Eye on Extremism: August 16, 2023

The New York Times: Taliban Fighters, Unsettled By Peace, Seek New Battles Abroad

“As a child studying in a madrasa in Afghanistan, Mohammad Khalid Tahir dreamed of waging jihad. By the time he was a teenager, he had joined the Taliban and celebrated when they seized power from the U.S.-backed government two years ago. But the high from that victory did not last. Reassigned as a soldier in the capital, he frequently complained that he was bored and longed to return to his life’s purpose, according to his family. So this spring, he did — but across the border in Pakistan. “Our only expectation is to be martyred,” Mr. Tahir says in a video of him en route to Pakistan that was viewed by The New York Times. About a month later, he was killed by Pakistani security forces, his relatives said. As a generation of fighters raised in war now finds itself stuck in a country at peace, hundreds of young Taliban soldiers have crossed illegally into Pakistan to battle alongside an insurgent group, according to Taliban members, local leaders and security analysts.”

The Times Of Israel: Hamas And Islamic Jihad Seen Importing Gaza Military Tactics To The West Bank

“Palestinian terror groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad have been exploiting the power vacuum in the northern West Bank to strengthen their military presence and replicate the fighting tactics against Israel that they developed in Gaza, according to a new report. The analysis, published last week by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), highlights the various indications pointing at a new military infrastructure emerging in the Jenin and Nablus areas — resembling what already exists in the coastal enclave ruled by Hamas since 2007 — thanks to the dwindling control of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority over the area.”

United States

U.S. Army: New Antiterrorism Strategic Plan Coming This Fiscal Year

“WASHINGTON — The Department of the Army is working on a new Antiterrorism Strategic Plan that is scheduled to roll out this fiscal year. The plan, which is being coordinated with the Department of Defense, will update policy, training, exercises and how the Army analyzes and shares information about terrorism. “The threats we faced 20 years ago aren’t the threats we face today, nor are they the threats we will face in the future,” said Maj. Gen. Duane R. Miller, Army provost marshal general. “Our adversaries are constantly evolving with the use of technology to identify vulnerabilities. It’s through this strategic plan that we hope to address any vulnerabilities and any threats we may face in the future.” The program will help put Army civilians, contractors, Soldiers, and their families on common ground with the service’s antiterrorism goals and objectives moving forward, he added.”


The Dispatch: Incentivizing More Iranian Terrorism

“More than $6 billion in unfrozen funds are headed for Iranian coffers in exchange for the release of several American-Iranian dual nationals who were wrongfully detained. American officials insist the cash is restricted to humanitarian uses, but history indicates the agreement will likely finance terrorism abroad and fuel repression in Iran—all while encouraging more hostage-taking gambits. Iranian authorities have already touted the $6 billion in oil revenues, which they claim to have the freedom to spend as they see fit. “The process of releasing billions of dollars from the assets of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which were illegally seized in South Korea by the United States for several years, has begun,” Iran’s foreign ministry said in a statement. “The decision on how to utilize these unfrozen resources and financial assets lies with the Islamic Republic of Iran.”


United News of India: At Least 3 IS Militants Killed In N. Iraq

“Baghdad, Aug 16 (UNI) At least three Islamic State (IS) militants were killed on Tuesday in an airstrike on an IS hideout in Iraq's northern province of Kirkuk, according to an army source. Based on intelligence reports, the Iraqi warplanes conducted an airstrike in the rugged area of Wadi al-Shay, some 250 km north of the capital Baghdad, according to a statement issued by the Security Media Cell, a media outlet affiliated with the Iraqi Joint Operations Command. The airstrike destroyed the hideout and killed all IS militants inside, the statement said, without mentioning the death toll of the militants. Meanwhile, an army source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity that "between three and five terrorists were killed." The security situation in Iraq has improved since the defeat of the IS in 2017. However, the IS remnants have since melted into urban centers, deserts and rugged areas, carrying out frequent guerilla attacks against security forces and civilians.”


United States Institute Of Peace: Two Years Under The Taliban: Is Afghanistan A Terrorist Safe Haven Once Again?

“Two years into Taliban rule, the question of whether Afghanistan would once again become a safe haven for international terrorism remains alive. Longstanding fears were affirmed a little over a year ago, when the U.S. government located al-Qaeda leader Aimen al-Zawahiri in Kabul, Afghanistan, before killing him in a drone strike. The fact that the Taliban would bring Zawahiri back to Kabul, despite repeated assurances to U.S. negotiators both before and after the Doha agreement that they had distanced themselves from al-Qaeda, significantly elevated concerns. However, the drone strike also allowed the Biden administration to argue that it has a workable counterterrorism strategy to mitigate the remaining threat from Afghanistan. Ever since, policymakers seem to draw comfort from the fact that the Taliban, at the very least, appear to be confronting the Islamic State in Afghanistan — with President Biden even suggesting, in passing, that the Taliban are helping contain terrorist threats from the country.”


The National: Momentum For Change Could Be Building In Yemen

“If the conflict in Yemen can be defined by anything, it is its intractability and the horrendous toll it has taken on its people. Fighting in the country’s most recent war persisted for most of the past decade, the various factions remain politically poles apart and one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises has dragged on for years. For a long time, hope of making any progress towards resolving the situation seemed naive. But that could be beginning to change. Recently, the UN said 1.14 million barrels of oil on board a rusting Red Sea tanker called the FSO Safer had been transferred to another ship, averting an immediate environmental catastrophe 8 kilometres off the Yemeni coast that would have cost an estimated $20 billion to clean up. The UN had been warning for years that the 47-year-old Safer was at risk of breaking up or exploding after it was left unattended and decaying following the outbreak of war. If that had been allowed to happen, it would have spilt four times as much oil into the sea as the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster off Alaska.”

