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Arrow Eye on Extremism October 18, 2018

Eye on Extremism - October 18, 2018
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Subj: Eye on Extremism
Date: October 18, 2018

Voice Of America: US Says Committed To Syria, Iraq Beyond Anti-IS Efforts

“U.S. officials said Tuesday they will keep working to stabilize areas they helped liberate from Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. With IS's so-called caliphate crumbled, the U.S. and its allies now seek long-term solutions for the region, emphasizing that the next phase will focus on providing local partners the means to ensure sustained stability in areas previously held by the terror group. “The theme of the day is the conventional fight. While not over, we can see the endpoint,” Brett McGurk, U.S. special envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, told reporters at an annual meeting in Washington on countering violent extremism. “But that is not the end of the campaign,” he added. “We talked about transitioning to a new phase really focusing on the stabilization and sustainment effort.” The International Chiefs of Defense for Counter-Violent Extremist Organizations Conference was hosted by Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with representatives from 83 nations, including commanders of counterterrorism operations from the U.S. and around the world. “I think we all recognize that violent extremism is a generational challenge that demands we develop solutions that are politically, fiscally and militarily sustainable,” Dunford said in his opening remarks.”

CNS News: U.S. Military Spokesman: ISIS Still Poses A Threat In Iraq

“Iraqi and Syrian fighters, with support from the U.S.-led coalition, continue to stamp out pockets of ISIS resistance in the desert and in cities where some of the terrorists are still dug in. "Overall, ISIS is territorially defeated, and until we achieve an enduring defeat, we will continue the fight," Army Col. Sean Ryan, the spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, told a news conference on Tuesday. In Iraq, he said, "The ISF (Iraqi Security Forces) are working to contain and eliminate ISIS, who still pose a threat." According to Ryan, in recent days: The ISF and Kurdish fighters arrested ten members of an ISIS financial network based in Iraq; The ISF found and destroyed more than 100 explosives and IEDS and the places where they were built and stored in the Anbar Desert; The ISF conducted a clearance operation in Ramadi (which the Iraqis declared "liberated" in late 2015), capturing 28 suspected ISIS fighters and discovering over a thousand IEDs. In Kirkuk, Iraqi forces are "responding quickly" to "small pockets of ISIS" that are targeting water supplies, power lines and cell towers to undermine the legitimacy of the government of Iraq.”

The Sun: It’s Important That We Starve Bogeyman Anjem Choudary Of The Power He Craves

“I am in no doubt that Anjem ¬Choudary poses a genuine, serious risk to national security when he returns to our streets. He is clearly a narcissist whose ¬attention-seeking behaviour is driven by a deep-seated need to be relevant and talked about. His time in prison, having served half of a five-and-a-half-year sentence for inviting support for IS — reduced his public profile very effectively. But I am pessimistic about the chances of it having changed his beliefs. So upon his release, expected to ¬happen tomorrow, he will probably return to the streets unreformed. Nevertheless, holding him in a separation unit will have shielded vulnerable targets inside from his influence. In other words, it has stopped him from radicalising others and may ¬potentially have averted future terrorist attacks. We need to develop a partnership with communities to manage terrorist offenders like Choudary together on release. While it is hugely important for us to have an effective security response, ultimately we need to answer very difficult questions including, why do some young Muslim men, born and raised in our country, want to kill us?”

The Washington Post: Bomb Kills Afghan Candidate In Latest Taliban Attack On Parliamentary Polls

“A prominent Afghan candidate for parliament was killed in an explosion Wednesday, the latest victim of insurgent attacks aimed at disrupting Saturday’s elections. Abdul Jabar Qahraman was the 10th candidate to die in recent weeks ahead of the polls, which are seen as crucial for Afghanistan’s stability and another major test of how U.S.-led international efforts to cement democracy have changed the country. Asserting responsibility, a spokesman for the Taliban said the group killed a “renowned communist general” in a “tactical blast” in Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital of southern Helmand province, where Qahraman was campaigning for a seat in the national legislature. Omar Zwak, a spokesman for Helmand’s governor, said Qahraman was killed by explosives that were placed beneath a sofa he was sitting on in the yard of his campaign office as he was meeting with supporters. At least three other people were reported killed and seven wounded in the blast. Qahraman served as an army general during the occupation of Afghanistan by the former Soviet Union. In recent years, he served as an envoy for President Ashraf Ghani, leading the battle against the Taliban insurgents in Helmand. He was an outspoken critic of Pakistan and U.S.-led policies in Afghanistan and was part of a group of former communists trying to revive the a leftist party that disintegrated during the civil war. The burly former general was known as a hero to his supporters but was regarded as a brutal commander by his critics.”

