Eye on extremism: December 6

The New York Times: Portrait Of London Bridge Killer, In His Own Words

“I have learnt that many of my past beliefs came from my misinterpretations of Islam,” the young man wrote to his probation officers. “There were many gaps in my knowledge but now I am on new path and am learning to become a good Muslim. I would like a chance to prove to you that I will not cause harm to nobody in our society.” Last Friday, the man who wrote those words, 28-year-old Usman Khan, traveled unsupervised from his probation hostel in England’s West Midlands to London, where he carried out a deadly terrorist attack after having participated in a conference on prison rehabilitation. A week after the attack, questions remain about why he was allowed to travel by himself to the conference and, more broadly, about Britain’s rehabilitation system and the process of releasing convicted terrorists back into society. On Sunday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that 74 people who had been jailed for terrorism offenses and released early would have their license conditions reviewed, and he vowed that serious offenders would no longer obtain early release. But interviews with people familiar with Mr. Khan’s history — and copies of letters and reports on his progress written by Mr. Khan and obtained from officials with the government’s counterterrorism Prevent Program and the probation service — show that the problems of rehabilitating radical jihadis are complex, and do not always lend themselves to simple solutions like longer prison terms.”

CBS News: U.S. Says Iran "Could Have Murdered Over A Thousand" Citizens During Protests

“After receiving 32,000 videos of the recent protests in Iran, the United States said Thursday that the government there has committed "gross human rights violations" that may have left over a thousand citizens dead and thousands more imprisoned since the unrest began in mid-November. Iran's government has admitted to only a handful of deaths. "As the truth is trickling out of Iran, it appears the regime could have murdered over a thousand citizens," including at least a dozen children, said Brian Hook, the State Department's special representative for Iran. At least 7,000 protesters have been detained in prison. But, he said, "we cannot be certain because the regime blocks information."

The Independent: Isis ‘Not Defeated’ And Terrorism Threat Growing, Warns Head Of UK Military 

“Isis and its ideology of violence “has absolutely not been defeated” and the threat of terrorism continues to proliferate with lethal effect, the head of Britain’s military has warned. General Sir Nick Carter pointed to last week’s attack at London Bridge by freed Islamist terrorist Usman Khan as an example of the grave danger being faced by the public, and stressed that  “conditions in parts of the world are not conductive to reducing the growth of extremism”. In fact the security situation is getting worse, the chief of the Defence Staff held in his annual lecture at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London. He reminded the audience of his message last year that “instability was the defining condition with threats to our nation diversifying, proliferating and intensifying very rapidly”. Speaking on Thursday evening, he continued: “So what’s changed? If anything, events over the past 12 months suggest the [situation] has become even less stable.” Gen Carter’s caution against writing off Isis – a view echoed by other British, American and other western military commanders and politicians – is in marked contrast to Donald Trump’s declarations that “Isis has been 100 per cent defeated.” 

The Sun: WEB OF HATE YouTube STILL Hosting More Than 100 Videos By Hate Preacher Who Inspired London Bridge Attacker Years After Being Told 

“Lectures by an Islamist hate preacher who helped radicalise London Bridge terrorist Usman Khan have been found on YouTube years after experts warned they fuel extremism. Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed by a US drone strike in Yemen eight years ago, has inspired dozens of jihadi terrorists in the West. The Counter Extremism Project (CEP), which aims to tackle online radicalisation and extremism, previously said it found evidence of 90 cases to terrorists who attacked targets in the West after being influenced by Awlaki material online. The Sun Online today found videos where Awlaki calls for Islam to be 'spread by the sword' among non-believers who resist Islam. Ian Acheson, a senior adviser at the CEP, said: "Try searching for porn on Facebook, you can’t do it. Upload copyright material to YouTube and it’s down within seconds. But it’s not the same for these clips promoting hateful ideologies. The next government must get the Online Harms White Paper into law."

Vice News: Neo-Nazi Terror Group Harbouring Missing Ex-Soldier

“According to information VICE has learned from confidential sources, a U.S.-based neo-Nazi terrorist group is currently harboring a missing ex-soldier from Canada. The information suggests members of The Base are hiding Patrik Mathews, 26, whose whereabouts have been the focus of much speculation. Joshua Fisher-Birch, a research analyst specializing in white nationalist terrorism at the Counter Extremism Project, said that if Mathews was an ISIS member the significance of his alleged, illegal entry into the U.S. and his training of other members would have likely garnered a more extreme response from authorities. "Had Mathews pledged his allegiance to ISIS, instead of joining the Base, there is a high likelihood that more resources would have been spent to try and locate him," he said. "The operation to move and protect Mathews endangers public safety and it’s particularly significant because of his military training and experience and the fact that he crossed an international border. Mathews’ weapons and explosives training from his time in Canada’s armed forces, and that he is passing these skills on to his fellow neo-Nazis is particularly dangerous."

