Eye on Extremism: June 12

Reuters: Houthi Missile Attack On Saudi Airport Wounds 26

“The Saudi-led military coalition vowed to respond firmly to a missile attack by Yemeni Houthi forces on a civilian airport in southern Saudi Arabia on Wednesday which wounded 26 people. The Western-backed, Sunni Muslim alliance that has been battling the Iran-aligned Houthi movement in Yemen said the early morning attack proved Tehran’s support for what it called cross-border terrorism. A coalition statement said a projectile hit the arrivals hall at Abha airport, causing material damage. Three women and two children were among the wounded, who were of Saudi, Yemeni and Indian nationalities, it said. The Houthis said on their media channels that they had fired a cruise missile at Abha airport, which is about 200 km (125 miles) north of the Yemen border and serves domestic and regional routes. Saudi Arabia’s civil aviation body told Reuters air traffic was currently running normally at the airport. The Houthi media center said the strike destroyed the control tower. The coalition’s spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Reuters could not independently verify the claim.”

The New York Times: Lebanese Man Freed By Iran Says He Shared Cell Space With American

“For the nearly four years Nizar Zakka was held prisoner in Iran, an ordeal that lasted until he was released this week, the knowledge that he was little more than a political pawn made a bad situation almost unbearable. “It’s just trading of human beings — they just trade us,” Mr. Zakka, a Lebanese citizen who had lived in the United States for much of his life, and who arrived in Beirut from Tehran on Tuesday, said in an interview after his release. “Every evening, you feel like you want to leave this life. You are an innocent person. You never hurt anything.” Mr. Zakka, an information technology professional, was held for about three years and nine months after being seized without warning in September 2015 on his way out of Iran, where he had been officially invited to attend a conference. Accused of being an American spy, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay a fine of $4.2 million. Despite the apparent gravity of the charges, however, the Iranian authorities agreed a few weeks ago to turn him over to Lebanese officials, who had been formally asking Tehran for his freedom for months.”

Yahoo News: Boko Haram Attack Kills At Least 26 In Cameroon

“Jihadist fighters belonging to the Boko Haram group active in Nigeria killed at least 26 people in an attack in neighbouring Cameroon that was one of the bloodiest in recent months, according to a security official. “Seventeen soldiers and nine civilians” were killed in the attack early Monday on Darak, a Cameroonian island located near Lake Chad, the regional security official told AFP. A preliminary count, given on Monday, had three Cameroonian soldiers killed along with an unspecified number of civilians in an attack on a military post in the area. The official told AFP on Tuesday that the Boko Haram attack sparked fierce combat with Cameroonian troops. He said 40 of the jihadists were captured and seven soldiers remained missing. Before being repelled, the jihadists managed to hoist their flag over Darak, several security sources said. Boko Haram's decade-long uprising to establish a hardline Islamic state in Nigeria's northeast, which has killed more than 27,000 people and left 1.8 million homeless, has spilled into neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon. An anti-Boko Haram force combining soldiers from Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria has been set up but has failed to rout the group from the restive Lake Chad region.”

Reuters: Mali Massacre Victims Included 24 Children: PM

“Bodies recovered from a massacre of almost 100 people by a Malian ethnic militia included at least 24 children, many of them shot in the back, the prime minister said during a visit to the crime scene on Tuesday. Attackers believed to belong to the Fulani ethnic group raided the rival Dogon village of Sobane Da, in central Mali, between Sunday and Monday. They killed at least 95 people and burned houses to the ground in an escalation of the tit-for-tat ethnic slaughter that has engulfed the mostly Saharan nation this year. “All these victims of horror and barbarity remind us of our responsibility as leaders to reinforce and accelerate security,” said Boubou Cisse, who became prime minister in April after his predecessor stepped down following an earlier massacre by Dogon gunmen on a Fulani village in March. “May the soul of these innocent victims of discord and hatred rest in peace.”

Business Insider: Iran’s Top Diplomat Says His Country Executes Gay People Because Of 'Moral Principles'

“Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Monday cited "moral principles" when asked why Iran executes homosexuals for their sexual orientation, as he also attacked the US and Israel for "violating human rights." At a press conference in the Iranian capital with his German counterpart, Heiko Maas, Zarif was asked by Bild reporter Paul Ronzheimer about the death penalty for gay people in the Middle Eastern country. "Our society has moral principles, and according to these principles we live," Zarif responded. "These are moral principles regarding the behavior of people in general. And that's because the law is upheld and you abide by laws." In late January, a 31-year-old man was publicly hanged in Iran after being found guilty of violating the country's anti-gay laws, according to The Jerusalem Post. As of March 2019, there were 70 UN member states that have laws on the books criminalizing consensual same-sex sexual acts, according to a report from the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA). Of these countries, six impose the death penalty on consensual same-sex sexual acts: Iran, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Sudan, and Somalia.”

