Eye on Extremism: September 27

The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Intelligence Finds Syrian Government Conducted Chlorine Rocket Attack In May

“Syrian government forces carried out a chlorine attack in May, the first confirmed violation of the international accord banning chemical weapons since President Trump authorized a U.S. military strike on Syria in 2018 over its alleged use of poison gas, a new U.S. intelligence assessment says. The episode took place on May 19 near the village of Kabana as President Bashar al-Assad’s forces sought to subdue resistance in Latakia province, a senior U.S. official said. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the assessment Thursday in an effort to dissuade the Assad government from repeating its use of chemical agents on the battlefield. “The United States will not allow these attacks to go unchallenged,” Mr. Pompeo said. “Nor will we tolerate those who chose to conceal these atrocities.” At least four people were wounded in the rocket strike, which was alleged at the time by the Syrian opposition but took months for U.S. intelligence to confirm. The Syrian government has denied the attack.”

The Washington Post: As Tensions Boil In The Persian Gulf, Iraq Seeks To Rein In Iran-Aligned Militias

“Escalating tensions between the United States and Iran have raised the prospect that Iraq could again became the terrain on which these two powers pursue their shadow war and a staging ground for attacks on American and allied forces in the region. But recent developments suggest that the government in Baghdad is trying to clip the wings of the powerful Iran-aligned militias operating in Iraq, just as Tehran is looking for its proxies and allies in the Middle East to intensify the pressure on U.S. interests. Iraqi officials are worried that their country could get sucked into the conflict, with concerns spiking after a May 14 drone strike on a pipeline in neighboring Saudi Arabia. The officials were embarrassed to learn that the attack had not come from Iran-backed rebels in Yemen, who had claimed responsibility for the strike, but from Iraqi territory, said lawmakers and Western officials who described the fallout.”

Voice Of America: US-Backed Forces In Syria Defy Trump On Islamic State Fighters

“U.S. efforts to have European countries immediately take back men and women who left to fight with the Islamic State terror group in Syria are meeting with unexpected resistance from U.S.-backed forces on the ground. Officials with the political wing of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, say they will only agree to release the thousands of foreign fighters after they have been tried for their crimes in Syria. “We want to sentence them in our area, so they don't run from punishment,” Ilham Ahmed, co-chair of the Syrian Democratic Council, said Wednesday in Washington during a meeting with a small group of academics and journalists. “This is what we insist on.” The SDC estimates it is currently holding 2,200 IS foreign fighters, as well as another 6,000 who are mostly from Syria. Almost all of them are being held in converted school buildings and other makeshift prisons set up following the fall of the last IS Syrian stronghold of Baghuz last March. But U.S. officials have warned of repeated breakout attempts, adding the situation is “not sustainable.” Ahmed, speaking through an interpreter, admitted the prisons “are not equipped” to hold the captured IS fighters for the long term.”

The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Sending Patriot Battery, 200 Troops To Saudi Arabia

“The U.S. military will send an antimissile battery, radar systems and just over 200 additional U.S. service members to Saudi Arabia in response to the suspected Iranian attack this month against Saudi oil facilities, the Pentagon said. The deployment will include a Patriot antimissile battery and four Sentinel radars, along with the 200 service members as support staff, Jonathan Hoffman, chief Pentagon spokesman, said on Thursday. “This deployment will augment the Kingdom’s air and missile defense of critical military and civilian infrastructure,” said Mr. Hoffman, adding it would add to “an already significant presence of U.S. forces in the region.” The U.S. in July said it was deploying hundreds of troops and equipment to Saudi Arabia in response to earlier threats from Iran. Last week, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said President Trump had ordered additional forces and hardware in response to the Sept. 14 cruise missile and drone attack against two Saudi petroleum facilities.”

The Washington Examiner: Despite $380M In US Aid For Religious Minorities Persecuted By ISIS, 1 Million From Nineveh Plains Remain Displaced

“Two years after Vice President Mike Pence promised help to Iraq’s displaced religious minorities, a U.S. official said American aid has yielded mixed results, with many displaced individuals still unable to return to their hometowns. The United States has given $380 million to rebuild northern Iraqi communities belonging to Christians, Yazidis, and other religious minorities, according to Hallam Ferguson, Senior Deputy Administrator in the Middle East Bureau for the U.S. Agency for International Development. But almost a million people from the Nineveh Plains, the historic homeland of the predominantly Christian Assyrian people, remain displaced in the wake of a genocide perpetrated by ISIS. “The objective of the United States government is for people to return there and in that way, reverse the effects of genocide by ISIS,” Ferguson told members of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom at a hearing Thursday. Despite the hundreds of millions of dollars devoted to northern Iraq, Ferguson said, there has been "only modest success in our efforts."

