Henry Kissinger, the most famous living practitioner of international statecraft
Photo: Hamza Mohamed, Al-Shabaab fighters
Al Shabaab militants captured a town in Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region on Thursday, a senior official said, and the group said it had killed at least 61 soldiers in the fighting.
“Al Shabaab attacked Af Urur town this morning. There were few soldiers there and thus al Shabaab captured the town. It is difficult to know the casualties because the telecommunications were cut off,” Bari region governor Yusuf Mohamed told Reuters.
The al Qaeda-linked group said it had also killed 61 soldiers after over-running a military base in the town.
“The number could rise since the operation is still underway,” Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s military spokesman said in a statement.
Musab said their fighters had also seized weapons and vehicles from the base.
Al Shabaab’s insurgency aims to drive out African Union peacekeepers, topple Somalia’s Western-backed government and impose its strict version of Islam on the Horn of Africa state.
Reconstructed wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, AP Photo/Peter Dejong
Russia’s top diplomat noted that the Dutch-led investigation team has not included representatives from Malaysia, which owned the aircraft
KALININGRAD, June 6. /TASS/. The Dutch-led investigation into the MH17 disaster in July 2014 in Donbass is not transparent, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday
“Transparency is required here, and we do not see it in the investigation led by the Netherlands,” Lavrov emphasized. “Certainly, there is the need for transparency that will demonstrate facts rather than conclusions, like those used by the United States now to “prove” things that cannot be proven.”
Lavrov recalled that shortly after the crash, Russia initiated the investigation which should be carried out in line with the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation and by experts of the International Civil Aviation Organization, or at least with its direct participation.”
“We backed the UN Security Council’s Resolution calling for an unbiased investigation in line with international rules and charged the UN Secretary-General to report to the UNSC on the course of the investigation and its results,” the foreign minister explained. “After the resolution was passed in July 2014, not a single report has been submitted to the UN Security Council.”
Russia’s top diplomat noted that the Dutch-led investigation team has not included representatives from Malaysia, which owned the aircraft.
Lavrov stressed that self-defense militias of Donbass had ensured investigators’ access to the crash scene. “By the way, the militias found the “black boxes” and despite strong suspicions that they would manipulate them they handed them over to the investigators safe and sound.”
“Many interesting events occurred later, which were inconsistent with the traditional rules of investigation of crashes of this kind,” he said. “A significant number of debris and belongings, and as was found out later, the bodies were left unattended at the crash scene. The investigators left this scene. After a long time, they started saying that they need to collect everything that remained there… Those who keep track of this and want to establish the truth know everything.”
Russia has offered its assistance in the investigation many times, Lavrov noted. The Russian defense manufacturer Almaz-Antey said it had obtained the so-called primary unprocessed radar images of the airspace in the area of the Boeing’s crash from one of its enterprises. This data was transferred to Russia’s qualified agencies for examination and in late October 2016 they were sent to the Dutch side.
However, the investigators remained cool towards Russia’s offer, Lavrov said. “It is difficult for me to understand why, only if the investigators had some objective that had been set beforehand.”
The Malaysia Airlines Boeing-777 passenger airliner on a flight from the Dutch capital of Amsterdam to the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur crashed in the area of hostilities between local militias and Kiev’s government troops in east Ukraine’s Donetsk region in July 2014. All 298 people aboard the airliner died in the catastrophe. Most of the air crash’s victims were Dutch nationals.
BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:11 P.M.) – The Turkish government has decided to send troops to Qatar. The looming decision was fast tracked, after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain pressured Qatar with allegations of terrorism support and cut their ties with the small Emirate.
According to the Reuters news agency with today’s positive parliamentary vote on the issue, Turkey is set to station its troops in Qatar and will provide combat training to Qatari forces. In consequence Qatar, which also hosts the US Central Command and 10.000 US troops at the Al-Udeid base, will now have forces of NATO’s military wise two biggest members stationed on its territory.
With this audacious move of Turkey a further escalation of the dispute between Qatar and its opposing coalition into an open conflict has become unlikely. How far, if at all, the US would have supported the Emirate was questionable, as officials have sent mixed signals.
While the US Defense Department avoided to answer the question, whether Qatar was a host of terrorist groups, it emphasized Qatar’s “enduring committment to regional security” and encouraged “all the parties involved to work together.” US President Donald Trump on the other hand signalled approval of the front against Qatar via Twitter.
“So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off. They said they would take a hard line on funding … extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!”, two tweets of the President read.
