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Islamic World News ( 26 Sept 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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There Is No Better Country for Muslims than India: Ajmer Dargah Head







 








 



Dewan (spiritual head) of the Ajmer Sharif Dargah Syed Zainul Abedin on Monday asserted that “there is no better country for Muslims than India”. (ANI)

 

ISIS May Strike Europe with Car Bomb & Chemical Attacks, Warns EU Counter-Terrorism Chief

Hekmatyar Committed a Major Crime By Signing Peace Deal: Taliban

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India

There Is No Better Country for Muslims than India: Ajmer Dargah Head

IS Recruitment: Kerala Government Monitoring Social Media

PM Modi calls for meet to review ‘Most Favoured Nation’ status to Pakistan

Abandon Kashmir dreams, Sushma Swaraj tells Pakistan

Message on J&K should be ‘loud and clear’ to Pak: India

India to speed up hydropower building on rivers flowing into Pakistan

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Europe

ISIS May Strike Europe with Car Bomb & Chemical Attacks, Warns EU Counter-Terrorism Chief

ISIS INVASION: Thousands of Jihadis Headed For Europe As Spooks Predict Wave of Terror

NATO plans to deploy AWACS in October

EU minister welcomes EU funds for refugees, criticizes modality

Campaign against Hungarian migrant referendum references ISIS

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South Asia

Hekmatyar Committed a Major Crime By Signing Peace Deal: Taliban

Top US General in Afghanistan Agree Pakistan Not Pressing Haqqani Network

At Least 7 Civilians Killed as Suicide Attack Rocks Baghdad Commercial Area

12 Afghan soldiers killed by fellow soldiers in Kunduz province

Taliban claims to capture surveillance drone in East of Afghanistan

Taliban’s military chief for Badakhshan killed by Afghan forces

Enlightenment Movement postpones major demonstration due for Kabul

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Pakistan

Ban Imposed On 11 Clerics in Islamabad

Tribal Jirga Wants Tenure of Army Chief Extended

Pakistan threatens to approach ICJ if India ‘violates’ Indus Water Treaty

If Kashmir is an integral part of India, why is it on UNSC agenda, asks Pakistan

Military Keeping a Close Eye on the Eastern Border: Asim Bajwa

Uri attack an inside job, says Khawaja Asif

FPCCI won’t accept Indian hegemony for trade

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Mideast

87 Turkish Intelligence Personnel Dismissed Over Links to Gülen

Detention Sought For 121 Members of Turkish Charity over Gülen Links

Armenian nuclear plant should be shut down, says Turkish minister

US Deputy Secretary of State Blinken arrives in Ankara

Hillary Clinton is not a friend of Israel

Don't Call Us 'Israeli Arabs': Palestinians in Israel Speak Out

Israel Deploys Drones along Syrian Border to Monitor Jihadist Threats, Errant Fire

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North America

Petition Asking For Pakistan to Be Declared a State Sponsor of Terrorism Crosses 100K Signatures

US And Indian Troops Wrap Up Counter-Insurgency, Terrorism Drills

Netanyahu Holds Closed Door Meeting With Clinton, Trump Ahead Of First Debate

First mosque in Manitoba, Canada celebrates 40th anniversary, Honours its founders

American hotels in Turkey’s Adana could be targeted in attacks: US consulate

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Arab World

Syrian Military Forces Fend off ISIL's Offensives in Deir Ezzur

Total of 668 Settlements Join Syrian Ceasefire So Far

Terrorists' Offensive Repulsed by Syrian Army in Northern Hama

Syrian Army Gaining Upper-Hand against Terrorists in Northern Quneitra

Syrian Military Forces Fend off ISIL's Offensives in Deir Ezzur

Fierce Clashes Reported in Northern Hama

Russia Respects Syrian Sovereignty, Respects Allies

Syrian Army Deploying Hundreds of Forces in Kuweires for Imminent Operation in Al-Bab Region

Moscow to Accomplish Delivery of All S-300 Missile Systems to Tehran by Yearend

Ahmadinejad Gives Up Plan to Nominate for Next Year Presidential Election

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Africa

Islamic State Militants Kill 5 Civilians in Egypt's Sinai

Extremists kill 8 more soldiers, Nigeria says

Timbuktu destruction: Muslim radical convicted

Sheikh Zakzaky deserves release not trial - IMN Press Statement

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Southeast Asia

Christian Frontrunner for Jakarta Governor Makes Waves in Indonesia

Indonesia Wants UN Security Council Seat

Dutchman held in Myanmar after ‘pulling plug’ on Buddhist sermon

Thousands of Muslim Buildings and Mosques Set For Demolition in Myanmar

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/there-is-no-better-country-for-muslims-than-india--ajmer-dargah-head/d/108687

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There is no better country for Muslims than India: Ajmer Dargah head

September 26, 2016

Dewan (spiritual head) of the Ajmer Sharif Dargah Syed Zainul Abedin on Monday asserted that “there is no better country for Muslims than India”. Abedin also said he along with other Sufi clerics will visit Kashmir and reach out to the youth there. He said this after meeting with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in the national capital, a media report said. Kashmir has been embroiled in a conflict and widespread protests since the death of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. One can only hope that Abedin’s message reaches to the people of the Valley and peace prevails there.

Earlier, twenty-one Muslim clerics met Home Minister Singh and proposed to talk to their “brothers” in Kashmir. The group had sought clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and also expressed a desire to meet Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and National Conference Chief Omar Abdullah.

Source:financialexpress.com/india-news/there-is-no-better-country-for-muslims-than-india-ajmer-dargah-head/392245/

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ISIS May Strike Europe with Car Bomb & Chemical Attacks, Warns EU Counter-Terrorism Chief

27 Sep, 2016

After a wave of bloody Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorist attacks shook Europe in the summer, especially in France and Germany, Gilles de Kerchove warned members of the EU Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee that because of “multiplicity of the possible origins” of attacks, terrorism threat across the EU remains "very high.”

De Kerchove said that “at least six reasons” exist for keeping the alert level at its highest level in the last 20 years.

To begin with, a large number of well-trained suicide bombers and lone wolf actors “that are directed or inspired” by IS are present in Europe. The number of potential perpetrators is expanded further by “persons with mental health problems or who try to emulate” the perpetrators of the terrorist organization, the counter-terrorism chief warned.

He stressed the “link between terrorism and crime,” noting that many EU attackers had a “criminal past.” Kererchove also confirmed that IS is “using the flow of migrants to infiltrate fighters, by using forged documents.”

The intelligence boss warned that if ISIS faces further setbacks, more fighters from Syria and Iraq will flee to the EU, with some moving to Libya to continue their jihad.

“How will we handle not hundreds but thousands of fighters who will either want to go to another hotspot – Libya is probably the most obvious one but there are many others where they can hide – or they may want to get back home?” Kerchove said.

“We will have to handle a high number and a diversity of profiles: the frontliners, people who have worked on the frontlines as fighters; people who have worked in the back office of the fight, but also wives of fighters and children. We know more than 500 children were born there,” the chief said.

Another reason why terrorist threat grows in Europe is ISIS' mastery of online and social media propaganda channels which expands their recruitment drive. In his address to EU lawmakers, Kerchove said that the latest trend shows that fewer Europeans are going to Syria, but more Europeans get “inspired” to join the jihad on home soil.

Refugees also remain at risk of being radicalized, as “Salafist organizations already trying to recruit in the refugee camps” across Europe and particularly in Germany.

“It is not a coincidence because they will want to compromise the refugees, as it may trigger the vicious circle of Islamophobia and radicalisation,” Kerchove said.

Kerchove highlighted that jihadists are also adopting their attack tactics, seeking targets outside their typical scope of famous landmarks or state institutions. The terrorists are also adapting their strike capabilities using ready-made and easily available devices.

Source: rt.com/news/360699-isis-eu-car-bombs-chemicals/

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Hekmatyar committed a major crime by signing peace deal: Taliban

Tue Sep 27 2016

The Taliban militants group in Afghanistan has slammed Gulbuddin Hekmatyar for allowing his party to sign a draft peace agreement with the Afghan government, saying Hekmatyar has committed ‘a major crime’.

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

Titled The Concept of Peace In Islam, the group offered scathing criticism of Hekmatyar without naming him, according to Gandhara/RFERL.

“[He is] backing this government by concluding a peace agreement with it,” the article said. “Doesn’t it tantamount to supporting the occupying forces and joining them?”

Questionnning Hekmatyar’s nearly 40-year militant career, which saw him transform from a student rebel in the 1970s into the leader of the most powerful anti-Soviet guerilla faction of the 1980s, the group said “If making peace with the occupiers was of such importance, then why didn’t these peace-loving people make peace with the Russians, who killed 2 million people and their occupation was followed by a brutal civil war?”

“Why has making peace with the United States become a legitimate option now, when it was not acceptable for 15 years?” the group said.

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

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

Source: khaama.com/hekmatyar-committed-a-major-crime-by-signing-peace-deal-taliban-01954

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India

There is no better country for Muslims than India: Ajmer Dargah head

September 26, 2016

Dewan (spiritual head) of the Ajmer Sharif Dargah Syed Zainul Abedin on Monday asserted that “there is no better country for Muslims than India”. Abedin also said he along with other Sufi clerics will visit Kashmir and reach out to the youth there. He said this after meeting with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in the national capital, a media report said. Kashmir has been embroiled in a conflict and widespread protests since the death of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. One can only hope that Abedin’s message reaches to the people of the Valley and peace prevails there.

Earlier, twenty-one Muslim clerics met Home Minister Singh and proposed to talk to their “brothers” in Kashmir. The group had sought clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and also expressed a desire to meet Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and National Conference Chief Omar Abdullah.

Source: financialexpress.com/india-news/there-is-no-better-country-for-muslims-than-india-ajmer-dargah-head/392245/

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IS recruitment: Kerala government monitoring social media

September 26, 2016

Kerala government has put under the scanner persons and outfits who misuse social media for propagating extremist ideologies of Islamic State, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the state Assembly on Monday. His statement in a written reply comes in the backdrop of reports that a group of missing Kerala youths had joined the Islamic State. The social media accounts of those who were suspected to have joined IS from the state were also being monitored by the state police, Vijayan said.

“The government is strictly monitoring the activities of the individuals and outfits who support and propagate the ideologies of Islamic State using various platforms including social media,” he said. All district police chiefs have been given strict directions in this regard, the Chief Minister added.

At least 21 youths, including women, who had gone missing from the state some months ago, were suspected to have joined IS. Among them, 17 were from Kasaragod and four from Palakkad. Kerala Police has registered a case based on the complaints of the relatives of the missing youths.

Source: indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/islamic-state-recruitment-kerala-government-pinarayi-vijayan-monitoring-social-media-3051317/

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PM Modi calls for meet to review ‘Most Favoured Nation’ status to Pakistan

September 27, 2016

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for a review meeting of the ‘Most Favoured Nation Status’ granted to Pakistan. The meeting will take place on September 29.

It is expected that officials from the Ministry of External Affairs and Commerce Ministry would attend the meeting.

Reports are rife that India is considering withdrawal of the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to Pakistan in the wake of the Uri terror attack.

The MFN status was accorded in 1996 as per India’s commitments as a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). According to the MFN principle of the WTO’s General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) – to which India is a signatory/contracting party – each of the WTO member countries (including India and Pakistan in this case), should “treat all the other members equally as ‘most-favoured’ trading partners.”

“Most Favoured Nation” (MFN) is a status or level of treatment accorded by one state to another in international trade.

According to the WTO, though the term ‘MFN’ “suggests special treatment, it actually means non-discrimination.”

Source: siasat.com/news/pm-modi-calls-meet-review-favoured-nation-status-pakistan-1029027/

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Abandon Kashmir dreams, Sushma Swaraj tells Pakistan

September 27, 2016

United Nations: India’s foreign minister on Monday used her address at the UN General Assembly to accuse Pakistan of terrorism, warning that India will not give up control in the disputed territory of Kashmir.

Tensions between the longtime rivals have spiked over a recent attack on an Indian army base in Kashmir that New Delhi has blamed on Pakistan-based militants.

“Pakistan remains in denial. It persists in the belief that such attacks will enable it to obtain the territory it covets,” Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj told the assembly.

“My firm advice to Pakistan is: abandon this dream. Let me state unequivocally that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and will always remain so.”

Kashmir has been split between India and Pakistan since the end of British rule in 1947. Both claim the disputed Himalayan territory in its entirety and have fought two wars over it.

The Indian army has blamed the latest attack on the Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad, which was also implicated in an audacious attack in January on an Indian air force base in Pathankot, in the northern state of Punjab, that left seven soldiers dead.

The foreign minister said it was time to isolate Pakistan over its alleged ties with terror groups.

