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Old 10-22-2018, 09:32 AM
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Arrow Eye on Extremism October 22, 2018

Eye on Extremism - October 22, 2018

Eye on Extremism - October 22, 2018

The Wall Street Journal:

U.S. General Wounded In Attack In Afghanistan

“A U.S. general was wounded in an attack last week in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province that killed two senior Afghan provincial officials and targeted a group that included the senior U.S. commander in the country, four people with knowledge of the assault said. Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Smiley is recovering after suffering at least one gunshot wound inside the Kandahar governor’s compound, three of the people said. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. U.S. military officials in Afghanistan and at the Pentagon have declined to comment on the attack or identify the wounded, describing them only as an American service member, an American civilian and a contractor who is part of the military coalition. The New York Times was the first to report that a general was wounded. “We’re not going to talk about the wounded,” said Army Col. David Butler, the top military spokesman in Afghanistan. After this story was initially published by The Washington Post, Butler confirmed on Twitter that Smiley was wounded.”

Chicago Tribune:

Chicago Man Used Social Media To Recruit Fighters For Islamic State, Encourage Terrorist Attacks, Feds Allege

“Federal authorities unsealed charges Friday against a North Side man that alleged he was a leader of the Islamic State’s online propaganda wing who used social media to recruit fighters for the terrorist organization and encourage others to carry out terrorist attacks. Shackled at the ankles in federal court, Ashraf Al Safoo, a naturalized U.S. citizen of Iraqi descent, was ordered held in custody until a detention hearing next week. The Chicago Tribune first reported the terrorism-related arrest Wednesday in conjunction with a raid at his home in the 5200 block of North Virginia Avenue in the Budlong Woods neighborhood. A 59-page criminal complaint accused Al Safoo, 34, of being a leader of Khattab Media Foundation, an internet-based propaganda organization that has sworn an oath of allegiance to Islamic State, also known as ISIS. “Brothers, roll up your sleeves!" Al Safoo allegedly posted in one Khattab-related forum in May. “Cut video publications into small clips, take still shots, and post the hard work of your brothers in the apostate’s pages and sites. Participate in the war, and spread fear.”

Fox News:

Iran Sent Hezbollah Advanced Weapons To Turn Rockets Into Precision Missiles, New Flight Data Suggests

“American and western intelligence sources believe Iran has been increasing its shipments of advanced weaponry to Hezbollah, deliveries that now include Global Positioning System (GPS) components to make previously unguided rockets into precision guided-missiles, increasing the threat to Israel. One of the Iranian flights arrived in Lebanon three days ago, officials tell Fox News. Iran’s Fars Air Qeshm flight number QFZ-9950 departed Tehran International Airport on Tuesday at 9:33 a.m. local time, and flew to an unknown destination, according to flight data obtained by Fox News. Later in the day, the Boeing 747 jet touched down in Syria’s capital Damascus before continuing on to Beirut, arriving just past 2 p.m., according to the flight tracker software. On Wednesday evening, the Iranian cargo plane departed Beirut for Doha, Qatar arriving just after midnight local time, and returned to Iran’s capital Thursday at 6:31 p.m. Western intelligence sources said the Iranian cargo plane carried weapons components, including GPS devices to make precision-guided weapons in Iranian factories inside Lebanon.”

The Telegraph:

Britain Should Take Back Isil 'Beatles' Fighters From Syria, Says Senior US Commander

“A senior US military commander has called on the UK to take back two Islamic State terrorists suspected of involvement in a series of beheadings. El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey are said to have been members of a brutal four-man cell of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) executioners in Syria and Iraq - nicknamed The Beatles because of their British accents - who were responsible for killing a number of high-profile Western captives. Major General Patrick Roberson, commander of US special ops, called on the UK to take back Isil fighters and, when asked whether Elsheik and Kotey should be repatriated to the UK, Maj Gen Roberson told the BBC: "We would certainly like them to be." He said the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the US were "working very hard to make sure that the countries of origin get these foreign terrorist fighters back into their custody.”


U.S. Coalition Says It Hit Islamic State Fighters In Syria Mosque After Reports Of Civilian Deaths

“The U.S.-led coalition said on Sunday it had killed militants in eastern Syria by striking a mosque that Islamic State used as a base, after reports of dozens of civilian deaths. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said air strikes killed 41 people, including 10 children, in al-Sousa village and its environs on Thursday and Friday. Many were Iraqi relatives of Islamic State fighters, the UK-based monitor said. The coalition raids, which hit a mosque and houses, also killed 22 jihadists around the Euphrates River near the Iraqi border, one of the last Islamic State enclaves in Syria. Syria’s foreign ministry said on Saturday that coalition warplanes had “committed a crime”, killing at least 62 civilians in al-Sousa and a nearby village in Deir al-Zor province. Damascus, which deems the U.S. and international forces in Syria occupiers, accused them of relentless bombing and called on the United Nations to “punish the aggressors”. The U.S.-led coalition said it destroyed a mosque which Islamic State fighters had turned into a headquarters in al-Sousa to defend their last territory. The strike on Thursday killed 12 militants, disabling a command center they had used to attack coalition forces and their allies, it said. “Such Daesh misuse of the mosque is another example of their violation of the law of war and made the mosque a valid military target,” spokesman Colonel Sean Ryan said, using the Arabic acronym for Islamic State. The coalition monitored the facility to know when only fighters were present, and it investigates “all credible allegations of civilian casualties”, he said in an emailed statement in response to questions from Reuters.”

