Eye on Extremism: May 13, 2022

Reuters: U.S. Syria Investment Move Aims To Ensure Defeat Of ISIS Through Economic Stabilization -Officials

“A U.S. move to allow some foreign investment in parts of northern Syria that are outside government control is part of the Biden administration's strategy to ensure the defeat of Islamic State by promoting economic stabilization, senior administration officials said on Thursday. Washington has no intentions to lift sanctions on the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad until there is irreversible progress towards a political solution in Syria, U.S. officials said in a call with reporters.”

BBC News: Afghanistan Pupils In Fear After Spate Of Islamic State Attacks

“Milad is packing his rucksack for the first time since his school in the west of Kabul was attacked by extremists last month. The 15-year-old pupil wasn't hurt when the first bomb went off, but his father raced to the scene to try to find him, only to be killed in a second explosion. A poster commemorating Mir Hossein hangs outside the family home, along with a few verses of poetry. “Through your blood, you gave meaning to love,” reads one line. “It feels really hard to go back to school,” Milad tells us, walking alongside his older brother and uncle. “My heart doesn't want me to.” Milad, and most of the residents in his neighbourhood, Dashte-e-Barchi, are members of the Shia Hazara minority. The area has been repeatedly attacked by the local branch of the Islamic State group, who are suspected of being behind the bombing at Milad's school. “I was in the classroom about to leave when the explosion happened. We crouched down on the floor with our hands on our heads,” Milad told the BBC. After a while, he and the other pupils went outside, jumping over a wall into a neighbouring house. When he reached home, he heard his father had been injured. A short while later they received his dead body. “My father was very kind and caring, he was a great support to me,” he said ruefully. The school opened up straight after the attack, but some pupils are yet to return, their families too afraid.”

United States

Vice: The Far-Right Is Doxxing Judges And Calling For Their Assassinations

“…First tipped to the channel’s existence by U.S.-based research group the Counter Extremism Project, one source familiar with the channel said law enforcement was aware of it and investigating. The FBI said it declined to comment on the channel, and Telegram has yet to respond to questions about it from VICE News. Earlier this week the GOP cried foul over several peaceful protesters’ sitting outside the homes of conservative Supreme Court justices who are supporting the overturning of Roe v. Wade, which was explosively disclosed last week when a draft SCOTUS opinion leaked to the press. Republican Sen. Susan Collins, who helped usher through the appointment of pro-life Justice Brett Kavanaugh, also called the police on protesters in her home state of Maine after they chalked a polite request for her to respect abortion rights on the sidewalk in front of her home in Bangor. In light of those protests, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland ordered additional security for those justices from the U.S. Marshals Service, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice said in a printed statement to the media.”

Reuters: Prevalence Of White Supremacists In Law Enforcement Demands Drastic Change

“A Reuters investigation on May 6 indicates that a significant number of U.S. police instructors have ties to a constellation of armed right-wing militias and white supremacist hate groups, a report that adds to a fast-growing body of evidence showing a deadly threat inside U.S. police departments. The analysis found that some of the instructional information presented by police trainers was explicitly racist, and that some instructors endorsed and interacted with white supremacist criminal groups such as the Proud Boys. The investigation adds to mounting academic research, government audits and news reporting that demonstrates the pervasiveness of white supremacy in U.S. law enforcement, and a continuing series of incidents documenting the presence of extremist groups and views among law enforcement. More and more, the evidence suggests the “white supremacist infiltration of law enforcement” that the FBI warned about back in 2006 is getting worse. And it points to a desperate need for policies – departmental and legislative – to prohibit people who engage in racist conduct or join white supremacist groups from becoming police officers or remaining on the force.”

Syria

The National: ISIS Prison Camps 'Unsustainable' As Syria Terror Threat Grows

“Keeping 10,000 ISIS detainees in prison camps in north-east Syria is not sustainable as the terrorist group tries to regain strength in the region, the US warned on Thursday. An ISIS prison break in January in Hassakeh, Syria, was a “perfect example of the risk” posed by the many foreign fighters being kept in the region, US deputy counter-terrorism chief Chris Landsberg said. There were talks on Wednesday in Morocco between dozens of countries in a global anti-ISIS coalition, stressing growing concerns about the threat of the group in Africa. But ISIS retains a presence in Iraq and Syria despite the loss of its territory three years ago. The group was described by France as “disturbingly resilient” after ministers discussed its threat in those countries. “While the group has been considerably weakened there, it remains a threat and is still carrying out terrorist attacks at a concerning rate,” Mr Landberg said. He said the January attack in Hassakeh, in which many fighters from the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces were killed, was “a wake-up call and a reminder of their intent to reconstitute in the region”. Mr Landberg said about 10,000 fighters and 60,000 relatives were living in camps in that region, despite attempts to repatriate them.”

