Eye on Extremism: November 12

The Washington Post: U.S. Will Leave Up To 600 Troops In Northeastern Syria To Prevent ISIS Resurgence, Top General Says

“As many as 600 U.S. troops will remain in northeastern Syria to continue counterterrorism operations against the Islamic State, Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Sunday. “There will be less than 1,000 for sure,” Milley said, referring to the number present when President Trump ordered their complete withdrawal last month. Trump later was persuaded by national security advisers and congressional supporters, such as Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), to retain an unspecified number of troops whose mission, the president said, was to “secure the oil” from a takeover by the Syrian government or militants. Milley, speaking on the ABC News program “This Week,” said the number of troops that would remain was “probably in the 500-ish frame. Maybe 600.” He did not mention Syrian oil but said “there are still ISIS fighters in the region and unless pressure is maintained . . . then there’s a very real possibility that conditions could be set for a reemergence of ISIS.” Syria’s relatively small oil reserves are concentrated in the northeastern part of the country, which is under the control of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, a U.S. ally. Black market sale of the oil by the SDF, primarily to the Syrian government, helps fund those forces.”

The New York Times: Israel Kills Senior Islamic Jihad Commander In Gaza

“In a surprise strike before dawn on Tuesday, Israeli forces killed a senior commander of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group in the Gaza Strip, setting off waves of retaliatory rocket attacks that immediately raised fears of an escalating new conflict. Islamic Jihad said that the commander’s wife was also killed in the attack, at 4 a.m., which the Israeli military said was a missile strike from a fighter jet. The timing of the attack, amid a protracted, high-stakes negotiation over who will lead Israel’s next government, led some critics of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to charge that it was politically motivated. Mr. Netanyahu insisted that the timing was dictated by Israel’s security chiefs, whose recommendation he had merely endorsed. Before 6 a.m., militants in Gaza began firing barrages of rockets toward southern and central Israel from the Palestinian coastal enclave. Islamic Jihad called the Israeli strike “a declaration of war against the Palestinian people” and said, “Our response to this crime will have no limits.”

The Guardian: Alleged US Isis Member 'Marooned Between Turkish And Greek Borders'

“An alleged American member of Islamic State has been marooned in the no-man’s land between the Turkish and Greek borders after the Greek authorities refused him entry, according to a Turkish news report. The Turkish television channel Haber 7 screened video images of a man dressed in dark clothes waving at the camera from the strip of land between the two border posts. Jean-Charles Brisard, the president of the Centre for Analysis of Terrorism in Paris, said in a tweet that the video showed how “a Isis jihadist expelled by Turkey to Greece is literally stuck in the buffer zone separating the two countries after Greece’s refusal to allow entry into the territory”. A state department spokeswoman said: “We are aware of reports of the detainment of a US citizen by Turkish authorities. Due to privacy considerations we have no further comment.” It was not clear whether the Turkish detention had come before or after the apparent attempt to expel the suspect via Greece. The spokeswoman gave no further details but the timing of the statement issued in the early afternoon in Washington suggested that after expulsion to Greece failed the man had been taken into Turkish custody.”

The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Drones Appear To Show Turkish-Backed Forces Accosting Civilians In Syria

“U.S. military officials watched live drone feeds last month that appeared to show Turkish-backed Arab gunmen targeting civilians during their assault on Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria, attacks the Americans reported to their commanders as possible war crimes, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with the incidents. U.S. surveillance videos of two incidents were included in an internal report compiled by State Department officials laying out concerns regarding four credible cases of alleged war crimes by Turkish-backed forces, according to the U.S. officials. The existence of the military surveillance videos, which hasn’t been previously disclosed, provided what some of the U.S. officials saw as firsthand evidence of apparent war crimes by forces backed by Turkey, a NATO ally. Others said the videos were inconclusive. The footage now has become a focal point of a broader debate within the Trump administration over how to address mounting concerns by U.S. officials that the Turkish-backed fighters could commit more war crimes if the U.S. doesn’t do more to stop them.”

The New York Times: Child Abusers Run Rampant As Tech Companies Look The Other Way

“The main method for detecting the illegal imagery was created in 2009 by Microsoft and Hany Farid, now a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. The software, known as PhotoDNA, can use computers to recognize photos, even altered ones, and compare them against databases of known illegal images. Almost none of the photos and videos detected last year would have been caught without systems like PhotoDNA.”

France24: US-Born IS Bride Appeals Again To Come Home From Syria

“A US-born woman who says she regrets having joined the Islamic State group has appealed again to come home from the refugee camp where she lives with her small son in Syria. The government is refusing to let Hoda Muthana return to the US, arguing that she is not an American citizen. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called her a terrorist. She took part actively in IS propaganda, according to the Counter Extremism Project. She had urged jihadists in America to "go on drive-bys, and spill all of their blood." Muthana also hailed an attack in 2015 in France against the offices of the magazine Charlie Hebdo, which left 12 people dead.”

United States

VICE: EXCLUSIVE: A U.S. Marine Used The Neo-Nazi Site Iron March To Recruit For A ‘Racial Holy War'

“At least three members of the U.S. military were registered users on the influential neo-Nazi forum Iron March, according to an analysis of an anonymous data dump from the site this week. And one of them, a Marine, was apparently using Iron March to try to recruit people for a fascist paramilitary group he wanted to launch in the U.S. VICE News and social analysis agency Storyful verified the identities of three of the posters, but dozens more on the forum claimed to have military experience. Antifascist activists published files on Wednesday containing the screen names, emails, IP addresses, posts, and direct messages from hundreds of people who were active on Iron March between 2011 and 2017. Storyful and VICE News verified the identities of three men through tracing their emails, linked social media accounts, and social posts.”

