Eye on Extremism: November 9, 2022

BBC News: France Calls Time On Anti-Jihadist Operation Barkhane In Sahel

“President Macron will use a speech in Toulon on Wednesday to bring to an official end France's eight-year anti-jihadist operation in the Sahel. Operation Barkhane has been inoperative since February, when France announced its military withdrawal from Mali. The last French troops left their base in the Malian town of Gao on 15 August. According to the Élysée Palace, Mr Macron wants to spell out new priorities that from now on will govern military interventions in Africa. At its high point, there were 5,500 French troops taking part in Operation Barkhane, which was initially launched in 2013 to stem the advance of jihadist insurgents in Mali. The other countries in the partnership were Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania. But faced with the continuing spread in the region of groups linked to al-Qaeda and Islamic State - as well as a growing casualty list of French troops (58 dead) - military leaders and politicians in Paris became increasingly doubtful of the viability of the campaign. Mounting hostility to France among local populations - fanned by social media and widespread disinformation - made the task a thankless as well as a dangerous one. The last straw was the 2020 coup in Mali, whose leaders accused France of interference and turned instead for security to Russian mercenary group Wagner.”

Reuters: New Zealand Mosque Shooter Files Appeal Against Life Sentence

“A white supremacist who killed 51 Muslim worshippers at mosques in Christchurch in March 2019, the worst mass shooting in New Zealand's history, has filed an appeal against his life sentence, a court spokesperson said on Tuesday. No hearing date has been set at this stage, Chris Abraham, a spokesperson for the Court of Appeal, told Reuters. Brenton Tarrant was sentenced in 2020 to jail for life without parole for the murder of 51 people and attempted murder of 40 others at two mosques in Christchurch, the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand. It was the first time a New Zealand court had sentenced a person to prison for the rest of their life. In November 2021, Tarrant's then lawyer, Tony Ellis, said Tarrant was considering appealing the verdict, adding his guilty plea was obtained under duress. Ellis in an emailed response on Tuesday told Reuters he does not represent Tarrant anymore. Tarrant, an Australian national, stormed the mosques armed with military-style semi-automatics, indiscriminately shooting at Muslims gathered for Friday prayers and livestreaming the killings using a head-mounted camera.”

Iraq

CNN: US Citizen Murdered In Baghdad Attack

“A US citizen was murdered in Baghdad on Monday, according to Iraqi Prime Minister Muhammad Shia al-Sudani. A US State Department spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday that American Stephen Edward Troell died in Baghdad, noting they “are closely monitoring local authorities’ investigation into the cause of death.” “The timing of the murder of an American citizen in Baghdad puts question marks,” al-Sudani said on Monday, adding: “Security is a red line.” Two armed people attacked a vehicle Troell was driving in downtown Baghdad, security sources told CNN. Troell sustained severe injuries in the attack and was transferred to a nearby hospital to receive medical care, but later succumbed to his injuries. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the killing. The Iraqi Foreign Ministry said that investigations into the attack are ongoing by security authorities in Baghdad. Troell had been living in Baghdad for two years and had worked for a civil society organization that taught English to Iraqis. “With great sadness and sorrow, we bid farewell to our dear, Stephen Troell, who has always loved Iraq and its people and sought to serve them,” Global English Institute Baghdad, where Troell worked, said in a statement on Tuesday. US Ambassador to Iraq Alina Romanowski expressed her thanks on Twitter Tuesday to “the Iraqi people for their supportive messages following the brutal murder of Steven Troell last night in Baghdad.”

Al Monitor: Iraq Suspends Repatriations From Syria's Notorious Islamic State Camp Al-Hol

“Iraq’s new government seems to be taking the issue of thousands of its citizens still in a camp across the border in Syria seriously and has focused on it in meetings in the very first days of its mandate. Exactly when it plans to bring most of them home and how it will reintegrate them, especially given the stigma attached to their perceived or actual ties to former Islamic State fighters, is not for the moment clear. After the government under Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani was sworn in Oct. 27, on Nov. 2 Minister of Migration and Displacement Evan Faeq suspended the return of displaced Iraqis from the Syrian al-Hol camp. Faeq, who held the same position in former Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s government, said that she was suspending the repatriations until “a new mechanism” for their return and reintegration is created. On Nov. 5, Sudani chaired a meeting on the issue with Iraq’s migration and interior ministers as well as his national security adviser, his national security service chief and representatives from UN agencies and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). A statement released afterward noted, “During the meeting, the prime minister assessed the situation of al-Hol camp since it compromises both humanitarian and security aspects and assigned duties to the relevant bodies in order to expedite the resolution of this issue.”

