Connect with us

Latest News

Chad President Idriss Deby killed in battle

Published

 on

Reuters
(Last Updated On: April 20, 2021)

Chad’s President Idriss Deby, who ruled his country for more than 30 years and was an important Western ally in the fight against Islamist militants in Africa, has been killed in a battle against rebels in the north.

His son, Mahamat Idriss Deby Itmo, was named interim president by a transitional council of military officers, army spokesman Azem Bermendao Agouna said on state television.

Deby, 68, took power in a rebellion in 1990 and was one of Africa’s longest-ruling leaders, surviving numerous coup attempts and rebellions. His death could deepen Chad’s problems, and those of its allies.

On the domestic front, the military is divided and the opposition bridling against years of repressive rule.

Internationally, France and the United States will be hoping their counter-terrorism efforts are not now pushed off course. France said that it had lost “brave friend” and Chad “a great soldier”.

He was killed just after he was declared winner of a presidential election that would have given him a sixth term in office. Most of the opposition boycotted the vote.

Deby – who often joined soldiers on the battlefront in his military fatigues – visited troops on the frontline on Monday after rebels based across the northern frontier in Libya advanced hundreds of km (miles) south toward the capital N’Djamena.

“Marshal Idriss Deby Itno, as he did each time that the institutions of the republic were gravely threatened, took control of operations during the heroic combat led against the terrorists from Libya. He was wounded during the fighting and died once repatriated to N’Djamena,” Bermendao said.

The government and National Assembly have been dissolved and a nationwide curfew imposed from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m.

“The National Council of Transition reassures the Chadian people that all measures have been taken to guarantee peace, security and the republican order,” Bermendao said.

The military council said it would lead a transition for a period of 18 months leading to free and fair elections.

Deby had pushed through a new constitution in 2018 that would have allowed him to stay in power until 2033. He said before last week’s election: “I know in advance that I will win, as I have done for the last 30 years.”

He was dealing with mounting public discontent over his management of Chad’s oil wealth and crackdowns on opponents. In the election results, Deby claimed 79% of the vote.

A Reuters reporter in N’Djamena said people were in a panic as news of his death spread, fearing that fighting could break out in the city. Many were fleeing to the outskirts and roads were jammed with traffic.

Western countries had counted on Deby as an ally in the fight against Islamist militants, including Boko Haram in the Lake Chad Basin and groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State in the Sahel.

France, the former colonial power, had based its Sahel counter-terrorism operations in N’Djamena. Chad had announced in February the deployment of 1,200 troops to complement 5,100 French soldiers in the area.

The French presidency praised Deby and affirmed its support for Chad’s stability and territorial integrity. In a statement, it noted the formation of the interim council headed by Mahamat Idriss Deby Itmo but said it hoped there would be a quick and peaceful return to civilian rule.

Déby’s death could mean tremendous uncertainty for Chad, said Nathaniel Powell, author of a history of French military involvement in Chad.

“The swift announcement of the establishment of a military council and naming his son Mahamat as head of state however indicates regime continuity,” Powell told Reuters.

“This probably aims to counter any coup-making efforts from within the security establishment and to reassure Chad’s international partners…that they can still count on the country for its continued contributions to international counter-terrorist efforts in the Sahel.”

A regional diplomat said the naming of Deby’s son as interim president was problematical as the speaker of parliament should have taken power on his death.

“That in itself is a coup,” the diplomat told Reuters. “He has been grooming the son for some time.”

The latest rebel actions had already caused alarm in Washington and other Western capitals.

Fighters of the Libya-based Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) attacked a border post on election day then advanced hundreds of kilometres (miles) south through the vast country.

But the Chadian military appeared to have slowed its progress about 300 km (185 miles) from N’Djamena.

The rebels acknowledged on Monday they suffered losses on Saturday but said they were back on the move on Sunday and Monday.

Deby loved to vist troops on the frontlines. He joined the army in the 1970s when Chad was engaged in a long civil war. He received military training in France and returned to Chad in 1978, throwing his support behind President Hissène Habré and eventually becoming commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

He seized power in 1990, leading a rebel army in a three-week offensive staged from neighbouring Sudan to topple Habre, a man accused of widespread human rights abuses.

Latest News

Afghan envoy to UN cancels speech amid uncertainty over seat

Published

on

(Last Updated On: September 28, 2021)

Afghanistan did not have a representative addressing the annual high-level United Nations General Assembly in New York, after Ghulam Isaczai, the UN envoy under the former government, withdrew on Sunday.

According to UN officials, Isaczai was due to speak on Monday.

Isaczai had been scheduled to address the final day of the general assembly.

