ISIS Sympathisers Arrested, Let Off

Police took Salman Mohiuddin, Abdullah Basith and Qureshi into custody for questioning and booked for sedition on Thursday.

Hyderabad: Three alleged ISIS sympathisers, who were taken into custody after an English news channel telecasted their interviews exposing their continuing links with the ISIS, were let off after bound over by the executive magistrate.

Police took Salman Mohiuddin, Abdullah Basith and Qureshi into custody for questioning and booked for sedition on Thursday. The youngsters were produced before a magistrate and let off after they were bound by the court.

A case was registered against them under Section 121 (Waging or attempting to wage war or abetting waging of war, against Government of India) and 124 A (Sedition).

The police placed them under preventive arrest after questioning and produced before the executive magistrate at the Hyderabad Collector’s Office. After they were bound, they were let off, said police sources.

The news channel has been served a notice asking them to hand over the original interview tape. The police said that the content on the tape will be verified before proceeding further.

Salman Mohiuddin who worked in the US as an engineer and returned, was arrested in 2015. It was alleged that he was preparing to board a flight to Dubai, purportedly on his way to Syria to join ISIS.

Meanwhile, Basith was also arrested from Nagpur in December 2015, when he was allegedly on his way to join the ISIS and Qureshi was also taken into custody earlier on similar charges.

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Three ISIS Suspects Arrested, TS Police Alert

The group was planning to go on a massive recruitment drive and were also planning to launch strikes.

New Delhi: Three ISIS suspects were nabbed by UP anti terrorism squad (ATS) and Delhi Police special cell in a ajoint action. The suspects were taken into custody on charges of terror conspiracy. They have busted an inter-state terror module too. The three suspects were arrested from three different cities – Mumbai, Ludhiana and Bijnor. Several people were also taken into custody for interrogation.

Sources in the ATS said that the one arrested from Mumbai is an ISIS recruiter for Maharashtra. The police seized many SIM cards from his house.

In addition to UP ATS and Delhi Police special cell, the crime investigation department (CID) of Andhra Pradesh police, Maharashtra ATS, Bihar and Punjab police were part of the operation.

According to sources, the three men arrested were suspected to be part of a terror module which was building an organisation with orders from handlers in Iraq. The group was planning to go on a massive recruitment drive and were also planning to launch strikes.

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Kidnapped Andhra doctor rescued from Libyan militants

New Delhi: External Minister Sushma Swaraj today tweeted that AP doctor who was abducted by ISISI militants in Libya was rescued.

Dr. Ramamurthy kosanam, who is from Eluru, is working as a physician in a hospital at Sirte, Libya. He was kidnapped by 15 ISIS militants on Sep8th in 2016.He is  being brought to India according to Government sources.

“We have rescued Dr. Ramamurthy in Libya. Kosanam has suffered a bullet injury.We are bringing him to India shortly. With this, we have rescued all the six Indians abducted there. I appreciate the good work done by our mission there” is the tweet given by External Minister Sushma swaraj.

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Tragedy at Aleppo

Vittal Rajan

If the English poet, John William Burgon, called Petra ‘half as old as time,’ Aleppo is a lot older. One of the world’s earliest cities, it ended the bronze age by discovering iron ore. A centre of Christianity almost two-thousand years ago, Aleppo sent evangelists as far afield as the western shores of India. Commerce was the life-blood of the city, and almost till the Suez Canal was built, it was the entrepot that supplied the riches of the Orient to Europe. It was not by chance reference that Shakespeare made Othello say in his dying speech that it was in Aleppo that he killed a Turk who traduced Venice. For by then, the English had established the Levant Company of London in Aleppo, long before the East India Company, to trade in Chinese silks and Malabar spices.

The roots of the present tragedy shrouding Aleppo can be found in that early period, when rich Christian merchants settled in the western part of Aleppo. However, at that time, even the poorer Muslims in the eastern districts benefited from the thriving trade. The city held pride of place in the Ottoman Empire, even ahead of Cairo and Damascus. However, western imperial powers had long coveted the riches of the Middle-East, and after victory in the First World War, they dismembered the Ottoman Empire, the French taking control over Lebanon and Syria, while Britain held Egypt and Iraq. In the inter-war years the French manipulated furiously to create discord between Aleppo in northern Syria and Damascus in the South, and achieved some success, but at the end of World War Two both France and Britain were too exhausted to interfere much in the Middle East.