U.S. News & World Report: Man Accused Of Supporting ISIS Through Bomb-Making Video

“A man who moved from Florida to Virginia earlier this year was indicted Thursday on a charge of attempting to support the Islamic State terrorist group by posting a video online for making explosives. Romeo Xavier Langhorne, 30, was formally charged in Jacksonville federal court. He faces up to 20 years in prison, according to federal court records. Langhorne was arrested last month in Roanoke, Virginia, where he moved in April. Langhorne has been a follower of ISIS since 2014 and has recently publicly reaffirmed his support for ISIS, according to a criminal complaint. Investigators said Langhorne was living in St. Augustine, Florida, in February when he began communicating with an undercover FBI employee who was posing as an ISIS member. Langhorne told the FBI employee about his plans to create and disseminate an instructional video on making a deadly explosive, triacetone triperoxide, the complaint said. Langhorne told the undercover employee that the purpose in making and distributing the video was to arm ISIS supporters and others with knowledge of how to make the explosive and use it for terrorism-related purposes, authorities said.”

United States

The Wall Street Journal: Trump Vs. Macron On ISIS Fighters 

“Would you like some nice ISIS fighters?” President Trump asked French President Emmanuel Macron at the NATO summit this week. Mr. Macron replied, “Let’s be serious.” But Mr. Trump was making a crucial point—granted, in his undiplomatic way—about European irresponsibility in the fight against Islamic State. The President was referring to the Continent’s refusal to repatriate ISIS fighters and family members with European passports detained in Syria. Mr. Macron said this week that European ISIS fighters represent only “a tiny minority of the overall problem.” He’s right on the numbers, but the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks showed it doesn’t take many ISIS veterans to turn Europe into a battlefield. Some 40,000 foreigners joined ISIS. France contributed the most fighters among some 5,000 Europeans. Thousands died in battle or slipped away, but the Syrian Democratic Forces today have more than 2,000 foreign fighters in custody. The fighters’ wives and children, many of them as radical as their husbands and fathers, can’t stay in SDF-controlled refugee camps forever. The U.S. has been pushing Western Europeans to bring their citizens home to face justice or rehabilitation.”

Foreign Policy: Will Trump Label Mexican Cartels Terrorist Groups?

“U.S. Attorney General William Barr is in Mexico City today to discuss the security situation in the country, as President Donald Trump considers officially designating Mexican drug cartels terrorist groups. Barr has meetings scheduled with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, and other top law enforcement officials. Barr’s visit comes after an increase in cartel violence in Mexico, where nine dual U.S. citizens were killed last month. The Trump administration has continued to put pressure on López Obrador to rein in the cartels and curb the country’s rising homicide rate—which has set a record this year, even as the president’s approval ratings remain strong. What would naming the cartels as terrorists mean? The Trump administration will make a decision about the terrorist group designation on Friday, Bloomberg reports. If it goes forward, the cartels would fall under the State Department’s Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) category, along with the Islamic State and al Qaeda. The designation is usually intended to disrupt groups’ financing. The suggestion has alarmed Mexico, which called it “interventionism.”

Military Times: US Offering $15 Million For Info On Iranian Planner Of 2007 Karbala Attack That Killed 5 US Troops

“The U.S. State Department announced Thursday it was offering $15 million for information related to an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Commander who planned one of the most sophisticated attacks against coalition troops in Iraq, killing five soldiers in 2007. Brian Hook, the U.S. special representative on Iran , told reporters Thursday during a press briefing that the $15 million reward was for information on financial activities, networks and associates of Yemen-based IRGC-Qods Force commander Abdul Reza Shahlai. The bounty is not for Shalai’s death or capture. Iran’s Qods force conducts irregular war and intelligence collection activities and is tasked with exporting the 1979 revolution. The group has wreaked havoc in conflicts across the Middle East from Yemen to Syria, training proxy forces and carrying out attacks on Western and U.S. interests in the region. Shahlai has a “long history of attacks against Americans and our allies globally,” Hook said. “He planned multiple assassinations of coalition forces in Iraq.”


The Washington Post: Turkey Says 2 Killed In Car Bomb Attack In Northeast Syria

“Turkey’s Defense Ministry says a car bomb explosion in a Turkish-controlled area of northeastern Syria has killed two civilians. In a statement posted on Twitter, the ministry said at least 10 other people were wounded in the attack in the city of Ras al-Ayn on Thursday. The attack was the latest in a string of deadly car bomb attacks in northeast Syria since Turkish troops and allied Syrian opposition fighters captured Ras al-Ayn and other areas in October to drive Syrian Kurdish fighters away from its border. The ministry blamed the attack on Syrian Kurdish fighters. Turkey considers the Kurdish fighters as terrorists because of their links to a Kurdish insurgency inside Turkey. The fighters had however, partnered with the U.S. against the Islamic State group.”

