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Arrow Eye on Extremism October 25, 2018

Eye on Extremism - October 25, 2018

Daily - Eye on Extremism - October 25, 2018

The Wall Street Journal: Trump Condemns Violence After Pipe Bombs Sent To Democrats, CNN

“President Trump on Wednesday condemned political violence and called for a more civil political discourse, while also blaming the news media for “negative and false attacks.” “No nation can succeed that tolerates violence or the threat of violence as a method of political intimidation,” Mr. Trump said at a rally in Mosinee, Wis., after a day in which law-enforcement officials found bombs mailed to prominent Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, and to CNN. He said the nation must “stop treating political opponents as being morally defective” and cease “the language of moral condemnation.” “No one should carelessly compare political opponents to historical villains,” he added. Mr. Trump has repeatedly called for the jailing of his opponents, particularly Mrs. Clinton—about whom his crowds at campaign rallies routinely chant, “Lock her up.” At a rally in Houston on Monday, Mr. Trump referred to the Democrats as “a mob.” Last week, he praised a Republican congressman who during his campaign body-slammed a reporter.”

Asharq Al-Awsat: Iraq Arrests ISIS Explosives Mastermind

“Iraqi authorities arrested the ISIS terrorist group’s explosives-planting mastermind, announced the country’s intelligence service on Wednesday. The unnamed official was lured into an ambush in the Albou Tayban region in al-Anbar, it said. He was arrested with three rifles, binoculars and a hand grenade in his possession. The detainee took part in the execution of a number of terrorist operations through the planting of explosives. These operations have killed and injured a number of Iraqi security forces. On Tuesday, military intelligence had arrested a prominent terrorist west of Baghdad. The detainee was involved in a number of terrorist attacks against civilians and security forces in the al-Madaen area, it added.”

CBS News: Bombmaker Left His Own Signature: CEP President Fran Townsend Discusses Details Of The Investigation Into Pipe Bombs Sent To Politicians And CNN On CBS Evening News

The Verge: UK Data Watchdog Fines Facebook Maximum Legal Amount For Cambridge Analytica Scandal

“The UK’s data watchdog has levied the maximum possible fine against Facebook for its failure to protect user’s personal information in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The fine is just £500,000 ($644,000), a small fee for a company that posted $13.2 billion in revenue in the last quarter alone. But the figure was calculated using the UK’s outdated 1998 Data Protection Act, and regulators say it would have been “significantly higher” under the EU’s new GDPR regulations, which came into force in the UK in May. “We considered these contraventions to be so serious we imposed the maximum penalty under the previous legislation,” said Elizabeth Denham, head of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). “The fine would inevitably have been significantly higher under the GDPR.” The ICO’s plans to levy the maximum possible fine were first reported in July, but the fee is now official. Under GDPR, the maximum fine would have been £17 million ($22 million) or 4 percent of Facebook’s global turnover.”

Asharq Al-Awsat: Guterres Condemns Hezbollah’s Continued Involvement In Syria, Yemen

“In a recent report on the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1559, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed “deep concern” that Hezbollah militias still retain significant military capabilities beyond the control of the state and called on the Lebanese government to take all necessary measures to prevent the party from acquiring more weapons. Guterres denounced Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria and Yemen, and called on Iran – without naming it - to encourage the transformation of the armed group into a purely civilian political party. He pointed out that with the approach of the issuance of verdicts in the case of the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon would send a clear message that impunity would not be tolerated. The Security Council is scheduled to hear a detailed briefing on this report on Tuesday. Asharq Al-Awsat received a copy of Guterres’ report, which was prepared by UN Political Affairs Officer Aurelie Proust. The report said that nearly five months after Saad al-Hariri’s appointment as prime minister-designate, efforts continued to form a new government, stressing that all concerned parties must intensify their efforts to reach an agreement quickly.”

The New York Times: Google Is Teaching Children How To Act Online. Is It The Best Role Model?

“Google is on a mission to teach children how to be safe online. That is the message behind “Be Internet Awesome,” a so-called digital-citizenship education program that the technology giant developed for schools. The lessons include a cartoon game branded with Google’s logo and blue, red, yellow and green color palette. The game is meant to help students from third grade through sixth guard against schemers, hackers and other bad actors. Google plans to reach five million schoolchildren with the program this year and has teamed up with the National Parent Teacher Association to offer related workshops to parents. But critics say the company’s recent woes — including revelations that it was developing a censored version of its search engine for the Chinese market and had tracked the whereabouts of users who had explicitly turned off their location history — should disqualify Google from promoting itself in schools as a model of proper digital conduct.”

United States
The Daily Beast: This Terror Sponsor Just Got Into The U.S. On A Diplomatic Passport

“Over the last two years, Sudan has engaged in a charm offensive aimed at normalizing its relations with the United States. Despite its president being indicted for genocidal crimes by the International Criminal Court and his regime having a long history of support for terrorist organizations going back to the creation of al Qaeda, Sudan has successfully lobbied the Obama and Trump administrations to lift comprehensive sanctions. Emboldened by this diplomatic victory, which cost the regime almost nothing in terms of substantive policy change, the regime has turned its attention to convincing Washington to remove it from the State Sponsors of Terror List, which will enable it to receive billions of dollars in debt relief. To lead that effort and head its embassy in Washington, Sudan sent General Mohamed Atta, the former chief of the notorious National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), who has arrived with no fanfare in Washington to embark on this new assignment.”