De-colonisation and the rise of Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt brought a new sense of Arab pride and identity, and an attempt was made to join in a national union of both Syria and Egypt, the two key components of the defunct Ottoman Empire. However, the preceding colonial rule of the West had created enough discord in the region for that union to last long. The pan-Arab forces of Nasser lost out, and the Ba’athist forces of local nationalism gained control over Damascus. Hafez al-Assad, though from a poor rural family, rose to be Syria’s strongman. Power shifted to Damascus, whose merchants were favoured over those of Aleppo. In the meantime, a resurgent Turkey under Kemal Attaturk Pasha seized control over all of eastern Anatolia, cutting off Aleppo’s trade with the Mediterranean.  The eastern route had already been closed by British control over Iraq. Aleppo which had been a centre of trade since the dawn of civilization, and a centre of culture for two-thousand years, sank into impoverished disgruntled provincialism.

The Great Game of divide and rule, of setting off one tribe or ethnic group against another, played in the nineteenth century by Russia and Britain to further their own imperial interests, was now re-started with a vengeance by the ascendant imperial power of the United States of America. In 1952, the CIA destroyed Dr. Mossadeq’s attempt to safeguard Iranian oil from the rapacious West, and re-installed the Shah. Under Eisenhower and Kennedy, America bankrolled and armed Pakistan as a check on India, which was wrongly perceived as a stooge of Russia. The CIA under Ronald Reagan created the fundamentalist Taliban to thwart Russian-induced modernization of Afghanistan. America, in its openly declared national interest, armed and supported the reactionary Saudi royal family, which it could control with ease, as it had the dictators of South America for a hundred years and more. The Bushes, father and son, rubbished Iraq and Afghanistan. It was clear that the American interest was to sequester the Middle East and its energy resources as an American dominion.

Obama followed his predecessors by leading a destructive assault on Libya. Gaddafi had made the cardinal mistake of distancing himself from the corrupt Arab clients of America. His loneliness led to his destruction at imperial hands, even as the Burmese Emperor had been destroyed a century ago by imperial Britain. The tactic was the well-proven one of instigating ambitious and unscrupulous ethnic leaders, with full support from Qatar, which served as America’s launching pad.

With Libya down, America’s baleful eye could be turned on Syria, now led by Basher al-Assad, the son of the first dictator, Hafez. If Syria fell, the American ring could be closed round the Middle East and a grave threat posed to Iran, which had Sunni Pakistan, America’s unruly client to the east.

The tinderbox was the eastern districts of Aleppo with its impoverished Muslim population. Rebel groups could be formed there to protest against the domination of Damascus. Civil war was ignited in Syria with every expectation of swift success. American forces stood between the Syrian government and its potential Shia allies in Iran. Further, by turning a blind eye towards the funding of ignorant fundamentalists by the pusillanimous Saudi regime, America expected Syria to be over-run in short order by the forces of the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq [ISIS], to be rescued later by magnanimous American forces.

This plan did not quite work out. If it had, it would also have achieved the long-term goal of the West of keeping Russia out of the Middle East.  Russia under Putin was no longer enfeebled by the break-up of the Soviet Union, and Putin struck at the rebels in east Aleppo in support of Assad and Damascus. Since the days of the Crimean war in the mid-nineteenth century, it has been Russia’s ambition to push southwards, through Afghanistan, through the Dardanelles, to stretch its ‘area of influence’ to the Middle East. Its recent face-off with Ukraine has the same root cause when Russia feared losing control of even the Black Sea ports. The Syrian imbroglio offered Putin the chance to establish a Russian presence in Damascus.

The richer Christian population in west Aleppo also threw in their lot with Damascus fearing the barbarian hordes of the ISIS, as did Hezbollah, which would have been left naked in Palestine without Syrian Shia support, which in turn depends on Iran. Meanwhile, the new Turkish President, Erdogan, has been trying to consolidate his rural support by being more ‘Islamic’ than the Attaturk faction, and has prolonged Aleppo’s agony by nominally supporting Aleppo’s rebels to maintain Turkish interest in the imbroglio. At last an evacuation of east Aleppo has been brokered by both Turkey and Russia, and the remnants of the hopeless population will be allowed to disappear into many European slums. Their governments are caught in the hypocrisy of their own liberal pretentions, and will police as harshly as possible the unwelcome refugees of their own creation. Bashar al-Assad is left to rule over the ashes of Syria, while Trump’s hawks foregather to plan out another destructive manoeuvre.

This tragic chapter in the history of the Middle East is one among many that stretch into the future. An end could possibly appear in sight with American exhaustion in maintaining global imperial domination. Perhaps, by the end of this century another generation may see Jew, Christian, and Muslim, and all the various ethnicities of the Middle East and the North African coast live in civic conviviality with the easy commercial intercourse they enjoyed during the years of the Ottoman Empire.

Vithal Rajan

Ketti, The Nilgiris

(The writer is a well-known author, economist, and a renowned rights activist. He is on the jury to select Alternate Nobel Prize)

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Quetta attack spells new danger to Pakistan from IS

  • Over 60 killed, 100 injured in Police Academy terror

The terrorist attack on the Police Academy in Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan, on Monday night, has shown once again how Pakistan is playing a diabolical game in dealing with militancy and Jihadist threats.

