Posts Tagged ‘terrorists’

Smuggling trade through Iran earns Al-Shabab militants $7.5m a year — UN report

October 10, 2018

Al-Shabab militants in Somalia are funding their extremism with $7.5 million a year from smuggling through transit points in Iran, according to a new UN report.

The group, which is affiliated with Al-Qaeda, illegally exports charcoal to Iranian ports using fake country of origin certificates from Comoros, Ivory Coast and Ghana.

The charcoal is packaged into white bags labeled “Product of Iran,” loaded on to Iranian-flagged dhows and re-exported to Dubai in the UAE. “The charcoal trade continues to be a significant source of revenue for Al-Shabab, generating at least $7.5 million from checkpoint taxation,” according to the report by UN sanctions monitors submitted to the Security Council.

A Somalian soldier walks past a consignment of charcoal destined for the export market in Barawe. (REUTERS/Feisal Omar/File Photo)

The report estimated the wholesale value of illicit Somali charcoal to be $150 million a year in the UAE, where it is widely used for cooking and smoking shisha.

Lana Nusseibeh, the UAE’s new ambassador to the UN, said the country was not complicit in the smuggling trade.

“The UAE is fully aware of all Security Council resolutions and is in full compliance with the sanctions imposed,” she said. “We also reaffirm our continued cooperation with the monitoring group throughout its mandate.”

The monitors track compliance with UN sanctions on Somalia and Eritrea. The Security Council banned charcoal exports from Somalia in 2012 in an effort to cut off funds for Al-Shabab, who are trying to topple Somalia’s Western-backed central government and impose its own extremist rule.

The council also imposed an arms embargo on Somalia in 1992 to cut the flow of arms to feuding warlords, who ousted dictator Mohamed Siad Barre and plunged the country into war.
In addition to earnings from charcoal, Al-Shabab is making millions of dollars a year from tolls on vehicles in areas where they run checkpoints, and through taxes on businesses, agriculture and livestock.

“Employing mafia-style tactics, the group is able to levy taxation via a network of hinterland checkpoints, with collection of taxes enforced through violence and intimidation,” the UN report said. Truck drivers risked execution if they tried to avoid the checkpoints.

All this “generates more than enough revenue to sustain its insurgency.” One checkpoint, 160km northwest of the capital, Mogadishu, earns the group about $30,000 a day — $10 million a year.

Reuters

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US targets Iran, proxy groups in new counterterror blueprint

October 5, 2018

Tehran called ‘world’s central banker of international terrorism’ for supporting Hezbollah, Hamas and others; strategy urges sharing burden of fighting terror with allies

Iranians raise anti-US and anti-Israel signs during a demonstration following the weekly Muslim Friday prayer in the capital Tehran on September 28, 2018. (AFP / STRINGER)

Iranians raise anti-US and anti-Israel signs during a demonstration following the weekly Muslim Friday prayer in the capital Tehran on September 28, 2018. (AFP / STRINGER)

WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser on Thursday unveiled the administration’s long-awaited counterterrorism strategy, delivering it with harsh words for Iran.

Calling Iran the “world’s central banker of international terrorism,” Bolton said the strategy will rely on traditional military action to fight terrorists, but also seek increased emphasis on non-military means to battle not only Islamic State militants but those backed by Iran and other groups.

“We recognize that there’s a terrorist ideology that we’re confronting, and I think it’s long been the president’s view that without recognizing that we’re in an ideological struggle, that we can’t properly address the terrorist threat,” Bolton said.

The document calls Iran “the most prominent state sponsor of terrorism, through its global network of operatives and its ongoing support to an array of terrorist groups.”

It specifically lists Hezbollah and Hamas as two terror groups supported by Iran that could pose a threat to the US.

Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Lebanon’s
Shiite terrorist movement Hezbollah, addresses the crowds through a giant screen at a rally agains US President Trump decision to relocate the US Embassy to Jerusalem, on December 11, 2017 in a Beirut southern suburb. (AFP PHOTO)

“Hizballah fields powerful military and intelligence elements, possesses large stocks of sophisticated arms, and maintains extensive networks of operatives and sympathizers overseas, including individuals in the homeland,” the document reads.

Bolton said radical extremists represent a “pre-eminent transnational terrorist threat” to the US and its interests abroad. The new strategy is broader than those released by previous administrations, he said.

