Eye on Extremism: January 7, 2019

NPR: Trump Adviser Bolton Says U.S. Withdrawal From Syria Is Conditional On Defeat Of ISIS

“With the White House facing criticism over President Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria, National Security Adviser John Bolton on Sunday said the drawdown will be conditioned on the defeat of the Islamic State and the safety of Kurdish allies. "There are objectives that we want to accomplish that condition the withdrawal," Bolton told reporters in Jerusalem, where he was traveling to assuage concerns over the troop pullback. "The timetable flows from the policy decisions that we need to implement." Bolton is expected to tell Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that troops will remain at a base in Syria to counter Iranian activity, according to a senior U.S. administration official who spoke with NPR's Daniel Estrin. Speaking from the White House, President Trump also said on Sunday that the withdrawal would be contingent on the defeat of remaining Islamic State forces.”

The New York Times: Airstrike Kills Plotter Of Deadly Bombing Of U.S.S. Cole

“An American airstrike in Yemen last week killed one of the suspected plotters of the deadly Qaeda bombing of the United States Navy destroyer Cole in 2000, President Trump and military officials confirmed on Sunday. On Friday, the military’s Central Command said it had conducted a strike on Tuesday in the Marib Province of Yemen that targeted the militant, Jamal al-Badawi, but added that it was still assessing whether he had been killed. By Sunday, the military was confident that Mr. Badawi was dead, Capt. Bill Urban, a spokesman for the command, said in an email. “Our GREAT MILITARY has delivered justice for the heroes lost and wounded in the cowardly attack on the USS Cole,” Mr. Trump tweeted on Sunday before flying to Camp David for meetings with White House staff. “We have just killed the leader of that attack, Jamal al-Badawi. Our work against al Qaeda continues. We will never stop in our fight against Radical Islamic Terrorism!”

The Washington Post: 2 Americans Accused Of Fighting For ISIS Are Captured By Kurds In Syria

“Kurdish forces in Syria said Sunday that they had captured two American citizens hiding out in the country’s final Islamic State stronghold. In a statement, the Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, identified the detainees as Warren Christopher Clark, 34, and Zaid Abed al-Hamid, 35. It said the pair had been captured alongside three others suspected of being foreign recruits in the extremist group. Law enforcement agencies say several dozen Americans joined the Islamic State in its once-sweeping self-proclaimed caliphate across Syria and Iraq. The SDF did not provide additional information about the two Americans it detained, but according to a report by George Washington University’s Program on Extremism, Clark had previously sought work with the Islamic State and sent a résumé and cover letter for an English-teaching job at the University of Mosul in Iraq.”

Associated Press: With US Leaving, Rival Powers Seek To Move Into Syria’s East

“The planned U.S. troop withdrawal opens up a void in the north and east of Syria, and the conflicts and rivalries among all the powers in the Middle East are converging to fill it. The American decision to pull out its 2,000 troops has forced a reassessment of old alliances and partnerships. The Syrian government, the Kurds, Russia, Iran, Israel and Turkey have all had a hand in the country’s nearly eight-year war — each in a way, fighting its own war for its own reasons within Syria. Now all of those conflicts play out in the territory being abandoned by the Americans, creating new tensions, potential chaos and bloodshed. To reassure jittery allies, Washington sent national security adviser John Bolton to Israel on Sunday, where he said U.S. troops will not leave northeastern Syria until IS militants are defeated and American-allied Kurdish fighters are protected.”

The Jerusalem Post: Taliban Storm Security Posts In West Afghanistan, Kill 21

“Taliban insurgents have stormed security posts in west Afghanistan, killing 21 police and pro-government militia members, officials said on Monday, the latest in a surge of attacks that has cast doubt on tentative steps towards talks. The Taliban attacked the checkpoints in two different parts of Badghis province, which is on the border with Turkmenistan, late on Sunday, provincial officials said.Abdul Aziz Bek, head of the Badghis provincial council, said 14 policemen and seven members of pro-government militias were killed, while nine were injured. A second government official, Jamshid Shahabi, a spokesman for the Badghis provincial governor, said more than 15 Taliban militants were killed and 10 wounded in the clashes. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attacks, among the most deadly in the province in many months.”

The New York Times: We Should Be Able To Take Facebook To Court

“After The New York Times revealed last month that Facebook continued to share personal information of millions of consumers with companies like Netflix, Yahoo, Spotify and Google — despite contrary assertions to Congress — many people decided to delete their Facebook accounts. But if Facebook’s actions, as described by The Times, violated the law, consumers should be able to send an even more powerful message, one that could leave a much larger imprint on the company’s ledger books: suing the company for damages. Facebook knows this and has been working to make it near impossible to do so. For example, consumers recently filed a lawsuit in Illinois claiming Facebook violated a state privacy law by using facial recognition technology on their uploaded photographs without their consent. Facebook is fighting the lawsuit by trying to get the court to buy into troubling arguments that would make it even more difficult for consumers to sue lawbreaking companies for damages.”

United States

The Wall Street Journal: Bolton Says U.S. Withdrawal From Syria Is Conditional

“The Trump administration won’t withdraw forces from northern Syria unless Turkey offers a firm commitment not to target the U.S.’s Kurdish allies, White House national security adviser John Bolton said Sunday. President Trump’s order to withdraw U.S. troops is a “cause-and-effect mission” that requires certain assurances from various players in the region before it can be executed, said Mr. Bolton, the first administration official to outline the conditions for withdrawal. His comments marked the first public acknowledgment from the White House that the safety of Kurdish allies is being considered as part of its pending withdrawal plan, but it also indicates that a quick withdrawal was unlikely given challenging regional dynamics. “Timetables or the timing of the withdrawal occurs as a result of the fulfillment of the conditions and the establishment of the circumstances that we want to see,” he said. “It’s not the establishment of an arbitrary point for the withdrawal to take place as President Obama did in the Afghan situation…the timetable flows from the policy decisions that we need to implement.”

