Eye on Extremism: December 3

The Washington Post: ISIS Figure Involved In Executing U.S. Hostage Peter Kassig Is Killed In Airstrike

“A senior Islamic State commander involved in the execution of U.S. hostage Peter Kassig was killed in an airstrike in southeastern Syria on Sunday, the U.S. military said.  Col. Sean Ryan, a U.S. military spokesman, identified the Islamic State commander as Abu al-Umarayn and said he was killed in “precision strikes” in a desert area known as Badiya. The coalition had reason to suspect that Umarayn posed an “immediate threat” to coalition forces in the area, Ryan said in an emailed statement. Umarayn was also “involved in the killing of American citizen and former U.S. Army Ranger Peter Kassig,” the statement said, and he was linked to or directly involved in executing several other prisoners. Kassig, who changed his name to Abdul-Rahman Kassig after he converted to Islam while in Islamic State captivity, was executed at some point in November 2014, a year after he was taken hostage in Syria. His captors released a video showing his decapitated head beside his body but did not include scenes of the execution, unlike with the other hostages they killed. Umarayn is the first Islamic State figure to be publicly identified as having been involved in Kassig’s execution. He is also the first identified as having been killed in an airstrike since the U.S.-led coalition targeted Mohammed Emwazi, who was known as “Jihadi John,” in November 2015.”

The Wall Street Journal: Top Taliban Commander Killed By U.S. Airstrike In Afghanistan

“A top Taliban leader was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan, officials from the Taliban, the Afghan government and the U.S.-led military coalition said, just as Washington is in delicate peace talks with the insurgent movement. U.S. Army Col. David Butler, spokesman for U.S.-led international forces in Afghanistan, said Abdul Manan, the Taliban’s shadow governor in southern Helmand province, was killed late Saturday in an attack by an “unmanned aircraft.” In a statement, the Taliban also confirmed his death. Mr. Manan’s killing is the biggest loss for the Taliban since 2016 when the group’s leader, Akhtar Mansour, was killed in a U.S. drone strike in western Pakistan. The killing of Mr. Mansour sank the prospects for peace talks at the time, as the Taliban resented the loss of its chief. Mr. Manan’s death comes as the U.S. steps up the air war in Afghanistan in an attempt to bolster its sway in embryonic efforts with the insurgency to get peace negotiations under way to end the 17-year war.”

CNN: Iran Tests Medium-Range Ballistic Missile, Pompeo Says

“Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday said Iran tested a medium-range ballistic missile, violating a United Nations resolution. The launch itself, however, did not appear to determine any capabilities that the US was not aware of, and it did not pose a direct threat, according to a defense official directly familiar with the initial data from the launch. The launch also doesn't constitute a violation of the UN measure, according to the language of the resolution. The official tells CNN they are continuing to assess the intelligence.  The missile, according to a statement from Pompeo, has the capability of carrying multiple warheads and “has a range that allows it to strike parts of Europe and anywhere in the Middle East.”  “This test violates UN Security Council resolution 2231 that bans Iran from undertaking 'any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology ...'“ Pompeo said in the statement. The UN body adopted the resolution, which endorsed the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the Iran nuclear deal, in 2015. It does not, in fact, ban Iran from undertaking any activity related to ballistic missiles, a point of criticism for opponents of the deal. Instead, it says “Iran is called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles,” language that does not forbid Tehran from testing or make it a violation if it does so.”

PBS News Hour: How ISIS Continues To Fund Its Insurgency

“The Islamic State is returning to its roots as an insurgent force, with growing influence beyond its traditional geographic boundaries. And without a state, the group has new fundraising methods to finance itself. Foreign correspondent Rukmini Callimachi, who covers ISIS and Al-Qaeda for The New York Times, joins Hari Sreenivasan for an update on where the terror group stands. HARI SREENIVASAN: For more perspective on the reemergence of ISIS in Iraq and elsewhere, we turn now to New York Times foreign correspondent Rukmini Callimachi, who covers ISIS and al Qaeda. You know, there's sort of a question of geographic control versus actual power. I mean ISIS seems to have shrunk geographically. RUKMINI CALLIMACHI: Right. HARI SREENIVASAN: But at the same time we see influences that they're having, not just in Iraq and Afghanistan, but elsewhere.”

Jerusalem Post: Iran Announces New Weapons And Cyber Army, Ships Arms To Hezbollah

“The US accused Iran of launching a new missile on Saturday while Tehran boasted it had developed a “radar evading stealth” warship. The two incidents are linked to increased Iranian activity, including a flight to Beirut that allegedly brought arms for Hezbollah, and Tehran’s claims it has pioneered a new cyber army. It shows that Iran is serious about challenging adversaries on sea, land, in the air and online, in a full court press designed to keep the region on alert for Tehran’s next move. On Saturday the US State Department accused Tehran of test-firing a new medium range ballistic missile “capable of reaching parts of Europe and anywhere in the Mideast.” The risk of escalation is growing, Washington warned. Brian Hook, Washington’s Iran-threat czar said that Iran “continues to prioritize missile development as a tool of revolution.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is in Argentina for the G20 summit with US President Donald Trump, tweeted that the Iranian regime’s test was a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231. “Iran’s missile testing and missile proliferation is growing,” he said, adding that the US condemned the test.”

Financial News: Shareholders Slam Facebook For Refusal To Talk

“Heavyweight investors with shares in Facebook allege that the company’s executives have long ignored their concerns about governance, refused requests for proper shareholder dialogue and treated their efforts to offer advice with indifference. The behaviour of executives at the social media giant is “bizarre” and suggests Facebook does not think investors' views are important, according to one investor. The allegations from several big institutional investors, who manage hundreds of billions of dollars on behalf of pensioners and ordinary savers, come at an extremely difficult time for Facebook. The company is under fire on several fronts, including for its handling of the high-profile Cambridge Analytica data scandal earlier this year, its role in helping to spread so-called fake news and recent criticism over its corporate structure. Senior Facebook executives including founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg have faced heavy criticism for failing to address widespread concerns about these matters among users and politicians globally.”

United States

Fox News: Grenade Attack At US Consulate In Mexico May Have Been Cartel Hit

“Law enforcement authorities from both the United States and Mexico are investigating a grenade explosion targeting the U.S. Consulate in Guadalajara, Mexico, on Friday evening. It is believed two grenades were thrown, with one exploding on consular grounds around 7.30 Friday evening. In a statement released Saturday, consular officials said they “were aware of a security incident that took place at the U.S. Consulate General” on Friday evening. “The consulate was closed at the time and there were no injuries,” the statement continued. “U.S. and Mexican authorities are investigating. We will provide further information (including about consular operations) as it becomes available.” While the investigation continues and there have been no culprits yet identified, the attack comes just a week after several videos were posted online showcasing an interrogation of a cartel “sicario”-- otherwise known as a hitman -- allegedly working for the dominant cartel in the area, Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG). He claimed he had orders to attack U.S. embassies or consulates from its leader, Rubén Oseguera González, also known as “El Mencho.” Derek Maltz, former special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration Special Operations Division, told Fox News that there was some “unconfirmed information” circulating last week that El Mencho or members of the CJNG had threatened to bomb the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Mexico.”

