Eye on Extremism: November 27

The National: ISIS Launches Counterattack Against SDF In Eastern Syria

“Militants launched an overnight attack against US-backed forces in eastern Syria for the second time in four days on Monday, according to activists. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said insurgents believed to be affiliated with ISIS attacked the Syrian Democratic Forces in the Deir Ezzor suburb of Al Basira, on the eastern banks of the Euphrates River, before retreating. There were no immediate reports of casualties. The activist-run DeirEzzor24 website said ISIS targeted SDF positions near the Al Tanak oil field, which is also protected by US coalition forces. “No matter how intense clashes get between the SDF and ISIS terrorists get in eastern Deir Ezzor, militants will never be able to regain their former clout,” the SDF said in a statement on Monday night. The SDF and ISIS were locked in fierce clashes in east Syria between Friday and Saturday.”

CNN: Woman Admits To Laundering Stolen Money To Support ISIS  

“A New York woman has pleaded guilty to providing material support for ISIS, admitting to laundering stolen money to support the terrorist group, the Justice Department announced Monday. The announcement said Zoobia Shahnaz falsely obtained a loan, fraudulently secured more than a dozen credit cards and purchased Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as part of her efforts to back the group. "She then engaged in a pattern of financial activity, culminating in several wire transactions totaling over $150,000 to individuals and shell entities in Pakistan, China and Turkey that were fronts for ISIS," the department said. Shahnaz was indicted last year and stood accused of bank fraud, money laundering and support of ISIS, according to court documents. At the time of her indictment, authorities said Shahnaz had tried to leave the US for Syria after "consummating the scheme" but ultimately was arrested. The Justice Department said in Monday's announcement that she faces up to 20 years in prison following the guilty plea.”

CBS News: Facebook Executive To Be Grilled By Unprecedented Group Of Lawmakers From 9 Countries

“One of Facebook's top European executives is appearing Tuesday morning before a first-of-its-kind gathering of legislators from nine nations, investigating the social media giant for its role in election meddling and spreading disinformation. The lawmakers — from the U.K., Canada, Brazil, Latvia, Argentina, Ireland, Singapore, France and Belgium — have repeatedly asked for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to appear before their "grand international committee." But Facebook announced last week it will be represented by Richard Allan, Facebook's vice president for public policy. Right from the start, Allan — who was seated next to an empty chair set aside by the committee for Zuckerberg — faced a heated exchange with Canadian Charlie Angus. "I want to say how deeply disappointed we are for Mark Zuckerberg to ignore an invitation from so many nations," Angus said to start the meeting, before asking for an explanation of the decision-making that led the Facebook founder's absence from the hearing. "I don't think we've ever seen a corporation under a spotlight like this," Angus continued.”

Axios: Lawmakers To Press Regulator About Facebook Inquiry

“Lawmakers will push members of the Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday to provide details of their investigation into whether Facebook’s handling of the Cambridge Analytica data leak violated a previous legal settlement with the agency. Why it matters: Facebook is under intense political pressure around the world, with hearings on both sides of the Atlantic challenging its commitment to treating its users fairly. Details: The five members of the Federal Trade Commission, including Chairman Joe Simons, will appear Tuesday afternoon before a subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee. “Last March, following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the FTC also confirmed that it was investigating whether Facebook's privacy practices violated the Commission's 2012 consent decree,” the subcommittee’s chair, Kansas Republican Sen. Jerry Moran is expected to say, referring to a legal settlement with the agency that required the social giant to make certain privacy guarantees to users. “It would be useful to know if the Commission has an anticipated timeline for when the results of that investigation will be announced, and what penalties the company might face if the Commission determines that its practices did violate the consent decree," he'll say.”

The Wall Street Journal: Haley Calls Russia Reckless In Tense Standoff With Ukraine

“U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley warned Russia over the seizure of three Ukrainian naval ships and Kiev put its troops on military alert in response to an incident that is ratcheting up tensions between Moscow and the West. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said the country’s parliament had approved his declaration of martial law for 30 days starting Wednesday, for a number of provinces most vulnerable to Russian aggression. Ms. Haley called the seizure of the ships “yet another reckless Russian escalation” and said, “It will further undermine Russia’s standing in the world. It will further sour Russia’s relations with the U.S. and many other countries. It will further increase tensions with Ukraine.” She said her comments had been coordinated with President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Mr. Trump—who is expected to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in coming days at a Group of 20 gathering in Buenos Aires—said he was “not happy” with Russian aggression.”

CEP Research Cited By Parliament Committee: Member Of Parliament Stephen Doughty Referenced CEP Research On The Use Of Social Media By Far-Right Groups During The UK Home Affairs Committee Session, “Hate Crime And Its Violent Consequences.”  

United States

CNN: Woman Admits To Laundering Stolen Money To Support ISIS

“A New York woman has pleaded guilty to providing material support for ISIS, admitting to laundering stolen money to support the terrorist group, the Justice Department announced Monday. The announcement said Zoobia Shahnaz falsely obtained a loan, fraudulently secured more than a dozen credit cards and purchased Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as part of her efforts to back the group. "She then engaged in a pattern of financial activity, culminating in several wire transactions totaling over $150,000 to individuals and shell entities in Pakistan, China and Turkey that were fronts for ISIS," the department said. Shahnaz was indicted last year and stood accused of bank fraud, money laundering and support of ISIS, according to court documents. At the time of her indictment, authorities said Shahnaz had tried to leave the US for Syria after "consummating the scheme" but ultimately was arrested. The Justice Department said in Monday's announcement that she faces up to 20 years in prison following the guilty plea. Steve Zissou, an attorney for Shahnaz, told CNN following the guilty plea that the case should serve as a warning for people to prioritize "the real threat" of radicalization over issues like a caravan of migrants headed for the US. "The warning here is for people to stop paying attention to the caravan and to focus on the real threat ... the growing number of American citizens who have been seduced by this imaginary caliphate in the Middle East," Zissou said, adding, "The folks in Washington -- the President has really got to get his eye on the ball.”

