Says US Sanctions on Myanmar Over Rohingya Massacre Not Enough
Resumes Training of Terrorists in Syria's Al-Tanf Region
Meets Uighur, Rohingya, Other Religious Persecution Victims
Muslim-Majority States Whitewash Abuses, Says HRW
Saeed Arrest: Pakistan Has Been Enacting Similar Drama since 2001, Says India
Jahan Using Islam to Boost Political Career: AIIA President Moulana Sajid
Areas Set To Turn the Page with First-Ever PA Polls
Taliban Commander Mawlavi Jundullah and His 18 Fighters Killed In Faryab
in Israel Find Mosque from When Islam Arrived In Holy Land
Says US Sanctions On Myanmar Over Rohingya Massacre Not Enough
US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar Says Trump Is Spewing His Fascist Ideology’
judge thwarts bid to halt religious symbols ban
Administration Turns To South America for Help with Anti-Iran Coalition
cleric who hid Christians during attacks honored in the US
Advocates Predict More Racist Attacks To Come From Trump
announces new global body on religious freedom
rare US criticism, Pence urges Saudis to free blogger Badawi
says US downed Iranian drone in Strait of Hormuz
takes action to freeze Hezbollah assets
to have a Freedom of Information Act to replace OSA
ex-beauty queen shares Instagram video about love life with former Malaysian
King amid divorce reports
Should Also Study In Madrasa: UP Minister
Muslim Artisans Who Create Kanwars for Hindu Pilgrims
23-Page Dossier, India Gives Proof of Pro-Khalistan Groups in Pakistan
draws new ‘red lines’ for talks on Afghan peace process
quizzes editor of Kashmir daily in terror-funding case
seeks India’s stamp on US-led Afghanistan talks
Pakistan PM Abbasi arrested on corruption charges
Pakistani PM Abbasi arrested on corruption charges
asks Opp to give sacrifices in Centre, Sindh for fresh election
allows consular access to convicted Indian spy after world court ruling
arrests ex-PM on Qatar natural gas corruption allegations
killed in Taliban attack on Afghan police HQ in Kandahar
To Determine After October If Rohingya Probe Needed
Shuts 42 Swedish-Run Health Clinics in Afghanistan
forces put an end to coordinated Taliban attack in Kandahar city
kill more than 20 Taliban militants in Kajaki and Ab-e Kamari districts
bomb goes off prematurely killing 2 suicide bombers in North of Afghanistan
killed, 86 wounded in Taliban attack in Kandahar city
killed, 16 wounded in an explosion near Kabul University
mercenary behind assassination plots against 30 Yemeni scholars, politicians'
Saudi Arabia and UAE largest humanitarian donors to Yemen
with migrants overturns in Turkey killing 15: report
Bahrain foreign ministers hold first public meeting
to end crackdown on unlicensed Palestinian workers: Parliament speaker
League demands investigation into Palestinian inmate’s death in Israeli jail
Calls Out Saudi Arabia, UAE over 'Hypocritical' Yemen Aid Promises
urges Macron to ‘accelerate’ efforts to save Iran nuclear deal
police raid suspected Islamic extremists, detain 6
European officials plan support for Sudan
urges EU to implement Iran nuke deal
Israelis held in southern Cyprus over rape of British tourist
refugees in Istanbul nervous over raids, arrests by Turkish authorities
prime minister wants ISIS member and child to return home
Group Abducts Libyan Lawmaker In Benghazi
Shabab remains a potent and lethal force in Somalia
One Wounded in a Car Bomb Blast in Somali Capital
State Says Mombasa Terror Suspect Was Going to Join Isis
Western figures express concern over Zakzaky’s health in letter to UN chief
opposition voices concern over power-sharing deal
terrorists killed after ambush targets Malian soldier
Korean Envoy ‘Thrilled’ Over Blossoming Cultural Ties with Saudi Arabia
behead 4 people in Egypt's Sinai
Iraq to Yemen, drones raise U.S. alarm over Iranian plans
Kill Turkish Diplomat and Two Iraqis in the Kurdish Region of Iraq
joins US in blacklisting Hezbollah during Pompeo's visit
Arabia to distribute 8 million copies of the Holy Qur’an to Hajj pilgrims
by New Age Islam News Bureau
says US sanctions on Myanmar over Rohingya massacre not enough
UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar says US sanctions imposed this
week on Myanmar's military leaders over Rohingya Muslims should have been
tougher and applied to more generals.
Lee said in Malaysia Thursday the measures against army chief Min Aung Hlaing
and three others as a result of their role in the "ethnic cleansing"
of the Rohingya in did not go far enough.
went on to stress that Washington should go further by seizing their assets,
and those of their families, and extending the sanctions to cover other senior
US State Department announced on Tuesday that Aung Hlaing and other senior
commanders, Brigadier Generals Than Oo and Aung Aung, were responsible for the
massacre of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said a recent disclosure that the army chief had
ordered the release of Myanmar soldiers convicted of "ethnic
cleansing" of Rohingya in 2017 was "one egregious example of the
continued and severe lack of accountability for the military and its senior
US, Canada and the European Union have previously passed sanctions against
members of the Myanmar’s military, but stopped short of reaching the very top
of the leadership.
US has also stopped short of calling the massacres as genocide, preferring
instead to characterize them as "well-planned and coordinated"
campaign of mass killings, gang rapes and other atrocities.
has been the scene of communal violence since 2012. Many Muslims have been
killed, while tens of thousands have been forced to flee as a result of attacks
by Buddhists. The refugees largely live in camps in dire conditions.
Rohingya have inhabited Rakhine for centuries, but most people in
Buddhist-majority Myanmar see them as unwanted immigrants from Bangladesh and
the state denies them citizenship.
Anadolu news agency quoted informed sources as saying on Thursday that Jeish
al-Maqawir terrorists affiliated to the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) are
again being trained by the US forces.
added that the trainings are underway in al-Tanf base in the bordering triangle
between Syria, Jordan and Iraq and some bases in Jordan, noting that the FSA
militants undergo special trainings, including heliborne and combat operations
as well as battle in hard conditions.
sources also said that a number of US army and intelligence officers along with
a number of US-led coalition advisors supervise these trainings.
the US forces in al-Tanf region have paved the ground for recruiting more
militants for Jeish al-Maqawir terrorist group.
prominent Russian military analyst revealed last year that the US was training
terrorists in 19 military bases in Syria in pursuit of its military and
political objectives in the country.
Kozin, a military expert at Moscow State Institute of International Relations,
was quoted by the Arabic website of RT as saying that the US has 19 bases in
Syria to train the terrorists.
added that the weapons, ammunition, fuel and foodstuff needed in these centers
are provided by 22 US military bases outside Syria.
said that the American forces trained the terrorists at al-Tanf base in Syria's
Badiyeh region in the South, adding that the US army had closed the airspace of
this region in a radius of 50km without any agreement with the Damascus
described Washington's military and technical support for terrorist groups as a
violation of the UN Charter and agreements to decrease tensions in Syria, and
said the US supported the terrorists to maintain its influence on the political
and military situation of the country.
meets Uighur, Rohingya, other religious persecution victims
US President Donald Trump, who has made religious freedom a centrepiece of his
foreign policy, met on Wednesday with victims of religious persecution from
countries including China, Turkey, North Korea, Iran and Myanmar.
counts evangelical Christians among his core supporters and the State
Department is hosting a conference on the topic this week that will be attended
by Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
of the 27 participants in the Oval Office meeting were from China, the White
House said: Jewher Ilham, a Uighur Muslim; Yuhua Zhang, a Falun Gong
practitioner; Nyima Lhamo, a Tibetan Buddhist; and Manping Ouyang, a Christian.
sentenced Ilham’s father, Ilham Tohti, an economics professor and Uighur rights
advocate, to life in prison on charges of separatism in 2014, drawing
condemnation at the time from the United States and international rights
two dozen nations at the UN Human Rights Council this month urged China to halt
the persecution of ethnic Uighurs in its western region of Xinjiang, where UN
experts and activists say at least 1 million are held in detention centres.
Trump administration has been weighing sanctions against Chinese officials over
their policies in Xinjiang, including the Communist Party chief of the region,
Chen Quanguo, but has held back amid Chinese threats of retaliation.
between the United States and China are already tense over a tit-for-tat trade
war, with the United States alleging that China engages in unfair trading
reported in May that the US administration was considering sanctions on Chinese
video surveillance firm Hikvision over the country’s treatment of Uighurs,
citing a person briefed on the matter.
Chinese government rejects any suggestion that it abuses religious rights and
must point out that in China this situation of so-called religious persecution
does not exist,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a news
briefing in Beijing on Thursday.
demand that the United States correctly view China’s religious policies and the
status of religious freedom in China, and stop using the issue of religion to
interfere in other countries’ affairs,” Lu said.
present at the meeting were Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar, the White House
said. On Tuesday, Pompeo announced sanctions against Myanmar military’s
Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing and other leaders it said were responsible
for extrajudicial killings of Rohingya in 2017, barring them from entry to the
ambassador for religious freedom, Sam Brownback, said during Wednesday’s
meeting that the administration would announce “additional measures” on
religious freedom at the State Department meeting on Thursday.
the other victims who met Trump were Christians from Myanmar, Vietnam, North
Korea, Iran, Turkey, Cuba, Eritrea, Nigeria, and Sudan; Muslims from
Afghanistan, Sudan, Pakistan and New Zealand; Jews from Yemen and Germany; a
practitioner of Cao Dai from Vietnam; and a Yezidi from Iraq.
than a dozen member countries of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)
signed a statement supporting China’s policies in Xinjiang that ignored
widespread repression of the region’s Muslims, Human Rights Watch said today. The
Chinese government-promoted letter was in response to a joint statement by 22
countries at the United Nations Human Rights Council last week expressing
concern at massive rights violations in Xinjiang and urging unfettered access
by international monitors.
Chinese government has subjected 13 million ethnic Uyghurs and other Turkic
Muslims in Xinjiang to mass arbitrary detention, forced political
indoctrination, restrictions on movement, and religious oppression. Credible
estimates indicate that over one million people are being held in “political
education” camps. Chinese authorities have also placed Muslims in Xinjiang
under pervasive surveillance and mobilized over a million officials to monitor
Muslims, including through various intrusive programs.
Chinese government garnered the support of a dozen Muslim-majority countries to
help whitewash its abysmal human rights record in Xinjiang,” said Sophie
Richardson, China director. “Instead of joining with the many governments
denouncing abuses against Xinjiang’s Muslims, these countries have joined
Beijing’s repugnant counter narrative.”
the systematic abuses against Muslims in Xinjiang, the countries that joined
China’s statement applauded China’s “counter-terrorism and de-radicalization
measures in Xinjiang” that have led to a “stronger sense of happiness,
fulfillment, and security.” The Muslim-majority countries that signed the
letter include: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Pakistan,
Qatar, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and the United Arab
campaign of repression in Xinjiang has been a key test of whether OIC members
will press an increasingly powerful China to end its systemic abuses against
Muslims. The 57-country body has largely remained silent and at times applauded
China’s efforts in recent months. When the OIC foreign ministers met in Abu
Dhabi in March, they ignored the plight of Xinjiang’s Muslims, and instead
praised China’s efforts “in providing care to its Muslim citizens” and
“look[ed] forward to further cooperation” with China.
delegates also took part in one of the Chinese government’s highly controlled,
state-managed diplomatic visits to Xinjiang without any criticism of the
government’s rights violations. By contrast and in line with its mandate to
“safeguard the rights, dignity, and religious and cultural identity” of Muslim
minorities, the OIC has been vocal in condemning abuses against and demanding
accountability for Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.
OIC members including Afghanistan, Albania, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia,
Morocco, Tunisia, and Turkey did not sign the China-backed letter. However, no
Muslim-majority country has joined the unprecedented global call at the UN
Human Rights Council to investigate abuses. OIC countries should urgently sign
this joint statement before the July 26 deadline.
repressive Xinjiang campaign has put the OIC’s credibility on the line,”
Richardson said. “If the OIC wants to be the global voice for the rights of oppressed
Muslims everywhere, its members need to stop looking the other way and denounce
China’s abusive policies in Xinjiang.”
Saeed arrest: Pakistan has been enacting similar drama since 2001, says India
DAY after Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed was arrested by Pakistan, India
on Thursday said that similar “drama” has taken place at least eight times
since 2001, and the genuineness of the action will depend on whether he is
tried for his terrorist activities.
of External Affairs official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said India hoped that
Saeed will genuinely be brought to justice this time.
is not the first time that Hafiz Saeed has been arrested or detained. This
drama has taken place at least eight times since 2001. The question is whether
this time it would be more than a cosmetic exercise and whether Saeed will be
tried and sentenced for his terrorist activities,” he said at the weekly media
said Saeed must be punished as he is a designated terrorist, and listed by the
United Nations Sanctions Committee under the UN Security Council Resolution
action mandated internationally against Hafiz Saeed and his terrorist
organisations is an obligation on part of all UN member states, including
Pakistan,” said Kumar. Saeed also carries a reward of USD 10 million under US
sincerity to take action against terrorist and terror groups will be judged on
the basis of their ability to demonstrate verifiable, credible and irreversible
actions against terrorists and to disrupt and dismantle terror groups operating
from their soil,” the MEA spokesperson said.
said India has long been maintaining that the UN Security Council provisions
pertaining to listing and proscription of known terrorist entities and
individuals must be effectively and sincerely enforced by all member states.
Saeed and his front organisations LeT and JuD recruit and train hundreds and
thousands of persons and motivate and indoctrinate them on a violent agenda
against India,” he said.
said the anti-terror watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has drawn
attention to the clear evidence that organisations supported by Saeed continue
to be involved in supporting and financing terrorist activities.
US President Donald Trump’s claim that the alleged Mumbai attacks mastermind
had been arrested “after a ten-year search” while he was actually in the public
eye for much of the decade, the MEA spokesperson said that “the tweet should
seen in the context of Indo-US cooperation on counter-terrorism”.
a 10-year search, the so-called ‘mastermind’ of the Mumbai Terror attacks has
been arrested in Pakistan. Great pressure has been exerted over the last two
years to find him!” Trump tweeted Wednesday.
Jahan using Islam to boost political career: AIIA president Moulana Sajid
(West Bengal) [India], July 18 (ANI): All India Imam Association (/search?query=All
India Imam Association) (AIIA) President Moulana Sajid Rashidi on Thursday said
Ishrat Jahan is using the Islam religion to move forward in her political
career hours after she claimed that she was allegedly threatened for attending
a Hindu religious event.
Jahan is resorting to Islam to advance herself in the politics of Bengal and is
trying to defame Islam. Islam clearly states that participating in any such program
is not wrong but participating in the worship ceremony of any other religion is
wrong. Ishrat participated in the Hindu ceremony while wearing a Hijab which is
not allowed in the Islam religion," he said.
the Bharatiya Janata Party National Secretary Rahul Sinha supported Jahan and
said that she is free to follow and participate in any religion of her choice.
is free to follow any religion. Anybody who is threatening her should be arrested
immediately. But due to the Mamta Banerjee's government in the state, no action
is being taken which is why this incident happened with her today.
has created communal violence between Hindu's and Muslims in the state. This is
totally illegal and they should be arrested. She should be provided security
and government should take stern actions against such acts," Sinha said.
leader Ishrat Jahan was allegedly threatened by locals and asked to vacate her
rented house for attending a Hindu religious event wearing hijab in Howrah,
police said on Thursday.
her complaint filed on Tuesday (July 16), Jahan had said that she went to attend
BJP Hanuman Chalisa Path in the AC market. But, when she returned home she was
accosted by people of her community for attending the Hindu event. "They
said that I have demeaned the Muslim community as I attended the function in
hijab," she said in her complaint.
group of people gathered outside my house had asked me why I went to attend a
Hanuman Chalisa Path event wearing hijab," Jahan told ANI.
said I should leave the house immediately else they will push me out of the
house forcefully. I am receiving death threats. I demand protection. I live alone
with my son, anything can happen to me anytime," she added.
