Eye on Extremism: November 21

The Guardian: UN Warns Burkina Faso Could Become 'Another Syria' As Violence Soars

“The UN food agency has warned of an “escalating humanitarian crisis” in Burkina Faso, driven by growing extremist violence and the long-term impact of climate crisis in the arid central Sahel region. A sharp increase in attacks, the result of the west African country becoming embroiled in the jihadist insurgency that began in the region in early 2015, has forced almost half a million people from their homes. Malnutrition is past emergency levels. One in five displaced children is malnourished, UN staff said. “A dramatic human crisis is unfolding in Burkina Faso that has disrupted the lives of millions,” said the World Food Programme’s (WFP) executive director, David Beasley. “Close to half a million people have been forced from their homes and a third of the country is now a conflict zone. Our teams on the ground are seeing malnutrition levels pushed well past emergency thresholds – this means young children and new mothers are on the brink. If the world is serious about saving lives, the time to act is now.” The number of attacks in Burkina Faso in the first half of 2019 surpassed the total for 2018, with reported civilian deaths four times the total for last year.”

CNN: Attack On Syrian Camp For Displaced People Kills Sixteen

“At least 16 civilians were killed when rockets struck an internally displaced persons camp, in the village of Qah in Syria's Idlib province on Wednesday, according to the volunteer rescue group known as the White Helmets. The camp was targeted by a missile loaded with cluster munitions, the White Helmets said. The attack also "led to a huge fire that burned many tents and caused huge material damage," the group said. "I saw a lot of dead bodies, mostly children... I saw tents burning...most people, thousands, ran away of the camp after the strike," said one Syrian eyewitness who asked to remain anonymous due to safety reasons. Idlib, near the Turkish-Syrian border, is the last opposition-held territory in Syria. It is home to more than 3 million Syrians including a dense population of internally displaced persons. The area is dominated by Hayat Tahrir Al Sham, the once Al Qaida-affiliated Jabhat al Nusra. The Syrian government and its Russian backers routinely target southern Idlib. However, the latest rocket attacks near the Turkey-Syria border, where majority of displaced people live, could signal a significant escalation. The Syrian government in the past has said they are targeting terrorists in Idlib.”

Reuters: Islamic State Claims Responsibility For Killing 30 Malian Soldiers

“Islamic State’s West African affiliate claimed responsibility on Wednesday for an attack on an army patrol in northern Mali that killed 30 soldiers, according to a statement published by the SITE Intelligence Group. Dozens of other soldiers were wounded in the ambush on Monday in Tabankort, in Mali’s Gao region, the army said. The attack was the third major strike against Malian forces in the last two months by jihadist groups. The militants are mounting increasingly sophisticated operations across the Sahel region, a narrow band of scrubland below the Sahara. Islamic State claimed responsibility for an attack on an army post in early November that killed at least 53 soldiers, while an al Qaeda affiliate said it carried out coordinated raids in late September that killed 38 soldiers.”

BBC News: Durham Neo-Nazi Teenager Convicted Of Planning Terror Attack

“A teenage neo-Nazi who wrote about an "inevitable race war" in his diary and identified a series of possible targets has been convicted of preparing terrorist acts. The 16-year-old boy listed the locations from his home city of Durham in his "guerrilla warfare" manual. He also described himself as a "natural sadist", Manchester Crown Court heard. The boy is the youngest person to be convicted of planning a terrorist attack in the UK. A jury found the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, guilty of preparation of terrorist acts between October 2017 and March this year. He was also convicted of disseminating a terrorist publication, possessing an article for a purpose connected to terrorism and three counts of possessing documents useful to someone preparing acts of terrorism. He was remanded in custody and will be sentenced on 7 January.  The court heard the boy began drafting a "manual for practical sensible guerrilla warfare against the Jewish system in Durham City area". The manual listed "means of attack" and "areas to attack", which listed local venues "worth attacking" such as post offices, pubs and schools. A "things to do" list from August 2018 included the words "shed empathy" alongside a hand-drawn symbol of the Order of Nine Angles, which the court heard was a "self-consciously, explicitly malevolent" Satanic organisation.”

NPR: 'They Wish Me Dead.' Convict In ISIS Case Faces Backlash For Helping Feds

“When 24-year-old Abdirizak Warsame came home from prison over the summer, his family welcomed him with his favorite foods and long talks with the siblings he hadn't seen in three years. They were reunited, grateful for a fresh start. Outside of their house in Minneapolis, however, Abdirizak's homecoming was a different story. Snitch. Liar. FBI informant. Those are the labels attached to Abdirizak and his family in the large Somali American community in the Twin Cities. Word of his release added salt to a deep wound. Abdirizak was among nine young men who planned to travel to Syria to join ISIS. They were busted by the FBI, slapped with serious terrorism charges, and left with a choice: To cooperate with the feds or not. "A lot of people in the community, they are mad because he told the truth," Deqa Hussein, Abdirizak's mother, told NPR in a two-hour interview this month. Her son, Abdirizak, decided to help authorities in their landmark case – the biggest ISIS recruiting prosecution in the nation. He also appeared on 60 Minutes to denounce ISIS. Those steps paid off at sentencing in 2016. Some of his co-defendants received more than 30 years in prison. Abdirizak got 30 months.”

