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Boats 05-19-2022 08:57 AM

UN: Mali Pullout From Counterterrorism Force ‘Unfortunate
UN: Mali Pullout From Counterterrorism Force ‘Unfortunate
By: Counter Extemism Project News May19. 2022

Eye on Extremism as May 19, 2022:

Associated Press: UN: Mali Pullout From Counterterrorism Force ‘Unfortunate’

“The U.N.’s top political official for Africa called Mali’s decision to withdraw from the Sahel regional counterterrorism force “unfortunate and regrettable” Wednesday, especially at a time of increasing terrorist activity and insecurity. Assistant Secretary-General Martha Pobee told the U.N. Security Council that this week’s decision by Mali’s ruling junta to leave the force “is most certainly a step back for the Sahel.” The G5 Sahel force was created in 2014 by Mali and the neighboring West African states of Niger, Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Chad to counter terrorism in the Sahel, but from the start it was beset by financial and political problems and it didn’t deploy troops until 2017. Nonetheless, Pobee said that since last November the force has carried out operations in all three of its sectors without the participation of Malian battalions. “How Mali’s decision to leave the G5 and its joint force will further impact the organization and dynamics in the region remains to be seen,” she said. Pobee noted that for the last five years, the international community, donors and partners “have struggled to reach consensus on the most effective support mechanism for a collective security response in the Sahel,” which has proven to be “a significant obstacle” for operating the G5 force.”

The Washington Post: House Passes Legislation Aimed At Curbing Domestic Terrorism In Wake Of Buffalo Mass Shooting

“The House on Wednesday passed legislation that would create domestic terrorism offices across three federal agencies, spurred by alarm over the rise in incidents of homegrown violent extremism in recent years. Rep. Bradley Schneider (D-Ill.) pushed for a vote on the bill, known as the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, in the wake of Saturday’s mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo. Eleven of the 13 people shot were Black, and authorities are investigating the incident as a hate crime and a case of racially motivated violent extremism. The measure was approved on a 222-to-203 vote. One Republican, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), joined all Democrats present in voting “yes.” The legislation’s future remains uncertain in the Senate, where Democrats have the slimmest of majorities and a unanimous vote on similar legislation was blocked by Republicans two years ago. A Washington Post analysis last year of data compiled by the Center for Strategic and International Studies showed that domestic terrorism incidents have surged to new highs, predominantly due to a rise in white-supremacist, anti-Muslim and anti-government extremism on the far right. In an interview Wednesday, Schneider noted that a previous version of the legislation was approved by unanimous voice vote in the House in September 2020. This time, however, House Republican leaders urged members of their party to vote “no,” arguing that the legislation is unnecessary.”

United States

The New York Times: Hochul Vows To Crack Down On Extremist Acts Of Violence In New York

“Days after a deadly mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday took a series of aggressive steps to strengthen New York’s gun laws and to investigate the social media platforms where the suspected gunman was radicalized and where the police say he streamed his racist attack. The measures included the creation of a new unit, led by the State Police, to track violent extremism online, and a directive requiring the State Police to use New York's so-called red-flag law to seek emergency orders to seize weapons from people who are believed to pose a threat to themselves or others. Ms. Hochul also asked the state attorney general, Letitia James, to investigate the role of several online platforms — including Discord, a chat application — where the suspect posted racist writings before the Saturday afternoon massacre. Like other mass shootings in the United States, the attack in Buffalo has rekindled a debate over mental health, white supremacy and access to guns, while prompting calls, often unheeded, for changes to federal law. Ms. Hochul emphasized that she was taking concrete steps in response to the attack, which left 10 people dead in a largely Black neighborhood, to toughen state laws that are already among the strictest in the nation.”

WTOP News: The Hunt: Connection Between Buffalo Shooting And Christchurch, New Zealand, Terror Attack

“On this week’s edition of “The Hunt with WTOP National Security correspondent JJ Green,” Dr. Hans Jakob-Schindler, senior director of the Counter Extremism Project, discusses the link between the Buffalo, New York, shooting and the Christchurch, New Zealand, terror attack.”