The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Puts Sanctions On Iraq-Based Money-Service Business

“The U.S. Treasury Department put sanctions on Afaq Dubai, an Iraq-based money services business that it said has been moving money for Islamic State. Afaq Dubai is part of Islamic State’s financial network, which includes an array of money services businesses, hawalas and financial facilitators in the Middle East, the Treasury said. The business is run by two Islamic State financiers, and as of 2018, had laundered money for the group and provided money to families of Islamic State members, Treasury alleged. The company did not immediately return a message seeking comment. The sanctions announced Wednesday continue ongoing U.S. efforts to target financial facilitators that move money on behalf of Islamic State. The Treasury last month put sanctions on two facilitators it alleged were connected to operations the Caribbean and the Middle East. The U.S. began targeting money-services businesses associated with Islamic State in 2016, imposing sanctions on Fawaz Muhammad Jubayr al-Rawi and his currency exchange.”

The Washington Post: Iranians Masqueraded As Foreign Journalists To Push Political Messages Online, New Twitter Data Shows

“Twitter accounts originating in Iran masqueraded as foreign journalists and concerned U.S. citizens in their attempt to push political messages on the social media site until they were suspended earlier this year, according to research published Wednesday. The analysis — performed by the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab — reflects an attempt by some in Iran to “spread regime messaging through covert channels.” But researchers said the campaign had proved less pervasive and effective than the coordinated disinformation operation carried out by Russia, which focused its efforts instead on exacerbating social and political tensions in the United States during the 2016 election. "The scale and scope of the Russian troll farm drastically outweighed the scale and scope of the Iranian troll farm,” said Graham Brookie, the director and managing editor of the Digital Forensic Research Lab. In August, Twitter revealed it had suspended 770 accounts — all appearing to originate in Iran, with potential ties to its government — for engaging in “coordinated manipulation.” Facebook and Google-owned YouTube similarly spotted and took down Iranian content, some of which had been linked to state-owned media, according to an analysis by FireEye, a security firm that first uncovered the activity.”

United States
Newsweek: U.S. Warns Of Bigger 'Risk' That Nations Will Attack One Another Over War In Syria

“The United States has warned of a heightened risk of countries attacking one another over the war in Syria, where recent international incidents have raised new concerns that a wider conflict could be sparked. U.S. Special Representative for Syrian Engagement James Jeffrey recounted to reporters on Wednesday "five examples of state-on-state violence" over the past six weeks in Syria. These included recent tensions between the various armed forces present in the country, as well as recent attacks such as the accidental shootdown of a Russian military plane by allied Syrian defenses reacting to an Israeli air raid and an Iranian missile strike targeting militants just three miles from U.S. troops. "Many of you have covered the Middle East for many years, and you know that you get all of the time sub-state actors and failed states and ungoverned territories and counterterrorism and civil wars and insurgencies and that sort of thing, but you don’t normally see this kind of state-on-state potential for conflict," Jeffrey said. "And so I think everybody is concerned," he added.”

Business Insider: Trump Says 'ISIS Is Defeated' — The Pentagon Says Not Quite

“President Donald Trump told the Associated Press in a wide-ranging interview on Tuesday that ISIS, the terrorist group that swept over Iraq and Syria in 2014, has been defeated. US military leaders have said the group has been rolled back and denied control of territory, but they've stopped short of pronouncements like Trump's and noted that coalition forces are still fighting them in their last strongholds. Asked why more US troops are now abroad in Afghanistan, the Middle East, and Africa, despite Trump's campaign pledges to bring troops home, the president said his priority was national security. "I have to see safety at home and — not a vast difference, by the way — but a little bit more. But it's not a lot more, it's a little bit more. I have to see safety at home. And if I think people are likely to do some very bad things in faraway places to our homeland, I'm going to have troops there for a period of time," Trump told the AP.”

Task and Purpose: Dunford: ISIS And Al-Qaeda Will Rise Again If We Get Complacent

“The security threat from violent extremist groups has not been eliminated despite a recent shift in Washington’s focus to what it sees as growing threats from China, Russia, and Iran, the top U.S. military officer has warned. General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a conference of more than 80 international defense chiefs in Washington on October 16 that any easing of military pressure on al-Qaeda and ISIS will only give them time to reconstitute. The number and severity of terrorist attacks in the West by those groups has declined in recent years as has the territory they control in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and other host countries. But Dunford said the underlying social and political conditions that have spawned allegiance to such groups has not changed, and the groups are adapting to their defeats on the battleground by using the Internet and other technologies to inspire attacks from remote hiding locations.”

