Eye on Extremism: June 24, 2024

Voice Of America: Pakistan Approves New Operation To Root Out Terrorism 

“Pakistan’s top civilian and military leadership has decided to launch a new multi-faceted nationwide counterterrorism campaign amid the country’s deteriorating security situation. A high-powered meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif gave the go ahead for operation “Azm-e-Istehkam,” or Resolve for Stability, to “combat the menaces of extremism and terrorism in a comprehensive and decisive manner,” said a statement issued by the prime minister’s office. The announcement came as Pakistan faces near daily attacks targeting security personnel and amid mounting pressure from China to ensure the security of its workers. Several Chinese nationals were killed in an attack earlier this year. “The fight against extremism and terrorism is Pakistan’s war and is absolutely essential for the nation’s survival and well-being,” the official statement said.”

The Washington Post: Yemen’s Houthis Undeterred By U.S. Campaign To Halt Red Sea Attacks

“Despite months of U.S.-led airstrikes against Yemen’s Houthi fighters, the once ragtag rebels have continued to threaten some of the world’s most vital shipping routes, drawing from an arsenal of increasingly advanced weapons to attack vessels in and around the Red Sea. Just this month, Houthi militants sank one ship and set another ablaze. The fighters, operating on land and in the water, have launched swarms of drones at U.S. warships and deployed a remote-controlled boat packed with explosives, tactics and weapons that experts say are associated with the group’s patron, Iran. The recent uptick in Houthi activity has underscored the group’s ability to pose a sustained threat, relying in part on a steady flow of Iranian arms and expertise both to withstand U.S. strikes and remain on the attack.”

United States

Politico: ‘Urgency’ Needed On Terrorism Threats, Ex-CIA Official Says

“Former CIA deputy director Mike Morell warned Sunday that there is “a lack of sense of urgency” among the Biden administration and Congress to prevent the growing threat of terrorism in the United States. “There needs to be a sense of urgency about this, and I think the American public needs to understand what the threat is. That’s why we called for a public congressional hearing just on the terrorist threats to the homeland,” Morell told host Margaret Brennan on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “We need to hear what the administration is doing about this in a broad sense.” Earlier this month, Morell co-authored a piece titled “The Terrorism Warning Lights Are Blinking Red Again” in Foreign Affairs, comparing present national security concerns to the lead-up to the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. In the article, he pointed to the potential for attacks on U.S. soil motivated by Hamas’ Oct. 7 attacks and Israel’s war in Gaza, as well the vulnerability of the southern border.”


Associated Press: UN Envoy Defends Failure To Include Afghan Women In Upcoming Meeting With The Taliban In Qatar

“The United Nations’ top official in Afghanistan defended the failure to include Afghan women in the upcoming first meeting between the Taliban and envoys from 22 countries, insisting that demands for women’s rights are certain to be raised. U.N. special envoy Roza Otunbayeva was pummeled with questions Friday from journalists about criticism from human rights organizations at the omission of Afghan women from the meeting in Qatar’s capital, Doha, on June 30 and July 1. The Taliban seized power in 2021 as United States and NATO forces withdrew following two decades of war. No country officially recognizes them as Afghanistan’s government, and the U.N. has said that recognition is almost impossible while bans on female education and employment remain in place.”


Associated Press: Suspected Yemen Houthi Attack Targets Vessel In Waters Further Away Than Many Previous Assaults

“A possible attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels on Monday targeted a ship further away from nearly all of the previous assaults they’ve launched in the Gulf of Aden, officials said, potentially part of a widening escalation by the group. The attack comes as the U.S. has sent the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower back home after an eight-month deployment in which it led the American response to the Houthi assaults. Those attacks have reduced shipping drastically through the route crucial to Asian, Middle East and European markets in a campaign the Houthis say will continue as long as the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip rages on. The attack happened Monday morning in the Gulf of Aden some 450 kilometers (280 miles) southeast of Nishtun, a town in the far reaches of Yemen that’s close to the border with Oman, according to the British military’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations center.”

Associated Press: Yemen’s Houthi Rebels Target Ship In The Gulf Of Aden As The Eisenhower Aircraft Carrier Heads Home

“An attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels targeted a commercial ship traveling through the Gulf of Aden but apparently caused no damage, authorities said Saturday, in the latest strike on the shipping lane by the group. The Houthi attack comes after the sinking this week of the ship Tutor, which marked what appears to be a new escalation by the Iranian-backed Houthis in their campaign of strikes on ships in the vital maritime corridor over the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, the U.S. military ordered the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, the aircraft carrier leading America’s response to the Houthi attacks, to return home after a twice-extended tour. The captain of the ship targeted late Friday saw “explosions in the vicinity of the vessel,” the British military’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations center said.”