The Express: Hate Preacher Choudary Freed And You're Paying To Protect Him

“Hate preacher Anjem Choudary was a free man last night despite fears that he will "wage war" on Britain. The Islamic extremist, who was released from prison yesterday, smiled as he posed for photographs outside his bail hostel. Lucinda Creighton, former Irish minister for European affairs and a senior adviser to the Counter Extremism Project, said: "Intelligence reports link Anjem Choudary to 100 terror recruits and the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby. "Message-carriers like Choudary have been as important to terrorist as guns, bombs and financing. To win the battle against violent extremism, it is as important to limit recruiters' room for manoeuvre as it is to restrict the flow of weapons and cash. To effectively counter messages of violence and hate, we need to work not just with the messenger but with whom the message is designed to land - with the communities receiving radicals. When men like Choudary re-enter the public sphere, the true test of counterterrorism policy - anti-radicalisation - begins.”

United States

Military Times: US, Turkey To Soon Begin Joint Patrols In North Syria

“Turkish and American troops could begin conducting joint patrols in a matter of days around the northern Syrian city of Manbij within the coming days, the top U.S. commander for the Middle East said Sunday. Army Gen. Joseph Votel, head of U.S. Central Command, told reporters traveling with him that the soldiers' training is expected to last "several more days," and then will transition to combined patrols. The Manbij patrols are part of a road map that Ankara and Washington agreed on in June to defuse tensions amid Turkish demands for the withdrawal of a U.S.-backed Kurdish militia that freed the town of Manbij from the Islamic State group in 2016. The U.S. and the Turks have been conducting independent patrols along the border, and joint patrols are considered a way to tamp down potential violence between the various groups there. "We're right on track with where we want to be," Votel said. "We've been through a very deliberate and mutually agreed upon training program." He said the platoons will include security personnel. He did not provide details on the size of the units or how many U.S. and Turkish forces will be involved in the program. U.S. platoons can often include a couple dozen soldiers.”


Times: Russia Says 88,000 Syria Rebels Killed

“Russia's defence minister said Saturday that almost 88,000 rebels had been killed in Syria in the three years since Moscow's intervention to back government forces. "Over the course of the operation, a total of more than 87,500 rebels have been eliminated, 1,411 settlements have been liberated and more than 95 percent of Syria's territory," Shoigu was quoted as saying at a forum in Singapore in a ministry statement. "Most of the rebels have been liquidated," Shoigu said. Britain-based war monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says close to 365,000 people have been killed during the seven-year civil war. Russia launched strikes in support of President Bashar al-Assad's regime in September 2015. Russian air forces have carried out more than 40,000 bombing missions, hitting about 120,000 targets of "terrorist" infrastructure, Shoigu said. The defence minister said that "Syrian armed forces currently control territory where more than 90 percent of the population lives.”

Globe And Mail: Renowned International Human-Rights Lawyer To Nominate Syrian White Helmets For Nobel Peace Prize

“Renowned international human-rights lawyer Irwin Cotler is nominating Syria’s famed White Helmets, a group of volunteer humanitarian workers Canada helped rescue from the war-torn country, for the Nobel Peace Prize. Mr. Cotler, a former Liberal cabinet minister who helped co-ordinate last summer’s rescue effort with Israel, said he plans on nominating the White Helmets for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize. The civil-defence organization, which has been credited with saving more than 100,000 civilians during Syria’s ongoing civil war, has been nominated for the international award before, but never won. “They’re such an unlikely group of heroes. They’re ordinary men and women – bakers, teachers, students and pharmacists – who have banded together to save lives,” Mr. Cotler said in an interview with The Globe and Mail. “They are the embodiment of what heroism and hope and the search for peace and our common humanity is all about.”

Associated Press: Coalition Airstrike Targets Mosque Used By Islamic State

“An airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group targeted a mosque in Syria last week because it was determined to be an insurgent command-and-control center, the U.S. said Sunday. The coalition said in a statement that while the law of war protects mosques, the use of the building as a headquarters by IS caused it to lose that protected status. It said a dozen fighters were killed. U.S. Army Gen. Joseph Votel, the top American commander for the Middle East, said Sunday that he is very satisfied that commanders went through the proper procedures to determine that the mosque was being used by IS and that it was a legitimate target. “The determination that was made by the leadership on the ground that this was this mosque was not being used as a mosque,” Votel told reporters traveling with him in Qatar. “These aren’t hastily made decisions.” Syrian state media and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said last week that a series of strikes in Sousa near the Iraq border killed and wounded dozens; civilians as well as IS fighters. The coalition’s statement, focused on the mosque, said monitoring of the building “made us aware” of when only IS fighters were present. It said the strike took place Thursday when it was being used to coordinate attacks on the coalition and on U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces. Sousa is in the last IS-held pocket in Syria and Syrian Democratic Forces have been on the offensive for weeks trying to clear the area of the extremists.”

