Eye on Extremism: September 11

ABC News: US-Led Coalition Hits ISIS 'Infested' Island In Iraq With 80,000 Pounds Of Munitions

“The U.S.-led coalition conducted airstrikes against an Islamic State "infested" island in Iraq on Tuesday in order to deny what had become a safe haven for the terror group, according to Operation Inherent Resolve. U.S. F-15 and F-35 aircraft dropped 80,000 pounds of munitions on Qanus Island, located in the Salah ad Din Province, north of Baghdad, to disrupt ISIS fighters' "ability to hide in the thick vegetation," the coalition said in a statement. "Follow-on ground clearance operations are currently taking place by the 2nd Iraqi Special Operations Forces Battalion to destroy a major transit hub for [ISIS] members moving from Syria and the Jazeera desert into Mosul, Makhmour, and the Kirkuk region" of Iraq, the coalition said. "We're denying Daesh the ability to hide on Qanus Island," Maj. Gen. Eric Hill, the commander of the coalition's special operations forces, said in the statement, referring to the group by its Arabic acronym. "We're setting the conditions for our partner forces to continue bringing stability to the region.”

The Independent: Airstrikes Return To Syrian Region Just 10 Days After Russia Ceasefire Declared

“Airstrikes hit a part of northwest Syria for the first time since a ceasefire was declared 10 days ago, a war monitor and rebel group spokesman said on Tuesday. Syrian government forces and their Russian allies unilaterally agreed a truce on 31 August in opposition-controlled Idlib, where a “de-escalation zone” was brokered two years ago. The intense airstrikes by Russian and Syrian warplanes that had accompanied a Syrian government push to re-take the area had stopped, since 31 August, although there has been ground fighting and shelling. The United States said its forces had carried out strikes against an al-Qaeda facility in Idlib on the day the ceasefire came into effect. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor, based in Britain, said planes had carried out two raids on in the strategic Jabal al-Akrad mountain range near the western Latakia coast. It is not clear if these raids signal a return to the Russian and Syrian campaign of heavy air strikes.”

Reuters: New U.S. Sanctions Target Hamas, Islamic State, Other Groups

“The United States on Tuesday announced sanctions on a “wide range of terrorists and their supporters,” including the Palestinian group Hamas and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, on the eve of the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. The targets include 15 leaders, individuals and entities affiliated with groups such as Hamas, al Qaeda, Islamic State and Iran’s IRGC, the U.S. Treasury Department said in a statement. The sanctions were applied using new tools from an executive order recently updated by President Donald Trump. “Since the horrific attacks of 9/11, the U.S. government has refocused its counterterrorism efforts to constantly adapt to emerging threats,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the statement.”

Deutsche Welle: Burkina Faso Threatened With Famine Caused By Terrorism

“The latest attack came on Monday evening, when six policemen died in an ambush in the north of the country. On Sunday, 26 civilians were killed and six wounded in the northern province of Sanmatenga. Since 2015, more than 500 people have been killed in similar attacks. The rise in jihadist violence has been attributed to the spread of Islamist terrorism from neighboring Mali. It is now also metastasizing to the east and the center of the country. According to a statement by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), around 289,000 people have had to flee their homes and are now living in shelters — triple the number compared to January. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), ”500,000 people have been deprived of health care since January due to jihadist violence.” 125 health centers were hit in August, forcing 60 to shut down and leaving 65 only partially able to function. The ICRC added 1.2 million people are threatened with famine and malnutrition. Referring to the recent spate of attacks, Burkinabe President Roch Marc Christian Kabore warned in a tweet that “these despicable acts will not go unpunished.”

The Jerusalem Post: Israeli Watchdog Accuses Facebook Of Promoting Palestinian Terrorism

“An Jerusalem-based watchdog group has accused Facebook of being an accomplice to terrorism for its continued refusal to shut down the official Fatah Facebook page. Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) on Tuesday released a report documenting dozens of incidents in which Fatah used its page to promote violence and glorify murderers of Israelis. The 42-page report is the second of its kind. The previous report, published in February 2019, tracked Fatah’s Facebook activity the year before. Both reports were sent to Facebook. According to PMW’s CEO Itamar Marcus, the first report was not only reviewed by the social networking site, but Marcus had a 45-minute conversation with the director of Facebook’s global counterterrorism policy team, Brian Fishman, about its findings. “During our conversation, I emphasized that every time Fatah posts a new terror message on Facebook encouraging violence or presenting murderers as role models, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are given more motivation to kill Israelis,” Marcus told The Jerusalem Post. “Facebook still chooses to do nothing to stop it. “Their willingness to ignore the role they are playing in Fatah’s terror promotion is incomprehensible,” he said.”

