Eye on Extremism: September 13

The Guardian: Syria Conflict: Why Does Idlib Matter And What Could Happen?

“Pro-government forces are massing in Syria’s north-west for what could be a large-scale offensive on Idlib province, the last opposition stronghold in the country. The UN has warned of the “worst humanitarian catastrophe” of this century if the attack goes ahead, since there are no remaining opposition areas to which those fleeing Idlib could be evacuated. The province is central to the outcome of the war and also the fate of the broader region. As the seven-year conflict draws to a close, each participant in the war, Syrian and non-Syrian, is trying to secure their interests, many of which run through Idlib. But few of those interests align. Most are mutually exclusive. External powers trying to carve out influence in northern Syria are Russia and Iran, to whom Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, owes his successes so far, and Turkey, in whom rebel groups continue to pin their hopes. There is also what remains of a fractured anti-Assad opposition, jihadist groups and a regime desperate to claim it has won the war.”

Radio Free Europe: Playing Fields, Sports Clubs, Gyms Becoming Afghanistan's Bloody New Battlegrounds

“Sayed Ali Rezwan was lifting dumbbells when an explosion ripped through Kabul's Maiwand sports club, where scores of young wrestlers were in the middle of a training session. The blast threw 23-year-old Rezwan against a wall. Wounded and covered in dust, he stumbled through the debris to help pull the bodies of the dead and wounded out of the burning gym. The floor was splattered with blood, and the wrestling ring was strewn with body parts. “Pieces of shrapnel struck me in the chest,” Rezwan, a university student in Kabul, tells RFE/RL. “I didn’t notice I had been wounded. I was helping people inside the club. There were arms and legs on the floor. Many of the wrestlers inside were lying on the ground.” Rezwan eventually collapsed from his injuries and was rushed to the hospital. He says there were around 100 people inside the gym when the suicide bomber struck on the evening of September 5, including wrestlers aspiring to make the Afghan Olympic team. Less than an hour after the blast at Maiwand, a car laden with explosives exploded outside the same gym in Dasht-e Barchi, a predominately Shi’ite neighborhood in the Afghan capital, targeting journalists and emergency responders.”

The Intercept: U.S. Military’s Worst-Case Scenario: Large Parts Of Africa Seized By ISIS, Al Qaeda, And Boko Haram

“Africa Command chief Gen. Thomas Waldhauser up at night? That remains unknown, but the analysts under his command are worried about terrorist organizations like the Islamic State, Al Qaeda, and Boko Haram combining forces and destabilizing large swaths of the African continent. Planning documents issued in October 2017 and classified by Waldhauser detail the worst-case scenarios imagined by the command. The forecasts, which are an update to AFRICOM’s Theater Campaign Plan and were obtained by The Intercept via a Freedom of Information Act request, center around potential gains by terrorist organizations in the north and west of the continent, specifically Libya, the Sahel, and the Lake Chad basin. They offer a nightmare vision of a destabilized, crisis-ridden region that could – if the worst happens — fall increasingly under the control of Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Boko Haram.”

New Europe: Terrorist-Related Content To Be Removed From Internet Platforms Within An Hour, Says Juncker

“Internet platforms will be required to remove all terrorism-related content within one hour of being reported, else sanctions await, according to a proposal presented to the European Parliament by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who said during his last State of the Union address that those who fail to comply would be subject to stiff sanctions by the bloc. David Ibsen, the Executive Director of The Counter Extremism Project, was quick to commend the Commission for taking a positive step towards combatting extremist content online but said the new measures fall short of a clear solution to the growing problem of illegal content online. “The fact that the Commission is proposing a Regulation, as opposed to a Directive, shows the seriousness of the issue. We, at the Counter Extremism Project, have seen that content is downloaded and consistently re-uploaded across the same platforms it was previously taken down from. This cannot continue. Reliable enforcement and automated technology so that content can be taken down within one hour of upload need to be included in the proposed draft,” said Ibsen.”

Evening Standard: Release Of Islamist Hate Preacher Anjem Choudary Next Month 'Is Danger For Us All', Prisons Minister Warns

“Islamist hate preacher Anjem Choudary will pose a “genuinely dangerous” threat to public safety when he is released from jail next month, the Prisons Minister warned today. Rory Stewart said Choudary remained a “deeply pernicious, destabilising influence”, whom MI5 and police would have to “watch like a hawk” to stop him from inciting further violence. Choudary, 51, is due to be freed after serving less than three years of a five-and-a-half-year sentence for encouraging Muslims to join Islamic State. This is despite police blaming him for inspiring many of this country’s worst terrorists. London Bridge attacker Khuram Butt was one of his acolytes, as were the killers of soldier Lee Rigby, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale. Other supporters include the suspected IS executioner Siddhartha Dhar, the failed suicide bomber Omar Sharif, who was involved in an attack on Tel Aviv in 2003, and Brusthom Ziamani, who was jailed for 22 years for planning to kill on London’s streets.”

The Times: EU Online Copyright Ruling ‘Favours Terrorists’

“New European Union copyright legislation will create a “perverse incentive” forcing big internet companies, such as Google or Facebook, to take down copyrighted content before removing terrorist videos or child pornography. Currently, internet companies are obliged to remove illegal content when they are made aware of it. However, the new rules will force them to block the uploading of copyrighted music videos or football matches before it is published online. Counter-extremism experts have warned that the new legislation will have the unintended consequence of making it easier to upload a jihadist training video than a popular song. “Extremist content like the video watched by the Manchester bomber, where he learned how to make a bomb, before he carried out his attack will still be governed by the ‘old’ rules,” said Lucinda Creighton, former Irish Minister for European affairs and senior adviser to the counter-extremism project think tank. “This proposed change on copyright will create a perverse incentive for the tech companies to more vigilantly police for copyrighted content than for terrorist content.”