The Washington Post: This Is The Man Who Recruited The 9/11 Hijackers

“There was nothing about the hungry, bedraggled man who surrendered at a remote desert checkpoint belonging to the United States’ Kurdish allies this year to suggest he had once played a part in one of the biggest events in American history. He was limping from injuries to both knees, his beard was matted and teeming with lice, and he was fleeing from the Islamic State. After he identified himself and checks were run, the confirmation came back. This was Mohammed Haydar Zammar, the man who recruited the hijackers who carried out the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, killing over 2,900 people and propelling the United States into unending conflict. In his first interview with a U.S. news organization since 2001, conducted in the presence of the Kurdish guards who are holding him at a prison on the outskirts of the Syrian city of Qamishli, Zammar recounted his extraordinary journey. It was one that took him from the earliest days of the al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan to the battlefields of the Islamic State in Syria, via a rendition suspected to have been ordered by the CIA.”

Syria

The Hill: The Hill: Syria’s Execution Of US Citizen Shows Need For Accountability

“In September 2015, Syrian-American engineer Layla Shweikani traveled from her home in the Chicago area to Damascus, Syria. Intent on helping internally-displaced persons, she began pouring her energies into humanitarian aid and relief work. A few months later, she was arrested by Bashar al-Assad’s government and thrown into a detention center. Despite the involvement of the Czech ambassador in her case (the Czech Republic serves as the “protecting power” for U.S. interests in Syria), she was referred to a military judge and then executed on Dec. 28, 2016. Nearly two years later — just this week — her family finally was informed of her death. Her story, though immensely horrifying, is no aberration. In November 2011, Dr. Faten Rajab Fawaz, an accomplished Syrian scientist, was arrested by the regime for her peaceful activism. During her detention, she was transferred to numerous military and security branch facilities, even though she reportedly suffered from continuous internal bleeding believed to have resulted from an injection of an unknown substance. Also this week, news finally surfaced that she had been killed by the regime.”

The Jerusalem Post: A New Order Emerges In Southern Syria As Assad Regains Control

“Evidence emerging from southwest Syria indicates that the Assad regime has begun to settle accounts with former rebels who worked with Israel and with Western countries during the years that this area was outside of regime control. A number of prominent former rebel commanders in Deraa and Quneitra provinces have recently disappeared after being apprehended by regime forces. Other former rebels have been prevented from leaving the area for opposition-controlled Idlib province in the country’s northeast. The regime’s measures against those it deems unfit for “reconciliation” are continuing parallel to the integration of rank-and-file former rebels into the regime’s security structures. What is returning to Syria’s south, however, is not the status quo antebellum. Iran and its allies have a central role in the emergent power structure. Indeed, the emergent reality is one in which it is difficult to discern where precisely the Syrian state ends and Iran and its allies begin. Syria’s southwest, which was the cradle of the uprising against Assad, is now being transformed into the birthplace of a new Syria, in which Iran and its allies form a vital and inseparable component.”

Fox News: Senior ISIS Leader Involved In Killing Of Former Us Army Ranger Killed In Drone Strike, Coalition Says

“Abu al Umarayn, a senior ISIS leader who was involved in the brutal murder of former U.S. Army Ranger Peter Kassig, was killed in a drone strike in Syria on Sunday, the U.S.-led coalition said. The leader, along with "several other ISIS members," was killed in precision drone strikes in Syria's Badiyah Desert, coalition spokesperson Col. Sean Ryan said in a statement. "Al Umarayn had given indications of posing an imminent threat to Coalition Forces and he was involved in the killing of American Citizen and former U.S. Army Ranger, Peter Kassig," officials said. "He has been linked to and directly involved with executing several other prisoners as a senior ISIS member." The statement continued, "Coalition airstrikes continue to disrupt ISIS command and control on the battlefield as we remove key figures from their ranks.” Kassig, a 26-year-old aid worker and U.S. citizen, was captured in Syria in October 2013 as he was providing aid to Syrians who were fleeing the country's civil war. His friends say he converted to Islam in captivity and took the first name Abdul-Rahman. ISIS released graphic video in 2014 showing he was beheaded, and U.S. officials confirmed the footage was authentic.”

Iran

The Economic Times: Iran Says It Will Continue Missile Tests After U.S. Allegation

“Iran said on Sunday it would continue missile tests to build up its defences and denied this was in breach of U.N. resolutions following U.S. allegations that Tehran had tested a new missile capable of carrying multiple warheads.  U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday condemned what he called Iran's testing of a medium-range ballistic missile in violation of the 2015 international agreement on the Iranian nuclear programme, from which Washington has withdrawn. "Missile tests ... are carried out for defence and the country's deterrence, and we will continue this," Brigadier- General Abolfazl Shekarchi, spokesman for Iran's armed forces, was quoted as saying by the semi-official Tasnim news agency. "We will continue to both develop and test missiles. This is outside the framework of (nuclear) negotiations and part of our national security, for which we will not ask any country's permission," Shekarchi said.”

Reuters: Iran Navy Launches Stealth Warship In The Gulf

“Iran’s navy on Saturday launched a domestically made destroyer, which state media said has radar-evading stealth properties, as tensions rise with arch-enemy, the United States. In a ceremony carried live on state television, the Sahand destroyer — which can sustain voyages lasting five months without resupply — joined Iran’s regular navy at a base in Bandar Abbas on the Gulf. The Sahand has a flight deck for helicopters, torpedo launchers, anti-aircraft and anti-ship guns, surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles and electronic warfare capabilities, state television reported. U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of an international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program in May and reimposed sanctions on Tehran. He said the deal was flawed because it did not include curbs on Iran’s development of ballistic missiles or its support for proxies in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq. The United States has said its goal is to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero. Senior Iranian officials have said that if Iran is not allowed to export then no other countries will be allowed to export oil through the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf.”

Times Of Israel: Iran Arrests Population Expert Accused Of Spy Links

“An Iranian fertility expert accused of working with foreign “espionage networks” to downplay the country’s population crisis has been arrested, state news agency IRNA confirmed on Sunday. It did not give details of the charges, but quoted a lawyer who named the expert as Meimanat Hosseini Chavoshi. She is listed by the University of Melbourne as working at its School of Population and Global Health, published widely on Iran’s once-lauded fertility and family-planning policies. On Saturday, hardline newspaper Kayhan reported the arrest of several population “activists… who, under the cover of scientific activities, had infiltrated state bodies.” It said they manipulated statistics and handed sensitive information to Iran’s enemies as part of efforts at “cultural and social invasion.” Iran was once considered an international success story in population control, bringing birth rates down from seven per woman in the 1980s to 1.66 in 2016, according to World Bank figures. Then-health minister Alireza Marandi received the United Nations Population Award in 2000 for his family planning initiatives, which had to overcome entrenched taboos in an Islamic society.”

