Aus­tralia seeks to ex­tra­dite IS terror sus­pect

The Myanmar Times - - World -

Ar­gen­tine soccer le­gend Diego Maradona hailed Fidel Cas­tro as “a sec­ond fa­ther”.

In the US, there were sharply dif­fer­ent re­ac­tions from out­go­ing Pres­i­dent Barack Obama and Pres­i­den­t­elect Don­ald Trump.

Mr Obama, who em­barked on a his­toric rap­proche­ment with Cuba in 2014, said the US ex­tended a “hand of friend­ship” to the Cuban peo­ple.

But Mr Trump called Cas­tro “a bru­tal dic­ta­tor who op­pressed his own peo­ple for nearly six decades”.

The fu­ture of the US-Cuban thaw looks un­cer­tain un­der Mr Trump.

He has threat­ened to re­verse course if Cuba does not al­low greater hu­man rights. Cuba says it re­fuses to be dic­tated to by for­eign pow­ers.

Fidel Cas­tro came to power in 1959 as a black-bearded, cigar-chomp­ing 32-year-old, in a revo­lu­tion against dic­ta­tor Ful­gen­cio Batista.

“When this war is over, a much longer greater war will be­gin: the war that I am go­ing to wage against them,” he said in 1958, re­fer­ring to the United States. “That will be my true des­tiny.” Liv­ing by the slo­gan “so­cial­ism or death”, he kept the faith to the end.

He en­dured more than 600 as­sas­si­na­tion at­tempts, ac­cord­ing to aides, and the dis­as­trous US-backed Bay of Pigs in­va­sion at­tempt in 1961.

His out­rage over that botched plot con­trib­uted to the Cuban Mis­sile Cri­sis in 1962, when the Soviet Union agreed to his re­quest to send bal­lis­tic mis­siles to Cuba.

The dis­cov­ery of the mis­siles by the US pushed the world to the brink of nu­clear war.

“If I am con­sid­ered a myth, the United States de­serves the credit,” Mr Cas­tro said in 1988.

Born Au­gust 13, 1926, to a pros­per­ous Span­ish im­mi­grant landowner and a Cuban mother of hum­ble back­ground, Mr Cas­tro was said to be a quick learner and a keen base­ball player.

He formed a guer­rilla op­po­si­tion to Batista’s US-backed gov­ern­ment, lead­ing a failed up­ris­ing in 1953.

De­fend­ing him­self at his trial, the trained lawyer said de­fi­antly, “His­tory will ab­solve me.”

Af­ter serv­ing two years in pri­son then go­ing into ex­ile in Mex­ico, he set sail for Cuba on De­cem­ber 2, 1956, with a band of rebels.

Twenty-five months later, they ousted Batista and Mr Cas­tro was named prime min­is­ter.

He threw Cuba’s lot in with the Soviet Union, which bankrolled his regime un­til 1989, when the Eastern Bloc’s col­lapse sent Cuba’s econ­omy plung­ing. Still, Mr Cas­tro man­aged to hang on.

He ceded power to Raul, now 85, in July 2006 to un­dergo in­testi­nal surgery. He faded from pub­lic view, but con­tin­ued pub­lish­ing di­a­tribes in the state press and wield­ing in­flu­ence be­hind the scenes.

A Casanova with many lovers, Cas­tro mar­ried three times and is known to have fa­thered eight chil­dren.

He was last seen in pub­lic on his 90th birth­day on Au­gust 13. – AUS­TRALIA is seek­ing the ex­tra­di­tion of its most wanted Is­lamic State terror sus­pect who was thought to be dead but has been cap­tured by Tur­key.

The an­nounce­ment fol­lowed a New York Times re­port that so-called Is­lamic State group op­er­a­tive Neil Prakash had been caught by Turk­ish forces sev­eral weeks ago as he tried to en­ter their coun­try from Syria.

“An in­di­vid­ual we be­lieve to be Neil Prakash has been ar­rested and de­tained in Tur­key,” a gov­ern­ment spokesper­son said.

“He is sub­ject to a for­mal ex­tra­di­tion re­quest from Aus­tralia.”

Mr Prakash was a se­nior re­cruiter for IS and has been linked to terror plots to kill Aus­tralians.

In May he was re­ported dead by Can­berra on ad­vice from Wash­ing­ton that he had been killed in a US airstrike in north­ern Iraq.

How­ever, the Times said he was only wounded, not killed, in Mo­sul on April 29. Mr Prakash left Aus­tralia in 2013.

He has been linked to a failed Mel­bourne plot to be­head a po­lice of­fi­cer in April last year, as well as to an 18-year-old who was killed af­ter stab­bing two po­lice of­fi­cers in Mel­bourne in 2014.

Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull has called Mr Prakash the se­nior Aus­tralian op­er­a­tive in IS.

Re­ported to be of In­dian, Fi­jian and Cam­bo­dian back­ground, Mr Prakash used the in­ter­net “to pro­mote the evil ide­ol­ogy” of the ji­hadist group “and re­cruit Aus­tralian men, women and chil­dren – many of whom are either still in the con­flict zone or dead. –

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