Euronews: Exclusive: 'France Doesn't Want Us' — Europeans Who Joined ISIS Face Iraqi Justice

“Months after the final collapse of the so-called Islamic State in the deserts of eastern Syria, tens-of-thousands of its fighters and those that lived within its so-called caliphate face an uncertain future. Many are in the north-eastern Syrian region of Rojava, where Kurdish authorities hold 10,000 ISIS fighters, including 2,000 foreigners, and wish to see them tried in local courts. “We’re asking for an international tribunal. Why should these courts be here? Because ISIS fighters' atrocities were committed here, and because the evidence, the proof, the witnesses, are all here,” Abdulkarim Omar, co-chair of foreign relations in the Kurdish administration, told Euronews’ Anelise Borges in northeastern Syria. But certain countries, including France and Belgium, have reportedly negotiated with third nations the process of bringing their citizens to justice. At least 11 French nationals have been tried in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, says Nabil Boudi, a lawyer who represents European nationals held in Syria and Iraq for suspected links to ISIS. Boudi has warned that there could be consequences for France. “If France’s involvement in the transfer (of French prisoners from Syria to Iraq) is documented, proved, France will be condemned in international and European courts,” he said.”

United States

The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Sanctions Russian Firm For Alleged Fuel Sales To Syria

“The Trump administration imposed sanctions Thursday against a Moscow-based firm and five vessels the Treasury Department said shipped fuel to Syria used to support the Assad regime’s bombing campaigns against civilians. The action announced by the U.S. Treasury Department is designed not only to disrupt fuel deliveries to Syria, but to highlight Russia’s military support for a government accused by the U.S. and others of committing war crimes. The move came as the U.S. accused the Syrian government of carrying out another chlorine attack, in May, according to a new U.S. intelligence assessment. That adds to several years of incidents under investigation by the international watchdog agency, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. President Bashar al Assad’s “despotic regime is under an international spotlight for using chemical weapons and committing atrocities against innocent Syrian civilians, and they rely on these types of illicit networks to stay in power,” said Sigal Mandelker, Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.”

Syria

The New York Times: U.S. Concludes Syria Used Chemical Weapons In May Attack

“The United States has concluded that Syria used chlorine gas in an attack against rebels last May, saying Thursday that it was the latest use of chemical weapons by President Bashar al-Assad’s government in the eight-year civil war but stopping short of threatening a military response. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Mr. Assad’s government that “we’re going to do everything we can reasonably do to prevent this kind of thing from happening again.” But he said that chlorine attacks amounted to a “different situation” than the suspected use of sarin, a nerve agent, that killed 80 people and provoked missile strikes against a Syrian air base by the Trump administration in April 2017. One year later, in April 2018, at least 40 people died in a chemical attack that may have involved sarin or chlorine — or possibly elements of both. That galvanized the United States, Britain and France to launch airstrikes against Syrian chemical weapons storage facilities and military depots.”

Al Monitor: SDF, Coalition Crack Down On Islamic State Remnants In Syria

“Backed by the US-led international coalition, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are conducting near-daily air raids against Islamic State (IS) cells, which in turn carry out assassinations and bombings against the SDF and civilians who collaborate with it in the northern and eastern provinces of Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor and Hasakah. IS sleeper cells have hung leaflets on the gates of mosques, vowing to punish those who cooperate with the SDF. The war on IS is supposed to be over, but the battles are far from finished; September has provided numerous examples of this. On Sept. 24, the Institute for the Study of War warned that IS “is preparing to free its loyal fighters and followers from prisons and displacement camps across Syria and Iraq.” ISW referred to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's call Sept. 16 for his supporters to practice jihad, stressing the need to liberate his fighters and their families held by the SDF. Baghdadi ordered his fighters to target security people, investigators and judges at prisons where other IS fighters are held. Meanwhile, the SDF said in a Sept. 21 statement that it had arrested three people suspected of being part of an IS cell responsible for the assassination of Legislative Council co-Chairman Marwan al-Fateh last year.”

