America just took out the world’s no. 1 bad guy

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY ON CNBC NEWS)

 

America just took out the world’s no. 1 bad guy

KEY POINTS
  • The killing of Iranian Gen. Qassim Soleimani doesn’t have the emotional power of the take down of Osama bin Laden, but taking him out means much more in terms of saving current lives, writes Jake Novak.
GP: Qassem Suleimani Soleimani Iran Quds Force IRGC 180517
Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani (C) attends Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s (not seen) meeting with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) in Tehran, Iran on September 18, 2016.
Pool | Press Office of Iranian Supreme Leader | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

So, just who is this top Iranian general the U.S. just eliminated?

For many of us who watch and analyze news out of the Middle East daily, he was the world’s number one bad guy.

Qassim Soleimani has been in control of Iran’s Quds Force for more than 20 years. His current greatest hits include helping Bashar al Assad slaughter hundreds of thousands of his own people in the Syrian civil war, stoking the Houthis in Yemen’s civil war, and overseeing the killing of hundreds of Iraqi protesters recently demonstrating against Iranian influence in their country.

But most importantly for Americans, Soleimani was behind the deaths of hundreds of American soldiers during the Iraq War. Last year, the U.S. State Department put the number of Americans killed by Iranian proxies in Iraq at 608 since 2003.

The killing of Soleimani doesn’t have the emotional power of the takedown of Osama bin Laden, and he wasn’t even as well-known to Americans as ISIS founder Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. But in many ways, taking him out means much more in terms of saving current lives. Remember that bin Laden and al Baghdadi were mostly out of business and in hiding at the time of their deaths. Solemani was busier than ever, directing mayhem all over the Middle East and beyond.

For example, these last few days have made it clear to the whole world just how much Iran controlled just about all of Iraq and Iraq’s Shia population. It appears Solemeini not only felt justified in being the likely mastermind behind Tuesday’s attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, he also was comfortable enough to travel to Iraq personally to oversee it. But this time, he got too comfortable.

We’re already hearing from a number of critics that this move will likely backfire against the U.S. and will provoke Iran to retaliate even more forcibly against American and its allies. To those people making those warnings, there’s really only one thing to say: “Welcome to the party, pal!”

That’s because Iran has really been at war with the U.S. since 1979. The killing of hundreds of our troops in Iraq, the constant terrorism it sponsors and supplies against Israel, and even the recent provocations against oil traffic in the Persian Gulf are all acts of war from which there really is no retreat without severe consequences. For the Trump administration, it would appear the embassy attack was the last straw. It was also one that provided the ultimate opportunity to eliminate Soleimani as he foolishly left his home country and made himself more physically and legally vulnerable.

Another thing to remember is that Soleimani and his foreign escapades may have been the delight of the ruling mullahs in Tehran. But the people in the streets abandoned him long ago, if they ever really supported him in the first place.

Soleimani clearly came to personify the increasingly unpopular spending on proxy wars and terrorism. With Iran’s economy faltering, the chanting in the streets during that nation’s recent protests included: “no money, no gas, screw Palestine.” That was probably the best proof that the Iranian people are keenly aware of the resources being sent abroad that could be used to improve the domestic economy and not pay for rockets in Gaza or wars in Syria and Yemen.

In fact, Iranian journalist and activist Masih Alinejad tweeted almost immediately after Soleimani’s death was reported that the Quds commander was also hated by ordinary Iranians for his long history of brutality against his own people. That includes a bloody crackdown on university students in Iran in the 1990s:

Masih Alinejad 🏳️

@AlinejadMasih

IMPORTANT: For many Iranians Qassem Soleimani was a warmonger who caused massive casualties in Syria. He was no hero to average Iranians who chanted against the country’s support for Hezbollah and Hamas 1/

2,637 people are talking about this

In the coming hours and days the debate over the decision to kill Soleimani will unfortunately be dominated by partisan politicians looking to score points for or against President Trump. Perhaps Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut has taken the top partisanship buffoonery prize already by scolding President Trump for the action just two days after publicly decrying America’s lack of action against the Baghdad embassy attack:

Chris Murphy

@ChrisMurphyCT

The attack on our embassy in Baghdad is horrifying but predictable.

Trump has rendered America impotent in the Middle East. No one fears us, no one listens to us.

America has been reduced to huddling in safe rooms, hoping the bad guys will go away.

What a disgrace.

17.2K people are talking about this

Chris Murphy

@ChrisMurphyCT

Soleimani was an enemy of the United States. That’s not a question.

The question is this – as reports suggest, did America just assassinate, without any congressional authorization, the second most powerful person in Iran, knowingly setting off a potential massive regional war?

