Archive for November 24th, 2015

ISIS Women and Enforcers in Syria Recount Collaboration, Anguish and Escape

New York Times
Nov 21, 2015

SOUTHERN TURKEY — Dua had only been working for two months with the Khansaa Brigade, the all-female morality police of the Islamic State, when her friends were brought to the station to be whipped.

The police had hauled in two women she had known since childhood, a mother and her teenage daughter, both distraught. Their abayas, flowing black robes, had been deemed too form-fitting.

When the mother saw Dua, she rushed over and begged her to intercede. The room felt stuffy as Dua weighed what to do.

“Their abayas really were very tight. I told her it was their own fault; they had come out wearing the wrong thing,” she said. “They were unhappy with that.”

Dua sat back down and watched as the other officers took the women into a back room to be whipped. When they removed their face-concealing niqabs, her friends were also found to be wearing makeup. It was 20 lashes for the abaya offense, five for the makeup, and another five for not being meek enough when detained.

The three Syrian women interviewed for this article, all former members of the Islamic State morality police who escaped to Turkey this year, met with a reporter in a southern Turkish city for hours of interviews, together and separately, over the course of two multiday visits. Read the rest of this entry »

No Comments

1MDB fire sale reeks of desperation

by Khairie Hisyam
November 24 2015

The open secret that 1MDB is selling off its power assets to foreign hands is now out, and now all eyes are on its attempts to divest a majority stake in its Bandar Malaysia project. The entire exercise reeks of the desperation that is driving the company.

On Nov 23, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) finally made an unsurprising announcement: China General Nuclear (CGN) has won the bidding for its power assets, offering nearly 25% higher than local power player Tenaga Nasional Berhad.

The sale is understandable – 1MDB is desperate for cash. It has RM42 billion in borrowings that it is finding very hard to service. However, the sale of its only cash cow reeks of desperation and raises questions on just how deep is the hole 1MDB is in right now.

According to 1MDB, CGN is paying RM9.83 billion for its power assets held under Edra Global Energy. Payment is cash, which is music to the ears of those tracking 1MDB’s long trail of questionable deals over the years where it got into convoluted deals that often involve payments that are not cash.

As an aside, the sale brings full circle what was a contentious and questionable generosity – recall that 1MDB overpaid by several billion ringgit for the power assets which cost a total of RM12 billion, excluding the upcoming Track 4B 2,000MW power plant in Malacca. Read the rest of this entry »


Enough is enough, stop playing politics to make a mountain out of a molehill over Nurul’s unplanned meeting in the Philippines as if the country does not have weighty matters on hand

Enough is enough, stop playing politics to make a mountain out of a molehill over PRK Vice President and Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar’s recent visit to the Philippines and unplanned meeting with Jacel Kiram, as if the country does not have weighty problems on hand.

If Nurul has traitorous intent, she would have ensured that there would be no photographic evidence of her meeting with Jacel, let alone allowing the photograph to be to be uploaded on FaceBook for the whole world to know.

This bolstered Nurul’s statement of innocence, her expression of regret over her photograph with Sulu “princess” Jacel Kiram and reiteration of her sympathies and support for the fallen heroes from the army, military and the public who perished as a result of the Lahad Datuk intrusion in 2013. Read the rest of this entry »


MPs and Malaysians are entitled to know whether Najib is going to stand up in Parliament to give full and satisfactory accounting of his role in the twin mega scandals or he will continue “pass the buck” to his Ministers and minions?

I commend the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairman, Datuk Hasan Arifin for realizing his folly in unilaterally and arbitrarily announcing a ban on all PAC media conferences, in retaliation to honest media reporting of his faux pax last Wednesday that the reason PAC would not summon Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to PAC investigations into the RM50 billion 1MDB scandal was because he needed to “cari makan”.

Hasan did a U-turn yesterday when he belatedly realized that the PAC is not a “kingdom of its own” but responsible to Parliament and answerable to the public, and it is just outrageous and completely unacceptable for Malaysia to have a PAC Chairman who has a phobia of the media.

But Hasan has not completely undone the damage he has committed to undermine public confidence in the institution of Parliament, which includes the PAC. Read the rest of this entry »

No Comments

France’s anti-Isis coalition: where the key countries stand

Simon Tisdall
Monday 23 November 2015

France is pulling out all the stops as François Hollande scrambles to fulfil his ambitious pledge to build a global military coalition to defeat Islamic State following the Paris attacks.

The French president has won public approval and international backing for his handling of the crisis so far. His poll ratings are up by eight points to 33%. Foreign leaders have lined up to express solidarity.

In a flurry of hastily arranged mini-summits this week, Hollande will seek to turn expressions of support into concerted, sharp-end action before the rare moment of unity passes.

His prospects for success are mixed. The leaders of the US, Russia, Germany and Britain – whom Hollande will meet separately over four days – agree unreservedly about the necessity of eradicating Isis. All want a peace deal to end the Syrian civil war. But there is less agreement on how to do this. Read the rest of this entry »

No Comments

Paris Attacks Suspect Killed in Shootout Had Plotted Terror for 11 Months

New York Times
NOV. 19, 2015

VERVIERS, Belgium — Black smudges and faded traces of gunfire on a red brick rowhouse here in eastern Belgium mark the death foretold of Abdelhamid Abaaoud. It is the spot where, 11 months before the announcement on Thursday that he had been killed outside Paris, he began plotting an elaborate campaign of terror across Europe.

Mr. Abaaoud’s inaugural terror mission here ended in disaster for his cause and cost the lives of two of his jihadist friends — both from his old Brussels neighborhood, Molenbeek — when Belgian security forces stormed their hide-out on Jan. 15.

But Mr. Abaaoud was not there. A telephone call he made shortly before the raid in Verviers to pass on instructions to those in the hide-out, a senior Belgian counterterrorism official said, was the last trace anybody had of him until the French police found on Wednesday what turned out to be his mutilated body after an early-morning shootout just north of Paris. Read the rest of this entry »

No Comments

The Latest: Belt Found Where Fugitive’s Phone Was Located

New York Times/Associated Press
NOV. 23, 2015, 2:46 P.M. E.S.T.

PARIS — The latest on the deadly attacks in Paris and the heightened security in Europe (All times local):

8:40 p.m.

French police say that an explosive belt without a detonator that was found in Paris was in the same place that fugitive Saleh Abdeslam’s cell phone was localized on the day of the attacks that killed 130 people.

The belt was found Monday by a street cleaner in a pile of rubble in the southern suburb of Montrouge.

The three police officials who gave information about the belt could not be named because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation.

— By Nicolas Vaux-Montagny and Lori Hinnant. Read the rest of this entry »

No Comments