The Guardian: Facebook Banned White Nationalists Months Ago. But Prominent Groups Are Still On The Platform

“On 7 November, Lana Lokteff, an American white nationalist, introduced a “thought criminal and political prisoner and friend” as a featured guest on her internet talk show, Red Ice TV. For about 90 minutes, Lokteff and her guest – Greg Johnson, a prominent white nationalist and editor-in-chief of the white nationalist publisher Counter-Currents – discussed Johnson’s recent arrest in Norway amid authorities’ concerns about his past expression of “respect” for the far-right mass murderer Anders Breivik.In 2012, Johnson wrote that he was angered by Breivik’s crimes because he feared they would harm the cause of white nationalism but had discovered a “strange new respect” for him during his trial; Breivik’s murder of 77 people has been cited as an inspiration by the suspected Christchurch killer, the man who murdered the British MP Jo Cox, and a US coast guard officer accused of plotting a white nationalist terror attack. Just a few weeks earlier, Red Ice TV had suffered a serious setback when it was permanently banned from YouTube for repeated violations of its policy against hate speech. But Red Ice TV still had a home on Facebook, allowing the channel’s 90,000 followers to stream the discussion on Facebook Watch – the platform Mark Zuckerberg launched as a place “to share an experience and bring people together who care about the same things”. The conversation wasn’t a unique occurrence. Facebook promised to ban white nationalist content from its platform in March 2019, reversing a years-long policy to tolerate the ideology. But Red Ice TV is just one of several white nationalist outlets that remain active on the platform today.”

United States

New York Post: Would-Be Terrorist Fixated On ‘True Crime Community’ Sentenced To Prison

“The Ohio woman who was inspired by an online group known as the “True Crime Community” to plot the bombing of a pipeline and another terrorist attack at a local bar was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Wednesday, authorities said. Elizabeth Lecron, 24, was also sentenced to a lifetime of supervision for plotting the attack at a Toledo bar and an interstate pipeline in Georgia in 2018, the FBI said. Lecron, along with her boyfriend Vincent Armstrong, became obsessed with mass shootings and other violent acts through the internet fetish group, authorities alleged after her arrest. Lecron wrote letters to Dylann Roof and the pair visited areas associated with the Columbine high school massacre, the FBI said. They also bought guns and went to the shooting range to practice ahead of their planned attack, which they called “D-Day.”

ABC News: Documents May Be Breakthrough In Case Of FBI Veteran Robert Levinson, Who Vanished In Iran 

“Documents obtained years ago by the family of retired FBI agent Robert Levinson, who has been missing in Iran for more than a decade, may provide the most convincing evidence yet that he was arrested and held by Iranian intelligence agents after a new statement from the country recently came to light. Levinson, a veteran agent and specialist in Russian organized crime, vanished on March 9, 2007, after arriving on the remote Kish Island while working on a murky CIA contract for intelligence analysts at the agency. For the first seven years he was missing, U.S. officials said Levinson was working as a private investigator and was "not a U.S. government employee." The purported Iranian files took on new significance after the U.N. revealed Tehran had recently admitted to having an "ongoing" judicial inquiry into Levinson, at the same time a more precise English translation of the Farsi-language documents his family has had for nine years appeared to reveal that his arrest in 2007 was from a "judicial" order by the Iranian military. The word "judicial" had been missing in an English translation by the FBI of the apparent 2007 arrest order given to the family years ago.”


CNN: Iran Has Claimed 'Victory' After Protests. So Why Is The Internet Still Off?

“Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has claimed victory over the ongoing unrest in the country, state media reported Wednesday, six days after nationwide protests erupted following an abrupt spike in gas prices. Speaking at a government meeting in Tehran, Rouhani said the country had been "victorious out of yet another test" and that "despite the country's economic problems and existing grievances," Iran had demonstrated it "would never allow the balance to tilt in favor of the enemy," according to state broadcaster Press TV. Iran's government has blamed foreign enemies for the recent unrest -- the severity of which remains unclear because a near-total internet shutdown has halted the flow of information out of the country.”

The Wall Street Journal: Iran Says It Has Contained Antigovernment Protests, But Tensions Continue

“Tehran used arrests, deadly force and a prolonged internet blackout to contain nationwide protests that pose the most serious test in years for Iran’s leaders. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday said demonstrations over higher fuel prices had been suppressed, but the government’s sweeping internet shutdown made it difficult to assess the state of protests that Amnesty International said left more than 100 people dead in five days. Tehran’s response came as the Islamic Republic faces new problems around the region, where demonstrators in Iraq and Lebanon are trying to dilute Iranian influence, and Israel is stepping up airstrikes targeting Iranian forces in Syria. The Trump administration, which has imposed punishing economic sanctions that have undermined Iran’s economy in an effort to blunt Tehran’s regional influence, has backed the demonstrations and denounced the deadly government response. “The world is watching,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday.”

