Eye on Extremism: November 15

Voice Of America: US Vows To Stay In The Lead Vs. Islamic State

“The United States is promising not to abandon the fight to eradicate the Islamic State terror group, while pushing allies to take more responsibility for foreign fighters and for rebuilding Iraq and Syria. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the pledge Thursday at the start of a meeting of the Defeat IS coalition, rejecting criticism that leadership has been lacking since the U.S. first began withdrawing forces from northeastern Syria. “You all know we must keep taking the fight to ISIS. So do we,” Pompeo told ministers from more than 35 countries and organizations. “We took out [IS leader Abu Bakr al-]Baghdadi and his would-be successor,” Pompeo added of raids last month that wiped out the terror group's top two officials. “Ask each of them whether there's a deficit in American leadership.” The defiant tone came with just 31 of the Defeat IS coalition's members in attendance, and U.S. and Western intelligence and defense officials warning the threat from IS, also known as ISIS or Daesh, is rising. U.S.-backed forces in Syria liberated the last of IS-held territory this past March, putting an end to the terror group's self-declared caliphate.”

Business Insider: A Federal Judge Ruled That New Jersey-Born, ISIS-Bride Hoda Muthana Is Not A US Citizen 

“A federal judge on Thursday ruled that Hoda Muthana, a 25-year-old woman born in New Jersey who joined ISIS in 2014, is not a US citizen. Judge Reggie B. Walton of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed a lawsuit brought forward by Muthana's family in the hopes of retrieving her and her 2-year-old son from a refugee camp in Syria. On Thursday, Walton said there was sufficient evidence indicating that Muthana was born while her father held diplomatic status in the US. Muthana has faced criticism for her decision to travel to Syria and for promoting ISIS propaganda during her time with the group. According to the Counter Extremism Project, Muthana posted photos on Twitter in 2014 announcing an intention to burn her US passport and called for violent attacks in the US.”

New York Post: ISIS Urges Lone Wolves To Pose As Journalists To Assassinate World Leaders 

“ISIS has released a guide to assassinate world leaders, urging lone wolves to pose as journalists so they can carry bombs and unleash terror attacks on politicians, according to a report. The pro-ISIS Quraysh Media released the chilling how-to guide titled “Ways To Assassinate Leaders,” which provides three ways for would-be jihadists to execute “leaders, officials and military commanders,” according to the Daily Mail. “The mujahid brother, dressed up in the journalist’s clothes, may participate in news conferences, forums and meetings which may enable him to target key enemy figures,” according to the guide cited by the Middle East Research Institute. “He may also use the camera as an explosive device or to hide a weapon inside it,” it adds. Another tactic urges the use of sniper rifles to attack VIP convoys from high vantage points. “A lone wolf may disrupt the convoys of commanders or their places of assembly by attacking them using machine guns or Molotov bombs,” the poster says. “They may also carry out such operations using blade weapons or carry out this operation from high places.” And a third strategy involves scoping out a potential area to attack and monitor a convoy’s route to expose security flaws that also would allow the attacker to consider a “withdrawal plan.”

Fox News: Missouri Man From Bosnia Who Aided ISIS Gets 8-Year Prison Term, Faces Deportation

“A Missouri man who came to the U.S. from Bosnia was sentenced Thursday to eight years in prison for supporting terrorists, including an ISIS leader in Syria. Ramiz Zijad Hodzic, 45, of St. Louis County, pleaded guilty last spring to backing Bosnian-American Abdullah Ramo Pazara, who left Missouri for Syria in 2013 and died fighting for ISIS, authorities said. Hodzic sent cash and military equipment to several Middle Eastern countries and Pazara between 2013 and 2015 that furthered ISIS’s efforts, prosecutors said. His attorney asked for a lighter sentence, saying Hodzic mostly sent Pazara supplies like socks and that he loved the United States, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Three of Hodzic’s co-defendants have already been sentenced. His wife and another defendant who pleaded not guilty await sentencing. Hodzic will be deported after his prison term, authorities said.”

The Washington Post: Trump Was Right To Abandon The Taliban Peace Deal. Here’s What A Good One Would Look Like.