Associated Press: An Israel Offensive Into Lebanon Risks An Iranian Military Response, Top Us Military Leader Says

“The top U.S. military officer warned on Sunday that any Israeli military offensive into Lebanon would risk an Iranian response in defense of the powerful Hezbollah militant group there, triggering a broader war that could put U.S. forces in the region in danger. Air Force Gen. CQ Brown, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Iran “would be more inclined to support Hezbollah.” He added that Tehran supports Hamas militants in Gaza, but would give greater backing to Hezbollah “particularly if they felt that Hezbollah was being significantly threatened.” Brown spoke to reporters as he traveled to Botswana for a meeting of African defense ministers. Israeli officials have threatened a military offensive in Lebanon if there is no negotiated end to push Hezbollah away from the border.”

Middle East

Associated Press: Netanyahu Says He Won’t Agree To A Deal That Ends The War In Gaza, Testing The Latest Truce Proposal

“The viability of a U.S.-backed proposal to wind down the 8-month-long war in Gaza was cast into doubt on Monday after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would only be willing to agree to a “partial” cease-fire deal that would not end the war, comments that sparked an uproar from families of hostages held by Hamas In an interview broadcast late Sunday on Israeli Channel 14, a conservative, pro-Netanyahu station, the Israeli leader said he was “prepared to make a partial deal -- this is no secret — that will return to us some of the people,” referring to the roughly 120 hostages still held in the Gaza Strip. “But we are committed to continuing the war after a pause, in order to complete the goal of eliminating Hamas. I’m not willing to give up on that.” Netanyahu’s comments did not deviate dramatically from what he has said previously about his terms for a deal.”

Associated Press: Israeli Strikes On Tent Camps Near Rafah Kill At Least 25 And Wound 50, Gaza Health Officials Say

“Israeli forces shelled tent camps for displaced Palestinians outside Gaza’s southern city of Rafah on Friday, killing at least 25 people and wounding another 50, according to the territory’s health officials and emergency workers. This was the latest deadly attack in the Gaza Strip, where hundreds of thousands have fled fighting between Israel and Hamas. It comes less than a month after an Israeli bombing triggered a deadly fire that tore through a camp for displaced Palestinians in southern Gaza, drawing widespread international outrage — including from some of Israel’s closest allies — over the military’s expanding offensive into Rafah. Witnesses whose relatives died in one of the bombardments near a Red Cross field hospital north of Rafah told The Associated Press that Israeli forces fired a second volley that killed people who came out of their tents.”

Associated Press: Netanyahu Says Israel Is Winding Down Its Gaza Operations. But He Warns A Lebanon War Could Be Next

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that the current phase of fighting against Hamas in Gaza is winding down, setting the stage for Israel to send more troops to its northern border to confront the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. The comments threatened to further heighten the tensions between Israel and Hezbollah at a time when they appear to be moving closer to war. Netanyahu also signaled that there is no end in sight for the grinding war in Gaza. The Israeli leader said in a lengthy TV interview that while the army is close to completing its current ground offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, that would not mean the war against Hamas is over. But he said fewer troops would be needed in Gaza, freeing up forces to battle Hezbollah.”


Voice Of America: Analysts Worried By Report Of Sahel Militants Crossing Into Nigeria

“Regional security analysts are warning Nigerian authorities to take caution following a new report that armed militants operating in Africa's volatile Sahel region have a found their way into northwest Nigeria through the borders of the Republic of Benin. Wednesday's security report, "Dangerous Liaisons" by the Dutch research think tank Clingendael Institute, is the latest indicator that militants are migrating from the Sahel to wealthier coastal nations in the region. The 81-page report says extremists believed to be linked with al-Qaida in the last year have migrated from the Republic of Benin and settled in northern Nigeria, including around Kainji National Park. If not addressed, the trend could escalate attacks in both countries already struggling with lethal violence from groups, the report indicates. Security analyst Chidi Omeje said the discovery is no surprise.”


Bloomberg: African Union Agrees To New Force To Fight Islamists In Somalia

“The African Union endorsed the creation of a new force to replace more than 13,000 troops due to leave Somalia by year-end, amid fears that al Qaeda militants in the country are growing in power. Troops from Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Burundi and Djibouti, part of the so-called African Union Transition Mission, are due to leave by the end of December. They’ve fought al-Shabaab since 2006 as the Islamist group tries to overthrow Somalia’s government. While Mogadishu has sought to take control of its own defense strategy, the African Union said Somalia had requested a new force to come into effect from January, to “further degrade al-Shabaab” while ensuring the “orderly transfer of security responsibilities to the Somali authorities.” “The post-ATMIS mission must be given a strong political mandate, with scope, size, posture, composition, and duration aligning with existing security threats,” the AU said in a statement following meetings this week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital.”

