Thane, Nov 22, 2016: On Sunday, Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) MP Subramanian Swamy asked for a specific policy to counter “Islamic terrorism,” which he said, was responsible for polarising communities as well as creating chaos across the nation.
“Islamic terrorism is making every attempt to create chaos and anarchy in the country and bring about differences among communities.” Adding the list of achievements, he said, we had successfully fought LTTE, Tamil Tigers, Bodo, Naxals…and in the same manner, we should fight and root out Islamic terrorism from the country.” mentioned PTI.
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He highlighted this problem while he was delivering the last lecture in the VD Sawarkar Lecture Series on the topic “Terrorism in the Country”.
Sawarkar claimed that Islamic State terrorist group is now active in southern states of country “which needs to be tackled with definite policy.”
He also claimed that he had pushed for Bharat Ratna award for ‘Sardar’ Vallabhbhai Patel in 1991 when Chandra Shekhar was the Prime Minister of India. “Congress had not done anything in this regard in their tenure,” he added.
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Embracing the demonetization move by PM Narendra Modi to curb black money and corruption, Swamy said the results of the exercise would be visible after some time.
“One of the major achievements of the move is that the counterfeit notes which were in circulation in Kashmir have vanished and life has come to normal in that state,” he added.
He mentioned that demonetization was overall a good move even as he conceded that Finance Ministry was “not prepared” for such a big task as well as ATMs were not calibrated for the new Rs 2000 notes, which made it difficult for common people.
August 04, 2017: As Islamic State militants continue to lose territory in their declared caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria, officials and analysts are expressing concern that al-Qaida is making efforts to turn those losses into gains by itself.
Al-Qaida had been largely eclipsed by IS in recent years, with IS militants grabbing headlines by seizing territory in Iraq and Syria and carrying out attacks in the West. But there are signs that al-Qaida may be reemerging as a regional power.
“Al-Qaida in Syria is using opportunities to seize additional safe havens, to integrate itself into parts of the local population, parts of other forces, and bumping into other forces as well,” said Joshua Geltzer, a former senior director for counterterrorism at the U.S National Security Council.
Tahrir al-Sham, an offshoot al-Qaida group originally known as the al-Nusra Front, has recently emerged as the most powerful Sunni insurgent faction in Syria after consolidating its control over most of the northwestern province of Idlib.
“Idlib now is a huge problem. It is an al-Qaida safe haven right on the border of Turkey,” Brett McGurk, special presidential envoy for the U.S.-led global coalition to counter IS, said at the Middle East Institute in Washington on Thursday.
McGurk blamed the flow of weapons and foreign fighters into Syria for al-Qaida’s gradual strengthening in Syria.
Measures under way
McGurk added that the U.S.-led coalition intended to work with Turkey to seal the northern Syrian border to prevent more recruits from joining al-Qaida affiliates in the region.
Hailing the progress of the Iraqi forces and the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, McGurk said the coalition’s priority was defeating IS. But now that priority also includes ensuring that foreign fighters do not leave the region to cause trouble elsewhere.
“We do not want any foreign fighters getting out of Iraq and Syria,” he said during a panel discussion at the Middle East Institute on the Trump administration’s counterterrorism policy.
Experts warn that as IS-controlled territory shrinks, the terror group’s foreign fighters will inevitably be drawn to al-Qaida.
“You may see on a local level al-Qaida affiliates being opportunistic and pulling in ISIS units who kind of feel lost,” Charles Lister, a Syria analyst at the Middle East Institute said, using another acronym for IS. “They [IS militants] don’t have the same kind of grandeur, they don’t have the same powerful leadership, and they don’t have the same powerful brand that they had before.”
Led by Jordanian jihadist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, IS was founded as an offshoot of al-Qaida in Iraq in 2004. But as IS gained influence in Iraq and Syria in 2014, the terror group split from al-Qaida, and the two groups engaged in acrimonious and at times bloody competition over the leadership of the jihadist cause. For years, IS has been siphoning off followers of al-Qaida. That trend seems to have begun to reverse.
Iraq’s Vice President Ayad Allawi told Reuters in April that he had information from Iraqi and regional contacts that “the discussion has started now” concerning a “possible alliance” between the two terror groups.
Referring to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, Allawi said, “There are discussions and dialogues between messengers representing Baghdadi and representing Zawahiri.”
While some analysts raise concerns about the possibility of IS and al-Qaida joining hands, others like Charles Lister of the Middle East Institute downplay it, arguing that an ultimate rapprochement between the two groups is unlikely, given the history of animosity and their fundamental differences on “global jihad.”
Lister, however, highlighted that al-Qaida could take an opportunistic approach to draw IS members into its ranks as the terror group faces defeats on several fronts in Iraq and Syria.
Lister said Hamza bin Laden, son of Osama bin Laden, who has recently appeared as a new face of al-Qaida leadership, has been trying to ease tensions with IS in an effort to encourage the merger of IS fighters into al-Qaida.
“Hamza has very purposely, I think, not spoken out against ISIS in all of his recent statements,” Lister said.
Al-Qaida in a blind spot
Experts warn that as the U.S-led coalition is cracking down on IS-controlled territory in Iraq and Syria, it should not allow al-Qaida to move to other areas and operate at ease. They say the group is trying to gain the sympathy of the local Syrian population by showing itself as a moderate alternative to Islamic State.
“We continue to underestimate al-Qaida,” said Jennifer Cafarella, an analyst at the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington think tank. “While al-Qaida in Syria is currently not actively attacking abroad, they have built an army. It has consolidated control in Idlib, and is preparing to do the same underneath the U.S.-Russian cease-fire deal in Daraa to expand that model of first destroying the moderate opposition and then begin installation of al-Qaida governance to transform population over time.”
