Eye on Extremism: November 28, 2022

POLITICO: European Parliament Declares Russia A ‘State Sponsor Of Terrorism’ As Putin Launches Fresh Attacks On Ukraine

“The European Parliament on Wednesday adopted a resolution declaring Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism because of Moscow’s strikes on civilian targets, at the same time as Kyiv’s military administration reported three people were killed and half a dozen injured in a Russian missile strike on Ukraine’s capital. “The deliberate attacks and atrocities committed by Russian forces and their proxies against civilians in Ukraine, the destruction of civilian infrastructure and other serious violations of international and humanitarian law amount to acts of terror and constitute war crimes,” the Parliament said. The resolution was adopted with 494 votes in favor, 58 against and 44 abstentions. The move is largely symbolic as the EU currently cannot officially designate states as sponsors of terrorism. Unlike the U.S., the bloc does not have a list of terrorist states and lacks a legal definition of the consequences of such a declaration. The Parliament is therefore urging the EU and its member states to “put in place the proper legal framework and consider adding Russia to such a list.” While some European states like Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland have already added Russia to their national list of terrorist states, the U.S. has held back from such a move.”

Reuters: Australia Lowers Terror Threat Level For First Time Since 2014

“Australia lowered its terrorism threat level on Monday to "possible" from "probable" for the first time in eight years, citing a reduced risk of attacks from extremists. The level was raised in 2014, spurred by concerns over the number of Australians believed to be fighting overseas with Islamist militant groups and the likelihood of terror attacks by those radicalised in Iraq or Syria. But spy agency the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) said the factors prompting the threat level no longer existed or only persisted to a lesser degree. "While Australia remains a potential terrorist target, there are fewer extremists with the intention to conduct an attack onshore," Mike Burgess, its director general of security, told reporters. The change did not mean all terror threats had been extinguished, Burgess said, however. "It remains plausible that someone will die at the hands of a terrorist in Australia within the next 12 months - although, of course, (we) will work around the clock to prevent that," he added. Last month, the Labor government decided to repatriate four Australian women and their 13 children from a Syrian refugee camp, resuming a controversial programme criticised by the Liberal-National opposition.”

Syria

NBC News: Inside The Syrian Refugee Camp Where Supplies Are Low And ISIS Fears Run High

“Inside the sprawling refugee camp in this arid corner of northeast Syria, the kids are everywhere. They’re playing soccer next to a sea of tattered white tents. They’re running along a fence littered with trash and empty bottles. And they’re holding up their middle fingers and throwing rocks as an armored U.S. military vehicle approaches. Of the roughly 54,000 residents in the al-Hol refugee camp, nearly half are children under the age of 12. Most fled here with their mothers and extended family members in late 2018 and early 2019 as the Islamic State terrorist group lost the last of its territory in Syria. The plight of these children is a chief concern among U.S. military and State Department officials. The refugee camp, opened in 1991 during the first Gulf War, has exploded into a humanitarian disaster and a serious international terrorism threat. Biden administration officials have been alarmed by the speed with which the camp has grown to include tens of thousands of relatives of suspected ISIS members and become a breeding ground for people loyal to ISIS.”

Reuters: Turkish Air Strikes In Syria Threatened Safety Of U.S. Personnel -Pentagon

“Turkish air strikes in northern Syria threatened the safety of U.S. military personnel and the escalating situation jeopardized years of progress against Islamic State militants, the Pentagon said on Wednesday. The public comments represent the strongest condemnation by the United States of NATO-ally Turkey's air operations in recent days against a Kurdish militia in northern Syria to date. "Recent air strikes in Syria directly threatened the safety of U.S. personnel who are working in Syria with local partners to defeat ISIS and maintain custody of more than ten thousand ISIS detainees," the Pentagon's spokesman, Air Force Brigadier General Pat Ryder, said in a statement.”

