Eye on Extremism: October 18

The Wall Street Journal: Turkey Agrees to Pause Military Operations in Northern Syria

“Turkey agreed to suspend military operations in northern Syria for five days in return for a U.S. pledge to facilitate a pullout by Syrian Kurdish fighters, a deal President Trump hailed as “an amazing outcome,” but that some critics said mainly fulfilled Turkish goals. Vice President Mike Pence reached the deal after five hours of talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday aimed at stopping a nine-day Turkish military incursion into Kurdish-held areas in northern Syria. The U.S. and Kurds have been allies in fighting Islamic State, but Turkey considers Kurdish forces to be terrorists.”

The Washington Post: The Past Three Months In Afghanistan Have Been The Deadliest For Civilians In A Decade

“More civilians were killed and injured in Afghanistan in the past quarter than during any other three-month period in the past decade, according to a U.N. report released Thursday, a spike that coincided with increased violence as talks to end an 18-year war gained steam and then suddenly collapsed. Between July and September, 1,174 civilians were killed and 3,139 were wounded. Those figures bring total civilian casualties (both dead and injured) this year to more than 8,000, according to counts by the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. In the previous quarter, 785 civilians were killed and 1,254 were wounded.  Both the Taliban and the U.S.-backed Afghan military have stepped up operations in recent months. Before President Trump scuttled the talks in early September, both sides were fighting to gain leverage ahead of a deal. Tadamichi Yamamoto, the U.N. secretary general’s special representative for Afghanistan, said the high number of civilian casualties is “unacceptable, especially in the context of the widespread recognition that there can be no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan.” Overall, the United Nations blamed Taliban attacks for the most civilian casualties this year, because of an increased use of suicide bombs and other explosives.”

Foreign Policy: Turkish Proxies Appear To Be Using White Phosphorus In Syria

“Turkish-backed forces appear to be using white phosphorus-loaded munitions—a chemical that can maim and kill when it comes in contact with human flesh—in their violent campaign against Kurdish fighters in northern Syria, Foreign Policy has learned. Meanwhile, reports emerged overnight that Turkey continues to attack Kurdish fighters and civilian settlements in the border town of Ras al-Ain, despite a ceasefire agreement announced by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. Turkish-backed forces targeted a Kurdish medical convoy and an American aid organization trying to get into the town to evacuate wounded civilians, according to a Syrian conflict monitor.”

Reuters: Iraq Prudent Over Taking Islamic State Foreign Nationals

“Iraqi officials appeared cautious on Thursday after holding talks with European powers this week aimed at accelerating efforts to create a judicial framework that would enable jihadists being held in Syria to face trial in Iraq. European states have been trying to fast-track a plan to move thousands of foreign Islamic State militants out of Syrian prison camps and into Iraq, after the Turkish offensive in northern Syria raised the risk of jihadists escaping or returning home, diplomats and officials have told Reuters. Legal experts from Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden have been in Baghdad this week for technical talks, and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian was in Iraq on Thursday to discuss the issue with the Iraqi government and Kurdish leaders. Speaking at a news conference with Le Drian, Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Hakim said his government’s priority was to bring back Iraqi fighters and their families “if possible”. “With regard (to) foreign fighters ... these countries must take necessary and appropriate measures to try these people,” he said, without elaborating. Europeans comprise a fifth of around 10,000 Islamic State fighters held captive in Syria by Kurdish militias which are under heavy attack by Turkish forces.”

The Washington Post: Video Giant Twitch Pushes Trump Rallies And Mass Violence Into The Live-Stream Age

“Joshua Fisher-Birch, a researcher at the nonprofit Counter Extremism Project, said the rise of terrorist violence performed online can’t be blamed on any one technology. But the power that a video-sharing platform gives users, to broadcast live to the world, can still have consequences that are too devastating to ignore. "When someone commits an act of violence like this, they’re speaking to this community that idealizes these extremist mass shooters. There’s a group of people they want to impress," Fisher-Birch said. "Live-streaming turns that act of violence into a spectacle, … this simultaneously public and intimate act." For violent extremists, he added, the technology "has turned mass shootings like these into propaganda gold mines."

