MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australian police have charged three men with committing terrorist acts on suspicion of starting fires at a Shiite Muslim mosque in Melbourne last year, inspired by Islamic State and intending to divide the Muslim community.
Two of the men are already in custody and awaiting trial on suspicion of plotting bomb attacks in Australia’s second largest city last year, while a third – a 29-year-old Melbourne man – was arrested late on Saturday.
All three face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment over the arson attack at the Imam Ali Islamic Centre in December 2016.
A military offensive targeting the capital of the Islamic State’s self-declared “caliphate” is paying dividends, with Brett McGurk—US special envoy for the coalition against the Islamic State—revealing that about 45% of Raqqa has been recaptured. “Today, [the Islamic State] is fighting for every last block…and fighting for its own survival,” he affirmed. “They most likely will die there.”
The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces—mainly compromised of Kurdish militias known as YPG—launched an operation on June 6 to liberate Raqqa, which was seized by Islamic State in 2014. The loss of its “headquarters” would be a second consecutive major setback for the jihadist group, which was driven from its Iraqi bastion of Mosul last month.
GENEVA (AFP) – The UN voiced alarm Friday at rising threats against civilians in Mosul suspected of ties to the Islamic State group as Iraqi forces battle to retake the city from the jihadists.
Iraqi forces are continuing their offensive into the last areas of the city seized in 2014 by IS, which imposed brutal rule on the inhabitants.
“As Mosul is increasingly liberated from ISIL, we are seeing an alarming rise in threats, specifically of forced evictions, against those suspected of being ISIL members or whose relatives are alleged to be involved with ISIL,” said UN rights office spokesman Rupert Colville, using another acronym for IS.
He said “hundreds of families have been threatened with forced displacement and such developments are extremely worrying.”
I suspect this is tribal score settling, sectarian revenge, our “allies” are little better than than the barbarians we oppose.
A Shiite Crescent running from Iran through Syria and to the Mediterranean would be bad for Sunni powers and Western democracies.
The U.S. shoots down a Syrian fighter-bomber. Iran launches missiles into eastern Syria. Russia threatens to attack coalition aircraft west of the Euphrates. What is going on? It might appear a mindless mess, but the outlines are clear.
The great Muslim civil war, centered in Syria, is approaching its post–Islamic State phase. It’s the end of the beginning. The parties are maneuvering to shape what comes next.
Battle of Chaldiran
Western politicians rarely acknowledge the schism between Shia and Sunni Islam. There is nothing remotely comparable to this schism in any other religion in the modern world.
The Sunni-Shia conflict defines the political structure of the Middle East, from the international rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia to the internal politics of Muslim nations. And yet, Western politicians, eager to portray Islam as a “religion of peace,” speak of Muslims as homogenous.
At the hard core of political correctness, Islam is treated more like a race than a religion, a monolithic ethnic bloc like “Hispanics” or “Asians.” Both of those groups are, in turn, diverse populations absurdly squeezed into monoliths for the convenience of left-wing political strategists.
Sunni vs. Shia civil war in Malmo Sweden.
Sweden’s security police (Säpo) want the suspect in a terror trial related to a fire at a community centre in Malmö last year to be deported, as they consider him a security risk.
The 30-year-old Syrian man is accused of terror offences for a fire which caused smoke damage to a Shia Muslim community centre in October. In a detention hearing at the end of the man’s trial on
April 7th the judge ruled that there was no longer any need to keep him in custody, pending the final judgement in the case.
But the man’s freedom didn’t last long: security police Säpo detained him immediately afterwards. According to newspaper Sydsvenskan, it has now emerged that Säpo opened a case under Sweden’s Act on Foreign Immigration Control arguing that they believe there is evidence he has links with Isis and should therefore have his residence permit revoked.
2016 was a tough year for the Palestinians. It was tough not only for those Palestinians living in the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority (PA) regime, or the Gaza Strip under Hamas. When Westerners hear about the “plight” and “suffering” of Palestinians, they instantly assume that the talk is about those living in the West Bank or Gaza Strip. Rarely does the international community hear about what is happening to Palestinians in the Arab countries. This lapse doubtless exists because the misery of Palestinians in the Arab countries is difficult to pin on Israel.