Al Monitor: US Pushes To Reintegrate Militants After Islamic State Fight

“The Donald Trump administration is struggling to help Middle Eastern and African countries reintegrate thousands of fighters who joined the Islamic State (IS) and Iran-backed Houthis, a senior administration official said Dec. 5. Speaking at an Al-Monitor Middle East Mornings breakfast, Denise Natali, the State Department’s assistant secretary for conflict and stabilization operations, said the agency is looking to develop mechanisms to help foreign officials identify whether former Islamic State and Shiite militia fighters are a risk to commit crimes once they return to their communities. “What do we do with tens of thousands of militia, non-state armed groups that won’t reintegrate into national armies, won’t give up their arms and are having a difficult time reintegrating?” Natali asked. In Europe, where West Balkan states have taken back around 100 Islamic State fighters from Syria, “There’s an easier or more willing path to reintegrate than it is from Boko Haram, Al-Shabab,” she added. The challenge of detaining more than 10,000 foreign IS fighters who remain in Syria has been a key point of contention between Trump and European leaders, as the United States slimmed its presence to around 600 troops in the war-torn country this month.”

Daily Mail: ISIS Has NOT Been Defeated And Syria Is A 'Tinder Box' That Could Easily Ignite, Head Of Britain's Armed Forces Warns

“The terrorism threat has 'proliferated' and migration is set to rise significantly, the head of the Armed Forces warned last night. General Sir Nick Carter said Islamic State and extremism had 'absolutely not been defeated' – as shown by last week's London Bridge terror attack. In his annual speech at the Royal United Services Institute, the 60-year-old also said Syria had become a 'tinder box' that could very easily ignite.  He warned of conflicts between different armed groups, such as Russian mercenaries in the war zone.  He said: 'Daesh [IS], and the extremist ideas it represents, has absolutely not been defeated – indeed the threat from terrorism has proliferated – as was sadly demonstrated once again in last Friday's attack at London Bridge.' Convicted Islamist terrorist Usman Khan stabbed two Cambridge graduates to death at Fishmongers' Hall in the capital.  Speaking in London, General Carter warned of a new age of 'political warfare' where Britain's enemies deploy fake news, spies and intimidation to threaten democracy.  In this new age, authoritarian opponents are attacking Britain's 'way of life and our freedom in a manner that is remarkably difficult to defeat without undermining the very freedoms we want to protect.’”


The Wall Street Journal: Iran Faces Tougher Stance From Europe Over Nuclear Deal Violations

“France, Britain and Germany will ratchet up pressure on Iran in coming weeks by triggering a dispute mechanism if Tehran continues its prohibited moves away from the 2015 nuclear deal, diplomats say. The warning leaves the two sides heading for a major clash in early January, when Iran has said it will further escalate its nuclear program. Advancing with the dispute mechanism, part of the 2015 nuclear deal, has prompted Iranian threats of abandoning the deal and could lead to the reimposition of international sanctions on Tehran within two months. The European warning comes as senior Iranian, European, Russian and Chinese officials meet in Vienna on Friday to discuss the threats to the 2015 deal. The U.S. withdrew from the accord in May 2018 and has since imposed withering sanctions on Tehran. Iran’s breaches of the accord came in response to those decisions and the failure of Europe to cushion the Iranian economy from the impact of U.S. sanctions.”

Associated Press: Russia Suspends Project With Iran Due To Uranium Enrichment

“A Russian state company suspended a research project with Iran because of its decision to resume enriching uranium, a move a senior official said Thursday was necessary after the U.S. canceled a waiver to allow the joint venture. The TVEL company said in a statement that Iran’s decision to resume uranium enrichment at the Fordo facility makes it impossible to convert the facility to produce radioactive isotopes for medical purposes. Iran agreed to stop uranium enrichment under a 2015 deal with world powers to prevent it from building a bomb, but it has resumed such activities after the U.S. pulled out of the pact last year and imposed new sanctions. TVEL’s suspension apparently reflects Moscow’s attempt to distance itself from the Iranian nuclear activities that violate the 2015 agreement to avoid the U.S. penalties. It comes after a U.S. announcement last month that the waiver allowing foreign companies to work at Fordo will end Dec. 15.”

Voice Of America: US Official: Iran Protest Deaths May Have Topped 1,000

“A senior U.S. official said Thursday Iranian forces may have killed more than 1,000 people in three weeks of protests sparked by the government's sudden and dramatic increase in fuel prices. "It appears the regime could have murdered over a thousand Iranian citizens since the protests began," said State Department special representative for Iran, Brian Hook. Hook said the State Department received 32,000 videos, including footage taken in southern Iran, where elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps allegedly pursued a group of protesters and opened fire, killing as many 100 people. Hook said Iranian forces also wounded "many thousands" and arrested at least 7,000 others. Hook acknowledges that the death toll figures were difficult to confirm, but declared, "We know for certain it is many, many hundreds."

