India ready for operation against ISIS if UN adopts resolution: Manohar Parrikar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Mumbai/Lucknow/Srinagar/Bhopal: The protests erupted in Deoband, Meerurt, Shamli, Muzaffaranagar and other cities and towns of Uttar Pradesh after the State Hindu Mahasabha Chief Kamlesh Tiwari’s blasphemous, provocative and insulting comments against Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) spread to Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of the country on Friday.

 

India

India ready for operation against ISIS if UN adopts resolution: Manohar Parrikar

Protests by Muslim groups continue in U.P.

Pakistan would be judged by its commitment on terrorism, says PM

Muslim groups take out procession in Bidar

India, US ink deal to share terror info

View From The Right: National Dynasty

Muslim reservation: Oppn stages walkout

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Arab World

Egypt’s Azhar says Saudi decision to form Islamic military alliance ‘historic’

Report: 500 Children Undergoing Military Training by ISIL in Syria

Egypt’s Sisi discusses newly formed Islamic military coalition with Saudi defence minister

Russian Heavy Bombardments Leave No Chance for Militants to Regroup North of Lattakia

Syrian Airstrikes Hit Terrorists’ Supply Routes from Turkey

ISIS eyeing oil targets ‘beyond’ Syria stronghold

Saudi FM: Gulf states discuss sending anti-ISIS troops to Syria

France uses first cruise missiles against ISIS: government

Saudi Arabia reopens its embassy in Iraq after 25 years

Popular Forces Shoot Down Terrorists’ Drone in Syria’s Aleppo

Syria Finds Further Proof of Turkey’s Arms Aid to Terrorists

Russian Military Aid in Iraq

Iraqi VP: Turkey Plans Separate Mosul City from Iraq’s Soil

Makkah crane collapse: Five engineers, technicians found guilty

Obama: Immigration is our ‘oldest tradition’

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South Asia

Taliban-Daesh clashes leave 15 killed, 38 wounded in Nangarhar

NDS seizes 2,000 KGs of explosives in Kabul

Bangladesh in 34-state Islamic military alliance

11 Jamaat men among 87 arrested in 3 districts

President Ghani: All universities need to be connected through Fibre Optic

Afghanistan security deteriorated in 2015, Pentagon reports

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Africa

BBC Releasing Biased Reports on Mass-Killing of Muslims in Nigeria

Boko Haram militants kill 30 Nigerian villagers

Nigerian army’s raids on Shias pre-planned: Islamic Movement official

Int’l Human Rights Watchdogs Continue Mum on Nigerian Massacre

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Pakistan

Pakistan surprised by its inclusion in 34-nation military alliance

Lal Masjid cleric widens legal battle from enforcing Sharia to awarding blood money

No judicial probe into Army Public School carnage: KP govt

Militancy suppressed, but not subdued

Police claim foiling school bombing plan

One-year anniversary: Top civil-military leadership honour APS victims

Pakistan to develop ICT infrastructure to bridge digital divide: Mamnoon

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Southeast Asia

Your job isn’t to promote hate, church group tells police, UiTM

Police monitoring 56 deviant religious groups

Bank Islam issues RM400mil sukuk murabahah

Muslim group ‘raids’ shop of handphone seller

Malaysia’s obsession with Syria

No need to probe UiTM’s ‘Muslim only’ seminar for now, say police

Autonomy will make universities more systematic, competitive, says Education Ministry sec-gen

Christmas trees at malls prove Christians in Malaysia not oppressed, Isma portal says

Why is Indonesia not in the Saudi-led Sunni coalition against terror?

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Mideast

Thousands of cars seized over hijab offences in Iran

Yemeni Missiles Rain down on Saudi Military Bases, Positions in Asir Province

Iran calls for probe into Nigeria Shia killings

Iran Set to Expand Research, Modern Sciences to Develop Advanced Arms Industry

Turkey arrests suspected ISIS militant

Israeli soldiers kill two more Palestinians in West Bank

Yemen’s Houthis, government trade accusation of truce violation

Official: Iran Has Inside Men in Enemy Spy Agencies

Bombing blamed on PKK kills 3 Turkish police

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North America

US needs ‘360-degree’ anti-terror strategy: Hillary Clinton

US: Russia ‘behaving unprofessionally’ in Syria

UN officials sickened by hatred against Muslims

US welcomes Turkish troops pull out in Iraq

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Europe

Syria opposition forces aiding Russia to battle Daesh: Russia Defense Ministry

Bulgarians stage protest against Turkish premier’s visit to Sofia

Compiled by New Age Islam Edit Bureau

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India

 

India ready for operation against ISIS if UN adopts resolution: Manohar Parrikar

Dec 16, 2015

NEW DELHI: India on Wednesday said it can undertake operations against the ISIS terror group under a UN flag if the global body adopts a resolution in this regard.

Defence minister Manohar Parrikar, who has returned after a crucial meeting with his US counterpart Ashton Carter in Washington, also said that India has been sharing intelligence on the ISIS and it will be enhanced.

“We have made it clear that if there is a UN resolution and if there is UN flag and a UN mission, then as per India’s policy to operate under UN flag, we will participate,” Parrikar told reporters here at India Gate after laying wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti on Vijay Diwas.

He was replying to questions on the possibility of India’s participation in operations against the ISIS.

Defence minister Manohar Parrikar, who has returned after a crucial meeting with his US counterpart Ashton Carter in Washington, also said that India has been sharing intelligence on the ISIS and it will be enhanced.

“We have made it clear that if there is a UN resolution and if there is UN flag and a UN mission, then as per India’s policy to operate under UN flag, we will participate,” Parrikar told reporters here at India Gate after laying wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti on Vijay Diwas.

He was replying to questions on the possibility of India’s participation in operations against the ISIS.

Last year, a youth from Kalyan had returned home after spending about six-months with ISIS. He was arrested upon arrival in Mumbai.

Among the six Indians, who fought alongside ISIS and got killed were three Indian Mujahideen terrorists, including Sultan Ajmer Shah and Bada Sajid, who had joined its ranks after being in Pakistan, two from Maharashtra and one from Telangana.

On September 15, the UAE deported four Indians suspected to have links with ISIS.

The UAE had also sent back in September a 37-year-old woman, Afsha Jabeen alias Nicky Joseph, who was allegedly involving in recruiting youths for ISIS.

In January, Salman Mohiuddin of Hyderabad was arrested at Hyderabad airport when he was preparing to board a flight to Dubai on way to Syria via Turkey.

So far, 17 young men, mostly from Telangana, have been prevented from travelling to Syria, ostensibly to join ISIS.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-ready-for-operation-against-ISIS-if-UN-adopts-resolution-Manohar-Parrikar/articleshow/50199721.cms

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Protests by Muslim groups continue in U.P.

MOHAMMAD ALI

December 16, 2015

Sporadic protests by Muslim groups against a Hindu Mahasbha leader’s alleged statement denigrating Prophet Mohammad continued in western Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday.

Over 50,000 Muslims protested in Bareilly, demanding the death penalty for Kamlesh Tiwari, who claimed to be the working president of Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha. The crowd repeatedly demanded that the Hindutva leader be beheaded.The Bareily protest is not the first. Over a lakh Muslims gathered in Bijnore and demanded the death penalty for Tiwari recently. Subsequently, Muzaffarnagar too saw similar protests.

The administration is yet to act against the clerics who were shown on the media declaring their plan to behead Tiwari during the demonstration in Bijnore and announcing a bounty of Rs. 51 lakh on his head. The administration did not respond to repeated messages from The Hindu asking why the government had not talked to the community leaders and convinced them that action had been taken against the leader.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/protests-by-muslim-groups-continue-in-up/article7992885.ece

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Pakistan would be judged by its commitment on terrorism, says PM

Dec 15, 2015

KKOCHI: Resumption of talks with Pakistan was to try and turn the course of history and to bring an end to terrorism but it was made clear that the neighbouring country would be judged by its commitment on terrorism, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.

Addressing the combined commanders’ conference held onboard INS Vikramaditya off Kochi shore, Modi also asserted that India will never drop its guard on security.

“We are engaging Pakistan to try and turn the course of history, bring an end to terrorism, build peaceful relations, advance cooperation and promote stability and prosperity in our region. There are many challenges and barriers on the path. But, the effort is worth it, because the peace dividends are huge and the future of our children is at stake. So, we will test their intentions to define the path ahead. For this, we have started a new NSA-level dialogue to bring security experts face to face with each other. But, we will never drop our guard on security and we will continue to judge progress on their commitments on terrorism,” he said.

Modi, on November 30, had met his Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during climate change summit in Paris and they agreed to hold NSA-level talks.

The Prime Minister said that in a world of rapid changes, India faces familiar threats and new ones. Our challenges cover land, sea and air at the same time. It includes the full range, from terrorism to conventional threat to a nuclear environment.

“We know that old rivalries can play out in new theatres such as space and cyber. And, new technologies offer us new ways to be more effective against both traditional and new challenges,” said the PM.

TOI had reported on Tuesday that the annual conference, held for the first time out of national capital, would discuss to discuss a long-pending proposal to create three new tri-service commands to handle critical arenas of space, cyberspace and clandestine warfare in the form of Special Forces.

“We must fully incorporate the power of digital networks and space assets into our capabilities. Equally, we must be prepared to defend them, for they will be the first targets of our adversaries. And, networks must be seamless and integrated across agencies and forces, and are precise, clear and quick in response,” he said.

We need forces that are agile, mobile and driven by technology, not just human valour. We need capabilities to win swift wars, for we will not have the luxury of long drawn battles. We must re-examine our assumptions that keep massive funds locked up in inventories, he said.

Stating that the government would soon reform our procurement policies and process, he said the offsets policy will become a strategic tool for improving our capabilities in defence technologies. “Defence technology will now be a national endeavour that taps the potential of all institutions in our country,” he said.

The Prime Minister said that he Armed Forces will be crucial to the success of Make in India Mission. “I am encouraged by your localization plans, especially in the capital intensive Navy and Air Force.”

Modi called for clear targets and goals on domestic acquisition; more clarity on specifications; and, greater involvement of our forces in innovation, design and development, especially from those who wield the weapons in the field.

The PM said that the National Defence University will be a reality soon adding that reforms in senior defence management was also required.

Sources said the PM’s address lasted for more than an hour and about 50 top-ranked officers were present in the meeting. Sources added that the next combined commanders’ conference will be held in any Air Force station next year-end.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Pakistan-would-be-judged-by-its-commitment-on-terrorism-says-PM/articleshow/50190535.cms

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Muslim groups take out procession

December 15, 2015

Several Muslim groups took out a procession in Bidar on Tuesday to protest against the alleged defamatory statements by Kamlesh Tewari, Hindu Mahasabha leader.

The procession started from the Jam-e-Masjid in the old city and ended at the Deputy Commissioner’s office after moving through the main streets of the city. Protestors shouted slogans against Mr. Tewari and the Hindu Mahasbha. They said no insult to Prophet Mohammed could be tolerated.

They urged President Pranab Mukherjee to instruct the Uttar Pradesh government to take strict action against Mr. Tewari. Former MLA, Rahim Khan, Mansur Khadri, and other leaders were present.

Traffic was disrupted for over an hour in and around Ambedkar Circle. Police had to divert vehicles through the old taxi stand route.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/muslim-groups-take-out-procession/article7992594.ece

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India, US ink deal to share terror info

Dec 16, 2015

NEW DELHI: India and the US have agreed to finalise a pact for enhanced intelligence-sharing and exchange of information of terror watch-list.

Replying to a question in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, minister of state for home Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary said a joint declaration on combating terrorism was issued at the first Indo-US strategic and commercial ministerial dialogue held in Washington on September 22 this year.