The Jerusalem Post: In New Memoir, Father Seeks Justice From Terrorists Who Killed His Daughter

“In April 1995, a Palestinian terrorist murdered Alisa Flatow, a 20-year-old American. Beyond further illustrating Palestinians’ obsession with killing Jews and not building Palestine, this crime showed that six months before Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination, Palestinian terrorists were already sabotaging the Oslo Peace Process. This tragedy also mobilized Stephen Flatow against the terror infrastructure that murdered his daughter. Flatow’s determination created a new tool against terrorism – lawfare; drained billions from the networks bankrolling terrorism; and pushed back creatively against Iran, the world’s great terror-paymaster. His battle was one “I’d win, but one which could never compensate me for what I had lost,” Flatow writes in his new book, A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror. That subtle, tear-stained sentence captures the nightmare haunting his life – and both sides of his remarkable memoir. It’s a compelling legal-political thriller, and a searing tribute to a missing daughter.”

CNN: Trump: US Military Killed Terrorist Behind USS Cole Bombing

“The terrorist behind the 2000 attack on the USS Cole was killed in a US airstrike in Yemen last week, President Donald Trump confirmed on Sunday.  Jamel Ahmed Mohammed Ali Al-Badawi was an al Qaeda operative who the US believes helped orchestrate the October 12, 2000, bombing of the US guided missile destroyer, which killed 17 American sailors. "Our GREAT MILITARY has delivered justice for the heroes lost and wounded in the cowardly attack on the USS Cole," Trump wrote Sunday on Twitter. "We have just killed the leader of that attack, Jamal al-Badawi. Our work against al Qaeda continues. We will never stop in our fight against Radical Islamic Terrorism!" CNN reported Friday that Al-Badawi was believed to have been killed in the airstrike on Tuesday, according to a US administration official.  The official said all intelligence indicators show al-Badawi was killed in a strike in Yemen as a result of a joint US military and intelligence operation. US officials told CNN that the strike took place in Yemen's Ma'rib Governorate. Later Sunday, US Central Command, which oversees military operations in the region, also confirmed in a tweet that al-Badawi was killed in the strike.”

Fox News: Outgoing Congressman: 9/11 Memorial Vulnerable To Terrorism

“The outgoing New Jersey congressman who sponsored a bill to funnel $25 million a year to 9/11 memorials says the money should make the World Trade Center site less vulnerable to attack. “That whole area is very open,” Thomas MacArthur told The Post of the space around the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in lower Manhattan. “Anybody could walk in there with a bomb strapped to their back and cause untold death and destruction.” MacArthur, who first sponsored the 9/11 Memorial Act four years ago, said he’s fought for the measure to protect the sacred site where twin pools honor the 2,977 people killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. “The 9/11 site has always been a target and New York City has enormous symbolic value for people who hate our country,” he said. Congress passed the bill last month by a vote of 371-3 and President Trump signed it into law Wednesday. But some 9/11 family members fear the funds will subsidize the salaries of the private non-profit foundation that runs the Ground Zero memorial and museum. “If Rep. MacArthur wanted to bolster anti-terrorism at the 9/11 memorial, he should have written a bill that directed the $25 million to the NYPD and Port Authority police, who are actually in charge of security at Ground Zero,” said Glenn Corbett, an associate professor of fire science at John Jay College and an adviser to FDNY 9/11 families.”

Al Arabiya: US Syria Pointman To Also Serve As Anti-ISIS Envoy

“America’s Syria pointman James Jeffrey will also serve as the United States envoy to the international coalition against ISIS extremist group, the State Department said on Friday. “With this additional responsibility, Ambassador Jeffrey will lead and coordinate US Department of State relations with the Global Coalition to defeat (ISIS) and Department efforts to implement President Trump’s announcement of a responsible US troop withdrawal from Syria,” spokesman Robert Palladino said in a statement. Jeffrey, a former US ambassador to Iraq and Turkey, will replace Brett McGurk as anti-ISIS envoy, a post from which he resigned following US President Donald Trump’s controversial decision in December to withdraw American forces from Syria. Critics say the move puts US-allied Kurdish forces at risk of attack by Turkish troops. The US-allied Kurds have played a major role in the war against ISIS, the extremist group that seized swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria but has since suffered major defeats. The December 21 announcement of McGurk’s departure followed that of Jim Mattis, who quit as defense chief over fundamental disagreements with Trump, including over Syria.”

Deseret News: Most ISIS Recruits In The U.S. Aren't Immigrants. They're Actually Native-Born Americans, New Study Suggests

“A new study from the Rand Corporation suggests that focusing on immigrants as a source of potential "jihadist terrorism" in the United States could miss the majority of potential terrorists. That’s because, according to the study, the more prominent threat is inside the country already: native-born Americans. The study, “Trends in the Draw of Americans to Foreign Terrorist Organizations from 9/11 to Today,” found that in recent years the most common demographic profile for an accused terrorist motivated by “radical Islam” describes a native-born American, either white or African-American. “Our analysis of the demographic profile of U.S. persons drawn to Islamist terrorism since the rise of ISIL may not match the mental image held by law enforcement, policymakers, and the general public,” the authors, Heather Williams, Nathan Chandler, and Eric Robinson, wrote, referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIS.”


The New York Times: Bolton Puts Conditions On Syria Withdrawal, Suggesting A Delay Of Months Or Years

“President Trump’s national security adviser, John R. Bolton, rolled back on Sunday Mr. Trump’s decision to rapidly withdraw from Syria, laying out conditions for a pullout that could leave American forces there for months or even years. Mr. Bolton, making a visit to Israel, told reporters that American forces would remain in Syria until the last remnants of the Islamic State were defeated and Turkey provided guarantees that it would not strike Kurdish forces allied with the United States. He and other top White House advisers have led a behind-the-scenes effort to slow Mr. Trump’s order and reassure allies, including Israel. “We don’t think the Turks ought to undertake military action that’s not fully coordinated with and agreed to by the United States, at a minimum so they don’t endanger our troops,” Mr. Bolton said in Jerusalem, where he was traveling ahead of a visit Tuesday to Turkey. Mr. Bolton’s comments inserted into Mr. Trump’s strategy something the president had omitted when he announced on Dec. 19 that the United States would depart within 30 days: any conditions that must be met before the pullout.”

