Eye on Extremism: November 22

The Washington Post: After Long Legal Battle With ‘ISIS Bride,’ U.K. Pushes For Power To Cancel Citizenship Without Notice

“Britain’s Conservative government could be allowed to strip people of citizenship without giving them notice to appeal if legislation being debated in Parliament becomes law. The Nationality and Border Bill would permit the home secretary, Britain’s top domestic security official, to cancel citizenship without warning on national security grounds if it is not “reasonably practicable” to do. The move comes months after a top British court said that Shamima Begum, the British-born “ISIS bride” who left the country as a teenager to join the Islamic State, will not be allowed to return to the United Kingdom to fight a legal case about the revocation of citizenship. “Deprivation of citizenship on conducive grounds is rightly reserved for those who pose a threat to the UK or whose conduct involves very high harm,” said the Home Office in a statement, adding that British citizenship is a “privilege” and not a right. London said that the bill does not give it extra powers to remove citizenship, but legal experts have slammed the legislation for potentially creating situations where people lose their right to return home without being allowed to challenge the decision in court. “It’s not the kind of transparency in due process that you want,” said Alexander Gillespie, an international law expert at New Zealand’s University of Waikato.”

NPR: For Far-Right Groups, Rittenhouse's Acquittal Is A Cause For Celebration

“In the minutes after a jury acquitted 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse on all counts, jubilation lit up on social media spaces where far-right extremists gather. In one Telegram channel for the far-right Proud Boys, some noted they had taken the day off work to await the verdict. “There's still a chance for this country,” wrote one. In another channel, a member stated that political violence must continue. “The left wont stop until their bodied get stacked up like cord wood,” he wrote. Rittenhouse himself is not known to be a member of an extremist group. But the trial, which from its beginning became a cause and rallying cry among conservatives who champion gun rights, has been particularly alarming to extremism researchers. As it played out against the backdrop of an increasingly polarized nation, experts of far-right movements say opportunists found a growing audience for their violence-fueled messaging that targets the left. Now that a jury has found that Rittenhouse acted in self-defense, those concerns are recentering on the question of whether it may embolden others to engage in political violence.”

United States

US Department Of Justice: Man Sentenced To More Than 16 Years’ Imprisonment For Attempting To Provide Material Support To Terrorists

“A New York man was sentenced today to 200 months, more than 16 years, in prison for attempting to provide material support and resources to the designated foreign terrorist organizations the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and the al-Nusrah Front. Elvis Redzepagic, 30, of Commack, pleaded guilty in April 2021. According to court documents, in early 2015, Redzepagic began communicating with an individual he believed to be both the commander of a battalion in Syria and a member of ISIS or the al-Nusrah Front, and made attempts to join that individual’s battalion to engage in violent jihad. In July 2015, Redzepagic traveled to Turkey and made multiple unsuccessful attempts to cross the border into Syria. Unable to enter Syria from Turkey, Redzepagic traveled to Jordan in August 2016, but was stopped and deported by Jordanian authorities. In Facebook messages from October 2015, Redzepagic explained that “jihad” is when “you fight for the sake of God” and “die for the sake of Allah.” Redzepagic stated that he traveled to Turkey to “perform Jihad and join Jabhat Al-Nusra.” He predicted, “there will come a time where people will only know to say Allahu Akbar.” In subsequent interviews with law enforcement, Redzepagic admitted that at the time he attempted to enter Syria, he was prepared to strap a bomb to himself.”

National Post: Hans-Jakob Schindler: The Continued Threat Of Terrorism

“It’s the problem that won’t go away. Like a virus, it mutates into new variants just when we think we have it on the back foot. Again and again, it raises old questions about what we are prepared to sacrifice in order to defeat it. It challenges our seemingly irrepressible urge to locate the dangers in distant lands when, in reality, it is a disease that can also strike us with deadly effect from within our own homes, and from people we think we know. The year 2021 saw two major events that exemplify the multifaceted nature of the terrorism challenge. On Jan. 6, a violent mob, including members of right-wing extremist groups such as the Proud Boys, as well as QAnon supporters of former U.S. president Donald Trump, stormed the U.S. Capitol building. This showcased the growing threat of violent right-wing extremism at home. Then, on Aug. 30, international forces completed a hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan, enabling the Taliban to take control, and raising the spectre of the country transforming again into a safe haven for al-Qaida and similar groups. The twin challenge from right-wing and Islamist terrorism will continue to dominate the terrorism threat landscape. Enabled and fuelled by technologies such as social media, internet communication and the increasing abuse of cryptocurrencies, these groups are now able to co-operate and organize globally, and to communicate and finance themselves effectively, mostly by using cost-free services.”