Last month during his first trip abroad, Trump met with members of the GCC in Saudi Arabia and signed a weapons delivery deal with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) worth 110 billion US Dollar, the single biggest US arms deal ever, which Trump said, would enable “Saudi military to take a greater role in security operations.” In a speech the next day he described the KSA as having taken leadership in the regions’ fight against terrorism and singled out Iran as the major host of terrorism, that needs to be challenged.
Saudi Arabia and Qatar, both came to extreme wealth due to the nations vast natural resources like oil and gas and are also infamous for pouring financial support over a wide array of extremist groups throughout the Middle East including the Islamic State. For example former US State Secretary Hillary Clinton stated in a leaked e-mail published by Wikileaks, that “Qatar and Saudi Arabia […] are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region.”
Therefore terrorism support in general can be ruled out as the reason for the coalition around Saudi Arabia to confront Qatar. But peculiarly Qatar’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood sets it aside and is also shielding it from influence of the extreme Sunni confession of Wahhabism which predominant in Saudi Arabia and a major pillar of the Kingdom’s power structure.
Other nations in the region, consider the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) a threat. Traditionally this is the case in Syria, where the Muslim Brotherhood is also involved in the latest conflict. But the MB is very active in Egypt too, where it successfully overthrew then President Husni Mubarak in a widespread uprising in 2011, also popularized with the help of the Qatari owned tv-network Al-Jazeera.
Following the event Mohamed Morsi, a member of the MB, was elected President and ruled until in 2013 another round of protests resulted in a military coup and his ousting. But Qatar’s support for the MB is just one, though important, aspect exemplifying policy differences of the region’s states, due to their natural rivalry for influence.
Among the state’s confronting Qatar there are also tensions. For instance between the UAE and the KSA though allied against the Houthis in Yemen a major rift has shown. Groups affiliated with the UAE formed an autonomously ruled region in southern Yemen, despite KSA’s efforts to reinstall Yemen’s ousted President Hadi as the countries’ ruler.
But unlike the states now pressuring Qatar, the Emirate has and fosters good relations with Iran. Qatar, the world’s biggest supplier of liquified natural gas shares a major gas-field in the Gulf with Iran and has cast for itself the role of a soft power and neutral mediator between competitors in the Middle East. This stance of course collides with the vision of a coalition against Iran, promoted by Trump and embraced by the KSA and Bahrain, for which Iran is a nemesis to tackle.
The animosities are also based in religious differences, as Iran’s state religion is Shia Islam. Therefore in Bahrain the government fears Iran’s influence on the dissatisfied mostly Shia population. In the KSA Shiites constitute the majority in the countries’ oil rich east and are of course in a perpetual conflict with the state’s fostering of Wahhabism, which despises Shiites apostates.
Turkey on the other hand, has recently started a rapprochement with Iran and currently deepens it’s trade ties with the country. The two nations, supporting opposing parties in the Syrian conflict, on May 4 also agreed together with Russia, to implement de-escalation zones in Syria, which could prove as a first step to end the 6 years old conflict.
Turkey despite being a NATO member, has seen it’s relations to many Western NATO members including the US rapidly deteriorate in recent years. Especially with the failed military coup in Turkey last year. Turkish President Erdogan in a speech broadcasted on live-tv accused the West of orchestrating the coup: “This coup attempt has actors inside Turkey, but it was written outside. Unfortunately the West is supporting terrorism and stands by coup plotters.”
Turkey also has strong ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and in an interview with the Saudi owned Al-Arabiya news network in February Erdogan defended the MB against US pressure: “it is not an armed group, but is in actual fact an ideological organisation […] there would be no tolerance for the Muslim Brotherhood in Turkey, if they had anything to do with terrorism, and we have not seen or observed any action that indicates this.”
Now according to Al-Jazeera Turkey together with Iran is also negotiating with Qatar about food and water supplies to the Emirate. Egypt, the KSA, the UAE and Bahrain have in addition to severing diplomatic ties with Qatar also set up a total blockade of travel and trade with the Emirate, endangering ending their supplies to it and impeding Qatar’s gas shipments.
As we reported earlier today Iraq was also fast to react and send troops to reenforce it’s border region with Saudi Arabia.
Below is a map of the region also detailing gas and oil fields as well as the respective area’s predominant religious affiliation, done by Persian Gulf Studies, for better orientation:
Photo: VOA, (file photo)
By Abdulkareem Haruna
At least ten persons have been confirmed dead and as much as 40 injured as Boko Haram suicide bombers staged multiple attacks targeting mosques where Muslim worshippers were praying on Wednesday night, witnesses said.
The attack occurred while soldiers were battling to repel another horde of Boko Haram insurgents who were trying to invade the city via the southern flank.
PREMIUM TIMES reported the attack on the Jiddari Polo area of the city, with the army saying it repelled the attackers ‘neutralising’ many of them.
