Libya calls for international airstrikes against ISIS

PARIS: Libya’s foreign minister Tuesday renewed a call for the lifting of an arms embargo and for international airstrikes to help tackle ISIS, which threatens to create a “rear base” in the country.

“The situation is extremely serious,” Mohammad al-Dayri, foreign minister for Libya’s internationally recognized government based in Misrata, said on a visit to Paris. “People are dying, are crucified, are disinterred from their graves, are burned alive. Libyans don’t understand why the international community doesn’t wake up to these dangers.”

Libya has two rival governments and has been torn apart since the international community helped oust Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

Libya’s official government has been based in the east since losing the capital a year ago to Libya Dawn, which set up its own government. Neither administration controls much territory.

Dayri said ISIS was present in the towns of Derna, Benghazi, Sirte and Sabratha. “They have not yet seized oil fields, but we fear they might come to control several wells,” he added.

“On Saturday, there was a call from their leaders in Iraq and Syria to reinforce their ranks in Libya. They want to make Libya a rear base.”

He said ISIS currently had limited means in Libya and had faced pushback from local populations working alongside other armed Islamist groups including Al-Qaeda, notably in Derna in June. “After 2011, Libya was abandoned to its fate.”

He called for the U.N. to lift the arms embargo imposed in 2011.

“We are not talking about sophisticated military equipment, but we need the minimum to fight terrorism in an adequate manner,” he said.

“We also hope for an [international] intervention as soon as possible because the danger is growing. But not troops on the ground. We are hoping for aerial support for the Libyan armed forces on the ground.

“The international community waited for Mosul to fall before intervening in Iraq. We don’t want to see Tripoli or Misrata fall,” he said.

ISIS Monday executed four people in Sirte, including at least one member of a rival group whose body was put on display, according to residents and a video published on social media. The video released by the militant group showed a gunmen shooting a man, dressed in an orange jumpsuit, who was tied to a makeshift cross. His body was left there afterward as a warning to others.

The man was identified as an alleged spy for Libya Dawn, a group backing a nonrecognized government in Tripoli, which has flown airstrikes against ISIS in Sirte.

The executions come after ISIS fighters crushed a revolt by a Salafist group and armed residents in Sirte earlier this month, trying to break its grip on the city, located some 500 km to the east of Tripoli.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on August 26, 2015, on page 10.

Turkey’s religious body slams Star Wars cult

Legendary Jedi Master, Yoda, from the Star Wars films. (AP) Al Arabiya News

An article published by Turkey’s top religious authority warned of the spread of Jediism, a belief system affiliated with the Star Wars films, Hurriyet Daily News reported Monday.

The article, released in the monthly magazine of the Directorate of Religious Affairs’ (Diyanet), criticized Jediism and claimed that “thousands” around the world are identifying themselves as Jediis.

“Jediism … is spreading today in Christian societies. Around 70,000 people in Australia and 390,000 people in England currently define themselves as Jedis,” wrote Marmara University Assistant Professor Bilal Yorulmaz in the magazine.

The article by Yorulmaz comes months after “irreverent Turkish students raised their voices in online campaigns to build Jedi and Buddhist temples at their universities,” the newspaper reported.

Jediism, or beliefs adopted by the Jedi warriors in the Star Wars series, attracted public attention in 2001 when some fans decided to create their own faith and identified themselves as “Jedi.”

Child beheads teddy bear in new ISIS video

Disturbing footage of a child beheading his teddy bear has been released online in what seems to be an ISIS propaganda stunt. (Photo courtesy: YouTube)

Al Arabiya News

Disturbing footage of a child beheading his teddy bear has been released online in what seems to be an ISIS propaganda stunt.

The video, released this week, shows a young boy holding a knife to a stuffed toy before lifting his weapon and shouting a derogatory term used for non-believers of Islam, the UK-based Daily Mail reported Tuesday.

The child appears to be standing in front of an ISIS flag and proceeds to saw the head off the toy in the 30-second video uploaded to YouTube.

It has not been confirmed whether the terror group is responsible for the clip.

In July, a young boy was filmed beheading a man thought to be a Syrian soldier in the Homs province of Syria.

That video was shared by alleged ISIS supporters who praised the child.