The National: Iran And Its Proxy Hezbollah Are Partners In The Syrian Regime's War Crimes

“In the ongoing saga over the Iranian oil tanker Grace 1, the outcome of the stand-off surprised few people. Earlier this week news reports said the tanker carrying two million barrels of crude from Iran and suspected to be heading to Syria, flouting EU sanctions, had unloaded its cargo in the port of Tartus, despite assurances by Tehran that it intended to do no such thing. The US and UK reacted angrily this week to satellite images showing the tanker approaching a port in Syria, with British foreign secretary Dominic Raab issuing a statement saying it was “now clear that Iran has breached these assurances and that the oil has been transferred to Syria and Assad’s murderous regime”, adding the move was an “unacceptable violation of international norms”. The episode has brought into stark relief once again Iran’s destructive role in Syria, in support of a dictator who starves his own people. Tehran’s foreign policy highlights the need to address its behaviour in the region as part of a grand rapprochement with Iran’s rivals in the Middle East and the West.”

United States

The Washington Post: Trump Issues New, Revised Order To Counter Terrorism

“A day before the anniversary of 9/11, President Donald Trump on Tuesday issued an executive order to expand the administration’s ability to go after suspected terrorists and their financiers and supporters. “Today’s executive order by President Trump adds further muscle to U.S. counterterrorism efforts,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a briefing to reporters at the White House. He said Trump’s action amends an earlier executive order that former President George W. Bush initially signed after 9/11 by adding clauses to let the State and Treasury departments directly target leaders of suspected terror groups and their affiliates “without having to tie terrorist leaders to specific acts.” Pompeo said the order also more effectively targets individuals and groups participating in terrorist training and provides new authorities to impose sanctions on foreign financial institutions that knowingly do business with suspected terrorists. Eric Lorber, a former Treasury Department senior adviser, said the new order is a “significant change.” “While most financial institutions would not have done business with designated terrorists even before this new authority, this action makes clear that the U.S. Treasury is willing to take serious steps to punish those financial institutions that do,” Lorber said.”

USA Today: After Massacres And Thwarted Plots, Federal Authorities Confront Limits In Fighting Domestic Terror

“In the weeks after a pair of massacres in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, left 31 dead, local police and federal authorities scrambled to contain a succession of chilling new threats.  A Florida man allegedly vows to “break a world record” for mass shooting casualties; a disgruntled hotel cook in California threatens to transform a Marriott lobby into a killing field; a Jewish community center in Ohio is the target in a suspected shooting plot. Police stopped each one before anyone was harmed. But the arrests, spanning just over a week, highlighted a frequent theme in the government's efforts to prevent domestic terrorism and other forms of mass violence: law enforcement didn't see the potentially deadly storms approaching until members of the public stepped forward with crucial information, and authorities had little power to intercede until an attack appeared imminent. The FBI has warned for months that domestic terrorism, often animated by racial animus and religious discord, represents one of the United States' most pressing national security threats. Yet time after time the central weapons against such threats for local and federal law enforcement have largely proved to be timely tips, or even a stroke of luck.”

NBC News: The NRA And Antifa Are Not Domestic Terrorists. Saying They Are Is A Threat To Everyone.

“We hit peak absurdity last week when the San Francisco city government branded the NRA a “domestic terrorist organization.” In reaching its conclusion, the city’s Board of Supervisors argued, in part, that the NRA supports terrorism by making it easy for violent extremists to get guns. Now, the NRA — which has filed a lawsuit in response— is a lot of odious things, but it’s not a terrorist group, domestic or otherwise. Advocating policies, even ones that harm society, does not make one a terrorist. Trust me, I know from terrorists. I used to be a military correspondent for The Jerusalem Post. I wrote about terrorists. I interviewed them face to face. And in January 2004, one terrorist — a suicide bomber — almost killed me when he exploded on the bus I was riding on. I still bear the scars from that day. Though the precise definition is still debated by academics, a terrorist is a nonstate militant who targets civilians with deadly force to achieve a political objective. Innocence as defined by just war theory, which informs modern concepts of right and wrong in warfare, mean nothing to them. Terrorists make people fear for their lives. So, yes, I wish San Francisco hadn’t cheapened the pro-gun-control argument with its rank hyperbole.”

Al Jazeera: New US Sanctions Target Hamas, ISIL, Other Groups

“The United States on Tuesday announced sanctions on a “wide range of terrorists and their supporters”, including the Palestinian group Hamas and Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), on the eve of the 18th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. The targets include 15 leaders, individuals and entities affiliated with groups such as Hamas, al-Qaeda, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) and Iran's IRGC, the US Treasury Department said in a statement. The sanctions were applied using new tools from an executive order recently updated by President Donald Trump. “Since the horrific attacks of 9/11, the US government has refocused its counterterrorism efforts to constantly adapt to emerging threats,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the statement. “President Trump's modernised counterterrorism Executive Order enhances the authorities we use to target the finances of terror groups and their leaders to ensure they are as robust as possible,” Mnuchin said. Sanctioned leaders include Turkey-based Zaher Jabarin, the head of Hamas's financial office; and Muhammad Sa'id Izadi, the chief of the IRGC-Quds Force's Palestinian office in Lebanon. The targets also included a Brazil-based al-Qaeda member, a Maldivian national who recruits for the ISIL branch active in Afghanistan, and an operative of the ISIL affiliate in the Philippines, the statement said.”

