Category Archives: Tech

Theresa May ‘to discuss trade’ with President Erdogan on Turkey visit

Theresa May is set to discuss a post-Brexit trade deal with Turkey during weekend talks in the country with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The prime minister arrived in Ankara from the US, where she met President Trump.

A new trading relationship with Turkey following the UK’s exit from the European Union would form part of discussions, Number 10 said.

The PM is also expected to discuss security, Mrs May’s spokeswoman said.

The spokeswoman added: “They will be discussing a new trade relationship [and] a strategic security partnership.”

It comes as Brexit Secretary David Davis predicted a “round of global trade deals” would be “fully negotiated” within 12 to 24 months, coming into force when the UK leaves the EU.

The government plans to begin the formal two-year Brexit process by triggering Article 50 by the end of March.

Analysis – By defence and diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus

Both Ankara and London find themselves in a position where they need friends. Many fear that Turkey – a key Nato ally – is heading towards a more authoritarian future under President Erdogan.

He is clamping down on dissent and press freedom, pushing his country further away from the prospect of EU membership and in the process drawing strong criticism from European governments.

Mrs May arrives as an advocate of “global Britain” – this policy a necessity following the Brexit decision.

The UK has a strong security relationship with Turkey – an ally in the fight against so-called Islamic State (IS) – and she will also be seeking preliminary understandings on bilateral trade.

But she will need to show her domestic critics that the growing emphasis on trade in Britain’s relationships abroad does not come at the expense of values such as human rights.

Mrs May’s first prime ministerial visit to Turkey comes as President Erdogan is increasing pressure on opponents following the failed military coup in July 2016.

Asked whether Mrs May would raise human rights concerns since the coup, the spokeswoman said Britain had “expressed our strong support for Turkey’s democracy and institutions following the coup”.

In further unrest, 39 people were killed in an attack on a New Year’s Eve party at a nightclub in Istanbul.

IS said it was behind the attack and the militant group was linked to at least two other attacks in Turkey last year.

Trump says he might not like Putin once he gets to know him

President Donald Trump said Friday it was “too early” to start discussing lifting sanctions on Russia, whose leader he will speak with Saturday, though he indicated his interest in warmer ties.

Earlier Friday, though, top Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway told Fox News that lifting US sanctions on Russia would be up for discussion when the two countries’ leaders talk.

“All of that is under consideration,” Conway said when asked specifically whether lifting sanctions approved by the Obama administration would be considered.

Friday night, however, a senior administration official said the current plan was not to lift the Russian sanctions.

Saturday’s phone call will be the first phone conversation between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin since the inauguration. Vice President Mike Pence also will join the call.

“I hear a call was set up and we will see what happens,” Trump said regarding sanctions during a White House news conference.
“We’re looking to have a great relationship with all countries,” Trump added. “If we can have a great relationship with Russia and China and all countries, I’m all for that.”
He added, “How the relationship works out, I won’t be able to tell you that (until) later. I’ve had many times where I thought I’d get along with people and I don’t like them at all.”
Trump also said there was “no guarantee” on a path forward.
The President said he hopes to have a good rapport with Putin but that it was possible they would be adversaries.
“I hope we have a fantastic relationship. That’s possible, and it’s also possible that we won’t. We will see what happens,” he said.
Obama imposed sanctions on Russia throughout his eight years as president and earlier this month expelled 35 Russian diplomats from the United States for alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Obama’s administration also sanctioned a host of Russian banks, defense contractors and energy companies in 2014 for Russia’s continued support for separatists in Ukraine and earlier in the year the administration imposed a range of measures, including asset freezes and travel bans, in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
'Engage but beware': PM cautions Trump on Putin

