Showing posts from April 23, 2017

40 dead in rebel-jihadist clashes near Damascus: monitor

28 April 2017 - 19H20 © AFP/File | Fighters from Jaish al-Islam are pictured on February 21, 2017, in Syria's rebel-held area of Harasta, on the northeastern outskirts of Damascus BEIRUT (AFP) -  Fierce clashes between jihadists and Islamist rebels near Damascus left at least 40 dead and 70 wounded on Friday, a monitoring group said. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the clashes pitted the Saudi-backed rebel faction Jaish al-Islam (Army of Islam) against Fateh al-Sham, Al-Qaeda's former branch in Syria, and Faylaq al-Rahman, which is backed by Qatar and Turkey. "There were at least 15 dead among the ranks of Jaish al-Islam and 23 among its adversaries" as well as two civilians, the Britain-based Observatory said. Another 70 were wounded. Jaish al-Islam said its opponents had provoked the clashes by harassing reinforcements headed for Qabun, east of the Syrian capital, a front with regime forces. Faylaq al-Rahman denied the allegation. I

Former Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar ‘wants peace’

AP A former Afghan warlord who battled U.S. forces after the 2001 invasion and nursed bitter rivalries with other militant factions before signing a peace deal with the Afghan government appeared in public for the first time in more than 20 years on Saturday and called for peace. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who leads the Islamist organization Hezb-i-Islami, appeared in a gathering organised by provincial officials in eastern Laghman Province in which locals and government officials were also present. He told the crowd in a televised appearance- “Let’s join hands to end war and bring peace in Afghanistan.” The United Nations removed Mr. Hekmatyar’s name from its Islamic State group and al-Qaeda sanctions list in February 2017 and his assets were unfrozen and he is no longer subject to a travel ban or arms embargo. During his remarks, Mr. Hekmatyar called on all insurgent groups to end the war and join the peace process in Afghanistan. He pointed to a recent attack by Taliban fighters

Southeast Asia faces 'massive' drugs menace: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte

Manila:  Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte warned Southeast Asian leaders Saturday they were facing a "massive" illegal drug menace that could destroy their societies, as he called for a united response. Phillipines president Rodrigo Duterte. Getty Images Duterte, who has faced international condemnation for his own crackdown on drugs that has claimed thousands of lives, also insisted that outsiders should not interfere in Southeast Asia's affairs. "The illegal drug trade is massive but it is not impregnable," Duterte said in a speech to open an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) leaders summit. "With political will and cooperation, it can be dismantled. It can be destroyed before it destroys our societies." Duterte urged the leaders to be "resolute in realising a drug-free ASEAN". Duterte was elected last year largely on a law-and-order platform in which he promised to eradicate illegal drugs in the Philippines b

Somali intelligence chief shot dead outside home by al-Shabaab

The New Arab April 28, 2017 Updated 16:26 GMT  Mohamud Haji Ali did not have any bodyguards near him at the time [Twitter] Date of publication: 28 April, 2017 The government's battle against the Islamic extremist rebel group has become more violent in recent weeks. A senior Somali military intelligence officer was killed outside his own home by al-Shabaab gunmen on Thursday. Mohamud Haji Ali was shot by a group of gunmen in the Shibis district of Mogadishu and the Islamist rebel group later claimed responsibility. "Police and security forces reached the scene later to investigate and pursue the militants," police officer Ibrahim Nur told  Reuters. "The officer [Haji Ali] had no guards with him when he was killed." The gunmen then managed to escape the scene. "We are behind the killing of the national security general called Mohamud Haji Ali," said Abdiasis Abu Musab, a spokesperson for al-Shabaab. Somalia  recently up

Turkey, US can turn Raqa into ‘graveyard’ for IS: Recep Tayyip Erdogan

"They (the jihadists) will look for a place for themselves to hide," Erdogan said. By:  AFP  | Istanbul | Published:April 29, 2017 6:01 pm Turkish President Reccep Tayyip Erdogan. (Source: Reuters) Turkey and the United States can join forces to turn the Islamic State jihadist group’s de-facto capital of Raqa in Syria into a “graveyard” for the extremists, the Turkish president said on Saturday. The Turkish government is pressuring Washington to stop backing Kurdish fighters as an ally in the fight against IS jihadists in Syria, in a dispute that has has limited cooperation between the NATO allies. “The huge America, the coalition and Turkey can join hands and turn Raqa into a graveyard for Daesh,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told an Istanbul meeting, using an alternative name for the IS group. “They (the jihadists) will look for a place for themselves to hide,” he said. Erdogan’s comments come ahead of a meeting with President Donald Trump on May 16 in the

