Eye on Extremism: July 9, 2024

BBC: Far-Right Extremist Faces Jail For Terror Breach

“A man believed to be the first far-right extremist to be placed under special government measures for monitoring suspected terrorists is to be jailed for breaching them, a court has heard. The defendant, who can only be referred to as LXB, was subject to strict measures controlling his electronic communication in 2022 after being convicted of possessing material likely to be used for a terrorist purpose. He also previously made threats to kill a Jewish MP and had another conviction for making explosives, Leeds Crown Court heard. He pleaded guilty to four counts of contravening a TPIM (Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures) order and was told he would face a jail sentence at his next hearing on 16 July. The court heard the man, who is in his 20s, was visited by police at home in June last year after he tried to set up a bank account on a device that was not known to them.”

Associated Press: The Taliban’s Morality Police Are Contributing To A Climate Of Fear Among Afghans, UN Says

“The Taliban’s morality police are contributing to a climate of fear and intimidation among Afghans, according to a U.N. report published Tuesday. Edicts and some of the methods used to enforce them constituted a violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms, the report said. The Taliban set up a ministry for the “propagation of virtue and the prevention of vice” after seizing power in 2021. Since then, the ministry has enforced decrees issued by the Taliban leadership that have a disproportionate impact on women and girls, like dress codes, segregated education and employment, and having a male guardian when they travel. “The punishments attached to non-compliance with instructions and decrees are often arbitrary, severe and disproportionate,” said the report from the U.N. Mission in Afghanistan. “Sweeping bans with a discriminatory effect on women have been introduced. Human rights violations, as well as the unpredictability of enforcement measures, contribute to a climate of fear and intimidation among segments of the population.””

CEP Mentions

Spectator: How Labour’s Jail Strategy Could Come Unstuck

“Let’s talk cobblers. The Prime Minister has responded to the jail space crisis by ennobling the nation’s shoe mender-in-chief James Timpson and making him minister for prisons, probation and parole. This is a bold move but not one without risk. It would only take one high-profile crime committed by a prisoner on early release to plunge the strategy into crisis. Timpson has made his fortune out of the ubiquitous key cutting and watch repair outlets that sprout from many big supermarkets. He’s less well known for a passionate interest in penal affairs. He became the first household name retailer to employ carefully screened prison leavers in his shops and they have returned his trust by becoming some of his best workers. I’ve never had a bad visit to Timpsons; this says much about the business his father and he have built on can-do socially aware capitalism.”


Reuters: Exclusive: Satellite Photos Show Iran Expanding Missile Production

“Recent satellite imagery shows major expansions at two key Iranian ballistic missile facilities that two American researchers assessed are for boosting missile production, a conclusion confirmed by three senior Iranian officials. The enlargement of the sites follows an October 2022 deal in which Iran agreed to provide missiles to Russia, which has been seeking them for its war against Ukraine. Tehran also supplies missiles to Yemen's Houthi rebels and the Lebanese militia Hezbollah, both members of the Iran-backed Axis of Resistance against Israel, according to U.S. officials. Images taken by commercial satellite firm Planet Labs of the Modarres military base in March and the Khojir missile production complex in April show more than 30 new buildings at the two sites, both of which are located near Tehran. The images, reviewed by Reuters, show many of the structures are surrounded by large dirt berms. Such earthworks are associated with missile production and are designed to stop a blast in one building from detonating highly combustible materials in nearby structures, said Jeffrey Lewis of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.”


Reuters: Yemen's Houthis Claim Joint Military Operation With Iraq's Islamic Resistance On Israel's Eilat

“Yemen's Houthis said on Monday that they carried out a joint military operation with the Iraqi Islamic Resistance targeting Israel's port city of Eilat using "a number of drones'"”

Associated Press: Yemen’s Houthi Rebels Could Free A Rival Political Leader Held Incommunicado Since 2015, UN Says

“Yemen’s Houthi rebels could free a political leader with ties to the internationally recognized government who has been detained for nearly a decade, under a preliminary prisoner swap deal announced by the United Nations on Monday. Mohamed Qahtan is the leader of the Sunni Islamist Islah party, which is aligned with the Saudi Arabia-backed government, and he has been held incommunicado by the Iranian-backed Houthis since 2015, the United Nations said. The office of U.N. special envoy Hans Grundberg convened a meeting in Oman with the International Committee of the Red Cross over the weekend to facilitate talks centered on a prisoner exchange, in accordance with the 2018 Stockholm Agreement, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said. The two Yemeni sides agreed to meet to discuss the final list of who will be released and the details of Qahtan’s release, Dujarric said, without providing details on the potential agreement.”