‘Engage but beware’: PM cautions Trump on Putin 03:52
Trump spoke warmly of Putin throughout the 2016 campaign, even questioning whether Russian interests hacked Democratic organizations as part of an attempt to influence the election — a determination made by the US intelligence community.
“The Democratic National Committee would not allow the FBI to study or see its computer info after it was supposedly hacked by Russia,” Trump tweeted earlier this month. “So how and why are they so sure about hacking if they never even requested an examination of the computer servers? What is going on?”
During the campaign, Trump said he didn’t think “anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC,” arguing instead that it could have been “somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.”
Trump has also said, as he did earlier this month as a news conference, that if Putin likes him, that is a good thing.
Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican, slammed the Trump administration for considering lifting sanctions on Russia.
“For the sake of America’s national security and that of our allies, I hope President Trump will put an end to this speculation and reject such a reckless course,” McCain said. “If he does not, I will work with my colleagues to codify sanctions against Russia into law.”
McCain added that it would be “naive and dangerous” for Trump to think Putin isn’t an enemy to the United States.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer confirmed Friday that Trump would speak with Putin on Saturday, as well as leaders from France and Germany.

Trump suspends US refugee programme and bans Syrians indefinitely

President Donald Trump has banned the entry of Syrian refugees into the US until further notice.
He has also halted the issuing of visas to the nationals of six other mainly Muslim countries, including Iran, Iraq, Yemen and Libya, for three months.
Mr Trump said the measures were part of new measures to “keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the US”.
Rights groups have condemned the move, saying there is no link between Syrian refugees in the US and terrorism.
Under Mr Trump’s wide-ranging executive order, all refugee admissions have been suspended for four months.
Mr Trump signed the order at the Pentagon after a ceremony to swear in Gen James Mattis as defence secretary.
During the ceremony, he said: “I’m establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America. We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country and love deeply our people.”
The text of the order was released several hours after it was signed. Among the measures are:
Suspension of the US Refugee Admissions Programme for 120 days
A ban on refugees from Syria until “significant changes” are made
A 90-day suspension on anyone arriving from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen, except certain visa categories such as diplomats
To prioritise future refugee applications from those persecuted for their religion – but only if the person is part of a minority religion in their home country
A cap of 50,000 refugees in 2017 – less than half of the upper limit under Mr Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama
However, a mention of creating “safe zones” within Syria, seen in an earlier draft, was removed from the final order.
The order also said all immigration programmes should include questions to “evaluate the applicant’s likelihood of becoming a positively contributing member of society.”
In a TV interview broadcast earlier on Friday, the president said Christians would be given priority among Syrians who apply for refugee status in the future.

Media captionThe US city of Lancaster has taken in hundreds of refugees – but that could all end
Other measures include a broad review of the information required from all countries to approve a visa; a review of visa schemes between nations to ensure they are “truly reciprocal” for US citizens; and the immediate suspension of the Visa Interview Waiver Programme.
But the document says exceptions to most restrictions could be made on a case-by-case basis.
Trump’s ‘extreme vetting’ order sows panic
How a Syrian refugee gets to the US
Syrian refugees in the US, in graphics
President Trump also signed an executive order aimed at rebuilding the military by “developing a plan for new planes, new ships, new resources and new tools for our men and women in uniform”.
Last year, Mr Obama’s administration admitted 10,000 Syrian refugees into the US. Neighbouring Canada – whose population is a ninth of that of the US – took in 35,000.
During the election campaign, Mr Trump suggested a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on”.
But he has made no mention of this since his victory last November.

