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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)
“When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” – Leonardo DaVinci
International Civil Aviation Day is observed on December 7th to recognize the flying industry’s impact on modern society. In 1994, as part of ICAO’s (International Civil Aviation Organization) 50th-anniversary celebrations, the first International Civil Aviation Day was observed, and in 1996, the United Nations General Assembly declared December 7th as International Civil Aviation Day.
Aviation has revolutionized tourism and business forever, not to mention the cultural linkages that have been made possible. The purpose of this day is to emphasize the significance of civil aviation in social and economic development, as well as to highlight the unique role played by the International Civil Aviation Organization in assisting nations in cooperating and bringing a truly global transit network to reality. With the adoption of Agenda 2030 by the United Nations, a vow to reduce pollution with the eventual aim of a new era in global sustainable development, the role of aviation remains just as essential.
International Civil Aviation Day is observed on December 7th to recognise the flying industry’s impact on modern society. | Photo by Cédric Dhaenens on Unsplash
The theme of International Civil Aviation Day is changed every five years. For the whole four-year gap, one theme is continued. From 2020 until 2023, “Advancing Innovation For Global Aviation Development” is the theme. This theme will place a greater emphasis on innovation in all aspects of air transportation, with the organization supporting ideas through a more proactive and dynamic assistance strategy.
HOW IS IT CELEBRATED?
The International Civil Aviation Organization conducts a variety of activities and events throughout the day, including seminars, training sessions, and news announcements on international civil aviation topics. Governments, organizations, businesses, and even individuals support the ICAO.
Telling an aviation worker how much you appreciate them is one of the most obvious and heartfelt ways to express your gratitude. | Photo by Waldemar Brandt on Unsplash
HOW TO OBSERVE INTERNATIONAL CIVIL AVIATION DAY?
- Thank a civil aviation worker: Telling an aviation worker how much you appreciate them is one of the most obvious and heartfelt ways to express your gratitude. Give an aviation worker a thank you and a pat on the back this December 7th, or you can show your appreciation for them by uploading posters on various social media handles.
- Get involved: There are various ways to become engaged with the ICAO if you’re enthusiastic about helping countries flourish socially and economically with the help of aviation. Organize meetings, events, and gatherings to discuss how we can work together to ensure no country is left behind.
(Keywords: civil aviation worker, United Nations, International Civil Aviation Organization, flying, International Civil Aviation Day)
By- Harris Scott
Business owners hardly have time to look into all aspects of a business operation, and accounting is one aspect. While small business owners might invest some time handling accounting services, it is indeed a big waste for owners of major enterprises. Regardless of the size of the business, your organization needs someone to look after the ledger.
Hiring an Accountant for your Firm - Things to Consider
When seeking out an accounting service, you have to opt for a professional with the level of experience you need. Here are things to consider when choosing an accountant.
- Neat and organized
Incomplete data entries and loopholes in the ledger are significant factors in slowing down the accounting process. If your accountant is not focusing on the job, chances are he will overlook important details. Such a discrepancy in the ledger book can mislead everything to a messy dead end. You never know that today’s entry would play a significant role in saving your company when people from taxation show up at your doorway. That is why only reputed accounting services can have an excellent eye for detail. Such a company focuses on the financial and success of your business.
- Handy in computer software
As per Aron Govil, the reliability of accounting has nothing to do with a high profile in computer science, but modern businesses hugely rely on technology to keep up with the latest trends. For example, if your competitor uses technology to manage the financial subject, you cannot stick to the traditional paper register. When the accountant on a computer gets efficient and accurate results quickly, the one with paper may lag due to continuous error. Even if he is not making any errors, the automatic calculation will consistently be faster than manual counting. You must look for such accounting services that can easily integrate various software on your accounting operations and utilize them seamlessly.
