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Spread of Wahhabism was done at request of West during Cold War – Saudi crown prince

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Spread of Wahhabism was done at request of West during Cold War – Saudi crown prince
Published time: 28 Mar, 2018 11:58
Edited time: 18 Apr, 2018 15:56
Spread of Wahhabism was done at request of West during Cold War – Saudi crown prince
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. © Hamad I Mohammed / Reuters
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The Saudi-funded spread of Wahhabism began as a result of Western countries asking Riyadh to help counter the Soviet Union during the Cold War, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told the Washington Post.
Speaking to the paper, bin Salman said that Saudi Arabia’s Western allies urged the country to invest in mosques and madrassas overseas during the Cold War, in an effort to prevent encroachment in Muslim countries by the Soviet Union.

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3yrs of civilian deaths in Yemen don’t hold US & allies back from selling arms to Saudis – Amnesty 3yrs of civilian deaths in Yemen don’t hold US & allies back from selling arms to Saudis – Amnesty
He added that successive Saudi governments had lost track of that effort, saying “we have to get it all back.” Bin Salman also said that funding now comes mostly from Saudi-based “foundations,” rather than from the government.

The crown prince’s 75-minute interview with the Washington Post took place on March 22. Another topic of discussion included a previous claim by US media that bin Salman had said that he had White House senior adviser Jared Kushner “in his pocket.”

Bin Salman denied reports that when he and Kushner – who is also Donald Trump’s son-in-law – met in Riyadh in October, he had sought or received a greenlight from Kushner for the massive crackdown on alleged corruption which led to widespread arrests in the kingdom shortly afterwards. According to bin Salman, the arrests were a domestic issue and had been in the works for years.

He said it would be “really insane” for him to trade classified information with Kushner, or to try to use him to advance Saudi interests within the Trump administration. He stated that their relationship was within a normal governmental context, but did acknowledge that he and Kushner “work together as friends, more than partners.” He stated that he also had good relationships with Vice President Mike Pence and others within the White House.

The crown prince also spoke about the war in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition continues to launch a bombing campaign against Houthi rebels in an attempt to reinstate ousted Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi as president. The conflict has killed thousands, displaced many more, driven the country to the brink of famine, and led to a major cholera outbreak.

Although the coalition has been accused of a large number of civilian deaths and disregard for civilian lives – an accusation which Riyadh denies – the crown prince said his country has not passed up “any opportunity” to improve the humanitarian situation in the country. “There are not good options and bad options. The options are between bad and worse,” he said.

The interview with the crown prince was initially held off the record. However, the Saudi embassy later agreed to led the Washington Post publish specific portions of the meeting.

Reported by:Shakir Essa

The Somali government not ready to take any action that could threaten its relation with its neighbor Kenya

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The Somali government says it’s not ready to take any action that could threaten its relation with its neighbor Kenya. The announcement comes amidst simmering tensions over potential offshore oil deposits and an incident where Somali government officials and diplomats were denied entry to Kenya this week.

In a leaked protest letter, the Somali government raised concerns about what it called a Kenyan decision to deny entry visas to some lawmakers and diplomats, who had planned to attend a European Union meeting in Nairobi on Tuesday.

Kenya’s foreign affairs minister, Monica Juma, said she wasn’t aware of the incident, and said she would be surprised if anyone with a valid visa is denied entry.

Oil, gas deposits

The incident was likely related to a dispute over which country controls 100,000 square kilometers of Indian Ocean believed to hold oil and gas deposits. In February, Kenya recalled its ambassador to Somalia because of the disagreement.

Somalia filed a complaint against Kenya in the International Court of Justice in 2014, saying it had exhausted all other avenues of finding a solution to the dispute.

In an interview with VOA, Somalia’s foreign affairs minister, Ahmed Isse Awad, said the maritime dispute is in court.

“Somali government and its people’s stand on the issue is that’s a court matter and there will be no negotiation and bargaining on that issue,” he said. “We want that matter to remain like that.”

But, Awad added, Somalia does not want to be a party to any problem with “Kenyan brothers and neighbors.”