NPR: In Syria, A School Helps Children Traumatized By War

“The skinny boy says he's 12, though he looks years younger. He points to a crayon drawing he created this summer, when he arrived at a U.S. government-supported childcare center in Raqqa, Syria. It's mostly colored in black. There's a tank. An aircraft. A crude figure of a man with a wispy beard holding an oversized gun. "This is when ISIS shelled my home," he says. "My sister and niece were killed. Just like that, two missiles." In the picture, there's a red tongue of flame rising from the roof of his home. "When the house was hit, the smoke was red like this," he says. Therapists have known for decades that a primary way young children communicate and comprehend trauma is by drawing pictures. If that's true, these drawings on the wall are one collective scream. There are childish scrawls of beheadings. Corpses. Planes dropping bombs. One small boy gestures to the picture he made. His eyes are pinched by burn scars. This school, along with 10 others like it, is designed to ease the kids back into something like a normal life.”

Reuters: U.S. Says Some Militants Withdrawing From Syria's Idlib

“Some militants have withdrawn from the demilitarization zone in Idlib following a deal between Russia and Turkey on the northwestern Syrian region, a U.S. official said on Wednesday. Idlib and adjacent areas are the last stronghold of rebels who rose up against President Bashar al-Assad in 2011. The area is also home to an estimated 3 million people, more than half of whom have already been displaced at least once during the war. Turkey and Russia reached a deal to set up a buffer zone running 15-20 km (9-13 miles) deep into rebel territory that had to be evacuated of all heavy weapons and all jihadists by Monday. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a jihadist alliance spearheaded by al-Qaeda’s former Syrian affiliate, is the most powerful jihadist alliance in the region. “The withdrawal of heavy weapons is complete by all accounts,” James Jeffrey, the U.S. special representative for Syria engagement, told reporters in Ankara during a brief visit with the U.S. secretary of state. “There is some question as to whether everybody from (Hayat Tahrir al-Sham) has left.”

The Wall Street Journal: U.N.’S Special Envoy To Syria Calling It Quits

“The U.N.’s special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, announced Wednesday that he would step down at the end of November as U.N.-led peace talks in the long conflict continue to stall. Mr. de Mistura has mediated between Syria’s warring factions for more than four years, becoming the longest-serving of the three U.N. envoys who have filled the role. He recently tried to set up a constitutional committee that would lay the groundwork for a transitional government, if and when a cease-fire takes hold. As Syria’s seven-year conflict continues to rage, the political process, initiated by the U.N. in Geneva, has stumbled and stalled. Russia, Iran and Turkey brokered their own deals, sidelining Mr. de Mistura in his role as chief international peace broker. His departure comes as Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has regained control of most of the country’s territory from opposition rebels and terrorist groups. International pressure helped halt a military offensive to take back Idlib, the largest province still under opposition control, and diplomats said a cease-fire there could be used to generate a countrywide peace deal. Mr. de Mistura, an Italian-Swedish diplomat with more than two decades of U.N. service, said he was leaving to tend to his family and that his exit was for “purely personal reasons.”

Channel News Asia: One Year After Islamic State 'Defeat', Syria's Raqqa Still In Fear

“A year after a US-backed alliance of Syrian fighters drove the Islamic State (IS) group from the northern city of Raqqa, traumatised civilians still live in fear of near-daily bombings. "Every day we wake up to the sound of an explosion," said resident Khaled al-Darwish. "We're scared to send our children to school ... there's no security," he added. The jihadists' brutal rule in Raqqa was brought to an end in October 2017 after a months-long ground offensive by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces supported by air strikes from a US-led coalition. But despite manning roadblocks at every street corner, the SDF and the city's newly created Internal Security Forces are struggling to stem infiltration by IS sleeper cells. At Raqqa's entrance, soldiers verify drivers' identity papers and carefully sift through lorry cargoes. Inside the city, there are regular foot patrols and armoured vehicles sit at strategic points. Women wearing the niqab are asked to show their faces to female security members before entering public buildings. "If there wasn't fear about a return of IS, there wouldn't be this increased military presence," said Darwish, a father of two, speaking near the infamous Paradise Square. It was here that IS carried out decapitations and other brutal punishments, earning the intersection a new name - "the roundabout of hell".

