Showing posts from June 19, 2016

Turkish President Erdoğan meets Hamas leader Mashal in Istanbul

ISTANBUL Turkish President Erdoğan (R) shakes hands with Hamas leader Mashal. AA photo Turkish President  Recep Tayyip Erdoğan  met the leader of Palestinian group Hamas, Khaled Mashal, in Istanbul on June 24, state-run Anadolu Agency reported. Erdoğan and Mashal discussed how to resolve the disagreements among Palestinians as well as Turkish humanitarian assistance, the report said, citing an unnamed source from the Turkish Presidency. The Turkish leader emphasized during the meeting that Turkey was keen on easing the distress of Palestinians, the source, who was not named due to restrictions on speaking with the media, told Anadolu Agency. The meeting came at a time Turkey and  Israel  are expected to announce a deal to normalize their ties.  Turkey has demanded  Israel  fulfill three conditions prior to any normalization in ties, namely, an apology for Israel’s raid on the Mavi Marmara aid convoy in 2010 that killed 10 Turkish activists, compensation to the families o

A look at whats next in the Colombian peace process

A cease-fire and disarmament agreement between Colombia's government and the country's biggest leftist rebel group has put the South American nation on the threshold of ending a five-decade war. Here are some of the remaining hurdles: ___ LAYING DOWN THEIR ARMS The deal does not mark the start of a cease-fire. That will begin only with the signing of a final peace deal that authorities hope to achieve as early as next month. A day after an accord is signed, Colombia's army will reposition troops to protect rebel fighters as they move to transition zones where they will turn in their arms and begin the process of moving back into civilian life. The 7,000 fighters in the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia will be required to completely put down their arms within at most six months. The arms will be delivered to U.N. monitors. ___ REBEL DISTRUST Negotiators still must determine how the deal will be given legal armor so it won't unravel should a more co

Pakistans moderate Muslims must question constitutional amendments that encourage extremism, intolerance

London, June.25 (ANI): Moderate Muslims in Pakistan and elsewhere in the world must have the courage to question the establishment and the existing legal framework on how encouragement has been given to those who support both extremism and intolerance across the country. In an article for The Diplomat, Zoha Waseem, a doctoral candidate at King's College London, has strongly questioned Pakistan's decision to declare the minority Ahmaddiya community as "non-Muslim" in violation of the principles of Islam, and called on all citizens of the country to abandon extremism and intolerance and promote inter-faith harmony and peaceful co-existence. "The non-violent, non-extremist, 'silent moderate minority' of Muslims in Pakistan and elsewhere must turn to the proverbial pen. and question how our legal frameworks (such as the constitutional amendments in Pakistan) have only encouraged extremism and intolerance in our societies," Waseem writes in The D

Saudis kill 25 in ‘friendly fire’ in Yemen

Saudi Arabian fighter jets have “mistakenly” killed 25 troops loyal to Yemen’s Saudi-backed former president in the impoverished country’s northwest. The fatalities were caused in the al-Maton district of Yemen’s al-Jawf Province on Saturday. The purportedly misdirected fire also injured 15 others loyal to Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who has resigned as Yemen’s president, Saba’ Net agency reported. The attack also destroyed three military facilities. Saudi Arabia launched its military aggression against Yemen in March 2015 in a bid to reinstate Hadi. More than 9,400 people have been killed and at least 16,000 others injured in the aggression. Houthi Ansarullah fighters and allied army factions have been defending Yemen both against the deadly Saudi invasion and al-Qaeda militants. In a separate incident, Ansarullah fighters gained more ground against Saudi mercenaries in the country’s southwestern Lahij Province. The fighters gained control over an area south of the provin

US-Saudi Takfiri project threatening Mideast region: Nasrallah

Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah hails the movement's military commander Mustafa Badreddine, who was slain at the hands of Takfiri groups in Syria last month. In a speech to mark 40 days since the killing of the commander, Nasrallah hailed him as a “strong and courageous commander” who never gave up defending the cause of the Lebanese resistance movement. He said Badreddine believed Hezbollah had a big role to play in Syria and Iraq in defending the countries against the Takfiri militants. The 55-year-old Hezbollah commander led Hezbollah's military wing, which is helping the Syrian government drive out foreign-backed Takfiri terrorists from Syria. The Hezbollah leader added that Badreddine was involved in all phases of the conflict in Syria almost from the onset of the foreign-backed militancy in the Arab country in 2011. “Turkey and Saudi Arabia, which have brought thousands of militants to Syria in the past months, have failed in their plan to topple the Syrian govern

