Eye on Extremism: November 7

The New York Times: Gunmen In Burkina Faso Attack Canadian Mining Company Convoy, Killing 37

“Gunmen in Burkina Faso killed at least 37 people on Wednesday in an attack on a convoy carrying employees, suppliers and contractors of a Canadian mining company, one of the deadliest episodes in a recent tide of violence that has gripped the West African nation. The mining company, Semafo, which is based in Montreal, said that five buses escorted by Burkina Faso’s military were attacked while traveling to the Boungou mine, an open-pit gold mine in the eastern part of the country. They were on their way from the city of Fada-Ngourma, about 25 miles away. Lt. Col. Saïdou T.P. Sanou, the governor of the country’s eastern region, confirmed the death toll in a statement and said that another 60 people had been wounded, but he offered no information about the victims’ identities. Recent violence in Burkina Faso, a nation once known for its relative calm, has forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes, triggering a sudden humanitarian crisis. Between Aug. 6 and Sept. 30 alone, international organizations estimate, at least 26 military personnel were killed and 25 injured in attacks. But attacks in the east and other parts of the country have, like Wednesday’s attack, gone unclaimed. Some analysts believe those attacks may be motivated by score settling, ethnic tension, monetary gain or personal disputes rather than terrorism driven by ideology or religion.”

CNN: Wife Of Dead ISIS Leader Baghdadi Captured By Turkey, Erdogan Says

“Turkey has captured a wife of former ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Wednesday. Erdogan didn't name the woman, and Baghdadi, who died during a US raid on his compound in northern Syria late last month, was believed to have had several wives. “The US said that Baghdadi killed himself in a tunnel and started a serious PR campaign. We captured his wife but we didn't make a fuss, I'm declaring this for the first time,” Erdogan said, referring to US President Donald Trump's televised address in which he revealed details of the raid. Trump said two of Baghdadi's wives were killed during the operation. Erdogan's announcement comes a day after Turkey said it had captured Baghdadi's sister, Rasmiya Awad, in the northern Syrian town of Azaz. A senior Turkish official shared an image her identity card exclusively with CNN. Not much is known about Awad, 65, but Ankara hopes her capture will lead to a wealth of intelligence about the militant group. She is currently being questioned by authorities. “This kind of thing is an intelligence gold mine. What she knows about ISIS can significantly expand our understanding of the group and help us catch more bad guys,” the Turkish official said.”

ABC News: New ISIS Leader Is 'A Nobody,' But US Knows 'Almost Nothing' About Him: Official

“Although the U.S. knows “almost nothing” about the new leader of ISIS, he is “a nobody,” according to a senior State Department official, making it difficult for the terror group to rally around him. Amid the hunt for the new ISIS leader, the U.S. will leave between 700 and 900 troops in Syria, with the official saying the “goals and means” of defeating ISIS, ridding Syria of Iranian-commanded forces, and securing a political transition haven't changed, despite President Donald Trump's new focus on “taking” oil. Trump said last Friday that he and his administration “know exactly who [the new leader] is!” one day after the terror group announced a new leader under the nom de guerre Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi. Al-Hashimi replaces Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the terror chief that created the group, expanded it to the so-called “caliphate” the size of Great Britain, and killed himself in an explosion amid a U.S. special forces raid in late October. U.S. ambassador-at-large for counterterrorism Nathan Sales said Friday that the administration was “looking into the leader, his role in the organization, where he came from.” But the senior official said Wednesday the new leader “appears to be a nobody. Nobody knows his background.”

The Wall Street Journal: Iran’s Nuclear Escalation

“President Hassan Rouhani has announced that Iran will violate restrictions on the Fordow underground nuclear facility starting Wednesday. President Trump’s detractors will say this proves that leaving the 2015 nuclear deal was a mistake, but this is one more sign of the defects in the deal that Europe should be helping the U.S. to address. In a speech Tuesday the Iranian leader said the regime would begin injecting gas into the 1,044 centrifuges at Fordow, an open violation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. This follows news on Monday that Iran is running new and advanced centrifuges, which shortens its path to a nuclear weapon. The regime already has been openly violating the deal for months by enriching uranium at higher concentrations and storing more of it. “When they uphold their commitments we will cut off the gas,” said Mr. Rouhani. “So it is possible to reverse this step.” The Iranian strategy has been to escalate its violations of the deal step by step, hoping to intimidate Mr. Trump and divide the U.S. from Europe. The strategy worked for a time, but then Iran attacked Saudi oil fields. German, French and British leaders responded in a statement that Iran should “accept negotiation on a long-term framework for its nuclear programme as well as on issues related to regional security, including its missiles programme and other means of delivery.”

