US to designate head of Daesh as a global terrorist - Pompeo

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Updated 18 March 2020

US to designate head of Daesh as a global terrorist - Pompeo

  • US will impose sanctions on Syrian defense minister for perpetuating violence inside Syria

WASINGTON: The United States on Tuesday placed the new leader of Daesh on its blacklist of terrorists, naming him as Amir Mohammed Abdul Rahman Al-Mawli.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Al-Mawli was named leader of the ultra-violent group after an October raid by US commandos killed its chief Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.
The organization had earlier named Abu Ibrahim Al-Hashimi Al-Quraishi as its new head, but US officials acknowledged they knew little about him — and later came to believe that the Daesh group was using his nom de guerre.
Al-Mawli “was previously active in Al-Qaeda in Iraq and is known for torturing innocent Yazidi religious minorities,” Pompeo said.
“We’ve destroyed the caliphate and we remain committed to Daesh’s enduring defeat no matter who they designate as their leader,” he said, referring to another acronym for Daesh.
A US-led coalition, spearheaded on the ground by Syrian Kurdish fighters, crushed Daesh’s so-called caliphate that once stretched for vast stretches of Iraq and Syria — but the group has inspired attacks much farther afield.
Al-Mawli was named a specially designated global terrorist, putting him on a list created after the September 11, 2001 attacks that makes any support to him a crime in the United States.
The State Department has already issued a $5 million bounty for information leading to Al-Mawli’s capture.
A scholar in Islamic sharia law, Al-Mawli rose through the ranks by issuing edicts to justify the persecution of the Yazidi, a campaign that the United Nations has described as genocide.
The militants killed thousands of Yazidis, who practice an ancient religion, and abducted and enslaved thousands more women and girls as they rampaged across the Middle East.
The Guardian, in a January article that cited intelligence sources, said that Al-Mawli was raised in an Iraqi Turkmen family — making him one of the few non-Arabs to rise through the ranks of the extremist group.
The newspaper said that intelligence officials were unsure of his whereabouts but believe he likely followed Baghdadi to Idlib, the last Syrian outpost out of the control of President Bashar Assad’s forces.
The Counter Extremist Project, which tracks militants, said that Al-Mawli served in the Iraqi military under Saddam Hussein before joining Al-Qaeda in Iraq, becoming a jurist for the militants.
It said that US forces captured Al-Mawli and jailed him in southern Iraq where he formed his bond with Baghdadi, who was also jailed as part of Al-Qaeda.
Pompeo also said the US believes Russia has killed dozens of Turkish military personnel in the course of their military operations in Syria, and that Washington continued to offer support to its NATO ally Turkey. 
Speaking at a press conference at US State Department, Pompeo did not specify in where or during which incident the Turkish soldiers were killed. Last month, an air strike that Ankara said was carried out by the Syrian government forces killed at least 34 Turkish soldiers.

(With AFP and Reuters)


Egypt condemns latest Houthi missile attack on Saudi Arabia

A ballistic missile is seen after it was fired toward the Saudi capital of Riyadh from an undisclosed location in Yemen, in this handout photo released December 19, 2017 by the Houthi movement's War Media. (REUTERS)
Updated 5 min 6 sec ago

Egypt condemns latest Houthi missile attack on Saudi Arabia

  • Foreign ministry expresses solidarity with Kingdom ‘as it faces assaults that target its civilians.’

CAIRO: The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday strongly condemned an attack on Saudi Arabia by Yemeni Houthi militias.

That morning, the Saudi-led Arab coalition intercepted and destroyed four missiles and seven bomb-laden drones. According to a statement published by the Saudi Press Agency, the drones were launched from the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, at targets in the Kingdom.

The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed solidarity with Saudi Arabia “as it faces these assaults that target its civilians.” It also pledged its full support for any defensive measures authorities in the Kingdom take to ensure the country remains safe from terrorism.

The ministry reiterated Egypt’s full support for all efforts to restore peace and stability in Yemen. It said attacks such as the latest on Saudi Arabia will result in an escalation of instability, and called for a ceasefire so that the dispute can be resolved peacefully.

It stressed the importance of engaging in a political process to find a solution that respects the Gulf Cooperation Council and UN Security Council resolution 2216. This confirms Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi as Yemen’s internationally-recognized president and calls for the Houthis to return control the country’s capital, Sanaa, which was captured in 2014. The resolution also calls for the Houthis to stop using Yemen as a base from which to attack neighboring countries.

The Houthis took control of the nation in Sep. 2014. Saudi Arabia has been leading the Coalition for Supporting Legitimacy in Yemen since 2015. It includes a number of other Arab nations, including the UAE, Kuwait and Egypt.