IRGC engages militants in northwest Iran

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) forces have clashed with Kurdish militants who had infiltrated a northwestern village to stage terrorist and propagandist operations. The confrontation took place in a village in the Mahabad County of West Azerbaijan Province. An IRGC member, who asked not to be named, said the forces engaged the terrorists around Bengovin Village, and said the clashes continue. “The Corps’ forces are still in the area and are trying to clear it [of militants].” The militants had last week clashed with the IRGC in the Oshnavieh County, also in West Azerbaijan Province. The IRGC is, meanwhile, watchful of terrorist movements throughout the country. On Thursday, Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour, the commander of the IRGC’s Ground Forces, said the forces had captured two members of a terrorist group in the southwest, saying the detainees had admitted to US and Saudi support. The group had been dismantled in the city of Khash in Iran’s Sistan-a

Brexit: Nicola Sturgeon says second Scottish independence vote 'highlylikely'

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said a second independence referendum was "highly likely" Scotland's first minister has said a second independence referendum is "highly likely" after the UK voted to leave the EU. Nicola Sturgeon  said it was "democratically unacceptable" that Scotland faced the prospect of being taken out of the EU against its will. She said the Scottish government would begin preparing legislation to enable another independence vote. Scotland voted in favour of the UK staying in the EU by 62% to 38%. The UK as a whole has voted to leave , by a margin of 52% to 48%, prompting UK Prime Minister David Cameron to announce  he would stand down by October.  Follow the latest reaction to the Brexit vote Five facts from the EU referendum vote in Scotland How did people vote in your area? World reaction as UK votes to leave EU The SNP manifesto for May's Holyrood elections said the Scottish Parliament should have the

Pope speaks of Armenian 'genocide' in Yerevan visit

AFP The Pope used the term "genocide" for the first time last year Pope Francis has described the mass killing of Armenians under Ottoman Turkish rule in World War One as "genocide", repeating a phrase that prompted Turkish anger last year. He made the remarks during a visit to the Armenian capital, Yerevan, for commemorations of the massacre. Armenia and many historians say up to 1.5 million Armenian Christians were killed by Ottoman forces in 1915. Turkey has always disputed that figure and rejects using the term "genocide". It says the deaths were part of a civil conflict triggered by WW1. The row over how to characterise the killings has continued to sour relations between Armenia and Turkey, as well as drawing in other countries such as Germany, whose parliament recently declared the killings to be genocide. Q&A: Armenian genocide dispute Reuters Pope Francis met President Sargsyan at the palace in Yerevan In an address to Armenia's President

Can't make the Hijrah, kill the kufars in your country: ISIS tells its fanboys

New Delhi, June 25: Making a further push to stage lone wolf attacks, the ISIS sent out a message to its followers. "The ones who cannot make the hijrah (migration) stay put in your country and kill the kufars (non believers or non Muslims)." The ISIS has been making a desperate push for lone wolf attacks in US, Canada, India, Britain, US and France. The message once again is aimed at provoking the youth to stage lone wolf attacks in their respective countries in a bid to create panic. Only a few days back the ISIS had released a list comprising the names of 4,681 civilians of which 285 were Indians. Attack in your own country: The ISIS has been making a desperate push to its followers to stage lone wolf attacks. Security experts say that this form of terrorism is becoming extremely popular among terrorist groups as it is cost effective and more often than not misses the eye of the intelligence agencies. While preparing a kill list, the ISIS which is losing ground heavily in