“In our midst, there are nations that still speak the language of terrorism, that nurture it, peddle it and export it,” she said.

“To shelter terrorists has become their calling card. We must identify these nations and hold them to account.”

“Such countries should have no place in the comity of nations,” she added.

Several rebel groups have fought an estimated 500,000 Indian forces deployed in Kashmir, demanding independence for the Muslim-majority region or its merger with Pakistan.

– Response to Sharif -Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told the General Assembly last week that his country was committed to peace but that New Delhi was making unacceptable demands.

“Pakistan wants peace with India. I have gone the extra mile to achieve this,” he told the gathering in New York. “But India has posed unacceptable preconditions to engage in a dialogue.

“Let us be clear: talks are no favour to Pakistan,” he added. “Talks are in the interest of both countries. They are essential to resolve our differences.”

The Indian foreign minister responded to Sharif in her address, rejecting the accusation that her government was imposing preconditions and arguing that it had taken unprecedented steps to improve relations.

“And what did we get in return? Pathankot, Bahadur Ali and Uri,” she said, referring to the Kashmir attacks and a suspect held in custody.

“Bahadur Ali is a terrorist in our custody whose confession is a living proof of Pakistan’s complicity in cross-border terror,” Swaraj said.

India has vowed to push to make Pakistan a pariah state in the eyes of the international community.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Abandon-Kashmir-dreams-Sushma-Swaraj-tells-Pakistan/articleshow/54530519.cms

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Message on J&K should be ‘loud and clear’ to Pak: India

September 27, 2016

United Nations: The message that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India should be “loud and clear” to Pakistan, India today asserted and asked whether it can clarify how terror safe havens continue to flourish on its soil despite billions of dollars of anti-terrorism aid it gets.

In its ‘Right of Reply’, India also rejected the “fanciful and misleading” remarks by the Pakistani envoy to the UN.

Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN Maleeha Lodhi earlier exercised the Right of Reply to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s UNGA address, saying Swaraj’s remarks were a “litany of falsehoods” about Pakistan and a “travesty of facts and history”.

Lodhi said Jammu and Kashmir can never be an integral part of India and is a “disputed territory”, the final status of which has yet to be determined in accordance with several resolutions of the UN Security Council.

Responding to Pakistan’s RoR, India reaffirmed that Kashmir is and always will be an integral part of India.

“…It appears that the distinguished representative of Pakistan did not hear clearly what our Minister of External Affairs stated during her address earlier today,” First Secretary in the Indian Mission to the UN Eenam Gambhir said, exercising India’s Right of Reply to Lodhi’s remarks.

Quoting from Swaraj’s address, Gambhir said Jammu and Kashmir is India’s integral part and will always remain so.

“We hope that the message is loud and clear,” she said.

Gambhir said India rejects “entirely” Lodhi’s “sermons”, calling her remarks “the views of a dysfunctional state which builds atrocity upon atrocity on its own people, preaching about values of tolerance, democracy and human rights.”

Through the RoR, India slammed Pakistan for making a “fanciful and misleading” presentation on the situation in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, saying Lodhi’s remarks aim to divert the attention from Pakistan’s sponsorship of terror and do not answer questions posed by the world community.

“Can the representative of Pakistan clarify how is it that terror sanctuaries and safe havens in her country continue to flourish despite the Pakistan army’s much-vaunted counter terrorism operations, and the billions of dollars of international counter terrorism aid it obtains?

“Can the representative of Pakistan confirm that they do not use terrorist proxies and export terrorism as a matter of state policy,” Gambhir said adding that can the Pakistani envoy deny that her country had assured in 2004 that it would not allow its territories, or territories under its control,to be used for terror attacks against India?

“And can the representative of Pakistan deny that it has failed to honour that assurance given at the highest level,” Gambhir said.

Full report at:siasat.com/news/message-jk-loud-clear-pak-india-1028611/

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India to speed up hydropower building on rivers flowing into Pakistan

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

NEW DELHI: India will accelerate its building of new hydro-power plants along three rivers that flow into Pakistan, a source familiar with the plan said on Monday, in a move likely to aggravate already tense relations with its neighbour a week after an attack on an Indian army base.

Disagreements over how to share the waters of the Indus and other rivers have dogged relations between the nuclear-armed arch-rivals since independence in 1947.

The dispute looks set to be reignited after Prime Minister Narendra Modi told officials on Monday that India should use more of the rivers' resources, speaking a week after the Sept 18 attack on an army base in the disputed region of Kashmir that New Delhi blames on Pakistan, a source with knowledge of the meeting attended by Modi said.

India has vowed to respond to the raid, in which at least 18 of its soldiers were killed, but any military option risks escalation. Some officials have called for a renewed diplomatic offensive instead.

Modi said on Saturday that India would mount a global campaign to isolate Pakistan, including through the United Nations, where Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj spoke on Monday.

India has long accused Pakistan of backing militant groups operating in the Himalayan state of Jammu and Kashmir, through which several of the countries' shared rivers flow.

Pakistan denies the allegations and says India has not provided adequate proof to support its claims. A spokesman for Pakistan's foreign office did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Modi's hydropower plans.

At Monday's meeting, Modi and officials discussed ways to increase exploitation of the Chenab, Jhelum and Indus rivers but said they would not violate a long-standing water treaty between the countries in the process.

“We want to see that all these (hydropower) projects are put on a really fast-track basis,” the source told Reuters, speaking on the condition he was not named because of the sensitivity of the meeting.

“Our entire approach was done to create an atmosphere of goodwill. But in this atmosphere, we want to exploit all our rights under the (Indus Waters) treaty,” the source said.

The Indus Waters Treaty was signed in 1960 in a bid to resolve disputes, but India's ambitious irrigation plans and construction of thousands of upstream dams has continued to annoy Pakistan, which depends on snow-fed Himalayan rivers for everything from drinking water to agriculture.

India says its use of upstream water is strictly in line with the 1960 agreement.

India currently generates about 3,000MW of energy from hydropower plants along rivers in India-held Kashmir, but believes the region has the potential to produce 18,000MW, the source said.

New Delhi will also review whether to restart construction of the Tulbul navigation project, which was suspended several years ago. The project proposes diverting water from one of the shared rivers to a city in India-held Kashmir that could impact flows downstream, the source said.

Source: thequint.com/world/2016/09/27/india-may-speed-up-hydropower-building-on-rivers-flowing-into-pak-indus-water-treaty

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Europe

ISIS May Strike Europe with Car Bomb & Chemical Attacks, Warns EU Counter-Terrorism Chief

27 Sep, 2016

After a wave of bloody Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorist attacks shook Europe in the summer, especially in France and Germany, Gilles de Kerchove warned members of the EU Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee that because of “multiplicity of the possible origins” of attacks, terrorism threat across the EU remains "very high.”

De Kerchove said that “at least six reasons” exist for keeping the alert level at its highest level in the last 20 years.

To begin with, a large number of well-trained suicide bombers and lone wolf actors “that are directed or inspired” by IS are present in Europe. The number of potential perpetrators is expanded further by “persons with mental health problems or who try to emulate” the perpetrators of the terrorist organization, the counter-terrorism chief warned.

He stressed the “link between terrorism and crime,” noting that many EU attackers had a “criminal past.” Kererchove also confirmed that IS is “using the flow of migrants to infiltrate fighters, by using forged documents.”

The intelligence boss warned that if ISIS faces further setbacks, more fighters from Syria and Iraq will flee to the EU, with some moving to Libya to continue their jihad.

“How will we handle not hundreds but thousands of fighters who will either want to go to another hotspot – Libya is probably the most obvious one but there are many others where they can hide – or they may want to get back home?” Kerchove said.

“We will have to handle a high number and a diversity of profiles: the frontliners, people who have worked on the frontlines as fighters; people who have worked in the back office of the fight, but also wives of fighters and children. We know more than 500 children were born there,” the chief said.

Another reason why terrorist threat grows in Europe is ISIS' mastery of online and social media propaganda channels which expands their recruitment drive. In his address to EU lawmakers, Kerchove said that the latest trend shows that fewer Europeans are going to Syria, but more Europeans get “inspired” to join the jihad on home soil.

Refugees also remain at risk of being radicalized, as “Salafist organizations already trying to recruit in the refugee camps” across Europe and particularly in Germany.

“It is not a coincidence because they will want to compromise the refugees, as it may trigger the vicious circle of Islamophobia and radicalisation,” Kerchove said.

Kerchove highlighted that jihadists are also adopting their attack tactics, seeking targets outside their typical scope of famous landmarks or state institutions. The terrorists are also adapting their strike capabilities using ready-made and easily available devices.

Source: rt.com/news/360699-isis-eu-car-bombs-chemicals/

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ISIS INVASION: Thousands of Jihadis Headed For Europe As Spooks Predict Wave Of Terror

Mon, Sep 26, 2016

Emergency services are bracing for a spate of deadly car bomb attacks on European cities as the group’s so-called Caliphate in the Middle East continues to disintegrate.

Spooks are particularly alarmed by the prospect of homegrown jihadis packing cars full of explosives and detonating them at public places to cause civilian casualties on a massive scale.

And he cautioned twisted terrorists could even manufacture chemical weapons, using techniques learned at ISIS academies in Syria, to unleash at popular tourist spots.

And now the EU’s counter-terrorism chief Gilles de Kerchove has warned that thousands more trained, violent and mentally unhinged jihadis are heading home from the Middle East with the intention of wreaking havoc on Europe’s streets.

He also warned that there is an increasing risk that lawless Libya will be used as a “springboard” by ISIS nutcases from which to launch attacks on Italy and the wider continent.

Mr de Kerchove, who is the EU's senior anti-terror official, told MEPs: ”The terrorist threat has never been so high in the last 20 years.

“We fear that Daesh might step-by-step move to other modus operandi. Car bombs might be one. We know how much they learn how to build vehicle-borne improvised explosive device. And there is a concern as well on the use of chemical weapons.”

ISIS is notorious for its use of car bombs in Syria and Iraq, which are often driven by suicide bombers killed in the attacks.

They are a particularly deadly tactic because vehicles can be packed with large amounts of explosives and driven into the centres of busy cities areas without attracting suspicion.

More than 5,000 EU passport holders are believed to have travelled to conflict areas in Syria and Iraq, and it is feared many of them will come back and launch attacks at home now that the dream of an Islamic Caliphate has all but vanished.

Mr de Kerchove said: “A serious issue is the returnees, the exodus of the fighters, not if because we are sure that it will happen, but when the Caliphate will collapse.

“How will we handle not hundreds but thousands of fighters who will either want to go to another hotspot – Libya is probably the most obvious one but there are many others where they can hide – or they may want to get back home?

“We will have to handle a high number and a diversity of profiles: people who have worked on the frontlines as fighters, people who have worked in the back office, but also wives of fighters and children. We know more than 500 children were born there.”

Source: express.co.uk/news/world/714690/Islamic-State-ISIS-jihadis-heading-Europe-EU-chiefs-wave-terror

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NATO plans to deploy AWACS in October

September 27, 2016

NATO is planning to deploy surveillance aircrafts to support the international coalition’s ongoing fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) before the end of October, a senior official has said.

“The operations of the AWACS [NATO’s Airborne Warning and Control System] have not yet begun. But I hope they will begin next month,” Alexander Vershbow, NATO’s deputy secretary-general, told a group of international reporters at a briefing at the alliance’s headquarters on Sept. 26.

NATO had decided to provide air surveillance support for the ongoing anti-ISIL fight by the United States-led coalition at the Warsaw Summit in early July. In line with the decision NATO’s AWACS will be deployed, Vershbow said, without detailing how many aircrafts would be dispatched and where they would operate from.

Vershbow said some military personnel from allied countries needed to operate as part of the AWACS mission and governments should get the necessary approvals from their parliaments. “I hope this will be completed within weeks. We have a defense ministers meeting at the end of October. I think this will be completed by that time,” he said.

The timetable of the deployment of AWACS coincided with projected operations by the anti-ISIL coalition against Mosul and Raqqa, two ISIL strongholds, in Iraq and Syria.  

NATO had deployed AWACS to one of its Forward Operating Bases (FOB) in the Central Anatolian province of Konya in early 2016 in a bid to enhance Turkey’s air defense capability upon the Turkish government’s call. It was not yet decided whether the AWACS will be deployed to Konya but Vershbow said, “They will either use Turkish airspace or international airspace,” indicating they wouldn’t fly over Syrian or Iraqi airspace.

The scope of the AWACS mission will be limited to air surveillance and they will not take part in “battle management,” Vershbow stated, recalling this was a mutual decision of the allies. “They will provide additional data to coalition operations,” he added.

Although all NATO countries are members of the anti-ISIL coalition, the alliance itself is not directly taking part in efforts as an institution, he said, however adding both upgrading the air surveillance capacity of the coalition countries and training the Iraqi military were initiatives NATO had been undertaking as part of this global endeavor.