The New York Post: Pipe Bomb Sent To CNN Appears To Include ISIS Parody Flag

“The pipe bomb sent to CNN’s Midtown headquarters Wednesday had an ISIS parody flag reading “Get ‘Er Done” on it, a high-ranking police source told The Post. The mock flag appears to be one that has been lurking on the right-wing corners of the internet as a meme since 2014. It replaces Arabic characters with the suggestive silhouettes of three women and the words “Get ‘Er Done” — which is the catchphrase of stand-up comic Larry the Cable Guy. The image was originally created by the right-wing parody site World News Bureau for an article titled “ISIS Vows Retribution For Counterfeit Flags,” according to NBC News. Based on a picture of the bomb obtained by CNN, there appears to be the image of a face next to the mock flag. The identity of the person in that picture is still unknown. The bomb sent to CNN, and addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan, is one of many makeshift bombs sent to a number of prominent Democrats — including former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.”

Voice Of America: US Military: IS Still Poses Threat In Iraq, Syria

“Despite the anti-Islamic State campaign being waged in both Iraq and Syria, the terror group can still attack coalition forces and their local partners in both countries, Col. Sean Ryan, spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition, said. “We are seeing small pockets of ISIS still in areas like Kirkuk and Anbar provinces,” Ryan told VOA in an interview, using an acronym for the terror group. “They are trying to disrupt civilian services, like water and electricity, to try to get the people against the government.” Earlier this week, a bombing at a market near the Iraqi city of Mosul killed at least six people, including two soldiers. Iraqi officials accused IS of carrying out the deadly attack. Mosul was an IS stronghold until July 2017, when Iraqi forces, with the help of the U.S.-led coalition, recaptured it. The northern Iraqi city has occasionally been targeted by IS suicide attacks. ‘Poses a constant threat’ IS also “poses a constant threat in Diyala, Salah-a-Din, Kirkuk, Nineveh and Anbar, where it uses the desert to cover its movements and carries out hit-and-run attacks,” Seth Frantzman, executive director of the Middle East Center for Reporting and Analysis (MECRA), told VOA. Frantzman added that IS poses a particular danger “at night to civilian traffic around Hawija [in Kirkuk] and other areas. This is a reincarnation of the old ISIS insurgency network that existed between 2010 and 2013.” Ryan said IS currently controls only 1 percent of the Syrian territory it once held when it declared its so-called caliphate in 2014. “Right now, they still hold good presence in the middle Euphrates River Valley,” Ryan said.”

CNBC: 'Terrorism,' 'Despicable': GOP Leaders Condemn Suspected Mail Bombs Sent To Obama, Clinton And CNN Headquarters

“Leading Republicans on Wednesday condemned a series of suspected mail bombs sent to former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former CIA chief John Brennan and other critics of President Donald Trump. "I stand with all Americans in condemning today's attempted acts of domestic terrorism," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky. Vice President Mike Pence, during an event in Scranton, Pennsylvania, said, "These cowardly acts are despicable and have no place in American society." "I want to assure you we've deployed the full resources of the FBI, the United States Secret Service and they're working very closely with law enforcement officials," Pence said. Trump tweeted his support for Pence's sentiments. Authorities on Wednesday said that suspicious packages had been found addressed to Obama, Clinton, and to Brennan in care of CNN in New York City. Brennan is actually a contributor to CNBC's sister network MSNBC. Later Wednesday, officials said such packages had also been sent to Eric Holder, who had served as attorney general under Obama, and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. A report that such a package was sent to Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris' office in San Diego was later found to be incorrect, according to Harris' office and local police. The boxes police found outside the building that houses her office were not addressed to her and were found to not contain a device of any kind, they said.”

Military Times: US Troops In Syria Take Fire From Turkish Proxy Fighters

“A U.S. patrol came under fire in the Syrian region of Manbij, allegedly from Turkey’s local proxy forces. American officials with Operation Inherent Resolve confirmed to Military Times that coalition forces exchanged fire with an unknown armed group on Oct. 15 near Manbij — a region in northern Syria that has stoked tension between the U.S. and Turkey, both NATO allies, over the past year. “Troops were on a patrol with Manbij Civil Council and received gunfire from an unknown source," Army Col. Sean Ryan, spokesman for the Inherent Resolve coalition to defeat the Islamic State, told Military Times. "It was over quickly and a reminder to stay vigilant,” he added. Ryan said the coalition patrols in Manbij do not often receive fire. He also did not confirm whether those firing at the Americans were Turkey’s proxy forces. “Manbij has been relatively safe but it is still Syria, and a lot of malign actors are looking to cause trouble,” he said. The Syrian Kurdish journalist Hosheng Hesen posted a video of the skirmish on his Twitter account. He wrote a caption stating that the video shows a clash between U.S. troops and armed rebel factions sponsored by Turkey. Earlier this year, Inherent Resolve confirmed to Military Times that coalition forces have received fire from suspected Turkish-supported groups sporadically over the time they have been patrolling near Manbij.”