The New York Times: At A School For Suicide Bombers’ Children, Dancing, Drawing And Deradicalization

“Ais likes to dance. She knows the words to “I’m a Little Teapot.” Her dimples are disarming. Her parents didn’t want their daughter to dance. They didn’t want her to sing. They wanted her to die with them for their cause. Last year, when she was 7, Ais squeezed onto a motorcycle with her mother and brother. They carried a packet that Ais refers to as coconut rice wrapped in banana leaves. Her father and other brother climbed onto a different bike with another parcel. They sped toward a police station in the Indonesian city of Surabaya, a place of mixed faith. The parcels were bombs, and they were set off at the gate to the police station. Catapulted off the motorcycle by the force of the explosion, Ais rose from the pavement like a ghost, her pale head-to-toe garment fluttering in the chaos. Every other member of her family died. No bystanders were killed. The Islamic State, halfway across the world, claimed responsibility for the attack. Ais, who is being identified by her nickname (pronounced ah-iss) to protect her privacy, is now part of a deradicalization program for children run by the Indonesian Ministry of Social Affairs. In a leafy compound in the capital, Jakarta, she bops to Taylor Swift, reads the Quran and plays games of trust.”

United States

Miami Herald: South Florida Man Found Guilty Of Sending Weapons To Colombian Terrorist Group

“A South Florida man pleaded guilty Thursday to shipping a cache of weapons inside air compressors to a violent Colombian rebel group at the center of an uncommon U.S. terrorism-support case. Francisco Joseph Arcila Ramirez, who is a legal permanent resident in the United States, reached a plea agreement convicting him of providing “material support to a foreign terrorist organization,” the ELN, a leftist group that was responsible for the deadly bombing of a Bogotá police academy in January of this year. The group, also known as the National Liberation Army, did not use any weapons from Ramirez’s shipment in that attack, however.”

The Greenville News: Students Return From Fall Break To Find Swastikas And 'Sexually Explicit' Graffiti In Dorm

“Furman University students returned from fall break to discover swastikas and "sexually explicit" comments and drawings in one dormitory. University officials said the graffiti was discovered Tuesday on whiteboards that hang on dorm room doors at Blackwell Hall, a co-ed dorm for freshman students. "It was crude, offensive language," Clinton Colmenares, a spokesperson for the school, said. Colmenares said the messages have been erased.”

Reuters: Trump Defends Middle East Policy, Says Islamic State Is Under Control

“U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday defended his Middle East policy, as he comes under bipartisan criticism over his administration’s move to withdraw U.S. troops from northeast Syria and an agreement for a 120-hour pause to a Turkish incursion of the area. “ISIS is totally under control and we’re continuing to capture more,” Trump said, using an acronym for Islamic State. He spoke at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a factory in Texas.”

Syria

The Wall Street Journal: Fighting Flares In Syria Despite Hours-Old Cease-Fire

“A day-old cease-fire deal between the U.S. and Turkey that led to a brief lull in the Turkish offensive in northeastern Syria appeared shaky Friday. Fighting flared in the border region with each side blaming the other for the resumption in violence. On Thursday, the U.S. and Turkey agreed that Ankara would suspend military operations so Kurdish fighters could lay down arms and leave the area. But sporadic clashes, drone strikes and artillery shelling resumed overnight and increased into Friday morning around the Syrian border town of Ras al-Ain, according to people living in the area and a commander and a media officer with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF.”

The Washington Post: Amid A Hasty Withdrawal, Pentagon Scrambles To Revise Campaign Against Islamic State

“U.S. officials acknowledged this week the difficulty of preventing an Islamic State resurgence in Syria once the bulk of American forces withdraw, as the military scrambles to assemble a plan for battling the militants from afar. The rush to revise the campaign blueprint comes as the Pentagon moves to ensure that U.S. troops aren’t swept up in a Turkish military operation in northern Syria, which has unleashed chaos in what was a relatively stable area and handed a major advantage to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his chief military backer, Russia. The fast-moving events of the past week follow President Trump’s sudden decision to remove U.S. forces from northern Syria ahead of Ankara’s planned offensive against U.S.-allied Kurdish forces, who helped drive out the Islamic State. The Pentagon had hoped to keep a small number of troops in the area to contain what it says is a still-potent militant threat. The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, stressed that the planning has not reached its final stages. They said the discussions centered on arrangements that would permit the United States to continue some level of air attacks and surveillance from outside Syria, relying in part on an expanded footprint in Jordan, and transferring Special Operations forces to Iraq.”

