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Coronavirus A Wrath Of God; Best Time To Target India, US, Europe

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As the world battles the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, terrorist organizations are seeking to use the crisis to their advantage. Terror groups are urging their operatives to capitalize on the situation by launching attacks as governments and militaries are busy dealing with the outbreak.

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While it may be early to arrive at any concrete conclusion, a recent increase in spate of terror attacks in Africa and Afghanistan point toward concerted efforts by terrorist leaders who are appealing to their followers on the pretext that coronavirus has been sent by God to help them wage jihad against their enemies.

“Jihadis see the current crisis as a manifestation of the wrath of God, both upon the non-believers for their rejection of God’s law and crimes against Muslims, and upon those Muslims who have forsaken the duty of jihad.  They argue that fighting jihad is the surest way to guarantee protection from the virus,” Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens, director of research at The George Washington University’s Program on Extremism told the Washington Times recently.

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Another defence analyst, Bill Roggio, who works with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said that other extremist groups like the Taliban and Al Qaeda have too found a unifying factor in coronavirus as they are preaching that Covid-19 is a punishment from Allah for the decadent Western style of life.

The terror outfits are of the firm belief that this an opportune period for them as an attack against the United States or India or other African and European nations would result in maximum damage as these countries have deployed their military and other resources in tackling the corona outbreak, added Meleagrou-Hitchens.

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Attack on Indian interest in Afghanistan

Few days back EurAsian Times had reported that Al-Qaeda had shifted its focus to India especially in the Kashmir region. On Wednesday, the Islamic State had claimed responsibility of a terror attack on a Sikh Gurudwara in Kabul, Afghanistan killing as many as 28 worshippers.

Two days after the Kabul Gurdwara attack an explosion interrupted the funeral services for Afghanistan’s Sikh community.  No one was hurt in the blast, the Afghan Interior Ministry said. The explosion went off Thursday near the gate of a crematorium in Kabul, as the terrified grievers struggled to continue with the funeral prayers and cremation.

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Taliban on the Prowl in Afghanistan

As the United States military begins its withdrawal following the peace deal with the Taliban as the EurAsian Times extensively covered, the latter’s forces have stepped up their attacks on Afghan soil. On Saturday, Taliban forces seized the district headquarters of Yumgan in Afghanistan’s northeastern province of Badakhshan after heavy fighting, resulting in an undetermined number of casualties. Four villages in neighbouring Jurm district were also seized.

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Africa Under Siege

“African nations Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Chad are already reeling from very active Islamist insurgent groups. Serious coronavirus outbreaks in these already weak economies with inept administration and limited counterterrorism capabilities and medical resources may force them to pull back from the fight against terrorist outfits and shift their focus and energies instead in combating a spiralling public health crisis,” Roggio said.

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The Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram with affiliations to Al-Qaeda and ISIS claimed responsibility on Wednesday for an attack on Chad’s Military that killed nearly 100 security personnel.

A similar Boko Haram strike on Tuesday in Nigeria killed 47 Nigerian soldiers earlier in the week. Islamic State, meanwhile, claimed responsibility for an attack some 2,500 miles to the south, in Mozambique, targeting natural gas projects being developed there by the U.S. and French energy giants ExxonMobil and Total.

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Middle East

The Middle East remains a hot spot for terror activities as most of the countries are embroiled in a direct or proxy war with their neighbours and have been among the worst regions infected with the Covid-19 pandemic.

NATO announced weeks ago that it was temporarily suspending training for Iraqi security forces because of coronavirus. Britain and France have since reduced troop deployments to the nation, with Paris announcing Thursday all its troops in Iraq’s anti-ISIS coalition were being redeployed for the time being.

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Rise in Extremism

The terror attacks are not just restricted to perennially war-induced Middle East countries or poor African Nations but are increasing world over. Indonesia’s anti-terrorism squad shot and killed one suspect and arrested two others in a raid on the main island of Java, seizing weapons and chemicals allegedly used for bomb-making.

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The man fatally shot by police resisted arrest by wielding a long sword, said National Police spokesman Argo Yuwono. The suspects were linked to a banned militant organization responsible for recent attacks on police, a local affiliate of the Islamic State group known as the Jama’ah Anshorut Daulah, Yuwono said.

In Missouri United States, a man suspected of planning to attack a hospital treating coronavirus cases was killed after a shootout with the FBI. The confrontation happened as agents tried to arrest 36-year-old Timothy R Wilson who had been under surveillance for months in the city of Belton as part of a domestic terrorism investigation, the FBI said.

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Officials said the man was motivated by racist and anti-government beliefs. Wilson had previously considered attacking a school with a large number of black students, a mosque and a synagogue, according to the FBI. There is also the increasing threat of extremist right-wing groups who are allegedly sending an infected member to minorities neighbourhoods.

Americas

Israel Media Blames Turkey, Iran For Supporting ‘Violent Riots’ In The US

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Israeli media has accused Turkey and Iran of supporting violent demonstrations in the US over the killing over the Afro-American person. Turkey is one of the world’s biggest detainers of journalists while Iran butchered over 1,500 protesters last year, but leaders in both nations cynically attempted to exploit recent protests in the US, writes the JPost. 

The report writes that Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei tweeted that “if you’re dark-skinned walking in the US, you can’t be sure you’ll be alive in the next few minutes.”  Former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that the killing of George Floyd was “deeply disturbing and upsetting’ and that it was part of a scheme by global powers and the “current world order.”