US National Security Advisor John Bolton speaks during a briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC on October 3, 2018. (AFP / Mandel NGAN)

“We’re looking at all of the threatening ideologies that we face, including not just Sunni ideologies” espoused by IS militants, but Iran-sponsored terrorist groups, such as Lebanese Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic jihad, Bolton said.

He noted that the Treasury Department issued sanctions earlier Thursday to disrupt Hezbollah’s financial support networks.

The strategy’s goals are far-reaching: pursue terrorists all the way to the source of their support, modernize counterterrorism tools, counter radicalization, protect US infrastructure, strengthen borders and limit militants’ ability to recruit online.

It’s the first US strategy on counterterrorism since President Barack Obama released his approach in 2011, but it has similar themes to those released by previous administrations.

In line with the Trump administration’s “America First” policy, the strategy also calls for sharing the burden and expense of fighting terrorism with allies.

“The strategy also places greater emphasis on protecting the homeland, preventing attacks, and mitigating the impact of an attack, should one occur,” Bolton said.

Time of Israel and AFP

https://www.timesofisrael.com/us-targets-iran-proxy-groups-in-new-counterterror-blueprint/

Turkish troop convoy enters Syria rebel zone

October 3, 2018

A Turkish military convoy entered rebel-held northwestern Syria early on Wednesday, an AFP correspondent reported, as the deadline for establishing a buffer zone between rebel and government forces draws closer.

At least 40 vehicles, including trucks and armoured personnel carriers, were seen moving slowly south along a main highway under the cover of darkness.

The troops they were carrying are expected to be deployed at “observation posts” Turkey has already set up in rebel-held areas of Idlib and Aleppo provinces.

© AFP | A Turkish troop convoy passes through the rebel-held Kammari district of Syria’s Aleppo province late on October 2, 2018 as the deadline for establishing a Russian- and Turkish-monitored buffer zone between rebel and government forces draws closer

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said the vehicles were heading to Turkish monitoring posts, including in the southwestern parts of Idlib.

There was no word from Turkey on any reinforcements to the area. It last sent a similar troop column into northern Syria just over a week ago.

Wednesday’s convoy entered as the deadline for implementing a Turkish-Russian accord on the future of Syria’s last major rebel bastion draws closer.

Last month, Moscow and Ankara agreed to set up a demilitarised zone ringing rebel territory to avert a threatened government offensive.

All factions in the zone must withdraw heavy weapons by October 10, and radical groups must leave by October 15. It will then be monitored by Turkish troops and Russian military police.

The region’s dominant armed group, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), an alliance led by jihadists of Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate, has still not officially responded to the accord.

Turkey’s main rebel allies, the National Liberation Front, gave the deal a cautious welcome before objecting to its provisions for a Russian troop presence inside the zone.

The NLF says it is still hammering out the details of the agreement’s implementation with Ankara, and is wary that the current proposals would eat into their territory too much.

In an interview aired Tuesday, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said he hoped the deal would prove to be a “step towards the liberation of Idlib.”

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Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem

Muallem told Lebanon’s Al-Mayadeen television he was confident in Turkey’s ability to fulfil its side of the deal “because of its knowledge of factions” on the ground.

Fighters from the area would be allowed to stay, he said, while those from other areas would go home and foreigners would leave through Turkey.

 AFP

US Defense Secretary warns of ‘tough fight’ to oust IS

October 2, 2018

The US-led military alliance battling the Islamic State group faces “a tough fight” to oust the jihadists from their last holdouts in Syria, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Tuesday.

While the extremists have lost almost all of the self-declared “caliphate” they held across Iraq and Syria four years ago, Mattis warned that destroying the group completely was “still going to take some time”.

“Make no mistake about it, as ISIS has collapsed inward, in their own way they have reinforced the centre as they’ve been forced into what is now less than two percent of their original territory,” Mattis told reporters in Paris.

© AFP | The battle to defeat the Islamic State group is far from over, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned during a visit to the French defence ministry

“So it’s going to still be a tough fight, I don’t want anyone to be under any illusions,” he added.

“We will be successful but it’s still going to take some time.”

Last month the military chief of France, which has troops in the US alliance fighting IS, estimated the jihadists would lose their last Syrian territory by January.

Francois Lecointre predicted “the end of the physical caliphate of Daesh before the end of the year, probably late autumn”, using another name for IS.