“Two months after President Trump declared U.S.-Taliban peace talks “dead,” diplomacy with the Afghan insurgents is reviving. With the administration already having negotiated a framework agreement with the Taliban, the key question now facing Washington is whether simply to dust off the settlement that was shelved in September or seek substantial revisions. The Taliban’s position is clear: It maintains that the text from earlier this year “contains answers to all issues” and “only needs signing and implementation.” Yet the Taliban’s enthusiasm for the deal underscores why the White House should reconsider its terms. The predicate for any acceptable peace agreement with the Taliban ought to be their total, unequivocal break with international terrorism. It was, after all, two decades ago, when the Taliban was in power in Afghanistan, that its sheltering of al-Qaeda made possible the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and it was the Taliban’s subsequent refusal to hand over Osama bin Laden that forced the United States to invade. The experience of recent coalition military operations in Afghanistan, moreover, underscores that al-Qaeda’s links to the Taliban remain strong. Under the deal Trump set aside in September, the Taliban appeared willing to promise that Afghan territory under their control would never again be used to launch terrorist attacks against the outside world.”

Vice Views: Neo-Nazi Terror Groups Are Using iFunny To Recruit

“iFunny is an obvious target for extremist groups because modern-day propaganda comes in meme form, and websites with young audiences are ripe for grooming, said Joshua Fisher-Birch, a research analyst at the Counter Extremism Project. “iFunny caters to a young and online demographic, which correlates to many white supremacist accelerationist groups,” said Fisher-Birch. “There’s also a lot of content on the site involving ironic displays of white supremacism, which helps create a space where some users might be susceptible to individuals pushing a white supremacist accelerationist agenda.”

United States

CNN: Trump Hikes Price Tag For US Forces In Korea Almost 400% As Seoul Questions Alliance

“Secretary of Defense Mark Esper landed in South Korea on Thursday to navigate renewed threats from an "enraged" North Korea and newly heightened strain in the alliance with Seoul that congressional aides, lawmakers and Korea experts say has been caused by President Donald Trump. Trump is demanding that South Korea pay roughly 400% more in 2020 to cover the cost of keeping US troops on the peninsula, a congressional aide and an administration official confirmed to CNN. The price hike has frustrated Pentagon officials and deeply concerned Republican and Democratic lawmakers, according to military officials and congressional aides. It has angered and unnerved Seoul, where leaders are questioning US commitment to their alliance and wondering whether Trump will pull US forces if they don't pay up. "Nothing says I love you like a shakedown," said Vipin Narang, an associate professor at MIT who follows the Korean peninsula, summarizing South Korean uncertainty about the US.”

ABC News: GOP Senators Complain Erdogan Played Video He Claimed Showed Kurds As Terrorists

“During a meeting in the Oval Office on Wednesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pulled out an iPad to show a group of five Republican senators and President Trump an anti-Kurd video, according to several of the senators who complained about Erdogan's tactic on Thursday. The video, which was first reported by Axios, depicted members of the U.S.-backed People’s Protection Units and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which the State Department has designated as a terrorist group. “I had never been in a foreign policy meeting where a head of state pulls out an iPad and has a video that was clearly professionally produced and was focused on the security and terror challenges they face,” GOP Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas told ABC News on Thursday. “Turkey faces real challenges from terrorism and they’re right to be focused on that,” Cruz said. “What is wrong is to use that terrorism as an excuse to go after the Kurds more broadly.”

CBS DFW: Suspected Neo-Nazi Member Of ‘AtomWaffen Division’ Terrorist Group Charged With Gun Crime 

“A suspected neo-Nazi was charged with a gun crime following an investigation by the FBI. Aiden Bruce-Umbaugh, 23, was charged with possession of a firearm by an unlawful user of a controlled substance after he was arrested in Post, Texas, dressed in tactical gear and in possession of multiple firearms. A federal grand jury indicted Bruce-Umbaugh Wednesday. According to a criminal complaint filed a week prior, local law enforcement executed a traffic stop for a blue Ford Focus on Nov. 4. The vehicle was driven by Kaleb Cole; Bruce-Umbaugh was seated in the front passenger seat. Inside the vehicle, law enforcement allegedly discovered an AR-15 rifle, two AK-47 rifles, a Sig Sauer 9mm pistol, at least 1,500 rounds of ammunition, a small canister of marijuana, and approximately two grams of THC oil. Bruce-Umbaugh – who “avoided eye contact and limited conversation” with law enforcement and denied having anything illegal inside the vehicle during the traffic stop– later admitted that the firearms, marijuana, and THC belonged to him, telling investigators he smoked marijuana on a daily basis, according to the complaint. “Federal prosecutors are committed to enforcing our nation’s gun laws to keep communities safe,” said U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox. “As a drug user, this defendant should never have been allowed to possess firearms.” 

