Eye on Extremism: April 4, 2024

Associated Press: Houthis May Be Running Low On Their Weapons Stocks As Attacks On Ships Slow, US Commander Says

“Houthi rebels in Yemen may be running through their supplies of drone swarms and anti-ship ballistic missiles as the pace of their attacks has slowed a bit, the top U.S. Air Force commander for the Middle East said Wednesday. Lt. Gen. Alexus Grynkewich, who heads U.S. Air Forces Central, said that the persistent American retaliatory strikes on the Iran-backed militia group have “certainly affected their behavior. Their pace of operations is not what it was.” The Houthis have been conducting near daily attacks on commercial and military ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, launching drones and missiles from rebel-held areas of Yemen. The attacks -- which are often unsuccessful but at times have struck the ships — have disrupted a crucial shipping route. In response, the U.S. and allies have been forced to increase their military ship presence along the waterway, and on several occasions have launched wider retaliatory strikes on ammunition, weapons and other facilities. U.S. ships and fighter jets have also been routinely bombing Houthi drones and missiles that are in place and preparing to launch.”

Associated Press: Islamic State-Linked Fighters Kill At Least A Dozen Civilians, Including Children, In Eastern Congo

“Congo’s army says extremist-linked rebels have killed at least a dozen people in a raid on a rural community in the volatile east, in the latest violence near the border with Uganda. Allied Democratic Forces rebels with ties to the Islamic State group have long operated in the border area. The United Nations said last week that almost 200 people have been killed there this year. Capt. Anthony Mulushayi, spokesperson for the Congolese army in North Kivu province, on Tuesday said the attackers earlier that day set a local hospital on fire and took a number of civilians into the bush. He said the army responded, killing four of the attackers and rescuing four people. A local civilian leader, Kakule Mwendapeke, said the civilian toll was higher, with at least 17 killed, including four children under the age of 10. Another 15 people were missing after being kidnapped, Mwendapeke said. Survivors fled their villages to seek refuge in nearby urban centers including Beni and Mangina.”

CEP Mentions

The Telegraph: Islamist Gangs Are Filling The Void In Our Prisons

“Whatever the latest banalities issued by the Ministry of Justice in response to claims by Steve Gallant – a hero of the London Bridge terror attack and former inmate of HMP Frankland – that Islamist gangs have orchestrated a shift in the “balance of power” at the prison, the state is not fully in charge of our prison system. Nowhere near. Years of criminally stupid austerity cuts to front-line staff, supine leadership and incompetence by unaccountable senior mandarins have combined to produce a battle for power inside jails that we are losing. This retreat creates security nightmares in Victorian slums like HMP Wandsworth and Bedford, but our high- security estate is not immune from the effects. Credulous and violent young men coming into a system rocked by an officer staffing crisis will cleave to power structures that protect them and give thwarted lives meaning. Predators of all kinds – including Islamist and neo-fascist extremists – see legitimate authority in retreat and fill the void.”

WTOP News: The Hunt: How Will Iran Retaliate For Israel’s Drone Strike In Syria?

“Earlier this week, Israel killed seven members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps in an unorthodox strike on Iran’s consulate in Damascus, Syria. Iran has vowed to retaliate. So what should we expect? On this week’s episode of “The Hunt with WTOP national security correspondent JJ Green,” Dr. Hans-Jakob Schindler, senior director at the Counter Extremism Project, talks about Israel’s strike and says Iran is limited in what it can do.”

United States

Bloomberg: US May Revoke Houthi Terrorist Label If They Stop Red Sea Ship Attacks

“The US said it would consider revoking its recent designation of Yemen’s Houthis as terrorists if the Iran-backed militants cease their shipping attacks in and around the Red Sea. “My hope is that we can find diplomatic off-ramps,” Tim Lenderking, President Joe Biden’s special envoy for Yemen, told reporters in an online press briefing on Wednesday. “To find ways to deescalate and allow us to pull back, eventually, the designation and of course to end the military strikes on Houthis’ military capability.” The comments suggest Washington is once more leaning on diplomacy after a nearly three-month-long campaign of airstrikes against Houthi facilities in Yemen. Those have failed to stop the group’s missile and drone attacks against merchant vessels and warships, though the US says it has managed to degrade the Houthis’ military capabilities. Asked by Bloomberg News after the briefing if the US was offering the Houthis a quid pro quo to end their attacks on ships in return for revoking the designation, Lenderking said: “We would certainly study that but not assume it’s an automatic thing.””