USA Today: President Trump’s Timing Is Right On ISIS. Bring American Troops Home.

“President Donald Trump is right — the Islamic State has been thoroughly defeated, and it’s time to bring our troops home from Syria. The terrorist organization once occupied vast swaths of territory in the Middle East, but thanks to American firepower it no longer functions as a sovereign entity, and has been unable to rebuild its political and economic structure for many months. We don’t need to eradicate every ISIS member, supporter and advocate to defeat it. Without a functional caliphate, isolated ISIS enclaves pose no long-term threat to America or our allies in the region. There remains a global effort to prevent it from gaining strength — but that will not require large deployments of U.S. forces to foreign lands. American forces in Syria had one job — to create the right conditions for regional stability — and they’ve accomplished that. President Trump has made it abundantly clear that his administration is not interested in “endless wars” or permanently occupying countries all over the world. He hasn’t hesitated to deploy the U.S. military in response to genuine threats, but neither has he exposed them to unnecessary threats when American interests are not at stake. While ISIS naturally aspires to rebuild, there is no clear evidence that it’s having any real success on that front.”

CNN: Why John Bolton Had To Leave And What To Expect Next

“John Bolton had to go -- because he wanted to cancel President Donald Trump's worldwide reality show. For a time the now ex-national security adviser, who first caught Trump's eye with his tough talk on Fox News, was useful to the President -- sharing his desire to shake up the globe. But like everyone else in Trump's dysfunctional foreign policy team, Bolton wore out his welcome, standing in the way of his boss' impetuous instincts and seeking a share of the spotlight. Only in the bizarre Trump orbit could the exit of a national security adviser seen as an ideologue and aggressive hawk also be perceived in some ways as the removal of a stabilizing force. But he did have a view of American interests and the use of US power that while hardline was predictable and logical and positioned within the historic boundaries of US diplomacy.”

Reuters: Iran Says Sacking Of Bolton Won't Lead To Talks With U.S

“Iran said on Wednesday Washington should distance itself from “warmongers” after the resignation of hawkish White House National Security Adviser John Bolton, and Tehran stood by its demand that sanctions be lifted before any talks. The departure of Bolton removes one of the strongest advocates of a hard line towards Iran from President Donald Trump’s White House, and raises the prospect of steps to open up negotiations after more than a year of escalating tension. “America should understand that ... it should distance itself from warmongers,” Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency quoted President Hassan Rouhani as saying on Wednesday, without mentioning Bolton. “Iran’s policy of resistance will not change as long as our enemy (the United States) continues to put pressure on Iran,” said Rouhani, a pragmatist who won two landslide elections in Iran on promises to open it up to the world.”

CNN: Pompeo Hints That Trump Could Meet With Iranian President At UN Meeting

“US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday that President Donald Trump could meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the upcoming United Nations General Assembly, with "no preconditions." The comments, made by Pompeo during a press briefing to announce a raft of new sanctions on groups including a unit in Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards, came just hours after Trump announced the resignation of national security adviser and Iran hawk John Bolton. Asked about the possibility of a meeting between Trump and Rouhani later this month, Pompeo, who was speaking alongside Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, said that Trump was "prepared to meet with no preconditions." Both Trump and Rouhani are scheduled to attend the UN General Assembly in New York late September.”

Syria

The Washington Post: Why Understanding The Role Of Women Is Vital In The Fight Against Terrorism

“Last month, the Defense Department’s inspector general issued a detailed report on conditions in the al-Hol refugee and detention camp in rebel-controlled Syria. In al-Hol, tens of thousands of women and children who once lived under the so-called caliphate of the Islamic State are now being held in dire conditions. Yet minimal security permits women to spread the Islamic State ideology uncontested — resulting in what some observers are calling “a reign of fear.” If the extremist group continues to exert influence in the region despite its lack of a physical stronghold, these women will bear responsibility. Eighteen years since the devastating terrorist attacks of 9/11, violent extremism persists unabated. The United States has spent nearly $6 trillion to counter terrorism, yet the number of Islamist extremist fighters last year was 270 percent higher than it was in 2001. Globally, right-wing extremism poses a rising threat. In the United States, all but one terrorist killing last year was tied to right-wing extremism. So far, U.S. national security leaders have consistently neglected one vital factor: the participation of women. According to our recent Council on Foreign Relations report, many extremists recruit and rely upon women as facilitators, martyrs and critical sources of income.”

The National: US And Turkey Must Not Ignore ISIS Resurgence In Syria

“We have been here before. When the US withdrew from Iraq in 2011 it left behind a country with political woes and a security vacuum that contributed to the emergence of ISIS, which subsequently was able to seize large areas of Iraq and Syria as the foundation of its so-called caliphate.  Today, despite US President Donald Trump’s premature declaration in February that ISIS has been successfully defeated in Syria, it is clear that the terror group remains active there. In Syria, as in Iraq, ISIS has transitioned smoothly from an aspirant territory-controlling state to an elusive insurgency. This outcome was predictable and, indeed, was predicted – by senior figures in the US military. Last month a report by the office of the inspector general of the US Department of Defence spelt out in graphic detail the consequences of US military disengagement in Iraq and Syria. In the three months from April to June, ISIS had developed its insurgent capabilities in Syria and Iraq, carrying out assassinations, suicide bombings, abductions and arson attacks on crops in both countries. The problems that pre-dated the ISIS declaring its false caliphate in 2014, including the failure of politics in both Syria and Iraq, continue. Syria is fragmented with various extremist groups taking advantage of the situation.”