Associated Press:

Monitor: Blast In Syria’s Rebel-Held Idlib Kills 3

“A Syrian war monitor and an opposition paramedics group say an explosion in the rebel-held northwestern city of Idlib has killed at least three people and wounded others. The Civil Defense, also known as the White Helmets, said Sunday’s blast occurred near a mosque killing three people, including a child. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said four people were killed, including a child and a foreign fighter whose nationality was not immediately clear. The Observatory said the blast occurred in al-Qusour neighborhood that is inhabited by many fighters from Uzbekistan and China. Idlib province is the last major stronghold of insurgents and home to many foreign fighters with al-Qaida linked groups. A deal between Russia and Turkey last month averted a government offensive on the area."


Radio Free Europe: Watchdog Warns Iran Could Be Blacklisted Unless It Acts Against Terrorism Funding

“A global financial watchdog has given Iran until February to crack down on terrorism funding or risk further sanctions on its struggling economy. The Financial Action Task Force warned on October 19 that it would effectively blacklist Iran if it doesn't fulfill 10 promises Tehran made to pass and enforce laws against financing terrorist groups. Iran has long provided support to the Lebanese Hizballah militant group and Palestinian armed groups, which Western countries view as terrorist organizations. Iran's parliament approved some new measures against funding terrorism earlier this month under pressure to adopt international standards. But the task force said that it could only consider fully enacted legislation. "We expect Iran to move swiftly to implement the commitments that it undertook at a high level so long ago," said Marshall Billingslea, U.S. assistant treasury secretary for terrorist financing and chair of the global task force. "In line with that, we expect that it will have adopted all of these measures by February. If by February 2019 Iran has not yet done so, then we will take further steps," he said. Billingslea said the task force for now has decided to continue suspending an earlier decision to blacklist Iran. Blacklisting by the organization can result in limits or even bans on transactions with a country, greatly hindering global investment at a time when the United States has already moved to block foreign investment in Iran after pulling out of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.”

The Jerusalem Post:

Report: Iran Sent Advanced Technology To Improve Hezbollah Rockets

“A Fars Air Qeshm Boeing 747 touched down in Beirut at 2:04 p.m. on October 16. The large white aircraft had left Tehran at 9:33 that morning but had concealed its flight details from international tracking authorities. It stayed in Beirut for almost a day before leaving for Doha on October 17. That plane is now at the center of a Fox News report alleging that it carried “GPS devices to make precision-guided weapons in Iranian factories inside Lebanon.” The report Friday night said that Western intelligence sources believe the cargo plane was carrying items for Hezbollah. These components “were bound for these Hezbollah secret sites near the Beirut airport to target Israel in the future.” Fox News quoted former Military Intelligence head Amos Yadlin as saying Israel was determined to confront this kind of technology transfer. “Israel is determined not to let it happen,” he said. “This is a source of concern because if the Iranians, on the one hand, are determined to build this precision project with ballistic missiles and the Israelis are determined not to let it happen, this is a recipe for collision.” Fars Air Qeshm’s Boeing 747 has been implicated before in suspicious activity. In September Fox News also reported that the same plane had departed from an air force base in Tehran on July 9 and also stopped in Damascus before continuing on to Beirut. It also landed in the afternoon. It used the flight number QFZ9960 as opposed to its October number QFZ9950. It also carried out another flight on August 2, leaving Tehran and landing in Beirut.”


Iraqi News: Three Islamic State Members Killed In Attempt To Attack Security, West Of Anbar

Three Islamic State militants were killed as they attempted attacking a security checkpoint, west of Anbar, a paramilitary official said on Friday. In remarks to Almaalomah website, Qutri al-Obeidi, of the mobilization forces in Anbar, said “security troops managed to kill three Islamic State members while attempting to attack a security checkpoint at the Kilo 18 region, west of Anbar. No casualties among security troops occurred.” Security troops, according to Obeidi, “tightened security measures along the strategic road there to avoid security failure.” Earlier today, Baghdad Today website quoted security sources saying that militants attacked the special operations regiment headquarter, west of Ramadi. Four members, including an officer, were wounded in the attack. 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. 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. In December, the Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi announced gaining control on all the territories that were captured by Islamic State, since 2014.”

Iraqi News:

Iraqi Court Sentences Militant To Death 3 Times Over Terrorism Charges

“An Iraqi court has sentenced a militant from Anbar province to death over involvement in terrorist charges, a judicial source said on Sunday. Speaking to Mawazin News, the source said “the Criminal Court in Dhi Qar issued three death sentences against a militant from Anbar province over killing civilians and security personnel as well as planting explosives.” Last week, the Criminal Court in Baghdad sentenced a man to death by hanging as he was caught supplying the Islamic State group with explosive materials. Earlier this month, the same court sentenced a convict for death over training fighters of Islamic State. Two Islamic State members were sentenced to death, last month, over killing 12 people in Anbar. Many Islamic State members were detained during liberation battles that freed cities, which were recaptured by the militant group in 2014. In December, the Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi announced gaining control on all the territories that were captured by Islamic State, since 2014. However, 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.”