BBC News: ISIS Missile Injures UK Special Forces In Syria, Reports Say

“Two members of the British special forces have been wounded in an attack by ISIS fighters in Syria, according to the Kurdish news agency Rudaw. The UK's Ministry of Defence told CNN it would not comment on special forces, but did not deny the media reports. The soldiers were hit by an ISIS missile attack on a Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) base in the east Syrian town of Shafa, Deir ez-Zor, Rudaw said. A Kurdish fighter was killed in the attack. "Due to a smart missile attack by ISIS, a fighter of the YPG was killed and another wounded, in addition to two British soldiers," the news agency quoted an SDF official as saying. The two British soldiers are in a stable condition, the official added. The attack comes just three weeks after US President Donald Trump declared the terror group defeated and that he planned to withdraw 2,000 US troops from the war torn country. "We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump presidency", Trump tweeted a week before Christmas. His decision to withdraw troops led to the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis, who believed the US was deserting its allies in the region. Concern about Kurds On Sunday, US National Security Adviser John Bolton said Washington would condition its Syria pullout on a Turkish assurance to safeguard Kurds and also wants measures to protect withdrawing U.S. forces, Reuters reported.”

NPR: 'We Were Eating Grass': Syrians Flee As Fight Pushes On Against Last ISIS Remnants

“The al-Hol refugee camp, in northeastern Syria near the border with Iraq, is overwhelmed with new arrivals. For years, the camp, run by Kurdish authorities with help from the United Nations and other international organizations, has housed thousands of Iraqi refugees. More recently, though, the camp has become home to large numbers of Syrians, fleeing towns where the U.S.-led coalition is fighting the last remnants of ISIS. Hundreds of thousands have become internally displaced, with many families forced to move multiple times. Hundreds of Syrian women, all dressed in black, line up at the camp to wait for tents and blankets in the bitterly cold desert wind. With them is 15-year-old Ahmed, wearing a ripped leather jacket and a black-and-blue checked scarf around his face. He and his family were able to escape their village in December, after living under ISIS for years. Like most in the camp, they only want to use first names because they fear for their safety, He says it took seven days to walk from the village of Sousse, one of the last areas in northeastern Syria still being fought over by ISIS and U.S.-backed Kurdish security forces.”

Reuters: Syrian Opposition Urges Countries Not To Reconcile With Assad

“Syria’s chief opposition negotiator said on Sunday he was surprised by countries rebuilding ties with the Syrian government and urged them to reverse their decision. Arab states, including some that once backed rebels against President Bashar al-Assad, are seeking to reconcile with him after decisive gains by his forces in the war, aiming to expand their influence in Syria at the expense of non-Arab Turkey and Iran. The United Arab Emirates re-opened its embassy in Damascus last month and Bahrain said its embassy there, and the Syrian diplomatic mission in Manama, had been operating “without interruption”. “We do not have the power to stop this reconciliation,” Nasr Hariri told reporters in the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh, where he is based. “We still hope there is a possibility for (these countries) to revisit their decisions and realize that the real and solid relation should be with their brothers of the Syrian people not with the regime that has committed all these crimes,” he said.”

Al Jazeera: Yazidi Rights Group Urges US To Keep Troops In Syria

“A Yazidi rights group has urged the United States to delay its plans to withdraw troops from Syria, saying the move endangers religious minorities as it could allow ISIL to stage a comeback. In a statement on Friday, the Netherlands-based Free Yezidi Foundation said the resurgence of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group poses an "existential threat to minorities" such as the Yazidis. When ISIL swept across northern Iraq and into Syria, fighters from the armed group killed 3,000 Yazidis and abducted and sexually abused nearly 7,000 Yazidi women and girls. The United Nations has described the campaign against the Kurdish religious minority as genocide. "Any premature withdrawal of the United States forces from Syria not only endangers religious minorities in Iraq and Syria, it vastly increases the likelihood of a resurgent Daesh militant power," the Free Yezidi Foundation said, referring to ISIL by its Arabic acronym.”

Irish Times: Irish ‘ISIS Terrorist’ Captured In Syria Was On Garda Watchlist

“A suspected Islamic State terrorist captured by Kurdish-led forces in Syria a week ago lived in Ireland for about a decade and was on a Garda watchlist here. The 45-year-old man, who is originally from Belarus, came to Ireland in the early 2000s and obtained Irish citizenship and an Irish passport. He worked in retail and as a security guard in Dublin during his time here, sources said. During his time in the State, gardaí received information from a foreign intelligence agency that he was an active supporter of radical Islamist groups. He was put on a watchlist and monitored by members of the Special Detective Unit.  In 2013 he left for the Middle East, where it is understood he joined a group linked to Islamic State, also known as Isis. He made his way to Syria, where he fought in the civil war there which has to date claimed almost 400,000 lives. The Department of Justice has previously estimated that about 50 Irish citizens have travelled to Syria to fight in its civil war, many of them for extremist groups like Isis. At least three have been killed in the fighting. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is battling the remnants of Isis in Syria, announced yesterday that it had arrested the man in the city of Deir al-Zor along with two US and two Pakistani fighters.”

Xinhua: 120 Rebels Killed In Fighting With Al-Qaida-Linked Militants In Syria's Aleppo

“A total of 120 rebel fighters have been killed over the past five days of intense battles to stop the advance of the al-Qaida-linked groups in a part of the demilitarized zone in northern Syria, a war monitor reported Saturday. The slain rebels were killed during the battles between the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the umbrella group of the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front, and the Turkey-backed rebels of the Nour al-Din al-Zenki, a part of the bigger umbrella of the National Liberation Front, in the western countryside of Aleppo, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The intense battles have so far failed to stop the advance of the HTS and its capture of areas in the western countryside of Aleppo which had been controlled by the Turkey-backed rebels, said the London-based watchdog group. Notably, the areas that have fallen to the al-Qaida-linked group are part of the demilitarized zones' deal reached between Russian and Turkey last September. According to the deal, Turkey should have pushed the al-Qaida-linked rebels and those affiliated with terrorist groups out of the zone. According to the Observatory, the HTS has captured 23 villages and towns from the Turkey-backed rebels.”


Fox News: Tests Concluded, Iran Prepares For Launching Of Satellites

“Iran's telecommunications minister says his country's three new satellites have successfully passed pre-launch tests. In a Saturday tweet, Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi said: "Last night, Iranian satellites passed tests successfully." He did not mention a launch schedule. On Tuesday, Iran said it plans to send Payam, a 200-pound (90-kilogram) non-military satellite into a 310-mile (500-kilometer) orbit using an Iranian Simorgh satellite-carrier rocket. Iran usually displays space achievements in February during the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution. On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Iran's plans for sending three satellites into orbit demonstrate the country's defiance of a U.N. Security Council resolution that calls on Iran to undertake no activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons. Iran says the launch does not violate the resolution.”

