Saudis Allow Hezbollah To Elect Michel Aoun President and Iran Passes Judgement On Embassy Attackers

Michel Aoun elected president of Lebanon

“Former army chief Michel Aoun voted in as president, ending more than two years of deadlock surrounding the vacancy.”

Iran court issues verdict for suspects in Saudi embassy attack

daily star LEB

An image grab taken from Saudi Arabia’s official Al-Ikhbaryia TV channel on January 4, 2016, shows what the news channel said were members of the Saudi diplomatic mission in Tehran being greeted by Saudi officials upon their arrival at Dubai airport, a few hours after Saudi Arabia decided to sever its diplomatic relations with Iran. AFP PHOTO / HO / AL-IKHBARIYA TV

BEIRUT: Iran’s judiciary has issued verdicts for 20 people accused of storming Saudi diplomatic missions in January and will announce them in the near future, an official was quoted as saying by the judiciary news agency on Tuesday.

Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic relations with its Shiite Muslim rival Iran after protesters stormed the kingdom’s embassy in Tehran and consulate in Mashhad in response to Riyadh’s execution of a prominent Saudi Shiite cleric.

The Iranian government condemned the assault and President Hassan Rouhani, keen to improve Tehran’s long-strained relations with its neighbors and the West, asked the judiciary to punish the protesters and prevent further attacks.

The Mizan news agency quoted a judge as saying that the verdicts for 20 defendants had been issued and “will be announced soon.” He did not give the names of the 20 and did not say whether they had been convicted or not.

Iran’s judiciary announced in April that more than 100 suspects had been arrested over the attack on the Saudi missions and 48 charged. All were released on bail.

Assaults on foreign embassies have occurred throughout the Islamic Republic’s 37-year history, often harming its diplomatic relations. Protesters attacked the U.S. Embassy in 1979, the Kuwaiti mission in 1987, Saudi Arabia in 1988, Denmark in 2006 and Britain in 2011. None of the assailants were convicted.

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SIMI “Encounter” (Execution), Another Contrived Story In India’s Islamist Narrative?

SIMI encounter: a simple graphic

SIMI encounter (Malik/Catch News)

Early on Monday morning, the Madhya Pradesh police claimed to have shot dead eight alleged SIMI operatives, who were said to have escaped from Bhopal Central Jail. The undertrials were killed in an encounter on the outskirts of Bhopal. But the police story began falling apart as soon as it was reported.

Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Bhupendra Singh claimed that the 8 fugitives had no weapons; rather, they were armed with utensils.

Also read – Dead men walking: the SIMI encounter was about more than just a jailbreak

On the other hand, senior police officers claimed the fugitives had fired at the cops.

The sarpanch of Eint Khedi village, where the ‘encounter’ took place, claimed that the fugitives threw stones at the police party. This contradicts the police claim that they were engaged in a gun battle for one hour.

All hell broke lose when the media released unverified video footage of the encounter, which clearly showed that there was no firing from the fugitives. On the contrary, the fugitives were seen talking to the police in the video, and seemed to want to surrender.

The police’s claims on the number of rounds fired in the encounter are even more curious. According to IG Yogesh Choudhary, the fugitives fired just 2 rounds of ammunition, while the police fired 46-47 rounds, in an encounter that lasted more than an hour.

The police claim that three of the cops were injured by ‘a sharp instrument’ during the encounter. How this happened is difficult to understand, if there indeed was a shootout, as the police claim.

SIMI encounter graphic 1

Malik/Catch News

SIMI encounter graphic 2

Malik/Catch News

SIMI encounter graphic 3

Malik/Catch News

More in Catch – SIMI shooting: Here’s India’s track record when it comes to fake encounters

8 SIMI activists killed in MP: An encounter or cold-blooded murder?

The American Punishment of Philippines Starts By Penalizing the Philippine National Police

Lacson slams US’ ‘bully attitude’ towards PHL over halt of rifles deal

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Senator Panfilo Lacson on Wednesday called the reported decision of the US State Department to stop its planned sale of firearms to the Philippine National Police (PNP) a “bully attitude.”

Lacson said it was “not fair” for the US, a longtime ally of the Philippines, to halt the sale of some 26,000 assault rifles.

“The United States’ decision to halt the planned sale of 26,000 rifles to the Philippine National Police was not a scare tactic but a bully attitude towards a longtime ally – which is not fair, the Philippines being an equally sovereign state,” Lacson, former chief of the PNP, said in a statement.

A Reuters report said the planned sale of rifles was halted following opposition from Senator Ben Cardin over concerns about alleged human rights violations in the Philippines.

“Prudence dictates that the US State Department should first show a conclusive investigation that affirms what Sen. Benjamin Cardin has alleged before issuing a statement banning the sale of assault rifles to our uniformed services,” Lacson said.

On Tuesday, Lacson said Senator Cardin’s opposition was based merely on his own opinion.

Lacson, chairman of the Senate public order committee, said there is no proof yet that killings were state-sanctioned.

He said the PNP should now start shopping in other territories for their armament requirements, citing other sources such as Israel, Belgum, Russia and China.

Senator JV Ejercito echoed the sentiment of Lacson, saying the US does not have a monopoly of good firearms manufacturers.

“PNP can now look at Israeli, Austrian or German-made high-powered rifles which are even more superior. American legislators and officials getting wrong information as well. They are basing their judgment on effort to destroy Duterte in international media,” Ejercito said in a text message.

Ejercito said the US State Department’s move was more of a “sales opportunity loss” for the American supplier, rather than a loss to the PNP.

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, for his part, scored the US government for supposedly focusing on alleged extrajudicial killings (EJKs) in the Philippines.

“Concerned sila sa so-called EJK but they don’t mind the hundreds of thousands of killings in Mexico,” Sotto said in a text message.

“Israel, Austria and Russia also produce the same or better assault rifles and ammo. With enough funding, the Philippines can also be good producers,” Sotto added.

PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa admitted that the halting of the planned sale of rifles will have an impact on the country’s campaign against terrorism but not on the fight against illegal drugs and criminality.

President Rodrigo Duterte, for his part, was unfazed by the said reports.

“Karaming de bomba dito,” Duterte told reporters in Davao City, indicating that the Philippines didn’t need to buy the rifles from the US. — RSJ, GMA News