How baby powder is helping to fund ISIS in Afghanistan

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

ISIS fighters in Afghanistan are making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year from illegal mining of talc, much of which ends up in the United States and Europe, advocacy group Global Witness reported on Tuesday.About 500,000 tonnes of talc, used in products ranging from paint to baby powder, were exported from Afghanistan in the year to March, according to Afghan mining ministry figures cited in the group's report.Almost all went to Pakistan, where much of it is re-exported. Pakistan provides ...

ISIS attack in Syria desert kills 26 pro-regime forces

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

More than two dozen pro-government forces based in Syria’s desert died in a surprise ISIS attack Tuesday, a day after the extremists’ ouster from the outskirts of Damascus, a monitor said. “At least 26 regime soldiers and allied forces were killed in an ISIS attack at dawn today, against one of their posts in the Syrian Badiya,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Among them were Iranian militiamen, said the Britain-based monitor. The Badiya is a vast desert ...

Iraq court sentences Belgian militant to death for ISIS membership

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

An Iraqi court on Tuesday sentenced a Belgian militant, who threatened Europe in propaganda videos, to death by hanging for membership of ISIS, an AFP journalist reported. Tarik Jadaoun -- known by his nom de guerre Abu Hamza al-Beljiki -- earlier pleaded not guilty to a range of terror, insisting he had “got lost” and pleading for mercy. Born in 1988, Jadaoun -- who was captured in ex-ISIS bastion Mosul in August -- appeared before the Baghdad court dressed in a beige prison uniform ...

Saudi Arabia strongly condemns attack on church in Russia’s Chechnya republic

Monday, 21 May 2018

Saudi Arabia has strongly condemned the armed attack on a church in the Russian republic of Chechnya that resulted in the killing of a number of people, an official source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.“The source also offered the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s condolences and sympathies to the families of the victims and to the Government and the people of the Russian Federation, stressing the Kingdom’s absolute rejection of all forms of violence, extremism and ...

Syrian army resumes offensive in south Damascus

Monday, 21 May 2018

The Syrian army resumed its offensive against ISIS militants in south Damascus on Monday after a short ceasefire to allow women, children and old people leave, state television said. The Syrian army and its allies have been battling for weeks to recapture the tiny ISIS enclave, the last area outside government control in or around the capital. State television broadcast footage of the shattered area and said air strikes “were targeting the last terrorist remnants” in the area after ...

Second batch of ISIS militants leave final Damascus stronghold

Monday, 21 May 2018

A second batch of ISIS fighters left their final Damascus stronghold overnight, a monitor said Monday, bringing the Syrian regime closer to a major milestone.The government has so far not confirmed any deal with ISIS but a military source quoted by the official SANA news agency said a brief ceasefire was being observed to allow for the evacuation of civilians.Yarmouk is the last Damascus district to escape government control and its full evacuation would bring the entire capital and its ...

First ISIS fighters evacuate south Damascus around Yarmouk Camp

Sunday, 20 May 2018

A first batch of Islamic State group fighters left their final stronghold in Syria’s capital early Sunday under a deal struck after weeks of fierce combat, a monitor said. “At dawn, six buses of ISIS fighters and their relatives left the Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp and adjacent district of Tadamun,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Abdel Rahman said the buses headed east for Syria’s vast desert, where ISIS still ...

ISIS posters threaten Messi, Ronaldo beheadings at Russia World Cup

Friday, 18 May 2018

The Russian website RT has reported that ISIS threatened to behead football superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi at the Russia 2018 World Cup using doctored posters. The images, released on encrypted messaging channel Telegram, graphically depict masked terrorists kneeling on the two superstars’ backs and slicing at their necks with blades amid a packed stadium. The 2018 FIFA World Cup tournament will be held in 12 stadiums located across 11 host cities. Another poster shows a ...

As former US foe gains, Mattis ‘stands with’ Iraq election result

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Tuesday he stands by Iraqis’ electoral choices, despite the surprise success of populist Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr -- who fought US troops during the Iraq War. Sadr’s gains have called into question the presence of US forces in Iraq, where more than 5,000 troops are indefinitely deployed to prevent a resurgence of ISIS. “The Iraqi people had an election. It’s a democratic process at a time when people, many people doubted that Iraq ...

Iraqis’ chance to regain their country

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

It is not about the name of the Iraqi prime minister, despite its importance. It is about the Iraqi State itself, and its ability to reassemble its components, treat its cracks and heal its wounds… its ability to revive its decision-making within its borders and to consolidate the march towards making Iraq a normal state at home and abroad.It is not about the prime minister’s name in Lebanon. It is firstly about the Lebanese State itself, and its capacity to recover relations ...

Ghassan Charbel

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