Category Archives: News

U.N. warns over Israeli plan to relocate West Bank Bedouin #WestBank


Palestinian BedouinA Palestinian Bedouin youth leads a herd of sheep in the West Bank village of Deir Gazaleh near Jenin, early Saturday. | AP

JERUSALEM – The U.N.’s Palestinian refugee agency on Sunday urged the international community to oppose Israeli plans to relocate thousands of Palestinian Bedouin from the central West Bank.

“If such a plan were implemented this would … give rise to concerns that it amounts to a ‘forcible transfer’ in contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention,” banning involuntary population relocation in occupied territory, UNRWA Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl said.

“It might also make way for further Israeli illegal settlement expansion, further compromising the viability of a two-state solution,” he said in a statement.

“I urge the Israeli authorities not to proceed with the transfer … and I also urge the donor and state community to take a firm stand against it.”

A meeting on international aid to the Palestinians is to be held in New York on Monday.

UNRWA added that most of those slated for resettlement to Jericho, in the east of the Palestinian territory, were registered Palestinian refugees.

The Israeli military department responsible for civil affairs in the occupied West Bank had no immediate comment, but Haaretz newspaper last week quoted an official as saying that dozens of meetings were held with Bedouin leaders.

Haaretz said that an original scheme to relocate one tribe, however, had grown to a plan to move about 12,500 Bedouin from the Jahalin, Kaabneh and Rashaida tribes, without dialogue as recommended by the Israeli Supreme Court.

“The plans were drafted without consulting the Bedouin slated to live there,” the paper said.

UNRWA said that among those slated for resettlement were people residing “in the E1 and Maale Adumim areas near Jerusalem, which have been slated for new Israeli settlement development.”

Israel has been planning construction in the highly contentious area of the West Bank, east of Jerusalem, since the early 1990s.

Plans for building 1,200 settler homes unveiled in December 2012 were quickly put on the back burner after the announcement triggered a major diplomatic backlash.

The Palestinians say construction in E1 would effectively cut the West Bank in two and prevent the creation of any contiguous Palestinian state.


The Japan Times.

$30 Million #Bounty Offered for Flight #MH17 Attackers as Ukraine Turmoil Continues


By Olivia Crellin.

Malaysia AirlinesA German company is offering a $30 million bounty for the identities of the individuals responsible for downing Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine this summer.

Pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine are suspected of firing surface-to-air missiles at the civilian aircraft, which crashed July 17 while flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing all 298 people on board. A preliminary report carried out by Dutch investigators said that the crash was the result of structural damage caused by a large number of high-energy objects that struck the Boeing plane from the outside.

Wifka, an independent German fraud investigation company, said that the money — provided by an anonymous client — will not be given away lightly. The reward will only be delivered to someone able to give detailed information on who shot down MH17, who gave the order to shoot down the plane, and who is covering up their tracks, according to Wifka.

“After the terrible assassination or ‘accident,’ all political parties, at home and abroad, said they owed it to the victims, their families and the public to clarify the circumstances of the crash and present evidence for what happened,” the company said in a statement. “None of this has yet been done.”

The list of requirements for the reward also includes information on whether the plane was shot by accident or out of political, economic, or military motivation. The company is also seeking details of the circumstances that led to the incident, the weapon used, and what happened to the people involved.

“The money is securely deposited in Zurich, Switzerland,” Wifka said. “It will be paid there or in a different neutral place of the whistle-blower’s choice.”

The company added that their client has also offered to give the tipster a new identity if necessary.

Concessions to Rebels

Two months exactly from the day of the MH17 crash, Ukraine is still in turmoil. Despite the announcement of a ceasefire 12 days ago, Ukrainian troops have been pushed back on multiple fronts in the last two weeks.

Amnesty offers from President Petro Poroshenko to those who had not committed serious crimes in the east have been largely rejected, and Ukraine’s parliament approved laws Tuesday that give rebels de facto control of parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, a move that has infuriated many protesters and activists.

Vitaly Zhuravsky, an MP who belongs to a party described as pro-Russian, was thrown by angry crowds into a dumpster.

Ukrainian lawmakers did manage to ratify an agreement Tuesday that brings the country closer to joining the European Union. The pact is the same one that former president Viktor Yanukovych backed out of signing last year, leading to the protests that sparked the revolution and ongoing conflict that has so far killed more than 3,000 and displaced 310,000.

