Thursday, December 25, 2014

Islamic State (ISIS) arrests Jordanian Pilot of F-16 Jet Fighter


An image from Raqqa Media Center of the Islamic State group, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows Islamic State fighters with what is believed to be a captured pilot, center, in a white shirt, in Raqqa, Syria, Dec. 24, 2014.
A captured Royal Jordanian Air Force pilot is the first casualty of the U.S.-led coalition airstrike operation against the hard-line Islamic State group known as ISIS or ISIL.

Islamic State extremists claimed to have shot down the the Jordanian F-16 fighter jet over their Syrian stronghold of Raqaa on Wednesday and to have captured the pilot. But a U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) statement said "evidence clearly indicates that ISIL did not down the aircraft."

The CENTCOM commander, General Lloyd J. Austin III, said, "We strongly condemn the actions of ISIL, which has taken captive the downed pilot. We will support efforts to ensure his safe recovery, and will not tolerate ISIL's attempts to misrepresent or exploit this unfortunate aircraft crash for their own purposes."

U.S. officials said the cause of the crash wasn't known.

However, Jordanian Information Minister Mohammad Momani told al-Arabiya TV that a “missile fired from the ground” caused the plane to go down. He added that “efforts to rescue the pilot were unsuccessful.” He stressed that he hoped “intelligence work would succeed in gaining the pilot's release.”

The militants have shot down Syrian government warplanes and helicopters in the past, in addition to Iraqi government helicopters.

Social media images

News of the capture spread quickly over social media, where images were available of a young man being pulled half naked from water and surrounded by armed men.

The Islamic State claimed the man was the pilot and released pictures that it said showed its fighters holding him. One picture showed the man surrounded by more than a dozen fighters, some of them masked. A photograph of his military identification card was also released.
Arab TV channels said that the pilot was pulled out of the Euphrates River after ejecting.

Relatives, saying they had been notified of the incident by the head of the Jordanian air force, confirmed that the man in the photos was First Lieutenant Mu'ath al- Kasaesbeh, 26. The army separately confirmed his name.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday urged the pilot's Islamic State captors to treat him humanely, his spokesman said.

The secretary-general "calls on his captors to treat the pilot in accordance with international humanitarian law,” spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
Both the Syrian government and the U.S.-led coalition set up to fight Islamic State regularly bomb Islamic State targets in Raqqa province.

According to the U.S. Department of Defense, up to December 15, partner nations Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have been responsible for 65 airstrikes in Syria. The United States has conducted 553.

The airstrikes are part of the U.S.-led Operation Inherent Resolve, which aims to defeat the Islamic State, help Iraq defend its borders and prevent another group like ISIS from forming.

Between August 8 and December 14, U.S. and partner nations flew some 12,850 sorties over Iraq and Syria. Only 1,276 of those have resulted in airstrikes. Partner nations are responsible for approximately 14 percent of all strikes across Iraq and Syria.

Search for targets

Air Force Colonel Edward Sholtis told VOA in an email that many of the strikes involve dynamic targeting, "which basically means strike aircraft fly around areas near where enemy forces are operating and look for targets."

Finding, identifying and tracking those targets until approval is received to strike requires specialized equipment and training, so "frequently they do not result in a necessary strike on ISIL forces, equipment or facilities."

Andrew Liepman, a senior policy analyst with the RAND Corporation, said  Washington and its allies are trying at all costs to avoid collateral damage.

"It's a lot harder to identify, to distinguish between the communities and ISIL, so we are being extremely careful, I suspect," Liepman told VOA.

"The tolerance for collateral damage in both Syria and Iraq is really, really low. We do not want to accidentally drop a bomb on the wrong guys," he added. "So that means a lot of planes are coming back to base without having dropped their munitions."

According to the Department of Defense, from December 5 through December 12, airstrikes destroyed some 14 Islamic State fighting units and positions and hit another 15 in Syria, and destroyed four such units and hit another 14 in Iraq.

The airstrikes also destroyed a number of IS-controlled buildings, bunkers, fortifications, guard towers, vehicles, excavators, bulldozers and a front loader.

Liepman says no one should underestimate the value of destroying bulldozers and excavators. "Those things they use for protection, for digging trenches, for threatening villages, for doing lots of things," he said.

$1 billion so far

The total cost of one week of operations: roughly $65 million. Defense officials said the operations have cost more than $1 billion since August 8, when U.S. began its airstrikes. That cost, Liepman said, is easily absorbable.

When asked about how many Islamic State militants had been killed in the campaign, a spokeswoman for Operation Inherent Resolve said it was not clear.

"We are not providing enemy body counts. Any estimate would be speculative and extremely imprecise due to our limited ability to verify such counts," spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Peggy Kageleiry said in an email.