Media captionTrump’s ‘yuge’ first week as president recapped
The executive order has been met with criticism from rights organisations, Democrats and notable figures.
Democratic Senator Kamala Harris noted that the order had been signed on Holocaust Memorial Day. “Make no mistake – this is a Muslim ban,” she wrote.
“During the Holocaust, we failed to let refugees like Anne Frank into our country. We can’t let history repeat itself,” she said.
And New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said he was “profoundly saddened” and the president had sent “a shamefully different message” than the country’s founding beliefs.
Malala Yousafzai, the teenage Nobel Peace Laureate who was shot by the Taliban following her advocacy for women’s education in Pakistan, wrote that she was “heartbroken”.
“America is turning its back on a proud history of welcoming refugees and immigrants – the people who helped build your country, ready to work hard in exchange for a fair chance at a new life,” she added.
Malala Yousafzai photographed holding a bouquet of flowers on the day she was announced as a Nobel Laureate, 2014Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image caption
The world’s youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize said she was “heartbroken” by the order
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg also posted a lengthy note, saying he was “concerned” about the president’s executive orders, and noting that he, like many Americans, is the descendant of immigrants.
The head of American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) condemned the use of the words “extreme vetting”, saying it was a “euphemism for discriminating against Muslims”.
“Identifying specific countries with Muslim majorities and carving out exceptions for minority religions flies in the face of the constitutional principle that bans the government from either favouring or discriminating against particular religions,” Anthony Romero said in a statement.
If you have any questions about the new vetting measures which President Trump has announced, send them to us and a BBC correspondent will answer the most popular.
Use this form to ask your question:

Swedish site puts Iraqi economy his first interests

The peace site, specializes in evaluating the performance and controlling the middle east states, was conducted a wholly study about performance of Iraqi economy after passing 14 years of changing the regime of ousted president (SADDAM HUSSEIN). The active and effective role of the economist highlighted,

who is manager at general commission of taxation in Iraq in applying planning studies to rise up the Iraqi Economy under the financial crises that the country was experiencing. Kadhim Ali assisted in reducing the grave financial crises and developing the financial policy, via plans and programs at the customs business.

The site placed 14 character, that took part in changing the map of the country politically,

economically and other aspects. The peace site was regarded as a survey team that interests in iraqi affairs and controls the financial policy of Mesopotamia and the banking as well as banks operating in Iraq


 Iraqi Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, Mohammed SHIA ‘AL SUDANI

 MOSUL and DIYALA  files referred to the Commission of Integrity

Social protection network underwent an auditing process by certificate of international organizations and we provided 120 billion dinars as a first stage.

who  reads  the CV  of the minister Mr. Al SUDANIwill stops by  a bright situations in his whole life career shows how noble, honest, profession and full bias to the issues of the homeland,he proves in all positions assigned to him a courage , ability, puissance and keen on public money for this he was not accused with any little disadvantage , frankly and to his credit that his efforts helped in bringing out Iraq from Chapter VII and return to practice its role in the international  community , also he contribute in organizing and preparation of conferences abroad to expose the crimes of former dictatorial regime and with a direct recommendation of the Ministry of Labor and social Affairs, agreements were held and laws were passed in favor of the rights of persons with disabilities in 2012 and the Arab Charter Human rights in 2013 and the Convention on the elimination of All forms of racial discrimination against women

MOHAMMED SHIA ‘AL SUDANI was born in Baghdad in 1970 from an ancient family known of its Arabian authenticity in the Arab world and Iraq in particular, he received his bachelor’s degree in agricultural sciences from Baghdad University and a master’s degree in project management. At the age of ten years old in 1980, Saddam Hussein’s regime executed his father and five of his family members for belonging to the ALDAAWA Islamic Party  prohibited at that time, he participated in ALSHAIBANIYA uprising in 1991 and because of the circumstances and security harassment he moved to live in Baghdad for three years until the completion of his university studies in 1997, he was appointed in the Agriculture Directorate of MAYSAN he was assigned responsibilities including  Agriculture of  KUMEET and ALI ALSHARQI , planet production department, supervisor  engineer in the National research program with the Organization of the UN FAO .

After the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003, ‘AL SUDANI was inaugurated as a coordinator between the body supervising the management of MAYSAN province and the Coalition Provisional Authority. In 2004 he was appointed mayor of the city of AMARA, MAYSAN province and its largest

city. Then he was elected a member of the Council of MAYSAN province, a candidate from the list of the DAAWA Party in 2005 and was re-elected in 2009.