NATO launched a training program for the Iraqi military in Jordan early this year but however decided to further increase the capability of the Iraqi army through a new training initiative, this time inside Iraq, Vershbow said.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/nato-plans-to-deploy-awacs-in-october.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104272&NewsCatID=359

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EU minister welcomes EU funds for refugees, criticizes modality

September 27, 2016

Turkish European Union Minister Ömer Çelik has welcomed the EU’s aid program of 3 billion euros for refugees in Turkey but expressed criticism over the mechanism of delivering those finds through international organizations.

“Because delivering the aid through non-governmental organizations delays the process,” Çelik said, while speaking at a joint press conference with Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides

The European Union will deliver its largest ever humanitarian aid program for refugees in Turkey, Stylianides told Hürriyet Daily News, adding however they could only provide humanitarian assistance through international humanitarian organizations.

“This is a principle in [the] humanitarian field. This is our obligation. It happens in this way in Africa and in Asia, now even in Greece, which is a member state of [the] European Union,” he said.

Of the total 3 billion euros in EU funds, 1 billion was earmarked for humanitarian assistance through humanitarian organizations, while the remaining 2 billion euros will be delivered through state channels and pipelines, he said.

International agencies, U.N. agencies and NGOs were contracted for these funds and the vast majority of the total goes through the World Food Programme (WFP), UNICEF and the UNCHR, Stylianides stated.

They cannot directly flow the money to Turkish government institutions because of specific requirements, the commissioner said.

“We have discussed with the minister [Çelik] that this project is real evidence that we utilize Turkish organizations. Without the contribution of Kızılay [the Turkish Red Crescent], definitely we’ll not be in this very productive moment in order to launch this largest ever humanitarian project founded by the EU. I explained [this to] him and I think he was satisfied,” Stylianides said.

Stylianides also expressed his optimism to overcome political hurdles in the migrant deal between Turkey and the EU.

“Our implementation of the EU-Turkey agreement is quite important for both sides. We know very well that we have to deal with this very unprecedented crisis together. We need this collective action. We need Turkey and they need us. Our partnership is strengthening in order to cope with this unprecedented crisis. I am optimistic that together with Turkey we can deliver this very difficult job…. The Emergency Social Safety Net [ESSN] is real evidence [of] what we can do together,” he said.

Stylianides was in Ankara to launch the EU’s flagship humanitarian aid program, which is set to provide a monthly electronic cash grant to benefit 1 million Syrian refugees in Turkey. The ESSN aid project has an initial budget of 348 million euros and will be implemented by the WFP and the Turkish Red Crescent, in close collaboration with Turkey’s Family and Social Policy Ministry and Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD).

As of October, monthly cash transfers to electronic cards will be given to refugees in need across Turkey. Every family will hold one card which will provide a transfer of 100 Turkish Liras per person, per month. Refugees will be able to spend the money on their basic needs, such as food, shelter and transport, without any restrictions. It’s planned to have a conditional cash transfer for education.

“This amount comes with specific research with the Social Affairs Ministry and with our partner on the ground, the WFP, and others. At the same time we have a lot of projects for education and other activities which are more or less definitely in process. This project can further be utilized,” the commissioner stated.

“Turkish authorities and our partners, they believe that this is more or less something which can cover the basic needs of each refugee family. We are ready to evaluate the whole project after the first nine months in order to see if we can make some improvements,” he added.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/eu-minister-welcomes-eu-funds-for-refugees-criticizes-modality.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104298&NewsCatID=510

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Campaign against Hungarian migrant referendum references ISIS

Sep 27, 2016

The Hungarian LGBT Alliance has used a picture of Islamic State militants throwing a man from a building in their campaign against a referendum that seeks to limit immigrants and migrants from entering the country. (Photo courtesy of the Hungarian LGBT Alliance)

A Hungarian LGBT advocacy group’s campaign against a referendum on whether the country should reject European Union migrant quotas includes a picture of Islamic State militants executing a man who was reportedly gay.

The campaign that the Hungarian LGBT Alliance launched last week features an image of militants pushing a blindfolded Syrian man off of the top of a building.

The Hungarian LGBT Alliance says the man who was executed was gay. ISIS has killed dozens of men in Syria and Iraq who have been accused of committing sodomy.

“Some refugees arriving in Europe had to leave their home country for being persecuted due to their sexual orientation or gender identity,” reads a caption that accompanies the image.

Tamás Dombos, a Hungarian LGBT Alliance board member, told the Washington Blade on Monday during a telephone interview from Budapest that his group is encouraging voters to participate in the Oct. 2 referendum. He said the Hungarian LGBT Alliance is suggesting they submit an “invalid” ballot in which they vote for both options or neither of them.

At least 50 percent of Hungarian voters need to participate in the referendum in order for it to be valid. Authorities will not count ballots they determine are “invalid.”

“Don’t be fooled by hate mongering, on October 2 vote invalid,” reads a second caption on the picture that shows ISIS militants throwing the gay Syrian man from the building.

Orban: ‘We do not want to import homophobia’

Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced in February that he would seek a referendum on whether Hungary should accept EU migrant quotas.

More than a million refugees and migrants from Syria, Iraq and other countries have entered Europe since the summer of 2015.

The Hungarian LGBT Alliance said in a press release that announced its opposition to the referendum that 175,963 people applied for asylum in Hungary between January and September 2015. This figure compares to the 2,157 people who applied for asylum in the country in all of 2012.

Orban’s right-wing government’s decision to build a barbed wire fence along Hungary’s border with Serbia last year in order to prevent refugees and migrants from passing through the country sparked criticism throughout Europe.

Orban said last September that the migrants and refugees — the majority of whom are Muslim — are threatening “Europe’s Christian identity.” The Hungarian LGBT Alliance notes in its press release that Orban has also referenced last November’s terrorist attacks in Paris, the Arab and North African men who sexually assaulted hundreds of women in the German city of Cologne on New Year’s Eve and anti-gay attitudes among refugees and migrants in his recent comments in support of the referendum.

“We do not want our daughters, our wives to be harassed like in Cologne,” said Orban, according to the Hungarian LGBT Alliance. “We do not want to import homophobia, anti-Semitism and criminality. We do not want masses of migrants.”

Dombos told the Blade that Orban’s decision to call for a referendum is an attempt to distract attention away from “all the nasty things” his government is doing. Dombos also defended his organization’s decision to use a picture of ISIS militants throwing a gay man from a building in its campaign.

“We think it’s important to say something,” Dombos told the Blade.

A recent poll indicates 54 percent of voters plan to take part in the referendum. It also notes 79 percent of them have said they oppose the EU migrant quotas.

Source: washingtonblade.com/2016/09/26/campaign-hungarian-migrant-referendum-references-isis/

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South Asia

Hekmatyar committed a major crime by signing peace deal: Taliban

Tue Sep 27 2016

The Taliban militants group in Afghanistan has slammed Gulbuddin Hekmatyar for allowing his party to sign a draft peace agreement with the Afghan government, saying Hekmatyar has committed ‘a major crime’.

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

Titled The Concept of Peace In Islam, the group offered scathing criticism of Hekmatyar without naming him, according to Gandhara/RFERL.

“[He is] backing this government by concluding a peace agreement with it,” the article said. “Doesn’t it tantamount to supporting the occupying forces and joining them?”

Questionnning Hekmatyar’s nearly 40-year militant career, which saw him transform from a student rebel in the 1970s into the leader of the most powerful anti-Soviet guerilla faction of the 1980s, the group said “If making peace with the occupiers was of such importance, then why didn’t these peace-loving people make peace with the Russians, who killed 2 million people and their occupation was followed by a brutal civil war?”

“Why has making peace with the United States become a legitimate option now, when it was not acceptable for 15 years?” the group said.

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

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

Source: khaama.com/hekmatyar-committed-a-major-crime-by-signing-peace-deal-taliban-01954

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Top US General in Afghanistan agree Pakistan not pressing Haqqani network

Tue Sep 27 2016

The top US general in Afghanistan General John Nicholson agrees with the US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter who said Pakistan is not enforcing sufficient pressure on Haqqani terrorist network.

In his press briefing to the US Department of Defense, Gen. Nicholson, said “As far the strength of the Haqqanis, we, as you know, the Secretary of Defense in August in his response to Congress as a result of the National Defense Act and Authorization Act of 2015, he was required to respond to Congress on whether there was adequate pressure being placed on the Haqqanis by the Pakistan government.”

Gen. Nicholson further added “And he said he was unable to certify that there was sufficient pressure being placed on them to justify additional coalition support funds to Pakistan. Kind of a lengthy explanation, but it was his way of saying that there’s not, not adequate pressure being put on the Haqqanis.”

“And I concur and with the Secretary’s assessment on that. Then we, that the Haqqanis operationally have been able to conduct operations inside Afghanistan — they constitute the primary threat to Americans, to coalition members, and to Afghans especially in and around Kabul,” Gen. Nicholson added.

The remarks by Gen. Nicholson came as the United States stopped $300 million in military reimbursements to Pakistan due to the lack of actions by the country towards the terrorist netowork.

“The funds could not be released to the Government of Pakistan at this time because the Secretary has not yet certified that Pakistan has taken sufficient action against the Haqqani network,” Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump said earlier last month.

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

The Haqqani terrorist network is accused of numerous deadly attacks in Afghanistan including a horrific attack on VIP protection unity in Kabul earlier this year that left at least 64 dead and over 300 others wounded.

Source: khaama.com/top-us-general-in-afghanistan-agree-pakistan-not-pressing-haqqani-network-01958

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At Least 7 Civilians Killed as Suicide Attack Rocks Baghdad Commercial Area

September 27, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iraqi officials said a suicide bombing in a busy commercial area of the capital, Baghdad, has killed at least seven civilians.

A police officer said the bomber approached a gathering of construction workers and set off his explosives-laden vest on Tuesday, Naharnet reported.

He said at least 20 civilians were wounded and the explosion damaged nearby shops and cars.

A medical official confirmed the casualty figures. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release the information.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but ISIL terror group have claimed multiple similar attacks. The militants, who control parts of Iraq, have recently relied on insurgency-style attacks away from front lines as they suffer losses on the battlefields.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950706000796

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12 Afghan soldiers killed by fellow soldiers in Kunduz province

Tue Sep 27 2016

Aleast 12 soldiers of the Afghan National Army (ANA) forces lost their lives in an insider attack involving fellow soldiers in northern Kunduz province of Afghanistan.

A security official in north of the country confirmed that the incident took place late on Monday night after two soldiers opened fire on comrades in a security post.

The source further added that the outpost was located in the outskirts of Kunduz city.

The anti-government armed militant groups including the Taliban insurgents have not commented regarding the report so far.

Kunduz is among the relatively volatile provinces in northern Afghanistan where the anti-government armed militant groups are actively operating in a number of its districts.

The Taliban militants managed to briefly take control of the strategic Kunduz city last year but the Afghan forces managed to retake by launching a major offensive.

The group also launched numerous attacks by announcing their spring offensive in mid-April this year but failed to take control of any strategic area.

Source: khaama.com/12-afghan-soldiers-killed-by-fellow-soldiers-in-kunduz-province-01956

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Taliban claims to capture surveillance drone in East of Afghanistan

Tue Sep 27 2016

The Taliban militants group in Afghanistan has claimed to capture a surveillance drone in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

The group’s spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the drone was downed in Merano village of Behsud district of Nangarhar province.

He claimed that the drone which seems to be of ScanEagle type belongs to the US forces in Afghanistan but the Afghan army also uses the same drone for the surveillance operations.

The Afghan forces received several ScanEagle drones under a contract from the US government worth $70 million.

The US Department of Defense (DoD) announced in November last year that a contract worth $70 million ha sbeen awarded to a US-based company for the procurement of the ScanEagle drones.

A statement by DoD said the systems include 65 ScanEagle drones in total, along with spare parts, support equipment, field service support, as well as an in-theatre training facility.

The United States started the delivery of the surveillance drones as part of the coalition forces efforts to enhance the capabilities of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), specifically the Afghan Air Force.

Source: khaama.com/taliban-claims-to-capture-surveillance-drone-in-east-of-afghanistan-01957

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Taliban’s military chief for Badakhshan killed by Afghan forces

Tue Sep 27 2016

The military chief of the Taliban group for northeastern Badakhshan province was killed during a brief clash with the Afghan forces in this province.

According to the local security officials, Mullah Hafiz was killed along with six other militants after launching a coordinated attack on security posts in Jurm district.

A spokesman for the 808th Spinzar Corps Mahfuzullah Akbari said the attack was launched late on Monday night from different angles but the Afghan forces managed to repulse it without sustaining any casualties.

