Egypt pardons, releases jailed Chadian rebel

Egypt pardons, releases jailed Chadian rebel
Timan Erdimi, leader of the rebel Union of Resistance Forces (UFR), greets his relatives who came to welcome him as he arrives at the N'Djamena International Airport in N'Djamena, Chad, on August 18, 2022, after 17 years in exile. (File/AFP)
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Updated 15 September 2022

Egypt pardons, releases jailed Chadian rebel

Egypt pardons, releases jailed Chadian rebel
  • The Erdimi brothers, nephews of former Chadian president Idriss Deby Itno, were key regime figures in the 1990s

N’DJAMENA: A jailed Chadian rebel has been pardoned by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and released from prison, his brother and Chad’s government have said.
Tom Erdimi, twin brother of Union of Resistance Forces (UFR) leader Timan Erdimi, was released on Tuesday after several months’ imprisonment in Egypt.
He should return to Chad “at the end of the week,” his brother told AFP on Wednesday.
The Erdimi brothers, nephews of former Chadian president Idriss Deby Itno, were key regime figures in the 1990s.
Tom Erdimi was director of Deby’s cabinet in 1991, and in charge of certain oil-related activities in the central African state.
He and his brother rebelled against Deby in 2005, launching several offensives aimed at overthrowing the government, including one that earned them a death sentence in absentia while they were in exile overseas.
Tom’s release from prison was one of the conditions for the UFR joining a “national dialogue” in N’Djamena between civil society, opposition parties, trade unions, rebel groups and the military government of Mahamat Idriss Deby — son of the former president, who was killed during a military operation in 2021.
Government spokesman Abderaman Koulamallah told AFP that Ermini was “freed and surrounded by his children,” adding that the younger Deby had supported Tom’s release though maintained the matter was “an Egyptian affair.”
In 2021, Chad’s junta granted a “general amnesty” to rebel groups, saying it wanted to “clean the slate” and move on.
Mahamat Deby has said power will be returned to the people after an 18-month transition period and a national dialogue meant to pave the way for “free and democratic elections.”


Israeli army kills 3 Palestinians in West Bank raid

Israeli army kills 3 Palestinians in West Bank raid
Updated 12 sec ago

Israeli army kills 3 Palestinians in West Bank raid

Israeli army kills 3 Palestinians in West Bank raid
RAMALLAH, West Bank: Israeli forces killed three Palestinians during an early Thursday raid in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.
The military raid targeted Jenin town and its refugee camp in northern West Bank. The areas are a stronghold for Palestinian militants and Israel has stepped up raids there in recent months.
The official Palestinian news agency reported that “confrontations and violent clashes” erupted between residents of Jenin and the Israeli forces.
Old photos circulating on social media showed two of the three Palestinians who were killed posing with rifles. Palestinian media also shared footage showing an ambulance hit by Israeli gunshots in Jenin.
Palestinian factions in the city called for a general strike to mourn the dead and show solidarity with their families.
On Wednesday, Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian militant who opened fire at them near the West Bank settlement of Ofra.
More than 140 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli-Palestinian fighting in the West Bank and east Jerusalem this year, making it the deadliest year since 2006.
The Israeli army says most of the Palestinians killed have been militants. But stone-throwing youths protesting Israeli army incursions and others not involved in confrontations have also been killed.
Israel has been conducting daily arrest raids throughout the West Bank, in an operation prompted by a spate of Palestinian attacks against Israelis in the spring that killed 19 people.
The military says the raids are meant to dismantle militant networks and thwart future attacks, but the Palestinians say they entrench Israel’s open-ended occupation, now in its 56th year.
At least 31 people have died in Arab attacks in Israel and the occupied West Bank this year, according to Israeli figures.