Al SUDANI governor of MAYSAN
After winning the list of state law, led by NURI AL-MALIKI, head of the Islamic DAAWA Party in 2009 in the local elections of the province of MAYSAN, which is located in the south-east of the Republic of Iraq, which is considered as one of the richest provinces of Iraq and the world in general for its oil resources Mr. Al SUDANI were elected as governor of the province in the twenty first of April 2009

human rights Ministry
Al SUDANI has been assigned to the Ministry of Human Rights after the formation of ALMALIKI’s second government in the twenty-second of December 2010 and in the 2014 parliament elections, Al SUDANI won 7584 vote for the coalition of state law and was assigned to manage the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs

Are the powers transferred to the provinces!!
At first axis for our question concerning the transfer of powers to the provinces
Mohamed SHIAAAl SUDANI said “we are the first ministry who had transferred its powers to the governors While we believe that there are many problems in the transfer of powers, including the process that the ministry is one of the service ministries, which was founded in 1930with its system and  it’s not easy to transfer the houses of the elderly, orphans or other powers to a little experienced provinces and those provinces under a huge challenges and commitments, adding that the role of the state for the elderly and orphans facing many problems and distress and people are starting to give them charity while this is the responsibility of the ministry, The last visit of the Prime Minister to one of the  a residential houses for the elderly and orphans noted on this observation and recommended to review  the decision of connection of those houses in the provinces with  of the state ,It was supposed to be the slogan of the coordinating Authority attended by the agent , the competent department ,the provinces and the secretary of the coordinating body TORHAN MUFTI to discuss this subject , we transferred all the powers except central departments such as the Retirement and security department,people with disabilities committee and social protection committee that its law  came after the amendment  and was designed in the light of the powers granted to the provinces

 The Ministry of Labor’s prisons?
With regard to the Ministry of Labor’s prisons Al SUDANI shows that prisons of ALTOPCHI and ALDJAAFRplanned to establish two compounds in DIWANIYA and ALBESRH, capacity of each to accommodate two thousand prisoners, the former Ministry referred to dilatory companies and it had been withdrawn the work and stopped this year because of the financial crisis in the country. Noting that guests who are in the prisons are up to a thousand guests who are convicted of terrorist and other criminal offenses, ministry has identified the financial budget to provide human rights standards to those prisons and we have a project for the development of teenager prisoners and re unison with society according to reform program and we have schools and project follow-up care for those who come out of prison for three months. Considering modern media talking about spending $50 per day are incorrect figures because we are trying to provide the basic needs of teenager prisoners including food, clothing, mattresses as well as providing schools and curricula and others which are efforts to re unison them with the society and not allow them to continue in the way of violence or bypass the law and we are seeking to move in the reformation process in accordance with the law and no reprisals against them and we have allocated five thousand dinars for each prisoner.
Six million Iraqis under the poverty line!!

And about the figures and data, issued by the United Nations and humanitarian organizations about the poverty line level Al SUDANI stressed that “poverty is one of the most serious challenges facing the Iraqi society and poverty establish improper environment pave the way for the emergence of extremism and the spread of crime and this affects the overall psychological and life problems of the citizen.. And about that we need to revolt and a revolution of the actions and fast decisions from the Iraqi state with all its powers towards this problem and give it or empower all possibilities. Consideringthe ministry fast procedures and meet all who suffers from poverty- our reading that the implementation of the new Law on Social Protection, which takes into account of the experiences of countries in the world and also the scientific methodology verification accuracy in targeting the poor people

In our conviction the implementation of this law is the solution to this problem and the beginning of this law came under abnormal conditions (administrative, financial, tough facing ministries) but despite these challenges, we have implemented the law with our very simple and modest possibility as a ministry and that the government was receptive to our work

Is corruption ended in the ministry!
The Minister of Labor talks about financial corruption, which affects the work of the service departments, saying frankly that the financial and administrative corruption files are an obstacle in front of the Iraqi state after 2003 so we gave them great importance and we focused on loans and the social protection network which had undergone extensive scrutiny according to the certification of international organizations to which  have been positively pointed to auditing process, and it provided us with a big funds up to 120 billion dinars, as a first stage.