The New York Times: UN Nuclear Watchdog: Iran Must Explain Undeclared Site

“The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency says Iran has not provided additional details about the discovery of uranium particles of man-made origin at a location that had not been declared. Cornel Feruta, the acting director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told its board of governors Thursday that a meeting in Tehran was planned for next week to discuss the issue. Feruta reported to IAEA member states two weeks ago that his inspectors had confirmed traces of uranium "at a location in Iran not declared to the agency," which appeared to confirm allegations made by the U.S. and Israel about a secret nuclear warehouse. Feruta says “it is essential that Iran works with the agency to resolve this matter promptly.”

Foreign Policy: Iran Grapples With Major Unrest

“Anti-government protesters are still in the streets across Iran, though a nationwide internet shutdown and state control of the media mean that the exact scale of the demonstrations is difficult to know. Amnesty International said Tuesday that “credible reports” indicated security forces had killed at least 106 protesters since last week—though the real figure could be higher. The unrest presents a significant challenge to Iran’s leadership, which is perhaps why the crackdown has been swift—faster than the response to similar protests that began two years ago. Authorities say that 1,000 people have been arrested so far. The death toll reports have prompted the United Nations to urge restraint as well as demand that Iran restore the internet. What are people protesting? The protests began on Friday in response to a minimum 50 percent rise in the price of gasoline, a subsidized commodity that is still cheaper in Iran than in much of the world. But Iran is also facing an growing economic crisis, and the move ignited simmering anger over growing inequality, corruption, and declining standards of living. How will Iran’s leaders respond? Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has stood by the price hike and blamed the protests on outside forces. On Monday, the government began quickly dispensing direct payments to 60 million citizens—a sign that it is unsettled by the unrest. (The payments were promised as part of a change in government subsidies.) Still, Iran is not likely to reverse the move, and its economy—burdened by heavy U.S. sanctions—isn’t improving.”

The Washington Post: An Iranian Official Thought The World Had Forgotten A Massacre 31 Years Ago. He Was Wrong.

“On Nov. 9, a 58-year-old Iranian lawyer by the name of Hamid Nouri arrived at Stockholm’s international airport. His papers were in order; he was traveling on a visa issued by Italy, good for the entire Schengen Area of the European Union. So he must have been startled when Swedish officials took him into a room and began to interrogate him about his past. Nouri is still in detention today, awaiting a decision by Swedish prosecutors on whether he should face trial for allegedly participating in crimes against humanity. He stands accused of abetting the execution of thousands of political prisoners in Iran in 1988 — a crime for which no senior official in that country has ever faced official accountability. Iranian operatives have been convicted in the past of crimes they’ve committed in France or Germany. But this is the first time that a high-ranking Iranian will face charges under the concept of universal jurisdiction — the same principle underlying the prosecution of ex-Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in Spain starting in 1998. “In this case, we’re talking about the Swedish court asserting jurisdiction over crimes that took place in Iran 31 years ago,” says Iranian-born British lawyer Kaveh Moussavi. “If you commit crimes that are basically an outrage against the conscience of humankind, then expect humankind anywhere on the planet to assert jurisdiction.” That alone would already make this an extraordinary case. Even more remarkable, though, is the fact that Nouri’s arrest comes as the result of long years of painstaking preparation by human rights activists.”


The Washington Times: ISIS Remains Threat Despite Losses, Iraqi Kurds Warn

“Despite losing all the land from its once-extensive “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State remains a potent terrorist force capable of wreaking havoc in the region, the top diplomat for the Kurdish regional government in Iraq said Wednesday. Speaking at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Safeen Dizayee warned that ISIS has already regrouped after losing their last stronghold in Syria in March following an offensive by Kurdish-led, U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces that included airstrikes, artillery bombardments and special forces missions. “We’re not talking about a possibility — it’s a fact,” Mr. Dizayee said. “The ‘sleeper cells’ have woken up and they’re quite active — almost on a daily basis.” Mr. Dizayee became the senior diplomat for the Kurdish Regional Government — known as the KRG — following last year’s parliamentary elections in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region. Areas of the border between Syria and Iraq remain essentially no man’s land where anywhere from 15,000 to 20,000 armed ISIS militants are located. The Iraqi Kurdish leader referred to the areas as “ungoverned spaces,” where Islamic State — also known as ISIS — and other jihadist groups operate.”


Xinhua: Turkey Increases Anti-Terror Operations By 150 Pct In 3 Years: Minister

“The number of operations against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) by Turkey has increased by 150 percent in the last three years, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on Wednesday. The number of military operations against the PKK raised from 40,000 to 101,000, the minister said while addressing to the lawmakers at the parliament's planning and budget commission. During this period, 1,144 terrorists were killed, Soylu added. The PKK, which has launched a military campaign against Ankara for more than 30 years, is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States, and the EU. The group often uses northern Iraq as a base to plan cross-border terror attacks in Turkey. In the first 10 months of 2019, a total of 289 PKK members surrendered to Turkish security forces by persuasion efforts, the minister stated. A total of 121 PKK members were killed and nearly 229 caves, shelters, and warehouses were destroyed in anti terror Operation Kiran which was launched on Aug. 17 in the southeastern part of Turkey, according to the minister.”

