually help in getting a reserved seat needs to be seen but for now, it is indicating towards a new potential alliance in Maharashtra.

This came as giving back by the Marathas as they believe that they were supported by the Muslim community during their own struggle. The Maratha leaders in all support said that the Muslims extended their voice not only to them during their Maratha Kranti Morcha marches but also by providing help in the form of amenities like refreshment.

Ajay Bhosale of the Sambhaji Brigade, which has been leading Maratha morchas from the front across the state said ‘They did not just join the marches, but also extended help like giving water and refreshments to the participants. And this happened across Maharashtra.’ And thus this time, they are standing united for the Muslim community’s call for reservation in jobs. He added that just like their community, the Muslims too have a large section struggling with poverty and unemployment. He said that this is because they have no reservations and that is why they will extend their support to them for the Government to take notice.

This comes after the Dalit community had also put in their vote in this demand for Muslim reservation in govet jobs. Dalit leaders like Prakash Ambedkar and Ramdas Athawale had also backed the marches while more such marches are now being planned in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra.

Welcoming the support from the Maratha community, MIM leader Imtiaz Jaleel said, “It is a good development. The Muslim community has supported the Marathas on their demand for reservations and also lent its cooperation to the morchaites,” he said. He quoted the government’s decision of five percent reservation since the Maratha and Muslims are two communities which are socially and educationally backward and also economically poor.

Source: financialexpress.com/india-news/payback-time-marathas-vouch-for-muslim-communitys-demand-for-reservation-in-govt-jobs/396619/

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Europe

ISIS shares information of Belgian military to 300 contacts in Europe - reports

28 Sep, 2016

The Islamic State’s (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) infamous French speaker, Rachid Kassim, was found distributing details, including pictures, of several Belgian soldiers to hundreds of his contacts in what authorities believed to be an incitement to terrorism.

According to the Belgian La Dernière Heure and Het Laatste Nieuws newspapers, Kassim sent the information to his network of around 300 people through the encrypted messaging service Telegram.

Belgian police officers stand guard outside the main police station after a machete-wielding man injured two female police officers before being shot in Charleroi, Belgium, August 6, 2016. © Francois Lenoir ISIS claims responsibility for Belgium machete attack on police officers

The message, entitled “orders to brothers of Belgium,” also included soldiers’ details taken from their social networks.

The authorities requested that the media refrain for 24 hours from publishing the sensitive information. A Belgian Ministry of Defense spokesperson confirmed that a “very serious” inquiry was now taking place and “being closely monitored by army intelligence services.”

“We must put these threats in the overall context,” said Belgium’s Chief of Defense General Marc Compernol. “This is something we are following with our intelligence and security services.”

“In the current environment we must be vigilant regarding the published content.”

The soldiers whose information was shared have been alerted and extra precautionary measures have been put in place.

Kassim, a 29-year-old French citizen from Lyon, has reportedly become the most dangerous propaganda agent for the Islamic State in the French-speaking world. Authorities suspect he orchestrated the recent terrorist attacks on French soil online, from an unknown location somewhere on the Iraq-Syria border.

French intelligence services were credited with intercepting Kassim’s messages on Telegram since the murder of a Catholic priest in the sleepy French town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray in July. His contacts are often vulnerable minors, many of whom have since been arrested in France.

Source: rt.com/news/360984-isis-info-belgian-military/

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How Putin's high-risk Syria gamble is paying off

Thursday 29 September 2016

In a famous poem by the writer Yevgeny Yevtushenko, an ant crawling on the face of a Russian soldier killed in Afghanistan asks the dead man: “What can you give to my impoverished homeland if the shops in your country have no food?”

It’s a scene that symbolises contemporary Russia’s greatest fear: getting caught up in another unwanted conflict in a faraway country, a concern clearly informed by Russia’s disastrous 10-year war in Afghanistan.

For many years before Soviet forces entered the conflict in 1979, citizens had a saying that they accepted the hard realities of daily life in the USSR “as long as there is no war”. It was a kind of a social contract, but on sending troops to Kabul, Leonid Brezhnev broke it.

More than 15,000 Soviet soldiers were killed between 1979 and 1989, and it is this history that makes President Vladimir Putin’s decision to launch a military operation in Syria all the more surprising.

In 2013, Putin decided to help Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s president, by seeking a compromise with the west.

However, three years later the Kremlin is no longer playing the role of an intermediary, but fighting on the side of the Damascus government, actively taking part in the confrontation between the Syrian regime and armed rebels.

At one time, Putin’s supporters in Russia were seriously discussing how he deserved the Nobel peace prize for his efforts in Syria. On Monday, Russia was accused of war crimes for allegedly bombing a UN aid convoy delivering supplies in a rebel-held area of Aleppo.

So what explains this sharp foreign policy shift? In a word: Ukraine.

In spring 2014, as the Kremlin made moves to annex Crimea, Putin was under the illusion that the west, particularly Europe, would allow him to fulfil his expansionist desires and would approve, even silently, the annexation of the Ukrainian territories populated by pro-Russia groups.

By the time it became clear this was wrong, a full-scale war was raging in two Ukrainian regions; a Malaysian Airlines plane had been shot down over Ukraine; the G8 had reverted to the G7; Putin’s closest friends were on international sanctions lists, and Russia was more isolated internationally for the first time since the Afghan war.

Finding himself in a Ukrainian dead end, Putin decided to raise the stakes. He acted to ensure the issue of Ukraine would seem insignificant and that Russia would become a key player in a conflict the west could not ignore. That meant adopting a new approach to Syria.

The protracted conflict inside Syria was a gift to Putin.

With Russia now a key player in Syria , the west is once again forced to negotiate with Moscow. Russian army attacks are now targeting not just Isis strongholds, but also pro-western opposition bases. The aim is to prolong the war, thereby ensuring Russia’s place at the international negotiation table and legitimising the Kremlin’s foreign policy. It’s even more ironic, then, that Russia’s military HQ in Syria is officially called The Centre for Reconciliation.

A classical music concert played among the ruins of Palmyra, destroyed by Isis in 2015, is a perfect symbol of Putin’s politics in Syria. The headline performer of the night was cellist Sergey Roldugin, an old friend of Putin’s, who, according to evidence in the Panama Papers, is worth billions of dollars, whose origin unknown.

Russians are convinced that Putin is fighting the Islamic State, thus preventing terrorist attacks at home. It is a PR coup in Russia and abroad and nothing will change until western leaders talk to Putin – not about Syria, but about Ukraine and sanctions.

Source: theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/29/how-putins-high-risk-syria-gamble-is-paying-off

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THOSE ANTI-MUSLIM HATE CRIMES 'SOARING TO THEIR HIGHEST LEVELS' SINCE 2001

September 29, 2016

The Sunday New York Times for September 18 carried a story by Eric Lichtblau about a “study” by “researchers” at the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at the San Bernardino campus of California State University, purporting to show that “hate crimes against US Muslims are not just “on the rise” but have “soared to their highest levels since the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.” While the FBI’s hate-crime statistics are not going to be released until November, data from this center, which is compiled from police reports, suggest that “hate crimes” against Muslims have risen 78% in one year. Some “scholars” of the subject believe that the anti-Muslim animus cannot be linked to the attacks all over the place, in Europe and America, by Muslim terrorists, nor to the attacks carried out in the Middle East – in Syria, Iraq, and Libya – by members of the Islamic State, nor to the aggressive, often criminal, behavior, of so many Muslim migrants in Europe, with the constant stream of news about gang raes, mob violence, property crimes large and small. No, it’s all the fault of some remarks of Donald Trump about the need to keep out, or at least vet more thoroughly, Muslim migrants. It’s not what Muslims do, it’s not what anyone can read in the Qur’an and Hadith, it’s what people like Trump say that supposedly explains the rise in these “hate crimes” against Muslims.

The Times article never mentions the scandal surrounding reports of “hate crimes” against Muslims, which is that more than a few such reports have later turned out to be false. And even were we to accept at face value every one of those claimed to be an anti-Muslim “hate crime,” for 2015 it amounts to 260, that is, five a week, less than one a day, in a country with 325 million people. Does this really constitute a “soaring” rate? And the evidence suggests that we have a right to be doubtful about some of those counted as “hate crimes.”

Here are a few examples: a fire supposedly set at a Texas Islamic Center in February 2015 turned out to have been set near the mosque, by a homeless man, Quba Ferguson, just trying to keep warm. In New Jersey, a Muslim man, Kashif Parvaiz,  exploited the willingness of people to believe that there is murderous and rampant Islamophobia, claiming that an anti-Muslim killer had shot his wife in front of their son, screaming “terrorist” as he did so. It turned out that the man’s mistress was the killer, put up to it by him so he could rid himself of his wife and marry her. Nothing “anti-Islamic” about it.

Qur’ans were burned at an Islamic Center, and the Center’s imam, calling for restrictions on “free speech” (meaning anti-Islam speech), was joined by the media, all in a frenzied state about this supposed “hate crime.” Eventually it turned out that the book-burner was one Ali Hassan Al-Assadi, a Muslim angry with people at the local mosques, who said he burned the Qur’ans in retribution.

Full report at: frontpagemag.com/fpm/264341/those-anti-muslim-hate-crimes-soaring-their-hugh-fitzgerald

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Mideast

Erdoğan says treaty that formed modern Turkey presented as though it were a victory

September 29, 2016

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has criticized those that signed the Lausanne Treaty in 1923 that largely gave Turkey its present borders instead of the rump state envisioned in the Treaty of Sèvres, saying some had tried to present Lausanne as a victory.

“July 15 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. At Lausanne, we gave away the [now-Greek] islands that you could shout across to,” Erdoğan said Sept. 29 at his 27th gathering with village chiefs in Ankara.

“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 said.

Signed on July 24, 1923, the Treaty of Lausanne, which was signed by İsmet İnönü, who later succeeded Mustafa Kemal Atatürk as president, is regarded as the final treaty concluding World War I that 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/erdogan-says-treaty-that-formed-modern-turkey-presented-as-though-it-were-a-victory.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104386&NewsCatID=338

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Turkish security council recommends extending three-month state of emergency

September 29, 2016

Turkey’s top security body has recommended that the country’s ongoing state of emergency be extended, according to initial reports from a meeting in the Turkish capital.       