The Washington Post: The Orphans Left Behind By The Islamic State

“Since declaring victory over the Islamic State late last year, Iraq has grappled with a host of issues emanating from the drawn-out war to uproot the militant group: billions of dollars in damage to cities and towns, more than a million people still displaced and millions more struggling to rebuild their lives. But there is also other, less visible trauma resulting from the battles. In orphanages in Baghdad and Mosul, which was the Islamic State’s capital in Iraq, children born to both foreign and local fighters are learning to cope with abandonment and reentry into a society they can hardly understand. These vulnerable victims, photographed by Maya Alleruzzo of the Associated Press, come from wrenching backgrounds: Some were brought to Iraq from Europe and Asia by parents eager to join the Islamic State and have since died. Others were local children simply left behind. Some were the products of rape, an atrocity frequently committed by Islamic State fighters. The children are at risk of being forgotten as governments in Europe and elsewhere in the Middle East have either refused or dragged out the process to repatriate them. Some of the children outwardly bear the mental and emotional scars of being raised by the Islamist militants, who embraced an austere and extreme interpretation of Islam. Abeer al-Chalabi, a government official in Baghdad who manages orphanages, told the Associated Press during a visit to one that some children born to foreign fighters showed traces of the radical upbringing. "A 5-year-old boy, she said, refused to shake her hand because she’s a woman. A 7-year-old boy asked for a knife to show a friend how to behead a doll,” according to the AP.”

Iraqi News: Three People Injured In Islamic State Attack On Baghdad-Kirkuk Road

“Three people were wounded as Islamic State militants attacked civilians on board of a bus on Baghdad-Kirkuk road, a security source from the capital said on Wednesday. Speaking to AlSumaria News, the source said “Islamic State members attacked, in the evening, an armed attack on a bus carrying civilians on Baghdad-Mosul, which left three people, including a child, injured.” Security troops, according to the source, who preferred anonymity, “cordoned off the blast scene and transferred the wounded to hospital for treatment.” Islamic State continues to launch sporadic attacks across Iraq against troops. Security reports indicate that the militant group still poses threat against stability in the country. The group still has dormant cells, through which it carries out attacks, across Iraq like it used to do before 2014. A total of 75 Iraqi civilians were killed, while 179 others were injured due to acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in Iraq in September 2018, according to casualty figures by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI). Baghdad came on top of the worst affected Governorate, with 101 civilian casualties (31 killed, 70 injured), followed by Anbar (15 killed and 37 injured). In December, Iraq announced gaining control on all the territories that were captured by Islamic State, since 2014.”

Reuters: Turkey's Tupras In Talks With U.S. For Iran Sanctions Waiver: Sources

“Turkey’s top refiner, Tupras, is in talks with U.S. officials to obtain a waiver allowing it to keep buying Iranian oil after Washington reinstates sanctions on the Islamic Republic’s energy sector in November, industry sources said. The United States is preparing to impose the new sanctions on Iran’s oil industry after Washington withdrew from a nuclear deal between Tehran and other global powers earlier this year, but is also considering offering waivers to some allies that rely on Iranian supplies. NATO member Turkey depends heavily on imports to meet its energy needs and neighboring Iran has been one of its main sources of oil because of its proximity, the quality of its crude, and favorable price differentials. Turkey has already made efforts to cut its purchases ahead of the U.S. sanctions, but would prefer to keep up some level of Iranian oil imports past November, an industry source familiar with the matter said. “They would like to be able to continue importing 3-4 cargoes a month, like they did during the previous sanctions round. But if the U.S. would tell them to stop, they will oblige and work towards achieving that,” the source said. A Tupras spokeswoman was not available for comment. Turkey’s Energy Ministry was not immediately available for comment. Turkey imported around 97,000 barrels per day of Iranian oil in August and 133,000 bpd in September, compared with just over 240,000 bpd in April, tanker tracking and shipping data showed. And in the first two weeks of October, Turkey has purchased three 1 million barrel-cargoes of Iranian oil - a level that would equate to about 97,000 bpd if it made no other purchases this month.”