IS has lost all of its urban centres in Iraq and late last month US-backed Kurdish and Arab fighters launched a fresh operation to oust the group from its last holdouts in southeast Syria.

AFP

Nigeria: Boko Haram commander was killed by his comrades after discussing surrender to the Nigerian military

October 2, 2018

A Boko Haram commander was killed by his comrades over his alleged plan to surrender and handover hundreds of hostages to the Nigerian military, two sources told AFP on Sunday.

Ali Gaga was shot and killed on Thursday by other commanders in the ISIS-affiliated faction of Boko Haram after they uncovered his plan to surrender to Nigerian troops fighting the jihadist group in the Lake Chad region.

Gaga had arranged to rescue 300 hostages being held by the Islamists and hand them over to troops before turning himself in.

His death comes after the group’s de facto leader Mamman Nur was killed by radical lieutenants who accused him of betrayal and back channel peace talks with authorities, sparking fears of a hardline takeover in Boko Haram.

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Nigerian soldiers hold up a Boko Haram flag that they captured from Boko Haram

“The new leadership of the faction got to know of his plans and executed him,” said one source about Gaga, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Ali Gaga (Center)

Gaga was forced to join the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) in 2015 after the group seized his herd of cattle, the source said.

After joining the group he was trained in weapons handling and valued because of his mastery of the difficult terrain as a herder.

He was in touch with some mediators and had concluded arrangements to switch sides and “take along around 300 hostages with him when the group found out”, said a second source.

“Once they found out he was declared a traitor and killed.”

The Nigerian military has in recent weeks intensified aerial bombings in the Lake Chad region where ISWAP is based, military sources told AFP.

Last week an ISWAP high profile commander called Abu-Nura was killed in one of the aerial strikes on SabonTumbu village, the second source said.

Abu-Nura was in charge of Jibillaram-Dabar Masara axis in the Lake Chad region, the source said.

According to the source, a new commander in the name of Abu-Imrana has been appointed as a replacement.

More than 27 000 people are thought to have been killed in the nine-year Boko Haram insurgency that has triggered a humanitarian crisis and left 1.8 million people still without homes.

AFP

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Nigeria: Factional Boko Haram Leader Mamman Nur Killed By Own Fighters

A damaged Boko Haram vehicle after a battle between the insurgents and troops of 145 Battalion, Operation LAFIYA DOLE in Damasak, Borno State on Wednesday night, where many Boko Haram members were killed

The factional leader of the Boko Haram loyal to Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) Mamman Nur has been killed by his fighters who rebelled against him, sources with ample knowledge of the group told the Daily Trust.

Nur, the brain behind the ties between Boko Haram and the Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi led Islamic State, was reportedly killed by his closest lieutenants on August 21. He had in 2014 led the rebellion against Abubakar Shekau, which saw the emergence of Abu Mus’ab Al-Barnawy faction of the group.

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AbubakarShekau

The breakaway faction which moved to shores of Lake Chad region in Northern Borno was later recognised by the Al-Baghdadi.

The new leader Al-Barnawy, whose real name is Habib, is the son of Boko Haram founder Mohammed Yusuf, who was killed in 2009.

One of our sources said, “Mamman Nur, who was killed on August 21, is the actual leader of the Boko Haram faction after they parted ways with Shekau. He (Nur) only put Habib in the front as shadow leader because of his father (Mohammed Yusuf).

“The name Al-Barnawy is only being heard as symbolic leader; he was meant to lead so that followers would remain committed to the cause championed by his late father but he (Nur) is the major link of the faction with the Islamic State; the chief strategist around Lake Chad, including their cells in Nigeria, Niger and Chad,” he said.

Why Nur was killed

Another source told the Daily Trust that Mamman Nur was killed after long period of disagreement with his subordinates who established “relative authority and contacts” over the years.

According to him, “The commanders became disenchanted with Nur’s style of leadership; they saw him as not as rough as Shekau.

“They followed him in staging the revolt because the argument back in 2014 was that Shekau was a hardliner who killed almost everyone, both Muslims and Christians who disagreed with his brand of Islam.

“But according to some of the fighters, after establishing his base in Lake Chad, Mamman Nur too ‘deviated from the real course’ and compromised on so many occasions,” he said.

He said a major disagreement broke after the release of the some 100 girls abducted in a secondary school in Dapchi, Yobe State, in March.