36.7K people are talking about this

But that’s just politics. It will also just be politics when President Trump takes a victory lap on Twitter or at a future rally over this killing.

What isn’t just politics is the fact that Soleimani was a very effective and deadly leader of the world’s most active and pervasive terrorist army. The knee-jerk assumptions we will hear from those who say that someone else will simply take his place and be just as effective and deadly probably come from people who truly don’t know how powerful and effective Soleimani was. He’s going to be a very hard act to follow.

For now, Soleimani’s death is justice for the thousands of deaths he caused all over the world and to his own people. It may have seemed like swift justice Friday morning, but it was actually a long time coming.

Jake Novak is a political and economic analyst at Jake Novak News and former CNBC TV producer. You can follow him on Twitter @jakejakeny.

China: CFA hits back at Ozil for supporting’East Turkistan’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SHANGHAI CHINA’S ‘SHINE’ NEWS NETWORK)

 

CFA hits back at Ozil for supporting’East Turkistan’

SHINE

CFA hits back at Ozil for supporting'East Turkistan'

Reuters

Mesut Ozil.

The Chinese Football Association expressed great indignation and disappointment at the comments made by German footballer Mesut Ozil on “East Turkistan.”

The Arsenal midfielder, who is of Turkish origin, posted messages on Twitter and Instagram on Friday, expressing support to the East Turkistan Islamic Movement in Xinjiang.

“‘East Turkistan’ is not a national or religious issue, but separatism, terrorism and extremism, which are despised by peace-loving people all over the world,” Global Times quoted a CFA official as saying.

“Ozil’s comments not only hurt many Chinese fans who pay close attention to him, but also hurt the feelings of the Chinese people, which is unacceptable to us,” the official said.

Arsenal, the English football club where Ozil plays, distanced itself from Ozil’s comments.

“The content published is Ozil’s personal opinion,” the club said in a Chinese language post on Saturday on its official account on the Twitter-like Weibo platform.

“As a football club, Arsenal has always adhered to the principle of not involving itself in politics.”

But some angry fans called for a ban on airing Arsenal games featuring Ozil.

“I hope they ban Ozil’s matches and business activities (in China),” wrote one Weibo user.

Another Chinese fan said she “cried last night” after reading Ozil’s post.

“For over a decade, I’ve worn an Arsenal jersey with Ozil’s number. It will never be worn again,” she wrote on Weibo.

Two new documentaries, produced by China Global Television Network and released recently, expose how ‘East Turkistan’ brainwashes people, including children, with extremist thoughts, inciting hatred between different ethnic groups and launching terrorist attacks.

The 31-year-old footballer sparked controversy last year when he was photographed with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, raising questions about his loyalty to Germany on the eve of its 2018 World Cup campaign.

Ozil later quit the national squad, accusing German football officials of racism. Erdogan was Ozil’s best man when the footballer was married in Istanbul this year.

Jersey City mayor: Gunmen wanted to target next door yeshiva with 50 kids inside

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Jersey City mayor: Gunmen wanted to target next door yeshiva with 50 kids inside

If police hadn’t managed to trap shooters in kosher store where 3 killed, result would have been ‘much worse,’ says Steven Fulop; attack viewed as domestic terrorism

Police officers stand near the scene of a gun fight at a kosher supermarket and next door yeshiva in Jersey City, N.J., Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Police officers stand near the scene of a gun fight at a kosher supermarket and next door yeshiva in Jersey City, N.J., Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said Friday that he believes that the two gunmen who attacked a kosher store in the city, killing three people inside, were actually planning to target a yeshiva next door that had 50 children inside at the time of the assault.

“My opinion is that as more info comes out it’ll become increasingly clear that the target was the 50 children at the Yeshiva attached to that store.” Fulop, who is Jewish, tweeted:  “We will never know 100% but the doorway to the yeshiva was 3 feet away + it seems he goes in that direction 1st.”

Fulop said that if police had not managed to trap attackers in store, the result would have been much worse.

“This is a horrible tragedy but even in so much darkness with lives lost there is some light in that without question had the bravery/quick response of the police not trapped them in the store this could have been much much worse,” he said.

Steven Fulop

@StevenFulop

My opinion is that as more info comes out it’ll become increasingly clear that the target was the 50 children at the Yeshiva attached to that store. We will never know 100% but the doorway to the yeshiva was 3 feet away + it seems he goes in that direction 1st

419 people are talking about this

On Thursday Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said the attack was driven by hatred of Jews and law enforcement and is being investigated as an act of domestic terrorism.