The National: Protests In Hezbollah Stronghold Continue Despite Intimidation

“Standing on top of a truck blasting revolutionary music through the Lebanese city of Baalbek on Tuesday evening, 36-year-old Adel Dalati, a school supervisor, screamed encouraging words into a microphone to the crowd behind him: “You are free people! You are those that fear no-one! You are the real heroes!” Standing below on the pavement, a coffee vendor smiled. “My heart grows bigger, honestly. We have not seen such unity in Lebanon’s history,” said 45-year old Mohamed Hujeiry. Defying attempts by Hezbollah supporters to intimidate them with violence or indirect pressure, protesters have continued gathering in Baalbek to demand the ousting of their leaders, three weeks since a suggested tax increase sparked the country’s biggest demonstrations in decades in Lebanon. Baalbek, in the south east of Lebanon, is a Hezbollah stronghold where peddlers sell yellow t-shirts labelled with the party’s green logo to tourists visiting its monumental Roman ruins. Giant portraits of the group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, are everywhere. It is also one of the country’s main poverty pockets, along with Tripoli in the North and Sidon in the South, where corruption and lack of basic services such as healthcare and education are more acutely felt than in the rest of the country.”

The New York Times: Captives Or Defectors? Taliban Fighters Tell Conflicting Tales

“They paced aimlessly inside a guarded compound, stepping over their beard and hair clippings on the ground. Ninety-eight Taliban in all — fighters as young as 16 and as old as one white-bearded veteran of 65. They had all laid down their weapons and pledged loyalty to the Afghan government. But the reasons for that depended on who was telling the tale — and illuminated some of the complexity of a war in which side-switching is common. The Afghan military says these Taliban fighters quit to try to save their lives after Afghan forces retook three districts from the Taliban during desperate, pitched battles in the northeastern province of Badakhshan in September. The fighters had been told by the head of the national intelligence agency in the province that they were free to return to civilian life if they renounced the Taliban. But in the compound’s courtyard, some fighters said they had already been planning to do just that before they were taken into custody. Some told of conspiring with friends and relatives from the government to abandon the Taliban even as the battles for the districts were raging. Others said they had been given no choice but to surrender at gunpoint, then submitted to having their typical Taliban style — long hair and beards — trimmed back by a barber. But they were not speaking freely.”

United States

The Wall Street Journal: Google Weighs Changes To Political Ad Policy

“Alphabet Inc. GOOG -0.02% ’s Google is in discussions about changing its political ad policy, according to people familiar with the matter, about a week after Facebook Inc. FB -1.43% and Twitter Inc. TWTR -0.91% publicly diverged on how to handle those ads amid the spread of misinformation. Google has been holding internal meetings about changing its political ad policy and is expected to share more information with employees this week, the people said, though it is unclear what the changes will be. Some Google employees are speculating the changes could be related to what type of audience targeting the company allows ad buyers to place. It’s unclear when Google would implement any new policy. All of Google’s advertising policies are uniform across search and YouTube, and any ad policy change would be reflected across all of its platforms, a Google spokesperson said.”

The Wall Street Journal: Mexico Says U.S. Homicides May Have Been Case Of Mistaken Identity

“Mexican authorities investigating the killing of nine U.S. citizens on a road in northwestern Mexico said that a shootout between two rival drug gangs earlier that day might have prompted the attack. Defense Ministry chief of staff Gen. Homero Mendoza said at a press conference on Wednesday that an armed confrontation took place early Monday in Agua Prieta, Sonora, between members of La Línea drug gang in Chihuahua and Los Salazar gang in Sonora. Agua Prieta is about 100 miles from where gunmen attacked the victims—three women and six children who were members of a local Mormon community formed by a breakaway group from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Seven children and a baby survived the massacre. Gen. Mendoza said one line of investigation is that members of La Línea were trying to keep members of Los Salazar from entering Chihuahua, and decided to send an armed cell to the area, leading to the attack on the SUVs. He said the vehicles were similar to those used by criminal gangs in the region, possibly explaining a misidentification.”