Xinhua: Turkey Repatriates 15 Foreign IS Suspects

“Turkey has repatriated 15 foreign Islamic State (IS) suspects to their home countries between Nov. 11 and 19, semi-official Anadolu Agency reported Wednesday. There are still 944 foreign IS suspects in repatriation centers waiting to be sent back to their home countries, according to Anadolu. Ankara will repatriate most of the IS detainees by the end of 2019, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on Tuesday. "Turkey was not a hotel for IS fighters," the Turkish interior minister said earlier and criticized European countries for their reluctance to take back citizens captured and prisoned by Turkish authorities.”


CNN: Report Finds The Taliban Were Deadlier Than ISIS In 2018

“Attacks by the Taliban were deadlier than those committed by any other group in 2018, according to a report released by an international think tank on Wednesday. The 2019 Global Terrorism Index found that the militant group took significantly more lives than ISIS did last year. Although the overall number of deaths by terrorism declined in 2018, according to the report, 71 countries recorded at least one death by terrorism. Afghanistan was most affected, with more than 7,000 deaths. The index also identified a sharp rise in far-right terrorism globally, particularly in Europe and North America. The report was produced by the Institute for Economics & Peace, a nonpartisan think tank that develops metrics to study peace and its economic impact. It pulls its data from the Global Terrorism Database of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism. The database includes the deaths of assailants in its fatality numbers. According to Steve Killelea, the executive chairman of the Institute for Economics & Peace, the Taliban "now account for 38 per cent of all terrorist deaths globally," which he believes "underscores the difficulty with the current conflict" in Afghanistan.”

Xinhua: 5 Militants Killed During Night Raid Operation In S. Afghan Province

“Five militants were killed and five others were arrested after Afghan Special Operations Forces waged an operation in southern Kandahar province during Tuesday night, local police said on Wednesday. "The night raid operation was launched in Attali locality of Khakrez district, in the northern side of Kandahar province. The security forces received hostile fire from militants during the raid and return fire for self defense," provincial police spokesman Jamal Barakzai told Xinhua. The clashes left five enemy combatants killed and five militants arrested but no security force member was hurt, he said. The security forces also seized some amount of weapons and ammunition and destroyed six militants' motorcycles during the raid, the police official added. Security situation has been improving in Kandahar, the former stronghold of Taliban, over the past months, as security forces have conducted search and cordon operations across the province. But the militants attack government interests in the province from time to time. The Taliban militant group has not made a comment on the report so far.”

Saudi Arabia

Al Jazeera: Saudi King Blames Iran For 'Chaos', Calls For Global Response

“Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud struck a defiant note against the kingdom's enemies, saying missile and drone attacks it blames on Iran failed to halt economic development and he reiterated that Riyadh will not hesitate to defend itself. In an annual address to the appointed Shura Council on Wednesday, King Salman, in an eight-minute speech, said that the international community must stop Tehran's nuclear and ballistic missile programmes and its regional intervention. The king said it was time to stop the "chaos and destruction" generated by Iran. "Though the kingdom has been subjected to attacks by 286 ballistic missiles and 289 drones, in a way that has not been seen in any other country, that has not affected the kingdom's development process or the lives of its citizens and residents," he told council members, royals and foreign diplomats. "We hope the Iranian regime chooses the side of wisdom and realises there is no way to overcome the international position that rejects its practises without abandoning its expansionist and destructive thinking that has harmed its own people." King Salman also said the oil policy of the kingdom, the world's top oil exporter, is aimed at promoting market stability.”

Reuters: Saudi-Led Coalition Says Yemen Houthis Claim Of Shooting Down Warplane Is Incorrect

“Spokesman Turki al-Malki for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen said on Wednesday that “Yemen Houthis claim of shooting down a coalition F-15 warplane is incorrect”, according to the Saudi state news agency. Yemen Houthis said on Wednesday that they had intercepted a coalition warplane near the border with Saudi Arabia.”


Associated Press: Fear, Turmoil In Lebanon As Its Financial Crisis Worsens

“On one of Beirut’s main commercial streets, store owners are cutting salaries by half or considering shutting down. Shops advertise sales, but still can’t draw in customers. The only place doing a thriving business: the store that sells safes, as Lebanese increasingly stash their cash at home. It’s a sign Lebanese fear their country’s financial crisis, which has been worsening for months, could tip over into disaster. Banks have clamped limits on withdrawals of U.S. dollars. The Central Bank’s sources for dollars are waning. Politicians are paralyzed, struggling to form a new government in the face of tens of thousands of protesters in the streets for the past month in an unprecedented uprising demanding the entire leadership go. “People are scared,” said Khalil Chehab, owner of Shehab Security, a store selling safes on Beirut’s Hamra Street. “Since the middle of last month, business rose about 30%.” As he spoke to The Associated Press, three customers were in his shop. Clients of all economic levels have been coming, he said — and the shop has safes for any budget, with prices from $35 to $15,000.”