The two killers were armed with a variety of weapons, including an AR-15-style rifle and a shotgun that they were wielding when they stormed into the store in an attack that left the scene littered with several hundred shell casings, broken glass and a community in mourning. A pipe bomb was also found in a stolen U-Haul van.

The Meturgeman@DraftRyan2016

This may be why @StevenFulop tweeted this earlier today: https://twitter.com/stevenfulop/status/1205475151430717440?s=21  https://twitter.com/stevenfulop/status/1205475151430717440 

Steven Fulop

@StevenFulop

My opinion is that as more info comes out it’ll become increasingly clear that the target was the 50 children at the Yeshiva attached to that store. We will never know 100% but the doorway to the yeshiva was 3 feet away + it seems he goes in that direction 1st

The Meturgeman@DraftRyan2016

You can see the turn in this new video as well.

The massacre – while horrific – could have been so much worse. The 50 children upstairs had their lives spared only through an act of G-d.

Embedded video

134 people are talking about this

“The outcome would have been far, far worse” if not for the Jersey City Police, Grewal said Thursday. Authorities noted that the Jewish school was next to the market, and a Catholic school is across the street.

The attackers killed three people in the store, in addition to a police officer at a cemetery about a mile away, before dying in an hourslong gun battle with police Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.

Fulop later clarified his views to the New York Jewish Week, saying: “My job is different than the people that are doing the investigation. I do my best to say it how I see it.”

He cited the locations of the store and yeshiva and the large cache of weapons that the shooters brought in their vehicle.

“It’s very, very clear that the perpetrator first doesn’t go directly to the deli, he goes toward the door adjacent to it, the building and the doors adjacent to it are the yeshiva…he brought a pipe bomb and he brought 5 guns and hundreds of bullets…we know that he drove deliberately to that location,” said Fulop. “You put all things together, it’s hard to come to any other conclusion.”

Jersey City’s mayor Steven Fulop, right, and the Director of Public Safety James Shea talk to reporters across the street from a kosher supermarket in Jersey City, N.J., Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

On Thursday Grewal said it was clear the attack was anti-Semitic.

“The evidence points toward acts of hate. I can confirm that we’re investigating this matter as potential acts of domestic terrorism fueled both by anti-Semitism and anti-law enforcement beliefs,” the attorney general said. He said social media posts, witness interviews and other evidence reflected the couple’s hatred of Jews and police.

Grewal noted that after killing three people in the store, the couple concentrated their fire on police and did not shoot at others who happened to be on the streets.

This April 24, 2011 photo provided by the Kent, Ohio Police Department shows David Anderson, one of two gunmen who killed four people in Jersey City, N.J. on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019. (Kent Police Department via AP)

Grewal said the attackers, David Anderson, 47, and Francine Graham, 50, had expressed interest in a fringe religious group called the Black Hebrew Israelite’s, whose members often rail against Jews and whites. But he said there was no evidence so far that they were members, and added that the two were believed to have acted alone.

The pair brought their cache of weapons in a U-Haul van they drove from Bay View Cemetery, where they shot and killed Jersey City Detective Joseph Seals, according to the attorney general.

The Tunnel2Towers organization, formed after Sept. 11 to support police officers killed in the line of duty, said Friday it would pay the mortgage of Seals, who left behind a wife and five children.

Director of Public Safety James Shea called Seals “the ultimate detective or officer we would point to to tell young officers, ‘This is how you should behave.’” He said Friday that he doubted Seals would have been ambushed by the pair. Authorities haven’t disclosed why Seals was in the cemetery or details of the confrontation that led to his death.

Anderson fired away with the AR-15-style rifle as he entered the store, while Graham brought a 12-gauge shotgun into the shop. They also had handguns with a homemade silencer and a device to catch shell casings. In all, they had five guns — four recovered in the store, one in the van — in what Grewal called a “tremendous amount of firepower.”

Serial numbers from two of the weapons showed that Graham purchased them in Ohio in 2018, the attorney general said.

Mindel Ferencz (Courtesy)

The victims killed in the store were: Mindel Ferencz, 31, who with her husband owned the grocery; 24-year-old Moshe Deutsch, a rabbinical student from Brooklyn who was shopping there; and store employee Douglas Miguel Rodriguez, 49. A fourth person in the store was shot and wounded but managed to escape, authorities said.

Members of New York’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish community gathered Wednesday night for funerals for Ferencz and Deutsch. Thousands of people, mostly men, followed Ferencz’s casket through the streets of Brooklyn, hugging and crying.

The bloodshed in the city of 270,000 people across the Hudson River from New York City spread fear through the Jewish community and weighed heavily on the minds of more than 300 people who attended a vigil Wednesday night at a synagogue about a mile from where the shootings took place.