The CIA estimates that the Islamic State currently has between 20,000 and 30,000 fighters.

According to IHS Jane's Intelligence Review, there has been "no significant change in the tempo of Islamic State operations since the airstrikes began."  Rather, the group has shown an ability to quickly adapt its tactics and replace senior commanders killed by Iraqi forces and airstrikes.

Although the strikes will limit the militants' mobility, IHS said, those strikes on their own are unlikely to weaken the group's grip over urban areas, and will enable the Islamic State to exploit its "war against Islam" narrative to recruit more fighters.

Karl Mueller, a senior political scientist for RAND, said the fight would be a long one.

"ISIS is a particularly nasty manifestation of a political and ideological movement that's not going to go away just because ISIS is destroyed. So this is a particular fight within this larger arena of the struggle against Islamic extremism," Mueller told VOA.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Bharat Ratna declared for Pundit Madan Mohan Malviya and Atal Bihari Vajpeyee

Today Union government declared Bharat Ratna Award for former Prime Minister and senior BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpeyee and freedom fighter

Pundit Madan Mohan Malviya, 

NDFB killed more than 50 People in Assam


GUWAHATI: National Democratic Front of Boroland (Songbijit faction) militants shot dead at least 48 adivasis, including women and children, at five different places in Assam on Tuesday. Late at night, the Army was called in to maintain law and order in the troubled areas.

Police said the killings started around 5pm at Maitalubasti in Sonitpur district in northern Assam, bordering Arunachal Pradesh and Bhutan. Twenty-three bodies were found in the area that is located inside the Pabhoi reserve forest. Minutes after the attacks at Maitalubasti, the militants shot dead three persons at Pakhriguri village in Kokrajhar district in western Assam, bordering West Bengal, police added. The militants also targeted Ultapani village in Kokrajhar district from where six bodies were found.

Two more villages were attacked in Sonitpur district. Ten people were found dead at Phulbari and six at Batasipur. All the five places fall under the jurisdiction of the Bodoland Territorial Autonomous Districts (BTAD). Most of the adivasis living in the region are from Chhotanagpur Plateau and central India.

Additional DGP (special branch, Assam Police) Pallab Bhattacharya said, "We are still trying to ascertain the number of casualties. The places where the killings took place are remote and close to the Bhutan border," he added.

On Monday, the NDFB (Songbijit faction) had warned the government of retaliatory attacks if the security forces did not stop operations against its men. Bhattacharya said, "We had information that the outfit would carry out retaliatory attacks but it was difficult to pinpoint the locations."

"The NDFB (Songbijit faction) might have targeted the adivasis suspecting them of passing on information about its cadre to police," a source said. "We had information that the outfit Songbijit faction of NDFB) would carry out retaliatory attacks but it was difficult to pinpoint the locations," additional DGP (special branch, Assam Police) Pallab Bhattacharya said

The five attacks came less than three hours after chief minister Tarun Gogoi said his government would go ahead with counter-insurgency operations despite threats from the NDFB (Songbijit faction).

On Sunday, the outfit had lost two of its men during a joint operation by police and Army personnel inside the Chirang reserve forest near the Bhutan border. The security personnel had also seized a huge cache of arms and ammunition from the militants. Tuesday's attacks came amid preparations for Christmas. A majority of Bodo militants as well as adivasis are Christians. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Narayan Rane's heir apparent advocates Religious conversions

BJP MLA Raises ‘Love Jihad’ And conversion of 5000 Hindu girls to Islam which sold in Gulf


Nagpur: In yet another controversial remark, BJP MLA Mangal Prabhat Lodha has claimed that Hindu girls in the state are being converted to Islam through ‘Love jihad’ and sold off in Gulf countries.
Speaking during a debate in the Maharashtra assembly here on Monday, he demanded also forming committees to check such instances in the state.

Mangal Prabhat Lodha ( DNA Photo)
Incidentally, Lodha had last week raised the issue of loud speakers atop the Mosques and demanded declaring these as illegal and to take strict measures for controlling the volumes of Azan coming from mosques.
Monday, the first day of second week of the winter session took off with the assembly continuing discussion on the motion of thanks on Governor C Vidyasagar’s address.
Lodha expressed concern over the conversion of Hindu girls in the state and called these instances to be occurrences of ‘Love Jihad’. He alleged that in last five years, nearly 5000 Hindu girls from Aurangabad, Malegaon and Mumbai have been sold off in the Gulf countries after they were converted to Islam.
“There should be one committee for each district that should work in cooperation with local police and people, and it may strictly check occurrences of ‘Love Jihad’ in their respective areas,” Lodha suggested.
Muslim MLAs Asif Shaikh (INC) and Abu Asim Azmi (SP) reacted furiously to Lodha’s statements and said that at a time when instances of forced conversion of Muslims and Christians is taking place, Lodha is trying to mislead the assembly by presenting misinformation that he has no evidence for.
Azmi said, “Everyone knows what has happened in Agra recently where numbers of Muslims were forcefully converted. You (Lodha) are misleading the assembly with untrue facts”.
Speaker Haribhau Bagade did not allow continuing the discussion on the topic and said Agra incidence cannot be linked with Maharashtra and that “we will investigate pertaining to our state to verify truth in Lodha’s allegations.”

