Eye on Extremism: October 15

The New York Times: Failed Notre-Dame Plot Leads To Shame, Regret And Heavy Sentences

“The two women sat side by side in the courtroom over the past three weeks, each blaming the other for what they had done, and both expressing shame and regret over what they had become: “The face of female jihad” in France, according to a state prosecutor. On Monday judges sentenced Inès Madani and Ornella Gilligmann to 30 and 25 years of prison, ending a symbolic trial that involved six women and shed a light on the role of female jihadists in homegrown terrorism. Ms. Madani and Ms. Gilligmann were accused of trying to ignite a car loaded with gas cylinders near the Notre-Dame cathedral in September 2016 in order to carry out an attack in the name of the Islamic State. Judges followed the prosecutors’ requests that the women be sentenced to 25 and 30 years each, a sign that a newly appointed terrorism court would take a hard stance on trying radicalized individuals. They had both faced life sentences at the beginning of the trial. Asked if they had wanted to kill “as many people as possible,” Ms. Madani, now 22, replied, “At that time, yes, that was. the goal.” Before the court gave its verdict on Monday, both expressed deep regret. “I had the worst behavior,” said Ms. Madani, who said she felt ashamed by what she had done.”

The Washington Post: Dutch Court Convicts Asylum-Seeker In Station Terror Attack

“A Dutch court on Monday convicted an Afghan asylum-seeker and sentenced him to nearly 27 years imprisonment for stabbing two American tourists in a terror attack at Amsterdam’s main railway station. The 20-year-old man, identified by Dutch authorities as Jawed S, was shot by police shortly after he stabbed two 38-year-old American men at Amsterdam Central station on Aug. 31 last year. Both victims survived but one was left partially paralyzed by the attack, Amsterdam District Court said in its written judgment. The court convicted Jawed S. of attempted murder with a terrorist motive and sentenced him to the maximum possible 26 years and eight months. It ruled that he traveled by train to the Netherlands from Germany, where his application for asylum was rejected, to avenge what he perceived as insults to Islam and did not know his victims were Americans. During his trial, he “never showed any remorse and in fact repeatedly said he would do the same thing again if his religion were insulted,” the court said in a statement. The man was ordered to pay his two victims a total of more than 2.6 million euros ($2.9 million). According to the judgment he stabbed one man in the back leaving him with injuries that mean he will never be able to walk independently again.”

Bloomberg: Qatar Defends Turkey’s Syria Operation As It Sticks Up For Ally

“Qatar defended Turkey’s military offensive in northern Syria, sticking up for an ally that’s helped the Gulf emirate weather the impact of a boycott by its neighbors. Turkey’s military incursion isn’t expansionist because it faced an “imminent threat” from Kurdish groups on its Syrian border, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said in Doha.”

Associated Press: German Security Services Want More Powers To Fight Extremism

“Germany's security services said Tuesday they're seeking greater powers to fight the kind of far-right extremism behind last week's synagogue attack, including requiring internet companies to report illegal hate speech to police. A 27-year-old German man previously unknown to police confessed to carrying out the attack in the eastern city of Halle in which two people were killed Wednesday. The suspected gunman, identified by prosecutors only as Stephan B. due to privacy rules, allegedly built the firearms he used with the help of online instructions, posted an anti-Semitic screed before the attack and later broadcast the shooting live on a popular gaming site.””

Haaretz: U.S. Sanctions Amp Up The Pressure On Iran-Backed Hezbollah In Lebanon

“The conflict between Iran and the U.S. that has created tensions throughout much of the Middle East is now also being felt in Lebanon, where Washington has slapped sanctions on the Iran-backed Hezbollah and warned they could soon expand to its allies, further deepening the tiny Arab country’s economic crisis. The Trump administration has intensified sanctions on the Lebanese militant group and institutions linked to it to unprecedented levels, targeting lawmakers for the first time as well as a local bank that Washington claims has ties to the group. Two U.S. officials visited Beirut in September and warned the sanctions will increase to deprive Hezbollah of its sources of income. The push is further adding to Lebanon’s severe financial and economic crisis, with Lebanese officials warning the country’s economy and banking sector can’t take the pressure. “We have taken more actions recently against Hezbollah than in the history of our counterterrorism program,” Sigal P. Mandelker, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence at the U.S. Treasury, said in the United Arab Emirates last month. Mandelker said Washington is confident the Lebanese government and the central bank will “do the right thing here in making sure that Hezbollah can no longer have access to funds at the bank.”