The New York Times: Twin Brothers Plead Guilty To Bronx Bomb-Making Plot

“A former schoolteacher and his twin brother pleaded guilty on Monday to federal conspiracy and bomb-making charges, admitting in court that they had stockpiled explosive material in their Bronx apartment. The former teacher, Christian Toro, 28, paid at least two students about $50 an hour to break apart fireworks, extract the explosive powder and store it in containers, the authorities had said. “We were going to use the black powder and other materials to make an explosive,” Christian Toro told a judge on Monday in Federal District Court in Manhattan. Yet even after the guilty pleas, the brothers’ motive for building a bomb and what their target might have been remained unclear. “I just want you to know that I had no intention of using it, let alone on anyone or anything,” Christian Toro told Judge Richard M. Berman. Tyler Toro also contended that he had never intended to harm anyone.”

ABC Chicago: Judge Accepts Novel Plea Deal For Chicago Terrorist Adel Daoud

“Guilty, but no admission of guilt, was the unusual plea deal made by a west suburban man in a major terrorism case that has stretched on for six years. Against the government's wishes, 25-year-old Adel Daoud, of Hillside, was permitted by a federal judge in Chicago to enter what is known as an "Alford plea," in which a defendant pleads guilty while maintaining they are actually innocent. Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman accepted the novel -- and rarely allowed -- kind of guilty plea from Daoud, who was a teenager when arrested by the FBI in the middle of a bombing sting. At the time in 2012, federal authorities said Daoud wanted to commit a "massive" attack that would involve a big bomb that would kill lots of people and end up on the news, he said.
Daoud's attorney, Tom Durkin, engineered the unconventional arrangement in the jihadist bombing case that targeted the Cactus Bar and Grill in Chicago's Loop. Daoud thought he was about to push the button on a 1000 pound bomb and now concedes the government had enough evidence to convict him on 10 counts connected to the attack plot, the solicited murder of an FBI agent on the case and an assault on a cellmate at the MCC-Chicago. "I consider this an FBI success story," said assistant U.S. attorney Barry Jonas on Monday, even though the defense has accused the government of entrapment. "They're the architects of the War on Terror, this is their war, they have to fight it, so let them continue to fight it," Durkin said.”

Los Angeles Times: Police Exploring Background Of Seattle Man Arrested In Vehicle Attack Outside L.A. Synagogue

“Authorities are trying to determine the motivations and background of a 32-year-old Seattle man who allegedly tried to run down two men outside of a synagogue in Hancock Park last week in an attack that police have described as a hate crime. Mohamed Mohamed Abdi was arrested outside of Congregation Bais Yehuda in the 300 block of La Brea Avenue Friday night and held on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon after he yelled a number of anti-Semitic insults and barreled his car toward the two men around 9 p.m., Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Horace Frank said. Abdi was driving a rental car past the synagogue when he began yelling profanity at a group of worshipers near La Brea and Oakwood Avenues, Frank said. Concerned by Abdi’s actions, two men walked away from the larger group but kept their eyes trained on Abdi, who then made a U-turn and ran a red light while accelerating toward them, Frank said. The two men managed to evade him, and Abdi crashed into a parked car a short time later. “That monitoring, that vigilance, saved their lives,” LAPD Chief Michel Moore said at a news conference Monday. No one was injured at the scene, and Abdi is being held in lieu of $55,000 at Men’s Central Jail downtown, police said. A knife was found in Abdi’s car, but Frank said police do not believe he owns any firearms. Frank expects the LAPD will ask the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office to pursue assault charges against Abdi.”

Syria

The Wall Street Journal: Islamic State Kills Dozens Of U.S.-Backed Fighters In Syria Battle, Monitor Says

“Islamic State killed dozens of U.S.-backed fighters in Syria over the weekend, a war monitor said, highlighting the complications for an American troop withdrawal from the country as the extremist group fiercely defends its last positions. At least 91 fighters belonging to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces died in the fight that started on Friday in eastern Deir Ezzour province, the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Monday. About 61 militants and 51 civilians, mostly family members of Islamic State fighters, also were killed, the Observatory said. U.S. airstrikes helped end the fight. The bloody battle dealt the highest number of casualties to the SDF since its inception in 2015, the Observatory said. The group has been a vital ally for the U.S. in its fight against Islamic State. The SDF declined to comment. The U.S. military said the Observatory’s numbers appeared inflated, and that no civilians were killed as a result of its airstrikes. The fight underscores the challenges facing the Trump administration as it contemplates withdrawing from Syria. Since pledging in the early days of his presidency to get U.S. troops back home as soon as possible, President Trump has made an “enduring defeat” of Islamic State a main military objective in Syria. But for that, the U.S. needs to ensure that its partners in Syria can hold ground against Islamist extremists on their own.”

PRI: Syrian Activist Raed Fares Wanted 'A Free Syria For All Syrians.' It May Have Cost Him His Life

“In the months before his death, Raed Fares rarely went home. He often slept in his office, visiting his family only a few hours each day. He knew there were people who wanted to silence him and he didn’t want to put his family at risk. He avoided routines, coming and going from his office at different hours every day. "We told him, 'go to Turkey,'" recalls friend and colleague Ahmad al-Hamdo. But he refused. “He would say that what befall us shall also befall him, and that his life is not worth more than ours.” In 2011, like so many Syrians, Fares took to the streets to protest against the government of President Bashar al-Assad. When those protests turned into war, Fares documented human rights violations by the government and the devastation caused by air strikes and shelling. He filmed the aftermath of strikes and posted videos online for the world to see. “What is impossible for me to show to you,” Fares told an audience at the Oslo Freedom Forum last year, “is what you smell when you reach a place like this. The smell of burnt blood. The smell of burnt vegetables. The smell of body parts. The smell of gunpowder. The smell of 50 years of oppression and pain is carved in my memory.”