The Detroit News: Ypsilanti Engineer Funneled Tech Secrets To Iran, FBI Says

“The FBI's counterintelligence team has arrested an Ypsilanti engineer accused of stealing confidential technical data and sending the information to his brother who is linked to Iran's nuclear weapons industry. The national security case against Amin Hasanzadeh, an Iranian military veteran, is outlined in a 14-page criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday in federal court in Detroit. The complaint describes a year-long, coordinated plan to steal sensitive, confidential data about a secret project involving an aerospace industry supercomputer and alleges Hasanzadeh emailed the data to his brother in Iran. The full scope of the investigation was unclear Wednesday and it was unclear whether the technical information Hasanzadeh is accused of sending to his brother would help Iran rebuild a nuclear weapons program halted in 2003.”

Chicago Tribune: Evidence Issues Persist In Case Of Indiana Woman Accused Of Aiding ISIS

“Several factors could delay or severely complicate the trial of an Indiana woman charged in federal court with aiding ISIS, attorneys said Wednesday. The issues were discussed in U.S. District Court Judge Philip P. Simon’s courtroom in Hammond, in what online records indicate was the final hearing before the case goes to trial Jan. 6. Samantha Elhassani, previously of Elkhart, has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to provide material support to the Islamic State group, and aiding and abetting individuals in providing material support to the Islamic State group. The government and defense have differed on their view of Elhassani’s role in the case. Prosecutors argued that Elhassani knowingly followed her husband, who was interested in joining ISIS, to Syria, putting her children in danger. The defense has said that Elhassani was a victim of “domestic violence and patriarchal abuse” who had to follow the “crazy man” she married, the Post-Tribune previously reported.  On Wednesday, U.S. Attorney Thomas Kirsch confirmed that a plea deal had been discussed with Elhassani’s lawyer, Thomas Durkin. The charge contained in the plea agreement was different than what Elhassani is currently charged with, however.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Philadelphia Navy Yard Worker And Accused White Supremacist Too Dangerous For Bail, Judge Says

“His Facebook pages are littered with photos of him brandishing guns and knives with captions such as “coming to a synagogue near you.” He routinely shared disturbing right-wing memes, including one depicting a bleeding woman hanged for dating outside her race. And when others online challenged Fred C. Arena, an avowed white supremacist and internet troll, he boasted of doxxing and haranguing a former ally until the man “was ready to kill himself.” But the question before a federal court Wednesday — nearly two weeks after the former Navy Yard worker was charged with lying to the FBI about his ties to white nationalist groups — was whether that long record of racist vitriol and online harassment made him an actual safety risk, or meant he was just another blowhard with an internet connection and extremist views. U.S. Magistrate Judge David R. Strawbridge chose the former and ordered Arena detained without bail until trial. He credited prosecutors’ depiction of the 41-year-old Salem, N.J., resident as a danger to the community and potential witnesses in his case. “I believe on these facts that there is enough,” he said.”


France24: Russia Strikes Kill Six Civilians In Northwest Syria: Monitor

“Air strikes by regime ally Russia killed six civilians in an embattled anti-government bastion in northwestern Syria Wednesday, a Britain-based war monitor said. At least 20 others were also wounded in the attack in the village of Al-Sahaara in the jihadist-run enclave of Idlib, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. At the site of the strikes, an AFP correspondent saw a rescue worker carry the limp body of a tiny girl away from the rubble, her clothes blanketed in fine dust. Bright red blood had gathered around her throat and, under a crop of dusty hair, her eyes were closed peacefully shut. Another emergency worker stood with a body bag at his feet, as colleagues in white hard hats sprayed water onto a building partially pummelled to grey rubble. Wednesday's strike was the second of its kind in less than a week, the Observatory said, after a Russian raid on the village of Jabala on Saturday also killed six civilians, including one child.”

CNN: US Believes Reports Turkey Misused US-Supplied Weapons In Syria Incursion Are 'Credible'

“The US is investigating whether Turkey violated agreements with Washington about the use of US-provided weapons and equipment, including whether Ankara improperly transferred US-supplied weapons to its proxies in Syria, groups that some US officials say may have committed war crimes as part of the Turkish-led incursion targeting America's Kurdish allies. "Consistent with our end-use monitoring agreements, the United States always investigates credible allegations," Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Col. Carla Gleason told CNN on Wednesday. A US defense official told CNN that the US government currently believes the allegations that Turkey has violated end-use monitoring agreements are "credible," prompting the review. The news comes as US President Donald Trump confirmed that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit the White House for a high-profile meeting that has been opposed by several members of Congress due to Turkey's attack on the Syrian Kurds.”