When Somalia filed its complaint, Kenya filed a preliminary objection, saying the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two countries had avenues of dispute resolution. But the ICJ in 2017 ruled it has jurisdiction on the matter and ordered the countries to submit their arguments.

Maritime law expert Wambua Musili says the route taken by Somalia to resolve the dispute deviates from traditional practices in the region.

“The practice of the states within the East African region has always been an agreement,” he said. “Tanzania agreed with Kenya — they fixed their bordering. Tanzania agreed with Mozambique —they fixed their border. Mauritius and Seychelles agreed and they fixed their borders.So the state practice has always been in this region states agree on the border rather than take the matter to the court.”

Kenya is one of five African countries with troops in Somalia fighting militant group al-Shabab. Kenya also has at least 300,000 Somali refugees.

2 Canadian women freed from Somaliland prison say they endured extreme abuse Maymona Abdi, 28, and Karima Watts, 24, arrested in January, released in April

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Two Canadian women freed from a prison in Somaliland say they endured extreme abuse “bordering on torture” while they were detained for two months overseas.
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Maymona Abdi, 28, and Karima Watts, 24, originally from Ottawa, arrived at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport on Sunday. They were arrested by police on Jan. 19 for allegedly drinking alcohol in the Somaliland city of Hargeisa. They were held without trial and released on April 23.
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Consuming alcohol is illegal in Somaliland, a self-declared republic still internationally considered to be part of Somalia. The women disputed the charge, but were detained at the Koodbuur Station Women’s Prison in Hargeisa.
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Canadian women released from jail in Somaliland
“I feel a lot of relief. It’s been really hard,” Abdi told reporters at the airport shortly after their arrival. “I’m super tired and anxious.”
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Maymona Abdi
Maymona Abdi spent more than two months in jail in Somaliland (CBC)
Abdi said she thinks they were released because of media coverage of their plight. She said Canadian consular officials did not help them as much as they needed.

According to their lawyer, Mubarik Mohamoud Abdi, the women signed confessions under duress, hoping to avoid being detained. They were sentenced to 2½ months in jail and 40 lashes. He said the prosecution in the case did not prove before the court that the women drank alcohol.
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‘Name a place where it isn’t dangerous to be us’
In a prepared statement that she read aloud, Abdi said people have asked them why they went somewhere as dangerous as Somaliland. She said the two felt an obligation to help women facing violence.

“Name a place where it isn’t dangerous to be us. Where is it safe to be a woman? In reality, it is women on the ground, who look like us, who are sacrificing everything.”

Her family retains property in Somaliland, according to Abdi’s mother Fahima Hassan.
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According to Jason Jeremias, a human rights activist based in New York City, Abdi was working to intervene in the protection of women at extreme risk of gender-based violence, but they did not go as official representatives of a non-governmental organization.

Karima Watts
Karima Watts stands in Toronto’s Pearson International Airport on Sunday. (CBC)
Abdi said she and Watts were subjected to extreme emotional and psychological abuse as well as “physical retaliation” in prison. She said they were denied medical aid, legal counsel and, at times, food and water.

According to international human rights conventions, that denial constitutes torture, she said.

“We burdened our struggle in silence,” she said. “For two months, while we were being detained, the world had no clue where we were and what we were being subjected to.”

Silence enables violence, she added. “We will stand up for each other as women wherever we face violence,” she said.

Jeremias, who is connected to the organization the Price of Silence, spoke up on their behalf, drawing attention to their case, she said.

Don’t give up fight for human rights, she says
Abdi, whose sister is in Toronto, said she plans to go to the hospital to be assessed. She said they also have to decide where they are going to live.

She added she would like Canadians not to give up the fight for human rights and to remember many people around the world are suffering in silence.
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“I want them to know, there’s people out there that go through things but nobody really knows,” she said. “Be aware of it. Open your eyes.”

Maymona Abdi and Karima Watts
Watts, left, and Abdi take a break after Abdi spoke to the media in Toronto. (CBC)
Shirley Gillett, project co-ordinator of I Do! Project in Toronto, said she believes the charge of consuming alcohol was trumped up. The project works with survivors of forced marriage and those at risk of forced marriage.
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Gillett said Abdi, who lived in Vancouver before heading overseas, has done work with the project. She said Abdi contacted her after she had arrived in Somaliland.