The New York Times: The F.B.I.’s New Approach To Combating Domestic Terrorism: Straight Talk

“As a group of prominent black pastors listened, the top federal prosecutor in northern Ohio, Justin E. Herdman, spoke recently at Mount Zion church about the prospect that a gunman could target one of their congregations. The subtext was clear. Mr. Herdman is among a group of federal law enforcement officials who have begun speaking more forthrightly about fighting domestic terrorism from the front lines. They want to reassure a skeptical public that the Justice Department is forcefully combating racist and politically motivated violence in the Trump era, amid their own mounting concerns about a possible surge in attacks sparked by the 2020 election. “When I sit in church,” Mr. Herdman told the pastors, “I have one eye on what’s going on at the altar, and I have got one eye on the entrance to the sanctuary.” “Mm-hmm,” the pastors responded in unison. The community relations effort is the most visible of several aggressive steps by federal prosecutors and F.B.I. agents to combat domestic terrorism. The bureau has about 850 open investigations across the United States. Prosecutors have backed rewriting the laws on domestic terrorism. And in northern Ohio, Mr. Herdman has encouraged his investigators to use wiretaps, one of their most intrusive tools, in such cases.”

CNN: The FBI Will Join The Investigation Into An Attack That Killed 9 Mormon Family Members In Mexico

“The FBI is taking part in the investigation into an attack that left nine people dead last week in Mexico near the US border. Three women and six children, all of the Mormon faith, were shot dead in the mountains on November 4 when suspected drug cartels opened fire on a remote dirt road in Sonora state. The victims were dual citizens of Mexico and the United States. “The FBI will be providing assistance at the invitation of the Mexican government with the investigation into the recent attack against American citizens,” the FBI said in a statement. “The FBI remains committed to working alongside our international partners to help bring justice to the perpetrators of this heinous act of violence.” The horrific massacre in broad daylight stunned even a country long ravaged by drug violence and on pace for a record high number of homicides this year. The convoy carrying women and children was ambushed and sprayed with hundreds of rounds of ammunition. One mother was gunned down as she begged the children be spared. The government quickly suggested the attack was a case of mistaken identity as a result of a conflict between rival drug trafficking groups in a virtually lawless region near the US border.”


Haaretz: Syria's Assad Says Offensive To Retake Idilb To Resume Soon

“Syrian President Bashar Assad says his forces will soon retake control of the last major rebel stronghold in the country's northwestern province of Idlib. Assad said in an interview with Russia Today aired on Monday that they are now giving civilians some time to leave the area that is dominated by al-Qaida-linked militants. Syrian troops launched a four-month offensive on the province earlier this year, forcing hundreds of thousands of civilians to flee their homes and capturing the important town of Khan Sheikhoun and several other villages and towns.”

Voice Of America: Backer Of Syria's White Helmets Found Dead In Turkey

“A key backer of the Syrian White Helmets rescue organization was found dead Monday near his home in Istanbul, according to Turkish authorities. James Le Mesurier, a former British army officer, was the founder of Mayday Rescue, which trained the White Helmets, formally known as the Syrian Civil Defense group. The group is known for rescuing people wounded after airstrikes in opposition-controlled parts of Syria. It is credited with saving tens of thousands of lives during the conflict. Le Mesurier was found near his home with fractures to his head and legs, according to Turkish media reports. An investigation has been launched into his death. The White Helmets expressed its "deepest sorrow and solidarity with his family" on Twitter Monday.”

The Atlantic: The World’s Worst Game Of Risk Is Playing Out In Syria

“The U.S. pulled back. Turkey moved in. Kurdish forces retreated. The Syrian government gloated. Russia struck a deal and sent in more troops. More than 100 people died and more than 100,000 fled. All this happened over a few weeks in October across a long but narrow strip of Syrian land running 300 miles along the Turkish border. It looked like a 21st-century great-power scramble to redraw the map. In reality, not much territory changed hands. So after almost a month of chaos, the U.S. is caught in a new maelstrom of competing proxies, its weak leverage further damaged, and the future of its anti-Islamic State fight thrown into doubt. The supposed winners—Turkey, Russia, and the Syrian regime—have gained some slapdash spheres of influence and a severe hit to American prestige. The losers, as ever, are Syrian civilians.”

Sky News: Islamic State: New 'Mini Caliphate' Forms At Syrian Holding Camp 

“The boy can't have been more than 10 years old. Shaved head, piercing brown eyes and goofy teeth. Our moment with him was fleeting but chilling and deeply sad. In Arabic, he first quoted a verse from the Koran: “God says, 'Turn to Allah with sincere repentance in the hope that your Lord will remove you from your ills'.” He was asking us to repent our sins. And then, calmly, he said: “We're going to kill you by slaughtering you. We will slaughter you.” As he finished, he looked straight into the lens of our camera. I have watched the footage back now over and over. Does he know what he is saying? Does he believe it? Has he seen others being slaughtered? How do you heal a young mind so damaged? Around him, were dozens of other little boys and girls; all ages, all nationalities, filthy and playing in the dust. And with them, the only guides they have in their lives; the black-clad women of the Islamic State. On the plains of northeast Syria, al Hol is a place that should trouble governments around the world. Behind a single fence are the people who will rebuild their cult if they can. Guarded by a small contingent of Kurdish men and women, who do their best, this vast camp is a holding centre for the women and the children who emerged from the IS “caliphate” when it fell in March.”

The Independent: The Assassination Of Bin Laden Was Fatal For Al-Qaeda, But Baghdadi’s Death Could Breathe New Life Into Isis

“In May 2011, Osama bin Laden was killed in a US Special Forces raid on his hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan. This dealt a fatal blow to al-Qaeda as a cohesive organisation. The Obama administration considered that to be one of its greatest achievements. But the organisation’s demise resulted in the emergence of a collection of successor groups, including two that proved to be even more potent and vicious: the Nusra Front in Syria and the Islamic State (Isis). With this in mind, it is advisable to be wary of apparent successes like these. The same could happen again following the death of Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi during last week’s US Special Forces raid on his hideout in northwestern Syria. He reportedly blew himself up in an escape tunnel, using the suicide belt he always kept at hand to ensure he would never be captured alive. There have been conflicting accounts of how, precisely, Baghdadi came to meet his grisly end. One story is that he was tracked down to an isolated house near a village north of Idlib belonging to the leader of the Hurras ash-Sham (Guardians of Syria) Front, a local Isis affiliate, after a tip-off by a defector from the group. But doubts have been cast on this version of events, not least by the Russians.”