“The declaration identified specific steps to further strengthen counter-terrorism cooperation. The governments of India and USA have agreed to finalise an agreement to expand intelligence-sharing and terrorist watch-list information,” he told the Lok Sabha.

Chaudhary, however, refused to share further details of the pact, saying it could hurt national security interests and friendly relations with a foreign country.

Replying to another question, the minister said as per global terrorism index 2015, the deaths in 2014 from terrorism the world over recorded an increase of more than 80 per cent, whereas India recorded an increase of just 1 per cent.

He claimed the overall internal security situation in the country was “under control”.

The internal security challenges in India emanating from terrorism/ insurgency are spread across four theatres — cross border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, militancy in the Northeast, Left Wing Extremism in certain states and terrorism in the hinterland.

A total of 53 people lost their lives in Jammu and Kashmir in 2014 due to terrorism while 54 people were killed in the state till November 22, 2015. In the North-east, insurgency claimed 232 lives in 2014 while 85 people were killed till November 15 this year.

As many as 309 people lost their lives due to Maoist violence in 2014 and 210 were killed in such violence till November 15, 2015.

Four people were killed in terrorist violence in the hinterland in 2014 and seven have lost their lives so far this year.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-US-ink-deal-to-share-terror-info/articleshow/50195466.cms

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View From The Right: National Dynasty

December 16, 2015

An editorial in the Organiser slams the Congress for stalling the Parliament. It applauds the prime minister, who “set the tone” for “a fruitful legislative session”, as “positive vibes” were felt regarding “critical bills like the GST”. However, the court order in the National Herald case, in which “two top leaders of the grand old party” were summoned, ensured that “Parliament returns to the usual storm”. It notes that the Congress’s response to the order damaged “the democratic process in three major ways”.

By “putting dynastic interests above legislative business”, it spoilt the “soul of democracy” as “stalling the parliamentary process just to make an alleged criminal act into a heroic one is against the spirit of democracy”. Second, it’s “also questioning the credibility and independence of our judicial system and investigative agencies”. Most importantly, the “Congress is scoring a self-goal”, says the editorial, adding that the counter-allegations levelled by the Congress are neither justifiable nor convincing. Instead, these strengthen the suspicion that the “probity of the legendary national political party is under [the] scanner”, as observed by the honourable high court.

After its worst-ever debacle in Lok Sabha elections, the Congress should rebuild the party with an inclusive organisational structure. Instead, it is giving the impression that the Gandhi dynasty is more important than democracy.

Islamic Reformation

An article in Panchajanya, called “Islamic State: An Opportunity”, says that great policymakers are those who “convert a challenge into an opportunity”. The IS phenomenon offers an opportunity to both Muslims and non-Muslims, especially those Muslims who have not “completely surrendered their intellect and thoughtfulness to religious formulas”. By reviewing the IS, they can begin the long-awaited task Christianity had undertaken 400 years ago. Noting that Christianity revived after the Reformation, the article says the IS has “shown a mirror to all Muslims who had a confused perspective on Islam”. While several Muslim intellectuals have been saying that the acts of outfits like al-Qaeda, the Taliban, etc do not represent “true Islam”, they have also forwarded a “political defence” of such outfits. The IS has now “issued a notice to end these double standards”. The article argues that Muslims must be told that their “narrow-minded ideology has made them backward and a victim of conflict”.

A New Script

A report in the Organiser says that when the country was debating non-issues like intolerance and “award wapsi”, thousands of Muslim women gathered in Ajmer to script of change. Assembling under the banner of the Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM), an RSS-supported organisation, they deliberated several issues affecting Muslim women, including literacy, healthcare, employment and equality. It was the first national convention of the MRM, as the speakers spread the “message of ‘hubbul vatani’ (patriotism) and mutual love and understanding”. Addressing the gathering, RSS leader Indresh Kumar “posed certain fundamental questions to them” as he asked, “What is the religion of the sun and the moon?”

Kumar emphasised the “need for small families” and said that some “politicians advocate for larger families and oppose family-planning measures for their vote-bank politics”. The gathering also passed resolutions on intolerance and terrorism. “The conference vowed to frustrate the designs of those who smell intolerance in the air”, the report said, adding that “those who defame our nation are not true Hindustanis and not even true Muslims”.

(Compiled by Ashutosh Bhardwaj)

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/view-from-the-right-national-dynasty/

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Muslim reservation: Oppn stages walkout

Ashish Roy

Dec 16, 2015

Nagpur: MLCs belonging to Congress and NCP staged a walkout from legislative council on Tuesday alleging that the BJP-Shiv Sena government was not intent on providing 5% reservation to Muslims. Minority affairs minister Eknath Khadse hit back at them questioning why the two parties did not do so in their 15 year rule.

NCP MLC Khwaja Beg had raised the issue through a call attention motion. He pointed that even though the Bombay High Court had allowed 5% reservation for Muslims in education, the government allowed the ordinance to lapse thereby denying reservation to the community.

Beg objected to the written reply submitted to his motion saying that it was almost the same to that submitted in the monsoon session. “This shows that the government is not at all serious about providing reservation to Muslims,” he said. The MLC further said that a large number of committees constituted by the British government as well as that of independent India had favoured reservation for Muslims.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/Muslim-reservation-Oppn-stages-walkout/articleshow/50193994.cms

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Arab World

 

Egypt’s Azhar says Saudi decision to form Islamic military alliance ‘historic’

15 Dec 2015

Egypt’s highest Sunni authority, Al-Azhar, welcomed on Tuesday Saudi Arabia’s decision to form an Islamic military coalition to combat terrorism, describing it as “historic.”

In a statement published on its website, Al-Azhar said it has repeatedly called for such a coalition, calling on all Muslim countries to join it to fight terrorism in all its forms.

Al-Azhar expressed its wish that “the coalition would be successful in destroying terrorism, and ridding people of its evils.”

Also on Tuesday, foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abo-Zeid said that Egypt supports all efforts to combat terrorism.

“Egypt supports all efforts to defeat terrorism, especially if such efforts are Islamic or Arab,” Abo-Zeid told state owned MENA agency. “We endorse it and will be a part of it.”

The 34-state coalition consists of Arab, African and Asian countries such as Egypt, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Malaysia, and Pakistan.

Shi’ite Muslim Iran, Sunni Saudi Arabia’s archrival for influence in the Arab world, was absent from the states named as participants, as proxy conflicts between the two regional powers rage from Syria to Yemen.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/173597/Egypt/Politics-/Egypts-Azhar-says-Saudi-decision-to-form-Islamic-m.aspx

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Report: 500 Children Undergoing Military Training by ISIL in Syria

Dec 15, 2015

“There are 500 children in ISIL’s military training centers in Syria,” the Arabic-language service of Russia Today TV quoted Head of the Anti-Terrorism Department of Malaysia’s intelligence organization Ayoub Khan as saying on Tuesday.

He noted that the children, some of them from Southeast Asia, are taught extremist ideology in addition to military training and man-to-man battle.

In May, a Kurdish official disclosed that the ISIL terrorist group has set up special military barracks in Syria to train the children of the Izadi Kurds that it abducted in Iraq last year.

“In addition to providing military training to the Izadi children aged above five, the ISIL also brainwashes them for future use,” an official of the Iraqi Kurdistan region said.

He reiterated that over 100 Izadi children are undergoing ISIL’s military training in Reqqa in Northeastern Syria.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940924001431

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Egypt’s Sisi discusses newly formed Islamic military coalition with Saudi defence minister

15 Dec 2015

Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi met on Tuesday with deputy Saudi crown prince and defence chief Mohammed bin Salman in Cairo hours after King Salman announced the formation of a Saudi-led Islamic military coalition.

During the meeting, President El-Sisi said that Arab efforts should be targeted towards reaching political settlements for some of the crises that face some of the Arab states, which would ensure their stability and unity.

Both sides, according to a statement released by presidential spokesman Alaa Youssef, shared the same vision on the importance of “stopping bloodshed and working on ending these crises in the nearest possible time.”

El-Sisi said that the coalition is important in achieving the aforementioned goals and protecting the Arab states.

“Areas of crisis are fertile grounds for extremism and terrorism to grow,” he added.

The 34-state Islamic military coalition includes Arab and African countries such as Egypt, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, together with other Islamic countries like Turkey, Malaysia and Pakistan.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/173613/Egypt/Politics-/Egypts-Sisi-discusses-newly-formed-Islamic-militar.aspx

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Russian Heavy Bombardments Leave No Chance for Militants to Regroup North of Lattakia

Dec 15, 2015

“The Russian bombers, in several combat sorties, targeted the gathering centers of the militant groups, in the rural area in Jabal al-Akrad and Jabal al-Turkmen regions, which claimed the lives of many militant and wounded some more,” the sources said.

The sources further added that the Syrian army’s artillery units also shelled the strongholds of the militant groups in Jabal al-Akrad and Jabal al-Turkmen regions, killing and wounding many terrorist.

“The militant groups have been pinned down in their positions as a result of coordinated attacks of Russian air fleet and the Syrian artillery and can not regroup or find better shelters.

On Monday, the Syrian Army and popular forces deployed troops in Salma region after pushing back terrorist groups from the region Northeast of Lattakia province.

According to military sources in the 103rd Brigade, the Syrian army’s Special Forces launched a powerful attack on the Southern side of Tartiyah from their positions at Kafr Dulbeh, killing several enemy combatants.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940924000999

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Syrian Airstrikes Hit Terrorists’ Supply Routes from Turkey

Dec 15, 2015

The Syrian army, backed by airstrikes, destroyed gathering centers and vehicles of Takfiri terrorists in Aleppo province and destroyed the militants’ supply routes from Turkey on Monday.

There were no immediate reports of possible casualties among the terrorists.

Earlier on Monday, the Syrian forces clashed with terrorists of Jaish al-Fateh at the Eastern entrance of Al-Zerbeh in the Southern countryside of Aleppo.

At least five Takfiri terrorists were killed in the clashes.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940924000466

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ISIS eyeing oil targets ‘beyond’ Syria stronghold

16 December 2015

ISIS is looking at potentially vulnerable oil assets in Libya and elsewhere outside its Syria stronghold, where the militant group controls about roughly 80 percent of the oil and gas fields, a senior U.S. official said on Tuesday.

The official, who briefed reporters in Washington on condition of anonymity, said the United States was carefully examining who controlled oil fields, pipelines, trucking routes and other infrastructure in places that could be vulnerable to attack.

Those include in Libya and the Sinai Peninsula, the official added.

“They are looking at the oil assets in Libya and elsewhere. We’ll be prepared,” the official said.

The United States has estimated ISIS was selling as much as $40 million a month of oil, which was then spirited on trucks across the battle lines of the Syrian civil war and sometimes farther.

The United States recently targeted fuel trucks, part of a broadening of its strikes on ISIS’s oil wealth that the U.S. official said had showed anecdotal signs of raising the costs of ISIS’s oil operations.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/16/ISIS-eyeing-oil-targets-beyond-Syria-stronghold.html

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Saudi FM: Gulf states discuss sending anti-ISIS troops to Syria

15 December 2015

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states are discussing sending Special Forces to Syria as part of U.S.-led efforts to fight ISIS, Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Tuesday.

“There are discussions, countries that are currently part of the coalition (like) Saudi Arabia, the (United Arab) Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain about sending in some special forces into Syria, and those discussions are ongoing. It’s not excluded,” Adel al-Jubeir told reporters.

He said that the discussions were aimed at clarifying the needs and the objectives of such an operation, but that the picture should become clearer in the next few weeks.