Afghanistan

Associated Press: Taliban Lash 12 People Before Stadium Crowd In Afghanistan

“The Taliban lashed three women and nine men in front of hundreds of spectators in a provincial sports stadium Wednesday, signaling the religious extremist group’s resumption of a brutal form of punishment that was a hallmark of their rule in the 1990s. The office of the governor of Logar province, south of the capital of Kabul, invited “honorable scholars, mujahideen, elders, tribal leaders and local people” to the stadium in the town of Pul Alam in Logar. The invitations for the 9 a.m. event were extended via social media. Those being punished received between 21 and 39 lashes each, after being convicted in a local court of theft and adultery, said an official in the governor’s office who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to share details with the media. The official said hundreds of people attended the lashings and that a ban was imposed on taking photos and video.”

Reuters: Taliban's Treatment Of Women May Be Crime Against Humanity: UN Experts

“The Taliban's treatment of Afghan women and girls, including their exclusion from parks and gyms as well as schools and universities, may amount to a crime against humanity, a group of U.N. experts said on Friday. The assessment by the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Afghanistan Richard Bennett and nine other U.N. experts says the treatment of women and girls may amount to "gender persecution" under the Rome Statute to which Afghanistan is a party. Responding to the assessment, Taliban Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Abdul Qahar Balkhi said: "The current collective punishment of innocent Afghans by the U.N. sanctions regime all in the name of women rights and equality amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity." The U.N. experts said in a statement that women's confinement to their homes was "tantamount to imprisonment", adding that it was likely to lead to increased levels of domestic violence and mental health problems. The experts cited the arrest this month of female activist Zarifa Yaqobi and four male colleagues.”

Yemen

Arab News: Yemen FM: Houthis Must Be Classified As ‘Terrorist Group’

“The Houthis must be classified as a terrorist group, Yemen’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak, told on Sunday the US Ambassador to Yemen, Steven Fagin. The Yemeni government is planning on designate the Houthis as a terrorist organization, Mubarak said, stressing the importance of the international community's support for those decisions. The two sides discussed the challenges that face the peace process, and the Houthis threat to international navigation and international peace and security, state news agency SABA reported. Mubarak said that the Houthis aimed to “brainwash society” and impose a “racist identity” instead of the national one, the report said. The US ambassador renewed his country's condemnation of the Houthi terrorist attacks on oil facilities, stressing the United States’ support for the security, stability and unity of Yemen. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Yemen, Mohammed bin Saeed al-Jaber, said that the Houthi attacks, using Iranian weapons, on oil ports are “terrorist operations.” He added that Houthi attacks on civilian facilities harm the interests of Yemeni people.”

Lebanon

The Jerusalem Post: Hezbollah Transporting Hundreds Of Chemical Weapons To Lebanon – Report

“Hezbollah is storing hundreds of missiles carrying a toxic chemical payload at a warehouse in Al Qusayr, near the Lebanese-Syrian border, the Saudi Al-Hadath news reported on Sunday. The missiles include 110 Fajr missiles and over 300 Fateh missiles and are all carrying thionyl chloride, a toxic chemical, according to the report. The weapons and other equipment were transferred from the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC) in Masyaf to the location in Al Qusayr nearly two weeks ago.”

Middle East

WTOP: The Hunt: Al-Qaida Issues A Warning About World Cup

“On this episode of “The Hunt with WTOP National Security Correspondent J.J. Green,” Dr. Hans-Jakob Schindler, senior director at the Counter Extremism Project, says the warning issued by al-Qaida is unusual.”

The Jerusalem Post: Hamas, Other Terrorist Groups, Praise Jerusalem Bombing Attack

“The Hamas terrorist movement welcomed the attack on Wednesday, stating that Israel bears "full responsibility for the repercussions of the crimes of its army and the terror of its settlers against our Palestinian people, their land and their sanctities." The Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist movement called the attack a "natural response to the occupation." Hezbollah praised the terrorist attack on Wednesday afternoon, calling it a "true embodiment of the Palestinian people's rejection of the continuation of the occupation." "The implementation of these two operations today confirms the resistance’s ability to penetrate the enemy’s strict security measures and precautions, and to deal painful blows to it in the place and time of its choice," said the Hezbollah terrorist movement.”