Afghanistan

Foreign Policy: The Afghan Resistance Is Still Fighting

“Embers of resistance against the Taliban’s brutality are flaring up in Afghanistan, with clashes reported across the north and west of the country this week as armed resistance groups frontally take on the Islamists. Fighting has been reported in a number of provinces, including Panjshir, Ghazni, Herat, and others, as anti-Taliban groups make good on pledges of a “spring offensive” and Islamists deploy thousands of fighters to quell the uprisings. One resistance source said the Taliban’s acting deputy defense minister, Mullah Mohammad Fazl, has arrived in the Panjshir Valley, north of Kabul, to oversee the fight, an indication of how seriously the extremists view the budding resistance. Resistance groups are unlikely to defeat the Taliban’s superior firepower—some of which is American war booty taken after the rushed withdrawal last year—in the short term. But they could dig in for the long haul, embedding among local populations and using knowledge of the terrain for a guerrilla-style hit-and-run insurgency. This seems to be the Taliban’s greatest fear, and the vicious response to the uprisings, including reported arbitrary executions of civilians in some hotspots, is a clear attempt to stub out any signs of support for the resistance effort.”

Pakistan

Voice Of America: Bomb Blast In Southern Pakistan Kills 1, Wounds 13

“Police in Pakistan said Thursday that a bomb blast in the southern city of Karachi killed at least one person and wounded 13 others. An improvised explosive device planted on a motorcycle went off just before midnight in the busy Saddar commercial area of the port city, said police and hospital officials. The victims were mostly passersby. The bombing was apparently targeting a van carrying Pakistani maritime security forces. The blast damaged several vehicles, including the van, and two of the security personnel were injured. Karachi Police Chief Ghulam Nabi Memon told local media an investigation into the attack was underway. There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attack. Last month, a female suicide bomber wearing a burqa blew herself up near a van carrying Chinese teachers in Karachi, the capital of the southern Sindh province. The ensuing blast killed three foreigners and their Pakistani driver. An outlawed insurgent group known as the Baluchistan Liberation Army (BLA) took responsibility for the deadly bombing at the entrance to the Karachi university campus. BLA militants have been waging insurgent attacks against Pakistani security forces in the southwestern Baluchistan province but lately have extended their violent activities to Karachi, the country’s commercial center.”

Saudi Arabia

Asharq Al-Awsat: Saudi FM: ISIS Threat Remains

“Saudi Arabia appreciates the significant and tangible role played by the Global Coalition to defeat ISIS, announced Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah. Prince Faisal chaired the Saudi delegation at the ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition to defeat ISIS, which was held in Marrakesh, Morocco. “We should never forget that the threat of this organization remains, which would require everyone to continue efforts and continuous coordination to eliminate it completely,” he said. Prince Faisal also affirmed that the Kingdom continues to maintain its firm stance towards supporting the efforts of the Coalition, stressing the Kingdom's keenness on the stability of Iraq and the extension of its influence and sovereignty over its entire territory. He praised the efforts made by Iraq and its continuous coordination with the Coalition. Prince Faisal announced the Kingdom's keenness to support reconstruction projects in Iraq, support efforts to stabilize the liberated areas in Syria, and create security and economic stability in the country. He pointed out that the Kingdom has established several centers, the most important of which is the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology (Etidal), which works at the regional and international levels to combat extremist messages. Prince Faisal reiterated the Kingdom's support for establishing the focus group on Africa since its inception to confront the growing threat of the spread of ISIS in the African continent.”