The New York Times: Kurds Accuse Turkey Of Violating Truce As Shelling Continues In Syria

“The leadership of the Syrian Kurdish fighters accused the Turkish military and its proxies on Friday of violating the terms of a truce in northern Syria that was brokered a day earlier by Vice President Mike Pence, raising questions about the feasibility of the cease-fire and whether the Americans can enforce it. A spokesman for the Kurdish forces, Mustafa Ali, said on Twitter that Turkey continued to pound civilian areas and a hospital, despite the announcement on Thursday night by Mr. Pence that there would be a five-day pause in the fighting.”

The Atlantic: The Democrats’ Hypocrisy On Syria

“On Tuesday night, the Democratic presidential candidates vied with one another to offer the harshest condemnation of President Donald Trump’s abrupt withdrawal of American troops from northern Syria. Joe Biden called it “the most shameful thing that any president has done in modern history … in terms of foreign policy.” Elizabeth Warren said Trump “has cut and run on our allies,” and “created a bigger-than-ever humanitarian crisis.” Kamala Harris announced, “Yet again Donald Trump [is] selling folks out.”

Fox News: Gen. Jack Keane: There Is 'No Doubt' ISIS Will Return After US Pullout From Syria

“There is “no doubt” that ISIS will return in the wake of the Turkey-Syria conflict, Fox News senior strategic analyst Gen. Jack Keane said Thursday. Appearing on “America's Newsroom” with anchor Bill Hemmer, Keane said, “It's not a possibility, it's guaranteed.” “There [are] 18,000 ISIS fighters operating between Iraq and Syria right now,” he explained. “According to Ambassador Jeffrey, who is President Trump's personal envoy, there [are] 10,000 ISIS fighters in 20 detention centers guarded by the Kurds. That's a significant force if you put it together: 28,000.” “That's pretty close to where we began with ISIS in 2014,” he told Hemmer. Vice President Mike Pence and a delegation are in the Turkish capital of Ankara Thursday to try to broker a cease-fire. However, Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been less than receptive to the words of the U.S. president. He reportedly threw into the trash an Oct. 9 letter from President Trump warning him against taking action along the border, as well as threatening economic sanctions. “If we can get a cease-fire and negotiate the buffer zone that we had been negotiating before Erdogan decided to stop that and invade, that's clearly the right answer,” Keane said.”

Al Jazeera: France, Iraq Diplomats Hold Talks On ISIL Prisoners In Syria

“Iraq's top diplomat has said Baghdad will take back its citizens suspected of fighting with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) in Syria, while urging home countries of other detainees to also take the “needed measures”. Mohammed Ali al-Hakim's comments on Thursday followed talks with his French counterpart, Jean-Yves le Drian, who was in Baghdad to discuss the fate of thousands of suspected ISIL members held in makeshift prisons in northeast Syria following a Turkish offensive in the region. “We discussed the situation in Syria and Iraq is taking all measures to prevent foreign fighters from crossing through the border into Iraq,” al-Hakim told a news conference. “The number of the foreign fighters in Syria is very high, and they are from up to 72 countries. These countries should take necessary measures toward their citizens,” he said, a move that signals Baghdad will not accept those who came from around the world to Iraq and Syria to join the armed group. Iraq will repatriate its own citizens and put them on trial, he added.  The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) says it is holding about 12,000 suspected ISIL fighters in northeast Syria. They include 2,000 foreigners, of which 800 are Europeans.”

The Atlantic: There Is No Plan B For ISIS Prisoners

“The prisoners were an emergency waiting to happen. For months, thousands of suspected Islamic State fighters from some 50 countries languished in makeshift jails in the desert; sometimes, a few broke out. But U.S.-backed Kurdish forces were, for the most part, keeping them locked up. Then President Donald Trump ordered U.S. forces to withdraw from outposts in northeastern Syria, clearing the way for the Turkish assault on America’s Kurdish partners in the fight on ISIS, and destroying the tenuous balance that has helped keep the Islamic State contained. Vice President Mike Pence’s announcement of a five-day pause in the fighting today—meant to give Kurdish forces time to leave territory within 20 miles of the Turkish border—also included the promise that Turkey would cooperate with the U.S. to guard prisoners. But it left unresolved the question of how those prisoners would be transferred from the custody of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, because the SDF was not part of the negotiations that led to the deal and had no immediate response to it. Meanwhile, in the chaos of the days leading up to Tuesday’s announcement, and with many Kurdish forces suddenly consumed with defending themselves, more suspected fighters reportedly broke out.”