The Intercept: Baghdadi Died, But The U.S. War On Terror Will Go On Forever 

“As a matter of principle, I try to restrain myself from celebrating the misfortunes of others. But nearly a decade ago, when I heard the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed in a nighttime U.S. military raid in Pakistan, I briefly allowed myself a moment of naive optimism. My hope was that the death of the Al Qaeda leader might be the beginning of the end of the “war on terrorism” — that strange, brutal global conflict that had defined our generation and already claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent people worldwide. In the years since Bin Laden’s death, the Middle East has become a far more violent place, marked by state collapse, ever more brutal wars, and the sinister growth of international terrorism. Such hopes, it turned out, were far too optimistic. The killing of bin Laden did not usher in a better world. In the years since his death, the Middle East has become a far more violent place, marked by state collapse, ever more brutal wars, and the sinister growth of international terrorism. At the same time, Europe and the United States have turned inward, erecting physical and psychological barriers to insulate themselves against the chaos now consuming the region. We now face the very real specter of far-right governments arising in countries that had championed liberalism and social democracy just a generation earlier.”


Bloomberg: Iran’s Uranium Enrichment Capacity Is Up 25-Fold And Rising Fast

“Iran’s capacity to enrich uranium -- the heavy metal used for bombs and nuclear power -- has grown 25-fold since it began violating the landmark deal with world powers to protest the return of U.S. sanctions. International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors said Monday that Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium swelled almost two-thirds during the last quarter to more than 372 kilograms (820 pounds), according to a restricted document seen by Bloomberg. Iran’s now enriching about 100 kilograms of the metal a month compared to just 4 kilograms back when it was observing the 2015 agreement’s conditions in June, and purifying the metal to 4.5% Monitors confirmed Iran had restarted enriching at its Fordow complex built into the side of a mountain. New advanced centrifuges being tested at the country’s main enrichment plant in Natanz mean its rate of production could expand significantly, according to a senior diplomat familiar with the work.”

The Washington Post: A Ray Of Light In The Mysterious Case Of An American Missing In Iran

“This week marks the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the Iran hostage crisis. It was on Nov. 4, 1979, that revolutionary Iranian students breached the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, taking diplomats hostage, and ultimately holding 52 of them for the next 444 days. While the ordeal for the embassy hostages is now in the distant past, for some Americans the nightmare continues. Among them is the family of Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who was detained on Iran’s Kish island on March 9, 2007. Yet now a tantalizing clue offers hope of a shift in his case. Alluding to the hostages taken in 1979, the Levinson family issued a statement on Monday that noted: “Bob Levinson has been held more than 10 times longer — for 4,624 days. Bob Levinson must come home, and Iran’s hostage-taking as government policy must end.”

The Guardian: Uranium Particles Detected At Undeclared Site In Iran, Says Atomic Watchdog

“The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog has detected uranium particles at an undeclared site in Iran. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in its latest report, seen by AFP, on the country’s nuclear programme on Monday: “The agency has detected natural uranium particles of anthropogenic origin at a location in Iran not declared to the agency.” The particles are understood to be the product of uranium which has been mined and undergone initial processing, but not enriched. The IAEA added that it was “essential for Iran to continue interactions with the agency to resolve the matter as soon as possible”. The agency did not name the site in question, but diplomatic sources have previously said the agency has been posing questions to Iran relating to a site where Israel has alleged secret atomic activity in the past. Sources say the IAEA took samples from the site in the Turquzabad district of Tehran in the spring and that Iran has been slow in providing answers to explain the test results.”


The Wall Street Journal: Iraqi Freedom Confronts Iranian Domination

“Americans long ago lost interest in the democratic experiment they set in motion more than 15 years ago in Iraq—abandoning the “freedom agenda” that was once the heart of U.S. Middle East policy in favor of a realpolitik focused on threats like Iran. Yet while Washington has largely disengaged from domestic politics in Baghdad, the exercise of Iraqi freedom suddenly confronts the Iranian regime with a serious strategic challenge—both to its ambitions for regional hegemony and its own internal legitimacy. Political protests have convulsed Iraq for the past month. Those protests are directed not only at corruption in Baghdad but also, increasingly, at what Iraqis perceive as Tehran’s violent efforts to suppress their dissent. This debacle for the Iranian leadership is entirely of its own making. When Iraqis first took to the streets in early October, their complaints were overwhelmingly inward-looking, rooted in the systemic failure of Baghdad’s successive elected governments to provide basic services and responsive government. Especially now with the threat from Islamic State receding, public rage at the corruption, nepotism and cronyism in Baghdad has exploded.”

The New York Times: Iraqi Forces Shoot Three Dead In Southern City As Protests Flare: Police, Medics

“Iraqi forces shot three anti-government protesters dead in the southern city of Nassiriya on Sunday, police and medics said, adding to scores killed in weeks of unrest that have shaken the war-weary country out of relative stability it had enjoyed since the defeat of Islamic State. Protesters had gathered on a bridge in the city and security forces shot live ammunition to disperse them, the sources said. More than 100 other people were wounded in clashes in Nassiriya, they said. Security forces also fired tear gas at demonstrators in Baghdad injuring more than 20 people, a day after they pushed protests back toward one main square in the Iraqi capital. One person died in hospital from wounds sustained the previous day in the same area, police and medics said. The violence shattered a day of relative calm. Unrest erupted in Baghdad on Oct. 1 with protests over lack of jobs and services that spread across the capital and much of southern Iraq. Security forces have used live ammunition, tear gas and stun grenades against mostly young, unarmed protesters, killing more than 280 people, according to a Reuters tally based on medical and police sources.”