Associated Press: 8 Gunmen And 5 Security Force Members Die In Clashes In Iran’s Southeast, State Media Report Says

“Eight gunmen and five members of Iranian security forces were killed in clashes at two separate points in southeastern Iran, state media said Thursday. The official IRNA news agency said 10 other security force members were injured. It said the fighting erupted overnight in Sistan and Baluchistan province when gunmen opened fire on a Revolutionary Guard post in Rask town and a coast guard station in Chahbahar city, some 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) southeast of the capital, Tehran. IRNA said six assailants were under siege and holding hostages at the two sites. It did not elaborate on the hostages, but it blamed the attacks on the militant group Jaish al-Adl, which allegedly seeks greater rights for the ethnic Baluch minority. The restive area, bordering Afghanistan and Pakistan, has been the site of occasional deadly clashes involving the militant group, armed drug smugglers and Iranian security forces. In December, militants killed nearly a dozen police officers in an attack on a police station in the province.”

Reuters: UN Security Council Fails To Condemn Strike On Iran In Syria

“The United States, Britain and France on Wednesday opposed a Russian-drafted U.N. Security Council statement that would have condemned an attack on Iran's embassy compound in Syria, which Tehran has blamed on Washington's ally Israel. Press statements by the 15-member council have to be agreed by consensus. Diplomats said the U.S., backed by France and Britain, told council colleagues that many of the facts of what happened on Monday in Damascus remained unclear and there was no consensus among council members during a meeting on Tuesday. "This serves as a clear illustration of the double standards employed by the Western 'troika' and their actual, rather than declarative, approach to legality and order in the international context," Russia's deputy U.N. Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy said in a post on X. The U.N. Security Council has issued statements in the past condemning attacks on diplomatic premises. The European Union on Wednesday condemned the strike - saying the inviolability of diplomatic and consular premises and personnel must be respected - and called on countries to show restraint.”


Voice Of America: UN Sounds Alarm On Shortage Of Afghan Humanitarian Aid

“The United Nations has warned that delivering life-saving aid to millions of people in Afghanistan could be “severely impeded” as donors have given only 6% of the humanitarian funding appeal for 2024. Indrika Ratwatte, the humanitarian coordinator for the impoverished country, has urged the international community to redouble its commitment and increase financial support for the Afghan people. According to a U.N. statement released on Tuesday, Ratwatte expressed “deep concern” over the current funding levels and noted that the U.N. had secured just $290 million of the $3.06 billion requirements. “Such a significant gap between existing needs and available funding will severely impede the delivery of life-saving assistance,” the statement said. U.N. agencies estimate that more than half of the population in Afghanistan needs humanitarian assistance, citing frequent natural disasters and years of war. They caution that the lack of donor funding is aggravating one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world.”


Reuters: Qatar PM: Dispute In Gaza Ceasefire Negotiations Is Mainly Over Return Of Displaced People

“Qatar's prime minister said on Wednesday the main point of dispute in negotiations on a Gaza ceasefire is over the return of displaced people to different parts of the Palestinian territory.”

Middle East

Reuters: How Hezbollah Attacks Displace 60,000 Israelis, Six Months On

“From a temporary seaside abode in northern Israel, Shay and Reut Hanegbi can hear the explosions when missiles are fired from Lebanon towards their hometown on the border, only four miles (6 km) away. They are among around 60,000 Israelis still uprooted from the small frontline communities since October, when the powerful militia Hezbollah began attacking from Lebanese hilltop villages and forest hideouts. One rocket fell in their backyard, said Reut, 38, holding their newborn girl Alex in the flat they are renting. It is their fourth dwelling since October. Alex's 11-year-old sister has moved school three times in that period. Iranian-backed Hezbollah started firing at northern Israel a day after Palestinian group Hamas' Oct. 7 shock attack in the south of the country. Communities 2 miles away from the Lebanese border were hastily evacuated. The Hanegbis expected their evacuation to last a few weeks at most. But as Israel presses its offensive against Hamas in Gaza, it has been trading fire with Hezbollah almost daily. "It has ended up going on and on. You don't see the end," Shay said.”