The New York Times: In Afghanistan’s Season Of Crisis, ‘Words Do Not Have The Strength’

“In the past 17 years of war and crisis in Afghanistan, no one remembers a season quite like this one, with peril and hopelessness at every turn. People here struggle for words to explain how it feels. A former minister, fit with healthy habits and hardened by years of battle and politics, said he could barely force himself out of bed in the morning. A young professional, after years of dedicated work in civil society and government jobs, teared up as she tried to explain why she was losing hope, her usual clarity choked by emotion. A poet in the country’s east said his verse had dried up. “Every time something bad happened, I would turn to poetry — it would give me calm,” said the poet, Sajid Bahar, 26, who lives in the city of Khost. “It’s been seven months that I can’t write. It no longer gives me calm. When I sit down to focus on one incident for a poem, 30 others flash through my head. My words do not have the strength for all of them.”

Associated Press: Taliban Target NATO Convoy, Killing 2 Afghan Civilians

“Afghan and NATO officials say a bombing targeted a NATO convoy near the capital, Kabul. An Afghan spokeswoman says the attack involved a suicide bomber and killed at least two civilians. The Taliban have claimed responsibility for the attack. Wahida Shakar, spokeswoman for the provincial governor in Parwan, says the attack took place late on Wednesday in Bagram district and that along with the two killed, at last three civilians were wounded. Bagram is located about 40 kilometers, or 24 miles, from Kabul and is also the home of a sprawling U.S. military base. NATO spokeswoman Sgt. 1st Class Debra Richardson says three service members were wounded in the bombing but didn’t provide more details. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid says an insurgent suicide bomber rammed his car into the convoy.”

Hindustan Times: Afghans Not Able To Counter Pakistan Terror, Ex-Spy Chief

“The Afghanistan government hasn’t been able to tackle terror emanating from Pakistan because it never adopted a consistent approach to the problem, former Afghan spy chief Amrullah Saleh said on Wednesday. Saleh, the longest serving head of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), said even though President Ashraf Ghani recently accused Pakistan of launching an “undeclared war” on Afghanistan, the government had done nothing to “increase the cost of war for Pakistan” or countered such moves. During an interaction at the Indian Council of World Affairs, he said Kabul’s policy towards Islamabad has never been consistent. “If Pakistan has launched an undeclared war on us, what’s our response? Have we created a debate in the UN Security Council about the role of the Pakistan Army in terror attacks in my country? No. We have only complained to the media,” he said. “We all know Pakistan has declared an undeclared war on Afghanistan but our response is neither politically proportionate to what they have done to us, nor militarily or otherwise. Have we provided sanctuary to their enemies? No.” Saleh accused the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of having a direct link in supporting the Taliban, who have their “ideological headquarters” in Pakistan. “As long as we do not acknowledge the existence of that ideological headquarters, they will be active. We are fighting the Taliban today with the assumption that Pakistan will never dismantle the ideological headquarters of the Taliban, it’s a deterrence which is very cheap for Pakistan…,” he said.”

Al Arabiya: Yemeni Army, Arab Coalition Block Houthi Attempt To Open Sanaa, Hodeidah Route

“The Yemeni army, with support from the Arab Coalition supporting legitimacy, blocked an attempt by the Houthi militias to open routes between Hodeidah and Sanaa. The sources added that Houthi militias had sent reinforcements to attack army posts but suffered severe losses, and failed to infiltrate the road to Hodeidah from Sanaa from the Kilo 10 area. The army’s media center said that 70 Houthis were killed during violent battles where the Arab Coalitions’ vigorous air raids caused severe losses on the militias’ fronts in Hodeidah. Sources said that the air raids targeted Houthi gatherings and bases killing dozens, and destroying an armed vehicle.”

Asharq Al Awsat: Yemen Official Urges World To Condemn Houthi-Planted Mines

“Yemeni Minister of Information Muammar Al-Iryani warned on Wednesday against Houthi militias arbitrarily planting mines in populated areas, and called for the international community to condemn such human rights violations. As for pro-government forces advancing against coup militant bastions, Yemen’s national army liberated new outposts in Taiz. The Yemeni army also blocked an attempt by the Houthis to open routes between the key port city of Hodeidah and Sanaa. The militias sent reinforcements to attack army posts but suffered severe losses, and failed to infiltrate Hodeidah-Sanaa route from the Kilo 10 area, sources added. The army’s media center said that 70 Houthis were killed during violent battles as the Arab Coalition air raids caused severe losses on militia fronts in Hodeidah.”