The National Security Council (MGK), which convened on Sept. 28 in Ankara under the chairmanship of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, made a number of statements on the July 15 coup attempt, Turkey’s Syria policy and counter-terrorism.    

During the almost six-hour meeting, the council recommended that the state of emergency be extended beyond its initial three-month period.      

“It has been agreed to recommend an extension to the state of emergency in order to ensure the continuity of the effective implementation of the measures aiming to protect our democracy, the rule of law and the rights and freedoms of our citizens,” read the statement issued after meeting.    

After the coup attempt, which killed more than 240 people and injured nearly 2,200 others, Turkey declared a state of emergency on July 20.       

According to the Turkish Constitution, a state of emergency can be declared for a maximum period of six months.       

To enact the state of emergency, the government must see serious indications of widespread violence that could interfere with Turkey’s democratic environment or its citizens’ basic rights and freedoms as established by the constitution.        

The MGK also insisted on a “terror-free zone” and a “no-fly zone” in northern Syria as well as recognizing July 15 as a special day.       

“It is recommended that July 15, the day of the coup attempt by the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), be declared as a ‘Day of Democracy and Freedom’ in Turkey,” the statement said.      

The statement also underlined the decisive fight against terrorism.       

It is strongly noted that the administrative and legal actions taken against municipalities which use the state and the nation’s resources to support terrorist organizations instead of [carrying out] their [municipalities’] primary duties are to the point and the studies concerning this issue will be continued,” it said.   

The statement also criticized the European Parliament and accused the European Union of being insensitive to terrorism.       

“Permitting the terrorist organization’s symbols in the corridors of European Parliament and the insensitive attitude of some fellow and allied EU countries regarding exhibitions and meetings of terrorist organizations like the PKK/PYD and YPG are deemed worrisome, and it has been also noted that terrorism has become an instrument of international politics and even been encouraged. An international definition of terrorism must be made and the importance of cooperation must be underlined to prevent [contradictory interpretations],” it said.

The PKK refers to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, while the PYD is the largely Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party. Its armed wing in the battle against jihadists is the People’s Protection Units (YPG).

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-security-council-recommends-extending-three-month-state-of-emergency.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104383&NewsCatID=338

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Three village guards killed in PKK attack in eastern Turkey

September 29, 2016

Three village guards were killed in an armed clash that erupted after outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants conducted an attack in the Yüksekova district of eastern province of Hakkari early on Sept. 29.

The clashes occurred as the guards were patrolling in the Büyükçiftlik area of Yüksekova.

Two village guards were also injured in the clash, according to Anadolu Agency.

Operations were subsequently launched to capture the militants.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/three-village-guards-killed-in-pkk-attack-in-eastern-turkey.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104382&NewsCatID=341

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32,000 arrested in coup probe: Minister

September 28, 2016

Around 32,000 people have been arrested as part of the investigation into the failed coup of July 15, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ has announced, while hinting at the possibility that new courtrooms might be built in some places based on necessity.

“There are around 32,000 arrests. The process is still continuing. As there might be new arrests within the scope of evidence, information and findings in the investigation during this process, there might also be those among the arrested who will be released on probation or released directly. The number may increase and decrease since this is a dynamic process,” Bozdağ said in an interview with NTV on Sept. 28.

Legal proceedings have been launched against a total of 70,000 people as part of the probe, he said.

The minister also stated that there were shortcomings in terms of courtrooms in some places, signaling that new ones would be built if required. He said there was no such need in Istanbul but noted that the construction works of another in the Sincan district of Ankara was still ongoing.

Bozdağ also added that more than 1,500 guardians with suspected links to the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ) had been suspended from their duties so far.

Meanwhile, Bozdağ said it was delusional to suggest that the Gülenist organization’s “imam of the Air Force” and a suspected leader of the plot, Adil Öksüz, who was detained after the coup attempt but subsequently released before disappearing, was a secret agent for the National Intelligence Organization (MİT).

“Adil Öksüz is not a MİT agent. That is a delusion and a piece of propaganda that FETÖ whispered into the ears of some, spreading it to the Turkish public through them. I am saying it very clearly that those who say that he had contact with MİT is either a poor person who does not know that he is being used by FETÖ or is allowing himself to be used by them wittingly,” he said.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu previously said he had received intelligence on Öksüz’s possible involvement with MİT.

“If Kılıçdaroğlu utters that claim, please, he should investigate the person who relayed that information to him. Our MİT undersecretary is here. He can summon him and meet him. He is the leader of the main opposition. He should call and meet him. He can get that information from the state. I am saying this clearly. I have no doubt that the person who brought that information to Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu is someone used by FETÖ,” Bozdağ said, adding that there were also question marks in his head about the release of Öksüz like anyone else.

In addition, asked whether there would be another delegation visit to the U.S. regarding the extradition request of Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, who is suspected of leading the July 15 attempt, Bozdağ said they would apply to the U.S. Department of Justice for a new appointment this week to discuss the issue.

He also stated that U.S. experts would express their final evaluation on Ankara’s temporary arrest request of the 75-year-old preacher within a couple of days.

“They will take a position on our temporary arrest request and they said they would express the result within a coup of days,” Bozdağ said.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/32000-arrested-in-coup-probe-minister.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104347&NewsCatID=338

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Iran Commander Claims Tehran Has Missile Capable of Striking Israel © REUTERS/ Mahmood Hosseini

September 28, 2016

Last week, the Iranian military conducted a parade through the capital of Tehran, displaying a wide variety of tanks, warplanes, and missiles. According to Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Aerospace Division, one of those missiles is capable of striking Israel, roughly 764 miles away. © AP PHOTO/ RICHARD DREW Which is the Real Threat? Iranian Nuclear Program Versus Israel's 200 Nukes "The Zionist regime is our biggest target," he said, according to the Jerusalem Post. "We do not need missiles with a range of over 2,000 kilometers. The longest range required for [Iran’s] missiles is the [Israeli] occupied lands." Last week, Hajizadeh claimed that one of the missiles on display, the Zolfaghar, had a range of roughly 466 miles. That missile was adorned with a banner that warned against Israeli provocations. "If the leaders of the Zionist regime make one false move, the Islamic republic will turn Tel Aviv and Haifa to dust," the banner said. According to General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces, Tehran is concerned with the recently agreed-upon military aid deal between the US and Israel. "The recent decision of the American criminals to give military aid to the usurper Zionist regime reinforces our determination to increase our defense capabilities," Bagheri said, according to the Times of Israel. © AFP 2016/ GIL COHEN-MAGEN Israel Searching for New Allies Despite Record Military Aid Package From US Over the next ten years, Washington will supply its ally with a record $38 billion in military aid. "The ultimate objective of the United States, the Zionist regime and those who support terrorist groups…is to destroy the infrastructure of Syria and Iraq in favor [of Israel]," Begheri added. Tensions have also been inflamed by recent standoffs between the Iran Revolutionary Guard and US Navy ships in the Persian Gulf. "We tell the Americans that it’s better that the capital and wealth of the American people should not be wasted on their inappropriate and detrimental presence in the Persian Gulf," said Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of the Revolutionary Guard, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Source: sputniknews.com/middleeast/20160929/1045813606/iran-israel-missile.html

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Bahrain might have just recognized Israel’s right to exist

September 28th, 2016

In many Muslim countries, recognition of Israel is, to say the least, a sensitive topic.

And Bahrain is among one of the 31 countries that don’t officially recognize the Jewish state.

Yesterday, however, the Gulf Kingdom publicly acknowledged that it might be readier to cooperate with Israel than its official stance implies.

In a tweet on the possibilities for peace between Palestine and Israel yesterday, Bahrain’s foreign ministry detailed a vision of both states coexisting beside each other.

Ministry of Exterior: From our rights and from our bigger aspirations the day comes that we see an independent palestinian state and it exists in peace and security next to an Israeli state.

The tweet didn’t cause a ripple: replies to it were far from outraged. But it shows us a lot about the confused relationship between Bahrain and Israel.

As detailed by a 2011 Mondoweiss report, the deal between the two is complicated. In 2009, the Crown Prince of Bahrain penned an op-ed in The Washington Post, calling for dialogue between Israelis and Arabs. The Times of Israel also recalls a controversial 2007 meeting between Bahrain’s Foreign Minister and his Israeli counterpart, Tzipi Livni, and even Bahrain’s King Hamad boasting of diplomatic ties.

But among the people the royals govern, the sentiments are not so friendly. Mondoweiss reports that public opinion thought it “unacceptable” to reach out to Israel.

It’s unlikely that a single tweet will change much in the links between the two countries. But the statement certainly suggests Bahrain is keeping its options open.

Source: albawaba.com/loop/bahrain-might-have-just-recognized-israel%E2%80%99s-right-exist-887744

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Arab World

70 Terrorists Killed in Massive Attack in Hama

September 29, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army repulsed a massive attack by the terrorists of Jeish al-Fatah, Jund al-Aqsa and Ahrar al-Sham on Karah and al-Zaghba villages in the Northern parts of Hama province, killing tens of militants.

According to a military source, pro-government forces killed at least 70 Takfiri militants and wounded tens of others and destroyed their weapons and ammunition.

Earlier, the Syrian Air Force destroyed terrorists’ positions, gathering centers, a number of tanks and tens of vehicles in Atshan, Zour al-Tibeh, Ma'ardes, Eneiz, al-Kabbariyeh, Tal al-Zaatar and Qbeibat Abu al-Huda in Hama province, the source added.

On Wednesday, the Syrian army soldiers pushed the terrorist groups back from more positions in Northeastern Hama and captured a small but key town in the region.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950708000285

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Saudis Unable to Impose Hegemony over Yemen through Bombing

September 29, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Saudi Arabia has killed over 11,000 Yemeni civilians to regain its lost hegemony over the impoverished Arab nation through a war that has lasted for 19 months now but brought the House of Saud no success or achievement so far.

American writer Ian Williams says Saudi Arabia is not able to win the hearts and minds of the people of Yemen by bombing their cities and killing their beloved ones.

“...the reckless bombing of civilian targets clearly violates international humanitarian law whether invited or not,” he says.

Mr. Williams maintains that Saudi Arabia disregards the international law “because of confidence that their American sponsors will cover for them.”

