Female Police Unit in India to Protect Women against Sexual Abuse

Jaipur, London- All-female police units in India are patrolling the streets in the city of Jaipur, India, carrying sticks, walkie-talkies, and cameras aiming to bring a sense of security to the north-west of India, which sees 40,000 rapes every year.

This all-women police unit works since May in Jaipur, Rajasthan, known with its palaces and mansions that lure tourists. According to AFP, this unit’s members are deployed around bus stops, colleges and parks where harassment cases happen regularly.

In a country accused of tolerating sexual harassment and violence against women, this unit composed exclusively of women, seeks to settle security and law.

Kamal Shekhawat, who heads the Jaipur unit said: “The message we want to send out is that we have zero tolerance towards crimes against women.”

India has a high rate of sexual abuse practices against women. Experts say the available statistics highlight a small share of what is really happening, especially that most of victims remain silent.

The Indian police is generally dominated by men, and women members in it are no more than percent.

Human rights activists see that this unit will help the women victims to stop the sexual violence acts by reporting what they lived. Yet, these women often face prejudgments in the police stations because of their appearance or behaviors, and sometimes they are blamed for the harassment.

Police in Jaipur hope the new all-women unit would encourage rape victims to speak loud about their struggle.

In a public park in Jaipur, policewoman Saroj Chodhuary approached a group of women wearing “sari” the traditional Indian costume. She told them: “You can just make a call or even message on WhatsApp and we will be right there.”

“Your identity will not be revealed, so you can feel free to register your complaint. If someone makes cat calls or troubles you in any way, do let us know,” she added.

Radha Jhabua, a 24-year-old mother, said she wanted to complain about a neighbor stalking her, but her husband feared it would bring the family a bad reputation. “He told me to keep quiet and wait for the man to change his ways,” she added. To accomplish their mission, women working in this unit are trained in martial arts.

Rape in India has made headlines since one particular case of a medical student, who was brutally raped and killed in 2012 in New Delhi. Since then, the country has restricted punishments of such crimes.

Ram Lal Gujar, one of the city’s residents said: “If one man gets beaten up, others will feel obliged to change their behaviors.”

Terrorist Attacks in Kabul…Violence, Endless War


KABUL — Behroz Haidary was a skilled surgeon, army captain, environmental activist and father of three. On Wednesday, he was making rounds at Kabul’s main military hospital when he was shot dead by gunmen who had infiltrated the facility, disguised as medics. It was his 37th birthday. The attack, claimed by ISIS, left at least 49 people dead and 70 wounded.

Abdul Qadir, 23, was a laborer from a poor neighborhood, with a part-time job as a government vaccinator. On March 1, he was giving polio drops to a girl outdoors when a suicide bomber rammed a nearby police station. The blast hurled Qadir into a ditch, and his charred body was found hours later. He was one of 23 people who died that day in twin attacks claimed by the Taliban.

Haidary and Qadir were among the most recent victims of the urban terror war in Afghanistan, a series of bombings and gun attacks that officials fear will intensify this year, with insurgents gaining territory and civilian deaths reaching a record 3,500 nationwide in 2016. In Kabul alone, such attacks have killed thousands in the past decade — and nearly 100 this month.

But most of the 16-year war has been fought in far-flung rural provinces, and most civilian victims as well as security forces die there. Often there are few witnesses and no detailed news coverage, so the deaths remain a remote abstraction.

When a convoy carrying supplies to snowbound villages was ambushed last month in Jowzjan province, leaving six aid workers dead, their names and faces remained unknown to the public. The same was true when a policeman fatally shot 11 of his sleeping fellow officers at a desert checkpoint in Helmand province two weeks ago.

But when terrorist violence invades the capital, the impact is more immediate; destruction and death zoom into public view. Television crews quickly reach bombing and shootout scenes. People post constant queries and reactions on social media — a mix of worry, relief, anger about the endless war and frustration about the government’s inability to protect the public.

“We are supposed to thank the president for going to visit people in the hospital and condemning a savage act,” one resident wrote Thursday on Facebook. “But saying sorry and condemning are not enough. Why can’t they do more to prevent it?”