Radio Free Europe: Iran Sentences Journalist To 12 Years In Prison

“An Iranian revolutionary court has sentenced a journalist to a nearly 13-year prison term over security charges, Iranian media report. Reformist journalist Hengameh Shahidi can appeal the verdict that sentenced her to 12 years and 9 months in jail. She has also been banned from joining political groups, media activity, and leaving the country. "Given the confidentiality of the proceedings and the security nature of the case, I cannot disclose details about the court's verdict," Shahidi's lawyer Mostafa Turk Hamedani told the official government news agency IRNA. Shahidi, 43, has been in jail since June. She was previously jailed following the 2009 state crackdown that followed a disputed presidential election. Shahidi was also detained for several months in 2017.”

Iraq

Military Times: Victims Look To Punish Iran For Attacks Against US Troops In Iraq

“They read in simple, repetitive sentences with a date, location, name, age and cause of death. It is a seemingly endless list of those killed and maimed in Iraq by weapons supplied by Iran and used in attacks on the U.S. military. These are only a sample of the deaths. There are more than 100 pages in the federal court documents, full of details of wounds, surgeries and trauma. Their words carry legalistic accounts of 90 attacks that caused internal bleeding, collapsed lungs, severed heads, missing hands, arms and legs, brain injuries, third-degree burns on necks, faces and hands, suffering that persists in the victims and reverberates beyond those struck in the blasts, cascading waves of pain into the lives of wives, husbands, parents and children. Those attacks are the subject of a three-day trial in federal court that begins Monday. It is a trial in which a small New Jersey law firm and a lawyer out of Arkansas are trying to hold the Islamic Republic of Iran accountable to the tune of $10 billion for weapons, materials, training and other support that led directly to the death or mutilation of more than 1,000 U.S. troops from 2004 to 2011.”

The National: Senior ISIS Official Confesses To Parading Caged Kurds In Confession Video

“Iraqi officials released a video on Friday of a recently captured senior ISIS member confessing to involvement in a notorious incident in which caged Kurdish fighters were paraded through a northern Iraqi town. Published in early 2015, shortly after ISIS burned alive a downed Jordanian pilot, the video sparked widespread rage and fear among the Kurds, marking a nadir in their war against the group. As the ISIS “governor” of Kirkuk province at the time, Jamal Al Mashadani said in his confession that he was responsible for the incident. Known by his nom de guerre Abu Hamza Al Kurdi, Al Mashadani was also involved in the group's chemical weapons programme. The ISIS video showed about 20 Kurdish prisoners in orange jumpsuits placed in metal cages and driven through Hawija's central market in pickup trucks. The video included footage of previous ISIS executions, including the immolation of Jordanian pilot Moaz Al Kassabah in a cage, making clear the threat to murder the Kurdish prisoners in a similarly gruesome fashion. In the video released by Iraq’s National Intelligence Service on Friday, it was Al Mashadani’s turn to wear a prison uniform. A burly man with a grizzled beard, he said the parading of the prisoners aimed to lift the morale of ISIS supporters. It was not clear whether his confession was coerced or given freely.”

Iraqi News: 3 Islamic State Militants Apprehended In Iraq’s Kirkuk

“Iraqi authorities announced on Saturday the capture of three Islamic State (IS) militants during a security campaign in the oil-rich province of Kirkuk. In a press release, a copy of which was obtained by IKH News, Spokesman for the Interior Ministry Maj. Gen. Saad Maan said that troops of the Iraqi intelligence service arrested three Islamic State militants implicated in targeting civilians in Kirkuk province. “The trio were wanted by Iraqi judiciary on terror charges,” he added. Iraqi courts have sentenced many of Islamic State members, including a big number of female members, to death over joining the militant group. The exact number of detained militants is still unknown, however, it’s estimated to be at thousands. It’s also unclear how many members are likely to face death sentences. Moreover, the Iraqi government did not provide estimates about the number of the foreign detained militants or those who have Arab or Iraqi origins. Iraq’s anti-terrorism law empowers courts to convict people who are believed to have helped jihadists even if they are not accused of carrying out attacks.”

Voice Of America: Efforts To Rebuild Raqqa Continue After Islamic State

“More than one year after its recapture from Islamic State (IS) militants, Raqqa, the former de facto capital of the Islamic State’s so-called caliphate, is still struggling to recover from a war that devastated all aspects of normal life. Efforts are underway, though, to rebuild the city’s major bridges. Raqqa was liberated from the terror group by U.S.-backed forces in October 2017. During the 3-month-long battle, the city’s infrastructure was mostly destroyed, including dozens of bridges vital for traffic and transportation of goods. Reconstruction efforts are focusing on one major bridge over the Euphrates River, which will reduce traffic congestion by more than 50 percent, experts said. “The project is expected to be completed on Jan. 1, 2019,” Abdulrahman Hasan, an engineer who oversees the reconstruction progress of al-Hukoumiya Bridge, told VOA. “Hopefully by then the bridge will be safe for pedestrians and traffic. It will carry loads up to 4 tons,” he added. Raqqa residents hope that other bridges also will be rebuilt soon. But for now, they rely on boats and makeshift bridges to cross the river and channels. “Most people go to the other side of the city through the river,” Mohammed Saho, a Raqqa resident, told VOA as he was preparing to get on a small boat with other passengers. “But crossing the Euphrates with these old boats is very risky. A lot of people have drowned in the past few months.” 

Asharq Al-Awsat: Iraq Defuses 83 ISIS Explosives In Anbar

“Iraq announced Saturday that authorities had defused 83 explosives planted by the ISIS terrorist group in the Anbar province. Forty explosives were dismantled in the al-Salam region, 32 in a raid in the Albou Hassan area and 11 in the Albou Obeid region. Iraq's Joint Operations Command spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Rasoul said that the security forces in Anbar also arrested a fugitive wanted on terrorism charges.”

Afghanistan

The New York Times: U.S. Airstrike Kills Senior Taliban Commander In Afghanistan

“The Taliban’s most senior commander in southern Afghanistan was killed in an American airstrike, the insurgent group and Afghan and American officials said on Sunday. The commander, Mullah Abdul Manan, had orchestrated the insurgents’ campaign to take over much of Helmand Province. He was also believed to be a key figure in developing the Taliban’s special forces, the Red Unit, which have carried out deadly attacks across the country. The Taliban described the death of Mullah Manan, who was born Mullah Mohammad Rahim, as a great loss, but insisted that it would not affect the group’s momentum. “The Taliban should consider intensifying peace talks, not the fight,” Sgt. First Class Debra Richardson, a spokeswoman for the United States forces in Afghanistan, said, confirming that Mullah Manan had been killed by an American airstrike. “They’re going to have trouble intensifying the fight when their fighters and leaders are under constant assault. Peace talks are the only solution,” she added. Bashir Ahmad Shakir, who until recently was the head of the security committee at Helmand’s provincial council, described Mullah Manan as a “fighting machine.” “He was tough and a good manager of the battlefield,” Mr. Shakir said. “I remember there were times where he would engage the Afghan forces in 12 different places in Helmand simultaneously.”