Jubeir was speaking in Paris after outlining a separate initiative by Riyadh to set up a coalition of Islamic countries for counter-terrorism operations, especially in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Afghanistan.

The United States has already sent Special Forces to Syria to help rebels coordinate efforts against Islamic State and has discussed the issue with other members of the coalition, including France.

While Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states are part of the same coalition, they have carried out limited air strikes in Syria. Most of their effort has gone towards arming opposition groups and backing efforts to oust President Bashar al-Assad.

“Assad’s position is not tenable. He will not be saved and the war is not winnable for him,” Jubeir said.

Saudi Arabia has been working over the last week to bring the Syrian opposition together before possible talks with the Syrian government in January. Jubeir said a genuine opposition now existed and Syria’s government had no reason not to negotiate.

“Now we have a serious opposition, nobody can say there isn’t one,” he said. “It doesn’t stand for Daesh and we have negotiators willing to sit at the table. If the other side is serious – Assad and his allies – then show me the team and let’s see how we can work on transition of power and a ceasefire,” he said.

He urged Russia to exert its influence on the Syrian government.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/2015/12/15/FM-Saudi-Gulf-states-discuss-sending-anti-ISIS-troops-to-Syria-.html

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France uses first cruise missiles against ISIS: government

15 December 2015

The French air force used its first cruise missiles against ISIS targets in Iraq on Tuesday, the defence ministry said.

“Launched from the United Arab Emirates and Jordan, the raid was made up of a dozen fighter planes equipped with cruise missiles and bombs,” the French ministry said in a statement.

The jets targeted buildings in the Al-Qaim area of western Iraq, a civilian neighborhood that also serves as “a training center and logistical depot,” the ministry said.

The Scalp cruise missiles, which are guided by their own onboard computers, travel over longer distances and with greater precision than normal bombs, which the French ministry claimed was particularly useful in civilian areas.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/2015/12/15/France-uses-first-cruise-missiles-against-ISIS-government-.html

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Saudi Arabia reopens its embassy in Iraq after 25 years

Dec 15, 2015

Saudi Arabia has reopened its embassy in Iraq, a quarter of a century after Riyadh broke off diplomatic relations with Baghdad following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

“The staff of the Saudi embassy arrived today in Baghdad. They were met at the airport by Foreign Ministry officials. The staff consists of 35 people, led by the ambassador’s deputy,” an unnamed Iraqi Foreign Ministry official told AFP on Tuesday.

The official further said that the Saudi ambassador to Baghdad was due to arrive by Thursday and would attend an official opening ceremony.

Reports say that a Saudi consulate is expected to open later in Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government.

On April 15, Saudi Arabia appointed Thamer al-Sabhan, the former military attaché at the Saudi embassy in Lebanon, as its non-resident ambassador to Baghdad. He took the oath of his new post on June 2.

Meanwhile, the official Saudi Press Agency quoted Sabhan as saying in a statement that Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s “directives to reopen the embassy in Baghdad embody his keenness to strengthen relations between the two countries and their peoples.”

Diplomatic relations between Riyadh and Baghdad was restored in 2004 in the absence of a Saudi embassy in Baghdad after the US-led invasion of Iraq toppled the country’s former dictator, Saddam Hussein, in 2003.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/12/15/441891/Saudi-Arabia-Iraq-Baghdad-Riyadh-Daesh-embassy-syria-Kuwait

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Popular Forces Shoot Down Terrorists’ Drone in Syria’s Aleppo

Dec 15, 2015

“The popular resistance forces in al-Zahra and Nubl towns brought down a drone used by the terrorist groups in the Northern province of Aleppo on Monday,” sources said.

“The popular forces, who are monitoring the entire movements of the terrorist groups, traced an unknown object flying over the Southeastern part of al-Zahra yesterday,” the sources said.

“A group of snipers in al-Zahra opened fire at the terrorists’ drone and shot it down,” the sources said.

“A few minutes after shooting down the drone, the popular forces arrived at the scene East of Nubl and al-Zahra, and handed the downed drone in to the relevant experts,” they pointed out.

Combination of the well-trained forces of the Syrian army, motivated forces of the NDF and the experienced fighters of Hezbollah have brought about a united front which can not be defeated simply.

The Syrian army announced earlier today that its soldiers, the National Defense Forces (NDF) and Hezbollah fighters are advancing against the militant groups in Khan Touman and al-Zerbeh regions in the Northern province of Aleppo.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940924001176

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Syria Finds Further Proof of Turkey’s Arms Aid to Terrorists

Dec 15, 2015

The Syrian army and Hezbollah fighters found Turkey-made 81mm mortar round casing after crushing victory in battle against the terrorists in the Southern parts of Aleppo province in recent days.

The images released by the pro-government troops have gone viral over the social media.

Similar Turkey-made artillery, arms and food supplies have been taken from the terrorists in numerous fronts across Northern Syria.

The Syrian army made great advances in Lattakia mountains near the border with Turkey last week, where it found Turkey-supplied food supplies in the positions taken from the Nusra Front terrorist group.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940924001092

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Russian Military Aid in Iraq

Dec 15, 2015

“A large number of the Russian-made armored vehicles, with impenetrable and highly resistent armor, have arrived in the Iraqi port of Basra,” A Russian source said on Tuesday.

“Arrival of the armored vehicles on one hand will strengthen the Iraqi military against the ISIL terrorists’ rocket attacks and on the other hand will pave the way for the Russian army men to have safer presence in Iraq for war on terrorism,” the source underlined.

Meantime, military sources said earlier today that at least 12 ISIL militants were killed in the Iraqi fighter jets’ attacks in al-Hamrin mountain in Northeastern Iraq.

“Ibrahim al-Halabi, one of the field commanders of the ISIL, was killed in the clashes with the Iraqi army and popular forces in Jazirat Khalidiya East of Ramadi, in Anbar province,” the military sources said.

“The Iraqi forces also destroyed three explosive-laden vehicles of the ISIL militants in Jazirat Khalidiya,” the sources said.

Meantime, the Iraqi army also seized a large number of the Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) near al-Siniyah air port, West of Beiji.

Al-Fatha region near Beiji witnessed fierce clashes between the Iraqi police and the ISIL, which claimed the lives of tens of the militants.

Reports said on Wednesday that Iraqi forces cemented their hold on newly gained territory in Ramadi, after scoring a breakthrough in their fight against the ISIL group by retaking a large part of the city.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940924000825

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Iraqi VP: Turkey Plans Separate Mosul City from Iraq’s Soil

Dec 15, 2015

“Turkey is greedy about Iraq and it is trying to separate Mosul from this country amid Iraq’s struggling with the current problems,” Maliki, also Iraq’ former Prime Minister, said.

Al-Maliki, however, said that Turkey’s dreams will never come true because the Iraqi nation has loudly voiced its opposition to the Turkish occupation and Baghdad has called for immediate withdrawal of Turkish troops from Nineveh province.

Last week, Turkey dispatched its battalion of hundreds of soldiers to an area near the city of Mosul in Nineveh province on the pretext of providing military training to the Kurdish Peshmerga fighters.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940924001138

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Makkah crane collapse: Five engineers, technicians found guilty

16 December 2015

Saudi Arabia’s Bureau of Investigations and Public Prosecution (BIP) in Jeddah has found five top technical and engineering officials guilty in the crane crash incident at the Grand Mosque on Sept. 11, Arabic daily Al-Watan reported on Tuesday quoting an informed source.

The source did not name the five engineers and technicians, but said the preliminary information indicated that they will be charged.

The engineers and technicians were involved in the supervision of the expansion project of the Grand Mosque. They included government officials.

The source said the BIP started its investigations with the suspects from the Binladen company two months ago and found conclusive evidence of their involvement in the tragic incident.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/16/Makkah-crane-collapse-Five-engineers-technicians-found-guilty.html

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Obama: Immigration is our ‘oldest tradition’

16 December 2015

President Barack Obama launched a full-throated defense of open immigration policies Tuesday, hailing it as America’s “oldest tradition” amid a fierce election-fueled row over tighter rules.

Hours before Republican candidates held a security-focused final presidential debate of the year, Obama told 31 newly naturalized Americans that fair immigration was the touchstone of their adoptive country.

“Just about every nation in the world, to some extent, accepts immigrants,” Obama said. “But there is something unique about America.”

Obama — speaking in the National Archives rotunda, flanked by the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence — said America does not “simply welcome” new arrivals.

“We are born of immigrants, that is who we are, immigration is our origin story.”

“For more than two centuries it’s remained at the core of our national character, it’s our oldest tradition, it’s who we are, it’s part of what makes us exceptional.”

The campaign to succeed Obama has been marked by tough talk against migrants, not least from Republican frontrunner Donald Trump.

The real estate mogul-turned-politician has vowed to ban Muslims from entering the country and to deport illegal migrants from Latin America.

The debate has taken on a rougher edge in the wake of the terror attacks in Paris and California.

The shooting in San Bernardino that killed 14 Americans was carried out by U.S.-born Syed Farook and his Pakistani wife Tashfeen Malik, who arrived in the United States on a fiancee visa.

The White House has agreed to look again at some visa procedures, but insists that refugees in particular are well vetted and have not proven a threat.

Obama — who himself has lived outside the United States and is the son of a migrant father from Kenya and a mother who lived in Indonesia — has bristled at efforts to curb the flow of migrants.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/16/Obama-Immigration-is-America-s-oldest-tradition-.html

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South Asia

 

Taliban-Daesh clashes leave 15 killed, 38 wounded in Nangarhar

Dec 16 2015

Heavy clashes have erupted between two militant groups in eastern Nangarhar province resulting in the deaths and injuries of dozens of insurgents.

Spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar province told Khaama Press on Wednesday that the sporadic clashes have erupted between Daesh and Taliban in Dago, Sangina, Sulaimankhil, Gratak and Mano villages of Chaparhar District in past two days.

“15 armed opponents have been killed and 36 others wounded in these clashes,” Ataullah Khogyani said.

The governor’s spokesman further said that out of the 15 killed, four of them were members of Daesh and 11 others belonged to Taliban.

“Out of the 36 wounded, 11 of them belong to Daesh and 25 others were members of Taliban,” he said.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/taliban-daesh-clashes-leave-51-militants-killed-wounded-in-nangarhar-4398

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NDS seizes 2,000 KGs of explosives in Kabul

Dec 16 2015

The National Directorate of Security (NDS) – Afghanistan’s intelligence agency has seized 2,000 kilograms of explosive materials in capital Kabul.

A statement released by the NDS on Wednesday states that the explosive materials discovered in 21st sector of the city were placed in 20 bags of 50 KGs.

The 2,000 KGs of “ammonium nitrate” were sent to Kabul from across the Durand Line by Mawlawi Aziz who is instructor of terrorist attacks for Haqqani network, the statement adds.

The plan was to use the explosives in terrorist attacks in Kabul.

A footage released by the spy agency shows a huge controlled-detonation in a deserted area identifies as Bot Khak where the raid was conducted.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/nds-seizes-2000-kgs-of-explosives-in-kabul-4399

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Bangladesh in 34-state Islamic military alliance

December 16, 2015

Bangladesh has joined a Saudi Arabia-based 34-state Islamic military coalition to combat terrorism, according to a joint statement published on state news agency SPA.

“The countries here mentioned have decided on the formation of a military alliance led by Saudi Arabia to fight terrorism, with a joint operations center based in Riyadh to coordinate and support military operations,” the statement said today.

A long list of Arab countries such as Egypt, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, together with Islamic countries Turkey, Malaysia, Pakistan and Gulf Arab and African states were mentioned.

