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Arrow Eye on Extremism / February 11, 2019

Eye on Extremism
February 11, 2019

CNN: Votel: “Tens Of Thousands” Of ISIS Fighters In Syria And Iraq

“The top US commander in the war against ISIS aligned himself Sunday with the US intelligence community assessment that there are “tens of thousands” of ISIS fighters spread across Syria and Iraq. “They are dispersed and disaggregated, but there is leadership, there are fighters there, there are facilitators there,” Gen. Joseph Votel told reporters traveling with him to the Middle East for his farewell tour. Votel's comments underscore the testimony from Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats before Congress, an assessment President Donald Trump has publicly disagreed with. The statements, however, come as US backed fighters are in heavy combat in the last area of Syria where ISIS still controls territory. “I'm very proud of the coalition force team that we have on the ground who's assisting our Syrian Democratic force partners in what will be difficult fighting,” Votel said. “Urban terrain, high density of explosive hazards in the area, and the presence of displaced persons and others who are attempting to depart the area.” He added that in the last 24 hours, operations were resumed in the Middle Euphrates Valley and are currently underway. American officials believe the dispersed fighters may be in a wide swath of Syrian desert.”

Associated Press: US-Backed Fighters Launch Final Push To Defeat IS In Syria

“U.S.-backed and Kurdish-led Syrian forces said Saturday they have launched a final push to defeat the Islamic State group in the last tiny pocket the extremists hold in eastern Syria. Syrian Democratic Forces spokesman Mustafa Bali tweeted that the offensive began Saturday after more than 20,000 civilians were evacuated from the IS-held area in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour. An SDF statement said the offensive was focused on the village of Baghouz. The SDF, backed by U.S. air power, has driven IS from large swaths of territory it once controlled in northern and eastern Syria, confining the extremists to a small pocket of land near the border with Iraq. Scores of IS fighters are now besieged in two villages, or less than once percent of the self-styled caliphate that once sprawled across large parts of Syria and Iraq. In recent weeks, thousands of civilians, including families of IS fighters, left the area controlled by the extremists.”

The Hill: Advocacy Group Invites Zuckerberg To Discuss Removing Extremist Content

“The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) this week invited Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to host a public conversation about removing extremist content from the platform. The group extended the invitation following Zuckerberg's commitment earlier this year to host a series of "public discussions about the future of technology in society." Mark Wallace, the head of CEP, called on Zuckerberg participate in a meeting with with four experts on extremist content. "Facebook needs to work with experts if it wants to rid its platform of extremist materials," Wallace said in a statement Tuesday. "Individuals at CEP are experts in the policy and science behind online content moderation which can help Facebook better understand how to combat this threat." “We would welcome the opportunity to engage with Mr. Zuckerberg directly and transparently to the benefit of Americans who many times are the targets of extreme content inciting terrorist acts," he added.”

9News: American Web Giant Does Business With Terrorists Who Killed Hundreds Of US Soldiers In Iraq

“The inflammatory website of a violent terrorist group responsible for killing hundreds of US and coalition soldiers in Iraq is currently being hosted by one of America's biggest web companies, can exclusively reveal. Kataib Hezbollah (KH), an Iranian-sponsored militia which targeted America soldiers and its allies, including the Australian Defence Force, during the insurgency in Iraq, was designated a Foreign Terrorist Group in 2009 by the US government. But despite KH, also known as Hezbollah Brigades, being on the sanctions blacklist, which is meant to make international commerce more difficult, US internet goliath GoDaddy continues to host the anti-American terrorist group's official website. Counter Extremism Project (CEP), a Washington DC-based think tank which monitors terrorist and extremist groups, told that since 2016 it has repeatedly urged GoDaddy to shut down KH's online presence, without success. "There is a very clear case to shut Kataib Hezbollah down," Daniel Roth, a CEP researcher who unearthed the group's commercial link with GoDaddy, said.”

The Guardian: ‘The Fighting Was Intense’: Witness Tells Of Two-Day Attempt To Kill ISIS Leader

“Fresh details have emerged of the coup attempt against Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, with witnesses claiming foreign members of the terror group lost a two-day battle with his bodyguards before being rounded up and executed. A witness who spoke to the Guardian after being smuggled from the last hamlet in eastern Syria held by Isis, said the clash took place in al Keshma, a village next to Baghouz in September, three months earlier than regional intelligence officials believed it had taken place. “I saw him with my own eyes,” said Jumah Hamdi Hamdan, 53. “He was in Keshma and in September the Khawarij (infidels) tried to capture him. “The fighting was very intense, they had tunnels between houses. They were mainly Tunisians and there were many people killed.” Hamdan said Baghdadi then moved to Baghouz, from where he fled to the desert in early January. This account was supported by senior regional officials, who say he probably remains there, as the remnants of the so-called caliphate he built disintegrates nearby. A senior military official from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the Kurdish-led force battling Isis, said other members of Isis’ foreign legion had joined the fight, including Algerians and Moroccans.”

Foreign Policy: Hezbollah Is In Venezuela To Stay

“Responding to a question on current instability in Venezuela and the presence of terrorist groups in the region, specifically Lebanese Hezbollah, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed in a recent interview that the Trump administration believes that the “Party of God,” as Hezbollah is known, maintains “active cells” in Venezuela. He went on to say that “Iranians are impacting the people of Venezuela,” because Hezbollah is trained, financed, and equipped by Tehran. Some security policy analysts seemed surprised by Pompeo’s claims, but they shouldn’t be. Hezbollah has long maintained a presence in Latin America, especially in the infamous Tri-Border Area Hezbollah has long maintained a presence in Latin America, especially in the infamous Tri-Border Area, a semi-lawless region where Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil converge. But even beyond the Tri-Border Area, Hezbollah is well-entrenched in Venezuela, where the Shiite terrorist group has long worked to establish a vast infrastructure for its criminal activities, including drug trafficking, money laundering, and illicit smuggling. For example, Margarita Island, located off the coast of Venezuela, is a well-known criminal hotbed where Hezbollah members have established a safe haven.”