The Financial Times: Voices From Iran: Protesters Describe Unrest And Crackdown

“For Ahmad, an unemployed 24 year-old who grew up near the vast oil wells that have for decades sustained the Islamic republic of Iran and the elite he perceives as corrupt, the decision to increase petrol prices by half was the last straw. He had never protested before but he and dozens of his friends decided to block the main roads around Omidiyeh, an oil town in south-western Iran, with burning tyres. They cut off the resource-rich province of Khuzestan from the port city of Bushehr. “There is no injustice bigger than sitting on an ocean of oil and gas and even seeing oil wells from your houses but struggling with . . . unemployment,” said Ahmad, who did not want his real name to be published. Despite his qualifications, he has struggled to get work in the state-run oil companies that are the main source of jobs in his hometown. “Petrol [price increase] was only an excuse for us to help get rid of the fire in our hearts and instead set fire to the unjust establishment.” 


Kurdistan 24: Five Years After ISIS Pushed From Disputed Iraqi Area, Residents Still Can't Return

“Thousands of families from the Jalawla and Saadia sub-districts of Iraq's Diyala province who were displaced by the Islamic State have spent the past five years in displacement camps and continue to be unwilling or unable to return to their homes. The two areas, in the Khanaqin district, were liberated from the Islamic State's brutal rule in November 2014, but residents have still not returned. “Our house has been demolished. We are not sure if it was by ISIS or other armed groups, but we received no compensation and cannot go back,” said Yousef Mohammed, a displaced person there now living in Alwan Camp.  The main obstacles preventing the people from going back, according to many of them, are lack of job opportunities, tribal disputes, difficulty receiving government security clearances that are often arbitrarily issued, and fear for their safety because of common insurgent attacks in villages carried out by the Islamic State and other unknown armed groups. In the past five days, the Islamic State conducted eight attacks on the Iraqi and Kurdish security forces around Khanaqin, killing three Peshmerga fighters, three Iraqi police officers, and eight other Iraqi forces. They also injured at least 25.”

The Wall Street Journal: Iraqi Families Search For Protesters Left Missing In Crackdown

“On walls and lampposts in the heart of Iraq’s capital, vying for attention alongside banners calling for the government’s downfall, are images of the missing. The posters appeal for information about young men who have disappeared during two months of antigovernment protests and a security crackdown that has shocked many Iraqis inured to years of war and violence. The crackdown has left nearly 400 people dead and many more in the hands of any of a number of factions of the country’s fragmented security forces. For some, it recalled the reign of Saddam Hussein, when dissent was ruthlessly repressed. But under today’s divided Iraqi leadership, the use of force has stoked dissent. “I hold the government responsible—not only for my son’s fate, but for the fate of all the young men,” said Umm Hassanain, whose 16-year-old son has been missing since Oct. 25, when he left home for Tahrir Square, the center of protests in Baghdad. “Even though my son is lost and my heart is broken, I am proud,” she said. “The young men will go down in history as warriors.”


Radio Free Europe: Erdogan Says NATO Allies Must Back Turkey's Fight Against Terrorism

“Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has confirmed that Ankara dropped its objection to a NATO plan to bolster the defense of Poland and the Baltic states, adding that it now expected the allies' support in its fight against terrorism. “They all called us and asked us for support on this. After talks with my colleagues, we said yes to this, but you must not abandon us in the fight against terrorism,” Erdogan told Turkish reporters in London on December 5. Turkey had threatened not to endorse the plan for Poland and Baltic states if the alliance did not support Turkey over its fight against Kurdish groups in Syria it considers terrorists. But NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said at the end of a London summit of the 29-member alliance on December 4 that Turkey had lifted its block on the plan. Turkey has faced criticism from other NATO members over its military operation in Syria to drive Syrian Kurdish fighters away from the Turkish-Syria border. Kurdish-led forces drove fighters of the Islamic State extremist group out of eastern Syria with the help of a multinational coalition led by the United States. Also on December 5, Erdogan said he would meet the leaders of France, Germany, and Britain in Istanbul in February.”


Xinhua: Airstrikes Kills 15 Militants In Southern Afghanistan

“At least 15 Taliban militants were killed as fighting planes pounded the hideouts of the Taliban fighters in the southern Kandahar and Helmand provinces on Thursday, said an army statement released on Friday. The air operations, according to the statement, struck the armed outfit's hideouts in Nesh district of Kandahar province Thursday afternoon, killing nine insurgents, while six more armed fighters were killed in the restive Nahr-e-Saraj district of the neighboring Helmand province on the same day. According to the statement, the security forces would continue to target the militants in the country. Taliban militants who are active in both the Kandahar and its neighboring Helmand province have yet to make comment on the report.”