Islamic State kills 30 for sodomy

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The Islamic State extremist group has claimed responsibility for killing at least 30 people for sodomy, the head of an international gay rights organization said Monday at the first-ever U.N. Security Council meeting spotlighting violence and discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people. “It’s about time, 70 years after the creation of the U.N., that the fate of LGBT persons who fear for their lives around the world is taking center stage,” said U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power, who organized the meeting with Chile’s U.N. envoy. “This represents a small but historic step.” Diplomats said two of the 15 council members, Chad and Angola, did not attend the informal, closed meeting. Jessica Stern, executive director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, told the council that courts established by the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria claim to have punished sodomy with stoning, firing squads and beheadings and by pushing men from tall buildings. Fear of the extremist group, which controls about a third of Syria and Iraq, has fueled violence by others against LGBT individuals, she said. Subhi Nahas, a gay refugee from the Syrian city of Idlib, told the council that President Bashar Assad’s government “launched a campaign accusing all dissidents of being homosexuals” when that country’s uprising started in 2011. Soon afterward, gay hangouts were raided and many people were arrested and tortured. “Some were never heard from again,” he said. When the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front took Idlib in 2012, he said, its militants announced “they would cleanse the town of those involved in sodomy,” and arrests and executions of accused homosexuals followed. Last year, when the Islamic State took the city, the violence worsened, he said. “At the executions, hundreds of townspeople, including children, cheered jubilantly as at a wedding,” Nahas said. “If a victim did not die after being hurled off a building, the townspeople stoned him to death. This was to be my fate too.” He was able to escape to Lebanon, then to Turkey, where he was threatened by a former school friend from Idlib who had joined the Islamic State group, and finally to the United States. Stern stressed that persecution of LGBT people in Iraq and Syria began long before the emergence of the Islamic State group, also known as Daesh and called for U.N. action to relocate LGBT persons most in need and for bringing the gay community into broader human rights and humanitarian initiatives among other things.

A new Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi is getting Saudis riled up

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a historic visit to the UAE on Sunday. (AFP/File)
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a historic visit to the UAE on Sunday. (AFP/File)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two-day visit in the UAE on Sunday came with several new projects in the emirates, including building Abu Dhabi’s first Hindu temple.

The Hindu place of worship would be the third in the country, first in Abu Dhabi. And while there were plenty excited about the announcement in the Muslim country, the hashtag “building a Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi” goes to show not everyone in the Gulf feels the same way.

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Text of draft agreement between IAEA, Iran #IranDeal

VIENNA (AP) — Following is a transcript of the original draft agreement between the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran covering inspections at the Parchin military site, where Iran has been accused of pursuing nuclear weapons development a decade ago. This agreement is separate from the much broader Iran nuclear deal signed by Iran, the U.S. and five other world powers in July. Two officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed to The Associated Press that this draft does not differ from the final, confidential agreement between the IAEA and Iran. The AP was not allowed to have a copy of the draft but was allowed to transcribe the entire text, and it appears here:

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Separate arrangement II agreed by the Islamic State of Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency on 11 July 2015, regarding the Road-map, Paragraph 5

Iran and the Agency agreed on the following sequential arrangement with regard to the Parchin issue:

1. Iran will provide to the Agency photos of the locations, including those identified in paragraph 3 below, which would be mutually agreed between Iran and the Agency, taking into account military concerns.

2. Iran will provide to the Agency videos of the locations, including those identified in paragraph 3 below, which would be mutually agreed between Iran and the Agency, taking into account military concerns.

3. Iran will provide to the Agency 7 environmental samples taken from points inside one building already identified by the Agency and agreed by Iran, and 2 points outside of the Parchin complex which would be agreed between Iran and the Agency.

4. The Agency will ensure the technical authenticity of the activities referred to in paragraphs 1-3 above. Activities will be carried out using Iran’s authenticated equipment, consistent with technical specifications provided by the Agency, and the Agency’s containers and seals.

5. The above mentioned measures would be followed, as a courtesy by Iran, by a public visit of the Director General, as a dignitary guest of the Government of Iran, accompanied by his deputy for safeguards.

6. Iran and the Agency will organize a one-day technical roundtable on issues relevant to Parchin.

For the International Atomic Energy Agency: Tero Varjoranta, Deputy Director General for Safeguards

For the Islamic Republic of Iran: Ali Hoseini Tash, Deputy Secretary of Supreme National Security Council for Strategic Affairs

The Supreme Council of Cyberspace

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