Bloomberg: Syrian Kurds Resume Fight Against Islamic State, Leader Says

“The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces have resumed operations alongside the global coalition fighting Islamic State, a sign that ties between the U.S. and the Kurds are mending after Turkey sent forces across the border to establish a safe zone in northeastern Syria. The SDF is “resuming its joint program of work” to combat Islamic State and to secure infrastructure in northeastern Syria, Kurdish General Mazloum Abdi said on Wednesday on Twitter. The work will depend on the “current stage and new developments on the ground,” he said. President Donald Trump was widely criticized last month for giving the green light to Turkey to launch its military operation against the Kurdish fighters. The decision was criticized by both Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Congress, where Trump’s move was regarded as the betrayal of a loyal ally and bulwark against Islamic State. Mazloum warned after Turkey’s move that the SDF wouldn’t be able to fight Islamic State and Turkey at the same time and that his fighters would be forced to abandon prisons they’ve been guarding that hold Islamic State prisoners. Separately, James Jeffrey, the U.S. envoy for Syria engagement and the special envoy to the coalition to defeat Islamic State will meet senior Turkish leaders and members of the Syrian opposition in Ankara and Istanbul from Nov. 8-9, the State Department said on Wednesday.”

The National: Pledges Of Allegiance To New ISIS Leader Trickle In As Group Rebounds From Al Baghdadi’s Death

“In the hours and days following the announcement of Abu Ibrahim Al Quraishi as the new leader of ISIS, ‘wilayats’ or provinces began to pledge allegiance to him. ‘Wilayats’ or provinces, of the group range from bands of under one hundred fighters to thousands in areas across the Middle East and North Africa. The oaths of allegiance, called Bay’ah, are a continuation of a wider push from ISIS groups to show cohesion in the wake of complete territory loss in Syria and Iraq in March said Raffaello Pantucci, a senior associate fellow and the Royal United Services Institute. “The fact that you saw these things coming in quite quickly is a reflection of the fact that over the last few months. Groups have been pledging allegiance around the world to the organisation, re-pledging their allegiance and saying “the struggle continues, we know the caliphate has gone but it might come back and in the meantime the struggle continues and we're loyal to the group”. At the time of writing, ISIS groups in Pakistan, Somalia, Afghanistan, Egypt and Yemen had pledged allegiance via photographs and video released on ISIS channels hosted on encrypted chat app Telegram.”

The Hill: The Fate Of Vulnerable Refugees As ISIS Evolves

“Over the past month, significant developments have occurred in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The U.S. decision to withdraw its direct military presence with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in early October, subsequent maneuvers by Turkey, Russia and Syria to reshape the landscape on the Turkish-Syrian border, and the death last week of former ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi will reverberate over the long-term. On November 1, the United Nations secretary general met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss Syrian refugees and the implementation of demographic change in northern Syria. These developments will affect the future trajectory of ISIS in Iraq and Syria and beyond. The group was born and grown on the battlefield beginning in the aftermath of the U.S.-led campaign against Iraq in 2003. Despite the death of al-Baghdadi, many counterterrorism experts predict the group will recover from the loss — and last week, ISIS confirmed his death and announced his successor. Beyond the new leader, many ISIS senior managers are well educated, trained, professional and motivated by an ideology that exists in a realm where killing innocent people is acceptable and there is no limit to the brutality of their tactics.”


Associated Press: Iran Injects Gas In New Centrifuges As Atomic Deal Unravels

“Iran injected uranium gas into centrifuges at its underground Fordo nuclear complex early Thursday, taking its most-significant step away from its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. Tehran meanwhile also acknowledged blocking an official from the International Atomic Energy Agency from visiting its nuclear site at Natanz last week, the first known case of a United Nations inspector being blocked amid heightened tensions over its atomic program. Iran’s representative to the IAEA said Tehran had asked the agency never to send the inspector again, without elaborating on what happened. These latest steps by Iran put additional pressure on Europe to offer Tehran a way to sell its crude oil abroad despite the U.S. sanctions imposed on the country since President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from the nuclear deal over a year ago.”

CBS News: Iran Takes Most Significant Step Yet Away From Nuclear Deal With World Powers

“Iran injected uranium gas into centrifuges at its underground Fordo nuclear complex early Thursday, taking its most-significant step away from its collapsing 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. Tehran meanwhile also acknowledged blocking an official from the International Atomic Energy Agency from visiting its nuclear site at Natanz last week, the first known case of a United Nations inspector being blocked amid heightened tensions over its atomic program. Iran then cancelled her accreditation, according to Agence France-Presse. These latest steps put additional pressure on Europe to offer Tehran a way to sell its crude oil abroad despite the U.S. sanctions imposed on the country since President Trump unilaterally withdrew America from the nuclear deal over a year ago.”


