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May 23, 2015 / 5 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Pakistan’

Canada Foils Terror Plot Against US Consulate in Toronto

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

Canadian authorities nabbed a potential terrorist before he could carry out a plot to bomb the U.S. Consulate in Toronto, CTVNews reported Wednesday.

Jhanzab Malik, a Pakistani national holding permanent resident status in Canada, also allegedly planned to attack targets in the city’s financial district as well.

He was arrested on suspicion of “engaging in terrorism and being a danger to national security.” The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is claiming Malik has a “violent and extremist mindset” but has not charged him.

The suspect was ordered to be held on “security grounds” pending deportation following an immigration hearing on Wednesday. He appeared via video link from Lindsay, Ontario; it is not clear why he is being held for deportation rather than being charged under the country’s anti-terror laws.

The CBSA alleged that Malik befriended and attempted to radicalize an undercover RCMP officer; he showed him videos of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) beheading captives. He also claimed to be a friend of American-born Al Qaeda imam Anwar al-Awlaki, killed in Yemen by the U.S. in a 2011 air strike, according to CBC.

Malik originally entered the country on a student visa in 2004 but gained permanent status via his wife’s sponsorship five years later.

The CBSA has been tracking the suspect for some time; in 2013, he was questioned by Canadian border guards and then by intelligence officials at Pearson International Airport upon arrival from Libya, where he said he had been teaching.

Malik also claimed during that questioning to have been visiting Saudi Arabia – but it is now believed he received weapons, landmine and combat training at a terrorist camp in Libya.

The government is working to pass a new anti-terror bill that is expected to put teeth into Canada’s law enforcement abilities. The country is still on high alert following two terror attacks that took the lives of two Canadian soldiers.

Taliban Ready for Peace Process with Obama

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

A senior Pakistani official said Thursday that Taliban is prepared to open peace talks with the United States with the first rounds of talks today and Friday in Qatar.

Back in 2002, peace talks between the Bush administration and Taliban ended without any results, one year after the United States invaded Afghanistan as part of its war on terror.

Pakistan’s military chief of staff told Afghan leaders that Taliban is prepared for a sudden shift in policy, which also would signal a change for the Pakistani military that is considered to be behind  Taliban.

The peace overture is not official and needs a wider agreement among Pakistani officials and the  approval of Taliban’s spiritual leaders Mullah Mohammed Omar.

One factor working help compel the military to change course and go with a peace overture is last December’s savage Taliban attack against children in a school, which evoked shock among citizens and more suspicion of the military’s involvement with Taliban.

Using Qatar as the host to talk peace is interesting since it backs Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and perhaps can convince Obama that they represent Islam and not those “who have perverted Islam.”

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said last month that Taliban is an “”armed insurgency” and not a terrorist group.

Earnest said, as heard and seen in the video below:

It is important to draw a distinction between the Taliban and al Qaeda. The Taliban has resorted to terror tactics, but those terror tactics have principally been focused on Afghanistan.

They do carry out tactics that are akin to terrorism, they do pursue terror attacks in an effort to try to advance their agenda.

The State Department does not include Taliban on its list of foreign terrorist organizations, while the Treasury Department defines it as a group of  “specially designated global terrorists.”

Earnest explained that the Treasury Dept.’s designation means the United States can impose financial sanctions against Taliban’s leaders.

Japanese PM Says Tokyo ‘Will Never Give In to Terror’

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters at a briefing Wednesday that his nation will do everything possible to free two Japanese captives held by ISIS terrorists.

Islamic State in Iraq and Syria released an online video Tuesday allegedly showing two Japanese nationals it said it was holding hostage. The terror organization said it would kill the captives unless Japan paid $200 million in ransom for the hostages.

Japan’s prime minister told reporters, “I have instructed [our government] that we will exhaust all possible measures to have the two freed using all diplomatic channels – all the diplomatic routes we have built so far,” he said.

But, he added, “Our country will never give in to terrorism.”

