The United States said on Thursday it was suspending at least $900 million in security assistance to Pakistan until it takes action against the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network militant groups.
The U.S. State Department announced the decision, saying it reflected the Trump administration’s frustration that Pakistan has not done more against the two groups that Washington says use sanctuaries in Pakistan to launch attacks in neighboring Afghanistan that have killed U.S., Afghan and other forces
The department declined to say exactly how much aid would be suspended, saying the numbers were still being calculated and included funding from both the State and Defense departments…[estimated to be around $900 Million]
Pakistan has long rejected accusations that it fails to tackle the militants battling the Kabul government and U.S.-led foreign forces in Afghanistan, from sanctuaries on its side of the border.
On Friday, Pakistan criticized what it called “shifting goalposts” and said the U.S. suspension of aid was counter-productive…
Briefing reporters, U.S. officials stressed the suspension did not affect civilian aid to Pakistan and that the money could go through if Islamabad took decisive action against the groups.
“Our hope is that they will see this as a further indication of this administration’s immense frustration with the trajectory of our relationship and that they need to be serious about taking the steps we have asked in order to put it on more solid footing,” a senior State Department official told reporters.
“We’re hoping that Pakistan will see this as an incentive, not a punishment,” he added.
The Trump administration briefed Congress on its decision on Wednesday. Reuters
I’m introducing a bill to end aid to Pakistan in the coming days. My bill will take the money that would have gone to Pakistan and put it in an infrastructure fund to build roads and bridges here at home. pic.twitter.com/SHlA00rWEd
“For the past 10 years, Iran has experienced a tremendous move of God as we witnessed tens of thousands of Muslims convert to faith in Christ. The Islamic Regime has tried tirelessly to put a stop to this great move of God. They have shut down churches, arrested thousands of believers, imprisoned many of them, and some have even been executed.” Pastor Reza Safa – Turmoil In Iran
Iranian-American Pastor Reza Safa, a former radical Muslim and founder of the Farsi-language Christian network TBN Nejat Television, has issued an urgent request for Christians around the world to pray for Iran and its people as political unrest rages in the Muslim controlled nation. Since December 28th tens of thousands of Iranian citizens have taken to the streets of the northern city of Mashhad and elsewhere to protest political oppression, with at least 20 individuals killed in violence.
Safa, whose TBN affiliate network reaches deep into Iran with the gospel message, noted that the protests mark the second time in less than ten years the people of Iran have risen up against the nation’s oppressive Islamic government, which first gained control with the overthrow of Shah Reza Pahlavi in 1979. “For the past 39 years the Islamic regime has done nothing but oppress the people of Iran,” said Safa. “The Iranian people are fed up with the government’s corruption and its squandering of the nation’s wealth to fund terrorism abroad.”
Iran’s economy is in shambles, with an unemployment rate that Iran’s Interior Ministry estimates may be as high as 60 percent in some areas of the country. Safa said that young people under 30, a demographic that constitutes more than half of Iran’s population, are particularly affected, which has helped to fuel the anger against the government.
“In Iran today the people have virtually no freedom,” said Safa. “Even the way they dress publicly is controlled by the government. So now, for the second time since 2009, the people have taken to the streets in cities across Iran to protest against economic hardship and political repression.”
However, he added, there is a major difference this time around. “Today in Iran the gospel is going forward as never before,” said Safa. “Through outlets like TBN Nejat Television, the message of salvation through Jesus is impacting literally every major population center across the nation — despite aggressive efforts by Iran’s government to stop it. Over the past several years countless thousands of Iranians have come to faith in Christ, so that today the nation of Iran is poised for positive change.”
Safa emphasized the importance of Christians around the world joining together in spirit to pray for the people of Iran at this crucial time. “It is important to think in terms of the Church and salvation of souls when we read historical events and political changes,” he said. “I believe that God is preparing an army of ex-Muslims to evangelize the Islamic world in the days ahead. If this is the time for a political change in Iran, our prayers today need to be that a proper and right government is established in this nation and people loved by God. Will you join me in interceding on behalf of Iran and its people?” ChristianNewsWire
The study was in the German state of Lower Saxony and linked increased crime rates to migrant arrivals.
The German state of Lower Saxony witnessed a 10.4 percent increase in crime at the height of the migration crisis, according to a study. The study’s authors said age and reporting practices factored into the connection.
According to the study, which was conducted by the Zurich University of Applied Sciences and paid for by Germany’s Ministry of Family Affairs, police witnessed an increase of 10.4 percent in reported violent crimes in 2015 and 2016. More than 90 percent of the increase (not of total violent crimes) was said to be attributable to migrants. dw
This has been a messed up strange story from the start. When the family was released from captivity, Joshua Boyle refused to board a US transport plane that American officials had arranged for the family. He refused to relocate to the United States, instead choosing to go to Canada. Boyle is Canada’s problem.