The Wall Street Journal: She Fined Tech Giants Billions of Dollars. Now She Wants Sharper Tools.

“Margrethe Vestager made a name for herself as Europe’s top antitrust enforcer by slapping record fines on U.S. tech companies. Now she says those fines don’t work. As she prepares to start an unprecedented second term as the European Union’s competition commissioner, this time with added powers as the EU’s digital-economy policy maker, Ms. Vestager is shifting her focus from fining giants to preventing market abuses. Fines are “not doing the trick,” she told EU lawmakers recently, despite having hit Alphabet Inc.’s Google with penalties totaling $9.4 billion in recent years. “We have to consider remedies that are much more far-reaching.”


The Guardian: US Seizes Only Two British Isis Prisoners In Syria, Leaving Others

“US forces in north-east Syria have been able to seize only two British Islamic State prisoners despite previous briefings that they intended to forcibly take a few dozen from Kurdish custody. Kurdish military refused to allow US special forces to take anyone apart from Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, forcing them to leave behind several dozen detainees and prompting warnings that an opportunity to put other Isis leaders on trial had been missed.”

NPR: U.S. Imposes Sanctions On Turkey For Invasion Of Syria

“Days after appearing to acquiesce to a Turkish invasion of Northern Syria aimed at routing Washington's Kurdish allies, the White House is officially reversing course, calling instead for a ceasefire, imposing economic sanctions and dispatching Vice President Mike Pence to Ankara. In an executive order issued Monday, President Trump declared that Turkey's offensive "undermines the campaign to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, endangers civilians, and further threatens to undermine the peace, security, and stability in the region ...”

Voice Of America: Kremlin Confident Turkey Will Soon Halt Syria Incursion 

“Russian officials say they expect Turkey to start halting soon its cross-border incursion in north-eastern Syria. They say Syria’s Kurds have agreed to shelve their plans for a self-governing state and Kurdish fighters will join Syrian forces patrolling the border. The deal-making between Damascus and the Kurds started in earnest nearly a year ago when U.S. President Donald Trump first broached the idea of withdrawing U.S. troops from Kurdish-controlled northeastern Syria, say officials who spoke on the condition they not be identified.”

AFP: Qatar Defends Turkey's Northern Syria Operation

“Qatar defended its close ally Turkey's controversial operation against Kurdish forces in northern Syria on Tuesday, saying Ankara had acted against an "imminent threat". Turkey has helped Qatar weather the effects of a two-year regional economic embargo led by Riyadh over claims of support for Iran and Islamist extremism, denied by Doha. But Ankara has faced widespread condemnation for its deadly incursion, with the US imposing sanctions on prominent Turkish leaders while France and Germany have halted arms sales.”

The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Imposes Penalties On Turkey, Aiming To Stop Incursion Into Syria

“President Trump authorized sanctions and raised steel tariffs on Turkey, while threatening more-powerful financial penalties if Ankara continued a military offensive in northern Syria launched after Mr. Trump decided to withdraw U.S. troops from the region. Mr. Trump also spoke separately with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Kurdish Commander Mazloum Abdi and urged them to negotiate an end to the violence, administration officials said. Mr. Trump, calling for an immediate cease-fire, tapped Vice President Mike Pence and White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien to lead a delegation to Turkey to seek a resolution to the conflict.”

The Washington Post: European Leaders Warn Of ISIS Revival With Turkish Invasion Of Syria

“European leaders said Monday that they were facing new security threats as a result of Turkey’s offensive in Syria, but they mostly trained their anger on Ankara, not on Washington’s sudden decision to pull out from the region. European foreign ministers who met Monday in Luxembourg condemned the Turkish incursion and agreed on an informal, E.U.-wide ban on arms sales to Ankara. They stopped short of a legally binding ban, to implement something quickly. The Europeans said they feared instability in northeastern Syria would give a new toehold to the Islamic State, which lost its final territories earlier this year. The militant group “could re-find its breathing space inside that territory,” E.U. foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said. “That worries us enormously. That is a direct security threat to the European Union.” Among those at greatest risk are French special forces who have supported U.S. troops in Syria for years. President Emmanuel Macron early Monday ordered that measures be taken “in the coming hours to ensure the security of French military and civilian personnel present in the zone.” Although Macron’s office did not specify whether French troops would pull out entirely, French officials said over the summer that a full U.S. withdrawal probably would require France to depart as well.”