The Washington Post: 2 Pakistani Soldiers, 2 Militants Killed In Shootout In NW 

“Pakistan’s military says its troops have raided a militant hideout in a former tribal region bordering Afghanistan, triggering a shootout that killed two soldiers and two militants. In a statement, it said Thursday’s shootout took place near the village of Boya in the North Waziristan district. The military provided no further details, but the Pakistani Taliban in recent months have stepped up attacks on security forces in the region, which has been a sanctuary for Islamic militants. The army claims it cleared the area. Militants have been trying to regroup in North Waziristan, raising fears among residents because of army operations against the insurgents.”

Voice Of America: Minorities In Pakistan Wait As Hard-Line Islamic Cleric Indicted

“Minorities in Pakistan are anxiously awaiting the final court ruling against a hardline cleric who was indicted last month on charges of sedition and terrorism for inciting nationwide protests in Pakistan. An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Pakistan's Punjab province formally charged Khadim Hussain Rizvi, the leader of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), an extremist political party, but has not yet given a date for its final ruling. Analysts predict that it will take some time, given the sensitivity of blasphemy laws in Pakistan. ATC was established in 1998 as a separate court, under former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's government to address crimes related to terror in a speedy manner. The latest indictment against Rizvi comes a year after Pakistan's Supreme Court's decision in 2018 in which Asia Bibi, a Christian woman accused of committing blasphemy, was acquitted of the charges. Rizvi's party took issue with the ruling, demanding that the court proceed with the initial charges and sentence Bibi to death for insulting the prophet of Islam. After spearheading large protests in the country that blocked several cities, the government last year took measures, cracked down on TLP's members, and arrested its leader, Rizvi after he openly urged his supporters to target the Supreme Court judges for their decision in Asia's case.


Xinhua: 5 Al-Qaida Members Captured In S. Yemen

“Five members of the Yemen-based al-Qaida branch were seized on Thursday by the newly-recruited security forces in the southern Yemeni province Abyan, a local military official told Xinhua. The al-Qaida members were captured at a checkpoint set up near the town of Jaar by the forces loyal to the Southern Transitional Council (STC), the official in Abyan said on condition of anonymity. “The seized al-Qaida elements were driving their car loaded with hidden weapons and ammunition and attempted to enter Jaar secretly,” the source said. The capture of the al-Qaida members coincided with the continuing military mobilization of the forces loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Islah party which seeks to advance towards Aden.Elsewhere in Abyan, local residents confirmed to Xinhua that sporadic clashes erupted between the STC's security forces and unknown gunmen near the Ahwar district. Heavy security forces were dispatched recently from the neighboring province of Aden to support the STC's security units in combating terrorism in the turbulent province. The Yemen-based al-Qaida branch, seen as the global terror network's most dangerous group, has exploited years of deadly conflict between Yemen's government and Houthi rebels to expand its presence, especially in Shabwa and Abyan provinces.”


The Daily Star: U.S. Says Hezbollah Efforts To Blame It For Protests Have Failed

“Hezbollah and Russia’s efforts to blame Washington for “instigating” the nationwide anti-government protests have fallen short, a U.S. official said this week.”

Middle East

Associated Press: Palestinians Outraged Over ICC Report Into War Crimes

“Palestinian officials expressed “great concern” Thursday over a report by the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor that includes a warning that Palestinian stipends to attackers and their families could constitute a war crime. Palestinian Foreign Affairs Minister Riad Malki said the prosecutor’s office’s report was “based on misleading narratives of a political nature ... rather than an objective and accurate description of the relevant facts.” The Palestinians have long sought redress with international bodies such as the ICC for what they consider Israeli crimes. President Mahmoud Abbas’s government appeared to have been caught off guard by the language of the criticism found in the report. The Palestinians have long paid stipends to the families of people killed or imprisoned as a result of fighting with Israel. The Palestinians say these payments are a national duty to families affected by decades of violence. But Israel argues the fund encourages violence by paying the families of attackers.” 

Asharq Al-Awsat: Palestinians In Jerusalem Accused Of Plotting With ISIS

“Israeli police said Wednesday they had arrested two Arabs from eastern Jerusalem suspected of plotting with the ISIS group to attack Jerusalem. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP that Ahmed Jaabis, 21, and Bassel Abidat, 19, were charged on Sunday with membership in ISIS. He said they planned to carry out an attack in Jerusalem on Israeli independence day - which falls in April next year - when there are large public gatherings of Jews. A police statement said “concrete intelligence” directed undercover officers disguised as Arabs to homes in the Jabel Mukaber neighborhood Jerusalem where they arrested the men. The raid took place in October but was only publicized on Wednesday. “The accused are members of the ISIS terror organization,” said the police statement, quoting from the charge sheet. “The accused discussed the possibility of carrying out murderous terror attacks at various sites in the city of Jerusalem or at army bases in the Jordan Valley area with the aim of killing as many Jews as possible in the name of ISIS,” it added. They allegedly discussed acquiring firearms or, if that could not be done, of carrying out stabbings.”