CNN: Prominent White Supremacists Are Still On YouTube In Wake Of Ban

“Six days after YouTube said it would ban supremacist content and remove videos that deny well-documented atrocities like the Holocaust, accounts belonging to some of the most prominent purveyors of hate in the US, such as white supremacist Richard Spencer and former KKK leader David Duke, are still on the platform.  YouTube has taken some action against Duke's account, which he uses to, among other things, rail against what he calls the “Zio” media — “Zio” is a code word he uses for “Jewish” — and post bizarre fitness videos with advice on how to avoid shrunken testicles. Features like comments and sharing have been removed from the channel, and YouTube has added a warning that his videos contain “inappropriate” or “offensive” content. But a YouTube spokesperson told CNN Business that those actions predated the company's announcement last week.  The majority of videos on the account for the National Policy Institute, a white supremacist group that Spencer runs, do not contain any content warnings and most of the videos can still be shared and commented on. Spencer, who helped found the alt-right movement, was one of the leaders of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017.”

United States

The New Yorker: America’s ISIS Members Are Coming Home

“On June 5th, eight Americans were quietly flown home from the former isis caliphate in Syria. The two women and six minors, whose identities were not disclosed, are now being resettled at unnamed locations with help from the U.S. government. They are not the first citizens of the Islamic State to return. Four other Americans—three men and a woman—await trials on various charges of aiding or abetting the world’s most notorious terrorist group. Three more agreed to plea deals; one has already served time and been released. A lone American opted for a trial and was sentenced to twenty years, although his case is under appeal. They won’t be the last returnees, either. For months, the F.B.I. has been searching for Americans among the two thousand foreign fighters who surrendered or were captured on the battlefield. (After five years of war, the Islamic State finally collapsed on March 23th.) Another twenty or so Americans, including half a dozen fighters, have been identified, U.S. officials told me. Most were in prisons run by the Kurdish-led militia that defeated isis or detention camps for women and children. The U.S. intention is to bring them all home—eventually.”

NBC Washington: Washington D.C. Man Facing Drug Charges Allegedly Showed Strong Interest In ISIS

“A Washington, D.C., man charged last week with selling methamphetamine to an undercover police officer allegedly had a strong support for ISIS, according to prosecutors who opposed bail for the defendant. According to court documents, Jeremy Stevenson first came under FBI scrutiny on Jan. 19, 2017, after he had donned a mask and taunting patrons at a Washington, D.C., bar by displaying ISIS propaganda from his cell phone, including photographs of the ISIS flag and a video depicting a beheading at the hands of an ISIS militant. The incident occurred during the week of the presidential inauguration, and the FBI identified Stevenson as the perpetrator later that year. The FBI spoke with Stevenson twice in 2017. According to court documents, the suspect defended ISIS beheadings during these interviews, comparing such acts to death sentences handed down by the U.S. criminal justice system. Stevenson explained he searched the internet for ISIS videos, including beheading videos and videos where ISIS leadership explained its mission and purpose. He also said he had communicated via Facebook with ISIS-connected individuals who had attempted to recruit him to join ISIS. According to court documents, a Facebook user had asked Stevenson if he wanted to join ISIS and urged him to take Arabic language classes.”

Syria

France 24: In Syria's Breadbasket, Kurds And Regime Battle For Wheat

“Gazing over his wheat field in northeastern Syria, farmer Adel Othman expects a bumper crop this year, but two rival authorities squabbling over his harvest have dashed his enthusiasm. After successive droughts and eight years of civil war, both the local Kurdish authorities and the Damascus regime are desperate to buy up his region's produce to feed their people and maintain the peace. In a country where millions depend on bread as a staple food to survive, both want the wheat grown in the country's northeastern breadbasket region of Hasakeh. Farmers in the Kurdish-held region like Othman have been caught up in the middle, with only two potential sellers, neither offering a satisfactory price. Our "livelihood should not be transformed into a political bargaining chip," said the 55-year-old, his sky-blue shirt streaked in places with dry earth. The regime is offering a better price, but the Kurds have said no wheat can leave the region under their control. "We'll sell our crop to the highest bidder," Othman said in Kurdish by his field in the area of Amuda.”