Fox News: Roadside Blast In Iraq Injures 5 Italian Soldiers

“Five Italian soldiers were wounded in a roadside blast Sunday while returning from a mission to help Iraqi troops combat ISIS, military officials said. Three of the wounded were in “grave condition” after the explosion, the Italian Defense Ministry said. Rear Adm. Fabio Agostini said the five – three in the navy and two in the army – are part of a special forces team that was traveling back after a mission aimed at finding ISIS refugees. Agostini told Italian Rai state TV that Iraqi armed forces members were also injured in the blast but didn't say how many. An Iraqi security official said the bomb exploded next to their vehicle as they were traveling just outside Kirkuk – about 165 miles north of Baghdad, wounding six Italian soldiers. The discrepancy in the number of wounded wasn't immediately explained. U.S. military helicopters evacuated the soldiers to a hospital in Baghdad. One Italian soldier lost a leg to amputation due to injuries from the bomb and another suffered serious internal injuries, Italian Gen. Nicola Lanza de Cristoforis told Rai. Iraq declared victory against ISIS two years ago, but the group continues to stage insurgent attacks across the country.”

The Jerusalem Post: Ask Any Iraqi – Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi Is Dead, Isis Isn’t

“Certainly, putting an end to the life of the former leader of the Islamic State (ISIS) Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was expected to be an operation conducted way more final and way more absolute. Within the last 48 hours following this action arise questions surrounding it as to who made this possible, who gave the intelligence and, most importantly, who was the dog who helped run this operation? Bringing about the end of one of the most ruthless terrorist leaders of this time seems to just be another episode in the Kafkaesque ensemble that international politics is today. The US special operation, named after Kayla Mueller – an American aid worker who was kidnapped, tortured and reportedly raped by the ISIS leader himself – started in northwest Syria on October 26 at 5:01 p.m. ET. Two hours later the special forces – while being joined by US President Donald Trump in the Situation Room – declared “jackpot” and officially confirmed the death of Baghdadi. Shortly after, the President – of course – went on to announce that “Something very big has just happened!” on Twitter, his favorite forum of political participation. In the last four days, it was disclosed that Baghdadi took his three children and blew himself up with a suicide vest, shortly after the operation began.”


The Independent: ‘Filled With Hatred And Lust For Blood’: Turkey’s Proxy Army In Northern Syria Accused Of Abusing Civilians

“In the month since Turkey intervened to drive US-allied Syrian Kurdish fighters from a broad swath of northern Syria, proxy forces backed by Ankara have been blamed for a growing ledger of abuses against the local population, residents say, undermining Turkey’s stated goal of creating a “safe zone” for civilians. More than 200,000 people have been internally displaced by the Turkish-led offensive, according to the United Nations. Families that have been scattered across eastern Syria say that Turkey’s Syrian Arab proxies have carried out summary executions and beatings, kidnapped or detained their relatives and looted their houses, businesses and belongings. The result, refugees say, is a form of ethnic cleansing – an operation they see as designed in part to force out Kurdish residents and their sympathisers and replace them with Arabs loyal to Turkey.”

The New York Times: Turkey Starts Sending Captured Foreign Fighters Home From Syria

“Turkey on Monday started making good on its vow to send foreign fighters who were captured in Syria back to their home countries, including one it sent to the United States, the Interior Ministry told the state-run news agency. “One American foreign terrorist fighter whose proceedings are completed has been deported,” a ministry spokesman, Ismail Catakli, was quoted as saying by the agency, Anadolu. Procedures to deport 11 French citizens and seven Germans, along with others from Denmark and Ireland, were underway, Mr. Catakli added, with the German citizens scheduled to be sent back on Thursday. He described the detainees as “foreign terrorist fighters.” Western countries have strongly resisted taking back fighters for the Islamic State, or their wives and children.”

Reuters: Turkey Starts Repatriating Islamic State Detainees

“Turkey said on Monday it had deported two captives from Islamic State, a German and an American, starting a program to repatriate detainees that has caused friction with its NATO allies since it launched an offensive in northern Syria. Ankara says it has captured 287 militants in northeast Syria and already holds hundreds more Islamic State suspects. It has accused European countries of being too slow to take back citizens who traveled to fight in the Middle East. Allies have been worried that Islamic State militants could escape as a result of Turkey’s assault against Syrian Kurdish militia who have been holding thousands of the group’s fighters and tens of thousands of their family members. Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu had said last week Turkey would begin to send foreign Islamic State militants back to their home countries starting on Monday, even if the nations the fighters came from had revoked their citizenship. Ministry spokesman Ismail Catakli said one American and one German were deported on Monday. He did not specify where they were sent, although Turkey has repeatedly said detainees would be sent to their native countries.”


The New York Times: Deal With Taliban Will Free American And Australian Professors, Officials Say

“The Afghan government said on Tuesday that it would release three imprisoned commanders of the Taliban, in what is expected to be an exchange for American and Australian professors who were abducted by the insurgents more than three years ago. The apparent exchange — officials did not immediately confirm that anyone had been released yet — is a possible first step toward a new round of peace talks between the United States and the insurgents, officials said. President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan said Tuesday that the government would be “conditionally” releasing the Taliban figures, including Anas Haqqani, the younger brother of the Taliban’s military operations leader. He did not say what those conditions were, but American and Afghan officials say that negotiators have been working for weeks on an exchange for the professors. In a nationally televised address, Mr. Ghani said the exchange was intended to “facilitate direct peace negotiations.” But the Taliban have refused to negotiate with the Afghan government, which announced in October that it would not take part in negotiations with the Taliban unless a cease-fire had held for at least a month.”