The National: Lebanon Protests: Hezbollah Supporters Harass Journalists Over Reporting

“Journalists are being harassed by Hezbollah supporters for their positive coverage of Lebanon’s protests, according to television station Al Jadeed. On Tuesday, dozens of the Iran-backed party’s followers arrived outside the channel’s building on motorbikes to protest against Al Jadeed calling out Hezbollah and allied party Amal for failing to reprimand supporters who harass journalists. In an editorial on Tuesday, anchor Dalia Ahmad said that “groups supporting Hezbollah are running campaigns against the media”, exposing staff to “slander, insults, pornographic images and the distribution of the phone numbers of male and female colleagues”. Al Jadeed’s vice-president, Karma Khayat, told The National that she believed the TV channel became a target because of its positive coverage of anti-government protests. “They are saying that people are continuing to protest because of our live coverage. But we are proud to support the revolution. People are fighting for issues Al Jadeed stands for,” she said.”

Middle East

The New York Times: Arab Thinkers Call To Abandon Boycotts And Engage With Israel

“Boycotting Israel is a failure, and has only helped that country while damaging Arab nations that have long shunned the Jewish state, according to a small new group of liberal-minded Arab thinkers from across the Middle East who are pushing to engage with Israel on the theory that it would aid their societies and further the Palestinian cause. The group has brought together Arab journalists, artists, politicians, diplomats, Quranic scholars and others who share a view that isolating and demonizing Israel has cost Arab nations billions in trade. They say it has also undercut Palestinian efforts to build institutions for a future state, and torn at the Arab social fabric, as rival ethnic, religious and national leaders increasingly apply tactics that were first tested against Israel. “Arabs are the boycott’s first — and only — victims,” Eglal Gheita, an Egyptian-British lawyer, declared at an inaugural gathering this week in London. Calling itself the Arab Council for Regional Integration, the group does not purport to be broadly representative of Arab public opinion. Its members espouse a viewpoint that is, to put it mildly, politically incorrect in their home countries: Some have already been ostracized for advocating engagement with Israel and others said they feared retribution when they return.”


The Washington Post: IS Claims Attack In Egypt’s Sinai That Killed Officer

“The Islamic State group has claimed an attack this week in Egypt’s restive Sinai Peninsula that killed an officer and wounded three others. A statement by the extremist group released late on Wednesday on a militant-linked website says its fighters had targeted an armored vehicle carrying Egyptian forces with a roadside bombing the previous day in the town of Sheikh Zuweid. Egyptian officials had said a captain was killed and four members of the security forces were wounded in a roadside bombing on Tuesday. Egypt has been battling an Islamic insurgency in Sinai, led by the regional IS affiliate, that intensified after the military overthrew the country’s Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, in 2013. The militants have carried out scores of attacks, mainly targeting security forces and minority Christians.”


Xinhua: Libya's Eastern-Based Army Stresses Need To Eliminate Terrorism

“Spokesman of Libyan eastern-based army Ahmad al-Mismari on Wednesday said that no political process in Libya can succeed before eliminating terrorism. "The general command of the Armed Forces has already determined its position on international efforts, and stressed that no political process can succeed unless terrorist groups are eliminated and criminal militias are dismantled and disarmed," al-Mismari said in a statement. Al-Mismari pointed out that any political or economic track will not succeed unless it is preceded by determining the security and military path, according to bases and rules that enable the restoration of the state and its sovereign decision-making. The eastern-based army has been leading a military campaign since early April in and around the capital Tripoli, attempting to take over the city and topple the UN-backed government. The fighting has killed and injured thousands of people, and forced more than 120,000 civilians to flee their homes.”


Xinhua: Nigerian Air Force Destroys Boko Haram's Meeting Venue

“The Nigerian air force (NAF) said Wednesday that it has wiped out one of terror group Boko Haram's meeting venues in the northeastern Nigerian state of Borno. The operation by the NAF also led to the death of several Boko Haram leaders, NAF spokesperson Ibikunle Daramola said in a statement. The operation was conducted on Tuesday following intelligence reports that some Boko Haram leaders had gathered for a meeting within a settlement, in which they also stored logistics supplies, according to the statement. The militants were killed as they attempted to flee the location and the air strikes also destroyed part of the settlement, Daramola said. The NAF, according to Daramola, will continue to destroy the remnants of the Boko Haram terrorists by cooperating with surface forces. The northeast region of Nigeria has been destabilized for over a decade by Boko Haram, which is known for its agenda to maintain a virtual caliphate in the most populous African country. The group has launched attacks on military targets in northeastern Nigeria, killing hundreds of people and displacing thousands.”