Fox News: Syria Violence Interrupts Food Distribution In Some Areas

“Syrian warplanes have struck rebel-held towns and villages in the country's northwest as the World Food Program says weekslong violence has hampered some of its activities in the area. WFP said in a statement Tuesday that due to the latest wave of violence that broke out on April 30, the U.N. organization and its partners at times have had to "temporarily interrupt distributions in the southern parts of Idlib due to the conflict." It added that since May, WFP has not been able to reach some 7,000 people in the area of Qalaat al-Madiq that witnessed intense fighting recently. The opposition's Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Civil Defense, also known as White Helmets, reported airstrikes on different parts of Idlib province, Syria's last major rebel stronghold.”

The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Sanctions Syrian Businessman Samer Foz, Others

“The U.S. Treasury Department on Tuesday sanctioned a top Syrian businessman and more than a dozen individuals and companies for their alleged financial support of President Bashar al-Assad. The blacklisting of Samer Foz, a tycoon who built his fortune out of a war that shattered his country, follows sanctions levied against the Syrian by the European Union in January. The U.S., which has opposed the Iran-backed Assad regime by supporting opposition forces arrayed against the longtime dictator, called Mr. Foz a war profiteer, citing among his activities luxury reconstruction projects built on land seized by the regime in the long-running Syrian civil war. “Samer Foz, his relatives, and his business empire have leveraged the atrocities of the Syrian conflict into a profit-generating enterprise,” Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker said in a statement accompanying the action. “This Syrian oligarch is directly supporting the murderous Assad regime and building luxury developments on land stolen from those fleeing his brutality.”

Iran

Foreign Policy: Trump’s Iran Crackdown Isn’t Enough To Stop Hezbollah

“Hezbollah is reportedly feeling the pain of U.S. President Donald Trump administration’s maximum-pressure campaign against Iran. Tehran, after all, contributes about $700 million to the U.S.-designated terrorist group’s estimated yearly budget of approximately $1 billion. As sanctions squeeze Tehran, less money is supposedly flowing to Hezbollah as a result. However, sanctions on Iran are unlikely to cause Hezbollah to go broke, because the Lebanese group brings in an estimated $300 million per year from independent sources including the proceeds of transnational crime, although the true figure is likely much higher. In Latin America’s booming cocaine trade, Hezbollah members and associates provide cartels with reliable money-laundering services…”

The Daily Beast: Feds Target Leader Of Rare Sheep Hunt In Iran

“He’s the founder of a globe-trotting hunting club that caters to millionaires and billionaires who like to shoot rare and exotic animals in far-flung countries. Robert Kern, the president of the Hunting Consortium, has taken down exotic animals from a helicopter in Russia’s Far East and seen one consultant to his group entangled in global outrage over an endangered rhino hunt. Now, court documents show that federal prosecutors launched an investigation into Kern and his group over an ill-fated hunting trip in Iran. A search warrant application filed by prosecutors in Virginia show the Justice Department sought evidence of whether the prominent big game hunter and his group committed wire and insurance fraud in connection with their planned 2011 hunting trip in Iran. The feds say the founder of a globe-trotting hunting club may have committed fraud when he allegedly helped his wealthy clients get fraudulent reimbursements after Iran nixed their plans to hunt rare sheep in the Islamic Republic, according to court documents obtained by The Daily Beast.”

Fox News: Woman Admits Scheme To Smuggle Aircraft Parts To Iran

“A New Jersey woman has pleaded guilty to participating in a scheme to illegally smuggle aircraft parts to Iran. Joyce Eliabachus faces up to five years in prison after pleading guilty Tuesday to helping smuggle more than $2 million in components. An alleged co-conspirator, Iranian resident Peyman Amiri Larijani, faces conspiracy and money laundering charges. The U.S. attorney's office in Newark says the pair used a company run out of Eliabachus's Morristown home to ship parts through Turkey and the United Arab Emirates to Iran. They allegedly shipped more than 23,000 parts in 49 shipments between May 2015 and October 2017, without required licenses. Among the Iranian airlines buying the parts were several that have been officially designated by the U.S. as threats to national security or economic interests.”

