Egypt Independent: World-Main news en Some Pakistan militants denounce school attack, amid national outrage <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>As Pakistanis unite in grief over the killings of 132 schoolchildren by the Pakistani Taliban, several other militant groups have been quick to condemn the carnage too.</p><p>Most such groups have slaughtered civilians themselves, but the wave of outrage following the school attack is threatening the relative freedom they enjoy in Pakistan.</p><p>The country is home to a range of armed militant groups. Some, like the Pakistani Taliban, fight against the state. Others have cosier ties with the authorities who use them against India and to jostle for influence in&nbsp;<a href="" title="Full coverage of Afghanistan">Afghanistan</a>.</p><p>Whether Islamabad moves against all of them equally will show whether the school massacre has finally spurred authorities to tackle militancy seriously, said Senator Afrasiab Khattak.</p><p>&quot;They are all terrorists and the state has to clearly oppose them in all shapes and colours,&quot; he said.</p><p>&quot;So far they have not done so.&quot;</p><p>The Afghan Taliban, a group Pakistani jihadists look up to, were the first of the Sunni Islamist armed groups to denounce the school attack as unIslamic, despite often killing civilians themselves. An Afghan Taliban suicide bomber killed more than 50 people at a volleyball match last month.</p><p>Some Pakistani Taliban, including powerful splinter group Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, quickly sided with their Afghan patrons.</p><p>&quot;Like them, we condemn the attack on the school and killing of innocent children,&quot; said spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan. The group earlier claimed responsibility for an attack that killed more than 50 people last month at a border crossing to India.</p><p>Other condemnation came from sectarian or anti-Indian groups that are nominally banned in Pakistan but operate openly, sometimes under different names.</p><p>Afghanistan has long accused Pakistan of supporting the Afghan Taliban to try to maintain its influence in the region. Pakistan says Afghanistan is doing the same with the Pakistani Taliban in return.</p><p>An Islamabad-based analyst said the Afghan Taliban&#39;s condemnation could be intended to protect its Pakistan bases.</p><p>&quot;Any group that still wants to maintain a working relationship with the Pakistani establishment has to denounce this attack,&quot; he said.</p><p>&quot;They must distance themselves from (Pakistani Taliban leader Mullah) Fazlullah and the outrage around him.&quot;</p><p>Another banned Pakistani group said it stood alongside the military in response to the attack.</p><p>&quot;We strongly condemn the attacks on schoolchildren in Peshawar and believe that there is no religious, ethical or any other social reason for this cruel act,&quot; said Ghulam Rasool Shah, a deputy for Malik Ishaq, leader of the sectarian group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.</p><p>&quot;We stand with the Pakistan army and political leadership in this critical situation.&quot;</p><p>The group was responsible for twin blasts in the city of Quetta last year that killed around 180 people, mostly civilians from a Shi&#39;ite Muslim ethnic group.</p><p>Authorities were accused of inaction in response to those attacks, leading victims&#39; families to stage a sit-in alongside the bodies of the dead on a main road for several days in protest.</p><div>&nbsp;</div><p>&nbsp;</p> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 16:05:00 +0000 Reuters 2441532 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/12/18/499612/members_of_the_civil_society_hold_placards_and_light_candles_for_the_victims_of_the_pakistan_taliban_attack.jpg SPA: Saudi's Naimi says oil price slide 'temporary', remains optimistic <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi sees the current slide of oil prices as temporary and said he remains optimistic about the future of the industry, state news agency SPA on Thursday quoted him as saying.</p><p>&quot;I am optimistic about the future. What we are facing now and what the world is facing is a temporary situation and will pass,&quot; he told SPA.</p><p>&quot;The global economy, especially the emerging economies will return to sustainable growth, and therefore the demand for oil will also grow,&quot; he said, speaking in Arabic.</p><p>The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) decided against reducing production at a meeting last month, resisting calls from some members for a cut.</p><p>Brent for February delivery LCOc1 was trading at around $63 (40 pounds) a barrel at 11:14 a.m. on Thursday.</p><p>Naimi said it was difficult for Saudi Arabia and OPEC to reduce output, affecting their market share, at a time when prices cannot be controlled.</p><p>&quot;OPEC&#39;s quota as well as Saudi Arabia&#39;s in the global oil market has not changed for several years, which is at the level of 30 million barrels per day for OPEC... while the production of others from outside OPEC is continuously rising,&quot; he told SPA.</p><p>&quot;In a situation like this, it is difficult, if not impossible, for the kingdom or for OPEC to take any action that would reduce its market share and increase the shares of others, at a time when it is difficult to control prices,&quot; he said.</p><p>&quot;We would lose on both market share and price.&quot;</p><p>Naimi said OPEC sought cooperation last month from other oil producers outside the producing group but &quot;those efforts were not successful&quot;.</p> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 13:12:00 +0000 Reuters 2441519 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/12/17/499612/oil_prices.jpg Israel calls Palestinian U.N. draft a gimmick <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Israel&#39;s foreign minister on Thursday described as a gimmick a Palestinian-proposed U.N. Security Council draft resolution that calls for a peace deal within a year and an end to the occupation of Palestinian territories by the end of 2017.</p><p>&quot;Certainly this will not hasten an agreement because without Israel&#39;s consent, nothing will change,&quot; Avigdor Lieberman said in a statement.</p><p>The draft resolution was formally submitted by Jordan to the 15-member council on Wednesday, which means it could be put to a vote as soon as 24 hours later, but it does not guarantee it will happen. Some drafts have never been voted on.</p><p>Lieberman said the unilateral move at the United Nations, which followed the collapse in April of U.S.-brokered talks on Palestinian statehood, would only deepen the decades-old conflict.</p><p>&quot;It would be better if the Security Council dealt with matters truly important to the citizens of the world, such as the murderous attacks this week in Australia and Pakistan, or discuss events in Syria and&nbsp;<a href="" title="Full coverage of Libya">Libya</a>, and not waste time on the Palestinian&#39;s gimmicks,&quot; he said.</p><p>Palestinians seek a state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, areas Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war. Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005 but continues to blockade the enclave, which is controlled by its Hamas Islamist enemy.</p><p>Nine votes are needed to adopt a resolution, which would then force the United States, Israel&#39;s closest ally, to decide whether to veto it. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday the United States had made &quot;no determinations&nbsp;about language, approaches, specific resolutions, any of that&quot;.</p><p><a href="" title="Full coverage of France">France</a>, Britain and Germany are also drafting a resolution, which French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said would propose concluding peace talks in two years. The submitted Palestinian draft appears to reflect some European ideas.</p><p>While Lieberman&#39;s comments were dismissive of the resolution, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has voiced alarm over international pressure on Israel to withdraw from occupied territory, saying Islamist militants would then move in.</p> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 11:15:00 +0000 Reuters 2441513 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/08/23/484151/gaza_flag_dude.jpg Jihadists claim 2013 murders of Tunisia secularists <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Jihadists who have since joined the Islamic State group claimed twin murders of secular politicians that plunged Tunisia into crisis in 2013, in a video posted online Thursday.</p><p>&quot;Yes, tyrants, we&#39;re the ones who killed Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi,&quot; Abou Mouqatel, a militant wanted by the authorities for their murders, said in the video in which he appeared with several others.</p><p>Belaid was killed on February 6 last year, while Brahmi was murdered on July 25, in twin attacks blamed by the authorities on the jihadist Ansar al-Sharia group that had not previously been claimed.</p> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 10:36:00 +0000 AFP 2441509 at sites/default/files/photo/2013/02/09/156431/tunisia.jpg