Eye on Extremism: November 13, 2018

Voice Of America: US-Backed Syrian Fighters Resume Offensive Against IS

“U.S.-backed Syrian fighters resumed their ground offensive Sunday against the Islamic State group in the last territories controlled by the extremists in eastern Syria. The Syrian Democratic Forces said in a statement that the decision to resume the fighting came after threats from Turkey against the Kurdish-led force dropped due to diplomatic activities. The SDF said in late October it was temporarily suspending its campaign against IS in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour, accusing Turkey of jeopardizing its efforts. The group said that the aim of the renewed operation that began two months ago is "to work for the final defeat of Daesh organization," using an Arab acronym to refer to the group. Turkey considers the SDF a terror threat and an extension of Kurdish rebels waging an insurgency within Turkey. U.S. support for the Kurdish-led forces has resulted in increased tension between Washington and Ankara.”

CNN: Death Toll In Mogadishu Car Bombing Rises To 52

“The death toll from three car bombs detonated near a hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia has risen to 52 people, hospital officials told CNN Monday. Around 100 people were injured in the blast which happened near a hotel popular with visitors to the country and international journalists. Mohammed Yusuf, medical director at the Medina hospital in Mogadishu -- where many of the wounded are being treated -- told CNN five people died in the early hours of Monday morning at the clinic, while two others passed away at another hospital, he said. A former government official, a district police chief, and a journalist are among those wounded in the Friday incident. Five of the attackers attempted to storm the Sahafi hotel but were shot and killed by policemen. Also killed in the attack was Abdifitah Abdirashid, a well-regarded hotel owner who inherited the business from his father. Tragically, the father also died in a similar Al-Shabaab attack in 2015, according to local media reports.”

The New York Times: Taliban Slaughter Elite Afghan Troops, And A ‘Safe’ District Is Falling

“One pickup truck after another arrived at the government compound in a district capital in Afghanistan on Sunday, pulling around to the back of the governor’s office to unload the dead, out of sight of panicked residents. Soldiers and police officers, many in tears, heaved bodies of their comrades from the trucks and laid them on sheets on the ground, side by side on their backs, until there were 20 of them. The dead all wore the desert-brown boots of Afghanistan’s finest troops, the Special Forces commandos trained by the United States. Four days earlier, the soldiers had been airlifted in to rescue what is widely considered Afghanistan’s safest rural district, Jaghori, from a determined assault by Taliban insurgents. Early on Sunday, their company of 50 soldiers was almost entirely destroyed on the front line. And suddenly, Jaghori — a haven for an ethnic Hazara Shiite minority that has been persecuted by extremists — appeared at risk of being completely overrun by the Taliban. A small team of journalists from The New York Times went into Jaghori’s capital, Sang-e-Masha, on Sunday morning to report on the symbolic importance of what everyone expected to be a fierce stand against the insurgents. Instead, we found bandaged commandos wandering the streets in apparent despair, and officials discussing how they could flee an area almost entirely surrounded by the Taliban. By the end of the day, we were on the run, too.”

Deutsche Welle: Melbourne Attacker Inspired By 'Islamic State'

“A Somali-born Australian man who stabbed several people in the southeastern city of Melbourne on Friday, killing one, was inspired by the Islamist extremist group "Islamic State" (IS), but did not have any direct links with it, police said on Saturday. "I think it is fair to say he was inspired. He was radicalized," the acting deputy commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, Ian McCartney, told reports in the city. "We're not saying there was direct contact. We're saying it was more from an inspiration perspective," McCartney said. "The circumstances of how he and when he moved from having these radicalized views to carrying out this attack yesterday will be a key focus of the investigation," McCartney added. IS, which often claims responsibility for such attacks, has also done so in this case, though it presented no evidence that the man had direct affiliations with the group. Police said the man, identified as Hassan Khalif Shire Ali, 30, had had his Australian passport canceled in 2015 after an intelligence report suggested that he planned to travel to Syria. They said that an assessment had indicated that he posed no threat to national security despite holding radical views. Shire Ali, who was shot by police and later died in hospital, was known to the Australian intelligence agency for three years. His brother is set to go on trial next year on separate terror-related charges connected with alleged plans to kill people in a New Year's Eve crowd with a firearm."

The New York Times: Facebook Failed To Police How Its Partners Handled User Data

“Facebook failed to closely monitor device makers after granting them access to the personal data of hundreds of millions of people, according to a previously unreported disclosure to Congress last month. Facebook’s loose oversight of the partnerships was detected by the company’s government-approved privacy monitor in 2013. But it was never revealed to Facebook users, most of whom had not explicitly given the company permission to share their information. Details of those oversight practices were revealed in a letter Facebook sent last month to Senator Ron Wyden, the Oregon Democrat, a privacy advocate and frequent critic of the social media giant. In the letter, a copy of which Mr. Wyden provided to The New York Times, Facebook wrote that by early 2013 it had entered into data-sharing agreements with seven device makers to provide what it called the “Facebook experience” — custom-built software, typically, that gave those manufacturers’ customers access to Facebook on their phones. Those partnerships, some of which date to at least 2010, fall under a consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission drafted in 2011 and intended to oversee the company’s privacy practices.”

United States

Reuters: U.S. Not Concerned By Europe's Idea For Iran Trade As Companies Moving Out

“The United States is not too concerned by Europe’s idea for a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to get around U.S. sanctions with Iran as companies are already withdrawing from the country in droves, the senior official for financial intelligence said. “I think the bigger news in Europe is that companies are withdrawing from Iran in droves,” Under Secretary of the Treasury Sigal Mandelker told reporters in London when asked about the SPV idea. “I am not concerned by the SPV actually at all,” she said. “I do believe we are going to find additional mechanisms by which we can work together.” The restoration of sanctions is part of a wider effort by U.S. President Donald Trump to force Iran to curb its nuclear and missile programs as well as its support for proxy forces in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and other parts of the Middle East. In May, Trump exited Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with six powers and Washington reimposed a first round of sanctions on Iran in August.”

