21 November 2018


Warsaw bans nationalist march marking Polish independence centenary

KONFRONTASI-Warsaw’s mayor has banned a nationalist march planned for Sunday to mark the centenary of Polish independence, citing the risk of violence and expressions of hatred.

The march was being organized partly by far-right nationalist groups, one of which said it would defy the ban.

A rally is held annually in the capital on Nov. 11 to commemorate the anniversary of Poland’s independence at the end of World War One. Last year’s event was marked by racist chanting and confrontations with counter-protestors.

Nigerian Shi'ite leader denied bail after supporters killed during protest

KONFRONTASI- The leader of Nigeria’s minority Shi’ite Muslims was denied bail on Wednesday, days after the group said more than 40 of its members had been killed by security forces shooting at protesters calling for his release.

Ibrahim Zakzaky, leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), has been held in detention since December 2015, when the army killed roughly 350 of his followers at his compound and a nearby mosque and burial ground in northern Kaduna state.

Snowden warns Israelis of dangers of state surveillance

KONFRONTASI - US whistle-blower Edward Snowden urged Israelis to be on guard against heavy-handed government and private surveillance in a speech on Tuesday.

Snowden, a former government contractor, blew the lid off the United States' vast surveillance programme in 2013, triggering an international debate on the mass spying by governments.

The US whistleblower highlighted Israel's hi-tech capabilities but warned that accepting too much government surveillance and too easily acceding to the argument that it is needed for security reasons posed serious risks.

"If we can allow ourselves to be terrorised by someone with nothing but a knife, to reorder our societies for the convenience of state power ... we've stopped being citizens and we've started being subjects," said Snowden, who spoke via video link from an undisclosed location in Moscow.

The 35-year-old also spoke of the NSO Group, the Israel-based company known for its Pegasus spyware.

Kuwait faces flooding as rains lash Middle East

KONFRONTASI-Heavy rain inundated Kuwait on Monday night and early Tuesday morning causing flooding across several cities in the country.

The Education Ministry announced the closure of schools and colleges as a result of the wet weather, according to the Kuwait News Agency (Kuna).

A similar spell of flooding happened two weeks ago, heralding the change of season.

Israeli army wounds 'iconic' Palestinian protester

KONFRONTASI-Israeli soldiers have wounded a young Palestinian man whose photo has become recognised worldwide as a symbol of Palestinian resistance.

With a Palestinian flag in one hand and a slingshot poised in the other, the photo of 22-year-old A'ed Abu Amro has drawn comparisons with the iconic French Revolution painting, Liberty Leading the People.

Six people arrested in France over 'loose' plan to attack Macron

KONFRONTASI-Six people have been arrested as part of a preliminary investigation into a suspected plan to attack French President Emmanuel Macron, an official close to the probe said.

The source said French security services arrested the six on Tuesday on suspicion of undertaking an “imprecise and loosely-formed” plan for “violent action” against the president.

French TV channel BFM TV reported that the six were members of the far-right, but that could not be independently confirmed.

Qatar's ruler hopes Gulf crisis will end for sake of region

KONFRONTASI-Qatar’s ruler voiced hope on Tuesday the country’s bitter dispute with Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies would pass, saying it had harmed regional security by weakening a Gulf Arab bloc.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut transport and trade ties with Qatar in June 2017, accusing it of supporting terrorism and their foe Iran. Doha denies the charges and says the boycott aims to undermine its sovereignty.

“History teaches us that crises pass, but if they are handled badly then this may leave traces which last for a long time,” Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani said in a speech to the country’s consultative Shoura council.

“It is very regrettable that the continuation of the Gulf crisis exposed the failure of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) ... which has weakened its ability to face challenges and threats and marginalized its role in the region,” he said, urging the bloc to adopt dispute resolution mechanisms.

The United States, an ally of the six-nation Sunni Muslim GCC, sees the rift as a threat to efforts to contain Shi’ite Iran and has pushed for a united Gulf front.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE have repeatedly said the dispute is not a top priority and assured Washington it will not affect defense cooperation.

Riyadh recently appeared to soften its tone on Qatar as the kingdom faces its worst political crisis in decades, over the murder of journalist Jamal Kashoggi at its consulate in Istanbul, which has strained Saudi ties with the West.

Asia 'woke up' and Israeli tech companies see opportunities


As Asia increasingly looks to implement financial technology, Israeli companies in the sector are enjoying growing demand in the region.

Iran says it will resist 'economic war' as U.S. revives curbs

KONFRONTASI-Iran said it would defy U.S. sanctions reimposed on it by Washington on Monday, denouncing as “economic war” the U.S. attempt to curb Tehran’s missile and nuclear programs and weaken its influence in the Middle East.

The U.S. move restores sanctions lifted under a 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by the administration of President Barack Obama and five other world powers. It adds 300 new designations in Iran’s oil, shipping, insurance and banking sectors.

European powers which continue to back the nuclear deal said they opposed the reimposition of sanctions and major oil buyer China said it regretted the move.

The restoration of sanctions is part of a wider effort by U.S. President Donald Trump to force Iran to further limit its nuclear work and to halt and missile program as well as its support for proxy forces in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and other parts of the Middle East.

Switzerland said it is holding talks with the United States and Iran about launching a humanitarian payment channel to help food and drugs keep flowing to Tehran.

U.S. sanctions permit trade in humanitarian goods such as food and pharmaceuticals, but measures imposed on banks and trade restrictions could make such items more expensive.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday the penalties set to return on Monday “are the toughest sanctions ever put in place on the Islamic Republic of Iran”.

However, Iran’s clerical rulers have dismissed concerns about the impact of sanctions on the economy.

“Today the enemy (the United States) is targeting our economy...the main target of sanctions is our people,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said.

Afghan forces killed in Taliban attack on Ghanzi checkpoint

KONFRONTASI-A Taliban attack on a checkpoint in the eastern province of Ghazni has killed at least 13 soldiers and policemen, officials said.

Afghan reinforcements were dispatched to the site after Monday's attack in Khogyani district - located on the main road between the capital, Kabul, and the Afghan south - but were repeatedly ambushed along the way.

The checkpoint was part of a belt of strongholds built around Ghazni after the city was briefly overrun by the Taliban in August in one of their biggest offensives in years.