Eye on Extremism: October 11, 2018

The New York Times: Syrian Rebels Withdraw Heavy Weapons To Spare Idlib From Assault

“Syrian rebel fighters have pulled the last of their heavy weapons from front-line positions in Idlib Province, meeting the deadline for a truce negotiated by Russia and Turkey — and possibly sparing the civilian population from a bloody government offensive. It was a rare act of unity for the ordinarily fractious rebel forces, who on Monday drove trucks carrying a tank, artillery and missile batteries out of their base in this small town, as a small group of international journalists looked on. “We are now standing in the demilitarized zone,” said Saif al-Raad, a spokesman for the National Liberation Front, a grouping of roughly 20 rebel factions operating in Idlib, the last bastion of rebel-held territory in northwest Syria. Under the agreement brokered personally last month by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, the rebels are unilaterally withdrawing heavy weaponry to create a demilitarized zone 15 kilometers, or nine miles, wide. The deadline for the withdrawal is Wednesday, and a cease-fire is to commence five days later.”

Agence France Presse: Islamic State Exploits Sandstorm To Attack Advancing U.S.-Backed Forces In Syria’s East: Monitor

“The Islamic State group launched a deadly counteroffensive on Wednesday to repel U.S.-backed forces advancing on a final jihadist-held pocket of eastern Syria, a monitor said. The IS fighters managed to take hostage several dozen fighters from the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The SDF, a Kurdish and Arab alliance, has been waging a month-long assault backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes to oust IS from a small area in Syria’s eastern Deir Ezzor province, including the town of Hajin. On Wednesday, IS launched “a counterattack against SDF positions around Hajin and nearby towns,” the Observatory said. “Violent clashes subsequently erupted and are still ongoing,” said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman. He said IS had killed at least 10 SDF fighters and taken another 35 prisoner. The SDF denied any of its fighters had been captured during the attack. “No fighter from the SDF was captured by Daesh on the Deir Ezzor front. This information is not true,” SDF media official Mustefa Bali told AFP, using the Arabic acronym for IS. IS published a statement on its social media accounts on Wednesday describing an attack by “soldiers of the caliphate” against SDF forces.”

The Jerusalem Post: Iran Plot In Paris 'Lays Bare' Terrorist Intentions, Pompeo Says

“A plot by Iranian officials to bomb a dissident rally in the heart of Paris “lays bare Iran’s continued support of terrorism throughout Europe,” and justifies the Trump administration’s broad reimposition of sanctions on the state, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday. The secretary praised Germany's decision a day prior to extradite Asadollah Assadi, an Iranian diplomat accredited in Austria, to Belgium, where officials first hatched a plan to trigger explosives at a June 30 rally of the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). “The scale of this plot, which involved arrests of numerous suspects across Europe – including in Belgium, France and Germany – reminds us that Iran remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism,” Pompeo said. “We support our European allies in exposing and countering the threat that Iranian-backed terrorism poses around the world.” Last week, France seized assets belonging to Iran’s intelligence services and two Iranian nationals in response to the plot. “An incident of such gravity on our national territory could not go unpunished,” said a joint statement by its foreign, interior and economy ministries.”

Foreign Policy: ISIS’s New Plans To Get Rich And Wreak Havoc

“Although the Islamic State has lost nearly 98 percent of the territory it once controlled, the group is ripe for a comeback in Sunni-majority areas of Iraq and Syria. The main reason is its existing war chest, coupled with its skill at developing new streams of revenue. The Islamic State used to mostly rely on the territory it controlled, including cities and urban strongholds, to amass billions of dollars through extortion, taxation, robbery, and the sale of pilfered oil. But the group has proven that it is capable of making money even without controlling large population centers. During the apogee of its territorial control in 2015, the Islamic State accrued nearly $6 billion, making it by far the wealthiest terrorist group in history. How could a militant group compile the equivalent of a nation-state’s gross domestic product? When it did hold territory, the Islamic State primarily generated its wealth from three main sources: oil and gas, which totaled about $500 million in 2015, mostly through internal sales; taxation and extortion, which garnered approximately $360 million in 2015; and the 2014 looting of Mosul, during which the Islamic State stole about $500 million from bank vaults.”

ABC News: FBI Director Says Bureau Is Investigating 5,000 Terrorism Cases Across The World

“In a startling disclosure, FBI Director Christopher Wray told the Senate Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday that agents are conducting thousands of terror investigations around the world. "Right now, as I sit here, we're currently investigating about 5,000 terrorism cases across America and around the world and about a thousand of those cases are homegrown violent extremists and they are in all 50 states," Wray said in his prepared testimony. He said the threat of a large scale, big city attack still exists from groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIS but homegrown violence is as prevalent as ever. "National security remains the FBI's top priority and counterterrorism is still a paramount concern but that threat has changed significantly since 9/11," Wray said. Wray said that homegrown terrorists (HVE) "self radicalize" at home and are influenced on social media by the global jihadist movement. They can also attack at a moment's notice.”