United States

Reuters: Republicans Seek Sanctions On Iraqi Militias With Iran Ties

“Republican U.S. senators plan to introduce legislation on Wednesday seeking to counteract what they see as Iran's increasing influence in Iraq, amid concern about attacks in Iraq by groups U.S. officials consider Iranian proxies, a Senate aide said on Wednesday. Among other things, the bill, whose text was seen by Reuters, would impose terrorism-related sanctions on Iranian-controlled militias and require the U.S. Secretary of State to publish and maintain a list of armed groups receiving assistance from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC. Sponsors of the "Iranian Proxies Terrorist Sanctions Act" include Senators David Perdue, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. A similar bill, backed by Republican Representative Ted Poe, has been introduced in the House of Representatives. There was no immediate word on when the legislation might be considered by congressional committees, normally the first steps toward becoming law. Three mortar shells landed inside Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone just after midnight local time on Friday, the first such attack in several years in the area, which houses parliament, government buildings and many foreign embassies. On Tuesday, the United States warned Iran that it would "respond swiftly and decisively" to any attacks by its allies in Iraq that resulted in injury to Americans or damage to U.S. facilities. Reuters reported last month that Iran had given ballistic missiles to Shi'ite Muslim proxy groups in Iraq and was developing the capacity to build more there, a development likely to exacerbate tensions between Tehran and Washington, already heightened by President Donald Trump.”

Houston Chronicle: Would-Be ISIS Supporter In Houston Says He Didn’t Understand Terms Of Guilty Plea, Wants New Trial

“A Palestinian refugee in Houston convicted of attempting to back Islamic State terrorists overseas is seeking a new federal trial, claiming he didn’t understand the consequences of violating the terms of supervised release when he pleaded guilty. Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan, who came to the U.S. in 2009, alleges that U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes did not clearly advise him that he faced a possible life term for violating federal probation if he entered a guilty plea, according to court document filed Tuesday. Al Hardan, who had an Arabic interpreter for the proceeding, also says his court-appointed lawyer failed to ensure that the judge advised him of this possibility. However, David Adler, Al Hardan’s court-appointed trial lawyer, noted in an email that the judge appears to have warned Al Hardan about this scenario, and pointed to a verbatim excerpt of the hearing quoted in Al Hardan’s appellate brief. In the document filed Tuesday with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Hughes is quoted as saying at Al Hardan’s 2016 plea hearing, “Now, the maximum penalty — I’m not saying this is what I'm going to give you — that the statute would allow on your plea of guilty is for you to be imprisoned for 20 years, fined $250,000 and supervised release with up to your — up to life and there is a $100 tax. Do you have any question about the punishment?” After a back and forth with the judge, the defendant said he understood. A spokesperson for U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick did not respond to a request for comment.”


CNN: 'We Are Not Libya': Defiant Damascus Seeks New Dawn Amid The Rubble

“The once-desolate marketplace of Shaalan has sprung back to life. Shops shuttered for years have reopened their doors, glitzy new restaurants spill onto sidewalks and the traffic jams that were once a main feature of the Syrian capital have returned with a vengeance. For years, the red beams of tracer bullets streaked the skies of Damascus. The rattle of guns and bangs of explosions were staples of the city's soundscape. Residents who had been known to pass long hours on balconies retreated into the corridors of their homes. "I lived in constant fear of losing my loved ones," says the Damascus native Mohammad Hassan. "We felt that we aged by two decades." In 2012, Syria's rebels took over large swaths of the Damascus countryside. Government forces pounded the suburbs with airstrikes. Rebels launched rockets into the city.”

Al Jazeera: UN: Syria Faces 'Unprecedented' Levels Of Internal Displacement

“Syria has witnessed unprecedented levels of internal displacement not seen throughout the seven-year conflict with more than one million forced to flee, a UN report said on Wednesday. The 24-page report by the UN Commission of Inquiry detailed the ordeal many Syrians have faced in the first six months of 2018. "As pro-government forces moved to recapture large swaths of territory from armed groups and terrorist organisations, over one million Syrian men, women, and children were displaced with most now living in dire conditions," said the report. It noted combatants on the ground failed to take any action to protect civilians. "No one is acting according to their responsibilities, human rights wise or otherwise," commissioner Karen Abuzayed told Al Jazeera. "Everyone is to blame and is following their own interests. It's a disaster for the people who have no way to defend themselves." 'Compulsory displacement' Civilians were forced to survive in tents or abandoned buildings in the northwest and living on extremely limited humanitarian aid, the report said. Since 2014, the Syrian government and armed opposition groups have reached a series of reconciliation agreements in a number of besieged areas, mainly aiming to allow fighters to leave government-surrounded towns for opposition-held areas in Idlib province, which borders to the north.  While the Syrian government positively regards such reconciliation agreements, armed groups and activists, however, view them as "compulsory displacement" aiming to reshape the demographic structure of the country.”

NPR: Syria's Last Rebel-Held Stronghold Braces For Attack

“The Syrian regime has stepped up shelling attacks on the last major rebel-held stronghold of Idlib. It could lead to a major offensive where millions of civilians are at risk. The Syrian government and its ally Russia are pressing on with a weeks-long campaign of airstrikes and artillery attacks on the fringes of the Idlib province in northern Syria. It's the last big rebel-held area in the country. Death tolls are unclear. It's possible dozens of people may have been killed in the last few days. And the U.N. and the U.S. warn that things could get much worse if Syrian and Russian forces begin a ground assault. NPR's Ruth Sherlock has our report. RUTH SHERLOCK, BYLINE: Chunks of concrete and glass fly in an artillery strike on a building in a video filmed and sent to NPR by a resident of Idlib. It's just one of the terrifying moments that face civilians as the Syrian regime and its ally Russia step up shelling and airstrikes in this northern province.”


Fox News: Unease, Anger In Tehran's Grand Bazaar, Iran's Beating Heart

“Just one shop among the thousands in Tehran's sprawling Grand Bazaar can offer a tableau of the darkening mood descending across Iran as American sanctions again take hold. A salesman who wants to move to Europe for a better life shows off his pots and pans to a mother now struggling to pay for the gifts she wanted before her daughter's marriage amid the collapse of Iran's rial currency. Another salesman loudly blames internal politics and corruption for the country's woes. Muttered curses and even shouts against the government follow the journalists talking to them. While only a small moment in a nation of 80 million people, it shows the dangers ahead for the government of the relatively moderate President Hassan Rouhani. His signature nuclear deal with world powers now has become a noose around his neck that hard-liners gleefully tighten. Meanwhile, the sporadic and leaderless protests the nation has seen over its worsening economy threaten to roar back to life at any time. That has many expecting the worst is yet to come. "It has become more difficult, but we need to lower our expectations," said Kiana Ismaili, 26, shopping ahead of her wedding.”