Syria

CNN: Syrian Kurds Resume Push To Rid ISIS From Last Pockets Of Syria

“Syrian Kurdish forces are resuming the final phase of operations against ISIS, as the terrorist group is pushed back into its last remaining slivers of territory. The resumption comes as CNN releases remarkable and rare frontline footage of the recent intense fight against ISIS, filmed by Brazilian photographer Gabriel Chaim. The latest Kurdish push against ISIS follows a lengthy and contentious stand-off with Turkish forces. Turkey, a NATO member, considers the Syrian Kurds -- the US coalition's main ally in the fight against ISIS -- a terrorist group. YPG fighters are seen on the frontline on October 18, in Baghoz, Syria, during an operation to retake the last stronghold of ISIS in Syria. Clashes between the Turkish military and the Syrian Kurds -- also known as the SDF when allied with Syrian Arab fighters against ISIS -- have intermittently plagued and delayed the final operations against ISIS. The most recent suspension occurred November 1, but operations restarted Sunday, the SDF said in a statement. The SDF said operations resumed after "positive calls from our allies to de-escalate and focus the efforts on defeating ISIS, as it would contribute to the stabilization of the area and the benefit of all parties." The US has long been mediating between Ankara and the SDF to lessen tension to the point where the SDF can focus on ISIS. SDF fighters run to take cover during a counterattack by ISIS forces inside SDF lines on October 24 in Sousa, Syria. The past months of the operations, aiming to deny ISIS their last small towns and swathes of inhospitable desert along the Iraqi border and at the far eastern end of the Euphrates river valley in Syria, have been a slower and tougher fight than many expected. The main holdout fighters are thought to be die-hard foreigners and ISIS leadership, taking a last stand.”

Agence French-Press: US-Backed Force Says Resuming Anti-Daesh Offensive In Eastern Syria

“A Kurdish-led force backed by a U.S.-led anti-militant coalition said Sunday that it was resuming its offensive against Daesh (ISIS) in eastern Syria. The Syrian Democratic Forces, an Arab-Kurdish alliance, had announced it was suspending its operation in Deir al-Zor on October 31 after Turkey shelled Kurdish militia posts in northern Syria. The SDF said the resumption followed "intensive contacts" with the international coalition and "strong diplomatic activity" to defuse the crisis. "The leadership of the Syrian Democratic Forces has decided to resume military operations against the Islamic State group [Daesh], and work towards its definitive defeat," the force said in an online statement. "While it remains determined to chase down terrorism, [the SDF] also confirms its determination to protect the northern border of Syria," it added. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights activist group said the operation had not yet restarted, but that SDF reinforcements had been sent to the area. However it said the international coalition had continued to conduct air raids on the area, killing dozens of militants as well as civilians. The Observatory, which relies on a network of contacts across Syria, has reported near-daily Turkish shelling in Kurdish areas since late October, which killed five Kurdish fighters. But Sunday it said coalition officials had assured Kurdish forces that Turkey would cease its shelling, adding that there had been no bombardment there since Friday.”

Agence French-Press: Extremists Kill 8 Syria Troops Near Truce Zone

“Extremists have killed at least eight Syrian government troops near a planned buffer zone around the country’s last major rebel bastion, a monitor said on Saturday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the attack took place late on Friday in the north of Hama province near the planned buffer zone around rebel-held territory in neighboring Idlib. The attack was led by fighters of Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, an alliance led by Syria’s former Al-Qaeda branch which is the dominant force in Idlib, the Britain-based monitoring group said. “An assault by HTS targeted a Syrian regime position on the outskirts of the de-militarised zone” and was followed by clashes in which eight regime forces were killed, Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP. Two extremists also died. The de-militarised zone was announced by rebel backer Ankara and Damascus ally Moscow in September to separate government troops from rebel fighters in Idlib and adjacent areas. Under the deal, the rebels were supposed to have removed all heavy weapons from the buffer zone by October 10 but skirmishes have continued to pit regime forces against extremists and other insurgents on the ground. Rebel factions have said they withdrew their heavy weapons from the zone but HTS and other hard-line groups have refused to pull out their fighters. The deadly extremists assault came hours after government troops killed 23 fighters of a formerly US-backed rebel group inside the planned buffer zone. Idlib and some adjacent areas are the last major rebel bastion in Syria, where the Russian-backed government has in recent months retaken much of the territory it had lost since the civil war erupted.”

Asharq Al-Awsat: Exclusive – Left Behind: ISIS Children In Syria, Iraq Await Int’l Solution

“France’s announcement that it plans to repatriate 150 children of ISIS fighters represents only part of a growing humanitarian dilemma in Syria and Iraq. As of yet, the international community has not come up with a unified way to handle this issue. Fears are meanwhile, mounting over the emergence of a generation of stateless people and another generation of extremists should they remain in former ISIS strongholds. Syrian estimates said that some 2,000 children of ISIS fighters do not have proper identification papers. Most of them live in refugee camps in Raqqa that are under the control of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Some of them do not have a father and only carry ISIS-recognized documents. Sources from Raqqa told Asharq Al-Awsat that ISIS members used to marry Syrian women from regions under their control. Their wedding was officiated by an ISIS-approved cleric, while the real name of the husband is often omitted from the vows. The husband usually went by an alias. After the death or escape of these fighters, the children are left behind without a family name or identification card to face an unknown future with their mothers. A similar problem is emerging in Iraq among women who were forced to marry ISIS fighters. The source told Asharq Al-Awsat that warning signs linked to this problem first emerged in 2015. As ISIS began to lose its safe havens in Syria, fighters fled, leaving their children and wives to their fate. The children were registered at ISIS institutions under the fathers’ aliases.”

Iran

ABC News: Iranian Hackers Suspected In Cyber Breach And Extortion Attempt On Navy Shipbuilder Austal

“Iranian hackers are believed to be responsible for a cyber security breach and extortion attempt on Australia's biggest defence exporter. Perth-based shipbuilder Austal earlier this month revealed an "unknown offender" had hacked into its computer systems, accessing staff email addresses and phone numbers as well as ship drawings and designs. Some of the information was then offered for sale on the dark web in an apparent extortion attempt. The ABC can reveal the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) has determined the attack was most likely carried out by Iranian hackers. The head of the ACSC, Alastair MacGibbon, would not confirm the nationality but said the hackers failed to steal sensitive information. "We don't like anyone breaking into any type of business, particularly defence contractors, but I can say that nothing of national security significance was taken," he said."

Iraq

Associated Press: US, Iraqi Forces Kill Dozens Of Islamic State Fighters

“The U.S. military says American and Iraqi forces killed more than 50 Islamic State militants, including several commanders, in northern Iraq last month. U.S. Central Command said Sunday that an Oct. 30 operation in Salahuddin province killed five ISIS leaders and more than 30 other militants, and that an operation the following day in the Makhmour Mountains killed around 20 ISIS fighters. It says the leaders killed in the first raid were responsible for coordinating attacks across northern and western Iraq. Iraq declared victory over ISIS last year, but the group has continued to carry out scattered attacks, particularly in the north. The extremists have lost virtually all the territory they once ruled in Syria and Iraq, but still control small, remote pockets in eastern Syria along the border.”

