#AceNewsServices (Opinion) – October 14 – Embattled governments in Iraq and Syria have come to rely on Shiite militias as their armies have crumbled in the face of mostly Sunni insurgents and rebels.
In Libya, various armed groups loosely allied with two rival governments have fought over bullet-riddled airports.
Shiite rebels in Yemen have swept down from the north, capturing the capital and, on Tuesday, a key port city.
The chaos unleashed by the Arab Spring has led to the rise of powerful militias – including many Islamic extremist groups – across a Middle East where many central governments have been exposed as weak.
Some of the groups are allied with the governments, while others are fighting to topple them.
Some – like the Kurdish peshmerga in northern Iraq – are seen as vital allies for the West.
All could prove to be major obstacles to peace or stability in the region.
#AceNewsServices – October 06 – An alleged policy plan of the Islamic State outlines some chilling, if unrealistic, plots of the would-be terrorist state, including bribing Russia with access to oilfields in exchange for nuclear technology, and digging a canal across the UAE.
The document reported by Britain’s Sunday Times is believed to have been written by Abdullah Ahmed Meshedani, a member of the highly secretive six-man war cabinet of the terrorist group, which wants to build an Islamist state, or caliphate, in parts of Iraq and Syria.
It was captured by Iraqi special forces during a March raid on the home of a senior Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) member and confirmed as authentic by Western security officials.
The 70-point plan provides an insight into the grandiose, if somewhat far-fetched, strategy aimed at undermining Shiites in the Arab world and Iran as that branch of Islam’s powerhouse nation.
One of the goals listed in the documents is to offer Russia access to oilfields in Iraq’s Anbar province in exchange for Moscow severing ties with Tehran and sharing secret nuclear technology known to Iran with the IS.
The bribe is also meant to convince the Russian government to stop supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad and ally with Sunni states of the Arab Gulf in their confrontation with Iran and Syria.
A security source familiar with the document told the newspaper, “Nothing shocks Western governments these days in relation to ISIS and its fanatical aspirations.
“We have known and feared for some time that they want to obtain chemical and nuclear weapons… So when you place their future aspirations against their current achievements, this document which purports to be the group’s manifesto does stop and make you think.”
Another bizarre plan to undermine Iran’s power-base involves building a canal across the United Arab Emirates “like the Panama Canal in America’s hands,” which would allow oil tankers travel to and from the Persian Gulf, bypassing the Iran-controlled Strait of Hormuz, the newspaper reports.
Sources: The Sunday Times – RT – AP
#AceWorldNews – July 03 – Sunni ISIS jihadists are recruiting children as young as 10 years old to fight for an Islamic state in Iraq and Syria. While there are boys who voluntarily join the ISIS, there are many more who are being forced to fight for jihad.
A 10-year old boy called Abdullah is the youngest known volunteer fighting with the ISIS in Iraq’s Mosul, according to The Daily Beast. It describes the moment of Abdullah casually walking into a local grocery store. This would be a common picture, except that the boy was masked and had a heavy machine gun, “about as big as him.”
Abdullah is reportedly hopeful about the prospects for the ISIS.
“We believe they will conquer all of Iraq and Persia and that they will liberate Jerusalem,” a gunman, who the news website assumed was responsible for the boy, said. “They have a dream and their dream is to establish an Islamic state.”
ISIS that has seized large parts of northern Iraq is, according to different estimates, between 7,000 to 10,000 fighters.
(ITN Reported 25 June 2014 ) – Gun-toting children paraded through the streets of Mosul in Iraq yesterday. An ITV News video shows an ISIS convoy travelling through the city, with the militants showing off the weapons and vehicle they seized as the Iraqi army fled.
The footage shows two small boys, one armed with an assault rifle, which has a telescopic sight attached. Humans Rights Watch says that in Syria, ISIS has already recruited young children as ‘snipers’ – this could be an indication that the Iraq conflict may see the same.
Extremist Islamist groups like ISIS are said to have targeted children for recruitment by providing military training in school settings through free schooling campaigns, that include weapons training and giving them dangerous tasks, including suicide bombing missions.
Human Rights Watch who have interviewed children who fought with groups such as the Free Syrian Army, the Islamic Front coalition and ISIS, says the militants have used children as young as 14 in support roles. Report by Claire Lomas.