Turkey

Associated Press: Sweden's Leader Vows To Counter Terror Threats To Turkey

“Sweden’s new prime minister pledged Tuesday to work toward countering “terrorism” threats to Turkey, as his government seeks Turkey's approval for his country’s NATO membership bid. Sweden and Finland abandoned their longstanding policies of military nonalignment and applied for NATO membership this year after Russian forces invaded Ukraine in February, fearing that Russian President Vladimir Putin might target them next. But Turkey, which joined NATO in 1952, has not yet endorsed their accession, which requires unanimous approval from existing alliance members. The Turkish government has accused Sweden — and to a lesser degree Finland — of ignoring its security concerns. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government is pressing the two countries to crack down on individuals it considers terrorists, including supporters of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, and people the government suspects of orchestrating a failed 2016 coup in Turkey. “My government was elected just a few weeks ago on a mandate to put law and order first,” Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said during a joint news conference with Erdogan. “And this includes countering terrorism and terrorist organizations like the PKK in Sweden.” “This is why I want to reassure all Turks: Sweden will live up to all the obligations made to Turkey in countering the terrorist threat before becoming a member of NATO and as a future ally,” he said.”

Middle East

The Jerusalem Post: Break The Wave: Israeli Security Forces Arrest 3 Terror Suspects

“The IDF, Shin Bet and Border Police arrested eight suspects from the West Bank overnight on suspicion of involvement in terrorism as part of the ongoing Operation Break the Wave.”

Nigeria

Sahara Reporters: ISWAP Fighters Kill Two Nigerian Police Officers, Set Operational Vehicle Ablaze In Borno

“The Islamic State-backed faction of Boko Haram, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), formerly known as Jamā'at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da'wah wa'l-Jihād, has claimed that its fighters killed two policemen during an attack on a checkpoint in Magumeri Local Government Area of Borno State. Gunmen had last week invaded the town, shooting sporadically. ISWAP in a post sighted by SaharaReporters on Tuesday claimed responsibility for the attack. The group added that its men also burnt down a police vehicle. Since the death of JAS leader, Abubakar Shekau, ISWAP has been consolidating its grip in locations around Lake Chad. The sect’s membership has swollen with the defection of hundreds of Boko Haram fighters under Shekau. The Nigerian Army has repeatedly claimed that the insurgency has been largely defeated. Meanwhile, the terrorists have caused the death of thousands of people and displacement of millions of others mainly in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states.”

The Epoch Times: US Terror Alerts Ignoring Terrorist Attacks In Nigeria’s ‘Breadbasket’

“U.S. officials in Nigeria have been criticized for ignoring a rash of armed attacks in central Benue state that have displaced thousands of local farmers and threatened U.S. citizens in the country. The state is widely acclaimed as the “breadbasket” of Africa’s most populous nation. But its productivity is slowly being strangled by radicalized terror groups seeking to set up a caliphate, according to Michael Burton, an American missionary in Benue who has been studying the situation. In recent years, U.S. terror alerts in Nigeria have failed to acknowledge the threats in Benue, Burton said. As of Nov. 4, the U.S. mission in Abuja has yet to list Benue in its latest travel advisory that referenced heightened danger to U.S. citizens in the country’s capital and 11 other states. The advisory issued on Oct. 27 notes a variety of threats, including kidnapping for ransom. But it ignores a mass of terror raids just 200 miles away in Benue that have claimed at least five lives per day since October, according to Daniel Adakole, program officer of Benue Civil Societies, a network of local monitoring groups. “Benue state has been turned to a killing field with more than 150 people killed between Oct. 3 and Nov. 3 alone,” said Adakole, the national youth leader of Idoma—a dominant tribe in Benue.”