In the deadliest attack on Jews in US history, 11 people were killed in an October 2018 shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. Last April, a gunman opened fire at a synagogue near San Diego, killing a woman and wounding a rabbi and two others.

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3 People Stabbed At The Hague Mall

(THIS ARTICLE SO COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

The Hague stabbing: Several hurt in attack at department store

Police in the Grote Marktstraat in The HagueImage copyright EPA
Image caption The attack happened in a busy shopping area

At least three people have been stabbed in an attack at a department store in a busy shopping street in The Hague, Dutch police say.

Police are searching for a man aged between 45 and 50, wearing a grey jogging tracksuit, who they believe may be behind the attack.

Images on social media showed emergency services at the scene amid crowds of Black Friday shoppers.

The condition of those injured and the motive for the attack remain unclear.

The incident happened at the Hudson’s Bay store in the city’s Grote Market or main market square area, local reports say.

Video posted to social media showed dozens of shoppers running in the busy shopping street.

Police have urged the public to contact them if they witnessed the attack or see anyone matching the description of the suspect.

They also requested that anyone with images or footage of the incident send it to police.

Map of the Netherlands with The Hague and Amsterdam marked

Related Topics

Stabbing incident
Map data ©2019 GeoBasis-DE/BKG (©2009), Google

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“Stabbing incident with multiple wounded on the Big Market Street in The Hague. Emergency Services are on the scene. More information to follow from this account,” police tweeted in Dutch.
Police have asked eyewitnesses to come forward and said the situation is “complex.”
The incident happened at a busy shopping street in the center of the city.
The news comes hours after a man was shot dead in central London by police officers, in a terrorist stabbing incident that left a number of people injured.
This is a developing story. Please return for updates.
Stabbing incident
Map data ©2019 GeoBasis-DE/BKG (©2009), Google

<img src=”data:;base64,

<img src=”data:;base64,

<img src=”data:;base64,

“Stabbing incident with multiple wounded on the Big Market Street in The Hague. Emergency Services are on the scene. More information to follow from this account,” police tweeted in Dutch.
Police have asked eyewitnesses to come forward and said the situation is “complex.”
The incident happened at a busy shopping street in the center of the city.
The news comes hours after a man was shot dead in central London by police officers, in a terrorist stabbing incident that left a number of people injured.
This is a developing story. Please return for updates.

IRGC, Muslim Brotherhood Held Secret Summit to Join Forces Against Saudi Arabia

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Report: IRGC, Muslim Brotherhood Held Secret Summit to Join Forces Against Saudi Arabia

Monday, 18 November, 2019 – 13:00
Former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad meet in Tehran in 2012. AFP file photo
Asharq Al-Awsat
The Intercept revealed on Monday that the Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) held a summit with the Muslim Brotherhood in Turkey in 2014 in an attempt to join forces against Saudi Arabia.

The disclosure that two sides held a summit is included in a leaked archive of secret Iranian intelligence reports obtained by the American news organization.

One of the most important things the two sides shared was considering Saudi Arabia “the common enemy” of the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran, said The Intercept.

The Muslim Brotherhood was represented in the meeting by three of its most prominent leaders in exile: Ibrahim Munir Mustafa, Mahmoud El-Abiary, and Youssef Moustafa Nada, according to the document.

What neither side knew was that there was a spy in the summit. Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security, MOIS, a rival of the Revolutionary Guards within the Iranian national security apparatus, secretly had an agent in the meeting who reported everything that was discussed.

The Muslim Brotherhood delegation opened the meeting with a boast, pointing out that the outfit “has organizations in 85 countries in the world.”

“Differences between Iran as a symbol and representative of the Shiite world and the Muslim Brotherhood as a representative of the Sunni world are indisputable,” the Brotherhood members noted, according to the MOIS cable. But they emphasized that there “should be a focus on joint grounds for cooperation.”

Perhaps, the Brotherhood delegation said, the two sides could join forces against the Saudis. The best place to do that was in Yemen.

“In Yemen, with the influence of Iran on Houthis and the influence of the Brotherhood on the armed tribal Sunni factions, there should be a joint effort to decrease the conflict between Houthis and Sunni tribes to be able to use their strength against Saudi Arabia,” the Brotherhood delegation argued.

There were public meetings and contacts between Iranian and Egyptian officials while Muslim Brotherhood-backed Mohammed Morsi was president of Egypt from 2012 to 2013, said The Intercept.