HRW – The 31-page HRW report titled "Maybe We live and Maybe We Die" also documents the experiences of 25 children and former child soldiers in Syria’s armed conflict.
The rights group interviewed children who fought with the Free Syrian Army; the Islamic Front coalition; the extremist groups ISIS and al-Nusra Front; as well as the military and police forces in Kurdish-controlled areas.
Some of them fought in battles, acting as snipers, manning checkpoints, spying on hostile forces, treating the wounded on battlefields and ferrying ammunition and other supplies to front lines while fighting raged, our children die!
#AceWorldNews – IRAQ (Baghdad) – June 27 – The Iraq crisis escalated Friday a U.S. official confirmed to CNN that armed American drones started flying over Baghdad in the previous 24 hours to provide additional protection for 180 U.S. military advisers in the area.
Until now, U.S. officials had said all drone reconnaissance flights over Iraq were unarmed.
Using the drones for any offensive strikes against insurgent Islamic State in Iraq and Syria fighters would continue to require approval from U.S. President Barack Obama.
The news came on the same day that Human Rights Watch said two mass graves believed to contain the bodies of Iraqi soldiers, police and civilians killed by the Sunni ISIS fighters and their militant allies have been discovered in Saddam Hussein’s home-town of Tikrit.
Claims of atrocities by both sides have increased as the conflict widens in Iraq.
#AceBreakingNews – UNITED STATES (Washington) – June 19 – President Obama announced Thursday that the United States, will send up to 300 military advisers to Iraq to help the government there develop plans for responding to a Sunni insurgency that has captured large swaths of the country.
Obama has said U.S. troops will not be on the ground in Iraq, but he is considering “targeted military action” – air-strikes – “when and if” it becomes appropriate.
#AceNewsServices – IRAN (Tehran) – June 18 – Iran‘s president vowed on Wednesday to defend Shi’ite holy sites in Iraq, where Sunni militants battled their way into the biggest oil refinery in what is rapidly turning into a sectarian war across the frontiers of the Middle East.
Sunni fighters were in control of three quarters of the territory of the Baiji refinery north of Baghdad, an official said there, after a morning of heavy fighting at gates defended by elite troops under siege for a week.
A lightning advance has seen Sunni fighters rout the Shi’ite-led government’s army and seize the main cities across the north of the country since last week.
The fighters are led by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant which aims to build a caliphate ruled on mediaeval precepts, but also include a broad spectrum of more moderate Sunnis furious at what they see as oppression by Baghdad.
Washington and other Western capitals are trying to save Iraq as a united country by leaning hard on Shi’ite Prime Minister to reach out to Sunnis. Maliki met Sunni and Kurdish political opponents overnight, concluding with a frosty, carefully-staged joint appearance at which an appeal for national unity was read out.
But so far Maliki’s government has relied almost entirely on his fellow Shi’ites for support, with officials lashing out at Sunni political leaders as traitors.
Extra-legal Shi’ite militia – many believed to be funded and backed by Iran – have mobilized to halt the Sunni advance, as Baghdad’s million-strong army, built by the United States at a cost of $25 billion, crumbles.
#AceWorldNews – IRAQ (Ramadi) – Militants have stormed a university in the Iraqi city of Ramadi, briefly taking dozens of students and staff hostage before retreating under fire.
At least two people died in the attack, but officials said security forces were now back in control of the campus.
(The militants were said to be from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant)
Saturday’s attack was the third major assault by insurgents in as many days following raids on Mosul in the north and the central city of Samarra.
Police said militants had infiltrated the campus in the early hours from the neighbouring al-Tasha district, blowing up a bridge to the university’s main gate.
Security personnel sealed off the campus and one Agence France-Presse reporter said special forces had led an assault.
One student, Ahmed al-Mehamdi, told the Associated Press news agency by telephone that he awoke to gunfire and saw armed men running across the campus.
The gunmen entered the dormitory and told everybody to stay in their rooms. Some students were taken to other buildings, he said, but others were trapped and “in panic”.
He said the gunmen had said they belonged to ISIS, a Sunni group which grew out of al-Qaeda’s Iraqi operation.