Vice: Neo-Nazis Who Plotted To Kill Antifa Activist Sentenced To Prison

“…Joshua Fisher-Birch, an intelligence analyst who specializes in right-wing extremism at terrorism watchdog the Counter-Extremism Project, said the plot was a harbinger of what would eventually follow. “Extreme right-wing violence continues to be a problem in the U.S., with numbers increasing in 2020,” he said. “In this case, the defendants were arrested before they could commit a particularly horrendous politically motivated murder, but it’s important to note that the threat remains.” “Similar white supremacist groups and networks that aspire to commit acts of violence also continue to seek recruits and organize clandestinely,” said Fisher-Birch, pointing out that The Base, even in the face of heavy law enforcement probes, isn’t dead either. But over a dozen of its members around the world have been arrested. Earlier this month ex-Canadian soldier Patrik Matthews and another member of the group were convicted in a Maryland court for plotting a mass shooting at a Virginia gun rally. The two had hoped their attack would spark a “race war” and send the U.S. into civil unrest between the right and the left, but their plot ended with both of them in federal prison for nine years. Judging from the group’s online activities, The Base, which claims it is a survivalist collective (but is a designated terror group in two countries), continues to exist and posts propaganda images of members engaging in paramilitary training.”

Syria

Kurdistan 24: Anti-Terror Units Arrest Four ISIS Suspects In Northern Syria

“The Anti Terror Forces (HAT) linked to the Internal Security Forces, also known as Asayish, arrested four ISIS suspects on Saturday in rural Hasakah province of Syria. The operation took place in Tal Hamis, Hasakah, and the forces seized a number of weapons and ammunition, in addition to Iraqi and Syrian identity documents. Last week, ISIS reportedly claimed to have injured a member of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), with which HAT is allied, in Tal Hamis. While ISIS lost the entirety of its former self-styled caliphate back in 2019, the group still operates networks of sleeper cells across northeast Syria. Most of the attacks are carried out in the Arab-majority province of Deir al-Zor, while there are relatively few ISIS attacks in the Hasakah province. On Nov. 14, an unidentified person detonated a bomb near the military police headquarters in Sanifa town in al-Hasakah city before fleeing the site, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported. The bomb only caused material damage. Also, on Nov. 12, the body of a man was found in the vicinity of al-Tariqiyah village in south of Hasakah city, SOHR reported. The murder was likely linked to ISIS sleeper cell activity in the area.”

Metro: Isis Is Stealing Thousands Of Sheep In Syria To Finance Terror Cells

“…Hundreds of animals were reportedly stolen every week at the beginning of 2021, with farmers being murdered in raids or killed by mines laid on roads and in grazing areas. Some of the cattle is being used to sustain the fighters. Gregory Waters, a research analyst with the Counter Extremism Project, told Metro.co.uk: ‘It’s nothing like the oil trade Isis had when it was controlling territory, but they don’t have the expenses they had before. ‘All they need now is supplies for their cells and to pay the smugglers. ‘It’s an easy and lucrative operation. It also serves a second purpose in that by killing shepherds and stealing sheep there are more internally displaced people, which means more smuggling routes and informal crossings. ‘This makes it easier for Isis fighters to infiltrate areas as they can hide among strangers moving from place to place.’ Shepherds have been found executed with gunshots to their heads on ‘multiple’ occasions this year, according to a report by Mr Waters for the New York-based think tank. The livestock is then smuggled to markets, including those across the border in Iraq where a better price can be fetched, and south into the regime’s main bastions in Syria. Up to 23,000 sheep were transported into SDF-held territory, which includes Raqqa, during the first few months of 2021, according to a researcher in the city who spoke to Mr Waters.”