NBC News: Four Californians Indicted In 2017 Charlottesville Clashes

“A federal grand jury Wednesday indicted four California men on charges connected to violent clashes between white nationalists and counter-protesters last year in Charlottesville, Virginia. The four defendants -- Benjamin Drake Daley, 25, of Redondo Beach, Thomas Walter Gillen, 24, of Redondo Beach, Michael Paul Miselis, 29, of Lawndale, and Cole Evan White, 24, of Clayton, California -- were arrested on federal criminal complaints in the early morning hours of Oct. 2. The indictment, filed in federal court in Virginia, charges each defendant with one count each of conspiracy to violate the federal riots act and traveling across state lines to participate in or incite a riot. Prosecutors allege that Daley, Gillen, Miselis and White are members of a white-supremacist organization known as the Rise Above Movement. The group frequently posted photographs and videos of themselves engaging in physical training and mixed martial arts street-fighting techniques, prosecutors contend.”

United States

Forbes: What Can We Do About Foreign Fighters Returning From Islamic State?

“Yesterday, the Rt Hon Ben Wallace MP, Minister of State for Security at the Home Office, argued that terror laws need to be updated so foreign terrorist fighters returning from Islamic State can be brought to justice in the United Kingdom. While there is no doubt that prosecution is necessary in holding perpetrators to account, it is fraught with complications. There are several routes to prosecute Islamic State fighters, including the United Kingdom encouraging Iraq to become a party of the Rome Statute and allowing the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute there, the establishment of a new ad-hoc tribunal for the purposes of Iraq or Syria, existing ICC investigations into events in Libya pursuant to the Security Council’s referral in 2011, and jurisdiction over attacks on the areas where Islamic State held territory. The United Kingdom has an important role to play in strengthening access to justice, collecting and preserving evidence, and upholding accountability through capacity building. The first complication, however, is that of evidence. Mr Wallace himself has stated “intelligence is not evidence” and to seek to prosecute people just on an intelligence case is a “slippery slope”. Last year, I recommended that a new international legal task force be created to gather evidence on foreign fighters of Islamic State. This was later debated at the House of Lords.”

Newsweek: FBI Warns Drones ‘Will Be Used’ By ISIS, Ms-13 To Attack U.S.

“The FBI has warned that militant groups abroad could use their wartime knowledge to transform commercially available drones into deadly weapons in the United States. In a written testimony submitted Wednesday to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned that the "threat from Unmanned Aircraft Systems [UAS] in the U.S. is steadily escalating." He highlighted the tendencies of jihadi organizations such as Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State militant group (ISIS), as well as criminal groups like MS-13 and Mexican drug cartels to utilize such technology, something that "may encourage use of this technique in the U.S. to conduct attacks." "While there has been no successful malicious use of UAS by terrorists in the United States to date, terrorist groups could easily export their battlefield experiences to use weaponized UAS outside the conflict zone," Wray wrote to lawmakers. "The FBI assesses that, given their retail availability, lack of verified identification requirement to procure, general ease of use, and prior use overseas, UAS will be used to facilitate an attack in the United States against a vulnerable target, such as a mass gathering," he added.”


The Wall Street Journal: The Syrian Rebels Withdraw Heavy Weapons To Avert Regime Assault

“Rebel groups in Syria have withdrawn most of their heavy weapons from a planned demilitarized zone in the country’s northwest, local activists and the Turkish Ministry of Defense said Wednesday, a move that could forestall an offense by the Assad regime, but falls short of a lasting political settlement in the area. Russia and Turkey agreed last month to create a buffer zone between opposition and government forces in Idlib province in an attempt to avert a fight that the U.S. and the United Nations have warned would cause a humanitarian disaster. Under the tentative agreement, all heavy weaponry such as tanks and artillery was to be moved out of the buffer zone by Oct. 10. The 10 to 12-mile corridor running along front lines between rebel and government-controlled territory would then come into force by Oct. 15—under the supervision of Russian and Turkish troops. “We have finished removing heavy weapons and put them back in our headquarters,” said Naji Abu Huzaifah, spokesman for the National Liberation Front, an umbrella group for moderate rebels backed by Turkey.”

France 24: IS Attacks Advancing US-Backed Forces In Syria's East: Monitor

“The Islamic State group launched a deadly counter-offensive on Wednesday to repel US-backed forces advancing on a final jihadist-held pocket of eastern Syria, a monitor said. The IS fighters managed to take hostage several dozen fighters from the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The SDF, a Kurdish and Arab alliance, has been waging a month-long assault backed by US-led coalition air strikes to oust IS from a small area in Syria's eastern Deir Ezzor province, including the town of Hajin. On Wednesday, IS launched "a counter-attack against SDF positions around Hajin and nearby towns," the Observatory said. "Violent clashes subsequently erupted and are still ongoing," said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.”