United States

Fox News: Texas Man Charged With Recruiting On Behalf Of Terror Group

“Federal authorities have charged an 18-year-old Texas man with recruiting fighters on behalf of a Pakistan-based terrorist organization. A criminal complaint filed in federal court in Fort Worth says Michael Kyle Sewell was charged Friday with conspiring to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization. The complaint alleges Sewell tried to recruit another person to join Lashkar-e-Taiba, the militant group behind a 2008 attack in India's financial capital of Mumbai that killed 166. Authorities say Sewell put the person in contact with another person who he thought would facilitate overseas travel to join the terror group. But authorities say that third person was an undercover FBI agent. It's not clear when Sewell was taken into custody or whether he has an attorney to speak on his behalf.”

The Hunt: Recidivism, Other Issues Facing US Fight Against Terrorism

“The U.S. has done a good job of locking up people who are convicted of terrorism, but what happens when those people have completed their terms? Lucinda Creighton, senior advisor to the Counter Extremism Project, joins J.J. Green to discuss the problem of former jihadists being released from prison without deradicalization and community transition programs.”

NBC New York: Manhattan Man Arrested At JFK Airport As He Tried To Fly Overseas For Terror Training: Prosecutors

“A Manhattan man was arrested Thursday as tried to get on a plane to fly overseas, allegedly to Pakistan to join and train with a terror group, prosecutors said. The FBI and NYPD arrested Wilfredo Encarnacion, 29, at JFK Airport. Prosecutors said he spoke to an FBI undercover about his alleged plans to join the terror group Lashkar e-Tayyiba, which is believed responsible for several major terror plots including the 2008 Mumbai attacks. “Not only did Mr. Encarnacion express a desire to execute and behead people, he scheduled travel and almost boarded a plane so he could go learn how to become a terrorist,” said FBI New York Director William Sweeney. Investigators said the suspect did not yet have weapons or training, but repeatedly spoke about how “I want to execute. I want to behead. Shoot.” Encarnacion allegedly called himself “lionofthegood” and “jihadinheart” online. He allegedly wrote a message on a jihadist forum on Nov. 1, 2018: “I want to fight till death alongside the Islamic State...I’m a lone wolf looking for a family I can strike the crusaders ... I want to be part of a family willing to kill not afraid of death.” On. Nov. 6, he allegedly wrote: “I want to join a group like isis, al wards or Taliban. I just don’t have connections. I want to learn. Fight. Kill. Die. And go to paradise.”


Reuters: U.S.-Backed Syrian Force Launches 'Final Battle' Against Islamic State

“The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) began an assault against the final Islamic State enclave in eastern Syria on Saturday, aiming to wipe out the last vestige of the jihadist group’s “caliphate” in the SDF’s area of operations. President Donald Trump, who is planning to pull U.S. forces out of Syria, said on Wednesday he expected an announcement as early as next week that the U.S.-led coalition operating in support of the SDF had reclaimed all the territory previously held by the jihadist group. The enclave is close to the Iraqi border and comprises two villages, though Islamic State (IS) also still has territory in the part of Syria that is mostly under the control of the Russian- and Iranian-backed Syrian government. SDF official Mustafa Bali, speaking to Reuters, described the assault as “the last battle”. He later wrote on Twitter that the attack had started and the enclave would “be cleared soon”. The SDF had handled the last 10 days “patiently” as more than 20,000 civilians were evacuated from the besieged IS enclave, Bali said. Senior SDF official Redur Xelil told Reuters the force hoped to capture the area by the end of February, but cautioned that IS would continue to pose “great and serious” security threats even after that. Islamic State redrew the map of the Middle East in 2014 when it declared a caliphate across large areas of Syria and Iraq.”

The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Mideast Commander Sees Syria Withdrawal ‘Right On Track’

“The top U.S. commander in the Middle East said the military is pulling equipment out of Syria in preparation for a troop withdrawal that comes as the U.S.-led coalition has entered what it says is the last stages of its fight against Islamic State in Syria. Gen. Joseph Votel, the head of U.S. Central Command, temporarily moved additional security and logistics forces into Syria to prepare for the eventual withdrawal of the more than 2,000 American troops who have been helping to fight Islamic State. President Trump announced in December that those troops, working with coalition forces and local fighters, had all but completed their work and that he would pull all troops out. The U.S. will begin to pull those troops out of Syria in coming weeks, Gen. Votel said. More than three-quarters of the troops could be drawn out by the end of March, according to a senior official familiar with the planning efforts. Remaining forces will be redeployed throughout April, officials have said.”

CBS News: “We Have The Will To End ISIS”: Syrian Forces Prepare For American Troops To Leave

“U.S-backed Syrian forces say they launched a final push to defeat isis in the only remaining pocket of territory that the extremists still hold in the country. A large presence of American troops remain in Syria, but local forces fear what comes next if the U.S. completely pulls out. They arrive to a barren stretch of desert, exhausted, hungry and cold, but finally out of harm's way. Families who lived under the grip of ISIS until the bitter end. America's allies on the ground announced the start of what they're calling the final battle against remaining ISIS holdouts after allowing thousands of civilians to flee. One woman told CBS News her children became terrified of the constant air strikes and bombardment and that they've been living on a diet of grass. The men have been separated, and interrogated to see if they were ISIS members. One man said they didn't leave before because “we were scared of the consequences of escaping -- being put in jail or walking through a minefield.” Earlier this week, CBS News visited the frontline and found no sign of a slowdown, as Kurdish-led troops closed in on the last strip of ISIS territory, backed up by U.S. and coalition airstrikes. Just seconds earlier, CBS News heard a jet roaring overhead followed by two airstrikes in that direction -- this fight is not over yet.”

The Washington Post: Withdrawing U.S. Troops From Syria Is Proving Easier Said Than Done

“President Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria has triggered a scramble among international powers and local forces to figure out how to fill the potentially destabilizing vacuum the Americans will leave behind. But as the diplomacy drags on, it is becoming clear that there is no readily apparent arrangement that will satisfy the competing concerns and agendas of all the parties involved — and that none seems likely to emerge soon. Turkey, Russia, the United States’ Syrian Kurdish allies and the Syrian government all have a strategic interest in any arrangement for the future of northern Syria, yet most of their demands are diametrically opposed. That they are not all talking to one another only compounds the difficulty of reaching a solution. Turkey considers the Kurdish fighters to be a terrorist force and wants to create a Turkish-controlled buffer zone to keep them away from its border. The United States’ Kurdish allies, who fear persecution at Turkish hands, want the Turks kept out. The Trump administration wants to satisfy both sides, making good on its contradictory promises to protect its Kurdish allies and to give Turkey a stake in the area. The Kurds would prefer a return of Syrian government authority in the area they control.”