Mehr News Agency: Taliban Denies US Claims On Receiving Arms From Iran

“Afghan Taliban group has issued a statement on its website rejecting the US claims that it is receiving weapons from Iran.  A spokesman for the Afghan Taliban group, Qari Muhammad Yousuf Ahmadi, has said in a statement which is published on the group’s website, strongly denying recent claims made by the US officials on receiving arms from Iran. Yusuf Ahmadi stated in the statement that .since a long time ago Taliban have had weapons depots, which are spread in various parts of Afghanistan, as well as a large portion of modern weapons which have been confiscated during conflicts from the enemies. According to the Taliban spokesman, the United States is seeking to deflect global public attention from its failures in Afghanistan by leveling such unfounded claims. Ahmadi also called on the United States to accept its defeat in Afghanistan. Few days ago, US special envoy for Iran, Brian Hook displayed pieces of weapons in the US Department of State, claiming they were given to Taliban by Iran. But, Iran embassy in Kabul has reacted to the US official, saying the claims were aimed at marring Iran-Afghanistan relations.”

Xinhua: Fighting Leaves 18 Dead Including 11 Militants In N. Afghanistan

“A total of 18 people including 11 militants have been killed as clash erupted between security forces and the Taliban outfit in the northern Faryab province, a member of provincial council Abdul Ahad Albeg said Sunday. The clash, according to the official, broke out after the Taliban militants launched coordinated attacks on security checkpoints in Andkhoy and Qarghan districts late Saturday night and the government forces returned fire, triggering gun battle which has left 11 militants and seven security personnel dead. A total of 11 security personnel and nearly two dozen more militants have been injured, the official said. The official has also warned that the said districts would collapse if the government fails to send reinforcement. Taliban militants who are in control of parts of the troubled Faryab province and have threatening provincial capital Maimana, are yet to make comment on the subject.”

Xinhua: Airstrike Kills 10 Taliban Militants In Afghanistan's Kapisa Province

“At least 10 militants have been confirmed dead and a Taliban judiciary center completely destroyed as military aircraft launched an attack in Nijrab district of eastern Afghanistan's Kapisa province on Saturday, said an army spokesman for Pamir 20 Corps Abdul Hadi. “Acting on tip-off, security forces fighting aircraft targeted a Taliban center in Nijrab district of Kapisa province Saturday morning, destroying the group's judiciary department and killing 10 militants on the spot,” Hadi told Xinhua. Taliban militants issue decrees against government entities, security personnel and captured people from the shadow judiciary center, the official said, adding that the destruction of the shadow judiciary could prove a major blow to the insurgent group in Kapisa and adjoining areas. Taliban militants are yet to make comments on the report.”

Pakistan

NDTV: Pak Groups Using Women To Lure Young Men Into Terrorism, Say Officials

“'Honey trapping' is one of the new methods used by Pakistan-based terror groups to woo young men towards terrorism and use them as human carriers for delivering arms from one place to another or acting as guides to infiltrating terrorists, officials said. An intelligence-based operation had led to the arrest of Syed Shazia, a woman in her early 30s from Bandipore, a fortnight ago. It was seen that she had many accounts on social networking sites such as Facebook and Instagram which many young men in the Valley followed, they said. Officials from the central security agencies had been keeping a watch on the Internet Protocol (IP) address used by Shazia for several months. She used to converse with young men and would promise to meet them only if a certain "consignment" was delivered from one place to another, the officials said. Shazia had been in touch with some officials in the police department as well, but the officials termed it a usual tactic of "double-cross" as she used to report the movement of troops and "not so sensitive" information to her handlers across the border.”

Al Jazeera: Pakistan Party Leaders In Blasphemy Case Charged With Terrorism

“Pakistan has charged a right-wing leader with treason and terrorism over his party's disruption of daily life with nationwide rallies following the acquittal of a Christian woman in a blasphemy case.  Khadim Hussain Rizvi, chief of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), and three other party leaders were charged on Saturday for making incendiary remarks against the judiciary and military chiefs after Aasia Bibi was acquitted of blasphemy by the Supreme Court. “Today we have decided to take legal action against the TLP leadership,” Pakistan's Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry told reporters. “All those who were directly involved in destroying property, who misbehaved with women, who set fire to buses, are being charged under laws of terrorism at different police stations,” he said, adding that more than 3,000 people had been arrested in connection with the TLP protests. Rizvi, along with several other TLP leaders, was detained on November 24 after police launched a crackdown on hundreds of his supporters in Punjab province and the port city of Karachi. Thousands of demonstrators, rallied by TLP, had blocked major roads, burning cars and buses last month, as they called for Bibi's execution to be carried out. The chaos followed a landmark verdict which saw the Supreme Court overturn Bibi's death penalty and ordered her release after eight years in jail.”

Yemen

BBC News: Yemen War: Wounded Houthis Rebels To Be Evacuated

“A UN plane is to evacuate wounded Houthi rebels from Yemen in an effort to build confidence ahead of peace talks, the Saudi-led military coalition fighting the rebels says. The 50 rebels are due to be flown from the rebel-held capital Sanaa for treatment in Oman later on Monday. UN-sponsored talks between the rebels and the Saudi-backed government are expected to start in the coming days. The war has caused the world's worst humanitarian crisis in recent times. In nearly four years of conflict in Yemen, thousands of people have been killed in fighting and millions have been pushed to the brink of starvation. "A UN-chartered plane will arrive at Sanaa international airport Monday to evacuate 50 wounded combatants... three Yemeni doctors and a UN doctor, from Sanaa to Muscat," a coalition spokesman said overnight. He said the move had been requested by the UN special envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, and had been agreed as a confidence-building measure ahead of discussions in Sweden.”

Saudi Gazette: Houthis Must Hand Over Hodeida Port To Legitimacy: Minister

“Yemen’s legitimate government stressed the need to uphold the implementation of Security Council resolution 2216 and to hand over the port of Hodeida to the legitimacy. Ahead of the UN talks in Sweden, Yemeni Minister of Foreign Affairs Khaled Al-Yamani said in an interview with Al Arabiya news channel that the file on the release of prisoners and detainees is ready, and that the government has finalized all preparations in this regard, completing all necessary measures to release detainees and prisoners. Regarding the Hodeida port, Yamani stressed that “anyone who thinks that the legitimate government will give up the control of Hodeida port, is delusional.” Yamani also mentioned that the Yemeni government had earlier set up a four-point initiative, called the “Hodeida Initiative”, which demands the Houthi militias to withdraw from the entire west coast, and to hand over of the port to the legitimate government which will supervise the city under the interior ministry. It also stipulates that the port’s management should come under the authority of the Ministry of Transport, while all ports’ income should go to the central bank in Aden.”