Bloomberg: Turkey Blames Syrian Kurds For Mass Jailbreak By Islamic State

“Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said Islamic State members fled a jail in northern Syria after it was abandoned by the YPG Kurdish militia, following warnings that the cross-border incursion could lead to mass breakouts of thousands of jihadist prisoners. “There was only one Daesh jail in the area” where the Turkish military is operating, Akar said Monday, using an acronym for the jihadist group. “When we went there, we saw that it was emptied by the YPG and that members of Daesh were allowed to escape.” As President Donald Trump gave Turkey the nod to begin its long-threatened military operation into northeastern Syria earlier this month, he also handed Ankara the responsibility for dealing with all the imprisoned members of Islamic State in the area. Turkey has responded by saying it will only deal with the jihadists inside a buffer zone it’s trying to carve out near its border. Meanwhile, Kurds have complained they may not be able to guard all the Islamic State militants in makeshift camps and jails in northeastern Syria if Turkey’s military seizes nearby areas. Akar’s comments show Turkey considered only one Islamic State prison to be inside its area of responsibility.”

BBC News: 'Islamic State' Children: How Do They Get Home?

“The case of three children believed to be from the UK, trapped in Syria after their parents joined the “Islamic State group” and subsequently died, has raised questions about how they can be repatriated. The children, Amira, Heba and Hamza, were featured in a recent BBC report from a Syrian camp for the families of IS fighters. The camps in northern Syria holding IS families are currently controlled by Kurdish-led forces whose leaders have repeatedly asked European countries to take back their nationals. Many countries have been reluctant to readmit IS supporters both because of public opinion and legal issues. Foreign nationals abroad are entitled to some form of consular assistance and this would normally require direct contact with those being held in the camps. However, this is complicated by the fact that many countries have closed their embassies in Syria. Some countries have also made clear that they believe it's too dangerous to send their officials into a war zone. As the conflict escalates in northern Syria, the levels of insecurity in and around the camps makes this an increasing problem.””
Business Insider: ISIS Has Been Waiting For This Very Moment As Trump-Fueled Chaos In Syria Helps It Regroup
“President Donald Trump declared the ISIS caliphate defeated in March of this year, but after a Turkish incursion into northeast Syria where ISIS prisoners are held, and with unrest in Iraq, US officials and experts warn that the instability in the region is providing ISIS with the opportunity for a comeback. “Recent observations by our men and women on the ground highlight that the ISIS population being evacuated from the remaining vestiges of the caliphate largely remains unrepentant, unbroken and radicalized,” Gen. Joseph Votel told the House Armed Services Committee in March, when the caliphate was routed. The conditions — thousands of fighters and supporters guarded by a force stretched thin, instability in the regions where ISIS was active — point to a resurgence. But to what extent that resurgence occurs remains to be seen, Daniel Byman, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution's Center for Middle East Policy, told Insider. “We know in the past, they've done prison breakouts, they've seen it as a top priority,” he said. “There will be more opportunities for the Islamic State,” Byman said, but many of the conditions that led to ISIS's rise in 2014 — sectarian violence in Iraq, the relative disinterest on the part of the Syrian government in the areas where ISIS was active, and ignorance on the part of other global actors — have changed.”


Radio Free Europe: Freed Russian Journalist Recounts Harrowing Ordeal In Iranian Jail

“Russian journalist and author Yulia Yuzik, who was detained in Tehran for more than a week, says Iranian interrogators accused her of working for Israel and "destroyed me psychologically" before her surprise release. "They were sure that Yuzik was a Jewish surname, there was no doubt that I was Jewish and worked as an analyst for the Israeli secret services," she told RFE/RL's Russian Service in an interview published on October 12. Yuzik, who had previously lived and worked as a journalist in Iran, was stopped on September 29 when she arrived in Tehran for a private visit.”