Japan and Israel have strengthened ties in recent months. Last week Japan’s prime minister visited the Jewish State with a large delegation; earlier, Israel’s prime minister visited Tokyo as well.

Other nations now appear to be slowly tightening up on ISIS as well. Pakistani security forces in the eastern city of Lahore arrested Yousaf al-Salafi, whom they believe to be the commander of the ISIS branch in that country.

“Al-Salafi is a Pakistani Syrian who reached Pakistan through Turkey five months ago,” a source told Reuters on condition of anonymity. “He crossed into Turkey from Syria and was caught there. Someone how managed to escape and reached Pakistan to establish ISIS.”

They also arrested two accomplices, all three involved in recruiting and then sending the new fighters to Syria for advanced terror training, according to intelligence sources.

 

 

Pakistan Taliban Declares Allegiance to ISIS

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

In Pakistan, the Taliban has declared allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The Taliban ordered its terrorists across the region this weekend to help ISIS build a worldwide caliphate, a global state ruled by Islam.

ISIS has begun to penetrate into southern Asia, particularly in Pakistan and Afghanistan, in addition to the territory it has conquered in northern Iraq and Syria.

The announcement, which also marked the Muslim holy festival of Eid al-Adha, was released by the Taliban in Urdu, Pashto and Arabic. It came immediately after a video posted Friday showing the beheading of UK foreign aid worker Alan Henning.

It also followed a declaration in September by Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahri, who named former Taliban commander Asim Umar as “emir” of Al Qaeda’s new branch in south Asia.

Helping Sick Israeli Children Produces Miracles and a Fund to Help More

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

A decision to help sick Israeli children in need led to miracles for Yael and Albert Shaltiel — and a special fund to help even more.

When the Shaltiels could no longer handle their struggle with infertility, they spent a long time talking about whether or not to adopt.

Former Los Angeles resident Yael actually was also born in Iran. She grew up without a father, and says she knows how difficult it can be for a single parent to juggle the dual roles of providing and caring for a family with a sick child.

Albert had his own struggles — he miraculously managed to escape from Iran via Pakistan at age of 17, but not until he first went through an  unsuccessful attempt in which he was caught by the Islamic Iranian military and dragged to Tehran.

Instead, the couple decided the “needs of the many” outweighed the desire for a few – and started to raise money for medical equipment and therapy for sick children in need.

‘What goes around, comes around,’ as the saying goes, and their good deed did not go unnoticed in the heavens above; without any further intervention, a healthy son, Ilai, was born soon after. Nine years later, a second child followed.

In gratitude, the couple, who live in Modi’in, created The Ilai Fund to help single parent families who require medical assistance for their children. Both Yael and Albert still have family members living in the United States, and in Iran. They know what it’s like to need support.

They also have close Iranian friends who have become major supporters of the Ilai Fund. Ben Nehmadi himself escaped from Iran just days before the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Together with his wife Bita, Nehmadi has supported the Shaltiels in their efforts since 2005.

Founder of the New York-based Republic Investment Company, Nehmadi was struck by the similarity of his own story to that of his friend Shaltiel. He and his wife check in on the project’s activities when the family arrives in Israel for annual visits.

The Fund provides  children with items such as wheelchairs, Hart walker, bath lifts, orthopedic shoes, splints and braces, special nutrition, diapers, eyeglasses, specialized computers, finances for transportation to and from hospitals and vitamins or medication that are not included in their healthcare program.

Also provided are services such as physiotherapy and hydrotherapy visits, as well as psychotherapy. In addition, the fund provides one-on-one care givers and teachers, and organizes field trip days for the children, among other activities, according to the organization’s website.

“I reconnected with Albert eight years ago and heard about his work with sick children in Israel,” Nehmadi said. “Albert and Yael are people who are doing God’s work, but quietly and humbly.”