Stars And Stripes: Islamic State In Afghanistan Building Capability To Strike On US Soil, Pentagon IG Says

“The Islamic State group’s branch in Afghanistan likely will develop the ability to target the U.S. homeland within the next 12 to 18 months, a Pentagon report said. The group, known as ISIS-K, has grown stronger and recruited more fighters since the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, U.S. Central Command said in Tuesday’s report by the Defense Department Inspector General. The report did not elaborate on the group’s capabilities or how it might target America. ISIS-K’s growth comes as the U.S. military’s abilities to track and stop threats in Afghanistan have become “significantly reduced,” military officials said in the report. The findings reviewed plans to check terrorist threats from Afghanistan in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from the country last year. The Taliban agreed to prevent terrorists from using Afghan soil to threaten America in the deal that secured the withdrawal of U.S. and allied troops. But the Taliban government is finding it difficult to contain the estimated 2,000 members of ISIS-K, the report said. “Absent effective pressure, that threat will only grow and metastasize over time,” former chief of Central Command Gen. Frank McKenzie said in March. Meanwhile, U.S. efforts to contain terrorist threats from afar are facing challenges, the report said.”


Reuters: Afghanistan's Taliban Mediate Ceasefire Between Pakistan, Local Militants

“The Taliban in Afghanistan have mediated a temporary ceasefire between Pakistan and a local Pakistani Taliban militant group following talks between the two sides in Kabul, an official said on Wednesday. The Pakistani Taliban - known as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) - has carried out some of the bloodiest attacks inside Pakistan since 2007. It is not directly affiliated with the Afghan Taliban, but pledges allegiance to them. “During the talks, in addition to significant progress on related issues, a temporary ceasefire was also agreed upon,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Twitter, confirming the talks in Kabul. Pakistan carried out a number of operations against the TTP, but, despite reducing the militant group's footprint, it has not been able to fully stop attacks, which, in recent months, have begun to rise again along its western border. A TTP statement on Wednesday also confirmed that talks were underway in Kabul and that a ceasefire has been put in place will May 30. It was not clear who was representing Pakistan's government in the talks. Pakistan's foreign office spokesman did not reply to Reuters' request for comment.”


Associated Press: Indian Court Convicts Kashmiri Rebel Leader Of Terrorism

“An Indian court on Thursday convicted a top Kashmiri separatist leader in a terrorism-related case that carries a maximum sentence of the death penalty or life imprisonment. Mohammed Yasin Malik had been charged with terrorist acts, illegally raising funds, being a member of a terrorist organization, and criminal conspiracy and sedition. Judge Praveen Singh set May 25 for hearing arguments from both sides on sentencing, the Press Trust of India news agency reported. The judge also directed Malik to provide an affidavit regarding his financial assets. During the trial, Malik protested the charges and said he was a freedom fighter. “Terrorism-related charges leveled against me are concocted, fabricated and politically motivated,” his organization, the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, cited him as telling the court. “If seeking Azadi (freedom) is a crime, then I am ready to accept this crime and its consequences,” he told the judge.”


Voice Of America: US: Africa Needs Tailored Strategies To Fight ISIS Groups

“African countries are being encouraged to use both soft and hard power to counter the growing threat posed by Islamic State on the continent. The U.S. government is giving more than $100 million to African states to overcome terrorism. Top U.S. security officials say African leadership and voices are needed to ensure security assistance is targeted to where it’s needed most. Last week, security leaders from the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS pledged to support African security agencies in dealing with the terrorist activities of the Islamic State. The coalition, which has 85 members, met in Morocco to discuss ways of dislodging fighters allied to ISIS from Mali, Burkina Faso, Mozambique and several other African countries. Terror activities by these militants have increased in recent years, killing tens of thousands and displacing millions — creating a humanitarian crisis. Chris Landberg. the State Department’s acting principal deputy coordinator for counterterrorism, says some African governments will receive millions of dollars to improve their efforts in fighting terrorism. “So, we are increased in this every year, and we’re looking to use it to improve capabilities of our partnered civilian, law enforcement, and judiciary with the goals of disrupting and apprehending, prosecuting, and convicting terrorists across the continent,” he said.”

