7/29/2016

Bahrain: Activist on Trial Over Twitter Comments

https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/07/27/bahrain-activist-trial-over-twitter-comments

Criticized Yemen Airstrikes

(Beirut) – A Prominent Bahraini human rights activist faces up to 12 years in prison for criticizing the Saudi Arabia-led military operations in Yemen. Bahrain has been taking part in the Saudi-led coalition, whose operations have included unlawful airstrikes on markets, homes, hospitals and schools.
MENA 2015 Bahrain Nabeel Rajab
Nabeel Rajab on the day of his release from detention on bail, on November 2, 2014 in Manama, Bahrain.
The charges against Nabeel Rajab, head of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, a nongovernmental group, constitute a serious violation of his right to freedom of expression, Human Rights Watch said. The conditions of his detention also appear to amount to arbitrary punishment. He was in solitary confinement for more than two weeks after his arrest and denied compassionate leave to attend a relative’s funeral. He faces an additional three years for comments about the Bahrain government’s response to prison unrest.
“Unlawful Saudi-led airstrikes bombed markets and hospitals, killing hundreds of civilians, but the person facing prison time is the one who criticized them,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “The US and the UK, which have assisted the coalition, have a particular responsibility to insist that Bahrain drop the unlawful charges against Nabeel Rajab and immediately free him.”
Rajab’s Twitter comments led to his arrest on April 2, 2015. Authorities released him on July 13, 2015, but prosecutors did not close the cases and ordered his re-arrest on June 13, 2016. His trial began on July 12, with the next session scheduled for August 2. If convicted of spreading “false or malicious news, statements, or rumors,” Rajab faces up to 10 years in prison under article 133 of Bahrain’s penal code. If convicted of “offending a foreign country [Saudi Arabia]”, Rajab faces a maximum two year sentence under article 215 of the penal code. If convicted of “offending national institutions,” based on comments about unrest that broke out in Jaw Prison in March 2015, Rajab, faces an additional three-year sentence under article 216 of the penal code
Human Rights Watch has analyzed Rajab’s Twitter comments between March 10, 2015, when the Jaw Prison unrest broke out, and his arrest on April 2, including nine tweets about the military operations in Yemen. On March 26, 2015, Rajab tweeted that “wars bring hatred, destruction, and horrors.” Rajab also tweeted graphic images purporting to portray the effects of the bombing.
Although it is not possible to verify these images, by June 2016, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International had documented 69 unlawful airstrikes by the coalition, some of which may amount to war crimes, that had killed more than 900 civilians and hit homes, markets, hospitals, schools, civilian businesses, and mosques.
Unlawful Saudi-led airstrikes bombed markets and hospitals, killing hundreds of civilians, but the person facing prison time is the one who criticized them. The US and the UK, which have assisted the coalition, have a particular responsibility to insist that Bahrain drop the unlawful charges against Nabeel Rajab and immediately free him. 

Joe Stork

Deputy Middle East Director
The UN Panel of Experts on Yemen, established by UN Security Council Resolution 2140 (2013), in a report made public on January 26, “documented 119 coalition sorties relating to violations” of the laws of war. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon has also repeatedly criticized the Saudi-led coalition’s conduct in Yemen, including placing the coalition on his annual “List of Shame” for killing and maiming children, and attacking schools and hospitals in Yemen. The secretary-general later removed the coalition from the list, telling reporters he had been threatened with the withdrawal of aid funds if he didn’t.
Under international humanitarian law, the US is a party to the armed conflict in Yemen. The US has deployed a small number of troops to Yemen and, in June 2015, a US military spokesperson stated that the US was helping the coalition with “intelligence support and intelligence sharing, targeting assistance, advisory support, and logistical support, to include aerial refueling with up to two tanker sorties a day.” The UK, sells weapons to the coalition, including cluster munitions, which have been used in Yemen in violation of the laws of war. Then-UK Prime Minister David Cameron stated in January that UK personnel “provide advice, help and training” to the Saudi military on the laws of war.
Rajab’s comments about the unrest in Jaw prison and the authorities’ response are consistent with the accounts of four former detainees who, in the aftermath of the unrest, told Human Rights Watch that security forces subjected prisoners to abuse that would appear to amount to torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. In an August 2015 letter to Human Rights Watch, the Interior Ministry Ombudsman said that his office had met with 156 inmates and that it had referred 15 formal complaints to the body charged with investigating allegations of torture, the Special Investigations Unit, “for criminal investigation.”
Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Bahrain has ratified, protects the right to freedom of expression. In 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Committee, the body of international experts who monitor compliance with the covenant, issued guidance to state parties on their free speech obligations under article 19 that emphasized the high value the treaty places upon uninhibited expression “in circumstances of public debate concerning public figures in the political domain and public institutions.” It said that “state parties should not prohibit criticism of institutions, such as the army or the administration.”
“If the Bahraini authorities don’t like criticism of the Saudi-led airstrikes, they should focus their efforts on ensuring that their Gulf allies don’t bomb schools and hospitals,” said Stork. 