“No nation has ever paid such a high price to become Europeans,” Poroshenko said, referring to soldiers killed in the fighting and the early deaths of anti-government protesters.

The agreement would make Ukraine compliant with EU standards in the areas of human rights, security, and arms control. It would also have removed trade barriers, but negotiations with Russia last week led to the postponement of the free-trade aspect of the agreement until 2016.

Poroshenko, a candy magnate-turned-politician who won 54 percent of the vote in the election following Yanukovych’s removal, told an audience of political experts, journalists, and senior European officials gathered in Kiev on September 13 that there could be “no military solution to this conflict.”

Despite the ceasefire, NATO officials said this week that about 1,000 Russian troops remain on Ukrainian soil. Six people were killed by crossfire when rebels attacked Donetsk airport on Sunday.

Seeking More US Aid

A diplomatic solution to the conflict will be undoubtedly be on Poroshenko’s agenda when he arrives Thursday in Washington to address Congress and speak with President Barack Obama. The country’s parliamentary elections are due to be held October 26.

More economic and military aid from the US will also be a topic of discussion, although concerns about corruption, as well as fears about escalating the military conflict with Russia, mean that Poroshenko could leave Washington empty handed.

Paving the way for more government accountability, Ukraine passed a law Tuesday that allows the removal of corrupt officials from their positions. Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk has said that Ukraine will screen roughly 1 million civil servants to root out lingering corruption from the previous regime. The law targets individuals who worked under Yanukovych, as well as former senior members of the Communist Party and KGB.

The US and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have already pledged a total of $60 million in non-lethal aid, which includes food rations, body armor, and communications equipment, plus $17 billion in bailout money. Ukraine’s Central Bank says that the country’s economy may shrink up to 10 percent this year.


VICE News.

Islamic State urges Muslims to kill Australian ‘unbelievers’ #Australia #ISIS


Islamic State has urged Muslims to take action against any country involved in Iraq working against it. Source: AFPIslamic State has urged Muslims to take action against any country involved in Iraq working against it. Source: AFP

AUSTRALIA has received a direct threat from Islamic State fighters in a chilling new video recording, which the government believes is genuine.

The 42-minute propaganda video, which has been circulated on social media, urges Muslims to launch attacks on civilians in a number of countries including France, Australia and Canada, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation News reported.

The audio, which is in Arabic but translated in an 11-page document online, calls on Muslims everywhere to attack anyone involved in the US-led coalition against it.

In the video, which has been uploaded to Twitter, IS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani said Muslims should kill “disbelievers” in countries that support “in any manner” the military action against the group in Iraq.

“If you can kill a disbelieving American or European — especially the spiteful and filthy French — or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State … kill him in any manner or way however it may be,” Adnani is heard saying, according to the translated document.

“Do not ask for anyone’s advice and do not seek anyone’s verdict. Kill the disbeliever whether he is civilian or military, for they have the same ruling.”

He also tells supporters they are “like predatory warriors” who “face death bare chests”.

Australia is mentioned three times throughout the translated document including the line where he asks followers why Australia is getting involved in Iraq.

“What threat do you pose to the distant place of Australia for it to send its legions towards you?”

The audio threat mirrors earlier threats issued by IS, also known as ISIS and ISIL, which warned that it planned to kill American journalists James Foley and Stephen Sotloff as well as British aid worker David Haines.

In a statement given to news.com.au, a spokesman for Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Australian agencies regarded the statement issued by IS calling for attacks against members of the international coalition, including Australians, as genuine.

The spokesman said the statement and planned attacks thwarted by security agencies last week supported the government’s strong action to date.

“We are giving our law enforcement and security agencies the resources and legislative powers they need to keep Australia and Australians as safe as possible,” he said.

“We have already provided more than $630 million to boost the counterterrorism capacity of the Australian Federal Police, ASIO, ASIS, Customs and Border Protection and other agencies.

“We are also updating counterterrorism legislation to strengthen our agencies’ capability to prevent and disrupt domestic security threats and we are preparing to contribute to international efforts to disrupt and degrade ISIL terrorists.”

He added that Australia had been a target of terrorist organisations in the past, including from al-Qaeda and its offshoots, “because we are free, pluralist, tolerant, welcoming and accepting”.

