Western-made parts found in Iranian drones supplied to Russia for use in Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed on Friday to continue to neutralize the impact of Russian drone strikes. (Screenshot/Ukrainian Presidency)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed on Friday to continue to neutralize the impact of Russian drone strikes. (Screenshot/Ukrainian Presidency)
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Updated 29 October 2022

Western-made parts found in Iranian drones supplied to Russia for use in Ukraine

Western-made parts found in Iranian drones supplied to Russia for use in Ukraine
  • Some parts found in the Russia-Ukraine theater were directly linked to American companies
  • Iranian-made Shahed-136 drone has become the go-to weapon for Russian forces

LONDON: Iranian drones supplied to Russian forces fighting in Ukraine contain parts made in the US, Europe, and Asia, Ukrainian investigators have found.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal on Friday, the investigators found drones shot down by Kyiv’s military contained pieces of Western-made hardware that guide and power the machines.

Weapons experts told the newspaper that Iranian engineers had likely been able to scavenge and copy pieces from downed American and Israeli drones for use in their own drones.

However, some parts found in the Russia-Ukraine theater were directly linked to American companies, at least one of which told the WSJ they were now investigating the reports.

The Iranian-made Shahed-136 drone has become the go-to weapon for Russian forces, who have used the model to strike Ukrainian cities, despite denial of their use from both Tehran and Moscow.

However, Western governments and intelligence agencies say they have evidence of the drone supply, as well as exchanges of information between Russian and Iranian military personnel on how to operate the drones.

“Today, I received a call from Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian, during which I demanded that Iran immediately cease the flow of weapons to Russia used to kill civilians and destroy critical infrastructure in Ukraine,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Friday. 

And Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed on Friday to continue to neutralize the impact of Russian drone strikes.

“Together, we will certainly clip the wings of all metal monsters, no matter how many of them and from where they fly in the direction of Ukraine,” he said.

“Enemy planes will fall. Enemy helicopters will fall. ‘Shaheds’ will fall. It is only the Ukrainian people who will not fall.” 


Cleveland police investigating report of missing Saudi citizen

Omar Al-Anazi. (Police photo)
Omar Al-Anazi. (Police photo)
Updated 29 January 2023

Cleveland police investigating report of missing Saudi citizen

Omar Al-Anazi. (Police photo)
  • The police have categorized the disappearance as “endangered” because of his circumstances as a visitor to the city with limited English language skills

CHICAGO: Police in Cleveland, Ohio released a statement Sunday saying they are actively investigating the Jan. 27 reported disappearance of a visiting Saudi citizen, Omar Al-Anazi.

Al-Anazi, 30, was last seen around 10 a.m. by friends after spending time in the city’s tourist area along the Lake Erie waterfront.

According to witnesses, he was socializing with friends in the downtown area when he was reported missing, the Cleveland Division of Police officials said.

“He went with a group to the East 9th Street Pier at approximately 2:30 a.m. to look at the water and was reportedly intoxicated,” officials of the Cleveland Division of Police Department said in a statement.

When the group went to leave, the statement added, “Al-Anazi reportedly walked away.”

Cleveland Police said that Al-Anazi’s friends searched for him but were unable to locate him. The police have categorized the disappearance as “endangered” because of his circumstances as a visitor to the city with limited English language skills.

Al-Anazi, police said, is visiting from Saudi Arabia and reportedly does not speak English.

He was last seen wearing a beige jacket and pants.

Cleveland Police are asking anyone with information to contact them immediately by calling 1-216-621-1234.

 


Pope condemns increasing ‘death spiral’ in Middle East

Pope Francis leads the Angelus prayer from his window at the Vatican, January 29, 2023. (REUTERS)
Pope Francis leads the Angelus prayer from his window at the Vatican, January 29, 2023. (REUTERS)
Updated 30 January 2023

Pope condemns increasing ‘death spiral’ in Middle East

Pope Francis leads the Angelus prayer from his window at the Vatican, January 29, 2023. (REUTERS)
  • Francis, 86, cited 10 Palestinians, including a woman, killed in an Israeli army raid on a refugee camp in the West Bank, and an attack Friday by a Palestinian gunman that killed seven Israelis outside a synagogue in East Jerusalem

VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis on Sunday condemned a resurgence of violence in the Middle East, calling on both sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to engage in a “sincere search for peace.”
“The death spiral that increases day by day only closes the few glimmers of trust that exist between the two peoples,” said the pope following his traditional Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square.
Francis, 86, cited 10 Palestinians, including a woman, killed in an Israeli army raid on a refugee camp in the West Bank, and an attack Friday by a Palestinian gunman that killed seven Israelis outside a synagogue in East Jerusalem.
“Since the beginning of the year, dozens of Palestinians have been killed in clashes with the Israeli army,” said the pope.
“I appeal to the two governments and the international community to find other ways without delay, including dialogue and the sincere search for peace.”
“It is with great sorrow that I learn of the news coming from the Holy Land,” he said.