She said the strategy of the U.S.-led coalition after removing IS from Iraq and Syria needs to shift to the reconstruction of infrastructure destroyed because of war, and that should be coupled with addressing the grievances of Sunni residents who feel marginalized by Iran-backed Shi’ite militias.
“This is a very long war and we haven’t won it yet. These tactical successes are important but can be temporary if we do not set adequate conditions, which is much more than a military requirement,” Cafarella said. (VOA)
Klara Reqa is a top-ranking Kurdish female commander of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces
Her land, where she grew up, where she smiled and cried, is today standing in ruins
June 18, 2017: ISIS terrorist group is bent on destroying this world in the name of power. Terrorism is eating this planet, taking many innocent lives. Humanity is dying a slow death. But in all this negativity around, there are still the positive streaks trying to paint this world with humanitarian colors. One of them is the unfortunate victim of this terrorism who lost her closed ones in the wake of this power struggle.
Klara Reqa is a top-ranking Kurdish female commander of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces leading the assault on the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed capital, Raqqa.
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She is the epitome of bravery, love, and beauty. She stands strong in the face of adversity, trying to inspire many others to save their land from the merciless vultures. She is an unsung hero in this fight against those who have lost humanity. Her land, where she grew up, where she smiled and cried, is today standing in ruins. But the love for that land stands strong, the emotions attached to that land holds her heart strong, giving her the courage to protect it from the enemies of the world.
In an interview with VOI’s Mahmoud Bali, she said, “As I look at Raqqa here, I remember my childhood when I was going to school and playing in the streets.” One can realize her pain as her entire childhood would always flash in front of her eyes whenever she looks at the ruins of her motherland.
I want to salute this brave heart woman who not only aspires to rebuild her land by taking it away from the clutches of ISIS but also dreams to empower the women.
She said,” IS oppressed women. My goal is not to only help Yazidi women, but also Arab and Kurdish women.”
This is the beauty of a woman who can stand tall against all odds and thinks of empowering other women instead of pulling them down. She has proved that in the patriarchal world of ours, a woman is not less than anyone and empowering others is the only way of climbing the ladder of success because humanity teaches us to be one, to stay united and to help each other.
But in the race of power, man has lost his identity of a human being. He seized to be one, the day he started pulling down others and killing people in the name of religion. By God’s grace, still, some noble beings are there who enforce our trust in humanity, brotherhood, and unity.
– by Supreet Aneja of NewsGram. Twitter: @supreet_aneja
Four Arab countries – Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates– severed their relations with Qatar
Saudi wanted to lead the group of six Arab countries, however, Qatar did not support the rationale of the Saudis
Qatar publicly disagreed with the US and Saudi in a statement
By Naina Mishra
June 10, 2017:
Four Arab countries – Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates– severed their relations with Qatar on Monday over its alleged support of terrorism. The Saudis, the UAE, and Bahrain have given the Qataris two weeks to leave, and only 48 hours for its diplomats to quit. This has resulted in fall of the stock market by 7.2 percent. Qatar is energy-rich country, however, it remains heavily reliant on Saudi Arabia for food and other commodities that are traded across borders.
Last month in May, US President Donald Trump visited Saudi Arabia and censured Iran – adversary of Saudi Arabia. An impulsive reaction from a Qatari leader Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani came forward where he questioned U.S. hostility toward Iran and claimed tensions between Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The quote from the leader spread widely and induced anger among the Saudis.
Past: Saudi and Qatar Relationship
Saudi Arabia and Qatar are both the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which insinuates that the relations were in the mild phase previously. The two countries also share several common geopolitical interests as well. In Syria, both the countries support the rebel groups who want to overthrow Bashar-al- Assad government.
The Bone of Contention: Why was Saudi Arabia fumed at Qatar since 2011?
Rise of Muslim Brotherhood
Saudi Arabia did not support the “Rise of Muslim Brotherhood” which initiated with the ‘Arab Spring’ and fall of Egypt leader back in 2011. Saudi primarily prefers political stability in the Arab nations so that it can use it against Iran. Saudi wanted to lead the group of six Arab countries, however Qatar, unlike UAE and Bahrain, did not support the rationale of the Saudis. Qatar conversely has always supported the rise of Muslim Brotherhood. In 2013, Qatar supported the fall of the draconian regime of Egypt brazenly which infuriated Saudi Arabia and as a result of which the UAE, Bahrain, and Saudi cut the diplomatic ties with Qatar.
Gas reserves: Iran and Qatar Relations
There is a great demand for Gas reserves in the present world. Qatar is known to have massive gas reserves. The South Pars/North Dome field is a natural gas condensate field located in the Persian Gulf, which is the world’s largest natural gas field shared between Iran and Qatar. Qatar thus maintains a cordial relation with Iran to extract natural gas under the Iran’s premises.
Animosity Sprouts: Qatar – the world’s Richest Nation
The wealth that followed after export of Natural Gas turned Qatar into the world’s richest nation and the largest LNG exporter. The rising wealth of Qatar envied the neighbouring nations of the country. Qatar began to form their own foreign policies, build warm relations with Iran and support Hezbollah in Israel. Recently, Qatar invested $2bn in Russia’s state-run oil giant Rosneft. The recent development by the Qatari government maddened Saudi Arabia even more.
During the U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia, he called on “all nations of conscience” to isolate Iran. Iran is expected to run a nuclear program which is not welcomed by Israel, an ally of US. On the other side, Qatar publicly disagreed with the US and Saudi in a statement which the government later said was a result of hacking.
The ban on Qatar is the result of retribution by Saudi so that Qatari government works on the lines similar to that of Saudis.
– by Naina Mishra of Newsgram, Twitter: @Nainamishr94