The announcement cited “a duty to protect the Islamic nation from the evils of all terrorist groups and organizations whatever their sect and name which wreak death and corruption on earth and aim to terrorize the innocent.”

Shi’ite Muslim Iran, Sunni Saudi Arabia’s arch rival for influence in the Arab world, was absent from the states named as participants, as proxy conflicts between the two regional powers rage from Syria to Yemen.

The United States has been increasingly outspoken about its view that Gulf Arab states should do more to aid the military campaign against the Islamic State militant group based in Iraq and Syria.

In a rare press conference, 30-year-old deputy crown prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman told reporters on Tuesday that the campaign would “coordinate” efforts to fight terrorism in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Afghanistan, but offered few concrete indications of how military efforts might proceed.

“There will be international coordination with major powers and international organizations … in terms of operations in Syria and Iraq. We can’t undertake these operations without coordinating with legitimacy in this place and the international community,” bin Salman said without elaborating.

Asked if the new alliance would focus just on Islamic State, bin Salman said it would confront not only that group but “any terrorist organization that appears in front of us.”

Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab neighbors have been locked in nine months of warfare with Iran-allied rebels in neighboring Yemen, launching hundreds of air strikes there.

Especially after a rash of attacks on Western targets claimed by Islamic State in recent months, the United States has increasingly said it thinks that firepower would better be used against IS.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/city/bangladesh-%E2%80%98joins%E2%80%99-riyadh-based-anti-terrorism-coalition-187609

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11 Jamaat men among 87 arrested in 3 districts

December 16, 2015

At least 87 people, including 11 Jamaat-Shibir men, were held during special drives by law enforcers in Jessore, Jhenidah and Satkhira districts on Monday and the day before.

Police in separate drives arrested 49 people, including former lawmaker of Jamaat-e-Islami and two others of the party, at different spots in Jessore on Monday night, reports our correspondent.

The arrestees include former local lawmaker Muhaddis Abu Sayeed, former ameer of the district unit of Jamaat, said Assistant Superintendent of Police Safin Mahmud.

Habib Kaisar, son of the lawmaker, said the law enforcers picked up his father from the district town.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/country/11-jamaat-men-among-87-arrested-3-districts-187870

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President Ghani: All universities need to be connected through Fibre Optic

Dec 16 2015

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has instructed the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) to link all universities in the country through Fibre Optic internet network.

While talking to the 11th National Information Technology Conference in Kabul, President Ghani said that our culture and technology do not oppose each other. “We need to understand our national identity and that the new knowledge and changing world needs the investment of national identity,” he said.

President Ghani told participants of the conference which was organized in the Conference Hall of the Ministry of Higher Education on Tuesday that technology and knowledge are connected to each other.

“Technology has made knowledge easy, fast to get and more effective,” he added.

The President further said that Afghan nation has more desire for education but the education system has not been modified fundamentally.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/president-ghani-all-universities-need-to-be-connected-through-fibre-noori-4397

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Afghanistan security deteriorated in 2015, Pentagon reports

Dec 15 2015

Pentagon on Tuesday released its report regarding the security situation in Afghanistan, stating that the overall security has deteriorated dramatically during the second half of 2015 as the country continues to face threats from both the Afghan insurgency and extremist networks, including the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and to a lesser extent al Qaeda.

“The overall security situation in Afghanistan deteriorated with an increase in effective insurgent attacks and higher ANDSF and Taliban casualties,” the 96-page report stated.

However, the report said the Afghan government remains in control of all major population centers and continues to deny the Taliban strategic ground throughout the country, despite the insurgency remains resilient.

The report also added that the border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan continue to remain a sanctuary for terrorist organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Haqqani Network and Al Qaeda.

“The Afghanistan-Pakistan border region remains a sanctuary for various groups, including al Qaeda, the Haqqani Network, Lashkar-e Tayyiba, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Khorasan Province, and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan,” the report said.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/afghanistan-security-deteriorated-in-2015-pentagon-reports-1813

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Africa

 

BBC Releasing Biased Reports on Mass-Killing of Muslims in Nigeria

Dec 15, 2015

Some 1,000 unarmed civilians were killed in several army raids on the Shiite community in Nigeria’s Zaria city this weekend.

While authentic photos and footage of the massacre have been released by a number of alternative media outlets, the mainstream media in the West in trying to downplay the size and importance of the genocide.

Reuters quoted unnamed director of a local hospital as claiming that “at least 60 people were killed this weekend when the Nigerian army raided a minority Shi’ite sect and arrested its leader in the Northern city of Zaria”.

Both BBC and Reuters then relay the allegations of the Nigerian army chief that “the Islamic Movement of Nigeria was trying to assassinate the chief of army staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, when members of the sect blocked his convoy in Zaria on Saturday. The sect was conducting an annual ritual to usher in the month of Maulud, the birth month of the Prophet Mohammed” (PBUH).

Yet, both news agencies shrug of reflecting opposite views of the IMN, and avoid asking how come no weapons were found and why no one was injured from the army, while the dead bodies of unarmed civilians piled up in city streets ending to the Shiites’ religious center.

The agency further ignored the IMN statement that explains the situation.

“At noon today (Saturday) armed soldiers were seen in the precincts of Hussainiyyah Baqiyyatullah, Zaria, where members of the Islamic Movement were to hoist flag to usher in the new month of Maulud, the birth of the Holy Prophet of Islam,” Islamic Movement Spokesman Ibrahim Usman said in a statement three days ago.

“Similar occasion was previously carried out on the same spot with free traffic flow under the supervision of the Movement’s traffic warders,” he added.

“When some brothers met the soldiers to ask for their mission, they took position and opened fire indiscriminately, killed many and took away seven of the casualties to an unknown location,” Usman said.

“Based on the foregoing, we believe that the military had pre-planned this and had acted according to their mischievous script. They came with their cameramen, videotaping the whole incidence while it lasted.”

While the army claimed that unspecified people intended to assassinate the army’s chief of staff, the community leaders rejected the claim, asking how come a thousand people have been killed on their side, but the army sustained no casualties.

“We are however surprised that, spokesman of the military Colonel Kuka Sheka shamelessly came out in the media and issued a press statement to say, that it was an assassination attempt on the Chief of Army Staff at the order of the movement’s leader.”

“Why was it that there were no casualties on the side of the military, if it were to be an assassination attempt? What happened was never a clash, but a continuation of act of terrorism by the Nigerian military on the Movement, as was the case in the past.”

“We are not surprised by this action, as there were reports spread by the same military the night before that the Shiites were to avenge their dead by hired thugs on Friday in Gabari, a village in Zaria.”

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940924001072

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Boko Haram militants kill 30 Nigerian villagers

Dec 15, 2015

Boko Haram Takfiri terrorists have hacked at least 30 people to death in attacks launched on three villages in the crisis-stricken northeast of Nigeria.

The attacks, which occurred on Tuesday in the villages of Warwara, Mangari and Bura-Shika in Borno state, left 20 more civilians wounded, AFP reported, adding that the terrorists set the villages ablaze after killing the victims.

“Most of the victims were slaughtered and most of the wounded (had suffered) machete cuts,” said Mustapha Karimbe, a civilian helping the Nigerian military fight the terror group.

According to reports, 20 of the victims lost their lives only in the village of Warwara.

On Thursday, the Boko Haram Takfiris also slaughtered 14 people in an attack in the village of Kamuya located in the same state. They decapitated some of the ill-fated villagers and put their heads on their torso, before they burnt down the whole village. Shias in Nigeria have also been targeted by the terror group. More than 20 people were killed in late November in a Boko Haram bomb attack targeting Shia Muslims during an annual religious procession in the northern state of Kano.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/12/15/441892/Boko-Haram-Nigeria-Daesh-villages-Takfiris

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Nigerian army’s raids on Shias pre-planned: Islamic Movement official

Dec 15, 2015

A senior official with the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) says the deadly raids by the army on Shias in the northern city of Zaria were pre-planned.

“Attacks against Shia Muslims by Nigerian army were pre-planned,” said Ibrahim Musa, who serves as the spokesman for the IMN, in an interview with Press TV on Tuesday.

Local media said on December 12 that more than a dozen people were killed after clashes erupted between the Nigerian army and Shia Muslims in Zaria, Kaduna State. The military accused the Shias of attempting to assassinate Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, the chief of the Nigerian army staff. Nigerian soldiers opened fire on the people attending a religious ceremony at Hussainiyyah Baqeeyatullah, a religious center belonging to the IMN.

One day later, revered Nigerian Shia cleric Ibrahim al-Zakzaky and his wife were arrested during a raid by the army on his residence and the buildings connected to the Shia community in the city. Musa condemned the army for the raid on the house of the IMN leader. Local sources say hundreds of people trying to protect the cleric were killed.

The IMN spokesman said the Nigerian government has yet to provide members of the movement with access to Zakzaky, saying the IMN wants to be informed of the health condition of its leader, who reportedly suffered serious injuries during the raid.

The Nigerian army on Tuesday confirmed the arrest of Sheikh Zakzaky, saying he and his wife are safe and in protective custody in a secured facility.

Musa also called on the government to allow members of the IMN to inspect the site of the raid in Zaria.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/12/15/441845/Nigeria-Islamic-Movement-IMN-Zakzaky-army-Shia-Zaria

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Int’l Human Rights Watchdogs Continue Mum on Nigerian Massacre

Dec 15, 2015

The Nigerian army attacked two religious centers of the country’s Shiite community on Saturday, killing hundreds of defenseless civilians there. A few hours later on Sunday, the military severely wounded and arrested Leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky after raiding his house and killing his son, assistants and hundreds of followers.

IMN Leader Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky severely wounded and arrested after the army raid

Hundreds have been killed in the raid and IMN spokesman Ibrahim Musa said “We have reports that bodies of our members killed outside the house of our leader are being evacuated in trucks by soldiers”. The Sheikh himself received multiple shots during the indiscriminate shooting of the army units who sprayed bullets on the crowd.

The Saturday and Sunday crackdown on the Shiite community by the Nigerian army that ended in the massacre of around 1,000 people in several raids has caused serious concerns in many countries but the international human rights bodies, including the HRW and Amnesty International, have closed their eyes on the mass-killing.

The Nigerian army staged several raids on three Shiite religious centers and killed 1,000 defenseless citizens in the city of Zaria on Saturday and Sunday.

“The Army forces opened fire at those present in Zakzaky’s house, killing and wounding a large number of people,” a member of the UK-based Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) told FNA on Sunday.

According to him, the soldiers opened fire on local residents who were trying to protect the Shiite cleric.

A local resident told FNA that Sheikh Zakzaky’s wife, Zinat Ibrahim, and his fourth son, Ali, were killed in the last raid on his house on Sunday.

Ali’s three elder brothers were all martyred by the Nigerian army in their raid on the last year’s Tasoua and Ashoura mourning ceremonies marking the martyrdom anniversary of Shiite Islam’s third Imam, Hossein Ibn-e Ali (AS). Ali was taken by plain clothes regime forces and kept in an unknown place for some time during the last year raid.

Also, eyewitnesses said that Sheikh Mahmoud Mohammad Touri and Dr. Mostafa Saeed, the Nigerian leader’s deputy and physician, respectively, as well as Osman Ibrahim and Jemi Glima were among those killed in the raid.

Witnesses also said that the army surrounded the Leader’s house after multiple raids Sunday.

“All those inside the house were killed and Sheikh Zakzaky was arrested and taken away by the soldier,” they added.

According to the locals, soldiers returned to the house and killed all those inside who had been wounded in previous raids. “No one is alive now,” they said, adding that tens of people have been killed in the army raids on the Sheikh’s house and two other Shiite religious center that started Saturday night through Sunday morning (local time).