Associated Press: Iran’s Rouhani Defiant, Says US Pressures Waning

“The Latest on Mideast developments amid rising tensions in the Persian Gulf region (all times local): Egypt says it’s standing by Saudi Arabia following the attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels that wounded 26 people at a Saudi airport arrivals hall. The Foreign Ministry, just hours after the attack took place on Wednesday, said Egypt is calling for an immediate halt to all attacks on Saudi territories and will “defy any attempt to target” the kingdom. The Iranian-allied Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s attack, saying they launched a cruise missile at Abha airport in southwest Saudi Arabia in response to the kingdom’s war in Yemen. Egypt backs the Saudi-led coalition of mostly Arab states that has been at war against the Houthis in Yemen since 2015. Riyadh accuses Iran of arming the rebels, which Tehran denies.”

Iraq

Iraqi News: Iraqi Police Kill Three Islamic State Terrorists In Kirkuk

“Iraqi police forces killed on Tuesday three Islamic State terrorists and destroyed their hotbeds during a security campaign in Kirkuk province. “A police force stormed on Tuesday morning several terrorist hotbeds of the Islamic State group in Alaf village in Kirkuk after receiving intelligence information on the presence of IS militants there,” Almaalomah website quoted the Federal Police Command as saying in a press statement. The operation resulted in killing three IS militants and destroying their terrorist hotbeds, the statement read. The troops also found a large cache of weapons and ammunition at the scene, the statement added. Iraq declared the collapse of Islamic State’s territorial influence in November 2017 with the recapture of Rawa, a city on Anbar’s western borders with Syria, which was the group’s last bastion in Iraq. IS declared a self-styled “caliphate” in a third of Iraq and neighboring Syria in 2014. A government campaign, backed by a U.S.-led international coalition and paramilitary forces, was launched in 2016 to retake IS-held regions, managing to retake all havens, most notably the city of Mosul, the group’s previously proclaimed capital.”

Rudaw: Iraq Denies Deal To Commute French ISIS Members' Death Sentences

“Iraq's judiciary on Tuesday denied it had struck a deal with Paris to commute the death sentences of French nationals convicted in Baghdad for belonging to the Islamic State group. A Baghdad court issued death sentences in recent weeks for 11 Frenchmen transferred to Iraqi custody from neighboring Syria, where they were caught fighting for the Islamic State (ISIS). Only an appeals court — not a bilateral agreement — can change their sentences, according to Abdalsattar Bayraqdar, spokesperson for Iraq's Supreme Judicial Council. "The sentences issued by Iraqi courts can only be reviewed by the court of cassation — which has the prerogative under the law to reaffirm the sentence or alter it depending on the circumstances of each crime — and not through deals between countries," he said on Tuesday. His statement comes after reports that Iraq's government had struck a deal with Paris to commute the French citizens' death sentences in exchange for money. The 11 sentences are still not final.”

Iraqi News: Intelligence Agents Arrest Islamic State Logistics Provider In Diyala

“Iraqi intelligence forces arrested on Wednesday an Islamic State logistics provider during a security operation in Diyala province. “Troops of the 20th division of the Military Intelligence Directorate have arrested an Islamic State militant on charges of supplying the terrorist group with logistical support in al-Nada district in Diyala,” the privately-owned Baghdad Today website quoted the directorate as saying in a statement. “The terrorist was wanted on terror-related charges pursuant to article no. 4 of the anti-terrorism law,” the statement added. In January 2015, Iraqi forces announced liberation of Diyala province from Islamic State extremist militants who proclaimed an “Islamic Caliphate” in Iraq and Syria in 2014. The province has seen months of fighting between Iraqi troops and IS militants especially in the Jalawla and Saadiyah areas in the province’s north and areas near the town of Muqdadiyah.”

Kurdistan 24: New Wave Of Civilian Arrests In Mosul With Claims Of ISIS Affiliation Raises Concerns

“A high rate of civilians is being arrested with charges of belonging to the self-proclaimed Islamic State, especially in areas liberated from the terrorist group’s rule. “So far, 6,000 individuals have been arrested based on unreliable intelligence by the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and Hashd al-Shaabi militias,” Ahmed al-Jubouri, an Iraqi parliament member, previously said. According to Jabouri, the majority of suspects detained “have no correlation whatsoever with the so-called Islamic State.” “The Iraqi security forces do not have complete information regarding the identity of the ISIS members in Nineveh; as a result, they treat every citizen as suspects who belong to the terrorist organization,” the Sunni parliamentarian added. Sunni Muslims in Mosul and other parts of Nineveh have often faced baseless charges of affiliation to the Islamic State, which have even led to their arrests. An Iraqi military official also told local news agencies that many people “fall victim to un-authenticated information of being high profile ISIS members,” citing regular cases of ethnic discrimination among Iraqi security forces in liberated areas. Nineveh is the second most populated province in Iraq, after Baghdad, with three million residents.”