NPR: In Raqqa, People Are Living In Ruins And Resentment Is Growing

“It's been a year since U.S. forces and Syrian fighters forced ISIS from Raqqa. But the Syrian city still has large swaths of destruction, and people are growing resentful. AILSA CHANG, HOST:It's been a year since a coalition of countries led by the United States pushed ISIS out of Raqqa, its de facto capital. The air and ground assaults of that war caused massive destruction after the U.S. promised to stabilize Raqqa, an effort designed to prevent the kind of desperation among locals that might allow ISIS to return. But the funds for that have slowed, and many millions more are needed for real reconstruction. During a visit to Raqqa, NPR's Ruth Sherlock found people living in ruins, and the resentment is growing. RUTH SHERLOCK, BYLINE: On the main road to Raqqa, we passed fields where women are bent over working under the sun. Then, the city's deformed outline appears, buildings jagged and warped by war on the horizon. A dirt track takes us inside the city. It's been almost a whole year since the coalition led by the United States forced ISIS out of Raqqa. But as I look around, I find a city still ruined by that war. I mean, the destruction is really just breathtaking. It's hard to believe it until you see it with your own eyes. Wherever you go, this place is just - has been flattened. It's like people are living among the rubble here.”

The Guardian: Syrians Horrified By 'Crime Of No Honour' Killing

“A video documenting the brutal murder of a young woman in Syria has been met with outrage and horror online - and shone a renewed spotlight on so-called "honour killings" in the country. The young woman, identified by Syrian news outlets and social media users as "Rasha Bseis", was shot repeatedly with an automatic rifle in the rebel-held town of Jarablus, near the Turkish border, by a man reported to be her brother. Some said the young woman was under 18 years of age. The BBC has not been able to independently verify these reports. In the video, a young woman cowers against a wall as a man stands over her with a gun. He opens fire, kicking dust up from the floor and wall. A voice in the background yells "wash away your shame". The video has been widely viewed and shared online. A report on the Lebanese Al-Modon news website said police were investigating and an arrest warrant had been issued for the man.”

The Washington Post: Japan Reporter Freed From Captivity In Syria Returns Home

“A Japanese journalist returned to Tokyo on Thursday after being freed from more than three years of captivity in Syria. Jumpei Yasuda was released on Tuesday and taken to neighboring Turkey. Yasuda, wearing a black T-shirt, was escorted from his plane at Tokyo’s airport by Japanese officials and ushered into a black van. He left without talking to a large group of reporters who had waited for his arrival. On an earlier flight from the southern Turkish town of Antakya to Istanbul, Yasuda said he was happy to be going home after living in “hell” for more than three years, but was worried about how he will catch up with a changed world. “I’m so happy to be free,” he told Japan’s NHK television on a flight from Antakya in southern Turkey to Istanbul. “But I’m a bit worried about what will happen to me or what I should do from now on.” Yasuda, 44, who was kidnapped in 2015 by al-Qaida’s branch in Syria, said he felt as if he’d fallen behind the rest of the world and was uncertain how to catch up. He described his 40 months in captivity as “hell” both physically and mentally. He said he was kept in a tiny cell and tortured. There was a time when he was not allowed to bathe for eight months, he said.”

The Guardian: Japanese Journalist Jumpei Yasuda Speaks About Captivity In Syria

“Jumpei Yasuda, the Japanese journalist held in Syria for more than three years, has given details of his captivity for the first time and told of his uncertainty about the future as he prepared to return home. Speaking aboard a flight from southern Turkey to Istanbul, from where he was due to fly to Tokyo on Thursday, the 44-year-old freelance journalist said he was struggling to speak fluently in his native language after 40 months as a prisoner of a group with links to al-Qaida. “I am happy that I can return to Japan. At the same time I don’t know what will happen from here or what I should do,” Yasuda told Reuters a day after his release. “I am thinking about what I need to do.” Earlier, in a brief video released by Turkish officials, Yasuda, who had lost weight and grown a thick beard, confirmed his identity. “My name is Jumpei Yasuda, Japanese journalist,” he said in English. “I have been held in Syria for 40 months, now in Turkey. Now I’m in safe condition. Thank you very much.” He is expected to come under pressure to offer a more detailed account of his time as a hostage, which began when he was captured, allegedly by the Nusra Front, an al-Qaida linked militant group, soon after entering northern Syria from Turkey in June 2015. “What he witnessed during his captivity is precious information. We want to hear from him to use his experience in helping to end the war [in Syria],” Maki Sato, secretary general of the Japan Iraq Medical Network, told Kyodo news.”

Voice Of America: UN Rights Expert Urges Iran To End Death Penalty For Minors

“The U.N. independent expert on human rights in Iran urged Tehran on Wednesday to abolish the death penalty for juveniles. "I appeal to the Iranian authorities to abolish the practice of sentencing children to death, and to commute all death sentences issued against children in line with international law," Javaid Rehman, special rapporteur for human rights in Iran, told a General Assembly human rights committee. Execution of juvenile convicts violates international law and contravenes the Convention of the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Rehman said five individuals convicted of having committed murder as minors have been put to death this year in Iran. The most recent, Zeinab Sekaanvand, was executed three weeks ago. She was accused of killing her husband in 2012 when she was 17. "Claims that she was coerced into confessing to the killing, had been beaten following her arrest and was a victim of domestic violence were reportedly not adequately examined during her trial," the special rapporteur said.”

