Eye on Extremism: January 23, 2024

ABC: US, UK Stage Multiple Airstrikes Against Iran-Backed Houthi Militants In Yemen

“The U.S. and U.K. on Monday staged airstrikes against eight locations in Yemen aimed at stopping Iran-backed Houthi militants from attacking ships in the Red Sea. The White House has insisted the retaliatory airstrikes -- eight rounds so far -- have been effective despite repeated Houthi attacks. U.S. Central Command said Monday airstrikes took place at 11:59pm Sanaa time and targeted "missile systems and launchers, air defense systems, radars, and deeply buried weapons storage facilities" and that they were separate from the multinational Operation Prosperity Guardian to protect ships in the Red Sea. The strike on the underground storage facility marked the first time the U.S. had struck such a facility that they said housed more advanced conventional weaponry than was struck in the initial strike on Jan. 11 said senior U.S. military officials in a briefing with reporters.”

BBC: UAE Has Funded Political Assassinations In Yemen, BBC Finds

“Counter-terrorism training provided by American mercenaries to Emirati officers in Yemen has been used to train locals who can work under a lower profile - sparking a major uptick in political assassinations, a whistleblower told BBC Arabic Investigations. The BBC has also found that despite the American mercenaries' stated aim to eliminate the jihadist groups al-Qaeda and Islamic State (IS) in southern Yemen, in fact the UAE has gone on to recruit former al-Qaeda members for a security force it has created on the ground in Yemen to fight the Houthi rebel movement and other armed factions. The UAE government has denied the allegations in our investigation - that it had assassinated those without links to terrorism - saying they were "false and without merit". The killing spree in Yemen - more than 100 assassinations in a three-year period - is just one element of an ongoing bitter internecine conflict pitting several international powers against each other in the Middle East's poorest country.”

CEP Mentions

The National: Hamas Looking To Expand Its Financial Networks As US Sanctions Hit

“... Hamas’s wealth and financial foundation might still be largely intact. As a result, the militant group could potentially recover despite the devastation in the enclave, said senior director of the Counter Extremism Project, Hans-Jakob Schindler. He stressed the need for a global strategy to limit Hamas's finances, including stronger US and EU sanctions, closing regulatory loopholes in countries that had not previously listed the group, such as Switzerland, and globally recognising Hamas as a terrorist organisation.”

EUObserver: EU Discusses Plan To Bolster Egypt Amid Red Sea Crisis

“... It's one of the crazy things — the Houthis say this is an operation against Israeli interests, but it's not at all. The Israelis have almost no interests in the Red Sea, and the Houthis are simply harming poor Egyptians," Edmund Fitton-Brown, a former British ambassador to Yemen and an advisor to the Counter Extremism Project — a group based in Germany and the US, told EUobserver.”

EUObserver: EU Peace Plan Ignores Ceasefire, Israeli Extremism

“... Meanwhile, for Edmund Fitton-Brown, the former British ambassador to Yemen from 2015 to 2017, the EU approach risked alienating Israel. "My concern is that it's going to bring in too many participants objectionable to Israel ... and many who will seek to posture rather than seek constructive outcomes," he said. "The US are certainly essential participants," he added. "There is insufficient recognition in the [EU] text of the Hamas atrocity that started this round of conflict," said Fitton-Brown, who is now an adviser to the Counter Extremism Project, a non-profit group based in Germany and the US. "There is also insufficient recognition of Hamas' explicit commitment to treat any ceasefire as an opportunity to regroup and do it again; with the ultimate aim of killing Jews and destroying the state of Israel. This needs to be stated upfront," he said.”

United States

Associated Press: US Targets Iraqi Airline Fly Baghdad, Its CEO And Hamas Cryptocurrency Financiers For Sanctions

“The U.S. on Monday hit Iraqi airline Fly Baghdad and its CEO with sanctions, alleging assistance to Iran’s military wing, and imposed a fifth round of sanctions on the militant group Hamas for abuse of cryptocurrency since the Oct. 7 attack on Israel. The sanctions come as Israel’s bombing campaign on the Gaza Strip continues — killing 25,000 Palestinians so far, according to the Gaza Strip Healthy Ministry — and Iranian-backed militias in Iraq launch regular strikes against bases housing U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria. In the new sanctions, the Treasury Department said Fly Baghdad and CEO Basheer Abdulkadhim Alwan al-Shabbani have provided assistance to Iran’s military wing and its proxy groups in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. “Iran and its proxies have sought to abuse regional economies and use seemingly legitimate businesses as cover for funding and facilitating their attacks,” Treasury Undersecretary Brian E. Nelson said in a statement. “The United States will continue to disrupt Iran’s illicit activities aimed at undermining the stability of the region.”


Associated Press: Iran Executes Another Prisoner Detained During Nationwide Protests That Erupted In 2022

“Iran on Tuesday hanged another prisoner over crimes committed during nationwide protests that erupted in 2022 following the death of a young woman detained for improperly wearing her headscarf. According to a report on state television, Mohammad Qobadlu was executed after being sentenced for killing a policeman and injuring five others after he ran them over in his car during a rally in the town of Parand, near the capital of Tehran. The TV report said the 23-year-old Qobadlu, who had confessed to his crime, had access to a lawyer during the trial. Qobadly had appealed his death sentence, handed down by a lower court, but the Supreme Court later upheld the original verdict. Qobadlu’s execution was the ninth reported by the authorities since the protests started in the fall of 2022, according to a count by The Associated Press. The monthslong unrest followed the Sept. 16, 2022 death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who had been detained by Iran’s morality police allegedly because she improperly wore the mandatory Islamic veil, or hijab.”


