Eye on Extremism: November 7, 2018

The New York Times: Akayed Ullah Guilty of ISIS-Inspired Bombing Near Times Square

“A man who told the police he was inspired by the Islamic State when he detonated a pipe bomb last year in a crowded subway corridor near Times Square was found guilty of federal terrorism charges on Tuesday. The verdict came after a weeklong trial in which jurors were shown videos that tracked the man’s journey from his Brooklyn apartment until the moment of the blast. The would-be suicide bomber, Akayed Ullah, 28, a Bangladeshi immigrant, was seriously injured when his makeshift weapon malfunctioned on Dec. 11, and at least one person near him was wounded by shrapnel. The explosion caused panic during the early morning rush, filling parts of nearby Port Authority terminal with smoke and sending thousands of commuters fleeing. Throughout Mr. Ullah’s trial in Manhattan, the defense never disputed he had set off a bomb. Not only did the government have video of Mr. Ullah as he was thrown to the ground by the force of the blast, the authorities also found bomb components in his apartment. Mr. Ullah also admitted responsibility for the attack during a four-hour interrogation at Bellevue Hospital Center, a New York police detective testified.”

CNBC: ISIS May Be Quashed On The Ground, But It's Still A 'Problem' Online, EU Security Official Says

“Islamic State, the jihadist group that once held control of large parts of Iraq and Syria, is still "very much a problem" as it continues to pump out terror content online, a European security official has said. Julian King, the EU's commissioner for the security union, said Tuesday that, although the Islamist militant organization has suffered a drop in its global influence and presence on the ground, it continues to exploit the internet as a means of promoting its extremist ideology. "When it comes to terrorism content online there are specific organizations, most notably but not uniquely ISIS, al-Qaeda is also trying to use the digital space," King told CNBC's Elizabeth Schulze on Tuesday at the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal. ISIS was once notorious for its use of online propaganda material to persuade disenfranchised young people in the West to flee their home country to fight for its cause in the Middle East. It has also claimed responsibility for numerous terror attacks in the West. "Now, they've suffered reversals on the ground in Iraq and Syria, but they're still producing material, they still use the internet to traffic their propaganda and their radicalizing material," King said. "So it remains very much a problem that we need to deal with today." King added that several terror attacks that have targeted Europe were perpetrated by homegrown individuals, rather than people traveling to and from the Middle East.”

Jerusalem Post: US Report: Iran Provoking And Threatening The Us In Syria And Iraq

“Iranian forces in Syria may present a threat to the US and in Iraq the Iranian threat is increasing, according to a new report from the US Department of Defense. The Lead Inspector General report on Operation Inherent Resolve was released on Tuesday and reviews the US role fighting Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. However the quarterly report, which covers operations from July to September of this year, notes that Iran is increasingly a threat to the US and examines how Washington is now changing its posture in Syria as the mission changes. In the last several months US officials have said that American troops would remain in Syria as long as Iranian troops were also present in the country. The US is now seeking to “leverage” its influence in Syria to remove Iran. This is a major mission change from a conflict that began in 2014 to confront ISIS. The US base at Tanf, located in southern Syria near where the Jordanian and Iraqi borders meet, is also the subject of the report’s review. It notes that “while Iranian-backed miliitas may present a threat to the US and Coalition forces in Syria, neither Iran nor Iranian-backed militias had hindered counter-ISIS operations.”  The garrison at Tanf restricts the movement of the Iranians.”

Nine.com.Au: Facebook And Tech Giants Under Pressure To Win War On Cyber Terror

“Facebook remains an important weapon of choice for pro-Islamic State supporters, who continue to proliferate terrorist content across the world's largest social platform to recruit and incite attacks. A recent report from Counter-Extremism Project (CEP), a New York based think-tank, was critical of Facebook's failure to take down pro-Islamic State posts and propaganda which it claimed can "remain on the platform for months or even years". CEP found evidence on Facebook of pro-Islamic State recruiters using the platform's messaging system to connect with others, and post disturbing acts of graphic violence. One video, which had been up for two weeks, is a 30-second clip posted by a pro-IS Facebook account that showed fighters desecrating a corpse by amputating an arm. The video was covered with a filter by Facebook due to "violent or graphic content." CEP said Facebook's messaging system is "so fast and simple" that IS have developed a specific, structured strategy of using it to radicalise and recruit individuals around the world. In the report, CEP claimed to have observed one user who operated multiple Facebook accounts "posting a series of messages" urging others to help spread IS propaganda.”