Iraqi News: Over Twenty Islamic State Members Arrested In Operations, West Of Mosul

“Four Islamic State members, including a woman, were arrested in Mosul, the Iraqi Security Media Center said, while the Nineveh police announced arresting 23 other militants. In a statement, the center said troops “managed today to arrest four Islamic State member, wanted for judiciary as arrest warrants were previously issued against them over crimes against civilians. The arrested included a woman who was working for the so-called Hisbah (vigilantism) while the group was in control of the city.” The arrests, according to the statement, “took place at regions of al-Quds, al-Karama and al-Intissar, west of Mosul.” Meanwhile, the Nineveh Police announced arresting 23 militants, south of Mosul. Speaking to BasNews, Lt. Gen, Amgad Ziad said “troops arrested 23 Islamic State members during an operations that targeted 12 villages in Qayyarah region.” Troops, according to Ziad, “also confiscated three tunnels filled with explosives. They were all confiscated and transferred to Nineveh police.” On Thursday, 13 people were killed and injured as a booby-trapped vehicle exploded, west of Mosul. Earlier this month, an Iraqi soldier was killed, while seven others were injured in a bomb blast targeting a military patrol, west of Mosul. Thousands of Islamic State militants as well as Iraqi civilians were killed since the government campaign, backed by paramilitary troops and the coalition was launched in October 2016.”

Iraqi News: 9 Iraqis, Including Tribal Fighter, Killed In Islamic State Attack In Anbar

“Nine Iraqis were killed Sunday in an attack by the terrorist Islamic State group in the Iraqi province of Anbar, a security source was quoted as saying. Speaking to the privately-owned Baghdad Today website, the source said that Islamic State militants targeted a house of a fighter of the Tribal Mobilization Forces in al-Dabtiya area, west of Karama district in Anbar province. “The attack left the tribal fighter and eight passers-by dead,” the statement added. Iraq declared the collapse of Islamic State’s territorial influence last November with the recapture of Rawa, a city on Anbar’s western borders with Syria, which was the group’s last bastion in Iraq. The Islamic State group appeared on the international scene in 2014 when it seized large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria, declaring the establishment of an Islamic “caliphate” from Mosul city. Later on, the group has become notorious for its brutality, including mass killings, abductions and beheadings, prompting the U.S. to lead an international coalition to destroy it. Last December, former Iraqi prime minister Haidar al-Abadi announced full liberation of Iraqi lands, declaring the end of a three-year war against IS members. Abadi declared Dec. 10 an annual national holiday on this occasion.”

Reuters: Iraq Rail Service Back On Track After War With Islamic State

“At Baghdad’s grand but half-empty railway station, a single train is sputtering to life. It is the newly revived daily service to Falluja, a dusty town to the west once infamous as a Sunni insurgent stronghold. The driver and conductor assure that the tracks running through Anbar province are now clear of mines planted by Islamic State and of collapsed bridges the group blew up when it marauded through western and northern Iraq in 2014.  The rapid advance of the militants shut down the line, before U.S.-backed Iraqi forces drove them out of Falluja in 2016 and defeated them in Iraq in late 2017.  After a four-year hiatus, hundreds of rail passengers now travel the 30 miles (50 km) between Baghdad and Falluja in just over an hour. By car, the journey can take several.  “The train saves time. The Baghdad-bound leg arrives at 8 a.m., which suits my schedule. It’s also cheaper” than by car at 3,000 Iraqi dinars ($2.50) for a ticket, commuter Thamer Mohammed said.  “You don’t have to stop at checkpoints, and it’s safer. You avoid road accidents,” said the 42-year-old, a Falluja resident studying for a history doctorate in Baghdad.  The revival in July of the daily service, once a feature of an extensive rail network dating back to the Ottoman empire, is a vivid example of Iraq’s attempts to recover from decades of unrest.”

Afghanistan

The Washington Post: Shiites Protesting Insecurity In Afghanistan Hit By Explosion In Kabul, Killing 6

“A suicide bomber attacked a demonstration by minority Shiites in the Afghan capital Monday, killing at least six people as the crowd protested a spate of deadly insurgent attacks on Shiite communities in Ghazni province, police and witnesses said.  Hundreds of ethnic Hazara Shiites had gathered outside the presidential palace since Sunday night, angry at the government’s inability to stop recent attacks on predominantly Hazara areas of the province southwest of the capital. The protest disrupted daily life in Kabul, closing major streets, government institutions and businesses. Police said the protest was the likely target of the bomber, who was on foot. Ambulances raced to the scene, and television footage showed bodies lying in the streets. Ghazni city, the provincial capital, was overrun by Taliban forces in August, and voting in parliamentary elections in October was postponed indefinitely throughout the insecure province. But until now, its rural Hazara districts had been largely spared. The Taliban has claimed the recent attacks, but affiliates of the Islamic State also have carried out bombings and shootings in Shiite Hazara communities over the past two years.  As the demonstration in Kabul continued Monday, the Afghan army chief, Lt. Gen. Mohammad Sharif Yaftali, announced that the army would intensify operations in Ghazni province and that the Afghan air force had carried out an airstrike there Sunday night against the Taliban.”

Fox News: ISIS Claims Responsibility For Suicide Attack In Afghanistan

“ISIS has claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack in Kabul on Monday that killed at least six people. The bomber approached a crowd demonstrating against the Taliban and detonated the device at a nearby checkpoint. The protesters were minority Shiites calling for a stop to the Taliban attacks in the province of Ghazni. The province of Ghazni, which is south of Kabul, has been hotly contested between government forces and the Taliban. Afghan security forces have suffered heavy losses there in recent days, as they continue to battle Taliban attempts to seize full control of the province. The province is so volatile that last October’s parliamentary elections had to be postponed by a year. Last August, Taliban fighters briefly took the city of Ghazni, before government forces pushed them back out. But the insurgents control many parts of the province. The Taliban is currently trying to keep pressure on the Afghan government ahead of potential peace talks. Its influence in the country has been steadily growing in recent years, with fighting in around two-thirds of the country. And now Russia has stepped in as mediator. Russia said the U.S. has failed to broker peace in Afghanistan, which is why it is now focusing on peace efforts in the country. A delegation from the Taliban met with representatives from Afghan government in Moscow last Friday. It described the meeting as a small step toward further talks.”

Pakistan

Associated Press: Pakistan Frees 2 Taliban Members As US Envoy Visits Region

“Pakistan released two Taliban officials on Monday during U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad's latest visit to the region, in what could be part of American efforts to revive peace talks with the insurgent group, which now controls nearly half of Afghanistan. Abdul Samad Sani, a U.S.-designated terrorist who served as the Afghan Central Bank governor during the militants' rule in the late 1990s, and a lower-ranking commander named Salahuddin, were released Monday, according to two Taliban officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief media. There was no immediate comment from the Pakistani government. Khalilzad is on his second regional tour since being appointed, with stops in Pakistan, Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates as well as Qatar, where the Taliban maintain a political office. The insurgents say they met Khalilzad in Qatar last month. Khalilzad arrived in the region last Thursday and will return to Washington on Nov. 20. When Khalilzad was last in the region Pakistan released another Taliban leader, Abdul Ghani Baradar, one of the founders of the radical religious movement. Baradar was arrested in 2010 in a joint U.S. and Pakistani operation. At the time, it was reported Baradar was taken into custody by Pakistan after he tried to open independent peace talks with Afghanistan's then-president, Hamid Karzai. In a recent interview, Karzai told The Associated Press he had repeatedly tried to secure Baradar's release but he was thwarted by both Pakistan and the U.S., who wanted him detained because of his stature within the Taliban. Baradar's release has been a long-standing demand of the Taliban.”