The Iranian intelligence cable about the 2014 meeting provides an intriguing glimpse at a secret effort by the Muslim Brotherhood and Iranian officials to maintain contact — and determine whether they could still work together — after Morsi was removed from power.

Pakistan: terror training camps still active in Pakistan

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Imran Khan’s posturing aside, terror training camps still active in Pakistan

South Block confirms that terror training camps of LeT, JeM and Hizbul Mujahideen are still active in Pakistan despite the public posturing of Imran Khan government.

INDIA Updated: Nov 17, 2019 09:33 IST

Shishir Gupta
Shishir Gupta
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Prime Minister Imran Khan
Prime Minister Imran Khan(Reuters file photo)

External affairs minister S Jaishankar’s statement this week that Pakistan has developed a terrorist industry comes in the backdrop of reports that trained Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) suicide attackers have infiltrated Jammu and Kashmir in October and that the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) leadership is in constant touch with their handlers in Rawalpindi GHQ.

In an interview with French newspaper Le Monde, Jaishankar said the eradication of anti-India terrorist groups is a pre-condition for dialogue with Pakistan.

South Block confirms that terror training camps of LeT, JeM and Hizbul Mujahideen are still active in Pakistan despite the public posturing of Imran Khan government. India sent a specific list of locations, including Google map co-ordinates of 24 prominent terror training camps in Pakistan to the country after the Pulwama attack but none of these camps has been shut down to date.

The names of camps include Abdulla bin Mashood (LeT); Balakot (JeM); Barali/Fagosh 1 & 2 (LeT); Barnala (HM); Bhawalpur (JeM); Batarsi camp 1 & 2 (LeT & JeM); Chelabandi (LeT/JeM/ HM) and Daura-e-Azeemat (HM). Many of these camps are located in Occupied Kashmir, Manshera, Peshawar, Bhawalpur and Lahore.

According to security agencies, JeM’s operational commander Mufti Abdul Rauf Asghar along with his brother Maulana Ammar met their handlers in Rawalpindi GHQ on November 10 seeking financial help, removal of restrictions on the terror group and instructions for future action.

Indian intelligence inputs also say that two LeT suicide attackers, Osama and Abdullah infiltrated the newly created UT in early October after undergoing a so-called purification course and with the approval of senior LeT leadership.

While the hunt is on in J&K for these two, the state police has killed no less than 150 terrorists this year including 70 Pakistani nationals.

When EAM Jaishankar talked about terrorist factory, he was also talking about Pakistan’s other options in targeting India. As recently as September 23, Pakistan based Ranjeet Singh Neeta’s Khalistan Zindabad Force tried unsuccessfully to send a cache of AK-47 rifles, pistols, satellite phones and ammunition across the international border.

Pro-Khalistan terrorists currently being given shelter by Pakistan include Harmeet Singh and Lakhbir Singh of International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF); Paramjit Singh Panjwar of Khalistan Commando Force (KCF); Gajinder Singh of Dal Khalsa and Wadhawa Singh Babbar of Babbar Khalsa International (BKI).

Members of Indian Mujahideen group, who planned and executed blasts in India between 2005 to 2013, are also now freely operating in Pakistan. These include Iqbal and Riyaz Bhatkal, Mohasin Choudhary, Afiff Hassan Siddibappa and Mohammed Rashid.

The fugitives taking shelter even today in Pakistan are all the principals accused in 1993 Mumbai bomb blast cases, engineered by global terrorist Dawood Ibrahim. His associates including Anees Ibrahim, Tiger Memon, Chhota Shakeel, Mohammed Dosa and Fahim Machmach also operate freely in Pakistan.

India: Another trucker, his helper shot dead in Kashmir; toll reaches 5

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Another trucker, his helper shot dead in Kashmir; toll reaches 5

It is the latest in a series of attacks targeting the fruit industry, one of the economic mainstays of the Valley, and non-Kashmiris, following the change in the constitutional status of Jammu & Kashmir.

INDIA Updated: Oct 25, 2019 05:44 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent

Hindustan Times, Srinagar
A driver covers a supply truck loaded with apples on a highway near Qazigund in south Kashmir's Anantnag district, October 17, 2019. Picture taken October 17, 2019. REUTERS/Danish Ismail
A driver covers a supply truck loaded with apples on a highway near Qazigund in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, October 17, 2019. Picture taken October 17, 2019. REUTERS/Danish Ismail(REUTERS)

Suspected militants on Thursday shot dead a truck driver and his associate in south Kashmir’s Shopian district, taking the death toll of people from outside the state killed by militants to five in two weeks, the police said.

Another driver, who was injured in the incident, was rushed to a hospital in Srinagar. The truck drivers had gone to ferry apples.