Modern Diplomacy: The Rise OF ISIS And Its Aftermath In Afghanistan

“I will see you guys in New York.” Abu Du’a, the leader of ISIS, whose nom de guerre (war name) was Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, told his American captors as he was released from a brief detention during Iraq war. After American invasion of Iraq in 2003, Al Baghdadi joined the Arms Resistance against the U.S led coalition troops in Iraq but he was captured and detained in a US. – run Iraqi prison in 2006. Following al Baghdadi’s release in the late 2000s, he joined the predecessor to ISIS: the Islamic State of Iraq(ISI). This group initially affiliated themselves with AL- Qaeda, but was later rejected by AL Qaeda due to their brutal acts and it became Islamic State of Iraq (ISI). IN 2010, al Baghdadi became the leader of ISI and changed the name of the organization to Islamic state of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in 2013. On 29 June 2014, ISIS declared the worldwide caliphate under the leadership of “caliph Ibrahim” with publishing a statement of supporting al Baghdadi’s designation as caliph.  This concept of caliphate is mainly based on the universal religion and its ultimate goal is the establishment of Islamic state. This political idea of Islamic state is embodied in the concept of the ummah (community) which says that all the Muslims wherever they reside are bounded by a common faith which transcends all geographical, political or national boundaries.”

Xinhua: 36 Militants Surrendered In E. Afghan Province 

“As many as 36 militants have denounced violence and surrendered in Afghanistan's eastern Nangarhar province, the provincial government said Sunday. “A total of 32 Islamic State (IS) militants and four militants of Taliban outfit joined the government-initiated peace and reconciliation process on Saturday,” the government said in a statement. The former militants brought with them firearms when they surrendered to the National Directorate of Security (NDS), the country's primary intelligence agency, in provincial capital Jalalabad city, the statement added. The statement said the 36 were active members of IS and Taliban in Haska Mina, Sherzad, Achin and Khogyani districts of Nangarhar. With their surrender, peace and stability would be further strengthened in the mountainous province, officials said. The militant groups have not made comments on the report so far.”

Xinhua: 2 Killed, 4 Injured In Taliban Car Bomb Blast In S. Afghanistan

“One Afghan police officer and a militant were killed and four police officers wounded in a Taliban insurgents' suicide car bomb blast at a military camp in southern Kandahar province on Saturday, local police said. “A militant rammed a hijacked explosive-packed military vehicle to a police camp in Chinarto, an area in Shah Wali Kot district at early Saturday, killing himself and a police officer and injuring four other police,” Jamal Barakzai, provincial police spokesman, told Xinhua. The targeted camp belongs to highway police of Afghan National Police, he said. The explosion was followed by clashes when several militants arrived in the area and engaged with the police after the blast. Reinforcement troops arrived at the site shortly after the clashes which lasted for hours as the militants used villagers' houses to hide themselves, he noted. Located in the northern part of Kandahar, the district has been the scene of heavy clashes between Taliban and security forces for long. Security situation has been improving in Kandahar, the former stronghold of Taliban, over the past months, as security forces have conducted search and cordon operations across the province. But the militants attack government interests in the province from time to time.”


The Washington Post: Pakistan Police Say Gunmen Attack Security Vehicle, 5 Killed

“Pakistani police say gunmen have ambushed a security force vehicle in Punjab province, killing five people. Police spokesman Kaleem Qureshi says dead were two police officers, two intelligence officers and an informant. He said they came under attack late Sunday while en route to raid a militant hideout in the Arbi Tabba area of Rajanpur district. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. But the area borders southwestern Baluchistan province, which has been the scene of a low-level insurgency by Baluch separatist groups. Islamist militants also operate in the region.”


Hurriyet Daily News: Ex-Hezbollah Leader Slams Iranian Supreme Chief

“Former Secretary-General of Lebanon's Shia Hezbollah movement criticized Iran's supreme leader on Nov. 10 for being behind corruption in Lebanon and Iraq, where anti-government and corruption protests are ongoing. Subhi al-Tufayli, speaking to Arab and social media, delivered remarks on recent mass protests held in Lebanon and Iraq. Al-Tufayli said at least 250 people were killed and more than 11,000 were injured in Iraq, according to official figures and alleged the deaths were caused by the men of Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran. He went on to say that the peaceful demonstrators in Lebanon were attacked by supporters of Hezbollah and Amal Movement, and claimed the aggressors were affiliated with the Iranian supreme leader. He alleged that Iranian-backed groups in Lebanon have been responsible for injustice and looting in Lebanon since 1972. and that Khamenei spent money to buy media outlets in his favor during the Syrian civil war.”

Reuters: Hezbollah Says Its 'Arms Won't Be Twisted' As Crisis Deepens

“Political talks to agree an urgently needed Lebanese government are still deadlocked, three senior sources said on Sunday, as the powerful Shi’ite group Hezbollah indicated it would not be forced into concessions. The latest failure to break Lebanon’s political impasse will worsen pressures on an economy gripped by its deepest crisis since the 1975-90 civil war, amid protests against a political establishment widely regarded as corrupt and inept. Since reopening a week ago, commercial banks have been seeking to stave off capital flight by blocking most transfers abroad and imposing curbs on hard-currency withdrawals, though the central bank has announced no formal capital controls. A big part of Lebanon’s economic crisis stems from a slowdown of capital inflows which has led to a scarcity of U.S. dollars and spawned a black market where the Lebanese pound has weakened below its official pegged rate. A meeting on Saturday evening between caretaker Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri and senior officials from Hezbollah and its Shi’ite ally Amal failed to yield any breakthrough toward forming the new cabinet, the sources said.”

Middle East 

The Jerusalem Post: Ex-Idf Intel. Officer: Not All Hezbollah's Twitter Accounts Were Suspended

“Twitter announced last week that it had suspended numerous Hezbollah and Hamas affiliated accounts following a letter and implied threats from US Congressmen demanding the social media giant prevent itself from being used by terrorists. Hezbollah and its affiliates have more Twitter accounts still operating than the number of accounts that were suspended last week, an ex-senior IDF intelligence officer told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday. “No doubt that they [Hezbollah] have a much greater presence that remains [on Twitter] versus what was suspended,” said Col. (res.) Reuven Ehrlich. Ehrlich made his statement following the publication of a report by his center, the Meir Amir Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, which performed a comprehensive analysis of Hezbollah’s presence on Twitter before and after last week’s announcement. Twitter announced that it had suspended numerous Hezbollah and Hamas affiliated accounts following a letter and implied threats from US congressmen demanding the social media giant prevent itself from being used by terrorists. The congressmen gave Twitter a deadline of the beginning of November.”