Associated Press: A Suspected Attack By Yemen’s Houthi Rebels Targets A Ship In The Gulf Of Aden

“A suspected attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels targeted a ship in the Gulf of Aden on Tuesday, the latest assault by the group on the crucial maritime trade route. The captain of the ship reported an explosion in close proximity to the vessel off the coast of Nishtun, Yemen, close to the country’s border with Oman, the British military’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations center said. The ship, whose name and flag were not released, and all crew are safe, the UKMTO said in a warning to mariners. The explosion took place in the farthest reaches of the waterway earlier targeted by the rebels, the center said. It did not elaborate on what caused the explosion, though the Houthis have been known to use drones and missiles as well as bomb-carrying drone boats. The Houthis did not immediately comment. However, it can take hours or even days before they acknowledge carrying out an attack.”


Jewish Insider: Senate Defense Bill Pushes For Review Of U.S.-Qatar Relationship

“The Senate Armed Services Committee’s draft of the 2025 National Defense Authorization Act pushes for a review of the U.S.-Qatar relationship, following months of mounting pressure from Capitol Hill and calls from some lawmakers to dramatically downgrade the U.S.’ relationship with Doha. Lawmakers have grown increasingly frustrated with Qatar in the months since Oct. 7. Qatar hosts Hamas’ political leadership and has served as a mediator of hostage talks with the terrorist group; some lawmakers have accused it of failing to apply sufficient pressure on Hamas. The Senate Armed Services Committee’s defense bill includes a provision that would require the Department of Defense to submit a report to and brief Congress on the “operational value” of the Al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar, “taking into consideration the relationship of the Government of Qatar with Hamas and other terrorist organizations.”

Middle East

Reuters: Three Gazans Found Dead After Release From Israeli Custody, Relative And Witness Say

“The handcuffed bodies of three Palestinian men freed from Israeli custody have been found near Gaza's border with Israel, and an uncle of one of them and a witness said they had been attacked by Israeli forces shortly after their release. Abdel Hadi Ghabayen, an uncle of one of the detainees, Kamel Ghabayen, said he set out at 5 a.m. on Sunday looking for his nephew following his arrest by Israeli forces on Saturday. "I found him left on the ground along with the other two martyrs. They were without clothes, and their hands had plastic cuffs put on them by the Israeli army," Ghabayen said. The bodies were found near the Israeli border fence on Sunday in the vicinity of the Karam Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing in southern Gaza, he said. Reuters could not independently confirm what happened to the three men or the reason for their arrest.”

Associated Press: Israeli Forces Push Deeper Into Gaza City As Hamas Warns That Escalation Threatens Cease-Fire Talks

“Israeli forces advanced deeper into the Gaza Strip’s largest city in pursuit of militants who had regrouped there, sending thousands of Palestinians fleeing on Monday from an area ravaged in the early weeks of the nine-month-long war. Hamas warned that the latest raids and displacement in Gaza City could lead to the collapse of long-running negotiations over a cease-fire and hostage release, after the two sides had appeared to have narrowed the gaps in recent days. Israeli troops were again battling militants in areas that the army said had been largely cleared months ago in northern Gaza. The military ordered evacuations ahead of the raids, but Palestinians said nowhere feels safe. Most of the population of 2.3 million has been displaced, often multiple times. Hundreds of thousands are packed into sweltering tent camps.”