Fox News: Haley Says Iran Is 'Feeling The Pain' From Trump's Revived Sanctions: 'We Are Suffocating Them'

“Iran is "feeling the pain" from the sweeping sanctions revived by President Trump in August, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, told Fox News exclusively in a wide-ranging interview on Wednesday. "They feel weak and we are suffocating them to the point that they have to address ballistic missiles; they have to address their support on terrorism," Haley told "Special Report" anchor Bret Baier. The Trump administration this summer restored major sanctions against Iran in the areas of automobiles, gold and other key metals. The sanctions had been suspended under former President Barack Obama's 2015 nuclear deal, pummelling the value of currency there and threatening to further unravel the Islamic country's already-struggling economy. Trump pulled the U.S. out of the nuclear deal in May, saying its enforcement and monitoring mechanisms were too lenient and calling for Iran to return to the negotiating table.”

The National: Iranian Opposition Names Key Regime 'Terror Plotter' In Europe

“An Iranian opposition group on Wednesday identified a senior regime official it claims is responsible for plotting an expanded programme of terrorist attacks in Europe. The National Council for Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said that Iranian agents had stepped up their activities in the West since the start of 2018, citing alleged plots in Albania and Belgium and spying operations in the United States. The group – which was the target of a foiled car bomb plot at a conference on the outskirts of Paris in June – identified Reza Amiri Moghaddam as the key player in planning terrorist attacks and said that he reported directly to the regime’s Intelligence Minister. The group, citing information it had obtained from within the regime, said that the budget of the intelligence ministry had been increased with Mr Moghaddam heading a section responsible for overseas intelligence work. “He plays a key role in the regime’s terrorism in Europe,” the group said. The NCRI said that the official had been responsible for instructing the regime’s Vienna-based intelligence chief, Assadollah Assadi, to oversee attack planning for the NCRI conference in France. The plot was foiled after Belgian police arrested an Iranian couple, residents of the port city of Antwerp, while driving a car loaded with explosives and allegedly on the way to the conference that was attended by thousands of people including prominent western politicians.”

Fox News: Iran, In Shadow Proxy War With Saudis, Expands Its Pakistan Influence

“Iran is stepping up its involvement with political and militant Shiite groups in Pakistan, in what foreign affairs experts see as an escalating shadow proxy war with Saudi Arabia in a country with the world's second-largest Muslim population. “Iran is continuing to work to help rebel groups to form in the minority tribal region. There are Sindhi and Baluch separatist groups that Iran will help fund and support,” said retired Lt. Col Anthony Shaffer, an intelligence specialist who currently serves as  senior fellow at the Center for Advanced Defense Studies at the London Center. Shaffer and others believe Iranians have long funded an array of insurgent outfits in Pakistan, in part as a means to destabilize U.S. efforts in the region. One of those groups, the Tahrik-e-Jafaria Pakistan (TJP), freely acknowledges its ties to Iran, but denies accusations it engages in violence. “We are alleged to be a militant group, but I refute this statement,” Deedar Ali, vice president of the TJP, in the country’s Gilgit Baltistan (GB) region, told Fox News. “We haven’t participated yet in militant activities, though we Shiites have the dominance in GB." TJP is officially considered a Shiite political party, founded around the same time as the Iranian revolution of 1979. It has twice been banned by the Pakistani government as a terrorist organization. The U.S.-based Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium (TRAC) defines the TJP as a group focused on creating a society based on “pure Islam,” and both a protector and a propaganda distributor of Shiite ideas.”


Reuters: Suicide Attack Kills Six, Wounds 42 Near Iraq's Tikrit: Police

“At least six people were killed and 42 wounded when a suicide bomber detonated a car full of explosives at a restaurant on a highway near the Iraqi city of Tikrit on Wednesday, police and medical sources said. Police said the attacker targeted the Qala’a restaurant which is usually frequented by security forces members and paramilitary fighters. Most of the casualties were a group of Iraqi tourists traveling on board of a bus that stopped by the restaurant, police and medical source said. No group has claimed responsibility, but Islamic State militants often carry out such attacks. Iraqi security officials have said Islamic State is likely to wage an insurgency in Iraq after its self-proclaimed caliphate all but collapsed and the militants were dislodged from large areas of the west and north of the country. The group’s fighters have since then waged a campaign of kidnappings and killings.”

Iraqi News: Thirteen Islamic State Members Killed In Security Operation, South Of Mosul

“Thirteen Islamic State members were killed in a wide-scale security operation, south of Mosul, a senior source from Nineveh Operations Command said on Wednesday. Speaking to BasNews website, Col. Zaher Hassan, said “a wide-scale operation was carried out in Kan’ous village, located between Qayyarah and Shirqat towns, after information showed infiltration of thirteen militants.” The operation, according to Hassan, “left them all killed.” Security troops imposed curfew in the region, Hassan added. “A campaign was carried out to inspect the villages and areas in its vicinity.” Last week, the Nineveh Operations Command said sixteen Islamic State members were arrested in a security operation in south of Mosul. Moreover, the military intelligence announced arresting one of the militant group’s funders in northwest of Mosul. The Interior Ministry also said eight militants were arrested in an operation in west of the city. Islamic State continues to launch sporadic attacks across Iraq against troops. Security reports indicate that the militant group still poses threat against stability in the country. The group still has dormant cells, through which it carries out attacks, across Iraq like it used to do before 2014. Thousands of Islamic State militants as well as Iraqi civilians were killed since the government campaign, backed by paramilitary troops and the coalition was launched in October 2016.”

The Wall Street Journal: The U.S. Can Defuse Iraq’s Crisis

“Iraq may be on the brink of its biggest crisis since 2006, when a civil war threatened to topple its nascent democratic system. Government formation talks have dragged out as pro- and anti-Iranian factions jockey for influence. Corruption and basic governance failures have triggered mass protests—particularly in Basra, Iraq’s second-largest city and primary oil-export hub. Armed militia factions are mobilizing. Iranian proxies have fired the first shots at the U.S. Embassy since 2014, showing their intent to use force to accomplish political goals. All this raises the prospect of an intra-Shiite civil war. Such a conflict could lead to the collapse of the Iraqi state and allow Islamic State to re-emerge. It also could allow Tehran to consolidate control over the government in Baghdad while targeting American personnel throughout the country. A weak American statement telling Iran to control its proxies in response to two instances of mortars fired at U.S. facilities shows a lack of seriousness. Washington must act now to manage this crisis and deter further Iranian attacks. The unfolding crisis results from two processes converging. On the political side, pro-Iranian leaders have tried to form a government that would include Hadi al-Ameri, leader of the Iranian-established and -controlled Badr Corps. The Tehran faction also backs Qais Khazali, a U.S.-designated terrorist who played a role in the murders of American servicemen and who has facilitated the training of Iraqi Shiite militias by Hezbollah.”