India Today: Airstrikes Kill 9 Taliban, IS Terrorists In Afghanistan

“At least nine terrorists from Taliban and the Islamic State (ISIS) were killed in Afghanistan following a series of airstrikes. Quoting military officials, Khaama Press reported that the airstrikes took place in the eastern province of Nangarhar, where a total of five ISIS terrorists were killed. Four Taliban operatives, meanwhile, were killed in Afghanistan's central Wardak province, as per media reports which cited officials.”

Xinhua: Afghan Fighting Kills 8 Militants In Northern Balkh Province

“At least eight militants were killed as the security forces backed by fighting planes struck Taliban hideouts in parts of Charbolak district in northern Balkh province, army spokesman in the northern region Mohammad Hanif Rezai said Monday. In the crackdown which began Sunday morning and covered several villages, 15 more militants were wounded, the official asserted. No security personnel and civilians were harmed, the official further said. The security forces would continue to chase militants elsewhere in the Balkh and adjoining provinces, Rezai said. Taliban militants who are operational in parts of Balkh and the neighboring Jawzjan and Sari Pul provinces haven't commented.”


Chicago Tribune: Pakistan Faces Black List Of Countries Financing Terrorism

“Pakistan is trying to avoid getting blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force, a global watchdog, when it meets Wednesday in Paris. A report earlier this month by the task force's Asia Pacific Group, which monitors Pakistan's progress, is not encouraging. The report says Pakistan has fully implemented only one item from a list of 40 measures that the country should be taking to curb terrorist financing and money laundering. The other 39 measures were either partially implemented or in some cases overlooked entirely. Iran and North Korea are currently the only two countries on the blacklist. Being blacklisted would be a serious blow for Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan as he tries to boost its faltering economy and attract foreign investment and loans. Pakistan got a mixed review for its efforts to curb terrorist financing and money laundering as it tries to avoid getting blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force, a global watchdog, when it meets Wednesday in Paris.  A report earlier this month by the task force's Asia Pacific Group, which monitors Pakistan's progress, was not encouraging. It found Pakistan had fully implemented only one item from a list of 40 measures that the country should be taking to curb terrorist financing and money laundering, if it wants to stay off the blacklist.”


Asharq Al-Awsat: Human Rights Group Accuses Houthis Of Using 400 Abductees As Human Shields

“An Ibb-based human rights group in Yemen has accused the Iran-backed Houthi militias of transferring 400 captives to be used as human shields from one of the group’s detention centers to a camp in southern Sanaa. The Association of Mothers of Abductees said Monday that armed Houthis transferred the abductees from inside the central prison to a military area exposed to air strikes. “We have been informed at the Association of Mothers of the Abductees on Monday morning that Houthis have dressed the captives inside the central prison in Sanaa in the air force uniform and transferred them to the Central Security Camp in the Area of Al-Sabeen,” the association said in a press release distributed to the media. The Association noted that the Houthis had made the prisoners believe they were getting released. The militias are held liable for the lives of abductees after being transferred to a military zone that had previously been hit by coalition airstrikes. “We have previously lost dozens of our abducted children after being detained in the military police in Sanaa and the prison of Dhamar Community College, during which dozens of our kidnapped civilian children were killed,” the Association said.”

Saudi Arabia

The National: Saudi Crown Prince And Vladimir Putin Discuss Terrorism And Regional Issues On Visit

“Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, where they discussed the relationship between the two countries. They also discussed developments in Syria and Yemen, and “the importance of combating extremism and terrorism and working to dry up its sources”, the Saudi state press agency Spa reported. The Russian president also met King Salman. Before his visit this week, Mr Putin said he could play a role in easing tension in the Arabian Gulf after a spate of attacks on international shipping and major oil facilities in the kingdom. Speaking to Arabic news media, Mr Putin, whose last visit to the kingdom was in 2007, highlighted his good ties with Gulf states and Iran. However, he said he had no reliable information on who carried out the September 14 attacks on Saudi oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais. Yemen’s Houthi rebels said they carried out the drone and missile strikes, but Riyadh and Washington blamed Tehran, which denied responsibility. “Imagine, we don’t know. The next day, I asked the head of the foreign intelligence service and the defence minister. ‘No, we don’t know’,” he said, an Arabic-language transcript provided by Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television showed.”