Howrah ACP North Pratiksha Jharkaria confirmed that they have received Jahan's
complaint and an investigation is underway.
who was divorced by her husband over the phone from Dubai in 2014 by uttering
'talaq' thrice, was one of the petitioners in the triple talaq case. (ANI)
areas set to turn the page with first-ever PA polls
The stage is set for the historic provincial assembly elections in the
erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) with interesting contests
expected between candidates of major political parties and independents,
including some former lawmakers, on 16 general seats.
ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has fielded candidates on all the general
seats whereas the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F), Awami National Party (ANP) and
Pakistan Peoples Party have fielded 15, 14 and 13 candidates, respectively.
the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) has fielded five candidates, Jamaat-i-Islami
(JI) 13 and Quami Watan Party three, while 202 independents are also in the
contest for which polling will be held on July 20.
observers believe that the PTI and JUI-F are likely to grab more seats than
other parties, whereas in a few constituencies independent candidates are
having an edge over others.
JI and JUI-F had contested the July 25, 2018 general elections from the
platform of Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA), but the two major partners of the
religious alliance stand apart in the present elections. The JI is contesting
the polls under the symbol of ‘scale’ while the JUI-F has been allotted ‘book’.
The division between the two allies can split their votes.
aspect is that two women are also contesting the elections on general seats —
political and social activist Naheed Afridi from PK-106 (Khyber) on an ANP ticket
and Ms Malasa from PK-108 (Kurram) on a JI ticket.
total of 2.80 million voters — 1.67m men and 1.13m women — will exercise their
franchise on July 20. Of the 1,896 polling stations, 482 are for men, 376 for
women and 1,038 combined.
suggest that tough contest is expected among the PTI, JUI-F, PPP, ANP, JI,
PML-N and some independents. The ruling PTI is stated to have an edge over its
rivals in some constituencies, especially in Bajaur, Mohmand and Kurram.
electioneering remained in full swing in tribal districts, the situation in
North and South Waziristan was different due to restrictions placed on public
meetings and gatherings by the administration. Only a few days ago when the
Election Commission of Pakistan took notice of the matter, the administration
had lifted Section 144 of CrPC in the two districts.
parliamentarians are also trying their luck. Former MNA Sahibzada Haroon
Rashid, who was elected from Bajaur in 2002 on an MMA ticket, is contesting for
the PK-101 (Bajaur-II) seat.
senator and MNA Hameedullah Jan Afridi is contesting as an independent
candidate from PK-107 (Khyber-III). He was one of the staunch opponents of the
merger of Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and had formed an alliance against the
close contest is expected among Anwar Zeb of the PTI, Gul Afzal of the ANP and
Israruddin Khan, son of former MNA Shahabuddin Khan, of the PML-N in PK-100
(Bajaur-I). In PK-101 (Bajaur-II), a tough contest is likely among Engineer
Ajmal Khan, brother of sitting MNA Gul Dad Khan, of the PTI, Lali Shah of the
ANP, Anees Khan of the PPP and Nizamuddin Khan of the PML-N.
PK-102 (Bajaur-III), Sirajuddin Khan of the JI is considered strong. He is
facing Khalid Khan, an independent candidate, and Hameed Rehman of the PTI.
Nisar Mohmand, a three-time contestant of the National Assembly, is facing
Rahim Shah of the PTI and Mohammad Arshad of the PPP in PK-103 (Mohmand-II).
Nisar had secured 13,000 votes in the previous general election.
contest is expected among Mohammad Arif Haqqani of the JUI-F, Sajjad Mohmand of
the PTI and Abbas Rehman, an independent candidate, in PK-104 (Mohmand-II).
a visible rift among the ranks of PTI workers and organisational weaknesses of
other competing parties in PK-105 (Khyber-I), it is speculated that the main
contest would be between two independent candidates — Shermat Khan, a PTI
renegade, and Al Haj Shafeeq Afridi.
PK-106 (Khyber-II), two wealthy independent candidates — Al Haj Bilawal Afridi,
son of former MNA Shah Jee Gul Afridi, and Khan Shed — are pitted against each
other, with the later being denied the PTI ticket.
close contest is expected between PTI’s young candidate Zubair Afridi and
former independent MNA Hameedullah Jan in PK-107 (Khyber-III). Both are heavily
banking on their tribal affiliations, with the former belonging to Shalobar
tribe of Bara and the later hailing from Bar Qambarkhel.
district with one seat is set to witness a close contest among independent
candidates Ghazan Jamal and Johar Abbas and Shoib Hassan of the PTI. Ghazan
Jamal, son of former federal minister Dr G.G. Jamal, is being supported by the
PK-108 (Kurram-I), a lively contest is expected among PTI’s Iqbal Syed Mian,
retired Col Javed Ullah Khan of the PPP and independents Ibrar Jan and Inayat
Hussain. Iqbal Mian had contested the NA election on a PTI ticket and remained
runner up by securing 16,996 votes. In PK-109 (Kurram-II), a tough contest is
expected among JUI-F’s Mohammad Riaz, PTI’s Shahid Bangash and Haji Saleem
Khan, an independent candidate.
observers believe that independent candidates affiliated with the Pashtun
Tahaffuz Movement are likely to give tough time to the candidates of major
political parties, especially the JUI-F and PTI, in North and South Waziristan.
Taliban commander Mawlavi Jundullah and his 18 fighters killed in Faryab
security forces killed a prominent Taliban commander Mawlavi Junudullah during
an operation in northern Faryab province.
Special Operations Corps in a statement said the Special Forces conducted an
operation against a Taliban hideout in Kolian area of Bulchiragh district.
statement further added that the security forces killed Mawlavi Jundullah, one
of the prominent commanders of Taliban during the raid.
the Special Forces also killed 18 fighters of Jundullah during the same
Special Operations Corps also added that the security forces also wounded 9
Taliban militants during the raid.
Taliban group has not commented in this regard so far.
In Israel Find Mosque From When Islam Arrived In Holy Land
Israel: Archaeologists in Israel have discovered the remains of one of the
world`s oldest rural mosques, built around the time Islam arrived in the holy
land, they said on Thursday.
Israel Antiquities Authority estimates that the mosque, uncovered ahead of new
construction in the Bedouin town of Rahat in the Negev desert, dates back to
the 7th to 8th centuries.
are large mosques known to be from that period in Jerusalem and in Mecca but it
is rare to find a house of prayer so ancient whose congregation is likely to
have been local farmers, the antiquities authority said.
at the site were the remains of an open-air mosque -- a rectangular building,
about the size of a single-car garage, with a prayer niche facing south towards
is one of the earliest mosques known from the beginning of the arrival of Islam
in Israel, after the Arab conquest of 636 C.E.," said Gideon Avni of the
discovery of the village and the mosque in its vicinity are a significant
contribution to the study of the history of the country during this turbulent
US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar says Trump is spewing his fascist ideology’
Congresswoman Ilhan Omar says President Donald Trump is "spewing his
fascist ideology" after Trump’s supporters chanted "Send her
back!" at a rally as the Republican president intensified his attacks on
four congresswomen of color.
much as he's spewing his fascist ideology on stage, telling US citizens to go
back because they don't agree with his detrimental policies for our country, we
tell people that here in the United States: dissent is patriotic," Omar
told reporters at the US Capitol.
in the United States, disagreement is welcome, debate is welcomed and
especially in the people's House all of our voices are uplifted and
heard," Omar said.
this president says should be taken to heart,” she added.
stepped up his vilification of four liberal female lawmakers as “un-American”
at a raucous rally on Wednesday, in Greenville, North Carolina.
Trump recounted past comments by Omar, who was born in Somalia and emigrated to
the United States as a child, the crowd began chanting: “Send her back!”
criticism from Democrats that his comments about the four minority
congresswomen are racist, Trump went on an extended diatribe about the
lawmakers, saying they were welcome to leave the US if they did not like his
policies on issues such as immigration and defending Israel.
these Congresswomen, their comments are helping to fuel the rise of a
dangerous, militant hard left,” the Republican president said to roars from the
crowd in North Carolina, a state seen as key to his re-election.
on Thursday, Trump told reporters at the Oval Office that he disagreed with the
was not happy with it. I disagree with it. But again I didn't say that, they
did," Trump said -- though he waited 12 seconds as the chant broke out.
triggered a firestorm over the weekend after he tweeted that the four
progressive members of the US House of Representatives, known as “the squad” -
Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of
New York and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts - should “go back” where they
came from, even though all are US citizens and three are US-born.
attacks have widely been seen as a bid to rally his right-wing base as the 2020
White House race heats up -- at the risk of inflaming racial tensions and
deepening partisan divisions in America.
judge in Quebec, Canada on Thursday rejected a request by a Muslim group and a
civil liberties association to have sections of the province’s secularism law
Michel Yergeau said it would be irregular for the court to rule against an
injunction duly passed by an elected legislature.
21 was enacted in June and forbids civil servants including police, nurses,
teachers and bus drivers from wearing religious symbols such as Muslim hijabs,
Jewish yarmulkes, Sikh turbans and Christian crosses while dealing with the
National Council of Canadian Muslims and the Canadian Civil Liberties
Association brought the court action asking for a suspension pending further
investigation of the law’s constitutionality.
organizations argued that the law is unconstitutional and will cause “very
grave harm” to minorities in Quebec.
Yergeau ruled that the law “demands to be decided on merit” and not in the name
of individual interests.
Minister Justin Trudeau made no bones about his opposition to the new law.
do not feel it is a government’s responsibility or in a government’s interest
to legislate on what people should be wearing,” he told reporters late last
McKenzie, a lawyer for the two groups that brought the court action, said the
government “is legislating the practice of religion. There is no other way to
Premier Francois Legault said most Quebecers want religion to be separate from
the state and so are in favor of the law.
Administration Turns To South America For Help With Anti-Iran Coalition
the United States has struggled to build support among its traditional allies
in Europe to combat what it calls Iran's aggression, it has been forced to look
elsewhere, such as Latin America, for support.
week, the Argentine government plans to designate the militant group Hezbollah
as a terrorist organization, giving the Trump administration another ally in
its push to build an international coalition to confront Iran. Hezbollah, which
is based in Lebanon, is supported by Iran.
of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Argentina later this week to take part in
events honoring the 25th anniversary of the bombing of a Jewish Center in the
Argentine capital, according to two sources familiar with details of the visit.
is going to make the United States very happy," said Seth Jones, a former
Pentagon adviser who studies counterterrorism at the Center for Strategic and
International Studies. "The U.S. is having problems right now building a
coalition against Iran." In Buenos Aires, Pompeo will participate in the
second Western Hemisphere Counterterrorism Ministerial, aimed at highlighting
challenges of terrorism in the hemisphere.
will also visit Ecuador, El Salvador and Mexico and make a stop in Puerto Rico,
a U.S. territory.
State Department didn't immediately respond to specific questions about
Argentina's plans, but a senior State Department official discussing the trip
said Tuesday that the administration wants Latin American countries to name and
impose sanctions on terrorist organizations.
want to adopt a communique, the details of which will include things like a
call for domestic designations regimes throughout the region so that countries
have the same capabilities the United States does to impose sanctions on
terrorist organizations and their financiers," the official told
reporters. "So over the short run we would like to see more countries
adopt those laws, and over the longer run we would like to work with countries
in the region to do joint designations of terrorists."
an example, the officials pointed to the establishment of the Terrorist
Financing Targeting Center, where the United States works with Saudi Arabia and
other Gulf countries to combat terrorist financing. It includes a number of
joint designations that target groups like Hezbollah and ISIS.
month, President Trump said the U.S. was "cocked & loaded" to
strike Iran. He stopped the strikes 10 minutes before they were to be launched
— a move that could have accelerated the path to war.
after, Pompeo began a new effort to build an international coalition against
European leaders have resisted the United States' "maximum pressure
campaign" against Iran. Several European nations do not want the United
States to abandon the pact aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear program.
and German leaders have continued to push to make reducing tensions a priority.
Maas, Germany's foreign minister, warned that "the risk of war in the Gulf
has not been averted."
of Europe, the secretary of state kicked off his coalition-building tour with
visits to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, two countries that had
been working to limit Iran's influence in the region.
Pompeo will visit Latin America.
Security Minister Patricia Bullrich appeared to confirm plans to include
Hezbollah on the designated list of organizations last week during a meeting
with reporters following Cabinet meetings.
we are working on is the list to be composed of organizations with specific
allegations," Bullrich said. "In this case there are red alerts, we
adhere to the list of the United Nations and we will add those terrorist
organizations who have had activity in Argentina."
officials say the timing is not a coincidence. Pompeo's trip coincides with
events honoring the victims of the 1994 bombing of the Asociación Mutual
Israelita Argentina, or AMIA, in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people. Buenos
Aires prosecutors have charged Hezbollah with carrying out the bombing with
visit also comes as the center-right Argentine government of President Mauricio
Macri positions itself for a reelection campaign this fall and is eager to
signal its support from the U.S.
said the designation will be important for the Trump administration politically
considering the challenges it has had generating international support. But he
said it's unclear what concrete effects it will have on putting pressure
Gedan, who was National Security Council director for South America during the
Obama administration, said the designation will put pressure on other
governments in Latin America that have been reluctant to take unilateral action
not a global power, Argentina's traumatic experience with Hezbollah makes it a
compelling partner in White House efforts to highlight Iranian
misconduct," said Gedan, now a senior adviser to the Wilson Center's Latin
American Program and the director of its Argentina Project.
has suffered two attacks attributed to Iran and has long taken a hard line on
Tehran. Argentina's president has also depended on the Trump administration's
United States also helped push for the International Monetary Fund to extend
Argentina its largest-ever $57 billion emergency loan last year.
financial survival depends upon IMF support, and the U.S. is its biggest backer
at the fund," Gedan said.
Nathan Sales, the State Department's coordinator for counterterrorism, spoke
last week at the Wilson Center during a commemoration event for the bombing. He
said U.S. officials will work with Argentine officials to help "attack the
nexus between transnational crime and terrorism."
also promised future announcements.
Nigeria (CNN)The US government is honoring an 83-year-old Muslim cleric who hid
262 Christians in his home and mosque during an attack in central Nigeria.
Abubakar Abdullahi, along with four religious leaders from Sudan, Iraq, Brazil
and Cyprus, were awarded the 2019 the International Religious Freedom Award,
which is given to advocates of religious freedom.
was recognized for providing shelter for hundreds of Christians fleeing attacks
from Muslim herdsmen who had launched coordinated attacks on Christian farmers
in 10 villages in the Barkin Ladi area of Plateau State on June 23, 2018, the
award organizers said in a statement.
cleric refused to give them up when their attackers asked about their
whereabouts, International Religious Freedom Ambassador Sam Brownback said at
the awards ceremony in Washington on Wednesday.
imam gave refuge to his Christian neighbors, sheltering 262 Christians in his
mosque and his home.... then stood outside the doors confronting the Muslim attackers,
pleading with them to spare the lives of the Christians inside, even offering
to exchange his own life for theirs," Brownback said.
actions bear witness to true courage, true selflessness, and true brotherly
love," he said.
than 80 people were killed in the attacks by suspected herders who also set
fire on many homes in the villages. Violence between the nomadic Fulani
herdsmen, who are mostly Muslims, and farmers, who are predominantly
Christians, in Nigeria's middle belt dates back to 2013.