“The negotiation of the release of the girls did not go down well with some close associates of Mamman Nur who released the girls unconditionally, following a directive by Al-Baghdadi,” the source said.

“Nothing was paid before the girls were released and besides, Mamman Nur’s soft approach and close contact to governments and different levels angered his foot soldiers who rebelled against him and thereafter executed him,” he said.

 Image result for chad, nigeria, niger map

It was learnt that Al-Barnawy had also lost firm control of the group which is now under the “guidance” of a certain commander.

“The man in charge of all the cells in the Lake Chad region is the former commander of the fighters who was directly under the control of late Mamman Nur,” he said.

A security expert, Major Salihu Bakari, told the Daily Trust yesterday that the upsurge in Boko Haram attacks in Northern Borno might not be unconnected with the change of leadership.

“The truth is Mamman Nur had lost control long before he was killed; the factional group was taken over by hardliners who share a lot in common with the Shekau faction who’s landmarks include kidnapping, assault, abductions for ransom and other atrocities,” he said.

He said the new group had recently attacked many army facilities in northern Borno and also captured individuals for ransom.

“They want ransom to continue financing their activities; I think their demands for high ransom is what is delaying the release of many abductees, including the female health workers that were captured in Rann in Kala-Balge Local Government Area of Borno State,” he said.

The Nigerian military has yet to confirm the killing of Mamman Nur.

However, on January 6 this year, the military said the wife of Mamman Nur was killed when troops attacked the group’s location in the Lake Chad region.

The spokesman of the Operation Lafiya Dole Theatre Command in Maiduguri, Onyema Nwachukwu, said at the time that about 250 Boko Haram fighters on the side of Mamman Nur had surrendered.

The announcement came hours after the military declared Nur as “fatally injured” during an operation.

Daily Trust recalled that in in September 2011, the Department of State Service (DSS) placed a N25 million bounty on Mamman Nur, a close ally of Mohamed Yusuf and Shekau, who was accused of masterminding the bombing of the UN building in Abuja.

Military kills many insurgents in Damasak

In a related development, the military said troops of the Operation Lafiya Dole have engaged Boko Haram militants and killed many of them.

It added troops pursued others who attacked a military location in Damasak, the headquarters of Mobbar Local Government area in Northern part of Borno State.

It was gathered that the incident occurred on Wednesday.

The insurgents reportedly besieged the military facility in full force with the intention to dislodge soldiers of the 145 Battalion from their location but were repelled.

Army spokesman, Brig.-Gen. Texas Chukwu, said in a statement yesterday that, “the terrorists were subdued following a superior fire power of troops in Damasak.

“The Nigerian Army wishes to state that, 145 Battalion deployed in Operation LAFIYA DOLE at DAMASAK, Mobar Local Government Area of Borno State on 12 September 2018, inflicted many casualties on the Boko Haram Terrorists and their weapons as well as vehicles were captured and some were destroyed during the encounter.

“Seven members of the terrorists group were neutralised during the encounter while others flee into the nearby bush. Items recovered include: two vehicles; one anti-aircraft gun; four AK 47 rifles; seven magazines; two hand grenades; one bayonet; 47 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition; 174 rounds of 7.62mm NATO ammunition,” he said.

He said efforts are on by the troops to get other fleeing members of the group, even as he announced that seven soldiers sustained injuries during the attack.

Indian rigidity at UNGA exposed its “true face” — Pakistan

September 30, 2018

Pakistan government on Sunday claimed that it has ‘exposed the true face’ of its arch-rival India before the international community by telling the world at United Nations General Assembly that its neighboring country was shying away from dialogue for peace in the region.

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“We have exposed India’s true face before the United Nations and the international community now knows that they (India) are the ones who want war and don’t believe in peace and dialogue,” Andleeb Abbas, Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told Arab News.

In this file photo, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. (AP)

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The parliamentary secretary said that India was getting exposed through its “baseless rhetoric” against Pakistan and Prime Minister Narendra Modi can “do nothing against us except leveling baseless allegations of terrorism.”

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“This is our strategy to expose them that the real terrorist in Baluchistan and Kashmir is India,” she said.

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Talking about Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s speech at the UNGA session in New York, she said that Pakistan has talked about human principles and highlighted the plight of Palestinian, Syrian and Kashmiri Muslims through the platform.

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“Everyone is appreciating our stance,” she said.