Garowe Online: Ethiopia-Somalia Talks In Turkey Concluded Before They Began - President

“President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud maintains that the recent talks between Ethiopia and Somalia over the controversial agreement 'ended before they began', noting that Ethiopia remains non-committal to embracing dialogue.   Ethiopia,  he said, has employed "delay tactics" despite looking for Somalia for dialogue. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said Ethiopia's rigid approach to the matter could further fuel tensions in the Horn of Africa region. Last week,  Turkey mediated talks between Ethiopia and Somalia but there was no substantive output forcing the two countries to postpone the dialogue to September 2024, with Turkey offering to continue with the mediation talks."The Ankara talks were concluded before they even began," he said, accusing Ethiopia of causing the breakdown due to its rigid stance. He noted that previous mediation attempts in Nairobi had also failed due to Ethiopia's inflexibility.”


Voice Of America: China, Belarus Begin Joint Anti-Terrorism Exercises

“China and Belarus began joint anti-terrorism exercises Monday in Brest, Belarus, that will last for 11 days. The two countries will conduct drills in the exercises titled Eagle Assault, and “soldiers from both sides will jointly carry out hostage rescue operations and counterterrorism missions,” China’s state news agency Xinhua said. Together, they “will work out the issues of night landing, overcoming water obstacles, and conducting operations in a populated area,” according to a statement from the Belarusian Ministry of Defense. China and Belarus have a history of conducting joint military exercises, having conducted four anti-terrorism exercises in territories of both countries from 2011 to 2018. Eagle Assault occurs against a backdrop of increasing Chinese-Belarusian cooperation, with Belarus being the newest country to join the Chinese and Russian-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization.”


Reuters: Russia Sentences Director, Playwright To 6 Years For 'Justifying Terrorism'

“A Russian court sentenced a playwright and a theatre director each to six years in prison on Monday for "justifying terrorism", concluding a trial that rights campaigners had said demonstrated Russia's intolerance of artistic freedom. Director Zhenya Berkovich, 39, and playwright Svetlana Petriychuk, 44, were arrested in May last year over their production of a play called "Finist, the Brave Falcon", about Russian women who marry Islamic State fighters. The case was the most prominent prosecution of Russian cultural figures over the content of their artwork since Moscow sent troops into Ukraine in 2022. Both denied guilt. The seven-week trial was condemned by free speech campaigners and Russia's artistic community as politically motivated. Partway through the trial, judge Yuri Massin approved a request from prosecutors to close the proceedings to the public over alleged threats to some participants.”

Southeast Asia

Reuters: Militant Attack Kills Five Indian Army Soldiers In Kashmir Region

“A militant attack on an Indian Army convoy in the Himalayan territory of Jammu and Kashmir killed at least five soldiers, India's defence minister said on Tuesday, the latest in a spate of strikes that has roiled the region. Militant violence has marred the Kashmir Valley and nearby areas since the start of an insurgency in 1989 that killed tens of thousands, although strife has waned in recent years. Gunmen fired at the convoy in Kathua district on Monday after attacking it with a grenade, media said, while return fire from the soldiers sent the gunmen fleeing into a nearby forest. "Counter-terrorist operations are underway, and our soldiers are determined to usher in peace and order in the region," Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in a post on X, offering condolences to the bereaved families. India and Pakistan both claim the Himalayan region of Kashmir but rule it in part, with India's territory comprising the Hindu-dominated Jammu region and the Muslim-dominated Kashmir valley.”

BBC: Five Indian Soldiers Killed In Kashmir Ambush

“Five soldiers have been killed in an ambush by suspected militants in the Kathua district of Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir, officials say. The soldiers in military vehicles came under fire from militants hiding in a nearby hill, according to initial reports. Reinforcements arrived quickly and a search operation was launched to track down the attackers, officials said. Kashmir has seen an armed insurgency against Indian rule since 1989, but violence has waned in recent years. Monday afternoon's attack in Jammu marks a month of increasing violence in the region. Last month, nine people died and 33 were injured after suspected militants fired on a bus carrying Hindu pilgrims in the area. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said he was "deeply anguished" at the lives lost in the latest attack. "My deepest condolences to the bereaved families, the nation stands firm with them in this difficult time," Mr Singh wrote on X, formerly Twitter.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.


On May 8, 2019, Taliban insurgents detonated an explosive-laden vehicle and then broke into American NGO Counterpart International’s offices in Kabul. At least seven people were killed and 24 were injured.

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