State Department, organizers of the award, given to advocates of religious
freedom, said the Muslim cleric selflessly risked his own life to save members
of another religious community who without his intervention would have been
Wednesday night in North Carolina, the president of the United States renewed his
attacks on four freshman Democrats in Congress, all American women of color, in
what many are calling Donald Trump’s most hateful and bigoted rally yet.
the event, thousands of his supporters chanted, “Send her back,” calling on the
president to deport Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.). Omar responded in a tweet: “I am
where I belong, at the people’s house and you’re just gonna have to deal!”
leaders and communities of color were deeply alarmed by Trump’s racist rhetoric
attacking Omar and fellow Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Rashida
Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), but they were not surprised.
have seen a sort of a trajectory of the president using his platform to
perpetuate hateful things and we don’t have enough people speaking out to
condemn that,” said Madihha Ahussain, the special counsel for anti-Muslim
bigotry at Muslim Advocates. “Quite frankly, there’s too many people that are
staying silent, whether it’s Democratic and Republican parties across the
rights advocates and other critics have long warned against Trump’s xenophobic
and Islamophobic language and policies, which set the stage for Wednesday
night’s racist rally. Political observers say the attacks will likely intensify
as Trump and the GOP leverage smear campaigns and bigotry as a 2020 election
also warned about a potential rise in hate crimes, which usually follows such
rhetoric from the president and his followers. According to FBI data, more than
7,100 hate crimes were reported in 2017, with nearly 3 out of 5 attacks
motivated by race and ethnicity.
fact that people at Trump’s rally felt emboldened to call for Omar’s
deportation even though she is an American citizen is rooted in U.S.
nation-building ideology and how that has been weaponized against “non-white
bodies,” according to Nimo Abdi, an assistant professor at the University of
Minnesota who focuses on race, gender and immigration issues.
idea that citizenship and nation-building are interconnected with race, and
there are some bodies that would never be part of it” is why “European
immigrants would never be told to go back,” Abdi told HuffPost.
doesn’t matter if brown and black people have been in this country for
generations. They’re still not part of the nation,” she added.
the rally, Trump called out Omar and the other congresswomen by name, spewing
falsehoods about them. He claimed that Omar, who is a refugee from Somalia and
one of the first Muslim women in Congress, supported al Qaeda and “minimized
the September 11 attacks on our homeland.” Both accusations are not true.
Trump is exploiting the deepest fears and anxieties of the public,” said
Ibrahim Hooper, the national communications director at the Council on
American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
on all parts of the political spectrum need to really take stock of where we’re
at and to decide whether we’re going to go down this road, because we’ve seen
other societies going down this road, and it doesn’t end up in a pretty place,”
rally came days after Trump’s racist Twitter tirade on Saturday telling the
four congresswomen they should “go back and help fix the totally broken and
crime infested places from which they came.” Despite a national outcry, the
president doubled down and defended those tweets the next day at a White House
event. By Tuesday, House lawmakers passed a resolution condemning Trump’s
tweets in a contentious vote that split almost entirely along party lines.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday that the United States will create
a new international body to campaign for religious freedom, following a major
meeting in Washington.
the International Religious Freedom Alliance, Pompeo said that details of the
group were still being worked out but that it would "bring like-minded
countries together" to make the issue a priority.
will provide a space for the work that we do here to flourish throughout the
year and, importantly, it will defend the unalienable rights of all human
beings to believe, or not to believe, whatever it is that they choose,"
Pompeo told the ministerial-level meeting.
three-day gathering at the State Department, which is being held for the second
straight year, is bringing together dozens of countries and hundreds of
activists to promote religious freedom.
said Albania, Colombia, Morocco and the Vatican were planning events to follow
up on the Washington ministerial.
the first year's edition, Britain, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates
organized related conferences.
in his remarks harshly criticized US adversaries Iran and China for their human
rights records, calling Beijing's incarceration of more than one million
Uighurs and other mostly Muslim Turkic-speaking people "truly the stain of
activists say that China has sought to indoctrinate peaceful Muslims, forcing
them to eat pork among other actions that are sinful in Islam.
describes the camps as vocational training and says it is trying to root out
freedom has been one of the few human rights causes that has energized
President Donald Trump's administration, which counts on support from an
evangelical Christian base.
Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday urged Saudi Arabia to free Raif Badawi, a
blogger jailed and publicly whipped for insulting Islam, in a rare criticism of
the US ally as he vowed to champion religious freedom worldwide.
to dozens of government ministers who flew in for a conference on religious
liberty, Pence offered usual US denunciations of adversaries such as China, Iran
Pence also raised the case of Badawi, whose public flogging in a Jeddah square
in 2015 prompted an international uproar, as he grouped him with prisoners from
Eritrea, Mauritania and Pakistan who he considered as being held for religious
Saudi Arabia, blogger Raif Badawi is still in prison for the alleged crime of
criticising Islam through electronic means,” Pence said.
four of these men have stood in defence of religious liberty, the exercise of
their faith, despite unimaginable pressure. And the American people stand with
them,” Pence said.
today the United States of America calls upon the governments of Eritrea,
Mauritania, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to respect the rights of conscience of
these men and let these men go,” Pence said to applause.
which granted Badawi’s wife and three children asylum in 2013, has been
particularly outspoken on his case, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calling
his release a top priority.
Arabia has reacted with fury to Canada’s statements, last year pulling its
ambassador and severing trade ties in what was widely seen as a warning to
was arrested under Saudi Arabia’s draconian cyber crime law and his website
shut down after he blogged his criticism of the “mutawa,” the religious police
force that enforces the law.
had also called for peaceful assembly to mark a “day of liberalism,” as well
the end to the role of religion in politics.
was sentenced to 10 years in jail and 1,000 public lashes.
was lashed 50 times before the public in Jeddah, with witnesses remarking how
he did not cry out. Authorities have repeatedly postponed the rest of his
of the century’
Trump administration has generally played down human rights other than with
adversaries. But it has put a high priority on religious freedom, an important
issue for Trump’s evangelical Christian base.
also pledged to support religious freedom in North Korea — which advocacy
groups say is perhaps the world’s most repressive state, with even possession
of the Bible banned.
can be confident, as President Trump continues to pursue the denuclearisation
of North Korea and a lasting peace, the United States will continue to stand
for the freedom of religion of all people of all faiths on the Korean
peninsula,” Pence said.
U.S. has destroyed an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz after it threatened
an American warship, President Donald Trump said on Thursday.
Iranian unmanned aircraft was shot down by the USS Boxer, a U.S. Navy amphibious
Boxer took defensive action against an Iranian drone which had closed into a
very, very near-distance, approximately 1,000 yards, ignoring multiple calls to
stand down, and was threatening the safety of the ship and the ship's
crew," Trump said at the White House.
drone was immediately destroyed," he added.
said the U.S. "reserves the right to defend our personnel, our facilities
and interests," and called on other nations to "protect their ships
as they go through the strait and to work with us in the future."
in the Strait of Hormuz have flared in recent months following Trump's decision
to reimpose sanctions on Iranian crude oil exports that were lifted as part of
a 2015 nuclear accord between Tehran and world powers.
unilaterally exited the U.S. from the agreement in May 2018, calling on other
parties to follow suit while taking actions to scuttle the pact.
downed a U.S. drone in June that it says violated its airspace -- a claim
contested by the Trump administration which says it remained above
incident nearly resulted in retaliatory strikes Trump says he called off
because he said it would have been a disproportionate response.
Strait of Hormuz, which separates the Gulf of Oman from the Persian Gulf, has
been a hotbed of activity amid the standoff with Iran on the one side, and the
U.S. and its Gulf Arab allies on the other.
in Argentina have frozen Hezbollah assets and effectively designated the
Iran-backed group a terrorist organisation on the 25th anniversary of a deadly bombing
in the country.
South American nation accuses the Lebanese group over the 1994 bombing of a
Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people. The group and
its backers in Tehran deny the claims.
US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, has visited Argentina to attend
commemorations to mark the attack.
also blames Hezbollah for an attack on the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires in
1992, which killed 29 people.
country's financial information unit ordered assets belonging to Hezbollah and
its members to be frozen, the day after Argentina created a list for people and
entities linked to terrorism.
present, Hezbollah continues to represent a current threat to security and the
integrity of the economic and financial order of the Argentine Republic,"
the unit said.
freezing of assets automatically puts Hezbollah on Argentina's list of
terrorist organisations, a government source told Reuters.
and Argentinian officials say Hezbollah operates in the tri-border area of Argentina,
Brazil and Paraguay, where an illicit economy funds its operations elsewhere.
been clear for so many years that this [attack on Argentinian Jewish community]
was executed by Hezbollah and backed by Iran," said Toby Dershowitz, a
senior vice president at the Foundation for Defence of Democracies.
hope is that will really inspire other countries in the region to follow suit,
because they too have suffered from Hezbollah’s malign activities and those
include narco-terrorism and trafficking. It is what Hezbollah is known
is not yet clear whether Argentina's new designation will lead to other action
against Hezbollah in the area.
some kind of US security support, including increased sharing of intelligence,
could be a part, said Benjamin Gedan, director of the Wilson Centre’s Argentina
Project in Washington.
decision to join the US in designating Hezbollah a terrorist group is a
significant win for President Donald Trump's administration, and could put
pressure on Brazil and Paraguay to follow suit, Mr Gedan said.
US is looking to revive a security relationship a souring in diplomatic ties
during the previous administration of president Cristina Fernandez.
new President, Mauricio Macri, is regarded by Washington as a partner,
particularly as traditional European allies have been slower to offer support
amid US tension with Iran.
they are not a good replacement for European allies, because they don't engage
Iran significantly, so they cannot put on the same commercial and economic
pressure as the Europeans," Mr Gedan said of Latin America.
at least it gives the impression that the Trump administration is not standing
said the US put significant pressure on Argentina to prepare the announcement
in time for Mr Pompeo's visit.
investigation into the 1994 lorry bomb attack on the Argentine Israeli Mutual
Association, meanwhile, has made little progress. No one has been brought to
trial in that case or the Israeli embassy bombing.
the years, reports have indicated that the Lebanese group operates significant
operations across Africa, Latin and South America, which raise funds for the
Hezbollah financier Nader Farhat was arrested in Paraguay and extradited to
Miami this year.
Farhat is accused of moving millions of dollars around the world on behalf of
drug traffickers and channelling funds to Hezbollah through one of the biggest
currency exchange businesses in the tri-border area.
recent years, US authorities have turned to money-laundering legislation to try
to disrupt Hezbollah operations in the area because it is difficult to prove
they are directly funding the terror group.
year, US officials said that sanctions placed on Iran had cut into the estimated
$700 million it paid to the group each year.
such, the officials warned, the group was likely to increase its illegal
overseas businesses to make up the shortfall.
group’s secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah, has said in recent speeches that
the group is being financially squeezed, calling it economic warfare by the US.
officials say they believe Hezbollah raises a third of its revenue from South
American operations, representing millions of dollars a year.
US has imposed dozens of new sanctions on Hezbollah members, including Mr
Nasrallah and his family, over the past two years.
July 2017, Argentina’s Financial Intelligence Unit asked the government to
freeze the assets of 14 Lebanese nationals in the tri-border area, accusing them
of using casinos to launder cash and send money to Hezbollah.
government will draw up a Freedom of Information Act to replace the Official
Secrets Act 1972, says Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
says the Special Cabinet Committee on Anti-Corruption, which he chaired, has agreed
in principle that sufficient time must be given to the process of drafting the
drafting process must focus on public engagement and sufficient outreach
programmes must be held with the public, he says.
on July 16 Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohamed Hanipa
Maidin told Parliament the federal government is looking to amend the Official
Secrets Act 1972 (OSA) to prevent the leak of state secrets.
made the comments during Question Time saying the amendments are expected to be
tabled next year.
Malaysia is ranked first among Southeast Asian countries in the 2019 World
Press Freedom Index, says Dr Mahathir.
index places Malaysia at 123 out of 145 countries in the world, he says.
is Malaysia’s achievement as a result of the government commitment to the
prevention of corruption, he says.
commitment of the government of today in placing the prevention of corruption
as a priority agenda has yielded results, Dr Mahathir told the media.
Pakatan Harapan made it a pledge to introduce the Freedom of Information Act
and review the OSA, along with the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010 and the
Witness Protection Act 2009.
the other hand, a Muslim preacher Wan Ji Wan Hussin who was released from jail after
he was sentenced under the Sedition Act 1948 says the act should also be
called on Attorney-General Tommy Thomas to look into the it before more people
are victimised by the controversial law.
Ji, currently appealing his own conviction under the security law, said a
review was needed especially as Pakatan Harapan had promised to repeal the
Sedition Act in its GE14 manifesto.
the Pakatan Harapan took over power last year, the preacher first sentenced to
nine months’ jail on a 2014 sedition charge. The charge is related to a
Facebook post about Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah of Selangor.
sentence was enhanced to a year after the Shah Alam High Court allowed a
cross-appeal by the prosecution.
Mahathir has repeatedly said no Malaysians are above the law and no one should
be harassed or jailed for their opinions about the royals or the government.
Russian ex-beauty queen who is reported to have been divorced by former
Malaysian King, Sultan Muhammad V of Kelantan, after a whirlwind romance has
shared a video on Instagram revealing intimate details of their relationship.
the video posted on Wednesday, Oksana
Voevodina, 27, was filmed saying: "I will take care of him and, of course,
I want to be the last person in his life, and I want to live with him until the
end of my life."
is not clear when and where the video was filmed, but as of Thursday morning,
it has garnered over 195,000 views and over 1,500 comments.
in the couple's lives has spiked amid recent reports of a leaked certificate
showing that their divorce was finalised on July 1.
certificate, which bears the Kelantan state crest and is marked as the copy of
the wife, indicates that the divorce was done through the utterance of the word
"talak" three times - the most severe and irreversible form of
divorce in Islam.
date of the divorce was listed as June 22 and it was marked as taking place in
news comes barely two months after the couple's son, Ismail Leon, was born, and
about a year after the pair's surprise marriage in Moscow.
Muhammad V, 49, speaking in the Instagram video, lists children as their
family's "priority number one, because the children carry on your
me, the two most important (things) are patience and understanding," he added
in the video. "Love is good... But after 15, 20 years, the patience and
understanding are going to take over the love."
also said that although he and
Voevodina, a former Miss Moscow, do not share many hobbies, "there
is a lot of understanding".
former King has made few public appearances since he stepped down on Jan 6 and
became the first monarch in the country's history to abdicate.
had ascended the throne in December 2016 and was meant to serve for five years
under a rotating monarchy system shared between the country's nine royal
observers have said that speculation about his marriage to Voevodina, while on medical leave, was a
asked earlier, Kelantan's deputy chief minister denied any knowledge of the split,
the New Straits Times reported.
on Wednesday, the Daily Mail UK quoted Ms Voevodina's lawyer Evgeny Tarlo as
saying: "Oksana married for love and is still married."
lawyer said that he did not receive any official paperwork on the end of her marriage
to Sultan Muhammad V, though he indicated that the relationship could be on the
rocks, the newspaper reported.
said: "Divorce is just talk from a yellowish (scandalous) media. We have
no official papers. We do not know anything."
sources close to Voevodina have revealed
that she is staying with her son and mother, Lyudmila, 48, in a country house
should also study in madrasa: UP minister
(Uttar Pradesh): Days after six accused were detained for illegally keeping
weapons in a “madrasa” in Bijnor’s Sherkot, Irrigation and Minority Welfare
Minister Baldev Singh Aulakh on Thursday said that education institutions
should not become a breeding ground for terrorism.
educational institutions are for educating children. These should not become
breeding ground for terrorism,” said Aulakh said while speaking to ANI.
has come to our cognizance that weapons have been recovered from a mosque in
Bijnor. We are taking strict action against them. We won’t allow any such
activities at any place of education,” he added.
July 11, it was reported that six accused, who were detained after illegal
weapons were recovered from a ‘madrasa’ in Sherkot, were interrogated at the
Anti-Terrorism Squad police station.
Minister also emphasised the need for NCC and Scouts training for children at
“all places of education.”
(NCC and Scouts) is an important subject for the children, which should be
introduced in a madrasa or in a schools or at any other places of education,”
that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath led government is giving due attention to
‘madrasas’ in the state, he said: “We are going to provide NCERT books to
‘madrasas.’ So, other children (non-Muslims) should also take admission and
said that his government wants every child irrespective of his religion is able
to get a good education.