CNN: Canadian Women Emerge From ISIS's Crumbling Caliphate

“Her face covered by a black veil, with just a slit for her eyes, Dura looks like dozens of other black-clad women clustered on blankets with their children, all former subjects of ISIS's crumbling caliphate in Syria. But this woman is a long, long way from home. When I address her in Arabic, she replies in English with a distinctly North American accent. “I'm sorry, I don't speak Arabic very well,” she says. On this nondescript patch of ground on the vast plains of eastern Syria, hundreds of people from all around the world are being identified, questioned, sometimes detained. More arrive every day, as they flee ISIS's last enclave, the besieged town of Baghouz Al-Fawqani. I spoke to people from Canada, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Iraq and Syria, as coalition warplanes roared overhead looking for targets. With the exception of Dura and a fellow Canadian woman, nearly everyone denied any connection with ISIS. Each had ended up in this desolate corner of Syria by sheer chance, they said. The so-called caliphate's former subjects arrive dusty, exhausted, scared and disoriented. Dura Ahmed, 28, is originally from Toronto, Canada. She arrived here like the others on the back of a pickup truck driven by fighters with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). I switch into English.”


The New York Times: ‘Death To America’ Means ‘Death To Trump,’ Iran’s Supreme Leader Says

“When Iran uses the slogan “Death to America,” the country’s supreme leader said on Friday, it is specifically wishing death on President Trump and two of his senior officials. “‘Death to America’ means death to Trump and John Bolton and Pompeo,” the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said, referring to John R. Bolton, the president’s national security adviser, and Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state. “It means death to American leaders, who happen to be these people at this time,” he added. Ayatollah Khamenei has reflected on the phrase repeatedly as Iran prepares to commemorate the 40th anniversary of its Islamic revolution, and engages in an increasingly bitter standoff with the Trump administration. The United States has withdrawn from a nuclear accord with Iran, reimposed economic sanctions on the country, and stepped up measures designed to pressure and perhaps to change its leadership. “Death to America” would remain part of Iran’s official discourse, Ayatollah Khamenei’s website,, quoted him as saying on Monday, until the United States changed its “evil and mean” ways. Mr. Pompeo has led efforts to increase pressure on Iran, and recently met with an opposition figure, Masih Alinejad.”

CNN: Iranian Protesters Defiant In The Face Of 'Worst' Crackdown In A Decade

“When Sina Ghanbari took to Tehran's streets during nationwide demonstrations at the beginning of 2018, he was speaking out against corruption, a sluggish economy and soaring fuel and food prices. Ghanbari was detained during the protests. After being held in the so-called quarantine ward of Tehran's Evin prison for five days, he died on his 22nd birthday. Prison authorities told his mother, Fatemeh Malayan Nejad, that her son had taken his own life. "My son called me from prison. He told me they had beaten him up," Nejad tells CNN. "It's a big lie that he committed suicide, and I won't rest until the truth comes out." Ghanbari's mother says she believes he was murdered. Ghanbari is one of nine protesters who died under "suspicious circumstances" after being detained by the Iranian authorities in 2018, according to a report by Amnesty International released on January 24. The rights group also says that at least 26 protesters were killed on the streets, and more than 7,000 dissidents of the regime were arrested throughout the year. Of that figure, 11 lawyers, 50 media professionals and 91 students were detained arbitrarily.”

The Express: Iran Protest: ‘Trump Is Right’ Europe Savaged For Soft Touch On Iran After ‘Year Of Shame'

“EUROPE must end its ‘soft touch’ approach on Tehran and follow Donald Trump’s hardline stance on Iran, according to demonstrators who flooded the streets of Paris in a dramatic protest. Thousands of Iranians rallied and marched in Paris yesterday to mark the 40th anniversary of the Iran uprising which toppled the country’s monarchy. The powerful march swept through the streets of Paris, with the rhythms of the drums echoing as demonstrators chanted powerful slogans against the Iran regime. Protesters called on the global community to act now and end atrocities in Tehran - but it was Europe which was most heavily condemned as the demonstrators stood behind US President Donald Trump for his tough stance on the regime.”


Iraqi News: U.S.-Led Coalition Warplanes Kill 7 Islamic State Terrorists In Iraq’s Kirkuk

“Seven Islamic State militants were killed Saturday in an airstrike that was launched by the U.S.-led international coalition warplanes in the oil-rich province of Kirkuk. According to Al Ekhbariya TV channel, the airstrike was launched using accurate intelligence reports to target hotbeds of the terrorist Islamic State group in Hawija district in Kirkuk. Thousands of IS militants as well as Iraqi civilians were killed since a government campaign, backed by paramilitary troops and a U.S.-led international coalition, was launched in October 2016 to fight the militant group, which declared a self-styled “caliphate” from Mosul in June 2014. In December 2017, former Iraqi prime minister Haidar al-Abadi announced full liberation of Iraqi lands, declaring end of war against IS members.”

Arab News: Caught In Syria, Foreign Terrorist Suspects May Face Trial In Iraq

“Their home countries don’t want them and holding trials in Syria isn’t an option: now suspected foreign terrorists could end up facing tough justice over the border in Iraq. Both countries have suffered for years at the hands of the Daesh group and Iraqi courts have already meted out hefty sentences to hundreds of foreigners detained on its soil, often after lighting-quick trials. As the final shred of the once-sprawling terrorists “caliphate” crumbles in eastern Syria, Kurdish-led forces backed by the US have captured hundreds more diehard foreign fighters. The American military — which spearheads an international coalition fighting Daesh — has in the past shown itself willing to hand those captured in Syria to the authorities in Iraq. In August AFP attended the Baghdad trial of 58-year-old French citizen Lahcene Gueboudj, who said he had been spirited from Syria to Iraq by US troops. Belkis Wille of Human Rights Watch said the organization knows of at least five instances in which US forces handed foreign detainees over to Iraq’s Counter Terrorism Service. They include Australian and Lebanese citizens transported out of Kurdish-controlled areas, at least one of whom was eventually sentenced to death in Iraq.”