Ex-hostage, Joshua Boyle, who was recently freed from captivity in Afghanistan with his wife and children, has been arrested on 15 charges, including sexual assault.
Boyle, of Canada, his American wife Caitlan, and their three children were rescued last October in Pakistan, five years after the couple was abducted by a Taliban-linked militant group while on a backpacking trip in neighboring Afghanistan…
Authorities said the charges against the 34-year-old include eight counts of assault, two accounts of sexual assault and two counts of unlawful confinement.
Boyle was reportedly charged with one count of causing someone to ‘take a noxious thing, namely Trazodone,’ an antidepressant, court documents indicated Tuesday.
There is also a charge of uttering a death threat and a charge of misleading a police officer.
The purported acts allegedly occurred between October 14 – the day after the family returned to Canada – and December 30.
The misleading the police charge stems from an incident on December 30 where Boyle called police to report someone being suicidal and missing. He allegedly concocted the story to ‘divert suspicion from himself’.
A publication ban bars reporting any information that could identify the alleged victims, of which there are two. DailyMail
A 24-year-old Japanese man studying at Dundalk Institute of Technology was fatally stabbed in the back. The two other men injured in the attack were Irish, one suffered a blow to the head from a fence post.
Gardaí are investigating whether a series of attacks in Dundalk this morning, which left one man dead, are related to terrorism but stress they are still trying to establish a motive.One man, an 18-year-old Egyptian national, is in custody on suspicion of murder. It is understood he came to Ireland from the UK in recent days.
“A terror attack is certainly a line of inquiry we are looking at. We will endeavour to establish the suspect’s background, including who they are, where they have come from and why are they here. Those are very, very important questions we’re trying to ask and answer,” said Chief Superintendent Christy Mangan.
The dead man is a 24-year-old Japanese man who was living in Dundalk. He died almost immediately from stab wounds to the back on Avenue Road shortly after 9am. Gardaí are currently attempting to notify his family.
Two other male victims are in hospital, having been attacked elsewhere in the town. One man suffered stab wounds while the other received a blow from a fence post. Neither suffered life-threatening injuries. Crime scene investigators are currently examining at least five locations around Dundalk Town. The Irish Times
Chief Superintendent Christy Mangan said he believed the victims were selected at random and a potential terror link was being investigated…He said the suspect had come into contact with gardai on January 1 when inquiries about his immigration status were conducted. ITV
The Gardaí (Irish police service) this afternoon confirmed they are investigating terror as a motive for the attack.
They said no motive had yet been established but terror was not being ruled out…
Among the lines being investigated is that the young man had recently been refused asylum in the UK – but is in unclear how he may have subsequently entered Ireland or traveled to Dundalk. Independent
As Baltimore grapples with its highest per capita record for homicides, some resident blame a lack of police presence in their neighborhoods as a reason for the city’s gun violence problem.
One Baltimore, Md., pastor argued that more police need to patrol the city’s neighborhoods in order to better protect the locals, according to an interview with NPR published Sunday…
Baltimore reached 343 homicides last week as city leaders struggle to come up with ways to fix the violence. Mayor Catherine Pugh, a Democrat, released a holistic crime plan, aimed at cracking down on poverty, opening up access to local community colleges to students who might not be able to afford it and working to better train officers, while the city police commissioner touted the recent addition of new hires to the force. DailyCaller
Baltimore is a prime example of what happens when politicians coddle criminals and give them the excuse of racism to justify their crimes. It’s too late to say, “Sorry. We made a mistake.” What’s done is done and the people of the city of Baltimore are going to have to live with it. PJMedia
“Da’as, the Islamic State Organization, was ranked first in the previous ranking of Forbes, it has now dropped to fifth place.
1. Hezbollah: Annual revenues of $ 1.1 billion 2. Taliban: annual revenues of $ 800 million 3. Hamas: annual revenues of $ 700 million 4. Al-Qaeda and its affiliates: annual revenues of $ 300 million 5 . Daa”s: annual revenue of $ 200 million 6. PKK: annual revenue of $ 180 million 7. Ctaa’b Hezbollah annual revenue of $ 150 million 8. Islamic Jihad: annual revenues of approximately $ 100 million 9. Lashkar-e-Taiba: Annual revenues of $ 75 million 10. REAL IRA: Annual revenues of $ 50 million Forbes Israel
“Eight of the ‘Top Ten’ terror groups in terms of income are Muslim, with Hezbollah and Hamas ranked #1 and #3 respectively.”
One of the more far-reaching consequences of former President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran is on display in Forbes Israel’s latest ranking of the richest terrorist groups in the world, as in 2017 Iran-backed Hezbollah leaped to the top of the list with a whopping $1.1 billion in revenue.