Afghanistan

The Wall Street Journal: Afghanistan’s Opium Business Cranks Up As The Taliban Look The Other Way

“Afghanistan’s opium industry—the main source of heroin sold in the West—is revving back up. Here in Talukan, dozens of merchants openly trade different grades of opium in a busy new market that has sprung up since the Taliban’s Aug. 15 victory. Plastic bags filled with viscous brown liquid are on display next to metal bowls filled with a jellylike substance as well as solid dark bricks of the narcotic. White banners praising the Taliban’s Islamic Emirate fly from every shop. In this and other districts of southern Afghanistan’s Kandahar province, the Taliban movement’s cradle, farmers say they are starting to plant poppies on land where they used to grow wheat or corn because a combination of drought, international sanctions and border closures has made legal crops unprofitable. “Everyone is poor here, and will become even poorer if we don’t grow poppies. There is no alternative: Our other produce simply has no market,” said Salih Mohammad, a 55-year-old father of seven. He said he increased the land under poppy cultivation from 2.5 to 4 acres, or half of his leasehold, this month: “There is no doubt that people here will grow more poppies this year than in the past.” Afghanistan has been suffering from its worst drought in decades.”

Reuters: Taliban To Start Paying Overdue Salaries Of Afghan Government Workers

“Afghanistan's Taliban administration will begin paying the overdue salaries of government workers from Saturday, officials said. Thousands of Afghan government workers are owed at least three months of salary, one of the many crises faced by the Taliban since the Islamist movement took over the country in August. “The finance ministry says that, starting today, the past three months salaries of all government workers and staff will be paid totally,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Twitter. It was not immediately clear where the funds to pay the salaries would come from. Even before the Taliban seized control last in August, many public sector workers said they had not been paid for weeks. After the movement took power, billions of dollars of Afghan government funds parked abroad in the United States and Europe were frozen. Foreign governments have been unwilling to fund the Taliban-led administration directly to help with financial commitments such as payment of workers. Global financial institutions have also halted funding. After a meeting on Thursday between the special envoys of Germany and the Netherlands and Taliban officials in Kabul, the envoys expressed willingness to explore paying health and education sector workers directly through international organisations.”

Lebanon

Reuters: Lebanon Needs To Show That Hezbollah Can Change Behaviour, Bahrain Minister Says

“Bahrain's foreign minister, Abdullatif Al Zayani, said on Saturday that Lebanon needs to demonstrate that its powerful Iran-allied Hezbollah movement can change its behaviour to mend a rift with Gulf Arab states. Lebanon is facing a diplomatic crisis with Gulf states, triggered by a minister's critical comments about the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen that prompted Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait to expel Lebanon's top diplomats and recall their own envoys. Concerned about Hezbollah's growing influence, Gulf states - traditional aid donors to Lebanon - have been withholding support to the country which is suffering a deep economic crisis. “We (can) extend support and try to find solutions in the future, but once it is demonstrated that Hezbollah can be changing its behaviour,” Zayani told the IISS Manama Dialogue security forum in Bahrain. Riyadh, locked in a regional rivalry with Iran, has said its measures last month against Lebanon, including an import ban, were not only in response to the minister's remarks, but were also to demonstrate unease over Hezbollah's “domination” of Lebanese politics. Lebanon's newly appointed information minister George Kordahi said his remarks were made in an interview before he joined the cabinet and has refused to apologise or step down.”

Middle East

CNN: Hamas Gunman Kills One Israeli, Injures Four Others, In Jerusalem Attack; Police Shoot Dead Assailant

“A 26-year old Israeli man has died after a Hamas gunman carried out a shooting attack in Jerusalem's Old City. The dead man has been named as Eliyahu David Kay, a recent immigrant from South Africa who worked as a guide at the Western Wall. Authorities corrected the victim's age that they had earlier reported. Four other people -- among them a man whose condition was described as serious -- were injured in the incident, which happened on Sunday morning near the Chain Gate entrance to the al Aqsa mosque compound, also known as the Temple Mount. The assailant, who used an improvised automatic weapon commonly known as a Carlo, police say, was shot dead by police officers on the scene. Israel's public security minister Omar Bar Lev said the gunman was from the neighborhood of Shuafat in east Jerusalem and a member of the political wing of Hamas. Hamas issued a statement identifying the attacker as Fadi Abu Shkaydam, calling him a heroic martyr and describing him as a local leader of the movement. It said the attack was “a response to the attempts to desecrate Al Aqsa mosque.” Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told government ministers he was praying for the recovery of the wounded and had instructed security forces to prepare for possible “copycat attacks.”