The New York Times: Almaas Elman, Somali-Canadian Activist, Is Shot Dead In Mogadishu

“A Somali-Canadian aid worker and activist was shot dead on Wednesday in Mogadishu, a police official said, dealing a new blow to efforts by the Somali diaspora to return home and help rebuild the country after decades of war. The death of the aid worker, Almaas Elman, was confirmed by Brig. Gen. Zakia Hussein, the deputy commissioner of the Somali Police Force, who said investigations into the killing were continuing. It was not immediately clear who killed Ms. Elman or why, but General Hussein said Ms. Elman was hit by a bullet while inside a car at the Halane complex, a heavily fortified compound that flanks the international airport in Mogadishu and is populated by African Union troops and representatives from United Nations agencies and embassies. Said Fadhaye, a freelance videographer in Mogadishu, the Somali capital, posted on Facebook that he was in the car with Ms. Elman when she died. Describing the events as an “attack,” Mr. Fadhaye said Ms. Elman had “died on my lap,” adding, “May God have mercy on her.” Ms. Elman comes from a prominent family of activists whose work has focused on social justice, women’s rights and rehabilitating children impacted by Somalia’s decades-long war. Ms. Elman was the daughter of Elman Ali Ahmed, a pioneering peace activist who himself was gunned down in Mogadishu in 1996. Amnesty International said at the time that his murder “sent a chilling message to Somalis desirous of peace and normality — that no one is safe.”


Reuters: Algeria Army Arrests Militants Heading For Sahel Region -Ministry

“Algeria’s army has arrested eight people planning to join Islamist militants in the neighboring Sahel region, the defence ministry said on Wednesday. The eight were arrested on Tuesday in the Ghardaia and Relizane provinces, a ministry statement said without providing details. Algeria has repeatedly expressed concerns about security across its southern borders with Mali and Niger, where Islamist militants have carried out deadly attacks on civilians and government forces. The army has tightened security across the country’s frontiers with the Sahel region and with Libya, and announced seizures of weapons during patrols this year. Algeria emerged from decade-long Islamist linked violence in the 1990s when an estimated 200,000 people were killed following the cancellation of a legislative election an Islamist party was poised to win.”

Reuters: Suspected Islamist Militants Kill 19, Burn Church In Eastern DR Congo 

“Islamist militiamen killed at least 19 people overnight in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, stepping up attacks on civilians in response to a military campaign against them in border areas with Uganda, local officials said on Wednesday. The assailants, who the officials said belong to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan Islamist group, also kidnapped several people and torched a Catholic church during two separate attacks about 35 km (22 miles) apart. The Congolese army began an offensive three weeks ago near the Ugandan border. The ADF has been operating there for more than two decades and is one of dozens of rebel groups active in the mineral-rich areas where civil wars resulted in millions of deaths around the turn of the century. Several previous ADF attacks have been claimed by Islamic State, but the extent of their relationship remains unclear. Army spokesman Mak Hazukay said the ADF killed at least seven people on the outskirts of the city of Beni, adding that two soldiers were wounded and several people were missing. Donat Kibwana, the administrator of Beni territory, said ADF fighters killed another 12 people in the village of Mavete, where they also burned a church and a pharmacy and kidnapped several others.”

Financial Times: France Urges Europeans To Help Crush Islamist Threat In Sahel

“France’s defence minister has issued a call to EU allies to join the war against Islamist groups in the Sahel amid growing concern that the six-year-old French military campaign is failing to eradicate the threat of insurgencies in Africa. Speaking in her office in Paris, Florence Parly said the 4,500-strong Operation Barkhane was facing the “very difficult challenge” of asymmetric war in Mali and its neighbours in the scrub and desert of the Sahel, despite help from US intelligence and logistical and military contributions from the UK, Spain, Estonia and Denmark. She said the Sahel operation was crucial to EU security, by eliminating a haven for terrorist organisations. Ms Parly said EU countries should help train national armies and send special forces to help Mali in what she said would be “a long haul”. “In this war nothing is obvious, it’s an asymmetric war,” Ms Parly told the Financial Times in an interview. “It’s a war that combines the struggle against terrorism with local situations of ancestral conflicts or tensions between communities.” The French-led military campaign in the Sahel has become bloodier in recent months, despite periodic announcements of successful campaigns to eliminate jihadist leaders and seizures of weapons.”


France 24: Sister Of French IS Brothers Jailed For Terrorist Association

“A French court on Wednesday jailed Anne Diana Clain, whose two brothers were notorious propagandists for Islamic State, for nine years for terrorist association. Paris's criminal courts handed down the sentence to Clain, 44, for having attempted between 2015 and 2016 to head to conflict-ravaged Syria with her husband and four children to join her brothers Fabien and Jean-Michel Clain. Fabien Clain has been identified as the voice in an audio recording claiming responsibility for the 2015 Paris attacks which killed 130 people and warning that they were just "the beginning of the storm". His brother has also been accused of being an IS propagandist in Syria. The court also found Clain's husband Mohamed Amri, a 58-year-old Tunisian, guilty and handed him a ten-year sentence as presiding judge Isabelle Prevost-Desprez highlighted the couple's determination to reach Syria. "That project failed but not because you wanted it to -- you never gave up on (the idea) of your own volition," she said, recalling how Anne Clain's attempt to reach Syria failed when the convert to Islam was arrested at the Turkish border in July 2016. "You took your children off on a deadly trip as far as your arrest in Turkey on the Syrian border," said Prevost-Despreznte, saying the scheme was "extremely serious.”