The Wall Street Journal: Turkey’s Erdogan Says He’ll Defy U.S. Sanctions On Iran

“Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday that his country would ignore sanctions the U.S. introduced against Iran this week—a defiant tone that could complicate Ankara’s recent efforts to defuse tension with Washington. Mr. Erdogan lashed out at the Trump administration, saying the U.S. sanctions risked disrupting the world order. “We do not want to live in an imperialist world,” Mr. Erdogan told reporters after a meeting with lawmakers from his ruling Justice and Development Party. “We will absolutely not abide by such sanctions.” Without vital natural-gas imports from Iran, he said, Turkey wouldn’t be able to get through the winter. “We cannot let our people freeze in the cold,” the Turkish president said. Mr. Erdogan’s broadside contrasted with nearly four weeks of diplomatic niceties Ankara and Washington exchanged following last month’s release by Turkey of American pastor Andrew Brunson.”

The Wall Street Journal: Pompeo’s Nuclear Talks With North Korean Officials Are Canceled

“High-stakes nuclear talks between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and a senior North Korean official were called off, dealing a setback to a rocky diplomatic process and lowering hopes for progress on denuclearization. In a brief statement Wednesday, the State Department said Mr. Pompeo’s planned meeting with North Korea’s Kim Yong Chol scheduled for Thursday in New York had been postponed indefinitely. The two sides would reconvene at a later date “when our respective schedules permit,” spokeswoman Heather Nauert said, without giving a reason for the delay. North Korea and the U.S. had locked horns in recent weeks over the pace of the North’s progress on nuclear disarmament and Pyongyang’s demands for the easing of U.S.-led sanctions, a step Washington has refused to take. While neither side has appeared ready to abandon dialogue, their negotiating positions have hardened in recent weeks, dimming hopes of compromise. Ms. Nauert said in her statement that the U.S. remains focused on fulfilling the commitments that President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made in Singapore in June, where the leaders agreed to improve bilateral relations and work toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

United States

Channel News Asia: Manhattan Subway Bomber Found Guilty Of Supporting Islamic State

The Bangladeshi man accused of detonating a bomb last December in a New York City subway passageway on behalf of Islamic State was found guilty on Tuesday of all six criminal counts against him, including use of a weapon of mass destruction and support of a terrorist organisation, according to federal prosecutors. The verdict against Akayed Ullah, 28, came after a week-long jury trial in Manhattan federal court. Ullah faces a possible sentence of life in prison. Ullah's lawyers declined to comment on the verdict. They had not contested the bombing charges, but said his motive was to end his life, not to support Islamic State even though he had taken in the militant group's propaganda online. Ullah was arrested last December after detonating a homemade bomb in a pedestrian tunnel connecting two subway lines and a bus terminal in midtown Manhattan. The explosion did not kill anyone, but authorities said three people suffered minor injuries and the subway station and the Port Authority Bus Terminal were closed temporarily that morning. Federal prosecutors said Ullah built the bomb out of a pipe taken from a construction site where he worked as an electrician, using match heads and sugar as explosives and screws as shrapnel. They said he was inspired by online Islamic State propaganda urging supporters to carry out "lone wolf" attacks. Before the attack, prosecutors said, Ullah posted on Facebook: "Trump you failed to protect your nation," followed by an Arabic message expressing support of Islamic State. Ullah lived with his mother, sister and two brothers in Brooklyn and was a green card holder. At the time of the attack his wife lived in Bangladesh, and the couple had a six-month-old son. Ullah's wife told Bangladeshi investigators that Ullah had not prayed regularly before moving the United States, and officials said he had no criminal record in his home country.


The Washington Times: Farrakhan Under Renewed Fire For Leading 'Death To America' Chant In Iran

“A few weeks after referring to Jews as termites, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan has come under renewed fire for leading chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” during a solidarity trip to Iran. In a tour timed to the restoration of U.S. sanctions against Iran, Mr. Farrakhan led an audience Sunday at the University of Tehran law school in anti-American and anti-Israeli chanting, according to Iranian news agencies. Conservatives were quick to condemn the 85-year-old Farrakhan, who has met over the years with Congressional Black Caucus members and won praise from progressives such as Women’s March leaders Tamika Mallory and Linda Sarsour despite his history of anti-Semitic statements. “When will the democrats disavow this guy?” tweeted Donald Trump Jr. “Answer: NEVER.” Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, known as “America’s Rabbi,” called it a “new low for arch Jew-hater Farrakhan,” and urged President Barack Obama and President Bill Clinton, both of whom have appeared with Mr. Farrakhan, to denounce him.”