Reuters: Chemical Weapons Agency To Investigate Alleged Aleppo Attack

“The global chemical weapons agency will investigate an alleged gas attack in Syria’s Aleppo on Saturday that reportedly wounded up to 100 people, the head of the agency said on Monday. The Syrian government, which accused rebels of firing chlorine, asked the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to send a fact-finding mission to the city, Fernando Arias, the OPCW’s new head, said. Arias said the OPCW had asked the United Nations department of security to say whether it was safe to deploy a team to Aleppo, where government forces two years ago ousted rebels from the last pocket of territory that they controlled. U.N. war crimes investigators, who have a standing mandate to examine all human rights violations committed in Syria, are also collecting information and asking sources for any evidence, a U.N. official in Geneva said. “Once they have something concrete and credible that meets their standard of proof, they will be able to report publicly,” he said. The panel has attributed 33 documented chemical attacks to the government since 2013, while the perpetrators of six others have not been sufficiently identified. World Health Organization spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said the WHO had “received unconfirmed reports of patients arriving in health facilities in Aleppo with symptoms that may be consistent with exposure to chemical agents”. Under new powers granted in June, the OPCW will be able not only to determine whether a chemical weapons attack occurred but also to assign blame.”

The Jerusalem Post: Kids Struggle To Go Back To School In Post-Islamic State Raqqa

“In the Syrian city of Raqqa, children wear hats, scarves and coats to guard against the winter cold as they struggle to catch up on years of lost learning in a classroom with no doors or glazed windows. More than a year since the United States and its allies defeated Islamic State at Raqqa, many of the city's schools still look like battlefields with buildings left lying in rubble and playgrounds dotted with wrecked cars. "When the crisis started, we stopped studying, the schools closed. Now we've come back to study and we need help. Fix the windows, doors, we're dying of cold," said 12-year-old Abdullah al-Hilal at Uqba bin Nafie school. Islamic State, which turned Raqqa into the Syrian headquarters of its self-declared "caliphate," kept schools shut as it tried to impose its ultra-radical vision of Islam through its own education system. Since Islamic State's defeat there in October 2017, 44 schools have reopened with 45,000 children enrolled, said Ali al-Shannan, the head of the education council set up by civilian authorities in Raqqa. The children have lost out on five years of schooling. "Very basic" aid had allowed for some renovation work, covering only 10 percent of needs, Shannan told Reuters. The schools generally "have no doors, no windows, in addition to the sanitation systems that are in a deplorable state," he said.”

Iran

The Washington Post: Report: Iranian Sunni Cleric Shot, Killed In Northern Iran

“Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency says a Sunni cleric who had worked to reconcile Sunnis and Shiites, members of the two biggest sects in Islam, was shot and killed. The report says the cleric, Abdolghafour Jamalzai, was shot in the back with a hunting rifle on Tuesday morning outside of a mosque in the town of Gorgan. The town is about 300 kilometers, or about 190 miles, northeastern of Tehran. The report didn’t say how many gunmen were involved or speculate on the possible motives for the assassination. No group claimed responsibility for the attack. Tasnim says the cleric believed that enemies of Islam are trying to stir up trouble between Shiites and Sunnis. Iran is a majority Shiite nation. In July, gunmen assassinated a Sunni cleric in southeastern Iran.”

NPR: Son Seeks Release Of Ailing 82-Year-Old Father Held Hostage In Iran

“Former UNICEF official Baquer Namazi was detained in Iran nearly three years ago. His son is urging Tehran to let his 82-year-old father leave the country for medical treatment. Namazi is one of several Americans held in Iran. Mary Louise Kelly, Host: It's hard to imagine relations between the U.S. and Iran getting much worse. But that could happen if an Iranian-American dies in custody in Iran. That grim possibility is being raised by the son of Baquer Namazi. The former UNICEF official was detained in Iran nearly three years ago. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports. Michele Kelemen, Byline: In recent months, 82-year-old Baquer Namazi has been out of prison on medical leave but confined to the country. His son Babak Namazi says his father has heart problems, dizziness and vertigo. Babak Namazi: And unfortunately to our horror, he was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 82. For me, it was shocking.”

Iraq

Iraqi News: Intelligence Agents Arrest Islamic State Logistics Provider In Nineveh

“Iraqi authorities announced on Monday the capture of an Islamic State logistics provider during a security operation in Nineveh province. “Troops of the 20th division of the Military Intelligence Directorate have arrested an Islamic State militant on charges of supplying the terrorist group with logistics in al-Qayyarah district, south of Nineveh,” the privately-owned Baghdad Today website quoted the directorate as saying in a statement. “The terrorist was wanted on terror-related charges pursuant to article no. 4 of the anti-terrorism law,” the statement added. Earlier in the day, security forces apprehended a female Islamic State militant while hiding at a refugee camp in Mosul. The woman, code-named as Umm al Dawaesh (or the mother of IS militants), was responsible for delivering foodstuffs to the Islamic State terrorists at their hideouts, according to intelligence reports. Former Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi announced in August 2017 that Nineveh province was fully liberated from Islamic State after the district of Tal Afar was recaptured. The announcement came after the defeat of the jihadist group in the town of Ayadiya, where the militants had fled to from Tal Afar. Islamic State militants seized control of much of Nineveh, including the provincial capital of Mosul, in June 2014.”

Iraq Oil Report: Iraqi Cleric Moqtada Al Sadr Warns Of ISIS Resurgence In Mosul

“Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada Al Sadr warned on Wednesday that Mosul may fall back into the hands of terrorists if the government remains in deadlock over power sharing. "Mosul is in danger and terrorist cells remain active there," Mr Al Sadr said on Twitter, adding that the security of Nineveh province, of which Mosul is capital, has deteriorated at the hands of corrupt politicians.”