Star Tribune: Charlottesville Suit Seeks To Link Online Talk To Violence

“The white nationalist rally that took a deadly turn in Charlottesville, Virginia, during the summer of 2017 shocked Americans with its front-row view of hatred on the rise. But weeks before the violence, organizers were making preparations for the gathering in a corner of the internet. Using a private server on a platform designed for online gaming, supporters of the rally discussed everything from restroom access to what to wear and what weapons they could legally bring (guns, knives, pepper spray) to the August rally. Those online chats are now at the heart of a lawsuit that accuses more than two dozen individuals and entities, including white supremacists, of engaging in a violent conspiracy to violate the rights of the counterdemonstrators who gathered in Charlottesville to denounce racism and anti-Semitism.”

Voice Of America: Parents Of US Reporter Missing For 7 Years In Syria Still Await His Return 

“The parents of an American journalist who has been missing in Syria for the past seven years told VOA in an interview that they are convinced he is still alive and that the U.S. government should do what it can to reveal his whereabouts and ensure his safe return home. The 38-year-old journalist, Austin Tice, went to Syria in May 2012 to cover the war as it was entering its second year. He was arrested three months later in August at a checkpoint in Darayya suburb, south of the capital Damascus, and has been missing since. “In the event that Austin sees this interview, [we want him to know] that his mother and father love him very much and his siblings can’t wait to see him again,” Tice’s father, Marc Tice, told VOA. “We know he is strong and we know he will hang in there, and we can’t wait to hold him in our arms.” Marc Tice said he and his wife, Debra Tice, believe their son is apprehended in Syria, most likely in areas currently under the Syrian government control. The couple have been trying relentlessly for years to secure the release of their son, albeit with no success.”


CBS News: Russia Establishes New Foothold In Syria Amid Spike In Violence

“President Trump on Wednesday said the ceasefire between Turkey and Kurdish forces seems to be holding. But based on what CBS News crews have seen and heard in northeast Syria, the situation is anything but secure. It was an unexpected sight to see a pair of Russian attack helicopters in the region, followed moments later by a U.S. military convoy, hauling supplies into Syria. Russia confirmed Thursday it's setting up a new base in the northern city of Qamishli, right under the noses of U.S. forces. Yet for all the security forces now jostling for control, they've been unable to ensure security for the local population. Two teenage girls were among five young people killed when back-to-back explosions tore through Qamishli this week. When the Turkish offensive forced Kurdish troops to pull back, it left the region vulnerable to attacks.”

Stars And Stripes: Syria’s Assad Says ‘Resistance’ Will Force US Troops Out

“Syrian President Bashar Assad said in remarks broadcast Friday that the American presence in Syria will lead to armed “resistance” that will eventually force the U.S. troops to leave his country. Assad spoke in an interview with Russia24 TV and Rossiya Segodnya news agency saying Americans should remember the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and that “Syria will not be an exception.” U.S. officials said this week that Washington will leave about 600 troops in Syria to fight the Islamic State group. That followed President Donald Trump’s decision last month to withdraw the bulk of roughly 1,000 American troops from Syria, drawing bipartisan condemnation. Earlier this month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Trump that he intended to carry out an operation to clear the Turkey-Syria border of Syrian Kurdish fighters who fought side-by-side with U.S. troops in beating back IS fighters in northeast Syria. Ankara considers the Syrian Kurdish fighters terrorists linked to a Kurdish insurgency within Turkey. After Turkey began an invasion on Oct. 9, capturing dozens of Syrian towns and villages and displacing tens of thousands of people, Kurdish fighters then turned to the Syrian government for protection.” 

The New York Times: U.N. Query On Syria Hospital Bombings May Be Undermined By Russia Pressure, Limited Scope

“The aerial bombings of hospitals in rebel areas of Syria have long stood out as possible war crimes, so brazen that the leader of the United Nations ordered a special inquiry three months ago, raising hope of some accountability. But with evidence accumulating that the Syrian government’s Russian allies are responsible for some of those bombings, the opposite appears to be happening. The scope of the inquiry has so far been limited to just seven sites among the many targeted, according to an internal United Nations document seen by The New York Times. At the same time, diplomats say Russia has been pressing the global organization’s leader, Secretary General António Guterres, not to release the conclusions of even this narrow inquiry.”

The New York Times: Experts Divided On Authenticity Of Islamic State Receipts

“Questions have been raised about documents that seemed to indicate that the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was able to hide out in a hostile area of northwestern Syria because ISIS paid members of a rival jihadist group. An independent Syria researcher, Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi, said he believed that the documents, which were central to an article published in The New York Times on Oct. 30, had been forged. The documents were provided to The Times by Asaad Almohammad, a retired American intelligence operative who is now a senior research fellow at the George Washington University Program on Extremism. They purport to be receipts for payments made by the security branch of the Islamic State to members of Hurras al Din, a Syrian jihadist group known to be an enemy of ISIS. The receipts showed that the payments were for services like security and logistical expenses. After The Times published its article, Mr. Almohammad published a report that also cited the receipts. He said he stood by their authenticity. Mr. al-Tamimi, who had been asked by The Times to review four of the receipts, was cited in the article as vouching for their authenticity. He has since reviewed all eight receipts and now says he believes they are forgeries.”