The Guardian: Yemen: Injured Houthi Rebels To Be Evacuated, Raising Hope Of Peace Talks

“Fifty wounded Houthi militants in Yemen’s rebel-held capital, Sana’a, will be evacuated to Muscat for treatment on Monday, a Saudi-led military coalition said, calling it a “confidence-building” measure before planned peace talks in Sweden. The evacuation on a UN-chartered plane marks a key step forward in kickstarting stalled negotiations as world powers press for an end to the four-year conflict that has pushed Yemen to the brink of famine. The fate of wounded rebels had been a stumbling block to the start of a previous round of aborted peace talks in September.  “A UN-chartered plane will arrive at Sanaa international airport Monday to evacuate 50 wounded combatants accompanied by ... three Yemeni doctors and a UN doctor, from Sana’a to Muscat,” coalition spokesman Turki al-Maliki said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency. The coalition agreed to facilitate the medical evacuations at the request of UN envoy Martin Griffiths for “humanitarian reasons” and as a “confidence-building” measure, Maliki said in the statement early on Monday. There was no immediate reaction from Houthi rebels or the United Nations.”

Lebanon

Haaretz: Analysis Battle Between Israel And Iran Shifting From Syria To Lebanon

“IDF is disturbed by Hezbollah honing its skills in the Syria war and sending some of its units back to Lebanon. Over the border, the Lebanese are increasingly suspicious of Israel, and their wariness is turning into threats.”

The National: Hezbollah Releases New Video Threatening Top Israeli Sites

“A new video released by Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah has threatened several high-profile Israeli sites as tensions between the two sides that have previously warred continued to simmer. The clip warns Israel, in both Arabic and Hebrew, against launching an attack against the group. It threatens that it is ready to strike a series of Israeli sites in retaliation. The targets include Israel’s nuclear reactor in Dimona, the Israeli military headquarters in Tel Aviv and air forces bases. Israel is concerned that Hezbollah now has a much-larger and developed arsenal of weapons that it did when both fought a month-long war in 2006. It is also wary that thousands of the group’s fighters have gained vital battlefield experience in Syria, where it is fighting on the side of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad. The clip ends with the message: “If you dare attack, you will regret it.” The video release comes a day after Israeli jets were accused of bombing several Syrian government sites in southern Syria and near the capital, Damascus. Israel says it is acting defensively in Syria, preventing the transfer of weapons from Iran to both the Assad regime and Hezbollah that could be used against it.  Israel shares a northern border with Syria in the occupied Golan Heights. The military believes that Hezbollah militiants have established a presence in southern Syria. It fears that any conflict with the group would be multi-pronged: attacks from its shared border with Lebanon border and its shared border with Syria.”

Middle East

The Atlantic: The True Origins Of ISIS

“Most historians of the Islamic State agree that the group emerged out of al-Qaeda in Iraq as a response to the U.S. invasion in 2003. They also agree that it was shaped primarily by a Jordanian jihadist and the eventual head of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The Jordanian had a dark vision: He wished to fuel a civil war between Sunnis and Shiites and establish a caliphate. Although he was killed in 2006, his vision was realized in 2014—the year isis overran northern Iraq and eastern Syria. Narratives about the origins of Islamic State ideology often focus on the fact that Zarqawi and Osama bin Laden, both Sunni extremists, diverged on the idea of fighting Shiites and on questions of takfir, or excommunication. Such differences, the story goes, were reinforced in Iraq and eventually led to the split between isis and al-Qaeda. Based on this set of assumptions, many conclude that Zarqawi must have provided the intellectual framework for isis. Recently, I came to question the conventional wisdom. The groundwork for isis was arguably laid long before the invasion, and if there was one person responsible for the group’s modus operandi, it was Abdulrahman al-Qaduli, an Iraqi from Nineveh better known by his nom de guerre, Abu Ali al-Anbari—not Zarqawi. It was Anbari, Zarqawi’s No. 2 in his al-Qaeda years, who defined the Islamic State’s radical approach more than any other person; his influence was more systematic, longer lasting, and deeper than that of Zarqawi.”

Los Angeles Times: Tunisia's Democracy Faces Tough Choices With Return Home Of Islamist Militants

“It’s been five years since Mohamed Iqbel Ben Rejeb’s brother Hamza left the Al Qaeda-affiliated militants he joined in Syria and returned home. But life in Tunisia has not returned to normal. Hamza, a 28-year-old who suffers from muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair, is under government surveillance and struggles to find a job, Ben Rejeb, 40, said in a phone interview. Tunisians make up one of the largest groups of nationals that joined extremist groups in Syria, Iraq and Libya. Of the estimated 40,000 foreign fighters that fought for Islamic State alone, upward of about 7,000 were Tunisians, according to a 2015 report from the Soufan Group, a security firm based in New York. In Tunisia, militant Islamists took advantage of the politically open environment following the “Arab Spring” in 2011 to tap into long-standing grievances over unemployment and religious and political disenfranchisement. Since the collapse of Islamic State’s self-styled caliphate, troves of foreign fighters have returned home or to third countries. Ben Rejeb’s brother is one of an estimated 2,000 Tunisians who have come back to Tunisia. Consequently, the government has faced the dilemma of how, or whether, to reintegrate thousands of radicalized jihadists into the relatively open society.”

Libya

The Wall Street Journal: Libyan Warlord Embraced By Foreign Leaders As A Key To Peace

“Decades after he led a CIA-backed military campaign against Moammar Gadhafi’s regime, a powerful Libyan warlord has become central to international efforts to stabilize the warring nation that holds Africa’s largest oil reserves. A former general in Gadhafi’s army, Khalifa Haftar spent two decades in exile in northern Virginia after the failed 1980s assault. He returned home during the 2011 revolution against Gadhafi and took command of some rebel forces that helped oust the dictator, plunging the country into years of political chaos. After attempting to then overthrow Libya’s post-revolutionary government in 2014, the commander launched a unilateral military campaign that triggered years of intense fighting with rival militias. The septuagenarian now controls Libya’s eastern half, lionized by those who support his vanquishing of Islamist insurgents and reviled by those who have documented the use of torture, extrajudicial killing and disappearances by his forces. As Mr. Haftar expands his sway in Libya, he enjoys a deepening embrace from European states, at times overshadowing the United Nations-backed government in the capital Tripoli that he opposes.”