The Guardian: Australian Jihadis: Motivated By Status And Show No Contrition For Crimes

“The archetypal Australian jihadist has no apparent mental health issues, does not have a refugee background, and is more likely to have gone to a state school than a private Islamic one, according to one of the world’s largest databases of alleged and convicted terrorists. Islamist extremists from Australia tend to be better educated, more likely to be employed and have fewer and less serious criminal convictions than a typical European jihadist, according to the Lowy Institute study of 173 Australians alleged to have become foreign fighters or who have been convicted of terrorism offences. But they are still more likely to be on welfare or do blue-collar work than the average Australian, suggesting that a desire for personal status may be a greater motivator for joining or supporting a terrorist group than religious devotion, poverty or mental health issues – causes that are popularly cited as driving factors. The Typology of Terror working paper, by the Lowy Institute fellow Rodger Shanahan, studied the backgrounds and characteristics of 173 Australian citizens and residents who are known to have joined radical Islamist terrorist organisations or who have been charged with terrorism offences. It challenges a number of the stereotypes ascribed to those attracted to jihad.”


The New York Times: Woman And Man Charged With Terror Offenses In Kosovo

“Kosovo prosecutors have filed terrorism charges against two people suspected of supporting or fighting with the Islamic State group in Syria. A prosecutors’ statement Tuesday said they had accused a woman, identified only as F.Z., as fighting with the Islamic State group in Syria. She was among 110 Kosovo citizens repatriated from Syria in April. A man identified as F.Ll. was accused Wednesday of using his Facebook page to encourage people to join terror groups, downloading hate speeches from IS and hailing a recent murderous attack in Sri Lanka. If convicted, the woman could face a prison sentence of more than 15 years and the man up to five years. Kosovo authorities say 30 of the country’s citizens are still actively supporting terror groups in Syria.”

The Week: The EU Countries Worst Affected By Terrorism

“The UK has been officially ranked as the country in the European Union that is worst affected by terrorism. The Global Terrorism Index (GTI) puts the UK in the top 30 of the world’s 168 nations, ahead of fellow EU nations including France, Germany, Belgium and Spain. The risk of terrorism is also higher in the UK than in Sri Lanka, Iran, Russia and Israel, according to the annual ranking by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). The Sydney-based think-tank gave each country a rating on a scale of zero to ten, according to the number of deaths and incidents tapered over five years - with 2018-19 accounting for 52% of the score, while the first of the five years accounts for just 7%. Afghanistan topped the global ranking, with a score of 9.603. The UK’s position in 28th place, with a score of 5.405, is in large part due to four high-profile attacks in 2017, including the attack on London Bridge that result in 11 deaths, and the Manchester Arena attack, which claimed the lives of 22 people. The IEP also cites the increased threat of the new IRA as a key contributor to Britain’s high ranking, as well as Islamic terrorism. In addition, the think-tank warns of a rise in right-wing terrorism and a growing threat from women radicalised by Islamic State (Isis).”

The Times Of Israel: Belgium Ends Funding For Palestinian Schools Over Honoring Of Terrorist

“Belgium has broken its relations with the Palestinian Authority’s education ministry over its honoring of terrorists and will no longer fund the construction of its schools, a government spokesperson said. The Belgian Education Ministry announced the move — the first of its kind by any European country — this week, the Joods Actueel Jewish newspaper reported Friday. “As long as school names are used to glorify terrorism, Belgium can no longer cooperate with the Palestinian Education Ministry and will not give out budgets for the construction of schools,” a statement from the ministry said. Last year, Belgium froze $3.8 million in funding for the construction of two Palestinian schools after a West Bank school that it helped fund was renamed for a terrorist who killed Jewish civilians. Numerous appeals by the Belgian government to have the school renamed have gone unheeded, leading to the end of cooperation, the statement said. Sometime after 2013, a school built in Hebron with Belgian money was renamed for Dalal Mughrabi, a Palestinian terrorist who was part of a 1978 attack that killed 38 civilians, including 13 children. The school was inaugurated as the Beit Awwa Elementary School for Girls in 2013.”