On Thursday, the Ministry of Defense said the military hospital had been sealed shut while investigators try to discover how the attackers entered the hospital after blowing up the main gate. On Wednesday, security officials said they had driven an ambulance into the compound.

Officials also said they were trying to confirm whether ISIS was behind the attack, as its news outlet claimed. The Taliban issued a statement saying it had not been involved, but the group sometimes denies attacks that kill many civilians.

A posting on Facebook showed five masked men posing with assault rifles in front of a sign in Arabic naming them as “our sacrificers” in the “killing and maiming of mercenaries” at the military hospital. There was no way to tell where and when the photo was taken.

When the victims of such fatal attacks are well-known figures, their losses can resonate across social media and Afghan society. On Thursday, the news of Haidary’s death sparked an outpouring of condolences on social media, and photos of him with his children and colleagues circulated online.

He was buried at the hillside Deh Kapaik cemetery, below a monument to Marshal Mohammad Fahim, the late anti-Soviet militia leader and defense minister, with whom his family had military and ethnic ties. A portrait of Haidary in his army uniform rested among the flowers on his grave. Mourners in military garb raised occasional shouts of “Allah is great.”

In contrast, the death of Qadir one week earlier was virtually unnoticed in public and mourned quietly by relatives and neighbors.

Washington Post

Pakistan on Edge as Fresh Bombing Hits Lahore

At least eight people were killed and 20 injured after a bomb ripped through Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore Thursday, officials said, the tenth attack in just under a fortnight pointing to a resurgence in violence.

The blast, the second to hit the provincial capital this month, crumpled cars and sent panic rippling through the city after the wave of attacks across Pakistan killed more than 130 people.

The building where the bomb went off was under construction in a market crowded with people, including children, said Imtiaz Ali, a 34-year-old barber.

“When I came out I first just saw smoke and dust… Bikes upturned. Cars destroyed. My own colleague’s car windows blown out. My clients’ cars blown out. I was close to fainting,” he told AFP.

Police and administration officials confirmed it was a bomb attack, as rescuers supplied the casualty toll. No group has immediately claimed responsibility.

Punjab police spokesman Nayab Haider told Reuters the explosion was caused by a “planted bomb” that was either time- or remotely detonated.

No one was allowed to leave or enter the area because the bomber was suspected to be at large, officials said.

Reports of a second explosion turned out to be a tire blowout that caused panic due to the tense atmosphere in the city, a government official said.

The panic underscored growing nervousness across the country as a series of assaults shook what had been a growing sense of security during a prolonged lull in violence.

They included a previous bomb blast in Lahore on February 13 which killed 15 people, and a devastating suicide attack at a shrine in Sindh province that left 90 devotees dead.

The attacks, most of which were claimed by ISIS or the Pakistani Taliban, have dented growing optimism over the country’s security after it appeared to be making strong gains in its decade-and-a-half long war on militancy.

The emergence of ISIS and a Taliban resurgence would be a major blow to Pakistan. Analysts have said the apparently coordinated nature of the attacks suggested militants were regrouping.

Islamabad launched a crackdown in the wake of the attacks, saying it has killed dozens of “terrorists” in recent days and carried out airstrikes on militant hideouts along the Afghan border.

On Wednesday the military announced a nationwide anti-terrorist operation.

“This operation will basically target sanctuaries… of militants in Punjab province and restrict their movements,” defense analyst and retired general Talat Masood told AFP.

Violence, Randomness…New Marks of Extremists’ Terrorism

Scenes from the terror attack in Nice

Riyadh- Randomness and destruction have become the language adopted by terrorist groups which target innocent people with random violence that lack planning. Their main goal is to raise fear and exterminate people who oppose the organization’s intellect.

Brutality has extended to target children in schools, people in mosques, and civilians in sports stadiums. This reflects a deep strategy of ignorance and carelessness towards the repercussions of these acts on the public as they will lead people to reject these organization’s approaches.

The terrorist attacks we had witnessed recently were similar to riots and individual revenge attempts that differ from the traditional concept of terrorism that targets civilians in huge numbers to impress the public and fulfill religious and political goals.