Middle East Eye: After Baghdadi: Will Islamic State Fighters Seek Return To Al-Qaeda?

“The death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and the appointment of a virtually unknown successor could see some fugitive Islamic State group fighters seeking a return to the ranks of al-Qaeda-aligned groups. Baghdadi died last month during a raid by US special forces on a compound near the village of Barisha in the northwest Syrian province where he appeared to have been hiding under the apparent protection of one such hardline group. According to reports, the building where Baghdadi spent his final few months was owned by a people smuggler with links to Hurras al-Deen, or the Guardians of Religion Organisation, which claims allegiance to al-Qaeda. Several Hurras al-Deen fighters were also reported killed after shooting at US helicopters on the ground, though the operational commander of the raid told reporters last week that they were not believed to have been aware that Baghdadi was nearby.”

The Washington Post: Israeli Airstrike Kills Islamic Jihad Commander In Gaza Home

“A pair of Israeli airstrikes targeted senior Islamic Jihad commanders in Gaza and in Syria early on Tuesday, escalating Israel’s confrontation with Iran across the region and threatening to unleash another devastating round of cross-border violence with Palestinian militants. In eastern Gaza, the Israeli strike killed Bahaa Abu el-Atta and his wife, setting off a furious barrage of rocket attacks reaching as far as the Tel Aviv heartland as Islamic Jihad vowed further revenge. The Israeli military said Abu el-Atta was the mastermind of recent attacks against it. Meanwhile, Syrian officials said an Israeli airstrike in the capital, Damascus, targeted another Islamic Jihad commander, Akram al-Ajouri, who was not harmed. Syria’s state-run news agency said Israeli warplanes fired three missiles at al-Ajouri’s home, killing his son and granddaughter. The Israeli military had no comment. The sudden surge in violence looked to awaken Israel’s increasingly open conflict with Iran and its proxies in the region. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has issued a series of warnings recently about alleged Iranian aggression. Netanyahu also has been criticized by southern border residents and political rivals for a tepid response to recent militant attacks.”

Voice Of America: Al-Qaida Gaining Strength As World's Focus Remains On IS 

“Despite major setbacks in recent years, the al-Qaida terror group seems to remain resilient and is slowly rebuilding its capabilities in many conflict-ridden countries around the world, while the world's focus is on the Islamic State (IS), experts warn. Experts say the once-powerful jihadist group has been seeking to establish more ties with local extremist groups, particularly in some parts of Africa and the Middle East. “For some time, al-Qaida has been working quietly in many places, forging new alliances, and re-establishing links with former affiliates,” said Radwan Badini, a professor of political science at Salahaddin University in Irbil, Iraq. The ongoing political and security instability in countries such as Syria, Libya and Yemen has offered yet a new opportunity for al-Qaida to strengthen its presence. “The fact that IS has been the main target of the United States and other powers has allowed al-Qaida to reinvent itself and to become a more decentralized terror network that attracts Islamist groups that are even slightly inclined to wage jihad against the West,” Badini told VOA. In its 2018 Country Reports on Terrorism, the U.S. State Department last week asserted that al-Qaida's affiliate in Yemen has managed to recruit new members, wage attacks and threaten the West.”


Associated Press: Egypt Officials: 2 Security Forces Killed In Sinai Blast

“Egyptian officials said a roadside bomb has killed two members of the security forces on Saturday in the restive northern Sinai province. The explosion hit their armored vehicle in Rafah, a town on the border with the Gaza Strip. Two other security force members were wounded. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to talk to reporters. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. Egypt has for years been battling an insurgency in northern Sinai that’s now led by an Islamic State group affiliate. The fighting intensified in 2013 after the military overthrew the country’s elected but divisive Islamist president. Last week, Egypt’s military said at least 83 militants have been killed in the past five weeks in northern and central Sinai. Authorities heavily restrict access to the northern Sinai, making it difficult to verify claims related to the fighting. IS has carried out a number of large-scale attacks in recent years, mainly targeting security forces and Egypt’s Christian minority.”


The Punch Nigeria: 13m Out-Of-School-Children Are The Boko Haram Of The Future, Group Warns

“A civic society group, Life Builders Initiative has warned that the 13million out-of-school children in Nigeria could consume the country in the future, describing the situation as a time bomb waiting to explode. The founder of the group, Dr Sanwo Olatunji- David, who raised the concern while addressing a news conference in Abuja on Friday, ahead of a stakeholders’ forum on education next week, described the street children as the future Boko Haram insurgents and bandits. “If we don’t get these children back to school, in the next few years, we would have built an army that’s worse than Boko Haram and bandits,” he warned. Olatunji-David explained said LIB, which had enrolled over 1,500 children in school in the past six years, had impacted their lives and reduced the number of Almajiris on the street. He attributed the huge number of out-of-school children in the country to poverty, noting that over 92 million Nigerians were living below the poverty line, a situation he said could become worse if things did not improve. The educationist added, “If they (Out-of-school children) don’t go to school in the next five years, they would have produced another 150 million out-of-school children.”