JPost says that It was hard to gauge the writers who penned the tweets for Ahmadinejad and Khamenei in English, some of them seem to be inspired from college activists in the US as it drifted from the standard vocabulary of the Iranian regime.

Even as Iran’s regime was backing the violent demonstrations in the US, Tehran was gunning down peaceful Kurdish “kolbars” or people who move goods across the border, claims the report.

Turkish President Erdogan, who championed in ethnically wiping-off the Kurds in northern Syria and whose army carried out a drone strike that killed two civilians recently Iraq, also supported the US demonstrations.

Erdogan also declared that Turkey denounces the “inhuman mentality” in the US and that Ankara stands against all attacks targeting humanity.  Despite these assertions, Turkey invaded Syria last year resulting in horrendous persecution of Kurds and not to forget the lynching a young female Kurdish activist -Hevrin Khalaf.
Over the weekend Kurdish and Yazidi women were found to be held in clandestine confinement cells run by Turkish-backed Syrian radicals in Syria. Almost every week in Turkey journalists and activists are arrested writes the Jpost while taking a dig at nations that oppose Trump and his policies.
Turkey claimed that it wished that  “perpetrators of this inhuman act shall receive the punishment they deserve” and that Ankara would be watching the US. Ankara’s remarks are in contradiction to how the US State Department does not critique Turkey for its extensive human rights violations including the mass detention of media professionals and persecution of Kurdish people.
Turkey has recently attempted to imprison and eliminate more opposition mayors in Kurdish areas. Ankara carries out drone strikes frequently and systematically massacring innocent people in Iraq and even bombing refugee camps.
Yet Turkish media is rejoicing the violent demonstrations and looting in the US over the weekend. It is in contradiction to how Turkey’s pro-government calls any demonstrators or critics in Turkey “terrorists.”
The decision by Turkey and Iran to engage themselves in the protests is part of their scheme to project themselves as tolerant and liberals to the international audience. The same Iranian regime that killed over 1,500 protesters last year, pretends to show compassion with US demonstrators, the report says.
The hypocritical remarks by Ankara and Tehran and their use of the term “world order” appear to be a form of similar messaging that describes a view that Iran and Turkey could work together to reduce the US role in the world.
When Erdogan said that there is an “unjust order we stand against across the world” and Ahmadinejad wrote that there is a “current world order which we all must unite against,” Jpost says that either both the tweets were written by the same person or a systematic propaganda is being flamed in Turkey and Iran to exploit US demonstrations.
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Americas

Trump Postpones G-7 Summit; Plans To Invite India, Russia For September Meet

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US President Donald Trump has postponed the G-7 summit from June to September 2020. For the G-7 summit, Washington plans to invite India, Russia, South Korea and Australia according to latest reports from the White House.

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Speaking to reporters, Donald Trump said the G-7 in its current format was a “very outdated group of countries”. “I’m postponing it because I don’t feel that as a G-7 it properly represents what’s going on in the world,” Trump said.

It was not very clear whether Trump’s wish to invite the more nations was an attempt to permanently expand the G-7. On various occasions, Trump had suggested that Russia must be added due to Moscow’s global strategic importance.

White House spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said on Saturday that Doland Trump wants the nations to discuss China at the G-7 summit.

The US president has consistently criticised Beijing over its handling of COVID-19 pandemic. Trump also ordered his officials to start the process of ending special US treatment for Hong Kong in retaliation for China’s decision to impose a new security law on the region.

Trump had cancelled an in-person G7 meeting that was scheduled for March as the virus spread but had recently attempted to revive it.

French President – Emmanuel Macron also supported the idea of an in-person meeting, according to the White House, but Canadian PM Justin Trudeau refused to approve it, saying there were too many health-related questions.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel had earlier declined to accept Trump’s offer to attend the G-7 in the US. “The federal chancellor thanks President Trump for his invitation to the G7 summit at the end of June in Washington.

As of today, recognising the overall pandemic, she cannot agree to her personal participation, to a journey to Washington,” a media report quoted German government spokesman Steffen Seibert as saying. “She will, of course, continue to monitor the development of the pandemic.”

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Americas

Donald Trump Suspends Ties With WHO; Slams China For COVID-19, Hong Kong

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US President Trump has announced that he is immediately suspending American membership from the World Health Organization over its response to China’s handling of the coronavirus epidemic.

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In a press briefing at the White House, Donald Trump said, “We will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs.”

The US President said the decision end ties with WHO was because they “failed to make” reformations. Last week, Trump sent a letter to WHO’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, expressing his views on how the WHO favours Beijing and urged the health body to “commit to major substantive improvements within the next 30 days.”

The U.S. is WHOs biggest contributor, providing around $450 million a year, according to Trump. The level of financing the U.S. provides to WHO has been pinching Trump, who growled at the press briefing that the U.S. pays significantly more than China, but it is Beijing that benefits at WHO (with roughly about $40 million funding to the organization).

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1262577580718395393

On Hong Kong, Trump said, “China claims it is protecting national security… Hong Kong was secure and prosperous as a free society. Beijing’s decision reverses all of that.

The US President also said he will also initiate a ban on Chinese researchers studying in the US who are recognised as possible security risks. “For years, China has conducted elicit espionage to steal our industrial secrets, of which there are many. Today I will issue a proclamation to better secure our nation’s vital university research…,” he said.

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