“They’ve been through a lot of stress. They’re exhausted as well. They were living in conditions that were deplorable, to say the least,” Gillett said.

“We’re just relieved that they’re home. We’re just looking to getting them to good health, supporting them in any way they can.”

Avoid all travel to Somalia, Ottawa says
In a statement earlier, Hassan had said: “Maymona and Karima were born and grew up in Ottawa, Canada, as best friends. When Karima’s mother died, she became our daughter.”

Canadians are urged to avoid all travel to Somalia, according to the Canadian government in a travel advisory that was last updated on April 25.
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“If you are currently in Somalia despite this advisory, you should leave immediately,” the travel advisory reads.

“The security situation in Somalia is extremely volatile and the threat of domestic terrorism is high, particularly in south-central Somalia and in the capital, Mogadishu.”
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Shirley Gillett
Shirley Gillett, project co-ordinator of the I Do! Project in Toronto, says she believes the charges were trumped up. (CBC)

Reporter: Shakir Essa

Ethiopia faces political crisis, parties need to focus on common grounds and discuss differences

 

 

 

Addis Ababa — Political parties have to resolve differences at roundtable discussions since violence is an existential threat to stability and peace, representatives of political parties said.

politicsparties-620x310-1In an exclusive interview with ENA, Arena Party Chairman Abraha Desta said “power should be in the hands of the people, and for this to happen there must be peace and stability. We should, therefore, prioritize these.”

According to him, “there is no democracy, election and development in the absence of peace.”

Therefore, he added, his party is strongly opposed to anything that disrupts peace.

Arena Party Chairman Abraha urged social media activists to refrain from getting involved in anything that jeopardizes the social bondage and strive to enhance people-to-people ties.

Arena Party is working to ensure peace and security as only united and prosperous Ethiopia can be ascertained in the prevalence of peace, he added.

Ethiopian Unity Patriots Front Peace Negotiator Head, Getaneh Zeleke said “parties need to focus on common grounds and discuss differences.”

He called on all parties to patiently negotiate till they come to agreement and work together.

“Despite their different political agenda, they should come together in the spirit of united Ethiopia, and that cannot be realized unless they sit down and discuss,” Getaneh pointed out.

According him, the Ethiopian Unity Patriots Front is ready to help the government in bringing peace and stability.

Oromia National Party Public Relations Head, Liben Wako said “our party firmly believes that there is no other choice than peaceful struggle.”

According to Liben, “there is no doubt that the existing security problems will end and the public will be crowned with victory.”

He stressed that political parties should play their due role to shape the new generation

 
 

Eritrean President isaias afawerki will soon visit to Djibouti

Addis Ababa, December 6, 2018 (FBC) -Djibouti’s foreign minister on Wednesday said Eritrean President Isaias Afeworki will pay a visit to his country “soon”.

Djibouti and Eritrea have been maintaining high level contacts after Ethiopia’s recommendation for a region-wide thaw was accepted across the board.

“We don’t have a date yet, but the two presidents will exchange visits soon,” Mahamoud Ali Youssouf told Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview as he attended Ethiopian Day organized on the sidelines of the ongoing 2nd Djibouti International Trade Fair.

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“The two presidents met in September and I met my Eritrean counterpart. We will build on that momentum. Confidence should be built,” he said.

“Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is launching initiatives that create conducive environment for the reconciliation and he broadened the scope of the stability and prospect for peace in the region,” he said.

Youssouf said, “This has to be acknowledged and recognized [because] the prime minister has been instrumental in the new momentum.”

He described the region as the most volatile in Africa.

“In comparison with other regions in Africa, this region [the Horn of Africa] has been trapped in a number of crises; some of them internal like the case in Somalia, and some external like the case between Eritrea and Djibouti.

“I think that we needed a visionary leader who could think regional and see the opportunities for countries to come together, plan together, and work for the benefit of the people of the region,” Youssouf added.

“We are very optimistic, he said, “Because we have seen the first signals of the development of the situation. In the future we will see more of it.”