“At noon today (Saturday) armed soldiers were seen in the precincts of Hussainiyyah Baqiyyatullah, Zaria, where members of the Islamic Movement were to hoist flag to usher in the new month of Maulud, the birth of the Holy Prophet of Islam,” Islamic Movement Spokesman Ibrahim Usman said in a statement.

“Similar occasion was previously carried out on the same spot with free traffic flow under the supervision of the Movement’s traffic warders,” he added.

“When some brothers met the soldiers to ask for their mission, they took position and opened fire indiscriminately, killed many and took away seven of the casualties to an unknown location,” Usman said.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940924000758

———–

 

Pakistan

 

Pakistan surprised by its inclusion in 34-nation military alliance

BAQIR SAJJAD SYED

December 16, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan found itself in the crosshairs of Middle Eastern politics on Tuesday as Saudi Arabia named it as part of its newly formed 34-nation military alliance of Muslim countries meant to combat terrorism, without first getting its consent.

Talking to journalists, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry said he was surprised to read the news that Saudi Arabia had named Pakistan as part of the alliance.

He said he had asked the country’s ambassador in Riyadh to get a clarification from Saudi Arabia on the matter.

Know more: Pakistan part of 34-state Islamic military alliance against terrorism, says KSA

Another senior official also confirmed that Pakistan was not consulted before inclusion in the alliance.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Saudi government surprised many countries by announcing that it had forged a coalition for coordinating and supporting military operations against terrorism in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Afghanistan. The headquarters of the new Saudi-led coalition would be based in Riyadh.

This is not the first time that Saudi Arabia has named Pakistan as part of its military alliances without Islamabad’s knowledge and consent. The Saudis earlier named Pakistan as part of the coalition that carried out operations in Yemen and a Pakistani flag was displayed at the alliance’s media centre.

Pakistan later declined to join the Yemen war.

It is Pakistani government’s policy that it will not deploy its troops outside the country’s borders except for UN peacekeeping missions.

In the past Pakistan has twice rejected US calls for joining alliances against the militant Islamic State (IS) group on the same pretext.

“We are not looking for any involvement outside our region,” army spokesman Lt Gen Asim Bajwa had said last month while replying to a question about the possibility of Pakistan becoming part of a US-led coalition against IS.

It is unclear how Riyadh went ahead with announcing Pakistan’s participation in the new alliance. It is also difficult to speculate if Islamabad will change its policy because of its close ties with the kingdom.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1226723/pakistan-surprised-by-its-inclusion-in-34-nation-military-alliance

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Lal Masjid cleric widens legal battle from enforcing Sharia to awarding blood money

NASIR IQBAL

December 16, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Firebrand Maulana Abdul Aziz on Tuesday widened his legal battle for the enforcement of Sharia in the country by asking the Supreme Court to ensure that the families of those killed in the July 2007 military operation in Lal Masjid are paid blood money.

An application filed by advocate Tariq Asad on his behalf asks for the court to order the federal government to implement the judgment it had announced to the effect on October 2, 2007.

His plea, made just five days after he moved the court for the enforcement of Sharia, may be heard this week.

It said many people were killed in the military operation and the apex court had ordered the Islamabad police to register cases of alleged defiling of the Holy Quran, to verify the antecedents of those killed and record the statements of their legal heirs to determine their entitlement for the payment of compensation in the form of ‘diyat’, subject to the verification by the sessions judge Islamabad.

And the Capital Development Authority (CDA) was required to build a new madressah in place of the mosque’s Jamia Hafsa girl seminary that was damaged in the operation and razed to the ground later.

Instead of implementing the orders, the applicant said, the federal government executed an out-of-court settlement with the principal of Jamia Hafsa. A contempt of court petition was filed against the then secretary interior Kamal Shah and chairman CDA Kamran Lashari on July 25, 2008, for that action, which was heard by the court after four and a half years.

Even then, instead of issuing notices to the respondents, AIG Police Tahir Alam was summoned “and despite a clear and speaking order of the court” the contempt proceedings were never initiated, says the applicant.

“It is a matter of constitutional principle that when rights are transgressed, a remedy must be provided; when a legal injury was caused by reason of violation of any constitutional right then the relief which meets the ends of justice cannot be refused.” Indeed, the Maulana feels aggrieved not just at the government’s failure to implement the Supreme Court orders but also at what he calls powerlessness of the judiciary.

“One of the principal functions of the judiciary is to adjudicate upon the legality of the exercise of powers by their functionaries of the state and because of this nature of work entrusted to the judiciary, it was envisaged in the constitution that the judiciary shall be independent,” he says in the application.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1226660/lal-masjid-cleric-widens-legal-battle-from-enforcing-sharia-to-awarding-blood-money

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No judicial probe into Army Public School carnage: KP govt

December 16, 2015

PESHAWAR: One year after the Army Public School and College Peshawar carnage, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has no plan to conduct judicial inquiry into the gory incident.

“Many sensitive institutions have been attacked during the past few years, but no judicial inquiry was conducted,” KP special assistant to the chief minister Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani told a news conference here on Tuesday.

Ghani said the entire nation was in state of war and had to fight against terrorists.

CM special assistant says Imran will inaugurate ‘Martyrs Monument’

He said security forces had been conducting operations against militants.

The CM’s special assistant said four terrorists involved in the APS attack had already been hanged to death, while trial of more was in progress.

He said the provincial government had notified Dec 16 as a public holiday, while educational institutions and departments in Peshawar district would remain closed to honour 144 people, who were killed in the APS terrorist attack, pay respect to them and express solidarity with the families of the victims.

Ghani said the main function of the anniversary would take place on the premises of APS, while political and military leadership would be present there.

He however said the educational institutions and government offices in other districts of the province would remain open.

The CM’s special assistant said prayers would be held in schools and colleges across the province, while the children would offer fateha in the morning assembly.

He said special functions would also be organised at all district headquarters in KP for offering fateha and respect to the victims of APS attack.

Ghani said central leaders of all political parties, including Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan, had been invited to the anniversary.

He said the entire nation would salute the APS attack victims as they were the national heroes.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1226704/no-judicial-probe-into-army-public-school-carnage-kp-govt

———–

 

Police claim foiling school bombing plan

December 16, 2015

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar police on Tuesday claimed to have foiled a plan to bomb a school on the first anniversary of the Army Public School (APS) massacre by arresting five suspected terrorists and seizing a 40kg explosive device.

City police’s chief Mubarak Zeb told a news conference at the Malik Saad Shaheed police lines that arrests were made in light of investigation into the reported gas cylinder blast in a mosque in the limits of the Mathara police station two days ago.

He said the investigators had found out that an improvised explosive device had exploded and not a gas cylinder.

The police chief said the police later arrested the mosque’s prayer leader, Qari Kashif, a resident of Ghilachi area in Mathara.

He said the prayer leader told investigators that he and his accomplices living in the area had planned to bomb a Warsak Road school on the first anniversary of the APS attack.

Mr Zeb said on the pointation of the prayer leader, the police raided a house and arrested his accomplices, including Azizul Haq, Aftab, Sher Bahadar and Mohammad Alam, all residents of Mathara.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1226706/police-claim-foiling-school-bombing-plan

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One-year anniversary: Top civil-military leadership honour APS victims

December 16, 2015

PESHAWAR: As the nation marks the first anniversary of Peshawar’s Army Public School (APS) massacre on Wednesday, the country’s top civil and military leadership honoured those who lost their lives during the attack in a sombre ceremony at the school.

Blood of innocents united us: Nawaz

Addressing the ceremony, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif termed the APS attack “an incident that shook the nation” and announced December 16 as the day of “national educational resolve”.

He also announced the construction of APS Shuhada University.

Following the APS attack, the premier said, the military and civil leadership sat together. “It was then when I said desperate times call for desperate measures.”

Nawaz thanked the political leadership with whose cooperation the constitution was amended to set up military courts, and the National Action Plan was formulated.

“Our brave forces, security and civil institutions have come together as one in this mission,” the prime minister said, adding that operation Zarb-i-Azb has broken the back of terrorists.

“The blood of our children speaks in our war against terrorism.”

Speaking directly to the slain children, Nawaz said: “We will avenge every drop of your blood.”

Medals distributed

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Rashad Mahmood distributed medals to the families of the APS victims, along with rights to plots of land. Brief tributes were said as families of the victims came up to receive the medals.

Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Qaim Ali Shah, Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif, Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) CM Hafeezur Rehman, Balochistan CM Abdul Malik Baloch, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa CM Pervez Khattak and KP Governor Mehtab Khan Abbasi also distributed medals among the families of the victims.

Attendees stand for National Anthem

The proceedings of the ceremony began with the recitation of verses from the Holy Quran by an APS student.

The attendees then stood up as the National Anthem was sung by APS students.

Ceremony starts

The ceremony at the Army Public School commenced with the arrival of Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar are also present at the ceremony.

Television footage showed the Army chief receiving the families of the APS attack victims at gates of the venue.

Families of those who lost their lives in the event participated in a parade holding up photos of the victims.

The CMs of Sindh, Punjab, KP, Balochistan, GB and premier of Azad Jammu and Kashmir are among those attending the ceremony. PTI Chief Imran Khan is also present.

Ambassadors of several countries along with services chiefs and provincial and federal ministers are also attending.

An award ceremony will be the event’s main highlight, where parents of the deceased will be given medals by the army leadership. Survivors of the massacre will also be awarded medals for their bravery.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1226728/one-year-anniversary-top-civil-military-leadership-honour-aps-victims

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Pakistan to develop ICT infrastructure to bridge digital divide: Mamnoon

December 16, 2015

BEIJING: President Mamnoon Hussain, speaking at the second annual World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, China, on Wednesday, said Pakistan is pursuing a vision of accelerated digitisation in order to transform itself into a knowledge-based economy, Radio Pakistan reported.

Our focus remains on development of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure, he said, with special emphasis on serving marginalised segments of society and bridging the digital divide.

Mamnoon said the government realises the potential of ICT for socio-economic growth, and considered it a key enabler to achieve self-sufficiency, transparency, good governance and empowerment of the people.

The information revolution has fundamentally altered perceptions of reality, time and space, Mamnoon said, adding that Information Technology is rapidly reshaping identities, geo-politics and the security dynamics of the 21st century, as well as other paradigms.

The conference was held in the southeastern city of Wuzhen in Zhejiang province, where Chinese President Xi Jinping once was provincial party secretary. It was organised by the Cyberspace Administration of China, the Cabinet agency that enforces internet controls.

Organisers said some 2,000 people were due to attend, including representatives of Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp, Lenovo Group and Baidu Inc and officials from Russia and Kazakhstan.

‘Cyberspace shouldn’t be a battlefield’

Chinese President Xi Jinping, addressing the conference, called for governments to cooperate in regulating Internet use and fighting crime and terrorism online, stepping up efforts to promote controls that activists complain stifle free expression.

Xi’s government operates extensive Internet monitoring and censorship and has tightened controls since he came to power in 2013.

The Chinese president called for creating a global “governance system” to reflect the “wishes and interests of all countries”.

He said that would help fight online crime and terrorism and promote “healthy development” of the Internet.

Xi’s comments reflect the growing assertiveness of China’s ruling Communist Party in promoting its own vision for how to regulate global finance, technology, news media and other matters.

“Cyberspace shouldn’t be a battlefield,” Xi said. “There should be no double standards in safeguarding network security.”

On Wednesday, Xi also called on other governments to respect “network sovereignty”, a reference to efforts by leaders of China, Russia, Iran and some other nations to enforce controls over once-borderless cyberspace.