Middle East

The Times Of Israel: IDF Arrests 2 More Palestinians For Allegedly Aiding Suspects In Elad Terror Attack

“Security forces arrested two more Palestinians for allegedly aiding the two suspects accused of a deadly terror attack in the central city of Elad last week, the military said Thursday. The Israel Defense Forces said troops arrested the two in predawn raids in the West Bank towns of Rummanah and Burqin, near Jenin. The two Palestinians accused of hacking three Israelis to death with an axe in Elad last Thursday were residents of Rummanah. They were arrested on Sunday after a 60-hour manhunt. The two arrests on Thursday mean four Palestinians have now been detained on suspicion of assisting As’ad Yousef As’ad al-Rifa’i, 19, and Subhi Emad Sbeihat, 20. Elsewhere in the West Bank, troops detained seven others over suspected involvement in terror activities, the IDF said. A makeshift submachine gun was also seized. Troops did not operate in Jenin itself overnight or Thursday morning, following the death of a journalist amid a gun battle between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian gunmen a day earlier. Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, 51, was shot in the head amid clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen while covering an Israeli army operation in the West Bank city on Wednesday morning.”

Egypt

Africanews: Egypt: At Least Five Soldiers Killed In Fresh Jihadist Attack

“Five Egyptian soldiers and seven jihadists were killed at dawn Wednesday in a new attack in the Sinai region (east) plagued by a jihadist insurgency, the Egyptian army reported. “A military officer and four soldiers were killed and two other soldiers were wounded,” the spokesman for the armed forces said in a statement. This is the second such attack in less than a week. On Saturday, the army reported that 11 soldiers were killed and five others wounded in an attempt to foil a “terrorist” attack near the Suez Canal in Sinai. The jihadist group Islamic State (EI) claimed responsibility for the attack on Sunday via its propaganda arm Amaq. The army and police launched in February 2018 a vast “anti-terrorist” operation in the Sinai Peninsula, where radical cells, some of which have pledged allegiance to the EI, are rampant. In Sinai, the attacks are particularly concentrated on one point: the oil and gas pipelines that supply Israel and Jordan. The army regularly announces that it has killed jihadists in this area. Since 7 May, 23 jihadists have been killed according to the army. In all, more than 1,000 jihadists and dozens of security forces have been killed, according to official figures - but no independent figures are available and North Sinai is closed to journalists.”

Asharq Al-Awsat: Egypt, US Agree To Intensify Cooperation In Combating Terrorism

“Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has met with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan to discuss ways to enhance cooperation between the two countries in combating terrorism and extremist ideology. The presidential spokesman Bassam Radi said that Sullivan conveyed President Joe Biden's greetings to Sisi and his assurances on the importance and strength of the Egyptian-US alliance. Washington wants to develop partnerships with Cairo and bring them to broader horizons during the coming period. He indicated that this comes within the framework of close and extended cooperation relations between the two countries, particularly in light of the essential Egyptian role under Sisi’s leadership in the Middle East, as a mainstay for security and stability. Sisi stressed Egypt's keenness to strengthen its extended strategic partnership with the US, intensify cooperation and coordination between the two countries at various levels since there are common interests between the two countries, and support efforts to restore security and stability in the Middle East because it suffers from tension and turmoil. The president affirmed Egypt's firm position based on the need to strengthen the pillars and national institutions of countries in crises to end the suffering of their peoples, preserve their capabilities, and help fill the vacuum that allowed terrorist groups to expand and spread.”

Nigeria

All Africa: Nigeria: Bomb Terrorists' Hideouts, El-Rufai Urges Armed Forces

“The Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, has again called on the Nigerian armed forces to facilitate aerial bombardment of terrorists' hideouts and decimate them in order to save the country. The governor spoke as the guest of honour at the ongoing five-day Combat Arms Training (CAT) Week 2022 organised by the infantry and armoured corps of the Nigerian Army (NA) in Jaji, Kaduna State, yesterday. Represented by the Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, the governor called for sustained joint operations against the enclaves of the terrorists. He said, “As we are all aware, Nigeria is currently faced with numerous security challenges which have impeded the pace of our national development. It is, therefore, expedient that we collaborate to fight our real and perceived adversaries in order to restore our national pride and dignity.” The governor commended the army for preventing further damage during the March 28 terrorist attack on an Abuja-Kaduna train where nine passengers were killed and 62 abducted. He urged security agencies not to relent in their effort to find the perpetrators of the gruesome act and bring them to justice.”