Relations between Eritrea and Djibouti have been tense since the 1980s due to land claims.

In June 2008, the two countries fought a three-day war after Djibouti claimed that Eritrean forces dug trenches on its side of the border.

 U.S. military says it conducted two airstrikes in central Somalia Wednesday 21-11-18 killing a total of 47 al-Shabab militants.

00300116_d45789ca883534392b34a0369e96e14d_arc614x376_w614_us1.png U.S. military says it conducted two airstrikes in central Somalia Wednesday killing a total of 47 al-Shabab militants.

A statement issued by the U.S. Africa Command Tuesday said the first strike killed 37 militants. Africa Command described the attack as a “planned and deliberate action.”

It says a second strike on the same day killed another 10 Shabab militants. The statement said the airstrikes did not kill or injure civilians.

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Locals told VOA Somali that the strikes targeted al-Shabab vehicles and militias.

In October, another U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Harardhere killed at least 60 al-Shabab militants.

According to a count by VOA Somali, the U.S. has carried out about 30 airstrikes against al-Shabab this year, killing more than 200 militants.

Al-Shabab, an affiliate of al-Qaida, is trying to overthrow the Somali government and turn Somalia into a strict Islamic state.

U.S. airstrikes have killed numerous al-Shabab leaders over the years, including the group’s former emir Ahmed Godane in September 2014.

37 Alshabaab fighters have been killed and more than 47 others wounded in an airstrike on Saturday 11pmEst 25-11-2018

37 Alshabaab fighters have been killed and more than 47 others wounded in an airstrike on Saturday evening.

According to official Somali National News Agency (SONNA) the attack targeted meeting of the militants in Hargeysa Yarey in the middle Juba region of Somalia at 11PM local time on Saturday.

SONNA said top Al Qaida linked group officials including Daahir Gacmay, Abdirahman Takar, Sayid Dheere, Abdullahi Rabbi and among others were in the meeting during the attack.

No confirmation or denial from US Africa command press department on the attack reportedly carried out by its aircraft.

US drone attacks constantly target alshabaab fighters in Somalia.

Drone strike killed group leader Ahmed Godane on September 2014.

Last week group’s convoy was destroyed by suspected US strike in Galmudug region of Somalia.

The number of casualties or scale of damage is still unclear.

The secret diplomatic relation between isreal and somalilan

Israel and Somaliland have much in common.

Israel faces many adversaries that don’t recognize it or its right to self-determination; Somaliland is also unrecognized as a state by most countries.
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Both share a history with Britain. The British defeated the Ottoman Empire, captured Palestine and later established treaties with the Jewish people in Israel. Somaliland tribal leaders granted the British a protectorate in the territory that would became British Somaliland and subsequently gained independence on June 26, 1960. Israel was first of 34 countries, including the United States, to recognize Somaliland.

Somaliland, which joined South Somalia in a union that lasted until 1991, finds itself politically isolated, in the middle of a hostile region threatened by a sinister and pernicious enemy in the form of encroaching religious extremism. With a population of four million, Somaliland faces hard-line opposition from wider Somalia, with population of 10 million. Israel is perceived as enemy to Arab world with an estimated population of 400 million and economic power of $2.5 trillion a year. Somaliland and Israel face significant opposition and near total rejection of the 22 nations of the Arab world who support the positions of Somalia and Palestinian Arabs, respectively.

Despite overwhelming obstacles, both Somaliland and Israel are beating the odds. Israel is one of the most developed nations in the Middle East and the world, with per capita annual income of $42k and thriving and sophisticated industries. Israeli technology and corporations are pioneers of advanced research and development in the world. Although Israel is situated in semi-desert land that has little potential for agriculture, they have reached 90% food security.

Somaliland, unrecognized by most countries and with limited foreign direct investment, has a flourishing private sector economy, highly advanced telecom, digital economy, peace and stability and democratic processes rare in Africa. It is the only Muslim democracy in the horn of Africa and maintains cordial diplomatic relationships with Western powers and African nations.