Al Jazeera: US Accuses Syria's Assad Of Chemical Attack In Idlib

“The United States has concluded that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces used chemical weapons in an attack in May, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said, vowing a response.  The Assad regime used chlorine on May 19 as part of its deadly offensive in the last rebel stronghold of Idlib, Pompeo said on Thursday at a news conference in New York, where he has been attending the United Nations General Assembly. “The Assad regime is responsible for innumerable atrocities some of which rise to the level of war crimes and crimes against humanity,” Pompeo told reporters. “The US will not allow these attacks to go unchallenged nor will we tolerate those who choose to conceal these atrocities.” Pompeo added that the US would continue to pressure the Assad regime to end the violence and participate in the United Nations-led political process. The US said in May it had received numerous reports that appeared consistent with chemical exposure after an attack by Syrian government forces in northwest Syria, but it had made no definitive conclusion as to whether they used chemical weapons. International investigators say that the Russian-backed forces of Assad have repeatedly used chemical weapons against civilian targets in its brutal quest to end the civil war.”

Al Jazeera: Women Of ISIL: Life Inside The Caliphate

“Teachers, nurses, mothers, torturers - under the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group's rule, women played crucial roles in the organisation, some as willing participants, others as coerced victims. ISIL, it was like a disease, an epidemic like the flu that infects everyone. Unfortunately, it infected my home. It infiltrated through my husband. Through a series of rare testimonies, women from Syria and Iraq share what everyday life was like under the armed group. Their accounts reveal an organisation that is both brutal and uncompromising. Women hired as religious police patrolled the streets, looking for people who broke dress codes or committed other moral offences. Teachers taught schoolchildren Islamic lessons beyond their age. Nurses were forced to work at ISIL-controlled hospitals. Schools were closed and repurposed as training centres. Make-up was forbidden. Movement was restricted. And torture was a regular punishment, used for offences as minor as wearing nail polish. In Women of ISIL, we speak to the women fully integrated into the organisation, playing active roles in punishment and torture, as well as those who resisted through everyday acts of defiance, including running a salon, or teaching schoolchildren in private.”

Yahoo News: In Syria, A Vast Underground Hideout Housed Rebel Base

“Tunnels run for hundreds of metres, connecting caves strewn with mattresses that formed what the Syrian army and its Russian allies say was a vast rebel underground network. The road leading to the entrance of the tunnels in Lataminah in northwestern Syria is lined with the charred shells of cars and armoured vehicles. According to the Russian army, which organised a press tour of the site for dozens of journalists, the network of caves dug into a rocky outcrop could shelter up to 5,000 people. "We think this network was dug about four years ago with sophisticated machinery, of a kind which is not available in Syria," a Syrian army colonel said as he led reporters into the tunnels, escorted by Russian demining experts.”

Iran

Fox News: Israeli Ambassador Danon: Don’t Be Fooled By Iran – Evil Regime Embraces Terrorism, Bloodshed And Blackmail

“The annual opening session of the United Nations General Assembly is replete with high-level notable moments. In 1960, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev banged his shoe on the table to interrupt British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan’s speech. In 1974, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat infamously delivered his remarks with a gun holstered to his side, in violation of U.N. protocol and international decorum. In 2009, Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi ripped up the U.N. Charter. And Wednesday Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke about creating a “Coalition of Hope” to guarantee stability and security in the Strait of Hormuz. Rouhani’s suggestion that Iran will spearhead a multilateral organization comprised of the Gulf countries is a brazen attempt to persuade the international community that the Iranian regime is a sheep – not a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It indicates how foolish he believes the world is in viewing Tehran as the victim in the escalating conflict with the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.”

BBC: Iran Nuclear Deal: EU Nations Warn Tehran Over Breaches

“Britain, France and Germany have warned Iran against any further breaches of the international nuclear deal signed in 2015, the BBC has learnt. In New York on Thursday, the three EU signatories to the deal said they would trigger a special dispute mechanism if there were further violations. Iran began breaching its commitments under the deal after the US abandoned it and imposed sanctions last year. The UN nuclear watchdog has said Iran is using banned enrichment technology. The warning was issued at a meeting with Iranian ministers on the fringes of the UN General Assembly, reports the BBC's James Landale at the UN. If the dispute mechanism is triggered, the entire nuclear agreement could collapse and the UN could reinstate sanctions on Iran, which would be applied by all member states, our correspondent says. This would have a devastating impact on the Iranian economy, he adds.”