United Kingdom

Reuters: Boy, 13, Arrested As Part Of UK Counter-Terrorism Investigation

“A 13-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of committing terrorism offences as part of an investigation into the sharing of extreme Islamist material online, British police said on Wednesday. The boy was arrested on Tuesday at an address in west London on suspicion of dissemination of terrorist material. He has since been released on police bail until a date in mid-June. “While it is still very rare for such a young person to be arrested for a terrorism offence, in recent times we have seen a worrying increase in the number of teenagers being drawn into terrorism,” said Richard Smith, head of London police's Counter Terrorism Command. “This particular investigation remains ongoing, but more broadly, we work closely with a whole range of partners to try and protect and divert young, vulnerable people away from extremism and terrorism.” In February last year, a boy who headed a neo-Nazi group and carried out his first offence aged just 13, was convicted of terrorism offences. Last July another 13-year-old was arrested and later admitted possessing information useful to a terrorist. Police have previously warned than young people, mainly boys in their early teens, were becoming self-radicalised online and then progressing to actually planning terrorist attacks.”


AFP: Suspended Sentence For German Woman Who Joined ISIS Aged 15

“A German woman who joined ISIS terrorist group in Syria as a 15-year-old was handed a two-year suspended prison sentence on Wednesday but cleared of aiding and abetting crimes against humanity. Judges found Leonora Messing, now 22, guilty of membership of a terrorist organization, a spokesman for the higher regional court in Naumburg said in a statement. Prosecutors had accused Messing and her husband of purchasing and enslaving a Yazidi woman in Syria in 2015. But the judges found this could not be proven during her trial in the eastern city of Halle, held behind closed doors because Messing was a minor at the time of the alleged events. The high-profile case prompted some soul-searching when it came to light over how a teenage girl from a small German town became radicalized and joined ISIS. Messing, a former high school band majorette, ran away from home bound for the ISIS-controlled part of Syria in March 2015. After reaching al-Rigga., then the de facto “capital” of ISIS in Syria, she became the third wife of a German national and known extremist. Messing’s father, a baker from the German village of Breitenbach, only learned his daughter had converted to a radical brand of Islam by opening her abandoned computer and reading her journal after her disappearance.”


AFP: Swiss Woman Charged Over 'Jihadist-Motivated' Knife Attack In Lugano

“A young Swiss woman has been charged over a “jihadist-motivated” knife attack that injured two people in 2020. The Swiss prosecutor's office said on Wednesday it had indicted the suspect for attempted murder over the attack at a department store. The woman has also been charged under a federal law that bans certain terrorist groups. The 29-year-old -- who lives in the Italian-speaking region of Ticino -- is also accused of illegal prostitution. Prosecutors say she “brutally attacked her victims, chosen at random, with a knife” and aimed to kill them to spread terror in the name of the so-called Islamic State (IS) group. One of the two victims was seriously injured in the neck, while the second person eventually managed to restrain the attacker with other bystanders before Swiss police arrived. The attacker was remanded in custody after her arrest on 24 November 2020 and has been on early release since August 2021. On the day of the attack, federal police announced that the woman had been named in a 2017 investigation linked to jihadist terrorism. Investigators say the suspect had “fallen in love” on social media with a jihadist fighter in Syria. The woman had reportedly tried to join him but was arrested at the Turkish-Syrian border and sent back to Switzerland. She had then been placed in a psychiatric institution on her return.”

Southeast Asia

Associated Press: Indonesian Police Arrest 24 Suspected Militants In Raids

“Indonesian police said Wednesday they arrested 24 suspected militants believed to have links to extremists accused of beheadings in remote mountain jungles and who pledged allegiance to the Daesh group. Twenty-two of the suspects were arrested over the weekend in Poso, an extremist hotbed in Central Sulawesi province, and two others were arrested in East Kalimantan province on Borneo and in Jakarta’s satellite city of Bekasi, said Central Sulawesi Police Chief Rudy Sufahriadi. The suspects are active supporters of the East Indonesia Mujahideen, Sufahriadi said. The extremist network has claimed responsibility for the killings of police officers and minority Christians in Central Sulawesi, some by beheading, and pledged allegiance to the Daesh group. The group has been weakened over the past decade by a sustained crackdown on militants by joint military and police forces. More than 40 of its remaining members have plotted and launched attacks from the mountainous jungles of Poso district. Security operations in the area killed the group’s leader, Abu Wardah Santoso, in 2016. Dozens of other leaders and members of the group have been killed or captured since then, including Ali Kalora, another leader, who was killed by security forces last year.”
Personal note: Nothing much changes - it seems instability is the word
of the day - and every day thereafter - don't it?

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