Saudi Arabia

Asharq Al-Awsat: Minister Al-Sheikh To Asharq Al-Awsat: Moderate Islam To Triumph, Extremism To Cease

“Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Islamic Affairs Abdullatif bin Abdulaziz Al-Sheikh emphasized to Asharq Al-Awsat that moderate Islam will prevail, and extremism and fanaticism will come to an end irrevocably, despite the historical incidents of attacks on Islamic sanctities in certain countries. Al-Sheikh added that Islamophobia has been exploited by feeble minds and enemies of Islam, or by certain Muslims who do not represent the true essence of Islam. Instead, they represent sources of discord and destruction worldwide, including within the Islamic world itself. The minister pointed out that there is a collective awareness at the level of nations and societies to combat such extremism. Al-Sheikh’s remarks came in the wake of the kickoff of the international Islamic conference under the patronage of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz."

Middle East

The Jerusalem Post: Why is Hezbollah's Nasrallah Commenting On Haredi IDF Draft? - Analysis

“Did anyone ever think that Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah would spend large parts of a prime-time speech analyzing social friction in Israel between haredim and other sectors? Many foreign countries may not even know about Israel’s ultra-Orthodox sector unless they have tuned in to some Hollywood movies or happened to have a rare interaction with a haredi minister on some kind of global issue. Yet Nasrallah told his followers that the Jewish state will come apart over the issue of a proposed Knesset bill that would exempt haredim from serving in the IDF.”

The Jerusalem Post: Man Convicted Of Giving Hamas NIS 4 Million Via Wakf Affiliated Org.

“A man was convicted of financing Hamas with NIS 4 million over the course of a decade through a charity affiliated with both the terrorist organization and the Jordanian Wakf, the Jerusalem District Court ruled on Tuesday.  Faris Totah, who had previously been imprisoned in 2004 for Hamas activism, was accused of raising and transferring around NIS 100,000 to the Janat Zakat Al-Quds Association every three months from 2012-2022. Totah claimed that he had only transferred sums to the charity at such a level in the last two years. Almost NIS 70,000 was seized by authorities. Totah claimed that he had been saving up for a new car, but Khaled Sabah, Totah's boss, said that the money was destined for him. Sabah later retracted this statement.”


African News: Niger: At Least 17 Soldiers Killed In An Attack Near Mali

“At least 17 Nigerien soldiers were killed and 20 injured in an attack by suspected jihadists on Tuesday near the Niger-Mali border, the defense ministry said in Niamey. Early Tuesday afternoon, "a detachment of the Niger Armed Forces (FAN) moving between Boni and Torodi was the victim of a terrorist ambush near the town of Koutougou", according to a statement from the ministry published late Tuesday. Evening. "The provisional toll" is 17 soldiers killed and 20 wounded, six of them seriously, "all evacuated to Niamey", he adds, specifying that a "mopping-up operation is still in progress". The army affirms that on the side of the attackers, "two columns of more than fifty motorcycles each" were "destroyed, that is to say, more than a hundred terrorists neutralized during their withdrawal".”


Garowe Online: Will Frontline Countries Participate In Somalia's Black Lion Mission Against Al-Shabaab?

“MOGADISHU - Somalia is entering a crucial phase in operations against Al-Shabaab militants who still dominate several parts of the country, just as soldiers plan ground and aerial offensive against the group which is fighting to topple the fragile UN-backed federal government. A few months ago, regional leaders from Kenya, Djibouti, and Ethiopia gathered in Uganda where they pledged to support the country in the second phase and perhaps final assault against the militants that will target Jubaland and Southwest states of the Horn of Africa nation. Under the agreement, Kenya, Djibouti, and Ethiopia pledged to dispatch more soldiers to the country with the aim of assisting Somalia in overcoming the militants. The soldiers, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said, would stay in the country for a period of three months under the command of the Somali army.”


The Economist: Poland’s Far Right Could Be The Next Government’s Kingmaker

“Pint by pint, Poland’s biggest far-right party is climbing in the polls. Slawomir Mentzen, its new co-leader, is staging lager-fuelled rallies across the country. With a mostly male crowd cheering him on, the 36-year-old chugs down beers while extolling low taxes and deregulation. Most non-Poles think of the Law and Justice (pis) party, which has governed Poland since 2015, as the epitome of populist nationalism. But there is another party farther to the right: Confederation. Polls in July found it had roughly doubled its support this year to 15%. The two bigger parties, pis and the centrist Civic Platform (po), will almost certainly fall short of a majority in the parliamentary election on October 15th. Whichever wins will probably need Confederation’s support.”

Southeast Asia

Reuters: Indonesia Arrests Militant Over Alleged Plot to Attack Police Division

“JAKARTA, Aug 15 (Reuters) - Indonesia's counter-terrorism unit on Tuesday announced the arrest of an alleged Islamic State (IS) loyalist suspected of planning an attack on the headquarters of the police's security division.The man was detained in a raid on his house outside the capital Jakarta on Monday during which an IS flag, ammunition and 16 weapons were discovered, mostly handguns and modified air rifles, according to Aswin Siregar, spokesperson for Indonesia's Densus 88 counter-terrorism task force. The suspect, an employee with a state railway company, told authorities of his plan to attack the police facility, but gave no time frame or motive, Aswin said. He added that the suspect, once a member of a defunct militant organisation, had posted pro-IS content on social media and sought to raise funds for extremism via messaging app Telegram. "We were shocked by the evidence we found," Aswin told a news conference.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.


On October 27, 2018, domestic terrorist Robert D. Bowers carried out an anti-Semitic attack at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. He fired on congregants as they gathered for worship, killing 11 people and wounding six others.

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