7/27/2016

America Created Al-Qaeda and the ISIS Terror Group

http://www.globalresearch.ca/america-created-al-qaeda-and-the-isis-terror-group/5402881


Global Research, June 13, 2016

isistroops
Incisive article originally published by GR in September 2014.  Terror attacks or mass shootings allegedly perpetrated by the ISIS, the question that should be asked: who are the State sponsors of  Al Qaeda and the ISIS?  (M.Ch. GR Editor).
Much like Al Qaeda, the Islamic State (ISIS) is made-in-the-USA, an instrument of terror designed to divide and conquer the oil-rich Middle East and to counter Iran’s growing influence in the region.
The fact that the United States has a long and torrid history of backing terrorist groups will surprise only those who watch the news and ignore history.
The CIA first aligned itself with extremist Islam during the Cold War era. Back then, America saw the world in rather simple terms: on one side, the Soviet Union and Third World nationalism, which America regarded as a Soviet tool; on the other side, Western nations and militant political Islam, which America considered an ally in the struggle against the Soviet Union.
The director of the National Security Agency under Ronald Reagan, General William Odom recently remarked, “by any measure the U.S. has long used terrorism. In 1978-79 the Senate was trying to pass a law against international terrorism – in every version they produced, the lawyers said the U.S. would be in violation.”
During the 1970′s the CIA used the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt as a barrier, both to thwart Soviet expansion and prevent the spread of Marxist ideology among the Arab masses. The United States also openly supported Sarekat Islam against Sukarno in Indonesia, and supported the Jamaat-e-Islami terror group against Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in Pakistan. Last but certainly not least, there is Al Qaeda.
Lest we forget, the CIA gave birth to Osama Bin Laden and breastfed his organization during the 1980′s. Former British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, told the House of Commons that Al Qaeda was unquestionably a product of Western intelligence agencies. Mr. Cook explained that Al Qaeda, which literally means an abbreviation of “the database” in Arabic, was originally the computer database of the thousands of Islamist extremists, who were trained by the CIA and funded by the Saudis, in order to defeat the Russians in Afghanistan.
America’s relationship with Al Qaeda has always been a love-hate affair. Depending on whether a particular Al Qaeda terrorist group in a given region furthers American interests or not, the U.S. State Department either funds or aggressively targets that terrorist group. Even as American foreign policy makers claim to oppose Muslim extremism, they knowingly foment it as a weapon of foreign policy.
The Islamic State is its latest weapon that, much like Al Qaeda, is certainly backfiring. ISIS recently rose to international prominence after its thugs began beheading American journalists. Now the terrorist group controls an area the size of the United Kingdom.
In order to understand why the Islamic State has grown and flourished so quickly, one has to take a look at the organization’s American-backed roots. The 2003 American invasion and occupation of Iraq created the pre-conditions for radical Sunni groups, like ISIS, to take root. America, rather unwisely, destroyed Saddam Hussein’s secular state machinery and replaced it with a predominantly Shiite administration. The U.S. occupation caused vast unemployment in Sunni areas, by rejecting socialism and closing down factories in the naive hope that the magical hand of the free market would create jobs. Under the new U.S.-backed Shiite regime, working class Sunni’s lost hundreds of thousands of jobs. Unlike the white Afrikaners in South Africa, who were allowed to keep their wealth after regime change, upper class Sunni’s were systematically dispossessed of their assets and lost their political influence. Rather than promoting religious integration and unity, American policy in Iraq exacerbated sectarian divisions and created a fertile breading ground for Sunni discontent, from which Al Qaeda in Iraq took root.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) used to have a different name: Al Qaeda in Iraq. After 2010 the group rebranded and refocused its efforts on Syria.
There are essentially three wars being waged in Syria: one between the government and the rebels, another between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and yet another between America and Russia. It is this third, neo-Cold War battle that made U.S. foreign policy makers decide to take the risk of arming Islamist rebels in Syria, because Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, is a key Russian ally. Rather embarrassingly, many of these Syrian rebels have now turned out to be ISIS thugs, who are openly brandishing American-made M16 Assault rifles.
America’s Middle East policy revolves around oil and Israel. The invasion of Iraq has partially satisfied Washington’s thirst for oil, but ongoing air strikes in Syria and economic sanctions on Iran have everything to do with Israel. The goal is to deprive Israel’s neighboring enemies, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Palestine’s Hamas, of crucial Syrian and Iranian support.
ISIS is not merely an instrument of terror used by America to topple the Syrian government; it is also used to put pressure on Iran.
The last time Iran invaded another nation was in 1738. Since independence in 1776, the U.S. has been engaged in over 53 military invasions and expeditions. Despite what the Western media’s war cries would have you believe, Iran is clearly not the threat to regional security, Washington is. An Intelligence Report published in 2012, endorsed by all sixteen U.S. intelligence agencies, confirms that Iran ended its nuclear weapons program in 2003. Truth is, any Iranian nuclear ambition, real or imagined, is as a result of American hostility towards Iran, and not the other way around.
America is using ISIS in three ways: to attack its enemies in the Middle East, to serve as a pretext for U.S. military intervention abroad, and at home to foment a manufactured domestic threat, used to justify the unprecedented expansion of invasive domestic surveillance.
By rapidly increasing both government secrecy and surveillance, Mr. Obama’s government is increasing its power to watch its citizens, while diminishing its citizens’ power to watch their government. Terrorism is an excuse to justify mass surveillance, in preparation for mass revolt.
The so-called “War on Terror” should be seen for what it really is: a pretext for maintaining a dangerously oversized U.S. military. The two most powerful groups in the U.S. foreign policy establishment are the Israel lobby, which directs U.S. Middle East policy, and the Military-Industrial-Complex, which profits from the former group’s actions. Since George W. Bush declared the “War on Terror” in October 2001, it has cost the American taxpayer approximately 6.6 trillion dollars and thousands of fallen sons and daughters; but, the wars have also raked in billions of dollars for Washington’s military elite.
In fact, more than seventy American companies and individuals have won up to $27 billion in contracts for work in postwar Iraq and Afghanistan over the last three years, according to a recent study by the Center for Public Integrity. According to the study, nearly 75 per cent of these private companies had employees or board members, who either served in, or had close ties to, the executive branch of the Republican and Democratic administrations, members of Congress, or the highest levels of the military.
In 1997, a U.S. Department of Defense report stated, “the data show a strong correlation between U.S. involvement abroad and an increase in terrorist attacks against the U.S.” Truth is, the only way America can win the “War On Terror” is if it stops giving terrorists the motivation and the resources to attack America. Terrorism is the symptom; American imperialism in the Middle East is the cancer. Put simply, the War on Terror is terrorism; only, it is conducted on a much larger scale by people with jets and missiles.
Garikai Chengu is a research scholar at Harvard University. Contact him on garikai.chengu@gmail.com

