Eye on Extremism: January 19, 2023

Associated Press: EU Assembly Wants Iran’s Revolutionary Guard On Terror List

“The European Parliament on Thursday called for Iran’s Revolutionary Guard to be put on the European Union’s terrorist list and insisted that sanctions targeting Tehran had to be expanded after the violent suppression of protests. In a nonbinding resolution, the legislature mustered a large majority to call on the EU’s 27 member states for such punitive action to counter what it sees as a swift backsliding of human rights in Iran. Beyond the call to put the organization on its terrorist blacklist, the European Parliament also wants the EU to ban any economic or financial activity that can linked to the Revolutionary Guard Corps. The United States has already designated the corps as a “foreign terrorist organization,” and subjected it to unprecedented sanctions. The European Parliament action came before Monday’s meeting of EU foreign ministers where more sanctions against Tehran are expected to be approved.”

Bloomberg: Taliban Minister Blames Sanctions For Restrictions On Women In Afghanistan

“Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi appeared to use women’s rights as a bargaining chip to gain sanctions relief, telling a United Nations official that Taliban leaders currently saw little incentive to shift course. “Afghanistan has been sanctioned, the banking system has been sanctioned, and our businessmen are facing serious difficulties. They can’t even transfer money abroad to import food and fuel,” Muttaqi told UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed in Kabul Wednesday, while discussing women’s rights. “What action has the UN taken that I can pass on to my leaders and people?” Taliban Threaten Women at Gunpoint After Education Ban Order The Taliban recently banned local female staff members of international non-governmental organizations from working and women from attending universities until further notice. It was the latest curb on women’s rights and freedoms since the group retook control of the country.”

United States

OPB: FBI Warns Of Neo-Nazi Plots As Attacks On Northwest Power Grid Spike

“…Joshua Fisher-Birch, a researcher with the Counter Extremism Project, a nonprofit that tracks extremists groups’ online activities, said the attacks in North Carolina and those in the Northwest have energized some on the far right. “The recent substation attacks have been spoken about in glowing terms by certain members of the extreme right, particularly by neo-Nazi accelerationists and white supremacist accelerationists who subscribe to this ideology where they want to push chaos,” Fisher-Birch said. Far-right forums online provide instruction manuals for how to attack substations and other critical infrastructure. The design of the manuals invokes a video game and taps into costume-play subculture, according to Eric Ward, senior advisor at Western States Center, a Portland-based civil rights group that advocates against extremism.”

CBS: Prosecutors Say Sayfullo Saipov Followed ISIS Playbook In Deadly 2017 West Side Highway Terror Attack

“It's week two of the terror trial of Sayfullo Saipov. He's the Uzbekistan native accused of mowing down eight bicyclists with a rented truck along a path on the West Side Highway on Halloween 2017, he says in the name of ISIS. Severed and twisted bicycles, a damaged yellow school bus, a crushed Home Depot rental truck and the path of death and destruction Saipov left was shown to jurors, as well as video of him running around with fake guns before being shot by a police officer. Victim and witness testimony last week filled in the gaps for the court about the moments before the attack. Tourists from Belgium and Argentina on celebratory trips never saw the speeding truck behind them. Others from New York and New Jersey were merely commuting.”


Al-Monitor: Iraq Repatriates 580 Citizens From Syria’s al-Hol Camp

“Iraqi officials transferred 580 former residents of the al-Hol detention camp in northeast Syria to a rehabilitation camp in northern Iraq on Saturday, the US military said Wednesday, marking the latest step in efforts to repatriate suspected Islamic State (IS) relatives to their home countries. Some 142 Iraqi families previously held at al-Hol were transferred to the Jeddah-1 rehabilitation camp south of Mosul in the country's Ninevah province, according to US Central Command. Why it matters: The Biden administration has been quietly pressing other countries to bring back their citizens from al-Hol, which houses some 54,000 suspected relatives of IS fighters in squalid conditions.”


Kurdistan 24: Kurdish Fighters Instrumental In The Fight Against ISIS: EU Chair

“The Chair of the European Parliament Subcommittee on Security and Defense, Nathalie Loiseau, told Kurdistan 24’s Barzan Hassan that Kurdish fighters have been instrumental in the fight against ISIS, and the fight against ISIS remains a priority. “And we know how instrumental the Kurdish fighters are in this fight against Daash (ISIS). We have troops in Iraq, working with Kurdish soldiers, fighting Daash (ISIS) and we will continue. This is a priority and nothing should come against this priority,” she added. Earlier, she was part of a six-member European Parliament delegation visit to Erbil in May. “I was not happy with the functioning of our EU mission in Iraq. I think the message that I brought back from there was crystal clear.” “There has been a lot of reorganization and I think we have to have a strong civilian mission, working hand in hand with Iraqi authorities in Baghdad, but also with Kurdish authorities in Erbil, so that we can tackle the challenges together, including terrorism,” she added.”