Xinhua: 3 Terrorists Killed In Egypt's Sinai: Ministry

“Three “terrorist elements” were killed during a raid in the North Sinai province in northeastern Egypt, the Interior Ministry said Thursday. The three belong to a group of terrorists who have been plotting to carry out attacks on security forces in North Sinai, the ministry said in a statement. “Three of the terrorist elements were spotted while riding a motorbike to carry out a terrorist operation. When they felt besieged, they started opening fire at the forces who fired back, which led to killing the three of them,” the statement said. The security forces found two machine guns, two bombs and ammunition in their possession, according to the statement. Egypt has been fighting a wave of terrorism that killed hundreds of policemen, soldiers and civilians since the ouster of former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 and the massive crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood group, which is currently blacklisted as a terrorist organization. Most of the attacks were claimed by a Sinai-based terrorist group loyal to the regional terror group Islamic State.”


Yahoo News: Nigeria Militants Kidnap 14, Including Two Red Cross Workers: Sources

“Armed militants in northeast Nigeria have kidnapped 14 people, including two Red Cross workers and an army sergeant, security sources said on Thursday. The group were intercepted by fighters from the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) on Wednesday night in Borno state, two Nigerian security sources said. “Terrorists from ISWAP set up a roadblock on a road between Maiduguri and Damaturu yesterday... and took 14 people,” said one security source said. “Among the kidnap victims are an army sergeant and his family and two Red Cross staff who were also taken.” A second security source confirmed the kidnapping of the soldier and the Red Cross workers. The two are the latest aid workers snatched by militants in northern Nigeria, where the army has been fighting a Boko Haram jihadist insurgency for a decade. ISWAP is a Boko Haram splinter faction that swore allegiance to Islamic State in 2016. It has carried out numerous attacks on civilians. ISWAP claimed in a statement, which AFP was not immediately able to verify, that six Nigerian soldiers and eight civilians, including two Red Cross workers, were among those kidnapped.”


News 24: Sudan Says It Captured Six Boko Haram Suspects

“Sudan's army said on Thursday it had caught six Chadians accused of belonging to Boko Haram, in the country's first such arrests of suspected members of the jihadist group which originated in Nigeria. “Sudanese army intelligence captured six members of the Boko Horam terrorist group inside Sudanese territory,” the army said in a statement. “They are Chadian nationals and since there is a security agreement between the two countries, Sudanese authorities handed them to Chadian authorities.” It did not specify when the alleged jihadists were arrested or handed over. It is the first time that Sudanese authorities have reported the arrest of suspected Boko Haram jihadists inside the country. Chad, a vast and mostly desert nation with more than 200 ethnic groups, shares a long border with Sudan. Under President Idriss Deby, a former head of the armed forces, Chad has taken a leading role in the fight against jihadism in the Sahel region. It is part of a West African coalition fighting the Boko Haram insurgency, and a member of the French-backed G5 Sahel anti-terror alliance, which also includes Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger.”

Asharq Al-Awsat: Sudan’s PM Sees Progress On Terror List Removal

“Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said Thursday he saw progress on removing his nation from a US blacklist of state sponsors of terrorism as he paid a landmark visit to Washington. Hamdok, who has embarked on ambitious reforms and peace initiatives since his transitional government took over in August after decades of military rule, is the first leader of Sudan to visit Washington since 1985. Washington agreed Wednesday to restore full diplomatic relations after more than two decades but still classifies Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism. “Over the last two to three days here in Washington, the elephant in the room is the issue of the delisting of Sudan from the state sponsors of terrorism,” Hamdok said at the Atlantic Council, a think tank. Hamdok said the blacklist had an impact not only on investment but on efforts to relieve Sudan's debt and to usher in a broader “opening” of the country. He said the discussions were “progressing very well.” “We're making progress on this, and we hope we'll be able to reach a conclusion,” he said. US officials, while voicing support for Hamdok, say that removal from the list is a legal process that requires a formal review over a six-month period.”