7/24/2016

Saudi executes four convicted of murder

http://guardian.ng/news/saudi-executes-four-convicted-of-murder/?utm_source=Feedcabal.com&utm_medium=News-Archive

By AFP
Saudi authorities executed four citizens on Sunday convicted of killing six members of their tribe, the interior ministry said.
The killings took place due to a land dispute among members of the Quthami tribe, the ministry said in a statement on the official SPA news agency.
The four, including three brothers, were executed in the western city of Taif, bringing to 105 the number of death sentences carried out in the kingdom this year.
Saudi Arabia’s growing use of the death penalty has prompted Amnesty International to call for an “immediate” moratorium on the practice.
The kingdom imposes the death penalty for offences including murder, drug trafficking, armed robbery, rape and apostasy.
Most people executed are beheaded with a sword.
On Thursday, authorities carried out the 100th execution of the year.
“Saudi Arabia is speeding along in its dogged use of a cruel and inhuman punishment, mindless of justice and human rights,” said Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa head Philip Luther.
“At this rate, the Kingdom’s executioners will soon match or exceed the number of people they put to death last year,” he said.
Amnesty says the kingdom carried out at least 158 death sentences in 2015, making it the third most prolific executioner after Iran and Pakistan.
Amnesty’s figures do not include secretive China.
“The Saudi Arabian authorities must immediately establish an official moratorium on executions and abolish the death penalty once and for all,” Luther said.
Murder and drug trafficking cases account for the majority of Saudi executions, although 47 people were put to death for “terrorism” offences on a single day in January.
They included prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, whose execution prompted Iranian protesters to torch Saudi diplomatic missions, triggering a diplomatic crisis between the two arch-rivals.