The old terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda were keen to demonize the enemy and to justify the reasons behind targeting it. Al- Qaeda was selective in choosing its targets, which reflects a strategy that aims at acquiring the biggest number of supporters by attacking non-believers mainly in the United States; the attacks of 9/11 received a remarkable sympathy and applaud of many people.

Al-Qaeda was keen to show itself as the savor of oppressed people through the promotion campaigns focusing on the organization’s services provided for Iraqis, and currently on its role in Yemen. Yet, the new extremist groups made a major transformation in their media strategies by appearing like psychos who kill innocent people. These new organizations have moved easily toward their targets and neglected the results, which emphasizes a drastic shift in the concept of extremism and terrorism.

The massive attacks that used to kill big numbers of people have shrunk and the direction turned to easier targets that don’t require major effort in planning or trained people to implement them. Recently, the terrorist organizations have worked on encouraging the role of “lone wolves” strategy that consists of one individual to carry on a terrorist attack. ISIS has targeted the lone wolves through multi-lingual messages and provided them with the instructions needed for random attacks.

This shift of strategies has featured many attacks as riots or crimes that completely differ from terrorist attacks.

The latest attacks have also focused on security members; many cells discovered in Saudi Arabia were planning to target policemen after a number of attacks executed against Saudi Arabian policemen patrols.

Finally, the most incomprehensible matter is how these organizations can easily target women and children without empathy. Boko Haram was considered the fiercest in this field by focusing on children and educational institutions; on 14 April 2014, this organization kidnapped more than 200 Nigerian girls (aged 12-17 years) who faced abuse and forced marriage. It has also burned many Nigerian schools, which led the government to close a big number of educational institutions and prevented more than one million Nigerian children from education, according to the UNICEF’s report. Extremists didn’t hesitate to attack mosques in many regions including Saudi Arabia.

However, observers see that these random attacks emphasize the weakness of these organization’s strategies and capacities of planning.

Opinion: Iran Needs to Bury Khomeini’s Ghost

More than 17 years after his death, the man who led the mullahs to power in Iran, Ayatollah Ruhallah Khomeini, is still at the center of the post-revolution debate that has divided Iranians to the point of inciting some to violence against each other.

Last week the debate over Khomeini’s decade in power reached a new flash-point with the publication of the secret recording of remarks made in 1988 by the ayatollah’s closest aide, and designated heir at the time, the late Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri.

The audio-file was made public by Ahmad, Montazeri’s surviving son, with the claim that it had been recorded in August 1988 during a meeting between his father and a delegation of mullahs sent to seek permission to carry out thousands of summary executions within a couple of days.

The background to the fateful meeting was dramatic. Khomeini had just accepted a ceasefire with Iraq, ending an eight-year war, without achieving his declared aim of going to “Jerusalem via Baghdad.”

The war had claimed over a million lives, at least two-thirds of them Iranians, without the “Army of the Imam” making a single inch of conquest. In fact, in August 1988 when Khomeini announced his unconditional surrender, Saddam Hussein’s troops occupied a chunk of Iranian territory in Zaynal-Kosh which was later recovered by Iran when the Americans toppled the Iraqi despot.

In other words, Khomeini had ended up with egg on his face by prolonging a war at the end of which five Iranian provinces were in ruins, thousands of Iranian troops, mostly teenagers, were captured as war prisoners or were missing in action, and the nation’s economy was in meltdown mode with nothing positive to show for the folly.

The ayatollah must have spent sleepless nights seeking a way to change the narrative of a humiliating climb-down. As always, he came up with his favorite solution: killing large numbers of people to divert attention from the failures of his inhuman regime.

According to a study by Zaynab Mansouri, at least 10 Iranians or Iraqis died for every single hour of Khomeini’s rule. We have already noted the lives claimed by the senseless 8-year war. But Khomeini also killed thousands in the notorious massacre of Kurds in Naqadeh and the slaughter of Turkomans in Gonbad. He also killed thousands of demonstrators, including many women and children, who defied his satanic rule in the streets.