Xinhua: 3 IS Militants Killed In Eastern Iraq

“Iraqi security forces Wednesday killed three Islamic State (IS) militants, including one prominent IS leader, in a military operation in Iraq's eastern province of Diyala, a security source said. Based on intelligence information, Iraqi security forces carried out artillery shells against an IS hideout in a village, some 60 km north of Diyala's capital city of Baquba, Alaa Alsady, a police officer from Diyala province told Xinhua, adding the bombing killed the IS leader and his two companions. A joint force of the Iraqi army, police and paramilitary Hashd Shaabi units has been conducting search operations to track down the remnants in the northeast of the province. The security situation in Iraq was dramatically improved after Iraqi security forces fully defeated the extremist IS militants across the country late in 2017. IS remnants, however, have since melted in urban areas or resorted to deserts and rugged areas as safe havens, carrying out frequent guerilla attacks against security forces and civilians.”


Reuters: Erdogan Says U.S. Not Fulfilling Syria Deal Ahead Of Trump Talks

“Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday the United States was not fulfilling its pledge to remove a Kurdish militia from a Syrian border region and he will raise the issue when he meets President Donald Trump next week. A month ago, Turkey launched a cross-border offensive with Syrian rebels against Kurdish YPG fighters. After seizing control of a 120-km (75-mile) swathe of territory, it reached a deal with the United States to keep them out of that area. Erdogan is set to discuss implementation of the agreement with Trump in Washington on Nov. 13, after confirming that the visit would go ahead following a phone call between the leaders overnight. “While we hold these talks, those who promised us that the YPG...would withdraw from here within 120 hours have not achieved this,” he told a news conference, referring to a deadline set in last month’s agreement. Turkish officials had previously said Erdogan might call off the U.S. visit in protest at U.S. House of Representatives’ votes to recognize mass killings of Armenians a century ago as genocide and to seek sanctions on Turkey. After the deal with Washington, Ankara also reached an agreement with Moscow under which the YPG was to withdraw to a depth of 30 km along the entirety of the northeastern Syrian border with Turkey.”


Yahoo News: How The Taliban Won America's Nineteen-Year War

“As a supporter of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, I hoped that we Afghans—in addition to ridding Afghanistan of the Taliban menace—would utilize this opportunity to revive our economy, build an infrastructure, raise our standards of living, and bring an end to warlordism and the culture of impunity. Despite some important—albeit fragile—achievements, Afghanistan as a whole hasn’t benefitted the way it should have from U.S. presence, owing to the collective incompetence and irresponsibility of the international community and the Afghans alike. Billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars have been squandered through contracts and subcontracts by the international community, and through corruption by Afghan officials, which in turn became a contributing factor in helping fuel the Taliban insurgency. Having reorganized themselves, the Taliban by 2006 had launched a full-fledged insurgency against the United States. As the insurgency raged on, two worrying trends developed hand-in-hand: first, the United States continuously increased its troop numbers through 2010, without managing to uproot the Taliban resistance; second, the Taliban attacks became more lethal.”


The Interpreter: The Uncertain Fate Of Islamic State In Pakistan

“On 26 October, the infamous caliph of Islamic State, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, who rose to prominence in 2014 when he announced the creation of the caliphate of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), was killed in Northern Syria. Two days later, Abu Hassan al-Muhajir, spokesperson and deputy of al-Baghdadi, was killed in a joint raid by US military and Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic forces. Without an anointed successor for al-Baghdadi, ISIS appointed Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Quraishi as its new leader. Al-Baghdadi’s death was clearly a major setback for Islamic State, but somewhat lost in the news was how it would affect the terrorist group’s fearsome capabilities in Pakistan. In 2014 Hafiz Saeed Khan, a Pakistani national, was chosen by al-Baghdadi to lead Islamic State Khorasan, the Pakistan and Afghanistan chapter of Islamic State. This group soon started a ruthless series of terror attacks to sow instability and delegitimize the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan. The most devastating occurred at an election rally on 13 July 2018, when a teenage suicide bomber detonated himself, killing a pro-government politician, along with more than 140 people.”