Yemen

Al Arabiya: Dozens Of Houthis Killed And Injured In Last Stronghold In Dhale Governorate

“Dozens of Houthis were killed and injured and ten others, including field commanders, were detained in violent confrontations with the Yemeni army in the front of Damt, the last Houthi stronghold in the Dhale governorate, south of the country. The media center of the Yemeni army forces said violent confrontations erupted in Damt after the Houthis tried to raid the town of Al-Haqab and the mountains that overlook Damt from the western side, adding that dozens of Houthi fighters were killed or injured and their bodies are still in the northern areas of Al-Haqab and on the outskirts of the town of Khab, the western entrance of Damt. Ten Houthi members were detained while trying to sneak towards army posts in the area, the media center added. Meanwhile, military sources said Houthi commander in Damt Hisham al-Ghorbani was killed along with other Houthi fighters in the battles in Damt on Monday, adding that Houthi commander Colonel Abdelwahed Abdullah was detained along with others.”

Arab News: Houthi Militia ‘Continues To Use Civilians As Human Shields’

“The Houthi militia are using civilians as human shields in key Yemeni cities as they continue to lose territoy in the conflict. Last week, Amnesty accused the Iran-backed militants of taking over a hospital in Hodeidah and posting snipers on the roof. But the Houthis are also deliberatley placing civilians in the firing line in other parts of the port, in Sanaa and Dhamar, Arab Coalition spokesperson Col. Turki Al-Maliki said in Riyadh. In an update of recent operations to support pro-government Yemeni forces, Col. Al-Maliki said the coalition targeted a coastal militia radar on the island of Al-Bawadi in the Red Sea. The coalition called on organizations to do their duty to stop the Houthi militia from smuggling Yemen’s historical monuments and artefacts out of the country. Col. Al-Maliki the Houthi militia are smuggling and selling drugs for financial support, adding that they use humanitarian aid boxes to hide drugs inside in order to transport them.”

The Washington Post: The Houthis Have No Right To Talk About Freedom Of The Press

“In November 2016, my former boss at the Yemeni newspaper al-Masdar in the capital city of Sanaa reached out to me, asking if I could volunteer to do some editing for the paper. “We have no journalists left, and you’re one of the few who managed to escape,” he said. As someone who had dreamed of working as a reporter since my school days, and who has spent my life since then fighting for freedom of the press, I was deeply saddened by his words. For this reason, I was shocked to read – in The Post – the words of a leader of the Houthi rebel group trying to exploit the death of my fellow journalist Jamal Khashoggi. It made me reflect on the journey that I and hundreds of other Yemeni journalists have taken over the past three years. Yemeni journalists have paid a high price in fighting for freedom of the press in recent decades. They sacrificed their blood to gain their rights, especially during the revolution against former president Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2011. After Saleh was forced to step down, the Yemeni media landscape blossomed: Dozens of news outlets opened almost overnight. Journalists enjoyed unprecedented freedom — some even began to joke that they didn’t know what to do with all this openness. This golden period continued until the Iranian-backed Houthis conducted a military coup in September 2014. The media immediately became Public Enemy No. 1.”

Lebanon

Reuters: Lebanon's Hezbollah Insists On Government Demand, Warns Israel

“The leader of the Lebanese Shi’ite group Hezbollah insisted that one of its Sunni allies be given a portfolio in a new Lebanese cabinet, and indicated it would be ready to go back to square one in negotiating a government if necessary. In a televised speech on Saturday, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah also warned Israel that his Iranian-backed group would respond to any attack on Lebanon and urged his country to withstand diplomatic pressure over its rocket arsenal. Hezbollah’s demand for one of its Sunni allies be given a portfolio in the new Lebanese government is at the heart of a row that has obstructed a final agreement six months since a parliamentary election. The formation of a new government is necessary before any moves can be made towards fiscal reforms which the International Monetary Fund said in June are needed immediately to improve debt sustainability.”

The Jerusalem Post: Hezbollah Leader: We Will Respond To Any Attack On Lebanon

“Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah condemned normalization with Israel in a televised address Saturday, The Jerusalem Post’s sister publication Maariv reported.  The condemnation comes after Mohammad al-Emadi, chairman of the Qatari Committee for the Reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, visited Gaza, transferring $15 million to the Palestinian coastal enclave in coordination with Israel. “I salute the families of the martyrs,” Nasrallah said. “Thanks to martyrs’ sacrifices, the resistance has achieved all its victories. The blood of our martyrs has protected our land and Hezbollah's rocket power." “The source of our strength are our missiles because the Lebanese army is not allowed to acquire advanced missiles,” Nasrallah said.  “Netanyahu believes that the key [to the conflict] is power and not the occupation," he continued. “His problem, though, is that we have the power. We will respond to any Israeli strike on Lebanon and will not accept any aggression by the enemy against our land.” “We condemn any form of normalization with the Zionist entity,” Nasrallah said. “I say to the Palestinian people, do not lose hope over the Arab states’ normalization with Israel; what before went on behind the scenes now is taking place publicly. The current normalization has put an end to Arab hypocrisy, and removed the mask from the swindlers and hypocrites. "Those who march and fall in Gaza's Marches of Return give us hope because they resist the pressures exerted on them," he added. “If the Syrian people and the government had not resisted the pressure, we would see Netanyahu in Damascus." 

Israel

The Jerusalem Post: IDF: Israel Hits Over 20 Hamas And Islamic Jihad Targets In Gaza

“The IDF has struck over 20 Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets in the Gaza Strip, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit said in a statement released Monday. The IDF deployed fighter planes, helicopters and tanks in its response. The IDF struck some ten targets in the northern Gaza Strip, including military installations and observation posts of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The IDF stuck an additional ten targets in southern Gaza. A group of balloon launchers was also struck. "The IDF is continuing its operation against terror targets throughout Gaza," the statement said.”