Muslim artisans who create kanwars for Hindu pilgrims
the kanwar pilgrimage is carried out by Hindu devotees, popularly known as
‘kanwariyas’, not may know that Muslims also play an important role in this
annual religious fair.
decorated ‘kanwars’ – made of bamboo and used to ferry the holy Ganga water by
pilgrims - are made by Muslim community artisans in sub-urban Jwalapur of
Uttarakhand. These kanwars are so popular, pilgrims prefer them over other
decades, Muslim families here have been associated with the craft. After Uttarakhand
was carved out from Uttar Pradesh in 2000, the pilgrimage saw a sharp rise in
arrival of kanwariyas. Muslim artists from neighbouring districts and states
such as Uttar Pradesh have also started coming in large numbers during the
season to meet the increased demand for kanwars.
Ijrael, who has been making kanwars since the late 1980s in a congested cluster
of Kaithwada colony in Jwalapur, waits in anticipation for the Shravan Kanwar
pilgrimage every year, as his earnings go then. r.
a farmer waits for the monsoon to irrigate his crops, we artists wait for this
seasonal kanwar pilgrimage. Our earnings by selling kanwars feed our families
for major part of the year, and we too feel spiritually blessed to be part of
this religious fair,” Ijrael says.
family members also pitch in to help Mohammed meet the deadline to complete
kanwars. This year three crore kanwariyas are expected to arrive in Haridwar,
according to the district police administration.
a major earning source for dozens of families like us in our colony, we ensure
we keep up with the latest trends and offer kanwariyas something different like
Indian tricolour kanwars,” says Samina, Ijrael’s daughter- in- law, who is busy
decorating the kanwars.
the design is, the emphasis is on making kanwars that are light, as the
pilgrims have to walk at least a hundred kilometres during the pilgrimage. Most
of the kanwar shops at Kawar Bazaar of Pantdeep, situated in between the Ganga
river and canal, and Har ki Pauri are run by Muslims, where one can get a
kanwar for as low as Rs 100 and going up to thousands, depending on the
material, design, weight, height and decorative items used.
these Muslim artists ensure that they too live a pious life during while making
the kanwars, in deference to the religious sentiments of the kanwariyas.
23-page dossier, India gives proof of pro-Khalistan groups in Pakistan
23-page dossier handed over to Islamabad on July 14 by Indian delegation during
the Kartarpur Corridor talks at Wagah Border details how pro-Khalistan groups
have free run within Pakistan. In the meeting, Pakistan promised that it would
not allow any anti-India activity.
dossier gives details of anti-India activity in Pakistan, especially to target
Sikh devotees. The document also details that several pro-Khalistani groups
including Sikhs For Justice (SFJ), which was recently banned in India, are
freely operating in Pakistan. The document also contains pictures of
pro-Khalistan leader Gopal Singh Chawla meeting Mumbai terror attack mastermind
Hafiz Saeed, designated as a terrorist by the United Nations.
the document, India has listed the instances of pro-Khalistan activity in 2016
when Sikh devotees had visited Pakistan. It says on November 14, during the
celebration of Guru Nanak Dev’s birthday, pro-Khalistani radical Sikh groups
set up the Khalistan stage at the Nankana Sahib. The meetings were held by
radical leaders Avtar Singh Sanghera, Manmohan Singh Bajaj, Tara Singh, Joga
Singh, Satinder Pal Singh and Gopal Singh Chawala.
year after that in 2017, the dossier said, that UK-based pro-Khalistan leader
Manmohan Singh Bajwa was allowed to address gathering at the Gurudwara Panaja
Sahib on the occasion of Baiksakhi on April 14. “They rasied pro-Khalistani
slogans and unequivocally stated he was fighting for the cause of Khalistan,”
the dossier said.
SOFTENED its position on engaging with the Taliban, India has now spelt out its
three new “red lines” on the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan.
first is that “all initiatives and processes must include all sections of the
Afghan society, including the legitimately elected government”. This is
important as, in the past, the Afghan government was often sidelined by
international interlocutors when they engaged with the Taliban. This also means
that there is acceptability in Delhi about talking to the Taliban — since they
represent a “section of the Afghan society”.
second is that “any process should respect the constitutional legacy and
political mandate”. This means that the achievement of establishing democratic
processes and human rights, including women’s rights, should be respected.
third is that any process “should not lead to any ungoverned spaces where
terrorists and their proxies can relocate”. This is crucial for India, as it
points out the threat from terrorist groups including the Haqqani network, Al
Qaeda, Islamic State, which must not be allowed to operate there. Also, the
Pakistan-based terrorist groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, and
Jaish-e-Mohammed must not be allowed to relocate.
new “red lines” are going to be India’s new mantras, even as it pushes for a
peace process which is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled. At the
London conference in 2010, India had made a quiet but significant shift — as it
had played along the “red lines” for engaging with the Taliban. New Delhi had
then said that it is for the elected government of Afghanistan to draw the “red
lines” or lay down terms and conditions for negotiating with the Taliban. The Afghan
government had stated that the “Taliban must accept the Afghan Constitution,
renounce violence and sever all ties with al Qaeda and other terrorist
India stuck to these “red lines”, as the US, China and Russia brokered reconciliation
and peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, New Delhi made
another quiet shift over the last couple of years. It stopped public
articulation and insistence on these “red lines”, and just said that the peace
process should be “Afghan-led” and “Afghan-owned”.
May this year, India said it is committed to “any process” which can help
Afghanistan emerge as a united, peaceful, secure, stable, inclusive and
economically vibrant nation, with guaranteed gender and human rights. This was in
sharp contrast to India’s position over the last few years, where it had always
supported “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, and Afghan-controlled” process, with
participation of the Afghanistan government.
was considerable pushback from Kabul on the shift, and India has now again
started using the “Afghan-controlled”, “Afghan-led” and “Afghan-owned” line.
out these terms on Thursday, the MEA’s official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar
said: “We believe that all initiatives and processes must include all sections
of the Afghan society, including the legitimately elected government. Any
process should respect the constitutional legacy and political mandate and
should not lead to any ungoverned spaces where terrorists and their proxies can
relocate. We have supported a national peace and reconciliation process which
is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled. This has been communicated
to all our partners and we are quite confident that our points of view will be
part of any peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan.”He said that apart
from the US, India is in regular talks with other active players like all
political forces in Afghanistan, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and China on this
which was not part of the recent talks in which the US, Russia, China and
Pakistan shared the table on the Afghan peace process, will be briefed by the
German special envoy on Afghanistan and Pakistan, Markus Potzel, on Friday.
The owner-cum-editor of a little-known local English newspaper, “Kashmir
Reader”, Mohammad Hayat Bhat of Pampore, Pulwama district, appeared at the
NIA’s Delhi headquarters on Tuesday for questioning in connection with a terror
funding case, official sources said.
NIA had summoned Hayat Bhat, also known as Haji Hayat, last week. The
questioning was still on, the officials added.
Reader” was launched in 2012 by Bhat, who ran a small advertising agency called
“Helpline Advertising Agency” with aid from some other country, official
got the Srinagar Municipal Corporation hoarding installation contract for
government advertisements for 10 years, at about 150 places across Srinagar,
for a meagre amount in 2007, said a municipal corporation official.
senior NIA official claimed Bhat has “close connections” to terror outfit
Lashkar-e-Taiba and has hired known “jihadi journalists” to write for his
newspaper. These “jihadi journalists” now happen to be executive members of the
Kashmir Press Club as well, the official added.
DELHI: Germany wants India to endorse the Zalmay Khalilzad peace process in
Afghanistan. “We would like to see India play a bigger role in Afghanistan,”
said Markus Potzel, Germany’s special envoy to Afghanistan. Potzel will be
meeting with senior officials in the MEA on Friday. Germany has played a key
role in facilitating the intra-Afghan dialogue that happened in Doha on July
his visit, MEA’s spokesperson, Raveesh Kumar said, “Tomorrow, we will exchange
views with the Special Representative from Germany who is responsible for
intra-Afghan dialogue. We believe that all initiatives and processes must
include all sections of the Afghan society, including the legitimately elected
government. Any process should respect the constitutional legacy and political
mandate and should not lead to any ungoverned spaces where terrorist and their
proxies can relocate.”
to journalists, Potzel said he was not here to give “advice” to Indians, saying
he had come here to “brief” the Indian government on the ongoing developments.
“We would hope India would be part of the coming rounds of conversations on
Afghanistan.” This, he said, was something Khalilzad had planned, which would
include other regional powers like the Central Asian republics, Gulf states,
Turkey and others. Currently, the peace process is being run by the US,
supported by Russia, Pakistan, and China, with the latest round of talks in
China over the last weekend. Khalilzad last engaged with the Indian government
during the election campaign, when he met NSA Ajit Doval and
German government and one of its NGOs specializing in mediation shortlisted a
group of 60 members of Afghan civil society, including a couple of members of
Ghani’s government but participating in their personal capacity, to travel to
Doha from Kabul in a German-chartered plane. For two days, the Afghans met and
argued and talked to each other, the Taliban led by Sher Mohammed Stanikzai,
while the civil society representatives included several women, two of whom
were religious scholars who debated on the finer points of Islam with Taliban
leaders. As the US-Taliban peace process unfolds, a key concern is the position
of women in a Taliban-dominated Afghanistan.
Germany shares India’s concerns on both an interim/transitional the government
in Afghanistan or even postponing or canceling the presidential elections,
currently scheduled for September 28. Iran was initially asked to be part of
last weekend’s talks in Beijing, but Tehran refused to engage the US, which has
put them under nuclear sanctions.
about India’s approach to the developments in Afghanistan, the MEA spokesperson
said, “ US side briefs us on their talks from time to time. We are also in
regular consultations with other active players like all political forces in
Afghanistan, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and China on this issue.”
Former Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was on Wednesday arrested
by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in connection with a corruption
was nabbed on his way to Lahore for a press conference, becoming the country's
third high-profile politician to be arrested after Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali
was arrested in connection with the liquefied natural gas (LNG) scam, where he
and others are accused of illegally awarding LNG terminal contracts for a
period of 15 years to a company of their liking in violation of defined rules,
incurring losses to the state exchequer, The Express Tribune reported.
Khaqan Abbasi... is accused of commission of the offence of corruption and
corrupt practices under section 9(a) of National Accountability Offence,
1999," an order by NAB said.
shall be produced before the court for authorisation of detention for such
period as may be necessary for finalisation of the investigation," it
year, NAB had launched an investigation against Abbasi and former prime
minister Nawaz Sharif over the alleged misuse of authority.
anti-graft watchdog had summoned Abbasi in the matter earlier today.
served as the prime minister from August 2017 to May 2018, following the
disqualification of Sharif from office by the Pakistan Supreme Court over the
Panama Papers scandal.
December last year, an accountability court had handed a seven-year prison
sentence to Sharif in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case and imposed hefty fines.
He is currently serving his term at the Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore.
June 10, former president Zardari was arrested by the NAB in connection with
the fake accounts case. An accountability court has extended his physical
remand till June 29.
Pakistan - Former Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has been arrested
on corruption charges, according to an official from his Pakistan Muslim League
was taken into police custody after his vehicle was stopped on entry to the
eastern city of Lahore on Thursday, PML-N Secretary-General Ahsan Iqbal said,
with officials presenting a copy of a warrant of arrest signed by the chairman
of the National Accountability Bureau, Pakistan's anti-corruption watchdog.
were coming together to Lahore for a party meeting and press conference,"
said Iqbal, who was in the vehicle when Abbasi was arrested.
stopped us on the way, and there was a heavy contingent of police and
[paramilitary] Rangers there."
said his party would file the necessary legal appeals and bail applications to
challenge the arrest.
is the latest high-profile member of the opposition PML-N party to be arrested
in Prime Minister Imran Khan's "accountability" drive.
former leader is accused of corrupt practices in the signing of Liquified
Natural Gas (LNG) contracts during his year in office as prime minister between
2017 and 2018.
took office after PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, a three-time former prime minister,
was dismissed from office by the Supreme Court. He was convicted and sentenced
to 10 years in prison on corruption charges a year later.
brother, Shehbaz Sharif, the former chief minister of Punjab province, was also
arrested in October on corruption charges, and other family members have been
held on similar charges.
party leaders, including Iqbal, have been charged with corrupt practices in the
so-called accountability drive. PML-N and other officials claim the campaign
was being selectively applied to political opponents.
June, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) officials arrested former President
Asif Ali Zardari, the chief of the opposition Pakistan People's Party (PPP), on
charges of taking bribes through a network of fake bank accounts.
week, Khan's cabinet directed the country's media regulator to ban coverage of
opposition politicians accused of corruption, after an explosive press
conference by Sharif's daughter, Maryam Nawaz.
shared a video that she claimed showed the anti-corruption judge who convicted
her father, confessing to being "blackmailed" into the verdict.
Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has demanded the
government resign, seeking mid-term election in the country.
Pakistani wants end to the incompetent government and election should be held
by dissolving the assemblies. In this situation where the ruling party will
suffer, the opposition parties would have to give sacrifice in the National
Assembly and the Sindh government because sacrifices are needed for a big goal.
If the National Assembly is dissolved, election would have to be held in Sindh,
as well,” he said while talking to the media here on Thursday.
said fair election in the country could be held if the establishment played a
his reaction to the arrest of former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Fazl
termed the move an act of victimisation and one-side use of the National
Accountability Bureau (NAB) against the opposition, which was going to launch a
movement against the government. Due to the movement, the people from
opposition parties were being arrested, he added.
JUI-F will participate in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas elections
after expressing its concerns. You can imagine the outcome when the army is
deployed in polling booths and ballet boxes shifted under its supervision.”
Rehman said the strike by the traders after the budget on July 13 reminded the
strike of 1977 and the trading community had rejected the budget as well as the
government policies by observing the strike. He announced that workers of his
party would be part of the next strike of the traders
arrest of Hafiz Saeed is a gift from Imran Khan to US President Donald Trump as
the latter has claimed that the arrest was the result of his pressure.”
Minister Imran Khan was going to the USA to beg for extension to his rule and the
US was being pleased by pressurising the religious forces in the country.
bodies of the martyrs of Kashmir will be gifted to Trump and he would be
informed that the pressure on the religious seminaries is being extended. It is
unfortunate that the establishment is negotiating with the seminaries directly
to put pressure for the acceptance of government package.”
said the US was putting pressure on Pakistan to repeal the blasphemy law and
urged the nation to remain vigilant as repeal of the blasphemy law was an
said that US was funding the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) directly and
efforts were under way to use this department against the seminaries.
JUI-F chief said July 25 would be observed as a black day and a million-march
would be held in Peshawar while a similar march would be held in Quetta on July
the ongoing campaign against the Senate chairman, JUI-F chief claimed that in
connection with no confidence move against Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, not
even a single senator of the opposition parties had changed his loyalties
rather the senators from ruling side were contacting with the opposition.
refuted the government’s claim that parliamentarians from the opposition were
in contact with it, saying that some senators from ruling party were in contact
with the opposition while no confidence move against chairman Senate would
has ordered consular access for Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former Indian naval
commander condemned to death for spying, following a decision this week by the
International Court of Justice (ICJ).
United Nations court ruled on Wednesday in the Hague that Pakistan should
undertake an “effective review” of the case, adding that a “continued stay of
execution” was needed for that to happen.
a responsible state, Pakistan will grant consular access to Commander
Kulbhushan Jadhav according to Pakistani laws for which modalities are being
worked out,” the government said in a statement late on Thursday.
was arrested in March 2016 in Pakistan’s southwestern province of Baluchistan,
the site of a long-running conflict between security forces and separatists. He
was convicted of planning espionage and sabotage and sentenced to death.
says Jadhav is innocent and had asked the UN court to intervene, saying his
trial had been unfair and Pakistan had denied him diplomatic assistance.
argued that a treaty between the neighbors did not oblige it to allow
diplomatic assistance for those suspected of being spies or terrorists.
Pakistani officials considered the ruling a favorable outcome overall, as the
court did not order the acquittal and release of Jadhav.
in Pakistan have arrested a former prime minister over alleged irregularities
related to the import of natural gas from Qatar.