United Kingdom

BBC News: Alleged Neo-Nazi Andrew Dymock In Court Over Terror Charges

“An alleged neo-Nazi, who is accused of quoting Joseph Goebbels to call for “total war”, has appeared in court charged with 12 terror offences. Andrew Dymock, 22, of Weymouth Street, Bath, was arrested on Wednesday morning by counter-terrorism officers. The charges relate to alleged online activity by British neo-Nazi groups. Mr Dymock - a student at the time of the alleged offences - indicated not guilty pleas to all counts at Westminster Magistrates' Court. Prosecutors say the defendant, who appeared in the dock wearing a Hawaiian shirt over a rainbow t-shirt, was a member of the extremist groups System Resistance Network and Sonnenkrieg Division. The chief magistrate, Emma Arbuthnot, granted him conditional bail ahead of a hearing at the Old Bailey on 20 December. It is alleged that he used the System Resistance Network (SRN) website - which later became a site for the Sonnenkrieg Division - to upload articles that directly encouraged terrorist violence, with one post said to call for the extermination of Jewish people. He is also accused of using the SRN Twitter account to quote Goebbels, Adolf Hitler's propaganda chief, and ask that readers “join your local Nazis”. Another post allegedly stated: “Death to the System. Hail the new order!”

BBC News: Man Accused Of Plotting Fife Mosque Attack

“A man has appeared in court accused of preparing acts of terror, including planning an attack on an Islamic centre in Fife. Sam Imrie, 22, is also said to have made social media posts “glorifying terrorist acts” committed by others, including Anders Brevik. The offences are alleged to have taken place between June 2018 and July 2019. Mr Imrie, who denied the charges at the High Court in Glasgow, is due to stand trial in June 2020. Prosecutors also allege that the accused was offensive towards Muslim and Jewish communities as well as “encouraging acts of violence and threats”. Sam Imrie faces accusations that he made online statements that he “intended to stream live footage of an incident” and that he was going to “carry out an attack on the Fife Islamic Centre” in Glenrothes. The accused is said to have turned up there with a petrol can, carried out “observations”, made recordings on his mobile phone and repeatedly attempted to get in. He is further accused of having weapons which he called his “arsenal” including nunchucks, a hammer, knives and a rifle scope. It is claimed he also compiled details of “terrorist attacks on places of worship.”

The Telegraph: Up 180 People Jailed For Islamist Terrorist Offences Have Been Released Early, Study Shows

“Up to 180 convicted Islamist terrorists have been released early from jail in the past two decades, according to a think tank analysis. Court records show that 187 of the 264 Islamist terrorists jailed up to 2015 were eligible for early release, according to the Henry Jackson Society. Some 180 have so far been freed under licence with a further seven still in prison, of which three are due to be released within the next three months including a British jihadi jailed for five years four months after attempting to join Isil in Syria. A further 33 received life sentences and an additional 38 were handed indeterminate and extended jail terms - known as imprisonment for public protection (IPP) - where...”


Deutsche Welle: Germany: Dangerous Criminals To Be Deported To Syria?

“Interior ministers from Germany's 16 federal states agreed at their annual meeting Thursday to relax a moratorium on deportations to Syria. The chairman of the "Innenministerkonferenz" (interior ministers' conference), Hans-Joachim Grote said there was cross-party consensus. "The ban on deportations to Syria would stay, except for dangerous criminals," he said. "I don't think we could convey to people here that someone who commits a serious crime can still enjoy refugee protection. At some point, we have to take away those rights." Grote said. However, he acknowledged there would be "practical problems" in implementing the plans. "We do not have a contact person in Syria at the moment," he said. "But there is a desire to deport Syrian felons, as is the case with Afghanistan." And there is a further stumbling block. The Foreign Ministry says that there is no region in Syria where refugees can return without risk. "Those who are known to be from the opposition or dissident — or deemed as such — face sanctions and repression [in Syria]," according to a ministry report made public at the start of the month.”


Voice Of America: World Powers Meeting In Vienna To Save Iran Nuclear Deal Face New Setback

“Five world powers trying to save their 2015 nuclear deal with Iran from U.S. efforts to overturn it are grappling with a new setback as they meet with Iranian officials in Vienna Friday. A day before Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia were to hold talks with Iran in the Austrian capital, Moscow said it was suspending its work to reconfigure Iran’s underground Fordow nuclear facility for civilian medical research. The Trump administration had warned last month that it would revoke a waiver shielding Moscow from U.S. sanctions against the Fordow project starting Dec. 15. TVEL, a unit of Russian state-owned nuclear energy company Rosatom, had been working on the Fordow project since 2017. The project had been one of several that Iran agreed to undertake with international companies to modify various Iranian nuclear sites in ways that would ensure their peaceful, civilian uses, rather than military ones.”