Reuters: Turkey Boosts Weapons Supply To Syrian Rebels As Idlib Offensive Looms

“Turkey has stepped up arms supplies to Syrian rebels to help them stave off an expected offensive by the Syrian army and its Russian and Iran-backed allies in northwest Syria near the Turkish border, rebel sources told Reuters. Senior rebel officials said Turkey had sent more military aid to rebels in and around the Idlib region since a summit meeting with Iran and Russia last week failed to agree a deal to avert a government offensive into the area. Turkey, which is already hosting 3.5 million Syrian refugees, warned against such an attack, fearing it could force more Syrians over the border. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has warned of a humanitarian disaster and security risks for Turkey. "They pledged complete Turkish military support for a long, protracted battle," a senior Free Syrian Army commander who was privy to talks in recent days with senior Turkish officials said, requesting anonymity as he was not authorized to speak publicly. The weapons, which have entered Syria in large quantities in recent days, include ammunition and GRAD rockets. "These arms supplies and munitions will allow the battle to extend and ensure our supplies are not drained in a war of attrition," the commander added. A second rebel commander said: "They are getting new shipments of munitions - they don't need more than munitions." "The Turks are making sure they have enough munitions that keep them going for a long while," he added.”


Voice Of America: Afghanistan Peace Talks Stick On Bases: US Wants 2, Taliban None

“Negotiations between the United States and the Afghan Taliban for a political settlement to end the protracted war in Afghanistan are stuck over the issue of maintenance of U.S. military bases in the country, according to Waheed Muzhda, a former Taliban official in Kabul who remains in regular contact with Taliban leaders. The “U.S. wants the Taliban to accept at least two military bases, Bagram and Shorabak. The Taliban are not willing to accept it,” Muzhda said, adding the insurgent leaders are unwilling to accept anything more than a nominal number of troops required to secure the U.S. diplomatic mission. High-level sources in Washington who deal with Afghanistan confirmed to VOA on condition of anonymity that maintenance of certain military bases in Afghanistan was a top priority for the U.S. government. Christopher Kolenda, a retired colonel and former Pentagon adviser who held informal talks this year with the Taliban in Doha, said the insurgent group considers U.S. combat troops an occupying force and wants them out. “Their No. 1 reason for war, their casus belli, if you will, is the occupation. So, they’re not going to just simply say, ‘We’re OK with U.S. combat troops running around Afghanistan.’ Because that’s what they’re fighting to prevent, from their point of view,” he said in an interview with the VOA. He said the Taliban did show some willingness to allow foreign troops to train Afghan forces, but only if a new government formed after a negotiated settlement, that would likely include the Taliban, agreed to their presence.”


The Washington Post: The Arab Coalition Is Making Progress Against Extremists In Yemen

“Last month, it was confirmed that al-Qaeda master bomb-maker Ibrahim al-Asiri was killed by an airstrike in Yemen. Al-Asiri was the plotter of attacks against international and U.S. targets, including the 2009 plot of the “underwear bomber” who tried to take down a U.S. airliner. According to former CIA acting director Michael Morell, it was the most significant removal of a terrorist from the battlefield since the killing of Osama bin Laden. This was the latest success in Yemen against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) by a closely coordinated intelligence and military operation between the United Arab Emirates and the United States. Led on the ground by the UAE, this intensive campaign has removed more than 2,000 hardcore militants from the battlefield, improved security, and delivered humanitarian and development assistance to the port city of Mukalla and other liberated areas. Just three years ago, AQAP was riding high in Yemen. It had seized a third of the country, was terrorizing Yemenis and was plotting more attacks against American and international targets. Today, AQAP is reduced to its weakest point since 2012.”

Al Jazeera: Yemeni Army Seizes Key Houthi Supply Routes Into Hodeidah

“Yemen's army and its allies have seized control of two key roads near the western port city of Hodeidah from Houthi rebels, military sources said. Abdulrahman Saleh Abou Zaraa, head of an elite military unit known as the Giant Brigades, said on Wednesday his forces took control of the Kilo 16 area, cutting off the Houthis' main supply route linking Hodeidah city to the rebel-held capital Sanaa. The army also captured a second supply route around Hodeidah, known as Kilo 10, the AFP news agency reported. The Saudi-Emirati-led military coalition resumed air raids on Wednesday in support of Yemeni-allied forces seeking to capture the Red Sea port city from the rebels, residents said. Al Jazeera's Andrew Simmons, reporting from neighbouring Djibouti, said fighting was ongoing around Kilo 16 with the "Houthis shelling the area in a counterattack measure". "There are no reports of any casualties but you would bet they would be high with this intensity of the bombardment," he said. Fighting near Hodeidah - the main gateway for imports of relief supplies and commercial goods into the country - has escalated since June 13 after the Saudi-UAE alliance launched a wide-ranging operation to retake the strategic seaport.”

The Hill: Ending Yemen’s War Without Perpetuating A ‘Southern Hezbollah’

“There is every reason for Americans to be sickened by the war in Yemen. Since March 2015, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has recorded at least 17,062 civilian casualties, including 6,592 killed, with coalition airstrikes assessed as “the leading cause” of documented civilian casualties. Human Rights Watch has highlighted the indiscriminate use of landmines by Houthi rebels “in at least six governorates,” creating a legacy of civilian deaths that will extend decades beyond the end of the conflict. The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights is investigating all sides in the war of arbitrary detention and torture, including Houthi-Saleh forces, the Yemeni government, and the United Arab Emirates and UAE-backed Yemeni forces. War conditions and sanctions-related shipping inspections have deepened the pre-existing humanitarian crisis in Yemen, leading the United Nations to declare it the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, assessing that 76 percent of Yemenis were in need of humanitarian assistance in April 2018. The war has brought intense criticism upon Saudi Arabia and stressed relations with the United States. In contrast, the Houthis and their ally Iran easily can ignore the muted international criticism of their full role in making the war longer and more awful.”