It is hoped that soon we will announce details of the second phase, which was distributed among citizens and a group of commentators and some weak people and some of the staff have been referred to the Legal Office of the Inspector General for their involvement in the theft of public money, and we referred two files which are # MOSUL before 2014 and # DIYALA in terms of social care to the integrity committee and the nature of the work of the a service ministry so that suspicions of corruption are not great, we have no contracts and tenders, but we seek to reduce friction between the citizens and employees through activation of the electronic system to promote the transactions.

ALADHADH: we encourage transferring authorities according to

according to decentralization in managing directories affairs. Mr. RIYADH ALADHADH head of Baghdad Council assures that governorate Council during its meeting check out the work of health directories and meet its administrative and health staff to discuss pros and cons related to the disconnection due to the importance of ministry of health in the Iraqi situation nowadays. As well as providing health care to the people and their special needs. Adding: transferring authorities from the governorates to the general directorates is one of the priorities of successful administrative in decentralization system in managing the directory affairs. He continued: disconnecting directories from the ministry will be through three phases: first one by moving federal ministry of health authority to Baghdad governorate in the second phase a specialized committee will be formed in the governorate council coordinating with Baghdad Governorate , those committees are specialized in disconnection while the third phase which is the most important, this came during a workshop held by the progress project which is belong to the American Agency for Development in Baghdad to identify the technical relation, roles and responsibilities between the ministry and governorates and International tools of USAID to implement the ministerial polices according to article 45 of law, with the attendance of Head of Baghdad Council, Baghdad Health Directors in partnership with the Secretary of High Authority of coordinating among governorates. The workshop includes the project speech presented by the legal consultant Mr. AHMED ALNAJAR express the project interest in information technology in managing the state and the importance of cooperation with the support team of local governments for the advancement of local administrative, especially after transferring authorities and disconnection , the workshop also included multiple offers about technical mechanics , electric communication , shared data and information safety and discussion among the attendance to reach the simplest and fastest solutions to accomplish transferring authorities to the governorates.

Abadi Faces New Cabinet Deadline

By Simon Kent.

Hard-line cleric Moqtada al Sadr has given PM Haider al Abadi (pictured) until this afternoon to announce new nominees for a new “technocratic cabinet,” a reform idea first touted in February, although the composition of the cabinet will depend on parliament.

Abadi has called on parliament “to convene immediately in order to overcome the obstacles,” but his initial selection of a non-partisan, technically qualified cabinet was dogged by accusations that he had not consulted anyone on the plan. As such, only 4 of his 14 proposed new ministers have been accepted.

Critically, one of the posts is for oil, with former director general of South Oil Company Jabbar Allibi tipped for the post. Another position, for Water Resources, is being headed by experienced technocrat and former diplomat Hasan Janabi

Other posts will be much harder to push through, and key Abadi ally, parliament speaker Salim al Jubbouri has already been removed in a vote of no confidence.

Some analysts suggest Abadi may have taken on too big a challenge with the reform plan, noting that rival parties do not want to let go of the massive hiring power that ministries command, although budgets are of course depleted.

The current uncertainty will bring new challenges to Iraq, including the possibility of disrupting further IMF and World Bank loans.

(Source: Reuters)

Iraq parliament impeaches defence minister

2016-08-25 23:47

Baghdad – Iraqi lawmakers on Thursday voted to impeach Defence Minister Khaled al-Obeidi over corruption allegations, MPs said.

Obeidi lost a no confidence vote by 142 to 102 in a secret ballot, while 18 abstained.

The vote removes one of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s key Sunni allies from government and comes as Iraqi forces ramp up preparations for an offensive against Mosul, the Islamic State group’s last major stronghold in the country.

The shock impeachment is the latest development in a bitter feud that erupted this month between Obeidi and parliament speaker Salim al-Juburi, the highest-ranking Sunni politician in Iraq.

Obeidi was questioned in parliament over corruption allegations to which he answered with accusations of his own implicating Juburi and several MPs.

Juburi moved quickly and agreed to have his immunity lifted so that he could be investigated, only for a special integrity court to drop the case hours later.