Garowe Online: New U.S. Ambassador Arrives In Somalia Amidst Rising Al-Shabaab Threat

“In a move to bolster security cooperation and counter-terrorism efforts, the United States has appointed Richard H. Riley as its new ambassador to Somalia. Ambassador Riley recently presented his Letters of Credence to President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, marking the beginning of his tenure in the country. The timing of Riley's appointment is crucial, as Somalia faces an escalating threat from the Al-Shabaab militant group. President Mohamud, along with General Michael E. Langley, Commander of United States Africa Command (AFRICOM), discussed the importance of strengthening strategic security cooperation between the two nations during a meeting with Ambassador Riley. The arrival of Ambassador Riley and the visit of General Langley underscore the United States' commitment to supporting Somalia in its fight against terrorism.”

Garowe Online: Somalia Facilitates Transition Of UN Political Mission To Country Team

“Somalia has insisted on supporting the transition of the United Nations political mission in the country to a country team, a move that is currently in the pipeline, which would make the mission more local than the current setup. The UN Support Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) has been in place for the last two decades since the country plunged into deep political chaos, coupled with the Al-Shabaab insurgency and other small armed groups in the Horn of Africa nation. But the country says it is an opportune moment for the country to transition from the political mission, adding that localizing the team would make it more effective and efficient for service delivery in the country.”


Voice Of America: ICC Unseals Warrant For Malian Militant Leader On War Crimes Charges

“The International Criminal Court published an arrest warrant for one of the Sahel’s top Islamist militant leaders Friday. While the warrant for Iyad Ag Ghaly, the alleged leader of the extremist Ansar Dine Islamist group, was issued in 2017, it was not made public until now. The charges against Ghaly, also known as Abou Fadl, stem from Ansar Dine’s takeover of the storied city of Timbuktu, Mali, in 2012. Ghaly is a Malian national of Tuareg ethnicity. He is accused of an array of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in 2012 and 2013. They include rape, murder, sexual slavery, torture and attacks on buildings of religious or historic significance. The militants used pickaxes, shovels, hammers and other items to destroy hundreds of centuries-old earthen Sufi Muslim shrines and tombs in the desert city. Ghaly “is suspected of having committed these crimes jointly with others and/or through others,” the ICC said in a statement.”


The Washington Post: More Than 15 Killed In Dagestan, Russia, As Gunmen Hit Multiple Sites

“Assailants opened fire at an Orthodox church, a synagogue and a traffic police post across two cities in Russia’s North Caucasus republic of Dagestan on Sunday evening, killing more than 15 police officers and several civilians, local officials said. The dead included an Orthodox priest, Nikolai Kotelnikov. More than two dozen others were injured in what appeared to be a coordinated attack. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Kotelnikov, 66, was killed at the Church of Intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Derbent. Gunmen also attacked the city’s only synagogue, though it was apparently empty at the time. Russia opened a “counterterrorist operation” as the shooting continued into the night in Derbent and the regional capital of Makhachkala, including at the Holy Dormition Cathedral, where people were reportedly trapped inside.”


The New York Times: The Man Softening The Ground For An Extremist Germany

“From the small stage of a pub in a wooded town of eastern Germany, the right-wing ideologue Björn Höcke regaled a crowd of followers late last year with the tale of his imminent trial. He faced charges for saying “Everything for Germany” at a political rally — breaking German laws against uttering Nazi slogans. Despite that approaching court date, he looked down at the crowd, and gestured to them with an impish grin. “Everything for?” he asked. “Germany!” they shouted. After a decade of testing the boundaries of political speech in Germany, Mr. Höcke, a leader of the Alternative for Germany party, or AfD, no longer needed to push the limits himself. The crowd did it for him. That moment crystallizes why, to his critics, Mr. Höcke is not simply a challenge to the political order, but a threat to German democracy itself.”

Southeast Asia

Times Of India: 'Any Act Glorifying Terrorism ...': India Targets Canada Over Air India Kanishka Bombing

“On the 39th anniversary of the Air India flight 'Kanishka' bombing, the Indian High Commission in Canada paid homage to the victims of the terrorist attack that claimed the lives of over 329 people. The High Commission issued a statement condemning the act and expressed disappointment that such actions are "allowed to be routine in Canada". "Any act of glorifying terrorism, including the bombing of Al-182 in 1985, is deplorable and should be condemned by all peace-loving countries and people. It is unfortunate that such actions are allowed to be routine on many occasions in Canada," it said in a statement. The statement emphasized the tragedy as the worst in Canadian aviation history and an unbearable loss for the victims' families and humanity as a whole. The Air India flight, traveling from Canada to India via London on June 23, 1985, exploded off the Irish coast, resulting in the deaths of all passengers and crew on board.”

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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