The Wall Street Journal: Iran Moves To Shelter Millions As U.S. Sanctions Bite

“As Iran braces for U.S. sanctions that target its financial lifeline—oil sales—it is resorting to a series of extraordinary steps to try to insulate the country’s increasingly restive working class from the likely economic fallout. The Iranian government is moving ahead with plans to provide financial support to 20 million lower-income people, or about a quarter of the population, and extra relief to 11 million of the country’s poorest. As a second round of U.S. sanctions is set to come into effect on Nov. 5, Iran is standing over a precipice. With an unsteady economy, a sharp drop in the value of the currency and the prospect of more economic pain ahead, the cost of living in Iran has soared. “Everything is expensive,” said a 68-year-old man selling chewing gum and tissues on the street in Tehran. “At this age, I still have to do something to survive.” The U.S. measures come after President Trump withdrew the U.S. in May from a multinational accord that lifted sanctions in exchange for curbs on Iran’s nuclear activity. A first round in August targeted Iran’s foreign-currency trade, auto industry and other sectors; the next round, targeting the oil industry, will follow a 180-day wind-down period set by the Treasury Department to give companies time to get out.”

Voice Of America: Another Activist Detained In Iran's Crackdown On Teachers Unions

“The wife of a prominent Iranian teachers union leader said Wednesday that Iranian security forces had detained her husband and hospitalized him for a purported mental illness that she knew nothing about. Hashem Khastar, a unionist representing teachers in Iran's northeastern Razavi Khorasan province, was the latest of several education activists to be detained in Iran this year while promoting teachers' rights to engage in union activities and protest peacefully for better working conditions. In phone conversations with VOA's Persian and Kurdish services, Sadigheh Maleki said her 65-year-old husband, a retired teacher, had gone missing a day earlier while tending to a family farm in Golbahar, near their home in Mashhad. She said she had found Khastar's empty car adjacent to a park while searching for him. After trying without success to reach Khastar by phone and contacting local authorities to check on his whereabouts, Maleki said she received a phone call Wednesday from a person using a blocked number who identified as a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. She said the IRGC member told her that security personnel had taken her husband to Mashhad's Eben'e Sina Hospital for treatment of a mental illness. Maleki told VOA that Khastar had been mentally and physically fine before his detention. She said she had gone to the hospital to check on him but was told by a nurse that security personnel were preventing people from approaching his hospital room. Maleki said she left the hospital after several hours and was concerned that Khastar might have suffered some kind of trauma that would have necessitated mental health care.”

The Express: Iran ‘Closer To Nuclear Weapons Than We Thought’ Warns Global Security Watchdog

“A damning document published by the Institute for Science and International Security said satellite imagery and information from a raid on a Tehran warehouse site in January “shows that Iran conducted at Parchin more high explosive tests related to nuclear weapons development than previously thought, this work appears to have involved more than what the IAEA called feasibility and scientific studies”. It also said “the information highlights dual-use, controlled equipment used at the site, such as a flash x-ray system utilizing a Marx generator and a variety of neutron measurement equipment, with electronics, designed to monitor high speed, explosively driven tests of a neutron source commonly used in a nuclear weapon”. The report, written by watchdog director David Albright, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) former Deputy Director General Olli Heinonen and other top experts, concluded the findings “shows that the Parchin site did house high explosive chambers capable for use in nuclear weapons research and development”. The news follows a chilling warning by Iranian General Hossein Salami, second-in-command of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards force, who vowed to destroy Israel in a furious attack that raised fears of a major outbreak of conflict in the volatile Middle East.”

The Wall Street Journal: Iraq’s New Prime Minister Forms Government Five Months After Election

“Iraq’s new prime minister was sworn in late on Wednesday after lawmakers approved a majority of his cabinet, overcoming the first test of his leadership and giving the country a government five months after elections. The parliament approved 14 of the 22 ministers nominated by Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi following a tempestuous, four-hour session that some lawmakers threatened to disrupt saying they needed longer to vet the nominees because some were suspected of corruption or may have fake degrees. Several key posts including Interior and Defense are yet to be agreed upon. The session highlighted the challenges that Mr. Abdul-Mahdi faces in fixing a dysfunctional political system while overhauling Iraq’s struggling oil-dependent economy and rebuilding infrastructure destroyed in the war against Islamic State. Iraqi security forces must also prevent a resurgence of the extremist group, which has been regrouping in northern Iraq while politicians wrangled in Baghdad. Mr. Abdul-Mahdi, a 76-year-old Shiite independent, was nominated earlier this month to form the country’s next government by the beginning of November, after a compromise between competing factions backed by the U.S. and Iran ended months of jockeying that followed an inconclusive election in May. The U.S., which invested billions of dollars in the war against Islamic State, didn’t want to see the formation of Iraq’s government dictated by Iran’s allies.”

Iraqi News: Iraqi Troops Apprehend Islamic State Terrorist In Southern Baghdad

“Iraqi troops arrested on Wednesday an Islamic State terrorist, who is involved in launching attacks against security forces and civilians in Baghdad. “Troops of the 42nd brigade of military intelligence managed to arrest a terrorist in al-Mada’in district in southern Baghdad while trying to flee the area,” the Iraqi Baghdad Today website quoted the Iraqi Military Intelligence Directorate as saying in a statement. “The arrestee had launched terrorist several terrorist attacks against security forces and civilians in al-Mada’in district,” the statement added. Violence in the country has surged further with the emergence of Islamic State extremist militants who proclaimed an “Islamic Caliphate” in Iraq and Syria in 2014. The surge in violence between armed groups and government forces has resulted in over five million internally displaced persons across Iraq and left more than 11 million in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. IS declared a self-styled “caliphate” in a third of Iraq and neighboring Syria in 2014. A government campaign, backed by a U.S.-led international coalition and paramilitary forces, was launched in 2016 to retake IS-held regions, managing to retake all havens, most notably the city of Mosul, the group’s previously proclaimed capital.”