“Terrorists killed two civilians in Shopian and left one injured, who has been shifted to hospital,” a police spokesperson said.

It is the latest in a series of attacks targeting the fruit industry, one of the economic mainstays of the Valley, and non-Kashmiris, following the change in the constitutional status of Jammu & Kashmir. The Centre, in August, effectively revoked Article 370 which gave special status to the state, and bifurcated it into two Union territories — J&K and Ladakh.

The police have called these attacks attempts to intimidate the people against resuming normal life in the Valley.

The incident also comes on a day when the Block Development Council polls were held for the first time in the history of the state ahead of its bifurcation on October 31.

Jammu & Kashmir director general of police Dilbagh Singh on Thursday said militants stopped three trucks with registration numbers from Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab, and opened fire at the drivers near Chittargam in Shopian. They also torched two of the trucks, causing partial damage.

Security forces rushed to the spot after the attack to cordon off the area.

One of the truck drivers killed by militants has been identified as Iliyas Khan, a resident of Alwar in Rajasthan, while the identity of his associate is being ascertained. The second driver injured in Thursday’s attack has been identified as Jeevan Singh from Punjab’s Hoshiarpur.

Last week, a fruit trader from Punjab was killed and another was critically injured after militants opened fire at them at Trenz village in Shopian.

The same day, on October 16, a brick kiln worker from Chhattisgarh was gunned down by militants in south Kashmir’s Pulwama. Two militants, including a suspected Pakistani national, killed a truck driver from Rajasthan and assaulted an orchard owner in Shopian district on October 14.

Fearing violence, the Jammu & Kashmir administration placed restrictions in the Valley after the August 5-6 move to revoke Article 370. Curbs have since been eased in the Valley since, with the state taking out newspaper advertisements asking people not to be afraid of militant threats and resume their businesses even as heavy deployment of security forces continues.

After the attacks, DGP Singh visited Shopian and chaired a high-level meeting, after which an advisory was issued to non-local drivers “not to lift apples from deep inside villages”.

According to state officials, eight lakh metric tonnes of fruit has been exported from the Valley in the last three months, to various fruit markets of the country.

(With inputs from PTI)

First Published: Oct 25, 2019 01:20 IST

India: 18 terrorists killed, JeM launch pads destroyed in PoK strikes by Indian army

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

18 terrorists killed, JeM launch pads destroyed in PoK strikes by Indian army: Officials

The officials added that all the terror launch pads housing Jaish-e-Mohammed and other jihadists were destroyed in the pin-point artillery firing by the Indian army – retaliatory action to indiscriminate and unprovoked Pakistani firing along the Line of Control.

INDIA Updated: Oct 23, 2019 09:25 IST

Shishir Gupta
Shishir Gupta
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The site of Indian Army’s assault on Pakistani terror camps.
The site of Indian Army’s assault on Pakistani terror camps.(Photo: HT/ Special arrangement)

Officials in Indian security agencies that have assessed the impact of the Indian Army’s artillery assault on terror launch pads in Neelum Valley and three other places in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK), said on condition of anonymity that at least 18 terrorists were killed along with 16 Pak Army personnel on October 19 and 20. The army hasn’t confirmed the number of dead. Hindustan Times couldn’t independently authenticate the numbers.

The officials added that all the terror launch pads housing Jaish-e-Mohammed and other jihadists were destroyed in the pin-point artillery firing by the Indian army – retaliatory action to indiscriminate and unprovoked Pakistani firing along the Line of Control.

On Sunday, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat briefed Defence Minister Rajnath Singh twice about the Indian Army fire assault on PoK launch pads with the latter congratulating the former on the resolute action, the officials said. Asking General Rawat to go public on the artillery firing, Rajnath Singh said that while no terror launch pads should be spared, care should be taken to ensure that the innocent civilian population is not targeted.

Also Watch l ‘Our forces can give befitting response to our enemies’: Rajnath Singh

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Defence ministry officials said on condition of anonymity that ammunition and ration depots of the Pakistani Army were also destroyed by 155 mm guns using precision long range ammunition. While four launch pads in Neelum Valley were hit, launch pads in Jura, Athamuqam and Kundalshahi were also decimated in the fire onslaught on wee hours of October 20, they added. The Indian response came after the Pakistani Army targeted Indian positions and civil localities in Karnah sector killing two Indian soldiers and one civilian on Saturday night.

Hindustantimes

On Sunday, the army mounted the artillery attack in retaliation to ceasefire violations meant to assist infiltrators, inflicting heavy terrorist casualties.