Afghanistan

The Boston Globe: Afghan Officials: Taliban Attacks Kill 20 Police, 10 Troops

“A Taliban ambush of a police convoy in western Afghanistan on Sunday killed 20 policemen, while 10 troops died in an insurgent attack on an army checkpoint in the north, Afghan officials said Monday as minority Shiites took to the streets in Kabul for a second day to protest the arrest of a local militia commander. During the demonstrations, protesters opened fire on police, wounding four. The deputy interior minister, General Akhtar Mohammad Ibrahimi, said 44 policemen were also injured when protesters hurled stones and other objects at them. A convoy was on its way to Lash wa Juwayn to introduce a newly appointed district police chief when it came under attack, said provincial council member Abdul Samad Salehi. The new chief was killed. In northern Faryab province, the Taliban attacked an army checkpoint in Qaisar district, killing 10 troops, said Mohammad Tahir Rahmani, head of the provincial council. Three soldiers were wounded. The fate of five others was unknown. The Taliban, who in recent years have taken over nearly half of Afghanistan, claimed responsibility for the Farah attack, the latest in a series of near-daily Taliban assaults on Afghan military and security forces throughout the country. The Taliban view the US-backed government in Kabul as a dysfunctional Western puppet and have refused repeated offers to negotiate with it.”

The Washington Post: Afghan Authorities Free Hazara Fighter Whose Arrest Ignited Street Clashes

“Officials released a controversial private militia commander Monday night after two days of increasingly violent protests in the Afghan capital by his supporters from the ethnic Hazara minority, who viewed him as a hero for protecting their communities from Taliban insurgents. Abdul Ghani Alipur, known as “Commander Sword,” had been detained early Sunday on orders from the national intelligence agency, which accused him of committing a variety of criminal acts under the guise of defending the public. He was released after protesters appealed to Vice President Sarwar Danish, who is Hazara, on the condition that he stop breaking the law. The episode reflected the complexities of Afghanistan’s ethnic politics amid efforts to start peace talks with the Taliban, and the difficulty of trying to control popular militia leaders who commit abuses but informally bolster government forces battling a relentless Taliban insurgency. Afghan police had previously attempted to arrest Alipur in Ghor province, but he escaped after a shootout. His release came as anger spread across the sizable Hazara community in Kabul and other provinces. During protests Sunday and Monday, officials said dozens of police were wounded by rocks and police checkpoints were burned. Hazara leaders said some protesters were wounded but there was no official confirmation. “A consultation meeting took place today and it was agreed to release him if he guarantees that he won’t break the law again,” a senior official told the Reuters news agency here.”

The Washington Post: Peace Is Possible In Afghanistan — But It Will Take Patience

“In recent days, President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan has met with civic and political actors here to discuss the formation of a team to negotiate peace with the Taliban insurgents who have subjected the country to decades of violence. The U.S. special representative for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, said at a Nov. 18 news conference that he is “cautiously optimistic” about peace prospects. He even urged all sides to work toward getting a deal by the spring presidential elections. As a human rights advocate for many years before I joined the Afghan government in 2016, I used to struggle to imagine how we could ever reconcile with a group that has for so long contravened basic human rights principles. But earlier this year, the need to end this conflict was brought home to me in a profound way. On April 30, two coordinated suicide bombings in Kabul killed at least 29 people, including nine journalists who had rushed to cover the first explosion. I knew most of those journalists. An hour after the attack, I visited the scene. The smell of burned human flesh and blood, the destruction and depth of the brutality of the crime, struck me like never before. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for that particular attack, but the slaughter was all too much like the mass killings perpetrated by the Taliban since it was ousted from power in 2001 by a U.S.-led military coalition.”

Xinhua: 7 Taliban Killed, Bomb Making Factory Destroyed In Coalition Airstrike

“At least seven Taliban militants were killed and a Taliban bomb making factory was destroyed following a NATO-led coalition forces' airstrike in southern Afghan province of Kandahar overnight, local police said Tuesday. The incident occurred in Band-e-Temor locality of Maywand district Monday night and among those killed was a Taliban local leader named Ramatullha, an official of the provincial police department, Qasim Azad, told Xinhua. Two militants were wounded and a hijacked police vehicle and two motorcycles were also destroyed after the raid, he said. Several rounds of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and landmines were also destroyed. Security situation has been improving in Kandahar, the former stronghold of Taliban, over the last 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 yet to make comments.”

Pakistan

Pakistan Observer: Fight Against Terrorism Still On

“THE attack on the Chinese Consulate by militants belonging to Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) in Karachi and suicide attack in Lower Orakzai on Friday are stark reminders of the fact that the fight against terrorism had not been won yet and it was still on. Unfortunately terrorism and militancy in Pakistan have both external and internal dimensions. Nevertheless these incidents neither take away anything from the sacrifices that our security forces, law enforcing agencies, police and the people of Pakistan have rendered in checking the burgeoning phenomenon of terrorism in its tracks nor dent the morale of the nation which is determined to take this fight to its logical end. The suicide attack in Orakzai reportedly has been carried out by remnants of TTP hiding in the remote and mountainous part of the Agency. Our Army and law enforcing agencies are already engaged in clearing the whole area and hopefully the task would be accomplished in the near future. The fact is that Pakistan might have to brace for more such attacks till the time all the TTP operatives on our soil are eliminated and their sleeping cells unearthed and destroyed.”

Asia Times: Pakistan Must Tackle Religious Extremism

“The religiously frenzied features of Pakistani culture, politics and society are remnants of the long and dark shadow of General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq’s 11 years of Islamist martial law that structured the entire state as a theater of religion. Pakistani society was turned into a bastion of jihadist terror leading to Islamist bigotry that undermined the peace and stability of the state. General Zia’s promulgation of the Hudood Ordinances on Islamic law encouraged religious fundamentalists to interfere in state affairs. As a result, the religious lobby succeeded in extending legislation against the Ahmadiyya community and other minorities. The publication of Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses in 1988 and Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s fatwa to kill Rushdie further encouraged bigots to extend their influence over religious affairs in Pakistan. The amendments in blasphemy laws resulted in the Ahmadiyya and Christian communities suffering harsh violence at the hands of mobilized religious bigots. The repressive actions of Islamists against the Ahmadiyya community and the liberal intelligentsia led to killings based merely on personal grievances and allegations. Since that time, dozens of people, including notables such as the governor of Punjab Salmaan Taseer, Christian cabinet minister Shahbaz Bhatti, Muslim student Mashal Khan, and officials and businessmen have been killed in result of blasphemy allegations.”