Punch Nigeria: Nigeria High Risk For Terrorist Financing – Report

“The Basel Institute on Governance has rated Nigeria as a high-risk country for money laundering and terrorist financing. Nigeria was rated 6.77 out of 10, with the country being 17th out of 128 countries. The rating was contained in its report titled, ‘Basel AML Index 2022: 11th Public Edition – Ranking money laundering and terrorist financing risks around the world’. The Basel AML Index is developed and maintained by the International Centre for Asset Recovery at the Basel Institute on Governance, which is an independent, international non-profit organisation dedicated to preventing and combating corruption and other financial crimes and to strengthening governance around the world. The report further noted, “Countries with high risks of ML/TF often suffer from high risks of environmental crime.” It was also noted that many countries were not doing enough to tackle the issue of money laundering and terrorist financing. The report read in part, “When it comes to tackling dirty money, most countries are taking one step forward and four steps back – and remaining too many steps behind criminals seeking to launder illicit funds. “Eleven years since the first publication of the Basel AML Index – a leading independent ranking of money laundering and terrorist financing risks in countries around the world – progress in anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing remains paralysed.”

Mali

AFP: Top Mali Commander Calls On All Tuaregs To Fight Islamic State Group

“A leading commander in Mali’s army has called on ethnic Tuaregs to fight jihadists in the north of the country in a WhatsApp audio message authenticated Monday by AFP. General El Hadj Ag Gamou, himself a Tuareg and a major figure in the Malian army’s fight against the Islamic State in the Great Sahara (ISGS) — which is affiliated with the Islamic State organization — called on the military help of all Tuaregs inside and outside the country. The Tuareg community is made up of dozens of nomadic sub-communities settled in the Sahara across several countries, mainly Mali, Algeria, Niger, and Libya. In the Tamashek-language message, he said he would “give 10 days to all young Tuaregs from Algeria, Libya and elsewhere to reach Gao”, the largest city in northern Mali, which has been plagued by jihadist violence. Ag Gamou is one of the leaders of a pro-government armed group, the Self-Defence Group of Imghad Tuaregs and Their Allies (GATIA), as well as a general in the national army. ISGS has since March increased its offensives in the expansive regions of Gao and Menaka. The UN has repeatedly expressed its concern about the deteriorating situation, and labor unions in the Gao region have called for a 48-hour strike this week to protest against the situation and “government inaction.” As of Monday, the ruling junta had not yet reacted to Ag Gamou’s remarks.”

United Kingdom

BBC News: Man And Boy From Birmingham Charged With Terrorism Offence

“A man and a boy from Birmingham have been charged with a terrorism offence. The accused, aged 20 and 17, were charged with engaging in conduct in preparation for terrorism under section five of the Terrorism Act 2006, on Tuesday. The charge follows arrests made by detectives from Counter Terrorism Policing West Midlands on 2 November. Both suspects have been remanded in custody to appear before magistrates in Westminster on Wednesday. ”

Australia

Daily Mail: 'Dumping Ground' Fury As Residents Erupt At ISIS Brides And Their Kids Moving Into Their Suburb: 'They Turned Their Back On Their Own Country'

“Sydney residents say they've become the 'dumping ground' for the prime minister after the first group of ISIS brides and their children were rescued from a Syrian refugee camp and resettled in the west of the city - as questions are raised as to why the families aren't being welcomed in Victoria as a state election looms.  Fairfield Mayor Frank Carbone, Liverpool Mayor Ned Mannoun, and Campbelltown Mayor George Greiss, all regions that recently welcomed the former Islamic State families, hit back at the federal government's decision to put them in their electorates.  Four women, all of whom were married to Islamic State fighters before they were killed in the war, and their 13 children touched down in Sydney on October 29 after being rescued from the al-Roj refugee camp in Syria.  Appearing on Sunrise on Wednesday morning, the western Sydney mayors said their enraged communities refused to be a 'dumping ground' for people who had 'turned their back on their own country'. Mr Carbone and Mr Mannoun told host Natalie Barr they had signed a joint letter asking Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to meet with them to discuss the resettlement of the newest arrivals to their LGAs.   'The repatriated women and children should not be resettled in south west Sydney, due to the high level of anxiety and concerns from the communities that have fled Islamic State brutality,' the letter read in part.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

Fact:

On November 29, 2020, an assailant detonated an explosives-filled military vehicle on an Afghan army base, killing at least 31 and wounding 24. 

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