The counter-offensive measures come weeks after multiple intelligence agencies warned the government that at least 60 terrorists have infiltrated into Jammu and Kashmir recently and another 500 are waiting to infiltrate, according to the army.

Hindustantimes

Ground intelligence and communication intercepts from PoK suggests that the jihadists and their army handlers were taken by surprise by the pin-point firing and the fact that the Indian Army knew about their locations. “Intelligence about 18 terrorists and 16 army personnel killed have been corroborated on ground with hard intelligence. Many have been injured,” said a senior Indian Army official who asked not to be named.

“ By taking out the launch pads near LoC in PoK, we have sent a message that retaliation will come if any infiltration attempt is made in Jammu and Kashmir,” said a senior official in a security agency.

First Published: Oct 22, 2019 23:43 IST

Deaths Mount as Iraq Goes to War With Itself

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

Deaths Mount as Iraq Goes to War With Itself

ImageAntigovernment protesters behind a burning barricade in Baghdad on Friday. There have been been protests against government corruption, unemployment and a lack of basic services.
Credit Khalid Mohammed/Associated Press

Iraq is at war again, but this time with itself.

Security forces have repeatedly turned their weapons on fellow Iraqis this past week, killing at least 91, and wounding more than 2,000, as of Saturday.

This past week, tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in Baghdad and across southern Iraq to protest widespread government corruption, unemployment and a lack of basic services such as electricity.

The Iraqi authorities lifted a multi-day curfew in Baghdad on Saturday that many anti-government protesters had ignored. Parliament was set to meet to discuss protesters’ demands, while senior Iraqi officials, including the prime minister and Parliament speaker, were set to meet with protesters.

The harsh response by the security services suggested, however, that they had been given leeway by the leadership to take any steps necessary to halt the protests, signaling how ill-prepared the government was to respond to the demands of its own citizens.

It was also a reminder that Iraq, which never experienced an Arab Spring-like rebellion with people pouring into the streets, had security forces that were trained to deal with terrorism but were a loss to find less lethal ways to control crowds.

“I came out to the streets to ask for reform in my country and to find salvation from the mafias who have stolen my country and was greeted brutally by the security forces,” said Ibrahim Ahmed Yusuf, 34, who was wounded in the neck while demonstrating in Tahrir Square in Baghdad.

ImageProtesters on Tuesday holding a poster that reads “We are all Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi,” referring to the general whose dismissal helped set off the protests.
Credit Khalid Mohammed/Associated Press

“We are peaceful protesters, but the security forces treated us with brutality, as if we were animals, not humans demanding our rights,” he said.

There have been protests in Iraq before, and some seemed more violent, including those in 2016, when crowds entered the Parliament and demanded an end to corruption, which is a core demand of the protesters now. This time, however, the protests have come with a broader and deeper sense of the government’s incompetence, and draw support from Iraqi youth, intellectuals and educated people, as well as from some political parties trying to make the most of it.

Many Iraqis are jobless, and despite the end of the largest part of the fight against the Islamic State, as well as the government’s increased oil revenues, little money is being put into jobs programs or improving services, at least not enough that people feel a significant difference in their daily lives.

Iraqis are continuing to protest despite a more violent, at times deadly, response on the part of the security forces, who in some cases have been firing directly at the protesters rather than into the air to disperse them, according to multiple reports from protesters. This itself suggests desperation, even a willingness to risk everything.

“This reflects a broad realization that the system is incapable of reforming itself,” said Randa Slim, a senior fellow and director of conflict resolution at the Middle East Institute.

“But then what is the path forward?” said Ms. Slim, who was in Iraq recently to meet with people from different backgrounds and political orientations. “I don’t think anyone has a clue.”

Image

Credit Khalid Mohammed/Associated Press

The protests, which began on Oct. 1, seemed to come out of nowhere, but were apparently sparked by a recent, disturbing political event: the removal in September of a highly respected general, Abdul-Wahab Al-Saadi, from the leadership of the counter-terrorism command.

General Al-Saadi, who was widely believed to have done a good job in fighting the Islamic State, especially on the difficult battlefields of Mosul and Falluja, was peremptorily removed from his job and assigned to the ministry of defense.

General Al-Saadi’s profile — he is a Shiite but not aligned with any party — made him something of an Every-man soldier-hero. His dismissal was explained on the street as linked to his lack of corruption, in contrast to other senior figures, and his refusal to kowtow to the Popular Mobilization Forces, military entities within the Iraqi security forces, some of which have links to Iran.

Whether people knew General Al-Saadi was less important than what he stood for, said Abbas Kadhim, the director of the Iraq Initiative and a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council who was visiting southern Iraq when demonstrations started.

