Afghan mercenaries being sent to Syria part of ‘vicious Iranian plot’

A Syrian paramedic carries an injured child following airstrikes by Syrian and Russian forces in the opposition-held town of Hamouria, Eastern Ghouta, on Saturday. (AFP)
Updated 07 January 2018
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Afghan mercenaries being sent to Syria part of ‘vicious Iranian plot’

JEDDAH: Iran has shown that it will resort to any tool to prop up the Assad regime, including the increasing recruitment of Afghan men and children to fight in Syria, Iranian-American political scientist Majid Rafizadeh told Arab News on Saturday.
He was reacting to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) report that more than 2,000 Afghans deployed by Iran have been killed fighting in Syria for the Assad regime.
The Fatemiyoun Brigade of Afghan recruits has been fighting in Syria for five years, Zohair Mojahed, a cultural official in the volunteer force, told Iranian media.
Rafizadeh said two Iranian organizations are behind the recruitment: The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its elite Quds Force.
“The Iranian regime preys on vulnerable people such as immigrant or poor families,” he said, adding that Human Rights Watch (HRW) recently described Tehran’s recruitment of Afghan children as “a grave violation of international law.”
Mojahed told Iran’s reformist Shargh newspaper that the Fatemiyoun Brigade “has given more than 2,000 martyrs and 8,000 wounded for Islam.”
His description of mercenaries as “martyrs” drew a sharp rebuke from Syrian opposition spokesman Yahya Al-Aridi, who told Arab News that they are Iran’s “hired guns” who did not die for Islam.
“These Afghans are originally refugees in Iran. After the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, they took refuge in Iran and they’re being sent to Syria by Tehran to kill Syrians,” Al-Aridi said, adding that Islam is not a religion of violence, as is being wrongly portrayed by Mojahed.
“They died to implement vicious and cunning Iranian plots. Those mercenaries are killed by Syrians who are defending themselves, their land and their children,” Al-Aridi said.
Iran takes them to Syria and puts them on the frontline in order to invade Syrian territory and kill Syrians, he added.
“Many of them were captured by Syrian freedom fighters, and they confessed to being paid by Iran $200 to $500 for their families in Afghanistan,” he said. “Iran doesn’t care whether they’re killed or stay alive.”


Former Dubai and Qatar teacher admits child sex offenses

Updated 33 min 50 sec ago
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Former Dubai and Qatar teacher admits child sex offenses

  • American, William Brinson Ball, 39, pleaded guilty to attempting to solicit sex with a minor and possession of child pornography
  • On his arrest on Feb. 15, he was found to have items for the child, as well as condoms and lubricant

DUBAI: A former Dubai and Qatar teacher has admitted child sex offenses at a US court in Florida.
American, William Brinson Ball, 39, pleaded guilty to attempting to solicit sex with a minor and possession of child pornography at a hearing at the US District Court in Tampa on Thursday, May 17.
Ball, who taught music at the Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai and previously at the Qatar Academy in Doha, paid $5,000 to fly to the US in February, where he planned to meet a seven-year-old.
On his arrest on Feb. 15, he was found to have items for the child, as well as condoms and lubricant, an earlier court hearing was told.
Ball, originally from Mississippi, had used the Internet and a mobile phone to lure his victim, prosecutors told the court at an earlier hearing.
When Arab News spoke to his Dubai employer in February, a spokesman for the school said the expat teacher had been recruited through a “reputable [recruitment] agency” and “stringent background checks” had been carried out.
Both schools also told Arab News at the time that there was no reason to believe Ball had committed similar offenses while in their employment in the Gulf.
Ball will return to court on Aug. 3, 2018 for sentencing.