The New York Times: U.S. Heightens Attacks On Taliban In Push Toward Peace In Afghanistan

“The Pentagon has stepped up airstrikes and special operations raids in Afghanistan to the highest levels since 2014 in what Defense Department officials described as a coordinated series of attacks on Taliban leaders and fighters. The surge, which began during the fall, is intended to give American negotiators leverage in peace talks with the Taliban after President Trump said he would begin withdrawing troops and wind down the nearly 18-year war. The campaign appears to have registered with the militants: During negotiations, the Taliban complained bitterly about the torrent of airstrikes, according to two senior Afghan officials who have spoken to Zalmay Khalilzad, the American special envoy who is leading the talks. “They say they have learned from their mistakes of the past,” Mr. Khalilzad said in a speech on Friday in Washington. He said the Taliban did not want to be “a pariah state” and had told him that they did not see a military solution to the conflict. The military strategy, devised by Gen. Austin S. Miller, the current commander of the American-led mission in Afghanistan, is similar to past attempts to bleed the militant group. But it is tied to a more specific ambition, coming as the United States is negotiating directly with the Taliban.”

The New York Post: Afghan Extradited For Trying To Traffic Heroin To Fund Terrorism: Prosecutors

“An Afghan man was extradited to the United States to face charges that he tried to traffic thousands of kilos of heroin into New York and use the profits to help fund terror networks, prosecutors announced Wednesday. Haji Manaf, 53, was extradited from Estonia this week after his arrest in October for the alleged plot to funnel the money back to the Taliban and the Haqqani network, according to a criminal complaint. In August, Manaf allegedly unwittingly arranged for a sample sale of the drug with a DEA agent and four informants, the court papers say. Manaf’s lawyer did not immediately return a request for comment.”

Reuters: Afghan President Offers Taliban Local Office, But Group Wants Doha Instead

“Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Sunday offered the Taliban the possibility of opening an office in Afghanistan but the proposal was swiftly spurned by the group that is determined to keep his government out of accelerating peace talks. Ghani has expressed alarm at the Taliban shutting his administration out of negotiations with the United States as well as recent Moscow talks with Afghan opposition politicians, and repeated earlier offers to give the group a secure official address to aid any future diplomacy between the two sides. “If the Taliban want an office, I will give it to them in Kabul, Nangarhar or Kandahar by tomorrow,” Ghani said while visiting the province of Nangarhar, a hotbed of insurgent violence on the border with Pakistan. “We will bring a lasting and honorable peace to the country,” he said. Nangarhar is a stronghold of the Taliban, the hardline Islamist movement that now controls or contests districts across nearly half the country, more than 17 years since they were toppled from power. Taliban officials in Moscow last week stressed the importance of a formal office among a string of demands that included the removal of Western sanctions and travel bans on Taliban members, prisoner releases and an end to “propaganda” against the group.”

The Washington Times: U.S. Aims To Have Taliban Peace Deal In Place By July, Says Top Afghan Negotiator Zhalilzad

“American diplomats and the Taliban have agreed in principle to a peace pact that will bring an official end to the longest war in U.S. history, with both sides hopeful a final pact could be in place by July, Washington’s top envoy to Afghanistan said Friday. July has been set as the goal during the ongoing, bilateral peace talks between Washington and the Afghan terror group, since both sides want a deal in place before the country’s presidential elections that month. “The peace process is not a straight line, and there could be setbacks,” U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said. “But there is sufficient time where we could reach an agreement” before Afghans head to the polls this summer, he added during a briefing at the Washington-based Institute for Peace. But even if a formal deal to end hostilities in Afghanistan cannot be clinched by July, Mr. Khalilzad made clear the Trump administration is focused on ending the 17-year conflict.” We want the war to end this year,” said the veteran Afghan-born U.S. diplomat. Mr. Khalilizad’s comments are his first since completing a marathon round of talks with Taliban officials in Qatar in recent weeks.”

The National Interest: How The Taliban Would Take Over Afghanistan

“The seemingly endless war in Afghanistan—which is heading toward its eighteenth year since the overthrow of the Taliban regime—has led to a renewed push for an American military withdrawal. The Trump administration is considering withdrawing some or all U.S. forces from Afghanistan. Several American politicians support a drawdown. “I think we should come home,” declared U.S. Senator Rand Paul. “I don’t think we have enough money to be paying to build and rebuild and build and rebuild Afghanistan … Let’s rebuild America.” Others have argued that Vietnam turned out fine in the end following the U.S. withdrawal in 1975. “While the Vietnam War was a near-term strategic defeat, in retrospect, it may yet prove to have been a geo-strategic win,” another article in Small Wars Journal concluded. “The same may prove true for Afghanistan after a U.S. withdrawal. Like a bad business investment, there are times when you must accept one’s losses and move on.” The Trump administration is currently focused on both trying to reach a peace deal with the Taliban and continuing military operations. U.S. officials have concluded that the Taliban is unlikely to be defeated on the battlefield, and there is limited U.S. domestic support for the war.”


Associated Press: Woman Acquitted Of Blasphemy Still Can’t Leave Pakistan

“A Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy after spending eight years on death row in Pakistan has been transferred from a secret location near the capital to another in Karachi, but is still unable to leave the country to join her daughters in Canada, a friend said Saturday. Aman Ullah, who spoke to Aasia Bibi by telephone Friday, said the 54-year-old Bibi is being held in a room in the southern port city. He said Bibi, who faces death threats by radical Islamists, is frustrated and frightened, uncertain of when she will be able to leave Pakistan. “She has no indication of when she will leave ... they are not telling her why she cannot leave,” said Ullah, who fled the country Friday after receiving threats from extremists angered by his assistance to Bibi, which began while she was on death row. Ullah has been a liaison between Bibi and European diplomats, who have sought to assist her. The Associated Press spoke to Bibi by telephone with Ullah’s assistance following her October acquittal, which was upheld last month.”