The Jerusalem Post: Netanyahu: 'A Peace Deal With Hamas, Is Like One With ISIS'

“There is no possibility of a peace deal with Hamas, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday, explaining that to do so would be akin to finalizing a diplomatic agreement with ISIS. Such a diplomatic resolution would only be possible if Hamas agreed to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and stop its attempts to destroy it. “You cannot have a political resolution with those committed to your dissolution – that’s absurd,” Netanyahu said. “If your enemy wants to destroy you, what can you talk about?” At best, he said, one can take a series of steps to reach an understanding to maintain calm and prevent an outbreak of violence. Netanyahu spoke as Gaza violence threatens to erupt into a full scale war between Israel and Hamas. To prevent that outbreak, the United Nations and Egypt continue intense efforts to broker a cease-fire understanding between Israel and Hamas. To help those efforts, Israel has refrained from a harsh military response to Hamas violence from Gaza and instead has supported a number of humanitarian gestures. This includes facilitating the transfer of Qatari-funded fuel into the Gaza Strip to alleviate the electricity crisis as well as $15 million in cash from Qatar to pay for civil servant salaries. “There is no diplomatic solution to Gaza,” Netanyahu told Israeli reporters during a rare public news conference in Paris. “I don’t have a solution for ISIS or Iran that want to destroy us.”

Middle East

Asharq Al-Awsat: Algeria: Families Of Extremists Leave Terror Hideouts

“An extremist has surrendered to the military in the Skikda region of northeastern Algeria as two more militants were taken into custody in an area on the border with Libya, the Algerian defense ministry has said. According to a ministry statement, Bilal Filali, aka Abou Ayman Thabet, surrendered to the army along with his wife and five children in Skikda, some 550 kilometers east of Algiers. The wives and three children of two other militants, who had been killed in a military operation, also gave themselves up, said the statement. The arrest of Filali came as part of anti-terrorism efforts, it said, without mentioning its circumstances or the name of the terrorist group he belonged to. The ministry only said that the terrorist “became a member of criminal groups in 1998,” and that he was carrying a Kalashnikov assault rifle and ammunition at the time of his arrest. It published six photographs along with the news of Filali’s arrest. Some of the photos show three women and children inside a room believed to be part of a military barracks. Other pictures show the woman with children in a mountainous area, and a hideout in the woods. The children have most likely been born in terrorist hideouts. The media refers to them as the “children of the mountain,” whose numbers amount to 600, according to the interior ministry. The Skikda region was a former stronghold of armed groups during the 1990s and is known for its mountainous and wooded terrain.”

Libya

Associated Press: A Stable Libya, A Safer World: World Leaders Target Hotbed Of Terrorism And Rampant Migration

The army of European, North African and North American delegates at the Libya peace conference in Palermo represent countries with a jumble of parochial, and sometimes conflicting, interests on the Libyan file. But there is one issue that unites them all: fear that lack of Libyan stability will reinforce the broken country’s status as a hotbed for terrorism and uncontrolled migration. The terrorism fear is especially acute because several recent attacks have been linked to the Libyan chapter of the Islamic State, which has operated training camps in lawless Libyan desert and coastal areas. In May, 2017, Salman Abedi, a 22-year-old Briton of Libyan ancestry, detonated a bomb at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester that killed 23 people and wounded 139 others. He had made several trips to Libya before his suicide mission. The two-day conference, sponsored by Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, began on Monday. Its goal, backed by the United Nations, is to plot a road map that would unite Libya – rival powers occupy the east, west and southern expanses of the Libyan territories – disarm its bewildering array of militias and draft a constitution and an electoral law that would allow a national election. The French initiative aimed at holding elections on Dec. 10 has already failed; the Italians, Libya’s former colonial masters, are trying to pick up the pieces and develop a realistic crisis-mitigation plan without specific dates and deadlines. Another diplomatic failure is possible.”

Nigeria

Africanews: Boko Haram Leader Shekau Appears In Video, Mocks 'His Killers'

“Factional leader of Nigeria’s insurgent group, Abubakar Shekau, has appeared in a new video mocking at authorities who have in the past reported that he had been killed even at times that he had died. Shekau who is described as leader of the Jama’atu Ahlil Summah Lil Da’awatu Wal Jihad, a faction of Boko Haram in the seven-minutes video praised fighters of the group who he said had been gaining grounds on the Nigerian army. Speaking in the widely spoken Hausa language, a seemingly healthy and upstanding Shekau flanked by armed masked men listed the attacks in Kumshe, Gulumba and other areas in the northeastern Borno State. “It is not anyone, it still me. The very one known as Abubakar Shekau. Those that proclaimed my death, have woken up to nothing. Those that spoke about rifts with my mother, God is the All-Knowing. “God is the All-Knowing, but if you are truly just person, truly in search of truth, you would have gone to seek answers but not to sit aside and peddle speculations about us,” he said in Hausa.”

Business Day: Jihadists’ Reign Of Terror Aggravates Nigerian Cholera Outbreak

“Suspected cholera cases have jumped in northeast Nigeria, where Boko Haram violence has forced tens of thousands of people to seek refuge in crowded camps, the Norwegian Refugee Council said on Monday. The humanitarian group said 10,000 people had  been affected by the fast-spreading cholera outbreak and 175 people had  died in the northeast states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe as of early November. “One of the major causes of the outbreak is the congestion in the camps that makes it difficult to provide adequate water, sanitation and hygiene services,” said Janet Cherono, the council's  programme manager in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state. “The rainy season has also worsened the conditions. If more land is not urgently provided for camp decongestion and construction of health and sanitation facilities, Nigeria is steering towards yet another cholera outbreak in 2019.”

Agence French-Press: Hundreds Flee Their Homes After Boko Haram Raid In Northeast Nigeria

“Hundreds of villagers fled their homes in Nigeria's northeast late on Saturday after an attack by Islamist militants from the Boko Haram group, militia officials and witnesses said. The raid highlighted fragile security in Nigeria's northeast, where the army is still battling to end a conflict that erupted in 2009. "One disabled person was allegedly killed while 65 houses were burnt, 200 cows and 300 flock of sheep and goats were carted away," the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said.  "Injured victims have been provided with first aid and humanitarian needs assessment is being conducted to enable the mobilisation of immediate relief assistance," it said. Militants arrived in trucks in Jimmi, 5km from Maiduguri city, and opened fire, setting homes ablaze and also attacking an informal refugee camp.  "Boko Haram terrorists this evening attacked Jimmi village," militia leader in Maiduguri Musa Ari said. "They burnt homes in Jimmi and tents in the camp." Military authorities scrambled reinforcements and fighter jets to repel the attack, said militia leader Ibrahim Liman. Panicked villagers from the area fled to nearby Maiduguri, capital of Borno state which along with neighbouring Yobe state has been at the centre of the jihadist insurgency. "We left our village to escape Boko Haram who attacked our neighbours in Jimmi," said Bale-Shuwa village resident Suleiman Balarabe. He said villagers saw military jets flying overhead towards Jimmi.”