Pakistan Today: Empowering Women Vital To Prevent Extremism: Moot

“Empowerment of women is vital for establishment of peace, security and prevention of extremism and terrorism in a society and they needed to be included in every aspect of peace-building initiatives. This was stated by the speakers at a workshop here on Monday. The one-day event titled ‘Peace Building through Dukhtaran-e-Pakistan’, organised by the Islamic International University Islamabad (IIUI) and was attended by a large number of female students from several universities. IIUI Female Campus Vice President Dr Farkhanda Zia, Huma Chughtai from the Federal Judicial Academy, Dr Sobia Khan from NIPS and Nimra Ashfaq addressed the participants. Addressing on the occasion, Huma Chughtai highlighted the best practices adopted globally on role of women for promotion of peace. She said for generations women have served as peace educators, both in their families and in their societies. “They have proved instrumental in building bridges rather than walls. They have also been crucial in preserving social order when communities collapsed,” she said, adding that the United Nations was making special efforts to recruit more women for peacekeeping and peacemaking missions and also to make those operations more aware of gender issues.”

Yemen

Ashraq Al-Awsat: Houthis Crackdown On Civil Society Groups In Sanaa

“The Iran-backed Houthi militias have ceased all activity by non-Houthi affiliated civil society groups in the Yemeni capital Sanaa. The move is aimed at monopolizing such humanitarian work and exploiting them for their sectarian purposes. Houthi leader Ahmed Hamed ordered the Houthi ministry of social affairs in Sanaa to stop issuing permits to any voluntary humanitarian work except to those linked to the militias. The Houthis had sought throughout the past three years to establish dozens of local organizations under the guise of humanitarian work. These groups have been tasked with seizing international aid and abusing them to lure new recruits to serve their sectarian agenda. Activists told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Houthis have always cracked down on humanitarian work that is not affiliated to them even if they have proper permits.”

Lebanon

Gulf News: Hezbollah Is Crippling Lebanon

“Lebanon celebrated 75 years of independence from French colonial rule last Thursday, a day marked by a parade attended by selected invitees. In reality, most Lebanese have little to celebrate when their country is ruled by an organisation whose loyalty rests firmly with the ayatollahs in Qom. As a people, the Lebanese are overwhelmingly joyous, free-spirited and entrepreneurial, attributes that Hassan Nasrallah and his band of fanatics have never succeeded in crushing. There are up to three times as many Lebanese living outside their homeland than those who stayed. Lebanon has been suffering a brain drain for decades. There are thriving Lebanese communities all over the world. Those that remained are survivors who have learnt to make the most of their lives even when circumstances are dire. Visitors to Beirut would be hard put to imagine the horrors people experienced during a bloody 15-year-long civil war that led to Syria’s de facto occupation, ending in 2005. Hardly did they breathe sighs of relief when Hezbollah’s kidnapping of Israeli soldiers triggered war with Israel a year later incurring 1,200 Lebanese fatalities, over 4,000 injuries and damaged infrastructure. Hezbollah’s rash entry into the Syrian conflict in partnership with Iranian Revolutionary Guards could easily have seen parts of Lebanon turned to rubble. Even as politicians and dignitaries watched the military parade last week, hundreds sporting T-shirts emblazoned with the words “Our Independence from your Exploitation” were out on the street protesting.”

Middle East

Haaretz: Three Israeli Soldiers Wounded In Car-Ramming Attack In West Bank

“Three Israeli soldiers were wounded, one moderately and two lightly, in a car-ramming attack in the West Bank. The assailant was shot dead by one of the soldiers. The Israel Defense Forces spokesman released a statement saying the attack occurred on Route 60, south of Jerusalem, as road work was underway. The soldiers were taken to a hospital to receive medical care. Ramzi Abu Yabbes, the driver of a vehicle that struck Israeli soldiers on November 26, 2018. Palestinian media outlets named the driver as Ramzi Abu Yabbes, a former prisoner from the Deheisheh refugee camp. Two months ago an Israeli-American, Ari Fuld, was killed in a stabbing attack at the entrance to a mall near the junction. Fuld shot and moderately wounded the assailant, Khalil Jabarin, a 17-year old Palestinian from the West Bank village of Yatta near Hebron, after he was stabbed. Fuld was taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem with injuries to his upper body before succumbing to his wounds. Thousands attended Fuld's funeral in Kfar Etzion.”

Egypt

News 24: Egypt Upholds 9 Death Sentences Over Prosecutor Killing

“An Egyptian court on Sunday upheld death sentences for nine people convicted of the murder of a top prosecutor in a car bombing three years ago, a judiciary source said. Hisham Barakat was killed in June 2015 when a bomb struck his convoy in Cairo after jihadist calls for attacks on the judiciary to avenge a crackdown on Islamists. Two years later an Egyptian criminal court sentenced 28 people to death for their involvement in his murder, with only 15 defendants present in court for the verdict at the time. On Sunday, Egypt's court of cassation confirmed the death sentence for nine of the 15, while reducing the sentences of the six others to life imprisonment, the judicial source said. The verdicts of the other defendants were not considered because they had been sentenced in absentia. No one claimed the attack against Barakat but the authorities pointed the finger at members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood of ousted president Mohammed Morsi. Since Morsi's overthrow by the military in 2013, Egypt has struggled to quell a jihadist insurgency and cracked down on Islamists who backed him. Hundreds of Morsi supporters have been sentenced to death, while the former president and top Brotherhood figures have also faced trial. The Muslim Brotherhood was outlawed and branded a terrorist organisation in December 2013, months after Morsi's ouster.”