Akbari further added that the local residents also did not suffer any casualties during the clash.

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

Badakhshan is among the relatively volatile provinces in northeastern parts of the country where the Taliban militants and insurgents belonging to the other militant groups are actively operating in a number of its remote districts and often carry out insurgency activities.

The Taliban group has launched numerous attacks on the restive districts of Badakhshan province including Jurm district during the recent months.

Source: khaama.com/talibans-military-chief-for-badakhshan-killed-by-afghan-forces-01955

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Enlightenment Movement postpones major demonstration due for Kabul

Tue Sep 27 2016

The Enlightenment Movement has postponed a major demonstration due for Kabul almost two months after a deadly suicide blast ripped through a similar demonstration leaving at least 85 dead.

The movement announced on Monday evening that the demonstration was postponed following calls by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.

“UNAMA is encouraged by the Government’s readiness to invite members of the Hazara community, including the Enlightening Movement, for talks. The Mission welcomes the willingness of all sides to engage in dialogue, urges them to seize this opportunity, and stands ready to support such a process. While reaffirming the right of all Afghans to peaceful assembly, UNAMA calls for the postponement of planned demonstrations,” the UN mission in Afghanistan said in a statement.

In the meantime, the Kabul Garrison prohibited the movement to organize any movement in the city, insisting that the capital is already facing security challenges.

General Gul Nabi Ahmadzai, the commander of Kabul Garrison, read a statement prohibiting the movement from organizing demonstration.

According to the statement, the government will be obliged to take legal actions against the organizers of the movement if such demonstrations are organized that leads to gatherings in the capital and results to losses.

The Enlightenment Movement was formed following the announcement of change a major power project route from Bamyan province to Salang pass.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group loyalists in Afghanistan claimed responsibility behind the last attack on demonstrations protesters in Kabul that left at least 85 dead and over 400 others wounded.

Source: khaama.com/enlightenment-movement-postpones-major-demonstration-due-for-kabul-01953

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Pakistan

Ban Imposed On 11 Clerics in Islamabad

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

ISLAMABAD: Vigilance has been mounted around 11 local clerics after a ban was imposed on them by the capital administration to avoid sectarian tension in the city.

Besides, the entry of 16 ulema into the capital city has been banned.

A notification issued from the office of the district magistrate, Mushtaq Ahmed, stated: “Your utterances are likely to ignite the tension already existing between various religious sects of the district which may result in loss to public life and property and may also create law and order situation.”

The notification said the local ulema cannot deliver speeches at any public gathering within the limits of the district of Islamabad for two months. Four of the clerics belong to the Deobandi school of thought, four to the Shia community and three are Barelvis.

Through another notification, the entry of 16 ulema belonging to other districts was banned in the capital for two months. The firebrand speakers were likely to indulge in sectarian activities, deliver provocative speeches and sermons aiming at creating hatred between different sects.

“In the current security environment coupled with threat perception of terrorism, it is apprehended that any breakdown of law and order due to sectarian violence may be used by terrorists as an opportunity to achieve their objectives,” the notification added. Seven of the ulema were from the Deobandi school of thought, five Shias and four Barelvis.

Source: dawn.com/news/1286363/ban-imposed-on-11-clerics-in-islamabad

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Tribal jirga wants tenure of army chief extended

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

LANDI KOTAL: A jirga of different tribal regions on Monday demanded extension in the tenure of Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif and pledged support to the armed forces against any possibly aggression by India.

The jirga, held at Teddi Bazaar in Jamrud amid tight security by Frontier Corps and Khasadar Force, was attended by a large number of tribal elders, political activists and local residents.

“We unanimously urge the federal government to extend the tenure of army chief as he has successfully restored peace in most parts of the country, especially the militancy-hit tribal areas,” the participants of the jirga demanded through a resolution.

Speaking on the occasion, former federal minister and MNA Noorul Haq Qadri said that although people of Fata had grievances against the federal government yet they were united against the common enemy of the country.

Pledges support to armed forces in case of aggression by India

“People of Fata are still facing a host of problems as they are yet to go back to their homes and rebuild their houses but they are fully behind the army chief to give a befitting reply to the coward Indians,” he said amid anti-India and anti-Modi slogans.

Malak Ghaffar, another tribal elder, went a step further by demanding the status of field marshal for chief of army chief. “It is the desire of the entire Fata population that not only the tenure of the army chief should be extended but he should be elevated to the status of field marshal as he has led the army with courage and sagacity,” he added.

The jirga was also addressed by Malak Waris Khan, Malak Darya Khan Zakhakhel, Malak Khan Mar Jan, Malak Niaz Mohammad, Malak Razzaq, Malak Israr Kukikhel, Malak Faizullah Jan, Mulana Guldad from Bajaur, Malak Zamin Shah Mohmand and many others.

Speakers in their speeches pledged their full support to army and claimed that entire population of Fata was waiting for a signal from the army chief to pick up arms against India.

They said that Indian Prime Minister Narindra Modi had gone insane in his enmity against the innocent people of Kashmir and the state of Pakistan. “The people of Fata have always sacrificed their lives and properties for Pakistan. They would not hesitate in doing so if given the chance again,” they added.

The speakers said that people of Fata had liberated Azad Jammu and Kashmir from India back in 1948. “Half of the Kashmir was liberated by our forefathers about six decades ago while we will clinch the rest of it from India with our own arms and ammunition. We will hoist our national flag at Srinagar if we are given a go-ahead signal,” they said.

Source: dawn.com/news/1286401/tribal-jirga-wants-tenure-of-army-chief-extended

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Pakistan threatens to approach ICJ if India ‘violates’ Indus Water Treaty

September 27, 2016

Karachi [Pakistan]: Advisor to the Pakistan Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Tuesday asserted that Islamabad will approach the International Court of Justice if India violates the Indus Water Treaty.

“The international law states that India cannot unilaterally separate itself from the treaty,” Aziz said addressing the National Assembly

Geo TV reports that he also asserted that the treaty was not suspended even during the Kargil and the Siachen wars.

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

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

“Water and blood can’t flow at the same time,” the Prime Minister was quoted as saying.

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

Former Indus Water Commissioner Jamat Ali Shah on Monday slammed India for threatening to block the flow of water into Pakistan’s Indus river.

“What should we believe of what the Indian PM says: ending poverty or blocking flow of water into Pakistan, This is open economic terrorism,” he said.

Source: siasat.com/news/pakistan-threatens-approach-icj-india-violates-indus-water-treaty-1029139/

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If Kashmir is an integral part of India, why is it on UNSC agenda, asks Pakistan

September 27, 2016

Islamabad [Pakistan]: India’s Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj advice to Pakistan to abandon its dream of separating Kashmir from India during her address at the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Monday, has prompted Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) spokesperson Mohammed Nafees Zakaria to ask “if Kashmir is an integral part of India, why is it on the agenda of the (UN) Security Council?”

“Strange that Indian EAM is disowning the UNSC resolutions and that too at the UN. Can the Indian EAM explain that if Kashmir is an integral part of India, why is it on the agenda of the Security Council,” tweeted Zakaria within a few hours after the EAM concluding her speech.

After Swaraj showed Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif a mirror, saying those accusing others of human rights violations would do well to introspect and see what egregious abuses they are perpetrating in their own country, including in Balochistan, Zakaria tweeted, “Indian EAMs reference to Pakistan’s province of Balochistan is a violation of UN principles and international law.”

Pakistan MoFA spokesperson further tweeted, “Reference to Balochistan is a continuous admission by India of its involvement in subversive activities in Pakistan.”

Accusing India of diverting the world’s attention from “atrocities on defenceless Kashmiris”, Zakaria said, “India trying to divert world attention from its atrocities on defenceless Kashmiris, but her efforts will not succeed.”

However, defending Swaraj’s speech at the UNGA as well-measured and fitting, India Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Vikas Swarup said she has expressed New Delhi’s vision on all those issues which are crucial to the international community.

“As you know our foreign minister gives to the point answers and her statement today (Monday) was well-measured and fitting, and she expressed India’s vision on all those issues which are crucial to the international community,” Swarup told ANI here.

With Swaraj saying “jinke apne ghar shishe ke ho, unhe dusro par patthar nahi fekne chahiye (those whose houses are made of glass should not throw stones at others)”, while responding to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s statements at the UNGA on September 21, the MEA spokesperson said, “A few days back, the Pakistan Prime Minister on this very platform had given baseless statements against India; and today, the Foreign Minister has given a befitting reply to all those things.”

“Moreover, she has said the countries sheltering terrorism, financing them and providing them with weapons, such countries do not have any place in the international community which, in my opinion, was a very important and powerful message that she delivered today,” he added.

When asked whether he thought that Pakistan was isolated on the international platform, Swarup said, “That is evident. As you have seen when the Pakistan Prime Minister delivered his speech, his speech got no comments in their support; whereas there is a consensus in the world on India’s statement on terrorism and there is a common consensus that fighting terrorism is, at present, utmost necessary.”

On Balochistan also, the Foreign Minister commented on the atrocities committed there, he said.

Source: siasat.com/news/kashmir-integral-part-india-unsc-agenda-asks-pakistan-1028787/

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Military keeping a close eye on the eastern border: Asim Bajwa

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

PESHAWAR: Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Asim Bajwa on Tuesday said the armed forces are closely monitoring the situation on the border with India and are ready to respond to "any situation".

"We are closely monitoring the developments on the eastern border and we are fully prepared to respond," he said while briefing journalists after an operations and security review meeting which was headed by Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif.

Pakistan has rejected Indian allegations regarding involvement in a militant attack on the Uri army base in India-held Kashmir, in which 18 Indian soldiers were killed.

Bajwa said it is "regrettable" that Pakistan is blamed for attacks in other countries without any evidence having surfaced.

"We have always talked responsibly... we never pointed finger at others until we found concrete evidence," he said.

Rajgal given security clearance

The military spokesperson also gave a briefing on steps taken for border management by the armed forces.

He said the high mountain passes in Rajgal valley have been given a security clearance and cross-border movement in this area has ended.

Work has been completed on 20 per cent posts set up for border management, Bajwa said, adding that a security plan has been formulated that will assist with better managing the border.

He said border management would be most effective when Pakistani efforts are matched by the Afghan side.

Briefing about recent terrorism incidents, the DG ISPR said the suicide attack on a courthouse in Mardan and the attack on Peshawar's Christian Colony were both planned in Afghanistan. He said 4 facilitators of the Mardan attack and 3 of the Christian Colony attack have been nabbed.

Bajwa said deliberations are being made on top levels to ensure implementation of the National Action Plan in letter and in spirit.

Source: dawn.com/news/1286426/military-keeping-a-close-eye-on-the-eastern-border-asim-bajwa

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Uri attack an inside job, says Khawaja Asif

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

ISLAMABAD: Defence Minister Khawaja Asif on Monday termed the Uri army base attack in India-held Kashmir IHK) an 'inside job'.

Asif, in an appearance on DawnNews show 'News Eye', maintained that no proof implicating Pakistan in the attack had surfaced yet, alleging it was "evident" the attack was a plan devised by India itself.

Kulbushan Jhadav issue

When asked why Pakistan did not raise the issue of captured Indian spy Kulbhushan Jhadav when the Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj was terming Bahadur Ali a ‘living evidence’ on cross border terrorism against India in the UNGA, he said that they have been “raising the issue on a daily basis” for several months.

“Not only Kulbhushan Jhadav but we also have Brahamdagh Bugti, to whom India issued a visa on a fake identity, as proof,” added Asif.

Anti-Pakistan bill

Commenting on the bill moved against Pakistan in the United States Congress, he said that anti-Pakistan elements are present in each and every country but the impacts of their voices depend on the policies of these countries.

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

Asif added that the "entire world knows now that India is not as serious about resolving the Kashmir dispute as Pakistan is".

India has not received support from anywhere despite launching a diatribe against Pakistan, Asif said, adding that China had, on the other hand, support Pakistan's viewpoint.

Relations between the two nuclear-armed countries have been tense since India launched a diatribe against Pakistan in the aftermath of Uri attack in the India-held Kashmir, which resulted in the death of 18 Indian soldiers.

The attack occurred at a time when the Pakistani premier was going to raise the issue of human rights violations in Kashmir which were on a rise since the killing of a local militant leader Burhan Wani.

India's critisicm

Sushma Swaraj in her address on Monday challenged Pakistan "not to even dream of taking away Kashmir from India".

Citing the Uri and Pathankot attacks, she accused Pakistan of infiltration and also alleged that Pakistan has responded to India's friendship offers with cross-border terrorism.

Earlier this week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also accused Pakistan of supporting terrorism.

Comparing both the countries he had stated, “On one hand India has been exporting software, while on other Pakistan supports terrorism.”

He had also threatened to isolate Pakistan within the global community.