Afghanistan’s UN mission in New York posted on Twitter that Isaczai decided not to speak “to preserve the national interests, preserve the seat of Afghanistan in the United Nations and to continue long-term cooperation with United Nations and Security Council on main issues.”

It added that Isaczai would continue “activities as usual” at the global body.

IEA Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi last week asked to address the gathering of world leaders and nominated their Doha-based spokesman Suhail Shaheen as Afghanistan’s new ambassador to the UN.

But Muttaqi was not permitted to do so as the credentials committee has not yet met to discuss the issue.

When the IEA last ruled between 1996 and 2001, the ambassador of the Afghan government they toppled remained the UN representative after the credentials committee deferred its decision on rival claims to the seat.

Eventual UN acceptance of the ambassador of the IEA would be an important step in their bid for international recognition, which could help unlock badly needed funds for the cash-strapped Afghan economy.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said that the IEA’s desire for international recognition is the only leverage other countries have to press for inclusive government and respect for rights, particularly for women, in Afghanistan.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday that international recognition of the IEA was not currently under consideration.

Continue Reading

Latest News

Pilgrims from around the world gather in Kerbala for Arbaeen

Published

on

(Last Updated On: September 28, 2021)

Masses gathered in Kerbala on Tuesday for the religious pilgrimage of Arbaeen and visited the shrines of Imam Hussein and Imam Abbas.

In a normal year, up to 20 million mostly Shi’ite Muslims take part in the Arbaeen pilgrimage in the holy city of Kerbala to commemorate Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, who was slain in battle in 680 by the Muslim Caliph of the day.

In 2020 and due to the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis, Iraqi authorities had barred entry to most foreign pilgrims, including some three million Iranians.

“Last year we were prevented from performing the pilgrimage. But now thank God, it was granted to us”, an Iranian pilgrim, Hamid Muqaddam said in Kerbala.

This year, Iraqi authorities allowed a limited number of pilgrims from abroad to enter Iraq and attend Arbaeen.

On Monday, Iraqi authorities recorded 2,447 new cases of coronavirus infections and 32 deaths.

Continue Reading

Latest News

Pentagon leaders to face Afghanistan reckoning in Congress

Published

on

(Last Updated On: September 28, 2021)

President Joe Biden’s top military leaders are expected to face some of the most contentious hearings in memory this week over the chaotic end to the war in Afghanistan, which cost the lives of U.S. troops and civilians and left the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) back in power.

The Senate and House committees overseeing the U.S. military will hold hearings on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, where Republicans are hoping to zero in on mistakes that Biden’s administration made toward the end of the two-decade-old war.

That will follow similar questioning two weeks ago that saw U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken staunchly defending the administration, even as he faced calls for his resignation.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is expected to praise American personnel who helped airlift 124,000 Afghans out of the country, an operation that also cost the lives of 13 U.S. troops and scores of Afghans in a suicide bombing outside the Kabul airport.

Austin is expected to “be frank about the things we could have done better,” a U.S. official told Reuters.

That will also certainly include the U.S. military’s last drone strike before withdrawing, which the Pentagon acknowledges killed 10 civilians, most of them children – and not the Daesh (ISIS-K) militants it thought it was attacking.

Ahead of the hearing, Senator James Inhofe, the Senate Armed Services Committee’s top Republican, wrote to Austin with a long list of requests for information, including on the August 26 airport bombing, equipment left behind and the administration’s future counter-terrorism plans.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, said lawmakers would also press about “a lack of coordination and a real plan for how we were going to get all the Afghans who helped us out of the country.”

“I don’t know if we’ll get answers. But questions will be raised again about why we got to the point that we did in Afghanistan,” she told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Many of the hardest questions may fall to the two senior U.S. military commanders testifying: Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Marine General Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command.

McKenzie called the drone strike a “tragic mistake,” one that critics say raises hard questions about America’s ability to properly identify counter-terrorism targets in Afghanistan following the U.S. withdrawal.

But McKenzie and other U.S. officials will be under pressure to defend the Biden administration’s plans to address future counter-terrorism threats from groups like al Qaeda and Islamic State by flying in drones or commandos from overseas.

Republicans have accused the Biden administration of downplaying the risks associated with that so-called “over the horizon” capability.

Separately, Milley could face intense questioning over an account in a new book alleging he bypassed civilian leaders to place secret calls to his Chinese counterpart over concerns about former President Donald Trump.

Milley’s office pushed back against the report in the book, saying the calls he made were coordinated within the Pentagon and across the U.S. government.

Senator Marco Rubio has called for his resignation. Senator Rand Paul said he should be prosecuted if the account in the book was true. But some of the greatest concern has come from lawmakers in the House, where Milley will testify on Wednesday.

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2021 Ariana News. All rights reserved!