Foreign Policy In Focus: Syria’s Long War Will Be Decided In These Three Theaters

“The Syrian civil war has always been devilishly complex, with multiple actors following different scripts, but in the past few months it appeared to be winding down. The Damascus government now controls 60 percent of the country and the major population centers, the Islamic State has been routed, and the rebels opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are largely cornered in Idilb Province in the country’s northwest. But suddenly the Americans moved the goal posts and — maybe — the Russians have fallen out with the Israelis, the Iranians are digging in their heels, and the Turks are trying to multi-task with a home front in disarray. So the devil is still very much at work in a war that’s lasted more than seven years, claimed up to 500,000 lives, displaced millions of people, destabilized an already fragile Middle East, and is far from over. There are at least three theaters in the Syrian war, each with its own complexities: Idilb in the north, the territory east of the Euphrates River, and the region that abuts the southern section of the Golan Heights.”

Daily Star: No Syria Reconstruction Aid If Iran Stays: US

“The United States said Wednesday it will refuse any post-war reconstruction assistance to Syria if Iran is present, expanding the rationale for U.S. involvement in the conflict. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking to a pro-Israel group, vowed an aggressive push to counter Iran across the Middle East and said that Syria was a decisive battleground. "The onus for expelling Iran from the country falls on the Syrian government, which bears responsibility for its presence there," Pompeo told the Jewish Institute for National Security of America. "If Syria doesn't ensure the total withdrawal of Iranian-backed troops, it will not receive one single dollar from the United States for reconstruction," Pompeo said. Pompeo's speech effectively broadens the official explanation for why the United States is involved in Syria's civil war, which a monitoring group says has killed close to 365,000 people since 2011.”

AMN: ISIS Seizes Chemical Substances From Nusra Front In Northern Syria

“Members affiliated with the Islamic State terror group (ISIS) raided a facility for the Nusra Front in northern Syria, killing several militants and White Helmets and capturing canisters with chlorine. “In the evening of October 9, a group of ISIS sleeper cell fighters attacked the headquarters of the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham terrorist organization (former Jabhat al-Nusra located near the village of al-Lataminah”, Lieutenant General Vladimir Savchenko, the chief of the Russian center for reconciliation of conflicting sides in Syria, said on Wednesday. Moscow held the militant-allied Western countries fully responsible for facilitating the extremist group acquiring chemical agents. “The Western countries, while planning provocations against Syrian government forces and employing their controlled bandit groups, do not take into account the complicated situation in the Idlib de-escalation zone. As a result of those irresponsible steps, poisonous chemicals ended up in the hands of Islamic State terrorists whose actions are hard to predict,” the reconciliation center’s head added.”


WTOP: The Hunt: A Look At Hezbollah’s Capabilities As Concern Grows Again

“There are new concerns about Hezbollah, a terrorist proxy of the Iranian government. Fred Burton, author of “Beirut Rules: The Murder of a CIA Station Chief and Hezbollah’s War Against America,” explains why he wrote the book.”

The National: Shop Owners Join Truckers In Iran Strikes

“Shop owners in Iran have joined truck drivers in a strike across dozens of cities in protest against deteriorating living conditions amid widespread economic woes. Sources told The National that a number of shopkeepers refused to open their shops in a second day of strikes. Truck drivers began the strike more than two weeks ago in cities across Iran, including major cities such as Tabriz. According to Arabic newspaper Al Hayat, at least 320 cities have been affected. Iran News Wire, an opposition news agency based in San Diego, posted a video of stationary trucks supposedly parked in protest in the city of Dorud in Lorestan Province. No reports were made on local newspapers regarding the strikes, but special courts in Iran set up to deal with financial crimes sentenced three suspects to death over corruption earlier this month, the official Irna news agency reported. According to the deputy chief of the judiciary, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejehi, the three were among 35 suspects recently brought to trial. Ms Ejehi said the rest were handed prison terms of up to 20 years. The Special Islamic Revolutionary Courts were set up last month to try suspects quickly after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for "swift and just" action as part of the government's campaign against corruption.”