Al Monitor: Terror Plot Accusations Undermine Iran-Europe Engagement At Worst Possible Time

“Denmark’s arrest of a Norwegian national of Iranian descent on suspicion of helping prepare assassinations of Iranian Arab separatists has put the administration of President Hassan Rouhani under pressure at a time when it is reeling from US sanctions both at home and abroad. Of note, the Trump administration has over the past year urged Europe to adopt a tougher position on Iran, referring to Iranian “terrorism” on European soil. Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) chief Finn Borch Andersen on Oct. 30 announced that the Norwegian national had engaged in intelligence collection to target the exiled leader of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz (ASMLA), pointing the finger at “an Iranian intelligence agency.” ASMLA is an Arab Iranian separatist group that has been linked to violence in Iran’s southwestern province of Khuzestan. Most recently, a spokesman for the Denmark-based group claimed responsibility for a Sept. 23 attack on a military parade in the provincial capital of Ahvaz that left over two dozen Iranians dead. In response, Iran summoned the British, Dutch and Danish envoys and called on Denmark and the Netherlands to extradite Iranian nationals on their soil who Iranian officials claimed were responsible for the attack. After the Iranian protestations, the Denmark-based group withdrew its claim of responsibility.”


Asharq Al-Awsat: Hezbollah Strongly Interfering In Iraq’s Govt. Crisis

“The Lebanese Hezbollah party has been interfering in internal political affairs in Iraq, especially recent government formation efforts. Iraqi sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the party’s official in charge of Iraqi affairs, Mohammed Kawtharani had informed Shiite leaderships in Baghdad of the need to support Falih al-Fayyad’s bid to become interior minister after head of the Sairoon bloc, Moqtada al-Sadr, had vetoed his appointment. “Kawtharani, with the support of Iranian and Russian high ranking leaderships, informed Shiite forces in Iraq about the need to appoint Fayyad as interior minister,” the sources said, highlighting the official’s close ties with Syrian regime head Bashar Assad. Leaderships from the Binaa coalition have already informed Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi of their support for Fayyad’s nomination, as well as Qusay al-Suhail’s appointment as justice minister. Fayyad is a member of the Binaa coalition.”


Ahval: Turkey’s Increasing Influence In North Leaves Syrians Confused About Future – Analysis

“Turkey’s role in northern Syria has gradually expanded from the security sector to courts, schools and religious authorities, leaving Syrians ambivalent about the impact of a growing Turkish presence over their lives and the future of their country, Syria Direct website wrote. Ankara has been in northern Aleppo since 2016, when the Turkish army launched Operation Euphrates Shield to drive out hardline Islamic State (ISIS) militants from territories bordering Turkey. Turkish-backed forces later went on to assert themselves over Afrin as of January of this year, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stressing that Turkey will continue to expand operations east of the Euphrates. In areas of northern Syria nominally under the control of Turkish-backed rebel groups, the patronage of Turkey is evident everywhere. Painted on the walls of Turkish-funded schools, hospitals and local government buildings throughout northern Aleppo provincial towns like Afrin, Azaz and al-Bab, the two flags sometimes come accompanied with an inscription written in both Turkish and Arabic: “Brotherhood has no borders.”


The New York Times: Taliban Pummel Security Forces Across Afghanistan

“Dozens of soldiers and police officers were killed or captured in nine Taliban attacks that overran security bases and outposts in different parts of Afghanistan during a 24-hour period that ended on Tuesday, officials said. In perhaps the most severe blow, insurgents captured battalion headquarters of the Afghan Border Force in Farah Province, in western Afghanistan, killing or taking prisoner nearly the entire contingent of officers, with as many as 20 dead. In Kandahar Province, in the south, three separate attacks killed a total of 17 police officers. And in Ghazni, a central province, a joint military and police outpost fell only two days after it had been set up, with all 16 security officials there killed or wounded. The attack on the headquarters in Farah, close to the Iranian border, destroyed the first battalion’s base in the district of Poshti Koh. Sgt. Gholam Mohammad, the senior noncommissioned officer, said from a clinic where he had been taken with a minor head wound that, in addition to the 20 border force officers killed, 25 had been taken captive by the Taliban. Three others escaped. The Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, claimed responsibility for the capture of the headquarters in posts on Twitter that purported to show weapons seized at the base. In all, 59 police officers or soldiers were confirmed killed in the nine attacks on Monday and Tuesday, which took place in seven provinces.”