7/22/2016

Ad Ankara stop ai diritti umani. «Anche la Francia l’ha fatto», ma Parigi ribatte: «Mai sospesi»

http://mobile.ilsole24ore.com/solemobile/main/art/mondo/2016-07-21/la-turchia-sospende-convenzione-europea-diritti-umani--150520.shtml?uuid=AD3Mo2v&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook

Vittorio Da Rold

Img Description
La Turchia del golpe fallito ha annunciato la sospensione della Convenzione europea dei diritti umani per il periodo in cui resterà in vigore lo stato d'emergenza «così come ha fatto la Francia». Ad annunciarlo è stato il vice ministro del governo Akp, Numan Kurtulmus, che ha richiamato l'articolo 15 della Carta, che decreta appunto la possibilità di sospensione «per motivi di pubblica sicurezza o di minaccia alla nazione», richiamando il recente precedente della Francia. Parigi ha appena deciso di estendere di sei mesi lo stato di emergenza dopo l’attentato di Nizza.
Kurtulmus ha precisato che il governo turco a maggioranza Akp conta di «porre fine allo stato di emergenza il prima possibile, al massimo entro un mese e mezzo», anche se è previsto al momento per tre mesi. Fonti diplomatiche hanno però precisato al Sole 24 Ore che il governo di Parigi «non ha mai sospeso la Convenzione», pur avendo «chiesto, in relazione allo stato di emergenza in Francia, alcune deroghe a certi diritti garantiti dalla Convenzione europea dei diritti dell’uomo». Una nuova polemica tra Parigi e Ankara dopo quella scoppiata qualche anno fa sulla legge francese che punisce chi nega il genocidio degli armeni durante l’impero ottomano.
Ma torniamo ai drammatici momenti odierni. Il viceministro turco Kurtulmus ha precisato che il provvedimento comprende anche la sospensione temporanea della Convenzione europea dei diritti umani; tuttavia, il governo non sembra intenzionato ad applicare integralmente tutte le misure previste dallo stato di emergenza: Kurtulmus ha escluso al momento l'entrata in vigore del coprifuoco nazionale. Il portavoce ha anzi insistito sul fatto che non verranno adottate delle misure restrittive delle libertà e dei diritti fondamentali, sottolineando come il provvedimento «abbia come obbiettivo quello di ripulire lo Stato» dai cospiratori.
Lo stato di emergenza - a cui il governo turco non aveva fatto ricorso neanche dopo i sanguinosi attentati terroristici attribuiti ai fondamentalisti islamici dell’Isis o ai separatisti curdi del Pkk - permette infatti di imporre il coprifuoco, restringere il diritto di manifestare e limitare la libertà di movimento oltre che di licenziare dei dipendenti in deroga da ogni contratto di lavoro in vigore.
Una misura che il presidente della Repubblica turca, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, ha definito «necessaria per sradicare rapidamente tutti gli elementi dell'organizzazione terroristica implicati nel tentativo di colpo di Stato», ovvero i sostenitori del presunto mandante del golpe, l'imam Fethullah Gulen, attualmente in esilio volontario in Pennsylvania negli Stati Uniti.
Corme se non bastasse il Consiglio nazionale di Sicurezza, presieduto ieri da Erdogan nel giorno nel suo rientro ad Ankara dopo il fallito golpe, ha stabilito anche la creazione di un tribunale speciale per i processi ai ribelli e di un carcere di massima sicurezza per la loro detenzione.
La reazione della Mogherini
«Una sospensione della convenzione europea dei diritti umani è prevista, ma non è una deroga in bianco: i diritti fondamentali sono inalienabili», ha detto a Washington l'alto rappresentante per la politica estera Ue, Federica Mogherini, a margine della conferenza ministeriale della coalizione globale anti Isis. Mogherini ha ribadito l'appello alle autorità turche a rispettare lo stato di diritto dopo il tentato golpe.
Approvato lo stato di emergenza
Il Parlamento di Ankara ha approvato la mozione per l'introduzione dello stato d'emergenza per tre mesi in Turchia, annunciato giovedì dal presidente Recep Tayyip Erdogan dopo il fallito golpe della scorsa settimana. La mozione ha ottenuto i voti favorevoli di 346 parlamentarii. I voti contrari sono stati 115. In aula erano presenti 461 parlamentari su 550 complessivi.
L'Akp, il partito di Erdogan, controlla la maggioranza del Parlamento monocamerale (non esiste il Senato in Turchia) con 317 seggi su 550. Un numero di maggioranza relativa ma non tale da poter trasformare da solo ad esempio il regime parlamentare in presidenziale. Tra i partiti di opposizione, i nazionalisti del Mhp hanno deciso di appoggiare lo stato d'emergenza perché «è nell'interesse nazionale», ha dichiarato il professor Devlet Bahceli, colui che dieci anni or sono trasformò i Lupi Grigi, tra cui figurava Alì Agca, l’attentatore del Papa, in un partito in “doppio petto”.
Sulle barricate, invece, il più numeroso partito di opposizione, il kemalista Chp, il partito del fondatore della Turchia moderna, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, il difensore della laicità dello stato. «Questo è un golpe civile contro il Parlamento», ha denunciato il deputato e capogruppo Ozgur Ozel, prima dell'inizio della seduta in aula ad Ankara.
Per l'Hdp, il partito della minoranza curda del sud-est del paese ed il difensore dei diritti civili, «il tentativo di golpe del 15 luglio - è riportato in una nota - si è trasformato in un'occasione e un mezzo per liquidare chi contesta l’esecutivo e per limitare ulteriormente i diritti democratici e le libertà. Il popolo è stato costretto a scegliere tra un golpe e un regime. Respingiamo entrambe le opzioni».
Arrestati i giornalisti
La giornalista del magazine Al Monitor, Sibel Hurtas, è stata rilasciata dalla polizia turca. Rimane in carcere l’editorialista del quotidiano Ozgur Dusunce, Orhan Kemal Cengiz. I due erano stati fermati dalla polizia turca presso l'aeroporto Ataturk di Istanbul nel pomeriggio. Cengiz è stato tratto in arresto insieme alla moglie. I tre sono stati portati in un primo momento presso la questura centrale di Vatan Caddesi.
21 LUGLIO 2016