Xinhua: Turkey Must Commit To Pledges Of Demilitarized Zone In Northern Syria: Official

“Syria's deputy foreign minister said that Turkey must live up to its commitments to push extremist groups to withdraw from the demilitarized zone in northern Syria, local media reported Monday. Speaking to the pro-government al-Watan newspaper, Faisal Mekdad said it's the responsibility of Turkey to push the rebels to commit to the demilitarized zone deal that was established between Turkey and Russia in September in Russian resort city of Sochi. The official said the Syrian government is confident that Turkey can implement its part of the deal because "the terrorist groups take orders from Turkey." He added that the patience of the Syrian government-- regarding the rebels' failure to fully implement the deal-- has limits. Mekdad, meanwhile, stressed that the Syrian government will regain control over all Syrian areas such as Idlib and areas on the eastern side of Euphrates River. Mekdad's remarks come as the extremist groups in the demilitarized zone in northern Syria failed to implement the second part of the deal, which is withdrawing from that zone.”


The Washington Post: Afghans Vote In Parliamentary Elections Under Threat By Taliban

“The best thing that can be said about Afghanistan’s parliamentary election Saturday was that it took place at all. Beyond that, the eagerly awaited and long-postponed poll — the first held without massive foreign assistance and supervision since the end of Taliban rule in 2001 — was an exercise in chaos, marred by violence. About 5 p.m., Kabul police said, a suicide bomber attempted to enter a polling station on the northern outskirts of the capital, then detonated his explosives when police tried to stop him, killing at least 10 civilian voters and five police officers. Elsewhere in the capital, a loud afternoon explosion near a large apartment complex did little damage but sent hundreds of panicked voters running. The Taliban, which had promised to disrupt the vote, claimed to have staged 164 attacks nationwide Saturday. In the days leading up to the poll, insurgents assassinated a top security official in Kandahar province, leading authorities to postpone the election there for one week at least. In other provinces, 10 candidates were killed during the campaign. More than 8 million voters had registered to choose among about 2,500 candidates running for 249 seats in the lower house of parliament. The long list of hopefuls included 400 women, clean-cut young men in business suits and bearded older men in turbans.”

The Globe Post: Afghanistan’s Parliamentary Election: Rise Of The Youth

“Parliamentary elections are taking place in Afghanistan after years of delay. Over 2,500 candidates are competing for 249 seats with unprecedented youth participation. A huge part of the population, “63.7 percent,” is believed to be younger than 25 years old. With this number, Afghanistan has one of the youngest populations in the world. The generation that was born in the mid-1990s was below the age of 10 when the U.S.-led international intervention opened educational opportunities and scholarships in 2001. Despite the low literacy rate of 62 percent among young men and 32 percent among young women, the youths of Afghanistan are showcasing their readiness to take the future into their own hands by running for parliamentary seats at large numbers. Besides that, they constitute the majority of voters. This election is the first light in a long dark tunnel for them. The youths now have the chance to dominate and form a serious parliament. Past Electoral Ironies Marred by Tribalism “Elections” are held in Afghanistan since the “overthrow” of the Taliban’s de facto regime in 2001. The Taliban were ousted for their support and harboring of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his followers in the wake of the terrorist attacks of 9/11.”


Voice Of America: Watchdogs Press Pakistan On Terror Financing

“A delegation from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global financial watchdog monitoring terror financing and money laundering, has reportedly expressed dissatisfaction with what it called inadequate measures Pakistan has taken to curb terror financing and fix anti-money-laundering laws. The nine-member delegation of the Asia Pacific Group (APG), an FATF entity that overlooks Asian countries, concluded its 12-day visit to Pakistan on Friday after meeting officials from the country’s ministries of finance and foreign affairs as well as the central bank to assess Pakistan’s progress and compliance with the FATF’s recommendations. In its report presented to Pakistani authorities Friday, APG reportedly pointed to problems in the country’s legal system and urged Pakistan to address inadequacies in the supervision of nonprofit and charitable organizations. The APG’s recent findings will also be submitted to the FATF’s main headquarters, which will evaluate Pakistan’s progress and decide whether the country should remain on the FATF’s gray list or be removed next year following measures taken by Pakistan to address the global watchdog’s concerns. Pakistan was placed on the FATF’s gray list in June over its alleged failure to comply with the global watchdog’s guidelines to crack down on terror financing. Islamabad was placed on the gray list before, in 2012, where it remained until 2015. Effects on economy Some economists in Pakistan fear that the country’s continued failure to satisfy the FATF’s demands could mean the country runs the risk of being moved from the gray list to the black list.”


The New Arab: Al-Qaeda Thrives In Yemen Despite US Counterterrorism Campaign

“Using Yemen's mountainous scenery to launch guerrilla attacks, making tactical alliances with warring factions and tribal networks, and capitalising on the chaotic war environment, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) remains robust after a largely unsuccessful US airstrike campaign, and continues to threaten Yemeni stability. One of al-Qaeda's earliest off-shoots, initially made up of returnees from the Afghan Mujahideen in the 1980s, the Yemeni branch merged with the Saudi branch in 2009 to form AQAP. The Arab Spring and the 2015 Saudi-led war allowed AQAP to exploit the chaos, going from a fringe group of just a few hundred members, to a major force with an estimated 6000-8000 fighters by 2018. As the coalition pushed the Houthis from parts of Yemen in 2015, AQAP seized swathes of territory following the vacuum, including Yemen's fifth largest city al-Mukalla (which it withdrew from in 2016 after cutting deals with the UAE).”

