Eye on Extremism: September 13, 2023

Associated Press: US Sanctions Lebanon-South America Network Accused Of Financing Hezbollah

“The U.S. Treasury on Tuesday slapped terrorism sanctions on a family network of seven individuals and businesses in Lebanon and South America accused of financing the militant group Hezbollah, including a Lebanese man who officials say was involved in two deadly attacks in Argentina in the 1990s. Amer Mohamed Akil Rada was described as “one of the operational members” who carried out the attack on the Argentine-Israelite Mutual Association in Buenos Aires in 1994, which killed 85 people and wounded hundreds. A 1992 attack on the Israeli Embassy in Argentina killed 29 people. “Today’s action underscores the U.S. government’s commitment to pursuing Hezbollah operatives and financiers no matter their location,” said Brian Nelson, the Treasury’s under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, in a statement. The Iran-backed group is designated a “foreign terrorist organization,” and Washington also claims that the group has been involved in drug trafficking in Latin America to generate revenue.”

Voice Of America: US Envoy: Taliban Kill 8 Key Islamic State Leaders In Afghanistan

“The Taliban's "successful" offensive against the Islamic State branch in Afghanistan, IS-Khorasan, has "significantly degraded" its capability and steadily decreased large-scale attacks against civilians, according to a senior US envoy. Tom West, the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan, shared the assessment during a Tuesday seminar at the nonpartisan Stimson Center think tank in Washington. "They have a very aggressive violent offensive ongoing that has significantly degraded ISKP capability," West said, using an acronym for IS-Khorasan. "I think it's notable that since early 2023, Taliban raids in Afghanistan have removed at least eight key ISKP leaders, some responsible for external plotting." West said the counterterrorism actions had led to a "steady decrease" in attacks against Afghan civilians. "There were horrific attacks largely against the Hazara population, but we have not seen a return to those sorts of attacks since then," he added.”

United States

Voice Of America: US Maintains Taliban Engagement, Names Obstacles To Normalization

“The Taliban's quest for normalization of relations with the international community, which includes relief from terrorism sanctions and the release of Afghan financial assets, faces significant obstacles due to the regime's oppressive policies toward women, ongoing security threats, and the group's failure to form an inclusive government, according to a top U.S. official. Despite the Taliban holding sway over all of Afghanistan for more than two years, no country has officially recognized their self-proclaimed Islamic Emirate. Thomas West, U.S. special representative for Afghanistan, underscored the reasons behind the diplomatic standoff during a Tuesday event at the Stimson Center, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington. "Steps toward normalization, I think, are not going to be possible. And I think there will remain remarkable unity among the international community until and unless we see a significant change in their [Taliban] treatment of the population," West said.”


UN News: Afghanistan: Human Rights ‘In A State Of Collapse’, Warns Türk

““Human rights in Afghanistan are in a state of collapse,” he told the Human Rights Council, before sounding the alarm over ongoing reports of extrajudicial killings, torture and ill-treatment and arbitrary arrests and detentions, as well as serious violations against former Government officials, as documented in a new human rights office (OHCHR) report. “Compounding all of this is a deeply troubling lack of accountability for perpetrators of human rights violations,” he said. Highlighting the “devastating precedent” set by Afghanistan as the only country in the world where women and girls are denied access to secondary and higher education. Mr. Türk underscored the “long list of misogynistic restrictions” confining the country’s women “to the four walls of their homes”, before asking: “What can possibly come next?” The High Commissioner insisted that any prospect of a stable, prosperous Afghanistan rests on the participation of men and women.”


Associated Press: Taliban Reject Pakistani Claims Of Unlawful Structures, Indiscriminate Firing At Key Border Crossing

“The Taliban on Tuesday rejected Pakistani government accusations that they’re to blame for the closure of a key border crossing. Pakistan shut the vital commercial artery of Torkham in its northwest last Wednesday after guards from the two countries exchanged fire. A Foreign Ministry spokesperson in Islamabad on Monday accused the Taliban of building unlawful structures and indiscriminate and unprovoked firing. The spokesperson, Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, also repeated claims that Afghanistan allows its soil to be used for terror attacks on Pakistan. The two countries have been trading blame for months over border issues and militancy. Baloch’s remarks have infuriated the Taliban, with one ministry official calling the Pakistani government “impotent” because it cannot guarantee the country’s security. The Taliban-led Aghan Interior Ministry spokesman Abdul Mateen Qani said such incidents happen at borders. “In this case, we did not attack,” he told The Associated Press. “When we were attacked, we defended ourselves and this is our right. It is a matter of regret that Pakistan has not been able to ensure its security and is putting its problems on Afghans, that we are interfering. This is the reason for their impotence, they cannot ensure their own security.””


The Times India: Top Hamas Leader In Beirut In A Bid To Stop Clashes At Palestinian Refugee Camp

“A top Hamas leader arrives in Beirut to push for an end to clashes in Lebanon’s largest Palestinian refugee camp that resumed despite multiple ceasefire agreements. Days of fighting in the Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp near the southern port city of Sidon left at least six people dead and over 50 others wounded, according to medical officials and state media. Stray bullets and shells hit residential areas in the country’s third-largest city, wounding five Lebanese soldiers at checkpoints near the camp yesterday. A ceasefire declared late yesterday, after Lebanon’s head of the country’s General Security Directorate met with officials from rival Palestinian factions, lasted just hours before fighting erupted again. Senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk will meet with Lebanese officials and representatives from the Palestinian factions to try and reach a settlement to end the clashes, the militant group said in a statement.”