BBC: Iranian Spying Charge 'Preposterous', Prisoner's Wife Says

“The wife of a British-Iranian dual national who has been jailed for 10 years in Iran says allegations he was a spy for Israel are "bogus". Anoosheh Ashoori, a 65-year-old retired civil engineer from London, was convicted in July of spying for Israel's Mossad intelligence agency. His wife, Sherry Izadi, said the claims were "preposterous" and asked the UK government to help free him. The British Foreign Office has urged Iran to reunite him with his family. Speaking for the first time since his arrest, Ms Izadi told the BBC her husband had been visiting his 86-year-old mother in Iran in August 2017 when he was "bundled into a car" by Iranian authorities. She said the father of two had been held in solitary confinement on and off for four months. Ms Izadi, 56, said her husband was forced to represent himself at his trial and that his appeal has been rejected.”

Iraq

The Daily Mail: Amal Clooney Addresses Diplomats At The United Nations Over Plans To Put 20,000 ISIS Fighters On Trial In Iraq

“Amal Clooney appeared at the United Nations in New York for the second time this week on Thursday. The human rights lawyer addressed a meeting of high-level officials from 20 countries who convened to discuss placing ISIS fighters on trial in Iraq. Clooney sat next to Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok, who has taken the initiative of setting up possible tribunals for some 20,000 ISIS members. Blok is working alongside his Iraqi counterpart, Ali Alhakim, who helped organize a meeting that included diplomats from 20 countries, according to the Dutch news site NRC. There are an estimated 20,000 ISIS fighters in Iraq - 1,000 of them being foreigners from European and other Western countries.  Clooney, the wife of actor George Clooney, was also scheduled to address the officials on Thursday. For years, Amal Clooney has represented ethnic Yazidi women who were taken captive and forced into sexual slavery by ISIS. Yazidis are a minority community in Iraq who were recognized by the UN as victims of genocide by ISIS. Clooney represents Yazidi women and girls who were held in the house of Umm Sayyaf, the wife of Islamic State financier Abu Sayyaf. Kayla Mueller, an American humanitarian aid worker, was also held there for a time.”

Xinhua: Iraqi Forces Seize Large IS Caches Of Ammunition In Western Iraq

“Iraqi security forces on Thursday seized large caches of ammunition belonging to the militant group Islamic State (IS) in the western Anbar province, the Iraqi military said. A joint force from Anbar's Operations Command and the intelligence service conducted a search operation in the area of Wadi al-Qadhif in south of the town of al-Rutba, some 400 km west of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, said a statement by the Joint Operations Command. The troops found caches of ammunition containing 360 improvised explosive device (IEDs), 42 anti-tank mines, 200 rocket propelled grenades (RPG-7), 95 heat-seeking missiles and 18 jerrycans filled with ammonia nitrate. Another force from Anbar's Operations Command carried out a search operation in the area of al-Saggar, east of the town of al-Qaim near the border with Syria, the statement said. The troops discovered seven IS hideouts and a cave containing four IEDs, anti-tank land mines and various explosive devices and supplies, the statement said, adding that the troops seized the ammunition and destroyed all the hideouts and the cave. The security situation in Iraq has dramatically improved after Iraqi security forces fully defeated the extremist IS militants across the country in late 2017.”

Afghanistan

Reuters: Afghanistan Bolsters Security As Taliban Threatens Presidential Poll

“Afghanistan deployed more than 100,000 troops and police on Thursday to guard polling stations in a presidential election which the Taliban has threatened to disrupt with suicide bombings and rocket attacks. Every election in the last decade has been marred by violence in Afghanistan, where Taliban Islamic militants are fighting U.S.-backed government forces and demand the withdrawal of foreign troops from the country. Violence in Saturday’s election, in which President Ashraf Ghani is widely expected to win a second five-year term, could deepen political instability, embolden the Taliban and set back efforts to get stalled peace talks back on track. Of the 18 candidates, only Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, who as chief executive of a unity government is effectively prime minister, have a realistic chance of victory. Russia says it will help revive Afghan peace talks between Taliban, U.S. The winner will be key to efforts to forge peace with the Taliban and efforts to reset talks between the insurgents and the United States, which were called off earlier this month. Security will be tight as the more than 29,500 polling stations set up in schools, mosques, hospital compounds and district centers.”