The Telegraph: Meet The Women With Guns Who Fought ISIL In Syria - And Are Now Battling Its Patriarchy

“In June 2017, twenty-year-old Nisha Gawrie was deployed to the front line of one of the most vicious urban conflicts of her generation – the campaign to retake the Syrian city of Raqqa from the so-called Islamic State. One of the founding members of the first ever all-female Syriac Christian militia, the Bethnahrain Women's Protection Forces (HSNB) – Nisha was tasked with leading a unit of fighters into battle. Founded in 2015, in response to a violent Isil attack on the historically Christian Khabour region, the HSNB became a small but key component of the Syrian Democratic Forces - the US-backed military coalition waging war against Isil in northeastern Syria.”

Iran

The Guardian: UK Accuses Iran Of Selling Oil From Seized Tanker To Syria

“Britain has accused Iran of breaching assurances that it would not sell oil to Syria from an Iranian tanker released by authorities in Gibraltar on the condition that the 2.1m barrels it was carrying would not be sold to the “murderous regime” of Bashar al-Assad. Tehran acknowledged at the weekend that the oil had been sold and the reflagged tanker Adrian Darya 1, previously known as Grace 1, had reached its final destination, after the ship was photographed off the coast of Syria. Iran, desperate for revenue from oil exports, did not formally confirm the customer was Syria. The UK foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, summoned Hamid Baeidinejad, the Iranian ambassador to the UK, to a meeting on Wednesday to ask why the assurances given to the Gibraltarian authorities had not been honoured. British officials are relatively certain from intelligence assessments that the oil was offloaded on to smaller boats.”

The Hill: Iran's 'Triangle Of Power' In Middle East Threatens US, Israel

“In the last week of August, Iran-Israel tensions escalated after an Israeli airstrike against Hezbollah and Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps targets in southern Syria. Iran has been arming its allies in Syria and Lebanon with precision-guided missiles and “killer drones,” Israel says. At the same time, pro-Iranian groups from Yemen to Iraq are threatening the United States and U.S. allies, while an Iranian tanker in the Mediterranean was bringing oil to the Syrian regime. Iran’s influence in the Middle East generally has been seen as a “land bridge” or corridor to the sea that stretches through Iraq and Syria to Lebanon. It has a web of proxies and mostly Shi’ite paramilitary groups that are allied with Tehran. This influence has grown since the defeat of ISIS, as Iranian-backed groups put down roots in areas from which ISIS had been removed, such as Albukamal on the border of Syria and Iraq. Iran’s real influence comes from not just this patchwork of groups but also a third side to its power that emanates from Yemen, where Houthi rebels have been fighting an alliance led by Saudi Arabia since 2015. The rebels have become increasingly proficient in using Iranian technology, such as ballistic missiles, drones and air defense.”

Iraq

The New York Post: US Warplanes Drop 40 Tons Of Bombs On ISIS-Infested Island In Iraq

“US warplanes dropped more than 40 tons of bombs on a ISIS-infested island in Iraq on Tuesday, authorities said. The operation, which targeted the Qanus Island in the Tigris River, was carried out by the US and a coalition of other countries in the fight to permanently erase ISIS strongholds in the country. The extremest group previously controlled large swaths of land in Iraq and Syria when they declared a caliphate in the region. They were defeated in 2017 by a coalition of forces who battled them in northern Iraq. But since their defeat, ISIS cells have sprung up in the region and carried out deadly bombings. Video of the US-led bombing on Tuesday was posted to Twitter by the combined joint task force fighting the militants. It shows an aerial view of the island and spurts of explosions dotting the landscape. “Here’s what it looks like when @USAFCENT #F15 and #F35 jets drop 36,000 Kg of bombs on a Daesh infested island,” the task force wrote on Twitter.”

Al Monitor: Pentagon Fears Islamic State Surge In Iraqi Kurdistan

“The Donald Trump administration is worried that the Islamic State (IS) could take advantage of ongoing tensions between Iraq’s government and Kurdish authorities to gain sanctuary as the Pentagon tracks down sleeper cells from the militant group. IS “currently exploits security gaps that exist in Iraq’s disputed territories and along the line of separation between Iraqi and Kurdish security forces,” said Michael Mulroy, the Pentagon’s deputy assistant secretary for the Middle East. “Ensuring that [IS] is not able to regain strength or territory in these areas is in the utmost interest of both Iraqi and Kurdish security forces.” The concerns come amid an uptick in IS activity in Iraq centered around Kurdish areas. IS has launched a handful of mortar and insurgent attacks in the disputed territories in recent weeks, mostly concentrated in agriculture-heavy Diyala province, where the group’s sleeper cells have grown in valley pockets along the Hamrin mountain range. In a report released last month, the Pentagon’s inspector general said IS is able to use the disputed Kurdish territories to “find safe haven to regroup and plan attacks,” as the Iraqi government has shown limited interest in setting up joint security arrangements with the Kurdish peshmerga.”