Libya

The Libya Observer: ISIS Claims Attack On Police Station South Of Libya

“ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack on a police station in Tazirbu town north of Kufra on Friday, which left dead and wounded, in addition to others kidnapped, threatening that more attacks are to come. In a statement issued on its mouthpiece news outlet Amaq, on Telegram, ISIS said that its fighters attacked Tazirbu police station and left 29 casualties between dead and injured. It also said that it had captured others while searching for wanted men in the town. ISIS has staged out several attacks in Libya since losing its main stronghold of Sirte at the hands of Al-Bunyan Al-Marsous Force in late 2016.”

Nigeria

News24: Boko Haram 'Hacked 4 Farmers To Death Before My Eyes': Witness

“Boko Haram jihadists have killed four farmers near the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri, in the latest bloodshed in the restive region, witnesses and a local militia leader said on Monday. Dozens of fighters believed to be loyal to Boko Haram factional leader Abubakar Shekau attacked a group of farmers working in their field near Jiddari-Polo on Monday, said the farmers who survived the attack. They said the Islamists hacked their victims to death and left another farmer with severe injuries. "They came in large numbers on foot while we were picking cowpea in the field and arrested six of us while others escaped," Mala Umara told AFP. "They macheted four to death before my eyes and left the other man seriously injured," he said. A civilian militia leader in the city, Babakura Kolo confirmed the killings. Umara, 75, was spared by the militants with a message to Nigerian troops stationed in Jiddari-Polo that they should brace for an impending attack from the jihadists.”

Pulse: Soldiers Narrate How They Survived Boko Haram's Metele Attack After Running Out Of Ammunition

“Two soldiers of the Nigerian Army have narrated how they survived a recent attack by terrorist group, Boko Haram, that left over 100 soldiers dead and many others running for their lives. Terrorists had overrun the 157 Task Force Battalion in Metele village in Guzamala local government area of Borno State during an attack on Sunday, November 18, 2018, carting away large cache of arms and military equipment after leaving the base strewn with the corpses of dozens of soldiers. Even though several reports have indicated that the number of troops casualties might be as high as over 100, the Army has failed to release an official figure even though it dismissed the figures. According to an account of events narrated by a soldier that survived the attack, troops ran out of ammunition after 40 minutes of trying to repel the attack in a firefight, according to a report by TheCable. The anonymous soldier told TheCable that the terrorists were well equipped and armed with rocket propelled grenades that made repelling them an impossible task.”

The Telegraph: Mercenary Leader Accuses Nigeria Of Squandering Gains Against Boko Haram Made With His Help

“South African mercenary who helped the Nigerian army recapture huge amounts of territory from Boko Haram insurgents has accused the country's government of squandering the gains it made with his help. Colonel Eeben Barlow, a veteran commander in the apartheid-era South African Defence Forces, led a team of mercenaries who secretly trained up an elite Nigerian strike force back in 2015. Hired by then President Goodluck Jonathan in the wake of the Chibok schoolgirl abduction, the mercenaries were credited with driving Boko Haram out of most of their strongholds in north-east Nigeria. But after just three months, their contract was cancelled by incoming President Muhammadu Buhari, a former general, who told The Telegraph at the time that the Nigerian army should be able to do the job alone. Col Barlow has now broken his silence to accuse Mr Buhari of needlessly prolonging the war by dispensing with the mercenaries' expertise. In a posting on Facebook, he said: "It is sad that the President preferred defeat above victory, as soldiers can only do what they are trained, equipped, and led to do. "Do it poorly, and they die." He added: "Many of the men we trained... have remained in contact with us, pleading for our return to Nigeria. They have also told us that they have been used to a point of exhaustion." While Col Barlow's comments could be seen as "sour grapes" at losing his contract, they echo wider concerns that Boko Haram is now regaining strength.”

Somalia

Reuters: Militants Kill Cleric And 14 Others In Somalia In Car Bomb And Gun Attack

“Al Shabaab gunmen and a suicide car bomber struck a religious centre in central Somalia on Monday, killing a cleric and at least 14 of his followers, a police officer said. The Islamist militant group had accused the cleric of insulting Prophet Mohamed, which he denied.  The group was forced from Mogadishu in 2011 and most towns and cities but it retains a strong presence outside the capital and launches frequent bombings and other attacks in a campaign to topple the federal government. “The (security) operation is now over. Al Shabaab killed 15 people including the cleric, his wife, his followers and his guards,” Captain Nur Mohamed, a police officer, told Reuters from Galkayo by phone. “Three militants who stormed the centre were also shot dead.”  The group took responsibility for the attack and put the number of dead at 26. It said some soldiers who responded to the first attack also died as they tried to remove a second car bomb.  “We killed 26 people including the owner of the centre, his followers, his bodyguards and soldiers,” Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s military operation spokesman, said.  “The owner of the centre was the man who abused the prophet. The soldiers that died tried to drive a second car bomb that was left by the armed Mujahideen.”  Residents of Galkayo and a regional official said Abdiweli may have also been targeted because his centre hosts mostly youths who play music and dance.”

News 24: WATCH: Mogadishu Market Bombing Kills Seven In Somalia

“Seven civilians were killed and five were wounded in Somalia on Monday when a car bomb detonated at a busy market in the capital Mogadishu, police and witnesses said. The explosion occurred after security forces stopped a suspicious vehicle at the market in the south of the city. "The suspected driver was stopped by the security forces and was being questioned when the vehicle went off," said police officer Mohamed Hassan. "According to the initial information we obtained, seven people died in the blast and five others were wounded," he said. "The suspect is now in police custody." Witnesses said the explosion wrecked part of the Kawo Godey market in the city's Wadajir district. "The area was densely populated," said Abdulahi Malim. "It was horrible and most of the buildings in the area had been destroyed." There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack but suspicion will fall on Somalia's Al-Qaeda affiliate, the Shabaab, which is fighting to overthrow the internationally backed government and carries out regular bombings and armed assaults on government, military and civilian targets. The market was previously attacked in February 2017 when 39 died in a suicide car bombing.”