Khaqan Abbasi served as prime minister for nearly a year after Nawaz Sharif was
removed from office in July 2017 for failing to disclose foreign assets.
is currently serving a seven-year jail term for corruption, and authorities
have pursued a number of his allies on corruption allegations.
Ahsan Iqbal says officials from the National Accountability Bureau stopped
their vehicle as they were entering Lahore on Thursday and arrested Abbasi.
least a dozen people have been killed and about 90 others wounded when Taliban
militants attacked police headquarters in the southern city of Kandahar.
Ahmadi, the Kandahar governor's spokesman, said on Thursday that 12 people had
been killed, including nine civilians and three police officers. Another 89
chief Tadin Khan said a car bomb was followed by two other explosions.
the blasts, gunmen opened fire from nearby positions and members of the
security forces were battling them, he said.
fighting is over now. Some vehicles were burnt. Now the Afghan army and US
helicopters are hovering in the area," Khan said.
said following the first explosion, three back-to-back explosions were heard
and the gunfight was still going on.
Hayat, the provincial governor of Kandahar, said Afghan security forces had
launched a "clean-up operation" to see if any attackers were
remaining in the area.
Taliban said in a statement their fighters had detonated car bombs and clashes
were continuing as some fighters had entered the police offices.
on social media showed a huge plume of smoke rising over the troubled city.
was the former seat of the Taliban when they ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until
they were ousted in 2001.
latest assault comes just one day after Taliban operatives disguised as Afghan
soldiers fatally shot an Afghan colonel in Ghazni province.
on Wednesday, at least 20 Afghan forces members were killed in a Taliban ambush
in Abkamari district in western Badghis province.
US and its allies invaded Afghanistan under the guise of the war on terror in
2001. While the invasion ended the Taliban's rule in the country, it has failed
to eliminate the militant group.
18 years on, Washington is seeking truce with the militants as they have
boosted their foothold across the country.
is currently engaged in direct talks with the militants, who are against
including the Kabul government in the negotiations. The talks have not stopped
the Taliban from launching attacks.
to determine after October if Rohingya probe needed
judges’ panel of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is expected to issue an
order after October on whether to initiate an investigation into crimes against
Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar's Rakhine State.
three months, the judges will receive information from the prosecution while
[Rohingya] victims will also be allowed to speak about their sufferings
[through prosecution team] and other ways,” ICC’s Deputy Prosecutor James
Kirkpatrick Stewart said in a press conference in Bangladesh's capital Dhaka on
July 4, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda made a plea to begin an investigation
into the crimes reported to have been committed by the army against the Muslim
three-member chamber judges’ panel is examining the merit of Bensouda’s
application before authorizing the investigation, according to the ICC.
to a query on why the ICC has yet to start investigation though almost two
years have already passed since the violation began in Rakhine State, Stewart
said: “Delay is frustrating, but will be worth it,” adding that they are
required to go through a set of procedures in accordance with the Rome Statute.
said: “Violence has allegedly taken place in Myanmar. But the Rohingya [people]
were deported to Bangladesh, a state which is a signatory to the Rome Statute.
This allows the ICC to look into the case.”
is not a state party to the ICC.
whether the ICC prosecution team has any plan to visit Rakhine for a more
authentic investigation, Stewart said: "We have already approached the
government of Myanmar to allow us access to Rakhine. But they have not engaged
added that ICC prosecution team is always ready to visit Rakhine and trying to
take permission from Myanmar.
Bensouda's assessment on crimes against Rohingya, Stewart said: "Following
her analysis, she determined that there is a reasonable basis to believe that
at least 700,000 Rohingya people were deported from Myanmar to Bangladesh
through a range of coercive acts and that great suffering or serious injury has
been inflicted on the Rohingya through violating their right of return to their
state of origin."
is also a reasonable basis to believe that Rohingya people have suffered
persecution as a result of these alleged crimes [...] which left the Rohingya
no option but to flee Myanmar,” he added.
Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced
heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in
to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and
children, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces
launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017, extending
the number of persecuted people in Bangladesh above 1.2 million.
Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s
state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development
than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others
were beaten, said the OIDA report, titled "Forced Migration of Rohingya:
The Untold Experience."
- An International relief agency says the Taliban has forced them to close
dozens of clinics in an embattled central - eastern region of Afghanistan,
depriving hundreds of thousands of
people, particularly women and children, of
receiving medical treatment and health services.
Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA) said in a statement issued Wednesday
the insurgents’ action in the Wardak province had stemmed from last week’s
deadly attack by Afghan security forces against one of the agency’s health
clinics. It noted that the condemnable raid killed four people, including SCA
doctors, and one employee is still missing.
Taliban forced SCA to close 42 out of 77 health facilities in six out of nine
districts of Wardak province so far, and due to this closure, an estimated
number of over 5,700 patients are affected on daily basis,” the aid agency
spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid justified their action, alleging the July 8th raid
against the SCA hospital was jointly conducted by American and Afghan forces.
He told VOA the relief agency’s health units have come under regular attack by
pro-government forces but the SCA has not effectively protested nor has the
Swedish government taken up the issue with Americans or the international
the request of an association of local clinics, doctors and paramedical staff
in Wardak, we have contacted Sweden and urged them to take immediate steps to
protect their health facilities as well as staff working on them. Until then,
we have told SCA to close their clinics,” Mujahid said.
they (Sweden) fail to act accordingly, we (Taliban) will approach and seek help
from other international charity organizations to take charge of these clinics
to ensure the people in Wardak continue to receive medical treatment and health
services,” he added.
SCA country director, Sonny Mansson, denounced the insurgent move as an obvious
violation of human rights and international humanitarian law.
demand immediate reopening of all health facilities for the people and we
strongly urge all parties involved in conflict to refrain from such actions
which deliberately puts civilian lives at risk”, he added.
SCA had just days after the raid against its health clinic strongly condemned
it as a serious violation of international humanitarian law and demanded an
independent international investigation into the incident. The agency, however,
had exclusively blamed Afghan forces for conducting the deadly raid.
week’s attack on the hospital was the second in three years. In 2016, security forces had raided the
facility and dragged out two hospital patients along with their 15-year-old
caretaker and later displayed their bodies.
Afghan security forces put an end to a coordinated Taliban attack in the
provincial capital of Kandahar province.
Rahimi, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior confirmed in a Twitter post
that the security forces have put an end to the attack.
further added that the security forces have killed all the assailants involved in
are no reports available regarding the casualties inflicted on security
personnel and civilians in the attack.
Rahimi said the further details regarding the attack will be shared shortly.
group of militants detonated car bombs in Kandahar city earlier this evening
sparking a standoff which lasted for several hours.
militants reportedly attacked the Police Headquarters of Kandahar in Aino Mina.
Police Chief Gen. Tadin Khan Achakzai confirmed that the militants detonated
car bombs close to a Police Station.
Tadin Khan further added that the security forces are responding to the attack
and a standoff is underway.
security forces conducted a series of airstrikes in Helmand and Badghis
provinces killing more than 20 Taliban militants.
military officials said Thursday that airstrikes killed 20 Taliban militants in
Kajaki district of Helmand province.
officials further added that an airstrike killed 2 Taliban militants in Ab-e
Kamari district of Badghis.
Taliban group has not commented regarding the airstrikes so far.
security situation in Helmand and Badghis provinces has deteriorated during the
militants are active in some districts of the two provinces and often conduct
terrorist related activities.
the Afghan forces routinely conduct counter-terrorism operations against the
anti-government armed groups in the two provinces.
Vehicle-borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) went off prematurely in Balkh
province of Afghanistan earlier today.
209th Shaheen Corps in statement said the explosion took place in Zekzayak
Village of Chahar Bolak district.
statement further added that a Toyota Corolla type vehicle packed with
explosives went off prematurely before the suicide bombers manage to detonate it
in the area of their target.
coordinated attack by Taliban militants claimed the lives of at least 10 people
in Kandahar city.
Ministry of Interior (MoI) in a statement said the militants launched the
attack at around 4:30 pm local time on Thursday.
statement further added that a group of 7 militants stormed the Kandahar Police
Headquarters after launching the attack.
the interior ministry said the attack claimed the lives of 7 and 3 policemen.
interior ministry also added that the attack wounded 59 civilians and 27
explosion near Kabul University left four people dead and sixteen others
in the Ministry of Interior confirmed that the explosion took place earlier
officials in the Ministry of Public Health confirmed that the blast claimed the
lives of 4 people.
officials further added that the explosion wounded 16 others.
in Yemen’s southern coastal province of Aden have reportedly charged a
strongman backed by the United Arab Emirates with orchestrating the
assassination of more than two dozen religious scholars and political figures
in the region.
prosecution in Aden has leveled charges of involvement in the murder and
planning the assassinations of 30 Yemeni preachers and politicians against vice
president of the so-called Southern Transitional Council, Sheikh Hani Ben Brik,
Arabic-language Arabi 21 online newspaper reported on Thursday.
report added that the assassination of Sheikh Samhan Abdulaziz al-Rawi, a
preacher and one of the leaders of the so-called Popular Resistance Committees,
is one of the cases in which defendants have confessed to have received directives
from Ben Brik to kill him.
the so-called Southern Transitional Council and Popular Resistance Committees
support Yemen's ex-president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, and are being sponsored by
the Saudi-led alliance against the Houthi Ansarullah movement.
gunmen assassinated the Yemeni religious scholar in the port city of Aden in
obtained from the first defendant reveals that the UAE mercenary sent pictures
of Sheikh Rawi to the first defendant, identified as Hilmi Jalal, via WhatsApp
messaging application as the target to be liquidated. Jalal then had a meeting
with Ben Brik at the Saudi-led coalition’s camp in the Brega region of Aden to
plan the assassination.
second defendant, named Samir Maihoub, said they received four pieces of
Russian-made machine guns in addition to two cars and one million Yemeni rials
each for the targeted killing. The rewards were submitted by Ben Brik through
his brother Salah.
UAE has triggered anger among loyalists to Hadi for its activities in the
war-torn country and on Socotra Island in the Arabian Sea.
cargo flights have unloaded tanks, armored transports and heavy equipment on
the scenery island.
loyalists say the UAE, which has been part of the Saudi-led coalition pounding
Yemen, is providing support to those seeking separation of southern Yemeni
territories from the north of the country.
new revelations come at a time that deep gaps have emerged between Saudi Arabia
and the UAE over the war in Yemen with the UAE apparently gradually distancing
itself from the war.
unnamed senior Emirati official told reporters on July 8 that the country was
planning troop drawdown in Yemen, in what was claimed to be a shift from a
military strategy to a "peace" plan instead.
added, “We do have troop levels that are down for reasons that are strategic in
(the Red Sea city of) Hudaydah and reasons that are tactical” in other parts of
is very much to do with moving from what I would call a military first strategy
to a peace first strategy, and this is I think what we are doing,” the Emirati
official asserted at the time.
late June, Western diplomatic sources said the UAE was mulling over scaling
back its military efforts in the war in Yemen to focus on threats posed by the
rising US-Iran tensions.
Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating campaign
against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of Hadi
back to power and crushing the Ansarullah movement.
US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit
conflict-research organization, estimates that the Saudi-led war has claimed
the lives of over 60,000 Yemenis since January 2016.
war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying
hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN says over 24 million Yemenis are in
dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme
levels of hunger.
UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash announced on Friday that
the UAE and Saudi Arabia were the largest humanitarian donors in Yemen and
would continue to provide aid to the country.
UAE and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are the largest humanitarian donors in Yemen
and will always fulfill their commitments. Last year, their joint pledge of
$930 million was paid to the UN in one single disbursement, the largest in UN
history,” said Gargash on Twitter.
د. أنور قرقاش
UAE and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are the largest humanitarian donors in Yemen
and will always fulfill their commitments. Last year, their joint pledge of
$930 million was paid to the UN in one single disbursement, the largest in UN
AM - Jul 19, 2019
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“Both the Saudi Arabia & the
UAE are currently working with the UN on the modalities of the 2019 commitment
to ensure maximum benefits for the Yemeni people. Total UAE aid to Yemen since
April 2015 exceeds $5.5 billion,” he added in a second tweet.
Both the Saudi Arabia & the UAE are
currently working with the UN on the modalities of the 2019 commitment to
ensure maximum benefits for the Yemeni people.
Total UAE aid to Yemen since April 2015 exceeds $5.5 billion.
AM - Jul 19, 2019
people are talking about this
two countries previously announced $200 million to the Imdaad initiative to
support the people of Yemen on April 8, 2019.
UN’s aid chief has previously praised the UAE and Saudi for preventing the
situation in Yemen from deteriorating.
two countries' donated hundreds of millions of dollars and allowed the UN to
scale up its aid operation, said the UN’s aid chief Mark Lowcock on May 22,
2019, The National reported.
people were killed and 28 wounded after a minibus carrying migrants overturned
in eastern Turkey on Thursday, the private news agency DHA reported.
and children figured among the victims and their nationalities were not known.
Police and ambulance services were rushed to the scene in Van province near the
Iranian border, DHA reported, adding that they had entered Turkey illegally.
death toll was initially reported to be 14 but Van governor Emin Bilmez was
quoted by DHA later saying the death toll had risen to 15.
in Turkish media showed the damaged minibus in a field with several rescue
workers tending to the injured in Ozalp district close to the border with Iran.
Foreign Minister Israel Katz and his Bahraini counterpart Sheikh Khalid bin
Ahmed Al Khalifah have held an official meeting during a visit to the United
States, the first ever public meeting of this kind between Tel Aviv and Manama.
I met publicly with the foreign minister of Bahrain," Katz said in a tweet
added that he "will continue to work with the Israeli prime minister to
advance Israel's relations" with the Persian Gulf countries.
and Jordan are the only Arab countries that maintain official diplomatic
relations with Israel. However, in the past years, some other Arab governments
have become interested in getting closer to Tel Aviv amid common concerns over
in Katz's tweet, there was a picture of the two foreign ministers showing them
standing side by side while smiling.
Israeli Foreign Ministry said in a statement Thursday that the meeting was
"coordinated behind the scenes by the US State Department as part of a
conference on religious liberty organized in Washington by US Secretary of
State Mike Pompeo."
subject of Iran and regional threats as well as cooperation between states were
among the top issues discussed in the agenda, the Israeli statement added.
Gulf Arab nations have increasingly found common cause with Israel due to their
shared hostility towards Iran.
Bahraini FM said in late June that Manama wants “peace” and “better” relations
with Tel Aviv.
top Bahraini official said his country recognized Israel’s “right to
existence,” saying the regime was “there to stay, of course.”
did we offer peace to [with] the [Arab] Peace Initiative?...We offered it to
Israel,” he said. “We want better relations with it, and we want peace with
Arab initiative, which has been adopted by the Arab League, calls for the
normalization of ties between Tel Aviv and Arab states in exchange for Israel’s
withdrawal from lands it occupied in the 1967 war, including the West Bank,
East Jerusalem al-Quds and Syria’s Golan Heights.
Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), are also known to have
secretly developed expansive ties with Tel Aviv over the past years,
encouraging other Arab countries to also follow suit.
media reported in late January that UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al
Nahyan and the Persian Gulf country’s national security adviser had paid a
not-so-secret visit to Israel with a direct flight from Abu Dhabi to Tel Aviv.
trip came a few days after Pompeo took a tour of regional countries in a bid to
unite Arab countries and the Israeli regime against Iran.
US top diplomat has been promoting President Donald Trump's vision for an “Arab
NATO" alliance with cooperation from Israel.
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri says the Arab country will reverse recent
measures against businesses hiring foreign workers without permits.
at a parliamentary session in Beirut on Thursday, Berri said Palestinian
laborers will return to the situation before the crackdown, urging Labor
Minister Camille Abousleiman to convene a press conference and officially
announce the latest decision, Lebanon-based Arabic-language al-Mayadeen
television news network reported.
one has stood up to address Palestinians’ protests in refugee camps. The
situation is nearing explosion and must be rectified. Otherwise, the situation
will spiral out of control,” lawmaker Ammar al-Kalam said during the session.
want to treat Palestinians just like the Lebanese, and apply the law to them.