Obeidi had said the accusations against him were trumped up and retaliation for his refusal to buy in to corrupt defence deals.

“I tried to fight corruption in every way, but it appears that its lords are stronger and their voices louder,” he said in a statement after the vote.

He then made a thinly-veiled reference to Nuri al-Maliki, the powerful former prime minister who many observers suspect of manoeuvring behind the scenes to undermine every move Abadi and his allies make.

Impact on the battle

“I spared no effort in building the army whilst striving to fight the corruption and nepotism that led Iraq to lose 40% of its territory in 2014, displaced millions of people, threatened its shrines as well as its beloved capital Baghdad,” Obeidi said.

Maliki had been premier for eight years when the army, gangrened by nepotism and hollowed out by a system in which “ghost soldiers” enrolled but did not show up for duty, collapsed completely in the face of a vast June 2014 ISIS assault.

Alia Nasayif, one of the MPs accused of corruption by Obeidi and a vocal Abadi critic, welcomed the outcome of Thursday’s vote.

“What happened today restored the prestige of the Iraqi state. It’s the first time that parliament takes action and uses its authority to remove a corrupt minister,” she said.

She dismissed any suggestion that the defence minister’s impeachment could affect the war effort.

“The battle is being led by real commanders at the joint command and his exit won’t have much impact. He is not a minister who fights Daesh (ISIS), he’s a corrupt minister,” Nasayif said.

Jassem Hanoun, an Iraqi political and security analyst, disagreed and argued the timing could not be worse.

“What happened today is a negative development, especially in terms of timing,” he said.

“It will have a direct impact on the battle since the ministry will be run by the deputy, who has limited authority,” Hanoun said.

Clinton proposes plan to address mental health treatment

Clinton proposes plan to address mental health treatment

2016-08-29 20:42

(John Locher, AP)

(John Locher, AP)

Southampton — Hillary Clinton is rolling out a comprehensive plan to address millions of Americans coping with mental illness, pointing to the need to fully integrate that plan into the nation’s health care system.

Clinton’s campaign released a multi-pronged approach to mental health care on Monday, aimed at ensuring that Americans would no longer separate mental health from physical health in terms of access, care and quality of treatment.

The Democratic presidential nominee’s agenda would focus on early diagnosis and intervention and create a national initiative for suicide prevention. If elected, Clinton would hold a White House conference on mental health within her first year in office.

Clinton’s proposal would also aim to enforce mental health parity laws and provide training to law enforcement officers to deal with people grappling with mental health problems while prioritising treatment over jail for low-level offenders.

“Building on her longstanding commitment to health care for all, Hillary believes everyone should be able to access quality mental health care — without shame, stigma or barriers,” said Maya Harris, a senior policy adviser to Clinton’s campaign, in a statement.

The former secretary of state planned to hold a town hall meeting by telephone with stakeholders on Monday during a three-day fundraising spree in the Hamptons. The policy rollout would overlap with a Clinton plan to address drug and alcohol addiction which she campaigned on in Iowa and New Hampshire after hearing frequently about the problems from voters.

Post-traumatic stress and depression

The federal government estimated in 2014 that about 43.6 million adults in the US had mental illness in the past year, or about 1 in 5 adults age 18 and over. It estimated nearly 10 million adults suffered from serious mental illness.

An estimated 17 million children in the US experience mental health problems, including 1 in 5 college students, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Nearly 1 in 5 veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan experienced post-traumatic stress or depression.

Clinton’s campaign said the plan would attempt to integrate the nation’s health care system to create a more seamless way of providing both medical and mental health treatment to patients.

It would expand the reimbursement systems for collaborative care models under Medicare and Medicaid that aim to treat patients through a team of health care professionals, including a primary care doctor, a care manager and a behavioural health specialist.

It would also be helped by a Clinton proposal to boost funding for community health centres that she announced earlier in the summer along with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, her primary rival.

Money for the centres, a priority for Sanders, was increased under the Affordable Care Act. Clinton’s plan would make the money for the centres permanent and expand it by $40bn over the next decade.