- Temporary or permanent accountant
An organization with a couple of accountants cannot take care of every financial detail. They might work with their trustworthy accountant for a long time, but a new business strategy could force them to reshuffle their positions. In this situation, they might need more accounts instead of an accountant. Looking into the type of business trait, you should decide on a service that suits your requirements. Well, it depends upon the business you are running and your budget; you need to figure out whether you need to hire a part-time accounting service or a full-time accounting agency. Along with the budget, your accounting operations also contribute to making these decisions; if you have a good amount of substantial accounting actions to take care of, then you must have a permanent accounting service.
Most businesses usually have accountants, but not all invest in accounting because they work with experts. As per Aron Govil, find an accounting service provider if you still cannot afford that facility. Hiring the right accounting agency is the most crucial aspect, as you will be putting financial responsibilities over the shoulder of professionals. So, try to find the best and most trustworthy accounting experts for your business. You can consider looking for them online by going through the reviews and their websites.
(Disclaimer: This is article is sponsored and includes some commercial links.)
Since the 7th of December 1949, the Armed Forces Flag Day has been observed in India, annually. This one day is dedicated towards collection of funds from the citizens of India for the welfare of the ‘Indian Armed Forces personnel’. It has become a tradition to pay respect to the people who have served in the army, Navy and Airforce, on this day.
“The idea behind observing a Flag Day was to distribute small flags to the general population and in return collect donations.” The color-scheme of the flag is very similar to the ones used by fellow Commonwealth members like Cyprus, Kenya and Nigeria. The Flag Day signifies that it is the responsibility of the citizens of India to take care of the families and dependents of the armed forces personnel who fight for the country.
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A need for such a day was realized by the Government after India gained Independence from the British rule. In order to manage the welfare of its defence personnel, the Defence Minister of India and a committee together decided to recognize 7th December as the Flag Day. This decision was taken on the 28th of August 1949.
The then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru inaugurated the day saying that,
“A few weeks ago, I visited Indo-China and saw our officers and men attached to the International Commission there. It gave me a thrill to see their smart bearing and the good work they were doing in that distant land. What pleased me still more was their general popularity with the people there. By their efficiency as well as their friendliness, they enhanced the reputation of India. Among them were people from all parts of India. They observed no provincial or other differences amongst themselves. I am sure my countrymen will be pleased to learn of them and would like to indicate their appreciation of these young men who serve our country both here and elsewhere so well. A way to indicate that appreciation is to contribute to the Flag Day Fund.”
A need for such a day was realized by the Government after India gained Independence from the British rule.Unsplash
The fund is collected through official and non-official means with the help of voluntary organizations. The Kendriya Sainik Board, which is under the Ministry of Defence, arranges for the collection of the fund.
The Defence Ministry of India decided to integrate all the related welfare funds into a single unit called the Armed Forces Flag Day fund. The funds that were integrated are:
- Amalgamated Special Fund for War Bereaved, War Disabled and other ex-Servicemen/Serving Personnel
- Flag Day Fund
- St Dunstan's (India) and Kendriya Sainik Board Fund
- Indian Gorkha Ex-Servicemen's Welfare Fund
The Flag Day signifies that it is the responsibility of the citizens of India to take care of the families and dependents of the armed forces personnel who fight for the country.Unsplash
Problems have to be resolved by and welfare of the ex-servicemen and dependents are mostly settled by the States and the Union Territories, although it was to be a shared responsibility between the Union Government, the State Governments and the governments of the Union Territories. In order to help the Central Government in carrying out this process, there are 32 Rajya Sainik Boards and 392 Zila Sainik Boards. The Kendriya Sainik Board, the Rajya Sainik Board and the Zila Sainik Board are all responsible for the policy formulation and implementation of resettlement and welfare schemes for ex-servicemen, widows and their dependents residing in their respective States or Union Territories or Districts.(Keywords : armed, forces, flag, india, independance, donation, citizen, army, navy, airforce, tradition, respect, government, state, center, union territory, district, funds.)
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