7/18/2016

More voices from Islamic countries call for Iran to stop persecuting Baha'is


http://news.bahai.org/story/1115


More voices from Islamic countries call for Iran to stop persecuting Baha'is

17 July 2016
A group of Bangladeshi lawyers have joined the increasing numbers of Muslim intellectuals, religious leaders, and professionals worldwide who have called for an end to the persecution of Baha'is in Iran.
In a letter dated 29 May 2016, signed by a dozen "law professionals of Bangladesh", the group says it wishes to "express our condemnation to the government of Iran for the arrests of the Baha'is, including their seven leaders, only because of their religious belief and their imprisonment without any recourse to justice."
They continue: "The fact that the Baha'is are a peaceful community and the largest minority of Iran and being subjected to a premeditated program of hostility especially by the government who have closed the doors of all socio-economic opportunities including jobs, education and security for them is contrary to the norms of any civilized society, and, absolutely unacceptable!".
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The group ends by calling for the immediate release of the seven imprisoned Baha'i leaders. They also urge Iran to stop its propaganda campaign against Baha'is.
The 12 Bangladeshi lawyers join a growing number of Muslim religious leaders, scholars, and human rights activists around the world who have chosen to speak publicly against Iran's systematic persecution of Baha'is in recent years.
In May, for example, five Iranian religious scholars published a statement decrying Iran's oppression of Baha'is and calling for tolerance towards those who believe differently.
Abdolali Bazargan, Hasan Fereshtian, Mohsen Kadivar, Sedigheh Vasmaghi and Hasan Yousefi-Eshkevari noted that the "followers of the Baha'i religion have been oppressed because of their religion and beliefs for decades," according to a translation by Iran Press Watch.
"Criticism and rejection of the beliefs of a sect or religion cannot justify violence and tyranny against its followers," said the five scholars, adding that "Islam supports freedom of religion and belief. The Qur'an has affirmed this important point in several verses."
Other Muslim religious leaders have, likewise, begun to make similar calls for tolerance toward Baha'is.
Ayatollah Tehrani's action, which included giving to the Baha'is of the world an illuminated work of calligraphy featuring a sentence from the writings of Baha'u'llah, calling for religious coexistence with Baha'is was quickly praised by many Muslim religious leaders.
These included Dr. Ghaleb Bencheikh, a highly respected Muslim theologian and well-known in France for his promotion of interfaith activities who in 2014 condemned the persecution of Iran's Baha'is as being "in disdain of law" and "an intolerable scandal."