Al Arabiya: Deputy Minister Breaks With Houthis, Says Militias Spread Iran’s Ideology

“The deputy minister of education in the coup-government of the Houthi pro-Iranian militias, Dr. Abdullah al-Hamdi, said that he broke with the militias, calling to rise up against these rejected militias from 90% of the Yemeni people who are suffering from hunger, death and poverty due to the militias. Hamdi revealed in a television interview on Sunday that these militias import Iranian ideology and their destructive project to enslave the Yemeni people, exploiting them to terrorize and control the society. He explained that the terrorist militias spread alien ideas on the culture of the Yemeni society, establishing the so-called Wilayat al-Faqih (Guardianship of the Jurist) ideology, occupying the mosques and destroying them, replacing them with Husseiniat instead, adding that the militias kidnap and recruit children by force and put them on the front lines. He stressed that the biggest historical mistake occurred in Yemen is the alliance of the General People’s Congress with the Houthi terrorist organizations, as he puts it.”

Arab News:

Yemeni Army Recover Large Cache Of Houthi Militia Armament

“Yemen’s national army has announced several combing operations in sites where Houthi militias have been defeated, one of which was in the Hali directorate east of Hodeidah. A statement from the Giants Brigades in the Yemeni army, said that forces affiliated to their brigades carried out combing operations in a large number of farms adjacent to the area of Al-Hali, where Houthi militia was located. The statement added that during the operation, army forces found of a large cache of 120-caliber mortar shells and other shells that the Houthis had hidden in sewage pipes of several military sites where they were positioned. The statement of Saba, the official Yemeni News Agency, said that the Giants Brigades, under the umbrella of the legitimacy alliance in Yemen, launched large-scale military operations to cleanse and secure areas where Houthis were defeated, including Hodeidah. The Houthi militias have suffered heavy losses in lives, equipment and military vehicles.”

Al Arabiya: Arab Coalition Seizes Explosive Laden AL Houthi Drone Targeting Locations In Hodeida

“The Saudi-led Arab Coalition has taken control of an Al Houthi booby-trapped drone with Iranian specifications which was heading to the Coalition’s locations in Al Duraihimi district of the Hodeida Governorate in Yemen. The anti-drone unit’s specialist teams inspected the drone and found large quantities of explosives which were intended for use against selected targets, in a desperate attempt by the Iran-backed Al Houthi militias to raise the declining morale among its fighters following the successive defeats they suffered on the Red Sea Coast of Yemen. The Arab Coalition forces continue to counter Al Houthi militia operations, fuelled by weapon shipments from Iran, in a stark violation of the UN Security Council Resolution 2216, issued in April 2015, which imposes an arms embargo on weapons supply to the militia. This clearly proves the involvement of the Iranian regime and its violation of the resolutions by providing the coup militias with ballistic missiles and drones.”

Middle East

The Arab Weekly: ISIS Is Still A Threat In Syria And Iraq

“Like a horror movie that refuses to end, the Islamic State (ISIS) remains a concern in Syria and Iraq. Predictably, there is less inclination among members of the US-led coalition to take victory laps over ISIS’s supposed defeat. There are indications the terrorist group is adjusting its tactics to keep its lethal capability and long-term totalitarian strategy alive. Many political leaders might project the military defeat of ISIS as a feather in their cap but military commanders and security experts caution that the extremist group could pose a threat even if it is believed to control barely 2% of the territory it once held in Iraq and Syria. ISIS might not be in the business of controlling territory anymore but its murderous threat in Syria and Iraq has not ceased. The Russian news agency TASS reported that ISIS took approximately 700 people hostage in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor province on October 13. That’s a geographic zone once controlled by US-backed forces. Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed the information, adding that ten hostages had been executed. He added that ten more hostages might be executed every day if ISIS’s demands were not met. The number of the hostages is in dispute but not the type of threat.”

Asharq Al-Awsat: ISIS Launches New Bloody Threats Against West

“An ISIS-affiliated group threatened to launch new attacks in the West through a new poster celebrating the Orlando nightclub massacre. The poster reminds of the June 2016 shooting rampage at the Pulse gay club that left 49 people dead and dozens more wounded. It depicts a masked, gun-wielding militant in combat gear, an explosive, terror attack headlines, and the bloody caption, "Soon in your homelands". Notably, ISIS-affiliated groups routinely publish propaganda online threatening attacks against everything, from London's Oxford Street shopping district to Halloween events in the US. The post threatening new attacks was shared online by SITE Intel Group, which monitors terrorist activity on the internet. In a related matter, a picture was published last week threatening a new attack in Paris, and it depicted a drone carrying explosives and a gun-wielding attacker at the Eiffel Tower.”

The New York Times: At Least 55 Killed In Communal Violence In Central Nigeria

“More than 55 people have been killed in a new eruption of communal violence in central Nigeria, officials said on Sunday. Security has become a key campaign issue ahead of the election next February, in which President Muhammadu Buhari will seek a second term. The presidency condemned the latest violence in a statement issued on Saturday. “The frequent resort to bloodshed by Nigerians over misunderstandings that can be resolved peacefully, is worrisome,” said the statement, issued by Mr. Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu. A local police commissioner said that 22 people were arrested in the clashes last week between two communities in the Kasuwan Magani area of Kaduna state, in north-central Nigeria.”