Africa

AllAfrica: Mozambique: Suspected Al-Shabab Militants Kill 12 In North Mozambique

“Twelve people have been killed in a suspected Islamist militant attack in northern Mozambique, with thousands of villagers fleeing into neighbouring Tanzania, police sources said Sunday. Hardline Islamists have launched several attacks in the majority -Muslim province during the last year, stoking unrest just as Maputo pushes ahead with oil and gas development in the region. Early Friday, "there was an attack in Nangade district, where there are no security patrols. The attackers killed 12 people, mostly women and children," a police source in Cabo Delgado province, who asked not to be named, told AFP. The attack took place in the village of Chicuaia Velha, just a few kilometres (miles) from Tanzania, forcing several thousand people to seek safety cross the border, police said. A local journalist said the villagers were hacked to death with machetes or died after the attackers torched their homes.”

Voice Of America: US Embassy In DRC Closed Because Of Terror Threat

“The United States has closed its embassy in the Democratic Republic of Congo because of what it says is "credible and specific" information about a terror threat. The embassy in Kinshasa will remain closed at least through Tuesday, and all U.S. citizens in the DRC are "strongly encouraged" to keep a low profile. The Congolese government is accusing the U.S. of creating "needless fear and uncertainty" by closing the embassy. It also says Washington and others who have "no control over the electoral process" are trying to "distract" voters ahead of the Dec. 23 presidential election. Officials did not say what they think outsiders hope to gain by distracting people. But they say election observers from the European Union and the U.S.-based Carter Center are not invited — only those from other African states. The DRC has been trying for two years to hold an election to replace longtime president Joseph Kabila. But violence, armed militias, and problems organizing a new vote have led to two postponements. Kabila was supposed to have stepped down in 2016 when his second term ended. But he invoked a clause in the constitution allowing him to stay in office until a successor is chosen.  The opposition accuses him of doing what he can to keep power.”

Indonesia

The Hindu: Fighting Blind: Struggling To Close The Terrorist Pipeline

“Inside a busy roadside restaurant in Solo town of Central Java in Indonesia Joko Tri Harmanto and his friend Wasiran are busy preparing breakfast for their customers. Harmanto was a former terrorist and Wasiran was about to join one such violent group. “He is less fortunate economically, so I grabbed him so he won’t take part,” says Harmanto, who was once part of Al Qaeda-affiliated group, Jemaah Islamiyah, that blew up a massive car bomb in Bali in 2002. It killed 202 people. Hundreds more were injured, and Bali’s tourist economy suffered for years. Harmanto served four years in prison on charges of masterminding the blast. Orb Media's reporting and data analysis shows that terrorism has been spreading to more countries despite the spending of trillions of dollars on fighting terrorism since the attacks on September 11, 2001.1 Despite all of the global focus on protecting citizens against violent attacks and killing and arresting terrorists, governments have paid little attention to the pipeline of those joining the terrorist ranks.”

Canada

Montreal Gazette: Far-Right Group Spoke Of Staging 'Fake' Terrorist Attack In Quebec

“A man with ties to Quebec far-right groups discussed staging a fake terrorist attack to “wake up” people in the province and encouraged his peers to start training with firearms. In private chat logs obtained by the Montreal Gazette, a man calling himself Phénix le Patriote wrote that “(there) would have to be a fake terrorist attempt” to “scare the hell out of” Quebecers. He followed the post by adding, “don’t worry … many actions coming up.” Phénix also shared an image of targets he had fired on with a 9-mm and .22 calibre pistol at a shooting range in Joliette. Alongside the image, dated Jan. 22, 2018, he added the caption, “do as I do brothers. That comment was met with the reply, “Great job, Patriote. Keep your aim true” from another member of the private chat. The logs belong to a fringe right-wing group that calls itself Patriotes du Québec and includes members of Storm Alliance, Le Front Patriotique du Québec and Atalante Québec. The activist who uncovered the chat logs shared them with the Sûreté du Québec last January, alongside evidence that suggests Phénix may be a member of the right-wing group La Meute. “(Phénix is) not the type of person we’re looking for as a member,” said La Meute spokesperson Sylvain Brouillette. “The Patriotes (online group) has nothing to do with La Meute. There’s actually tension between us.” A representative from Storm Alliance denied any knowledge of the chat group.”

United Kingdom

The Mirror: Pupils To Carry Out Terror Attack Drills In Plans To Survive Deadly Explosives

“Schoolkids will carry out security drills to prepare for terror attacks, under Government plans. The lock-down and evacuation procedures will also guard against chemical and biological alerts and flooding. School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said: “Our schools are safe and thankfully serious ­incidents are extremely rare. “It is, nevertheless, important that schools remain vigilant and prepare for potential risks.” The Department for Education has issued draft guidance to help schools respond to the range of threats. Mr Gibb added: “This will help identify risks and how to ensure measures are put in place, whether it is a terrorist attack, knife crime or other dangerous threat.” The Home Office, National Counter Terrorism Security Office and the Health and Safety Executive have all contributed. Security threats could include terrorist attacks using improvised explosive devices, gun or knife attacks. And also vehicles being used as a weapon, such as in the Westminster Bridge attack in March last year. The preventative measures could include screening of staff, pupils and visitors for prohibited items.”