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Abbas, also dispelled the impression of Pakistan’s “weak stance” in the face of Indian aggression, saying: “Pakistan believes in peace. We don’t want to wage any war with India, but we will keep exposing its dirty acts before the international community.”

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Speaking at the UNGA in New York on Saturday, both Pakistan and India accused each other of being involved in cross-border terrorism and sabotaging the peace dialogue amid worsening tensions between the both nuclear-armed countries.

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Defense and security analysts, however, ruled out a chance of any limited-war or possible escalation on the borders in the backdrop of the recent build-up in tensions between the two neighboring countries.

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General (retd.) Talat Masood, renowned security analyst, said that India’s attitude at the United Nations General Assembly showed that it wanted to increase pressure on Pakistan by deflecting attention of the international community from its atrocities in Indian-occupied Kashmir.

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“Cordial relations of Pakistan and China are also one of the reasons behind India’s aggressive behavior,” he told Arab News, “upcoming elections in India are also one of the factors behind India’s recent policies toward Pakistan.”

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Masood said that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in India was under “extreme pressure from Hindu nationalists” and therefore chances of any dialogue even after the elections were slim.

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He also lauded Pakistan’s “peaceful response” toward India as Islamabad has been trying to project itself before the international community as a “responsible country.”

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Lt. General (retd.) Amjad Shoaib, defense and security analyst, said that Pakistan would give a befitting and matching response to India in case of any “misadventure” by it and this has been well conveyed to it through the platform of the UNGA.

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“Both Pakistan and India are nuclear-armed countries and I don’t see any chance of a war, or even escalation at the borders behind a certain level,” he told Arab News.

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Shoaib said that Pakistan has rendered invaluable sacrifices of over 70,000 people in the war against terror and only “an ignorant can blame us of involvement in cross-border terrorism.”

Arab News

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1380121/world

India and Pakistan clash in UN over terror support

September 30, 2018

Image may contain: 2 people, beard

New Delhi has refused to engage in a dialogue with Islamabad until Pakistan ends its alleged support to militants in the disputed Kashmir region. The US has also piled pressure on Islamabad to act against jihadists.

    
Sushma Swaraj in New York (picture-alliance/AP Photo/M. Altaffer)

Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday rejected Pakistan’s accusation that New Delhi was sabotaging peace talks with Islamabad.

In her speech at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, Swaraj accused Pakistan of harboring and aiding terrorists.

“In our case, terrorism is bred not in some faraway land, but across our border to the west,” Swaraj said. “Our neighbor’s expertise is not restricted to spawning grounds for terrorism; it is also an expert in trying to mask malevolence with verbal duplicity,” she added.

Indian foreign minister said that Hafiz Saeed, the alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, “still roams the streets of Pakistan with impunity.”

Read more: What is Pakistan’s militancy issue all about?

Dispute over Kashmir

Last week, India canceled a proposed UNGA meeting between Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mahmood Qureshi. The move was sharply criticized by Islamabad, which accused Indian authorities of sabotaging regional peace.

The Indian Foreign Ministry said it cancelled the talks following the “latest brutal killings of our security personnel by Pakistan-based entities” in Kashmir, and the release of a series of Pakistani postage stamps “glorifying a terrorist and terrorism.”

“We accepted the [talks] proposal,” Swaraj said. “But within hours of our acceptance, news came that terrorists had killed one of our jawans (troops). Does this indicate a desire for dialogue?”

Kashmir remains a major bone of contention between the two South Asian nuclear-armed states.

For his part, Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi, who also addressed the UNGA on Saturday, said the new government headed by cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan “is keen to pursue a policy of partnership for peace, security and prosperity in our immediate neighborhood and beyond.”

Read more: Imran Khan: A new hope or divisive force for Pakistan?

Qureshi, however, insisted that “the unresolved Jammu and Kashmir dispute hinders the realization of the goal of a durable peace between our two countries.”

Since 1989, Muslim insurgents have been fighting Indian forces in India-administered Kashmir — a region of 12 million people, about 70 percent of whom are Muslim. India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars since independence in 1947 over Kashmir, which they both claim in full, but rule in part.

Read more: Why Kashmir is still reeling from rebel Burhan Wani’s death

How Kashmir complicates peace talks

Analysts say that Qureshi’s UNGA speech is proof that the new Pakistani government has not changed its policies towards India and Kashmir. They also say that Pakistan cannot win India’s trust on peace while glorifying Kashmiri militants.