Asharq Al-Awsat: Security, Political Messages Behind Hezbollah’s Threat To Lebanese Banks 

“Hezbollah’s threats to take to the streets to confront Lebanese bank measures hold security and political messages to local and foreign powers. The Iran-backed party had threatened to stage protests against banks that adhere to US sanctions against its leaders and economic institutions. The threat had alarmed observers, who expressed their concern that Iran may seize control of Lebanon’s financial stability in order to draw Washington’s attention and lure it to the negotiations table. The pro-Hezbollah local Lebanese daily, al-Akhbar, revealed that the party leadership has outlined several steps, including street protests to confront the banks. The party will not stand idly by as the banks and other institutions adhere to American sanctions, it reported. The daily said the party had taken the decision to confront the banks, but it has yet to decide on the way to do so. While the party fell short on announcing the date for such rallies, a banking source told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Hezbollah threat jeopardizes security and “gives its supporters the green light to attack and storm banks.” “There are no fears on the financial sector and people’s deposits in the banks where liquidity is available,” it added. “However, any street protest would create concern and confusion among the people.”

Middle East

The Guardian: Trump Is Right To Take Troops Out Of Syria. Now They Must Leave Iraq And Afghanistan

“Donald Trump is right to extricate the US from Syria. American troops have no strategic reason to be in that country. If they stayed any longer they would only be sucked in deeper – if they tried to impose a sort of peace, they would be attacked by all sides. The outside world has no dog in the Turkish-Kurd fight. The US should get out of Syria as it must leave Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.”


Army Times: US Strikes Culled ISIS-Libya Encampments, Unlikely To Return To Pre-2016 Levels, Defense Official Says

“A series of four airstrikes in recent weeks against Libya’s Islamic State franchise killed roughly one-third of the militant group’s personnel, giving much needed breathing room as the country’s two main factions wrangle for control in Tripoli. The strikes killed an estimated 43 ISIS fighters, with roughly 100 still remaining, according to a senior U.S. defense official, who spoke with reporters on the condition of anonymity. “We assess that was a pretty significant degradation of their capabilities and, again, they struggle to reconstitute because of the nature of the operatives who were killed in this strike and the fact that they have already been struggling with manpower,” the official said in a telephone interview Thursday. “We certainly don’t assess that they’re expanding,” the official added. The strikes come amid an ongoing struggle between the United Nations-recognized Government of National Accord and Libyan Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter’s self-styled Libyan National Army. U.S. Africa Command officials warned this summer that the fighting distracts both factions from counterterrorism aims, and could allow for a resurgence of ISIS-Libya. But that hasn’t stopped foreign governments from betting on each side.”


The Guardian: NAF Kill Boko Haram Terrorists, Destroy Hideout

“The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on Monday said it has destroyed the meeting venue of Boko Haram terrorists at Boboshe area around the Sambisa Forest in Borno State. NAF spokesman Ibikunle Daramola in a statement said “several BHTs (Boko Haram Terrorists) were also killed as a result of the strikes.” Daramola said the Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation Lafiya Dole conducted the attack on Sunday, following successive days of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions, coupled with human intelligence reports.”

Voice Of America: Stigma Slows Reintegration Of Former Boko Haram Fighters

“Fifty-six-year-old Ibrahim Dubji is still trying to adjust to life out of the bushes of rural northeastern Nigeria. It's been about three years since he left. He was a fighter with Boko Haram, taking cover in the region’s rocky and semi- arid terrain. Around the Borno State town of Gwoza, which Boko Haram captured in 2014 and declared as the headquarters of their Islamic caliphate, Dubji spent two years with the armed group, invading and attacking villages. He says he struggled with the group’s extreme mode of operation. “The son of my elder brother, they killed him in my presence,” Dubji says. “That is the worst thing I always remember.” He found a way to escape the group, turning himself in at a Nigerian military base. He said the soldiers there accepted his surrender but flogged him for four days, with “sticks, cables and machetes.” Last year, Dubji went through Operation Safe Corridor.  It’s the Nigerian government’s official rehabilitation and de-radicalization program, set up in 2016, mainly for low-ranking Boko Haram fighters and low-risk women and children affiliated with the Islamist group.”