International Policy Digest: Money Laundering In Iran Is Pervasive

“It was reported that the Expediency Council has approved a bill paving the way for Iran to join the FATF, but Gholamreza Mesbahi Moghaddam, a member of the council, was quoted by Fars News Agency saying “The bill approved by the council was an amendment to the internal mechanism set up for countering money laundering and contrary to what has been quoted by some media is has no connection with the Islamic Republic to FATF.” Corruption through money laundering is rampant in Iran. Among some indexes, Iran ranks 1st in the world in money laundering, ahead of Afghanistan and Tajikistan. In a recent interview with state television, Mohammad Javad Zarif admitted, “Money laundering is a fact in our country.” He added: “I know people who, for example, earned a profit of 30 trillion tomans ($7 billion) in a transfer deal.”

Radio Free Europe: Iran, Russia Planning Joint Naval Exercises In Caspian Sea

“Russia and Iran are planning joint naval exercises in the Caspian Sea "in the near future," an Iranian naval official has said. Iran's Mehr news agency quoted Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi on January 6 as saying that the two countries are planning "tactical, rescue, and anti-piracy war games." Iran and Russia conducted naval drills in the Caspian Sea in 2015 and 2017. Khanzadi also said "all countries around the Caspian" oppose any military presence in the area by any non-littoral countries.”

Radio Farda: Activist's Torture Complaint Raises Sensitivity, Mobilizes Some Politicians In Iran

“Outspoken MP and deputy speaker of the Iranian Parliament, Ali Motahari has called on Iran's intelligence Minister to order an investigation into the allegations of ministry agents torturing a labor activist. In a commentary in reformist daily newspaper Etemad on Sunday January 6, Motahari asked Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi to probe into the complaints made by labor activist Esmail Bakhshi and to declare if there was a legal basis for what has allegedly been done to him by intelligence ministry agents. In recent days Bakhshi had complained that he was subjected to violent physical and psychological torture and Intelligence Ministry agents illicitly listened to his conversation with his wife while he was in jail. In another development, former reformist MP and prominent academic Fatemeh Koolai addressed President Hassan Rouhani in a tweet: "Mr Rouhani! The people of Iran voted for a lawyer.”

The Jerusalem Post: Yemen And Iran

“The recent talks regarding a cessation of hostilities in Yemen, held in Sweden between the indirect representatives of Iran and Saudi Arabia, represent Sweden’s desire to mediate international conflicts and promote its image as a humanitarian power. Nonetheless, the implications of Sweden’s foreign policy go beyond the intent of serving “the goals of peace.” To initiate the process, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström supported her country and other European states in an effort to promote commercial ties with Iran, thus evading American sanctions. Wallström met with Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Seyyed Abbas Araghchi in Stockholm, who attended the fourth round of Iran-Sweden political consultations. The confidence of the Swedish tran sitional government demonstrates not only that the Nordic state is seeking to advocate an independent policy, but also that it is ignoring Iranian-funded activities within Sweden. This view echoes a similar scenario in the past in which, during the Cold War, there was a disagreement in the Swedish government between the political echelon and the intelligence service. Even then, the Swedish intelligence service was apprehensive of the political class’s policies and views.”


Iraqi News: Islamic State Terrorist Arrested While Planting Bomb In Iraq’s Samarra

“An Islamic State militant was arrested Saturday while trying to plant a bomb in the Iraqi city of Samarra, a police chief said. “A terrorist wearing military uniforms was apprehended during his attempt to plant an explosive charge on a street, east of Samarra, in Salahuddin,” Mawazin News website quoted the city’s police chief Jabbar al-Rubei as saying. “The terrorist admitted to belonging to the terrorist Islamic State group,” al-Rubei said, warning that the extremist group still launches attacks against government premises and holy sites with the aim of undermining security in the city of Samarra. Iraqi authorities regularly announce the capture of Islamic State extremists in different parts in the country since the collapse of the group’s territorial influence in the country in December 2017. 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. 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.”

Iraqi News: Iraqi Troops Destroy Three Hideouts, Two Tunnels Of Islamic State In Salahuddin

“Iraqi pro-government forces destroyed on Sunday three hideouts and two tunnels of Islamic State in northwestern Salahuddin province. “A joint force from al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) and Salahuddin Operations Command launched a wide-scale military operation in 30 villages, northwest of Salahuddin, managing to destroy three hideouts and two tunnels that were used by Islamic State militants,” Almaalomah news website quoted the paramilitary force of al-Hashd al-Shaabi as saying. “The troops also detonated 70 explosive charges,” the force said, adding that two of its fighters were injured when a booby-trapped house exploded. Popular Mobilization Forces have actively backed the Iraqi government’s military campaign against IS since 2014, when they were formed upon a top Shia clergy edict to counter the Sunni Jihadist group. PMF won official recognition as a national force late 2016, becoming under the command of the prime minister, who is also the supreme commander of the armed forces. Former prime minister Haider al-Abadi has recurrently defended PMFs against domestic and foreign accusations of committing human rights violations.”

Asharq Al-Awsat: Exclusive - Extremist ‘Guardians Of Religion’ Group Poses New Headache For Iraq

“The Guardians of Religion Organization, which rose from al-Qaeda’s shadow in northwestern Syria in 2018, is beginning to pose a security threat to Iraq. Extremist groups experts fear that the organization could be a new form of al-Qaeda after it managed to recruit to its ranks in Iraq foreign elements of what was left of the pro-Qaeda al-Nusra Front and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham groups in Syria. The Guardians also includes several smaller units under its wing and although their numbers may be small, they are a threat to stability in Syria and Iraq because they rely on guerrilla warfare. The formation of the Guardians of Religion Organization was officially announced in February 2018. It called for saving the residents of Syria’s Eastern Ghouta from a then-imminent regime offensive. It also pledged to wage attacks against the regime. On its profile on the Telegram website, the organization describes itself as a product of the “Syrian revolution that seeks to defend Muslims.” It did not declare any allegiance to al-Qaeda, but observers are certain of its affiliation to the terrorist group. Shortly after this announcement, several Qaeda cells and units in Syria, specifically in the Idlib and Latakia regions, pledged their allegiance to the Guardians.”