Kurdistan 24: Two Kurdish Police Officers Killed By ISIS In Kirkuk

"Two Kurdish police officers were killed during an ISIS attack in northern Kirkuk on Tuesday night, a security source told Kurdistan 24. Lieutenant-Colonel Nawzad Al, along with his driver, Mohammad Pasha, visiting a checkpoint in the Jabal Bor area of the oil-rich province, were ambushed and killed by ISIS suspects, an anonymous source confirmed to Kurdistan 24. The Kirkuk Police Department has not officially commented on the attack, which took place near a highway leading to Sulaimani province in the Kurdistan Region, Dilan Barzan, Kurdistan 24 correspondent in Kirkuk said at the scene. The province has seen an uptick in ISIS attacks in recent months. At least 13 members of the security forces were killed in 2022 in the province by suspected ISIS militants. The lack of security cooperation between Kurdish and Iraqi forces in the disputed territories, including Kirkuk, has led to an increased insurgency by the group, according to security experts and government officials."

Asharq Al-Awsat: ISIS Attacks Still Claim Iraqi Lives Five Years After Defeat

“The attack came after sunset in the quiet Iraqi village of Albu Bali when ISIS group gunmen drove into town and unleashed fire with automatic rifles. "I heard the shots, I went out and I saw my nephew lying on the ground," recalled Ali Menwar about the deadly violence that shattered the local calm on December 19. The group of extremists "arrived at about 8:15 pm and started firing randomly", said another local from the mainly Shiite village, Abbas Mazhar Hussein, 34. As Menwar rushed inside, bullets smashed into the wall around him and two grazed his neck, which now bears angry red scars, before he could slam the gate shut behind him, AFP said. Others were less lucky in the village of 5,000 people, about 70 kilometers (40 miles) north of the capital Baghdad. "My son, my grandson and my cousins fell as martyrs," said Menwar's neighbor Jabbar Alwan, his eyes welling up with tears.”


Firstpost: Afghan Taliban 'Fears' ISIS Threat From Pakistan

“Since it was formed after the partition of India in 1947, Pakistan has used its territory for fuelling cross-border terrorism against its eastern neighbour. Since then, Pakistan has supported terrorist groups in other neighbouring countries such as Afghanistan and Iran. Now, even the Afghan Taliban, which was until recently backed by the Pakistan Army, has started complaining about terrorism emanating from Pakistani soil. According to an ANI report, for the first time, the Taliban reported threats from Pakistan, which they considered as the safe haven from 2000-2021, independent journalist Bilal Sarwary said citing an internal memo. Taking to Twitter, Sarwary said, “A leaked Taliban internal memo reports an ISKP training camp inside Pak’s tribal area&warns of ISKP massing from Pak into Logar. This is an interesting twist in the story with first-time Taliban reports of threats from Pakistan where they once had their safe havens from 2002-2021.”


The Jerusalem Post: UN Lebanon Envoy Thanks Hezbollah, Drawing Rebuke From Israeli Diplomats

“A United Nations official on Monday thanked a representative of Hezbollah, which is designated as a terrorist organization by the State Department, for giving her a "tour d’horizon" of Lebanese issues. The statement drew condemnation from Israeli officials. "I thank Mr. Ammar Moussawi of Hizbullah (sic) for a tour d’horizon on issues of priority for #Lebanon, including the election of a new President, the functioning of state institutions and the impact of regional and international developments on the country," Joanna Wronecka, the UN’s special coordinator for Lebanon and formerly Poland's ambassador, tweeted to Ammar Moussawi, head of international relations for Hezbollah.”

Middle East

Reuters: Analysis: Hamas Sees West Bank As Battleground With New Israel Gov't

“Gaza's ruling Hamas Islamists are building ties with militant groups in the West Bank, seeking to attract support beyond the enclave by backing Palestinians involved in near daily unrest that Israel's new hardline government has vowed to crush. The initiative reflects a degree of caution on the part of Hamas, which is still rebuilding the enclave following a 2021 war and appears unwilling to pursue a head on confrontation from Gaza with the administration of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, analysts said. The return of Netanyahu in an alliance with a clutch of religious and hard right parties avowedly in favour of settlement expansion has drawn fears of renewed confrontation with the Palestinians and in particular with Hamas, which has fought five wars with Israel since 2009. New hardline ministers like Itamar Ben-Gvir, a settler from Hebron, will be in charge of police as national security minister, while Bezalel Smotrich, another far-right politician, will have wide control over policy in the West Bank.”