Reuters: French National Killed In Tunisia Knife Attack-Interior Ministry

“An attacker killed a French citizen and wounded a soldier with a knife in northern Tunisia on Monday, state media quoted the Interior Ministry as saying. Interior Ministry spokesman Khaled Hayouni was quoted on state news agency TAP as saying police knew the identity of the assailant, a 28-year-old man with a criminal record, but he did not suggest a motive for the killing. The attack took place in Jarzouna, a town connected by bridge to the port city of Bizerte, the day after Tunisia held a presidential election. The attacker assaulted the uniformed soldier and then the French citizen, who died before reaching hospital, it quoted Hayouni as saying. Reuters could not immediately reach Hayouni for comment. Jihadist militant groups have repeatedly attempted to target security services and foreign tourists in Tunisia in recent years. Two attacks in 2015 in the cities of Tunis and Sousse killed scores of foreign tourists, but Western diplomats say Tunisian security services are now better equipped to deal with militant threats.”

United Kingdom

Sky News: Westminster Attack: Copycat Terrorist Salih Khater Jailed For Life

“An ex-asylum seeker who crashed into cyclists and police outside parliament to replicate previous terror attacks in London has been jailed for life. Salih Khater drove his Ford Fiesta into riders and a pedestrian who had stopped at a red light in Parliament Square, before careering into a security lane and ploughing into barriers as two officers jumped out of the way. The incident on 14 August last year brought back painful memories of attacks in Westminster in 2017, and Khater was said to have deliberately copied other terrorists. After being found guilty of two counts of attempted murder at the Old Bailey, the judge told him his “undoubted intention was to kill as many people as possible and by doing so spread fear and terror”. Mrs Justice McGowan described him as a “dangerous” individual, adding: “You replicated the acts of others who undoubtedly have acted with terrorist motives. You deliberately copied those others.” She said: “It was an attack on strangers and police officers at the seat of democracy in this country. “You are dangerous in that you present a significant risk of causing serious harm to the public in the future. Even acting alone, you acted for a terrorist purpose. All the evidence is consistent with that conclusion.”


France 24: 2 Women Convicted In Failed 2016 Notre Dame Car Bomb Plot

“A French court on Monday sentenced five members of an all-female jihadist cell to between five and 30 years in prison over a failed bid to detonate a car bomb outside Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris. The case is the first to involve a group of women attempting to stage an attack in France, which has been repeatedly targeted by jihadists since 2015, causing the loss of 255 lives. The five women, aged between 22 and 42, were arrested after a car packed with gas cylinders was found parked near the bustling esplanade in front of the cathedral in the heart of the capital on November 4, 2016. The two main defendants, Ines Madani and Ornella Gilligmann, had doused the car with diesel in the middle of the night and tried but failed to set it alight with a cigarette. They were sentenced to 30 years and 25 years in prison respectively. The women are believed to have been acting on the orders of Rachid Kassim, a French Islamic State Group (IS) propagandist also suspected of ordering the grisly murder of a French police couple at their home in June 2016. Kassim is believed to have been killed in an air strike near the Iraqi city of Mosul in February 2017.”


Deutsche Welle: German Groups Combating Far-Right Extremism Face Uncertain Future

“Exit, a scheme to help former German neo-Nazis change their ways and extricate themselves from an extremist community, faces an uncertain future. It is not clear whether the program, which has been running for 20 years, will receive the €250,000 ($275,000) in funding needed to stay operational in 2020. The news came as a shock to many who have profited from the scheme so far. The organization's founder, Bernd Wagner, says that the neo-Nazi scene is trying to track “some of them [former neo-Nazis] down and even sends them death threats.” That is why, he says, his organization must be kept running to help protect and council these individuals. Six years ago, the German government promised Exit would receive long-term funding. But Wagner says “nothing ever came of that,” adding that he feels he can't take the previous and current government serious anymore. The scheme, like numerous other ones aimed at combating extremism, is funded through Germany's Live Democracy! program. It, in turn, gets money from the German state, yet recently made headlines when plans emerged to cut its 2020 budget by €8 million.”