Reuters: Anger Grows As Families Bury The Dead After Burkina Faso Attack

“Relatives of people killed and survivors from an attack this week on a bus convoy of mine workers in Burkina Faso were increasingly angry on Saturday at what they said was a lack of support from authorities and the mining company. Hundreds of relatives, friends and colleagues of the victims waited for hours to recover their bodies from a morgue in the capital Ouagadougou, as a procession of vehicles made its way to cemeteries across the city. “I am unhappy because I lost my colleague and I am unhappy with the way the government is dealing with this,” said Mahamdi Mande, 32, as he waited for the body of his colleague, Moussa Ouattara. Canadian gold mining company Semafo said five of its buses, which were traveling with a military escort, came under fire on Wednesday on the road leading to its Boungou mine in the East region. Authorities said 38 people were killed in the attack, one of the deadliest in years in the West African country. A survivor, who worked for Australian mining services provider Perenti, said neither Semafo nor Perenti had contacted him since the attack, in which he pretended to be dead to avoid being shot at. “They need to treat me like a human being. They could have tried to talk to everyone.”

Asharq Al-Awsat: Tunisian Terrorist Battalion Pledges Allegiance To New ISIS Leader

“Ajnad al-Khilafa- affiliated with terrorist ISIS in Tunisia – has pledged allegiance to the new leader of ISIS, Abu Ibrahim al-Quraishi. This battalion, entrenched in Djebel Mghila and Jebel ech Chambi, published a picture showing six armed men in mountain regions as they express loyalty to this group under its new command. The image made counter-terrorism bodies in Tunisia alert against any possible terrorist operations. The battalion was established in 2013 when it detached from al-Qaeda in Morocco and joined ISIS. Tunisian authorities accuse Ajnad al-Khilafa of standing behind several terrorist acts including slaughtering a group of shepherds, rioting houses near the mountain regions and encouraging extremist members to carry out offensives as ‘individual wolves’. During the past years, this battalion claimed responsibility for several attacks including the suicidal attack conducted by the Tunisian terrorist Mona Qibla in Bourguiba. Following this announcement, Tunisian security sources revealed that the counter-terrorism forces have commenced analyzing the place where this picture was taken and focusing on its details to recognize the terrorists.”


Asharq Al-Awsat: French ISIS Suspects Want To Go Home, And ‘Go On With My Life’

“Three French women who escaped from a camp for suspected extremists in northern Syria say they want to go home and face whatever legal action France requires over their alleged links to the ISIS group. The three, interviewed in Syria's Suluk town, controlled by Syrian opposition factions backed by Turkey, said they had fled during the chaos of Turkey's incursion into Syria last month and turned themselves over to Turkish forces in hopes of returning home, reported Reuters. The women, who declined to give their names, suggested they were prepared to go France for the sake of their children, adding that conditions in the camp in Ain Issa, run by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), had been very hard. The women gave no details of their life before detention. They are believed to be among the wives and children of former ISIS fighters killed or detained after the extremist group was expelled from its strongholds in Iraq and Syria. Ankara’s unilateral offensive angered Washington and Turkey’s main European NATO allies, who fear a return of ISIS in the region. European countries are especially concerned about foreign ISIS fighters and adult relatives returning to Europe.”


The Jerusalem Post: Free Democratic Party Urges Merkel To Place Full Ban On Hezbollah

“The Free Democratic Party urged Chancellor Angela Merkel’s administration to outlaw the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah in Germany while the EU’s commissioner to combat antisemitism on Saturday went mum on whether the European states should ban the Shi’ite movement. The FDP member of parliament, Marcus Faber, wrote on Twitter in late October, “Germany should treat, in the future, Hezbollah as a terrorist organization,” and strongly work to make the EU proscribe Hezbollah a terrorist entity. The FDP executive board in the Bundestag passed an anti-Hezbollah decision. Despite rising antisemitism in Germany, Merkel and her social democratic coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party, are flatly against banning Hezbollah.”

ABC News: 30 Years After The Fall Of The Berlin Wall, Right-Wing Extremism Is On The Rise As The East Lags Behind

“In the evening hours of Nov. 9, 1989 the world watched as East Berliners climbed over the wall for the first time, celebrating a newfound hope and freedom. The wall came down peacefully -- and in Germany, the date is celebrated as the Peaceful Revolution. British historian Timothy Garton Ash called 1989 “The best year in European history” in a podcast released with the German Marshall Fund last week. It was, as he said, “the almost entirely peaceful dissolution of a nuclear armed post totalitarian empire; empires don’t normally collapse peacefully.” Yet, 30 years on, that dream of democracy may slowly be turning to disillusionment. Although the wall is down, in many ways the boundaries between East and West Germany still exist. Economically speaking, the former East Germany still lags behind the western half of the country. Many former East German states were hard hit by economic downturn after reunification and wages and pensions are still lower. Enter the anti-immigrant far-right party Alternative for Deutschland, which has been most successful in the Eastern part of the country.”


The Brussels Times: Two Belgian Suspects Arrested In International Investigation Into Financing Of Terrorism

“Three men from the Netherlands and two men from Belgium were arrested on 5 November as part of an international investigation into the financing of terrorism. Another suspect from the Netherlands was also arrested the following day, on 6 November. Authorities believe that the suspects are connected to a foundation, based in the Netherlands, which raised at least €200,000 to “provide assistance to war victims.” The six suspects are believed to have travelled to Turkey and Syria in 2013 and 2014 and to have handed over money, around €130,000, to fighters of the Islamic State (ISIS). The remaining €70,000 was likely used to finance the suspect’s travel, as well as to fund another ISIS-affiliated organisation. As part of the investigation, Dutch and Belgian police searched 11 addresses in both central Netherlands and Belgium last week, seizing various documents and records.”

The Spectator: Winning The Online War After The Fall Of Isis

“Home Secretary Priti Patel downgraded our national terrorism threat assessment last week from ‘severe’, where it has sat for the last four years to ‘substantial’. Attacks have now been reduced from ‘highly likely’ to ‘likely’. We’re never given the full analysis of the reasons for the changes in alert levels, which is independently assessed by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC). But it’s fair to say from what we know, it’s more an art than a science. And there are plenty of reasons to remain pessimistic. The threat of violent extremists across the ideological spectrum to cause us severe harm continues. It’s undoubtedly true that in terms of numbers, attacks and potential attacks thwarted by the security services in Western Europe have been on a downward trajectory from 2016 onwards.”