ISIS spokesperson and ‘architect’ of attacks killed in Syria

Beirut – Top ISIS strategist Abu Mohamed al-Adnani has been killed in Syria, the group said, robbing the jihadists of their propaganda chief and a key architect of attacks in the West.

The United States said coalition forces had targeted Adnani, who had a $5 million bounty on his head, in an air strike in Aleppo province on Tuesday and that the Pentagon was still assessing the result.

His death will be a major blow to ISIS, which has suffered a series of setbacks this year including territorial losses in Syria and Iraq and the killings of other top figures.

Adnani, a Syrian-born in 1977, was one of ISIS’s most recognised leaders, at the heart of a sophisticated propaganda and recruitment machine that produced slick videos and sustained a huge social media presence.

He was reported to be involved in organising a series of high-profile ISIS attacks abroad that killed hundreds, including in Paris, Brussels and Istanbul.

Washington has vowed to “systematically eliminate” senior ISIS leaders and has put a $10 million bounty on the group’s elusive leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Both IS’s second-in-command Abd ar-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli and its top military commander Omar al-Shishani have been killed in reported US strikes since March.

“Adnani’s killing is a signal that IS can no longer protect its most senior leaders,” said Baghdad-based expert on jihadists Hisham al-Hashimi.

He said it was clear that US intelligence had infiltrated top levels of IS and was increasingly aware of the movements of senior figures.

“I think the United States are very close to killing Baghdadi the next time,” Hashimi said.

‘Encouraged lone-wolf attacks’

The ISIS-affiliated Amaq news agency announced Adnani’s death late on Tuesday, saying he “was martyred while surveying operations to repel the military campaigns against Aleppo” in northern Syria.

In Washington, Pentagon spokesperson Peter Cook said US-led coalition forces had “conducted a precision strike” targeting Adnani near the ISIS-held town of Al-Bab in Syria’s northern Aleppo province.

“We are still assessing the results of the strike but Adnani’s removal from the battlefield would mark another significant blow to ISIS,” he said.

Adnani “served as principal architect of ISIS’s external operations and as ISIS’s chief spokesperson,” Cook said.

“He has coordinated the movement of ISIS fighters, directly encouraged lone-wolf attacks on civilians and members of the military and actively recruited new ISIS members.”

A US defence official described Adnani as one of ISIS’s most senior leaders and far more significant than simply the group’s spokesman.

“Most notably, he served as ISIS’s chief of external operations, directing and inspiring major terrorist attacks outside of Iraq and Syria,” said the official, who declined to be named.

The official said Adnani had played a major role in the group during some of the most high-profile attacks over the past year, including in Paris, at the Brussels and Istanbul airports and at a cafe in Bangladesh.

Announced birth of ‘caliphate’

Adnani, from the western Syrian province of Idlib, joined the jihadist movement in Iraq where he served under the late local Al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

He was a founding member of ISIS, which evolved from Al-Qaeda in Iraq and in mid-2014 seized control of large parts of Syria and Iraq.

It was Adnani who in a June 2014 audio recording declared ISIS’s establishment of a “caliphate” straddling Syria and Iraq and Baghdadi as “leader of Muslims everywhere”.

“In the collective jihadist memory Abu Mohamed al-Adnani will always be the one who announced the ‘restoration of the caliphate’ in June 2014,” said expert Romain Caillet, describing the propaganda chief as “the most charismatic leader in ISIS.”

A few months later Adnani released an audio recording calling for lone-wolf attacks on civilians in Western countries.

“If you cannot (detonate) a bomb or (fire) a bullet, arrange to meet alone with a French or an American infidel and bash his skull in with a rock, slaughter him with a knife, run him over with your car, throw him off a cliff, strangle him, or inject him with poison,” he said.

Experts have warned of a possible increase in jihadist attacks in the West as ISIS faces growing pressure in Syria, where US officials estimate the group has lost 20% of the territory it once held, and in Iraq, where it has lost about 50%.

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