Arab News: Houthi Militants Attack Yemen Government Forces, 8 Killed

“Yemen's Houthi militants  staged missile and drone attacks Wednesday on forces allied with the country's internationally recognized government in a Red Sea town, killing at least eight people, including three civilians, and causing large fires, military officials said. Wadah Dobish, a spokesman for government forces on Yemen's western coast, told The Associated Press at least four missiles fired by the Iran-backed Houthis struck warehouses used by the allied force known as the Giants Bridges in the port town of Mocha. He said their defenses intercepted at least three other missiles. Dobish said at least three Houthi drones also took part in the attack, which caused huge explosions and fires that spread to residential areas. The media arm of the Giants Bridges force posted footage online showing flames and explosions were heard apparently from the warehouses. Officials said at least 12 people, mostly fighters, were wounded in the attacks. A statement from the government forces on the western coast said the attacks also targeted a refugee camp and a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders in the town. The medical aid group did not immediately respond to an AP request seeking a comment.”

Middle East

The National Interest: How Israel Was Able To Wipe Out A Syrian Missile Base (With No Losses)

“At 2:30 in the morning on April 13, 2019, around a dozen missiles tore over the night sky of Hama province, Syria, launched by Israeli F-16 jets flying over Lebanon. In response, short-range Syrian air missiles arced into the night sky trailing plumes of fire from their rocket motors. One or two can be seen exploding mid-air, possibly having have hit their target. However, as has happened in over 200 other Israeli air strikes on targets in Syria, the defensive fire proved inadequate. The weapons struck three Syrian targets. The first was a training base called the “Academy.” A second site was reportedly a storage facility for surface-to-surface missile launchers located near the Masyaf National Hospital. Afterward, the pro-Assad Al-Masdar news agency published a picture of an annihilated M-600 Tishereen ballistic missile launcher. The M-600 is a Syrian license-manufactured version of the Iranian Fateh-110 short-range ballistic missile, a type Tehran has used for missile strikes on targets in Syria, Iraq and Israel since 2017. The third and hardest hit site was a missile manufacturing facility belonging to the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center near Masyaf, Syria. The SSSRC is dedicated to procuring sanctioned chemical weapons and ballistic missile technology from abroad for Damascus. The gated facility, for which you can see a satellite photo here, adjoined two compounds believed to house Syrian and Iranian troops.”


Sahara Reporters: Boko Haram: North-East Governors Urge Buhari Regime To Dialogue With Terrorists

“The six governors in North-east Nigeria, a region devastated by the Boko Haram terrorists have called on the President Muhammadu Buhari regime and governments at all levels to engage in dialogue with the insurgents. The governors believed that could allow those who might want to repent among the terrorists exit the insurgency easily. In a communique issued at the end of one-day security summit convened by the inspector general of police held in Maiduguri on Tuesday. The summit was attended by the six governors of the region, members of the national assembly, states assemblies, top military personnel, other security chiefs among others. "That the summit notes with deep sense of appreciation, the roles and sacrifices of the Nigerian military, the Nigerian police and other security agencies involved in the fight against insurgency in the north-east zone and urges them to continue to do more in the service to their fatherland.”


Al Jazeera: Burkina Faso: 37 Killed In Attack On Canadian Mining Convoy

“Thirty-seven civilians were killed and more than 60 wounded when gunmen ambushed a convoy transporting workers of Canadian gold miner Semafo in eastern Burkina Faso, regional authorities said on Wednesday. The attack is the deadliest in recent years as the military struggles to contain violence that has overrun parts of Burkina Faso, located in West Africa. Semafo tightened security last year following armed incidents near two of its mines in the country. Semafo said in a statement earlier that the attack on a convoy of five buses with military escort took place on the road to its Boungou mine in the eastern region of Est, about 40km (25 miles) from Boungou, and that there were several fatalities and injuries. The Est governor's office later gave more details, saying “unidentified armed men laid an ambush for a convoy transporting Semafo workers”, giving a provisional civilian death toll of 37 with over 60 wounded. That toll does not include an unknown number of the security forces who may have been killed in the attack. The toll was likely to rise as there are a large number of people still unaccounted for, according to a security source. Two security sources said the military vehicle leading the convoy was struck by an IED on a stretch of road where there is no cellphone network.”

Xinhua: 2 Militants Killed In Northern Algeria

“The Algerian defense ministry said two armed militants were killed by anti-terror troops on Wednesday in the northern province of Tipaza, 55 km west of the capital Algiers. “During the anti-terror operation launched on Nov. 3 in the dense forests of the locality of Jebel El Riacha of Tipaza Province, two terrorists were shot dead on Wednesday morning,” said a minisntry statement. The two militants carried two Kalashnikov-type machine guns and a quantity of ammunition, according to the statement. The security situation in Algeria has remarkably improved in the last decade compared to the 1990s, despite occasional reports of clashes between security forces and terrorist groups.”