The Jerusalem Post: Despite Attacks On American Troops U.S. And Taliban Move Closer To Peace

“The Afghan Taliban appointed five of its senior members to its political office in Doha, Qatar, raising the likelihood that the group—recognized by many countries as a terrorist organization—will enter into peace talks with the United States. Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, told The Media Line that the five leaders are: Mullah Norullah Nori, Mohammed Nabi Omari, Mohammed Fazl, Khairullah Khairkhwa and Abdul Haq Wasiq. All of them were held in the US’ Guantanamo Bay Naval Base prison (known as “Gitmo”) for 13 years for hostile acts against US forces. They were released in a 2014 prisoner swap under the Obama administration. In that exchange, the US released the five for US Private Robert “Bowe” Bergdahl, who was captured by the Taliban in 2009 while serving in Afghanistan. Known as the “Gitmo five,” the released prisoners were high-ranking federal cabinet members of the Taliban government, which was toppled by the US-led military coalition in 2001. Mujahid added that an exclusive meeting held in Doha last week united the Gitmo five with Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, the head of the Taliban’s political wing. Stanikzai reportedly welcomed them, adding that Afghanistan is passing through a very fragile stage and their leadership will be important in strengthening the Taliban’s political clout. “These leaders bear a great deal of influence and have gained the respect of today’s Taliban fighters,” Mujahid added.”


Saudi Gazette: Ending The Yemen War

“Saudi Arabia and its allies are not having fun in Yemen and they do not have any plans to stay in the country forever or interfere in its internal affairs. NO one wants the war in Yemen to continue forever. The military intervention in Yemen, led by Saudi Arabia, aimed at preventing the creation of the environment for a bigger war that would destroy all the neighboring countries. Imagine the condition of Yemen had the outlawed Houthi militias assumed full control of the country and succeeded in turning it into an Iranian missile base, threatening the southern Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa countries. Saudi Arabia and its allies succeeded in preventing Yemen from falling victim to a country with a theocratic government that is supported by religious clerics who think their legitimacy came from the heavens. So when the international community demands an end to the war in Yemen, they need to define on what bases the war will stop. They need to have a road map to shape the future that is awaiting the Yemeni people, so their sacrifices will not go in vain, like the people who lost their lives during the Houthi coup and the subsequent military operations in their efforts to stick on to power and suppress any opposition.”

The National: Yemen PM Says Government Ready To Resume Peace Talks

“Yemeni Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed said the government is ready to resume peace talks, in a sign that direct negotiations between Yemeni officials and Iranian-backed Houthi rebels may soon resume. Western powers made a push for a de-escalation of the country's civil war last week. The US stressed the need for consultations overseen by the United Nations to begin by the end of the month in Sweden, after previous attempts collapsed in September. "The government of Yemen has made many concessions in the past aiming to reach peaceful solution but we did not receive any encouragement from the Houthis," Mr Saeed said, according to Yemen's official news agency, Saba. "They are continuing to lengthen the duration of the conflict and suffering of Yemenis." The premier's comments came during a meeting on Tuesday with the Swedish envoy of foreign affairs to Yemen, Peter Simbi. In September, the two sides were expected to sit down in Geneva for the first time in two years to discuss measures aimed at ending the three-year war in which more than 10,000 Yemenis have been killed but a Houthi delegation failed to show up. "The militia has left about one million workers in the areas they control without salaries, which has exacerbated the conflict's humanitarian suffering," Mr Saeed said. Mr Simbi stressed Sweden's willingness to provide support to Yemen and contribute to ending the suffering of the Yemeni people. The UN's envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, asked Sweden on Wednesday to host Yemen peace talks.”