Somaliland needs investment, technology and know-how. It has an abundance of resources, such as oil and gas, and strategic positioning that add to its geopolitical prowess. As Israel warms up its relationships with the Arab world and Africa, and Somaliland can a potential ally and friend that can fulfill a strategic Israeli goal – a loyal Muslim ally in the Red Sea region.
Somaliland needs a strong partner that has little to lose in maintaining strong support with Hargeisa, our capital. Alleged Russian interest in establishing a military base in Somaliland, albeit a potential positive development, threatens Somaliland’s close relationship with Washington and the EU, thus Israel stands as a key missing piece in Somaliland puzzle.

The government of Israel has shown interest in restoring the de jure recognition it offered to Somaliland in 1960, considering its role in the geopolitics of the Red Sea and the Horn. According to a local source, Golisnews, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor has said his government is ready to recognize Somaliland again. Similar sentiment is shown in Somaliland, where influential people, academics, businessmen, civil society organizations and government officials are overwhelmingly in support of a close relationship with Tel Aviv.

The warm attitude toward Israel is not new. M. Haji Ibrahim Egal, the first prime minister of Somaliland, tirelessly solicited Israel’s support, addressing that very issue in a letter to former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995.

Given the status of both states and their struggle for statehood and recognition, it is high time Israel and Somaliland renew their diplomatic relationship and mutual cooperation.

The writer is a liberal student and entrepreneur based in Somaliland.

Ilhan Omar Arrested in 2013 For Trespassing, Booked At Hennepin County Jail

 

State Rep. Ilhan Omar was arrested in 2013 for trespassing and booked at Hennepin County Jail “to prevent further criminal conduct,” according to a newly uncovered police report.

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The incident took place on January 18, 2013 following an event at the Minneapolis Convention Center featuring former Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. The Somali president was set to stay the night at the Hotel Ivy, causing large groups of Somalis to follow the presidential convoy to the hotel, including Omar.

According to the police report, hotel staff requested police assistance in clearing the lobby, saying that anyone without a hotel room key was not welcome on the premises and needed to leave immediately. The officer handling the incident said the majority of people who were asked to leave were compliant. However, Omar, when approached, was “argumentative” and refused to leave.

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“As she stood her ground and refused to leave I took hold of her left elbow to escort her from the lobby. Omar then pulled away from me stating, ‘Don’t put your hands on me!’ Others in her group complied and began walking toward the front entry/exit door as I ordered and I managed to coax Omar out with them,” the police report reads.

Ten minutes after the original encounter, the officer reports finding Omar seated in a different area of the lobby. According to the officer’s account, Omar “remained defiant” as he informed her that she would be arrested for trespassing if she didn’t leave.

Since she refused to comply with orders, the officer arrested Omar. The officer reached for Omar’s left arm to get her to stand so she could be handcuffed, but she pulled away. The officer handcuffed her while she stayed seated in the hotel lobby chair.

“Omar was booked at [Hennepin County Jail] as I felt it was likely that she would fail to respond to a citation and she also demonstrated that she was going to continue her criminal behavior,” the officer wrote.

View the police report below:

Ethiopia bloodshed at least 88 were killed

Africa Times: At least 88 people were killed during a weekend of ethnic violence in Ethiopia’s capital, an Amnesty International researcher told AFP on Wednesday, citing a figure more than double the government estimate of 23 dead.

Another source involved in the investigation, who saw and counted the corpses, told AFP a total of 88 people had been killed, mostly in the city’s western suburbs.

“The 65 cases are from Burayu, Ashewa Meda, Kolfe and Kirkos,” said the source on condition of anonymity, referring to three western areas and one in the centre.

The victims were either stabbed or died after being beaten with sticks and rocks. None had been shot and the toll does not include five alleged looters killed by police on Monday.

Fisseha Tekle, a Nairobi-based researcher with Amnesty International, said he had compiled a similar tally of 58 dead.

Residents told Amnesty International they saw “eight dead bodies on Friday, 21 on Saturday, on Sunday they saw about 11 people and on Monday the number of dead bodies they’ve seen were 18,” Fisseha said.

Government spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.

The violence began last week in the run-up to Saturday’s return of the once-banned Oromo Liberation Front, a rebel group that returned to Ethiopia following political reforms introduced by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.