Africa

ABC News: Suspected Jihadi Attack In Togo Kills 8 Soldiers, Injures 13

“At least eight soldiers have been killed and 13 other security forces members wounded in an ambush by extremists in northern Togo near the border with Burkina Faso, the government said. The incident was a worrying sign that jihadis who are staging increasing attacks in neighboring countries are expanding their activity into Togo. Early Wednesday, a group of heavily armed men ambushed an outpost in the Kpinkankandi locality in the Kpendjal prefecture, the Togolese government said in a statement. An armored vehicle was damaged and a jeep burned in the deadly attack. By Thursday, no group had claimed responsibility. Togo’s government blamed “terrorists” for what it called a “cowardly and barbaric attack.” The government said it wanted to reassure “(Togo’s) entire population of the determination of the defense and security forces to protect our country and to seek out and disable armed terrorist groups.” It appealed for the assistance of the civilian population. It was the second such attack in Togo in the past year. An attack in November 2021 in the same area was repelled by military and security forces and caused no casualties. Groups linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State Group have been carrying out increasing attacks in the Sahel region, especially in neighboring Burkina Faso.”

Germany

Deutsche Welle: Germany: Police Launch Terrorism Probe Against Pupil

“Police tactical units in the German city of Essen on Thursday carried out searches at two schools and an apartment after they received information that a 16-year-old male pupil might have been planning violent crimes at his current or former school. Both schools were closed during the searches. A spokesperson for the state prosecutor's office in Düsseldorf said the pupil, who was arrested in the early hours of Thursday morning, was now the subject of a terrorism investigation. Joachim Stamp, the deputy premier of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where Essen is located, wrote on Twitter that a “suspected Nazi terror attack” had been foiled. What do we know? At a press briefing, the state's interior minister, Herbert Reul, said police had “possibly prevented a nightmare.” He said they had found explosive and bomb-building materials at the pupil's apartment, located near his current school, where he lived with his parents. The materials were “functional but not yet ready for use,” he added. Reul said there were indications that the pupil had psychological problems, saying notes had been found that could “be read as an urgent cry for help by a desperate young man.” The pupil appeared to be acting alone, he said.”

Canada

CBC: Threat Of Violent Extremism Rising In Canada, MPs Told

“The threat of violent extremism has increased in Canada during the pandemic — fuelled by misinformation and resulting in threats to politicians and public servants — top security and policing officials told members of Parliament on Thursday. But while police and intelligence agencies are taking steps to detect extremists and prevent them from carrying out attacks, the government must also work proactively to counter the extremism in the first place, they added. Testifying before the public safety and national security committee, Cherie Henderson, assistant director, requirements for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) described the rise of ideologically motivated violent extremism (IMVE) over the past two years. “Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, IMVE activity has been fuelled by an increase in extreme anti-authority and anti-government rhetoric, often rooted in the weaponization of conspiracy theories,” Henderson told the committee. “CSIS has noted a marked increase in violent threats addressed at elected officials and public servants.” Henderson said CSIS has moved more resources to monitor IMVE.”

Europe

The Brussels Times: Few Terrorism Convicts Undergo Anti-Radicalisation Process After Release

“Just one in three terrorist suspects or convicts is effectively followed up by courts in Flanders as judges rarely impose deradicalisation counselling as a condition after the end of the sentence. Since 2018, 102 terrorism convicts have been released after serving their sentences, but an anti-radicalisation process was initiated by a judge in just 32 of those cases, or around one in three cases, according to Flemish Justice Minister Zuhal Demir. “The recent past has shown what kind of tragedies terrorist attacks can lead to,” she said, referring to the double attack on 22 March 2016, at Brussels airport in Zaventem and at the Brussels metro station of Maelbeek in the European quarter, where a total of 32 people died. She stressed that these were “shocking figures,” and that the attacks in 2016 “left huge wounds.” “A deradicalisation path will never be a panacea that can eliminate all future risks, but it should be the logic itself so that we can prevent such atrocities to the maximum extent in the future,” Demir said. In Belgium, the regions are responsible for sentencing and the follow-up of release conditions imposed by the court, however, if no conditions are imposed, the Flemish justice cannot take additional steps of action.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

Fact:

On May 23, 2016, two suicide bombings at a military base in Aden, Yemen, killed at least 45 army recruits and injured approximately 60 people. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.   

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