The Arab Weekly: Iraq’s ‘ISIS Families’ Are A Recipe For Future Conflict

“Human Rights Watch has published a scathing attack against the Iraqi government and its security and intelligence agencies for policies that have led to Iraqi families being held in concentration camp-like conditions. The families have not been charged with any crime, save for being related to supposed or actual members of the Islamic State (ISIS). Human Rights Watch Senior Iraq Researcher Belkis Wille said more than 100,000 Iraqis could be affected. They had identity documents confiscated and are confined to camps that were built to house refugees fleeing the violence that raged across Iraq from 2014-17. Entire families have been implicated because their fathers, sons or husbands were civil servants, teachers, doctors or other professionals whose only crime was continuing to turn up to work in cities that had been captured by ISIS. Others were punished because their relatives fought on behalf of ISIS, even if they denounced their actions and wanted nothing to do with them. Iraqi authorities and the security establishment made considerable efforts to utilise methods that can only be described as collective punishment, a crime under international humanitarian law. Making matters worse, Iraqi security forces have been exploiting children and women, often forcing women into sexual relations just to be able to leave the camps for routine medical appointments.”

Xinhua: IS Militants Kidnap 5 Villagers In Central Iraq

“The Islamic State (IS) militants Sunday abducted five villagers from their homes near the city of Tikrit, the capital of Iraq's central province of Salahudin, a provincial police source said. The incident took place in the evening when 20 IS militants broke into the village of Tal-Gseiba in east of Tikrit, located some 170 km north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, Col. Mohammed Khalil al-Bazi from Salahudin's provincial police command told Xinhua. A joint force from the Iraqi army, police and paramilitary Hashd Shaabi launched an operation to hunt down the extremist militant and rescue the kidnapped villagers, al-Bazi said. The security situation in Iraq has been dramatically improved after Iraqi security forces fully defeated the extremist IS militants across the country late in 2017. However, small groups and individuals of extremist militants melted or regrouped in urban and rugged areas, and are carrying out attacks against the security forces and civilians despite operations from time to time to hunt them down.”


Reuters: Bolton Says Turkey Must Not Attack Kurdish Fighters Once U.S. Leaves Syria

“White House national security adviser John Bolton added a new condition on Sunday to the U.S. withdrawal from Syria, saying Turkey must agree to protect the United States’ Kurdish allies.  President Donald Trump’s abrupt decision to announce a U.S. pullout from Syria left many questions open, chiefly whether Kurdish fighters who had been operating in northern Syria alongside U.S. forces would now be attacked by their long-time enemy, Turkey.  Bolton, on a trip to Israel and Turkey, said he would stress in talks with Turkish officials, including President Tayyip Erdogan, that Kurdish forces must be protected.  Ahead of talks with Israeli officials, he told reporters the pullout would be done in a way that guaranteed the Islamic State jihadist group “is defeated and is not able to revive itself and become a threat again.”  And it would be carried out in such a way as to “make sure that the defense of Israel and our other friends in the region is absolutely assured, and to take care of those who have fought with us against ISIS and other terrorist groups.”  Asked whether a U.S. withdrawal would not take place in Syria until Turkey guaranteed the Kurdish fighters would be safe, Bolton said: “Basically, that’s right.”


Radio Free Europe: Afghan Forces Free Hostages As Taliban Kidnap Government Employees

“Afghan special forces have rescued 12 people from a Taliban prison in the country's south on the same day that the militants kidnapped a group of 15 government employees in the west, officials said. The National Directorate of Security (NDS), the country's main intelligence agency, said in a statement that special forces stormed a Taliban prison in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand Province and rescued 12 people who had been held hostage. The NDS did not provide any further details on the raid in Helmand, a Taliban stronghold that is the center of the country's opium production.  The statement came as officials in the western province of Farah said Taliban militants kidnapped a group of government employees.  Provincial council members Khair Mohammad Norzai and Dadullah Qaneh told the dpa news agency that the workers were kidnapped as they were heading to their offices on the outskirts of Farah city, the provincial capital.  Farah, located along the border with Iran, has been the scene of fierce clashes between government forces and the Taliban in recent months.”

Reuters: Taliban Seek Venue Change For Peace Talks With U.S.

“The Taliban will not attend planned peace talks with the United States in Saudi Arabia this month, and want to shift the venue to Qatar, Taliban officials said on Sunday, seeking to fend off Riyadh’s push to include the Afghan government in talks.  The upcoming negotiations, the fourth in a series aimed at ending the 17-year war in Afghanistan, are scheduled between the leaders of the Taliban and U.S. special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad to discuss the withdrawal of foreign forces and a possible ceasefire in 2019.  Leaders of the hardline Islamic militant group have rejected the Kabul government’s offer for direct talks, despite growing international pressure in favor of the Western-backed Afghan government having a seat at the table. “We were supposed to meet U.S. officials in Riyadh next week and continue our peace process that remained incomplete in Abu Dhabi last month,” a senior Taliban member based in Afghanistan told Reuters on condition of anonymity. “The problem is that leaders of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) wanted us to definitely meet the Afghan government delegation, which we cannot afford to do now, and we have canceled the meeting in Saudi Arabia,” he said.”

The Nation: Seven Afghan Border Guards Killed In Kandahar

“At least seven members of the Afghan Border Police got killed in a Taliban attack close to the disputed border with Pakistan in Kandahar province, an official said on Saturday. Aziz Ahmad, spokesman for the provincial governor, told Anadolu Agency the Taliban militants stormed security check posts in Nava border town of the Spin Boldak district on late Friday. Ahmed said the clashes continued till early morning on Saturday, adding seven border guards and 16 militants were killed in the exchange of fire. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on social media. Kandahar has been known as the birthplace of the Taliban uprising in the 1990s. However, in the past many years, the province has been relatively peaceful. Gen Abdul Raziq, the slain police chief for Kandahar, has been credited for ensuring relative peace here. After surviving dozens of attempts on his life, Raziq lost his life in October last year when a Taliban infiltrator opened fire on him outside the provincial governor’s office during the visit by US Commander in Afghanistan Gen Austin Scott Miller. Meanwhile, Afghan forces’ crackdown against Taliban outfit have left 13 insurgents dead in Almar district of the northern Faryab province, an army statement released Saturday said.”