When it comes to terrorist strikes on India by home grown radical elements, Islamabad feigns ignorance and washes off its hands. But similar and deadlier strikes occur on its soil, Pak leaders aver their country is also a victim of terrorism.

If the Kashmir issue is the root cause of militant attacks on Indian civil and military establishments, as Pak leaders stress, what’s the motive behind the massacre of more than 60 people, most of them trainee cadets, at the Police Training College? There is no answer from the Pak Army and the Nawaz Sharif government.

To put it simply, the terrorism baby that was cradled in Pakistan has turned into a monster to devour those who nursed it.

According to the Pakistani media, at least 61 security personnel were killed and 117 injured when terrorists stormed the academy late Monday night. They entered the hostel rooms and shot the unarmed inmates at point blank.

Balochistan Home Minister Sarfraz Bugti said an estimated 700 cadets were present inside the police training centre at the time of attack. He said two suicide bombers blew themselves up inside the training centre. One of the terrorists who was also wearing a suicide jacket was killed before he could detonate himself.

According to Pak press reports, attackers acted on directions from Afghanistan and the initial investigation suggests that the terrorists were affiliated to Al-Alami faction of banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ).

The suggestion corroborates the Islamic State’s claim that it was responsible for the attack. Describing the  assault as a “three-man suicide raid, ” it said IS fighters “used machine guns and grenades, then blew up their explosive vests in the crowd”. It also posted a photo of the three fighters on the social media who were said to have carried out the attack.

The LeJ had at one time close links with Pak military but it seems that it has turned against it by joining hands with the Islamic State which has been trying to get a foothold in Pakistan. If the Quetta attack claim is true, then the IS is spreading its tentacles into Pakistan from Afghanistan where it has a nominal presence. If the IS hand in Quetta attack is conclusively proved, it could well be the beginning of a new chapter in bloody Pakistan history.

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Open enrolment, key to Obama’s healthcare campaign

  • Republicans have other issue on hand

  • Creating awareness is the biggest challenge

(Venkata Kondubhatla)

Washington (DC): The time has come again. The Obama government is bracing for the open enrollment marketplace for 2015 coverage, which is going to begin Nov. 15. The first open enrollment ended with approximately six million people enrolling in the program.

The marketplace website Healthcare.gov is better now, and the people are more aware of the Obama- Care program now than ever before. Naturally, the expectations are that more people are likely to enroll this season. Nevertheless, we have to wait until Feb. 15, when the enrollment ends, to find out the results.

The enrollments are vital for the success of the Obama Care aka Affordable Care Act. The more the enrollments, the more the premiums are going to come down, which is an indicator and drawing force for the program. For that to happen, it has to work on the issues that may alter its right course.

A number of factors could affect the success of the program, but can be precluded if handled properly, which was not the case a year ago – for one, for many of the republicans the program has become an issue rather than an effort to repeal the program itself, which was the goal during previous enrollment cycle. Many factors, such as the war against ISIS and mid-term elections have taken a front seat at least for right now for them. The GOP party has to sit with the Democrats and try to focus on filling the holes that the program contains, but that is too much to ask for at this stage.

Awareness among the people about the details of the program is another challenge the program champions have to meet. According to a study, some 49 percent of the population knows about the program as of Sept. 1, 2014. Republican’s negative campaign about the program may have added to that number. Whatever the reason may be the program implementers have to drum on the benefits of enrolling in the marketplace, especially for the sake of the Medicaid enrollment, which is a federal program, started in 1965 by President Lyndon Johnson.

As a part of the Affordable Care Act, the eligibility rules for the Medicaid have been relaxed, giving way for more people to enroll in the program. If all the states participate in the enhanced Medicaid, some 15 million new people can be covered under the plan. Again, the catch here is that the people have to be aware of their qualifying in the Medicaid. On the other hand, majority of the states that have not participated in the program, or defaulted to federal program are the republican states.

President Obama Signs IMPACT Act In The Oval OfficeAlso, making the marketplace plans less complex is another task that the program wonks have to work on. Many people who tried to compare the plans and premiums in the previous open enrollment marketplace repeatedly griped about the complexity involved in it. With all the steps involved, the process is byzantine – important area where people, especially the poor, have to be educated. Corollary to the increased population under Medicaid, doctors have been complaining about their hospitals crammed by new patients. Increase in the doctor’s pay is the claimed solution by the program administrators. One has to let the things unravel to find out how Medicaid is going to attract or retain doctors, especially the ones with expert and special skills.

With all these factors in play, the open enrollment program is of significance and is going to be important for Obama and his team. In the case of Republicans, it will either motivate many of them to be more aggressive with regard to negative campaigning or simply ignore it for time being. The crucial element here is how the open enrollment turns out in terms of numbers.

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