Xinhua: 5 IS Militants Killed In Anti-Terror Operation In Central Iraq

“Five Islamic State (IS) militants were killed on Tuesday in an operation in Iraq's central province of Salahuddin, a provincial police officer said. A Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) force, backed by U.S.-led coalition and Iraqi aircraft, conducted in the early morning a search and clearance operation in the rugged area of Ganous near the city of Shirqat, some 280 km north of Baghdad, Khalil al-Namis, from Salahuddin provincial police command, told Xinhua. The troops with the air support heavily pounded IS positions in the area, killing five IS militants, and also seized caches of weapons and ammunition, al-Namis said. He said the search operation will continue until they clear the whole area from IS remnants. The operation came a day after the CTS troops conducted an airdrop operation in Salahuddin province on IS positions in the rugged area of Mteibijah near the provincial border with neighboring Diyala province, leaving 15 IS militants killed and nine others captured. Iraqi security forces repeatedly carried out operations to take control of rugged areas in Salahuddin province, but the vast rugged land and nearby Himreen mountainous area have made it difficult for them to completely clear the area of the extremist militants.”

Turkey

The New York Times: Turkey’s Radical Plan: Send A Million Refugees Back To Syria

“Turkey, which for eight years has welcomed millions of Syrian refugees, has reversed course, forcing thousands to leave its major cities in recent weeks and ferrying many of them to its border with Syria in white buses and police vans. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is pushing a radical solution — resettling refugees in a swath of Syrian territory controlled by the United States and its Kurdish allies. If that does not happen, he is threatening to send a flood of Syrian migrants to Europe. Mr. Erdogan has long demanded a buffer zone along Turkey’s border with Syria to keep out Kurdish forces, whom he considers a security threat. But he has repackaged the idea for the zone as a refuge for Syrians fleeing the war — pushing it as resentment against Syrians in Turkey has increased, and a Syrian and Russian offensive in Syria has sent hundreds of thousands more refugees fleeing toward the Turkish border.”

Afghanistan

The New York Times: In Trump’s Taliban Snub, A Shift Of Fortune For Afghanistan’s President

“Afghanistan’s president, Ashraf Ghani, appeared increasingly trapped in recent months in a demoralizing swim against the political tides — until President Trump, inadvertently, tossed him a lifeline. Mr. Ghani, in pursuit of a second five-year term, had pushed for presidential elections later this month. But the only game in town that seemed to matter was the high-energy American push for a deal with the Taliban that could end the 18-year United States military presence and, ultimately, bring the Afghan sides into a power-sharing arrangement. Not only was Mr. Ghani’s government largely left out of the initial peace efforts, a deal would almost certainly have meant the end of his time at the palace, at least for the time being, given the likelihood that a transitional government would be put in place. Then, just when Mr. Ghani’s aides appeared to be running out of options, their bags packed for a Camp David meeting meant to complete the American agreement with the Taliban, President Trump pulled the plug on the talks. All of a sudden, the elections were back in the front seat, seemingly certain to take place on Sept. 28, with Mr. Ghani one of the favorites. The sudden change of fortune for Mr. Ghani in no way means easier times ahead for Afghanistan, even if the interruption of the peace efforts is seen by many of its critics as an opportunity for course correction.”

Bloomberg: A Deal With The Taliban Still Makes Sense

“President Donald Trump is right that it’s time for the U.S. to end its longest war. He needs to stop making this harder. The president over the weekend canceled a summit at Camp David with Afghan and Taliban leaders that was meant to finalize a peace deal. He had little choice. The decision followed an attack in Kabul that killed an American soldier. Welcoming Taliban officials to the U.S. just a few days later would have been wrong. The mistake wasn’t canceling the meeting — it was summoning it in the first place. The purpose wasn’t to move along the talks. Taliban officials said they had no intention of meeting with Afghan leaders or amending the draft agreement, which reportedly trades a withdrawal of U.S. troops for Taliban commitments to stop Afghanistan from being used as a terrorist base. The planned event was mainly to afford the president a photo opportunity. As this scheme fell apart, the abrupt departure of Trump’s third national security adviser, John Bolton, compounded the impression of disarray. Not for the first time, Trump’s theatrics backfired. A deal along the lines envisioned still makes sense.”