The Daily Beast: Captives In ISIS Detention Camps Fear Calm Before The Storm

“The Trump administration and Turkey say they’ve reached a ceasefire. The formerly U.S.-backed forces of the Syrian Democratic Forces say they’ll accept it but won’t accept further incursions into Kurdish-held areas. Caught in the middle of the war between Turkey and Syrian Kurds are tens of thousands of ISIS prisoners—mostly women and children—now detained in a sprawling network of camps guarded by Kurdish forces who are waiting and considering their options amidst uncertainty about who, if anyone, will man the gates of their temporary homes.  The Daily Beast reached out to a number of those women and found a range of views about the Turkish offensive and what it could mean for ISIS detainees. Some professed optimism about the possibility of release in the event that Kurdish guards melted away or Turkish forces took a more permissive attitude toward security. Others, however, are worried about what could happen to them under a new regime just as they’ve grown accustomed to living under Kurdish forces. President Trump’s withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria has prompted intense criticism and warnings that the ensuing security vacuum could lead ISIS to rebuild in Syria.”

The National: Up To 100 ISIS Members Escape Al Hol Camp In Syria

“Up to 100 suspected ISIS members escaped Al Hol camp in eastern Syria on Wednesday, as concerns over the security of prisons under Kurdish control grows one week into a Turkish-backed offensive in North East Syria. A western diplomatic source told The National that dozens escaped from the camp’s so-called annex - where many of the most dangerous, foreign ISIS members are held. The camp has a population of over 60,000, most of whom are internally displaced people from Iraq and Syria. Yet more than 10,000 foreign women and children are also housed a secure section known as the annex. The source did not say what nationalities may have been among the escapees. It came as Iraq’s foreign minister announced the country would take back Iraqi ISIS suspects currently held in SDF custody. There has been a wave of attempted break outs from facilities holding ISIS suspects since the Turkish operation - dubbed Operation Peace Spring - began last Wednesday. ISIS-affiliated channels on Telegram named the two Belgian ISIS militants believed to have who escape Kurdish custody last week as Mohammed Botachbaqut and Yassine Cheikhki, according to the Qamishli based Rojava Information Centre.”

Iran

Reuters: Pompeo Seeks To Assure Israel-U.S Focus Stays On Iran 'Threat'

“Secretary of State Mike Pompeo underscored U.S.-Israeli efforts to counter Iran in talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, in an apparent attempt to ease concerns in Israel that Tehran could exploit a U.S. military pullback in Syria. Pompeo and Netanyahu met in Jerusalem hours after Turkey agreed with the United States to pause its offensive on Kurdish forces in Syria.”

Al-Monitor: Pentagon Turns To Irregular Tactics To Counter Iran

“The Pentagon is trying to put the finishing touches on a plan to use irregular warfare tactics to temper Iran’s military escalation in the Middle East, Al-Monitor has learned. In a still-classified review ordered by former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, the Pentagon is aiming to find new ways to counter Iran’s lower-cost military operations, such as the shooting down of a $100 million US surveillance drone over the Gulf in June. “Iran utilizes, principally through the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Quds Force, an economy of force and capital model that prioritizes relatively low-cost operations,” said Mick Mulroy, the Pentagon’s top Middle East policy official. “We can do much more to combat this strategy by calibrating our responses and levying a counter-cost imposition strategy against Iran, whose pockets are much shallower than ours.”

Haaretz: From Iraq To The Red Sea, Iran-Israel Battleground Now Spans Entire Mideast

“Ten years ago there were numerous reports about Israeli actions in the Red Sea, primarily directed against Iranian arms smuggling to the region and against weapons manufacturing sites in Sudan. The international media attributed various operations to the IDF, including aerial bombardments and commando raids on the Sudanese coast. Back in 2002, in the Red Sea south of Sharm al-Sheikh, Israeli naval commandos raided the Karine A, a ship loaded with weapons that the Iranians were attempting to smuggle to the Palestinians. This successful IDF operation at the height of the second intifada also yielded an important diplomatic gain, as it helped Israel convince U.S. President George W. Bush of Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat’s deep involvement in terrorism.”

Financial Times: Mystery Surrounds Abduction Of France-Based Iranian Activist

“From his homes in France and Turkey, Ruhollah Zam called on his 1m followers on social media to reveal what they knew about the Tehran political elite’s alleged corrupt dealings and sexual affairs. Through the Amadnews channel on the popular Telegram app, Mr Zam encouraged Iranians to try to overthrow the Tehran regime, even going so far as providing online tutorials on how to make petrol bombs during the unrest of late 2017. So for many Iranians it came as a shock to see the 46-year-old son of a former reformist official back in Tehran this week, on state television, regretting his past opposition to the regime and advising people not to ever trust foreign intelligence services.”