Reuters: Russia Says It Will Help Revive Afghan Peace Talks Between Taliban, U.S.

“Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Thursday it would help revive Afghan peace talks between the United States and the Taliban that collapsed earlier this month, the RIA news agency reported. U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly canceled secret talks with the Taliban at his Camp David retreat that were planned for Sept. 8 and has since said the talks are “dead.”

Middle East

The Wall Street Journal: Saudi Arabia Agrees To Partial Cease-Fire In War-Shattered Yemen

“Saudi Arabia has moved to impose a partial cease-fire in Yemen, say people familiar with the plans, as Riyadh and the Houthi militants the kingdom is fighting try to bring an end to the four-year war that has become a front line in the broader regional clash with Iran. Saudi Arabia’s decision follows a surprise move by Houthi forces to declare a unilateral cease-fire in Yemen last week, just days after claiming responsibility for the Sept. 14 drone and cruise missile strike on Saudi Arabia’s oil industry. While the Houthis fired two missiles at Saudi Arabia earlier this week, the strike wasn’t seen by Saudi leaders as a serious attack that would undermine the new cease-fire efforts. Houthi leaders initially said they were responsible for the attack on the oil facilities, but Saudi, U.S. and European officials have dismissed the claims as a transparent attempt to obscure Iran’s role in the strike. Yemeni fighters, these officials say, have neither the weapons nor the skills to carry out such a sophisticated strike.”

Egypt

Asharq Al-Awsat: Egypt Calls For Holding Erdogan Accountable Over Terrorism, Targeting Of Kurds

“In a sharp statement, Cairo made several accusations against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, urging the international community to “hold him accountable” for what the Egyptian Foreign Ministry called “all of his crimes”. The statement, released on Wednesday by Egypt’s foreign ministry spokesman, Ahmed Hafez, said that Erdogan was supporting terrorism, arming extremists and deliberately targeting the Kurds. It also listed human rights violations in Turkey under Erdogan’s leadership, including thousands held as political prisoners, the suspicious deaths of dozens of detainees due to torture or inhuman prison conditions, and the closure of thousands of universities and educational institutions. Hafez said that Erdogan “claimed to defend the values of justice in his speech, but at the core showed feelings of hatred and spite toward Egypt and its people who have nothing but appreciation for the people of Turkey.” His remarks came in response to Erdogan’s speech during the UN General Assembly meetings, in which he raised doubts on Mohammed Morsi’s death in court last June.”

Egypt Today: Court Revokes Death Sentence Of 8 Defendants In Terrorism Case

“The Court of Cassation on Thursday has cancelled the death sentence issued against eight defendants in the case known in media as “terrorist Imbaba cell,” but upheld life imprisonment sentence against four others in the case. Giza Criminal Court in March, last year, upheld death sentences for 10 defendants in the case, after the court’s January verdict was approved by the Grand Mufti. The court also handed down life sentences to another four defendants, another one in absentia for a fleeing defendant, and the suspension of the court sentence for another defendant because of his death. The defendants were charged with forming an outlawed group; attacking state institutions; targeting Christians, police and armed forces officers; and endangering public stability and order, along with the illegal possession of firearms. According to the prosecution’s investigations, two of the defendants were public servants, another two were working as drivers, and one was an employee at the state broadcaster Maspero, along with a sports coach, an electrician and a technician.”

Nigeria

AllAfrica: Nigeria: UN Kicks As Boko Haram Kills Another Aid Worker

“The United Nations has condemned the killing of one of the six workers held in captivity by the terrorist group, Boko Haram. The insurgents had Wednesday uploaded a video online showing how the humanitarian worker was beheaded, two months after six workers of Action Against Hunger (AAH), an international humanitarian organisation, were abducted. Ahmad Salkida, a journalist well known for his link with the group, had equally through his verified Twitter handle, said the aid worker, a male was executed at a close range. Salkida said that he saw the video of the execution. Salkida added that the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP), said it took the action because “the government deceived them,” following months of secret negotiations between a team of intermediaries and unnamed officials. “#ISWAP has executed one of the six aid workers, working with the Action Against Hunger that was abducted two months ago in Borno,” Salkida tweeted. “One of the male aid workers was executed at close range in a short video clip seen by this reporter. “The group said it took the action because 'the government deceived them,' following months of what is now known as secret negotiations between a team of intermediaries and unnamed officials.”