Middle East

Bloomberg: Saudi-UAE Rift Threatens US Effort To End Yemen War

“A deepening rift over the fate of Yemen is endangering peace prospects with risks for the oil-rich Gulf powers that are at the heart of it. After joining forces to fight the Iranian-backed Houthi group that looked set to overrun Yemen in 2015, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are backing rival groups vying for control of a country that sits at the crossroads of vital shipping lanes and on the edge of a major energy-exporting region. Now, divisions over what a post-war Yemen should look like imperil a fragile truce with the Houthis and threaten to escalate into a fresh round of bloodletting between proxy groups supported by the UAE on one side and Saudi Arabia on the other, said four people directly involved in events on the ground. Recent clashes between Houthi fighters and forces backed by the UAE have already left nearly two dozen dead.”

Voice Of America: Extremist Sect Threatens Protests After Yeshiva Student Arrested For IDF Desertion

“The extremist ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem Faction threatened on Wednesday to hold demonstrations across the country and block roads during rush hour to protest the arrest of a 23-year-old man for alleged military desertion. The man from the central city of Bnei Brak, reportedly a student at the Ponevezh Yeshiva, was detained by military police after he failed to turn up to the Israel Defense Forces recruiting office, according to Hebrew media reports. The Haredi population of Israel overwhelmingly opposes performing mandated national civil or military service, seeing it as a way for secular forces to potentially draw away its members. In recent years, there have been several large protests against the IDF draft by the Jerusalem Faction, an anti-Zionist sect. The drafting of ultra-Orthodox men into the military has long been highly controversial, and even more so in recent months, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hardline government planning a law to facilitate increased exemptions for Haredim from military service.”


Garowe Online: After Defeats By Al-Shabaab, Somalia Army Remobilizes Ahead Of Operations

“With a series of defeats inflicted on the Somali National Army [SNA], particularly in Oswein village and its environs, troops have started reorganizing themselves in several frontlines ahead of the second and perhaps the final phase of operations against the Al-Shabaab militants. With President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud moving around the country to encourage the troops to soldier on, a number of them have been arraigned in military court for "abdicating duties". A number of soldiers had withdrawn from various frontlines after Al-Shabaab's victory in Casweyne/Oswein in central regions. According to Investigative Dossier, government troops are moving to revive the military offensive against al-Shabaab. Within the last few days Govt forces moved into El Lahelay [Ceel Lahelay], and El Garas [Ceel Garas] in the Galgudud region, the VOA-run program notes. At El-Garas town on Sunday, troops moved out following an IED explosion with al-Shabaab moved back in but officials insist the troops are still on the outskirts. These troops, the same unit that entered El Lahelay appear to be cautious and they are staying together, The Dossier reveals.”


Reuters: Malian Army And Northern Rebels Report Dozens Killed In Clashes

“Mali's military and Tuareg rebels said there had been deadly clashes on Tuesday in the northern town of Bourem, in a further sign of the unravelling of a 2015 peace deal. The rebel alliance, called the Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA), has been fighting the army since August, a conflict unleashed in part by the departure of a United Nations peacekeeping mission that for years had helped maintain a fragile calm. But clashes appear to be intensifying as both sides seek to control territory in areas recently vacated by the U.N. Bourem is just 90 km (55 miles) north of the strategic city of Gao. The general staff of the Malian armed forces said 10 combatants on its side were killed on Tuesday repelling an attack near Bourem and said 46 enemy fighters had been killed during the operation. The CMA said in a statement on Wednesday that it had lost nine fighters and had killed about 97 Malian soldiers. The group, formed by semi-nomadic Tuareg people, said it had attacked four army positions around the town of Bourem and made away with vehicles, weapons and ammunition.”

The Times Of India: Mali Army Says About 10 Soldiers Died In Suicide Attack

“Mali's on Tuesday said it had lost around ten soldiers in an attack last week on a camp in the northern city of Gao that was claimed by Al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadists. In a post on its website, the army said a car bomb attack on September 8 "caused around ten deaths... among the Malian Armed Forces". The chief of general staff of the armies, General Oumar Diarra, visited the site on Sunday, it added. No death toll had previously been reported. The Al-Qaeda-linked jihadist alliance Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM) claimed responsibility for the incident the following day on the Al-Zallaqa propaganda platform. SITE, an American NGO specialising in monitoring radical groups, said four people carried out the attack. It took place amid growing tensions between government forces and various armed actors, and a succession of attacks and hostile acts around Gao and the ancient city of Timbuktu. On September 7, at least 64 civilians and soldiers were killed in twin attacks in the north attributed to jihadists.”

Southeast Asia

The Times Of India: 'Militants' In Police Commando Uniform Kill Three In Manipur

“Suspected militants disguised as police commandos killed three tribal villagers travelling along a mud road meant to procure emergency food and medicine supplies, early Tuesday morning in Manipur's Kangpokpi district, keeping the brutal sectarian strife alive for more than four months now. Security sources said at least nine militants sneaked into the hill territory at night on foot after crossing the buffer zone through gaps in the security deployment and laid an ambush between a Naga village, Ireng, and a Vaiphei village, Kharam. Around 6.30 am, they attacked three unarmed villagers, Satneo Tuboi (37), Ngamminlun Lhouvum (30) and Ngamminlun Kipgen (32), travelling in a gypsy from Ponlen village to Kangpokpi for medical treatment and procuring essential items. Security officials said the dirt road taken by the villagers is the lone supply route between tribals in Kangchup areas and its Kangpokpi district headquarters and it runs through Ireng Village Authority, the owners of the land.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.


On September 15, 2019, a truck bomb exploded outside of the Al-Rai Hospital in Syria’s Aleppo Governorate, killing 12 civilians and injuring many more. There were no immediate claims of responsibility. 

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