Iraq

The National: French Foreign Minister Talks Trying Thousands Of ISIS Suspects In Iraq

“France's top diplomat held talks in Baghdad on Thursday about transferring foreign militants from northern Syria, where a Turkish offensive has triggered fears of mass jailbreaks, to be tried in Iraq. European governments are worried that the Turkish operation will allow the escape of some of the 12,000 suspected ISIS group fighters – including thousands of foreigners – held by Syrian Kurds. The issue was top of the agenda for French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in his talks with his Iraqi counterpart Mohammed Ali Al Hakim, President Barham Saleh and Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi. Mr Le Drian said he had discussed with Iraqi leaders “the way to implement an appropriate judicial mechanism” to try French and other fighters “in the best conditions”. The aim is for foreign militants to be tried in Iraqi courts while upholding certain principles of justice and respect for human rights, a French diplomatic source said. One issue will be Iraq's use of the death penalty, which is outlawed throughout the EU. Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden sent officials on a technical mission to Baghdad this week to assess the situation.”

Afghanistan

The Washington Post: Pro-Government Forces Make Fragile Gains Against Taliban In Northeast Afghanistan

“Victory against the Taliban in this remote northeastern province of Afghanistan is measured in distance: 20 miles of mud-brick villages and dirt roads. That’s how far Afghan Gen. Yasin Zia’s motley crew — local fighters in T-shirts, Afghan Army commandos in American tactical gear, and intelligence officers in shalwar kameez — managed to push back the militants, who had come within six miles of the provincial capital of Taloqan. “For us, this was a huge victory,” Zia said from a dusty hilltop used as a makeshift base. The advances against the Taliban here, as elsewhere, came at a price. Pro-government forces lost more than a dozen foot soldiers in the battles, both from friendly fire and Taliban counterattacks. And Zia and local leaders warn that the string of villages, long home to profitable smuggling routes, could easily slip back under insurgent control once troops leave. Across the country, Taliban forces have expanded their reach in recent years, building strength in rural communities and from there launching attacks on urban centers. The Afghan government’s control slipped to just over half the country in October 2018, the last assessment produced by the U.S.-commanded mission in Afghanistan.”

Reuters: Pakistan Expects To Avert Blacklisting Over Terrorism Financing

“Backed by longtime ally China, Pakistan is confident it will avert blacklisting over terrorism financing by a global watchdog on Friday but it will not be completely off the hook until it proves it is genuinely severing ties with Islamist militants, officials and analysts said. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) last year placed Pakistan on a gray list of countries with inadequate controls over terrorism financing. The group, holding a five-day meeting, will decide on Friday whether to retain that, or blacklist it alongside Iran and North Korea. If blacklisted, Islamabad faces financial consequences and economic setbacks at a time when its economy is facing a balance of payment crisis. “The main challenge for Pakistan is to convince the FATF that it is taking complete and irreversible steps against terrorist financing,” Michael Kugelman, deputy director Asia Program at the Wilson Center thinktank, told Reuters by email. Pakistan, which blames arch-rival India for lobbying to blacklist it, is relying for support on friendly countries like China, Turkey and Malaysia. Three votes are mandatory for any country to escape the blacklisting.”

Xinhua: Afghan Forces Kill 12 Militants, Destroy Hideout In Eastern Logar Province

“The security forces have killed 12 militants in a tunnel used by the insurgents as a hideout to target security forces in the eastern Logar province, said an army statement released here Thursday. Acting upon intelligence report, the security forces targeted a Taliban hideout in Charkh district on Wednesday and killing 12 armed insurgents on the spot, the statement said. According to the statement, the hideout virtually was a tunnel dug by the militants to target the security forces and hide themselves and their weapons inside it. Taliban militants who are active in parts of the relatively troubled Logar province haven't commented yet.”