Venezuela National Assembly Targets Pro-Govt ‘Colectivos’

Venezuela's National Assembly launched a commission to investigate the role of government-backed militias during recent, widespread deadly protests, while calling on the army to disarm these criminalized groups known as "colectivos." Venezuela's opposition-controlled National Assembly voted on April 25 to condemn the government's policy of arming colectivos, and announced the creation of a commission that will have 30 days to investigate the role of these "paramilitary" groups in protestors' deaths, according to a  press release  by the legislature. Originally formed as community support groups rooted in leftist political ideologies, colectivos have grown increasingly criminalized under the governments of late President Hugo Chávez and his successor Nicolás Maduro. This trend was laid bare during protests that have shaken  Venezuela  in recent weeks following the  now-reversed decision  by the government-controlled Supreme Court to strip the

Hindu temple vandalised in Pakistan

PTI A Hindu temple in Pakistan has been vandalised in the southern Sindh province and a case of blasphemy and terrorism has been registered against three unidentified persons, police said on Saturday. Police said idols of deities were damaged and some of the broken parts were found in a nearby sewerage line. The incident occurred yesterday in Thatta district’s Gharo town. A case of blasphemy and terrorism has been registered. Police also registered a FIR against three persons for desecrating the deities,  Dawn reported. “Investigation is going on but so far no arrests have been made,” police officer Fida Hussain Mastoi said. Footprints of a boy of 12? Mr. Mastoi was quoted by BBC Urdu that the case would be investigated from all aspects, though according to preliminary probe, the footprints found near the temple seem to belong to a young boy around the age of 12. Local Hindu councillor Lal Meheshwri said that he had been working late at the temple for a monthly religi

Counter insurgency; Bangladesh Army Chief urges political, diplomatic operations

The Bangladesh Chief of Army Staff, General Abu Shafiul Huq has urged the Nigerian Army to adopt both political and diplomatic lines of operations in its ongoing fight against Boko Haram in the country. He gave the advice on Tuesday in a lecture tagged, “Counter Insurgency Operations: Bangladesh Perspective”, held at the National Defence College,Abuja. The Bangladesh Army Chief noted that the basic policy for fighting insurgency is to identify and address its “perceived right cause” which could be socio-economic or political. He urged the political leaders in the country to shun politics of bitterness and unite to fight terrorism in the country by addressing deprived issues as well as providing developmental projects to repose the citizens’ confidence in the government. He also called on the government to counter insurgency ideology by reaching out to all institutions especially the religious bodies in order to dissuade the wrong ideological concept of terrorism. On the dip

Nigerian Army’s Marked Difference in Counter-Insurgency War

By: Uche John Madu Terrorism is the world’s most troublesome monster. Nations dread it; individuals resent it. And the rapidity terrorism has spread its tentacles and the sophistication it has attained within a short while have remained issues on the front burner of discussions by the comity of nations about security. Before now, there were quite a few and indeed, isolated cases of terrorism in the globe manifest in plane hijacks mainly. But today, local militias have metamorphosed into unbending and vicious terrorists, who sustain ground war with security agents for ages. The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has been worried about the trend.  In September 2006, it passed and adopted resolutions on Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. It was adopted by member nations and despite the hefty and meticulous strategies; terrorism is still spreading like wild fire. Nations under the scourge of terrorism have gone through hell, wasting human and material resources. But in most c

Factionalisation of Boko Haram boosted counter-insurgency operations – Nigerian General