Ian Williams has written extensively on the US foreign policy, Middle East and the United Nations for Foreign Policy in Focus, AlterNet, The Nation and Salon. He is the author of “Rum: A Social and Sociable History of the Real Spirit of 1776.”

In an exclusive interview with FNA, Mr. Williams, a major foreign policy analyst in the United States, discussed his viewpoints regarding the legality of the Saudi war on Yemen and the underlying reasons for the continued belligerence in the region.

Q: Mr. Williams; Saudi Arabia started its aerial strikes against Yemen without the endorsement of the UN Security Council, as the sole international body responsible for safeguarding global peace and security. Why hasn’t its military intervention in Yemen received a firm response by the Security Council and the international community?

A: The Saudis’ financial power and its importance to stabilizing other repressive regimes in the region is such that it can count on regional support for its moves, and even with reservations expressed by others, it can continue. It can also pretend that it is acting at the invitation of the “legitimate” government of Yemen even though there has to be some doubt about which government has any legitimacy. However, the reckless bombing of civilian targets clearly violates international humanitarian law whether invited or not. The current talks are clearly designed to fail since both the venue, KSA, and the aim, the restoration of Hadi, is not acceptable to the Houthis.

Q: The war on Yemen has created a serious humanitarian crisis in the Arab country. As reported by UNICEF, 2 million children have been forced to leave their schools and nearly 8 million children are in dire need of humanitarian assistance. What’s your reaction to the calamity unfolding in Yemen these days?

A: The KSA has been reckless in its use of military power and abusive in its attempt to blockade Yemen, but it does follow a pattern. At the time of the war with Iraq it “punished” the Yemeni government for its opposition by expelling millions of Yemeni workers and attacking the living standards of all Yemenis.

There is a disregard for international norms because of confidence that their American sponsors will cover for them.

Q: Is Saudi Arabia looking for precise, clear objectives in its war on Yemen? It has been pounding the urban areas, airports and hospitals, and it seems that it doesn’t have a definite strategy for the conclusion of the war. Is Saudi Arabia confused and unsure about the future of the war it has started?

A: KSA is operating on a reflex. Its analysis is fatally flawed and influences the West. Instead of seeing the Houthi revolt as an indigenous revolt and the conflict as a civil war, it sees it as a surrogate. The Wahhabi regime is concerned that the Houthi revolt would set an example for its own repressed Shiite population. It simplistically regards the Houthis as Shiite and then compounds that by assuming that since they are Shiite, it means they are proxies for Iranian foreign policy. They feel encircled and so feel they have to lash out. 

Q: There were reports that Israel has been aiding Saudi Arabia during its military assault on Yemen. In what ways could Israel benefit from the war on Yemen? Is there something in Sana’a which scares the leaders of Tel Aviv?

A: It is interesting that just a few decades ago, Israel used to lobby against US arms deliveries to the Saudis. But since then there has been a tacit deal. While Saudi leaders maintain a public anti-Israeli stance, and even an outright anti-Semitic policy to pander to Wahhabi obscurantists, they have maintained a de facto military alliance with Israel.

Q: Saudi Arabia’s military intervention in Yemen has resulted in the resurrection of Al-Qaeda and other extremist groups in the country, who are willing to find Yemen in chaos and increase their influence over the Arabian Peninsula. This will certainly backfire on the Saudis, and the United States as the supporter of the Saudis’ military operation. Isn’t it that the Saudis have ignited a fire in which they may eventually get burnt themselves?

A: Nothing about the Saudi intervention in Yemen shows signs of long-term strategic planning or foresight.  It is reflexive and counterproductive behavior. They cannot commit ground troops without disaster, so since they feel they “have to do something” they rely upon air power. Conflict after conflict shows that you cannot win hearts and minds with bombing and strafing.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950707001863

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Hawsh al-Nasri, Al-Farah Towns under Syrian Army Control Again

September 29, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army and popular forces managed to win back control over the two strategic towns of Hawsh al-Nasri and al-Farah in Eastern Ghouta of Damascus and Northeast of Douma farms.

The development came after fierce clashes between the army and terrorist groups.

According to army sources, tens of militants were killed and dozens of others were injured in the clashes.

Jeish al-Islam terrorist group admitted on Wednesday that it has lost dozens of its commanders and forces in al-Rahbat al-Isharah district of al-Reihan town in the Eastern parts of Damascus.

The Syrian army and its allies recently won full control over Rahbat al-Isharah after fierce clashes with the terrorist groups and leaving tens of militants dead and wounded.

As the army completed control over the region, Jeish al-Islam's Spokesman Hamza Beiraqdar acknowledged that the terrorist group has lost dozens of its commander and members in Rahbat al-Isharah battle.

Loss of control over Rahbat al-Isharah was a heavy blow to Jeish al-Islam since the region was a spiritual asset to them. Zahran Aloush, the founder of the terrorist group, had in late April 2015 staged military exercises in the region and the satellite channels supporting Jeish al-Islam covered the event.

The drills were held in Katiba al-Isharah region in al-Reihan which is now under the control of the Syrian army.

Earlier reports said on Wednesday that the Syrian Army troops and National Defense Forces (NDF) continued to advance against Jeish al-Islam in the Northeastern side of the militant-held town of Douma in Eastern Ghouta, claiming the lives of scores of terrorists.

Syrian Government forces, after hours of non-stop battle, pushed Jeish al-Islam back from farms between al-Reihan and Tal Kurdi in the Northeastern side of Douma's farms, inflicting tens of casualties on the militants.

Syrian army, in its operation, discovered a long network of tunnels and defused a number of bombs and landmines planted by the terrorists in the region.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950708000365

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Bahrainis Stage Demo in Solidarity with Senior Opposition Cleric Sheikh Qassim

September 29, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Dozens of people staged separate demonstrations in Bahrain to support distinguished cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim and condemn the ongoing crackdown on pro-democracy activists.

Protesters took to the streets close to the residence of the 79-year-old cleric, whose citizenship was revoked by the ruling Al Khalifah regime more than three months ago, presstv reported.

The protest rally was held in the Northwestern village of Diraz to mark the 100th day since Sheikh Qassim was stripped of his nationality.

The protesters carried national flags and portraits of the cleric, pledging to continue with anti-regime protest rallies.

A similar demonstration was also held in the Northern village of Abu Saiba, where participants condemned the regime's crackdown on opposition figures.

The rallies came two days after Bahrain's Supreme Criminal Court adjourned the trial of Sheikh Qassim and two of his assistants until October 24, citing his refusal to attend the hearing as the reason.

Bahraini authorities stripped Sheikh Qassim of his citizenship on June 20. They later dissolved al-Wefaq as well as the Islamic Enlightenment Institution, founded by Sheikh Qassim, besides the opposition al-Risala Islamic Association.

Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the kingdom on February 14, 2011.

They are demanding that the Al Khalifah dynasty relinquish power and a just system representing all Bahrainis be established.

On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to Bahrain to assist the Manama government in its crackdown on peaceful protesters.

Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested in the ongoing crackdown.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950708000371

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Army Wins Back Handarat Camp in Aleppo

September 29, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- 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 on Thursday.

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 Palestinian Refugees Camp in Northern countryside of Aleppo city 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 control.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950708000737

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Army Destroys Bomb-Laden Drones in Northern Dara'a

September 29, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army, supported by intelligence forces, managed to thwart the terrorists' attempts to send their bomb-laden drones from Da'el and Abta'a towns in Northern Hama towards al-Katiba al-Mahjoura region in the Northern parts of Abta'a town in Northern Dara'a, blowing up all of them in the air.

The Syrian army soldiers also launched attacks on the terrorist groups' positions in Dara'a too.

Field sources said on Thursday that two terrorist commanders were killed in the army's operations towards Qaraz refugee camp in Southern Dara'a.

Meantime, the military reinforcement units targeted the terrorist groups which monitored the army's moves in al-Sad and Hara al-Bajabaja districts in Dara'a al-Balad and the Eastern parts of Da'el town in Northern Dara'a and destroyed their military vehicles and posts.

Also, commander of March 18 terrorist group, affiliated to the FSA, Hessam Aba Zaid was killed after a road mine blast on al-Sawame' road in Eastern Dara'a.

In a relevant development in the province on Wednesday, the Syrian army's missile unites opened heavy fire at the terrorist groups' bases and positions across the Southern city of Dara'a, and destroyed the militants' infrastructure and a number of terrorists' vehicles.

Syrian missile units hit hard the terrorist groups' gatherings and bases in the Eastern side of al-Mesri square and the Southern side of the power company in Dara'a al-Bald, inflicting major damage on their sites and vehicles.

In the meantime, several vehicles of the militants were also targeted by the Syrian missile units at al-Sa'ad crossroad in Dara'a al-Mahatta.  

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950708000431

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Army Further Advances in Hama, Fatah Al-Sham Sustains Heavy Blows in Airstrikes

September 29, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army units continued to advance in Northern Hama, reestablishing security at Hama's airbase and taking control of more regions.

Field sources said that reestablishment of security in al-Ma'ardes and water tankers area in the Eastern parts of Ma'ardes village and the heavy artillery and machinegun fire from Zein al-Abedin mountain helped the army to advance and drive the terrorists towards the depth of Northern Hama.

"Ma'ardes and Kafra are now under army control," the sources added.

Also, the Syrian and Russian warplanes attacked the militants' gathering centers and hideouts as well as their military vehicles near Ma'ardes and Halfaya villages and inflicted heavy tolls and damage on Fatah al-Sham Front (the newly-formed al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group previously known as the al-Nusra Front) terrorists.

On Wednesday, the Syrian army soldiers pushed the terrorist groups back from more positions in Northeastern Hama and captured a small but key town in the region.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950708000395

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Russia Reacts to US Ultimatum over Syria, Blames Washington on Failure to Separate Militants

September 29, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Russia asked the US to live up to its obligation to separate US-backed militants from terrorists, after US threatened to break off all cooperation with Moscow in Syria and held Russia responsible for the violence in Aleppo.

In a phone conversation with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, the US Secretary of State John Kerry “expressed grave concern” over the alleged “attacks on hospitals, the water supply network, and other civilian infrastructure in Aleppo”, State Department spokesman John Kirby said, RT reported.