The Wall Street Journal: Afghan President Inherits Long-Sought Role After U.S. Ends Taliban Talks

“President Trump’s decision to cancel a U.S.-Taliban deal and end negotiations effectively hands Afghan President Ashraf Ghani the control he has long craved over a peace process from which he had been excluded. Mr. Ghani, a renowned micromanager who presents himself as history’s answer to Afghanistan’s problems, is now where he insisted he should have been from the start: in the driver’s seat of efforts to end his country’s nearly 18-year war. “Things have changed now,” he told members of the Afghan security forces in a speech Monday in the presidential palace, with the satisfied air of a man vindicated by recent events. “We are ready for peace talks, but if the Taliban think they can scare us, look at these warriors.” Mr. Ghani’s victory-by-default in his struggle to oversee the Afghan peace process puts him more comfortably in power than at any time since the U.S. resumed direct talks with the Taliban more than a year ago. The threat has vanished of a peace process that could have dashed Mr. Ghani’s ambitions for a second five-year term by forming an interim administration. By breaking off the negotiations, Mr. Trump has effectively cleared the path for Mr. Ghani to win presidential elections scheduled for Sept. 28.”

Fox News: Andrew McCarthy: Taliban Terrorists Have No Place At Camp David

“The Taliban, per se, is not our enemy.” Thus spoke Joe Biden, Obama administration vice president and resident foreign affairs solon. It was 2011 and the administration was rationalizing its desperation to negotiate its way out of Afghanistan, where we then had about 30,000 troops. It was nothing new. Hamid Karzai, president of the fledgling Afghan government propped up by the Bush administration after the Taliban’s ouster, had been seeking negotiations for years ... only to be spurned by the Taliban. Of course, the Taliban did not get to weigh in on Biden’s babble. If they had, they would surely have said bluntly what they have demonstrated blatantly for 20 years: They are absolutely our enemy, not just per se but in aeternum. If, as he stated in a Saturday Twitter thread, President Trump actually was planning to host Taliban leaders at Camp David this past weekend for what he and the administration describe as “peace talks,” that boggles the mind.”

Pakistan

The Washington Post: Kashmiris Allege Night Terror By Indian Troops In Crackdown

“The Indian soldiers descended on Bashir Ahmed Dar’s house in southern Kashmir on Aug. 10, a few days after the government in New Delhi stripped the disputed Himalayan region of its statehood and launched a crackdown. Over the next 48 hours, the 50-year-old plumber said he was subjected to two separate rounds of beatings by soldiers. They demanded that he find his younger brother, who had joined rebels opposing India’s presence in the Muslim majority region, and persuade him to surrender or else “face the music.” In the second beating, at a military camp, Dar said he was struck with sticks by three soldiers until he was unconscious. He woke up at home, “unable to sit on my bruised and bloodied buttocks and aching back,” he added. But it wasn’t over. On Aug. 14, soldiers returned to his house in the village of Heff Shirmal and destroyed his family’s supply of rice and other foodstuffs by mixing it with fertilizer and kerosene. Dar’s account of violence and intimidation by Indian soldiers was not unusual. In more than 50 interviews, residents in a dozen villages in Kashmir told The Associated Press that the military had raided their homes since India’s government imposed a security crackdown in the region Aug. 5.”

Middle East

Arab News: Arab Ministers Condemn Iran’s Support Of Houthis As Militia Fire Drone At Saudi Target

“The Arab ministerial committee has condemned Iran’s support for the Houthis’ targeting Saudi Arabia with ballistic missiles, state news agency SPA reported on Wednesday. The committee – made up of ministers from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt - condemned Iran’s ongoing support for terrorist acts in the Arab region and its violation of the Security Council resolution 2216 (2015), which requires militia to be disarmed. The committee also reiterated the importance of opposing Iranian attempts to threaten the security of the region’s energy supplies, as well as maritime installations in the Arabian Gulf and other shipping lanes. The comments come as the Arab coalition intercept yet another Houthi drone fired towards Saudi airspace. Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said the drone was targeting civilian areas in Saudi Arabia’s Najran.”

Egypt

Gulf News: Egypt Rules Out Imminent End To Qatar Crisis

“Qatar has shown no “actual interest” in resolving its crisis of more than two years with an Arab quartet, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shukry has said. In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt broke off diplomatic and transportation links with Qatar over its support for terrorism. The four countries presented to Qatar a list of demands to end the dispute. “The crisis with Doha will linger on unless the demands are implemented,” Shukry said in remarks to Saudi newspaper Asharq Al Awsat published on Wednesday. The demands include stopping support for radical groups, downgrading ties with Iran and shutting down the Doha-based Al Jazeera television network seen as a mouthpiece of the Muslim Brotherhood designated as a terrorist organization. “Until now, no response or desire has been seen on the part of Qatar to implement them positively,” the Egyptian official said. “These demands are linked to interests of our people. There are [Qatari] policies harming our people and we reject them. Consequently, there will be no change until Qatar shows its actual interest in these demands and stops interference in other countries’ affairs,” he added.”