Voice Of America: UN: Yemen's Houthi Rebels Must Allow Access To Grain Silos

“The United Nations' humanitarian chief Thursday called on Yemen's Houthi rebels to give aid workers access to unused grain that could feed nearly 4 million starving people. The grain is stored in silos near the port city of Hodeida and is at risk of rotting. "I am deeply concerned that the United Nations has been unable to access the Red Sea Mills in Hodeida since September 2018," Mark Lowcock said in a statement. "Enough grain to feed 3.7 million people for a month has sat unused and possibly spoiling in silos at the mills for more than four months, while nearly 10 million people across the country remain just a step away from famine." In November, the Saudi-led coalition took back the area where the Red Sea Mills is located in one of its last offensives against the Houthis before talks in Stockholm led to a fragile cease-fire for the Hodeida area. But the Houthis control the access route to the silos, and Lowcock said their forces have refused to let the U.N. cross the frontlines to reach the mills.”


The National: UN Takes Aim At Hezbollah With Warning For Lebanon To Stay Out Of Foreign Conflicts

“The United Nations Security Council has taken aim at Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and its role in Syria, issuing a warning late on Friday for all Lebanese parties to dissociate themselves from any external conflicts. The statement appeared to be directed at the Teheran-backed movement as fears rise about Iran’s increasing influence in the Lebanese government after a cabinet formation was confirmed on January 31. The group has sent fighters into Syria in support of President Bashar Al Assad, backing him alongside Russia and Iran and helping his government reclaim much of the territory lost to rebels and extremist groups since the war started in 2011. The council called on the Lebanese parties to implement such a policy “as an important priority”. The council also reiterated its call for implementation of its resolutions which “require the disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon so that there will be no weapons or authority in Lebanon” except those of the state. This also appeared to be a direct aim at the Shiite terrorist group. It welcomed the formation of a national unity government. Council members encouraged all political leaders to build on the momentum of the new government's formation “to address the pressing security, economic, social and humanitarian challenges facing the country” and called on the new government to urgently implement reforms, fight corruption and strengthen accountability.”

Jerusalem Post: Nasrallah: I Am Willing To Ask Iran For Anti-Aircraft Weapons For Lebanon

“Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said on Wednesday that he would bring anti-aircraft weapons to Lebanon from Iran in order to confront Israeli aircraft, calling on Beirut to accept the offer. “Will the Lebanese government dare to accept the Iranian proposals? Why should Lebanon remain afraid to cooperate with Iran?” Nasrallah asked in a televised address marking the 40th anniversary of Iran’s Islamic Revolution. “In the military field, wouldn’t people make an uproar and accuse Hezbollah of dragging Lebanon into war should the party shoot down an Israeli aircraft attacking Lebanon? I’m a friend of Iran, and I’m willing to bring the Lebanese Army air defense systems from Iran to confront Israel,” he continued. According to him, Syria and Iraq are accepting Iranian help and benefiting from it, and “whatever the Lebanese Army needs to become the strongest regional army, I am willing to go to Iran and bring it.” Israel has reiterated its view several times on any transfer of advanced weaponry to Hezbollah as a redline and will work to prevent any such movement. In September, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shared photos during his address at the UN General Assembly of locations near the Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport where, he said, Hezbollah attempted to convert ground-to-ground missiles to precision missiles.”


Gulf Times: Qatar Confirms Support For Sudan, Seeks Removal From Terror List

“The State of Qatar affirmed its support and solidarity with the Republic of Sudan and called for its removal from the list of states sponsoring terrorism. This came in the hearing session held yesterday by the Arab Parliament at the headquarters of the League of Arab States, on the removal of Sudan from the list. During the session, HE the Deputy Speaker of the Shura Council Mohamed bin Abdullah al-Sulaiti, said the State of Qatar has never wavered in its support for Sudan, calling on the US administration to remove its name from the list of countries sponsoring terrorism. In this regard, the Deputy Speaker of the Shura Council referred to Doha hosting the Darfur peace negotiations under the auspices of the UN, where Doha has been an essential partner for the peace efforts in Darfur and for the consolidation of peace and development.”

Middle East

The New York Times: A Battle Cry Seldom Heard These Days: The Palestinian Cause

“When terrorists in Africa delivered two devastating attacks last month, they invoked a battle cry seldom heard in recent militant activity on the continent: the Palestinian cause. The gunmen in a hotel complex in Kenya and a military installation in Mali were lauded by Al Qaeda’s central leadership, which praised its branches in Somalia and Mali for the deadly attacks. “We emphasize and appreciate the high efforts and beautiful words of all the vibrant jihadist work to prevent the Judaization of Palestine,” a statement from the group’s leaders said, according to SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors online extremist content. The rallying cry, thousands of miles away from where the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is playing out, was ordered up by Ayman al-Zawahri, the head of Al Qaeda who late last year reiterated calls for the group’s franchises to target Zionists.”


Asharq Al-Awsat: Egypt’s Army Chief Lauds Anti-Terror Efforts In Sinai

“Egyptian Chief of Staff Mohamed Farid lauded the anti-terror operations in Sinai. He made his remarks during his inspection of each of the Suez Canal security task forces and Second field army units deployed in Sinai. Farid also reviewed the implementation of tactics and plans to counter terrorism in Sinai. He praised the high morale of the forces, stressing that the armed forces will always serve as Egypt's protective shield. Speaking to attending officers and soldiers, Farid reviewed performance and sat for a briefing on first-response mechanisms for dealing with emergencies. According to a statement by military spokesman Colonel Tamer Rifai, Farid stressed the importance of vigilance and awareness of officers on duty, and the protection of the Suez Canal in particular as a key strategic waterway. He also praised the progress made in performance and training, despite the difficult weather conditions. Farid ended his inspection tour by joining one of the training drills. Since February 2018, the army and police have been carrying out a major security operation in northern and central Sinai to purge the area of terrorists.”