Asharq Al-Awsat: US Airstrike Kills 11 Qaeda Terrorists In South Libya

“At least 11 terrorists were killed in an air strike carried out this week by the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) near al-Uwaynat desert in Libya. AFRICOM said it carried out the operation in coordination with the Government of National Accord (GNA), killing 11 al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) terrorists and destroying three of their vehicles. “AFRICOM will use precision strikes to deny terrorists safe haven in Libya. We will keep pressure on their network, and they remain vulnerable wherever they are,” it said in a statement. This is the third US raid targeting AQIM terrorists, the last of which killed a militant on July 13. Eyewitnesses and a security source told Asharq Al-Awsat that the air strike, completely destroyed the vehicles in the Libyan desert. They pointed out that Red Crescent teams headed to the scene of the raid, and rescued an injured man who succumbed to injuries in hospital. Meanwhile, the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) warned of “extrajudicial killings in the capital Tripoli.” UNSMIL issued a statement, saying it continues to receive reports of armed groups carrying out extra-judicial killings in Tripoli, a phenomenon that has been on the rise over the past few weeks. “The Mission affirms that allegations of offenses and personal disputes should be judged in a court of law, not by gunmen on the streets.”

Nigeria

The Guardian: 'It's The Real Me': Nigerian President Denies Dying And Being Replaced By Clone

“Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has denied claims that he had died and was replaced by a Sudanese impostor, breaking his silence on a rumour that has circulated on social media for months. Buhari, who is running for re-election in February, spent five months in Britain last year being treated for an undisclosed illness. One theory widely aired on social media – and by some political opponents – was that he had been replaced by a lookalike from Sudan called Jubril. No evidence has been presented, but videos making the claim have been viewed thousands of times on YouTube and Facebook. “It’s the real me, I assure you. I will soon celebrate my 76th birthday and I will still go strong,” Buhari told Nigerians in a town hall session in Poland on Sunday, where he was attending a conference, when asked about Jubril. “A lot of people hoped that I died during my ill health. Some even reached out to the Vice President to consider them to be his deputy because they assumed I was dead. That embarrassed him a lot and of course, he visited me when I was in London convalescing,’’ he said, adding that those who spread the rumour were “ignorant and irreligious.”

News24: Surge In Boko Haram Attacks Prompts Call For More Intl Backing

“Leaders from Chad, Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon called on Thursday for increased international backing in the face of the recent escalation of attacks by Boko Haram jihadists in the Lake Chad area. Chad's President Idriss Deby hosted his counterparts from Nigeria and Niger, Muhammadu Buhari and Mahamadou Issoufou, as well as Cameroon's Prime Minister Philemon Yang for the closed-door talks. "The heads of state and government... expressed their deep concern with regards to the upsurge of attacks... and expressed the crucial need to change their modus operandi in the fight against Boko Haram," the leaders said in a statement. "In this regard, the leaders took a number of decisions which included operational cooperation," it said. "In this context, they appealed to the international community to support their efforts in the fight against terrorism in the region, and in the stabilisation and sustainable development of the sub-region," the statement added.”

Daily Post Nigeria: Boko Haram Terrorists Reportedly Lay Siege To Borno, Yobe Communities

“Reports from Borno and Yobe states Saturday evening have it that Malumfatori in Abadam local government area of Borno state, Buni Gari in Yobe state, and Muna garage within Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, came under attacks by suspected members of the Boko Haram sect. Although there is yet to be official confirmation of the attacks, residents and security sources in Yobe state have confirmed the attack in Buni Gari, saying that the terrorists laid siege to the town since 5:30pm this evening (Saturday). It was not clear whether or not the terrorists have been repelled as text message to military platforms requesting confirmation to claims by residents and other sources was not officially communicated back as requested. While some residents are saying that the siege is still on as Boko Haram militants have taken control of the town of Buni Gari, other sources said Nigerian Air Force fighter jets have arrived the town and with the combined ground troops disband the siege and repelled the insurgents who arrived in large number. For the attack in Malumfatori, Daily Post gathered that due to lack of network in the area efforts towards communication are on to get facts on ground from the military through other means. A source in the Barracks told our correspondent that there was no report available yet on the attack.”

Daily Post Nigeria: Boko Haram: Two Suicide Bombers Die In Maiduguri

“Two unidentified suicide bombers suspected to be agents of Boko Haram insurgents have died near Mina garage in Maiduguri, Borno state. Army Spokesman, Brig-Gen. Sani Usman, disclosed this on Sunday in a statement issued to journalists in Abuja. According to him, the suicide bombers, a male and a female, on a mission to infiltrate the garage hurriedly, detonated one of their suicide vests upon sighting troops of 195 Battalion on patrol. Usman further said the incident, which occurred at about 8pm on Saturday, left no fewer than five members of the Civilian Joint Task Force, CJTF, injured. The statement reads: “Two Suicide Bombers (Male and Female) on a mission to infiltrate Muna Garage Maiduguri, hurriedly detonated one of their suicide vests on sighting troops of 195 Battalion on patrol at about 8 P.M on 1 December 2018. “The patrol team quickly moved to the scene and discovered it was only the female suicide bomber’s vest that was detonated, killing herself and the male suicide bomber. “Unfortunately, five members of Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) on duty at the market were injured in the explosion. “Subsequently, the area was cordoned off and the Explosive Ordinance Device Team were drafted to defuse the other unexploded vest, while Borno State Emergency Management Agency and the Red-cross evacuated the mutilated body parts of the suicide bombers.”

News 24: One Dead As Boko Haram Attacks Nigeria Army Base

“Boko Haram militants attacked an army base in northeast Nigeria, killing one soldier, military sources told AFP on Friday, a day after regional leaders urged more international support to fight the jihadists. Fighters with the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) came in trucks fitted with anti-aircraft guns and attacked the base in Arege village near the fishing town of Baga on the shores of Lake Chad.  The base came under attack before dawn, prompting clashes, a military source told AFP.  “The attack was successfully repelled but unfortunately a soldier was killed and seven others were injured,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the incident.  The same base came under attack on Wednesday, but the militants failed to overrun it “and suffered heavy casualties,” a military statement said on Twitter. The jihadists have in recent months intensified their attacks on military bases in the northeast, with the most audacious taking place on November 18 when military sources said at least 43 soldiers were killed at a base in Metele near the border with Niger. Troops who survived said over 100 of their colleagues were killed, but after a long period of silence, the military on Wednesday gave an official figure of 23 deaths.”

Pulse Nigeria: Boko Haram: I-G Deploys Additional 2,000 Personnel To North East

“The Inspector-General of Police (I-G), Mr Ibrahim Idris has deployed additional 2,000 Police Mobile Force (PMF), Counter Terrorism Units (CTUs) and the Sniffer Dog Sections to fight Boko Haram insurgency under the Operation Lafiya Dole in the North East. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the force before now had 2,961 personnel of Police Mobile Force personnel in Borno in addition to the PMF Squadron in the state. A statement by the force spokesman, acting DCP Jimoh Moshood on Sunday in Abuja, said the deployment was consistent with Section 4 of the Police Act and Regulations which specifies the general duties of the Nigeria Police Force. The spokesman said the deployment was also to support the strength of the Military to defeat Boko Haram Insurgency in the North East. He said that the force also has 1,134 of PMF personnel in Adamawa in addition to PMF squadron in the state. Moshood said that the Counter Terrorism Units (CTUs) of the force had deployed over 1,250 specially trained personnel and police Anti-Bomb Squad with 300 personnel in the North East. “The Police Air-wing Surveillance Helicopters and crews are also deployed to support most of the operations of Operation Lafiya Dole throughout the North East.” The Nigeria police force is fully committed to the fight against insurgency and will do all it takes in collaboration with the Military to bring a quick end to Boko Haram insurgency and crisis in the Nor th East,” he said.”