BBC News: Migrant Children's Centre In Madrid 'Targeted In Grenade Attack'

“A bomb squad in Madrid has safely destroyed a grenade that police believe was thrown over the wall of a migrant centre for children. The grenade was found on Wednesday morning on the patio of the centre, in the Hortaleza area of Spain's capital. Police said it was a training grenade that contained a small amount of explosives. The centre was evacuated while experts carried out a controlled explosion. No injuries were reported. Dozens of unaccompanied minors, many of them immigrants, are reported to be housed at the residential centre. Spanish authorities are investigating the incident but police are yet to identify any suspects or establish a motive. The suspected attack has been widely condemned by Spanish politicians and human rights campaigners, with many linking it to anti-immigrant rhetoric. “This is what hate speech brings,” Adriana Lastra, spokeswoman for the ruling Socialist party, wrote on Twitter (in Spanish). “It needs to be fought online, on the streets and in our institutions.” The centre has been subjected to repeated attacks, most notably in October, when around thirty youths tried to storm in.”

Southeast Asia 

The Diplomat: Why A War On Extremism In Indonesia May Create More Problems Than It Solves

“President Joko Widodo wasted no time in beginning to make inroads on key priorities after the October inauguration of his second term in Indonesia. While his rhetoric has typically focused on slashing red tape and reforming the bloated bureaucracy, a major announcement in the tail end of November on ideology within the ranks marks a seriousness in deeper reform. The execution of this approach, however, may produce more problems than it solves. Cabinet choices showed a clear focus on a renewed war against extremist ideology, despite rhetoric focusing still on infrastructure and economic growth. The naming of retired general Fachrul Razi as minister for religion, the first former military man to head the post since Suharto, and former national police chief Tito Karnavian as home minister, set a tone for programs since announced. The civil service, known as ASN, and Indonesia’s mammoth bureaucracy, is the first explicit target for rooting out extremist ideology. As noted by ANU’s Liam Gammon for Inside Story shortly after the naming of the cabinet, moderates have showed fear that broad organizations have been “colonized by sympathizers of radical groups like the now-banned Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia or the mainstream Islamist party PKS.” 


The National: Far-Right Australian Convicted Of Plotting Terror Attacks

“An Australian man who said he would put Muslims “in ovens” has been found guilty of planning and preparing a terrorist act. Phillip Galea, 35, was on trial in Melbourne after being arrested in August 2016. He planned to bomb Melbourne’s Trades Hall – the headquarters of the union movement, a socialist youth centre and the Melbourne Anarchist Club. During the trial it emerged that Galea believed that the Australian left was responsible for what he referred to as the “Islamisation of Australia”. The court heard a transcript of a phone call in which Galea said “eventually we’ll put [the left-wingers] all in ovens … with the Muslims”. “It’s like killing a snake with these people, cut off the head and the body dies,” he said. It was also revealed that Galea once met with a local imam because, in his words, “you have to know your enemy”. Galea also spoke in his phone calls of “cutting throats” in central Melbourne and leaving “a line of dead lefties around”. In addition to being convicted for “acts in preparation for, or planning a terrorist act”, Galea was also found guilty of attempting to make a document likely to facilitate a terrorist act.” 


The Washington Post: Telegram Has Finally Cracked Down On Islamist Terrorism. Will It Do The Same For The Far-Right?

“It was a big deal when accounts for the Islamic State and al-Qaeda started disappearing from the Telegram messaging app over the past month. For years, the platform has served as the central medium for extremist groups to radicalize and recruit members. But through some new sense of determination, Telegram has finally kicked Islamist militants off their main hub, marking a level of disruption for the extremist groups never seen before. This raises a new question: Will Telegram apply the same determination to the equally dangerous far-right terrorists on its platform? Telegram, launched in 2013 by self-described libertarian Pavel Durov, was designed to offer encrypted communication with an emphasis on protecting privacy and avoiding censorship. That has made it popular in autocratic countries such as Russia, pulling in hundreds of millions of active users. But it has also attracted bad actors who want to organize in the shadows. And unlike platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, Telegram has long resisted cracking down on extremist groups using its services. That changed most dramatically in mid-November when, with the help of European law enforcement, Telegram began targeting individual users and administrators, hitting everyone from the Islamic State’s central media workers to its supporters distributing its content.”

The Guardian: Inside The Hate Factory: How Facebook Fuels Far-Right Profit 

“The message from Israel arrived on an otherwise unremarkable afternoon for 36-year-old Beau Villereal. At his family’s sprawling 42-acre property outside Live Oak in Florida’s rural north, Villereal sat alone in his bedroom trawling for news about Donald Trump to share on the rightwing Facebook page he runs with his mother and father. The messenger, who gave her name as Rochale, asked Villereal to make her an editor of Pissed off Deplorables, a self-described “pro-America page” that feeds its thousands of followers a steady diet of pro-Trump, anti-Islam content. “I totally understand you,” she wrote. “I’m from Israel and this is ... really important to me to share the truth. “Please give me a chance for a day.”