Asharq Al-Awsat: Egypt Defers Trial Of 227 Accused In 2 Terror Cases

“Egyptian judicial authorities deferred Saturday the trial of 227 accused of “terror” crimes in the “ISIS-Sinai” and “returnees from Libya” cases. Cairo’s Criminal Court decided to postpone to February 16 the trial of 213 suspects in the ISIS Sinai case.They are accused of belonging to the terrorist ISIS Sinai group and committing more than 54 terror crimes, including assassinations of police officers, the attempt to kill former Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim and bombing security facilities in a number of governorates, Cairo, Dakahlia and South Sinai. Prosecutor investigations revealed that they had received military training at camps of the Izzeddine al-Qassam Brigades (the armed wing of the Palestinian Hamas movement). The organization's leader, Tawfiq Mohammed Farij Ziadeh, had communicated with al-Qaeda operatives and plotted to target ships crossing the Suez Canal, especially those belonging to the United States. The Public Prosecution accused the suspects of establishing, commanding and joining a terrorist group, aimed at disrupting the provisions of Egypt’s constitution and laws and preventing public institutions from carrying out their work.”


U.S. News & World Report: Libya Arrests Suspected Al Qaeda Leader, Source Says

“Libyan authorities have arrested a suspected al Qaeda leader who fled from the eastern city of Derna, once a jihadist bastion, a source in the attorney general's office said on Friday. Abdel Qader Azuz was arrested in the western city of Misrata and then brought to the capital Tripoli the source said. No other details were immediately available. Azuz was one of the senior militants in Derna, according to Libyan officials. The city has been long a hotspot for Islamist militants. Many had fled Libya to escape persecution by Muammar Gaddafi and to fight in Afghanistan, then returned home after the dictator was toppled in 2011. Eastern military forces allied to Khalifa Haftar, which control eastern Libya, have seized much of Derna in a military campaign that officials say is almost over. Libyan security forces arrested two weeks ago a suspected leading member of Islamic State, Khalifa al-Barq, in the militant group’s former stronghold of Sirt Al Qaeda and Islamic State have been using Libya as a base for attacks exploiting the security vacuum and chaos created by the fall of Gaddafi.”


Defense Post: Nigerian Military Battles Islamic State In Mallam Fatori, Borno State

“Nigerian troops with air support fought Boko Haram in Mallam Fatori in the Lake Chad area near the border with Niger, the army said, while Islamic State claimed its fighters had carried out a series of attacks in the area. Troops deployed in Mallam Fatori, killed and wounded “scores of” Boko Haram insurgents during a fire fight at about 6 a.m. on Thursday, February 7, Colonel Ezindu Idimah said in a Friday statement. Idimah said the militants in 10 technicals – pickups trucks with mounted guns – and on motorcycles were ”lured from their hide out in Tumbun Gini to a place very close to” the troops’ defensive location in the Abadam Local Government Area and several were neutralized in the ensuing firefight. Three technicals that attempted to escape were pursued by the Nigerian Air Force and “many more” were killed. Among items recovered were an anti-aircraft gun, AK-type assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and ammunition, Idimah said. The statement did not mention military casualties. ISIS had earlier claimed fighters from its Islamic State West Africa province affiliate attacked the military in the area over several days. Update February 9 ISIS claimed via its Amaq propaganda agency that “several” Nigerian soldiers were killed and injured in an attack in Malam Fatori on February 8.”

The Punch Nigeria: Soldier, Village Head Killed In Boko Haram Two-Hour Gun Battle With Troops

“A soldier and a local chief were killed in Boko Haram attacks in Madagali, Adamawa State on Saturday, military and civilian sources said on Sunday. Fighters loyal to factional leader Abubakar Shekau attacked the town of Madagali on Saturday, leading to a two-hour gun battle with troops. “We lost a soldier in the fight. He was one of the armoured tank drivers,” said a military officer, in an account supported by residents. Madagali is 280 kilometres (nearly 175 miles) north of the Adamawa State capital, Yola, near the border with neighbouring Borno State. The jihadists, who came in gun trucks at about 5:00 pm, were forced to retreat to their enclave in the Sambisa Forest, just across the state border in Borno. “The Boko Haram killed a soldier in the fight and also killed the village chief of Gubla as they fled back to Sambisa,” said community leader Maina Ularamu, a former administrative head of Madagali local government area. Three bodies of Boko Haram fighters were recovered after the gun battle, the two sources said. On Friday, three troops were killed in a Boko Haram raid on a military base near the Borno State capital, Maiduguri. Last Monday, three people were killed and homes were razed when Boko Haram fighters stormed the villages of Shuwa and Kirchina, in the Madagali area.”


The Washington Post: The U.S. Is Now Negotiating With The Taliban. Would Negotiations Work With Al-Shabab?

“In his State of the Union address, President Trump announced that the United States is conducting talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan to end the United States’ longest war, because “the hour has come to at least try for peace.” These talks reflect what scholarship has found: Most anti-insurgency wars end in conference rooms, not on battlefields. However, the administration has not publicly applied that logic to another major counterinsurgency effort: Somalia. A January assault in Nairobi, leaving more than 20 dead, reminded the world that the Somalia-based Islamist militant group al-Shabab can still inflict terror inside and outside Somalia, despite more than a decade of internationally supported military campaigns to crush it. Guided by counterterror intervention strategies, the United States, Britain and the European Union have supported the multinational African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) with funds and training and sought to build up the Somali national army as a counterinsurgent force. The United States has launched scores of drone strikes and armed raids against al-Shabab leaders and fighters. It has also deployed more than 500 troops to Somalia under the pretext of supporting regional stability.”

Financial Times: US Ramps Up Air Strikes Against Somali Extremist Group

“US air strikes killed more than 100 militants in Somalia in January — one of the deadliest months since Washington’s air offensive against al-Shabaab, the Islamist extremist group, began in 2007. The casualties reflect a dramatic escalation in the use air strikes against the Somali extremist group since President Donald Trump took office. The air offensive is part of one of Washington’s most active — and least discussed — military campaigns anywhere in the world. In 2018 the US staged 47 air strikes against al-Shabaab targets — almost one a week — killing at least 326 suspected militants, according to figures compiled from statements made by US Africa Command, also known as Africom. So far this year, Africom has executed 12 strikes, killing another 115 al-Shabaab fighters, according to the statements. The surge in US air attacks, which are in support of the Somali national army, is the result of a 2017 policy change by the Trump administration that gave the Department of Defence greater latitude to authorise strikes. Previously, under guidelines established by President Barack Obama, air strikes outside of active US conflict zones needed to be vetted by multiple agencies and could only be approved if the target posed a “continuing, imminent threat” to the US.”