Washington Examiner: 'Recalibrating' The Global Fight Against ISIS

“The battle against the Islamic State is far from over, as evidenced by this morning’s meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS at the State Department. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo leads the lineup of speakers and will address the D-ISIS small group ministerial at 10 a.m. There was concern last month that the coalition of 81 countries might be crumbling in the wake of President Trump's orders withdrawing all U.S forces from northern Syria. Now that the Pentagon has announced that 500 to 600 will remain, though, the conference will focus on next steps. “We are very happy with the decision that the president took to continue our D-ISIS military mission on the ground in northeast Syria, and the members of the coalition are universally supportive of that decision,” a senior State Department told reporters this week. “What we’re going to be doing is essentially recalibrating.” The official outlined the plan. “We’re assembling some 35-plus member-states and organizations, the key ones who are involved in operations in Syria and Iraq or otherwise supporting the effort through funding and civilian operations, to meet with us and to go over developments over the past month,” the official said.”

Reuters: Coalition Fighting Islamic State Had 'Difference Of Opinion' On Repatriation Of Detainees

“Members of a coalition fighting Islamic State had a “difference of opinion” at a meeting in Washington on Thursday on whether jihadi detainees should be repatriated, the U.S. Special Representative for Syria Jim Jeffrey said. “There was some difference of opinion on whether they should be repatriated or whether that should be something that countries are still going to look at and think about in more detail, but nonetheless, that is acknowledged as a significant problem,” Jeffrey told a news conference. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had urged members of the coalition ahead of the meeting to take Islamic State detainees back to their countries of origin.”


Fox News: Iran's Supreme Leader Pardons Thousands Of Prisoners

“Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has pardoned more than 3,500 prisoners, according to media reports. The report by judiciary website Mizanonline.com said the pardoned included 32 prisoners being held on "security" charges and who were mainly university students and journalists. Prisoners convicted of armed opposition against the Islamic Republic were not pardoned. The announcement came following the Islamic holiday marking the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday. The pardons were requested by Ayatollah Ebrahim Raisi, the head of the Iranian judiciary and an influential cleric.”


CNN: Turkey Begins Deporting Suspected ISIS Fighters To US, UK, Germany

“Turkey has begun the process of returning alleged foreign ISIS fighters to their home countries, starting with an American, a Briton and seven Germans. Turkey's Interior Ministry said an American who is suspected of being an ISIS fighter was being deported the US, a British suspect to London and seven Germans to Berlin. The American was initially sent to Greece on Monday, upon his request, according to the Ministry. But Greece refused to accept him, and he was left stranded for several days in a “buffer zone” between the countries, the ministry said. “Upon the commitment of the USA to issue a travel document, necessary procedures have been initiated to send the foreign terrorist fighter to the USA,” the ministry said. This comes after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with US President Donald Trump at the White House on Wednesday, where they discussed the fight against ISIS, among other things. In their joint press conference, Erdogan suggested that Turkey had thousands of ISIS-affiliated individuals in its custody and was in the process of sending them back to “their countries of origin.” On Thursday evening, counter-terror police arrested a British man on suspicion of “Syria-related” terror offenses at London's Heathrow Airport after he arrived in the UK from Turkey, the Metropolitan Police said Thursday in a statement.”

The Washington Post: Turkey Detains 4 Elected Mayors On Terror Charges

“Turkey’s state-run news agency says police have detained four mayors over their suspected links to Kurdish rebels, as part of an ongoing crackdown on the country’s pro-Kurdish party. Anadolu Agency said the mayors of the towns of Savur, Derik and Mazidagi in Mardin province and the town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province were detained along with some 20 municipality officials on Friday. The mayors, members of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party, or HDP, were elected into office in March. The government accuses the party of links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. Some 20 HDP mayors have been removed from office and replaced with government appointees, and 14 of them have been jailed. Seven former HDP lawmakers, including former chairman Selahattin Demirtas, are also in prison.”