Associated Press: Taliban Is Enforcing Restrictions On Single And Unaccompanied Afghan Women, UN Says

“The Taliban are restricting Afghan women’s access to work, travel and health care if they are unmarried or don’t have a male guardian, according to a U.N report published Monday. In one incident, officials from the Vice and Virtue Ministry advised a woman to get married if she wanted to keep her job at a health care facility, saying it was inappropriate for an unwed woman to work, it said. The Taliban have barred women from most areas of public life and stopped girls from going to school beyond the sixth grade as part of harsh measures they imposed after taking power in 2021, despite initially promising more moderate rule. They have also shut down beauty parlors and started enforcing a dress code, arresting women who don’t comply with their interpretation of hijab, or Islamic headscarf. In May 2022, the Taliban issued a decree calling for women to only show their eyes and recommending they wear the head-to-toe burqa, similar to restrictions during the Taliban’s previous rule between 1996 and 2001.”

Associated Press: 4 Rescued And 2 Dead In Crash Of Private Russian Jet In Afghanistan, The Taliban Say

“Four people have been rescued and two died following the crash of a private Russian jet carrying six over the weekend in Afghanistan, the Taliban said on Monday. The crash on Saturday took place in a mountainous area in Badakhshan province, some 250 kilometers (155 miles) northeast of Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul. Rescue teams were dispatched to the remote rural area that is home to only several thousand people. On Monday, the chief Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, posted videos on X, previously known as Twitter, showing the four rescued crew members. He said they were given first aid and were being transferred from Badakhshan to Kabul. He said the four are in good health. Local authorities in Badakhshan said the bodies of the two killed in the crash will be recovered from the site. The Taliban have not identified any of the six victims of the crash. The Taliban’s Transportation and Civil Aviation Ministry said in an online statement the plane was found in the district of Kuf Ab district, near the Aruz Koh mountain.”

Saudi Arabia

Associated Press: Saudi Arabia Hears Dozens Of Countries Critique Its Human Rights Record At The UN In Geneva

“Saudi Arabia had its record on human rights including freedoms for women, prosecutions for freedom of speech, use of the death penalty and alleged killing of migrants at its border with Yemen critiqued at the United Nations on Monday. In the kingdom’s first formal review at the UN Human Rights Council since November 2018, the Saudi Arabia delegation said more than 50 reforms had since then been passed in favor of women. Delegates were told Saudi Arabia has abolished flogging as a punishment, that minors can no longer be executed, judges are independent and migrant workers are now better protected by law. “These developments and progress have been relentless,” said Hala Al Tuwaijri, president of the Saudi national human rights commission, in translated comments. She cited an “unprecedented period of development especially when it comes to human rights” during the Vision 2030 plan to modernize Saudi society and a post-oil economy driven by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.”

Middle East

Reuters: Gaza: Israel Says Khan Younis Encircled, But 24 Soldiers Killed

“Twenty-four Israeli soldiers were killed in Israel's worst day of losses in Gaza, the military said on Tuesday, as it claimed to have encircled southern Gaza's main city in a major ground assault. Spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said 21 soldiers were killed when two buildings they had mined for demolition exploded after militants fired at a nearby tank. Earlier, three soldiers were reported killed in a separate attack in southern Gaza. "Yesterday we experienced one of our most difficult days since the war erupted," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. "In the name of our heroes, for the sake of our lives, we will not stop fighting until absolute victory." The deaths came amid the heaviest fight of 2024 so far, as the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) stormed remaining parts of Khan Younis, the main city in the south of the enclave sheltering hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians.   "Over the past day, IDF troops carried out an extensive operation during which they encircled Khan Younis and deepened the operation in the area. The area is a significant stronghold of Hamas’ Khan Younis Brigade," the military said.”

Associated Press: Families Of Hostages Held In Gaza Storm Israel’s Parliament Meeting Demanding Deal For Release

“Dozens of family members of hostages held by Hamas stormed a committee meeting in Israel’s parliament Monday, demanding a deal to win their loved ones’ release, as European foreign ministers joined growing international calls for Israel to negotiate on the creation of a Palestinian state after the war. The developments showed the increasing pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has dug in on both fronts. He has insisted to the Israeli public that pursuing the devastating offensive in Gaza is the only way to bring the hostages home. At the same time, he has rejected the United States’ vision for a postwar resolution, saying he will never allow a Palestinian state. The dispute over Gaza’s future pits Israel against its top ally and much of the international community. It also poses a major obstacle to plans for postwar governance or reconstruction of the coastal territory, large parts of which have been left unlivable by Israeli bombardment.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

In Their Own Words:

We reiterate once again that the brigades will directly target US bases across the region in case the US enemy commits a folly and decides to strike our resistance fighters and their camps [in Iraq].

Abu Ali al-Askari, Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) Security Official Mar. 2023
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