The National: Afghanistan Probes Claims At Least 14 Civilians Killed In Raid On ISIS

“Afghan officials launched an investigation Wednesday into claims at least 14 civilians were killed in a military ground operation targeting the ISIS group in their stronghold in eastern Afghanistan. Following Tuesday night's raid by Afghan special forces in Rodat district of Nangarhar province, scores of protesters temporarily blocked a major highway linking Afghanistan and Pakistan to demand action against those responsible for the attack. Sultan Mohammad, who was among the protesters, told AFP 14 people were killed in the operation and four others were wounded. Local elder Najibullah Amarkhil put the death toll slightly higher at 16, including women and children. "Government forces raided several houses- they killed 14 people, including a six-month-old baby," Amarkhil told AFP, adding two more died from their wounds in hospital. "We demand the government punish those responsible." Afghan broadcaster Tolo News said the death toll was "at least 17.”

Premium Times: Taliban Bomb Maker, Wife, Two Kids Killed In Blast – Afghan Police

“A Taliban bomb maker, his wife and two children were killed as his device exploded prematurely in his home in Afghanistan’s northern Faryab province on Monday, Provincial Police spokesman, Abdul-Karim Yurash, said on Wednesday. “A Taliban mine maker, Mullah Sadrudin, was making a mine in his home in Garzewan district on Monday but the device exploded suddenly killing himself, his wife and two of his children on the spot,” Yurash said. The two children killed were five and eight years old respectively. The bomb had been intended to be used as a roadside bomb to target security convoys in the restive province, the official said via telephone from provincial capital Maimana. Taliban militants, who are in control of parts of Faryab province and largely relying on suicide and roadside bombing, have not commented. Similarly, Afghan authorities on Wednesday said that 56 drug-narcotics-related cases were exposed in the country within the past one month. “The Counter-Narcotics Police of Afghanistan (CNPA) together with the detective Afghan security organisation have cracked 56 drug cases, involving 81 people, including two women during the Afghan month of Mizan (September 23 to October 22) across in the country,” official said. The Counter-Narcotics Criminal Justice Task Force of Afghanistan (CJTF) said this in a statement. The cases were handed over to the Central Narcotics Tribunal (CNT), a special Afghan court for jurisdiction of major drug cases, the statement noted.”

Voice Of America: Pakistan Frees Key Afghan Taliban Leader

“Pakistan has freed Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, co-founder of the Taliban and former second-in-command of the Taliban insurgency that is fighting the U.S.-backed government in neighboring Afghanistan. The senior Afghan insurgent leader, popularly known as Mullah Baradar, was captured in 2010 in a joint raid by Pakistani and American security operatives against his hideout in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city. He was second-in-command at the time of his arrest. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid Wednesday confirmed to VOA that “Mullah Baradar is now a free man and has joined his family.” He did not elaborate further, nor did he say exactly when the release took place. ​Qatar may have helped: Pakistani officials were not available to comment on the insurgent’s claims. The Gulf state of Qatar, where the Taliban maintains its so-called “political office,” is said to have played a role in securing freedom for Baradar. His release came just days after a high-level Qatari delegation, led by the country’s deputy prime minister and foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammad Bin Abdul Rahman al-Thani, visited Islamabad Friday and held meetings with the Pakistani leadership. After the visit, official Pakistani statements did not mention anything about Baradar but focused on bilateral political and economic cooperation. Respected Taliban leader.”

Voice Of America: Pakistan Mediating Between Saudi Arabia, Iran To End Yemen War

“Pakistan is mediating between Iran and Saudi Arabia in an effort to end the conflict in Yemen, Prime Minister Imran Khan announced in a televised address Wednesday night. “We are acting as a conciliator between the two countries to end the war,” he said. The idea for Pakistan to mediate was first floated by Khan in a previous trip to the kingdom soon after his election as prime minister, according to Fawad Chaudhry, Pakistan’s information minister. “Since then, Pakistan has been carrying out a Track II process,” Chaudhry said, adding, “we have been in touch with all stakeholders to the conflict.” The conflict in Yemen started in 2014 when the Houthis, a Shi’ite militia backed by Iran, seized parts of the country, including the capital, from the government in power that was backed by Saudi Arabia. The kingdom formed an alliance with several Arab states and started bombing the Houthis. Yemen has been at war since then, which has destroyed infrastructure and displaced millions of people. The United Nations recently warned that the country was at risk of a famine that was likely to cause a “massive loss of life.” U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock has said that half the country would soon depend on food aid from outside. Peace negotiations brokered under the United Nations recently broke down. The U.N. envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, has been trying to jump-start the process again.”

Arab News: Ksrelief Signs Accord To Rehabilitate Yemeni Children Conscripted By Houthis

“The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) has signed a deal to support more Yemeni children conscripted by the Houthi militants. This agreement will provide support services to 80 former child soldiers to help them reintegrate into their families and communities. It extends KSRelief’s rehabilitative services program with services such as a return to school program for former child soldiers. “The KSRelief signed a joint cooperation agreement with a civil society institution to provide rehabilitative services to additional former child soldiers in Yemen,” said KSRelief spokesman Abdulmajeed Al-Humaydhi. He added that the agreement, which was signed by Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, general supervisor of the KSRelief, will directly benefit 80 children and their parents.”