Pakistan

The Washington Post: Pakistan Silences Army’s Critics With Raids, Terror Charges

“A dozen plainclothes Pakistani security forces attempted Thursday to raid the former home of a human rights activist who recently fled to the United States seeking asylum. Gulalai Ismail’s elderly parents said they were ordered to come outside “just to talk,” but refused. The security men eventually left after nearly an hour. “I told them you have weapons in your hands and no uniform — I won’t come out,” said Ismail’s father, Mohammad, a retired professor living in the capital of Islamabad. Raids like this are part of an expanding push by Pakistan’s security services to crack down on anyone who voices criticism of their activities. Gulalai Ismail’s parents are facing charges of financing terrorism, allegedly for funneling money from their daughter toward terrorist activities. They deny the charges and are currently out on bail but have been ordered not to leave Pakistan. Their daughter went into hiding for several weeks after her criticism of the Pakistan army and its powerful intelligence made her a target. Last month she surfaced in the U.S. seeking asylum. The family supports an ethnic Pashtun movement known as the PTM that is stridently critical of the army’s war on terror, particularly in the country’s border regions.”

The Guardian: Five Killed In Kashmir's Deadliest Day Since Losing Special Status

“Five people were killed in Indian-administered Kashmir on Wednesday, thought to be the deadliest day in the region since it was stripped of its autonomy this summer. Two non-Kashmiris – an apple trader from Punjab and a migrant labourer – were killed in separate attacks by suspected militants in Shopian and Pulwama, south Kashmir. A second apple trader was in a critical condition. Earlier on Wednesday security forces killed three alleged rebels near Bijbehara town, 28 miles south of the main city of Srinagar. Kashmir has been under a security lockdown since 5 August when the Indian government scrapped its special status. Mobile phone services were restored for some users on Monday after a 72-day blackout but internet services remain suspended. Before Delhi’s announcement that it was to remove Kashmir’s autonomy, the leader of the region’s largest militant group, Hizbul Mujahideen, had warned that the move would make Indians in the territory legitimate targets. Indian officials argued that removing Kashmir’s special status, which granted it its own constitution and rules protecting land ownership, would bring greater development and rid the state of terrorism.”

Lebanon

The Washington Post: ‘The Country Is Burning’: Thousands Fill Lebanon’s Streets To Protest Corruption

“Shirtless men with covered faces launched shovels at billboards in downtown Beirut. Hundreds of scooters circled a large, blazing fire. Protesters ripped whatever they could from the walls of a construction site nearby and flung it at the blaze to feed the fire early Friday morning. Riot police stood by. Lebanon’s capital, Beirut, as well as many other cities in the small Mediterranean country, swelled with chants of protesters and the flames of burning tires and bonfires as thousands flooded the streets to rally against government corruption. “The people want to bring down the regime,” people yelled over and over, pumping their fists in unison. “The people are exhausted,” one protester muttered under his breath. The famous Arabic phrase, born out of the Arab Spring in 2010, was accompanied by chants of religious unity against the tyranny of the political class. “Bring down, bring down capitalism,” a woman standing atop a man’s shoulders yelled into the crowd. The swelling crowd repeated it back. A few protesters were reported injured, and the Red Cross said it dispatched five teams to move out the injured from the center of town. Reuters later reported, citing the National News Agency (NNA), that two foreign workers choked to death from a fire that spread to a building near the protests.”

Egypt

Al Monitor: Egypt Dismisses 1,070 Teachers In Extremism Fight

“Egypt has announced the dismissal of 1,070 teachers for belonging to the terrorist-labeled Muslim Brotherhood after they were convicted in court, with some even sentenced to death. The announcement came as part of a government crackdown on extremist ideology and terrorism. At an Oct. 7 press conference at the general office of Egypt’s Ministry of Education in Cairo, Education Minister Tarek Shawki said the ministry had decided to dismiss 1,070 teachers working in public schools because of their extremist ideas. He said these teachers have been sentenced by courts; he said the dismissal of the teachers “aims to counter destructive and extremist ideas and preserve the future of students.” Shawki said those fired were “unfit to be educators.”  Shawki also said that on Oct. 16, he will launch the largest electronic portal for teachers to apply for jobs at public and private schools in Egypt. He said a new competition will be open for temporary one-year contracts with 120,000 teachers to fill the deficit at schools, provided that the required papers are submitted through the portal. The minister also said the Ministry of Education will finance these contracts from its financial resources.”