Xinhua: Airstrikes Hit Boko Haram Militants, Destroy Camp In NE Nigeria

“Airstrikes by the Nigerian military have destroyed a logistics base of terror group Boko Haram during a raid in the northeast region, defense authorities said on Thursday. The logistics base also served as a training camp for the terrorists at a community called Kusuma on the fringes of Lake Chad. The airstrikes on Wednesday were executed after credible intelligence reports had established that a section of the settlement was serving as a training camp for the terrorists, Ibikunle Daramola, the spokesman for the air force, said in a statement made available to Xinhua. “Some buildings within the camp were being used to store their fuel, arms, and ammunition as well as other logistics supplies,” Daramola said. During pre-attack surveillance, the air force spokesman said, scores of Boko Haram fighters were seen attempting to flee the location upon hearing the sound of the attack aircraft. “They were engaged by the attack aircraft in successive passes, neutralizing many of them,” he said. According to him, the terrorists' logistics supply store, which was also hit, was seen engulfed in flames due to the raid.”

Quartz Africa: Nigeria’s Military Is In A Battle With Humanitarian NGOs In The Country’s Troubled Northeast

“Nigeria’s military has resumed hostilities in the country’s northeast with one of its frequent targets. Not military action against Boko Haram or the Islamic State West Africa but instead verbal warfare with humanitarian and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Over the past two weeks, the army has shut down regional offices of two prominent NGOs operating in the country’s northeast amid a brutal insurgency led by Boko Haram. First, it sealed offices of Action Against Hunger, the global non-profit focused on providing food aid. It accused the international body of supporting terrorists. That was followed by the closure of four offices of Mercy Corps, another prominent non-profit in the troubled northeast region. (In response, Mercy Corps has suspended its operations in parts of the region.)”

Somalia

Daily Sabah: Bomb Attack Targeting Turkish Officials In Mogadishu Injures 3 Teachers

“A bomb attack that hit a vehicle carrying engineers of Turkey's Maarif Foundation in the Somalian capital Mogadishu injured three people on Thursday. Speaking to Daily Sabah, Maarif Foundation Chairman Birol Akgün said that the attack was part of ongoing attacks that targeted Turkish foundations and companies in the region for a while. Al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabaab militants claimed responsibility for the attack through their propaganda radio. The three injured people were Turkish citizens teaching in Maarif schools in the country, who were taken to Mogadishu Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Hospital for their treatment.It is known that Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are some countries that have influence in the region. Somalia was the first country where the Maarif Foundation successfully made its foray, in a bid to replace schools once operated by the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ). The Maarif Foundation, which was founded in June 2016 in cooperation with the Ministry of National Education with the purpose of providing educational services abroad, now runs schools that used to belong to FETÖ.”

Africa

The Punch Nigeria: Global Response To Terrorism In West Africa

“With a motley assortment of terrorist groups rapidly mushrooming across the entire landscape of West Africa, leaders of the sub-region seem to have however agreed on the wisdom of forging a united front to effectively combat the frightening crisis of insecurity in their domains. This new thinking follows a meeting held recently in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, where the current security situation was extensively reappraised, a pledge of $1 billion made to combat insecurity from 2020 to 2024, and greater global support was canvassed. Although multinational forces are already in place, trying to fight off a dangerous mix of homegrown terror groups and their counterparts of foreign origin that have gained a foothold in the region, the forces still seem to operate in a desultory manner. The insurgents have continued to strike their targets tellingly and with unhindered frequency, adopting the guerrilla and asymmetric tactics. While Nigeria, confronted with a decade-old challenge of Boko Haram Islamist group and its mutants, is allied with Cameroon, Niger and Chad, another group referred to as the G5 Sahel Joint Force, backed by France, also operates in the region, drawing its membership from Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Chad and Niger.”