Turkey

Asharq Al-Awsat: Turkey Acquits ISIS Militant Who Recruited Fighters In Syria, Iraq

“A Turkish court acquitted an ISIS militant who was twice accused of belonging to the terror organization. Coskun Demir, aka Abu Hanzala, a 27-year-old resident of Turkey’s eastern province of Erzurum, is part of a radical cell and has helped many Turks to join al-Qaeda and ISIS organizations and other extremist armed groups in Iraq and Syria. According to security sources, Demir is currently in pre-trial detention. According to investigations, Demir had been in contact with another Turkish terrorist, Abu Bakr, who Turkish authorities say was the mastermind of ISIS attacks inside Turkey.Evidence also showed that Demir was in contact with a Turkish man known as Mohammed Selev, who is wanted on charges of belonging to ISIS. In his testimony before the court on May 30, 2018, Demir admitted to supporting ISIS through social media sites and defended his position in seeking to overthrow the secular regime in Turkey. Turkish authorities arrested him in November 2017 for his activities with ISIS, and he was charged on December 21 but was later released pending trial. He was arrested again in May 2018 on similar charges, and a second indictment was filed against him on June 13, 2018. Police found dozens of extremist books while searching his home.”

Afghanistan

Xinhua: Airstrikes Kill 10 Militants Including Taliban Commander In E. Afghanistan

“Ten militants including a Taliban commander Mullah Majid alias Kuchi were killed in airstrikes on Taliban hideout in Jalriz district of eastern Afghanistan's Wardak province on Monday night, said an army statement released Tuesday. Acting upon intelligence report, the airstrikes were conducted on Tandara village of Jalriz district, killing 10 insurgents including Kuchi on the spot, the statement said. Neither civilians nor security personnel were injured during the strikes, said the statement. Taliban militants have yet to make comment.”

Pakistan

Bloomberg: London Terror Police Arrest Man In Probe Of Pakistan Group

“London terror police arrested a man Tuesday as part of a probe into speeches that encouraged criminal activity. The man, who is in his 60s, was arrested in northwest London on suspicion of intentionally encouraging or assisting offenses, police said in an emailed statement. Their probe is looking at speeches made by an individual associated with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) in Pakistan. He was taken to a south London police station, where he currently remains in custody. As part of the investigation, officers searched a home and a business. The investigation is being led by officers from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, and is looking at a speech broadcast in August 2016 by an individual associated with the MQM movement in Pakistan as well as other speeches previously broadcast by the same person. The MQM was once Pakistan’s fourth-largest political party, holding 17 of Karachi’s 20 seats in the National Assembly. But a split in the party -- which saw the Pakistan faction distance itself from the London movement -- has left it with just seven seats following the 2018 election.”

Yemen

Xinhua: 3 Soldiers Killed In Roadside Bomb Explosion In Southern Yemen

“An explosion caused by a roadside bomb hit a security vehicle in Yemen's southern province of Abyan on Tuesday, killing at least three soldiers and wounding four others, a government official told Xinhua. A roadside bomb blast struck a security vehicle in the entrance of Mahfed town of Abyan province, causing a huge explosion in the area, said the local government official, who asked to remain anonymous. He said the explosion killed at least three members of the newly-recruited security forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition and injured four others at the scene. The injured security members were immediately evacuated by an ambulance to a nearby hospital for medical care, he added. Security reinforcements backed by armored vehicles were sent to the area from Abyan's capital of Zinjibar city, according to local residents. It is unclear which faction of the militant groups, such as al-Qaida or the Islamic State, was responsible for the attack. However, security sources blamed the Yemen-based al-Qaida branch that more frequently uses roadside bombs. The Yemen-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which mostly operates in eastern and southern provinces, has been responsible for many high-profile attacks against security forces in the country.”

Lebanon

The Washington Examiner: Pompeo: Hezbollah using Venezuela drug trafficking to ‘make payroll’

“A major Iranian-backed terrorist group is using drug trafficking operations in Venezuela to fund operations in the Middle East, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday.  “It is mostly a money-making enterprise,” Pompeo said of Hezbollah’s Venezuela operations during a Senate panel Tuesday afternoon. “That is, it is designed to generate revenues for Hezbollah and its activities, which are largely conducted in the Middle East — to help them make payroll throughout the Middle East.”  Pompeo's assessment served to highlight the Iranian presence in South America while tempering the nature of the worry over terrorist operations there. Pompeo provided that perspective to the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, but Venezuela was a recurring theme of the wide-ranging discussion. ”The Venezuelan state — most senior officials, state-run enterprises, police and security forces, etc. — is complicit directly in transnational organized crime,” retired Ambassador Roger Noriega, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, said in testimony prepared for the second panel of the hearing. “No domestic Venezuelan force is willing or able to confront this pervasive criminality, making international investigations, sanctions, and prosecutions indispensable to dismantling this narcostate.” 