“The Secretary made clear the United States and its partners hold Russia responsible for this situation, including the use of incendiary and bunker buster bombs in an urban environment, a drastic escalation that puts civilians at great risk,” Kirby added.

The Russian foreign minister, however, pointed out that a number of anti-government groups refused to follow the ceasefire arranged by Russia and the US on September 9, instead choosing to side with Fatah al-Sham Front (formerly known as Al-Nusra Front) and attack the Syrian Army alongside this Al-Qaeda branch.

Washington is preparing to suspend the “bilateral engagement” on Syria with Moscow, including the establishment of the Joint Implementation Center, unless Russia immediately halts the attack on Aleppo and restores the ceasefire, Kerry told Lavrov.

The US promised long ago to separate the rebels from terrorists and it needs to live up to that obligation, Lavrov told Kerry, bringing up the recent interview of an Fatah al-Sham Front commander about how the group is receiving outside support, including American weapons, as well as the statement of Riyad Hijab that he did not consider Fatah al-Sham Front terrorists.

In addition to Lavrov’s comments, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova on Wednesday said that a comprehensive solution for the Syrian crisis may be reached only if the US takes more constructive steps in the process.

“It all has now come to a critical point, either they fulfill their obligations, or the process can really slow down very seriously,” Zakharova said in an interview with Russian tabloid “Komsomolskaya Pravda.”

“There is apparently a side in the United States, for which any real cooperation does not seem profitable, as does any evidence that it exists,” she said.

Kerry’s belief that Russia was responsible for the ceasefire’s collapse is “absolutely mistaken” author and journalist Abdel Bari Atwan told RT.

It was Washington that did not follow through on to the deal, failing to separate militants from terrorist groups, he said.

“I’m really scared about this ultimatum, because it seems like the US administration is going to escalate the situation in Aleppo,” Atwan told RT. “Things are really moving into a really dangerous zone here.”

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950708000331

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Syrian Army Repulses ISIL's Heavy Attack in Deir Ezzur

September 29, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Field sources in Deir Ezzur said that the Syrian army units repelled a heavy offensive of the ISIL in al-Sana'a district

"The offensive started from Huweija al-Sukr region which is repeatedly attacked by terrorists and is one of the ISIL's supply routes," the source said.

"The army inflicted heavy damage on the militants, forcing them to retreat after leaving a number of casualties," he added.

Meantime, the Syrian fighter jets pounded the ISIL positions near al-Tharda mountain, Deir Ezzur airbase, Regiment 137 and al-Baliliya, al-Janiniya, al-Huseiniya and Tal al-Sanouf villages.

Also, the army's airstrikes inflicted heavy damage on the ISIL in al-Jafra village, forcing the remaining terrorists to flee the region.

The ISIL has laid a siege on the residential areas of Deir Ezzur and the people of this region are supplied with food and other needs by the Syrian and Russian planes.

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

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

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

Several vehicles of ISIL were destroyed in the air raids.  

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950708000337

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Fatah Al-Sham Harshly Harmed in Talbiseh, Rastan, Kissin

September 29, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army units and its allies targeted the Fatah al-Sham Front (the newly formed al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group previously known as the al-Nusra Front) positions and bases in the Northern parts of Homs.

A field source said that the army attacked a base and training center of Fatah al-Sham in the Northwestern parts of Kissin and destroyed.

A large number of terrorists were killed in the raid, he added.

The source also said that the terrorist group's gathering centers and vehicles equipped with machineguns were also smashed in Talbiseh, Rastan, Kissin, Um Sharshouh and al-Qanou in the Northern parts of Homs.

The army forces were also supported by fighter jets which pounded and destroyed the Fatah al-Sham's positions in Rastan, killing a large number of the militants.

The Air Force also destroyed tens of ISIL militants' vehicles with repeated airstrikes against their bases and convoys near al-Sha'er oil field and al-Sawana hills in the Eastern parts of Homs.

On Wednesday, the Syrian warplanes had launched heavy airstrikes on the concentration centers of ISIL and Fatah al-Sham in Eastern and Northern Homs respectively, inflicting major damage on the terrorists' hardware.

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

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

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950708000251

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Syrian Army Gains Military Superiority over Jeish Al-Islam in Douma

September 29, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian pro-government troops gained military superiority over the most important supply route used by Jeish al-Islam terrorists in the Northern parts of Rahbat al-Isharah of Damascus countryside.

The road which links Douma to Tal Kurdi and al-Reihan farms in the North is considered as important strategically and logistically.

It is the only road which has not been bombed or destroyed in the depth of the terrorist-controlled regions and now it is under the government forces' control.

Reports said on Wednesday that the Syrian Army troops and National Defense Forces (NDF) continued to advance against Jeish al-Islam in the Northeastern side of the militant-held town of Douma in Eastern Ghouta, claiming the lives of scores of terrorists.

Syrian Government forces, after hours of non-stop battle, pushed Jeish al-Islam back from farms between al-Reihan and Tal Kurdi in the Northeastern side of Douma's farms, inflicting tens of casualties on the militants.

Syrian army, in its operation, discovered a long network of tunnels and defused a number of bombs and landmines planted by the terrorists in the region.

On Monday, Syrian military forces continued to beat Jeish al-Islam terrorists back from more positions in al-Reihan region, completing yesterday's advances in Eastern Ghouta.

The army soldiers, after hours of non-stop battle, took back more positions in Rahbat al-Isharah 533 near Douma, leaving several Jeish al-Islam fighters dead or wounded.

Jeish al-Islam has confirmed withdrawal from Rahbat al-Isharah533.

In the meantime, media sources said that the Syrian army has advanced against militants in Qudsiyeh in Damascus countryside near al-Dimas pharm company.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950708000203

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South Asia

Hekmatyar asks Afghanistan’s neighbors not to seek interests in violence

Thu Sep 29 2016

The leader of Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin Hekmatyar asked the neighboring countries of Afghanistan not to seek their interests in persistent violence in Afghanistan.

In his speech ahead of the formal signing of the peace agreement with the Afghan government, Hekmatyar said the ongoing war and violence in the country is not waged for the interests of the Afghans.

Hekmatyar further added that the violence being waged in the country is for the interests of the outsiders.

He did not elaborate further regarding the outsiders and did not specifically mention any country in his message to the neighboring countries of Afghanistan.

However, the Afghan officials have long been criticizing Pakistan for allowing the Afghan militant groups to use its soil for planning and coordinating attacks in Afghanistan.

In other parts of his speech, Hekmatyar said he is hopeful to witness a day where the foreign countries will stop interfering in internal affairs of Afghanistan amid a persistent peace and stability in the country.

The leader of Hezb-e-Islami said the peace agreement with the government was reached through intra-Afghan negotiations and that no foreigners were involved in the talks as he called on other militant groups to resolve the issues through negotiations.

He also pointed towards the withdrawal of the US forces from the country and said his party was hopeful that the US forces would leave the country in 2016 but the White House changed its plans.

However, he said the peace negotiations were launched after almost 90 per cent of the foreign forces left the country.

According to Hekmatyar, the exchange of districts control will not resolve the issue and only intra-Afghan negotiations would help bring peace and stability in the country.

He also called on President Ghani to take first steps in launching peace talks with the Taliban group by releasing the Taliban prisoners, apparently gesturing to show a sign of goodwill.

Source: khaama.com/hekmatyar-asks-afghanistans-neighbors-not-to-seek-interests-in-violence-01971

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Jamaat-e-Islami, Bangladesh Appeals for End to Muslims Bloodshed, HR Violations

September 29, 2016

Jamaat-e-Islami has called upon the Muslim world and the international community to strive for ending the massive bloodshed in Syria and human rights violations in Palestine, Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan and Kashmir.

The appeal was made in a resolution adopted by JI Shoora in a meeting at Mansoorah chaired by JI Ameer Sirajul Haq. The resolution urged all the Muslim states to devote all their energies end Zionist control over Palestine, Syria’s Basharal Asad, Egypt’s Gen Sisi and Bangladesh's Hasina Wajid.

It deplored that over eight million Syrians were stranded in the refugee camps in the neighbouring countries while around three lakh had been killed in the civil war. In Egypt, more than 40,000 innocent people have been put behind bars and are being subjected to worst form of torture and even executions after fake trials. The Yemen war has resulted in the destruction of the resources of several countries.

The JI Shoora appealed to the Pakistani government, the UN and the Muslim world to take serious notice of the Bangladesh government strategy to wipe out its political opponents through so-called war crimes trials.

In another resolution, the Shoora said that National Action Plan (NAP) against terrorism was being implemented for over an year but Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province was still facing terrorism activities. The Shoora demanded that the propaganda against Madaris be stopped and the NAP be reviewed by taking into confidence the Ittehad Tanzeemat Madaris Deenia Pakistan.

The Shoora called upon the government to abolish the 17 percent sales tax to minimise the problems of the farmers. It also stressed that the support prices of different crops should be fixed at the time of sowing and the purchase of the crop on the same price be also ensured. It also called upon the government to practically enforce Urdu at official and judicial level besides in the political and business fields in the light of the Supreme Court decision and a constitutional obligation.

The JI Shoora stressed that all government and private educational institutions should be directed to adopt Urdu as the medium of instructions up to the primary level so that the nation could distinguish itself as a free, independent and dignified nation. Through another resolution, the JI central body stressed upon the government to undertake comprehensive social reforms by banning the presentation of immoral and vulgar material and violent scenes from the media.  

MYC: Milli Yakjehti Council (MYC) has re-elected Sahibzada Dr Abul Khair Muhammad Zubair as its president and Liaqat Baloch as secretary-general for the next three-year term.

The elections were held at Mansoora during a special meeting chaired by Dr Abul Khair Muhammad Zubair and attended by central and key leaders of all the component parties of the largest alliance of Islamist parties for promoting Islam and countering enemy conspiracies.

Allama Syed Sajid Ali Naqvi was elected as senior vice president while Maulana Amajd Khan, Hafiz Abdur Rahman Makki, Syed Haroon Gillani, Syed Niaz Husain Naqvi, Hafiz Aakif Saeed, Maulana Allah Wasaya, Pir Abdur Rashid Naqshbandi, Allama Ameen Shahedi, Ibtisam Elahi Zaheer and Hafiz Abdul Ghaffar Ropari were elected as vice presidents.