Al Arabiya: Yemeni Army Seizes Control Of More Positions, Facilities In Hodeidah

“Yemeni armed forces, aided by the Coalition fighter jets in Yemen, restored control over several positions and facilities in Yemen. A military source said on Tuesday that army units combed the mills’ roundabout and nearby areas before launching an attack that allowed them to seize control over the Red Sear Mills Company and all its facilities. The battles in Hodeidah’s northeastern and southern neighborhoods killed at least 23 Houthis. 14 Houthis, which include snipers, handed themselves over while dozens of Houthi commanders and fighters left Hodeidah towards Sanaa and Hajjah. The Yemeni army forces advanced in Al-Khamseen Street to come closer to the Hodeidah Port which is less than four kilometers away. A force affiliated with the army’s Giant’s Brigade targeted a Houthi gathering using a thermal missile in a position around the city, killing four Houthis. Meanwhile, residents said the Houthis had launched a strict security campaign in the city as they raided dozens of houses and positioned on their rooftops. Other residents said their houses had been looted.”


Asharq Al-Awsat: Lebanon: Religious Authorities Seek To Resolve Government Crisis

“Lebanon’s religious authorities have joined efforts to solve the government formation crisis. Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai met with Jaafarite Mufti Sheikh Ahmed Qabalan on Tuesday in Bkirki and handed him a letter to “Hezbollah,” urging the group to facilitate the mission. The move comes days after a statement issued following the two meetings of the Council of Muftis and the Higher Religious Council - held under the chairmanship of Grand Mufti Abdullatif Derian - that called on political parties and blocs to overcome obstacles that hinder the formation of a government of national unity. “The essence of the visit today is a follow up on the periodic meetings held between religious and spiritual figures … Religious authorities call for a swift government formation,” Qabalan told reporters after his meeting with Rai. “His Beatitude relayed to our brothers in Hezbollah a solicitation to help remove the obstacles to the cabinet formation. Wisdom and enlightenment are required to help address the issues of the state and the homeland,” he added.”

Daily Star: Leader Of Hezbollah-Linked Ansar Allah Leaves Mieh Mieh

“The leader of Ansar Allah has left the Mieh Mieh Palestinian refugee camp, as part of a deal with the Fatah Movement after violent clashes between the groups last month, Palestinian security sources told The Daily Star Wednesday morning. The security sources said that Jamal Suleiman and 17 of his supporters, including his family, started leaving the Sidon-area camp at around 7 p.m. Tuesday, with the process ending at 1 a.m. Wednesday. The group, which included Suleiman’s four wives and six children, is now out of the country, the sources said. Palestinian sources within Mieh Mieh said that Suleiman fled to Syria, but that it was not yet clear what route he took. The sources said that the exit process came as a result of a lengthy security meeting that was held overnight, overseen by senior Hezbollah official Wafiq Safa. Suleiman’s withdrawal from Mieh Mieh was part of an agreement reached Monday, in return for the Fatah Movement relaxing its pressure on the position of the Hezbollah-linked Ansar Allah inside the camp, sources had told The Daily Star. The sources said that when Suleiman leaves, Fatah and members of the Palestinian National Security Forces would break the siege on Ansar Allah’s security zone, withdraw fighters and allow residents to return to the camp. Just before Suleiman left the camp, around 25 Ansar Allah members took over the security zone along with the group’s deputy, Maher Oweid. Oweid is now expected to act as the interim secretary-general of Ansar Allah until elections take place. Sources in the camp predicted that Oweid would be elected to the post.”


Agence France Presse: At Least 16 Nigeria Troops Missing After Boko Haram Attack

“At least 16 Nigerian soldiers are missing following clashes with Boko Haram jihadists in the Lake Chad area, military and militia sources told AFP on Tuesday. The Islamic State in West Africa (ISWAP) group, a faction of the Boko Haram, claimed responsibility for the attack in which it said 15 soldiers were killed, according to SITE, which tracks the online activities of terrorist organisations. The incident began when gunmen in several trucks attacked a military base and a local market in the town of Kukawa late on Monday, briefly forcing troops out of the base. "Our soldiers engaged the terrorists in a fierce battle following the attack," a military officer told AFP from Maiduguri, the regional capital which lies about 180km to the south. "So far, 16 soldiers are missing but search teams are combing the general area to locate them," said the officer, speaking on condition of anonymity.  There were no immediate official reports of casualties on either side but a civilian militia group confirmed that 16 soldiers were missing and also said one civilian had been killed in the crossfire. The attack came hours after Boko Haram jihadists attacked soldiers in Kumshe village near the border with Cameroon. Last month two Nigerian soldiers were killed when troops on foot patrol stepped on a mine around Kumshe. Boko Haram has intensified its attacks on military targets in the northeastern states of Borno and Yobe in recent months. The nine-year jihadist conflict which has spilt into Niger, Cameroon and Chad, has killed 27,000 people and left some 1.8 million homeless in Nigeria alone.”