The Times Of Israel: IDF General Warns Lebanon Will Pay ‘Heavy Price’ For Working With Hezbollah

“The head of the IDF Northern Command on Tuesday threatened overt and covert action against the Hezbollah terror group and its home country of Lebanon, in response to its efforts to build up terrorist infrastructure along the border, in the latest of increasingly bellicose statements by senior military officers against the Iran-backed Lebanese militia. Maj. Gen. Amir Baram accused Hezbollah of violating United Nations resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War, by “building infrastructure in the villages right here across [the border] and trying to threaten us with attack forces.” The Northern Command chief said that in a future war against the terror group the country of Lebanon was likely to “pay a heavy price” for allowing Hezbollah to take root there.  “Hezbollah’s loyalty was and remains to the supreme leader of Iran, not to the citizens of Lebanon. As a direct result of this, the nation of Lebanon will pay a heavy price in the next campaign for cooperating with Shiite terror,” Baram said, referring to the sect of Islam practiced by Hezbollah and Iran. Baram made his remarks at a memorial ceremony commemorating the 13th anniversary of the 2006 Second Lebanon War.”

Middle East

Al Monitor: Islamic Jihad Mulls Military Action To Foil US Peace Plan

“Armed Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip are determined to stop the US administration's proposed peace plan for the Middle East and have the means to do so, according to Ziad al-Nakhla, secretary general of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement. Several times recently, Nakhla has alluded to escalation and the use of military force to stop the plan, which is expected to be unveiled soon by the administration of US President Donald Trump. Nakhla's statements come as his movement’s military wing, Al-Quds Brigades, has shown significantly developed military potential, especially in the round of escalation between Israel and the Gaza Strip last month. He said May 30 on Lebanese Al-Manar TV that many leaders in the region want to close the Palestinian cause dossier, and this could play out in favor of the US plan. Nakhla pointed out, however, that despite the disparity in the balance of power, the Palestinian people have the ability to thwart the plan, which the United States has dubbed the “deal of the century.” “If Palestinians are not part of the deal, then the deal is born dead. The Palestinians have the right to reject any deal that does not respect their historical rights,” he added.”

Newsweek: Brain Scans Show What Happens When You Ask Al-Qaeda Sympathizers About Their Sacred Values

“A team of researchers has scanned the brains of supporters of a radical Islamist group while asking them about their sacred values and willingness to fight and die for the cause. Researchers recruited sympathizers of the Al-Qaeda affiliate group Lashkar-et Taiba—the Army of the Righteous. This group carried out the 2008 attacks on Mumbai and is known as a terrorist organization in the U.S., Russia and the European Union. After a long selection process and about two years of gaining their confidence, participants, from Barcelona, Spain, were invited to fMRI facilities. Anthropologist Scott Atran, one of the study authors, has been investigating the motivation behind the "will to fight" for several years. He noted that in 2016, former President Barack Obama said one of the mistakes made in the war with Iraq was to underestimate militant extremists' will to fight. Understanding why and to what extent people will fight for causes could be linked to the level of their sacred values.”

Africa

BBC News: More Than 100 Villagers Safe Despite Mali Attack

“Some 108 people from a village in central Mali which suffered a deadly attack on Monday have been found safe. Mayor Ali Dolo says that the group are now being sheltered in a school. Officials say 95 people were found dead after the attack in Sobame Da, near Sanga town in the Mopti region. Many of the bodies had been burned.  There have been numerous attacks in Mali in recent months, some by jihadist groups, others between Dogon hunters and semi-nomadic Fulani herders. The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali has sent aerial support to the area so as to prevent more violence. A team of UN human rights investigators is also assisting Malian authorities in their investigation of the massacre. But many houses were burnt down by the assailants and so identifying the victims has been a challenge for authorities.  President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is returning home after cutting short a visit to Switzerland, while the prime minister is on his way to the village.  The government says the perpetrators are suspected terrorists, but an official from the area said he believed members of the Fulani ethnic group were responsible for the attack on the Dogon village. What is the Dogon-Fulani conflict?”