Officially, the Shiite militias are under presidential control, the Iranian clients are behaving themselves, the Sunnis and Kurds are being respected… officially.
ERBIL, Iraq—Two injured Iraqi soldiers stretched on hospital beds were still in their uniforms, a haphazard mix of mismatched camouflage in the military ward of a hospital north of Mosul. The walls were peach-colored, as if painted for some other kind of place. The tang of antiseptic hung in the air.
Another soldier was in a wheelchair, his lower half covered in a heavy multicolored blanket.
A young mother has been gunned down in the street as her six-year-old son watched from inside their car in Bahrain.
Eman Salehi, a 28-year-old Shiite woman, worked as a sports journalist for Bahrain’s state-run television broadcaster.
She was known for her piercing blue eyes and friendly demeanor. It’s unclear what sparked the December 23 shooting.
Possibly linked to Bahrain’s Sunni – Shia conflict?
The family of Ali Amin Abdullah make unlikely Islamic State supporters – not least because they are from the Shia sect, despised and persecuted by the jihadi militants. In order to survive for two years under the self-proclaimed caliphate in Mosul, however, they did what it took to avoid persecution and likely death at the hands of Isis fighters: they pretended to be Sunni.
For Abdullah, who was repeatedly threatened by gun-wielding militants who were suspicious about his true denomination, this meant more than just words: he signed on for classes at a local Isis-linked religious institute. But his subterfuge proved so successful that, when newly arrived Iraqi government troops came to the family’s home in early November, they accused him and his relatives of collaboration.
After four long and bloody years and countless lives, the battle for the beleaguered city of Aleppo appeared to finally be over on Tuesday.
The rebels, who had fought fiercely for Syria’s second city since seizing control in 2012, in the end agreed to surrender in return for amnesty and the evacuation of remaining civilians.
Under a deal brokered by Russia, which backs the Bashar al-Assad regime, and Turkey, which supports the opposition, those left will be sent to rebel-held countryside outside Aleppo.
A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced 15 people to death for spying for Iran.
They were among 32 people – comprising 30 members of the kingdom’s Shia Muslim minority, an Iranian national and an Afghan – put on trial in February.
Prosecutors accused them of treason, setting up a spy ring in collaboration with Iranian intelligence, and passing about sensitive data on military zones.
Tensions between Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia and Shia-led Iran have escalated in the past year.
In early June, two Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias under the nominal control of the Iraqi government stormed into an Iraqi military airbase north of Baghdad. Driving armored vehicles and wielding rocket launchers, they took over a building on the base.
The Iraqi commander at the base, near the town of Balad, asked the militiamen to leave. But the men ignored him as well as orders from the central government in Baghdad, according to two army officers in the Salahuddin Operation Command, the regional military headquarters.
The June standoff grounded four Iraqi F-16 fighter jets and pushed more than a dozen U.S. contractors – there to help local pilots bomb Islamic State militants – to flee, according to the army officers and an Iraqi military intelligence source.
It also underscored one of the biggest challenges ahead for Iraq.
State-sponsored hackers have conducted a series of destructive attacks on Saudi Arabia over the last two weeks, erasing data and wreaking havoc in the computer banks of the agency running the country’s airports and hitting five additional targets, according to two people familiar with an investigation into the breach.
Saudi Arabia said after inquiries from Bloomberg News that “several” government agencies were targeted in attacks that came from outside the kingdom, according to state media. No further details were provided.
Although a probe by Saudi authorities is still in its early stages, the people said digital evidence suggests the attacks emanated from Iran. That could present President-elect Donald Trump with a major national security challenge as he steps into the Oval Office.
A challenge to Trump? Let Saudi and Iran fight it out, it’s a win-win.
At least 27 people have been killed in a suspected suicide attack at a mosque in the Afghan capital, according to officials in Kabul.
An estimated 35 people were also injured but survived after the blast during the Baqirul Olum mosque ceremony in the west of the city on Monday.
Worshippers were marking the Shia ceremony of Arbaeen, which commemorates the assassinated grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, and which comes 40 days after the major Ashura festival.