“This was just a spark that unleashed all built-up grievances,” he said.

“Many of the grievances are not about Adil Abdul-Mahdi’s government,” he added, referring to the prime minister of Iraq. “But when you are the prime minister, you have to pay for your mistakes and those of previous leaders.”

At first, the demonstrations were small, but as the police and security forces responded with violence, they grew in size and quickly spread. The government made little effort to curb the security forces’ violence, and by Friday the Iraqi Federal Police had warned in a statement that snipers who were not part of the security forces were shooting at both the protesters and the police.

Image

Iraqi police officers standing guard in front of torched government buildings south of Baghdad on Friday.
CreditEssam Al-Sudani/Reuters

It was unclear whether these were shadowy entities within the Iraqi security establishment or elements linked to political parties or to neighboring countries seeking to promote instability in Iraq.

Caught off guard by the demonstrators, the government at first met the protesters’ anger with silence, allowing repressive actions by the security forces to dominate the narrative. The prime minister, Mr. Mahdi, put a curfew in place, shut down the internet and called in additional police forces. Then he made a brief statement that backed up the security forces.

Only on Friday — as criticism rained down from the senior Shiite clerics, the United Nations and rights groups, and the repression seemed to have little effect — did the government began to reach out to those among the demonstrators whom they called the “peace protesters.”

The Parliament speaker, Mohammed Al-Halbousi, invited representatives of the protesters to meet with him, offering a laundry list of concessions. Mr. Mahdi also was planning to meet with protesters on Saturday.

The problem is that political parties now smell blood and believe they can topple Mr. Abdul-Mahdi and gain ground for themselves. Already, the leaders of two sizable political parties, Sairoon and Al Hikma, openly criticized the government and called for reform. The former is led by Moktada al-Sadr, the nationalist Shiite cleric who has been a thorn in the side of whoever has been in charge in Iraqi since 2003.

Mr. al-Sadr called for his bloc to stop participation in the Parliament and for the government to resign. If he decides to call his followers to the streets, he has broad influence in Sadr City, a sprawling, largely poor neighborhood of Baghdad that is home to more than a million people, as well as in Iraq’s second largest city, Basra, and elsewhere in southern Iraq.

Unlike the 2016 protests, when many participants were followers of the cleric, these protests include a cross-section of Iraqis, many without ties to political parties.

Different provinces have different demands, however. The disparate goals that drove people into the streets mean that, at least for now, there are no clear leaders to negotiate on behalf of the aggrieved.

Falah Hassan contributed reporting.

A version of this article appears in print on , Section A, Page 4 of the New York edition with the headline: Iraqi Security Forces Kill Dozens in Week of Protest. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

Egypt Calls for Holding Erdogan Accountable over Terrorism, Targeting of Kurds

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

(It is past time that this mass murderer (Erdogan) is removed from breathing free air and replaced with a real Leader who will allow the people of Turkey to live in freedom and peace with their neighbors like the Kurdish people.)(oped: oldpoet56))

Egypt Calls for Holding Erdogan Accountable over Terrorism, Targeting of Kurds

Thursday, 26 September, 2019 – 11:45
Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of parliament from his ruling AK Party (AKP) during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara April 29, 2014. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
Cairo – Mohamed Nabil Helmy
In a sharp statement, Cairo made several accusations against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, urging the international community to “hold him accountable” for what the Egyptian Foreign Ministry called “all of his crimes”.

The statement, released on Wednesday by Egypt’s foreign ministry spokesman, Ahmed Hafez, said that Erdogan was supporting terrorism, arming extremists and deliberately targeting the Kurds.

It also listed human rights violations in Turkey under Erdogan’s leadership, including thousands held as political prisoners, the suspicious deaths of dozens of detainees due to torture or inhuman prison conditions, and the closure of thousands of universities and educational institutions.

Hafez said that Erdogan “claimed to defend the values of justice in his speech, but at the core showed feelings of hatred and spite toward Egypt and its people who have nothing but appreciation for the people of Turkey.”

His remarks came in response to Erdogan’s speech during the UN General Assembly meetings, in which he raised doubts on Mohammed Morsi’s death in court last June.

Cairo and Ankara have reduced their diplomatic relations since 2013 because of the Turkish president’s position against the June 30 Revolution that toppled the rule of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, after widespread public protests against his continued rule. In the wake of a number of statements that Egypt considered “hostile”, Cairo decided to withdraw its ambassador from Ankara and expel the Turkish ambassador.

Hafez emphasized that Erdogan’s statements were a “desperate attempt to steer attention away from his deteriorating regime and the successive losses he is suffering.