The Guardian: Stolen Daughters: What Happened After #Bringbackourgirls?

“In 2014, the #BringBackOurGirls social media campaign transfixed people around the world concerned about the plight of 276 schoolgirls kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram. More than four years later, the spotlight shines back on their plight, and that of thousands of women like them, in the documentary Stolen Daughters: Kidnapped by Boko Haram, premiering on HBO. The wrenching film follows two Chibok girls freed in 2017 and two women who, like thousands of others, were kidnapped but are known as “forgotten girls” because they weren’t captured in a high-profile event. Karen Edwards, a writer and producer of the documentary, told the Guardian that the Chibok girls were a symbol for a much larger problem in north-east Nigeria. “Most families have been touched by Boko Haram, nobody is immune from it,” said Edwards. “It’s so widespread, there is fear they’ve [people kidnapped] been radicalized but there is also an element of commonality that if it hasn’t happened to them it is only by the grace of God.”

Agence France Presse:

Boko Haram Kill 12 Farmers In Nigeria: Militia

“Boko Haram jihadists on Saturday hacked 12 farmers to death as they worked on their fields in the volatile northeastern Nigerian state of Borno, civilian militia told AFP. They came in two trucks and attacked the farmers with machetes outside Kalle, a remote village 17 km outside the state capital Maiduguri, the birthplace of the Boko Haram movement. "They used machetes to kill their victims who were working on their farms," militia leader Babakura Kolo said. "So far, we have recovered 12 dead bodies from the fields and nearby bush." Three people were injured in the raids. The militants had guns but did not use them so as not to attract the attention of troops in nearby Molai village, said another militia leader Ibrahim Liman. "When the farmers saw them pulling over close to their crop fields they all ran in different directions but the terrorists pursued them," Liman said. It was not clear which of the two Boko Haram factions was behind the attack. The jihadist faction loyal to Abubakar Shekau is notorious for deadly attacks on civilian targets. The IS-affiliated faction --Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) -- focus on the military and high profile targets including Western interests, although they have recently been involved in attacks on civilians. Boko Haram has stepped up attacks on farmers and loggers in recent years, accusing them of passing information on the group to the military.”


OpsLens: U.S. Support In Somalia Only Thing Preventing Rise of Al-Qaeda Terror State

“On 16 October, a U.S. military official announced that Forces Africa Command (AFRICOM) over the weekend launched what it is now calling its largest strike against Shabaab in Somalia since late 2017. The military released its assessment of the results of a previously reported assault on 12 October near Haradere, revealing that the strike killed 60 Shabaab terrorists. Haradere is one of the most northern locations AFRICOM has targeted in 2018. The shift in targeting Shabaab in this area was due to the group deploying fighters far from typical support zones in Jubba River Valley, the region at the country’s southern tip, nearing the Kenyan border. This demonstrates the al-Qaeda branch has significant resilience across Somalia. In all, AFRICOM has conducted 27 strikes in Somalia since the start of 2018.”


Voice Of America: Sudanese Official: We Are Not Sponsoring Terrorists

“The U.S. should consider removing Sudan from its list of states sponsoring terrorism, a senior Sudanese diplomat in Washington told VOA, citing the country's efforts against terror groups on its soil. Waleed Basheer, the deputy chief of mission at the Sudanese Embassy in Washington, welcomed the recent annual U.S. report on terrorism, but voiced concern over Sudan's inclusion on the list. "The U.S. report confirmed that Sudan is not sponsoring terrorism. Nevertheless, the United States continues to designate Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism," Basheer told VOA. "This is kind of contradicting; it is simply unjust and unfair." The annual U.S. report on terrorism — featuring a breakout by country — was released last month. It acknowledges Sudan's cooperation in combating terrorism in the region in 2017. "The Government of Sudan continued to pursue counterterrorism operations alongside regional partners, including operations to counter threats to U.S. interests and personnel in Sudan. Sudan's de-radicalization program focused on reintegration and rehabilitation of returned foreign terrorist fighters and those espousing terrorist ideologies," the report said. However, U.S. officials insist the nation should continue to build upon its positive actions. "Sudan continues to be designated a state sponsor of terrorism.”


CBS News: Russia Fires Back At Trump's Plan To Pull U.S. Out Of Nuclear Arms Treaty

“Russia is firing back at President Trump's new threat to pull out of a landmark nuclear weapons treaty. One Russian official warns – breaking the pact would be "a very dangerous step." As worries about a new arms race between the U.S. and Russia intensify, the three-decade old Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces, or INF, treaty requiring the two countries to eliminate certain missiles could be ending. "Russia has not, unfortunately, honored the agreement, so we're going to terminate the agreement. We're gonna pull out," Mr. Trump said Saturday. After a Saturday rally in Nevada, Mr. Trump said he wants to withdraw from the agreement unless Russia and China – which isn't a party to the pact – comply. "If Russia's doing it and if China's doing it and we're adhering to the agreement – that's unacceptable," Mr. Trump said. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted as telling state news agency Tass that leaving the treaty "would be a very dangerous step.”