That is not to say that all their income stems from Iran. Terrorist organizations in general also fund their purchase of arms, training and salary payments to their members from such criminal activities as drug smuggling, money laundering, kickbacks, kidnappings, ‘protection’, etc., just as organized crime does.
But the nuclear deal, it should be recalled, allowed for the release of billions of dollars into Iran’s state coffers from the lifting of internationally imposed sanctions, and the unfreezing of its assets abroad. This, in turn, allowed the world’s largest sponsor of terrorism to open the spigots to its proxies, and the results can clearly be seen by comparing this year’s “Top Ten” list with the previous one, made in 2014. Lebanese group Hezbollah, which has been fighting in Syria for years for Iranian ally Bashar al-Assad, was then ranked fourth, with $500 million – only half of what it has today.
Hamas has $700 million
The Gaza Strip’s Hamas, meanwhile, is now in third place, having actually dropped a rung from 2014. (The Taliban now occupy second place, with a revenue of $800 million). Forbes lists them as currently receiving about $700 million a year, vs. a billion dollars three years ago. They have two well-known state sponsors, Qatar and, again, Iran. But in the decade since it took over Gaza, Hamas also became expert in extracting money from its own citizens.
According to Forbes’ 2014 report, Hamas makes most of its money from a sophisticated tax system aimed at, among other things, pocketing large portions of the international aid that flows into Gaza. It also runs hundreds of businesses, controls several banks, and has levies on all consumer goods entering the Gaza Strip. All in all, the report says, about 15% of Gaza’s economy ends up in this organization’s pocket. WorldIsraelNews
“We are following reports of multiple peaceful protests by Iranian citizens in cities across the country. Iran’s leaders have turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos. As President Trump has said, the longest-suffering victims of Iran’s leaders are Iran’s own people.
The United States strongly condemns the arrest of peaceful protesters. We urge all nations to publicly support the Iranian people and their demands for basic rights and an end to corruption.”
Oren listed a number of Iranian provocations ignored by the Obama administration.
US President Barack Obama chose not to support the 2009 Iranian Green Protest Movement, because he hoped to reach a deal with Iran on its nuclear weapons that he signed six years later, then-ambassador to the US and current Deputy Minister Michael Oren (Kulanu) said Monday.
Obama’s failure to help Iranian protesters has been criticized since then by Israeli officials, led by Jewish Agency chairman and former Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky, who has called it the biggest failure to help human rights in modern history.
Oren said Obama initially claimed he would not support the protesters because the CIA helped overthrow nationalist Iranian prime minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953, and that he wanted to show the Iranian people that he respected their sovereignty.
The Obama administration, Oren said, had told Israel behind the scenes that the protesters themselves did not want an American endorsement, because it could discredit them in the eyes of the Iranian people.
“In retrospect, those explanations are less credible,” Oren told The Jerusalem Post. “The Obama administration’s lack of support for the Green Revolution was part of a pattern in which it did not hold Iran accountable for any provocation. It would seem it was part of a general approach that began in Obama’s first week in office in 2009 of wanting to reach a deal with Iran at pretty much any cost.”
Among the Iranian provocations ignored by the Obama administration, Oren listed the crackdown on the protesters, the kidnapping of Americans, having their missile boats provocatively approach American destroyers, trying to assassinate him and his Saudi counterpart in downtown Washington, the failure to follow through on a red line Obama imposed on Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons, and Iranian-backed Hezbollah’s smuggling massive amounts of cocaine into the US.
Oren contrasted Obama seeing Iran as the solution to problems in the Middle East with his successor, Donald Trump, whom Oren said sees Iran as the problem. Asked if Israel deserved credit for Trump’s view, Oren said that Israel did not need to push him, because he knew the Iran deal was bad.
“If the Iranian regime brutally cracks down on its own people peacefully demonstrating, imagine what that regime would do to nations it vows to obliterate,” Oren tweeted. “Under the nuclear deal, the regime could someday produce nuclear weapons. Nix or fix it now.” JPost
Video: Netanyahu wishes the Iranian people success in their noble quest for freedom
This week, tens of thousands of Iranians took to the streets to register their anger, not at Donald Trump or the House of Saud, but at the mullahs and their security apparatus. It was economic grievances that initially ignited the protests in the northeastern city of Mashhad. But soon the uprising grew and spread to at least 18 cities nationwide. And the slogans shifted from joblessness and corruption to opposition to the Islamic Republic in toto. These included:
The outcome of the protests is hard to predict. So far, the movement is leaderless and appears to lack serious organization. The protesters face a regime that spends much of its energy and resources on ensuring its own survival and won’t hesitate to crack down viciously, as it did in 1999 and 2009. But whatever comes next, Iranians have already shattered one liberal myth: namely, that Donald Trump has revived the regime’s popularity at home. CommentaryMag