Pakistan-South Asia: Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri declared Wednesday in a video message that the global Islamist extremist movement has launched a new off-shoot in the Indian-sub-continent.
In the video, found in online jihadist forums by the SITE terrorism monitoring group, Zawahiri said the new force would fight to revive a Muslim caliphate in Burma, Bangladesh and parts of India.
Comment: Zawahiri is reacting to al-Baghdadi's caliphate in a way that ensures religious tension in a region where mass murders of Muslims are always one minor traffic accident away. For example, Indian Prime Minister Modi's wing of the governing Bharatiya Janata Party has a history of supporting Hindu suppression of Muslims. That wing does not need an excuse to kill Muslims. On the other hand, Muslim hotheads also are prone to kill Hindus with little provocation. Burmese Buddhists seem to have no reservations about committing "ethnic cleansing" against the Rohingya Muslims apparently because they are not Buddhists and not ethnic Burmans.
Zawahiri's declaration is a potential death sentence for many South Asians.
Russia-Ukraine: Russian version. Russian President Putin spoke by telephone with Ukrainian President Poroshenko today. Russian media published excerpts of Putin's side of the conversation.
Putin told the press that his and Poroshenko's views on ways to settle the Ukrainian conflict were very close. He said he sketched out a plan of action in a hand written note as he was flying from Blagoveshchensk to Ulan Bator, Mongolia.
For the purposes of stopping the bloodshed and stabilizing the situation in eastern Ukraine, Putin suggested:
1.A cessation of offensive operations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions;
2.Withdrawal of Ukrainian armed forces to positions beyond the range of artillery and multiple-rocket launchers;
3.Implementation of an international control regime to ensure compliance with the ceasefire conditions;
4.A ban on air attacks against peaceful civilians and population centers;
5.An exchange all prisoners without conditions;
6.Opening of corridors for refugee movement and delivery of humanitarian supplies to population centers in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions;
7.Permission for repair teams to travel to the Donetsk and Luhansk regions to restore destroyed facilities and infrastructure in order to help the people prepare for winter.
He suggested that final agreements between the Kyiv authorities and southeast Ukrainians should be reached and documented during the planned meeting of the Ukrainian contact group on 5 September.