PM Nawaz's UNGA address

On September 21, 2016, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in his address to the 71th session of the UNGA, said Pakistan was willing to keep peace and positive relations with neighbouring India but the goal could not be achieved without resolving the Kashmir issue.

Source: dawn.com/news/1286423/uri-attack-an-inside-job-says-khawaja-asif

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FPCCI won’t accept Indian hegemony for trade

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

ISLAMABAD: The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) said on Monday it is ready to work for peace and trade in the region but not at the cost of Indian hegemony.

The industry is ready to sever ties with India amid growing tension following the Uri attack, FPCCI Vice President Riaz Khattak said in a statement.

“We are concerned about the situation and believe that a conflict will be disastrous for both countries,” he said. Pakistan needs to take a stand against India, he added.

However, war is not a solution to the Indo-Pak crisis, as it will destroy the Indian economy besides isolating the country globally, he said.

Mr Khattak said diplomatic isolation and international pressure should be used to highlight Indian brutalities in Kashmir. He said the FPCCI stands beside Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the armed forces for safeguarding Pakistan’s interests. He said Indian and Pakistani businessmen must work together to find areas of mutual interest.

“The governments of both countries need to take a step back and businesses must take the initiative. This is the only way to increase trade and investment and deepen relationships within the South Asian economies. But it can only happen when the Indian government stops levelling allegations against Pakistan and initiates dialogue on disputed issues,” he said.

Mr Khattak said the peace process between the two nations, which began at the Ufa meeting, was derailed because Pakistan wanted the inclusion of Kashmiri leaders.

Source: dawn.com/news/1286319/fpcci-wont-accept-indian-hegemony-for-trade

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Mideast

87 Turkish intelligence personnel dismissed over links to Gülen

September 27, 2016

Some 87 out of 141 suspended Turkish intelligence personnel were dismissed on Sept. 27, as investigations over their suspected links to the Fethullahsit Terror Organization (FETÖ) reached an end for 100 of the suspended officials.

Criminal complaints have also been filed against 52 of the 87 dismissed National Intelligence Agency (MİT) personnel.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/87-turkish-intelligence-personnel-dismissed-over-links-to-gulen.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104306&NewsCatID=509

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Detention sought for 121 members of Turkish charity over Gülen links

September 27, 2016

The chief prosecutor of Istanbul issued ordered the detention of 121 alleged members of a relief organization on suspicion of having links to the outlawed Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), following the failed coup attempt of July 15, the prosecutor’s office announced on Sept. 27. 

Police launched raids at addresses in 18 provinces across Turkey to detain members of the humanitarian aid organization “Kimse Yok Mu” (Is Nobody There?) including its director, İsmail Cingöz.

Police have so far detained 41 suspects, though 77 suspects were reportedly abroad and two have already been arrested as part of other investigations.

The suspects are accused of being members of an armed terrorist organization, violating the terror financing law, laundering illegally acquired properties, and contravening the law of associations.   

The charity has for several years collected money from people for the Eid al-Adha religious holiday.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/detention-sought-for-121-members-of-turkish-charity-over-gulen-links.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104310&NewsCatID=509

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Armenian nuclear plant should be shut down, says Turkish minister

September 27, 2016

The Armenian Metsamor nuclear power plant should be shut down as the world cannot risk another disaster like Chernobyl, Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak said on Sept. 26.

“Even if each country took the necessary precautions about its own nuclear power plant, we cannot ignore the threats on our borders. We have to act together on potential threats. In that regard, the Metsamor nuclear power plant should be shut down,” Albayrak said at the 60th general conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in the Austrian capital Vienna.      

Armenia’s Metsamor plant, built in 1970 and located 16 kilometers (10 miles) from the Turkish border, came under criticism from Turkish officials after Armenia decided to extend its lifespan until 2026.        

Turkey currently plans to build threes nuke plants

Albayrak also noted in his speech that Ankara currently has plans to build three nuclear power plants, each with four reactors. The feasibility studies for the third nuclear power plant are still ongoing, he said. 

Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, Akkuyu, is being constructed by Russia while the second one, the Sinop nuclear power plant, will be built by a consortium composed of France and Japan.

Albayrak said the plants would follow the IAEA’s security standards.

He also urged the IAEA to look into Syria.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/armenian-nuclear-plant-should-be-shut-down-says-turkish-minister.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104311&NewsCatID=348

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US Deputy Secretary of State Blinken arrives in Ankara

September 27, 2016

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Ankara on Sept. 27 to hold a series of meetings with Turkish officials on issues of cooperation in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and discuss other bilateral and strategic issues.

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

Blinken is expected to end his visit on Sept. 28.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/us-deputy-secretary-of-state-blinken-arrives-in-ankara-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104301&NewsCatID=510

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Hillary Clinton is not a friend of Israel

27/09/16

Hillary Clinton has a lifetime of anti-Israel positions. She said she was a big supporter of Israel when she was in the U.S. Senate, when she needed campaign contributions from American Jews and New York’s Jewish voting bloc. She has not been pro-Israel since her resignation from the Senate to become Secretary of State in January 2009.

When Hillary Clinton was the Secretary of State, she helped Barack Obama craft his anti-Israel positions. Like other presidents, Obama made his own policy; he fundamentally transformed America’s foreign policy. He reoriented America's Middle East policy in favor of the ayatollahs, to make Iran the regional superpower, disadvantaging America’s traditional allies: Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the other Sunni Arab monarchies. Like other secretaries of state, Hillary had the option of resigning if she did not agree with the foreign policy, but she shared the same flawed vision of the world as Obama.

Hillary Clinton made an official visit to the Middle East in November 1999, when her husband was the president. During the visit, Suha Arafat, the wife of Palestine leader Yasser Arafat, made slanderous allegations in her presence: “Our [Palestinian] people have been submitted to the daily and intensive use of poisonous gas by the Israeli forces, which has led to an increase in cancer cases among women and children.” Suha Arafat also accused Israel of contaminating the water sources used by Palestinians with “chemical materials” and “poisoning Palestinian women and children with toxic gases.”

Hillary listened to a real-time translation of the accusations without objections. She also hugged and kissed Suha Arafat when she finished speaking. Twelve hours passed without a word from Hillary. Only when she saw the public outcry did she call Suha Arafat’s words “inflammatory.” She also called on all sides to refrain from “inflammatory rhetoric and baseless accusations,” including Israel, whose leaders made no such accusations.

Then Hillary did what she and her husband often do when they mess up: She blamed others. First she blamed the translator, though the Palestinians would have assigned one of their most capable translators to handle a major speech by the wife of the Palestinian leader. She then tried to blame the Americans traveling with her, who, she said, told her that Suha Arafat’s remarks were “not worthy of any particular comment.” She also blamed her husband: If she were not the First Lady, she could have spoken up sooner.

Hillary should not have been there. Her advisers told her that traveling to the Territories in the middle of a difficult peace process and her own Senate race was to court disaster. Perhaps the sumptuous trappings of overseas travel as First Lady won out. When Republicans questioned her actions, she responded with arrogance: “It is unfortunate that there are any questions about what was a very straightforward occasion.” Most Americans would not agree that public accusations that an American ally was engaging in chemical genocide make for a “straightforward occasion.” Till now, Hillary Clinton has not specifically contradicted nor denounced the lies uttered by Suha Arafat in her presence.

Full report at:israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/19543

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Don't Call Us 'Israeli Arabs': Palestinians in Israel Speak Out

Sep 26, 2016

When Israel’s founding fathers removed by force the native Palestinian Arab population living where they intended to establish their state, they murdered or displaced more than 80% of that population.

This act of ethnic cleansing — to borrow one of Benjamin Netanyahu’s newly found phrases  — was given a name in Arabic: the Nakba, or catastrophe. The Palestinian Muslims, Druze and Christians who remained in what became Israel have been, and are today, approximately 20% of the population. These are indigenous Palestinians and their descendants, who have had Israeli citizenship imposed upon them.

'48ers, Palestinian Arabs, 'insiders' – just not 'Israeli Arabs'

For over half a century, Israel has preferred the designation Israeli Arabs, focusing on their Israeliness and attempting to obliterate any trace of Palestinian from their identity. Among Palestinians in exile or the West Bank, they’re referred to as ‘48ers, referring to the year of the Nakba, or as those living “on the inside,” meaning inside the 1949 armistice line, better known as the Green Line. Now, a new cohort of Palestinian thinkers inside Israel writing 68 years after the Nakba reaffirm that they are not just Arabs, but Palestinian Arabs, and that while they may be “in Israel,” they are not Israel’s: they are their own masters.

These Palestinian citizens of Israel are its Achilles’ heel; they refuse to become Zionists, refuse to leave Israel, and refuse to vanish into thin air. And, increasingly, they are refusing to remain a silent, or passive, player.

This increasingly assertive minority in Israel spoke out in a new think tank report published this month by The Palestinian Arab Citizens in Israel hosted by the Oxford Research Group and supported by the I'LAM Arab Center for Media Freedom Development and Research in Nazareth and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. [Full disclosure: While completely independent, this project is also a sister project of the Palestine Strategy Group, of which I’m a secretariat member.]

Four futures for Palestinians in Israel, from chaos to a binational state

The report is unequivocal about the need for the state of Israel to wholly accept these Palestinian citizens as full and equal citizens. Israeli Jewish citizens who think they have quashed any impetus for collective action by their Palestinian neighbors in Israel would be well advised to read, not just this report in its entirety, but also the biographies of those responsible for its production. Some of the sharpest political and academic minds in Israel are exposing the historical misjudgments and internal contradictions in the Israeli state and offering a way out, if anyone is interested in pursuing it.

The report highlights three possible scenarios – four futures for the Palestinian citizens of Israel and their relationship with the State of Israel.

Scenario 1 assumes the continuation of the status quo, which could proceed along two different paths: Israel could embark on attempting to better the quality of life of its Palestinian citizens, as individuals, without addressing the core political or collective issues, or could simply attempt to perpetuate the status quo, without the emergence of a Palestinian state, a combination that would inevitably become less status quo and more a continuous downward spiral.

Scenario 2 envisions chaos on Israel’s borders as regional Islamic fundamentalism in bordering states spills over into Israel, provoking redeployment of the Israeli military and greater potential instability.

Scenario 3 assumes the creation of an independent Palestinian state (as defined by the UN General Assembly Resolution passed on November 29, 2012) living side by side with Israel.

Thousands of people participated in a march to commemorate 'Nakba Day' near the ruins of the village Al-Lajoon near Megiddo in northern Israel, Tuesday April 24, 2007.

Full report at:haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.744398

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Israel Deploys Drones Along Syrian Border to Monitor Jihadist Threats, Errant Fire

Sep 26, 2016

Israel has purchased and is now deploying drones along its northern border to assist in monitoring and addressing various threats from Syria, where a civil war has been raging for more than five years.

According to a report on Monday in the Hebrew news site Walla, the drones can serve as a crucial tool in observing and preventing spillover from warring factions on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights and terrorist attacks against — or infiltrations into — the Jewish state.

One advantage of the unmanned aircraft is that they have cameras that can collect visual data from dozens of yards above a given area. The user-friendly drones are also capable of identifying and distinguishing between people and vehicles — something that provides effective tactical assistance to Israeli troops on the ground.

The Syrian side of the Golan Heights has become a region of virtual anarchy, the report said, with many different jihadist groups flooding the area. These include: ISIS and affiliated organizations, local militias, Hezbollah, and other Iranian-funded terrorist groups such as Islamic Jihad.

According to Walla, IDF forces regularly patrol the border, closely watching for any suspicious changes in activities or movements on the other side.

One problem the IDF has had to deal with over the past few years has been errant fire from battles in Syria between pro-Assad regime forces and rebels, as well as internal fights among the latter. Hits on Israeli territory usually stem from a lack of precision in mortar and artillery fire. The IDF has been given the order by the political echelon to respond to such incidents within less than 24 hours — and this, Walla reported, has enhanced Israel’s deterrence and reduced the scope of the spillover.

As The Algemeiner reported at the end of July — around the 10th anniversary of the Second War in Lebanon — assessments in the IDF are that a successful inter-Syrian diplomatic agreement could lead to fighting not only between Israel and rebel jihadis, but also with with Iran’s proxy Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based Shiite terrorist organization which supports the Assad regime.

On Saturday, Israeli minister and former IDF general Yoav Gallant told The Algemeiner that Iran must not be allowed to remain a hegemonic power in a post-civil-war Syria.

“The greatest threat to Israel is posed not by ISIS or al-Qaeda, but rather by Iran and Hezbollah, both of which must be isolated from the Western world,” Gallant said.