Nigeria

Sahara Reporters: Suspected Boko Haram Terrorists Abduct 22 Girls For Marriage In Niger State

“Suspected members of the Boko Haram Islamic sect have invaded Kurebe community in the Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State, abducting 22 girls. According to LEADERSHIP, the abducted girls were between the ages 15 and 17 years old. The gunmen allegedly told the villagers that they were going to marry the girls. A community leader who spoke on condition of anonymity said they had earlier informed them that the girls should be withdrawn from the school because they would come to marry them, adding that they were surprised that the terrorists came yesterday (Thursday) to pick up the girls without any security check. He said the group leader, identified as Malam Sadiku led several operations in the area, preaching weird Islamic ideology unhindered for several months. “They operate freely but when they identify a stranger in the community, they usually feel threatened; they either plan for the abduction of the stranger or chase the person away; we reported several times to the authorities,” he said. The Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, had raised the alarm several times that an Islamic group akin to Boko Haram had hoisted their flag in Kaure, a village close to Kurebe. The Chairman of Shiroro Local Government Area, Suleiman Dauda Chukuba, had also raised the alarm over the activities of the group, calling for urgent action.”

Daily Post Nigeria: Boko Haram, ISIS, ISWAP Threat In Nigeria Increasing – Osinbajo Notifies US

“Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says the threat to Nigeria by Boko Haram, ISIS and its affiliate, Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP), is increasing. Osinbajo raised the alarm on Thursday at the State House, Abuja, during the United States-Nigeria signing of a $2.1billion Development Assistance Agreement. The VP thanked US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken for America’s support on security, infrastructure and intelligence. Noting that the 12 Super Tucano turboprops have been delivered, he said Nigeria looks forward to receiving the fighter helicopters. Osinbajo informed Blinken that the security issues and terror threats in the North-East, Lake Chad and the Sahel persist. “They seem to increase. We are looking forward to greater cooperation because the challenge of terrorism, especially of the sort we have seen with ISWAP, Boko Haram and ISIS. “It will fester and it can really take on the kinds of dimensions that may turn out to be much more grave than we ever thought. We need to do a lot in that particular respect,” he said. He expressed gratitude to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for their work in Nigeria over the years. Osinbajo revealed his admiration about how USAID mastered the way of ensuring that there is a bottom-up approach and participation of beneficiaries.”

Somalia

Reuters: Somali Suicide Bomber Kills Well-Known Somali Journalist

“An al Shabaab suicide bomber in the Somali capital killed himself and a well-known Somali journalist on Saturday, al Shabaab and the journalist's family told Reuters. Abdiaziz Mohamud Guled, commonly known as Abdiaziz Afrika, worked with the government-owned Radio Mogadishu and covered al Shabaab extensively. "My cousin Abdiaziz was killed by a suicide bomber immediately after he went out to a restaurant... he died as he was rushed to hospital," his cousin Abdullahi Nur told Reuters. "He always shonea big light on al Shabaab, may God rest his soul," Nur said. Al Shabaab confirmed it was behind the attack. The group, which wants to overthrow the government and impose its own strict interpretation of Islamic law, frequently carries out bombings. "The mujahideen had been hunting Abdiaziz for a long time. He committed crimes against Islam, he was involved in the killing of mujahideens," Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab military operation spokesperson, told Reuters by phone.”

Africa

Reuters: Five Chinese Nationals Kidnapped In DR Congo After Attack Near Mine

“Gunmen killed a policeman and kidnapped five Chinese nationals near a mine in southeast Democratic Republic of Congo overnight, a local official and an army spokesman said on Sunday. It was not clear who carried out the attack near the village of Mukera in South Kivu province. Relations are already strained between Chinese mining companies and local authorities, who say some firms are operating illegally without licenses. “An armed group exchanged fire with police. Five Chinese nationals were kidnapped,” Major Dieudonne Kasereka, the army spokesman in the region, said. A spokesperson at the Chinese embassy in Congo did not respond to a request for comment. The name of the mine site was not given. In August, the governor of South Kivu, Theo Kasi, suspended the operations of six small Chinese companies, ordering all local and foreign staff to leave the sites. Protests erupted in some areas after companies did not close immediately, local media reported. Separately, President Felix Tshisekedi is reviewing a $6 billion “infrastructure-for-minerals” deal with Chinese investors signed under previous president Joseph Kabila. He said previously that some mining contracts could be reviewed because of concerns they are not sufficiently benefiting Congo, which is the world's largest producer of cobalt and Africa's leading miner of copper.”