Reuters: Dutch State Must Repatriate Children Of Islamic State Mothers, Court Rules 

“The Netherlands must actively help repatriate the young children of women who joined Islamic State in Syria, a court in The Hague ruled on Monday. The mothers themselves do not need to be accepted back in the Netherlands, the court said. Lawyers for 23 women who joined Islamic State from the Netherlands had asked a judge on Friday to order the state to repatriate them and their 56 children from camps in Syria. The women and children were living in “deplorable conditions” in the Al-Hol camp in Northern Syria, their lawyer had argued. Judge Hans Vetter said that while the women did not need to be repatriated the state must make “all possible efforts” to return the children, who have Dutch nationality and are under 12 years old. Most are younger than six. “The children cannot be held responsible for the actions of their parents, however serious these may be,” the court said in a statement. “The children are victims of the actions of their parents.” The women, however, “were aware of the crimes being committed by IS and must be tried”, it said. The Dutch government has always insisted it was too dangerous for Dutch officials to go into the camps and find the women and children to return them to the Netherlands.”

Asharq Al-Awsat: Russia: ISIS Cell Sentenced To 15 Years In Prison

“Moscow's military court sentenced members of an ISIS cell to prison for plotting terrorist attacks in Russian cities. The defendants have set up an ISIS cell in Yaroslavl province, TASS news agency reported citing the Federal Security Service's office in the province. The terrorists contacted ISIS members through the Telegram messaging application, which is banned in the Russian Federation, and planned to carry out terrorist attacks in one of the Russian regions, but they were unable to carry out their criminal plan when they were arrested last year. After examining the case file, the Moscow Military Court sentenced the members of Yaroslavl terrorist cell to prison with terms ranging from 9 to 15 years. The Federal Service also announced it arrested members of an ISIS cell collecting donations to fund the group's activities and revealed that they had raised about $156,000 for Syrian militants. The agency issued a statement reporting that ISIS representatives gave instructions to the cell members to establish a financial system that funds the activities of the international terrorist organization. The agency arrested two members of this criminal cell who transferred money to militants in Syria via payment systems and cards.”


The Sydney Morning Herald: IS Recruiter Charged Over Sydney Terror Plot

“The jailed ringleader of a network that helped young Australian men fight for Islamic extremists in the Middle East has been charged with leading a Sydney-based terror cell planning to commit domestic atrocities. Hamdi Alqudsi, 45, is serving at least six years behind bars in South Nowra jail after linking men with Mohammad Ali Baryalei, a prolific jihadist recruiter and infamous Australian Islamic State member. Alqudsi, a former disability pensioner from south-west Sydney, was jailed in September 2016 after being found guilty of seven counts of providing services with the intention of supporting hostile acts in Syria between June and October 2013. On Tuesday he appeared before Parramatta Local Court via audiovisual link after Australian Federal Police charged him with directing the activities of a terrorist organisation. He was charged in relation to Operation Appleby, a multi-agency counter-terrorism investigation probing an alleged plot to attack multiple government sites, including the Garden Island naval base in Woolloomooloo. The taskforce, which includes NSW Police and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, also investigated people involved in domestic terrorist acts, foreign incursions into Syria and Iraq and the funding of terrorist organisations.”

Southeast Asia

The New York Times: Philippine Guerrillas Kill At Least 6 Soldiers In Bombing

“Six Philippine soldiers were killed and 23 others wounded, the military said on Tuesday, when a platoon checking on reports of an infiltration by communist rebels stepped on improvised bombs as they negotiated hilly terrain. The troops had been sent in on Monday after civilians had complained of harassment by guerrillas with the New People’s Army outside Borongan City on Samar Island, which is in the central eastern part of the country. Six improvised bombs planted by the insurgents exploded before the soldiers engaged in a firefight with them, the military said. The 30-minute gun battle that followed led to the death of one guerrilla, the military said.”

CNN: ISIS Recruiters Are Preying On Vulnerable Domestic Workers In Hong Kong And Singapore

“For six days a week, the three women worked as domestic workers in homes across Singapore. But in their spare time, they promoted ISIS online, donated money to militants overseas, and became so radicalized that at least one was ready to die as a suicide bomber in Syria, according to Singapore's Ministry of Home Affairs. The women -- all Indonesian nationals -- were arrested in September under Singapore's Internal Security Act on suspicion of taking part in terror financing activities and face up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $500,000 Singapore dollars ($362,000). A spokeswoman for the Indonesian Embassy in Singapore confirmed the arrests and said it was providing consular assistance to the women, who do not have legal representation because they are still under investigation. The women are yet to be formally charged. Terrorism experts say they are not the only domestic workers who are believed to have been radicalized online while working in big Asian cities like Singapore and Hong Kong. As ISIS shifts its gaze towards Asia following the fall of its caliphate in the Middle East, these women are increasingly being targeted, albeit in a less organized way, experts warn.”

BBC News: Australian Man Jailed For 12 Years In Vietnam On Terrorism Charges

“A court in Vietnam has sentenced a 70-year-old Australian citizen to 12 years in prison on charges of terrorism. Chau Van Kham, a retired baker, belongs to the human rights group Viet Tan, which the Vietnam government considers a terrorist organization. He is accused of recruiting members for the group, raising funds for “anti-state activity” and joining anti-Vietnam protests in Australia. In court, he denied conducting any terrorist acts, his lawyer said. “His activities were peaceful,” he said. Viet Tan dismissed the case as a “sham trial” and accused Vietnam of “criminalizing human rights advocacy”. The group said Kham was in Vietnam to conduct civil rights research when he was arrested in January. Human Rights Watch said that Vietnam had “handed down what is essentially a death sentence”, given Chau Van Kham's age. “He has been incarcerated on bogus, politically motivated charges that demonstrate just how fearful Vietnam is about people exercising their rights and demanding genuine democracy,” said the group's deputy Asia director Phil Robertson.”