Source: algemeiner.com/2016/09/26/israel-deploys-drones-along-syrian-border-to-monitor-jihadist-threats-errant-fire/

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North America

Petition Asking For Pakistan to Be Declared a State Sponsor of Terrorism Crosses 100K Signatures

September 27, 2016

New York: An online White House petition asking for Pakistan to be declared as a state sponsor of terrorism has crossed 100,000 signatures thus qualifying to get a response from the Obama administration.

The online petition launched by Indian Americans last week has become the third most popular petition on the White House website with nearly 110,000 people signing the petition. The Obama administration is expected to respond to it within 60 days.

The online petition was created on September 21. Congressman Ted Poe, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, along with Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, introduced the Pakistan State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act in the House of Representatives.

“This petition is important to the people of United States of America, India and many other countries which are continuously affected by Pakistan sponsored terrorism,” the petition said.

An initiative of the US President Barack Obama, “We the People” online petition at the White House website provides a window to American citizens to campaign before the administration on a particular issue.

Currently on top of the list is the petition seeking to stop construction of “Dakota Access Pipeline” which has more than 210,000 signatures, followed by another petition seeking not to make “Kratom a schedule I substance” which has 137,000 signatures.

Meanwhile the White House said that it is currently focused on enhancing its counter-terrorism capabilities with Pakistan.

“That (designating state sponsor of terrorism) is a very specific process and determination that involves a legal process and assessment,” White House Deputy spokesperson Mark Toner said.

“Our focus with Pakistan is to enhance their capability and to deal with terrorist threats on their soil. They are fighting a serious and sustained campaign against violent extremism,” he said.

“We do believe that they are making progress and taking steps to counter terrorist violence, but at the same time we have been very clear that they need to target all militant groups, including those that target Pakistan’s neighbours, and close all safe havens,” Toner said.

Toner reiterated that it is the longstanding American

position that the US believes India and Pakistan really stand to benefit from the normalisation of relations.

“We encourage both India and Pakistan to pursue and engage in direct dialogue that is aimed at reducing tensions,” he said.

“We have long said that with regard to Pakistan, with regard to India, with regard to the region, there is no zero-sum game here. We are pursuing very close relations with India,” the deputy spokesperson said.

“We have a deep and broad bilateral relationship and multilateral relationship, or work our multilateral issues with India. They are the world’s largest democracy and we share a very similar vision of the world. And we obviously have very close trade and economic ties with India, and also that extends to security cooperation,” he said.

“Similarly, we want to see Pakistan better able to respond to the threat that terrorism poses and terrorist groups that seek refuge in its territory,” Toner added.

Source: siasat.com/news/white-house-petition-pakistan-crosses-100k-signatures-1028951/

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US and Indian troops wrap up counter-insurgency, terrorism drills

September 26, 2016

U.S. and Indian troops are wrapping up counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism training this month in Uttarakhand, an Indian state that borders Chinese-occupied Tibet.

Exercise Yudh Abhyas, now in its 12th year, involves 250 soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s 1-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, the 7th Infantry Division and the California National Guard training with Indian troops from the 99th Mountain Brigade, said Maj. Garrett Shannon, an intelligence officer in India with the Strykers.

The 22-day exercise at the Chaubattia Military Station aims to hone the soldiers’ ability to plan and conduct missions together, Shannon said in an email Friday.

“We are teaching each other operational planning and lessons learned from operational experiences,” she said.

The U.S. and Indian armies have been fighting Islamic extremists in separate theaters for decades. India, with a minority population of nearly 140 million Muslims, deals with regular terrorist attacks by separatists and Pakistan-based extremists. A cross-border incursion into Kashmir killed 19 Indian soldiers this month.

The allies are also coming to grips with the rapidly growing military clout of China, which is at odds with the U.S. over aggression in the South China Sea and with India over mountainous territory where a brief border war was fought in 1962.

Yudh Abhyas, conducted in heavily forest areas at altitudes between 6,000 and 7,800 feet, has focused on counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism, according to The Times of India.

During the exercise, U.S. and Indian soldiers have ruck marched, conducted helicopter raids, used state-of-the-art surveillance gear to practice tracking and identifying terrorists, employed special weapons in close-quarter battle drills and practiced countering improvised explosive devices and communicating on the battlefield, the newspaper said.

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The exercise has been observed by Maj. Gen. Thomas James, 7th Infantry Division commander, and Maj. General RK Raina, commander of the Indian Army’s Garud Division, the report said.

One of the 1-2 soldiers participating, Spc. Gurpreetsingh Gill, lived in India for 24 years and graduated from Rajasthan University before moving to America in 2012 to work as an information technology consultant in Chicago.

Gill, a Sikh who joined the infantry in 2014, said in an email that he has been sharing tips on local culture with his comrades.

“I try to share my knowledge to each and every soldier in terms of casual greetings in Hindi/Punjabi language, about Indian food and festivals, the way Indian society is divided, its geographical area, political system, sports (such as cricket) and many other things about Indian culture,” he said.

The Americans are learning about how Indian troops communicate, organize their chain of command and how they conduct counter-insurgency and border security in different types of terrain, he said.

Meanwhile, the Indians are learning about modern U.S. military technology, the latest first-aid techniques and America’s support for its veterans, he said.

The world’s two largest democracies have much in common. Both have diverse populations and a growing trade relationships, Gill said.

“Lots of Indians settle down in the U.S. and they understand both country’s political and financial systems which gives the U.S. a great opportunity to get close to India,” he said.

Source: stripes.com/news/us-and-indian-troops-wrap-up-counter-insurgency-terrorism-drills-1.431076

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Netanyahu Holds Closed Door Meeting With Clinton, Trump Ahead Of First Debate

September 26, 2016

NEW YORK — Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are meeting separately with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday in sessions that could set the tone for relations between the allied countries during the next presidential administration.

Trump met Sunday with Netanyahu for over an hour at his residence in Trump Tower in Manhattan, according to Israeli and campaign officials. Clinton also was expected to meet with the prime minister in New York on the eve of the first debate between the candidates. The Israeli leader has sought to project neutrality this time after perceptions arose that he favored Mitt Romney over President Barack Obama in 2012.

The press was barred from covering the meeting between Netanyahu and Trump, but Trump’s campaign said in a statement that the men, who have known each other for years, discussed “many topics important to both countries,” including “the special relationship between America and Israel and the unbreakable bond between the two countries.”

Among those topics: the nuclear deal with Iran, the battle against Islamic State militants, military assistance provided by the U.S. to Israel and other security issues.

Benjamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel shows an illustration as he describes his concerns over Iran’s nuclear ambitions during his address to the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters.

“Trump recognized that Israel and its citizens have suffered far too long on the front lines of Islamic terrorism,” the campaign said in a statement. “He agreed with Prime Minister Netanyahu that the Israeli people want a just and lasting peace with their neighbors, but that peace will only come when the Palestinians renounce hatred and violence and accept Israel as a Jewish State.”

Trump also repeated his pledge to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv if he’s elected to the White House.

Full report at:mintpressnews.com/netanyahu-holds-closed-door-meeting-clinton-trump-ahead-first-debate/220811/

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First mosque in Manitoba, Canada celebrates 40th anniversary, Honors its founders

Tuesday September 27, 2016

Manitoba (Canada): The Hazelwood Mosque, which is the first in Manitoba, Canada, celebrated on Sunday its 40th anniversary by changing its name to the Pioneer Mosque.

On this occasion, President of the Manitoba Islamic Association (MIA) Idris El-Bakri said: “The new name is a nod to the handful of Muslim families living in Winnipeg at the time that fundraised and built the mosque in what was then a new subdivision in St. Vital at 247 Hazelwood Ave.”

"We owe these pioneers a great debt of gratitude," El-Bakri added.

"When I see this mosque I think anything is possible." El-Bakri and others officially unveiled the sign over the mosque's front door, a brass plaque commemorating the anniversary, and the sign showing the honorary renaming of the street in front of the building, Winnipeg Free Press reported.

The honorary street name is Pioneer Mosque Way. During the 1960s, the Muslim population of Winnipeg, numbering only 10 families, met in homes, churches and other locations to pray before deciding they needed their own place.

Abdul Malik, a former association president and one of the mosque's founders, said the land was purchased because it was priced reasonably and the few Muslim families here at the time lived nearby.

Malik said they spent a few years fundraising and began to believe building a mosque was out of reach until they received two large donations.

"One was from the Council of Muslim Communities in Canada and the other from King Faisal of Saudi Arabia. But then, with the building still under construction, the project was put into jeopardy when the contractor went bankrupt", he said.

"We had given him all our money what could we do?" Malik said. "Thankfully, we had people. They built the rest by hand. This is how we built this hall."

"Without Saudi help and our devotion this mosque would not be here." Ahmad Ashraf, the first president of the association, said when he came to Canada in the early 1960s there was only a handful of Muslims in Winnipeg.

Now Ashraf said there are now seven mosques in Winnipeg, 11,000 Muslims in Manitoba and more than one million across the country.

"I anticipated that we would grow," he said. "Now there are other mosques here and there is one in Thompson."

Coun. Brian Mayes (St. Vital) said he has always felt a warm welcome when he goes to the mosque. "This is not just an Islamic celebration this is a Canadian celebration," Mayes said.

Source: ummid.com/news/2016/September/27.09.2016/first-mosque-in-manitoba-celebrates-40th-anniversary.html

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American hotels in Turkey’s Adana could be targeted in attacks: US consulate

September 27, 2016

The U.S. Consulate in Adana warned Americans on Sept. 27 that it had received specific and credible threats of potential terrorist activity targeting U.S.-branded hotels in the southern Turkish province.

“U.S. citizens in Adana are advised to exercise caution when patronizing these establishments,” the consulate said in a statement on its website.

The warning did not name the hotels. Adana’s hotels include properties operating under the Sheraton and Hilton brands.

The city of Adana is about 16 km from the İncirlik Air Base, which the U.S. military uses to launch attacks against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants in Syria.

The State Department has also warned U.S. citizens to avoid travel to southeastern Turkey.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/american-hotels-in-turkeys-adana-could-be-targeted-in-attacks-us-consulate.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104303&NewsCatID=341

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Arab World

Syrian Military Forces Fend off ISIL's Offensives in Deir Ezzur

September 27, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian Army troops repelled ISIL's attacks on their positions in Deir Ezzur's districts, the claiming lives of at least 25 terrorists.

ISIL left at least 25 dead members behind and retreated from the battlefield after its attacks on government positions in al-Sina'ah were repulsed by the Syrian soldiers.

ISIL's military vehicles also sustained major damage in the failed attacks.

Also on Sunday, Syrian government's military forces defended their positions in Jafrah farms against ISIL's large-scale attack on Sunday, inflicting major casualties on the terrorists.

"After six hours of non-stop battle, the Syrian army soldiers pushed back the terrorists from the region, inflicting major losses on them," the sources said.

"In the meantime, army soldiers clashed with ISIL terrorists in al-Sina'ah and Huweija al-Sakar, inflicting several casualties on the terrorists," they added.

"Over 30 ISIL terrorists were killed in the Syrian Armed Forces' attacks on Saturday, including several foreign combatants from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Malaysia, Libya, and Iraq," the source went on to say.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950706000697

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Total of 668 Settlements Join Syrian Ceasefire So Far

September 27, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Russian Defense Ministry said the number of settlements that have joined the cessation of hostilities in war-torn Syria has increased to 668.

According to the report, the ceasefire regime was joined by settlements in Lattakia and Hama provinces, Ria Novosti reported.

"Within the last 24 hours, truce agreements have been reached with representatives of three settlements, including two in Latakia and one settlement in Hama, respectively, bringing the total number of settlements that have joined the ceasefire to 668," the ministry said in a daily bulletin posted on its website.

According to the bulletin, negotiations on joining ceasefire regime are ongoing with field commanders of armed opposition units operating in Damascus, Homs, Quneitra and Aleppo provinces.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950706000852

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Terrorists' Offensive Repulsed by Syrian Army in Northern Hama

September 27, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian Army soldiers inflicted major casualties on terrorist groups and did not allow them to break through the government positions in three regions in Northern Hama.

The Syrian military forces repelled terrorists' attacks on government positions in three villages of al-Thafi, al-Zuqbi and al-Talisia, killing and injuring most of the combatants.

Meantime, the army men stormed terrorists' concentration centers in the villages of Atshan, Tal Skeik and Um Hartin in Norhtenr Hama, in which four tanks, four armored vehicles, six vehicles equipped with machineguns and a 130 mm cannon of the militants were destroyed.

Earlier report said that Syrian military forces engaged in fierce clashes with three different terrorist groups along key roads in two strategic regions in Northern Hama, inflicting major casualties on them.

Army soldiers struck the positions of terrorist groups along the road connecting Ma'an to Kawkab and al-Kabbaryieh, killing 18 terrorists, including 11 from al-Murabitin group, 5 from Jund al-Aqsa and 2 others from Abna al-Sham Movement.