Middle East

Arab Times: Hezbollah, A History Of Assassinations And Purge

“THE Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) in the International Criminal Court will soon complete its tasks concerning the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri.  This is after perusing about 300 indictment documents and listening to 300 witnesses of the crime of the era. With this, the circle has been closed for the culprits and their master Hassan Nasrallah – the gang leader of Hezbollah.  This will end decades of impunity for crimes committed by the gang in Lebanon, Arab world and the entire world. It is true that the tribunal was established based on Article Seven of the United Nations Charter after the assassination of Hariri; but it later incorporated other crimes like the assassination of Marwan Hamada, George Hawi and Jubran Tuweini. Other crimes have been excluded despite Hezbollah’s clear footprints on each of them.  These crimes include the assassination of Lebanese intellectual Hussein Marwa in the 1980s, university lecturer Mahdi Amel and others; as well as the kidnapping of several foreigners, demanding for ransom from their countries, bombing of the Marines headquarters and French forces in West Beirut in 1983, and the killing of about 350 people in these operations.”


PJ Media: Ted Cruz Renews Call To Designate Muslim Brotherhood A Terrorist Group

“Amidst a highly visible reelection campaign, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) renewed a call last week for the Muslim Brotherhood to be designated a terrorist organization. This follows the Trump administration's designation earlier this year of two affiliates of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood -- Hasm and Liwa al-Thawra -- as terrorist organizations: Last year Cruz introduced S. 68, calling on the State Department to designate the group. The Senate bill is co-sponsored by Senate President Pro Tempore and Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch and Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson: The House companion bill, H.R. 377, is sponsored by Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart and currently has 76 House co-sponsors. Speaking at a Capitol Hill event last week, Cruz invoked the Obama administration's efforts to purge terror watch lists of anyone connected to the Muslim Brotherhood, and also the Justice Department's successful arguments during the Holy Land Foundation trial in 2008 that the Muslim Brotherhood established support networks in the U.S. to support the terrorist group Hamas. Cruz called for the designation for the "clarity" of standing with our allies (comments begins ~12:30).”


Al Jazeera: Libya: Rocket Fire Targets Tripoli Airport Despite Truce

“The Libyan capital's airport came under rocket fire just days after reopening following a UN-backed ceasefire between rival armed groups vying for influence in the oil-rich country. The Tuesday night attack underscored the fragility of the latest peace push in the North African nation, which has been beset by turmoil since the fall of former President Muammar Ghadafi in 2011. Several rockets hit the perimeter of Mitiga International Airport on the eastern outskirts of Tripoli without causing casualties. Flights were diverted to Misrata, some 200km east of the capital, the civil aviation authority said. Mitiga airport had only reopened on Friday after it was forced to close for a week because of deadly clashes between rival militias in and around Tripoli. The fighting has killed at least 63 people and wounded 159 others - mostly civilians - since August 27, dousing hopes of elections being held this year. 'Radical measures' The UN-brokered ceasefire announced on September 4 has largely been respected, but witnesses reported brief clashes in the south of the capital on Tuesday night. The fragile truce includes "radical measures" to restore security in Tripoli that took effect on Wednesday, the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL). The mission said on Twitter a "special meeting" was taking place on security arrangements.”

Agence France Presse: US, UN Sanctions Target Libya Militia Leader

“The United States and the United Nations imposed sanctions on Wednesday (Sep 12) against Libyan militia leader Ibrahim Jadhran, whose forces attacked oil terminals in eastern Libya in June. The measures block all of Jadhran's assets within US jurisdiction, and Americans are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with him. In addition, corresponding UN sanctions will "require all UN Member States to impose an asset freeze and travel ban," the US State Department said in a statement. Armed groups led by Jadhran seized the Ras Lanuf and Al-Sidra oil export terminals on Jun 14, before they were recaptured by military strongman Khalifa Haftar's forces. "This created an economic and political crisis that cost Libya more than US$1.4 billion in revenue and set back efforts to promote political progress and stability in Libya," the State Department said. "Libya's oil facilities, production and revenues belong to the Libyan people.”


Agence France Presse: Nigeria Troops Repel Fresh Boko Haram Base Attack

“Soldiers have thwarted another Boko Haram attack on an army base in northeast Nigeria, the latest in a series of offensives against military targets in the remote region.Scores of fighters attacked the base in Damasak, in the far north of Borno state, on Wednesday evening, firing heavy artillery in an apparent bid to overrun it.Hours of fighting ensued but the attack was repelled with the help of aerial support, military sources in the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, told AFP on Thursday morning.Nigerian Army spokesman Brigadier General Texas Chukwu confirmed troops from 145 battalion were fighting the jihadists, calling the battle "fierce"."The troops are dealing with the terrorists," he said on Wednesday evening.Chukwu's statement was a departure from the military's repeated denials of Boko Haram attacks in recent weeks, which have seen dozens of troops killed and weapons stolen.Last month, 48 soldiers were killed in a raid in the village of Zari, near Damasak, while last Friday, a base was sacked in the town of Gudumbali.Gudumbali is 80 kilometres (50 miles) from Damasak. Thousands of civilians were forced to flee and Boko Haram temporarily seized the town before withdrawing the next day.On Saturday, a regional fighting force set up to stop cross-border attacks helped to repel another attack on a base near Baga, on the shores of Lake Chad.”

Daily Post: Why You Must Ensure Release Of Leah Sharibu, Other Boko Haram Victims Now – TEKAN Tells Buhari

“A conglomeration of 15 Churches in Northern Nigeria under the aegis of Tarayar Ekklisiyoyin Kristi A Nigeria (TEKAN) on Wednesday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to make frantic efforts by ensuring that the remaining Dapchi girl (Leah Sharibu) and other abducted victims of Boko Haram are released. TEKAN equally urged President Buhari to ensure that the looming food insecurity in the country is forestalled, by ensuring that killer herdsmen occupying farming communities’ lands are forced out without delay and also prevented from further taking over farmers’ indigenous lands. This was disclosed by the body’s President, Rev. Caleb Ahima, while reading a communiqué issued at the end of an emergency meeting of TEKAN Executive Council, held at its headquarters in Jos, the Plateau State capital. TEKAN called on President Buhari to ensure that the security apparatus of the country is not used for partisan activities in the forthcoming general elections. The communiqué reads, “TEKAN call on President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure the immediate release of Leah Sharibu and other abducted victims of Boko Haram.”