Addressing the media on the occasion, the newly-elected MYC leaders announced that the MYC would stand shoulder to shoulder with the armed forces against any aggression. Dr Zubair expressed satisfaction that now India’s threats and atrocities on Kashmiris had been fully exposed. He said the martyrdom of Burhan Wani had infused a new spirit among the Kashmiris.

He said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif did not present before the UN Assembly the solid evidence of India’s involvement in the subversion against Pakistan and the arrest of Indian Naval officer Kulbhushan Yadav.

He said India was staging new drama every other day whereas Pakistan had failed to present irrefutable proof of Indian plans to the world.

Source: thenews.com.pk/print/153428-JI-appeals-for-end-to-Muslims-bloodshed-HR-violations

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Taliban supported by ISI still on the run in the north: Gen. Dostum

Thu Sep 29 2016

The Taliban militants being supported by Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) are still on the run in the northern provinces, First Vice President General Abdul Rashid Dostum said Wednesday.

In his trip to northern Faryab province, Gen. Dostum said the government welcomes with open arms the Taliban militants joining peace process but the militants pursuing violence with the support of ISI will be eliminated in their sanctuaries.

Gen. Dostum further added that ISI’s most destructive plans in Afghanistan have been thwarted, emphasizing that the Afghan government is hopeful with the growing pressures on Pakistan and support to Afghanistan’s policies.

The  Afghan officials have long been criticizing Pakistan for the allowing the Afghan Taliban and the notorious Haqqani terrorist network to use its soil for planning and coordinating attacks in Afghanistan.

Earlier a number of the US lawmakers also criticized Pakistan for not doing enough to eliminate the terrorists safe havens in the country and refused to fund the purchase f F-16 fighter jets for the Pakistani air force.

In the meantime, the US Department of Defense halted $300 million in military reimbursements to Pakistan due to Islamabad’s lack of action against the Haqqani terrorist network operating from its safe havens in Pakistan.

Source: khaama.com/taliban-supported-by-isi-still-on-the-run-in-the-north-gen-dostum-01973

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Hekmatyar has signed draft peace agreement with Afghan government

Thu Sep 29 2016

The leader of Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin Hekmatyar signed the draft peace agreement which was inked between the delegation of the party and Afghanistan High Peace Council last week.

Hezb-e-Islami chief negotiator Karim Amin said the draft peace agreement has been signed and President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani will sign it during a ceremony today.

Hekmatyar is expected to deliver a statement through a video message which will be displayed during the event.

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

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

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

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

Source: khaama.com/hekmatyar-has-signed-draft-peace-agreement-with-afghan-government-01969

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Karzai under fire for supportive remarks towards Taliban group

Wed Sep 28 2016

KarzaiThe former Afghan President Hamid Karzai being under criticims is not new specifically for his stance against the Taliban group but the objections have been on the rise during the recent days for his latest interview where he said the group can have control of the parts of the country similar as other Afghans.

The Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah sharply cricitized Karzai for his remarks and emphasized that the former President should respond to the nation for his remarks.

The majority of the Afghan people have long been criticizing Karzai for calling the Taliban group as ‘brothers’ despite the group is accused of the majority of civilian casualties in the country.

Questioning Karzai’s remarks which he delivered during an interview with BBc Afghanistan service, Abdullah said the 13 years of presidency of Karzai was also not legitimate.

Abdullah made the remarks to respond to Karzai’s criticism of the ongoing fight against insurgency where he said the use of force against the Taliban group is not legitimate.

In his interview with BBC, Karzaid said he had banned the US forces to carry out airstrikes, insisting that only Afghans were killed in such raids under different names, pointing towards Taliban.

The US forces in Afghanistan resumed airstrikes and support to the Afghan forces earlier this year amid deteriorating security situation in the country led by the Taliban group.

The government of national unity also allowed the Afghan forces to use heavy weaponry against the Taliban group including the use of artillery which was banned during the Karzai administration.

Source: khaama.com/karzai-under-fire-for-supportive-remarks-towards-taliban-group-01967

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Afghanistan neither exports terrorism nor calls terrorists brothers: Abdullah

Thu Sep 29 2016

The Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah said Thursday that Afghanistan is neither exporting terrorism nor it calls terrorists as brothers.

His statement was apparently a veiled gesture towards Pakistan for supporting the Afghan militant groups and the former Afghan President Hamid Karzai who has constantly been calling Taliban as brothers.

Abdullah was delivering a speech following the conclusion of a formal peace agreement between the Afghan government and Hezb-e-Islami led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

He said the conclusion of formal peace agreement with Hezb-e-Islami will not be the first and final step towards Afghan government’s peace efforts.

Reiterating Afghan governemnt’s stance to implement the articles of peace agreement with Hezb-e-Islami, Abdullah said the persistent war and violence in the country has turned Afghanistan into a dependent state.

Abdullah further added that the international community has welcomed the conclusion of peace agreement between the Afghan government and Hezb-e-Islami, emphasizing that the agreement becomes enforceable from today and the following the ratification of the deal by the Afghan government and the party.

In other parts of his speech, Abdullah assured the Afghan nation that the rights of the Afghan people have not been comprised in peace agreement with Hezb-e-Islami.

The CEO also called on other militant groups to follow the steps taken by Hezb-e-Islami and join the Afghan peace process in a bid to end the ongoing violence in the country.

Source: khaama.com/afghanistan-neither-exports-terrorism-nor-calls-terrorists-brothers-abdullah-01972

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Rights group urges Bangladesh to stop 'kneecapping' detainees

September 29, 2016

DHAKA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Security forces in Bangladesh are deliberately shooting members and supporters of opposition parties in the leg, Human Rights Watch said in a report on Thursday that compared the acts to "kneecappings" once meted out by the Irish Republican Army.

In its report, the advocacy group quoted victims as saying they had been shot in custody by security forces who then falsely said they had done so in self defense, in crossfire with armed criminals, or during violent protests."Security forces in Bangladesh have long killed detainees in fake 'crossfire killings', pretending the victim was killed when the authorities took him back to the scene of the crime and were attacked by one of his accomplices," Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

The Rapid Action Battalion, the special security force of the Bangladesh police, denied the main findings of the report that were put to it by the Thomson Reuters Foundation ahead of publication.

"We have not seen the report yet, but if it claims so, then definitely it is false, fabricated and baseless," said Mufti Mahmud Khan, a director and the spokesman of the unit.

USE OF FORCE

Human rights groups have accused the Bangladeshi authorities of carrying out extra-judicial killings, disappearances and detaining suspects without charge and denying them access to a lawyer.

Khan rejected these, saying that his special security force arrested or detained people only on the basis of specific allegations and evidence.

"We investigate the allegations with due legal process and also follow the legal norms and accordingly we take follow up measures as per country's law," Khan said.Bangladesh, a South Asian nation of 160 million, is contending with a wave of attacks on foreigners, free thinkers and members of religious minorities by Islamist militants that it says are homegrown.

Security experts and Western governments see a direct link between some recent attacks - including on a Dhaka cafe on July 1 that killed 22 hostages and police - and global jihadi groups like Islamic State.

The 45-page Human Rights Watch report calls on Bangladesh to order prompt, impartial and independent probes into all alleged kneecappings and the deliberate infliction of other serious injuries by the security forces.

The rights group also called on the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and U.N. special rapporteurs on torture and extrajudicial executions to be allowed to investigate alleged acts of torture.

Adams also called on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina "to make it clear that Bangladesh security forces cannot get away with killing and maiming citizens simply because they support the wrong political party".The report includes evidence from 25 individuals, mostly members and supporters of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Jamaat-e-Islami, who said police shot them in the leg without provocation.

Several were permanently disabled, including some who underwent amputations after being shot. Most victims were unwilling to be identified, fearing arrest, disappearance, torture, or extrajudicial killing.

One quoted a police officer telling him: "I have shot in your leg. If you speak out, then next time I will shoot in your eyes."

Source: reuters.com/article/us-bangladesh-rights-idUSKCN11Z0CP?il=0

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Southeast Asia

Indonesia sharia stronghold wins rare praise for rights

September 29, 2016 

Indonesia's Aceh province, which has gained international infamy for its strict Islamic laws, won rare praise from rights activists today for introducing the country's most generous maternity leave policy.

The decision to give female civil servants six months' maternity leave, double the typical amount elsewhere in the country, is an unusual move in a province routinely criticised for breaching women's rights.

However it has sparked a row with the central government in Jakarta, which says it runs counter to national law that stipulates three months maternity leave.

Andreas Harsono, Indonesia researcher for Human Rights Watch, welcomed the move: "They're becoming more progressive." However he added Aceh still "has a lot of work to do in reviewing discriminatory bylaws".

The devout western province is the only part of the world's most populous Muslim-majority country allowed to implement sharia laws and is often criticised by rights groups.

There are canings for people caught gambling, drinking alcohol, spending time with members of the opposite sex outside of marriage and having gay sex.

Public lashings, often well attended, are carried out and sharia police target women for such offences as failing to wear a headscarf.

The Aceh governor decided to introduce the policy last month to ensure women have the chance to breastfeed to combat widespread stunting caused by malnutrition, said local government spokesman Frans Dellian.

It applies to around 92,000 female civil servants in the province. Employees will be paid for the first three months although the law is not clear on what happens in the final months.

Yenni Linda Yanti, 35, a nurse at a government hospital in Aceh, was the first person to benefit from the new policy.

"I am happy -- now I have more time to spend with my child," she said.

Aceh was granted broad autonomy in 2001, including the right to introduce sharia law, in a bid to quell a separatist insurgency.

Activists say there has been a rapid growth in Islamic regulations since a peace deal was struck in 2005.

Source: business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/indonesia-sharia-stronghold-wins-rare-praise-for-rights-116092900628_1.html

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Contrary to allegations, Rafizi says Anwar brought moderate Islam to Malaysia

Thursday September 29, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 29 ― Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was responsible for the presence of non-extreme views of Islam in Malaysia, PKR’s Rafizi Ramli said in rejecting claims his boss is to blame for the creeping of religious fundamentalism here.

