Sunni Current Affairs - 2019
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Afghanistan on 29 April 2019 convened rare “Loya Jirga”, a four day long grand assembly or massive meeting for delegates from across country to discuss war and efforts of United States to forge a peace deal with Taliban. At the end of huge peace summit in Kabul, Afghan officials called for immediate and permanent ceasefire.
- It is a centuries-old tradition in Afghanistan which is usually convened at times of national crisis or to settle national issues.
- It means “grand council” in Pashto. It is a 4 day long grand assembly held at Kabul, Afghanistan.
- Participants include ethnic, religious and tribal leaders, politicians and representatives from all over the country.
- In past it has been used to approve new constitution, declare war, choose a new king, or to make social or political reforms.
- In Loya Jirga 2019, more than 3,000 participants gathered under tight security to discuss possibility of peace, cease-fire and women’s rights in keeping with tenets of Islam.
- Several committee leaders favored an immediate pause in violence, which still continues across Afghanistan even after various peace summits taking place.
The Taliban, who were earlier not at talks, are meeting separately with US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in Doha in May 1st week. It is seen as an effort to make a deal with US that could see withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan.
- The Taliban has frequently refused to talk to Afghan government, as it views government as a puppet regime. This means that even if US and Taliban agrees on deal to end war and set timetable for eventual withdrawal of troop, the insurgents may still forge some kind of an accord with Afghan politicians and tribal elders before an enduring ceasefire could start.
- Most people of Afghan society worry that if US does make a deal with Taliban, then militant Islamists would try to seize power and undo advances in women’s rights, media freedoms, and legal protections.
Note: Taliban is a Sunni Islamic fundamentalist political movement and military organization in Afghanistan currently waging war within the country.
The US House of Representatives has voted to end US involvement in Yemen’s civil war. The resolution to end the American Involvement in the civil war was approved by 247 to 175 votes. The resolution directs the US President to remove US Armed Forces from hostilities in or affecting the Republic of Yemen within 30 days. The resolution rejects the US Presidents support for the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen.
Yemen Civil War
- The roots of the civil war can be traced to the failure of a political transition which was supposed to bring stability to Yemen following an Arab Spring uprising which forced the longtime authoritarian president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to hand over power to his deputy, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, in 2011.
- President Hadi struggled to deal with a variety of problems, including attacks by jihadists, a separatist movement in the south, continuing loyalty of security personnel to Saleh, as well as corruption, unemployment and food insecurity.
- The Houthis and security forces loyal to Saleh in a bid to regain power attempted to take control of the entire country, forcing Mr Hadi to flee abroad in March 2015.
- Alarmed by the unfolding events which they believed to be backed militarily by regional Shia power Iran, Saudi Arabia and eight other mostly Sunni Arab states began an air campaign aimed at restoring Mr Hadi’s government.
- The war has led to a military stalemate. Even though the government and the Houthis agreed to a ceasefire, they are yet to start withdrawing, raising fears that the deal will collapse.
Even though the resolution has been passed with an overwhelming majority at the House of Representatives, Mr Trump is expected to veto the legislation. White House has called the resolution as flawed and warned it would harm bilateral relations in the region.