Siegfried O. Wolf, director of research at the Brussels-based South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF), says that Islamabad needs to separate the Kashmir dispute from the peace talks if it wants productive dialogue with its neighbor.

“Pakistan’s involvement in the Kashmir conflict will always complicate the issue, as Islamabad’s international reputation as an alleged Islamist hub is counterproductive for the Kashmir plight,” Wolf told DW.

“But Pakistani authorities think that if India gets militarily involved in the Kashmir conflict, it will have a negative impact on India’s economic growth and international repute. Also, India’s rights violations in Kashmir helps the Pakistani military to justify its dominance inside Pakistan,” Wolf said.

The Trump administration has also increased pressure on Pakistan to act against jihadist groups that are active on its soil. The US has stopped much of its military aid to the Islamic country.

Peace activists in India and Pakistan urge their governments to restart peace talks and bury the hatchet. They say the dispute over Kashmir and terrorism has held back the progress of the two countries for decades.

https://www.dw.com/en/india-and-pakistan-clash-in-un-over-terror-support/a-45694162

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First rebel group begins withdrawal from demilitarized zone in Syria’s Idlib

September 30, 2018

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Sunday that rebel group Failaq al-Sham has started withdrawing its forces and heavy arms from a demilitarised zone in northwest Syria.

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The group is the first to comply with a requirement to leave a demilitarised buffer zone set up by Turkey and Russia to avert a Russian-backed Syrian army offensive, Rami Abdulrahman, head of the UK-based war monitor told Reuters.

Syrian men ride a motorcycle past heavily-damaged buildings in the rebel-held town of Maaret al-Numan, in the north of Idlib province on September 27, 2018. (AFP)

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Rebel sources could not immediately be reached for comment.

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“The group is withdrawing its forces and heavy arms in small batches from southern Aleppo countryside, adjacent to Idlib province, which is part of the DMZ towards the west,” Abdulrahman said.

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The demilitarized zone will be 15 to 20 km (10 to 12 miles) deep, run along the contact line between rebel and government fighters, and will be patrolled by Turkish and Russian forces.

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Turkey and Russia had agreed in mid-September to enforce a new demilitarized zone in Idlib province from which rebels will be required to withdraw by the middle of next month.

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Failaq al-Sham is the third largest group among the rebel groups in Northwest Syria, according to the monitor.

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The biggest extremist group, Tahrir al-Sham, has yet to announce its position regarding the agreement.

Reuters

China seeks global role for elite counter-terrorism forces

September 30, 2018

Beijing believes its growing international interests must be protected from terrorism

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© AFP

 

By Ben Bland and Nicolle Liu in Hong Kong

China wants its elite counter-terrorism forces to play a bigger role overseas, protecting its growing international interests as President Xi Jinping pursues a more muscular foreign policy.

“Counter-terrorism preparations must follow the expansion of the country’s strategic interests,” Zhang Xiaoqi, the head of intelligence for China’s People’s Armed Police, which runs the country’s counter-terrorism forces, told Xinhua, the national news agency, at the weekend.

“We must strive to become a deterrent force to safeguard national security, a pioneering force to protect overseas interests and an elite force for universal fighting.” China passed a wide-ranging new counter-terrorism law in 2015 that allows the army and police to conduct or join counter-terrorism missions overseas.

While the law does not clearly define the international role for China’s counter-terrorism forces, a report by the European Council for Foreign Relations, a think-tank, argued that that it “has the potential to lead to a dramatic change in the use of Chinese military power overseas”.

Li Wei, who heads counter-terrorism research at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, a state-run think-tank, said that any overseas operations would be conducted alongside local governments.

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“It wouldn’t be unilateral but must be collaboration with the local government, unlike the US military’s counter-terrorist activities,” he said. Mr Li added that China’s external counter-terrrorism focus was not only on military operations but also intelligence sharing and judicial cooperation, especially in countries that are part of President Xi’s Belt and Road infrastructure investment initiative.

Chinese units, including the elite Snow Leopard Commandos, which are part of the People’s Armed Police, have been posted overseas previously to guard Chinese diplomatic missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Beijing has also joined a growing number of counter-terrorism exercises around the world, as its citizens have been killed in recent terrorist attacks at home and abroad, from Thailand to Mali.