The militants' weapons and ammunition were also damaged in large parts in the clashes with the army.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950706000774

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Syrian Army Gaining Upper-Hand against Terrorists in Northern Quneitra

September 27, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian Army troops drove back terrorist groups from the surrounding areas of a key hilltop in Northern Quneitra, inflicting heavy casualties on the terrorists.

The army soldiers stormed the terrorist groups' defense lines near al-Hamriyeh hilltop and pushed the militants back from part of the battlefield.

Terrorists, in a retaliatory move, shelled residential areas in the village of al-Hader, destroying the villagers' houses.

The Syrian Army's missile units pounded the positions of Fatah al-Sham Front (the newly formed al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group previously known as the al-Nusra Front) in Northern Quneitra on Monday, and killed, at least, 15 militants.

The army missile units opened fire at the strongholds of Fatah al-Sham near the village of al-Hamidiyeh, killing at least 15 terrorists.

Fatah al-Sham's military hardware also sustained major damage in the missile attacks.

Meantime, the entire fighters of an eight-member group of Fatah al-Sham were killed in an ambush carried out by the Syrian army and popular force in al-Naqar al-Gharbi near Mashati Hadar.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950706000744

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Syrian Military Forces Fend off ISIL's Offensives in Deir Ezzur

September 27, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian Army troops repelled ISIL's attacks on their positions in Deir Ezzur's districts, the claiming lives of at least 25 terrorists.

ISIL left at least 25 dead members behind and retreated from the battlefield after its attacks on government positions in al-Sina'ah were repulsed by the Syrian soldiers.

ISIL's military vehicles also sustained major damage in the failed attacks.

Also on Sunday, Syrian government's military forces defended their positions in Jafrah farms against ISIL's large-scale attack on Sunday, inflicting major casualties on the terrorists.

"After six hours of non-stop battle, the Syrian army soldiers pushed back the terrorists from the region, inflicting major losses on them," the sources said.

"In the meantime, army soldiers clashed with ISIL terrorists in al-Sina'ah and Huweija al-Sakar, inflicting several casualties on the terrorists," they added.

"Over 30 ISIL terrorists were killed in the Syrian Armed Forces' attacks on Saturday, including several foreign combatants from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Malaysia, Libya, and Iraq," the source went on to say.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950706000697

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Fierce Clashes Reported in Northern Hama

September 27, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian military forces engaged in fierce clashes with three different terrorist groups along key roads in two strategic regions in Northern Hama, inflicting major casualties on them.

Army soldiers struck the positions of terrorist groups along the road connecting Ma'an to Kawkab and al-Kabbaryieh, killing 18 terrorists, including 11 from al-Murabitin group, 5 from Jund al-Aqsa and 2 others from Abna’ al-Sham Movement.

The militants' weapons and ammunition were also damaged in large parts in the clashes with the army.

Military sources said on Monday that the Syrian army troops and popular forces are ready to carry out a large-scale offensive against Jund al-Aqsa terrorist group in Northern Hama.

"The Syrian army has deployed a large number of forces in Northern Hama to launch a large-scale operation to push the terrorists back from the lands which are under the Takfiri militants' control," the military source said, adding, "The operation is expected to start within the next few days."

"The commander of the Syrian Army's Tiger Forces, Colonel Suheil al-Hassan, has also arrived in Northern Hama to lead the imminent operation," sources went on to say.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950706000667

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Russia Respects Syrian Sovereignty, Respects Allies

September 27, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Top Syrian President adviser said Russia's approach to its allies is radically different from the representatives of the West, and Moscow respects the Syria's sovereignty as it, in general, respects its allies.

"Russian diplomacy distinguishes itself by respecting the principle of national sovereignty of its allies," Syrian President Bashar Assad's adviser Bethania Shaban said, Ria Novosti reported.

Russian diplomats always seek the Syrian government's approval of any international agreements on settling the Syrian conflict before signing them, Shaban told the Lebanese Al Mayadin channel.

"Our Russian ally is radically different from the representatives of the West, as it respects the country's sovereignty and respects its allies," the adviser said.

"Russia does not agree on any details without the Syrian government's approval. We took part in discussing this agreement with Russia at its outset stage. This is true not only for this agreement, but for everything concerning Syria," Shaban told Al Mayadin, referencing the deal reached on September 9 by US and Russia on ceasefire in Syria.

On September 9, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov brokered a ceasefire in Syria that took effect three days later. The agreement called for unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid and stipulated that only designated terror groups would be targeted in military strikes. However the ceasefire shattered after US targeted Syrian Army troops near Deir Ezzur.

Earlier on February 27, a US-Russia brokered ceasefire came into force in Syria. Terrorist groups such as ISIL, as well as Fatah al Sham Front (previously known as al-Nusra Front), are not part of the deal.

Syrian government has been engaged in war against several militant groups since 2011, with government forces loyal to President Bashar Assad fighting numerous foreign-backed militants, as well as terrorist groups.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950706000664

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Syrian Army Deploying Hundreds of Forces in Kuweires for Imminent Operation in Al-Bab Region

September 27, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Military sources announced on Tuesday that the Syrian Army has deployed a large number of soldiers in Kuweires airbase in Eastern Aleppo to launch large-scale offensives in ISIL-held regions Northeast of the province.

"Thousands of Syrian army soldiers, previously deployed in Southern Aleppo and Northern Hama, poured into the Eastern countryside of Aleppo on Sunday and Monday, as the Syrian Army prepares for a large-scale military operation near the ISIL stronghold in al-Bab," the sources said.

Media sources announced on Monday that the Turkish Army was reinvigorating its presence in Syria's Northern province of Aleppo to launch the third phase of its so-called anti-ISIL operation, codenamed the Euphrates Shield, alongside pro-Ankara terrorist groups.

"The Turkish Army is dispatching more soldiers and military equipment to Northern Syria to launch the third phase of the Euphrates Shield Operations to back terrorist groups, mainly the Free Syrian Army (FSA), to capture the key city of al-Bab in Northeastern Aleppo," the sources said.

"The Turkish army, meantime, has deployed thousands of soldiers at its border with Syria to use them against the ISIL if the FSA fails to capture al-Bab," they added.

"Turkey blamed ISIL of shelling its border town of Kilis," they said.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950706000608

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Moscow to Accomplish Delivery of All S-300 Missile Systems to Tehran by Yearend

September 27, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iran-Russia contract on the supply of several S-300 missile defense systems to Tehran will be accomplished by the end of 2016, Moscow reiterated on Tuesday.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that it expects contract for delivery of the S-300 air defense systems to Iran to be fulfilled this year, Interfax reported.

Moscow and Tehran had signed a contract for the delivery of five battalion sets of S-300 PMU1 air defense missile systems in 2007.

Iran displayed the first S-300 air defense missile system imported from Russia in April. A battalion of the S-300 missile defense system was showed off in military parades in Tehran.

The first cargo of missiles special to the Russian S-300 missile defense system arrived in Iran in July.

Meanwhile, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan announced in August that the Russian S-300 missile defense system has been deployed and integrated into the country's missile defense network.

"The S-300 system has been delivered and a part of it was deployed," Rapporteur of the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Seyed Hossein Naqavi Hosseini quoted General Dehqan as saying in his meeting with the Commission members in Tehran.

Naqavi Hosseini also said that General Dehqan had underlined continued projects to design and produce different radars and satellites by the defense ministry experts, reiterating that the country wants to keep up advancements in the field.

Iran has also deployed S-300 air defense missile systems at the country's Fordo nuclear site, a senior commander announced late August.

"The S-300 air defense missile systems are now stationed in Fordo nuclear site," Commander of Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base Brigadier General Farzad Esmayeeli underlined.

He reiterated that the nuclear industry is a national achievement which needs to be protected seriously.

General Esmayeeli said that air defense exercises are practiced only once in non-nuclear sites, adding, "However, in nuclear centers the exercises are conducted several times."

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950706000669

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Ahmadinejad Gives Up Plan to Nominate for Next Year Presidential Election

September 27, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran's former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared on Tuesday that he has decided not to take part in the next year presidential race in the country.

In a letter sent to the Iranian Supreme Leader on Tuesday, Ahmadinejad noted his meeting with Ayatollah Khamenei on August 30, and said after he discussed his recent countrywide trips and public meetings, "you advised me that my participation in this round of elections won't be expedient and I stated my compliance" with this recommendation.

"In compliance with the gracious leader of the revolution, (I declare that) I have no plan to run in the next year's election," he added.

The letter came after the Iranian Leader stated on Monday that he had "advised" a potential candidate not to take part in the election next year, but meantime reiterated that he "has not issued a ban or order" in this regard.

"I didn't tell him not to run, I said it's not in your own or the country's best interests to run," Ayatollah Khamenei said.

Ayatollah Khamenei did not mention any specific name, but he implied Ahmadinejad as there were rumors all throughout the last week that he had had a meeting with the former president over his plans for the next year presidential election and advised him not to nominate.

Iran will hold its next presidential election in May 2017, a vote in which President Hassan Rouhani may seek a second term.

The Guardian Council, a body of clerics and jurists that oversees elections, said in a letter to the interior ministry in July that it had agreed on a date of May 19 proposed by the ministry.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950706000908

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Africa

Islamic State militants kills 5 civilians in Egypt's Sinai

September 26, 2016

EL-ARISH, Egypt — Egyptian officials say Islamic State militants have killed five Egyptian civilians and dumped their bodies, wearing orange jumpsuits, in a restive corner of the Sinai Peninsula.

They say two of the men were beheaded and the others shot in the head over accusations they had collaborated with the Egyptian army, which is fighting the insurgents in the area around the city of Rafah and the town of Sheikh Zuweid, where the bodies were found. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to release the information to journalists.

The army has been battling militants in the area for years, with hundreds of casualties on both sides. The army often claims it has killed dozens of militants. Journalists are banned from the area.

Source: stripes.com/news/middle-east/2.1198/islamic-state-militants-kills-5-civilians-in-egypt-s-sinai-1.431019

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Extremists kill 8 more soldiers, Nigeria says

September 27, 2016

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria -- Islamic extremists have killed eight soldiers and wounded 17 in two attacks over two days in northeastern Nigeria, the country's military said Monday.

The attacks raise the official toll to 10 troops killed and 24 wounded this past week after a lull during which the extremists confronted a leadership struggle. The Islamic State militant group's West Africa Province claimed that more than 40 soldiers from a multinational army were killed in one attack last week.

Extremists attacked an army position Sunday at Logomani, northeast of Maiduguri, northeastern Nigeria's biggest city, an army statement said. The troops killed 22 attackers while losing four soldiers, it said.

Later Sunday, extremists ambushed a military convoy near Bama, southeast of Maiduguri, the statement said. An officer, three soldiers and three insurgents died.

Also Sunday, longtime Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau appeared in a video denying military reports that he was fatally wounded last month. The Islamic State in August appointed a new leader in Nigeria, but Shekau has insisted he remains in charge.

In the video, Shekau taunts parents of the more than 200 Chibok schoolgirls who were kidnapped in 2014, saying they will see their daughters again only if the government swaps them for detained extremist leaders.

Nigeria's military called the video "the handiwork of a mentally sick and unstable mind." The military several times in the past has claimed to have killed Shekau.

Source: nwaonline.com/news/2016/sep/27/extremists-kill-8-more-soldiers-nigeria/?news-world

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Timbuktu destruction: Muslim radical convicted

27 September 2016

The Hague, Netherlands - An international court on Tuesday found a Muslim radical guilty of committing a war crime by overseeing the destruction of historic mausoleums in the Malian desert city of Timbuktu, and sentenced him to nine years in prison.

Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi, a former teacher, had pleaded guilty and expressed remorse for his role in overseeing the destruction of nine mausoleums and a mosque door by pickaxe-wielding rebels in June and July of 2012.

Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi, right, enters the court room to hear the verdict of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands. Picture: Bas Czerwinski, Pool. Credit: AP

His trial, which opened August 22, was a landmark for the International Criminal Court, which has struggled to bring suspects to justice since its establishment in 2002.

It was the tribunal's first conviction for destruction of religious buildings or historic monuments, and the first guilty verdict delivered against a Muslim extremist.

Al-qaeda-linked rebels occupied the famed Saharan city of Timbuktu in 2012 and enforced a strict interpretation of Islamic law that included destruction of the historic mud-brick mausoleums they considered idolatrous. Al Mahdi was leader of one of the "morality brigades" set up by Timbuktu's new rulers.

ICC prosecutors said Al Mahdi was a member of Ansar Eddine, an Islamic extremist group with links to al-Qaeda that held power in northern Mali in 2012. The militants were driven out after nearly a year by French forces, which arrested Al Mahdi in 2014 in neighboring Niger.