The Nation: Taliban, ISIS Still Potent Threat For Pakistan

“Despite a decline in terrorist violence during the last year, Pakistani Taliban and Daesh or ISIS remained potent threats to country’s security, says Pakistan Security Report 2018. The report issued by an Islamabad-based think tank Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies (PIPS) says that Pakistan witnessed 29 percent decline in terrorist attacks and 27 percent in consequent fatalities in 2018 as compared to the previous year. About 38 percent of the total 595 people killed in acts of terrorism in Pakistan in 2018 were the result of five lethal attacks claimed by ISIS, or Daesh, in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). Balochistan was the only region where terrorism-related killings surged, by over 23 percent, as compared to 2017 – most of these fatalities resulted from attacks by religiously-inspired militant groups. The report in its findings compiled on the basis of the ‘think tank’s multi-source database, coupled with interviews and articles by subject experts’ says that the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its affiliates and splinters carried out most of the reported attacks in 2018, followed by the nationalist insurgents. As many as 24 attacks were carried out on political leaders, killing 218 people and injuring 394.”


Al Jazeera: 'This Is How We Welcomed 2019': Civilians Killed In Houthi Attack

“At least two civilians have been killed and 16 others wounded after Houthi rebels shelled a residential district in Yemen's besieged city of Taiz. According to residents and medical officials, the Houthis fired several mortar shells on Taiz's 7th July neighbourhood late on Saturday killing an elderly woman and a child. According to the sources, the injured, many of whom were children, were taken to nearby hospitals controlled by the government. "This is how we welcomed 2019 in Taiz," said Aeda al-Absi, a local resident. "The world and humanitarian organisations have turned a blind eye to what is happening in Taiz." Houthi rebels have besieged Taiz, Yemen's second-largest city, for more than four years, with an estimated 200,000 civilians caught up in the fighting.”

The National: Yemen Talks Could Take Place In Jordan, Houthis Claim

“Yemen's government on Monday warned it would not attend the next round of talks unless the Houthi group complies with a fragile UN-brokered truce. Peace talks in Sweden saw a breakthrough when warring parties agreed on a ceasefire in the port city of Hodeidah, which went into effect on December 18, as well as the withdrawal of all forces from the area. "We have said before and continue to say that we will not attend the next round of talks unless the Houthis comply to what was agreed in Sweden," a government official told The National. Houthi rebels said on Monday that talks on Yemen’s weakened economy could take place in Jordan. The government, however, denies these claims. "The next round of talks will most likely be held in Kuwait and not in Jordan and will focus on issues such as Hodeidah, re-opening the rebel held airport and the country's fragile economy," said the official.”


BBC News: Nigeria Soldiers Raid Paper 'Over Boko Haram Article'

“Nigerian soldiers have raided the main office of the private Daily Trust newspaper and confiscated computers. It follows the arrest of some staff at the newspaper's office in the north-eastern city of Maiduguri, the epicentre of the Boko Haram insurgency. The Daily Trust says it may be connected with its lead story on Sunday about the military preparing an operation to recapture territory. The army denies it recently lost control of some towns to militants. The military has not given a reason for its actions against the Daily Trust. The insurgents, who have caused havoc in north-eastern Nigeria since 2009, are fighting to overthrow the government and create an Islamic state. According to the Daily Trust, a well respected daily paper and news site, the soldiers forced open the gates of its head office in the capital, Abuja, and drove in with three vans loaded with armed soldiers. Witnesses told the BBC the soldiers then ordered staff to hand over all computers and laptops and had taken over control of the Abuja office. Earlier in the day, security agents stormed the Daily Trust office in Maiduguri, arresting regional editor Uthman Abubakar and reporter Ibrahim Sawab.”

News 24: Boko Haram Kills Two Nigerian Soldiers In Ambush

“At least two Nigerian soldiers were killed in an ambush by Boko Haram jihadists targeting a civilian convoy close to the border with Cameroon, military and militia sources told AFP on Friday. The jihadists opened fire on a convoy of traders under military escort outside a village near the northeastern town of Banki on Thursday, killing two military escorts and injuring seven traders, according to the sources. "The (Boko Haram) terrorists ambushed the convoy around 18:00 as it approached Banki and killed two of the soldiers providing cover for the convoy," a military officer said. "The attackers fired indiscriminately and seven civilians were injured," the officer said. The jihadist fighters seized a truck belonging to a humanitarian organisation during the ambush, but the driver managed to escape, according to a militiaman fighting the jihadists in Banki, who have a similar toll. A militiamen said the seized truck belonged to Intersos, an NGO representing the World Food Programme (WFP) in Banki. Banki, which is 130km southeast of the Borno state capital Maiduguri, houses 45,000 people displaced by the Boko Haram conflict who live in a sprawling camp which opened in 2015 following raids on villages in the area.”

Daily Post Nigeria: Boko Haram: Buhari Govt Fears Insurgents May Infiltrate Northwest

“The Minister of Defence, Alhaji Mansur Dan-Ali, said the federal government had not ruled out the infiltration of Boko Haram in the North West, especially Zamfara, under the guise of bandits. Danali spoke while commending the formation of village security committees set up to curb banditry in the state. The minister, who was on an on-the-spot assessment of the activities of Operation Sharan Daji in Zamfara, expressed satisfaction with the performance of the security agencies, particularly the military. “You know the Boko Haram sect is facing serious defeat and are in desperate need to relocate to where they can operate without hindrance; unfortunately, there is no safe place for the members of the sect anymore because our security operatives are not relenting,” he said. He explained that the state government was supposed to complement the efforts of the security and lauded the recent formation of civilian JTF in the state. The minister noted that the inclusion of the JTF members had further led to the dismemberment of the bandits. He said under the multilateral Joint Security Task Force, the federal government had been able to block several economic sources of both the North West bandits and the Boko Haram.”


BBC News: US Attacks On Somalia's Al-Shabab Increase Under Trump

“Donald Trump's presidency has coincided with a sharp rise in US-led airstrikes in Somalia and the trend is set to continue in 2019. In a speech in December outlining the US' Africa policy, President Trump's National Security Adviser John Bolton said "terrorists operating in Africa have... repeatedly targeted US citizens and interests". He gave the impression that there would be no let up in the struggle against militant Islamist groups, such as the Somalia-based al-Shabab, which is affiliated to al-Qaeda. In March 2017, the Pentagon received White House approval to expand its fight against the militants in the Horn of Africa nation.  Commanders now no longer require high-level vetting to approve strikes on al-Shabab in "areas of active hostilities" in Somalia.  "It allows [us] to prosecute targets in a more rapid fashion," said General Thomas Walhauser of US Africa Command (Africom). The move has seen increased attacks by aircraft, as well as the first public deployment of US boots on the ground since 1993 to "advise and assist" Somali government troops.  Africom has now carried out at least 46 confirmed airstrikes in Somalia in 2018, following the previous record of 38 in 2017, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ).”