Middle East Monitor: Egypt Intends To Renew Efforts To Reach Prisoner Exchange Deal Between Israel And Hamas

“The Egyptian mediators between Hamas and Israel renewed their willingness to continue the past effort to reach a prisoner exchange deal. According to the Lebanese newspaper, Al-Akhbar, Hamas recently confirmed, during contact with the Egyptians, its willingness to resume the exchange negotiations at where they ended. This would allow the implementation of the first phase of the deal, represented in the release of the two soldiers, Mengistu and Hisham Al-Sayed, in addition to information about the other two soldiers, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul. This is in exchange for the release of the prisoners who had been released as part of the Wafaa Al-Ahrar deal who were re-arrested, as well as women, children, ill, martyrs and long-serving prisoners. The Egyptians informed Hamas that they were in the process of resuming contact with the new Israeli government about the prisoners' file, and that they were waiting for the appointment of a new official in charge of this file, to succeed Yaron Blum.”

Jewish News: Hamas Condemns UAE For Including Materials On Holocaust In Curriculum

“Hamas has condemned the United Arab Emirates for its decision to include the Holocaust in curriculum for primary and secondary schools. “We condemn and denounce the UAE embassy’s announcement in Washington that its country has included materials on the ‘Holocaust’ in its educational curricula, and we consider that support for the Zionist narrative and a form of cultural normalisation,” spokesperson for the terror group, Hazem Qassem, said. Hamas has previously called the Holocaust “a lie invented by the Zionists,” while lashing out at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for wanting to educate children in Gaza about Holocaust. The UAE embassy in Washington announced earlier this month that “In the wake of the historic Abraham Accords, (the UAE) will now include the Holocaust in the curriculum for primary and secondary schools.” “Memorialising the victims of the Holocaust is crucial. Public figures failed to speak the truth because a political agenda hijacked their narrative, yet a tragedy on the scale of the Holocaust targets not only Jews but humanity as a whole,” it added.”


Reuters: Abducted Burkina Women Flee Jihadist Gunmen Through Bush

“Piercing thorns and stones underfoot did not stop the young woman as she charged through thickets, baby strapped to her back, fleeing armed militants who had kidnapped her with dozens of others in northern Burkina Faso last week. Now back home in the town of Arbinda along with a few who also managed to escape, the 20-year-old, who asked to remain anonymous for fear over her safety, recounted the ordeal that started when unknown men fired gunshots and then closed in on her as she was scouring the bush for food. Burkina Faso authorities said about 50 women were kidnapped on Jan. 12 and 13 in Arbinda district, part of the restive Soum province -- a new tactic by Islamist insurgents whose brutal attacks blight the West African country. The escapee said the militants forced the women to walk through the bush for a whole day. "The next morning they assembled us again ... It was at this moment that some of us decided to take a risk. Those who were lucky managed to escape," she said.”

United Kingdom

BBC: Suspect Due In Court Over Alleged Terrorist Documents

“A man is due to appear in court accused of possessing documents linked to Islamist terrorism. Abdiwahid Abdulkadir Mohamed, 31, from north London, was arrested and charged on Wednesday. He is accused of six counts of possessing documents likely to be useful for committing or preparing an act of terrorism. Mr Mohamed is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court later. The Metropolitan Police said the arrest and charges followed an operation by the force's Counter Terrorism Command.”


ABC Australia: Counter-Terrorism Police Charge Three Queensland Men Over Display Of Nazi Symbols

“Three men have been charged by Queensland Police's Counter-Terrorism Investigation Group over the display of Nazi symbols in the state's south-east. On Tuesday police executed search warrants at properties in the Brisbane suburb of Toowong and the Gold Coast suburbs of Pimpama and Oxenford. Among the items allegedly found were flyers, stickers, computer devices and a banner that police said was displayed over the Pacific Highway in Helensvale last November. Police allege the men were involved in posting offensive imagery in public areas multiple times, damaging infrastructure and causing community concern. "Our primary focus is on keeping the community safe," Acting Detective Superintendent Leonie Steyger said in a statement. "Those responsible represent the smallest minority of our communities, and my team will continue to disrupt and charge individuals who are motivated by this type of behaviour." A 21-year-old Toowong man has been charged with two counts of wilful damage, two counts of contravening storage measures and other precautions about access to restricted items.”

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