Somalia

Reuters: Death Toll From Somalia Hotel Attack Rises To 39

“The number of people killed when suicide bombers and gunmen struck a popular hotel in Somalia's capital Friday has risen to 39 from the initial 22, police said on Saturday. Guards at the Sahafi hotel and the adjacent Criminal Investigations Department (CID) office opened fire after 2 suicide car bombs went off on Friday afternoon, A third explosion from a bomb placed in a 3-wheeled "tuk-tuk" vehicle near the hotel also hit the busy street. "We have confirmed 39 civilians died and 40 others were injured in yesterday's blasts," said Mohamed Hussein, a police officer in the city. "The death toll may rise because some people are still missing." The militant Islamist group Al Shabaab, linked to Al Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attack on the Hotel Sahafi, which is near Somalia's CID headquarters. Somalia has been engulfed by violence and lawlessness since dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was toppled in the early 1990s.”

The Guardian: US Airstrikes Fail To Weaken Al-Shabaab's Grip On Somalia

“An unprecedented number of US airstrikes against al-Shabaab in Somalia has caused significant casualties without seriously weakening the Islamic extremist group, research suggests. The US has conducted 29 airstrikes in Somalia against al-Shabaab this year. In 2017, the US conducted 27 strikes against the al-Qaida affiliate, which has fought for almost a decade to impose its rigorous version of Islamic law on the country. Four further strikes last year were directed at a small group of fighters loyal to Islamic State in the east African country. Some strikes against al-Shabaab have inflicted considerable casualties, with at least 60 recruits dying in an attack on a training camp in Mudug province in the centre of the country last month. But research published last week has suggested that although the overall number of attacks by the extremists has declined slightly, al-Shabaab is adapting to the increasingly lethal air campaign. Analysts at the Mogadishu-based Hiraal Institute found that the group is conducting fewer massed attacks on government bases but the numbers of strikes against government offices and businesses that refuse to pay its taxes has increased markedly. The Hiraal Institute report said: “There was a more than a twofold increase in bombings, suggesting that al-Shabaab made a conscious decision to switch to bombings as its primary source of targeting the Somali government and its allies as an efficient attack method that does not expose its men to attacks.”

North Korea

The New York Times: In North Korea, Missile Bases Suggest A Great Deception

“North Korea is moving ahead with its ballistic missile program at 16 hidden bases that have been identified in new commercial satellite images, a network long known to American intelligence agencies but left undiscussed as President Trump claims to have neutralized the North’s nuclear threat. The satellite images suggest that the North has been engaged in a great deception: It has offered to dismantle a major launching site — a step it began, then halted — while continuing to make improvements at more than a dozen others that would bolster launches of conventional and nuclear warheads. The existence of the ballistic missile bases, which North Korea has never acknowledged, contradicts Mr. Trump’s assertion that his landmark diplomacy is leading to the elimination of a nuclear and missile program that the North had warned could devastate the United States. “We are in no rush,” Mr. Trump said of talks with the North at a news conference on Wednesday, after Republicans lost control of the House. “The sanctions are on. The missiles have stopped. The rockets have stopped. The hostages are home.” His statement was true in just one sense. Mr. Trump appeared to be referring to the halt of missile flight tests, which have not occurred in nearly a year. But American intelligence officials say that the North’s production of nuclear material, of new nuclear weapons and of missiles that can be placed on mobile launchers and hidden in mountains at the secret bases has continued.”

United Kingdom

The Telegraph: Asia Bibi 'Not Offered UK Asylum Amid Concerns Of Unrest And Attacks'

“Britain has not offered asylum to a Pakistani Christian woman freed after eight years on death row for blasphemy because of fear it would prompt “unrest” in the UK and attacks on embassies, her supporters claim. Asia Bibi and her family had appealed for sanctuary in Britain after her conviction was quashed by Pakistan's supreme court. The acquittal of the 53-year-old Catholic farmworker prompted days of demonstrations by hardline Islamist parties in Pakistan who had campaigned for her to be hanged. The mother-of-five remains hidden in Pakistan after Imran Khan's government agreed to allow a petition against the court decision, as part of a deal to halt the protests. A UK campaign group in touch with the family said the British government was working to help Asia Bibi, but had stopped short of offering asylum.”

The Guardian: Neo-Nazi Couple Found Guilty Of Membership Of Banned Terror Group

“A “fanatical” neo-Nazi couple who named their baby son after Hitler have been convicted of membership of a terrorist group. Adam Thomas, 22, and Claudia Patatas, 38, were found guilty of being members of the extreme rightwing organisation National Action, which was banned in 2016. A jury at Birmingham crown court was that told the couple, from Banbury, Oxfordshire, gave their child the middle name Adolf, which Thomas said was in “admiration” for Hitler. Photographs recovered from their home showed Thomas, formerly an Amazon security guard, cradling his newborn son while wearing the hooded white robes of the Ku Klux Klan. Thomas, formerly of Erdington in Birmingham, and Patatas, a photographer originally from Portugal, were found guilty after a seven-week trial. A third defendant, Daniel Bogunovic, from Leicester, was also convicted of being a member of National Action. The warehouse worker was a leading figure in the organisation’s Midlands chapter. Jurors were told Bogunovic already had a conviction from earlier this year for stirring up racial hatred after being part of a group that put up offensive stickers at Aston University in Birmingham. Thomas, a twice-failed army applicant, was also convicted of having a terrorist manual, the Anarchist’s Cookbook, which contained instructions on making “viable” bombs. The crown’s case was that after being banned by the government in December 2016, National Action simply “shed one skin for another” and “rebranded.”

France

France 24: Four Charged Over Suspected Attack Plot On Macron

“Four people arrested and linked to the French extreme right were on Saturday charged over a suspected plot to attack President Emmanuel Macron during World War I remembrance ceremonies. The four men appeared before an anti-terrorism judge in Paris and were charged with associating with terrorists and possessing non-authorised arms for the purposes of a terrorist operation. Two of the men were placed in temporary detention. According to a source close to the case, two others requested for their hearing to be postponed, and will remain in prison until the hearing, which will take place next week. They were arrested on Tuesday after one man, living in southeastern France and armed with a knife, travelled to Moselle, eastern France, where he met with three other suspects. At the time, Macron was in the same region, touring nearby World War I battlefields and meeting with local people. Initially six people were arrested on Tuesday, as part of a preliminary investigation into terrorist activities. A man taken into custody in Ille-et-Vilaine on Tuesday was released on Thursday evening. A woman who had been arrested in Isère – the site of another terrorist attack in 2015 – was released on Friday.”