Later, he told AP he had managed to escape, and that “this crisis ended almost peacefully and no student was hurt as far as I know”.
BBC – AP
#AceWorldNews – BAGHDAD – April 28 (Reuters) – Twenty people were killed on Monday as suicide bombers attacked Iraqi police and soldiers casting their vote early for a national election in two days’ time, authorities and witnesses said.
Sunni Muslim militants, mostly disguised in army and police uniforms, struck at polling centres around Baghdad and northern Iraq as militants tried to disrupt Iraq’s fourth national election since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.
A curfew begins on Tuesday night as ordinary Iraqis prepare to vote on Wednesday.
Security forces are at war with the al-Qaeda offshoot the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in western Anbar province and other areas encircling the capital.
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is battling for a third term in office but faces fierce opposition from political opponents, with sectarian violence in the Shi’ite Muslim-majority country at its most intense since 2008.
Ace Related News:
1. April 28 – http://tinyurl.com/nx2ju8g
By Ahmed Rasheed and Kareem Raheem
#AceNewsServices – ISLAMABAD – April 18 – Police said on Friday they have arrested six men suspected of being behind a string of high-profile killings and assassination attempts linked to a banned sectarian group.
The arrests are a rare success for the police, who have a notoriously low detection and prosecution rate for such crimes.
Police said the six suspects are responsible for killing 16 people over the last two years and for four attempted murders.
Their victims are believed to include a lawyer, a well-known Pakistani journalist, and a prominent Shia doctor and his 12-year-old son gunned down on their way to school.
They are also thought to be behind an attack last month in which writer Raza Rumi, a vocal critic of the Taliban, was wounded and his driver killed.
The men are connected to banned sectarian group Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, the police statement said, and have admitted receiving instructions from its leader Malik Ishaq.
“These cruel criminals are involved in these heinous crimes by pretending to be a religious group, including crimes like murder, attempted murder, kidnap for ransom, illegal armament and drugs,” the statement said.
The statement identified Abdul Rauf Gujjar as the main hit-man in the killings.
“He came to this direction through Malik Ishaq,” the statement said.
“He further revealed that he was a member of illegal and outlawed organization Lashkar-i-Jhangvi.”
Ishaq spent 14 years in jail on terrorism and attempted murder charges that were eventually dropped in 2011, partly due to witness intimidation, police said.
Lashkar-i-Jhangvi has claimed responsibility for killing hundreds of Shia’s, who make up about 20 per cent of Pakistan’s population.
The militant group wants to chase Shia’s out of Pakistan and establish a hard-line Sunni theocratic state in the nuclear-armed nation of 180 million people.
The Pakistani government has often been accused of being soft on militants, and the largely poorly trained and under-resourced police usually struggle to investigate and arrest suspects.
Friday’s statement said that a special unit had discovered forensic evidence implicating the men, and that drugs and weapons had also been recovered.
Arrests do not always lead to convictions, however, and Pakistan’s courts have a very low conviction rate even for high-profile cases of militancy. Judges and prosecutors complain they are frequently intimidated by militants.
Reuters – Dawn – AFP – AP
#AceWorldNews – IRAQ – March 27 – A spree of bombing attacks in commercial neighbourhoods of Iraq has killed at least 26 people, officials announced. A car bomb exploded in the Sunni-dominated northern neighbourhood of Azamiyah, killing 12 people and wounding 28.
Minutes later, a bomb exploded near a market in the same neighbourhood, killing seven and injuring another 27.
Another blast in the same area killed 3 and wounded 15 others. In south-western Baghdad, an explosion killed four people and wounded 14. Medics confirmed the casualties for all attacks, AP reports.
No one has claimed responsibility but authorities suspect the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant(ISIL), and the an Al-Qaeida-affiliated group to be behind the bombings.
#AceWorldNews – BAGHDAD – 23 March – Iraq’s Al-Qaeda-inspired militants who took over the city of Fallujah are now trying to show they can run it, providing social services, policing the streets and implementing Sharia rulings in a bid to win the support of its Sunni Muslim population.
Gunmen in ski masks and Afghan-style tunics patrol the streets, but also perform a sort of community outreach.
On a recent day, they were seen repairing damaged electricity poles and operating bulldozers to remove concrete blast walls and clear garbage.