Nigeria

The Defense Post: Nigeria: Islamic State Claims ‘Tens’ Of Military Casualties In 2 Borno Attacks

“Several Nigerian soldiers were killed in an ambush on a military convoy near Gudumbali in the Lake Chad area of Borno state, sources said, after Islamic State claimed its fighters carried out two attacks in the area. Islamic State West Africa Province fighters opened fire with heavy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades on the convoy as it traveled to Gudumbali on Monday, September 9, the security sources told AFP. One told AFP that “the terrorists surprised troops with an ambush as they were heading to Gudumbali.” “We lost several soldiers, vehicles and weapons to the terrorists in the attack,” said the source, who asked not to be identified. The convoy was travelling to Gudumbali to reinforce troops from Nigeria and Chad attached to the regional Multinational Joint Task Force for a major offensive to recapture the town from ISWAP, a second security source said. He added that the losses had been great and that from reports coming in, the number of casualties was “huge.” A third security source told AFP, “It is not precisely clear the number of casualties recorded in the attack but a number paid the supreme price.”

 BBC News: Nigeria's Boko Haram Crisis: Military Denies Detaining Thousands Of Children

“Nigeria has denied allegations it has detained thousands of children for suspected links to Islamist militant group Boko Haram. A report released by US-based group Human Rights Watch says children have been held for years in "horrific conditions". The group has urged the country to release the children. But the military said the report was "false", saying they were treated as "victims of war and not as suspects". While the army does detain women and children they say have been indoctrinated by Boko Haram, the children are "adequately fed, profiled and de-radicalised before their release”.  Boko Haram militants have been waging an insurgency in north-east Nigeria since 2009. More than 30,000 people have died in the uprising, which has now crossed borders into Cameroon, Chad and Niger.”

North Korea

The Wall Street Journal: In Talks With North Korea, U.S. Faces New Chessboard

“Seven months after the U.S. and North Korea walked out of nuclear talks at a summit in Vietnam, the two sides appear ready again to work toward a deal that trades Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons for a loosening of U.S.-led economic sanctions. But the chessboard looks very different now. North Korea appears to have shuffled its negotiating team from the halted meeting in Hanoi, and American diplomats to some extent will have to begin the talks anew. South Korea and Japan, the U.S.’s two largest allies in the region, are sparring over trade. Seoul has seen its mediator role in nuclear talks diminished by the North’s dismissal, and it defied Washington in August by pulling out of an intelligence-sharing pact with Tokyo.”

United Kingdom

The Telegraph: Islamic State Supporter Plotted 'Lone Wolf' Attack On Barracks Using Drone To Drop Weapons, Court Told

“An Isil supporter plotted a “lone wolf” attack on a military site by adapting drones to drop weapons, a court heard. Hisham Muhammad, 25, allegedly sketched designs and built prototypes to work out how they could be used to launch an attack on an army barracks in Greater Manchester. He also amassed a stash of weapons at his rented home in Whitefield, Bury, including axes, bear claws and a machete, a jury at the Old Bailey heard. His landlord called the police when he found knives and what he thought was a bomb at the three-bedroom terrace property, where Muhammad lived with his 24-year-old cousin Faisal Abu Ahmad. Among the items seized by officers were two painted eggs containing crushed chilli seeds and shards of glass - described as “Japanese ninja eggs” - which could be used to blind targets before attacking them. They also discovered lollipop sticks attached to an electrical component, a tub of wires, a soldering iron, combat clothing, balaclavas, camouflage make-up and a pizza box used for “stabbing practice”. The defendant, who moved to Britain from Gambia in 2013, had identified Castle Armoury Barracks in Bury, Greater Manchester, as a possible target, it is claimed.”

The National: Terror Watchdog Casts Doubt Over Extremist Hotspot Plan

“A UK counter-terror watchdog has cast doubt on the effectiveness of a new measure to prosecute British extremists who travel abroad to fight for ISIS. New powers were introduced in February that could see Britons jailed for up to ten years if they travelled to designated “no go zones” where extremists operated with impunity. But Jonathan Hall, the UK’s new independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, warned that the new law could lead to undesirable unintended consequences. He told The National that he had been contacted by charities worried that they could be criminalised for working in some of the most dangerous areas of the world. He said that banks might be wary of allowing Britons to send money to their families in so-called terrorist hotspots because of fears of breaking the law. “For what it is worth, I suspect that designating an area will be more relevant in terms of deterrence than in terms of prosecution,” Mr Hall said in his first speech since taking the job earlier this year. The measure was introduced into law because of the difficulty of gathering battlefield evidence about the role of foreign fighters and made it easier to prosecute on their return home. More than 900 Britons are believed to have travelled to Iraq and Syria to join the ranks of ISIS.”

The National: UK Far Right Extremist Jailed For Knife Rampage To “Kill A Muslim” Day After Christchurch Massacre

“A UK far right extremist who went on a knife rampage to “kill a Muslim” the day after the Christchurch massacre has been jailed for 18 years. Vincent Fuller stabbed the victim, a 19-year-old Bulgarian man, in the neck through a car window as part of a plan to “kill a Muslim”. Kingston Crown Court heard that the 50-year-old, of Stanwell, had been watching videos of the terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, and had previously posted on his Facebook page that he “agreed with what that man did in New Zealand” and in a separate post added “kill all the non English (sic) and get them all out of our of (sic) England”. Fuller was involved in a number of separate incidents on Saturday, 16 March, before finally attacking his victim, who was sat in a car in a supermarket car park. Shortly before 10.30pm, he tried to confront his neighbours, who were of Asian heritage, armed with a baseball bat. After being denied access to the house and shouting racist abuse at the occupants, he moved on, walking in the middle of a busy road where he began to attack oncoming cars with the baseball bat at random. He hit a number of vehicles, while continuing to shout pro-white supremacist slogans and offensive racist slurs.”