82% People killed in terrorist attacks are from Muslim countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria


The second edition of the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) 2014 report shows that 82% of people killed in terrorist attacks were from five countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria. The GTI is quantified by Institute of Economics and Peace (IEP) for the years 2000 to 2014, based on submitted data. According to the report, the number of people killed due to terrorist activities has increased by five times in the last 14 years. There has been a moderate decrease in the terrorists' deaths from the year 2007 onwards. "In 2013 terrorist activity increased substantially with the total number of deaths rising from 11,133 in 2012 to 17,958 in 2013, a 61 per cent increase" the report said. The report states that major jump in terrorist activity coincides with the 2011 Syrian civil war. Another significant data shows that terrorism in the name of religion has increased dramatically in the last 14 years. "Prior to 2000, nationalist separatist agendas were the biggest drivers of terrorist organizations" the report states. ISIL, Boko Haram, Tehreek-e-Taliban and Al-Qaeda with their allies have claimed responsibility for 66% of deaths from terrorist attacks in 2013. "Variations of religious ideologies based on extreme interpretations of Wahhabi Islam are the key commonality for all four groups; however their strategic goals are not necessarily the same" The IEP report released on September 2014 identifies 13 other countries at risk from terrorist activity, such as Angola, Bangladesh, Burundi, Central African Republic, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Iran, Israel, Mali, Mexico, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Uganda. TERRORISM IN INDIA: India ranks 6, accounting for 2.2 percent of global terrorism deaths in the world, still holding a significant impact of terrorism. There has been a 70% increase in attacks from 2012 to 2013 with deaths rising from 238 to 404. The communist terror outfits are the most frequent perpetrators of attacks in the country. Three Maoist groups claimed responsibility for 192 deaths in 2013. The dispute between Pakistan over Jammu & Kashmir has also been the major source of terrorism. Most of them are armed assaults targeting police and citizens. India faces a bigger threat, where the Al-Qaeda announced a branch in September this year aiming to unite the existing Islamist groups.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Swiss citizen absolved from case related to Maoist activist Sinoj

Kochi: The Kerala High Court has dismissed a case against a Swiss citizen Jonathan Baud detained after participating in a function to commemorate a Maoist leader at Valappad in Thrissur district of Kerala and pave the way for his return to Switzerland.

Admitting a petition by 24-year old Baud, Justice P Ubaid commented that the continuation of the case against him is a crass abuse of judicial process.

The court ordered the authorities to take immediate steps to help the petitioner’s return to his country.

The Judge said there was no such condition in the visa of Baud that prohibits him attending any congregation. He had took part in a function organized on July 28. Baud asserted that he had not committed any sort of crime as claimed by police.

He was booked for his alleged violation of conditions of visa. According to the petitioner, he was doing Masters level economics course in University of Geneva and was interested in history and economics besides being an avid reader. The petitioner contended that he was the only foreigner to have watched the meeting at Kodungallur.

The representatives, details of whom he was not aware of, enquired about his identity and he informed that he was on a visit to the country. This incident was ‘twisted’ by the investigating authority leading to the registration of crime under Sec 14 (b) of the Foreigners Act, he stated.

According to police, Baud, who arrived in Kerala on a tourist visa, attended the meeting organised in memory of Sinoj, a Maoist activist from the state, who was killed while making country bombs in Andhra Pradesh-Karnataka border.

Monday, December 1, 2014

ISIS kidnaps girl Gill Rosenberg-Canadian-Israeli, former IDF soldier who went to fight with the Kurds against ISIS

ISIS kidnaps Canadian-Israeli, former IDF soldier who went to fight with the Kurds. " The Canadian- Israeli woman who joined the ranks of Kurdish fighters battling Islamic State earlier this month has been kidnapped by the organization that she went to fight, Channel Two reported on Sunday citing Syrian jihadi websites. Gill Rosenberg, 31, from Tel Aviv, said in an interview with Israel Radio earlier this month she had decided to join the fighters for humanitarian and ideological reasons and “because they are our brothers” who are fighting the evil of Islamic State. On her Facebook page she posted several pictures, including of Tel Aviv and the Old City in Jerusalem, that she took prior to leaving for Kurdish Iraq and Syria."