Source: iol.co.za/news/africa/timbuktu-destruction-muslim-radical-convicted-2073379

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Sheikh Zakzaky deserves release not trial - IMN Press Statement

September 27, 2016

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - The popular Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) has condemned calls for the trial of their leader, Sheik Ibraheem Zakzaky.

The President of Media Forum of IMN, Mr. Ibrahim Musa, in a statement Monday, said rather than a call for his trial, the appropriate action is to release their leader who has been in detention since last year.

Our attention has been drawn to an editorial by the respected national newspaper Sunday Trust of 25/09/16, wherein a call for the trial of the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky was made, instead of his outright release from illegal detention.

We wouldn’t have joined issues with the newspaper, had it not been for the glaring contradiction in its stand on the Zaria massacre carried out by the Army in December 2015.

For a start, Sunday Trust acknowledged that “Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky has been detained since the December clashes, apparently by the Department of State Services [DSS], and has not been charged to court for any offence for more than nine months. This very clearly violates the constitutional stipulation that a person should not be detained for more than 48 hours before he or she is charged to court.” From the foregoing, any person with clear conscience expects the newspaper to call for the release of the Sheikh not his trial. Any charge that couldn’t be brought forward within 48 hours as stipulated by the Constitution is a trump up charge, talk less of after nine months.

Having said that, it seems the reasoning of the writers of the Editorial was blurred by this assumption, “It was the Shi’ites’ blocking the path for General Buratai, who was on his way to attend the passing-out parade of the 73 Regular Recruits Intake of Depot, Nigeria Army, Zaria that led to the bloody clashes,” as stated in the Editorial. We insist there was never a road blockade of the Chief of army staff, General Buratai. What happened that day was that the General bumped into a conflict zone, since before he arrived, some soldiers stationed opposite our Islamic centre, Husainiyya, fired on members of IMN, killing seven instantly. Anybody passing that busy highway knew that we were not in the habit of blocking it whenever we have a religious gathering at the Centre for the past five years we have moved to the place. Moreover the programme scheduled for that day hasn’t even started when the COAS arrived.

The so-called ‘road blockage’ was staged and used as a smoke screen to “stop the…Shia” as mouthed by President Muhammad Buhari on Al-Arabia Channel, when he visited Qatar some months back. Even on this gimmick, the IMN cannot be victimised as sole offender. All religious, social and political organisations in their gatherings are ‘road blockers’ too.

Also what happened within those tragic two days wasn’t a clash between the army and members of IMN. It was a clearly orchestrated attack on the movement by the army. The casualty figures speak for themselves. Over 1000 were massacred in cold blood by the army, while no soldier was killed by IMN. People were roasted alive, women and children killed, buildings destroyed all belonging to the IMN, with the soldiers having a field day. How can this tragic event be called clash?

Note that despite all the things they acknowledged were on our side, they are only relying on what they termed “Shi’ites are believed by most Nigerians, including their neighbours in Zaria, the police, the Army and the Government to be essentially lawless, who do not recognise the Constitution of the Federal Republic or the sovereignty of the Nigerian state..” Hence they didn’t call for the release of Sheikh Zakzaky, even though reason, logic, the law the Constitution, conscience and propriety will suggest that is what should be done. However Sunday Trust will rather go by the belief of soldiers, police, Zaria hired crowd and so on to prosecute Sheikh Zakzaky, just as the Judicial Commission of Inquiry and lately NHRC have tried in vain to suggest. They are only amplifying what these biased reports are saying, and that is to prosecute the victims.

Its disheartening that a group whose over 1000 members were killed, but resorted to seeking redress in competent courts of the land and other civil protests allowed by the constitution will be termed a lawless group. Is there any group of people in the country that has remained calmed after what IMN has gone through in extra judicial killings?

Based on what Sunday Trust said about the Zaria massacre, it should at least have toyed the line of other National newspapers like, Thisday, The Guardian and The Punch, who have all called the Sheikh’s release as demanded by IMN since he is not accused of committing any crime. For the newspaper to state that, “Sheikh Ibraheem el-Zakzaky should be immediately charged to court for whatever crimes he is believed to have committed,” we find it objectionable. He should rather be released immediately and unconditionally.

Source: en.abna24.com/service/africa/archive/2016/09/27/781699/story.html

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Southeast Asia

Christian frontrunner for Jakarta governor makes waves in Indonesia

27 September 2016

That Jakarta — the capital of the largest Muslim nation in the world — could elect a Christian as its governor is so unthinkable to some they're going to great lengths to try and stop it.

To Australia's north, the city of 10 million people will next year go to the polls.

The problem is the progressive, anti-corruption front runner is a Christian with Chinese heritage, and it is causing ripples throughout the city.

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, or Ahok as he is widely known, was sworn in as acting governor after current President Joko Widodo vacated the position in 2014.

For now, opponents of Ahok have no more powerful tool than a mosque at prayer time.

ABC News filmed evidence of that during a sermon at the Al Furqon mosque in central Jakarta, where the cleric Alwi Wahid's message was clear.

"Be careful on the judgement day — God will ask you, why did you choose the infidel as the leader, while I have warned you not to. Believers should not choose a non-Muslim as their leader," he said.

He went on to tell the Jama'ah there would be "bad consequences" for those who vote for a non-Muslim.

"It's OK," Ahok told ABC News when asked about the sermons during a press conference at Jakarta's town hall.

"We will learn. We are just 71 years independent, I think we are more advanced if you compare [us] to the United States of America.

"If next year I could be elected as a governor in this city it is like the qualification of president 50 per cent plus one."

It will be a three-way race for the position, with the nominations officially closing late last week.

Ahok will compete against the former education minister Anies Baswedan and surprise late entry Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, a one-time army major and the son of the former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

But polls suggest Ahok is currently the frontrunner as a popular candidate among the young and rising middle class.

Ahok also has the support of the ruling party the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and its powerful allies including former president Megawati Soekarnoputri.

Since he was sworn in as acting governor after current President Joko Widodo vacated the position in 2014, he has been known for his determination to clean up the over-populated and infrastructure-poor city.

Ahok is regarded well for his anti-corruption stance and for projects, including the closure of a number of the city's slums and the moving of residents into high rise apartments.

When asked why he would not condemn the preachings in the mosques, he told ABC News: "For what, for what? I think this is a democracy."

But leaving the sermon at the mosque led by Mr Wahid, many of the faithful seem convinced.

"I refuse to vote for Ahok. I am a Muslim and Ahok is an infidel, that's it," one man said.

 Mohammad Siddik from the Indonesian Supreme Council for Islamic Propagation.

PHOTO: Mohammad Siddik warned a non-Muslim being elected to the governorship could lead to instability. (ABC News: Ari Wu)

Mohammad Siddik from the Indonesian Supreme Council for Islamic Propagation warned a non-Muslim being elected to the governorship could lead to instability.

"We are calling the people, Muslims call the people not to vote for Ahok because we are also guided by our faith, by the Koran," he said.

"I hope that nothing will happen, but something might happen," he warned, pointing to a threat that could arise from a small number of Islamic radicals.

Source: abc.net.au/news/2016-09-27/islamists-use-mosques-to-protest-christian-governor-election/7878964

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Indonesia Wants UN Security Council Seat

September 27, 2016

Last week, Indonesia officially announced its public bid for a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) seat.

In a speech before the United Nations General Assembly on Friday, the country’s vice president, Jusuf Kalla, said that he was announcing Indonesia’s bid to be a non-permanent member of the UNSC from 2019 to 2020.

“Against this backdrop, allow me in this august opportunity to announce Indonesia’s candidature to the non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council for the period 2019-2020,” Kalla said in prepared remarks.

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Kalla’s speech was part of a broader Indonesian campaign that ran through the later part of last week. The official start of the campaign was marked by the sounding of a gong by Kalla during an event which involved a reception as well as Indonesian cultural performances.

Though Kalla’s speech began by addressing the subject of achieving sustainable development goals by 2030, which was the theme of the session he was speaking at, he then moved to set up the pitch for Indonesia’s candidature, arguing that Jakarta’s commitment and contributions to the UN made it a “true partner for world peace.”

Peace is a prerequisite to development, Kalla argued, and Indonesia had learned that first hand with a period in the 1950s and 1960s where it saw internal conflict and regional strife and a focus away from development. Yet many parts of the world today continue to see what he termed a “peace deficit,” with rising tensions, unresolved territorial disputes, constant threats from terrorism, extremism and radicalism, and a long list of non-traditional challenges.

These challenges require a global partnership, Kalla said, along with a more representative, democratic, and effective UNSC. As the world’s fourth most populous nation, third largest democracy, and largest Muslim country, he said Indonesia was prepared to play a role.

His pitch for a UNSC seat also stressed Indonesia’s commitment to multilateralism and leadership in several areas, including climate change, maritime affairs, counterterrorism, peacekeeping, and human rights.

“Indonesia is a true advocate of multilateralism,” Kalla said. “It is inherent in our DNA…in the founding of our nation…in our constitution.”

Apart from Kalla, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi also voiced her support for Jakarta’s bid, saying in a statement that Indonesia had the “required qualifications” for the UNSC seat and that the country was ready for it. Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, meanwhile, did not attend the UN proceedings for the second year in a row.

Among Southeast Asian nations, Malaysia is the latest to hold a non-permanent seat in the UNSC for the 2015-2016 period. Thailand had lost its bid this year to Kazakhstan.

Indonesia has been previously elected as a non-permanent UNSC member three times. In its bid for a fourth term representing Asia, it will likely face off against other candidates, including India.

Source: thediplomat.com/2016/09/indonesia-wants-un-security-council-seat/

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Dutchman held in Myanmar after ‘pulling plug’ on Buddhist sermon

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

A Dutch tourist has been detained in Myanmar for insulting religion after being accused of pulling the plug on a speaker relaying a late-night Buddhist sermon in Mandalay.

Klass Haytema, 30, has been held since Friday night when he allegedly disconnected the cable linking an amplifier and a speaker at a hall playing the sermon after he complained that it was disturbing him, police said.

"The religious hall is not far from the hotel where he was staying... he said he did it because it was too noisy for him," Kyi Soe, police chief at Maha Aung Myay township, told AFP.

An angry crowd followed the man back to his hotel, where he was taken into custody by police and later transferred to a Mandalay prison.

"We detained him for insulting religion," he said, adding it was under section 295 of Myanmar's penal code.

He is yet to be charged but the law carries up to a two year jail term and fine.

Buddhist-majority Myanmar is deeply devout and several foreigners have been found guilty of insulting religion.

In July a Spanish tourist was deported from Myanmar after monks complained about a tattoo of Buddha he had on his leg.

Last year a New Zealand bar manager spent 10 months in jail for "insulting religion" by using a Buddha image to promote a cheap drinks night.

Buddhist nationalism has surged in Myanmar in recent years, with the country's Muslim minority -- around five percent of the population -- facing particular pressure.

Source: mizzima.com/news-domestic/dutchman-held-myanmar-after-%E2%80%98pulling-plug%E2%80%99-buddhist-sermon

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Thousands Of Muslim Buildings And Mosques Set For Demolition In Myanmar

27 September 2016

Plans to demolish thousands of buildings belonging to the Rohingya Muslim population in Myanmar have been condemned by a persecution watchdog.

The order was announced by the government of Myanmar on September 18 and confirmed in a press conference on Saturday. More than 3,000 buildings are set to be destroyed in the Rakhine (Arakhan) state, including 12 mosques and 35 madrasas in the Muslim-majority townships of Maungdaw and Buthidaung.

Local and international Rohingya Muslim groups issued a joint statement last week that said the plans were "part of their [Rakhine State Government's] long-drawn-out annihilation and ethnic cleansing policy of the defenceless Rohingya people".

It added the announcement had "caused consternation to the entire Rohingya community" and called for a halt to the demolition plans.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), a religious freedom charity, said there had been a "dramatic escalation" of abuses against the Rohingya population and said 150,000 people are living in refugees camps as a result of the violence and persecution.

Senior United Nations officials have described conditions in these camps as some of the worst in the world.

Mervyn Thomas, chief executive of CSW, said he was "deeply concerned" by the proposals to demolish mosques and madrasas.

"Destroying these buildings would only further stoke tensions in the country and fuel the persecution of an already severely marginalised and dehumanised people group," he said in a statement on Tuesday.

"We call on the government of Burma [Myanmar] to uphold and protect freedom of religion or belief for all. We also urge the government to lift the block on humanitarian aid access to parts of Rakhine state, as well as Kachin and northern Shan States, and to ensure that all those displaced by conflict receive the humanitarian aid they urgently need."

The Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar were not allowed to vote in the country's recent election and are not included in the national census.

Source:christiantoday.com/article/thousands.of.muslim.buildings.and.mosques.set.for.demolition.in.myanmar/96491.htm

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