 


At least 50 killed in twin transport mishaps in Pakistan 

At least 50 killed in twin transport mishaps in Pakistan 
Updated 29 January 2023

At least 50 killed in twin transport mishaps in Pakistan 

At least 50 killed in twin transport mishaps in Pakistan 
  • A passenger bus fell into a ravine and caught fire in Balochistan’s Bela area, killing at least 40 people 
  • In second mishap, 10 children were killed after their ferry capsized in country’s northwest on Sunday 

KARACHI: At least 50 people were killed in two separate transport tragedies in Pakistan on Sunday, officials said, renewing a debate about poor transport safety protocols in the South Asian country.  

In the first incident, a passenger bus fell into a ravine and later caught fire in the Bela area of Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province, where road accidents claim thousands of lives annually.   

Balochistan, a mountainous, desert region bordering Afghanistan and Iran, is Pakistan’s largest but most impoverished province, with a staggering 40,000-km network of road infrastructure.   

According to the motorway police, 6,000 to 8,000 people die each year in accidents across the Balochistan province, mainly on single-lane roads that have infamously come to be known as “killer highways.”   

“A bus going from Quetta to Karachi plunged into a ravine and caught fire at around 3 a.m.,” Hamza Anjum Nadeem, the Bela assistant commissioner, told Arab News. “At least 39 bodies have been recovered and a search for others is underway.”  

Anjum later confirmed the death of another passenger, taking the count to 40. Of these, 38 dead bodies were being moved to the southern port city of Karachi, 177 km away from Bela, for medico-legal formalities, Karachi Police Surgeon Dr. Summaiya Syed told Arab News.  

Balochistan is the epicenter of the $64 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a road and infrastructure development plan, which aims to ultimately provide the shortest route for Chinese cargo headed for the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia. 

Major roads are slated for construction under the CPEC, including the road from Balochistan’s Khuzdar district to the Chinese-funded, deep-water port of Gwadar. But for now, the absence of dual carriageways, inadequate training of drivers, and a lack of highway patrols mean thousands continue to die on these roads each year.

In another incident, 10 children died when their boat capsized in Tanda Dam lake near Kohat in the country’s northwest, according to police.  

All of the dead recovered so far were aged between 7 and 14 years, local police official Mir Rauf told the AFP news agency. Rauf said 11 children had been rescued from the water, with six in critical condition. The boat was carrying between 25 and 30 students on a day trip from a local madrassa when it overturned.  

“A rescue operation is underway,” Rauf said. Mass drownings are common in Pakistan when aged and overloaded vessels lose their stability and pitch passengers into the water. In July, 18 women drowned when an overcrowded boat carrying a wedding party across the Indus river in Punjab province capsized.  

The South Asian country also has poor road safety controls, and thousands of lives are lost to road crashes each year, particularly in the southwestern Balochistan province.  

According to the National Road Safety Strategy 2018-2030, a report administered by the Asian Development Bank that cited police data, 6,548 people died at the scene of an accident on Pakistan’s roads in 2016. Of these, 355 fatalities happened on national highways and 6,003 on provincial roads.  

At least seven people were killed and 15 others were injured after a passenger bus collided with a truck in Balochistan’s Killa Saifullah district this month. In June last year, 22 people were killed when a passenger bus veered off a narrow road and fell into a ravine in the same district.


Taliban raise concerns over ‘problems’ faced by Afghan refugees in Iran 

Taliban raise concerns over ‘problems’ faced by Afghan refugees in Iran 
Updated 29 January 2023

Taliban raise concerns over ‘problems’ faced by Afghan refugees in Iran 

Taliban raise concerns over ‘problems’ faced by Afghan refugees in Iran 
  • About 3 million Afghans are living in Iran, most of whom are undocumented 
  • Afghan refugees in Iran face many hardships, including abuse by Iranian authorities 

KABUL: The Taliban administration has raised concerns with Tehran over difficulties faced by Afghan refugees in Iran, an official said on Sunday, as reports of mistreatment continue to emerge from the neighboring country.

Iran has for decades hosted millions of Afghans fleeing armed conflict in their country.

Nearly 600,000 Afghan passport holders live in Iran and about 780,000 are registered as refugees, according to 2022 data from UN High Commissioner for Refugees, while 2.1 million Afghans remain undocumented.

The number of Afghans crossing into their western neighbor has increased since 2021, when the Taliban took control of the country and international sanctions slapped on their administration shattered the economy. Many have since been forcibly expelled back to Afghanistan, and reports of their abuse at the hands of Iranian security forces have been on the rise.

This month, videos circulated on social media shed new light on the ordeal faced by Afghan refugees in Iran. At least one clip showed topless Afghan men chained together and kneeling on the sand, crying and pleading as they are whipped with a belt. Other footage has emerged since last year, with reports of abuse not only by the Iranian police but also by criminal gangs and human traffickers.

“There is no doubt that Afghans have faced a number of problems in neighboring Iran,” Abdul Mutalib Haqqani, spokesman for the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation, told Arab News on Sunday.

“We have talked to Iranian officials…and shared such concerns and problems of Afghans with them,” Haqqani added. “One of the problems is that a big number of Afghans have been forcibly expelled from Iran.”