The Guardian: US-Led Raid Of Somali Ex-President's Home Blamed On Bad Intelligence

“US and Somali forces who raided the family home of a former president and detained three teenagers may have been acting on misleading intelligence, according to officials in the unstable east African country. Somali soldiers accompanied by at least one foreigner broke into the house of Aden Abdullah Osman Daar, a revered nationalist leader and former president who died in 2007, in the town of Janale, around 100km southwest of Mogadishu late on Friday. Members of Daar’s family told the Guardian they were deeply shocked by the raid, which targeted Islamic militants from the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabaab organisation. The incident will raise further concerns about the use of special forces troops to fight extremism in Africa. Last year the deaths of four American soldiers in an ambush in Niger prompted anger and led to questions over the costs of such deployments.”

Daily Monitor: Top Al-Shabaab Operative 'Killed' In Ambush

“A senior jihadist operative has been killed in Mogadishu, official said. The spokesman for the Somali Police Force, Col Kassim Ahmed Roble, said Abukar Hassan Adde, better known as Sayyid Abukar, was killed in a confrontation early Tuesday. He said that his forces wanted to capture Abukar alive so that he could face the law. To capture “The Somali police aimed at seizing Abukar Hassan Adde. Unfortunately, he resisted capture, mounting armed confrontation,” said Col Roble. “He died during an exchange of fire, but we managed to capture three of his Al-Shabaab companions who sustained injuries,” the police officer added. Abukar was reportedly in charge of Amniyaat, the Al-Shabaab security apparatus in eastern Mogadishu, especially Yakshid and Heliwa districts. The killing “The Al-Shabaab operative has been in our wanted list since 2015. He escaped police operations several times, but he has finally fallen today, Tuesday,” remarked Col Roble. “Over the years, he has been directly responsible for the killing of three government officials, five police officers and 23 innocent civilians,” stated the police officer.”

United Kingdom

Express: Counter-Terrorism Will FAIL Unless The Underlying Ideology Is Tackled, Warns Tony Blair

“The former Prime Minister will give a speech in Washington DC today to advocate for a re-balancing of counter-extremism efforts. The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change is launching the “global extremism monitor” which they describe as a “yearly tracker of global Islamist activity”. The study found that only one percent of the UK’s anti-terrorism budget is spent on “countering the ideology driving Islamist violence”. In a forward to the report, Mr Blair said: “Islamist extremism is global and growing. “It didn’t begin with Al-Qaeda, nor will it end with the defeat of ISIS. “It is a global movement, driven by a guiding transnational religious-political ideology. “There are now more than 120 groups operating in the world, all actively engaged in this violence, all adhering to the same ideology.” The extremism monitor found that in 2017 there were 121 groups in the world adhering to an extremist Islamist ideology.”

Independent: ISIS Threat To UK Remains Despite Terror Group's Demise In Middle East, Warns Commander

“Islamist fighters are making their final stand in the Syrian battleground on two fronts. But the most senior British military officer in the coalition against Isis has warned that violent jihad is far from over and threats of attacks remain potent in the region and beyond it to the west, including Britain. As well as an impending offensive by Russian, Iranian and Assad regime forces on the rebel enclave of Idlib, a second operation is under way by US and European backed forces to reclaim Hajin, the last area remaining under Isis control. However Major General Felix Gedney, the deputy commander of the American led “Inherent Resolve” mission, cautioned that the fall of the two remaining strongholds will not mean that the danger of Islamist terrorism is over. “We have caused huge damage to the leadership of Daesh [Isis] and we have crushed much of it. But we have not destroyed Daesh totally and the terrorist threat remains in Syria, Iraq and our country,” he said. “We need to remain committed to ensure that this organisation, an evil organisation, does not continue to inflict bloodshed and suffering.”

The Telegraph: Hate Preacher Anjem Choudary To Be Gagged On Prison Release

“Anjem Choudary, the notorious Islamist hate preacher, will be banned from Hyde Park and forbidden to use the internet under a strict prison release deal, The Telegraph understands. Authorities are expected to impose more than 20 conditions on Choudary before he is freed next month having served half of a five-and-a-half year prison sentence.  One source said it was possible that Choudary would find it so difficult to stick to the stringent regime he would inevitably break the rules and end up back in jail. Choudary, 51, will be barred from meeting associates of al-Muhajiroun, the proscribed terrorist group he led before being jailed in September 2016, according to sources.”

NPR: 'Dangerous' Islamist Preacher Set To Be Released Early From U.K. Prison

“A notorious, London-based Islamic preacher who was convicted of exhorting people to join the Islamic State and sentenced to serve five and a half years will soon walk out of prison early. Anjem Choudary was convicted by a U.K. court in August 2016 and is set to be released on probation next month. But Choudary remains "genuinely dangerous," Prisons Minister Rory Stewart tells the Evening Standard, adding that U.K. security officials and police will have to watch the 51-year-old cleric "like a hawk." Choudary's early release is pro forma under U.K. law. "Most prisoners must be automatically released at the halfway point of their sentence," a spokesman from Stewart's office told NPR, citing the the 2003 Criminal Justice Act. Choudary was credited with several months he spent in prison before his sentencing. His trial touched on some two decades' worth of evidence gathered by law enforcement, the BBC reports. He spread his message with tools as basic as a bullhorn on the London streets. Choudary was also digitally savvy, relying on Twitter and YouTube to reach a wider audience. "Police say he was hard to prosecute because he chose his public words carefully," NPR's Frank Langfitt reported at the time, noting Choudary's training as a lawyer made him an expert at staying just within the confines of the law.”


Reuters: France Seeks Release Of Citizen Held By Yemeni Houthis

“France is in talks with Houthi forces in Yemen to secure the release of one its citizens held since June after his boat ran into difficulty near the country’s main port of Hodeidah, a French diplomatic source said on Wednesday. Alain Goma, 54, has been in prison in the capital Sanaa, which is under Houthi control, after being transferred from the Red Sea port. His detention is complicated politically for Paris. France has been trying to play a role to help alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Yemen by engaging with the Iran-aligned Houthis and the Saudi-led coalition fighting against the group. However, France, like other Western countries, is friendly to countries fighting against the Houthis. Along with the United States and Britain, it sells weapons to the coalition leaders Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. “Every effort is being made to get his release,” the source said. “France’s ambassador for Yemen Christian Testot is in contact with authorities responsible for his arrest so that he can be freed as quickly as possible.”