Kerry denounces dissolving of Bahrain opposition group

http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2016/07/18/kerry-denounces-dissolving-bahrain-opposition-group


US Secretary of State John Kerry expressed deep concern Sunday after a Bahraini court dissolved the country's main opposition group and seized its funds.
Source: 
AFP
"This ruling is the latest in a series of disconcerting ‎steps in Bahrain," he said in a statement sparked by the action against the country's main Shiite opposition group Al-Wefaq, once the largest group in parliament.
The chief US diplomat took pains to acknowledge the "very real security threats facing Bahrain," but added that the "recent steps to suppress nonviolent opposition only undermine Bahrain's cohesion and security" and "strain our partnership with Bahrain."
He called on Bahrain to "reverse these and other recent measures (and) return urgently to the path of reconciliation."
The administrative court in Manama, in ordering the dissolution of Al-Wefaq, said the group had incited violence and encouraged protests that threatened "sectarian strife" in the Gulf kingdom.
But critics have deplored such moves as a crackdown on dissent.
Bahrain is home to the US Fifth Fleet, which is responsible for US naval forces in the region, making Bahrain a crucial regional partner for the United States.
It has been the scene of sporadic troubles since government forces repressed a protest movement launched in February 2011 amid the ferment of the Arab Spring.
The country's Shia majority has been demanding a true constitutional monarchy in the country, now led by a Sunni dynasty.

7/17/2016

Bahrain to try top Shi'ite cleric for money laundering


http://www.streetinsider.com/Reuters/Bahrain+to+try+top+Shiite+cleric+for+money+laundering/11836214.html


DUBAI (Reuters) - A Bahraini cleric will go on trial next month on charges of collecting funds illegally and money laundering, the public prosecutor said on Saturday.
A source familiar with the case said the cleric was Shi'ite Muslim spiritual leader Ayatollah Isa Qassim, who had his citizenship revoked by the authorities less than a month ago.
The case has revived fears of fresh protests in Bahrain, where the Shi'ite Muslim majority complains of discrimination and demands a bigger share in running the country.
The United States and the United Nations have criticized the move, seen by local activists as part of a wider crackdown on dissent in the Western-allied kingdom, which has provoked a daily vigil outside Qassim's house that on some days swells to several thousand people.
The head of public prosecution, Ahmed al-Dosari, did not identify Qassim by name. He said in a statement posted on Instagram that the case would be heard at the beginning of August but gave no precise date.
It was not immediately possible to contact Qassim for a comment.
Bahraini media last month reported an investigation was underway into a bank account of some $10 million in Qassim's name to find the source of the funds and how they were being spent.
The move sparked a strongly worded statement from senior Shi'ite clerics, including Qassim, against any attempt to meddle with the collection of a Muslim tax called Khums, which is a pillar of Shi'ite Islam.
Bahrain in 2011 crushed an uprising by Shi'ites demanding reforms that would give them a bigger voice in governing the Sunni Muslim-ruled country, where the U.S. Fifth Fleet is based as a bulwark against Iran.
(Writing by Sami Aboudi; Editing by Mark Potter)

Arab League Council condemns terrorist acts in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iraq

http://www.spa.gov.sa/viewstory.php?lang=en&newsid=1519426


Cairo, Shawwal 11, 1437, July 16, 2016, SPA -- The Arab League Council, at the level of permanent representatives, condemned today the terrorist acts that recently took place in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Republic of Iraq.
In its statement, the council confirmed its firm position condemning terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, referring to the cowardly terrorist incident, which occurred at the village of Aker in the Kingdom of Bahrain and led to the killing of a woman and injuring a number of children.
The Council expressed its support for all measures taken by the Kingdom of Bahrain to counter terrorism and maintain its security and stability, offered its condolences to the families of the victim and wished speedy recovery to the injured children.
The Arab League Council also expressed its strong condemnation of the terrorist bombings that took place in Madinah and Qatif in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, pointing out that these terrorist bombings confirm that terrorism has no religion or homeland.
The Council offered its sincere condolences to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Saudi people and the families of the martyrs.
It also strongly condemned the criminal bombings that were carried out by the terrorist Daash gangs in several areas in the Republic of Iraq, particularly the heinous bombing that took place at Al-Karrada district in Baghdad, and expressed its sincere condolences to the Government and people of the Republic of Iraq, stressing its support for the Iraqi government's efforts to combat terrorism and acheive security and stability in all territory of Iraq.
--SPA
23:04 LOCAL TIME 20:04 GMT 