The National: Latest Massacre Shows Terrorism Isn’t Mali’s Only Problem

“The slaughter of at least 95 people in central Mali on Monday points to a rapidly deteriorating security situation in the Sahel region that stretches across Africa’s arid waist. Around 50 heavily-armed men reportedly surrounded the small ethnically Dogon village of Sobame Da, in the Mopti region, after nightfall, and launched their brutal attack. Some inhabitants had their throats slit, many more were shot. Grain stores, cattle and ultimately bodies were burnt before the sun rose. By some estimates, the siege wiped out a third of the village’s inhabitants. For decades, sedentary farmers of the Dogon and Bambara ethnic groups have been engaged in a local struggle for resources with predominantly Muslim Fulani herders. The latest incident bears all the hallmarks of a revenge attack, following the murder in March of 160 Fulanis in Ogossagou, near the Burkinabe border, by attackers clad in traditional Dogon garments. It prompted the Malian government to outlaw the Dogon Dan Na Ambassagou – a self-styled Dogon self-defence unit – before resigning en-masse. “The administrative reshuffle after the Ogossagou attack now appears superfluous,” Eric Humphery-Smith, senior Africa analyst at Verisk Maplecroft, told The National.”

All Africa: West Africa: Institute Blames West Africa Terror Spread On Rivalries

“Attacks on villages in three west Africa countries left more than 150 people dead over the weekend, raising suspicions of copy-cat attacks by marauding gangs. The mayhem started on Saturday night in Nigeria where gunmen on motorbikes killed 43 people in waves of attacks on villages. The gangs are reported to have ride out from forest hideouts, spur into villages, kill and take off with livestock. The same night across in Mali, gunmen attacked a village in the middle of the country killing 95 people, almost a third of the community's 300 people. The attack was attributed to a predominantly Fulani jihadist group led by preacher Amadou Koufa which has been targeting the Bambara and Dogon ethnic groups in central Mali. Koufa in March 2017 joined the newly-formed Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM), the leading jihadist alliance in the Sahel region, with links to Al-Qaeda. Its leader is Iyad Ag Ghaly. The weekend of blood letting continued on Sunday night in Burkina Faso, which borders Mali, where dozens of armed men attacked a village leaving 19 dead. In the Nigeria incident, eye-witnesses said the attackers “opened fire on the village indiscriminately” almost echoing the account in Mali that the raiders “started shooting, pillaging and burning.”

North Korea

Associated Press: US Gift To China Questions Enforcement Of N. Korea Sanctions

“The meeting between acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and his Chinese counterpart began with all the hallmarks of a routine staged and scripted session between two uneasy rivals. First came the posed photo, as the two men shook hands with broad smiles in front of their nations’ flags, and then they moved quickly into the hotel conference room, surrounded by staff. There, Shanahan presented Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe with a gift. But what at first glance looked like a coffee table book was actually 32 pages of photographs and satellite images of North Korean ships getting and delivering shipments of oil. Many of the photos are stamped with dates, times, locations and descriptions, and, according to officials, represent proof that Pyongyang is violating punishing economic sanctions right off China’s coast.”

France

Fox News: French Probes Ultra-Right Plot To Attack Religious Venue

“French judicial authorities are investigating five people after uncovering an ultra-right plot to attack a religious venue. A judicial official said Tuesday that two people, one a minor, were arrested and placed under investigation in May for criminal terrorist association. Three others were arrested in the probe that was opened in September in Grenoble, southeast France. The anti-terrorism prosecutor's office took over the case. The official said only one of the four was being held. He was confirming portions of a BFMTV report saying that targets were Muslim or Jewish. The official, who requested anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly, didn't say at what stage the plot was or what the target was. There was no link with a 2017 ultra-right plot against mosques and migrants.”

Australia

Xinhua: Counter-Terrorism Squad Set Up To Protect South Australians From Extremist Attacks

“South Australia (SA) has established its first-ever high-level counter-terrorism police unit to protect citizens from large-scale attacks. SA's Minister for Police Corey Wingard on Wednesday announced 3 million Australian dollars (2.08 million U.S. dollars) in funding over four years for the initiative, which came after similar teams were established in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. The new squad will be based at a new specially-built headquarters, the Fixated Threat Assessment Centre, at a secret location so it does not become a target for a terror attack. News Corp Australia reported on Tuesday that students at seven public schools in SA were identified as being at-risk of religious or political radicalization in 2018. Wingard said on Wednesday that the new squad would significantly boost SA's defences against extremist events such as New Zealand's Christchurch mosque shootings on March, which were allegedly carried out by a radicalized Australian. “Tragically, horrific incidents, such as what we saw in Christchurch earlier this year, have become a threat and South Australia is not immune to that,” Wingard told News Corp on Wednesday.”