The Washington Post: A Birthday, A Walk To School And A Blast That Tore An Afghan Family Apart 

“In Abdul Saboor Samadi’s three-story house, Wednesday morning started just like any other. He woke his two oldest children, Dunya, 10, and Hadis, 7, then ushered them out the door for their usual five minute walk to school, picking up their friend Mustafa and their cousin, Sana, along the way. When they reached the main road, Samadi recalled later, he grabbed their hands as he always did, to escort them across the busy throughway where buses and cars often speed on their way past the nearby airport and toward central Kabul. Then he felt a boom. This is what Samadi said he will always remember about what happened next: the apple he had handed his daughter moments before falling from her hand. The way he reached for his son just in time to feel the boy’s final deep breath. How he saw his daughter’s lifeless body lying a few feet away, Mustafa dead and Sana severely wounded beside her. “Anytime I remember, anytime I speak about it, my heart aches,” Samadi, a shopkeeper, said Thursday, surrounded by friends and family visiting for a memorial service. The suicide blast that killed the three children during rush hour Wednesday morning targeted an armored vehicle belonging to GardaWorld, an international security company, Nasrat Rahimi, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, confirmed.”

Xinhua: 4 District Police Officers Killed In N. Afghanistan

“Four police officers, including a district police chief, were killed in a Taliban ambush in Afghanistan's northern Baghlan province on Friday, a local official said. “Afzal Hakimi, police chief of Warsaj district of Takhar province, and three of his colleagues were martyred during clashes with Taliban in Jalga district of neighboring Baghlan province early Friday morning,” Takhar provincial government spokesman, Jawad Hijiri, told Xinhua. The deceased police chief was travelling together with three policemen from his hometown in Jalga to Warsaj district police station after vacation but the militants ambushed his vehicle in Kotal-e-Palfi locality of Jalga, the official noted. The Afghan security forces' casualties have risen recently as they struggle against a surge in attacks by Taliban militant group and other anti-government fighters. Baghlan province, as well as neighboring Takhar province, has been the scene of heavy clashes over the past couple of months as Taliban has been trying to challenge the government forces in the once relatively peaceful region.”


The New York Times: Pakistani Officials: 2 Islamic State Members Arrested

“Pakistani security officials say they have arrested two suspected members of the Islamic State group in a raid on their hideout in the eastern Punjab province. In Thursday’s statement, the province’s counterterrorism forces said it had arrested the men in Bahawalnagar city. It said security officials also seized bomb-making material during the raid. Pakistan’s counterterrorism forces have announced the arrest of accused IS members before, although the government says the group has no organized presence in the country. IS militants are active in neighboring Afghanistan, where they regularly stage attacks against civilian and military targets.”

Saudi Arabia

Reuters: Saudi Arabia Discussing Yemen Truce In Informal Talks With Houthis: Sources

“The talks were launched in Jordan in late September, three of the sources said, with Riyadh taking sole responsibility for military efforts by the Arab alliance fighting in Yemen after the exit of its main partner, the United Arab Emirates. The discussions began after the Houthis offered to halt cross-border missile and drone attacks on Saudi cities if the Saudi-led coalition ended air strikes on Yemen, they said. A fourth source said “discussions on finalizing the security pact are moving very quickly now through a number of channels” but that Riyadh still had concerns about its border security. “We have had an open channel with the Houthis since 2016. We are continuing these communications to support peace in Yemen,” a Saudi official said. A Houthi official, who declined to be named, confirmed the group was discussing a broad ceasefire with Riyadh but cautioned that the group’s patience was “wearing thin”.”


Reuters: Lebanon's Safadi Agrees To Be Next PM Amid Economic Crisis: Bassil

“Mohammad Safadi, a former finance minister, has agreed to be Lebanon’s prime minister if he wins the support of leading parties, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil said on Friday. The consensus on the wealthy 75-year-old, who has had extensive business ties to Saudi Arabia, suggests progress towards forming a new government at a time of acute economic crisis and street protests that brought down his predecessor. Bassil told broadcaster MTV the process to name Safadi as prime minister should begin on Monday and a new government was likely to be formed quickly as all the main parties agreed on the need to move swiftly. Saad al-Hariri quit as prime minister on Oct. 29 in the face of the protests against ruling politicians who are blamed for rampant state corruption and steering Lebanon into its worst economic crisis since the 1975-90 civil war. “I confirm that we have been in contact with minister Safadi and he has agreed to take on the position of prime minister if his name gets agreement with the main political forces in government,” said Bassil. Political sources said the consensus on Safadi emerged in a meeting late on Thursday between Hariri, a Sunni politician aligned with Western and Gulf states, and representatives of the Iran-backed Shi’ite group Hezbollah and its Shi’ite ally Amal.”