Iraqi security forces kill two protesters in the south

Iraqi security forces kill two protesters in the south
Updated 08 December 2022

Iraqi security forces kill two protesters in the south

Iraqi security forces kill two protesters in the south

BAGHDAD/NASSIRIYA: Iraqi security forces shot dead two protesters in the southern city of Nassiriya on Wednesday after using live ammunition to disperse an anti-government protest, police and medical sources told Reuters.
At least 16 protesters were wounded, mainly by live bullets, when security forces attempted to move them away from bridges and a central square, the sources said.
Police said protesters threw stones at security forces, wounding 17. A Reuters witness said crowds subsequently gathered outside a hospital morgue, demanding the release of the two bodies.
Around 300 people took part in the demonstration which was called to protest against recent arrests that targeted activists in the mainly Shiite city of Nassiriya.
Protesters took to the streets against a court ruling this week sentencing Hayder Hamid Al-Zaidi, 20, to three years in prison over alleged criticism of state-sanctioned militias.
Zaidi, 20, who was active in popular anti-government protests that began in October 2019, was sentenced Monday in a criminal court in Baghdad over comments on Twitter that he maintains he did not write. He had been charged under a penal code section that outlaws publicly insulting any government institution or official.
Al-Zaidi was arrested over the tweet in June and released after 16 days on bail. He has maintained that his account was hacked.
It was the first such deadly demonstration since a new government was formed by Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani in October. 
(With Reuters and AP)


Islamic school funded by Kuwaitis opens in Venezuela

Islamic school funded by Kuwaitis opens in Venezuela
Updated 08 December 2022

Islamic school funded by Kuwaitis opens in Venezuela

Islamic school funded by Kuwaitis opens in Venezuela
  • Establishment to teach Arabic, Islamic education, Venezuelan curriculum to more than 180 students

KUWAIT: The Venezuelan Islamic School, funded by Kuwaiti businessmen and overseen by Zakat House, has opened in the country’s capital Caracas, the Kuwait News Agency reported on Wednesday.

More than 180 students in kindergarten, primary, and secondary school will be taught Arabic, Islamic education, and the Venezuelan curriculum following Kuwait’s first charitable work in the country.

The inauguration was attended by Kuwait’s Ambassador to Venezuela Nasser Al-Enezi, Head of the Venezuelan Islamic Center Baligh Saeed, and a number of dignitaries, students and school staff.

Al-Enezi praised the Zakat House of Kuwait for sponsoring projects for the Arab community, and business for its contribution.

 


Sister of Iran’s supreme leader denounces ‘tyranny’ of regime

Sister of Iran’s supreme leader denounces ‘tyranny’ of regime
Updated 07 December 2022

Sister of Iran’s supreme leader denounces ‘tyranny’ of regime

Sister of Iran’s supreme leader denounces ‘tyranny’ of regime
  • Khamenei condemned her brother in letter posted on Twitter by exiled son
  • Her daughter was arrested in November after criticizing regime in YouTube video

LONDON: Badri Hosseini Khamenei, the sister of Iran’s supreme leader, said on Wednesday that she soon hopes to see the overthrow of her brother’s “tyranny,” adding that he “has brought nothing but suffering and oppression” to his people. 

Khamenei’s family have been fierce critics of the Islamic regime since 1979, after the revolution deposed the last shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.  

Khamenei and her husband, Ali Tehrani, regularly spoke out against the government while in exile in Iraq during the 1980s, The Times reported. Upon their return to Iran in 1995, her husband, who died in October, was imprisoned for 10 years.

According to The Times, Khamenei has since refrained from publicly denouncing the regime while living in Iran.

However, she is now openly condemning the authorities’ violent crackdown on the nationwide protests.

In a damning letter posted on Twitter by her France-based son Mahmoud Moradkhani, Khamenei wrote: “I think it is appropriate now to declare that I oppose my brother’s actions and I express my sympathy with all mothers mourning the crimes of the Islamic Republic regime.

“I am sorry that due to physical ailments I cannot participate in protest movements as I should. But in heart and soul, I am with the people of Iran.

“Our family’s opposition and struggle against this criminal system began a few months after the revolution.