The National: Iraqi Special Forces Arrest 10 ISIS Fundraisers In Baghdad And Erbil Raids

“Iraqi special forces have arrested key suspects behind an ISIS fundraising group in raids across Baghdad and Erbil in recent days. The units, backed by members of the US-led coalition against ISIS, made a total of 10 arrests between October 7 and 9, a statement from the Operation Inherent Resolve reported. "The arrests deal a major blow to ISIS's capacity to threaten and terrorize civilians," said Maj Gen Patrick Roberson, commander of the special operation joint task force, said. "This demonstrates that those who assist in, sponsor, or provide financial, material or technological support to ISIS will face severe consequences." ISIS took over swaths of Iraq in a blitzkrieg operation in 2014, seizing the key cities of Mosul, Ramadi and Fallujah. After nearly two years under occupation, Iraqi and international forces pushed the militant group out of the country after a bloody, grinding months-long offensive to regain occupied land. The swift collapse of the Iraqi army, which has received hundreds of millions in support, training and equipment from the United States since the 2003 American-led invasion, sparked calls for reforms of military oversight in Baghdad.”


Iraqi News: 17 Children Of Islamic State Parents Returned Back To Turkey

“17 Children of Turkish parents, who joined the Islamic State, have been repatriated into Turkey, after they were left in Iraq, Turkish diplomatic sources were quoted saying on Wednesday. A report published by Anadolu Agency said “the 17 children, who included a child below three, were repatriated from an orphanage in al-Salhiya region in Baghdad.” The children, according to the report, “are now under protection of Turkish officials. All of them are in good health condition.” Statistics have referred that around 2200 Turkish people joined Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Only 600 of them returned back to their country.”


Khaama Press: U.S. Airstrikes Inflict Casualties On Taliban, Destroy 3 Apcs In Faryab

“The U.S. forces carried out airstrikes on a hideout of the Taliban group in northern Faryab province of Afghanistan, leaving at least 13 militants dead or wounded and destroying three armored personnel carriers. The 209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan Military in the North in a statement said the airstrikes were carried out at around 11:00pm local time on Wednesday in Ghormach district. The statement further added that ten Taliban militants were killed during the airstrikes and three others sustained injuries. According to 209th Shaheen Corps, a commander of the Taliban group identified as Qari Nasir, also famous as Ansar, was among those killed. The airstrikes also destroyed three Armored Personnel Carriers equipped with heavy weapons, the 209th Shaheen Corps added in its statement. Faryab is among the relatively volatile provinces in North of Afghanistan where the Taliban militants are actively operating in some of its districts and often carry out terrorist related activities.”

Deutsche Presse Agentur: 15 Afghan Police Officers Killed In Attack

“At least 15 Afghan border policemen have been killed in a Taliban attack on a small outpost in northern Kunduz province. At least 13 others were wounded in Thursday's attack in Qalah-e Zal district, near the border with Tajikistan, provincial council member Sayed Assadullah Sadat told dpa. Part of the base caught fire and the militants took all the equipment they could carry away, he said. The incident was also confirmed by provincial council member Aminullah Ayuddin, who said at least 16 were killed. Taliban militants have ramped up attacks on Afghan security forces and government facilities in recent months throughout the country, leaving a trail of dead and wounded behind them. At least 13 Afghan security forces were killed and at least 20 others were wounded on Monday in Taliban attacks in northern Faryab province.”


Asharq Al-Awsat: GCC Denounces Houthi Targeting Of Yemen Refugee Camp In Hodeida

“The GCC Relief and Humanitarian Aid Coordination Office for Yemen held its 26th meeting in Riyadh on Wednesday, headed by Assistant General Supervisor of the Center for Planning and Development Dr. Aqeel bin Jumban Al-Ghamdi. The meeting strongly condemned the Houthi targeting of Yemen's Bani Jaber Camp for the displaced in al-Khokha, Hodeidah province, last Friday which killed a woman and wounded 13 people, including 8 children, in a development that caused great damage to the camp. Participants stressed the need to condemn this terrorist act by international and humanitarian organizations, calling on the international community to stand firm against this humanitarian crime carried out by the Houthi militias violating all international principles and human rights. They also pointed out that the silence about these actions allows militias to continue to target humanitarian centers, especially that the Houthis have already targeted the rehabilitation center for recruits funded by King Salman Relief Center, in the governorate of Marib, and caused considerable damage to the building.”

The Jerusalem Post: ‘Curse The Jews,’ Yemen’s Houthi Rebel Slogan Handed Out At University

“Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse the Jews, Victory to Islam,” is the slogan printed on small cards handed out at Sana’a University in Yemen. Nadwa Dawsari, a specialist on conflict and tribes in Yemen, posted a photo of a laminated “student and staff ID” on October 9 on Twitter. The slogan has been used for years according to Dave McAvoy, a security and risk analyst who tracks developments in the region. “It’s an integral part of their propaganda and chanting. It’s the Houthi slogan,” says McAvoy. The Houthis are a Yemeni rebel group that conquered Sana’a and almost took control of Aden in 2015, threatening the country’s most important cities. A Saudi Arabia-led alliance has been fighting the rebels since then. The Houthis are backed by Iran and have fired ballistic missiles at Riyadh. In the last years they have increasingly incorporated anti-Israel rhetoric into their speeches, as part of the growing network of Iranian-backed groups in the region, such as Hezbollah, that are obsessed with fighting Israel. The Houthis have incorporated the antisemitic “curse the Jews” slogan into their chants as well. “They chant it at their marches. They shout it in their combat videos and they hold signs which read it,” says McAvoy. The hatred of Jews and singling out of Jews is specific to the Houthis. McAvoy points out that while the Iranian regime often includes the chant “death to America, death to Israel,” in rallies, the Houthis pioneered the fuller version targeting Jews."