Having practically abolished the rule of law in the country, Khomeini had set up his Islamic Revolutionary Tribunals with a single mullah as judge, often clerical students in their twenties, and with no legal representation for the accused, no witnesses and no cross-examination of the evidence.

According to estimates by Amnesty International and other human rights groups over 100,000 Iranians were executed during Khomeini’s 10-year rule.

This compares to 317 executions during the late Shah’s 37-year reign, according to a report established by the late Ayatollah Muhammad-Reza Mahdawi Kani who briefly served as Khomeini’s Prime Minister.

Under Khomeini Iran suffered the kind of mass bloodshed and violence it had not experienced since the medieval times. It was against such a background that Khomeini ordered the mass executions of 1988. These mostly concerned members of an Islamist group, Mujahidin-e-Khalq (Combatants of the People), who had helped Khomeini come to power, but broke with him after 18 months.

Most of those executed had been sentenced to prison and there was no legal basis, even in Khomeini’s system, for their execution. (There are conflicting reports on the numbers involved, between 2000 and 4000.)

In the audio-file made public last week, Montazeri opposes the executions and advises caution. He warns that were the executions to be carried out Khomeini would be remembered as “a blood-sucker” (saffah) and that the revolution, indeed Islam itself, would be harmed. To nail in his point, the heir-apparent even wrote a letter to Khomeini begging him to be merciful.

The “Supreme Guide” who had promoted himself to the position of “Imam” with the help of sycophants, reacted by ordering Montazeri to be divested of all his positions, including that of successor, and put under house arrest. Khomeini simply forgot that he had repeatedly called Montazeri, who had been his student three decades earlier, “the pupil of my eye” and “fruit of my life.”

Montazeri’s position at the time was not dictated by liberal sentiments on his part. In fact, for nine years he had endorsed thousands of other illegal executions. By 1988, however, he had become sore with Khomeini because the ayatollah had ordered the execution of a brother of his son-in-law Hadi Hashemi and the mass arrest of people close to him in the wake of the Irangate scandal in 1985-87.

The “secret” audio-file does not transform Montazeri into a choirboy. Nor does it sweeten the image of those massacred by Khomeini. It does, however, highlight the necessity for Iran to re-examine the blood-soaked Khomeini era in the hope of embarking on a rational, calm and non-revanchist process of de-Khomeinization.

To be sure, Khomeini wasn’t alone in his crimes. Many of the men who met Montazeri are still alive and in positions of power.

Over the years, many commentators have speculated on who would be Iran’s Gorbachev, with former President Muhammad Khatami cast in that role for a while and which is now played by President Hassan Rouhani. Others, looking to China’s experience rather than that of the Soviet Union, have tried to find the Iranian Deng Xiaoping with former President Hashemi Rafsanjani trying to cast himself in that role. However, before Iran can have either a Gorbachev or a Deng, it must first find either a Khrushchev or a Chou En-lai.

In 1956, addressing the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Nikita Seregyvich Khrushchev exposed Stalin’s crimes, rehabilitated some of the victims of Stalinism, and led the USSR towards a totalitarianism which obeyed at least its own laws. The same happened with de-Maoization in China thanks to Chou En-lai and Deng Xiaoping, starting in 1971.

Without serious de-Khomeinization, the Islamic Republic in Iran would have no chance of achieving a reasonable measure of political, economic and legal stability. De-Khomeinization would not transform a bad regime into a good one, far from it. But it might make it bearable for at least those within it.

Unless Iran definitely breaks with the lawlessness that Khomeini introduced, it won’t be able to tackle any of its numerous problems in a serious way. Without de-Khomeinziation no one will ever be safe in Iran, not even the current “Supreme Guide” Ali Khamenei. Maybe especially not him!

El-Sisi Discusses the Deployment of a Regional Protection Force in South Sudan

The Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi met the chairman of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) for the agreement on the resolution of the conflict in South Sudan Festus Mogae in Cairo yesterday. El-Sisi and Mogae discussed regional efforts to restore peace in Juba and the Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry also attended the meeting.

Fighting and violence between supporters of President Salva Kiir and his rival Riek Machar has plagued the state of South Sudan for more than two years, raising fears of instability in East Africa where the fighting has led to the deaths of more than 10,000 people and the displacement of more than two million others.