Voice Of America: Cameroon’s President Promises Defeat Of Terrorism

“Cameroon's President Paul Biya, the second longest serving African president at 36 years in power, has been inaugurated for another seven-year mandate. In his speech, Biya promised to defeat terrorism in the country but made no mention of 82 people kidnapped Monday in Cameroon’s restive Anglophone region. Cameroonians sang the national anthem Tuesday as Biya was sworn in. In his speech, Biya promised to solve Cameroon’s problems and urged unity. He said they would continue fighting terrorism until separatists in the two English-speaking regions drop their guns or are defeated. He says in the northwest and southwest regions of Cameroon, negative forces took advantage of some worker complaints to execute their separatist plans and acts of terrorism. Violence broke out so the government responded with measures to preserve public order, he says, and assure the safety and security of people and their property. Secession is against Cameroon’s constitution, says Biya, and the indivisible nature of the nation.”

Associated Press: 79 Kidnapped Cameroon Students Freed, Says Church Official

“The 79 school children kidnapped by unidentified gunmen from a school in Cameroon have been released, but two of the three staff members abducted are still being held, said a church official. “They were brought last night to one of our churches ... near Bamenda (the regional capital). They look tired and psychologically tortured,” said the moderator of the country’s Presbyterian Church, Fonki Samuel Forba. The students are between 11 and 17 years old. He pleaded with the kidnappers to “free the staff still in their keeping.” The church leader said he had asked parents and guardians to take home all their children. “It is unfortunate we have to close the school and send home 700 children,” he said. “Their security is not assured by the state and armed groups constantly attack and kidnap them.”

United Kingdom

The Independent: Man Who Built Bombs At Bristol Home After Spewing Anti-Muslim Hate Escapes Terror Charge

“A man who spewed hate against Muslims and migrants online before building explosives at his home was not charged with terror offences because officials decided there was “insufficient evidence” of his motivation. Matthew Glynn, 37, built devices including a makeshift grenade and cylinder bomb in Bristol. He has pleaded guilty to five counts of making an explosive substance and is due to be sentenced at Bristol Crown Court next month. The prosecution did not allege that Glynn was planning to use the homemade bombs in an attack, but his Facebook posts indicate anti-Muslim and extreme right-wing views. The last public post, from February 2017, was a cartoon of a baby holding a sword, with the caption “English born, English bred, 100% English and proud”. Glynn shared numerous videos from the anti-Islam Britain First extremist group, which has since been banned from Facebook and had its leaders jailed for religiously aggravated harassment.”


Reuters: France Arrests Six Over Plot To Attack Macron: Official

“French police on Tuesday arrested five men and a woman, all from the radical far right, suspected of plotting to attack French President Emmanuel Macron, an official close to the investigation said. The source said France’s domestic spy agency (DGSI) ordered the raids in three different regions after obtaining intelligence that raised suspicion of an “imprecise and loosely-formed” plan for “violent action” against the president. Police sources said the six were members of the radical far right in France. They were detained in swoops on addresses in the Isere region, southeast of Lyon, in Moselle on the border with Germany and Luxembourg, and in Ille-et-Vilaine near the city of Rennes in the country’s northwest. It was not immediately clear what the connection between those arrested was. In an interview published on Sunday, Macron warned of the threat from far-right movements across Europe, saying complacency during the 1930s was what had opened the way for the rise of Hitler in Germany and Mussolini in Italy.”


DW: German Lawmakers Push For Syrian Refugee Deportations

“In the wake of a rape case involving Syrians in Germany, conservative lawmakers are demanding the government re-evaluate the security situation in Syria. Criminal refugees should be able to be deported, they say. The rape of a young woman in the southwestern city of Freiburg has reignited the debate over deporting criminal asylum-seekers. At least seven Syrian men and one German man are suspected of raping an 18-year-old student in mid-October. In response, a number of conservative politicians have demanded the government be able to deport Syrian refugees accused of severe crimes back to their native country. If the situation in war-torn Syria "continues to improve, even if only in parts of the country, deporting a limited circle of persons should no longer be barred across the board," Mathias Middelberg, a parliamentarian and domestic policy spokesperson for Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU), told Die Welt newspaper.”