Saudi Arabia

GDN: Saudi Air Force Intercepts Ballistic Missile

“The Saudi Royal Air Force intercepted a ballistic missile which was launched by the Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen. The scud missile which was launched from the Governorate of Sa’ada was destroyed as it was heading to the province of Najran in Southern Saudi Arabia. Saudi-led Arab military alliance official spokesman Colonel Turki Al-Malki said that the interception of the missile did not result in any casualties. The Houthi militias have so far launched 204 missiles against Saudi territories, leaving 112 civilians dead and hundreds others of injured.”


Haaretz: Hezbollah Demands Health Ministry In New Lebanese Government

“Lebanon's Hezbollah group should get the Health Ministry in the new government, a senior Hezbollah figure said on Wednesday, a more important state agency than any it has controlled in recent times as it provides services to millions of people.  Hezbollah control over the Health Ministry could have implications for foreign aid, as the Iran-backed group is considered a terrorist organization by the United States and some other Western as well as Arab countries. Mohammed Fnaish, the youth and sport minister in the caretaker government, told the group's al-Manar TV station that Hezbollah had an agreement with Lebanon's other main Shi'ite party Amal for Hezbollah to run the health ministry. Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri has been negotiating with Lebanon's rival parties since a parliamentary election in May to form a new power-sharing cabinet, but has so far been unable to reach consensus. The major parties have jostled over the number of cabinet seats they should get, and over the apportionment of the most powerful ministries. However, this week, there have been signs of a break in the deadlock, with numerous politicians voicing concern over the threat of a looming economic crisis.  Hariri said on Tuesday that all sides had made concessions in the talks and he hoped the new government would be formed after President Michel Aoun returns from a trip abroad.”

Middle East

Daily Mail: ISIS Leader Al-Baghdadi 'Orders 320 Of His Followers To Be Killed For Disloyalty'

“Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has reportedly ordered that hundreds of his followers be killed for disloyalty to ISIS. The Islamic State chief demanded that even some leading figures in Iraq and Syria be murdered, Iraqi intelligence reports are said to claim. The extremist group has lost about 90 per cent of the territory it controlled in 2014 when al-Baghdadi declared himself head of its Caliphate. He has now 'issued an order to kill 320 of his followers' for their 'betrayal' of ISIS and their 'recklessness' which 'inflicted heavy losses on the group in both Iraq and Syria', Iraqi News report intelligence sources as saying. High-profile commanders said to be on the hit list include Abu al-Baraa al-Ansari, Sief al-Din al-Iraqi, Abu Otham al-Tal Afari, Abu Iman al-Mowahed and Marawan Hadid al-Suri.”


The Wall Street Journal: Egypt’s War Against Islamic State Upends Lives of Sinai Residents

“Egypt is waging a hidden war in the Sinai Peninsula, uprooting thousands of people as the Arab World’s largest land army attempts to strike a decisive blow against Islamic State’s deadly local affiliate. Government troops have destroyed thousands of homes, burned farmland and cut off hundreds of thousands of residents with a seven-month blockade that left shortages of food and other goods until some restrictions were lifted in September. As many as 20,000 families in North Sinai Governorate, the province in the northern part of the peninsula where the offensive is under way, have been forced to flee the fighting, said an Egyptian official monitoring the conflict. The military launched the campaign in February on orders from President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi to use “brute force” to crush the terrorists in the aftermath of an attack on a North Sinai mosque. That attack, in November 2017, killed more than 300 people. Egyptian authorities can claim some recent success. Militant attacks in “mainland” Egypt have tapered since the end of last year and the military says it has killed more than 300 armed men since the campaign began.”