Germany

The Jerusalem Post: Germany’s Largest Telecom Company Stops Service For Iranian ‘Terror Bank’

“The global giant German telecommunications company Deutsche Telekom pulled the plug on phone and internet service for Iran’s Bank Melli due to US sanction pressure. On Friday, the US embassy in Berlin tweeted that Deutsche Telekom “cuts off phone and internet to Iran’s Bank Melli, which funnels terrorist groups working for the Iranian regime.” The embassy added that “sanctions are working” and “thank you Deutsche Telekom.” The embassy’s tweet linked to a Thursday story in the German business daily Handelsblatt that said the communication company told the Hamburg-based Bank Melli: “We have to assume that you can no longer make any payments” for Telekom business. The US reimposed sanctions on Iranian banks, including Bank Melli, on November 5 due to their role in illicit terrorist activities and support for the country’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs. According to Handelsblatt, Bank Melli Hamburg managing director Helmut Gottlieb said the loss of Deutsche Telekom service has caused the bank’s operation to be “almost paralyzed.” The Handelsbatt, whose Friday editorial lashed out at the US pressure on Germany companies on Friday, wrote in its news article that “although the EU and the federal government reject the US sanctions against Iran, German firms are complying with these sanctions.”

Technology

The EurAsian Times: ISIS Militants In Kashmir – Blame Social Media

“Is there any presence of ISIS Militants in Kashmir? The Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Police in a joint operation with Delhi Police have unfolded an Islamic State module in Srinagar. Three alleged militants including a student of Jamia Millia Islamia University were arrested in Srinagar on Sunday. Deputy Commissioner of Police, P.S Kushwah said the accused had tried to lob a grenade at the police party. “Two loaded pistols, three grenades, four mobiles and ISIS black flags were recovered from their possession. They were arrested from Srinagar’s Kothi Bagh area.” In the investigations, the police found that the accused – Haris Mushtaq (student); Tahir Ali Khan and Asif Suhail Nadaf were in contact with their accomplices in Delhi. “They worked for Aadil Thokar. They all belong to the ISIS-inspired module.” The police further said that the accused wanted to strengthen their unit in their home state and Delhi for extending their activities. According to CNN, ISIS had initially declared its Kashmir interest in 2016, describing it as part of its Khorasan Province. Despite two media reported ISIS killings in Kashmir earlier this year, officials in New Delhi had flatly denied that the group exists in the Valley. J&K State Police Chief Shesh Paul Vaid had asserted there was no ‘substantial’ presence in the region.”

Terrorist Financing

Erem News: Iraq Freezes Assets Of Two Iranian Entities On Charges Of Terror Financing

“The Committee in charge of freezing the assets of terrorists in Iraq announced the seizure of funds belonging to two Iranian entities in the country on charges of aiding and abetting terrorism. According to an official document issued by the committee, it decided, at its extraordinary session, to "freeze movable and immovable assets and economic resources of Sina Bank and Bahman Group." Iraq announced on November 3rd that the assets of Syrian Airlines and Al Sham Wings would be frozen, in compliance with the US sanctions imposed on the two companies due to their financing and abetting of terrorism. The US State Department threatened the Iraqi government that if it refused to abide by US sanctions against countries and groups accused of abetting and financing terrorism, it {the Iraqi regime} could, too, find itself subject to sanctions.”

Al-Ain: Ways Of Exploiting Libya's Funds To Finance Terrorism

“Libyan political and economic analysts have discovered how Libyan public funds are being stolen and smuggled, both inside and outside the country. They also explained how these funds went into the pockets of leaders of armed militias and terrorist groups to perpetrate acts of sabotage in Libya. Dr. Mohammed al-Zubaidi, professor of international law and administration, confirmed that there are vast Libyan funds in European banks, many of which were embezzled and smuggled via illegal routes, adding that the Presidential Council in Tripoli is hostage to certain countries and therefore is not working to recover the proceeds. The methods of smuggling money from inside Libya are numerous, foremost of which is the so-called "opening of credits." This is a mechanism for dispatching large amounts to Turkey for the supposed import of certain goods which are essentially "fake goods." In fact, the {real} purpose is to transfer Libyan investment money to Ankara to revitalize its economy and, ultimately, to finance terrorism in Libya. Another method of looting Libyan funds, revealed by the international law professor, is through the sale of Libyan investments on the African continent in exchange for small sums, all funneled to armed groups.”

ISIS

Iraqi Media News Agency: Iraqi Forces Destroy Three ISIS Tunnels In Northwestern Kirkuk

“On Monday, the Iraqi army announced it had destroyed three underground tunnels belonging to ISIS in the Dibis District in northwestern Kirkuk. Major General Maan Al-Saadi, Commander of the 2nd Special Operations Brigade, stated that the Salahuddin Division of the Counter-Terrorism Service succeeded, based on precise intelligence information, to detect and destroy three ISIS underground tunnels in Dibis. These hideouts contained a wide array of arms, explosives, food supplies and other gear for terrorists who were in the midst of preparing to launch new attacks.”

Muslim Brotherhood

Shorouk News: Egyptian Court Of Appeals Upholds Terrorist Designation Of 161 Individuals Suspected Of Financing Muslim Brotherhood

“Egypt's Court of Appeal decided to uphold an earlier decision by the Criminal Court to place 161 persons on the terror lists on charges of financing the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. The new ruling of the Appellate Court refers to Case no. 653 of 2014, which entails the designation of 1,538 suspects on the terror lists. The newly re-designated defendants include relatives of senior leaders, former parliament members, and activists affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. For instance, the recent ruling involves sons and brothers of Hassan Malek, a prominent business figure of the banned Islamist group.”

Houthi

Egypt 24: Systematic Theft Of International Aid By The Houthis

“Citizens of Sana'a, the capital city of Yemen, have recently uncovered one of the largest thefts of international humanitarian assistance committed by the Houthis. The Iran-backed rebels systematically steal the international aid and then sell it in local markets instead of distributing it to the residents who are suffering from desperate living conditions, particularly in the capital. Local media outlets report that activists of the insurgency have infiltrated into numerous domestic and international aid agencies by forging seals and submitting fake documents. As a result, the insurgents have managed to amass large sums of money by confiscating, and then selling, relief supplies designated for displaced and needy people.”