Africa News: US Airstrikes Kill 15 Suspected Al Shabaab Militants

“The United States military says targeted air strikes against suspected terrorists in Somalia have killed 15. A US Africa Command statement says the air strikes occurred in the vicinity of Gandarshe, Lower Shabelle region, on Wednesday and in the vicinity of Bariire in the same region on Thursday. The air strikes killed 11 and four people, respectively, after Somali troops engaged the terrorists. The statement says no civilians were harmed. These are the latest in a dramatic uptick in US air strikes in the Horn of Africa nation since President Donald Trump took office. The Al Qaida-affiliated Al Shabaab terrorist group once controlled large swathes of Somalia. African Union forces have succeeded in pushing it from major cities. Al Shabaab, the deadliest militant group in Africa, continues with attacks in Somalia and neighbouring Kenya.”


BBC News: Tunisia Attacks: Militants Jailed Over 2015 Terror

“Seven jihadists have been sentenced to life in prison in Tunisia over attacks at a museum and a beach resort in 2015. Sixty people, mostly tourists, died in the two attacks and many were wounded. Some of the many defendants received lesser sentences and 27 were acquitted. Prosecutors plan to appeal. The first attack, at the Bardo Museum in Tunis in March 2015 killed 22. Three months later, 38 tourists, most of them British, were shot dead at Port El Kantaoui, near Sousse. The so-called Islamic State group said it had carried out the attacks. The man believed to have planned both, Chamseddine al-Sandi, remains at large. Unconfirmed reports suggested he may have died in a US air strike in February 2016 in Libya. There were two separate trials. In the Sousse trial, four militants were given life sentences, while five others were sentenced to between six months and 16 years. In the Bardo trial, three defendants received life terms and a number of others were jailed for shorter periods. Ten were acquitted. On 18 March, two gunmen in military uniforms stormed the National Bardo Museum, near the city's parliament buildings, where anti-terrorism legislation was under discussion. Twenty-two people, including 17 foreign tourists, were killed - 21 at the scene and one more 10 days later.”

United Kingdom

BBC News: Brother Jailed For Funding Sister Who Joined Islamic State Group

“A British man who sent money to his sister in Syria after she joined the Islamic State (IS) group has been jailed. Salim Wakil, 25, transferred a payment of £2,500 to his sister Sumaiyyah but previously told the Old Bailey his intention was to help her return to the UK. He was found guilty at a trial last month of funding terrorism. Wakil, of Fleet, Hampshire, has been sentenced to 30 months in prison. Salim Wakil was captured on CCTV in a bank withdrawing cash that he would later transfer to his sister Judge Rebecca Poulet QC said Salim Wakil had suffered from serious mental health problems and had been assessed to be “compliant” and “biddable”. “In my judgement your sister knew this and I believe she manipulated your reasonable and understandable worries,” she added. Sumaiyyah Wakil fled abroad aged 16 in August 2014, leaving the family at night. The court was told she initially approached another of her brothers for cash and after he refused, she asked Salim. Salim also initially refused but he accepted transferring a payment to Sumaiyyah in 2017. Instead of returning to the UK she remained in Syria and later asked for more money, jurors heard.”


Reuters: Contradicting Trump, Merkel Says Islamic State Not Defeated

“Islamic State is far from defeated, and instead is morphing into an asymmetrical warfare force after the militant group lost almost all of the territory it once controlled in Syria, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday. Merkel’s remarks at the inauguration of the Berlin headquarters of Germany’s foreign intelligence agency BND contradicted statements by U.S. President Donald Trump that the Islamist group has been defeated. “The so-called Islamic State has been luckily driven out of its territory but this unfortunately doesn’t mean that Islamic State has disappeared,” Merkel said. “It is transforming into an asymmetrical warfare force. And this, of course, is a threat.” The conservative chancellor said monitoring events in Syria was one of the BND’s top priorities, which also include tracking cyber threats and fake news designed to influence democratic elections. Trump said on Wednesday that he expected a formal announcement as early as next week that the coalition fighting the militants has reclaimed all of the territory it previously held. In December he tweeted that the group has been “defeated.” Trump wants to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria by the end of April, a plan that has alarmed European allies who fear Islamic State would resurface in Syria in the absence of a credible peace plan to end the country’s civil war.”

DW: Media Report German KSK Special Forces Commando Suspended For Right-Wing Extremism

“German media report a lieutenant colonel in the KSK special forces unit has been suspended for right-wing social media posts. His opinions reflected the ideas of the "Reichsbürger" extremist movement. Germany's Bundeswehr has suspended a lieutenant colonel in the elite Special Forces Command (KSK) commando unit on suspicion of right-wing extremism, according to the military's counterintelligence service MAD. "The person is already known by the MAD," a spokesperson said. "The responsible authorities have already taken disciplinary measures." The commando, named Daniel K., has received a service and uniform ban. The suspension was first reported by Bild newspaper, which said the lieutenant colonel was being investigated by the MAD for the spread of right-wing extremism on social media.”


Al Jazeera: Russia Says 27 Children Of ISIL Members Arrive From Iraq

“A group of 27 Russian children whose mothers are being held in Iraq for belonging to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, ISIS) arrived home in Russia. The children landed at Ramenskoye airport, near Moscow, on Sunday. “Twenty-seven Russian children have been repatriated from Baghdad,” a Russian foreign ministry official said. Thirty other children were sent back to Moscow in late December. The fathers of the children were killed during three years of fighting between ISIL and Iraqi troops, the official said. Anna Kuznetsova, Russia's envoy for the rights of children, confirmed the comments, according to the TASS state news agency. She said the 27 children were aged from four to 13 and were from 10 different regions in Russia. ISIL seized large swaths of Iraq in a lightning 2014 offensive, before the government dislodged the group from urban centres and eventually declared victory in December 2017. Russian children in Iraq The Kremlin announced in early January that 115 Russian children aged under 10, along with eight aged between 11 and 17, were still in Iraq. Iraqi law allows detainees to be held with their offspring until the age of three, but older children have to live with relatives.”