Libya

Reuters: Gunmen Raid Cafes In Libya Capital To Curb Social Freedoms

“Gunmen raided two trendy seafront cafes in the Libyan capital Tripoli this month to banish unmarried couples and impose strict religious codes, witnesses said, in a move that has alarmed civil liberties defenders. The identity of the armed men has not been confirmed, but the episode appears to reflect the rise of Islamist currents, including hardline Salafism, in some of the powerful armed groups that the authorities rely on to keep order. The raids, the latest of several incidents in eastern and western Libya to worry human rights advocates, add a fresh layer of uncertainty to a city under assault by an eastern-based force that aims to win power nationally. Both cafes targeted are in the upscale Hay Andalus neighborhood, just west of central Tripoli. At one, Eleanor, “a group of armed men stormed the cafe with their guns and started questioning the men, to see if they were accompanied by a woman who was a close relative, or by a friend,” on Oct. 6, a witness said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Men who were sitting with (female) friends were taken out of the cafe by the armed group ... they took them into their vehicles for a couple of minutes then released them,” the witness said. “The men came in again to pay the bills and left.”

Nigeria

All Africa: Nigeria: Buhari Says Boko Haram Aiming 'Soft Targets', But Nigeria Loses 2,006 Soldiers In Three Years

“President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday repeated his claim that Boko Haram has been defeated and reduced to aiming “soft targets”, but a new report says the group has targeted and killed at least 2,006 Nigerian soldiers in the last three years. The report by SBM Intelligence, which researches and analyses data on security, politics and economy, was released last week. The data captures military casualties reported by PREMIUM TIMES and other news channels about attacks on soldiers. Speaking while launching the commencement of armed forces emblem for 2020 in Abuja Wednesday afternoon, President Buhari praised the gallantry of the nation's servicemen and women in the fight against insurgency, but again dismissed Boko Haram as “only daring soft targets.” “The nation is appreciative of the gallantry and sacrifices of Officers and Men of our Armed Forces in the campaign against insurgency and other Internal Security Operations,” he said. “This has led to the return of normalcy in affected parts of the nation. The Boko Haram terrorists have been substantially defeated and degraded to the extent that they are only daring soft targets.”

Somalia

Long War Journal: Al Qaeda’s General Command Praises Recent Shabaab Attacks

“In a statement released online yesterday, al Qaeda’s general command levied heavy praise on Shabaab, its branch in East Africa. The statement speaks to Shabaab’s recent attacks on foreign troops inside Somalia. An additional audio statement commending Shabaab by Ibrahim al Qosi, a senior leader within al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and former Guantanamo detainee, was also published yesterday. The two statements were released as a coordinated messaging campaign, as evident by the synchronization of the publication of each respective statement. It should be noted that some senior AQAP leaders are also believed to serve within AQ’s general command. “Western Crusader occupying forces have for long sought to conceal their sinister role in Somalia. However, the valiant men of Shabaab have demonstrated that they are even more keen to expose this hidden role by inflicting humiliating blows on Western interests,” the statement penned by al Qaeda’s general command begins. In making a comparison to the infamous “Black Hawk Down” incident in 1993, al Qaeda’s general command alleges that the “recent attack in the Shebelle state of southern Somalia represents the biggest blow in the history of the contemporary Crusader occupation of Somalia.”

United Kingdom

The Telegraph: British Isil 'Matchmaker' Pleads For Return To UK After Escape From Kurdish-Run Camp

“The British “Islamic State matchmaker” who escaped a detention camp has said she wants to be given passage to Turkey and allowed back home, in an interview with The Telegraph from a rebel “safehouse” in northern Syria. Tooba Gondal, 25, who is being held by Syrian rebel fighters close to the Turkish border, says she “wants her nightmare to end”, in her first interview since she fled from a Kurdish-run detention camp over the weekend. “I want to go home, see my family,” the former Goldsmiths, University of London, student said via WhatsApp messages. “But if I am not able, I want to seek refuge in Turkey. “After all these years, I’m tired, you know? Enough,” she said, from the outskirts of the...”

France

Reuters: France Says Foiled September 11-Inspired Attack

“France’s interior minister said on Thursday that intelligence services had arrested a man for planning an attack inspired by plane attacks on the World Trade Center in New York in Sept. 2001. France has for several years grappled with how to respond to both homegrown jihadists and foreign militants following a series of attacks across the country. French officials say the threat of attacks remains very high. On Oct. 3, an IT specialist with suspected Islamist sympathies, who had a security clearance, killed three officers and one civilian employee before he was shot dead by another police officer. “Just before (that attack) there was a 60th attempted attack since 2013,” Christophe Castaner told France 2 television. “An individual, who was inspired by the events of Sept. 11 and the planes which destroyed the World Trade Center towers, was arrested by our intelligence services.” France has seen more than 230 people killed in the last four years on its territory from Islamist militant attacks, notably in Nov. 2015 after coordinated strikes across the capital. The attacks were claimed by Islamic State in Syria, and were carried out in part by French-born fighters.”