Business Insider: Here's Why Canada Must Prosecute Returning ISIS Fighters

“Human rights champion Nadia Murad was recently co-awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In August 2014, Murad's village in northern Iraq was attacked by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and she was sold into sexual slavery. She managed to escape, sought asylum in Germany in 2015 and has fought for the rights of the Yazidi minority ever since. Upon becoming a Nobel laureate, she said: "We must work together with determination — so that genocidal campaigns will not only fail, but lead to accountability for the perpetrators. Survivors deserve justice. And a safe and secure pathway home." Accountability has become a key issue. While the United States-led international coalition has dislodged ISIS from the cities it had occupied and controlled, namely Mosul and Raqqa, the group is weakened but not dead.”

United Kingdom

The Wall Street Journal: Radical Preacher Who Supported Islamic State Is Freed In U.K.

“Radical Islamic preacher Anjem Choudary was released from a British jail Friday after serving half his sentence for inciting support of Islamic State, the latest in a stream of people arrested on terrorism charges who have been discharged in the U.K. over the past year. Before his conviction, Mr. Choudary led al-Muhajiroun, a now-banned extremist group whose followers were responsible for a quarter of all Islamist terror offenses in the U.K. between 1998 and 2015, according to a report from neoconservative think tank the Henry Jackson Society. Mr. Choudary, who was sentenced in 2016 to 5½ years in prison, will now be under close supervision at a probation hostel in London where he will, among other constraints, be banned from using the internet and preaching. Former followers of the group included Khuram Butt, one of the knife-wielding terrorists who rampaged through a central London market last year, leaving eight dead. At the time of Mr. Choudary’s conviction, U.K. officials hailed it as a major victory in a long-running effort to stop the spread of violent extremism though radical, media-savvy preachers who had avoided prison because their rhetoric was deemed free speech. Several years later, many of those who were locked up under those efforts have served their time behind bars. Britain’s Criminal Justice Act states that half a sentence needs to be spent in jail with the other half under supervision but in the community. In 2017, 52 people jailed on terrorism charges were released from prison, according to Britain’s Ministry of Justice. Around another 12 extremists are due to be released in the coming months, said Haras Rafiq, chief executive of Quilliam, a London based counterextremism organization.”


Channel Newsasia: In Kerch, Locals Fear Deadly College Attack Linked To 'Terrorism'

“Residents of the Crimean city of Kerch, where 20 were killed and some 50 injured in an attack on a technical college, on Friday (Oct 19) widely expressed doubts over claims by investigators that the teenage gunman acted alone. "It's impossible that there was only one person. It was a terrorist attack. They say it was a mass shooting but I don't believe it," said Sergei Vagin, holding two red roses to lay at a memorial ceremony in the city on Friday. He said he believes that the 18-year-old shooter Vladislav Roslyakov must have had accomplices in order to methodically attack so many of the students and teachers after saying he hated them for humiliating him. Vagin, a 23-year-old construction worker, was speaking as a funeral march was played for the victims of the worst school shooting in Russia's history, on territory annexed from Ukraine. Over the course of two hours on Friday, thousands of Kerch residents filed past the coffins containing the remains of the first 17 victims to be buried.”

CBC: Macron, Merkel, Putin And Erdogan To Hold Syria Summit Next Week

“The leaders of Turkey, Russia, Germany and France will hold a summit on the Syrian conflict in Istanbul next week, officials said on Friday, a month after Ankara and Moscow brokered a deal to create a demilitarized zone in the northwest Idlib region. Idlib and adjacent areas are the last stronghold of rebels who rose up against President Bashar al-Assad in 2011. The area is home to an estimated three million people, more than half of whom have already been displaced during the war. Turkey and Russia reached a deal last month to set up a buffer zone running 15 to 20 kilometres into rebel territory that had to be cleared of heavy weapons and jihadists by Monday. The agreement averted a planned offensive on Idlib by Russia, Assad's biggest outside backer. The four countries will hold the talks on Oct. 27 and will discuss Idlib, and the political process for the resolution of the Syrian conflict, the spokesperson for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted by state-owned media as saying. France wants to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe in Idlib, and thereby prevent a new exodus of refugees, President Emmanuel Macron's office said. "We want to keep this stability and work from this agreement to move into a new phase of discussions on a political process," one senior French diplomatic source said. "And that it helps launch this constitutional committee that the UN is working on so that it meets as quickly as possible." 'A million unanswered questions' German Chancellor Angela Merkel will focus on the situation in Idlib and supporting the implementation of the Sochi agreement between Russia and Turkey, a German government spokeswoman said.”

Southeast Asia

ABC: Buddhist Extremism: Meet The Violent Followers Of A Religion Widely Known For Its Pacifism

“Myanmar's "Buddhist Bin Laden" has made a return to public life, appearing at a rally in support of the military generals condemned globally for a brutal crackdown on the Muslim minority Rohingya. Wirathu, an infamous Buddhist nationalist monk, was sanctioned in March 2017 for religious hate speech that demonised the Rohingya Muslims. And last weekend, his rhetoric demonstrated that — at least in his mind — little had changed. As military flag-waving demonstrators carried portraits of Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, Wirathu lambasted the United Nations, saying the day Myanmar authorities are brought before the International Criminal Court "is the day that Wirathu holds a gun". The court last month opened a preliminary probe into alleged state-sponsored violence against the Rohingya, including sexual violence, killings, and enforced disappearances.”