The New Arab: Mass Grave Of IS Fighters Unearthed In Libya's Sirte

“A mass grave with 75 bodies, believed to be Islamic State fighters, was discovered in Sirte in western Libya, an official said Wednesday.  The mass grave was uncovered in an agricultural area of al-Daheir, west of Sirte, which was an area previously held by the Islamic State before the group was overran there. The city's municipal spokesman Mohamad al-Amial said "seventy-five decomposed bodies were recovered" in the presence of the public prosecutor, Sirte's security force and the Red Crescent aid group.  Amial said the find was made "a few days ago" and that while the bodies were believed to be of Islamic State members there was no confirmation. Islamic State fighters overran Sirte, 375 miles east of Libya's capital Tripoli, in June 2015.  But forces of Libya's UN-backed unity government expelled the jihadi group from the coastal city in December 2016 after eight months of deadly combat. The group has since pulled back to desert outposts. IS claimed responsibility for a suicide attack last month on the Tripoli headquarters of Libya's National Oil Corporation that killed two staffers as well as an assault in May on the country's electoral commission in which 14 people died. The group took advantage of the anarchy in Libya after the NATO-backed overthrow and killing of longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 to establish footholds in several parts of the country. Since their defeat in Sirte, the jihadis have kept up the fight from rural areas of western Libya. In April, the Tripoli-based unity government launched a campaign to flush them out.”


Agence France Presse: 8 Chadian Soldiers Killed In Boko Haram Attack

“Eight Chadian soldiers died in a Boko Haram attack in the Lake Chad region on Wednesday, with 48 jihadists killed as the army retaliated, a military spokesperson told AFP. "Boko Haram terrorists attacked defence force positions in Kaiga Kindji early this morning," the spokesperson said. The attack, which left 11 other soldiers wounded, had been "vigorously" repulsed, he added. Boko Haram's Islamist insurgency has devastated the Lake Chad region since the group took up arms in Nigeria in 2009. The jihadists' campaign of violence has left at least 27 000 people dead, displaced some two million others and triggered a humanitarian crisis. Chad, Cameroon and Niger have all joined the military effort by Nigeria to crush Boko Haram. Chad has seen a recent increase in attacks by the group.”

Agence France Presse: Boko Haram Attack Leaves 7 Nigerian Soldiers Dead

“At least seven Nigerian soldiers were killed in a Boko Haram jihadist attack on a military base near the Niger border, the military said Wednesday. The Islamists and the army were engaged in a fierce battle on Monday in Metele, a village in Nigeria's northeast Borno State, the military said in a statement posted on Twitter. Seven soldiers died and 16 were wounded "in action" the army said, but military and civilian militia sources put the death toll higher. "We lost 18 men in the fight which lasted for seven hours," a military officer told AFP, speaking from the Borno state capital of Maiduguri. "Our men fought hard and dealt heavy blows on the terrorists but they were overwhelmed by the enemy who overran the base," said the officer who asked to remain anonymous because he was not authorised to speak on the incident. A civilian militia assisting the military in fighting the jihadists said that on Tuesday 18 bodies of soldiers were brought to the garrison town of Monguno, 120 kilometres (70 miles) from the attacked base. “The fighting was fierce. It started around 4:30 pm and continued till 11:30 pm," the militia man said. Boko Haram suffered "heavy" casualties but managed to invade the base and take weapons, he said, adding that the jihadists destroyed "those they could not take away." Boko Haram's Islamic State group-backed faction operates in the Lake Chad region and has in recent months intensified attacks on military bases in Borno and nearby Yobe states.”


The Guardian: Al-Shabaab Says It Has Killed British ‘Spy’ In Somalia

“The Islamist terror group al-Shabaab has said it has killed five people including a Briton whom it accused of spying. Three of the men publicly shot dead in al-Shabaab-controlled territory in Somalia were accused of spying for the US government and one for Somali authorities. The fifth is thought to have been Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed, 32, a terrorism suspect who gave British authorities the slip in 2013 by cutting off his electronic tag, putting on a burqa and walking out of a west London mosque. The al-Qaida-linked group routinely shoots people accused of being spies, though often these are simply fighters caught on the wrong side of factional disputes. Foreign fighters are particularly vulnerable to the charge. One was Omar Hammami, an American from Alabama known as the rapping jihadist, who was killed in 2013. In December last year, five men were tied to poles and shot, accused of spying for the Kenyan and Ethiopian governments. Al-Shabaab, one of the world’s deadliest terrorist organisations, used to control swathes of Somali territory including the capital, Mogadishu, but was pushed back into rural areas in 2011.”

North Korea

Politico: China, Russia, North Korea Call For Adjusted Sanctions Ahead Of Denuclearization

“Chinese, Russian and North Korean deputy foreign ministers have met in Moscow to coordinate a trilateral approach to the denuclearization process on the Korean peninsula, and called on the U.N. Security Council to “adjust” the current sanctions regime against Pyongyang. This is in contrast to the Trump administration’s declaration that tough sanctions would remain on North Korea until its complete denuclearization. “It is time to start considering the adjustment of the U.N. Security Council’s sanction regime against the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea]. The three parties also oppose unilateral sanctions,” the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement released on Wednesday, a day after the working-level talks in Moscow. China’s foreign affairs vice-minister, Kong Xuanyou, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Igor Morgulov and North Korea’s foreign vice-minister, Choe Son-hui, discussed the three countries’ cooperation during the denuclearization process.