Reuters: Twin Blasts In Jerusalem Kill One in Suspected Palestinian Attack

“Two bombs exploded at bus stops on Jerusalem's outskirts on Wednesday, killing a 16-year-old boy and wounding at least 14 other people, in what appeared to be an attack by Palestinian militants, Israeli authorities said. Police blamed the initial blast, during morning rush hour, on an improvised bomb at a bus station near the city exit. The second - about 30 minutes later - hit a bus stop near a settlement east of the city. "There has not been such a coordinated attack in Jerusalem for many years," police spokesman Eli Levi told Israeli Army Radio. The devices were hidden in bags, packed with nails and appeared to have been detonated remotely by mobile phone, Israeli public broadcaster Kan Radio said. Security camera footage showed the moment of the first explosion with a sudden cloud of smoke billowing from the bus stop. Television showed debris strewn around the site, cordoned off by emergency services.”

Organiser: FIFA World Cup 2022: Islamisation of Sports

“…A lawsuit filed in U.S. federal court in June 2020 alleged Qatar provided funding to Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Hamas through three Qatari financial institutions, the Qatar Charity, Masraf Al Rayan (Al Rayan Bank), and Qatar National Bank. In South Asia also, Qatar is believed to use charity organizations to promote Islamic radicalism. Qatar has always amplified and diplomatically supported violent protests curbing free speech in the name of blasphemy. Source: Counter Extremism Project”

Somalia

Bloomberg: Somalia Warns Arms Sales Restrictions Undermine Fight Against al-Shabaab

“Restrictions on weapons sales to Somalia are undermining efforts to thwart al-Shabaab insurgents that are trying to overthrow the government, a cabinet minister has warned. A military offensive has freed a large swathe of territory from the al-Qaeda-linked group’s control over recent months, but more weapons and support are needed to sustain troop deployments to rural areas and encourage clan leaders to escalate the fight, said Ali Omar, Somalia’s state minister for foreign affairs. The United Nations Security Council last week extended an arms embargo against Somalia until mid-November next year, a sanction targeted against al-Shabaab. While weapons sales to the government are still permitted, it needs to obtain advance approval to acquire military helicopters and vessels, as well as several other categories of equipment.”

Reuters: Somalia Says 49 Al Shabaab Fighters Killed In Military Operation

“Somalia's government said on Wednesday 49 al Shabaab fighters had been killed in a military operation in Lower Shabelle region, the latest in a months-long campaign aimed at seizing territory long held by the Islamist group. Al Shabaab, an al Qaeda franchise which controls large swathes of the country, claimed responsibility for two car bombs that killed at least 120 people in the capital Mogadishu in October. The militia's restrictions on international aid have compounded the impact of the worst drought in four decades, officials say, leaving the country on the brink of famine. Government forces, supported by clan militias and, at times, African Union troops, have made a number of battlefield gains against al Shabaab in the last three months. Somalia's special forces, together with its intelligence agency and "international security partners", destroyed a number of military vehicles and a weapons dump in Bulo-Madino village in Lower Shabelle region on Tuesday evening, the ministry of information said in a statement.”

Associated Press: Al-Shabab Extremist Group Attacks Hotel In Somali Capital

“The extremist group al-Shabab claimed responsibility Sunday for an unfolding armed attack on a hotel in the Somali capital. Al-Shabab said in a broadcast on its own radio frequency Sunday that said its fighters attacked the hotel Villa Rose, which has a restaurant popular with government and security officials. The hotel isn’t far from the presidential palace in central Mogadishu, where a blast was heard, followed by gunfire. There was no immediate word on any casualties. Such militant attacks are common in Mogadishu and other parts of the Horn of Africa nation. Al-Shabab opposes Somalia’s federal government, which is backed by African Union peacekeepers, and seeks to take power and enforce a strict version of Sharia law.”