Business Insider: Facebook Wants To Buy A Big Cybersecurity Company After 2 Catastrophic Data Breaches

“Facebook is shopping around for a big cybersecurity company, The Information reports. Citing four people familiar with the matter, The Information said Facebook has approached a number of cybersecurity companies with a view to a possible acquisition. Sources declined to say which companies had been approached, but one said a deal could be closed as soon as the end of this year. Facebook has reportedly assembled a team to scout out targets with a view to bolstering its cybersecurity expertise and to quell public criticism of its data protection. Facebook has faced a barrage of criticism due to a few high-level scandals. Last month it disclosed that it had detected the biggest data breach in its history which affected some 30 million users. Facebook stated in October that it believed spammers, not state-sponsored agents, were behind the hack.”

Counter Extremism

Alhayat: A New Study On British Jihadists

“Professor Peter Neumann, Director of the London International Center for the Study of Extremism, said, "There was always a debate between Scotland Yard, which wanted to capture the big shots, and the Intelligence Service that wanted to leave them alone, {so as} to monitor their members. It's like a power-balance game that sometimes ends in mistakes. According to a study by the Tony Blair Institute for International Change, "the path taken by the majority of British jihadists passes through Islamist groups claiming to be non-extremist." The study notes that "six people played a pivotal role in the formation of the jihadist movement in Britain amidst the leniency of the government and its security institutions". The study, which focused on a sample of 113 radical {male} Islamists in Britain and 18 women, includes sectors of extremists, including intellectuals, militants, wealthy people, poor people, elite students and drug traffickers.”

Terrorist Financing

Seventh Day: Egyptian Court Sets Date To Review A Petition To Dissolve The Islamist Building And Development Party And Freeze Its Assets

“Chaired by the Head of the State Council's Judges Club, Judge Ahmed Abu Al-Azm, the Supreme Administrative Court on Saturday set February 16th, 2019 as the date to issue its final ruling on a petition to dissolve and freeze assets of the Islamist Building and Development Party. It's noteworthy that Egypt's Political Parties Affairs Committee had previously filed a petition with the Supreme Administrative Court to dissolve the Building and Development Party, the political arm of an Islamic Group called El-Gamaa El-Islamiyya, freeze its funds and expose its financiers. The committee also referred a memo to the prosecutor general to investigate the party's violation of Article no 4 of the political parties law over electing Tareq el Zomor, a fugitive terrorist, as the party's chairman. Zomor appears on the Arab countries' terror list of 59 individuals and 12 entities that have links with Qatar. Additionally, an Egyptian court earlier issued a sentence in absentia against Zomor for {his involvement in} the Muslim Brotherhood armed protests in Nasr City's Rabaa al Adawyia Square.”

Muslim Brotherhood

Seventh Day: Expert: Muslim Brotherhood's Media Channels Pay Large Sums To Their Guests

“Mukhtar Noah, a contemporary writer and researcher of Islamist groups, stated that the banned Muslim Brotherhood is all but gone, except for its media presence. Noah, who is also a member of the Egyptian National Council for Human Rights and a dissident Muslim Brotherhood leader, sharply criticized the people who {agree to} appear on Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated media channels, which broadcast from Qatar and Turkey. The expert disclosed that these media outlets tempt their guests with large sums of money. It's worth mentioning that the news outlets of the outlawed organization have recently stepped up their dissemination of fake news aimed at destabilizing and toppling the Egyptian state.”

Sawaleif: Jordan: Muslim Brotherhood Hails Decision To Terminate Baquoura And Ghumar Annexes In The Peace Treaty With Israel

“The Muslim Brotherhood Association in Jordan hailed King Abdullah's decision to terminate the annexes of Baquoura and Ghumar in the Jordan-Israel peace treaty. The Islamist group stated that it proudly applauds the "historic" decision to cancel the appendices in the Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty; and, thus, to reclaim Jordanian sovereignty over its territories in the Araba region. It should be noted that the Jordanian King asserted on Sunday that he had informed Israel of his intention to terminate the Baquoura and Ghumar annexes. "We are implementing our full sovereignty on our land...Our priority in these regional circumstances is to protect our interests and do whatever is required for Jordan and the Jordanians," the King announced.”

Yemen Akhbar: Dispute Over Financial Resources Between Houthi Leaders

“The dispute has deepened between the leaders of the Houthis, in the capital Sana'a and its surrounding rural areas, over the financial resources collected from taxes and service fees. This is despite previous attempts by the President of the Supreme Political Council, Mahdi al-Mashat, to distribute the money among these leaders. According to Asharq Al-Awsat, over the past few months, the Houthis have managed to collect more than YR100 billion (roughly YR750 per dollar on the black market) from the resources of government institutions under their authority in Sana'a. Most of the money was deposited in personal bank accounts. Within this context, the conflict between the leaders of the Houthis over the {group's} resources has led to the launch of campaigns on corruption charges. These have been accompanied by calls for the Houthi leadership to intervene and put an end to the corruption of supervisors coming from Saada and Amran after having seized senior positions and funds from areas under the group's control.”

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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