EUBusiness: European Commission's Proposal On Terrorist Content Needs To Protect EU Citizens

“The European Commission has today released its regulation on terrorist content online. This legislation is badly needed in the fight against terrorist propaganda and recruitment online, and today marks a step forward in how Europe fights extremism online."We welcome the European Commission's step forward in the fight against extremist content online but, unfortunately, it falls short of instilling a clear solution to the growing problem of illegal content online. The fact that the Commission is proposing a Regulation, as opposed to a Directive, shows the seriousness of the issue. We, at the Counter Extremism Project, have seen that content is downloaded and consistently re-uploaded across the same platforms it was previously taken down from. This cannot continue. Reliable enforcement and automated technology so that content can be taken down within one hour of upload needs to be included in the proposed draft." - David Ibsen, Executive Director of The Counter Extremism Project.”

Southeast Asia

The Straits Times: Radicalised Singaporean IT Engineer Detained Under Internal Security Act

“A radicalised Singaporean engineer, who wanted to travel to Syria to take up arms in support of the terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has been detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA). Ahmed Hussein Abdul Kadir Sheik Uduman, 33, was detained last month after investigations showed he was radicalised, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said in a statement yesterday. The information technology (IT) engineer, who had sought religious knowledge online since 2013, was found to be following the lectures of several foreign radical ideologues, said the ministry. They include radical Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, an Al-Qaeda ideologue who was killed in 2011 in a US drone strike in Yemen, and several other clerics who have been arrested or jailed for inciting violence or espousing support for terrorism. Ahmed "grew to believe that the use of violence in the name of religion was justified" and by late 2016 was convinced he should fight and die as a martyr for ISIS in the terror group's self-proclaimed caliphate in the Middle East, said the ministry. He maintained regular contact with pro-ISIS foreigners on social media to keep up with the developments overseas and also tried to influence some of his foreign online contacts to follow the violent teachings of the radical ideologues he had been following because he wanted them to support ISIS.”


Agence France Presse: Facebook, Twitter, Others Have 1 Hour To Remove Terror Propaganda: EU Bill

“The European Union on Wednesday proposed steps to force social networks and websites to remove terrorist propaganda within an hour of receiving the order from authorities, or companies like Facebook and Twitter could face massive fines. The legislation proposed by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker marks a toughening approach after Brussels had relied on internet firms to voluntarily remove such content. The internet has become a major tool for extremists carrying out attacks that have killed hundreds of people in European cities in recent years. “Europeans rightly expect their Union to keep them safe,” Juncker told the European Parliament in his annual state of the union speech. “This is why the Commission is today proposing new rules to get terrorist content off the web within one hour -- the critical window in which the greatest damage is done.” The EU’s executive arm said that in January alone, nearly 7,000 new pieces of propaganda disseminated online from the Islamic State group, even as it has been driven out of most of its strongholds in Iraq and Syria. The commission proposal calls for a “legally binding one-hour deadline” for firms to remove terrorist content once national authorities order them to do so. It defines the content as that which incites or advocates committing terror offences, promotes a terror group’s activities or offers instructions for attacks.”

New Europe: Terrorist-Related Content To Be Removed From Internet Platforms Within An Hour, Says Juncker

“Internet platforms will be required to remove all terrorism-related content within one hour of being reported, else sanctions await, according to a proposal presented to the European Parliament by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who said during his last State of the Union address that those who fail to comply would be subject to stiff sanctions by the bloc. David Ibsen, the Executive Director of The Counter Extremism Project, was quick to commend the Commission for taking a positive step towards combatting extremist content online but said the new measures fall short of a clear solution to the growing problem of illegal content online. “The fact that the Commission is proposing a Regulation, as opposed to a Directive, shows the seriousness of the issue. We, at the Counter Extremism Project, have seen that content is downloaded and consistently re-uploaded across the same platforms it was previously taken down from. This cannot continue. Reliable enforcement and automated technology so that content can be taken down within one hour of upload need to be included in the proposed draft,” said Ibsen.”

The Wall Street Journal: Tech Firms Face Prospect Of Fines In Europe Over Terror Propaganda

“The European Union is proposing massive fines for online providers that aren’t fast enough in removing terrorist content from their services, raising pressure on big tech firms like Facebook Inc. FB -2.37% and Alphabet Inc.’s GOOGL -1.55% Google that have backed voluntary approaches. The bloc’s executive arm Wednesday proposed new legislation that would create a legal obligation for any online service to remove terrorist content within an hour of being notified of its presence, and to install automated systems to prevent removed content from popping up again. In March, the EU issued new guidelines ordering faster content removal with the explicit threat of introducing legislation if actions weren’t taken fast enough. “Systematic failures” to remove content within one hour would expose companies to fines rising to a maximum of 4% of their world-wide revenue for the prior year, according to the proposal. For Alphabet that would be a maximum of $4.43 billion and for Facebook it would be $1.63 billion.”

Bloomberg: Google, Facebook Dealt Blow By EU Lawmakers On Copyright

“Tech platforms and internet activists protested the outcome of a European Parliament vote Wednesday to back copyright rules that would help video, music and other rights holders seek compensation for use of their content online. Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Facebook Inc. and other tech firms may soon be forced to negotiate licenses for content that appears on their sites, creating legal headaches for the companies, after lawmakers broadly supported a legislative proposal for new copyright rules, unveiled in 2016 by the European Commission. The European Parliament in July had rejected the rules but backed them in a final vote Wednesday after lawmakers submitted slight tweaks to the text, which included ensuring small platforms were excluded from the scope of the law. If they fail to negotiate a license with video or music producers, tech firms could have to actively filter out copyrighted content from what users upload on their platforms, which has sparked concerns among internet activists that this could lead to censorship. The parliament sought to address those concerns by ruling that any action platforms take to check uploads should avoid catching works that don’t infringe any copyrights.”

BBC News: Google, Facebook, Twitter Face EU Fines Over Extremist Posts

“Google, Facebook and Twitter must remove extremist content within an hour or face hefty fines, the European Commission's president has said. In his annual State of the Union address to the European Parliament, Jean-Claude Juncker said an hour was a "decisive time window". Net firms had been given three months in March to show they were acting faster to take down radical posts. But EU regulators said too little was being done. If authorities flag content that incites and advocates extremism, the content must be removed from the web within an hour, the proposal from the EU's lead civil servant states. Net firms that fail to comply would face fines of up to 4% of their annual global turnover. The proposal will need backing from the countries that make up the European Union as well as the European Parliament. In response to the plans, Facebook said: "There is no place for terrorism on Facebook, and we share the goal of the European Commission to fight it, and believe that it is only through a common effort across companies, civil society and institutions that results can be achieved.”