Bulgaria Moves to Make Radical Islam a Crime

    Preachers of radical Islam in Bulgaria face up to three years in prison and fines of up to 5,000 leva [around 2500 euros], under changes to the penal code adopted on a first reading by MPs on Thursday. The proposal to criminalize radical Islamic preaching, proposed by the  nationalistic coalition Patriotic Front, PF , was approved by a majority of 106 votes. Only three deputies voted against while ten abstained. MPs from the ethnic-Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms party, MRF, left the plenary session before the vote. “The problem with radical Islam is already a fact in Bulgaria. Such acts and structures are funded by external factors and the penal code has to clearly define and incriminate them,” Krasimir Karakachakov, one of the leaders of PF, told journalists before the vote. The adopted amendments stipulate six hypotheses of preaching an ideology that could be qualified as “radical”. Among them are agitating for the creation of an Islamic state or Caliphate, calling for

Getting Personal in the War vs. Islamic State

The U.S. is being urged to take a more sensitive and personalized approach to fighting the Islamic State terror group if it wants to replicate some of the success it has had on the physical battlefield in cyberspace. Former counterterrorism officials caution this would be a time-consuming approach, unlikely to result in immediate gains, but one that ultimately could stave off attacks like the shooting earlier this month at a gay night club in Orlando, Florida, that left 49 people dead. "What you're essentially looking for is a non-law enforcement approach," said Seamus Hughes, deputy director of George Washington University's Program on Extremism. Hughes, who specialized in community outreach while with the National Counterterrorism Center, made the pitch Thursday to members of the House Foreign Relations Committee, saying there are plenty of people within the Muslim community who are willing to help counter IS’s online presence and simply need the right su

Lost And Looking For A Cause: The Threat Of Islamic State’s Lone Wolves

etails continue to emerge about the man who killed 49 people and wounded 52 others at an Orlando gay nightclub on June 12. While we cannot say with confidence what the killer’s motivations were, we are learning more about what he told emergency dispatchers when he called 911 in the midst of the massacre. According to FBI Director James Comey, Omar Mateen professed allegiance or affinity toward a wide-ranging group of disparate and often-opposed terrorist organizations.  The Associated Press reports : The Orlando gunman professed allegiance during the attack on a gay nightclub to the leader of the Islamic State militants, even as he called the Boston Marathon bombers, who had nothing to do with the extremist group, his homeboys. Before that, the FBI said, he claimed family connections to Al-Qaeda and boasted of ties to Hezbollah, organizations deeply at odds with the Islamic State extremists. “Deeply at odds” to say the least. The Islamic State (IS) extremist group has signif

Libya air force pounds Daesh positions in Sirte

Government-backed forces in Libya have carried out airstrikes on Daesh positions in Sirte in support of the ground operations aimed at liberating the coastal city from the terror group. “Our air force today launched an intense series of air strikes that targeted various (Daesh) positions in Sirte,” said Reda Issa, a spokesman for Libya’s Government of National Unity (GNA). “Military engineering teams are working to clear mines and bombs planted by (Daesh) to open the way for our ground forces to continue their advance on different parts of the city,” he said. Since May 12, Libyan forces have been engaged in a military operation to retake Sirte, which fell to the Takfiri terrorists in February 2015. They managed to enter Sirte on June 9. However, Daesh militants hit back with car bombs and sniper fire, slowing the early advances of Libyan troops. On June 22, Libyan armed forces advanced more than 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) into areas previously controlled by Daesh, lib

Police: Philippine militants release Filipina hostage

Jolo, Philippines: A Filipina held hostage by a notorious kidnapping-for-ransom gang in the strife-torn southern Philippines was released from captivity on Friday, police said, a week after her Canadian boyfriend was beheaded by the gunmen. Marites Flor was among four people abducted nine months ago by Abu Sayyaf Islamic militants based on remote and mountainous southern islands that have earned millions of dollars from kidnappings in recent years. Flor's partner, Robert Hall, was murdered after a ransom deadline lapsed last week and following a similar killing of the other Canadian hostage, John Ridsdel, in April. Flor was freed in Sulu, a remote archipelago known as a hideout of the militants, Wilfredo Cayat told AFP. Cayat did not give details on the circumstances of her release except that she was dropped off outside the house of local politician Abdusakur Tan on Jolo, the main island in Sulu. "She was released early morning somewhere in the province of Sulu a