At last year’s Wuzhen conference, organisers tried unsuccessfully to persuade global Internet companies to endorse a call for the world community to “respect Internet sovereignty” and “spread positive energy”.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1226736/pakistan-to-develop-ict-infrastructure-to-bridge-digital-divide-mamnoon

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Southeast Asia

 

Your job isn’t to promote hate, church group tells police, UiTM

December 16, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 16 — Public institutions such as universities and the police should be fostering unity rather than organising events that foment religious strife, said a faith group critical of a seminar on the alleged threat of Christian proselytisation held at Universiti Teknologi Mara’s (UiTM) Malacca campus last Saturday.

Council of Churches Malaysia (CCM) general secretary Reverend Dr Hermen Shastri today said his group was deeply troubled by the event as it was seemingly sanctioned by the authorities, noting that a police Special Branch officer had given the briefing.

“Amidst the challenge of religious polarization rampant in the country, it is sad that such activities continue with official sanction and support,” he said in a statement today.

“In a multireligious country like Malaysia, it would be expected that public authorities especially the universities and the police force would instead promote activities that foster interreligious harmony and not that which seem to create suspicion among the religious groups.”

He also highlighted the growing ubiquity of news that such seminars are being held at public universities, noting that UiTM had also organised a similar anti-Christianisation event in a different campus earlier this year.

Shastri questioned how the Education Ministry could allow such events to be held, or how it did not know about these if it did not provide approval.

“If such activities are continued, the churches fear that it may unwittingly promote a climate of radicalization of young Muslims who grow up on a diet of unfounded prejudice against other religious communities,” the reverend said.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/your-job-isnt-to-promote-hate-church-group-tells-police-uitm

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Police monitoring 56 deviant religious groups

December 16, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 16 — The Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM), with the cooperation of religious authorities, are monitoring 56 deviant religious groups that could pose a threat to public order and security in the country, the Dewan Negara was told today.

Deputy Home Minister Masir Kujat said stern action under existing laws would be taken if there were proof that the religious groups were involved in militant and terror activities, like handling of firearms.

He said the laws included the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA), Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) 2015 and the Penal Code.

“Necessary actions, with the cooperation of the various government agencies, like the Registrar of Societies, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission and local government authorities, have been taken from time to time to address deviationist teachings,” he added.

He was responding to a question from Senator Datuk Megat Zulkarnain Omardin who wanted to know the spread of deviationist teachings and how could they be a threat to security in the country.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/police-monitoring-56-deviant-religious-groups

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Bank Islam issues RM400mil sukuk murabahah

15 December 2015

KUALA LUMPUR: BIMB Holdings Bhd’s unit Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd has issued the second tranche amounting to RM400mil under its subordinated sukuk murabahah programme of up to RM1bil in nominal value.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia on Tuesday, BIMB said the sukuk’s tenure would be 10 years, with non-callable five years, and the maturity date would be Dec 15, 2025.

“The proceeds shall be used to finance Bank Islam’s Islamic banking activities, working capital requirements and other corporate purposes and/or, if required, to redeem any outstanding subordinated sukuk murabahah issued under the subordinated sukuk murabahah programme,” it said

BIMB said all utilisation of proceeds would be syariah-compliant and the sukuk was rated ‘A1/stable’ by RAM Rating Services Bhd.

Full report at:

http://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2015/12/15/bank-islam-issues-rm400mil-sukuk-murabahah/?style=biz

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Muslim group ‘raids’ shop of handphone seller

December 16, 2015

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Muslim Consumers’ Association (PPIM) took it upon themselves to raid a mobile phone shop after the seller was accused of duping a buyer, reported Utusan Malaysia today.

The trader, whose shop is located at the Kota Raya complex, was accused of allegedly cheating a buyer and holding the latter against his will when he refused to complete the transaction.

The raid was conducted by the association after the purported victim, Dipres Nasution Arifin, claimed his reports of the incident to several relevant agencies, including the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry fell on deaf ears.

PPIM special unit director, Muhammad Yusuf Azmi told the Malay daily they also discovered that traders at the complex sold knock-off handphones at exorbitant prices.

In the initial incident, Dipres claimed he had wanted to buy four handphones from the trader and was enticed by the RM200 per unit price offered.

However, the trader did not hand him the handphones after he made the payment, and instructed him to wait in a room nearby.

To his surprise, Dipres was handed a RM10,000 bill by another man instead of the agreed price of RM800.

Full report at:

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2015/12/16/muslim-group-raids-shop-of-handphone-seller/

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Malaysia’s obsession with Syria

December 16, 2015

At the UN General Assembly 2015, Prime Minister Najib Razak pledged that Malaysia will bring in 3,000 Syrian refugees into the country. That, at the expense of the plight of the Rohingya refugees, while he and Umno are still mired in the 1MDB scandal and Malaysia is currently in an economic quagmire.

Such is one of the symptom of the mainstream Muslim community in Malaysia. The other symptom is the reports of hundreds of Malaysian Muslims who ran to Syria to join IS and fight a jihad there. They have favoured Syria over their own country, for what?

Mainstream Muslims are in thrall of Syria. Mention “Syria” and it becomes a trigger word for Muslims to their wanting to help free Syria from the Assad regime. This desire to help Syria has gone to such extremes that it becomes an obsession. Such Malaysians are willing to take a bullet for Syria rather than fellow Malaysians suffering under the weight of corruption.

A lot of readers have pointed out that Syrians are favoured more than other any victim because of their fairer skins. But ask any typical Malaysian Muslim and they will answer back two things: Syrians suffer because Bashir Assad is a sort of a Shiite Hitler oppressing the ‘true’ Muslims; and that the greater Apocalypse is about to happen in Syria and every Muslim must obliged to fight there to usher in the incoming End.

First answer is behind the recent discrimination of the local Shiite community. Since Bashir Assad is Shiite, every Shiite Muslim is suspected as an agent of Assad bent on sowing discord between Muslims. Shiites are deemed by mainstream Ahli Sunnah Waljannah Muslims as wanting to slaughter the ‘true’ Muslims and must be stopped preemptively first before they ‘kill’ them.

Thus there have been raids of Shiite mosques, gatherings, etc. These raids and discrimination have costs careers of Muslims who are Shiites or sympathetic with them, as well as nearly severing ties between Iran and Malaysia, when ministers and imams urge boycotts of Iranian products for aiding Assad.

The second answer is far more dangerous. According to local supporters, Syria is where the Apocalypse will happen; where the Antichrist will rise and fight the jihadists; and Jesus will arrive to their aid. Or something like that.

It is this shallow belief that’s more dangerous and needs to be addressed. Go to any Malay-language bookstores and you’ll see books predicting the Apocalypse, how the ‘evil’ Shiites are oppressing the ‘true’ Muslims and so on. Go to every Facebook pages or blogs set up by jihadists supporters and you’ll see sentences in Malay such as ‘Fitnah akhir zaman’ or ‘Kiamat sudah dekat’ as well as quotes from obscure Hadiths justifying the civil war in Syria.

The saddest part is that mainstream Muslims and their religious leaders are proudly encouraging this dangerous train or thought, while criticism by dissident Muslims, disagreeing with the violence acted upon by the jihadists, are suppressed or punished.

Just like a Jerusalem Syndrome where delusions of religious fervour are triggered by visits to Jerusalem, Malaysian Muslims here are plagued with Syrian Syndrome, where Syria seems to trigger the same fervour and the desire to fight an apocalyptic battle with everyone deemed a sinner who stepped their filthy feet on that nation. With such a dangerous fever, there’s a possibility that violence may break out here at any minute, with hopes to win favor with IS.

Conspiracy theories

Along with these answers are conspiracy theories cooked up by these obsessed Muslims where they think Assad and his allies, Iran and Russia, are in cahoots with Israel and the US and that enmity between them is just ‘wayang’.

Full report at:

https://www.malaysiakini.com/letters/323545

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No need to probe UiTM’s ‘Muslim only’ seminar for now, say police

BY ELVINA FERNANDEZ

16 December 2015

Chuah told The Malaysian Insider any religion could have a seminar for their believers if it did not incite hatred.

“The seminar was organised for Muslims only and no offence was committed by the organisers. There is no need to open an investigation.

“From what I understand, it is an internal seminar to caution Muslims against turning away from Islam,” he said.

However, Chuah said if there was any evidence of inciting hatred, the police would look into it, adding that so far there was no police report lodged by any individual.

In a statement yesterday, the Malaysia Christian Youth Association said the seminar titled “Ancaman Gerakan Pemurtadan Kristianisasi (Threat of the Christian proselytisation movement)”, had misled the public as it identified Christians as being a national threat.

The association also questioned the involvement of the police at the seminar where an officer was one of the presenters.

“Yes, there was an officer from Bukit Aman,” Chuah said, refering to the Federal police headquarters.

He said the officer was invited by the organiser to be a presenter.

“The police only presents facts and the officer had highlighted cases of ‘Christianising’ Muslims, both in and out the country,” Chuah said.

He added that the police officer’s presentation was along the lines of the other presenters at the event.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/no-need-to-probe-uitms-muslim-only-seminar-for-now-say-police

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Autonomy will make universities more systematic, competitive, says Education Ministry sec-gen

December 16, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 16 ― The government wants more higher education institutions in the country to have some degree of autonomy in order to make them more systematic and competitive, said Education Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Zaini Ujang.

He said that the autonomy covered fields of governance, finance, human resources and academic management.

“We want more universities with autonomy and make their own decisions because universities abroad already have such autonomy.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/autonomy-will-make-universities-more-systematic-competitive-says-education

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Christmas trees at malls prove Christians in Malaysia not oppressed, Isma portal says

December 15, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 15 — Lavish Christmas trees at shopping centres show that Christians have freedom of religion in Malaysia, according to the website for conservative Muslim group Isma.

Siti Fatimah Ishak, assistant editor with Ismaweb.net, pointed out that there is a 23m-tall Christmas tree at the Pavilion mall in the city centre decorated with Swarovski crystals, and that Christmas trees are also abundant at other shopping centres and hotels here.

“Are the setting up of Christmas trees and parades part of their religious teachings as in the bible? Or is it an effort to promote Christian symbols in the Malay-Muslim land?” Siti Fatimah wrote in an article on Ismaweb.net yesterday titled “Hari Krismas: Adakah penganut Kristian ditindas di Malaysia?” [Christmas Day: Are Christians oppressed in Malaysia?].

She was referring to rumours that 10,000 Christians had joined a 4km Christmas parade at Dataran Bandar Sibu in Sarawak last Saturday.

“This reality once and for all refutes allegations of irresponsible parties that claim that the Christian minority’s right to freedom of religion has been oppressed by the Malay-Muslim majority,” said Siti Fatimah.

She also pointed out that shopping centres play Christmas carols, many of which she said have verses from the Christian Bible.

“Don’t memorise them and sing along without realising that it will destroy your heart and soul in the long run,” Siti Fatimah warned Muslims.

She also said Muslims have been “too tolerant” with the Christians.

“The proof is that Muslims are able to live with other ethnic groups who are free to practise their religion, culture and beliefs without any restrictions. In fact, the rights and privileges of non-Muslims are guaranteed by the Federal Constitution and no party can touch or amend them as they like,” she said.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/christmas-trees-at-malls-prove-christians-in-malaysia-not-oppressed-isma-po

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Why is Indonesia not in the Saudi-led Sunni coalition against terror?