Rafizi was disputing recent claims by activist Siti Kasim that Anwar, who was a Muslim Youth Movement (ABIM) leader in his earlier days, had set the country down the road of religious conservatism and Islamisation when he was in the federal government.

“I disagree with her. That’s her view as a citizen and I respect that view but I disagree with that view because especially now it is obvious, it is the lack of that kind of Islamic leadership that gives room to the more confrontational or less inclusive version of Islam in society

“Actually it’s the lack of Anwar’s kind of engagement and Islamic leadership that brings us here,” the PKR secretary-general told Malay Mail Online when contacted this week.

Rafizi asserted that Anwar is an Islamic moderate who stayed tolerant even as the successful Iranian revolution in 1979 encouraged more hardline views by Muslims globally against the US and non-Muslims.

“Against that background, Anwar provided a different brand of Islamic leadership, one that is not confrontational and hostile to differences in opinion. So for anyone to say Anwar is responsible for what it is today [sic] is clearly ignorant of facts and background during those years.

“Anwar encourages and exemplifies that kind of engagement that a Muslim leader should have with non-Muslims. Anwar has a lot more tolerance in difference of opinions with non-Muslims,” he said.

According to Rafizi, Anwar’s entry into Umno decades ago was “pivotal” and has helped shape Malaysian politics and society since, claiming that none in Umno has had the same kind of engagement with non-Muslims.

He contrasted Anwar’s approach to Islam in the past to PAS’ current style of forcing out nationalists and introducing an ulama leadership modelled after Iran.

Rafizi also highlighted that current PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang had in the early 1980s allegedly viewed the country’s Constitution and laws as British-inherited laws to be rejected in favour of an Islamic-compliant administration.

Anwar, on the other hand, had advocated Islam from a perspective of justice and focused on daily issues such as poverty and corruption, he said.

The credit for keeping moderate Islam a part of government policy during Anwar’s time in the government “largely goes to” him, Rafizi insisted.

But the lack of a Malaysian leader with the Islamic credentials to challenge the intolerant has led to the apparent dominance now of self-proclaimed defenders of Islam who tend to be confrontational to both non-Muslims and Muslims that do not subscribe to their brand of Islam, he said.

In a recent interview with Malay Mail Online, Siti blamed Anwar for the alleged Islamisation of Malaysia, also claiming that the former Muslim Youth leader had brought in the “Wahhabism kind of Islam” that allegedly mixes Arab culture with Islam.

Wahhabism is an orthodox and fundamental Islamic “reform movement” within Islam’s Sunni school of thought seeking to restore what it sees as “pure” Islamic worship, and named after 18th century preacher and scholar Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab.

Anwar, who was in Umno for 16 years, had been deputy prime minister under Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s rule from 1993 until his sacking in 1998.

Anwar who helped co-found PKR remains its de facto leader even as he serves a five-year prison term that started in March 7, 2014 for the sodomy of a former aide.

Source: themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/contrary-to-allegations-rafizi-says-anwar-brought-moderate-islam-to-malaysi

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15 Indonesians, 4 Malays carrying Philippine passports nabbed

Sep 28, 2016

Immigration officials arrested 15 Indonesians and four Malaysians nationals, who were carrying Philippine passport en route to the annual Islamic pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

According to reports, all of them were intercepted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila by the immigration officials following a tip off.

All the accused were carrying genuine Philippine passports apparently issued through illegal means and allegedly provided by their Filipino escorts who organized the pilgrimage.

Each had reportedly paid from $6,000 to $10,000.

Meanwhile, the accused were subjected to thorough interrogation which revealed their identities. Initial investigation revealed that the Indonesians were given Philippine passports to enable them to join the hajj pilgrimage, using the quota reserved for Filipino pilgrims by the Saudi government. There were no more available hajj slots for Indonesians, according to officials.

The accused reportedly arrived in the country individually as tourists a few weeks ahead of their scheduled pilgrimage day.

The 15 Indonesians were eventually released as initial investigation revealed that they were primarily victims of crooked agents who provided them the Philippine passports using quotas.

They were released subsequent to President Rodrigo Duterte's dialogue with his Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit in Laos.

All the Philippine passports were issued by Department of Foreign Affairs' office and the officials are still investigating how the Indonesians were able to secure valid Philippine passports. They are investigating the probability of involvement of any immigration department personnel or a possible passport scam. Last August 19, a total of 177 pilgrims were arrested as they were about to board a flight to Medina, Saudi Arabia.

Every year millions of Muslims from across the globe visit the holy city of Mecca for the annual Islamic pilgrimage.

Source: hngn.com/articles/208881/20160928/hajj-indonesia-malaysia-philippines.htm

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New Muslim-only halal logo won’t confuse, issued for free

Thursday September 29, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 29 ― Consumers will not be confused by the new halal logo only for Muslim-made products, the Malaysia International Institute of Islamic Cooperation (Ikiam) claimed when saying it will give them more choice.

Ikiam secretary Mohd Shamsuddin Damin also said the non-governmental organisation plans to issue the new logo to Muslim companies for free.

“Nobody will be confused, it's a straightforward co-existing branding exercise,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted this week, adding that Ikiam will explain the new logo to the public that may be launched as early as next January.

Not one, but two new logos

Currently, the halal logo and certification are under the purview of the the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim). The department has said Ikiam’s plan is illegal without its endorsement.

Despite this, Mohd Shamsuddin said Ikiam will introduce two different logos: one to denote that a product is Muslim-made and another to certify a product as a Muslim-made and halal.

The first category of “Muslim product” is aimed at giving a boost to small Muslim businesses that have yet to obtain Jakim's halal certification, especially cottage industries that would not be able to meet the latter's requirements yet, he said.

Applying for Jakim's halal certification may also take a long time and be too costly for these small-time Muslim operators, Mohd Shamsuddin asserted.

“For example, a small company that produces sambal tumis, so they bottle it, the production is minimal, maybe 50 bottles a day, family operation, for the beginning they need some process, some support before they can go for halal certification, because turnover of the financial year may not even be enough to pay for Jakim certification cost,” he explained, adding that it may cost thousands to engage consultants.

For Muslim businesses operating out of their own houses, they would be unable to get Jakim's halal certification since it bars homemade products and requires production to be done at an independent premise, he said.

“We will have our people to assist them in business development so they have the capability to apply for Jakim's halal certification,” he said when describing Ikiam's ultimate aim to assist in the obtaining of official recognition of Muslim-made products' halal status.

Demand for Muslim-made products

The second category of “Halal Muslim Product” is for Muslim businesses that have already obtained Jakim's halal certification, with the additional certification of the product's origin aimed at tapping into the demand for Muslim-made products, he said.

“Now there is a trend locally and internationally ― Muslims and non-Muslims are looking for halal products produced by Muslims, so we want to capture that particular market,” he said.

Full report at: themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/ikiam-new-muslim-only-halal-logo-wont-confuse-issued-for-free

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Pakistan

MQM-dominated city council adopts joint resolution against Altaf Hussain

Thu, 29 Sep 2016

KARACHI: In its first session held after a lapse of over six years, the newly elected Karachi Metropolitan Corporation Council on Wednesday unanimously passed a resolution against London-based MQM founder Altaf Hussain for his Aug 22 incendiary speech and demanded action against all those involved in crimes and chanting anti-Pakistan slogans.

The city council also demanded the immediate release of jailed Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar through another unanimously passed resolution.

It also condemned Indian atrocities in India-held Jammu and Kashmir.

The long-awaited maiden city council session was held almost 10 months after the Dec 5, 2015 local government elections, as the election of the mayor and deputy mayor as well as on seats reserved for women, minorities, youth and labourers was held last month.

In the 308-strong house, close to 300 members, most belonging to the MQM, were present in the municipal hall, which was recently renovated with increased seating capacity.

However, cracks on the walls and splintered ceilings vandalised the once a beautiful and imposing British-era mansion.

The proceedings were delayed by more than one hour as everyone was anticipating the arrival of Mayor Akhtar. However, the house was later told that the municipal commissioner took permission from a court and had sent production orders to the Karachi central prison to produce the interned mayor to attend and preside over the council proceedings.

However, he was not brought to the council session for the reasons best known to the authorities. In his absence, Deputy Mayor Arshad Vohra presided over the first session.

The introduction of a resolution by all parties in the city council against MQM supremo Hussain was the highlight of the day.

The joint resolution was tabled by Jamaat-i-Islami’s Junaid Mukati and seconded by the MQM’s Arif Khan Advocate and Aslam Shah Afridi. Besides, leaders of other parties — Karamullah Waqasi of the Pakistan Peoples Party, Firdous Shamim Naqvi of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Akbar Hashmi of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, Amanullah Afridi of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Alam Zeb of the Awami National Party — endorsed the resolution.

Full report at: dawn.com/news/1286754/mqm-dominated-city-council-adopts-joint-resolution-against-altaf-hussain

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Don’t take our peaceful intent for weakness: Sharif

September 29, 2016

NEW DELHI: Pakistan Prime Minister on Thursday condemned the surgical strikes conducted by the Indian Army on terrorist launchpads at the Line of Control (LoC), Radio Pakistan reported. Sharif’s comments came just minutes after Director General of Miliary Operations(DGMO) Gen. Ranbir Singh announced that that the strikes had taken place.

Sharif described the strikes as “unprovoked and naked aggression,” by the Indian Army.

“We condemn this attack. Our desire for peace should not be interpreted as our weakness,” Sharif said in a statement. “Our valiant forces are fully capable of defending the territotrial integrity of (our) country and can thwart any evil design made to undermine the sovereignty of Pakistan,” he added.

DGMO Singh said significant casualties had been caused by the Army’s strikes, and that the operation was now over. There were no Indian casualties during the strikes.

President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Former PM Manmohan Singh, and Jammu and Kashmir Governor Narinder Nath Vohra and J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti have all been briefed the surgical strikes by the Army.

DGMO Singh’s announcement came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) meeting to review the situation along the LoC earlier today.

Source:siasat.com/news/dont-take-peaceful-intent-weakness-sharif-1030884/

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UNDP launches SME support programme in Balochistan

Thu, 29 Sep 2016

QUETTA: The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pakistan and the government of Balochistan launched the Suppliers Development Programme (SDP) here on Wednesday.

The programme aims to improve stability and promote economic development by providing technical assistance and support to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in setting up and expanding their businesses.