The presidential spokesperson Ambassador Alaa Youssef said that President El-Sisi welcomed Mogae and emphasised Egypt’s support for the efforts of the JMEC in order to implement the peace settlement agreement and restore peace and stability in South Sudan, particularly in light of the distinguished relations between Egypt and South Sudan.

El-Sisi also confirmed that Egypt will continue to make efforts with the different parties concerned in order to restore calm in South Sudan after the tension that it experienced recently. He added that Egypt will continue to provide development programmes in many fields which will contribute to the acceleration of the development process in South Sudan.

Youssef also explained that Mogae expressed his appreciation of the efforts that Egypt has made to bring together the various parties in South Sudan during the meeting. He also noted the importance of Egypt’s role in Africa and its constant defence of African interests, particularly in light of Egypt’s membership of the UN Security Council and the African Union’s Peace and Security Council (PSC).

The chairman of the JMEC also reviewed recent developments in South Sudan. He was referring to recent clashes and unrest that led to the complicated situation on the ground which necessitates urging the different parties to overcome differences and work on fully implementing the agreement for a peaceful settlement.

Ambassador Youssef also explained that the current situation in South Sudan and regional and UN efforts to restore peace that include the proposal put forward by the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) to deploy a regional protection force under the auspices of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan were discussed during the meeting.

President El-Sisi also stressed Egypt’s support for all efforts to restore security and stability in South Sudan and referred to Egypt’s keenness to consult its government and the governments of African members of the Security Council regarding the proposed deployment of a regional protection force in an effort to reach a consensus on how best to restore calm and push forward the peace process and a political settlement in the country.

Al-Azhar and Microsoft Discuss Terrorist Ideology at the U.N. Security Council

The United Nations Security Council meets at the UN Headquarters in New York

New York- The U.N. Security Council on Wednesday convened in a session discussing international terrorism and the ideology it adopts. The session, chaired by Egypt, was also headed by Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry. The council was briefed by Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Jan Eliasson, Al-Azhar Al-Sharif Islamic Research Academy (AIRA) Secretary General Sheikh Muhyiddin Afifi and Microsoft’s vice president Steven Crown.

U.N. General Secretary Ban Ki-moon was supposed to present the brief; however, visiting Africa and Portugal, he was not able to attend the session.

Egyptian FM Shoukry said that the hostile ideology that led to the death of an officer in Cairo is the same striking Paris and Brussels. He underscored the necessity of adopting a comprehensive approach which works distinctively and tackles the evident causes of the phenomenon and the roots of terrorism.

On the other hand, Sheikh Afifi mentioned at the session that Islam had commanded mercy and condemned cruelty to animals, thus decreeing mercy to humans at an exceptional magnitude. He also confirmed that Azhar Al-Sharif is working on countering terrorism.

Afifi further explained that extremists have based their ideology on twisted creed which misinterprets Islam’s teachings, that which has resulted in wrongly accusing Islam with extremism and terrorism, two concepts utterly rejected by true Islam doctrine.

Steven A. Crown, vice president and deputy general of Microsoft, said technology companies, states and nongovernmental organizations must work together to “address terrorist use of the internet, including creation and use of counter-narratives,” in a manner that respects privacy and free speech.

“For the internet industry, the scale of the terrorist challenge is daunting,” Crown said. “We know that there are tens of thousands terrorist internet accounts that refuse to die. As one is taken down, another quickly springs up in its place.”

Crown said that the industry was willing to discuss ways to counter the challenge posed by terrorism on the web.

Opinion: Asharq Al-Awsat’s Cartoon

A view shows the mess after protesters attacked the office of Saudi-owned newspaper Asharq al-Awsat in Beirut

Now, after the storm has calmed down following the cartoon on Lebanon, which was published in Asharq Al-Awsat on Friday, the different stances on it have been brought to light.

As ordinary as it may seem, some people have misread the cartoon and interpreted it wrongly, stirring uproar in the country. Others used it politically for temporary benefits; however, some preferred to use it in order to justify a brutal attack, not only against the Asharq Al Awsat’s offices in Beirut, but also against the Lebanese and Arab media, unfortunately.