France 24: How France Was Forced To Reassess Its Ideas About Radicalised Youth

“When Paris was hit by two major terrorist attacks in 2015, France embarked on a painful journey to understand the radicalisation of its youth. Three years later, researchers have discredited initial theories about the “typical” home-grown terrorist. On January 7, 2015, three Islamist terrorists killed 17 people and injured a dozen more by attacking the central Parisian offices of the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, and the Hypercasher supermarket on the outskirts of the French capital. On November 13, the same year, Paris was again left shell-shocked when nine terrorists killed 130 people and injured more than 350 others in coordinated gun and bomb attacks targeting the city’s nightlife. As information about the killers trickled out into the media, the French were astounded to learn that the majority of the perpetrators were home-grown terrorists, having been brought up in either France or in its closest neighbour, Belgium. The discovery came as a blow to authorities who hadn’t realised the magnitude of France’s radicalisation problem, and sparked an onset of questions about why anyone would sacrifice their life to wage ideological warfare on their own homes and people. The French government quickly rolled out a nationwide program to detect and deradicalise these “disoriented” youths, but French scholars and researchers are now increasingly disagreeing with both the detection theories applied, and the ways in which radicalisation has so far been tackled.”

Germany

The National: Grassroots Deradicalisation Project Allows Youth To Be Part Of The Solution

“A pilot project that allows once radicalised youth to lead anti-extremism dialogue sessions is proving that a bottom-up approach to anti-extremism is a successful strategy for preventing radicalisation among vulnerable populations. The Interfaith Dialogue on Violent Extremism Project (iDove), a pilot project launched in 2018 by GIZ, the German government’s humanitarian organisation in collaboration with European and African institutions, allows youth to drive and create new forms religious and conflict prevention dialogues. The bottom-up projects – as opposed to pre-fabricated solutions in the field of religious dialogue – wrest on the belief that younger generations are powerful protagonists when it comes to preventing violent extremism. They also have the added value of being tailored to communities, who can mould the very tools used to drive positive change in their societies. “It is an empowering approach that has an increasingly global application”, Ulrich Nitschke, head of Sector Program Values at GIZ, told the Paris Peace Conference Monday."

Europe

France 24: Albania Bans 52 Greeks After 'Extremism' At Funeral

“Tirana has banned 52 Greek nationals from entering the country over what it labelled their "extremist" behaviour at the funeral of an ethnic Greek man killed by Albanian police, an official said late Friday. The 52 were banned as their "intolerable manifestation of extremism harms Albania's sovereignty, national and public security," deputy interior minister Aleksander Lleshaj told reporters. They were among hundreds of people, many from Greece, who attended the funeral of Konstantinos Katsifas on Thursday. The 35-year-old, who had both Greek and Albanian passports, was killed during a shootout with police in Bularat, a village in southeastern Albania, on October 28. During the funeral, many mourners, carrying white-and-blue Greek flags, chanted "Konstantinos, you are alive and leading us!" "Bularat is Greek!" and "Blood is calling us, set Albanians on fire!" Tirana described Katsifas as a Greek "extremist" who had fired a Kalashnikov in the air in the centre of the village, near a ceremony being held to commemorate Greek soldiers who fought in World War II. A 30-minute shootout ensued after police tried to apprehend him. Athens said the loss of life was "unacceptable" and requested a full investigation, while some Greek nationalist groups have protested against the killing, firebombing an Albanian tourism office in Athens. "In every country ... it is very well known what happens if one stands against police," Albanian Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati said in a statement Friday.”

The Local: 'Astonishing Findings' In New Swedish Report On Extremism And Organized Crime

“A new Swedish report on extremism and organized crime paints a completely new picture of what the stereotypical offender behind those types of crimes looks like. 'We've been totally astonished by the findings,' the head author of the study told The Local. The report, 'Violent Extremism and Organized Crime' was conducted by the Institute for Future Studies and is based on data of a total of 15,244 people who police and intelligence services have identified as suspected members of Sweden's violent extremist or organized crime environments. The data – which only takes complete personal identity numbers into account, resulting in some 1,817 people having been sifted out – was crosschecked against data from the Swedish Companies Registration Office, Statistics Sweden, the National Board of Health and Welfare, the National Board of Forensic Medicine as well as local records.   The report focuses on three main categories: Football firms (hooliganism), organized crime (mafia, biker gangs et cetera) and violent extremist groups (such as white supremacy, Islamist and radical left-wing groups). It's Sweden's first such extensive study of its kind, and as the results began to take shape, report author Amir Rostami told The Local he and his team were blown away by what they were finding.”

Australia

The Independent: Australia's Terror Threat Level Remains At 'Probable' After Melbourne Knife Attack

“Australia’s Prime Minister has declared “radical, violent, extremist Islam” the country’s greatest threat in the wake of the Melbourne attack Scott Morrison said that the national terrorism advisory remained at “probable”, a day after a car was set on fire and three people were stabbed - one fatally- in the city.  The 31-year-old attacker, Hassan Khalif Shire Ali was shot after confronting officers on a busy city street, authorities said. He was taken into custody in a critical condition but later died from his injuries.  Mr Morrison said he "must be the first to call out religious extremism." He added: “But here in Australia, we would be kidding ourselves if we did not call out the fact that the greatest threat of religious extremism in this country is the radical and dangerous ideology of extremist Islam.” Australia has a five-level terror threat ranking system and “probable” is its midpoint. The threat likelihood has been set at probable since the five-level system was introduced in 2015.  Mr Morrison went on to urge Muslim leaders to ensure that dangerous teachings and ideologies do not take root in Australia by alerting authorities to radicalised members of their community, adding that “they must be proactive, they must be alert and they must call this out, in their communities and more broadly, for what it is. Police believe the Somali-born Khalif Shire Ali was radicalised and inspired by Isis. Although his passport was cancelled in 2015 after he made plans to travel to Syria, he was not being actively monitored before the attack. Mourners paid tribute to the owner of Pellegrini’s cafe on Bourke Street, Sisto Malaspina,74, who was identified as the person who died from his stab wounds.”

News Australia: Australia’s Non-Existent ‘Terror Watch List’

“Three years before Hassan Khalif Shire Ali drove a burning ute into the city and launched a knife attack last Friday, he had his passport cancelled. He had his passport revoked in 2015 over fears he was trying to travel to Syria to fight for Islamic State. But rather than joining the terror group overseas, Ali would instead inflict his carnage on home soil, with Melbourne cafe owner Sisto Malaspina killed during his rampage on Bourke St. Questions have now been raised about how someone who was stopped from fighting overseas was then able to conduct a terror attack in Australia. About 240 Australians have had their passports cancelled on the advice of ASIO to the foreign minister. According to Lowy Institue research fellow and counter terrorism specialist Lydia Khalil, it’s a controversial decision to make a suspected terrorist on a mission stay where they don’t want to be. Ms Khalil told news.com.au that “in a lot of cases (suspected terrorists who have their passports cancelled) will shift the target so instead of fighting overseas as they desire they will do it domestically”. “It’s not always the case as it really depends on the individual and whether or not they believe it’s legitimate to do in Australia what they were planning on carrying out in battle zones in Iraq or Syria,” she said. “For a lot of individuals those things are quite distinct and so they might go off to a battle zone but wouldn’t commit a terror attack. “Others don’t see a distinction between a battle field and their home countries and consider both theatres legitimate."