We are in constant dialogue with the Palestinian ambassador (to Lebanon Ashraf
Dabbour) and Palestinian authorities,” Abousleiman earlier told reporters
added, “The Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee (LPDC) is the body that
requested in 2017 to give Palestinians work permits. We have to stop the road
riots because they make no sense, especially as these measures help workers.
Once they are registered, the labor law provides them with guarantees against
arbitrary dismissal and minimum wage.”
month, the Lebanese Labor Ministry announced a one-month deadline for companies
to acquire work permits for their foreign workers. The ministry began to close
businesses that did not comply after the deadline expired last week.
the past few days, hundreds of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon have staged
protests in the capital Beirut and around their refugee camps.
refugees expressed their anger on Tuesday at the decision, carrying out a
general strike and protests across 12 camps.
protests, under the slogan “Day of Anger,” paralyzed movement in the camps.
closed the entrances with burning tires. All Palestinian political forces and
popular committees took part in the protests.
refugees are not entitled to work in 72 professions in Lebanon, and are not
permitted access to social security. One of the contradictions of the law is
that Palestinians have the right to purchase a taxi, but are forbidden to work
Palestinian labor force is present in fragile sectors such as construction and
Arab League has demanded an international investigation into the death of a
Palestinian prisoner in solitary confinement at a detention facility in the Israeli-occupied
territories, stressing the incident attests to the excessive level of
psychological and physical abuse of Palestinian inmates.
Arab League assistant secretary general for Palestine and occupied Arab
territories, Said Abu Ali, said in a statement on Thursday that the 22-member
regional organization holds Israeli authorities fully responsible for the
well-being of all Palestinian prisoners being held in the Tel Aviv regime’s
warned against the slow murder of Palestinian detainees – the last of whom was
31-year-old Nassar Taqatqa of Beit Fajjar town, located eight kilometers south
of Bethlehem. Taqatqa was found dead in his cell at Nitzan Prison on Sunday
weeks after his arrest.
Ali then called for the formation of an international inquiry committee to
ensure the accountability of Israeli officials for this new crime, which he
said adds up to the list of crimes already perpetrated against Palestinian
people, including prisoners.
also called upon international human rights organizations and institutions to
play their humanitarian and legal roles in protecting prisoners and confronting
Israeli authorities' utter disregard for international conventions and human
rights principles, in the view of their obligations defined in the Charter of
the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Geneva
the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates had called for an
international investigation into Taqatqa’s death.
ministry, in a statement released on Tuesday, urged the International Committee
of the Red Cross (ICRC) to form an international investigation committee to
look into the reasons for the death, and to provide legal and political
protection to all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
indifference by the international community, its organizations and special
councils toward Israeli violations and crimes encourage the occupying power to
insist on committing such atrocities.
martyrdom of Taqatqa in interrogation cells demands an immediate action by the
International Criminal Court and the opening of an official investigation into
the crimes of the occupying power in order to pursue and prosecute Israeli war
criminals,” the ministry pointed out.
calls out Saudi Arabia, UAE over 'hypocritical' Yemen aid promises
United Nations has slammed Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for
undermining the UN's relief operations in Yemen by ditching humanitarian aid
pledges to the war-torn country.
who made the largest pledges – Yemen’s neighbors in the coalition – have so far
paid only a modest proportion of what they promised,” UN Emergency Relief
Coordinator Mark Lowcock told the UN Security Council on Thursday.
and Abu Dhabi, part of a so-called "coalition" fighting in Yemen,
each promised $750 million in aid to the country at a UN fundraising event in
February. According to UN figures, Saudi Arabia has so far only paid $121.7
million and the UAE about $195 million of the promised funds.
initial pledges of humanitarian aid came amid years-long Saudi war on the
impoverished country seeking to restore power to Yemen’s Riyadh-allied former
coalition has, however, been unsuccessful due to the resistance of Yemen's
armed forces, led by the Houthi Ansarullah movement.
Saudi invasion has led to the deaths of tens of thousands of Yemeni civilians.
The UN has described Yemen's humanitarian condition as being the "the
worst in the world".
reports have underlined the Saudi kingdom's role in creating a
"man-made" humanitarian crisis in Yemen, with some studies revealing
Ryadh's deliberate sabotage of the war-torn country’s food infrastructure.
consequently relies heavily on foreign-supplied humanitarian aid to sustain its
impoverished population, with the UN food agency warning that about 15 million
Yemenis are in a food crisis.
this year, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres cited a report indicating that
over 80,000 Yemeni children under five years had died as a result of severe
major fall in UN humanitarian funding will further jeopardize the country's
on Thursday, Lowcock said that as result of the two coalition countries'
underpaid pledges, the UN's humanitarian appeal in Yemen currently had only 34
percent of its planned funding.
fall in funding comes despite Saudi Arabia and the UAE's heavy investment in
foreign arms amid the war in Yemen.
2014 and 2018, Saudi Arabia alone imported more than $15.6 billion worth of
United States, the United Kingdom, France, Spain and Germany continue to be
among the oil-rich kingdom's top arms suppliers despite mounting international
opposition to the Saudi war.
Thursday, the US House of Representatives voted to pass resolutions that block
certain arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
President Donald Trump has strongly defended arm sales to the oil-rich kingdom.
The president is expected to veto any resolution banning the sales.
President Hassan Rouhani urged Europe on Thursday to “accelerate” its efforts
to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal, during a phone call with French President
must accelerate its efforts to realize Iran’s legitimate interests and bring
about a ceasefire (in Washington’s) economic war” against Iran, Rouhani told
Macron, according to the government’s official website.
is determined to “leave all doors open” to save its 2015 nuclear deal with
major powers, Iranian state TV quoted President Hassan Rouhani as saying.
are determined to leave all doors open to save the nuclear deal ... The
Europeans should accelerate their efforts to salvage the pact,” Rouhani said.
— Police in western Germany raided the apartments of alleged Islamic extremists
on Thursday and detained six people amid suspicions the group may have been
planning an attack.
police said the raids, which started at around 4 a.m., centered on an apartment
in nearby Dueren where the main suspect in the case had recently moved, joining
another radical who already lived there, and on his construction company in
Cologne. An apartment where he previously lived in Berlin also was searched.
main suspect is a 30-year-old German-Lebanese convert to Islam who has been on
authorities’ radar as an extremist for six years and tried repeatedly to travel
to territory controlled by the Islamic State group, senior police official
Klaus-Stephan Becker told reporters.
acted after the man was heard talking about “planning to ascend to the highest
level of paradise of the Muslim faith,”
“could be a synonym for a suicide attack,” Becker said.
felt that they had to move in as a precaution but so far have no concrete
indications of where, when and how a possible attack was to be carried out, he
Support for Sudan in the wake of a new deal on civilian rule was among items
discussed during a meeting between leading Islamic and European officials in Saudi
secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Dr. Yousef
Al-Othaimeen, received Finnish foreign minister, Pekka Haavisto, in Jeddah.
Finland currently holds the rotational presidency of the Council of the EU.
and Haavisto had a constructive exchange of views on common issues with
particular focus on Sudan after civilian and military leaders signed an
agreement aimed at installing a civilian administration.
deal came after three months of deadlock since Omar Bashir was deposed as
president, and the two officials discussed ways to back Khartoum in its
secretary-general commended the role of Finland and the EU in promoting peace,
security, stability and development in different parts of the world and
expressed the OIC’s readiness to engage in issues of mutual interest.
has called on EU’s major powers on Thursday to take steps to implement the 2015
nuclear deal with Iran, despite U.S. pressure to block the agreement.
at a joint news conference with his German counterpart, Russian Foreign
Minister Sergey Lavrov said the U.S. was violating international law by
prohibiting others to comply with the terms of the nuclear deal.
believe that our European partners could take a more principled stance towards
this issue,” Lavrov told a news conference, following his meeting with German
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
the participants of this deal needs to get involved in the process of helping
implement and maintain the agreement,” he said, in remarks translated into
nuclear agreement, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action
(JCPOA), was signed in 2015 between Iran and Russia, China, France, the U.K.,
and the U.S., plus Germany.
last year U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the deal and
intensified pressure on Tehran by re-imposing sanctions targeting the country’s
energy and banking sectors.
underlined that the nuclear deal with Iran, which was reached after long years
of negotiations, was a breakthrough in the region.
Germany, France and the U.K., we once again call upon the U.S. to show
restraint and preserve this important deal” he stressed.
the agreement, world’s major powers promised to lift economic sanctions imposed
on Iran in return for Tehran agreeing to limit its nuclear activity to peaceful
and civilian purposes.
his part, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas reaffirmed his country’s
commitment to Iran as part of the deal, but also called on Tehran to fully
comply with the agreement.
also called on Russia and other parties to the agreement to speak with one
is important for all the parties involved in the agreement to act together and
use their influence on Tehran, so that Iran would return to full compliance
with the nuclear deal,” he said.
June, Iran sharply criticized world powers for not fulfilling their promises
and threatened to abandon parts of the nuclear deal.
between the U.S. and Iran also escalated last month after two oil tankers were
attacked at the Strait of Hormuz. The U.S. held Iran responsible for the
attacks and also accused them of destroying navigation devices in waters, both
accusations denied by Iran.
Israeli tourists were arrested in Greek Cypriot administration after a British
woman alleged she had been gang-raped, according to local media on Thursday.
newspaper reported that the Israelis were arrested late Wednesday after the
complaint of the 19-year-old British tourist who was staying separately at the
same hotel with the Israeli tourists at holiday resort Ayia Napa.
Israeli suspects were referred on Thursday to a court which decided to extend
period of their detention to eight days.
medical examination of the British woman reportedly revealed abrasions in her
body, including her genital parts.
incident happened in wee hours of Wednesday when the British woman was going to
the hotel room with one of the Israelis and the rest 11 appeared at the room,
Fileleftheros reported citing statements of the British woman.
Amameh and Tom Rollins
is stuck at home again. “I’m not leaving the house today,” he says, speaking
from his apartment in the Istanbul suburb of Esenyurt.
he does venture out into the streets of Turkey’s financial capital, the
27-year-old refugee from Syria jumps at the sight of passing police cars. He
avoids crowded places. Sometimes, like today, he prefers not to go out at all.
from Yarmouk refugee camp in the south Damascus suburbs, Adnan arrived in
Turkey last July after paying smugglers to get him across the border from
northwest Idlib province.
of tightening restrictions on the registration of Syrian refugees in Turkey,
Adnan still has not been able to get a temporary protection ID from Turkish
authorities. This means he is undocumented, and now at risk of arrest as
authorities step up arbitrary arrests of Syrians without papers.
the weekend, Turkish authorities have increased stop-and-search checks around
Istanbul, targeting Syrians without registration papers or for working
informally. The interior ministry announced planned raids to find undocumented
migrants in Istanbul on July 13, with local security officials also calling for
the arrest of Syrians allegedly involved in unspecified crimes.
have not released details about the raids or how many arrests were conducted in
recent days, however the news has sparked fears in the city’s Syrian
unregistered community, with many staying home and avoiding work. About half a
million Syrians are registered legally in Istanbul and perhaps another half
million undocumented refugees like Adnan.
Syrian factory worker in Istanbul, speaking on condition of anonymity, said
more than 50 of his Syrian colleagues had not shown up on Tuesday, out of a
total workforce of 110.
latest campaign comes amid growing public discontent with the country’s
deteriorating economy and rising anti-Syrian xenophobia.
open the door’
on Tuesday morning, WhatsApp groups used by local Syrian activists started
spreading warnings about security checks happening in metro stations, buses and
public squares. One video appeared to show a Turkish police checkpoint in
Istanbul’s Aksaray district, stopping young Syrian men to examine their papers.
In another, shared on Thursday, shows a busload of young Syrian men after being
apprehended by authorities. “We don’t know where we’re going,” one man says.
this week, 32-year-old Malik told his wife to stop answering the door after
hearing stories that the police were looking for Syrians without ID cards and
temporary protection papers.
is registered in a province outside of Istanbul. “And I couldn’t get papers for
my wife and daughter," he says, meaning all three could face arrest.
Mohammed, a 29-year-old originally from Damascus, the fear of checkpoints
reminds him of home. His fear of arrest in Damascus in 2013 was part of the
reason he fled to Turkey.
he says, he feels like he is living the same life in Istanbul.
have to stay in hiding,” he says, because he carries a temporary protection
card from another province. “So I can’t continue my work.”
work legally in the city, a Syrian worker must have a temporary protection card
issued by the province of Istanbul, formal authorisation for a job, and social
welfare payments. Tens of thousands of Syrians in the city do not meet these
at the same time, informal labour is cheap. Factories often prefer illegally
employing Syrians to Turks because they can pay them less and avoid
contributing to their social insurance.
arrest campaign is the latest sign of a hardening of both rhetoric and policy
towards Syrians in Turkey.
Istanbul, the leftist nationalist Republican People’s Party (CHP) ran against a
candidate from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party
(AKP) party and won—twice. Unsatisfied with the first poll’s purportedly
“tainted” result, AKP officials called for a rerun. The second vote produced a
resounding victory for the CHP.
CHP was repeatedly criticised for using anti-refugee rhetoric in its campaign,
with Istanbul’s new mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu continuing the incitement in office,
but xenophobia has become a cross-party issue. AKP-run municipalities have
enforced new regulations cracking down on Arabic-language signage above shops
and businesses across the country. And incidents of mob violence against
Syrian-owned businesses have continued in post-election Istanbul. A coarsely
worded hashtag, widely shared right after the election, also made the sentiment
clear: “Syrians go home.”
of expanded deportations
latest raids are the result of an economy in decline twinned with growing
resentment from local Turks about government policy towards Syrian refugees,
according to Omar Kadkoy, a policy analyst at the Economic Policy Research
Foundation of Turkey think tank.
the government does not present an integration policy based on checks and
balance, we arrive at [the point] we’re at now,” he told The National, referring
to “discontent from locals over the overall policy towards Syrians [and]
economic competition that is fuelling social tension.”
continued: “And then, the government is trying to gain control by implementing
theses harsh measures to contain the social tension and to present itself to
its constituency as in charge. But how is that being done? By basically
threatening those who are undocumented or working informally to be deported.”
recent years, Turkish authorities have rounded up Syrian refugees across the
country and forcibly deported them – often after short spells in EU-funded
detention centres used to hold non-nationals before they are removed from the
country. The government claims well over 300,000 refugees voluntarily returned,
although human rights groups question just how voluntary these returns were.
According to Human Rights Watch, these returns likely constitute refoulement,
the illegal forceful repatriation of refugees to unsafe countries of origin.
detainees are effectively given a choice between prison time or signing a
so-called “voluntary return document,” after which they’re deported into
opposition-held areas of Idlib or Aleppo.
the practice is not new, growing tensions around Turkey’s Syrian community
could leave more vulnerable to deportation.
authorities deported Ashraf, a 34-year-old Syrian refugee living in Istanbul,
back in April.
was walking through one of the city’s squares when he was picked up by police,
transported to a detention facility and then deported across the Bab Al Salameh
crossing into Aleppo province.
am I supposed to stay in Syria?” says Ashraf, who eventually smuggled his way
back into Turkey. “Danger is everywhere.”
in Esenyurt, Adnan is running out of options. Returning to Syria is of the
question, he says, but Turkey is feeling less hospitable by the day.
Prime Minister Leo Varadkar wants to bring home a former Irish army soldier
turned ISIS member and her two-year-old child who is stuck in a Syrian
Mr Varadkar warned that returning 37-year-old Lisa Smith was fraught with
complications and said he would not risk the safety of Irish officials. Ms
Smith on Thursday told a reporter she thought it was possible she would not be
allowed to return to Ireland because of her military background.
of foreign ISIS members remain stranded in overcrowded, dingy camps after the
capture of the terror group’s territory in Syria and Iraq. Repatriating
citizens from the region is fraught with risk and many western governments are refusing
to do so amid security risks.
want her child to be able to come home. I would never separate a mother and
child, so yes, I want her to come home,” Mr Varadkar told RTE, Ireland’s
do have to bear in mind that where she is now is a war zone, it is a conflict
zone. We don’t want to put any of our personnel, whether military or
diplomatic, at risk,” he said.
