UAE: Qatar behind ‘war crimes’ complaint

Seated at the table from right to left are Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa, Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, during a meeting at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017. The foreign ministers of four Arab nations are meeting in Cairo to discuss a draft Saudi declaration on countering Iranian influence in Arab affairs. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
Updated 29 November 2017
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UAE: Qatar behind ‘war crimes’ complaint

ABU DHABI: The UAE on Tuesday accused Gulf rival Qatar of being behind a call for the International Criminal Court to investigate allegations of war crimes by the UAE in Yemen.
A group calling itself the Arab Organization for Human Rights in the UK said on Monday it was taking the UAE to the ICC over “indiscriminate attacks on civilians” in Yemen.
The UAE is part of a Saudi-led coalition battling Shiite Houthi militias in Yemen.
UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash accused Qatar of being responsible.
“The Arab Organization for Human Rights with its address in Qatar has filed a media complaint against the UAE to the International Criminal Court,” Gargash wrote on his Twitter account.
“People with knowledge are aware that this move aims to create noise, which is Qatar’s favorite game,” he said.
The group, which says it is based in London, said the complaint was filed on Monday.
Officials at the Hague-based ICC could not be reached to confirm whether the complaint had been filed. Such complaints are common, with some 10,000 received since the court opened in 2002.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt in June severed diplomatic ties with Qatar and imposed economic sanctions on the gas-rich country.


US weighing options on American Daesh sympathizer in Syria

A member of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) stands guard on top of a building on February 17, 2019, in the frontline Syrian village of Baghuz. (AFP)
Updated 20 February 2019
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US weighing options on American Daesh sympathizer in Syria

  • Neither option would likely pass muster in the cases of US citizens, who enjoy strong legal protections under the Constitution

WASHINGTON: The United States said Tuesday it wanted to ensure foreign terrorists remain off the battlefield as it weighed options on an American detained in Syria who says she wants to return home.
The United States has urged European powers to take back hundreds of their citizens who fought with the Daesh group in Syria, but acknowledged the situation was complex in the rare case of an American terrorist.
Hoda Muthana, a 24-year-old from Alabama who became a prominent online agitator for the extremists, said in an interview published Sunday with The Guardian that she had been brainwashed online and “deeply regrets” joining the movement.
While declining to discuss Muthana’s case specifically, State Department deputy spokesman Robert Palladino said that the status of US citizens detained in Syria “is by definition extremely complicated.”
“We’re looking into these cases to better understand the details,” he told reporters.
Palladino said that the United States generally did not see a different solution between what to do with US fighters and with foreigners, saying the fighters pose “a global threat.”
“Repatriating these foreign terrorist fighters to their countries of origin, ensuring that they are prosecuted and detained — that’s the best solution, preventing them from returning to the battlefield,” he said.
The situation of foreign terrorists detained by US-allied Kurdish forces has taken a new urgency as President Donald Trump plans to withdraw US troops from Syria.
The Syrian Democratic Forces say they may have to refocus on fighting Turkey, which has vowed to crush Kurdish fighters it links to separatists at home.
Trump has contemplated reopening the US military base at Guantanamo Bay to take in new foreign inmates, while Britain on Tuesday revoked the citizenship of a female terrorsist who wanted to return home with her newborn baby.
Neither option would likely pass muster in the cases of US citizens, who enjoy strong legal protections under the Constitution.
Muthana, who was married three times to terrorists and has a son with one of her husbands, fled her family in 2014 to join the Daesh group in Syria, where she took to Twitter to urge attacks on fellow Americans.
In the interview with The Guardian, Muthana said that she was “really young and ignorant” when she joined Daesh and has since renounced radicalism.
“I believe that America gives second chances. I want to return and I’ll never come back to the Middle East,” she told the newspaper.
Hassan Shilby, a lawyer for Muthana, told ABC television’s “Good Morning America” that the young woman had been “brainwashed and manipulated” and is “absolutely disgusted” by the person she became.