Middle East 

PJ Media: Muslim Brotherhood Subversion Vs. Jihadist Rage

“What do Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri—that is, the late leader of ISIS, and the late and current leaders of al-Qaeda—have in common? That they’re among the world’s most notorious Islamic terrorists? Yes, but there’s something else, something more subtle, that binds them: they all began their careers as members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the oldest and most widespread political Islamic organization in the world. In a 2014 video interview, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi—a spiritual leader of the Brotherhood whose Al Jazeera program on shari‘a is watched by tens of millions of Muslims—asserted that “this youth [al-Baghdadi] was from the start among the top ranks of the Brotherhood, but he was inclined to [positions of] leadership and so forth…  Then, after he spent years in prison [for Brotherhood activities] he came out and joined with them [the nascent Islamic State],” eventually becoming first “caliph.” (I first discussed this Qaradawi video soon after it appeared in 2014; predictably, YouTube has since taken it down, though Arabic websites still have it.)”

The Times Of Israel: Families Of Israeli Terror Victims Suing Hamas For Half A Billion Shekels

“The families of five terror victims will file a lawsuit against Gaza’s Hamas rulers and three money changers with US assets who allegedly helped fund attacks against Israelis, demanding compensation totaling half a billion shekels ($144 million), a report said Friday. The inclusion of the Gaza-based money changers in the lawsuit — set to be filed Sunday at the Jerusalem District Court — is a precedent, the Yedioth Ahronoth daily said. The trio — named as Mohammed Alai, Fawaz Nasser and Kamel Awwad — are accused of working for Hamas and funneling money to it from Iran via a holdings company called Beit al-Mal. While normally, the chances of compensation actually being paid in similar cases is small, this case could be different since the money changers have bank accounts and other assets in the United States, which have been frozen by authorities under sanctions announced by the Treasury Department. A ruling in favor of the plaintiffs could thus be at least partially enforced due to bilateral agreements between Jerusalem and Washington.”


The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Threatens Egypt With Sanctions Over Russian Arms Deal

“The U.S. has warned Egypt of possible sanctions over Cairo’s decision to proceed with a purchase of Russian warplanes, a new source of friction with a country whose leader has been lauded by President Trump. The warning came in a letter Wednesday from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper urging Egypt’s defense minister to cancel a deal to buy Russian Su-35 warplanes. The letter, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, said Egypt risked sanctions under a U.S. law barring purchases of Russian military equipment. “Major new arms deals with Russia would—at a minimum—complicate future U.S. defense transactions with and security assistance to Egypt,” the letter said. The U.S. has provided Egypt with billions in military and economic aid in recent decades, including sales of F-16 jet fighters, attack helicopters and other armaments. Russia has taken a more forward stance in the Middle East in recent years, providing crucial military support for the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and selling a missile-defense system to Turkey, an ostensible U.S. ally.”


Quartz: How Boko Haram Went From A Peaceful Islamic Sect To One Of The World’s Deadliest Terrorists In A Decade

“Last month marked ten years since Mohammed Yusuf, founder of Boko Haram, died in police detention. His death led to the radicalization of the sect and a declaration of Jihad against the Nigerian state. In an earlier paper on the sect I argued that before 2009, its operations were more or less peaceful, but that it was radicalized in 2009 after a confrontation with Nigerian security agencies. The police cracked down on the group setting off an armed uprising in Bauchi State, Northern Nigeria. Opinions differ on the reasons for the government clampdown. But some believe that the government intervened based on intelligence that the group was arming itself. The crackdown led to an uprising that soon spread to other parts of northeastern Nigeria and 800 members of the group were killed by the Nigerian security services. Yusuf was arrested during this period but died in police detention. The police claimed that he died while trying to escape. Yusuf’s successor, Abubakar Shekau, vowed to exact revenge on the Nigerian government. A violent campaign against the state was launched. A year later in 2010, Shekau sought to make it a Jihad against Christians.”  


Xinhua: Somali Army Kills 5 Al-Shabab Militants

“Somali National Army (SNA) on Wednesday killed five al-Shabab extremists in an operation in the central region of Hiran, a military official confirmed on Thursday. Mohamed Abdullahi, commander of Unit 27 from Somali National Army said the forces conducted an operation in El Bal'ad town in Hiran region following intelligence of the militants' presence in the area and they inflicted severe casualties on the militants. “Our army attacked al-Shabab militants in the town who were forcefully collecting zakawat (taxes) from the residents, there was a fierce gunfight but we defeated them,” the commander said. “We killed five of them in the confrontation and our army recovered a large number of animals which the militants took from the locals,” he added. Residents said there was heavy fight in the town. “As the militants entered our town to take some taxes from the residents, they were suddenly attacked by government forces and both sides exchanged fire for a while. The army are now in the town after the militants were chased out,” Farida Hashi, a resident told Xinhua by phone. The latest operation came barely hours after al-Shabab militants killed two government officials in an ambush in a village in the outskirts of Bal'ad town in the country's southern region of Middle Shabelle.”