Reuters: EU Sees Spike In Afghan Migrants As Many Leave Sanctions-Stricken Iran

“More Afghans than Syrians have migrated to the European Union so far this year, official data shows, making them the largest nationality illegally entering the bloc, with many relocating from Iran partly due to the hardship caused by U.S. sanctions. While the EU fears a new wave of asylum seekers from Syria following Turkey’s attack this week on the Kurdish-controlled northeastern region of the country, EU officials warned that the increasing number of Afghans posed a more immediate problem, especially in the Greek islands where many of them first arrive.”

Reuters: Denmark To Strip Foreign Fighters Of Danish Citizenship

“Denmark will fast-track legislation allowing people with dual citizenship who have gone abroad to fight for militant groups like Islamic State to be stripped of their Danish nationality, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Monday. European states are trying to accelerate a plan to shift thousands of foreign Islamic State militants out of Syrian prison camps and into Iraq, as a fresh conflict in Syria has raised the risk of jihadists escaping or returning home. “There is a risk that the Kurdish-controlled IS-camps in the border area will collapse and that foreign warriors with Danish citizenship will move toward Denmark,” Frederiksen said in a statement. Authorities believe at least 158 people from Denmark have joined militant Islamist groups in Syria or Iraq since 2012, about 27 of whom remain in the conflict zone. Twelve of these are believed to be imprisoned. All 27 are Danish nationals but it is unclear how many also have citizenship of another country. Europeans comprise a fifth of around 10,000 Islamic State fighters held captive in Syria by Kurdish militias which are now under heavy attack by Turkish forces. If the militias redeploy prison guards to the front line, there is a risk of jail-breaks.”

Forbes: Denmark Introduces Checks On Swedish Border To Combat Terrorism, Travel Delays Expected

“One of the benefits of living in the European Union—or more specifically, the Schengen Area—is the frictionless travel across national borders of member states. Schengen cooperation enhances the freedom of movement guaranteed by the EU to its citizens by enabling them to cross internal borders without being subjected to border checks. But questions are now being asked about the concept of a Europe without passport checks as Denmark has announced it will restart identity checks on its border with Sweden, prompting an unhappy reaction from European leaders. The announcement is surprising given the extremely close relationship of the two Scandinavian countries. The iconic 8km-long Øresund Bridge that connects Copenhagen and Malmö was seen by many as a symbol of modern Scandinavia after centuries of conflict. The bridge enables easy access for thousands of commuters every day who live in Sweden and work in Denmark, or vice-versa. For tourists, the bridge makes Malmö and much of southern Sweden easy to access from Copenhagen Airport, one of the busiest air transport hubs in Northern Europe. Now, both groups will face delays.”

Radio Free Europe: Tajikistan Labels EU-Based Opposition Alliance As Terrorist Group

“Tajikistan's Supreme Court has labeled the National Alliance of Tajikistan (PMT) -- a group uniting several opposition movements and parties based in the European Union -- as a terrorist and extremist organization. One of the PMT's leaders, Sharofiddin Gadoev, told RFE/RL on October 14 that the court's ruling, made public over the weekend, was “illegal.” “It has become a bad tradition of the Tajik government to label any group or individuals who challenge it as terrorist,” Gadoev said, adding that the PMT had never called on anyone to perform, or planned any acts, that were extremist or terrorist in nature. The PMT was established in Warsaw in September 2018 at the gathering of Tajik opposition activists living in various countries of the European Union. Tajik authorities have been criticized for cracking down on dissent for years. In 2014, the opposition movement Group 24 was labeled as terrorist and extremist and banned. In March 2015, the movement's founder Umarali Quvatov was assassinated in Istanbul, Turkey. Another opposition group, the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT), long an influential party with representatives in the government and parliament of Tajikistan, was labeled a terrorist group and banned in 2015.”