Others planted flowers in a highway median, and some fighters approached residents in the street and apologized for gaps in services, promising to address them. AP
#AceWorldNews – LEBANON – 23 March – Gun battles between armed men loyal to embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad and rivals have left one dead and 13 people wounded in the Lebanese capital, say local security forces.
As a result of the clashes, the Lebanese authorities have deployed troops to bring the situation under control.
The unrest began when Sunni gunmen opened fire with rocket-propelled grenades in the neighbourhood of Tariq Jadideh, early on Sunday morning.
Middle East News Sources
#AceWorldNews – Seven people were killed in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli during fighting between supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad on Friday, Reuters reported.
Four civilians, including an elderly man, were shot dead by snipers.
Eleven others were injured.
Three people who were wounded in earlier clashes also died on Friday, according to security and medical sources.
Tripoli, situated 30 miles from the Syrian border, is mostly populated Sunni Muslims who often clash with the minority from Assad’s Alawite sect.
#AceWorldNews says reports of clashes between Shiite Muslim insurgents and Sunni tribesman in Yemen’s al-Jawf province have killed at least 30 people over the last two days, the local governor told Reuters.
The Shiite fighters are reportedly trying to cement their position in the North through the attacks. Governor Mohammed bin Aboud told local television that the Presidential Commission had to intervene to stop the bloodshed.
#AceWorldNews says that Women’s Right Activists in Saudi Arabia have petitioned the country’s Shura consultative council callings for limits to be imposed on the “absolute authority” of male guardians over women, a signatory said. Activist Aziza Youssef told AFP they had demanded “measures to protect women’s rights.
” Youseff says many of the proscriptions against women, for example, those which forbid women to work, travel or perform “certain surgeries” without the consent of a male guardian are “not based on religious teaching.”
The petition, signed by 10 female activists, also demands that women be allowed to drive in the ultra-conservative Sunni Muslim kingdom.
#AceWorldNews says a policeman in Bahrain has died of wounds sustained during a bomb blast at a protest marking the third anniversary of the country’s uprising, the interior minister said Saturday morning.
The two servicemen were initially hurt when an explosion hit a bus carrying them in the coastal village in Muharraq, Bahrain’s second-largest island.
Another three policemen were injured by an explosion near the village of Dih, while 38 demonstrators were injured in clashes.
The demonstrations were commemorating the 2011 unrest demanding more rights and an end to discrimination against the majority Shia community in the Sunni kingdom.
#AceWorldNews `Bahrain Closes Shiite Clerics’ Council’
A Bahraini court on Wednesday shuttered a Shiite Muslim clerics’ council. Authorities in the Sunni-ruled kingdom earlier accused it of politicization and illegal operations. The court ordered the closure of the Olamaa Islamic Council and the liquidation of its assets following a lawsuit by the ministry of justice, Islamic affairs and endowment, AFP reported, citing a judicial source.
In September, the ministry said that the office had been “functioning outside the law.” The verdict came as authorities crack down on opposition action by Shiites. They make up the majority of the population.
- Bahrain bans clerics’ council(gulfnews.com)
- Bahrain deadlocked talks saved from brink, some hope for progress(reuters.com)
#AceWorldNews says Six people died in three explosions during a “terrorist” attack while the six assailants were shot dead by police on Friday in the far west region of Xinjiang, China, the official Xinhua news agency said on Saturday.
The assailants threw explosives that hit a hair salon, a produce market and a vehicle in Xinhe county. The police captured five more suspects and the case is under investigation. The region, home to the ethnic minority Uighurs, is predominantly Sunni Muslim.
The violence is part of the insurgency by the Uighurs against what they see as discrimination and religious suppression by China’s majority.
#AceWorldNews says nearly nine years after a truck bomb killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 22 others, the trial is starting of four Hezbollah members suspected of organizing his assassination. The Special Tribunal for Lebanon in The Hague is trying the suspects for plotting the assassination in their absence, AP reported. Lebanon’s influential Shiite militia Hezbollah has vowed never to arrest the suspects. The suicide assassination with a ton of explosives on February 14, 2005, fueled sectarian divisions between Sunni and Shiite Muslims.