Africa

Voice Of America: West African Leaders Seek Solutions To Curb Terrorism From Sahel Region

“West African leaders met in Accra Tuesday to discuss terrorism and worsening security in the region. The Accra Initiative members, which include Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Togo, are discussing preventing spillover of terrorism from the Sahel. European forces have been withdrawing from the region while Russian influence has been growing. The Accra Initiative is a cooperative and collaborative security mechanism between seven West African countries as they face increasing threats and attacks from Islamist militants across their northern borders in Burkina Faso and Niger. Addressing the maiden high-level counter terrorism conference of the Accra Initiative, Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo said it has become imperative for member states to collaborate to counter rising levels of terrorism. “West Africa continues to suffer from the effect of the scourge of terrorism and violent extremism, spreading rapidly across the region,” Akufo-Addo said. “Today, the terrorist groups emboldened by their apparent success in the region are seeking new operational grounds, a development that has triggered the southward drift of the menace from the Sahel to coastal West Africa.’”

Reuters: Boko Haram Fighters Kill 10 Chadian Soldiers Near Nigeria Border

“Boko Haram militants killed at least 10 Chadian soldiers in an attack on a military unit in Lake Chad province near the Nigerian border on Tuesday, Chad's government said in a statement. The unit had been dispatched as a precursor to setting up an army post on the island of Bouka-Toullorom, between the villages of Ngouboua and Kaiga, where Boko Haram has carried out several offensives in recent years. Militants attacked early on Tuesday morning, killing around 10 men and wounding several others, the statement said. The Boko Haram insurgency, which erupted in northeast Nigeria in 2009, has killed more than 350,000 people and forced millions to flee their homes. The group has spread to the swampy Lake Chad zone in the west of the country, where the armies of Chad, Nigeria and Niger have been fighting the Islamist militants for years. Despite efforts to push them back, Boko Haram militants killed 92 Chadian soldiers and wounded 47 more in March 2020.”

United Kingdom

The National: Bomb And Weapons Instructions Linked To Manchester Arena Bomber Removed From Internet

“…The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) think tank has been conducting weekly investigations into the methods used by extremists to exploit the internet and social media platforms to recruit followers and incite violence. Last week, CEP researchers found a copy of a notorious ISIS bomb-making video and guidance on the manufacture of chemical and biological weapons using commercially available products on the Internet Archive. It is at least the sixth time the specific video, originally released in November 2016 and linked to Salman Abedi, has been found on the site. The video also encourages acts of terrorism and shows the use of a knife against a human target, who is brutally executed in the process. The video was uploaded on April 15, 2022, and was viewed at least 103 times when CEP found it. The Internet Archive has now removed it following their report.”

Bloomberg: Barber Accused Of Supporting Islamic State Got UK Covid Aid

“A London barber who received UK pandemic aid is accused of funneling more than £11,000 ($13,345) to help the Islamic State militant group buy weapons. Tarek Namouz sent the funds to an alleged former IS fighter in Syria between 2020 and 2021, a prosecution lawyer said in court on Thursday. Namouz, who denies the charges, was receiving Covid-19 aid from the government around the same time, the lawyer said. The case throws the spotlight on how some of the funds meant to help small businesses during the pandemic were also subject to alleged misuse -- sparking outrage in the UK. The national auditor last year estimated as much as £4.9 billion, out of the total £47 billion funds in support for businesses during the pandemic, was exposed to fraud. During the probe, Namouz said he didn’t know the money was used for terror purposes and he wanted to help the poor in Syria, John McGuinness, the prosecution’s lawyer, told the jury.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

In Their Own Words:

Without doubt, the secularists are evil and more malicious than the polytheists and secularism is farther astray from the path and more malicious than polytheism. The secularists who are associated with Islam even [merely] by identity are considered apostates by a group of scholars. The Jews, Christians, those who worship graves, and many polytheists and unbelievers have committed lesser acts of unbelief than the secularists.

Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, Salafist propagandist Mar. 1, 2021
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