Al Arabiya: Houthis Step Up Security Fearing Coup Ministers Will Flee Sanaa

“The Houthi coup militias tightened their security and monitoring measures against officials and ministers in the coup government in Sanaa, fearing they might break away and flee to areas under the control of the Yemeni legitimate government. The pro-Iranian militias staged a wide campaign of arrests involving officers of the former Republican Guard. According to security sources, a number of its senior political officials, among them Yahya al-Raii, the speaker of the lower house of parliament, who has been assigned a security team and a driver of the Houthis, are under house arrest. The Houthi militias’ measures are nothing new, as ministers in their coup government suffer from marginalization, mistreatment and strict control, after the Minister of Tourism Nasser Baqzquz submitted his resignation and his request to allow him to leave Sana’a as a result of threats from the Director of the Office of the President of the so-called Supreme Political Council of the coup militias. 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.”

Gulf News: Yemen Officials: Coalition Set For Fresh Assault On Key Port

“Yemeni officials say the Saudi-led coalition has sent reinforcements to Yemen’s west coast ahead of a fresh assault on the rebel-held port city of Hodeida. he city is a lifeline for international aid deliveries, and the battle to wrest it from the militia has, like the rest of Yemen’s war, fallen into stalemate. The officials say the reinforcements arrived Wednesday in tanks and armoured vehicles provided by the United Arab Emirates, a key member of the coalition that has been battling the Iran-backed Al Houthi militia, since 2015. Medical officials say that in the past 48 hours, at least 65 combatants have been killed and hundreds wounded in fighting around Hodeida and other parts of the country. Meanwhile, thousands of Yemeni state employees in the government-ruled areas face the prospect of being replaced by loyalists of Iran-aligned Al Houthi militants as part of a campaign to radicalise the country, a senior Yemeni official has warned. Information Minister Mummar Al Eryani added that as part of their efforts to “Al Houthize” Yemen, the rebels are compiling lists of state employees, living in areas under the government’s authority ahead of sacking them for alleged absenteeism.”

The National: Bahrain Arrests Two Nationals Paid By Qatar To Influence Elections

“Bahrain has arrested two of its nationals accused of receiving money from Qatar to influence upcoming parliamentary elections in the country. A criminal investigation has been launched by Bahrain’s public prosecution, attorney general Dr Ahmed Al Hammadi confirmed on Wednesday. Bahrain News Agency said the two suspects had been paid money into their bank accounts by former Qatari minister Abdullah bin Khalid Al Thani and made visits to Qatar to receive cash payments. The accused were arrested at Bahrain International Airport with large sums of undeclared money in their possession: BD 12,000 and 500 Qatari Riyals. “Investigations showed that one of the two nationals received from the Qatari former minister sums of money to run for the parliamentary elections set to be held this year and to support his electoral campaign,” the statement on news agency’s website read.”

Middle East
BBC News: Analysis: Has IS Changed Its Strategy On Hostages After Territorial Losses?

“Islamic State group (IS) has yet to confirm or deny reports that it is holding, and in some cases has killed, female captives in Syria and Nigeria, which indicates the group has likely changed its strategy on hostages following its territorial losses in 2017. Between 2014 and 2017, the group was known to flaunt the male hostages it held, including Western nationals, showing their killings in chilling propaganda videos. But in 2018, with the group at its weakest having lost most of its territory and sources of funding, it seems to have switched to soft targets, women and children hostages, and is engaging in behind-the-scenes negotiations - something it previously boasted it did not do. According to state authorities and local media in the relevant countries, IS is holding women and children hostages in southern Syria (Sweida) and eastern Syria (Deir al-Zour), and female hostages, some of whom have already been killed, in Nigeria (Borno State). Despite reports confirming that IS is negotiating in most of these cases, the group itself has yet to put out any comment via its official outlets on the messaging app Telegram. These outlets continue to publish regular updates about its activities in both Syria and Nigeria.”

Associated Press: Egyptian Officials: Roadside Bomb Kills 3 Workers In Sinai

“Egyptian security officials say a roadside bombing has killed three workers contracted to build a security wall in the northern Sinai city of el-Arish. The officials say another 10 workers were wounded in the explosion on Thursday. The officials blamed an Islamic State affiliate, which is active in that part of the Sinai Peninsula, for the bombing. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. Suspected IS militants on Sunday shot and killed three workers outside their homes in el-Arish. Egypt has been struggling to contain an insurgency by Islamic militants in northern Sinai. The insurgency intensified after the military's 2013 ouster of Mohammed Morsi, an elected but divisive Islamist president.”

AllAfrica: 7 Years After Boko Haram Attack, UN Returns To Its Building

“Seven years after Boko Haram insurgents bombed the United Nations' House in Abuja, forcing the world body to abandon the place, activities have gradually resumed at the building, the UN Resident Coordinator, Edward Kallon has disclosed. Boko Haram insurgents had on August 26, 2011, bombed the UN building in Abuja, through a car bomb explosion, killing at least 21 persons and wounding 60 others. Kallon, who made the disclosure wednesday in Abuja at an event to commemorate the 73rd Anniversary of the UN Day, described the movement back to the UN House as a demonstration of the shared resilience of the UN and Nigeria against increasing violence and terrorism. "The 2018 UN Day is a very important day for the UN system in Nigeria as it underscores the excellent cooperation and partnership of the UN and Nigeria over the years.”