Europe

Fox News: Muslim Couple Deny Terror-Related Charges In Madrid Re-Trial

“A Moroccan-born Spaniard and his Mexican wife are denying charges in their retrial that they helped recruit militants for the Islamic State group in Madrid. Aziz Zaghanane initially received a six-year prison sentence at last year's trial and his wife Ana Marilú Reyna was sent to prison for one year. The couple, both Muslims, testified again Tuesday after the National Court ruled that evidence given in the original trial should have included testimony from three others accused in the case, who admitted terror-related crimes and therefore did not take the stand. They argue that their social media activity discussed issues related to the Islamic State group and the war in Syria but rejected violence. The court's verdict is expected later this week.”

India

The Express: ISIS Reborn: Terror Group Forming New Caliphate Extending To India – Shock Report

“ISIS is developing a new caliphate after their physical territory in Iraq and Syria was wiped out earlier this year, a shocking new report has claimed. The horrific development was interrogated by former Pentagon official Michael Maloof on RT this morning. He explained that the radical terrorist group was capitalising on remote areas of countries to the east of their former territories - even reaching pockets of India. He warned: “Even though their physical caliphate in Syria and Iraq is gone, they’re in effect evolving into a new caliphate. “This would include Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and even portions of India. “It’s evolving in that way and they’re going to highly remote areas. “Now, because they’re tech-savvy, they’re able to still do recruiting and what have you. “But it’s going to make it even more difficult to get to because of the locations - high altitude, mountainous regions.”

Latin America

The New Yorker: A Victim Of Terrorism Faces Deportation For Helping Terrorists

“When Ana first met Ruby, a sergeant in the Salvadoran Army, in the late nineteen-eighties, she liked him so much that she didn’t want to consider what his job would mean for her own safety. At twenty, Ana was small and soft-spoken. She had two young daughters whose fathers were so absent that their names weren’t even on the girls’ birth certificates, and she longed for a stable romance. Ruby visited Ana’s village, in rural El Salvador, while he was on military leave, and on his first day there he walked up to her in the crowded town square and asked for her name. They began dating, and he treated her daughters as if they were his own. The couple soon moved into a house near Ana’s mother; Ana wanted to be close to her family so that she wouldn’t feel lonely when Ruby was away on duty. El Salvador was in the midst of a brutal civil war between the government, which was backed by the United States, and leftist guerrillas. Ruby was deployed for a month at a time. While he was gone, Ana tried to distract herself with chores and her children, but it wasn’t always possible to ignore the war. A group of guerrillas was camped out in the surrounding mountains, and, one day, they drove into town, took the mayor out of his office, and shot him in the street; soon after, they killed his son.”

Southeast Asia

Fox News: Islamic State Group Claims Involvement In Kashmir Gunbattle

“The Islamic State group has claimed involvement in a gunbattle in Kashmir, the disputed Himalayan territory where militants have fought Indian rule for decades. The group released a statement on an IS website Tuesday saying that “soldiers of the caliphate” had been wounded in a clash in the Kashmiri town of Zainapora. A statement from police headquarters in Srinagar, the region's largest city, says two militants killed in the gunbattle were “inspired by IS ideology” and were wanted in connection with “terror crimes.” Police say they came under fire while searching for the suspects. The Islamic State group occasionally claims responsibility for deadly clashes with authorities but its hardline ideology has not attained mainstream acceptance in Kashmir, where militants complain it is trying to hijack their independence movement.”

Technology

The New York Times: A Fake Zuckerberg Video Challenges Facebook’s Rules

“Two weeks ago, Facebook declined to remove a doctored video in which the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, seemed to drunkenly slur her speech. Over the weekend, two British artists released a doctored video of Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, as a sly comment on the spread of false information online. Posted to the Facebook-owned social network Instagram, the video shows Mr. Zuckerberg speaking directly into the camera, boasting of nefarious motives behind his online empire. “Imagine this for a second: one man, with total control of billions of people’s stolen data, all their secrets, their lives, their futures,” he appears to say. “I owe it all to Spectre. Spectre showed me that whoever controls the data controls the future.”