Germany

Deutsche Welle: Germany: Raids Carried Out Against Terror Suspects

“Police carried out raids to investigate alleged terror supporters in several cities in northern Germany on Wednesday morning, prosecutors said. Special police units examined more than 10 properties in Hamburg and in the states of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Schleswig-Holstein, according to reports in the German Bild and Hamburger Abendblatt newspapers. The reasons for the raids have not been confirmed, but the suspects have reportedly been linked to a terrorist organization. Media reports claimed that the suspects were allegedly financing terrorist activities. The reports also suggested that the suspects were sending money to Syria to support the “Islamic State” (IS). The Schleswig-Holstein State Office of Criminal Investigations (LKA) did not confirm the media reports but announced it would issue a statement when the operations are complete.”

The Daily Mail: ISIS Propaganda Chief's Widow Is Arrested In Hamburg Months After Being Exposed By Her Lost Mobile Phone Containing Pictures Of Bin Laden Birthday Cake And 'Jihadi Mumsnet'

“An ISIS widow of a German rapper turned 'Goebbels' of the caliphate, has been arrested in Hamburg, prosecutors revealed on Monday. Omaima Abdi was seen being transferred to a police helicopter last week by masked officers. She was exposed in April after a lost phone full of Islamist hate fell into the hands of a reporter. The German-Tunisian, 34, had been married to the rapper Denis 'Deso Dogg' Cuspert after her first jihadist husband was killed in an air raid on the Syrian city of Kobane, according to prosecutors. Cuspert, killed last year in an airstrike in Syria, was one of the most notorious Western fighters for ISIS and became a chief propagandist, dubbed 'the Goebbels' of the regime.”

DW: German Court Rejects Plea To Repatriate Suspected Jihadi From Syria

“The German government is not required to repatriate one of its citizens believed to be imprisoned by Syrian Kurdish forces on suspicion of being a member of the "Islamic State" (IS), a Berlin administrative court ruled Tuesday. Read more: Syrian Kurds hand over four 'Islamic State' children to Germany. The German national, who was born in 1992, allegedly left for Syria with his brother five years ago to join the terrorist group. The lawyer representing the alleged jihadi's father had requested that Germany repatriate the man on the grounds that he could face torture or the death penalty if handed over to the Syrian government or Iraq. However, the administrative court rejected this argument on technical grounds. It said the father lacked power of attorney or documentation that the imprisoned suspect had requested his father pursue litigation. In addition, the court dismissed the demand for his return as "something impossible" because the man's exact whereabouts were unknown and it was not clear that he was in the custody of Syrian Kurdish forces.”

Europe

The New York Post: Europe Learns Again That Trusting Iran Is For Suckers

“It’s no real surprise when the government of Iran breaks its word, so why do European leaders keep accepting it? Call the latest debacle “the tale of the tanker that could.” Back in July, British Royal Marines stopped an Iranian oil tanker, Grace One, that was plainly bound for Syria in violation of European Union sanctions. Note that these EU sanctions were on the Syrian government, over its countless atrocities in the long civil war — not on Iran. Gibraltar authorities detained the ship for weeks, even after Iran responded by seizing a UK-flagged tanker, the Stena Impero, in the Strait of Hormuz. But in mid-August the ship was quietly released from Gibraltar — after Iran gave written promises it wouldn’t take its 2 million barrels of oil to Syria. American authorities then sought to seize the tanker, but no Mediterranean nation would assist, as it was officially bound for Turkey. Yet the ship, renamed Adrian Darya One, has instead docked at … Tartus, Syria. And Iran’s foreign ministry even says it has now delivered its cargo “on the Mediterranean coast.” Meanwhile, the Stena Impero remains in Iranian custody, though several of its crew were released this week.”

Technology

The New York Times: E.U.’S New Digital Czar: ‘Most Powerful Regulator Of Big Tech On The Planet’

&ldquFor five years, Margrethe Vestager was the scourge of Silicon Valley, levying billions of dollars in fines and initiating investigations against Google, Apple and Facebook for violating antitrust laws and harming consumers. As the European Union’s competition commissioner, she and her army of lawyers became heroes to many critics of Big Tech, even as they were loathed in some corporate offices and in the White House. “She hates the United States,” President Trump said, “perhaps worse than any person I’ve ever met.” On Tuesday, Ms. Vestager assumed more power than ever, expanding her portfolio to become the equivalent of the European Union’s digital czar. It’s a job that analysts say will give her unmatched regulatory reach at a time when public anger is rising over issues like privacy, disinformation, data management and the enormous reach of the largest technology companies — like Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook — into the everyday lives of billions of people.”