United Kingdom

BBC News: Terror Accused 'Denies Manchester Arena Attack Was Real'

“An Islamic State supporter accused of plotting a drone strike on the British Army does not believe the Manchester Arena terror attack was real, a court has heard. Hisham Muhammad, 25, allegedly hoarded an arsenal of weapons for a “lone wolf” attack, the Old Bailey was told. The weapons, including a tomahawk, a machete and bear claws, were discovered at his rented terrace in Bury. Mr Muhammad denies engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism. The 25-year-old, of Victoria Avenue, Whitefield, told the court he had become interested in “researching” so-called Islamic State after the Manchester Arena attack. “I wanted to find out the truth of what actually happened. I didn't believe it had happened and people were saying, yes it did,” said the father-of-two. He said he watched “two different videos of what was happening and each person was saying something different”. “I thought it was the Government trying to take away people's rights,” he said. When asked who he believed they were trying to target, he told the court: “Mainly Muslims.” Mr Muhammad also claimed so-called Islamic State was “created by the American Government to take away the rights of Muslims”, and that technology could be used to make “anything look real.”

The Independent: Shamima Begum: ISIS Bride Says She Is 'In A Really Bad Way' And Wants To Return Home To UK

“Isis bride Shamima Begum has said she struggling with mental health issues after the death of her three children and wants to be able to stand trial in the UK. The 19-year-old has been stripped her of her British citizenship and is currently living in a Syrian internment camp. The teenager who was just 15 when she left the UK with two friends to join the caliphate in the wartorn Middle Eastern country after being groomed online said she was struggling to cope with the loss of her three children, she had with her husband, the Dutch Isis fighter Yago Riedijk. “My mental health situation is not the best,” she told The Daily Mail. “My physical health is OK. I am still young and I do not get sick. That is not my problem. “Mentally, though, I am in a really bad way. I need therapy to deal with my grief. It is so hard. I have lost all my children.” Ms Begum added that none of her fellow prisoners “know what I have experienced.” She said: “They are not like my school friends who I could always talk to. They do not understand what I have been through. There is no mental health provision. I have heard that in other camps there is psychiatric help, but not here.”

Europe

The Defense Post: Spain Charges 7 Catalan Separatists With ‘Terrorist Organization’ Membership

“Seven Catalan separatists arrested on suspicion of planning violent attacks have been charged with belonging to a “terrorist organization” and remanded in custody, Spanish judicial authorities said on Thursday, September 26. The seven were among nine people detained on Monday on accusations they were planning attacks with possible explosives. The other two were released. A judge in Madrid ruled that there was evidence suggesting the seven were members of an organization intending to achieve Catalan independence “by any means including violence,” a court statement said. No details of the accused were given. The suspects were being held on charges of “rebellion, terrorism and possession of explosives” for an attack planned for the coming weeks which could have caused “irreparable damage,” the prosecution said on Monday. The seven suspects have also been charged with making and possessing explosives. Police searched the region and particularly the city of Sabadell, 25 km (15 miles) north of Barcelona, and found “equipment and substances considered to be used for the manufacture of explosives,” Spain’s Guardia Civil said.”

Technology

The New York Times: At Tech’s Leading Edge, Worry About A Concentration Of Power

“Each big step of progress in computing — from mainframe to personal computer to internet to smartphone — has opened opportunities for more people to invent on the digital frontier. But there is growing concern that trend is being reversed at tech’s new leading edge, artificial intelligence. Computer scientists say A.I. research is becoming increasingly expensive, requiring complex calculations done by giant data centers, leaving fewer people with easy access to the computing firepower necessary to develop the technology behind futuristic products like self-driving cars or digital assistants that can see, talk and reason. The danger, they say, is that pioneering artificial intelligence research will be a field of haves and have-nots. And the haves will be mainly a few big tech companies like Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, which each spend billions a year building out their data centers.”

CNBC: Facebook Is The Tech Giant Most Likely To Be Punished In Silicon Valley Antitrust Crackdown

“Mark Zuckerberg had a face-to-face meeting with President Donald Trump in the White House last week, and if the current view from technology executives is any indication, it was a wise move: The Facebook CEO can use all the friends he can get in the nation’s capital as antitrust scrutiny increases. More than half of technology executives (55%) recently surveyed by CNBC believe Facebook is the most likely to face punitive action as a result of the federal government’s antitrust review of Silicon Valley and technology corporate giants, which also includes Alphabet and Amazon. Technology executive sentiment on Alphabet’s antitrust outlook was less pessimistic, according to results of the third-quarter 2019 survey of the CNBC Technology Executive Council. Roughly 17% of tech executives said the Google parent was the most likely to face punitive action — tied with the percentage of respondents who said none of the three tech giants would suffer punishment. Only 7% of survey respondents said Amazon, the technology company Trump has spent the most time criticizing, was the most likely to be hit hard.”