Southeast Asia

Associated Press: China Demands Trump Veto Bills On Hong Kong

“China on Thursday demanded President Donald Trump veto legislation aimed at supporting human rights in Hong Kong and renewed a threat to take “strong countermeasures” if the bills become law. Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act undermined both China’s interests and those of the U.S. in the semi-autonomous Chinese city. “We urge the U.S. to grasp the situation, stop its wrongdoing before it’s too late, prevent this act from becoming law (and) immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs,” Geng said at a daily news briefing. “If the U.S. continues to make the wrong moves, China will be taking strong countermeasures for sure,” Geng said. Foreign Minister Wang Yi joined in the criticism, telling visiting former U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen that the legislation constituted an act of interference in China’s internal affairs and ignored violent acts committed by protesters. “This bill sends the wrong signal to those violent criminals and its substance seeks to throw Hong Kong into chaos or even to destroy Hong Kong outright,” Wang said. The human rights act mandates sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials who carry out human rights abuses and requires an annual review of the favorable trade status that Washington grants Hong Kong.”

Daily Mail: Why The Terrorist Who Helped Mastermind The 2002 Bali Bombings That Killed 202 People - Including 88 Australians - Could Walk Free From Jail Eight Years EARLY 

“A terrorist who helped orchestrate the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings could soon walk free, with authorities revealing they will support his parole application. Umar Patek helped mastermind the atrocity which killed 202 people, including 88 Australians, nearly one year after the September 11 attacks on October 12. His Filipino wife secured Indonesian citizenship on Wednesday as a 'thank you' to Patek for denouncing terrorism while serving his 20-year sentence. Prison authorities who attended the citizenship ceremony at Porong jail in East Java said they will support Patek's application for parole when the time comes. Police and onlookers view the site of the bomb blast in Bali on October 13, 2002. Porong prison Governor Tonny Naniggolan said Patek will first need to served two-thirds of his sentence, which means he could be released in 2023. 'Not only me [will support the application], but also the National Agency for Combating Terrorism... and others,' he told 7 News, noting Petek had been a 'well-behaved' prisoner. As officials watched on, Patek addressed the crowd at his wife's citizenship ceremony and shared a message about terrorism.  'My message is clear, don't do any terror acts because the Indonesian Government maintains the safety and comfort of all regions to perform worship,' he said.”

The Straits Times: Malaysian Terrorist With Links To 9/11, Singapore Bomb Plot Released

“Convicted Malaysian terrorist Yazid Sufaat, who acquired four tonnes of ammonium nitrate in 2000 in preparation for a foiled bombing plot in Singapore, was freed from prison yesterday, anti-terrorism police told The Straits Times (ST). A former army captain, the 55-year-old US-trained biochemist, who once attempted to produce weapons of mass destruction for Al-Qaeda, was released from Simpang Renggam Prison after serving two years - the maximum period allowed - under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. Malaysian police counter-terrorism chief Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay told ST that Yazid was freed after Malaysia's Prevention of Terrorism Board met earlier this month to discuss the matter. "He will be under police surveillance for two years and will need to wear an electronic monitoring device (EMD). If he wishes to travel outside of Ampang, Yazid would need to alert the Ampang police chief," Datuk Ayob said, referring to a district in Selangor state where Yazid is residing. Mr Ayob added that although Yazid is allowed to use a phone, he is barred from having any access to the Internet. "He's also not allowed leave home between 8pm and 6am but is free to accept visitors. "After two years, the authorities will re-evaluate everything again before deciding," he said.”

Business Insider: Malaysia Has Freed A Terrorist Notorious For Making Biological Weapons – Here’s What We Know 

“After spending two years in a Johor jail, Yazid Sufaat is now a free man – though authorities will continue to watch him closely given his close links to militant groups Al-Qaeda, ISIS, and Jemaah Islamiyah. The US-trained biochemist was detained under Malaysia’s Prevention of Terrorism Act for two years – the maximum duration allowable under the Act, which permits police to jail suspects without trial. This is the 55-year-old’s third time being released, bringing his total duration behind bars to 12 years. Yazid was freed from Simpang Renggam Detention Centre on Wednesday (Nov 20), The Star quoted Bukit Aman’s counter-terrorism division head Ayob Khan as saying. He will have to wear an electronic monitoring device, remain within Kuala Lumpur’s Ampang district, and report to the Ampang police station twice a week, The Star’s report added. In addition, Yazid will be under police surveillance and cannot access the Internet, The Straits Times (ST) reported, adding that authorities would re-evaluate his situation in two years’ time. Quoting an intelligence source, ST added that Yazid’s release was secured in part because the Prison Department indicated that he appeared to have repented for his crimes.”


The Verge: Facebook And Google Surveillance Is An ‘Assault On Privacy,’ Says Amnesty International

“Facebook and Google’s persistent surveillance of billions of people around the world threatens human rights and free expression, says Amnesty International. In a new report, the NGO argues the companies need to change their business model and stop being reliant on people’s data. The internet is a necessary part of daily life for people all over the world. The “Big Five” tech companies — Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Facebook — dominate almost all online services. Facebook and Google are particularly powerful when it comes to speech and free expression — two fundamental rights that Amnesty International says are under assault. The report points out that Google now controls 90 percent of search engine usage around the world, while one third of the globe uses a Facebook-owned service every day. “Billions of people have no meaningful choice but to access this public space on terms dictated by Facebook and Google,” said Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International.”