NBC News: Pentagon Plans To Scale Back In Somalia, Latest Sign Trump Wants To Cut Troops Abroad

“The U.S. military plans to scale back its role in Somalia and curtail airstrikes against al-Shabab insurgents after having taken out many of the group's senior operatives, two senior U.S. officials told NBC News, the latest signal the Trump administration is looking to cut the number of troops deployed around the world. The move reflects an assessment by the administration that while the Shabab insurgency remains a threat to the Somali government and neighboring countries, it does not pose a direct danger to the U.S., current and former officials said. And it follows President Donald Trump's abrupt announcement last month that he had ordered U.S. forces out of Syria and asked for plans to be drawn up for a possible drawdown in Afghanistan. Former officials and counterterrorism experts say if the Trump administration presses ahead with its plans it could create a dangerous opening for al Qaeda, ISIS and other extremists to carve out sanctuaries and launch terrorist attacks on U.S. and Western targets.”


The Guardian: Militants ‘Resume Attacks’ On Pipelines In Niger Delta

“Suspected militants may have renewed hostilities against oil companies operating in the Niger Delta. For example, a group yesterday claimed it was behind the attack on an oil pipeline at Koluama community in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state. The Friday explosion reportedly damaged the pipeline belonging to Conoil. The group, Koluama Seven Brothers, in statement by one Angel Michael, described the attack as a warning, saying: “Our early morning hours’ strike of 12:20 a.m., January 4, 2018, at Angel II field of Conoil is just a warning to Conoil, King Solomon, and his cartel. If Conoil and King Solomon fail to address the issues behind the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), scholarships, job creation for peace and love of the Koluama clan, then we (will have) no other option (but) launch a strike to shut down Conoil.” A youth leader in the community, Henry Omietimi, confirmed the explosion, saying his deputy, a member of a security outfit in the area, briefed him on the incident. He, however, said he was still investigating the development with a view to ascertaining if it was indeed an attack or the aftermath of a burst pipeline. Some residents of the area feared the explosion signaled the resumption of hostilities by militants.”

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Terror In Morocco: Travelers Must Be Vigilant Wherever They Go

“For most of the year, the U.S. State Department’s travel advisory for Morocco said American visitors should “exercise normal precautions” — the same guidance given for visiting Canada. But the murder of two women backpacking in the Atlas Mountains before Christmas is a reminder of the long struggle against terrorism in Morocco. In the wake of those deaths, the U.S. now is recommending U.S. visitors “exercise increased caution.” The U.S. media assiduously cover threats to the homeland, acts of terror in Western Europe and the military’s fight against terrorists in places such as Afghanistan and Syria. Less attention is given to terror in Africa. But it’s real. Remember the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenza and Tanzania that killed 224? What about the suicide bombings in the fabled Moroccan city of Casablanca that killed 33 in 2003 and and the 2011 cafe bombing in Marrakesh, Morocco, that killed 17? Morocco has detained about 20 suspects in the deaths of 28-year-old Maren Ueland, a Norwegian, and 24-year-old Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, a Dane. At least four of the suspects appeared in a video pledging allegiance to the so-called Islamic State.”

United Kingdom

The Independent: Eight-Year-Old Boy Questioned By Counter-Terrorism Police Officers In London School Over ‘Radicalisation’ Fears

“An eight-year-old boy was questioned by two counter-terrorism police officers and a social worker at a school in east London over alleged radicalisation fears, The Independent can reveal. The Counter Terrorism Professional Standards Unit has now launched an investigation into the matter after the boy’s parents logged a formal complaint about the treatment of their young son. The parents, who wish to remain anonymous, said their child was left “frightened” and “traumatised” after he was separated from his classmates at a school in Ilford to be interviewed. The father claims his son was asked about Islam, the mosque he attends, whether he prays, and his views on other religions. He was also asked to recite verses from the Quran. No safeguarding issues were identified from the interview in July and no further action was taken by the police – but now the parents are seeking legal advice. They argue they were targeted for being Muslim, but The Independent understands radicalisation concerns were sparked by the father’s links to members of an Islamist group. “We are absolutely shocked and appalled that our son was questioned alone and in this manner and without informing his parents,” the father said.”

Yahoo News UK: Two Arrested After Man Stabbed To Death In Front Of His Son In Frenzied Train Attack

“Two people have been arrested following the fatal stabbing of a 51-year-old train passenger in front of his 14-year-old son. The frenzied attack happened on the 12.58 service between Guildford and London Waterloo stations on Friday. Superintendent Paul Langley said: “What we know at the moment is that the victim boarded the train at around 1.00pm at London Road station in Guildford, along with his 14-year-old son. “Traumatically, the victim’s son would have been nearby when his father was fatally wounded. This would have been an horrific and hugely traumatic event to have witnessed and we are providing him with as much support as possible. A man has been detained on suspicion of murder, and a 27-year-old woman was also arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender. Supt Langley assured the public that “violent events such as this on the rail network are extremely rare”, and there would be extra officers on duty on Saturday to help reassure concerned passengers and rail staff. The knifeman left the train at Clandon station and headed in the direction of Dedswell Drive, according to the police. A woman who lives nearby reportedly told other villagers that she had spoken to a “very sweaty and nervous” man in a field near her home.”


NBC News: Report: Nearly All Terror Attacks In France Carried Out By Radicals Already Known To Police

“The vast majority of terror attacks in France were carried out by Islamic radicals who had been known to police or intelligence services, according to a new report by a global security think tank. Bratislava-based GLOBSEC examined 22 terror incidents in France since 2012. Nearly 80 percent of the people behind those attacks had been on a terror watchlist, and 97 percent had been on the radar of authorities, according to the firm's new analysis, obtained by NBC News. The figures included Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, career criminals with long records who killed 12 people in January 2015 in the offices of the satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris. The statistics are likely to bolster the longstanding criticism leveled at France and other European countries that authorities are not doing enough to prosecute and imprison those who pose a threat. Statutes related to providing material support to terrorists, which carry long prison terms in the U.S., are not often prosecuted in France, and jail sentences are much shorter. "The main issue throughout Europe is the sentencing, which is extremely lenient and also allows for terrorists/jihadists to be freed quite early for 'good behavior,'" said London-based terror expert Olivier Guitta, founder and managing director of the security firm GlobalStrat.”