Balkan Insight: Albania Shootout Reflects Wider Problem Of Rising Nationalism

“On October 28, a 35-year-old Greek national named Kostantinos Kacifas opened fire in the village of Bularat, in southern Albania and home to a significant ethnic Greek minority in the area. Hours after opening fire and targeting a police car, Kacifas was killed during a shootout with police. The tragic event has sparked debates about the operation that led to Kacifas’s death, the underlying ethnic tensions between communities in Albania – and about the role that ethno-nationalism is playing in amplifying the voice of extremists in Greece. Over the past year, Greece has reached an important diplomatic agreement with Macedonia, to be followed, hopefully, by a constitutional change to the official name of that country. What is less noticed is that Albania is similarly reaching some landmark agreements with Greece through diplomatic talks, over maritime border disputes, seen as one of the prerequisites for Albania to advance towards membership of the EU.”

The Guardian: EU Stumbles In Plan To Levy 3% Digital Tax On Major Firms

“A European Union plan to tax Google, Facebook and other internet firms risks failure after a handful of member states announced their opposition. EU countries are studying proposals to levy a 3% tax on big internet companies that make money from user data or digital advertising, in a bid to level the playing field with bricks-and-mortar companies that pay more tax. But the idea, which must be agreed unanimously by all 28 member states, is running into serious opposition, as Ireland, Sweden and Denmark made their criticism public on Tuesday. Germany had initially supported the idea in a joint agreement with France, but is now seeking to water down and delay the proposals, moves that are causing deep frustration in Paris. A dozen countries are moving ahead with their own national digital taxes, with Spain and the UK among the recent converts.”


ABC News: Non-Profit Organisations At Risk Of Terrorist Infiltration And Exploitation, AUSTRAC Warns

“In its first report on the subject, AUSTRAC — the Australian Transaction Reports & Analysis Centre — said links had already been identified between terrorist groups and NPOs in Australia. "Australia has identified suspected links between NPOs and foreign terrorist groups, mainly ISIL [Islamic State or IS] and its affiliates," AUSTRAC said. AUSTRAC classified the risk to Australian NPOs as "medium", putting it on the same level as the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand. Indonesia was rated as the nation with the highest threat in the region, while New Zealand had the lowest overall rating. "Radicalised individuals in Australia associated with violent extremism may be loosely linked to a small number of NPOs, but it is unlikely NPOs are funding or supporting any domestic terrorist activities," AUSTRAC said."

Southeast Asia

Today: The Need For Joint Counter-Terrorism Frameworks In South-East Asia

“The threat of violent-extremism in South-east Asia has evolved in two distinct phases: the Al-Qaeda centric phase and the Islamic State-centric phase. During the Al-Qaeda-centric phase, as many as 400 terrorist fighters from the region headed to Afghanistan and Pakistan where they gained combat training and experience before returning home. These fighters created Jemaah Salafiyyah in Thailand, Kumpulan Militan Malaysia (KMM), Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in the Philippines, and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) in Singapore and Indonesia. In the IS-centric phase, IS-affiliated and associated groups such as Kumpulan Gagak Hitam and al Kubro Generation in Malaysia, Jamaah Ansharud Daulah in Indonesia and Islamic State Lanao (Maute Group) and IS in the Philippines emerged. Since mid-2014, at least 63 groups in South-east Asia have pledged an oath of allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. Following the decline of IS in Iraq and Syria, the threat of IS has evolved as it becomes more decentralised. This decentralisation phase of violent-extremism constitutes the third generation of jihadism in South-east Asia. At its peak in 2014, IS spread to parts of the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and Asia, particularly in South-east Asia. The immediate challenge that South-east Asia faces from this third generation of terrorism is the return of these foreign terrorist fighters from the Middle East. According to estimates from the United States, as many as 31,500 fighters joined IS in Syria and Iraq.”