The Washington Times: Anti-ISIS Coalition Shifts Focus To Africa's Sahel Region

“The global coalition to defeat Islamic State is focusing new attention on a region in North and West Africa as the terror group’s “caliphate” has been mostly abolished in Syria and Iraq, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday. “West Africa and the Sahel would be a preferred area of focus for the coalition outside of the ISIS core space, and with good reason,” Mr. Pompeo said at a meeting with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg. The secretary said efforts to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria will remain, and the new shift into the Sahel region “will complement existing military efforts.” Evangelist Franklin Graham calls impeachment hearing 'a day of shame for America' “We will develop and coordinate our efforts in close cooperation with countries of the Sahel,” he continued. The Sahel region spans from the Atlantic Ocean across continental Africa to the Red Sea and encompasses Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan and Eritrea. Mr. Stoltenberg insisted that the fight against ISIS “is not over. ISIS is still a threat.” Despite several assertions from Trump administration officials earlier this year that the ISIS caliphate was almost completely defeated, analysts and former officials warn that the terrorist organization remains a threat to the U.S. and its allies.”

Asharq Al-Awsat: Moroccan Security Forces Arrest Isis Extremist

“The Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations (BCIJ) arrested an ISIS-linked extremist on Tuesday in the city of Guelmim, southern Morocco. According to the BCIJ statement, investigations revealed that the terror suspect is promoting ISIS extremist ideology through apps to “serve the agenda of this terrorist organization.” BCIJ agents seized several electronic devices, mobile phones, and electrical cables during the operation. BCIJ has carried out several other crackdowns against terror cells throughout the year. Morocco introduced the BCIJ in 2015. The bureau has been monitoring security threats across the country and has also assisted foreign security agencies in combating terrorism. This year, Moroccan security services dismantled 13 terrorist cells that were preparing to commit criminal acts targeting the security and safety of the Kingdom or friendly countries, and recruited young Moroccans to fight in areas where militant groups are active. BCIJ, which specializes in combating terrorism, also dismantled a number of terrorist networks, including thwarting a terror cell operating in Morocco and Spain. Morocco has accumulated an important experience in the fight against extremism, thanks to upholding a proactive and precautionary security policy approach.”

United Kingdom

Reuters: UK Anti-Terrorist Police Arrest Man After Turkey Deports Suspects

“British police arrested a 26-year-old man at Heathrow Airport who had arrived from Turkey on Thursday, on suspicion of terrorism offences related to Syria. “He was arrested on suspicion of preparation of terrorist acts,” London’s Metropolitan police said in a statement. “The arrest is Syria-related.” Turkish authorities have begun to send Islamic State detainees back to their home countries with the country’s interior ministry earlier saying it was deporting one British and seven German fighters on Thursday. Ankara says it has hundreds more jihadists in detention, and has accused European countries of being loath to take back citizens who traveled to join Islamist militants fighting in Middle East wars, mainly in Syria and Iraq. Some 10,000 Islamic State detainees and tens of thousands of family members remain in camps and prisons in northeastern Syria guarded by the Syrian Kurdish allies of the United States. Washington is also pushing European countries to take their citizens back.”

The National: Tony Blair Calls For Global Education Charter To Fight Extremism

“Tony Blair has called for a dramatic increase in resources for education that combats extremism in a new report that says learning is an underappreciated tool to deploy against violent ideologies. In a report titled Teaching tolerance: how to educate against extremism, the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change said it hoped to a launch a charter for education reform that nations could sign up to as part of the UN Global Goals. The principles in the charter would seek to address the threat from radicalisation in the early years of life, an aspect that security polices had not so far confronted on a world widewide scale. By redressing the imbalance between military and financial responses to extremism, the initiative hopes for an antidote to the spread of hate. “Ultimately, we can take all the security action we like,” wrote the former British prime minister in a foreword. “But if young people are vulnerable to hateful ideologies, some of them will turn to violence. They do not naturally tend towards such sentiments. It is something that is taught. And it can be untaught. “A vital component of an enlightened security approach is to treat open-minded education as an imperative.”


Breitbart: France Is Target Of More Islamic Terror Attacks Than Any Other EU State

“France is the European member state most affected by radical Islamic terrorism according to a study that shows over half of the terror attacks in the EU occurred in the country. The study, which was released by the Foundation for Political Innovation (Fondapol), examined radical Islamic terror attacks from 1979 to August 31st of 2019 and discovered that France had been the victim of 71 attacks during that period which resulted in 317 killed, newspaper Le Figaro reports. Between the period of 1979 and 2012, the country saw just 29 attacks and 45 killed, but in the era of the Islamic State terror group, the attacks increased to 42 with 272 deaths in just six years. Around 54.3 percent of the attacks in which the Islamic State took credit occurred in France, with soldiers and police officers being the most frequent targets for terrorists. The French capital of Paris and its surrounding no-go suburbs of Seine-Saint-Denis have seen the most attacks, along with other regions that have noted problems with Islamic radicalisation. The study also examined the global effect of Islamist terrorism, noting that there were 33,769 Islamic terror attacks worldwide from 1979 to 2019, and 167,096 killed as a result.”