Smith has insisted in interviews she has never taken part in violence and
rejected claims she had helped train young girls to be fighters.
Mr Varadkar said she would likely face a police investigation if she did
have to bear in mind the fact that there's a cost associated with this and
there are lots of Irish citizens around the world who run into difficulty and
we don't fly them home, we don't send the military out to bring people home
from Australia or Singapore or Cairo… so we have to bare that in mind as well,”
Smith, a convert to Islam, left the Irish military in 2011 having served in the
army and air corps. It is believed she went to Syria in 2015 before being
captured by US-backed Syrian forces earlier this year.
Thursday said she didn't think she would be going back to Ireland
what I feel. That's what I think. They could be trying to make an example of me
because I'm Irish and I'm military and I'm a woman," she said.
be honest I don't know what's going on. If it's just the Irish Government or
its Europe as a whole because there's a big delay on all the countries at the
to RTE from the Ain Issa camp in Syria, Ms Smith reiterated her belief that she
is not a “radical” and is simply someone wanting to live under Islamic law.
is radical? I don't understand clearly. Someone needs to explain it to me
properly because I don't understand what radical is. In terms of being a Muslim
and wanting to live in a Muslim state, I don't understand how that is
Smith also said her husband, who died earlier this year, kept her inside most
of the time and, as a result, she claimed she was shielded from some of ISIS's
notoriously brutal acts.
did I do? I just joined the Islamic State and now I just become a monster. How?
The British and the Irish fought for many years. If someone moved from England
then what would they say about them?” she told RTE.
group abducts Libyan lawmaker in Benghazi
armed group abducted a Libyan lawmaker in Benghazi city, according to local
Seham Sergewa was abducted when an armed group stormed her home in the eastern
Libyan city on Wednesday.
Presidential Council of the Tripoli-seated Government of National Accord (GNA)
expressed late Wednesday its deep concern over the abduction of Sergewa by
"the militias in Benghazi" in reference to East Libya-based forces
led by commander Khalifa Haftar.
crime is a natural result of the absence of law, and the lack of public
freedoms in areas controlled by the military ruler and his aides," the
council said in a statement, demanding the whereabouts of the MP.
Council also called on the UN and international organizations to intervene
quickly to release the abducted woman and to hold the perpetrators and those
responsible for the security of Benghazi accountable and brought to justice.
has remained beset by turmoil since 2011 when a bloody NATO-backed uprising led
to the ouster and death of long-serving President Muammar Gaddafi after more
than four decades in power.
then, the country’s stark political divisions have yielded two rival seats of
power -- one in Tobruk and another in Tripoli -- and a host of heavily armed
into any big hotel in Somalia, and it’s not unusual to meet a government
minister in the dining room, an ex-warlord in the lift, and a presidential
candidate and his campaign team in the lobby.
is not because of the quality of the hospitality. The average hotel in
Mogadishu, for example, is no Burj Al Arab. But after nearly 30 years of war,
car bombs and targeted assassinations, many VIPs feel safer in an anonymous,
heavily guarded block than they do in their own home or office. Some live as
guests for years.
as last weekend's carnage at the Medina Hotel in Kismayo proved, the sense of
security is sometimes illusory. In a combined suicide bomb and gun attack that
lasted 14 hours, Al Shabab militants stormed the hotel compound and killed 26
people, including several foreigners and a number of local politicians and
have long used hotels as homes and meeting places, and some of them almost feel
like government ministries," says Mary Harper, the BBC's Africa Editor and
a regular visitor to Somalia. "But often it's a false sense of security,
as Al Shabab now knows exactly who is in these hotels and targets them almost
big hotels in Mogadishu have been hit by the militant group at least two or
three times, as have many supposedly secure government compounds. All too
often, Al Shabab finds gaps in the defences of such establishments via its
formidable networks of spies, who range from street hawkers and security guards
up to high-level sources in Somalia's intelligence services.
Ms Harper reveals in Everything You Have told Me is True, her new book on Al
Shabab, the group delights in ringing up journalists and politicians to tell
them that it knows exactly what they have been doing each day, which hotels
they have been seen at, and even what they had for lunch. Sometimes this
Stasi-like tactic is just for intimidation; sometimes it is a prelude to
of which provides a gloomy answer to the blunt question posed by the newly
elected President Donald Trump in 2016, when a memo his aides sent to the US
State Department asked: “We’ve been fighting Al Shabab for a decade, why
haven’t we won?”.
was typical of Mr Trump's crude, offhand approach to foreign affairs, but it
was a fair point.
the previous five years, the accepted wisdom had been that Al Shabab was fast
withering. In 2011, African Union forces finally kicked the group out of
Mogadishu, which it previously controlled half of. A year later, Al Shabab was
also forced out of Kismayo, the southern port city that was its main stronghold.
Not only was it losing territory, it was also losing popularity. When Al Shabab
banned foreign aid agencies from its turf during Somalia's 2011 famine, it was
blamed for the deaths of more than 250,000 people.
with its "caliphate" now somewhat diminished, the group has been free
to concentrate more on its guerrilla warfare campaign. Even today, its black
flag still flies over large tracts of rural southern Somalia, the taxes it
raises there freeing it from the need for external or international support. No
other major jihadist group, be it ISIS, Al Qaeda or the Taliban, has controlled
so much territory, uninterrupted, for so long. It has also proved powerful
enough to have stopped a takeover attempt by ISIS, whose presence in Somalia is
restricted to a few dozen followers in remote caves in the Puntland region.
Al Shabab's brutality is matched only by its duplicity. It denies religious
brainwashing, but grooms children into its ranks with offers of smartphones. It
frowns on letting people watch the World Cup, but organises public execution
days and Quranic poetry reading classes, with weapons as prizes. In 2018, not
long after slaughtering 500 Somalis in Mogadishu with a truck bomb, it
announced a new "environmental" program banning single-use plastic
like the Afghan Taliban, the basic security Al Shabab provides is still often
seen as preferable to rule by warlords or a corrupt and distant central
Ms Harper points out, Al Shabab pays its followers up to $200 a month – more
than the wages offered by Somalia's western-backed federal army. It welcomes
recruits from minority clans, otherwise treated as second-class citizens. Its
checkpoints do not routinely ask for bribes, or not as often as government-run
ones do. Meanwhile, its court system is speedy and efficient compared to the
government's secular version – so much so that many Somalis in Mogadishu travel
to Al Shabab-controlled zones to settle disputes. Harper, who believes the
group is so entrenched as to be undefeatable, adds that "in some ways, it
has created the most effective form of governance Somalia has known since its
parallels with Afghanistan do not end there. Just as Washington upped its
Afghan drone war under former president Barack Obama, so too has Mr Trump
increased the use of unmanned aircraft against Al Shabab, reducing the need for
strikes to receive top-level clearance. In 2017, 60 militants were wiped out in
a single strike near the former pirate port of Harardhere.
as with the Taliban, a hollowing out of the group's top leadership has not
stopped Somalis joining its bottom ranks, sometimes in revenge for the civilian
casualties caused by drone strikes. "It does put them on the back foot,
but they do seem to be able to fill the leadership gaps," said Nuradin
Dirie, a former advisor to the UN envoy to Somalia.
how might Al Shabab's insurgency end? Mr Dirie thinks the only long-term
solution is to negotiate. So far, though, peace talks have got little further
than arranging the occasional ceasefire during Ramadan. While the group has
some "reconcilables" – relative moderates, who might be peeled away –
there is a hard core of transnational jihadists who will never lay down their
arms. That hard core also remain active in the large Somali diaspora in
neighbouring Kenya, where Al Shabab’s massacre of 67 people at Nairobi’s
Westgate shopping centre brought the group to global notoriety in 2013.
is militant Islam Somalia's only political problem. Somalia's government
remains riven by tensions between its leadership in Mogadishu and the
leadership of cities such as Kismayo, which want greater autonomy. While many
believe a more devolved administration is the best way to defuse the clan
tensions that have torn Somalia apart in the past, the current government is
trying to centralise power again, says Mr Dirie. “These tensions are causing
political instability that Al Shabab is able to exploit,” he added.
other question, though, is just how much more patience the international
community has. Until recently, Mr Dirie says, Somalia had a powerful friend in
Britain, which, under the then prime minister David Cameron, launched a major
international drive to get Somalia back on its feet. With the UK now consumed
by Brexit, says Mr Dirie, that diplomatic momentum is now slowing. Mr Trump, he
fears, may also disengage from Somalia if his drone campaign does not soon
yield the desired results.
US and the UK were the two biggest countries involved in Somalia," he
adds. "But the US doesn't care any more, and the UK is distracted."
the Somalia of today is not the febrile mess it was 20 years ago. Mogadishu,
divided into warlords’ fiefdoms, now has a well-established diplomatic zone,
and commercial life has returned to the capital. Members of the huge Somali
diaspora – scattered round America, Europe, Kenya and the Gulf States – are
witness says at least one civilian was wounded when a bomb fitted into a
vehicle detonated in Mogadishu, the Somali capital on Wednesday morning.
explosion occurred outside Waberi police station along the busy Makka
Al-Mukarama road in the capital, the scene of frequent car bombings by the
Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabab group.
was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack which comes as police
set up additional checkpoints in the seaside city to enforce the security.
Kenyan government now claims that a suspected Al-Shabaab member Salim Mohamed
Rashid, who was arrested on May 14, 2019, was on his way to join the Islamic
States of Iraq and Syria (Isis) when he was intercepted by Anti-Terror Police
Unit (ATPU) officers at the Moi International Airport in Mombasa.
an affidavit seeking to deny Mr Mohamed bond, the State says that
investigations have established that the suspect was in the process of
travelling to Syria using an Ethiopian Airlines flight via Sudan to join Isis.
intelligence reports, the suspect is believed to be in contact with people
allied to Al-Shabaab and Isis terror groups. Releasing him on bail might lead
him to abscond court and proceed with his earlier plan," Police Constable
Onesmus Kiema, who is investigating the matter, told the court.
addition to the gravity of the offence, which the State argues is serious and
attracts grave penalties, it (State) also asked the court to take judicial
notice of the numerous terror attacks at the Coast and around the country.
Kiema, who is attached to the ATPU, asked Mombasa Resident Magistrate Rita
Amwayi to find that the reasons advanced seeking to deny the suspect bond are
compelling and order that he be held in custody until the conclusion of his
investigator said intelligence reports further reveal that the suspect's
accomplices are believed to be in possession of other illegal weapons which
they were planning to use in attacking unspecified places within Coast the
are also pursuing investigations into terror-related activities outside the
country and there is a likelihood that if released on bond, the accused person
will interfere with the possible links and witnesses with a view of defeating
or obstructing the investigations," Mr Kiema.
told the court that investigations to establish the suspect's associates and
their whereabouts are still underway and releasing the suspect will interfere
with the same.
officer said samples of exhibits recovered including clothing, toothbrushes,
hair combs and shaving blades have been forwarded to the Government Chemist for
DNA sampling and the report is still pending.
Rashid, who has been in custody since May 14, has denied being a member of the
Shabaab terror group.
he first appeared in court in May, the suspect denied that he is a member of
the group and asked the court to release him on bond.
to the charge sheet, the prosecution alleges that the suspect, together with
others still at large, were found to be members of the militant group, which is
an outlawed terrorist organisation.
prosecution alleges that the suspect committed this offence on May 12, 2019 at
Moi International Airport.
Rashid is further accused of being in possession of materials used in making
state claims that the suspect was found with the materials on March 8 in
Ngomeni Location, Kwale County
suspect has at the same time refuted the prosecution's claim that was
apprehended at the Mombasa airport.
his lawyer Chacha Mwita, he said he was arrested in Shanzu as soon as he walked
out of the court room having secured the Sh200,000 bond he was granted.
Western intellectuals have called on UN chief Antonio Guterres to pressure
Nigeria to release top Shia Muslim leader Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky, who needs
emergency medical treatment.
a recent letter to Guterres, the signatories called on the UN chief to push for
an immediate release and treatment of Sheikh Zakzaky, the leader of the Islamic
Movement in Nigeria (IMN).
write to demand that Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife Mallima Zeenah be allowed to
leave the country for urgent medical treatment," read the letter, saying
the cleric's health has deteriorated in the last few days.
signatories included university professors, political analysts and human rights
urged the world body to take concrete action against ongoing violations being
committed against scholars and rights campaigners by Nigerian authorities and
the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
continued detention of Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife "as well as hundreds of
others has been a huge stain on the reputation of Nigerian government,"
the letter said.
not allowing them to get the medical treatment they need, the Nigerian
president is adding further evidence of his government’s inhumanity and
cruelty,” it added.
this month, Zakzaky’s son, Mohammad, said he was shocked by his father’s
worsening medical condition after visiting him.
said large and dangerous quantities of lead and cadmium had been found in
Zakzaky's blood and the cleric needed to be immediately hospitalized.
authorities, he said, had not taken any action and that they intended to murder
IMN says the cleric has been poisoned in prison and requires urgent medical
care abroad. It says the group would hold President Buhari responsible “if
anything should happen to Zakzaky or his wife in detention”.
UK-based Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) also recently announced that it
had received reports about Zakzaky’s health condition having further worsened.
IHRC, which sent a medical team to Nigeria in April to examine the health of
Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife, has said the specialized treatment they require
can only be fully accessed outside the African country.
Zakzaky has been in detention since December 2015 after his residence in the
city of Zaria was raided by Nigerian forces, during which he was beaten and
lost his left eye.
of his sons also lost their lives in the brutal crackdown, while his wife
sustained serious wounds and more than 300 of his followers were killed.
was charged in April 2018 with murder, culpable homicide, unlawful assembly,
disruption of public peace and other accusations. He has pleaded not guilty,
vehemently rejecting all accusations brought up against him.
2016, Nigeria’s federal high court ordered Zakzaky’s unconditional release from
jail following a trial, but the government has so far refused to set him free.
their letter, the scholars branded the Nigerian authorities as one of the
world’s worst violators of religious freedom and the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights, citing the Abuja regime’s discrimination against Shia Muslims.
also strongly denounced the meaningful silence of the Western countries and
international bodies over the ongoing abuses against Muslims in the African
to remain in jail for 11 more days
a Nigerian court has ordered the leader of the country’s Islamic Movement to be
kept in prison for another eleven days despite his deteriorating health
court convened to consider Sheikh Zakzaky’s unconditional release on the
grounds of his deteriorating health conditions.
the hearing, Sheikh Zakzaky's lawyer said he was in critical condition and may
not survive the next 11 days.
Zakzaky’s lawyer also said the cleric had suffered a stroke last week and
hasn’t gotten sleep for seven days.
next hearing has been adjourned until July 29.
Civil Forces Assembly (CFA), an opposition faction in the Forces for Freedom
and Change (FFC), voiced reservations over a political agreement signed between
the country’s ruling military council and the FFC.
political agreement with the Transitional Military Council [TMC] has
shortcomings and gaps that must be handled to protect the [Sudanese] revolution,”
the CFA said in a statement published on its official Facebook page.
to CFA, the signed agreement would lead to the TMC’s dominance over security
and military affairs in Sudan during the 3-year-long agreed transitional phase.
political agreement ignored the demands of the revolution, which is to move
forward towards civil authority and a government of technocrat,” the CFA said.
agreement, according to the CFA’s statement, has also ignored the demands of
the FFC’s right on 67% of seats in parliament in accordance with an earlier
agreement reached with the TMC.
Wednesday, the ruling TMC and opposition FFC coalition initialed a
power-sharing deal in Khartoum after marathon talks, in a move that paves the
way for the handover of power to a civilian administration.
the deal, Sudan's transition period will be three years, ending with general
11-member sovereign council will also be formed, five members of whom will be
picked up by the opposition and five by the military and one independent to be
agreed on by the two rivals. A council of ministers will be formed by the FFC.