With all respect to all those who disagree with the cartoon, they were supposed to be the first to defend it as a concept, regardless of their disagreement with its content.

It is sad to react brutally against an opinion that was expressed using a cartoon.

Regardless of Asharq Al-Awsat’s editorial family’s opinion regarding the cartoon- which is a comic drawing tackling the political situation Lebanon is experiencing without a president, a legislative authority and almost without an executive authority- one should lay emphasis on firm professionalism.

Cartoons, just like written articles, are used around the world by all media outlets. Both solely reflect their creators’ opinions and not the newspapers’.

This does not exempt any newspaper from the legal consequences, yet the editorial shan’t be considered a reflection of the newspaper’s stance.

What proves this fact is that some cartoons do not fall in line with the newspaper’s editorial family’s stances, yet they still end up being published. After all, cartoonists have their own opinions and thoughts which they let out using their pencils.

But if we went on punishing every newspaper for its comics and articles, then every newspaper in Lebanon would be found guilty and would be closed by now.

Asharq Al-Awsat will never change; it will continue to be as it has always been since its foundation, committed to the professional norms, always objective and willing to accept any criticism.

Whoever brutally expressed their opinion regarding the cartoon, should have known that they could have expressed their anger on one of the newspaper’s pages, a right they own.

Every newspaper is subjected to criticism, yet it is media’s duty to provide the right of reply for all.

Asharq Al-Awsat is the first to respect this right and implement it, opposing the use of violence to speak out which puts everyone at risk, not only this newspaper.

The Lebanese people, themselves, know very well that Asharq Al-Awsat have always presented balanced opinions on all Lebanese matters.

However, what came to our surprise was the Lebanese media, which blamed Asharq Al-Awsat and confused between the newspaper as an institution and a writer or a cartoonist who expressed his opinion.

Again, Asharq Al-Awsat can neither offend nations nor people, and regarding what some writers express, they are to be asked about their point of views.

What I am trying to deliver here is, of course, addressed to the wise Lebanese and not the so-called Hezbollah’s Lebanese, whom we’ve had enough of their violence and incitement against the newspaper.

Nawaf al-Moussawi, who mainly speaks on behalf of Hezbollah to Western media sources, defended those who hung banners cursing Saudi Arabia by issuing a statement describing the people’s rights and their freedom of speech in Lebanon. He also added back then, that by prosecuting the aggressors, the Lebanese authorities are violating the Lebanese laws that guarantee freedom of expression.

This is the freedom of expression in the new Lebanon; the country that was thousands of miles ahead of others before its kidnap by a militia.

Enjoy the concept of your freedom that does not represent the Lebanon we know!

Nigerian Army Captures Leader of Militant Group Ansaru

Ansaru militant group

Nigeria’s army said it has arrested Khalid al-Barnawi, leader of an al-Qaeda linked militant group Ansaru which is a splinter faction of Boko Haram that has been accused of kidnapping and killing Westerners, a military spokesman said on Monday.

Military spokesman Brigadier General Rabe Abubakar Barnawi was captured in Lokoja, capital of the central state of Kogi on Friday.

“He is among those on top of the list of our wanted terrorists,” he added.

Al-Barnawi, who is thought to be in his late 30s, has been one of the three Nigerians listed by the US in 2012 as “specially designated global terrorists.” The US had offered a $5 million reward for information leading to his location.

The US State Department says Al-Barnawi has “ties to Boko Haram” and “close links to al-Qaeda.”

“He has been arrested. We have made that giant stride,” said Abubakar, adding that some Boko Haram fighters had surrendered to Nigerian troops.

In a separate statement on Monday, the army said troops killed 15 members of Boko Haram and rescued 275 hostages during operations against the militants in the northeast on Sunday. Late Sunday, army spokesman Colonel Sani Usman also said troops arrested six insurgents in the northeastern villages of Kadawu and Garna and recovered explosive devices.

Muhammadu Buhari, who took office last May, has made it a priority of his presidency to defeat jihad militancy in Africa’s most populace nation.