Robert Fisk

December 16, 2015

The Saudis love coalitions. The Sunni monarchy had the Americans, the British, the French and sundry other oil importers on their side to drive Saddam’s legions out of Kuwait in 1991. Earlier this year, the Saudi military – for which read the youngest defence minister in the world and the ambitious Deputy Prime Minister, Mohamed bin Salman al-Saud – struck at the Kingdom’s Shia Houthi enemies in Yemen in yet another coalition. This included not only Saudi fighter-bombers but jets from Qatar, the Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Sudan.

But now – with all the drama of a new Hollywood franchise – the Saudis have announced their new multinational military epic against the “disease” of Islamic “terror”, starring more Muslim and would-be Muslim states than ever before assembled since the time of the Prophet. Once more, as in the Yemen adventure (already plagued by humanitarian catastrophe and credible accounts of the slaughter of civilians under Saudi air attacks), Prince Mohamed, aged 31, is leading his country.

In all seriousness, he announced that the battle of this latest “coalition” – which includes countries as mythical as “Palestine”, as corrupt as Afghanistan and as powerless as Lebanon, with bankrupt Chad and the Islamic Republic of the Comoros thrown in for good measure – would require “a very strong effort to fight”. Few spotted, however, the curious absence from the 34-strong “coalition” of Indonesia, which has the world’s largest Muslim population.

This is very strange, since the 2002 Bali bombings, which killed 202 mostly foreign civilians, brought al-Qaeda into Indonesia’s own “war against terror”. Surely Indonesia, with a Sunni population of more than 200 million, would have an interest in joining their fellow Sunni Muslims in this unprecedented “coalition”? Or could it be that with more than 30 Indonesian maids on Saudi Arabia’s death row after grotesquely unfair trials, the country wants an end to this injustice before committing its army to the Kingdom?

Pakistan is an interesting addition because the last time it was asked to fight for the Saudis, in the present disastrous Yemen civil war, the parliament in Islamabad rejected Saudi Arabia’s request after the Saudis insisted that only Sunni Muslim soldiers in the Pakistani army would be allowed to participate.

All in all, then, a pretty vast “coalition” – most of whom are saddled with massive international debt and face constant economic collapse. So the real figures behind this extraordinary military force is not how many countries plan to participate, but how many millions – or billions – of dollars Saudi Arabia plans to pay them for their fraternal military assistance.

Full report at:

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/why-is-indonesia-not-in-the-saudi-led-sunni-coalition-against-terror-a6774551.html

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Mideast

 

Thousands of cars seized over hijab offences in Iran

December 16, 2015

TEHRAN: Iran has impounded tens of thousands of cars since March because women inside the vehicles had not properly covered their hair with a headscarf, Tehran’s traffic police said on Tuesday.

“Over the past eight months, more than 40,000 cases of bad hijab (headscarf) have been dealt with,” said Brigadier General Teymour Hosseini, quoted by ISNA news agency.

“In most cases, the cars were impounded and cases were referred to the judiciary,” he said, while some of the women stopped could face cash fines or warnings.

Police warned in November that women who fail to observe hijab, the mandatory Islamic dress code in Iran, while driving would have their cars impounded for a week.

The measure is part of a wider traffic police crackdown that could also see male drivers targeted.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1226613/thousands-of-cars-seized-over-hijab-offences-in-iran

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Yemeni Missiles Rain down on Saudi Military Bases, Positions in Asir Province

Dec 15, 2015

The Yemeni missiles destroyed the command center of Saudi border guards in Asir province.

Meantime, the Yemeni missiles hit the Saudi governmental buildings in al-Rabou’a region of Asir province.

The Yemeni army also fired 52 rockets at the border regions of Alab, al-Sheibani, al-Hazar and al-Thurein in Asir province.

On Monday, Yemeni forces hit Jizan airport in Southern Saudi Arabia with their new surface-to-surface ballistic missiles.

“The Qaher-I missile precisely hit the target, the Jizan airport; the third such missile used in the past 24 hours to target military positions in Southern Saudi Arabia,” Yemeni military sources told FNA.

The first Qaher-I ballistic missiles targeted Khalid bin Abdulaziz air base in Asir province in Southwestern Saudi Arabia on Sunday.

The second ballistic missile hit the Saudi-led coalition’s command headquarters in Sha’ab al-Jen region near Bab al-Mandeb in Ta’iz province. Over 150 coalition servicemen, including 23 Saudi troops, 9 UAE officers and soldiers, seven Moroccan officers and 42 Blackwater troops were killed in the second attack.

Qaher-I is an updated version of a Russian-made surface-to-surface missile.

The burnt bodies of 146 Saudi-led military troops have been transferred to the city of Aden and Saudi Arabia has sent a warship to Ta’iz to transfer the wounded from Bab al-Mandeb region.

The Saudi-led forces sustained heavy casualties in the Yemeni army’s missile attack on the Bab al-Mandeb region in Southwestern Yemen.

On Friday, the Yemeni army and popular forces conducted several retaliatory attacks against key military bases and positions in two Saudi provinces, inflicting heavy losses on the kingdom’s forces.

Yemeni forces fired 13 missiles at al-Jamarak region in the Saudi province of Jizan, killing at least two Saudi military men.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940924000516

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Iran calls for probe into Nigeria Shia killings

Dec 15, 2015

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has called for the establishment of a fact-finding committee in Nigeria to investigate the recent military crackdown on Shia Muslim community in the African country.

“Under the present circumstances, we expect the Nigerian government to sympathize with all victims and prevent the persistence of any kind of unrest by issuing firm instructions,” Rouhani said in a telephone conversation with his Nigerian counterpart Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday.

Local media said on December 12 that more than a dozen people were killed after clashes erupted between the Nigerian army and Shia Muslims in the northern city of Zaria, Kaduna State. The military accused the Shias of attempting to assassinate Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, the chief of the Nigerian army staff.

Nigerian soldiers opened fire on the people attending a religious ceremony at Hussainiyyah Baqeeyatullah, a religious center belonging to the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN).

One day later, revered Nigerian Shia cleric Ibrahim al-Zakzaky and his wife were arrested during a raid by the army on his residence and the buildings connected to the Shia community in Zaria. Local sources say hundreds of people trying to protect the cleric were killed.

Rouhani further warned of plots to cause discord among Muslim countries and urged Muslim nations to remain united and vigilant against schemes.

“We should not let minor differences grow into deep-seated conflicts and differences,” Rouhani said, adding that the Muslim world currently needs to settle issues peacefully.

He also expressed Iran’s readiness to dispatch medical teams to Nigeria to treat those injured in the recent wave of violence.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/12/15/441875/Iran-Nigeria-Rouhani-Buhari-Larijani-Yakubu

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Iran Set to Expand Research, Modern Sciences to Develop Advanced Arms Industry

Dec 15, 2015

“The main strategy of the Iranian defense ministry is based on empowering the country’s defensive stamina and equipping the Armed Forces and meantime, make sure that defense research, technology and innovation meet the future needs of the Armed Forces,” General Dehqan said, addressing the Defense Ministry’s 5th Research, Technology and Innovation Festival in Tehran on Tuesday.

The Iranian Defense Minister underlined that conducting research in the defense sector should result in science production and moving ahead with scientific progress.

In recent years, Iran has made great achievements in its defense sector and attained self-sufficiency in producing essential military equipment and systems.

In August, General Dehqan underlined Iran’s self-sufficiency in the marine industry.

“We can design 500-ton submarines from top to toe and we are moving towards new propulsion systems to decrease the noise and increase their durability in water,” Dehqan said, addressing a ceremony to unveil two new home-made cruise missiles and two new drones in Tehran participated by President Hassan Rouhani and other senior officials.

In late April, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Brigadier General Ali Shadmani said Iran is among the top world states in the defense sector.

“We now have a dynamic and modern industry that is moving ahead; we may supply our needs from friendly states, but we basically believe that our deterrent power should be based on a home-grown technology,” General Shadmani told FNA on April 25.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940924000952

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Turkey arrests suspected ISIS militant

15 December 2015

Turkish authorities have arrested a suspected ISIS militant for allegedly planning a suicide attack on the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul, Dogan news agency said on Tuesday.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/2015/12/15/Turkey-arrests-suspected-ISIS-militant-.html

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Israeli soldiers kill two more Palestinians in West Bank

Dec 16, 2015

Israeli military forces have shot and killed two more young Palestinian men and injured four others during separate incidents in the occupied West Bank.

Palestinian sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Israeli military jeeps rolled into the Qalandiya refugee camp, north of al-Quds (Jerusalem), early on Wednesday, Arabic-language Ma’an news agency reported. They broke into dozens of homes and violently searched them. The soldiers caused excessive property damage before detaining 26-year-old Mahmoud Nayef Abu Latifa and beating him severely.

Israeli military forces proceeded to loot a number of shops in the camp, destroying the medical equipment at a local laboratory.

Violence broke out when a group of Palestinian youths clashed with the Israeli forces. A young Palestinian man, identified as Ahmad Jahajha, used his car to run over the Israeli soldiers, leaving three of them injured. One of the soldiers is reportedly in serious condition.

The attempted car-ramming attack prompted Israeli troopers to open fire on the 21-year-old Palestinian at close range. Jahajha was critically injured and later succumbed to his gunshot wounds.

Shortly afterwards, another Palestinian man, identified as Hekmat Hamdan, sought to ram his car into Israeli soldiers in another part of the Qalandiya refugee camp, but was fatally shot.

On Tuesday, Israeli forces arrested at least a dozen Palestinians during separate raids on a number of houses across the occupied West Bank.

Seven Palestinians were detained in the central West Bank city of Ramallah, located 10 kilometers (6 miles) north of al-Quds. Five of those arrested were members of Islamic resistance movement Hamas. Another five Palestinians, including two Hamas members, were arrested in al-Khalil (Hebron), situated 30 kilometers (19 miles) south of al-Quds.

Supporting attacks

Meanwhile, a recent survey has disclosed that a great proportion of Palestinians support the recent string of stabbing attacks against illegal settlers and Israeli soldiers.

The poll, conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Research (PCPR), showed that 67 percent of Palestinians view the use of knife in the face of escalating tensions in the occupied lands as appropriate, while 31 percent oppose the practice.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/12/16/441931/Israeli-forces-West-Bank-Qalandia-refugee-camp

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Yemen’s Houthis, government trade accusation of truce violation

December 16, 2015

CAIRO/ADEN: Yemen’s dominant Houthi group and President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government have accused each other of violating a ceasefire aimed at facilitating United Nations (UN)-sponsored peace talks, although the truce appeared to be largely holding on Wednesday.

The seven-day truce began at mid-day on Tuesday as representatives of Hadi’s government and the Houthis began talks in Switzerland to try to end nine months of fighting that has killed nearly 6,000 people and dragged in foreign powers.

Read: Saudi commander, UAE officer killed in Yemen fighting

Brigadier General Sharaf Luqman, a spokesman for Yemeni forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is allied with the Houthis, said a “serious escalation by land, sea and air is taking place by the alliance in various areas”, according to the Houthi-controlled Saba news agency.

Luqman said strikes from the sea were taking place on the Red Sea port city of Hodaida, while ground forces continued to carry out attacks on Taiz city, in southwestern Yemen, while air strikes by the Arab coalition had not stopped.

“We will not stay hand-tied but we will respond strongly towards the breaches that are taking place by the alliance and their mercenaries,” Luqman said.

The Hadi-run sabanew.net news agency said five fighters from a force known as the Popular Resistance and three civilians died as a result of Houthi shelling in Taiz in the six hours after the ceasefire began.

The agency quoted a medical source as saying 17 people were wounded.

The Saudi-led coalition spokesman, Brigadier General Ahmed al-Assiri, said the alliance was committed to the ceasefire but was ready to respond to any violation by the Houthis, according to the Saudi al-Riyadh daily.