Euro News: French Firm Lafarge Cleared Of Syria War Crimes Complicity But Terror Financing Charge Remains

“A French appeal court has thrown out a charge alleging that the industrial giant Lafarge was guilty of "complicity in crimes against humanity" over its involvement in Syria. However, the cement manufacturer remains accused of financing terrorist groups including ISIS, and violating international sanctions. As well as the company itself, three former executives also face charges: the ex-CEO Bruno Lafont, former security director Jean-Claude Veillard, and an ex-director of Lafarge's Syrian subsidiary, Frédéric Jolibois. Lawyers for the multinational welcomed the appeal court's ruling on the complicity charge. "The court recognises that Lafarge has never participated either closely or from afar in a crime against humanity," said their statement. Lafarge – which merged in 2015 with the Swiss company Holcim – remains suspected of paying nearly 13 million euros via its Syrian subsidiary to jihadist groups, to keep its operation going. Present in Syria since 2007, the company stayed on while other multinationals pulled out amid the country’s descent into civil war in the aftermath of the “Arab Spring” protests in 2011.”

Al Jazeera: France Announces Troop Deployment To Burkina Faso

“Florence Parly, the French minister of armed forces, has announced her country will be deploying ground troops to the "three borders" area of Burkina Faso. During a visit to the country's capital, Ouagadougou, she said on Monday, "the launch of operation 'Bourgou 4' will be led by Barkhane [France's military operation in the Sahel region of Africa], but with the eminent contribution of two Burkinabe companies. The operation will take place in the coming days in the three border area, which is where there is most need." Sources in Burkina Faso suggest the operation has already started and is being carried out at the request of the Burkinabe authorities.”


Voice Of America: Auschwitz Survivor Becomes Symbol Of Tensions In Italy

“An 89-year-old Auschwitz survivor who is a senator-for-life in Italy unwittingly provoked one of the country’s most intense confrontations with anti-Semitism since the end of its Fascist dictatorship during World War II. In response to revelations that she is subject to 200 social media attacks each day, Liliana Segre called for the creation of a parliamentary committee to combat hate, racism and anti-Semitism. Parliament approved her motion, but without votes from Italy’s right-wing parties. Matteo Salvini’s euroskeptic League party, Silvio Berlusconi’s center-right Forza Italia and Giorgia Meloni’s far-right Brothers of Italy all abstained, in a move that defied the kind of social consensus that has marked Italian post-war politics. The vote last week, along with a round of racist chants in a soccer stadium, focused attention on what observers say is a growing boldness in anti-Semitic and racist attitudes in Italy, and the role of politicians in sanctioning them.”


The New York Times: ISIS Fighters Attack Outpost In Tajikistan

“At least 17 people were killed on Wednesday when militants said to be members of the Islamic State attacked a checkpoint on the Tajikistan-Uzbekistan border, the Tajik authorities said. The attack points to the resilience of the Islamic State and its longstanding aim to spread further into Central Asia from its enclave in Afghanistan. It comes almost two weeks after the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was killed during an American military operation in northwestern Syria. Western officials had warned that Mr. al-Baghdadi’s death was likely to lead to retaliatory attacks. Fifteen assailants were killed in the gun battle in Tajikistan, as were a Tajik border guard and an employee of the country’s Interior Ministry. Five militants were captured, the ministry said in a statement. The Islamic State has not taken responsibility for the clash, which occurred around 50 miles southwest of the capital, Dushanbe, but the Interior Ministry said that Tajik officials had learned of the group’s role during “the investigation and interrogation” of the captured fighters. “These attackers are probably our own citizens,” said Umarjon Emomali, a spokesman for the Tajikistan Interior Ministry. The militants crossed into Tajikistan over the weekend from Kunduz Province, in northern Afghanistan, Afghan officials said.”

Radio Free Europe: Attack In Tajikistan Could Have Broad Implications For Central Asia

“A deadly attack on a Tajik border post reported early on November 6 is disturbing for many reasons, including the fact Tajik officials are blaming the so-called Islamic State (IS) militant group for the assault that authorities say left at least two security servicemen and 15 militants dead. The alleged attack has raised alarms across the southern parts of Central Asia and will no doubt be duly noted by the Kremlin, where officials have long warned of such a possibility. Tashkent, the Uzbek capital, is also sure to take notice. Tajik security officials have given few details about the attack -- just a few kilometers from Uzbekistan and 60 kilometers west of Dushanbe -- but said in a quickly released statement by the Border Guard Service that 20 people crossed from the Qala-e Zal district in Afghanistan's northern Kunduz Province on November 3 into Tajikistan's Qubodiyon district. The group -- which reportedly included at least one woman, according to the Interior Ministry -- apparently acquired four vehicles and drove to the Ishkobod border post in the Rudaki region. Some of the attackers are said to have acquired five weapons before they were surrounded after a chase and 15 of them were killed.”