Germany 

The Christian Science Monitor: The Soft Power Of Mothers: Fighting Extremism Begins At Home

“Edit Schlaffer felt as if she was part of history in the making when 60 mothers from this southern region of Germany recently received their MotherSchools diploma from Bavaria’s social minister. Ms. Schlaffer initiated her MotherSchools syllabus six years ago for women in Tajikistan who were concerned about Islamic extremists recruiting their children. The program has since become a global movement whose goal is to fight extremism not with soldiers, but with mothers.”

Europe

BBC News: Russians Accused Of Extremism Cut Wrists In Court 

“Two Russians on trial for belonging to an anarchist organisation have slit their wrists in a Moscow courtroom. The pair, Ruslan Kostylenkov, 25, and Vyacheslav Kryukov, 20, face extremism charges after being accused of belonging to Novoye Velichiye (New Greatness) group. They were removed from the witness stand. Their condition is not yet known, Russian media report. Both had called to be put under house arrest but had their request rejected. When their request was denied, they reportedly told the courthouse: “This is an unfair trial” and “Glory to Russia, freedom of Russia, freedom of political prisoners.” They then slit their wrists. Lawyer Alexander Lupashko said it was unclear how the pair had managed to get sharp objects into the courtroom.”They were checked by dogs. I believe either a piece of glass or a piece of a blade was carried in  there,” he said. Mr Kostylenkov's lawyer, Svetlana Sidorkina, said: “Their nerves couldn't handle it any more. All of the evidence proves that they didn't commit a crime.” The pair are part of a group of 10 young people facing trial on charges of creating an extremist organisation and seeking to overthrow President Vladimir Putin's government.”

The Irish Times: Call For State To Repatriate Lisa Smith In Effort To Understand Radicalisation

“Ireland should bring Islamic State supporter Lisa Smith home to study how an Irish soldier can be turned into an Islamic extremist, a leading counter-terrorism expert has said. Ian Acheson, who worked on counter-terrorism and counter-extremism policy for the UK government, said it was vital to understand terrorists and people associated with terrorism without condoning their actions. He said Ireland must avoid falling into the trap of “moral superiority” when addressing violent extremism, “particularly when it comes to the far right”.

Southeast Asia

Xinhua: Indonesia Nabs Dozens Of Alleged Militants, Foils Terrorist Plots Ahead Of Presidential Inauguration

“Indonesian counter-terrorism squad has arrested dozens of alleged terrorists, thwarted scores of their plots and beefed up security ahead of inauguration of the country's new president. Incumbent President Joko Widodo and his running mate Ma'aruf Amin won the April 17 presidential polls after beating rival former general Prabowo Subianto and his mate Sandiaga Uno, the winning pair is scheduled to take oath of the office on Sunday at a ceremony in Jakarta, the country's capital. As many as 36 alleged militants have been arrested by the anti-terror squad, known as Detachment 88, across the country, including the country's tourism center of Bali resort island, since days ago, spokesman of national police Brigadier General Dedi Prasetyo said. Among the militants arrested was Abu Rara, who with his spouse stabbed Indonesian Chief Security Minister Wiranto on Oct. 10 in Banten province, according to police. One local police chief and a civilian were also wounded during the attack by the alleged militants who are believed to be members of an outlawed Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) which claims allegiance to the IS group in Iraq and Syria, according to the police. Most of the militants arrested by the squad were members of the cell affiliated with IS group, the spokesman revealed.”

Technology 

The New York Times: Defiant Zuckerberg Says Facebook Won’t Police Political Speech

“Senator Elizabeth Warren recently accused Facebook of being a “disinformation-for-profit machine.” Marc Benioff, chief executive of the online software maker Salesforce, said the social network “needs to be held accountable for propaganda on its platform.” And regulators around the world are examining whether to break the company up or clip its power. Under fire on all sides, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, went on the offense on Thursday against his critics. In a winding, 35-minute speech at Georgetown University’s Gaston Hall — where presidents and foreign heads of state have delivered addresses — Mr. Zuckerberg fought back against the idea that the social network needed to be an arbiter of speech. He said that Facebook had been founded to give people a voice and bring them together, and that critics who had assailed the company for doing so were setting a dangerous example.”