Somalia

Al Jazeera: Somalia: US Military Says Attack Kills Nine Al-Shabab Fighters

“The United States military said it killed nine fighters in an air attack targeting al-Shabab fighters in Lebede, Somalia, as part of its operations to support the government's efforts to weaken the armed group. The military's Africa Command (Africom) said the attack was carried out on Friday. “We currently assess this air strike killed nine militants with no civilians involved,” Africom said in a statement late on Saturday. The statement gave no details on those killed. US military involvement in Somalia has grown since President Donald Trump approved expanded operations against al-Shabab early in his term. Washington currently has about 500 military personnel in the Horn of Africa nation and carries out periodic air raids in support of the UN-backed government there. The US has carried out at least 37 air raids this year against the al-Qaeda-linked group, one of Africa's deadliest rebel groups, which continues to stage attacks in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, and other cities. The group killed at least 15 people, including a Sufi Muslim leader, in a suicide explosion in the central town of Galkayo last Friday. Al-Shabab was pushed out of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, in recent years but continues to control rural areas in the south and central regions.”

Africa

News 24: DRC Says Terror Threat Against US In Kinshasa Is Serious

“Democratic Republic of Congo's government for the first time says it is taking seriously the terror threat against US government facilities that has closed the US Embassy in Kinshasa all week. Foreign Minister Leonard She Okitunu told reporters on Friday that “we have serious information” about the threat but it is too early to give details. He said everything has been done to make sure the threat is not carried out. A US security alert on November 24 said the US Embassy had received “credible and specific information of a possible terrorist threat against US government facilities in Kinshasa.” DRC, unlike several countries across Africa, is not plagued by extremist attacks, though some observers have expressed concern about possible terror links to the Allied Democratic Forces rebel group active in the nation's northeast.”

Independent Online: Concern Mounts As 100 Set To Return To SA From ISIS Camps

“About 80 to 100 South Africans who have been at Islamic State camps abroad have returned home.
This is according to Na’eem Jeenah, director of the Afro-Middle East Centre (Amec), a think tank which focuses on research across North Africa and the Middle East on security and terrorism. The centre hosted a seminar on Wednesday in Sydenham, Durban, on South Africa’s connection to Isis. “We have had a number of returnees, about 80 to a 100, especially families. They are almost definitely under surveillance. Upon their return, they were interviewed by the State Security Agency (SSA) before being released and the government has been involved in ensuring their proper repatriation,” said Jeenah. The SSA could not disclose specific information about operational matters. Spokesperson Lebohang Mafokosi said it monitored all potential threats and their impact on the state. Jeenah added that South Africa was not an Isis target. He said the objective of Isis was to take and hold territory, and to attack the “near enemy”, such as Iraq and Syria, which would indirectly be an attack on the “far enemy”, such as the US. “Attacks on Western targets come when those countries declare military war against Isis. South Africa has not declared itself at war with Isis,” he said. Jeenah said people were using recent incidents to create hysteria.”

News Ghana: Somali Women Vow To Champion Peace, Counter Violent Extremism

“Somali women wrapped up a peace forum in Mogadishu on Thursday evening by resolving to embrace peace, reconciliation and prevent violent extremism.  The UN-backed Women’s Peace Forum which brought together hundreds of women from Galmudug, Puntland, South West, Jubbaland and HirShabelle states and Benadir region, saw participants recommit to advance peace efforts and defeat extremist elements in the Horn of Africa nation.  “Women really want to have peace; and to have reconciliation is also very important. As women, when it comes to reconciliation, we are not in there,” said Fartun Abdisalam Adan, Director of Elman Peace and Human Rights Foundation, according to a statement issued by the UN mission in Somalia (UNSOM).  Abdisalam stressed the importance of women taking a front seat in reconciliation efforts in the Horn of African nation.  “When it comes to reconciliation, women might just talk, but we are never involved. This is certainly a new beginning for Somali women to really be part of the reconciliation and to actually have peace in Somalia,” she said.”

Canada

Al Jazeera: Canada Court Rules Vice Journalist Must Hand Over ISIL Notes

“The Supreme Court of Canada has ordered a Vice News reporter to hand over to police his communications with Farah Shirdon, a late ISIL fighter who was charged with terrorism-related offences. In a unanimous decision released on Friday, the court acknowledged the potential “chilling” effects of such a decision on both journalists and sources, but said in this particular case the “state's interest in the investigation and prosecution of crime outweighed the media's right to privacy in gathering and disseminating the news”. Justice Michael Moldaver wrote that the production order for Ben Makuch's records should proceed because his work didn't involve “off the record” or “not for attribution” conversations. “Crucially, there is no suggestion that anything the source said was intended or understood to be 'of the record',” the statement read.  “The journalist’s own conduct shows that the relationship was not confidential in any way.”  In a statement issued after the ruling was released, Vice called it “a dark day for press freedom, which is a basic tenet for democracy”. Makuch, the reporter, said he was “profoundly disappointed” by the ruling. Makuch, a national security journalist with Vice News, made contact with Shirdon in 2014. A year later, police said they believe Shirdon left Canada in March 2014 to fight with ISIL in Syria.”

France

Time: The Smashed Face Of This Statue Symbolizes The Fury Of The Paris Protests

“France’s worst riots in a decade have left destruction across Paris, with even national monuments facing the wrath of anti-government protesters known as gilet jaunes or yellow jackets after the high-visibility jackets they wear on demonstrations. Thousands of protesters stormed the streets of the French capital over the weekend, leaving torched cars, smashed windows and looted stores in their wake. Police said that 133 people were injured, including 23 police officers. Anger at rising fuel prices and France’s high cost of living has exacerbated fury at French president Emmanuel Macron, seen as a wealthy and aloof figure, oblivious to the struggles of ordinary citizens. One of the most striking images of the destruction shows a smashed statue of Marianne inside the Arc de Triomphe. The icon of Marianne emerged during the French Revolution of 1789 as a personification of the values of liberty, equality and fraternity and in later years came to represent France itself. She appears on stamps and in popular culture, and most town halls across France hold statues dedicated to her, often remodeled on contemporary French female celebrities such as Brigitte Bardot and Catherine Deneuve.”