Voice Of America: Cameroon, Nigeria, Chad Say New Jihadist Terrorism Threats Warrant Change Of Military Response

“Cameroonian, Nigerian and Chadian troops fighting terrorism in the Lake Chad basin say attacks on military positions have been increasing since Boko Haram leader Aboubakar Shekau was declared dead in May. Military officials from the three countries say the Islamic State in West Africa Province group, or ISWAP, is completely changing terrorism tactics to gain the sympathy of Lake Chad basin civilians. They say ISWAP is emerging as the terrorist group that is taking over from Boko Haram, which is weakened by the death of its leader Shekau. Major General Saly Mohamadou is commander of Cameroon’s troops fighting terrorism in the Lake Chad Basin. He says, unlike Boko Haram, which attacked civilians for supplies and killed both the military and people who opposed the terrorist group when it was very active, ISWAP only attacks military positions to gain support from civilians. He says ISWAP is fighting to control border areas between Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria. Mohamadou said senior military officials of the Multinational Joint Task Force or MNJTF met in Maroua, Cameroon this week to formulate a strategy toward the new terrorism threat. The task force, headquartered in the Chadian capital of N'djamena, is made up of more than 10,000 troops from Niger, Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria.”

United Kingdom

Al Jazeera: Hamas Reacts With Fury As Britain Moves To Ban Group

“Hamas has condemned a move by Britain towards banning the group as a terrorist organisation which could see supporters of the Palestinian movement face up to 14 years in prison. Home Secretary Priti Patel, who will push for the ban in Parliament next week, argued on Friday that it was not possible to distinguish between Hamas’s political and military wings. She called Hamas “fundamentally and rabidly anti-Semitic”, adding the proscription was required to protect the Jewish community. Hamas responded in a statement, saying: “Instead of apologising and correcting its historical sin against the Palestinian people … [Britain] supports the aggressors at the expense of the victims.” That comment referred to the Balfour Declaration and British Mandate, which it said handed “Palestinian lands to the Zionist movement”. “Resisting occupation, by all available means, including armed resistance, is a right guaranteed by international law to people under occupation,” added the statement. The group called on its supporters to condemn the UK’s move, as it described Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands, forcible displacement of Palestinians, the demolition of their homes, and the siege of more than two million people in Gaza Strip, as “terrorism.”

Australia

Brisbane Times: ‘Totally Unacceptable’: Police Investigate Terrorist-Related Email Sent To Politicians

“Police are investigating an email with alleged threats of terrorism that have been sent to several state and federal ministers on Friday. Politicians and police say the emails have been sent to numerous ministers in a bulk email. Labor MP Brittany Lauga on Friday posted that she had received an email with threats of terrorism. “This afternoon I received an email from a local Keppel resident, which was sent to numerous other MPs with threats of terrorism, extremism and violence,” Ms Lauga wrote on Twitter. “I understand local doctors have been sent death threats and other threatening letters.” She said the police had been contacted. “I unequivocally condemn these threats of violence, terrorism and extremism. This is not peaceful protest,” she said. “All our leaders – including the Prime Minister – should stand together in sending a message that this behaviour has no place in our country.” Education Minister Grace Grace told reporters on Saturday that the emails were “totally unacceptable”. “I mean honestly, have your views. But we’re hearing that a lot of members of parliament are getting these...either emails or on certain phone calls into our electoral offices,” she said. “Look, they’re totally unacceptable. Everyone deserves to be safe at work, including politicians and other members of the community. And I would say to them, please stop. It’s not helping anybody. It’s unwelcome and it’s reckless.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

Fact:

On November 28, 2020, Boko Haram militants attacked farmers as they worked in the rice fields of Koshebe near the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri. Abubakar Shekau confirmed his faction was responsible for the massacre of 110 civilians.   

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