The Independent: From Dublin To Daesh: Irish ISIS Suspect Says He Was Trapped In The Caliphate, Others Call Him A Terrorist

“Alexandr Bekmirzaev has just finished recounting the story of the past five and half years of his life, a time he spent living in the midst of the most brutal terror group of modern times. The 45-year-old Irish citizen, originally from Belarus, tells a tale of misfortune and mistakes that led him from his home in Dublin to an isolated corner of eastern Syria, where he was captured leaving the last small area held by Isis. He insists that he never wanted anything to do with the group. But many have told a similar story after their capture, when they have every reason not to tell the truth. Does he expect people to believe him? “I have this story and that’s it. This is my life,” he says, with exasperation in his voice. “You wake me up at three in the morning and I will tell you the same.” Bekmirzaev is one of hundreds of foreigners who have been detained while leaving the caliphate over the past month, on suspicion of being a member of Isis. His case is typical of the challenge facing authorities here in Syria, and back in their countries of origin – it is nearly impossible to prove that anyone who lived under Isis was an active member, or carried out crimes on its behalf.”


The Wall Street Journal: Google And Facebook Worsen Media Bias

“After the news industry laid off some 2,100 workers from Vice, Gannett, McClatchy, BuzzFeed and the Huffington Post, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez blamed “tech monopolies” that have no “incentive to disseminate high-quality, true information.” President Trump blames the press itself: “Fake News and bad journalism have caused a big downturn.” While these diagnoses of journalism’s ills appear contradictory, both stem from the same root. Allowing a few platforms to control financing and distribution exacerbates the groupthink Mr. Trump rails against. More than two-thirds of Americans get news from social media. Google and Facebook control a large majority of the digital advertising market that used to be a major source of revenue for the news industry. Tech companies have leveraged their control of news distribution to entrench their advertising dominance. Facebook’s Instant Articles publishes the full text of an article in the platform and shares ad revenue with the publisher.”

The New York Times: Germany Restricts Facebook’s Data Gathering

“In a direct challenge to Facebook’s business model, Germany’s competition authority on Thursday sharply curtailed how the tech giant may profile people, saying that users could refuse to allow the company to combine their Facebook information with data about their activities on other sites. The agency, in a novel antitrust argument, said that the company had exploited its dominant position in the German market by coercing people into giving up their personal data. The social network’s terms of service, regulators said, had unfairly forced people to make an all-or-nothing choice — between submitting to unlimited data collection by the company or not using Facebook at all. The practice has enabled the Silicon Valley company to collect data about its users’ activities on millions of non-Facebook sites, personal details that helped make the social network a worldwide powerhouse of personalized advertising.”

Terror Financing

Sout Alomma: Egypt: Terrorists Use Thousands Of Furnished Apartments

“Security officials in Egypt outlined the terrorist groups' use of furnished apartments as a safe haven stemming from the lack of awareness by property owners and citizens of the importance of sharing information about their tenants with the security services. Statistics published by the Egyptian Ministry of the Interior in 2018 revealed that 5,103 unregistered housing units were in the service of extremists and criminals. Meanwhile, Egyptian security and social experts agree that the citizen's role is a fundamental pillar that contributes significantly to the war being waged against terrorist groups and organized crime. They also agree that disseminating a culture of cooperation with the police is the duty of the media. The experts underscored the need for citizens to assist the police in reporting suspicious persons using furnished apartments for the manufacture of explosives, and the need of property owners to inform security agencies of the identity of new apartment dwellers.”

Muslim Brotherhood

Elfagr: Tunisia: Muslim Brotherhood Sued For Terrorist Financing

“A group of 50 Tunisian lawyers recently filed criminal and administrative lawsuits against prominent Muslim Brotherhood leaders in the country, including former Interior Minister Ali Al-Aridh (2012-2015). These lawyers accuse the implicated Islamist figures in dispatching Tunisian youngsters to fight alongside terror organizations in Syria. They are also suing several persons, party representatives, associations and companies, all affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, on charges of terrorist financing in Libya, Syria and/or Iraq. In addition, those people and entities face charges of organizing and establishing terrorist camps in Tunisia.”


Mena-Monitor: Hezbollah Peddles Drugs In Tishreen University Of Syria

“News outlets affiliated with the Syrian regime recently reported the arrest of a network specializing in selling drugs inside the Tishreen University, situated in the Syrian coastal city of Latakia. According to local police sources, the network, comprising several drug dealers including six young women, promoted narcotics use among university students. The same sources revealed that besides drugs, security forces seized several thousand US dollars and an unspecified amount of Lebanese currency that were at the suspects' disposal. The narcotics are moved from the Lebanese city of Baalbek to the Al-Qusayr area in the Syrian Homs district near the Lebanese border and from there to Tishreen University, according to the police. It's noteworthy that Hezbollah, which controls all of these territories, is deeply implicated in drug trafficking and money-laundering there. Yet, the militant group has always managed to dodge such allegations.”

Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)
Syriahr: IRGC Recruits Militants In Syria's Western Euphrates

“The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), alongside its affiliated militias, recently recruited 1,270 Syrian teens and men of different ages, in the Western Euphrates River region in the rural areas of Deir Ezzor. Additionally, the Iranian elite military force enlisted 2,390 volunteers in southern Syria, the same source added. SOHR went on to say that the IRGC has been exploiting the needs of the people in Western Euphrates, the Syrian south, and the areas in-between. The Shiite militia provides these needy Syrian citizens with humanitarian and food assistance through charities and other centers that provide aid. The IRGC also offers salaries to volunteers starting at $150 per month.”


Almashhad Alaraby: Houthi Group Relies On Drug Trade To Fund Its Terror Operations

“It is no longer odd to believe that the Houthis are connected to the drug trade. The militants still rely on this sinful trade to finance their terrorist operations in the country. The latest seizures took place in the province of Marib, as the security forces seized 23 kilograms of cannabis, while Houthis were attempting to smuggle them to militants in Sana'a. The Houthis tried to smuggle these drugs through bags marked as foodstuffs for children, in an attempt to hoodwink Yemeni security services. This deception included, among other things, taking a family in a car carrying drugs. For the Houthis, cannabis and other drugs, are an important source of income to finance the war they are waging in the country, which has cost civilians a lot of money.”

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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