Europe

Associated Press: Ukraine Cites Massive Buildup Of Russian Forces Along Border

“Russia is building up its land forces and weapons along the border, Ukraine’s president said Saturday as German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Russia not to block Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov. Tensions between Russia and Ukraine were still escalating a week after a naval clash in the Black Sea on Nov. 25 in which Russia fired on three Ukrainian naval ships then seized them and their 24 crew members. Across the world in Argentina, foreign leaders grilled Russian President Vladimir Putin about Russia’s actions, but he remained firm, squarely blaming Ukraine for the confrontation, saying its vessels violated Russian territorial waters. He didn’t address Ukraine’s accusations of a Russian military buildup. Speaking at a Ukrainian military event, President Petro Poroshenko said Russia has deployed “more than 80,000 troops, 1,400 artillery and multiple rocket launch systems, 900 tanks, 2,300 armored combat vehicles, 500 aircraft and 300 helicopters” along their common border. These numbers, which have not been verified, would account for the vast majority of men and hardware assigned to Russia’s Western Military District.”

Israel National News: Leader Of Hungary's Extremist Party Resigns Over Anti-Semitism

“A leader of the extremist Jobbik Party in Hungary has resigned his leadership positions following the release of a recording of an admission of an anti-Semitic act, JTA reported on Sunday. Jobbik deputy group leader and parliamentary notary Istvan Szavay resigned his positions on Thursday, Hungary Today reported, though he will remain a member of Parliament. Szavay was heard in the recording admitting to verbally and physically assaulting a Jewish woman, though he claims she started it. “She was yelling, ‘Nazis are stinking here,’ and I just knocked her out, dirty Jew, pakk, just like this,” he said on the recording. Szavay said he did not actually physically harm the woman. Jobbik, Hungary’s second most popular political party with 26 out of 199 seats in parliament, is blamed for much of the anti-Semitism which remains prevalent in the country. In November of 2012, one of Jobbik’s members released a statement saying that a list should be compiled of all of the Jewish members of government. He was followed by another Jobbik member who called publicly for the resignation of a fellow MP who claimed to have Israeli citizenship. In 2014, a town mayor linked to Jobbik was filmed ordering the hanging of effigies of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and former president Shimon Peres in protest against the Gaza conflict. The World Jewish Congress has termed Jobbik “an extremist party promoting hate.”

Daily Mail: Boy, 11, Vows To Cut Off His Enemies' Heads In Chilling ISIS Video Before He And His Brother, 17, Are Shot Dead By Police After Ramming A Car Into Cops In Chechnya

“A chilling ISIS video has emerged showing an 11-year-old boy threatening to cut off his enemies' heads before he and his brother rammed a car into cops in Chechnya.   Mukhamad-Amin Akhmatkhanov brandished a knife as he said he had been created 'in order to lift up high the banner of Allah…with the help of blood.' The child, and his 17-year-old brother Elakh were shot dead by police a short time later having rammed a Mercedes into police in the capital Grozny. Dramatic CCTV footage shows an explosion as the car, driven by Elakh Akhmatkhanov raced towards a busy intersection. It then sped around a corner -hitting and killing a policeman - and crashed into a police vehicle injuring three others including a woman. The boys were shot by police seconds after the rampage - with officers apparently not realising the attackers were youths. Their blood-drenched bodies were later seen on the road being examined by police. The attack was in August but the video - highlighting the sickening use of children by ISIS - has only now emerged in Russia. In the footage, the boy is asked questions by an unseen man making the film. The child replies: 'Allah created me in order to lift up high the banner of Allah…with the help of blood.' He claims the 'law of Allah' no longer holds sway in his homeland and 'they are killing my brothers and sisters…' He vowed: 'As soon as we get to you, we will cut off your heads, and they will fly away…'“

Technology

The Guardian: World Watches As Australian Regulator Rules On Facebook And Google

“A titanic struggle is taking place between some of the world’s largest corporations. In one corner is Google and Facebook. In the other is News Corporation. It’s not alone. It stands with most of the established media companies which have watched with growing horror as their advertising revenues have migrated into the coffers of the digital behemoths. Alphabet, Google’s parent, reported worldwide revenues of US$33bn in the third quarter and is on track to top US$120bn in 2018, mostly from advertising. Facebook’s revenues topped US$40bn in 2017 and have continued to grow during 2018. In just 10 years, the platforms have gone from nothing to hoovering up the majority of advertising dollars in Australia. In contrast, News Corporation and most media companies have seen their revenues draining way. It began with what used to be known as print media, but are probably now better described as news media sites.”

Counter Extremism

Elmihwar: Algeria: Danger Of Spreading Radical Ideologies In Prisons

“Despite the counter terrorism efforts being made by the Algerian security authorities, the danger of awakening sleeper terrorist cells and recruiting radicalized persons persists inside local prisons. Extremist detainees are striving to radicalize other inmates and, unfortunately, they occasionally succeed in that malicious mission, according to interrogations of arrested terrorists. For instance, the investigation of a 29-member terrorist network affiliated with the "Salafist Group for Call and Combat" that operated in the town of Meftah in the Blida Province, showed that this cell's members sought to recruit incarcerated youths. The same investigation revealed that the arrested members of the terrorist network were financing their extremist group by exploiting the revenues generated from ordinary business dealings as well as thievery. Additionally, they took advantage of commercial enterprises to hide militants, according to the interrogations.”

Combating Terrorist Financing

Aljone: Kuwaiti Parliament Debates Amendment To Anti-Terror Financing And Money-Laundering Law

“During the next two days, the Kuwaiti Parliamentary Legislative Committee will debate several law amendments. One of them refers to the anti-Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism Law (AML/CFT). The proposed amendment to the AML/CFT Act, which was presented by Member of Kuwait's Parliament Dr. Abdulkareem Al-Kandari, aims to shift subordination of the “Financial Intelligence Unit," which conducts inspections to ensure compliance with the AML/CFT Law and regulations, to the Central Bank of Kuwait.”

ISIS

Kurdistan24: Iraq: Detention Of Network Disbursing Financial Aid To Families Of Dead ISIS Militants

“On Sunday, the Iraqi security forces arrested members of a network that disbursed financial aid to the families of ISIS militants who were killed in Mosul. An official statement issued by the Iraqi Security Media Center indicated that Anti-Organized Crime Units from Nineveh, in cooperation with the Rabia Police Center, managed to detain a terrorist network that was distributing funds to families of ISIS militants who were killed during skirmishes.”

Iraqna: Iraqi Officers: Return Of ISIS To Mosul Impossible

“Concerns about the return of ISIS {to Mosul} have resurfaced, following reports about "clandestine movements" by its militants within the city. This comes while military commanders are trying to reassure residents of the {safe} security situation in the city which was liberated about a year ago. Brigadier General Shahzid Aziz, commander of the 20th Division, said that "there is exaggeration in the media, aided especially by members of the organization who disseminate the rumors. The aim of this media activity is to prove that ISIS is still present in the {liberated} areas." He added: "We categorically deny the presence of any movement or activity by ISIS militants nor bases or command centers." He pointed out that while " some remnants of the terrorist organization do exist, they have no headquarters or bases," stressing that "the people of Mosul are very helpful, and in the event of observing any activity, they report it to security units immediately to monitor those remnants.”