The Guardian: The Guardian View On Facebook: Extremism Needs Moderation

“Politicians all around the world are worried by Facebook’s power. They have good reason to be. In 14 years this one company has become a new mass medium, dwarfing all previous corporations in its reach and power. The US-based Pew Research centre reckons that 1.8 billion people use Facebook as their leading source of news. Even when the company makes no efforts to influence which stories people see (an activity that is central to its business) it can influence democracies profoundly. Simply by allowing Facebook users to click a button to tell their friends they had voted, it was able in one experiment to raise the turnout significantly. This power is exercised almost entirely asymmetrically: democratic governments have very little power to influence Facebook’s policies or even to know what those policies are. The same dynamic applies to other social media, especially Twitter, and to the Google empire as well. The algorithms deployed by YouTube (which is owned by Google’s parent, Alphabet) have a capacity to drive radicalisation and to normalise extremist views. All these companies make their money by keeping viewers’ attention so that it can be sold on to advertisers – and this attention is best caught, and kept, by increasingly sensational content. The process by which this happens is entirely automatic and algorithmic, controlled by programs of such complexity that not even their developers can understand how they work in detail: they can only measure how effective they are.”

The Wall Street Journal: EU Advances On Copyright Bill Opposed By Silicon Valley

“The European Parliament on Wednesday adopted a draft copyright bill with provisions aimed at forcing tech giants to pay more to media companies for music and news content that is used on their platforms. The vote, which was delayed for several months amid intense lobbying from publishers and internet companies, sets the parameters for negotiations among the parliament, the EU’s executive body and European governments. If a law is ultimately agreed, EU countries would have up to two years to implement the new rules, which would be enforced by member countries. The tech industry has strongly opposed the new rules, and on Wednesday several groups said they would keep fighting the bill’s final adoption during coming negotiations with member states. Edima, a trade group representing online platforms including Amazon.com Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s GOOGL -1.55% Google, Apple Inc. and Facebook Inc., said EU legislators had “decided to support the filtering of the internet to the benefit of big businesses in the music and publishing industries despite huge public outcry.”

Muslim Brotherhood

Elwatan News: Egypt: Lawsuits Authority Prepares Its Rebuttal To Muslim Brotherhood Appeals Against The Appropriation Of Its Funds

“Egypt's State Lawsuits Authority has started its preparations to judicially respond to the anticipated appeals by Muslim Brotherhood leaders and members against the recent decision to appropriate their funds and assets. These individuals are expected to file appeals soon at various courts against the new decision by the state committee tasked with confiscating and managing the funds and assets of the entities and persons classified as "terrorists." Sources at the Lawsuits Authority described the new decision as an important move to settle all disputed asset confiscation cases at the various Egyptian courts, particularly the administrative courts. The same sources added that there is no longer any controversy as to the nature of these cases, be they judicial or administrative. Appeals against the said appropriation decisions will be filed only at the Urgent Matters Courts, the sources noted. It's noteworthy that the abovementioned state committee decided to freeze the funds of Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated persons (1,589), companies (118) and NGOs (1,133).”

Seventh Day: Egypt: Former Official Demands New Law To Seize Muslim Brotherhood Funds

“General Magdy Abdel-Halim, a former aide of the Egyptian Minister of Interior, demanded that parliament draft a new law to seize the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood's funds rather than merely to freeze them. The official explained that Khayrat Al-Shater, Muslim Brotherhood Deputy Supreme Guide, had been allowed [in the past] to recover his frozen assets after being released from prison, in connection with the case known as "Salsabil." During an interview on the "Extra News" satellite TV channel, General Abdel-Halim further noted that most of the banned Islamist group's funds have been generated, in recent times, through money-laundering activities, which cause serious harm to the national economy.”

Almal News: Egyptian Media Figure Sets Appropriated Muslim Brotherhood Assets At An Estimated EGP 300 Billion

“Ahmed Mousa, a prominent Egyptian media figure, estimated at EGP 300 billion ($16.75 billion) the total value of the recently appropriated properties belonging to the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood, including EGP 120 billion ($6.7 billion) worth of hospital assets and EGP 70 billion ($3.9 billion) worth of school assets. During his show called “Ala Mas'uliyati” (“My Responsibility”) on the Egyptian Sada El-Balad TV, the renowned TV host stressed that the state committee's decision to seize these funds and assets was made in compliance with Law no. 22 of 2018 in reference to regulating the sequestration, management and disposal of the assets of terrorist organizations and terrorists.”

Iran Revolutionary Guards Corps

Erem News: Sum Of $22 Million Embezzled By Senior Officer In The IRGC

“Sources in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) revealed on Tuesday that a senior officer of its General Staff had embezzled $22 million, according to the Amad News website, which is affiliated with the Iranian opposition. The officer is also the former commander of the IRGC's air base in Shiraz province, the sources disclosed. The ordeal started when the IRGC sent the officer to strike a deal for the procurement of US helicopters for the Red Crescent prior to the first round of US sanctions against Tehran in early August. According to the sources, the officer transferred the amount to Turkey and purchased one US-made Bell 412 helicopter and moved it to the southern Iranian island of Kish. The officer then claimed that the money had been transferred to a European bank account. However, sources claimed that what actually transpired was a money laundering operation, and that the said amount would be transferred to the personal accounts of several IRGC officials.”


Bald News: Houthis Grant Citizenship To 86 Foreigners, Including Iranians

“A well-informed source revealed that the Houthis have granted citizenship to several Iranian militants, members of Hezbollah and others from African countries who are executing missions for the Houthis on the battlefields. The source added that, in the past two months, Houthis have granted national status to 86 foreigners, in addition to giving them Yemeni identity cards and passports issued by authorities in Sana'a. The source explained that a dispute broke out between Houthi leaders about the necessity of granting citizenship to the {foreign} militants, but orders issued by the leader of the Ansar Allah group, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, settled the argument. The Houthis agreed to grant citizenship to 22 Iranians working as military experts, intelligence agents and ideological teachers, to 24 Hezbollah members carrying out their duties in the capacity of military experts, and to 40 militants from African countries.”