Tih and Hassan Isilow
Malian soldier was killed and two others wounded in an ambush in central Mali,
the defense ministry said in a statement late Wednesday.
ambush took place on Wednesday between Fafa and Bentia in central Mali.
FAMA [Mali Armed Forces] logistic escort mission was ambushed on July 17, 2019
between Fafa and Bentia. It was during the day. This mission left Labbezanga
for Gao," the statement said.
added that in an operation launched after the attack, five terrorists were
statement gave no further details about the identities of the perpetrators of
terrorist groups are active in northern Mali, where French, Malian and UN
peacekeepers are conducting counterterrorism operations.
erupted in Mali in 2012 following a failed coup and a Tuareg rebellion that
ultimately allowed al-Qaeda-linked militant groups to take over the northern
half of the country.
2015, a peace deal was signed between the government and some insurgent groups.
and community disputes continue to fuel tensions in northern Mali, thus
undermining the implementation of the peace agreement.
Korean envoy ‘thrilled’ over blossoming cultural ties with Saudi Arabia
South Korea’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia has spoken of his “thrill and
excitement” over the “marvelous fruition” of cultural ties between the two
Jo Byung-wook, recently seen on TV enthusiastically dancing and waving a light
rod during a K-pop music concert in Jeddah, told Arab News that his country was
looking forward to further enhancing Saudi-South Korean mutual understanding
and connection of minds.
have continued to blossom following Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to
the east Asian nation last month — the most senior Saudi to tour South Korea
since the late King Abdullah in 1998.
the first bilateral summit between the two countries, the crown prince met with
South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the presidential Blue House, and as well
as discussing economic and investment prospects the leaders pledged to become
“reliable friends for the future,” promising opportunities for cultural
said that culturally, both countries had plenty to offer. “Korea has various
cultural assets to attract Saudi people; pop music, drama, traditional dance, fashion,
beauty, food, and even architecture, paintings, and interior design.”
also highlighted which aspects of Saudi culture he would like to share with his
own people. “In 2017 the exhibition ‘Roads of Arabia’ was held in Seoul for
about three months, showing Saudi culture and history with its archaeological
artifacts, which attracted and fascinated more than 120,000 Koreans. I think
this is a good example of what the Kingdom can introduce to Korea.
Arabia has beautiful Arabic calligraphy, especially that of the Holy Qur’an,
which I believe could fascinate Koreans, since we also have our own way of
calligraphy. And Saudi traditional cuisine is very unique and healthy, so I
always wanted to introduce it to Korean people,” said Jo.
to the communique which followed the crown prince and South Korean president’s
meeting, the two nations also wished to work on “enhancing cultural and popular
exchanges and build bases for cooperation that would continue affecting the
coming generations.” To that end, memorandums of understanding were signed in
the fields of culture, tourism, sport, social protection, human resources
management and civil service.
official communication also stated that South Korea and Saudi Arabia had agreed
to expand academic scholarships, exchange programs, educational opportunities,
student visits, the translation of distinguished scientific and arts materials
and their publication in scientific journals.
added that the Korean Embassy was planning to host several events that would
help promote cultural exchange.
embassy has started a new cultural journey since last year, because my
assignment coincided with the period of transformation the Kingdom is
undergoing with the launch of Vision 2030,” he said.
2018, the embassy held several events including the Korea-Arab Friendship
Caravan showcasing traditional and modern Korean music and dance, an exhibit at
the Riyadh National Museum — on loan from the Korean National Museum -—
displaying more than 500 archaeological artifacts, and the screening of the
first Korean movie at the Indian Embassy.
year officials have planned even more events, such as the 4th Korean
Ambassador’s Cup Taekwondo tournament, the 1st Korean Film festival, which will
screen several Korean movies, the 2nd Ambassador’s Cup Korean Speech Contest, a
reception for Korean National Day, and a workshop by Korean handicraft experts.
is keen to help the Kingdom achieve the goals of Vision 2030, and Korea will
actively participate in cultural activities in the Kingdom so that we may
contribute to achieving the ‘vibrant society’ goal of Vision 2030,” said the
also commented on the popularity of K-pop, or South Korean popular music, which
has recently been sweeping the nation.
K-pop boy band Super Junior recently took to the stage during the Jeddah
Season festival as part of their world tour, becoming the first Korean group to
perform in the Kingdom.
said: “These concerts will help promote cultural cooperation and increase
mutual goodwill between Korea and Saudi Arabia, because culture plays an
important role in enhancing mutual understanding and connecting people’s
ambassador was famously seen on a televised broadcast getting into his groove
at the show. “During the concert, I was so thrilled and excited, and could feel
the enormous change that Saudi Arabia is going through, which I believe is a
beginning of a marvelous fruition. I can say that I saw a whole new Saudi
Arabia that night,” he added.
expected more K-pop groups to appear in the Kingdom, including BTS who are due
to perform in the Saudi capital in October as part of Riyadh Season.
Egypt (AP) — Egyptian security officials say militants have beheaded four
people in the restive northern Sinai Peninsula.
officials say the militants attacked a group of people in the small town of Bir
al-Abd on Wednesday, beheading four and kidnapping a fifth after accusing them
of cooperating with security forces.
officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to
brief the media.
(Reuters) - The increased use of drones by Iran and its allies for surveillance
and attacks across the Middle East is raising alarms in Washington.
United States believes that Iran-linked militia in Iraq have recently increased
their surveillance of American troops and bases in the country by using
off-the-shelf, commercially available drones, U.S. officials say.
disclosure comes at a time of heightened tensions with Iran and underscores the
many ways in which Tehran and the forces it backs are increasingly relying on
unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in places like Yemen, Syria, the Strait of
Hormuz and Iraq.
surveillance, Iranian drones can drop munitions and even carry out “a kamikaze
flight where they load it up with explosives and fly it into something”,
according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Iranian-backed Houthis have significantly increased their UAV attacks in recent
months, bombing airports and oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, a main rival of
month, Iran came close to war with the United States after the Islamic
Republic’s unprecedented shoot-down of a U.S. drone with a surface-to-air
missile, a move that nearly triggered retaliatory strikes by U.S. President
withdrew from a major 2015 nuclear deal last year and reimposed sanctions to
cut off Iran’s oil exports and pressure the Islamic Republic to negotiate over
its ballistic missile program and regional policy.
increased use of drones by Iran or its regional allies is a strategy aimed at
pushing back and defending against pressure from the United States and foes
like Saudi Arabia and Israel, current and former security officials and
now flies two or three drones over Gulf waters every day, the first U.S.
official estimated, making it a core part of Tehran’s effort to monitor the
Strait of Hormuz, through which one fifth of the world’s oil consumption flows.
United States and Saudi Arabia have accused Iran of carrying out attacks
against six oil tankers near the Strait in the past two months, a claim Tehran
U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, declined to quantify the
extent to which surveillance near U.S. forces has increased in Iraq or to
specify which militia were carrying it out.
have seen an uptick in drone activity in Iraq near our bases and facilities,”
the first official said. “Certainly the drones that we have seen are more of
the commercial off-the-shelf variant. So they’re obviously a deniable type
UAV-activity in Iraq.”
second official said the recent increase in surveillance was worrying but
acknowledged Iran-linked militia in Iraq had a history of keeping tabs on
has previously reported that the United States has indirectly sent warnings to
Iran, saying any attack against U.S. forces by proxy organizations in Iraq will
be viewed by Washington as an attack by Iran itself.
recent weeks, mortars and rockets have been fired at bases in Iraq where U.S.
forces are located but no American troops have been injured. U.S. officials did
not link those attacks to the increased surveillance.
to reach the Iranian ministry of foreign affairs and the Revolutionary Guards,
who are most closely linked to militant groups in Iraq, for comment were
militia groups linked to Iran began using drones in 2014 and 2015 in battles to
retake territory from Islamic State, according to militia members and Iraqi
groups received training on the use of drones from members of Iran’s
Revolutionary Guards and Lebanon’s Iranian-backed Hezbollah, two Iraqi security
officials with knowledge of militia activities said.
militia groups have the ability to launch aerial attacks using drones. Will
they target American interests? That hasn’t happened yet,” said one Iraqi
security official. “They used Katyusha [rockets] and mortars in very restricted
attacks against American interests in Iraq to send a message rather than trying
to inflict damage. Using explosive-laden drones is very possible once we have a
worsening situation between Tehran and Washington.”
SOPHISTICATED ARE IRAN’S DRONES?
March, Iran boasted about a complex military exercise involving 50 drones. In a
slickly edited video aired on state TV, waves of drones streak across a clear
blue sky, bombing buildings on an island in the Gulf.
show of force was intended to highlight Iran’s locally developed UAV program,
which it has been building up for several years.
Barrie, a senior fellow at the London-based International Institute for
Strategic Studies, however, cautioned that some of Iran’s claims were “best
viewed through the prism of domestic messaging”. “That Iran has a growing
capability in UAVs isn’t debatable. What is an open question is the actual
levels of technology it often employs,” Barrie said, adding that Israel had the
most advanced program in the region.
technology may have been used to enhance the Iranian drone program: an advanced
U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel reconnaissance drone went down in eastern Iran in 2011,
and Revolutionary Guards commanders say they were able to reverse engineer it,
a claim which some security officials and analysts dispute.
really come up with some aircraft which are looking increasingly sophisticated
in terms of their ability to carry guided weapons and carry out long range
surveillance missions,” said Jeremy Binnie, Middle East and Africa editor for
Jane’s Defense Weekly.
forces have shot down Iranian-made drones in 2017 in Syria, after deeming them
a threat to both U.S.-backed forces and their advisers.
has passed on its drones and technical expertise to regional allies, current
and former security officials and analysts say.
Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah advise the Houthis on the use of drones and
operate video uplinks from Tehran and Beirut to beam in technical expertise when
needed, an official from the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen said.
has denied any role in the conflict in Yemen.
experts say the Houthis now have drones that can drop bigger bombs further away
and more accurately than before. In May, drones hit two oil pumping stations
hundreds of kilometers inside Saudi territory.
the drones that attacked the pipelines were launched from inside Saudi
territory or the Houthis just significantly upped their capability with
satellite technology and were provided with the capability to extend the
distance,” said Brett Velicovich, a drone expert and U.S. Army veteran, about
the May attack.
commander of Kataib Hezbollah, an Iraqi militia closely linked to Iran, using
the nickname Abu Abdullah, told Reuters in 2014 that Iran had provided training
for operating drones, which were mostly used to target Islamic State positions.
said at the time that they had also used the drones to carry out surveillance
on American military positions in Iraq and in the conflict in Syria, where
Kataib Hezbollah fought in support of President Bashar al-Assad.
— A Turkish diplomat and two Iraqis were killed Wednesday in a gun attack in a
restaurant in the Kurdish-controlled region of Iraq, according to the Turkish
and Iraqi governments.
foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, confirmed the death of an official of the
Turkish Consulate, and said that one Iraqi had been killed and another
seriously wounded. The second Iraqi died later.
two Iraqis worked for the consulate, said Dr. Ahmed al-Sahaf, an Iraqi Foreign
Ministry spokesman. One was a guard for the Turkish diplomat.
was not immediately clear who carried out the shooting or why. Iraqi and
Turkish authorities said they were investigating the attack.
first thing that comes to mind is whether this is a terror attack,” Mr.
Cavusoglu told reporters. “The fact that just on the next table two Iraqis were
attacked, one killed and one gravely injured, the fact that it was an attack
against them, too — to give clear, detailed information, everything has to be
said there were three assailants, who had escaped.
second Iraqi citizen who was wounded in the shooting died later in the
hospital, hospital officials said.
attack took place in the capital of Iraq’s Kurdish region, Erbil, reportedly at
the Huqqabaz restaurant, between the city center and the main airport. The
victims’ names were not immediately released.
Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement that “an official of our Consulate
General in Erbil has been martyred as a result of a heinous attack, while he
was outside of our Consulate compound.”
Turkish news outlet Haberturk reported that the shooting took place after 2
p.m., as the diplomat was being served lunch, when two attackers using guns
with silencers opened fire.
Kurdish news organization, Rudaw, reported that security forces had put the
area on lockdown and told people to avoid it.
Kalin, a spokesman for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, said on
Twitter that efforts were underway to catch the assailants.
necessary response will be given to those who carried out this treacherous
attack,” he said.
has long fought against some Kurdish factions in the region, battling both a
Kurdish-led rebel force in Syria and a Kurdish separatist insurgency within
has also struck bases in the area used by the Kurdish separatist group, the
P.K.K., which Turkey and the United States have labeled a terrorist
organization. Last week, Turkey mounted a fresh ground operation against the
group in the mountainous border region.
P.K.K. denied involvement in the shooting.
P.K.K. has nothing to do with the attack on Turkish diplomats, among them the
deputy of the Turkish consulate in Erbil, and the P.K.K. has no information
about this attack,” Diyar Daneer, a spokesman for the Peoples’ Protection
Units, the armed wing for the P.K.K., said in a statement.
has developed relatively friendly relations and extensive economic ties with the
semiautonomous Kurdish region. Mr. Erdogan visited the region in 2011, and this
year the region’s president, Nechirvan Barzani, went to Istanbul to meet the
faces another potent enemy in the area, the Islamic State, which it helped oust
from Syria. The Islamic State no longer controls territory in the region, but
it remains as an underground movement.
week, the Islamic State released a video announcing the formation of its
“Turkey Province” and threatening Mr. Erdogan personally. Five masked men in
front of an Islamic State flag appeared on the video, speaking Turkish and
singling out Turkey and the United States for attack, a ritual that often comes
before violence is perpetrated.
has joined the US in designating Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement as a
terrorist group over trumped-up charges of posing a “threat” to the economy of
the South American country.
a statement on Thursday, the Argentine government’s Financial Information Unit
branded Hezbollah a terrorist organization and ordered the freezing of its
assets in the country.
present, Hezbollah continues to represent a current threat to security and the
integrity of the economic and financial order of the Argentine Republic,” the
announcement coincided with a visit by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to
Argentina as it marks the 25th anniversary of the Jewish center bombing, known
as the AMIA.
July 1994, a car bomb exploded at the building of the Argentine Israelite
Mutual Association in the Argentinean capital, Buenos Aires, killing 85 people
and injuring 300 others.
accuses the Lebanese movement of carrying out the bombing, an allegation that
Hezbollah describes as “categorically false.” However, Buenos Aires has so far
failed to provide substantial evidence and prove that Hezbollah was behind the
in 2017, Argentina’s former Foreign Minister Hector Timerman said the
protracted investigation into the 1994 AMIA bombing incident lacked any
convincing evidence against alleged suspects.
decision to put Hezbollah on the terror list was finalized during a recent
regional summit in Argentina attended by Argentinean President Mauricio Macri
and US officials.
has long been seeking to pin the bombing on Iran.
the announcement by Argentina, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed
the move by the Argentine government and said, “It is time the entire
enlightened world understand the grave danger Iran and Hezbollah pose. It is
time the entire world stand up against it”.
was formed following the Israeli regime’s invasion of Lebanon and the ensuing
occupation of its southern parts in the 1980s. It currently constitutes
Lebanon’s de facto military power.
then, the movement has helped the Lebanese national army retake the occupied
regions from Tel Aviv and thwart two Israeli acts of aggression in 2000 and
The Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance has started preparations
for its Hajj season book distribution program. The ministry will provide
pilgrims with books concerning the rituals upon entry to the Kingdom, as well
as the Holy Qur’an and translations of its meanings. Finally, pilgrims will be
offered guidance books upon their departure.
program aims to spread legitimate awareness among pilgrims and promote
adherence to the correct methods of belief, worship and behavior.
undersecretary of the Department of Publications Affairs and Scholarly
Research, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Mohammed Al-Hamdan, said that it has approved
52 books in more than 30 languages for this year’s Hajj season. He added that
more than 8 million copies of the Holy Qur’an, ritual books and manuals will be
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