The Guardian: Accused Far-Right Terror Plotter Allegedly Spoke Of 'Cutting Throats' In Melbourne

“An accused far-right terror plotter allegedly spoke about “cutting throats” in central Melbourne and leaving “a line of dead lefties around me”, a court has heard. Phillip Galea, 34, is charged with planning to attack leftwing groups including the Melbourne Anarchist Club between August 2015 and 2016. “I wanted to go around cutting throats in the city centre. I wanted a line of dead lefties around me,” Galea allegedly told another man in an intercepted phone call read to Victoria’s supreme court on Tuesday. “I joined this movement because I wanted to fight,” Galea also said, the prosecutor Richard Maidment QC told the jury. Galea is standing trial for planning a terrorist attack and trying to make a document, which he allegedly called the “Patriot’s Cookbook”, to facilitate an attack. He wanted to target the city’s anarchist club, as well as the Melbourne Resistance Centre and the city’s Trades Hall, associated with the union movement, “to eliminate the leaders of the left”, Maidment said. Galea was associated with the far-right group Reclaim Australia and blamed “the left” for the “Islamisation of Australia”, the prosecutor added. In another phone call railing against “lefties”, Galea allegedly said “eventually we’ll put them all in ovens … with the Muslims.”

New Zealand 

Al Jazeera: New Zealand Creates Unit To Target Online 'Extremism'

“New Zealand will establish a team of investigators dedicated solely to tackling online “extremism”, as it moves to address failures exposed by the Christchurch mosque shootings, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said. Ardern has led global efforts to force technology firms to clamp down on “extremist” material since a lone gunman killed 51 Muslim worshippers in March, streaming part of the atrocity live on Facebook. But she said the attack, which targeted two mosques in the South Island city, also showed that her own government needed to improve resources to curb the spread of online hate. “We will have a dedicated team focused on targeting and disrupting violent extremist content across our digital channels,” she said on Monday. “This will work in a similar way to how we target child sexual exploitation material, by working with online content hosts to find and remove harmful content.”Ardern said the country's internal affairs department would hire 17 specialists in investigative, forensic and intelligence work to focus on violent online content. Within 24 hours of the Christchurch attacks, allegedly carried out by a self-described white supremacist, Facebook had removed 1.5 million posts of the video streamed by the alleged killer.”

Southeast Asia

The Washington Post: Indonesia Arrests 22 Militants Following Attack On Minister

“At least 22 suspected militants plotting bombings and other attacks have been arrested in a counterterrorism crackdown following last week’s assault by a knife-wielding militant couple who wounded Indonesia’s top security minister, police said Monday. National police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo told a news conference that the police’s elite anti-terror squad, known as Densus 88, seized 10 homemade pipe bombs believed to be intended for suicide attacks, chemicals for use in explosives, airsoft guns, knives, documents on planned attacks, jihadist books, laptops and cellphones in separate raids. Police were hunting other suspected militants, who mostly are participants in a social media chat group and are members of a local affiliate of the Islamic State group known as the Jama’ah Anshorut Daulah, or JAD.  “Members of this group are free to conduct ‘amaliah’ independently, depending on the ability of those who want to carry out the attacks,” Prasetyo said, referring to an Arabic term for violent jihadist action against those perceived as enemies of Islam. Chief Security Minister Wiranto, a local police chief and a third man were wounded in the broad daylight attack on Thursday by the couple in the western province of Banten.”

The Australian: Asia Faces A Rise In Terrorism Recruits

“Southeast Asia faces a resurgence of ISIS recruitment and potential lone wolf terror attacks as a result of the chaos in northeastern Syria where hundreds of Islamic State-linked detainees escaped from a Kurdish camp late Sunday, regional terror experts have warned. As many as 700 Indonesians and more than 50 Malaysians, among them hardened ISIS fighters but mostly their wives and young children, are believed to be among tens of thousands held in camps and pop-up prisons across Kurdish-held Syria. The weekend breakout of about 800 from the Ain Issa camp has heightened fears that further escapes could enable seasoned foreign terrorist fighters to make their way home and wage jihad. Syrian Democratic Forces have warned they may not be able to guard the centres holding 11,000 suspected ISIS militants. Indonesian counter-terrorism expert Adhe Bhakti said the chances of terrorist fighters returning to Indonesia was high and the government did not have a program to handle those who posed a “threat not only to Indonesia but to Southeast Asia”. “The Makassar couple who ended up bombing a church in Jolo, Philippines is just one example of the dangers,” Mr Adhe said, referring to the Indonesian husband and wife suicide bombers who killed 20 last January in an ISIS-claimed attack after they were deported from Turkey.”