Daesh overtaking Al-Qaeda in S. Asia social media war

Updated 19 June 2015
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Daesh overtaking Al-Qaeda in S. Asia social media war

ISLAMABAD: Militant propaganda websites and social media accounts in South Asia are promoting Islamic State at the expense of Al-Qaeda, analysts said on Friday, highlighting the rivalry between the two global militant groups.
Disaffected Taleban factions have started to look toward Daesh, impressed by its rapid capture of territory in Syria and Iraq, though there is no evidence it is providing substantial material support to the Taleban.
The popularity of Daesh comes at the expense of Al-Qaeda, whose deep pockets and foreign fighters once readily attracted local commanders. But Al-Qaeda has been decimated by drone strikes and its traditional influence severely eroded.
“The Taleban and Al-Qaeda have almost been written out of the picture,” said Omar Hamid, the head of Asia analysis at IHS Country Risk. “Most of these sites have converted their content to an Daesh platform.”
So far the IS social media campaign has not been matched by material support to South Asian groups such as the Taliban, he said, but it has helped gather dissatisfied splinter groups around Daesh.
A few Afghan commanders have sworn allegiance to Daesh, saying they oppose peace talks between the government and Taleban. Others have questioned whether reclusive one-eyed Taleban leader Mullah Omar, who has close ties to Al-Qaeda, is alive.
In Pakistan, home to a separate but allied Taleban insurgency, the leadership of the Taleban is hotly disputed. Some factions there also swore allegiance to Daesh, cementing their vow by beheading a soldier and posting the video online.


Duterte foes cry foul as Philippine police push sedition charges

Updated 54 min 42 sec ago
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Duterte foes cry foul as Philippine police push sedition charges

  • Thirty-six opposition figures are accused of cyber libel and sedition
  • A series of online videos ahead of May’s mid-term elections alleged that Duterte and his family members were involved in the illegal drugs trade

MANILA: Opponents of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte expressed shock and outrage on Friday at police moves to charge dozens of them with sedition, calling it persecution aimed at stamping out scrutiny of his increasingly powerful rule.
Thirty-six opposition figures are accused of cyber libel and sedition for orchestrating a series of online videos ahead of May’s mid-term elections. The videos feature a hooded man alleging that Duterte and his family members were involved in the illegal drugs trade, which they deny.
The man, who had said he was a witness, later surrendered and appeared with police on television to say his claims were false and that he was cajoled into making the videos by opposition members. They included the vice president, lawyers, Catholic priests, a former attorney general, and incumbent and former lawmakers, the man said.
The justice department is looking into the complaint, which is the latest move against Duterte’s detractors who say the aim is to create a power monopoly for a president who already enjoys a legislative super-majority and a public approval rating of about 80 percent.
Duterte insists he is open to challenges but has shown no qualms about threatening high-profile critics, several of whom he said last month he would jail if they tried to impeach him.
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said Duterte had no involvement in the police sedition complaint.
“We have nothing to do with this case, not at all, absolutely nothing,” he told news channel ANC. “Let the judicial process do its work.”
Antonio Trillanes, a former senator and Duterte’s strongest critic, described the complaint as “political persecution and harassment” intended to stifle democratic dissent.
A spokesman for Vice President Leni Robredo, who was not Duterte’s running mate and was elected separately, called the complaint “completely baseless.” Her party ally Senator Francis Pangilinan said it was part of a series of moves toward removing her from office.
Leila de Lima, an anti-Duterte senator detained on drugs charges, said it was “hogwash, pure hogwash,” and Samira Gutoc, a candidate in recent Senate elections, urged the police not to become partisan.
“I really am baffled,” Gutoc said of being accused of involvement.