According to the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) and UNDP Pakistan’s multidimensional poverty index, 71 per cent of Balochistan’s population lives in multidimensional poverty.

The SDP is part of UNDP’s larger Balochistan Economic Development Project which aims to boost economic development in the province by creating jobs, increasing SME competitiveness and nurturing young entrepreneurs.

Pakistan is the first South Asian country to replicate the SDP model which is based on the assumption that marginalised groups, like youth and women, can play dynamic roles in building prosperous societies.

UNDP Pakistan Country Director Tracy Vienings said: “SMEs are important employers of marginalised groups such as women and youth. They offer opportunities to people who may otherwise be excluded from the economic mainstream.”

She added that from an economic and social perspective, building the capacity of SMEs was imperative for a prosperous future.

According to Ms Vienings, the SDP initiative will generate employment and secure the future of skilled labour and young entrepreneurs in Balochistan. “SDP trains consultants to work with value chains comprising a leading company and six to 10 suppliers,” she said.

“They apply a specially designed methodology to improve supplier competitiveness to meet quality and quantity standards, and improved delivery times of products being supplied to lead companies. This low-cost model will eventually be permanently embedded into government and private sector entities,” she added.

Joint Chief Economist of the Planning and Development Depart­ment, Ikramul Haq, said that addressing “the weaknesses of individual SMEs will increase competitiveness at both the individual and sector level”.

The SDP will serve as an excellent tool for developing the private sector and will help reduce poverty and inequality in the long run,” he added.

The UNDP’s Balochistan chief Zulfiqar Durrani also spoke at the event and highlighted the objectives of the programme.

Source:dawn.com/news/1286837/undp-launches-sme-support-programme-in-balochistan

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Jamaat-i-Islami Facebook page restored

Thu, 29 Sep 2016

KARACHI: The official page of Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) Pakistan was restored by Facebook after being removed earlier reportedly for covering and highlighting Indian atrocities in held Kashmir.

A JI party statement issued on Wednesday confirmed that the page had been removed. The statement said that the page had more than 3 million 'likes' on Facebook, and was the second most-viewed page [with respect to 'likes'] of any local political party.

In the past few months, Facebook has repeatedly come under fire for suspending certain accounts on the social media platform, belonging to both native Kashmiris and foreigners present in and outside of the disputed Himalayan region.

The accounts which have been suspended till date had posted comments, pictures or videos to highlight the treatment meted out to Kashmiris in the latest episode of unrest.

In July, Facebook removed actor Hamza Ali Abbasi's post in which he had praised a deceased separatist commander killed by Indian forces in Indian-held Kashmir.

The social media platform had suspended Abbasi's account following the post, but later restored the account after the post had been removed.

Source:dawn.com/news/1286891/jamaat-i-islami-facebook-page-restored

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Babey Di Beri Gurdwara renovated after decades

Thu, 29 Sep 2016

SIALKOT: The Sikhs have re-started worshipping and performing their religious rites after several decades at the newly-renovated “Babey Di Beri Gurdwara” which is formally opened at Hamza Ghaus locality in Sialkot.

The historical Gurdwara building, which had been crumbling and badly in need of repair for decades, has been preserved in its original shape and design.

The Sikhs had regularly been worshipping in this Gurdwara till partition and since then it had been lying unattended as a majority of the Sikh community had migrated to India.

Sardar Jaskaran Singh has been appointed caretaker of Babey Di Beri Gurdwara by Sikh community leaders in Nankana Sahib, Lahore, Hassanabdal, Kartarpura and other parts of the country.

The caretaker said Evacuee Trust Property Board Chairman Siddiqul Farooq, Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee pradhan Sardar Tara Singh, MPA Sardar Ramaish Singh Arora and Sikh leader Sardar Bishan Singh played a key role in the renovation and preservation of the Gurdwara.

He said book “Guru Granth” had also been kept at the historical Gurdwara where Guru Nanak Dev had also stayed for several times.

He said the Sikhs from around the world would soon start visiting the Babey Di Beri Gurdwara in Sialkot.

Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee and Pakistan Sikh Sangat have lauded the efforts of all those behind the renovation of the historical gurdwara.

Source:dawn.com/news/1286780/babey-di-beri-gurdwara-renovated-after-decades

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FIR of missing Baloch activist registered

Thu, 29 Sep 2016

KARACHI: An FIR was registered in the case of missing wri­ter and publisher on Wednesday.

The Gadap police registered the FIR on the complaint of Wahid’s eldest daughter, Hani Wahid, against intelligence agencies under Section 365 (kidnapping or abducting with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine person) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

The complaint was registered a day after the Sindh High Court (SHC) directed the station house officer (SHO), Khan Nawaz, to register an FIR whenever the petitioner in the case approaches him. Wahid’s family filed a petition on Aug 2 after the Gadap SHO allegedly did not register an FIR when approached the day Wahid was picked up at the Superhighway toll plaza.

Hani was accompanied to the police station by members of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and other civil society members.

Provincial vice chairperson of the HRCP Asad Iqbal Butt said they reached the police station around 11am. “Yet, it took us two hours to persuade the DSP to register the FIR against the intelligence agencies rather than unidentified men,” he added.

Source:dawn.com/news/1286766/fir-of-missing-baloch-activist-registered

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Another repatriation centre for Afghan refugees opened

Thu, 29 Sep 2016

NOWSHERA: The United Nations refugee agency inaugurated on Wednesday its second voluntary repatriation centre to facilitate the safe and dignified return of Afghan refugees to their homeland.

With the opening of the new centre in Azakhel, Nowshera, the UNHCR now has the capacity to facilitate the return of up to 10,000 refugees everyday through the Torkham border crossing.

The inauguration ceremony was attended, among others, by UNHCR Representative in Pakistan Indrika Ratwatte, Chief Commissioner for Afghan Refugees Dr Imran Zeb Khan and Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Dr Omar Zakhilwal.

A high-level delegation comprising ambassadors of the European Union, Austria, the Czech Republic and Denmark and charge d’ affaires of the Netherlands was also present.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Ratwatte commended the Pakistani government for extending the stay of Afghan refugees in the country to March 31 next year.

“The extension is an important decision made by the government of Pakistan which recognises the importance of policies to manage the legal stay of registered Afghans in Pakistan,” he said.

Dr Zeb Khan said the government had ensured that the repatriation remained voluntary in nature and that the refugees returned home in safety and dignity.

He also acknowledged the Afghan government’s commitment towards facilitating the repatriation process and praised the steps being taken by it to enable the refugees’ sustainable reintegration in their country.

Ambassador Zakhilwal encouraged the Afghan refugees to return home “despite the many challenges” and join the nation-building process.

He said the fact that Afghan refugees were returning to their homeland of their free will demonstrated their confidence in the efforts being made in this regard by the Afghan national unity government.

The ambassadors visited the repatriation centres at Azakhel and Chamkani, in Peshawar, met elders of the Afghan Refugee Shura and talked to them about their time spent in Pakistan and their upcoming return to Afghanistan.

The two repatriation centres are supported by the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department.

UNHCR has acquired extra land for the additional vehicles needed for the repatriation process and has also established dedicated spaces for children at the two centres.

Source:dawn.com/news/1286844/another-repatriation-centre-for-afghan-refugees-opened

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North America

US lists Italian rapper turned Islamic State jihadist as global terrorist

September 28, 2016

The State Department added Anas El Abboubi, an Italian-born rapper who doubles as a jidhadist fighting for the Islamic State in Syria, to the US government’s list of specially designated global terrorists earlier today. Abboubi was briefly in Italian custody in June 2013, but fled to Syria after he was released.

According to State, “Abboubi began to radicalize in 2012 after being relatively well known on the Italian hip hop scene as rapper McKhalif,” and by August of that year, “he established the Italian branch of an extremist organization.” While State did not name the organization, it is Sharia4Italy.

Italian police and counterterrorism forces in Brescia, Italy, detained Abboubi in June 2013 “for plotting a terrorist attack in Northern Italy and recruiting individuals for militant activity in Syria.”

According to quiBrescia, police seized Abboubi’s computer and “found texts in Arabic with video that explained how to build weapons and ordnance.” However, Abboubi was “released from prison because there was no hard evidence that he was organizing subversive or potentially dangerous activities.”

Abboubi disappeared shortly afterward and resurfaced in Syria, under the nom de guerre of Anas al Itali. He continued to post on the Sharia4Italy website and Facebook page up until 2015.

State noted that Abboubi “is one of approximately 50 foreign terrorist fighters of Italian origins fighting in Syria.”

Italy is a known hub for jihadists in Europe, and the Islamic Cultural Institute in Milan has served as a headquarters for al Qaeda’s operations in the country. [See LWJ report, From al Qaeda in Italy to Ansar al Sharia Tunisia.]

Abboubi is one of several European rappers who have joined jihadist groups. The two most infamous are Denis Cuspert, a.k.a Deso Dogg, and Abdel Majed Abdel Bari, a.k.a. Lyricist Jinn.

Cuspert left Germany for Syria in 2013, where he eventually joined the Islamic State. While Cuspert abandoned his music to wage jihad, he became a prominent fixture in Islamic State propaganda. In one video, Cuspert is seen holding the severed head of a civilian. In another, Cuspert called on Germans to travel to Syria to fight alongside the Islamic State. The US added Cuspert to its list of global terrorists in February 2015.

Bari, a British citizen, traveled to Syria in 2013 and linked up with the Islamic State in 2014. He has been featured in numerous videos threatening Britain and the West, and was also seen holding a severed head. He was reported to have had a falling out with the Islamic State in June 2015 and fled to Turkey.

Bari comes from a jihadist pedigree. His father, Adel Abdel Bari, pled guilty for his role in the 1998 bombings at the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The senior Bari admitted to transmitting the claim of responsibility for the attacks and other communications from Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri.

Additionally, Omar Hammami, an American jihadist who joined Shabaab, al Qaeda’s branch in East Africa, fancied himself a rapper. Hammami released several nasheeds, or Islamic chants. In one clumsy, rap-styled song, Hammami glorified death while waging jihad and asks to die in US drone strikes like other notorious Qaeda commanders. Shabaab killed Hammami after he refused to remain quiet about a dispute with the group.