Voice Of America: North Eastern Counties Grapple With Al Shabaab Attacks

“Leaders of Kenya’s northeastern counties have vowed to fight against al Shabaab, the Somalia-based militant group that has terrorised the region for the past seven years. One troubling question hung over the meeting: How can that be done effectively? The five counties represented at the two-day meeting — Mandera, Garissa, Isiolo, Wajir and Marsabit — all have seen their share of deadly al Shabaab attacks. The worst one took place in April 2015, when militant gunmen stormed Garissa University College and killed 148 people, most of them students. More recently, al Shabaab claimed responsibility for attacks that killed eight security officers in Wajir County in June and two teachers in Mandera County this month. Ali Korane, the governor of Garissa County, said northeast Kenya is hugely suffering as a result of such terror attacks. “Today our schools are not functional, our roads are impassable, doctors have abandoned hospitals, and carrying out development projects is impossible, and all these are the results of the regional insecurity posed by the terrorists,” Korane said. “We have to pull out all the stops to prevent” further attacks. One call for withdrawal The meeting in Mandera city was the first to bring together politicians, elders, villagers and officials from Kenyan security agencies to discuss insecurity and al-Shabaab attacks in northeastern Kenya. Mandera County Deputy Gov. Mohamed Arai, whose county borders Somalia, called for the withdrawal of Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers from neighbouring Somalia. Al-Shabaab began its attacks in Kenya after the KDF entered Somalia in 2011 to help protect the perennially shaky Somali government.”

Daily Maverick: State Cites ISIS In Durban Trial – But Experts Urge Extreme Care

“The spectre of ISIS landed squarely on South African shores this week, when state prosecutors told a Durban court that the 11 men accused of involvement in the Verulam mosque attack and attempted bombings around Durban were linked to the Islamic State (ISIS). This claim comes as no surprise to those who have been warning that ISIS has known sympathisers in South Africa. But experts warn that if the state’s case is not watertight, the results could be disastrous. The state gave a taste of its case against 11 suspects accused of terrorism this week in a bail hearing at the Verulam Family Court, and it carried one bombshell acronym at its centre: ISIS. Affidavits filed by the Hawks team investigating the May 2018 attack on a Shi’a mosque in Verulam and a series of attempted bombings around Durban in July claimed that the 11 men in the dock had links to ISIS. In court papers, the Hawks say that raids on the homes of the suspects unearthed copies of the ISIS “magazine” Rumiyah – carrying information on how to wage jihad – together with eight ISIS flags. The ISIS propaganda was found at a property belonging to businessman Farhad Hoomer, who is accused number one in the case. Police allege that Hoomer was the ringleader of the gang and that his home was used as a “training facility” for ISIS-inspired acts of violence.”

United Kingdom
The Guardian: UK Police Not A Match For Evolving Terrorism Threat, Says Top Officer

“The country’s most senior counter-terrorism officer has said police forces are not a match for the threat of Islamist and extreme far-right terrorism. Giving evidence to the home affairs select committee, Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said there were 700 live terrorism investigations and that Islamists and far-right extremists feed off each other. “My predecessor Mark [Rowley] when he was in front of you a year ago said ‘despite our best endeavours we’re not yet as well matched to the threat as we were a year ago’,” Basu said. “So one year on I’d like to tell you we are matched to the current threat, but the reality is we are not. “Matching that new threat, including now extreme rightwing terrorism and hostile state activity, requires new ways of working and for us to retain our current resources.” Thirty-six people were killed and scores more injured in a series of terrorist attacks in Manchester, and London Bridge, Westminster, Finsbury Park and Parsons Green in the capital.”

UPI: France To Repatriate Children Of Islamic State Fighters In Syria

“France plans to repatriate more than 100 children of Islamic State fighters held by Kurdish forces in Syria. French officials will decide on an individual basis whether to bring the approximately 150 children, mostly under the age of six, held by the Syrian Democratic Forces back to the country. "French authorities are now entering an active phase of evaluation on the possibility of repatriating minors," an official told The Telegraph. "It is in the best interest of the children." Mothers must consent to being separated from their children in order for them to be repatriated, as parents must remain in the countries where they are being held to face prosecution by local authorities. "Those who have committed crimes in Iraq and Syria must be tried in Iraq and Syria," the French foreign ministry said. "The exception is minors, whose situation will be examined on a case-by-case basis, and there is a particular duty to safeguard the best interests of the child." The French government said it sought to repatriate the children for fear they may become radicalized and grow to become militants if they remain in Syria. The process is complicated by the fact that France can't take the children directly from the Syrian Democratic Forces because they are not a legally recognized authority.”

Deutsche Welle: The German Who Went From Left-Wing Terrorist To Salafist Sympathizer

“One of the advantages of a constitutional state that ensures the rule of law is that it also applies those rights to people who deeply reject it. Even those who want to abolish the democratic system and fight by force for an Islamic state have the right to a fair trial with a lawyer of their choice. And this is exactly where Bernhard Falk's self-proclaimed line of work begins. An imposing man with a large graying beard and balding head, he describes himself as an "emergency responder." Falk's places of deployment are courtrooms and prisons. He looks after Islamist prisoners and travels the country up and down: returnees from Syria who presumably fought for the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) or other jihadi groups; members of the German Salafist scene who are accused of having recruited for jihad or of having helped young men on their way out to the Middle Eastern war zone; Islamists who are suspected to have sent money or equipment to the IS area and radicalized people who are prosecuted for planning terror attacks in Germany. For Falk they are all "Muslim political prisoners." Exactly 122 names are on the multi-page list which Falk presents to DW in a Frankfurt park. He has just attended the trial against Bilal Gümüs in the neighboring regional High Court.”