Deutsche Welle: Germany: Don't Panic Over 'Islamic State' Returnees' Arrival 

“A family of seven German Islamists arrived in Berlin on Thursday after the Turkish Interior Ministry announced earlier this week that it would start deportations of captured “Islamic State” supporters. There are no German arrest warrants for the family of German-Iraqi Kanan B., meaning they will be free to return to their homes in the central German state of Lower Saxony, though under police observation. According to Turkish authorities, Kanan B. tried to travel to Syria with his family about a year ago, but it is not known if he arrived. The family, consisting of two parents, two adult children, plus three minors, had been in custody in the Turkish city of Izmir since March. German authorities said they do not believe Kanan B.'s family ever joined Islamic State, but that he was part of the “Salafist spectrum,” which means the family members are thought to observe a particularly conservative interpretation of Islam. Armin Schuster, the interior policy spokesman for Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), insisted that the German returnees were not “serious cases,” and warned against media-fueled hysteria. “They did not take part in the fighting,” he told the Deutschlandfunk radio station.”


The Washington Post: Europe Has Resisted Taking Back Citizens Who Joined ISIS. Now, It May Not Have A Choice

“Bint Dahlia was 33 when she left Germany with her husband and children to start life in the Islamic State’s newly declared caliphate. She is one of thousands of Europeans who did — and, five years later, one of hundreds trying to come back. European governments have resisted repatriating their nationals since the caliphate crumbled. Leaders fear domestic attacks and public backlash and have argued that trials should take place regionally. But now Europe’s hand is being forced. Although Turkey has said it is starting to deport people in its custody with suspected Islamic State links, even more significant are landmark court cases giving governments little choice. Last week, an appeals court in Berlin ruled that the German government should repatriate Bint Dahlia alongside her three children from al-Hol, a squalid Kurdish-run camp inside Syria. (The woman’s real name was redacted in court documents shared with The Washington Post, and her relatives have asked that The Post use a family nickname for her safety.) The camp’s conditions, the court determined, were life-threatening, and the children had a right to remain with their mother. The lawyer for the case said he hopes it will set a precedent for 20 other German mothers and 40 children he represents.” 

Southeast Asia

7News: Wife of Medan Police Station Suicide Bomber Was Planning A Terrorist Attack In Bali

“The wife of a suicide bomber who blew himself up at Medan police station this week was even more radicalised than her husband and had been planning a terrorist attack in Bali. Police investigating the blast, at Medan police headquarters on Wednesday, have since arrested the dead man’s wife and are investigating her links to other terrorists, including her communication with a jailed female terror suspect. Police have yet to reveal the exact nature of the Bali plot or how advanced it was but authorities in Bali have stepped up security on the tourist island. Police have seized documents and computer equipment and say that the wife was communicating on social media platforms about plans for a Bali terrorist attack. A 24-year-old university student, Rabbial Muslim Nasution, blew himself up in the parking lot area of Medan police station. He died in the attack, captured on police CCTV cameras, and several police and civilians were injured, although none seriously.” 

South China Morning Post: Ex-Isis Fighters Arrested In Indonesian Terror Probe After Medan Suicide Bombing

“Indonesian police on Thursday arrested four men linked with Islamic State, a day after a suicide bomber attacked a police station in Medan city, killing himself and injuring six people. “The four suspects went through military training and also fought alongside Isis in Syria. [Anti-terror squad] Densus88 is further investigating [them],” said Dedi Prasetyo, the national police spokesman. Police also arrested the Medan bomber’s wife for allegedly planning terror attacks in Bali using social media, said Dedi. The latest arrests brought the total number of people held following the blast to 10 in anti-terror raids across Sumatra and Java. There were no details on when the four alleged Isis veterans returned home, and whether they were linked to the Medan blast, but their detainment has raised concerns over the threat posed by returnees from Syria. Indonesia has an estimated 34 jihadist fighters and some 700 citizens stuck in Syria. About 50 Indonesian Isis fighters and their families were believed to have escaped from Syria last month. Their whereabouts are currently unknown. The country has suffered a resurgence in home-grown militancy in recent years, with police frequently the target of attacks.”