Speaking in Egypt, where he was accompanying Saudi deputy Crown Prince and Defence Minister Mohammed bin Salman on an official visit, Assiri said the strategic objective of the coalition’s military operations was to restore security and stability to Yemen by restoring the legitimate government to power.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1226741/yemens-houthis-government-trade-accusation-of-truce-violation

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Official: Iran Has Inside Men in Enemy Spy Agencies

Dec 15, 2015

“We have infiltrated the enemy’s spy agencies,” Chief of the Supreme Leader’s Office for Ideological and Political Affairs Hojjatoleslam Gholamreza Safayee said in Tehran on Tuesday.

Safayee did not disclose any further details, citing the secret nature of the operation.

Yet, he said that the capture of the executed ringleader of Jundollah terrorist group four years ago was the result of the same inside job in the secret services of the enemies.

In relevant remarks in August, Iranian Intelligence Minister Seyed Mahmoud Alavi warned that the western, Israeli and certain regional countries’ spy agencies had hatched plots to create insecurity in Iran.

“The intelligence services of the US, Israel, Mossad, MI6 and certain regional states are making attempts to challenge the Islamic Republic’s security and it is hard for them to see that the sound of blasts is heard in any corner of the world but not in the Islamic Republic and to see that it is a secure island,” Alavi said in an interview with the state TV.

He also referred to the attempts made by terrorist groups, including the Takfiri terrorists, to harm the Islamic Republic’s security, and said fortunately the Iranian security forces’ intelligence superiority and efforts thwarted all their plots.

Also, in March, top Military Aide to the Iranian Supreme Leader Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi said agents of some 17 foreign spy agencies have sought to foment dissent and unrest in Iran’s oil-rich Southwestern province of Khuzestan.

General Rahim Safavi said that “17 regional and trans-regional intelligence services affiliated to the Arab and western states” are running operations “in support of ethnic separatist groups to sow discord among the local people” in Khuzestan.

He said “the Arab and European secret services are supporting separatist groups with financial and political backups” to stir unrest through fomenting sectarian strife in the bordering province.

In relevant remarks in January, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei underlined that the enemy’s intelligence agencies were behind the plots hatched against Muslims.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940924001281

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Bombing blamed on PKK kills 3 Turkish police

Dec 15, 2015

Three Turkish policemen have been killed in a bomb attack blamed on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants in the country’s troubled southeast, security sources say.

Unnamed security officials said the officers riding an armored vehicle hit a roadside bomb in the Silvan district of the province of Diyarbakir on Tuesday.

Three policemen were also injured.

The bombing came one day after two Turkish protesters died in clashes with police in the city of Diyarbakir amid growing anger over a curfew that has been in place in the Sur district over the past two weeks.

On Tuesday, thousands of mourners attended the funeral of the two demonstrators.

The curfew was declared on November 28 after Tahir Elci, a lawyer and advocate of Kurdish rights, was killed in Sur in a gun battle between police and unidentified gunmen while he was giving a press statement.

Ankara has been engaged in a large-scale military campaign against the PKK in its southern border region in the recent past. The Turkish military has also been conducting offensives against the positions of the PKK in northern Iraq.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/12/15/441879/Turkey-PKK-Silvan-Diyarbakir-Sur

———–

 

North America

 

US needs ‘360-degree’ anti-terror strategy: Hillary Clinton

December 16, 2015

MINNEAPOLIS: Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that the American people “cannot give into fear” in the aftermath of attacks in Paris and California, laying out a multi-pronged strategy to protect the homeland and prevent domestic terrorist attacks.

Clinton assailed her Republican rivals shortly before their latest presidential debate, telling an audience at the University of Minnesota that another ground war reminiscent of conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan would play into the hands of the militant Islamic State group and fail to keep the US safe.

“Shallow slogans don’t add up to a strategy,” Clinton said. “Promising to carpet bomb until the desert glows doesn’t make you sound strong, it makes you sound like you are in over your head,” she added, referencing recent comments by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a leading Republican presidential candidate.

“Bluster and bigotry are not credentials for becoming commander in chief.” Clinton sought to assure Americans that she would protect the homeland and prevent homegrown terrorists from sprouting following deadly attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, that have thrust terrorism to the forefront of the presidential campaign.

Much of her critique was aimed at Republican front-runner Donald Trump, whose call for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States has sparked debate around the globe.

Her strategy includes proactive steps for curbing Islamic State recruitment in the US, especially online, and for stopping potential terrorists from training overseas. She also urged that the US take steps to stop foreign fighters from entering the country, discover and disrupt plots before they can be carried out, work more closely with law enforcement agencies and empower Muslim-American communities.

“This is a 360-degree strategy to keep America safe,” Clinton said. She also reiterated her support for new restrictions on guns, saying it was “time to restore the ban on assault weapons,” a law first passed by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, which expired during the Bush administration.

She also emphasised a need for vigilance, stressing that the country needs to be prepared for more terror plots. Hours before her speech, officials in Los Angeles closed all schools after an emailed threat regarding a large-scale attack with guns and bombs – a threat some law enforcement officials deemed a hoax.

As President Barack Obama’s former secretary of state, Clinton holds direct ties to the White House’s national security policies and has largely endorsed the president’s approach to dismantling the militant Islamic State group.

Like Obama, Clinton has said she would not send American ground troops to the Middle East, saying it would provide a recruiting tool for IS. But Republicans view Obama’s handling of foreign policy and terrorism as a weakness and have tried to link Clinton to the president’s record, arguing that his policies in the Middle East allowed terrorist groups to flourish since the drawdown of troops in Iraq.

“Clinton is still linking terrorism to gun control, still standing by failed government bureaucracy, and still echoing President Obama’s tired rhetoric,” said Jeff Bechdel, a spokesman for the Republican-leaning America Rising PAC.

“This speech today was more focused on partisan politics than the existential threat we face from ISIS.”

In Minneapolis, Clinton said Silicon Valley technology companies should redouble their efforts to identify the messages of violent extremists used to recruit followers. She said the US and its allies around the globe needed to commit to better sharing of information about suspected terrorists and take steps to revoke the passports and visas of those who join the IS.

Clinton pointed to local efforts in Minneapolis-St. Paul to combat terror recruiting, particularly among its Somali population, the largest in the United States, and met with Muslim community leaders before her speech.

Authorities have said about a dozen Minnesota residents have traveled to Syria to join militant groups since late 2013, and several more have tried.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1226742/us-needs-360-degree-anti-terror-strategy-hillary-clinton

———–

 

US: Russia ‘behaving unprofessionally’ in Syria

16 December 2015

Russian forces have been behaving unprofessionally in Syria, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Tuesday.

In remarks made during his visit to the Incirlik Airbase in southern Turkey near the Syrian border, Carter said: “They [Russia] said they came to fight against ISIL, but they struck the opposition forces. They are behaving unprofessionally. It has to be changed.”

Russia began air operations in Syria on Sept. 30 with the aim of supporting the embattled regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

While the Kremlin says the airstrikes target the ISIL militant group, some members of the western NATO alliance believe Russia is targeting groups opposed to Assad, including some that enjoy U.S. and Turkish support.

Carter said that the U.S. hoped Moscow would do the right thing on the Syrian issue. “But I am not sure if they will do or not,” he added.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/america-canada/167427/us-russia-behaving-unprofessionally-in-syria

———–

 

UN officials sickened by hatred against Muslims

16 December 2015

NEW YORK: Two senior UN officials said Monday they are “sickened by blatant manifestations of hatred and intolerance” by public figures and others, particularly against Muslims, in response to recent extremist attacks.

Adama Dieng, the special adviser on the prevention of genocide, and Jennifer Welsh, the special adviser on the responsibility to protect civilians, said any “advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence” is prohibited by international human rights law and laws in many countries.

In a joint statement, they denounced “the deliberate and dangerous spread of misinformation and the manipulation of people’s fears and concerns for political gain.”

Dieng and Welsh strongly condemned extremist attacks but underlined that linking such attacks to Muslims has resulted in discrimination and targeting.

They said calls by US political figures for Muslims to be banned from entering the United States, to be registered in a national database or to be forced to carry identification that would highlight their religion are “unacceptable” and “an affront to our common humanity.”

They did not specifically name any Americans, but Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has advocated all of these positions, creating a political firestorm that has galvanized his supporters in the Republican base while generating denunciations from the party establishment and all the leading Democratic candidates.

Anti-Muslim sentiment was already building in the United States after the deadly Nov. 13 Paris attacks, with most Republican state governors saying they opposed resettling refugees from Syria’s civil war in their states. It intensified after 14 people were killed Dec. 2 in a massacre at a disability center in San Bernardino, California, carried out by a Muslim couple investigators say were inspired at least in part by the Daesh group.

Experts say Trump’s call on Dec. 7 to keep all Muslims from entering the US — a plan he said would apply only temporarily and to non-citizens — had only fanned the flames.

Dieng and Welsh said calls for governments to stop accepting refugees from Syria and Iraq are unacceptable.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/middle-east/news/851066

———–

 

US welcomes Turkish troops pull out in Iraq

15 December 2015

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has welcomed the rearrangement of Turkish troops out of Camp Bashiqa to another area in northern Iraq as “an important step to de-escalate recent tensions,” White House said in a statement Monday.

Biden made the remarks during a phone conversation with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu regarding Turkey’s troop deployments in northern Iraq.

According to the statement, Biden reiterated that any foreign military presence in Iraq must be with the full consent of the Iraqi government. Both leaders also reaffirmed their commitment to Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“The vice president encouraged the Turkish government to continue its dialogue with Baghdad on additional measures to improve relations between Turkey and Iraq,” the statement said.

“The vice president also reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to close cooperation with Iraq and Turkey in the fight against ISIL,” it added.

Monday’s phone call was Biden’s second call to Davutoglu since last week.

The call came after a Turkish military source said earlier Monday that some Turkish troops deployed at Bashiqa had been moved to another part of northern Iraq.

Baghdad complained about the Dec. 4 deployment of troops to the site near Mosul, calling it a violation of Iraqi sovereignty and insisting the Turkish force be withdrawn.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/america-canada/167381/us-welcomes-turkish-troops-pull-out-in-iraq

———–

 

Europe

 

Syria opposition forces aiding Russia to battle Daesh: Russia Defense Ministry

Dec 15, 2015

Syrian opposition forces are “constantly” providing Russia’s air force with the coordinates of Daesh terrorists’ positions, says Russia’s Defense Ministry.

“Contact has been established and is constantly maintained. Opposition groups are providing the command of the Russian air force coordinates to strike terrorist targets,” said Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Lieutenant General Sergei Rudskoy on Tuesday.

He noted that the “moderate” militants are also aiding the Syrian government in its fight against Daesh.

The Defense Ministry general noted that there are more than 150 of such groups, stressing that “the most patriotic of them” are already confronting the Takfiri threat.

“Today they count up to over 5,000 people,” he said, adding that Russia is also helping those people.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/12/15/441885/Russia-defense-Syria-Daesh-opposition-

———–

 

Bulgarians stage protest against Turkish premier’s visit to Sofia

Dec 16, 2015

People have taken to the streets of the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, to protest against Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s visit to the country.

Carrying banners reading “Davutoglu, out of Bulgaria!” and “Turkish aggression,” the protesters slammed Ankara’s actions against Syrians on Tuesday.

The demonstrators accused the Turkish government of supporting terrorist groups in Syria, demanding that Davutoglu leave Sofia immediately.

It was the second rally against Davutoglu’s visit to Bulgaria both of which took place on Tuesday.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/12/16/441939/Bulgaria-Turkey-Davutoglu-visit

 

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