Several residents in the Jiddari Polo area fled their homes during the attack, but were later asked to return by the army.
While the army may have repelled the Boko Haram in Jiddari Polo, the terror group appears to have succeeded at the Maiduguri-Gamboru, which lies on the eastern axis of the city. Boko Haram insurgents armed with deadly explosives found their way into different mosques in that area and detonated themselves while scores of Muslims congregated to observe Ramadan night prayers.
The total casualty has not been officially provided, but residents said about a dozen corpses were evacuated by rescue officials.
Abba Shehu, a private security personnel in Maiduguri, said he could not count the number of injured that were dumped on the corridors of the already filled accident and emergency ward of the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital when he visited Thursday morning.
“It is a horrible sight we have here”, he said.
“I could not count the number of injured casualties at the accident and emergency ward; most of them sitting on the floor as the place is crowded and no bed to properly admit them.
“The incident happened at a mosque located opposite the Chad Basin Development Authority headquarters, where my parents live. When I had about the blast and I could not reach my parents, I had to rush down to the hospital to see those affected”.
A witness who lives at the Chad Basin Development Authority (CBDA) quarters, Alhaji Bashir, said there were four suicide attacks that occurred in different locations around the CBDA headquarters.
“The incident happened at about some minutes to 9 p.m. when we were about to round up the prayers”, he said.
“Suicide bombers came to our area and attacked four locations; one was a mosque opposite Chad Basin, one inside the Lake Chad Research Institute, another one inside the CBDA and one at Goni-Kachallari opposite the College of Agriculture.
“The injured casualty that we have now at the Teaching Hospital was about 37 persons from the four different location. About six persons were confirmed dead”.
He said the suicide bomber that attacked the CBDA quarters came at about some 8:45 p.m. and was sighted by the youth guarding the worshippers as he was walking quickly towards the mosque.
“The boys sighted him rushing to invade the worshippers, and one of the youth vigilante rushed to hold him.
“The bomb went off killing the suicide bomber and three other persons. That of the opposite Chad Basin came to a gathering of people at Coffee Vendor’s and detonated him. The explosion killed the bomber and affected a mosque and shops in the area.
“At the Lake Chad Research Institute, the suicide bomber invaded the quarters but met most of the houses locked up, so he managed to attack a house and killed himself and one other person. The one that occurred opposite the College happened as worshippers ended their prayers and were leaving, when a female suicide bomber went in to their midst and detonated the bomb, which killed her and one other person; many were also injured”, he said.
Boko Haram insurgents often use diversionary tactics like attempting to enter Maiduguri in large numbers in order to allow deadly suicide bombers sneak into the civilian population area to cause harm.
THE JIDDARI POLO INVASION
The Wednesday night attack on Jiddari Polo area started at about the time the majority Muslim residents were about to break their Ramadan fast.
Residents could not settle down for their meals as deafening sounds of shooting and bombs rented the air forcing dwellers of the suburbs at the outskirts of the town to flee into the city.
A witness, Yunusa Garba, informed PREMIUM TIMES on phone that his home was close to the major fighting point between soldiers and the insurgents.
“As I am talking to you, our neighborhood, which is not far away from the locations where the shooting was is filled with people that had to flee their communities as the Boko Haram arrived. They are all here, women aged men and children, all roaming the streets”.
He said some of the dislodged residents in the villages had earlier in the day alerted some security officials about a large assemblage of Boko Haram gunmen at a village named Alidawari, not more than 5km from Maiduguri.
“A report was taken to the security about the Boko Haram gathering at about 3 p.m., but nothing was done to that effect”, he said.
“But it was about three hours later that we learnt that the gunmen had attacked some of the small villages and chased all residents away. Most of the displaced residents made it to Maiduguri on foot”.
The Borno governor, Kashim Shettima, later visited the displaced persons on Wednesday night.
The attack on Alidawari, would be the first major assault by Boko Haram on Maiduguri in a very long time.
Security officials contacted by PREMIUM TIMES said it was too early to give a detailed account of what happened.
Th Borno State police spokesperson, Victor Isukwu, confirmed the incidents but was not forthcoming with details.
Russian President Vladimir Putin answers a question at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in St.Petersburg, Russia, Friday, June 2, 2017. Dmitry Lovetsky/AP
Russian President Putin also says that U.S. intel agencies may have faked evidence of hacking; says won’t judge Trump for leaving Paris accord.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said U.S. officials blaming Russia of interfence in the U.S. election to help Donald Trump become president “reminds me of anti-Semitism and blaming the Jews. This is disinformation.
He made the comments to NBC News’ Megyn Kelly’ who moderated a panel at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday.
(For embedded video go to Source)