The arrest of al-Barnawi, if independently confirmed, would be significant as jihadists have been pushed out of northeastern areas they once controlled and conflicting messages on social media suggest internal rifts.

But Nigerian security analyst Fulan Nasrullah expressed doubts that he had indeed been captured.

“Khalid’s people and I have spoken and they have said that he is free and was not captured, whether in Lokoja or anywhere else,” he said.

“They have killed seven different people at seven different times thinking they were Khalid al-Barnawi. They have no photos of him, nor do they know any concrete information about him,” he added.

The defense spokesman could not immediately be reached to respond to Nasrullah’s comments.

Besides the U.S., Britain also put Ansaru on its official “terrorist group” list, saying the group was aligned with al-Qaeda and was behind the kidnapping of a British national and an Italian who were killed in 2012 during a failed rescue attempt. In 2012 Ansaru claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of French engineer Francis Collomp for almost a year before he was freed in November 2013.
The group also killed seven foreigners working for Setraco Nigeria Ltd. when they were seized in a February 2013 attack at their residential compound in the northern state of Bauchi. Ansaru said it carried out the attack in response to “the transgressions and atrocities done to the religion of Allah” by European nations in countries such as Mali and Afghanistan.

Reports of the Ansaru leader’s arrest come amid developments that suggest the militant movement in Nigeria may be losing momentum.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau appeared in a video circulated last month in which he seemed to suggest he was ailing and Boko Haram was losing its effectiveness. But another video emerged last week saying there would be no surrender.

Boko Haram controlled a swathe of land in northeast Nigeria around the size of Belgium at the start of last year but was pushed out by Nigerian troops, aided by soldiers from neighboring countries.

It has since resorted to attacks on public places, such as markets and places of worship.

Tarantino Tackles Racism in All His Movies

Quentin Tarantino shooting  (Hateful Eight)
Quentin Tarantino shooting (Hateful Eight)

Palm Springs (California) – Hollywood’s infamous film director Quentin Tarantino told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that anti-racism is the common factor shared by his movies.

Among Tarantino’s masterpieces were “Reservoir Dogs”, “Kill Bill” (the first and the second, although Tarantino accounts them as one), “Jackie Brown” and “Pulp Fiction” which was his first grand hit in 1994. Tarantino’s work is notorious for containing ample violence, which he finds rooted inside human nature, “why avoid it?” he says.

The 53 year-old says that throughout his career, most of his work dealt with racism in one way or another, perhaps in just a glimpse, or a portrayed emotion at a moment during the movie.

“Frankly, I don’t try to make films on racism,” Tarantino says. But the subject is not far-off shore for him, he adds.

He said that racism has had the upper-hand in affairs between white people and black people throughout history, and until this day.

Tarantino expressed how scary it is to discover that racism is spread world-wide. Wherever there is a present minority, the group is ultimately subject to racial discrimination.

When a reporter asked Tarantino on whether he saw himself as a black man with white skin, he replied with stating that he is of Italian origins, and then perhaps there could be a drop of Moorish blood flowing through his veins.

When asked about violence occupying a fair share of his films, especially that Sam Peckinpah was once criticized for the clear violence present in his works, he then directed a violence-free movie “The Ballad of Cable Hogue” and when the film failed he said “they criticize me, yet when I make a violence-free movie, no one watches,” so, is violence a cinematic characteristic?

Tarantino responded saying that Sam Peckinpah was right when he shot the violent scenes, regardless of their brutality, because he wanted to portray reality. He then explained that he shares Peckinpah’s perspective on violence.

When asked about the movie that he ever found influential, Tarantino said that he was about 12 or 13 years-old when he watched “Rocky”.

“Rocky” was very important to me. It was not the reason behind me becoming a filmmaker, but it pulled me towards cinema in general, he said.

Stallone’s story made me think about the character- and what got to me was that I read about Stallone writing the story and insisting to play the role, and wanting to direct too, Tarantino said.

Practically movies that pushed me towards considering cinema for a job were those by Sergio Leone and Mario Bava. After watching “Once Upon a Time in America” and “Black Saturday”, I decided to become a director.