April 20, 2017 Oladeinde Olawoyin Abubakar Shekau in new video The emergence of Musab Al-Barnawi, a Boko Haram factional leader, was a boost to the Nigerian Army’s counter insurgency efforts, an official has said. The Commander of the Lake Chad Basin Multi-National force, Lamidi Adeosun, made this known in a telephonic press briefing with selected media outfits, including PREMIUM TIMES, at the United States’ Consulate Office in Lagos Thursday afternoon. Mr. Adeosun, a major general, was joined on the platform by Thomas Waldhauser, Commander of United States’ Africa Command, AFRICOM; and Osman Soubagleh, Commander of African Union Mission in Somalia. According to Mr. Adeosun, the conflict between Abubakar Shekau and Mr. Al-Barnawi has boosted the military’s operations in the north-east due to the weak link between the rival groups. “The split is assisting the operations in a way,” he said, adding that “the linkage between his group and Shekau’s group has been severed

The Enduring Pillars of Successful Counterinsurgency

by  Christopher J. Heatherly  and  Casey T. McNicholas April 18, 2017 - 12:21am A Small Wars Journal and Military Writers Guild Writing Contest Finalist Article The Enduring Pillars of Successful Counterinsurgency Christopher J. Heatherly and Casey T. McNicholas A frequent criticism of the United States military is it spends too little time contemplating the future of warfare, choosing instead to refight the last war. A related criticism is the military is far too often ignorant of its own history, particularly when exploring lessons learned during operational deployments. These two problems were particularly evident during US and allied counterinsurgency (COIN) operations in the Iraq and Afghan theaters. The combination of attempting to refight the last wars – most notably Vietnam and Desert Storm - and fully incorporate lessons learned through 15 years of deployments frustrated American COIN operations. This paper uses fictional vignettes, grounded in real world events,

Terrorism and Militancy: Are They Quite the Same?

S.G.VOMBATKERE MYSURU:  Maoists (or Naxals, according to some) ambushed a 100-strong CRPF road-opening patrol (ROP) on 24 April in Chintagufa Police Station limits of Sukma District of Chhattisgarh, killing 25 CRPF personnel and wounding six.   The Maoists were reportedly around 200 in strength, and they ruthlessly continued engaging the pinned-down CRPF patrol for about one hour. The killing and wounding of CRPF personnel, causing irreparable loss not merely to their families but to the CRPF as well, is both condemnable and utterly sad. The Maoists reportedly captured some weapons, but their losses will only be known later if at all, through intelligence sources.  ROP is for “sanitizing” a route, and the most important factor here is intelligence, meaning knowledge of the terrain (including precise locations where ambush is likely) and of the movements and strengths of the opposing (in this case, Maoist) force. It is only to be expected that a ROP may be ambushed, since it is nece

'Islamophobic' incidents rise by 10 times in Trump era

Islamophobic incidents involving US customs and border protection officials have risen by about 1,000 per cent since president Donald Trump took office in January, a Muslim activist group said. According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations on Tuesday, preliminary data collected from its branches across the US found that instances in which officials were accused of profiling Muslims accounted 23 per cent in 2017. Of the 193 customs and border protection (CBP) cases in 2017, at least 181 were reported after the 27 January Muslim travel ban. In the first three months of 2016, the group reported 17 cases, The Independent said. "These are incidents which are reported to us and which we examine," Corey Saylor, director of CAIR's group that monitors Islamophobia, told The Independent. "We look at these very carefully. Around 50 per cent, we reject." Saylor said allegations of Islamophobia being levelled at border officials was nothing new. He bel

Syrian refugee replaces Jolie as UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador

The UN yesterday said it had enlisted Yusra Mardini, the teenage Olympic swimmer who braved a Mediterranean crossing in a leaky dinghy fleeing war-torn Syria, to help raise awareness about the plight of refugees. The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) said it had appointed Mardini as its newest Goodwill Ambassador, a role long famously held by US movie star Angelina Jolie. Mardini "has become a powerful voice for the forcibly displaced across the world and a powerful example of their resilience and determination to rebuild lives and positively contribute to host communities," UNHCR said in a statement. The 19-year-old's story is indeed inspiring. In 2015, like millions of others, she fled her home in Syria. During a perilous journey to the Greek island of Lesbos on board a packed dinghy, the engine failed and the craft began taking on water. Mardini and her sister jumped into the sea, grabbed a rope and spent the next three-and-a-half hours in the