Global News: ‘I’m Going To Die Here’: Wives Of ISIS Fighters Want To Return Home To Canada

“From the road, Roj Camp looks like the other tent cities that have sprung up in Syria — a grid of white tarp and children flying kites made from sticks and plastic bags. But the armed Kurdish fighters guarding the front gate are a sign it’s not just another refugee camp: It’s a detention centre for the captured wives and children of the so-called Islamic State. And seven of them are Canadians. “I’m going to die here,” one of them, a 26-year-old Toronto woman, told Global News in an interview at the camp in northeast Syria. The wife of a Lebanese ISIS fighter, she was captured by Kurdish forces last December and brought to the site near the Iraqi border. While she said she had spoken online with a Canadian official about coming home, that was months ago and she had not heard from the government since."

United Kingdom

Daily Mail: Britain Faces A Growing Threat From Extreme Right-Wing Terrorism Which Has Surged In The Wake Of Last Year's Attacks On Manchester And London, Watchdog Warns

“Islamist terrorism remains the biggest threat facing Britain - but the country is at growing risk from right-wing fanatics, the UK's terror watchdog today warns. Max Hill QC, Britain's independent reviewer of terror legislation, used his final report to warn that the threat from extreme right-wing terrorism is now 'considerable'. And he also warned that sectarian violence in Northern Ireland continues to pose a risk after it surged in recent years. Mr Hill said the right-wing terror threat has grown as part of a backlash against the bloody Islamist terror attacks on London and Manchester last year, which killed dozens and injured many more. He also revealed that the number of terror arrests rose dramatically last year as Britain was struck by four deadly attacks across the two cities.”


Balkan Insight: Indictment Reveals ISIS-Backed Plans For Kosovo Attacks

“Bujar Behrami, alias Abu Musab El-Albani – one of six Kosovo nationals indicted for terrorism by the Kosovo Prosecution last Saturday – has been the only one to tell investigators so far about the group's alleged plans to bomb Orthodox churches and clubs in Serb-majority areas, and recruit suicide bombers in Kosovo. His statement made to police, earlier in September 2018, reveals details about the group's modus operandi, finances, recruitment and explosives procurement. Behrami, Resim Kastrati, known as PC Habibi, Gramos Shabani, Albert Ademaj, Leotrim Musliu and Edona Haliti are all indicted with planning attacks and suicide bombings in Kosovo, France and Belgium from December 2017 to June 2018. Behrami stated that everything began in September and October 2016 when, through his Telegram account “Abu Musab”, he started communicating with a person known as "A1" in Syria. “We talked about attacks using Kalashnikovs or explosives and had not yet decided about the target, but I asked A1 to connect me with Rdvan Haqifi [an Albanian ISIS commander] … and after I was connected to Haqifi we agreed that would be good to attack the Israelis at the [football] match planned for later that year,” Behrami is said to have stated. Behrami said the attack plan was to use a drone against the fans of the Israeli team and after that to continue with Kalashnikov rifles.”

Southeast Asia

Daily Mail:  Fears An Islamic State Stronghold Is Emerging In Indonesia As 63 Terror Groups In The Region Pledge Allegiance To The ISIS Leader

“Fears are growing an Islamic State stronghold is emerging in Indonesia after 63 terror groups in the region pledged allegiance to the ISIS leader. Indonesian Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu has warned lives could be lost unless action is not taken.. Mr Ryacudu is calling for the sharing of intelligence to be improved in order to protect the lives of civilians, The Australian reported. Mr Ryamizard scheduled a meeting with Australian Defence minister Christopher Pyne in Jakarta on Thursday. He urged Australia to support Asia's Five Eyes counter-intelligence initiative, called Our Eyes. Mr Ryamizard spoke to the public in Singapore last week, and states Our Eyes has the potential to 'grow and surpass' the Five Eyes intelligence initiative. He claimed the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Japan had agreed to join as regional partners, although it is unconfirmed whether there is a formal agreement. Mr Pyne said he hoped his visit to Indonesia would expand counter-terrorism co-operation between Jakarta and Canberra. 'The strategic environment also presents new opportunities for both countries to co-operate more,' he said. 'Militaries cannot defeat terrorism, but they can ­defeat terrorists. Australian and Indonesian military forces have provided support to law enforcement agencies domestically, and both have contributed to counter-terrorism efforts beyond their ­borders.'  In his speech, Mr Ryamizard said that intelligence sharing between the United States and Southeast Asia lead to the halt of terror plots.”