“The crimes of this system, the suppression of any dissenting voice, the imprisonment of the most educated and the most caring youth of this land, the most severe punishments, and the large-scale executions began from the very beginning.”

Khamenei’s daughter Farideh Moradkhani was arrested for the third time last month after calling on all foreign governments to stop supporting Tehran.

The activist described her uncle’s regime on Nov. 25 as “murderous and child-killing” in a video posted on Youtube.

Addressing this, Khamenei added: “When they arrest my daughter with violence, it is clear that they apply thousands of times more violence to other oppressed boys and girls who are subjected to inhumane cruelty.”

Khamenei also said that her brother was not listening to the “voice of the people in Iran,” but was instead taking note of “mercenaries and money-grubbers.”

She called on Revolutionary Guards to lay down their arms and join the people “before it is too late.”

 


Rifts appear between Lebanon’s two political allies

Rifts appear between Lebanon’s two political allies
Updated 07 December 2022

Rifts appear between Lebanon’s two political allies

Rifts appear between Lebanon’s two political allies
  • Free Patriotic Movement hints at parting with Hezbollah, accusing it of attacking president’s position

BEIRUT: The Free Patriotic Movement’s anger over caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati convening a Cabinet session on Monday led to a shakeup in the relationship between the party and its ally, Hezbollah.

FPM head Gebran Bassil, in a press conference on Tuesday, expressed anger over “expanded decentralization, even without laws.”

Hezbollah and the Amal Movement provided political cover for Mikati to convene a Cabinet session to approve the process of securing medicines for dialysis and cancer patients, which Mikati deems an absolute necessity.

The FPM refuses to hold any Cabinet session in light of the presidential vacuum in order to prevent Mikati from exercising the powers of the Christian president, especially since the movement believes the caretaker government has no right to play this role.

As the country experiences a devastating economic crisis, eight attempts by Lebanon’s divided parliament to elect a president have failed after the term of President Micael Aoun ended over a month ago.

Aoun’s son-in-law Bassil has indirectly presented himself as a presidential candidate, given that his parliamentary bloc is the largest Christian bloc and has the right to nominate the future president.

Bassil rejects the candidacy of former Minister Suleiman Frangieh for the post, who is supported by Hezbollah and Amal.

In a press conference, Bassil said that the Cabinet session on Monday was “unconstitutional, illegal and unconventional,” describing it as “an execution of the constitution and a fatal blow to (the) Taif Agreement.”

The FPM ministers boycotted the Cabinet session, with the exception of the Minister of Industry George Boushkian, who secured the quorum for the session. His behavior resulted in his party, the Tashnak, an ally of the FPM’s, renouncing him for not abiding by its decision to boycott the session.

The FPM website stated that “Hezbollah contributes to the normalization of the vacuum and the assault on the president’s position.”

Bassil indirectly addressed Hezbollah, saying: “If someone thinks that they are pressuring us on the presidential issue, we would like to tell them that it will not work.

“We will not attend the parliament sessions if we do not find a great national need to do so, and we will seek to abandon the blank vote quicker and go for a presidential candidate.”

MP Michel Moussa, a member of the Development and Liberation parliamentary bloc headed by Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, downplayed the possibility of any change in the political map at the level of the presidential elections as a result of the tensions following the Cabinet session. “Not electing a new president contributes to deepening these conflicts,” he said.

Moussa stressed the need to conduct a serious and effective dialogue between all parties to calm tensions and elect a president.

Hezbollah avoided commenting on Bassil’s statements.

MP Bilal Abdullah, a member of the Democratic Gathering bloc, said: “One party has unsuccessfully tried to raise the sectarian discourse. Hezbollah did not respond.”

A political observer, preferring anonymity, said: “Hezbollah, by participating in the Cabinet session, tried to assure Bassil that it was not alone on the scene.”

The Sovereign Front for Lebanon, which opposes Hezbollah, stressed that the MPs must remain in the parliament hall until a new president is elected for the sake of the country and the constitution.