Reuters: Senators Question Google's Tardy Disclosure Of User Data Exposure

“Two U.S. senators said Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) disclosure of user data vulnerabilities at Google+ raised “serious questions” over whether it violated a 2011 consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission, potentially exposing Google to penalties. Alphabet said this month it would shut down the consumer version of its failed social network Google+ and tighten its data-sharing policies after announcing the private profile data of at least 500,000 users may have been exposed to hundreds of external developers. The issue, the latest in a run of privacy issues to hit big U.S. tech companies, was discovered and patched in March. The Wall Street Journal reported that Google opted not to disclose the security issue due to fears of regulatory scrutiny, citing unnamed sources and a memo prepared by Google’s legal and policy staff for senior executives.”

The Guardian: Facebook Secret Software Reveals 8.7m Child Abuse Images On Its Platform

“Facebook has said its moderators have removed 8.7m child abuse images in the past three months, as the company battles pressure from regulators and lawmakers worldwide to speed up removal of illicit material. It said on Wednesday that previously undisclosed software automatically flags images that contain both nudity and a child, helping its reviewers. A similar machine learning tool was also revealed that it said caught users engaged in “grooming” of minors for sexual exploitation. Facebook has vowed to speed up removal of extremist and illicit material, and machine learning programs that sift through the billions of pieces of content users post each day are essential to its plan. Facebook’s global head of safety Antigone Davis told Reuters in an interview the “machine helps us prioritise” and “more efficiently queue” problematic content for its reviewers. The company is exploring applying the same technology to its Instagram app.”

Combating Terrorist Financing
Albawabh News: The World Association For Al-Azhar Graduates (WAAG) Urges Swift Legislation To Combat Terrorist Financing

“The World Association for Al-Azhar Graduates (WAAG) issued a statement describing the financing of terrorism, aiding and harboring terrorists, and being members of deviant intellectual currents, as 'sin and transgression'. WAAG urged the international community to legislate strict, deterrent laws to counter the funding of terrorism, sympathizing with terrorism and harboring terrorists. WAAG also underscored the need to punish by law all individuals and entities implicated in fundraising on behalf of terrorist and extreme organizations.”

Alarab: In Search Of New Recruitment Mechanisms ISIS Goes Into The Animation World

“A series of episodes of an animated program launched recently by ISIS via its social media accounts stirred a huge debate over what appears to be a new strategy adopted by the terrorist organization to disseminate its ideology. These short, animated clips replace ISIS's ordinary and traditional tools, most notably its videos showing {ghastly} scenes of murder, torture or the conditions of the people living inside the walls of the alleged Islamic Caliphate, prior to its downfall last year. The new method also replaces the brief statements by the terror group issued through its media outlets including Aamaq news agency or online newspapers. Now, ISIS is turning to a new propaganda tool with the help of animated films. ISIS media activists invented a fictional character named "Abed Allah" who wears the organization's traditional wide robe, has a shaven head and a large beard, as well as a black flag. In each episode, this figure visits an important symbolic site somewhere in the world, most notably the White House in the United States, Westminster Palace in Britain, the Eiffel Tower in France and the Great Wall of China.”

Seventh Day: Egyptian Authorities Appeal Decision To Release Four Persons Suspected Of ISIS Financing

“The Supreme State Security Prosecution appealed an earlier decision made by the Giza Criminal Court to release four suspects in connection with the case publicly known as "ISIS Financing." The court had previously decided to free, with precautionary measures, the four defendants who are accused of belonging to and financing a terrorist group aimed at assaulting public utilities and inciting against {Egypt's} state's institutions.”

Muslim Brotherhood
24 Yemen: Expert Accuses Muslim Brotherhood Of Stealing Humanitarian Aid Provided To Yemen

“Abd Al-Sattar Al-Shamiry, Director of the Johud Center for Studies, revealed that the Muslim Brotherhood in Yemen has regularly committed acts of thievery. Al-Shamiry added that the Islamist group is stealing the humanitarian assistance provided to Yemen in the territories controlled by the group. Thanks to the recent aid donated by the Saudi-led coalition and Qatar, Muslim Brotherhood leaders and activists have prospered, the researcher added. This could be clearly observed by the large number of universities and schools that have been established recently by the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Shamiry explained. Additionally, most of the currency exchange bureaus currently operating in Taiz belong to the Islamist movement. The Muslim Brotherhood uses these money exchange offices to control the foreign exchange market in the country. The organization distributes the incoming assistance very unevenly, channeling a large portion of the aid to its loyalists and a pittance to the rest of the Yemenis, the expert went on to say.”

Elfagr: Conflicts Within The Houthi Group Caused By Financial Deficit

“A source close to the Houthis disclosed that conflicts and growing rifts abound among the field leaders of the group. The rifts stem from the non-payment of salaries over the past several months. The sources claimed that the differences extend also to the top Houthi leaders and have led to defections. The source said that several field leaders have even fled from their positions on the battle fronts, refusing to return until receiving their salaries, claiming they have heard {only} false promises. The sources explained that the junior leaders have not been paid in full since mid-2017, at which time the payments stopped abruptly. The salary payments were stopped completely also to militants on the frontlines and areas controlled by the Houthis.

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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