The Verge: Facebook Admits It Screwed Up On Myanmar — But It Refuses To Take All The Blame

“Facebook has released the conclusions of an independent assessment regarding its role in the recent genocidal violence in Myanmar. In short, the company admits that it previously wasn’t doing enough to prevent its network from “being used to foment division and incite offline violence,” but it argues it’s already begun making the changes necessary to prevent it from happening again. However, while the report shows that the company has made progress in how transparent it is about moderation, it stops short of making any firm commitments about audits like this in the future — a key demand from activists. Facebook’s handling of the Myanmar crisis has been criticized by everyone from activists to the United Nations. Back in May, a coalition consisting of activists from Myanmar, Syria, and six other countries, made three specific demands of the social network. That coalition called for sustained transparency, an independent and worldwide public audit, and a public commitment to equal enforcement of standards across every territory that Facebook is active in.”

Combating Terrorist Financing

Gulf 365: France Tightens Control Over Financing Of Islamic Associations

“The French Ministers of Justice and Interior disclosed that their government intends to amend Law no. 1905, so that it enables better control over religious associations, particularly Islamic ones. The government will, next week, begin consultations with representatives of the various religions with respect to the amendments, local media outlets reported. The new amended law aims to enhance supervision and transparency of Islamic financing in the country rather than to erode the Republic's central guiding principles of religious freedom and state neutrality, the same sources stressed. Through the proposed amendments, the government seeks to curb any "external influence" on mosques and charitable associations in France. For instance, the government obliges local organizations to obtain a permit for any foreign donation exceeding €10,000 whether the donor is a foreign country, a company or an individual. Associations which fail to attain such a permit would be subject to penalties and possible confiscation of funds, the government warned.”


The Seventh Day: Al-Azhar Denounces Plot By ISIS To Attack Financial Entities

“The International Organization of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif Alumni said in a statement yesterday that the announcement by ISIS regarding its plot to attack financial and economic entities in some countries of the world is a mere act of theft, in which religion is simply being used as a shield by a criminal organization. Al-Azhar stressed that these entities, including banks, are built on economic foundations that serve their communities and achieve prosperity and progress for their members. In no case is it permissible to attack them, even if they are based on systems that violate Islam. It stressed that the assets of non-Muslims are as legitimate as those of Muslims, adding that the Sharia does not differentiate between money belonging to male and female, young and old, nor between the money of a Muslim and that of a non-Muslim.”

Almuraqeb-Aliraqi: Iraq: Large Warehouse Of ISIS Provisions Found In Al-Anbar

“The Iraqi Directorate of General Military Intelligence (DGMI) announced the detection of a large warehouse of supplies belonging to ISIS's gangs operating in the Governorate of Al-Anbar. In an official statement, the 41st Brigade of DGMI stated that its 10th Division, during an operation aimed at cutting off ISIS's supply routes, came upon the warehouse. Located in the Al Habbaniyah Valley in Al-Owaisat village in the Ramadi-Anbar Province, it contained major food supplies and provisions of varying kinds that were being used to support the presence of the terrorists in neighboring hideouts, according to DGMI's statement.”

Muslim Brotherhood

Alkhaleej: Muslim Brotherhood's Media Channels In Turkey Are In Dire Financial Straits

“A member of Egypt's Parliament disclosed that satellite television channels, which are affiliated with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, currently find themselves mired in a severe financial crunch. MP Mohammed Aql explained that these media outlets, which broadcast primarily out of Turkey, have had to lay off many of their employees who, as a result, "have been thrown out into the streets of Istanbul." The Egyptian parliamentarian attributed the acute economic downturn facing the Islamist group's channels to the recent decline in financial support from Qatar. Aql added that the Qatari regime has recently cut its monetary aid to these media outlets since they no longer seem to achieve the desired public opinion influence, as far as Qatar is concerned.”


Yemen Akhbar: Houthis Prevent The Sale Of Cooking Gas In Sana'a

“Residents in several neighborhoods in the capital Sana'a, claimed that the Houthis have halted the distribution and sale of cooking gas to consumers. Residents in Al Ghadeer neighborhood, behind the Asma School in Sana'a, pointed out that the distribution of cooking gas has completely ceased. The residents expressed great dissatisfaction with the lack of cooking gas supply and the inability of authorities to provide the needs of the population. The Houthis monopolize cooking gas through their members and affiliates, distributing just one cylinder every two weeks to families in exchange for more than YR3,000 ($12). Citizens complain of spiraling prices of cooking gas on the black market, and its absence is causing yet a new {humanitarian} crisis for the population.”