Pakistan Redux

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

With all the attention being paid to the Turkish election, the continuing “negotiations” between the six powers and Iran and the ins and outs of the talks that at some point may or may not take place between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, little attention is directed towards very concrete and significant events in a country that is not only strategically located but already has nuclear weapons–Pakistan.

The government of Nawaz Sharif, which is the first in Pakistan’s history as an independent country to succeed another elected government with no period of military dictatorship in between, has been trying to reach an accommodation with the Pakistani Taliban (TTP), ensconced in its mountain lair in North Waziristan, which borders on Afghanistan and which has been in constant violent conflict with the Pakistani government for years.

The TTP agreed to negotiate under three conditions: a cessation of military actions against it by the Pakistani army, a cessation of U.S. drone attacks, and the release of TTP prisoners held by the army.

At the initial meeting, a representative of the army was invited to attend. Afterwards the high command of the armed forces decided not to attend any further negotiations and planned a major offensive against the TTP in North Waziristan that was carried out without any authorization from the civilian authorities. As a result the TTP ended the talks, cancelled the temporary cease-fire, and staged a series of terrorist attacks in major Pakistani cities.

The army, ignoring the civil police, proceeded to arrest dozens of alleged TTP militants and is holding them in military prisons. The Pakistani armed forces are in line to receive about seven billion dollars worth of military supplies from the U.S. when it evacuates Afghanistan, which will add greatly to its operational capabilities.

In light of Pakistani history, all this would undoubtedly be a prelude to yet another military coup, but the armed forces may hold off until they have received the American equipment, in fear that the U.S. might renege to show its displeasure with the coup, as it did in Egypt following the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood government of (now) ex-president Morsi.

The parallels between the Pakistani and Turkish situations are striking. An Islamist-oriented government was elected and faced a politically active secular military establishment that had taken power on various previous occasions. In Turkey, the Muslim Brotherhood-linked government of Erdogan, succeeded in defanging the army and has moved on to various electoral victories. In Pakistan, the increasingly Islamist and dictatorial Sharif, clearly intended to follow the same path, but is facing a military that is obviously not about to be sidelined.

What does all this mean to the Middle East and Israel in particular? A secular nuclear Pakistan means that the potentially nuclear Iran must also worry about its Eastern neighbor.

Originally published at The American Center for Democracy.
A version of this article will be published in Globes.

Family of Kidnapped Warren Weinstein Calls for Proof He Is Alive

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

The family of captive U.S. government contractor Warren Weinstein called for ”date-specific confirmation” that he is still alive.

In a statement released Thursday, the Weinstein family said a video distributed last week by al-Qaida in Pakistan does not prove that Weinstein is alive because there is no indication of when it was made.

Weinstein, 72, who has been held in Pakistan by al-Qaida for more than two years, in the video calls on President Obama to release al-Qaida terrorists in exchange for his release.

The video message featuring Weinstein, a former Peace Corps and USAID official, was sent to journalists and news services in Pakistan along with a link to a photo of a handwritten note. The testimonial letter is dated Oct. 3, 2013; it is not known when the video was filmed.

Weinstein, of Rockville, Md., was kidnapped in August 2011 outside Pakistan while he was working for J.E. Austin Associates, a private company that advises Pakistani businesses.

The United States has said it will not negotiate with al-Qaida, which the U.S. considers a terrorist organization.

“Warren Weinstein is a scholar and a humanitarian who has spent his entire career working to improve the lives of men, women and children around the world,” his family said in the statement. “Prior to his abduction, he spent seven years in Pakistan working to improve local communities through projects related to dairy production, farming and health care. To be captured and held against his will after a life spent helping others, especially in the sunset of his proud career, is unacceptable. We urge the global community to help us bring him home.”

The family praised U.S. Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) for his efforts on behalf of Weinstein.

“We must be relentless in our efforts to bring him home and we must maintain a sense of outrage and determination,” Delaney said in a statement issued Thursday.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/family-of-kidnapped-warren-weinstein-calls-for-proof-he-is-alive/2014/01/03/

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