Business Insider: The Facebook Engineer Who Wrote A Controversial Memo Decrying The Company's 'Intolerant' Culture Is Leaving

“The Facebook engineer who sparked an internal firestorm at Facebook with his criticism of what he called a "political monoculture" that is "intolerant" of conservatism, is leaving the company. In a recent internal memo to fellow employees obtained by Business Insider, Brian Amerige, an engineering manager of product usability, wrote: "I care too deeply about our role in supporting free expression and intellectual diversity to even whole-heartedly attempt the product stuff anymore, and that's how I know it's time to go." Silicon Valley, the heart of the American tech industry, is largely liberal, and has been fraught with allegations of bias in Trump's America. In July 2017, Google found itself at the center of a political firestorm after engineer James Damore wrote an internal post decrying what he characterised as "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber," in which he attacked the company's diversity efforts. (Some conservatives also allege that social media firms are deliberately silencing and censoring nonliberal voices on their platforms, which the companies deny.)”

Terrorist Financing

Almasry Alyoum: Experts: Arrest Of Ashmawy Will Aid In Uncovering Terrorism Financiers, Both Entities And Individuals

“Security and military experts described the recent arrest of Egypt's senior Islamist militant in Libya as a "decisive moment" in thwarting terrorist attacks, particularly in the western region of Egypt. These experts believe that the security agencies will obtain "invaluable" information through the interrogation of Egypt's most wanted terrorist. This information will {ultimately} lead to the capture of ISIS's remnants. In addition, it will unmask the entities and individuals implicated in terrorist financing, the experts stressed. They further noted that Egypt may change its counter terrorism tactics, particularly in the western part of the country, following the detention of Ashmawy.”

Sawaleif: Jordan Updates Its Anti-Money-Laundering And Counter-Terrorism Financing Regulations

“During a recently held meeting, the Board of Commissioners of Jordan's Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC) adopted new anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regulations pertaining to the agencies that provide postal services. The updated version of these regulations (#2 of the year 2018) will replace the existing ones, which were issued in 2012. TRC Chairman Dr. Ghazi Al-Jabour noted that the TRC has issued a sweeping statement to all postal service agencies informing them of the new compulsory regulations. Al-Jabour pointed out that the new rules comply with the standards of the Financial Action Task Force's (FATF) 40 recommendations for combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism and its proliferation.”

Alkhaleej: Bahraini Official Calls To Regulate Charities' Activities To Alleviate Terrorism Financing

“Dr. Mohammed Mubarak Juma, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education for Resources and Services in Bahrain, stated that the countries, afflicted by terrorism must act on two levels, internal and external. These countries have to militarily combat terrorism, while also depleting its funding sources. Addressing a symposium entitled "Joint strategic and security vision on countering terrorism", hosted by the University of Bahrain on Wednesday, Dr. Juma called to regulate certain practices in the Arab states, foremost of which is fundraising. Funds, which are being collected under the pretext of charitable works, might end up in the wrong hands, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education cautioned. Additionally, Dr. Juma, who is also a columnist and political analyst, called to oversee the various religious forums, which have lately shifted away from the traditional mosques and moved toward the internet platforms. The Bahraini official also pointed out that the Muslim Brotherhood has found a "massive" financier in the Qatari region, which seems to be dominated by the banned Islamist organization.”


Alriyadh: Saudi Prince: Cyber Terrorism Is No Less Dangerous Than Mass Destruction

“Prince Abdullah bin Khalid bin Saud Al-Saud, Director of Research at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, said that terrorist organizations have been exploiting technological advancement to promulgate hatred and a culture of violence "targeting our youth and our societies" in order to spread destruction and corruption. Addressing a conference yesterday in Abu Dhabi, the Saudi prince said, "Although the attacks of September 11 were a turning point in the level of the means employed by terror organizations, technology gave them an added dimension, enabling them to reach and influence new segments of society and drag them into the world of the unknown." Al Saud added, "A recent study showed us the scope of the immense infiltration of terrorist organizations and extremist groups, whereby the number of websites attributed to these groups increased {exponentially} from {just} 12 in 1997 to 150k in 2017.”


Aden News: Sana'a: Houthis Demand Support For The Militants On The Battle Field In Exchange For Supplying Gas To Homes

“Cooking gas vanished months ago from the capital Sana'a which is under the Houthis' control. The small quantities available are insufficient to meet the needs of even one Sana'a neighborhood. "The Houthis have ordered us to look for Mujahideen, to fight in their ranks in the battles on the west coast of Yemen, in exchange for supplying cooking gas to our homes," one resident was quoted as saying. During the past few months, the black-market activities have picked up, and the price of a gas cylinder reached YR12,000, while the price of a gallon of gasoline hit YR20,000 ($1 = YR740). In Sana'a, gas stations are witnessing long lines of cars amid a complete paralysis of the movement in the city, where the merchants and Houthi-affiliated supervisors are exploiting the shortage to sell {these necessities} on the black market at double the price. This phenomenon has further exacerbated the crisis among Yemeni citizens.”