Associated Press: Bodies Of 6 Foreign Aid Workers Slain In Israeli Strikes Are Transported Out Of Gaza

“The bodies of six foreign aid workers killed in Israeli airstrikes began the journey back to their home countries Wednesday as more questions swirled over Israel’s explanation that a “misidentification” led to the attack on their convoy. The deadly strikes renewed criticism of Israel’s conduct in the nearly 6-month-old war with Hamas and highlighted the risks that the military’s bombardment poses to aid workers as they try to deliver food to the besieged enclave. The U.N. says nearly a third of the Gaza population is on the brink of starvation. The three British citizens, a Polish citizen, an Australian and a Canadian American dual citizen worked for World Central Kitchen, an international charity founded by celebrity chef José Andrés. Their Palestinian driver was also killed, and his remains were handed over to his family for burial in Gaza. The other bodies were driven into Egypt through the Rafah crossing, according to the Palestinian Crossings Authority, which oversees border crossings.”


Garowe Online: Airstrike Targets Al-Shabaab Leader In Southern Somalia

“An airstrike targeted Al-Shabaab leader Ahmed Diriye alias Abu Ubaidah, multiple sources told Garowe Online, in the latest pursuit against the militants who control large swathes of rural central and southern regions of the country. The Al-Shabaab militants have heightened attacks against military offices, senior government officials, and members of the public throughout Ramadan, but the security teams have activated surveillance in strategic areas across the Horn of Africa nation. According to sources, the airstrike, whose details remain scanty, was initiated in the vicinity of Sablaale town, Lower Shabelle region, about 200 km southwest of the capital Mogadishu Somalia. The al-Shabaab leader is believed to be hiding in the region. Abu Ubaidah has been in charge of Al-Shabaab for the last nine years after the death of Ahmed Godane, who was killed in a US airstrike. In recent weeks, Al-Shabaab is said to be embroiled in internal wrangles, with Mahad Karate, the group's finance officer keen to topple Ubaidah.”


Associated Press: A Prominent German Far-Right Figure Charged With Second Count Of Using A Nazi Slogan

“Prosecutors said Wednesday that they have charged one of the most prominent figures in the far-right Alternative for Germany party with a second count of uttering a slogan used by the Nazis’ SA stormtroopers at a political event. Björn Höcke was already scheduled to go on trial in Halle on April 18. Prosecutors in the eastern city said they would seek to have the new count added to those proceedings. Höcke, 52, is the leader of the regional branch of Alternative for Germany, or AfD, in the neighboring state of Thuringia and an influential figure on the party’s hard right. He is set to lead its campaign in a state election set for Sept. 1. In the case already scheduled for trial, Höcke is charged with using symbols of unconstitutional organizations. He is accused of ending a speech in Merseburg in May 2021 with the words “Everything for Germany!” Prosecutors contend he was aware of the origin of the phrase as an SA slogan. They have said Höcke’s lawyers denied that his words had any “criminal relevance.””


Politico: Denmark Fires Defense Chief After Warship Malfunctions In Red Sea Houthi Battle

“The Danish government fired the country's chief of defense Flemming Lentfer on Wednesday after he failed to report flaws in a Danish frigate's air defense and weapons systems which emerged during an attack by Houthi militants in the Red Sea last month. According to Danish military news website OLFI, Lentfer didn't tell Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen about an incident involving the Ivar Huitfeldt frigate, which was deployed to the Red Sea as part of a U.S.-led operation to defend commercial ships against Houthi militants. On March 9, the frigate’s air defense systems failed while engaging militants, OLFI reported, citing a leaked document written by the ship’s commanding officer. The document also mentioned a problem with the warship’s ammunition system that caused half of its rounds to detonate before they hit their target.  "Our clear understanding is that the issue has been known for years without the necessary sense of urgency to resolve the problem," the frigate's commanding officer reportedly wrote.”


The Washington Post: After Terror Attack, Russia Sees U.S. Role And Claims It Is At War With NATO

“In the aftermath of last month’s terrorist attack on the Crocus City Hall concert venue outside Moscow, Russian officials not only have blamed Ukraine but also have repeatedly accused the West of involvement — even though U.S. officials insist they gave Moscow a specific warning that the Islamic State could attack the venue. If the U.S. warning was so detailed, it raises further questions about Russia’s failure to prevent the country’s worst terrorist attack in two decades. But rather than publicly confronting questions about their own actions, Russian security officials have disregarded the claims of responsibility by the Islamic State. Instead, they have insisted that U.S. and British intelligence were involved in helping Ukraine organize the strike. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment Wednesday on a report in The Washington Post that U.S. intelligence specifically warned Russia that Crocus City Hall could be a target for terrorists. The New York Times published a similar report shortly after The Post.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.


On May 8, 2019, Taliban insurgents detonated an explosive-laden vehicle and then broke into American NGO Counterpart International’s offices in Kabul. At least seven people were killed and 24 were injured.

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