“ISIL will claim that our involvement in this international effort is the reason they are targeting us, but these people do not attack us for what we do, but for who we are and how we live,” he said.

The emergence of the latest video comes as Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott today delivered a tough security statement to parliament, revealing terrorists had been urging attacks against Australian targets for months.

Mr Abbott told Parliament that the major anti-terrorist raids across Sydney and Brisbane last week disrupted an Islamic State plot to stage a shocking execution on home soil.

He also said the government was aware of at least 60 “misguided and alienated Australians” fighting with terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq, and of at least 100 Australians who are supporting them.

The video also raised alarm bells in Canada.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s spokesman told the CBC that he condemned the recording and that his country would continue to support efforts to defeat IS.


News.com.au.

#Putin Considers Forming Alliance to Fight Islamic State Terrorists #ISIS


Reuters.
Women carry a banner reading Women carry a banner reading “Murderer Islamic State” during a protest against Islamic State (IS) militant attacks on Syrian Kurds, in Istanbul Sept. 21, 2014. Murad Sezer / Reuters

President Vladimir Putin discussed with his Security Council on Monday potential cooperation with other countries on fighting against Islamic State, Russian news agencies cited the Kremlin’s spokesman as saying.

Russia, whose ties with Washington are at their lowest since the end of the Cold War, has not yet responded to calls from the United States to build an international coalition to destroy the radical Sunni Muslim group, which has seized swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria.

“Permanent members of the Security Council exchanged opinions on possible forms of cooperation with other partners on a plan to counter Islamic State in the framework of international law,” Interfax quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying.

He did not say who the other partners were.

Islamic State could potentially threaten Moscow as it includes in its ranks a number of Muslims from Russia’s North Caucasus region, who have been waging their own insurgency in the mountainous region following two wars between Moscow and separatists in Chechnya in 1994-96 and 1999-2000.

U.S. and French warplanes have struck Islamic State targets in Iraq and on Sunday the United States said other countries had indicated a willingness to join it if it goes ahead with air strikes against the group in Syria too.

 

The Moscow Times.

Islamic State tells followers to attack U.S., French citizens. #ISIS


by Asian Desk.
Coalition fighter jetsIslamic State urged its followers on Monday to attack citizens of the United States, France and other countries which have joined a coalition to destroy the militant group.

Islamic State spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani also taunted U.S. President Barack Obama and other Western “crusaders” in a statement carried by the SITE monitoring website, saying their forces faced inevitable defeat at the militants’ hands. The United States is building an international coalition to combat the radical Sunni Muslim group, which has seized swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria and proclaimed a caliphate in the heart of the Middle East.

U.S. and French warplanes have struck Islamic State targets in Iraq and on Sunday the United States said other countries had indicated a willingness to join it if it goes ahead with air strikes against the group in Syria too.

Adnani said the military intervention by the U.S.-led coalition would be the “final campaign of the crusaders”, according to the transcript published by SITE. “It will be broken and defeated, just as all your previous campaigns were broken and defeated,” he said in the statement, which urged followers to attack U.S., French, Canadian, Australian and other nationals. Obama has authorised airstrikes in Syria aimed at denying Islamic State fighters safe havens there. Washington has also committed $500 million to arm and train Syrian rebels and has sent 1,600 U.S. troops back into Iraq to fight the group..

In his statement, Adnani mocked Western leaders over their deepening military engagement in the region and said Obama was repeating the mistakes of his predecessor, George W. Bush. “If you fight it (Islamic State), it becomes stronger and tougher. If you leave it alone, it grows and expands. If Obama has promised you with defeating the Islamic State, then Bush has also lied before him,” Adnani said, according to the transcript.

Addressing Obama directly, Adnani added: “O mule of the Jews, you claimed today that America would not be drawn into a war on the ground. No, it will be drawn and dragged. It will come down to the ground and it will be led to its death, grave and destruction.” Obama, who has spent much of his tenure extracting the United States from Iraq after its costly 2003 invasion and occupation, is sensitive to charges that he is being drawn into another long campaign that risks U.S. soldiers’ lives.

While Obama has ruled out a combat mission, military officials say the reality of a protracted campaign in Iraq and possibly Syria may ultimately require greater use of U.S. troops, including tactical air strike spotters or front-line advisers embedded with Iraqi forces.


The Oslo Times.