President Xi is pushing China to match its increasing economic might with a more robust foreign policy — and sees the military and other armed forces as an important tool of diplomacy. Last week, he called on the People’s Liberation Army to strengthen its preparedness for combat and its ability to wins wars, during a regular troop inspection.

 

China has extended its  Uighur crackdown beyond its borders Under Xi’s watch, the PLA has intensified a modernisation programme and expanded its global reach, opening a naval base in Djibouti in 2016, China’s first foreign military base since it withdrew forces from North Korea in 1958.

Mr Zhang of the People’s Armed Police said that China’s counter-terrorism forces were also upgrading, to ensure they can handle the increased complexities of operating overseas. He said the special forces had been trained to “not fear suffering and not fear death” as they take on their expanded responsibilities.

https://www.ft.com/content/fad58218-c46d-11e8-8670-c5353379f7c2

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India says Pakistan tries to hide the monster of terror that Pakistan itself has created to destabilize its neighbours

September 30, 2018

Pakistan alleging India’s role in school terror attack shows its “desperate attempt to look away from monster of terror it has created.”

“Host And Patron” Of UN-Designated Terrorists: India Rips Into Pak At UN

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Eenam Gambhir, India’s First Secretary in Permanent Mission of India to UN
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Taking a strong stand at the United Nations General Assembly, India on Saturday called out Pakistan after the country’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi alleged that New Delhi was involved in the Peshawar school terror attack in 2014. While rejecting Mr Qureshi’s statement, Eenam Gambhir, India’s First Secretary in Permanent Mission of India to UN, said it was the “most outrageous and preposterous allegation.”

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Imran Khan and Shah Mehmood Qureshi. FILE photo – Credit Tanveer Shahzad, White Star

Exercising the Right to Reply at the UNGA, Ms Gambhir said, “Let me recollect for Pakistan’s new government, the out-pouring of sorrow and pain in India that followed the massacre of innocent school children. India’s parliament had expressed solidarity while paying respect to the memory of those killed. Schools all over India had observed two minutes silence in their memory.”

Dismissing Pakistan’s claim of fighting terrorism, Ms Gambhir said, “Can Pakistan deny that it’s the host and patron of 132 of the UN designated terrorists, 22 terrorist entities sanctioned under the 1267 and 1988 UN Security Council Sanctions Regime as of today?”

Sayed Akbaruddin, India’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, tweeted Ms Gambhir’s strong fact-check reply to the Pakistan Foreign Minister.

Syed Akbaruddin

@AkbaruddinIndia

Ready for a Quick Quiz Question?

Who hosts 132 @UN designated terrorists & patronises 22 entities sanctioned under @UN Security Council 1267 & 1988 resolution regimes?

Young @IndiaUNNewYork diplomat has the answer.https://goo.gl/UePd9y 

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Hafiz Saeed

Pakistan alleging India’s role in the school terror attack shows the country’s “desperate attempt to look away from monster of terror that Pakistan itself has created to destabilize its neighbours, said the Indian diplomat. Pointing out that the 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed, who is a UN designated terrorist, enjoys “a free run” in Pakistan, Ms Gambhir said, “Pakistan must demonstrate that it has moved beyond the narrative of distortion, deception and deceit.”

Slamming Mr Qureshi’s statement that India cancelled talks the between the foreign ministers of the two countries on “flimsy grounds”, Ms Gambhir said, “The new Foreign Minister chose to term the gruesome killing our security personnel by Pakistani sponsored terrorists as flimsy grounds. While it may not be the case for Pakistan but for India every loss of life counts. India believes talks and terror can’t go together.”

India had cancelled the proposed talks between Sushma Swaraj and Mr Qureshi in New York, after three Indian security personnel were killed by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir.

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ZeidRa’ad Al-Hussein

Ms Gambhir rebutted the Pakistan Foreign Minister citing a report on Kashmir presented by Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. No UN member state had asked for the report, none supported it and no action was taken”, she said.

“Let me make it clear to the new government of Pakistan that the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir is and will remain an integral part of India,” said Ms Gambhir.

Ms Gambhir told the UNGA, “This morning the Indian delegation had come to the august assembly to listen attentively to the new Foreign Minister of Pakistan outline a new vision of the country. What we heard was a new Pakistan cast in the mould of old.”

Mr Qureshi spoke at the UNGA after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had launched a scathing attack on Islamabad for harbouring terrorists and “masking malevolence with duplicity”.