7/12/2016

Iran condemns Saudi’s unwise measure to support anti-Iran MKO terrorists

http://theiranproject.com/blog/2016/07/10/iran-condemns-saudis-unwise-measure-support-anti-iran-mko-terrorists/

July 10,  The Iran Project – The Iranian Supreme Leader’s Deputy Representative at the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps denounced the unwise measure of Saudi Arabia’s former spy chief to support the anti-Iran terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization’s (MKO).
Referring to Saudi Arabia’s former spy chief Turki al-Faisal’s participation in the MKO gathering in Paris and his unequivocal proclamations of support for the anti-Iran terrorist group, Brigadier General Mohammad Ali Asoudi said on Saturday that Al Saud regime, which has recently experienced some heavy defeats in the region, intends to blow the Islamic Republic of Iran by supporting the most hated terrorist group among the Iranians.
The General further compared the Saudi Arabia’s unwise measure to the imprudent actions of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in the last years of his reign, adding that Saudis should be wise enough not to support a group who has a dark history of assassinations and bombings.
Saudi Arabia’s former spy chief Turki al-Faisal attended an annual meeting of the MKO terrorist group which was held in the French capital, Paris, making hostile remarks against Tehran and vowed to stand by the MKO in what he described as the terrorist outfit’s efforts against the Iranian establishment.
Reacting on Sunday, Former Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said Faisal’s participation in the MKO gathering proved Riyadh’s extensive support for terrorism.
A source at Iran’s Foreign Ministry also condemned the Saudi regime for participating in the gathering, saying that the move was not unusual for “the father of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda”.
The MKO has carried out numerous terrorist attacks against Iranian civilians and government officials over the past three decades. Out of the nearly 17,000 Iranians killed in terrorist attacks since the victory of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, about 12,000 have fallen victim to MKO’s acts of terror.

7/11/2016

Iran says Saudis back terrorism after senior prince attends rebel rally

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-saudi-rebels-idUSKCN0ZQ0E5

Iran on Sunday accused Saudi Arabia of backing terrorism after a senior Saudi prince, a former intelligence chief, addressed a Paris rally held by exiled Iranian rebels and told them he wanted the Iranian government to fall.
Shi'ite Muslim power Iran and Saudi Arabia, bastion of Sunni Islam, are longstanding religious and political arch rivals. Relations are fraught as they back each other's foes in regional wars such as in Yemen, Iraq and Syria.
"The Saudis are resorting to well-known terrorists ... as they have also done in Iraq, Yemen and Syria. This shows that they use terrorism and terrorists to further their aims against regional Islamic countries," an unnamed Iranian Foreign Ministry source was quoted by Iran's state news agency IRNA as saying.
The rally addressed by Prince Turki al-Faisal on Saturday was held by the political wing of the exiled People's Mujahideen Organisation of Iran (PMOI), which seeks the overthrow of Iran's clerical leadership established by the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Saudi media gave top coverage to the speech. The rally was also attended by a number of Western political figures, including former U.S. House of Representatives speaker Newt Gingrich.
Also known by its Persian name Mujahideen-e-Khalq Organisation (MKO), the group sided with Saddam Hussein during Iraq's war with Iran in the 1980s but fell out of favor with Baghdad after he was toppled by a U.S.-led invasion in 2003.
PMOI once had a presence in the United States and maintains offices in Europe. Critics have described it as a cult.
Iran accuses Saudi Arabia of supporting Islamic State and other militant groups, which Riyadh denies. The Saudis say Iran is fomenting sectarian violence in the Middle East and has aspirations to dominate the region.
"Your legitimate struggle against the (Iranian) regime will achieve its goal, sooner or later," Prince Turki, also an ex-ambassador to Washington and London, had said in his speech.
"I, too, want the fall of the regime," he added.

(Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)