Source:longwarjournal.org/archives/2016/09/us-lists-italian-rapper-turned-islamic-state-jihadist-as-global-terrorist.php

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US Pursues Policy of Threats, Blackmail over Syria Deals

September 29, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Sergey Ryabkov stated on Thursday the US pursues a policy of threats by warning Russia that it would pull out of existing arrangements on Syria.

“The United States pursues a policy of threats by warning Russia that it would pull out of existing arrangements on Syria. It is a policy of threats and blackmail aiming to impose decisions favorable to the US and its clients,” said Ryabkov, Al Manar reported.

On Wednesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry told Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that the US is prepared to suspend bilateral engagement with Russia in Syria unless Moscow takes immediate steps to end Syrian operations in the city of Aleppo and reinstate a ceasefire, according to the State Department.

“It is impossible to reach a settlement and stabilization on this basis. You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink. We have our own approaches and our own principles,” Ryabkov Ryabkov told RIA Novosti.

Fighting in Aleppo intensified last week after the Syrian army declared an end to the week-long US-Russian brokered ceasefire, blaming militants for numerous violations that made the cessation of hostilities unfeasible.

Source:en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950708000713

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FBI Director: Somali Muslim Immigrants More ‘Susceptible’ To Radicalization By Terror Groups

September 29, 2016

Minnesota’s large Somalian immigrant Muslim community is more susceptible to radicalization from terrorist organizations, according to the director of the FBI.

FBI Director James Comey noted the proclivity for radicalization while testifying before the House Committee on the Judiciary Wednesday.

“Why is Minnesota turning out so many jihadists?” Rep. Ron DeSantis asked Comey, citing a report from the House Committee on Homeland Security, which found that Minnesota was the top source for U.S. fighters joining Islamic State.

“I don’t know whether for sure that’s true, but it sounds about right,” said Comey, noting the overall number of U.S. citizens has been fairly low. “There have been a number of Somali-American heritage young men who’ve gone to fight with al-Shabaab in Somalia and with ISIS.”

According to Comey, Minnesota produces so many jihadis because “that’s one of the few areas in the United States [that] we have a large concentration susceptible to that recruiting.”

“The great thing about America is everybody is kind of dispersed,” said Comey. “That’s one of the areas where there’s an immigrant Muslim community that seems to be susceptible for some reason.”

A Somalian-American man in St. Paul, Minn., engaged in a knife attack at a local mall Sept. 17, injuring eight. ISIS was quick to take credit for the attack shortly after it occurred. Comey noted that the FBI investigation into the attack is ongoing, but he was apprehensive in connecting it to ISIS at this point.

“They claim responsibility, [but] that isn’t dispositive for us, beceause they’ll claim responsibility for any savagery they can get their name on,” said Comey.

Approximately 25,000 Somalis live in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, many of whom are Muslim. Most of the community immigrated to the area as refugees in the 1990s due to the Somalian civil war. As opposed to many immigrant communities which are usually spread throughout the U.S. upon resettlement, the Minnesota Somalian community is densely concentrated in the Minneapolis Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, earning it the nickname “Little Mogadishu.”

Source:dailycaller.com/2016/09/28/fbi-director-somali-muslim-immigrants-more-susceptible-to-radicalization-by-terror-groups/

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Muslim youth organize hunger walkathon in Zion

September 29, 2016

Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association will host its fifth annual nationwide walkathon, including an event at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, in Shiloh Park, 2400 Dowie Memorial Drive, Zion. In partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Lake County, Humanity First USA and other relief groups, AMYA seeks to raise funds and awareness to fight hunger in America. This is a nationwide effort that features simultaneous walks in Illinois and four other cities across the country. These walks draw more than 1,000 American Muslim youth and guests. Muslim youth from across the nation are raising funds for this walk. This annual effort has raised more than $200,000 since 2012. AMYA invites the public to join them in participating in this Walkathon.

Source:dailyherald.com/article/20160928/news/160928690/

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Africa

Sheikh Zakzaky, his wife in dreadful conditions in Nigerian prison

September 29, 2016

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Popular leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky and his wife are still in custody and suffering from serious health conditions as a result of lack of access to adequate medical care, a Nigerian cleric in Iran said.

The representative of Nigerian clerics in Iran, Mohammad al-Shuaib, said the last time there was news on Zakzaky’s health conditions, it was about his severe eye injury.

He added that currently there is no information about Zakzaky’s health conditions because he is not allowed to meet his friends or family.

Shuaib said Zakzaky’s wife is also being kept in custody despite her severe injuries following Nigerian security forces’ attack on their house.

The cleric went on to say that Nigerian physicians have been unable to remove all the bullets from her body and that the authorities do not allow her to go abroad for treatment.

Sheikh Zakzaky has been in detention since late last year.

On December 12, 2015, Nigerian soldiers brutally attacked peaceful Shiite Muslims attending a ceremony at a religious center in the city of Zaria, accusing them of blocking the convoy of the army’s chief of staff and attempting to assassinate him.

The following day, Nigerian forces raided Sheikh Zakzaky’s home and arrested him after killing those attempting to protect him.

Both incidents led to the deaths of hundreds of members of the religious community, including three of the cleric’s sons.

Sheikh Zakzaky himself was seriously injured in the second attack and his health has deteriorated since.

Human rights organizations have urged a full investigation into the deadly assaults.

According to Islamic Human Rights Commission, the Nigerian military secretly buried hundreds of bodies in graves after storming Zakzaky’s house.

Source:en.abna24.com/service/africa/archive/2016/09/29/782155/story.html

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Has Algeria taken an anti-IS vaccine?

28 September 2016

As so-called Islamic State recruits members from across the world, one Muslim country has set itself apart. Despite its geographic proximity to extremist-prone regions and a chequered past of militancy, Algeria, on the southern shores of the Mediterranean, has fewer recruits than many others, including next-door neighbours Morocco and Tunisia.

At first, it seems surprising. Algeria, the largest country in Africa and home to 40 million people, knows extremism well. When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979, Algerians were among the first to join the newly formed mujahideen. Then, during Algeria’s civil war in the 1990s – known locally as the “black decade” – Islamist groups established a presence across the country.

Attacks and bombings, followed by counter-offensives from the government, led to the deaths of more than 150,000 people and the disappearances of another 7,000. Only in 2001 was the conflict finally brought to an end.

Fifteen years later, radicalism appears to hold relatively little appeal in Algeria. There could, of course, be a spectacular attack tomorrow and statistics don’t tell the whole story, but in terms of IS’s recent recruitment of foreign fighters, Algeria lags far behind other countries in North Africa.

In numbers published in December, Tunisia, Algeria’s much smaller neighbour, tops the list with 6,000-7000 recruits to extremist groups (mostly IS) in Syra and Iraq; Morocco, bordering on the other side, had between 1,200 and 1,500 recruits. Algeria, in comparison, was the origin of only about 200 fighters.

Dalia Ghanem-Yazbeck, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Middle East Center who is also Algerian, has spent the past 10 years studying radicalisation but was still taken aback by the low numbers.

“I was very surprised [at] first,” she told IRIN. “How come a land like Tunisia, the happy child of the Arab Spring, has higher numbers than us?”

The main explanation, she believes, is Algeria’s own legacy of conflict. The experience of living with extremism remains fresh in the country’s collective memory and works as a form of psychological deterrent.

“The war was a massive trauma for the Algerian population,” Ghanem-Yazbeck explained. “People are still scared and absolutely do not want to repeat it. When images come from Libya and Syria today, they are daily reminders of what millions of Algerians have lived through.”

Akram Kharief, an Algerian journalist and expert on security issues, agrees. Looking at Algeria today, he sees it as proof that the “jihadist promise” can fail.

“It can [fail], because it has already done so here. Interestingly, when you look at those who have committed terrorist crimes in Algeria in the past 10 years, the average age is 39 years. That is people coming from what remains [of radical groups], not new recruits.”

The role of the state

This does not mean terrorism has become a non-issue in Algeria. There have been a number of incidents in the past years, including the deadly hostage taking at a gas facility in In Amenas in 2013 and the killing of a French tourist by an IS-aligned group in northern Algeria in 2014. The regional branch of al-Qaeda, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, continues to retain its standing and reputation.

Full report at: irinnews.org/analysis/2016/09/28/has-algeria-taken-anti-vaccine

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Kenya police account of Mombasa 'terror attack' questioned

29 September, 2016

In the official version of events, police thwarted an attempted terrorist attack on September 11 when the women -- who they say recently pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group -- entered Mombasa Central Police Station armed with a knife, a petrol bomb and a suicide vest.

It said vigilant officers fired on them while one of the attackers was burnt almost beyond recognition by her incendiary device. Subsequently, seven alleged conspirators have been rounded up.

But two separate human rights groups working independently pieced together a different story.

In actual fact, they said, the three girls went to report a stolen phone, fought back when male officers attempted to forcibly remove the hijab of one, and were all then shot dead and at least one set alight to lend credence to the cover-up story.

There were no weapons, they say, no suicide vest, no terrorist plot and no conspirators.

The contradictory reports have triggered a "full-scale investigation" by the Independent Policing Oversight Authority, said the watchdog's chairman Macharia Njeru. The investigation can lead to criminal prosecution, disciplinary action or exoneration for the officers involved.

"Police in Kenya concoct stories to justify killing people," said Otsieno Namwaya, Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch, a New York-based advocacy organisation. "They use 'terrorism' to justify all manner of killings."

In this case, Namwaya said, "There are so many unanswered questions. The police look like they are struggling to cook a story."

That impression was strengthened by two ugly video clips filmed on the day.

One clip shows two of the girls lying on the ground outside the police station. They are Maimuna Abdirahman Hussein, 22, and Tasmin Abdullah Farah, the alleged "mastermind". One sits with her right arm in the air before collapsing next to the prone body beside her and rolling onto her back.

Over the next two minutes at least two armed officers take turns firing seven shots at the girls.

The second clip, allegedly filmed inside the police station, shows a horribly burned woman -- Ramla Abdirahman Hussein, aged 19 and the sister of Maimuna -- lying on the floor, moaning as police question her.

Full report at: timeslive.co.za/africa/2016/09/29/Kenya-police-account-of-Mombasa-terror-attack-questioned

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