Naples Daily News: Another View: Social Media Is Hurting America

“By now, we know that social media is more likely to bring out the worst in us than the best in us. Or, more accurately, it is likely to bring out the worst of us, while the silent many just groan and become more dispirited at the state of things. The question that we need to ask ourselves this year, though, is whether social media is changing us as a society and hurting us as a people. The evidence appears increasingly plain that it is. Our worry is that, as Americans, we are increasingly unwilling to consider ideas that are contrary to our own biases and beliefs, that we are that much more eager to tune them out or shout them down or that we just don’t encounter them at all in our streams of information. These days, people who disagree aren’t just our neighbors with different points of view. They are our political enemies, called out as such over and over not only in the gutter stream of cable “news” and internet comments but also more frequently in social media posts. Some of us are becoming like children who will eat only what we like at every meal. Try to sneak in a vegetable and a tantrum ensues. The reactions are childish because they don’t answer argument with argument or reason with reason.”

The Washington Post: Our Privacy Regime Is Broken. Congress Needs To Create New Norms For A Digital Age

“Our privacy regime is not working. This fact became painfully apparent over the past year as Americans realized how much of their information Internet companies possess and how little they have done to protect it. The most popular proposal so far doubles down on the same system that has failed. We need a better approach. Every recent scandal about today’s technology titans has a familiar bottom line: The sites that have become inescapable features of day-to-day existence know where we live and work, what we buy and think about buying, whom we talk to and about what. They use their deep knowledge of us to make money, insufficiently mindful of any risk. All the while, most of us remain unaware. It’s not hard to see how this happened. Privacy in the United States runs on a model of “notice and consent,” which is what it sounds like: Companies tell consumers what data they will collect and what they will do with it; consumers agree. But companies often do not tell consumers as much as they ought to, and consumers often cannot parse the disclosures anyway. Even tech-conscious users click automatically past privacy policies because they are long and complicated — and because they see no other option.”

The Guardian: Facebook's Burnt-Out Moderators Are Proof That It Is Broken

“Way back in the 1950s, a pioneering British cybernetician, W Ross Ashby, proposed a fundamental law of dynamic systems. In his book An Introduction to Cybernetics, he formulated his law of requisite variety, which defines “the minimum number of states necessary for a controller to control a system of a given number of states”. In plain English, it boils down to this: for a system to be viable, it has to be able to absorb or cope with the complexity of its environment. And there are basically only two ways of achieving viability in those terms: either the system manages to control (or reduce) the variety of its environment, or it has to increase its internal capacity (its “variety”) to match what is being thrown at it from the environment. Sounds abstruse, I know, but it has a contemporary resonance. Specifically, it provides a way of understanding some of the current internal turmoil in Facebook as it grapples with the problem of keeping unacceptable, hateful or psychotic content off its platform. Two weeks ago, the New York Times was leaked 1,400 pages from the rulebooks that the company’s moderators are trying to follow as they police the stuff that flows through its servers.”

Financing of Terrorism

Arab Youm: Tunisia: Assets Belonging To 63 Terror Suspects Frozen

“The head of the National Committee for Combating Terrorism in Tunisia, Mukhtar Ben Nasr, announced the freezing of funds, bank accounts and all other economic resources belonging to 40 terror suspects, including members of the ISIS-affiliated Jund al-Khilafah's cell operating in the western mountains of Tunisia. The asset-freeze declaration is for a period of six months, renewable. This is the second time, within a period of two months, that this committee has announced such a decision. In November, it adopted a similar resolution, which provides for the freezing of the funds and economic resources of another 23 Tunisians suspected on terrorist charges, bringing the total number of decisions issued against Tunisians to 63. These decisions are in compliance with international standards set out in the recommendations of the International Financial Action Task Force (FATF), particularly Recommendation No. 6 concerning financial sanctions aimed at cutting off one of the most important means of terrorist organizations.”


Alkhaleej: Libya: Discovery Of Large ISIS-Owned Integrated Workshop For Manufacture Of Explosives

“The Libyan security services uncovered on Saturday a large, integrated workshop for the manufacture of explosives, explosive belts and devices owned by ISIS. The small factory is located near the town of Ghadwa, not far from the southern city of Sabha. "The large laboratory contains chemicals, explosive materials and improvised explosive devices," the Libyan army's Khalid bin Walid Brigade spokesman said in a statement. "ISIS was preparing to use it to carry out terrorist operations and attack {Libya's} southern areas. According to images posted by the battalion on its Facebook page, security forces uncovered hundreds of barrels loaded with chemicals, a large truck bomb, bomb-making materials as well as explosives and other ammunition.”

Muslim Brotherhood

Wikimsrweb: Funding Sources Of Muslim Brotherhood Range From Visible To Invisible

“The funding sources of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt range from visible to invisible sources. The visible sources are chiefly membership fees, donations and financial aid, which are obtained in accordance with the laws and regulations. Yet, the invisible financing source, which are quite diversified, range from ransom payments to drug and arms trafficking, armed robbery and money-laundering. Additionally, the Muslim Brotherhood's invisible sources include funds obtained from foreign parties, as well as charity and Zakat {obligatory alms} money pumped into illicit investment avenues. It's noteworthy that the Egyptian authorities have seized many investment and economic projects belonging to the group, valued at tens of billions of dollars, following a ruling by the Urgent Matters Court which banned the organization.”

Libya Akhbar: Tunisia: Muslim Brotherhood Local Branch Accused Of Abetting The Dispatch Of Extremists To Conflict Zone In Syria

“The Office of the Presidency of the Syrian Council of Ministers recently published documents which allegedly implicate the al-Nahda Party, the Muslim Brotherhood's political arm in Tunisia, in facilitating the dispatch of extremists from Tunisia to Turkey, via Libya, and on to Syria. Other Arab parties and figures are {also believed to be} involved. These accusations sparked heated debates as to the real stance of al-Nahdha, and of its leader Rachid al-Ghannouchi, in regard to the crisis in Syria. According to Syrian sources, the Muslim Brotherhood's political arm in Tunisia facilitated the transfer of Tunisian extremists to Turkey, and subsequently to Syria, in return for large sums of money and weapons contributed by Turkey. The Syrian regime claimed that it obtained this information following the interrogation of detained terrorists in Syria.”