Southeast Asia

The Guardian: Philippines: Scores Of Islamic State Fighters On Mindanao Island

“The threat of Islamic State is mounting again in the Philippines, with estimates there could be between 40 to 100 foreign fighters, and a growing momentum among local pro-Islamic State militant groups. In May last year, the Mindanao city of Marawi was overrun by Isis fighters and a caliphate declared. It took a bloody, five-month siege by the army, in which 1,200 lives were lost, for the government to regain control. But one year on from Marawi’s liberation, Prof Rommel Banlaoi, chairman of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research, told the Guardian that he had seen records of up to 100 foreign fighters on the island – a combination of old and new arrivals since the Marawi siege last year – who want to re-establish the east Asia wilayah (or East Asia Isis province) crushed in the fighting. Banlaoi said the fighters in Mindanao had mainly travelled from neighbouring Indonesia and Malaysia but also Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Middle East. A high-ranking intelligence officer gave figures of that closely matched Banlaoi’s records. “There are about 40 foreign fighters remaining in the country, but 40 others are in the watchlist,” said the officer, who asked to remain unnamed because because he was not authorised to speak to the media. The presence of foreign fighters is known to energise and embolden local pro-Isis groups and there are increasing concerns of a renewed bid to declare a caliphate in Mindanao.”

Technology

Deustche Welle: When Social Media Inspires Real Life Violence

“When a Buddhist woman went to her local police station in Myanmar to report she had been raped by two Muslim colleagues, a local monk shared the details to Facebook, causing outrage that escalated into real-life violence. For two days, the central city of Mandalay was gripped by clashes between Myanmar's majority Buddhists and minority Muslims. Two people were killed and 19 injured. Authorities were able to reinstate peace only when Mandalay's access to Facebook was temporarily blocked. But the story that spread across Facebook, mobilizing Buddhist rioters, wasn't true. Five people have since been convicted of spreading false rumors, including the alleged victim — who later said she had been paid to file the police report. This 2014 incident was an early red flag for Facebook, showing how fake rumors spread on the platform could explode into real life. In Myanmar — where around 700,000 Muslim Rohingya have fled since last year — Facebook has provided the backdrop to an upsurge in ethnic violence. Earlier this week, an independent report into the country's use of Facebook found that a minority of users were exploiting the platform to "incite offline violence.” Published by the non-profit Business for Social Responsibility, the report looks into the idea that social media users can be manipulated by misinformation, which in turn can lead to violence between different groups.”

Counter-Terrorism

Dostor: Expert: 75% Of Recruits To Terrorist Organizations Joined ISIS

“Hamada Ismail Shaaban, a Turkish language teacher at Al-Azhar University and the coordinator of the Turkish Language Monitoring Unit at the Al-Azhar Observatory to Combat Extremism, said that researchers of extremist groups have proven that 75% of those who went to Syria and Iraq from 2014 to 2017, joined the ranks of ISIS. The remaining 25% joined other terrorist factions there. He made this comment during a speech he delivered at the Fourth International Conference on Oriental Languages, held at the Faculty of Languages and Translation at Al-Azhar University. The conference was held under the title "Social Media and Oriental Languages." Ismail asserted that, according to these researchers, the main reason for this phenomenon is the intensive usage of social media platforms.”

Al-Mayadeen: Tunisian Study: Female Terrorists Aren't Necessarily Poor And Illiterate

“A recently published Tunisian study, entitled "Women and Terrorism," revealed that female terrorists are not always economically marginalized and illiterate individuals. The study, conducted by author Dr. Amal Qarami and journalist Mounia El-Arfaoui, argued that women terrorists originate from diverse economic classes. In fact, the majority of the women who perpetrated terrorist attacks were educated persons, the research showed. The Tunisian researchers added that the role of women was not restricted to merely executing or aiding terror assaults. For instance, the wives of extremists, who joined ISIS involuntary, were forced to perform various services such as transferring funds and equipment in addition to locating safe havens for fugitive militants. Those women who strongly sympathize with ISIS and its ideology were tasked with recruiting and raising funds, the study elaborated.”

Muslim Brotherhood

Al-Weaam: Dissident Muslim Brotherhood Media Figure Unveils Senior Journalists' Astronomical Salaries

“Ramy Jan, a former employee of the Turkey-based Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Al-Sharq TV Channel, disclosed that the Muslim Brotherhood leaders run their media outlets in Turkey based on direct directives from foreign intelligence agencies. These channels broadcast reports intended to topple certain Arab regimes by generating crises, added Jan, who recently returned to Egypt. The dissident Muslim Brotherhood media figure revealed that, while he used to receive a monthly salary of $1,000, the senior pro-Muslim Brotherhood TV presenters were paid $12,000 on average. Jan noted that the leaders of the banned Islamist group won't spare any means of violence and incitement to survive economically and politically. For instance, the outlawed group maintains ties with hostile countries like Iran and Qatar in order to retain its funding sources, Jan stressed.”

Al-Solta: Expert: Muslim Brotherhood's NGOs And Businesses Are Non-Existent Shell Companies

“The Head of the General Federation of NGOs in Egypt, Dr. Talaat Abdelkawi, estimated the number of non-governmental organizations that receive foreign funding at 400 out of 50,000 NGOs operating in Egypt. During an interview with Sada El-Balad TV, Dr. Talaat mentioned that any organization is entitled to obtain funds from abroad as long as it submits an application at the Ministry of Social Solidarity and sends the relevant contract to the National Security Agency. The chairman of the General Federation of NGOs emphasized that the most important issue is homeland security, since some of the inflowing funds to civic society associations might be aimed at destroying the country; therefore, this {influx of} money must be halted. Dr. Talaat also noted that the banned Muslim Brotherhood has established many NGOs and companies since 2011. Nonetheless, these entities are essentially only non-operational shell companies.”

Houthi

Al-Ain: Houthis Sell Cooking Gas On Black Market At Prices 300% Higher Than The Official Price

“The Houthis have created a severe cooking gas crisis, leading to discontent among residents in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, which has been under the control of the rebels for nearly four years. Local residents said Sanaa was experiencing a severe and unprecedented crisis in cooking gas, noting that they have not been able to obtain this vital material for many days. The residents added that the Houthis have triggered a cooking gas crisis by selling it on the black market at prices over 300% higher than the official price. One resident, who preferred not to be named for security reasons, claimed he had spent days searching for a {single} gas cylinder but could not obtain it. He added that he decided to buy it from the black market at YR13K ($52), although the official price in Sanaa is only YR3K ($12).”