Iranian security forces have “unlawfully killed” at least 11 Afghans, according to a report by Amnesty International published last August, which also documented the forced returns and torture of Afghans.

Last April, viral footage showing the mistreatment of Afghan refugees in Iran prompted a wave of protests targeting Iranian diplomatic missions in Kabul and Herat.

Those reports, however, have not deterred Afghans from seeking a better life in Iran, said social activist Dr. Azad, who is based in the western province of Herat.

“About 80 percent of Herat residents have been living in poverty and economic problems,” he told Arab News. “Almost one member of each family from Herat province is traveling to neighboring Iran to find work until they can provide food for their family.

“Those who have passports and those without any documents have all had to face different problems with the Iranian authorities.”

But problems faced by Afghan refugees in Iran are multifaceted and do not always directly involve Iranian officials, said Attaullah Khogyani, an Afghan activist based in Tehran.

“Afghan refugees have a lot of problems in Iran. Sometimes they are arrested and beaten very badly, and after the arrest, they are forcibly expelled to Afghanistan,” Khogyani, whose work focuses on refugee rights, told Arab News in a phone interview.

“There are some groups who abduct Afghans and then ask them to pay money, taking away their passports and other legal documents too,” he added.

“Our neighbors are not treating us well at all and haven’t given us support or help,” he said. “Afghans are suffering a lot now.” 


First Palestinian American to win Illinois state seat sworn into office

Cook County commissioners Frank Aguilar and Donna Miller, State Rep. Abdelnasser Rashid, and Samantha Steele. (AN photo)
Cook County commissioners Frank Aguilar and Donna Miller, State Rep. Abdelnasser Rashid, and Samantha Steele. (AN photo)
Updated 29 January 2023

First Palestinian American to win Illinois state seat sworn into office

Cook County commissioners Frank Aguilar and Donna Miller, State Rep. Abdelnasser Rashid, and Samantha Steele. (AN photo)
  • Abdelnasser Rashid seeks social, economic aid for all citizens
  • Vows to tackle Israeli military, US police brutality and killings

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS: Abdelnasser Rashid, the first Palestinian American to win a seat in the Illinois General Assembly, was sworn into office Saturday before a gathering of prominent state and local officials, and Arab American community leaders.

After taking the oath, Rashid demanded justice for “innocent victims of violence everywhere.” This includes Palestinian civilians being targeted by the Israeli military, and also African Americans like Tyre Nichols who died three days after being beaten by police during a routine traffic stop in Memphis on Jan. 7.

Rashid said the rights of Palestinians and African Americans were just as important as the issues that every US citizen faces including improved education for their children, more jobs, a stronger economy, and support for their families.

“I am honored to be the first Palestinian to be elected to the Illinois General Assembly along with my sister, Nabeela Syed. Let’s (give) her a round of applause,” said Rashid who represents the 21st State House District. Syed, a Muslim, was also elected with Rashid in the Nov. 4 General Election and represents the north suburban 51st State Legislative district.

“We recognize the high stakes of the moment that we are in. I had planned to give a celebratory speech that was focused almost exclusively on the progress we are making. But to be honest I couldn’t only speak about progress after seeing the video of Tyre Nichols being brutally murdered by five officers in Memphis Tennessee. A video that reminds us of just how much we still have to do. And videos from Gaza and the West Bank where Palestinians continue to suffer under brutal Israeli occupation.”

Rashid said these issues of African American and Palestinian rights were just as important as the nation’s broken healthcare system and the region’s housing crisis, and he demanded that “we build durable coalitions to fight for justice and equity” for everyone.

A Democrat, Rashid’s district includes parts of the state’s growing Palestinian American population based in the southwest suburbs of Chicago including in Bridgeview and Burbank.

Several prominent elected officials attended the swearing-in citing Rashid’s election as proof that the system can change and become more representative.

Among those speakers was US Senator Dick Durbin, who during his term in office hired several Palestinian and Arab American staff members, including Reema Dodin who served as his deputy chief of staff in Washington D.C.

Dodin was tapped by President Joe Biden to serve as deputy director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs, the highest-ranking position to be held by a Palestinian American. Dodin’s parents immigrated to America from Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Newly elected Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias, whose former election campaign manager Palestinian American political consultant Hanah Jubeh is now the deputy secretary of state, praised Rashid as a symbol of the openness and inclusion that Illinois embraces.

“This community should be very, very proud of what Abdelnasser Rashid has accomplished ... the first Palestinian American and one of only two Muslims in the history of the General Assembly in the State of Illinois,” said Giannoulias, whose office is considered to be more powerful than that of the state governor.

“You represent the next generation, Abdelnasser. The people who came to this country with nothing. Who worked hard. Who were

discriminated against. Who made sacrifices and had challenges we couldn’t even fathom, are looking at you now as the reason why they came to this country and the reason why they made those sacrifices. They can point to you and say he is one of us. If he can do it, we can do it.”

Rashid defeated 14-year incumbent Democrat Michael Zalewski. Observers said Rashid’s success represents the growing influence of the Palestinian and Muslim American vote in the southwest suburbs of Chicagoland.