Yahoo News: 15 Killed In Suspected Rebel Attacks In Thailand's South

“At least fifteen people were gunned down in an ambush by suspected Muslim militants in Thailand's violence-wracked south, an army spokesman said on Wednesday, one of the bloodiest days in the 15-year insurgency. Thailand's three southernmost provinces have been in the grip of a conflict that has killed more than 7,000 people, as Malay-Muslim militants fight for more autonomy from the Thai state. Despite the high death toll, the highly localised unrest garners few international headlines. The region is heavily controlled by the police and the military, with residents and rights groups accusing them of heavy-handed tactics. Villagers trained and armed by security forces are also enlisted to monitor remote villages, though they are rarely targeted by the rebels. This changed late Tuesday when militants struck two checkpoints in Yala province manned by civilian defence volunteers, opening fire on them as a group of villagers stopped to talk, southern army spokesman Pramote Prom-in told AFP. In the largest death toll in years, “twelve were killed at the scene, two more (died) at the hospital, and one died this morning”, said Pramote, adding that five others were injured. The attackers took M-16 rifles and shotguns from the checkpoints, he said. “These acts were by militants.”


The Sydney Morning Herald: 'High Price To Pay': Australia Urges Nations To Refuse To Pay Ransoms To Terrorists

“Australia has called for greater co-operation globally to help cut off millions of dollars flowing to terrorist organisations by steadfastly refusing to pay ransoms for kidnapped foreign nationals. Speaking at a No Money for Terror conference in Melbourne yesterday, Foreign Minister Marise Payne urged international partners to be resolute in the face of terror tactics, warning no nation could combat the problem on its own. She said money was like oxygen for terrorist groups and kidnap for ransom was one way such groups stayed alive. “It makes no sense for nation-states to fund both sides of the battle: where we pay with blood to mount ever more complex and risky counter-terrorism operations, and then we allow terrorists to nourish their recovery through kidnap for ransom or the other forms of terrorist financing,” she said. More than $US120 million in kidnap ransom funds were channelled to terrorist groups between 2004 and 2012, according to a recent United Nations report. The amount has increased since the rise of Islamic State, which raised $US45 million from kidnapping between September 2013 and September 2014 alone. In Africa's Sahel region, kidnapping put an estimated $US89 million in the coffers of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb between 2013 and 2017.”


Vice: An Infamous Neo-Nazi Forum Just Got Doxxed

“It’s no secret that neo-Nazis freely post anonymously all over the internet, every single day. But a recent leak shows that white nationalists online can’t always protect their identities. The metadata of a now-defunct neo-Nazi message board that is considered the birthplace of several militant organizations—among them the U.S.-based terror group Atowmaffen Division—was dumped onto the internet by what appears to be anti-fascist activists. The site, IronMarch, is widely associated with the rise of the new wave of white supremacist accelerationst groups advocating for armed insurgency against society. The site ran from 2011 to 2017 and garnered more than 150,000 posts while active. The dump of its inner workings includes the login names of its former members and their associated emails and IP addresses. Although Motherboard could not verify all the contents of the dump, early record searches match names and details of white nationalist militants tracked by Motherboard over the course of a two-year investigation into neo-Nazi terrorism. The dump also matched internal IronMarch data that Motherboard already accessed.”

New Strait Times: Unhealthy Content, Extremism Using Social Media Getting More Attention

“ILLEGAL content in social media from pornography, gambling to fake news and extreme ideology, is getting more serious attention from governments either in the East or West. Indonesian Communication and Information Ministry, for one, has drawn up rules on the penalty for illegal content through Electronic Systems and Transactions regulation or the ITE Law. The Tempo portal quoted the ministry's information technology director general Semuel A. Pangarepan a couple days ago as saying that the guilty party can be fined between 100 million (RM29, 536) to 500 million rupiah (RM147, 724). Based on the proposed law which will come into force in 2020 that set the penalty, platforms such as Facebook and Twitter must block contents that Indonesia considers illegal such as pornography and gambling. Other contents that are forbidden are related to immoral acts, discrimination against races, ethnic groups and religious groups. Apart from a fine, other penalties could include administrative sanctions and suspension of the social media's network operations. There is acknowledgement that social media companies have acted after the authorities voiced concerns.”