Panam Post: US, Israel, And Colombia Seek Maduro Frontman With Hezbollah Ties

“International investigations are revealing that Nicolás Maduro’s alleged front man, the Colombian Alex Saab, has a strong connection with the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah. Authorities from the United States, Israel, and Colombia are tracking several financial transactions originating in Venezuela that ultimately ended up financing the terrorist group. According to the Colombian daily El Tiempo, there are several financial transactions linked to Álex Saab that originated with the Central Bank of Venezuela and ended up in Asia after passing through tax havens. While Colombia is investigating Saab for money laundering, both the United States and Israel are seeking to track him down. Saab was identified as one of the beneficiaries in the irregular import of food at a premium for the Venezuelan state program called the Local Supply and Production Committees (CLAP). This system, established by the regime, provides certain basic food items to households, at a subsidized cost, through preferential foreign exchange for the purchase and import of food items abroad. Reports published show that Saab was connected to the distribution of food through the contracts that the Grand Limited Group company signed with the administration of Nicolás Maduro. The investigations reveal that Alex Saab sold USD $200 million worth of food to Venezuela, following a negotiation and deal signed by Nicolás Maduro.”

The Jerusalem Post: Hamas Denies Firing Rockets, 'Regrets' Cancellation Of Egypt Intel Visit

“Hamas leader Musa Abu Marzouk on Wednesday expressed "regret" over the cancellation of a planned visit to the Ramallah and the Gaza Strip by Abbas Kamel, head of Egypt's General Intelligence Force. The top Egyptian official was scheduled to visit Ramallah and the Gaza Strip on Thursday as part of Cairo's effort to avert a military confrontation between Israel and Hamas. Kamel reportedly called off his visit in wake of Wednesday's rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip on Israel. In response, the Israel Air Force struck 20 Hamas targets throughout the Gaza Strip. The cancellation of the visit is seen as a sign of Egypt's discontent with Hamas over the rocket attacks, which came as Egyptian intelligence officials were holding talks with Hamas leaders ahead of Kamel's visit to the Gaza Strip. Hamas denied responsibility for the rocket attacks, but stopped short of naming the party that launched the rockets, which fell in Beersheba and in the sea next to central Israeli city. No group claimed responsibility for the attack. Some Palestinians in the Gaza Strip said they did not rule out the possibility that the rocket attacks were carried out by terrorists belonging to a small group that is opposed to Egypt's effort to reach a truce agreement between Hamas and Israel. "Whoever launched the rockets wanted to embarrass Hamas and scuttle Egypt's mediation efforts," said a Palestinian political analyst in the coastal enclave. "Hamas would not do something like this while Egyptian intelligence officials are in the Gaza Strip and hours before the arrival of the head of Egypt's General Intelligence Force.”


Agence France Presse: Father Of Midwife Murdered By Boko Haram Hails Her Humanitarian Work

“The father of a young midwife executed by Boko Haram has blasted the jihadists for killing his daughter, hailing on Wednesday the "immense help" she gave to her community and expressing hope for the safe release of other hostages. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) confirmed on Tuesday that Hauwa Liman had been killed, a month after the murder of one of her colleagues, Saifura Khorsa. Both were kidnapped with a third aid worker, Alice Loksha, from the UN children's agency Unicef, during a Boko Haram attack on the remote town of Rann, in northeast Nigeria, on March 1. Hauwa Liman's father, Mohammed, told AFP that he was "deeply shocked" at his daughter's death, which came less than a week after indications from the government that they would be released. "We are deeply disturbed, the whole family is disturbed," he said in Hausa, in an interview in the Borno state capital, Maiduguri. "Rann is my home town where I grew up and still have relations there. "It is now home to more that 50 000 IDPs (internally displaced people), including children, women, and the aged who are in dire need of help. "Hauwa was a trained midwife and we decided that she went there to help people who badly needed her service. Rann was also her home: her uncle and aunt still live there. "She proved to be of immense help to the community in the 10 days she served in Rann. "Despite what happened I have no regret that she went to Rann and offered humanitarian service. She really helped the community within these days.”

Associated Press: US Airstrike Wiped Out Al-Shabaab Camp, Intel Officials Say

“Somali intelligence officials say the largest US military airstrike against al-Shabaab extremists in Somalia in nearly a year largely destroyed a training camp where recruits were preparing to graduate and killed more fighters than the US announced. Two officials tell The Associated Press that several missiles were fired on Friday by two unmanned US drones. Some of the freshly trained al-Shabaab recruits were "burnt beyond recognition" and the death toll exceeds 75, one official said. The US Africa Command on Tuesday said about 60 extremists had been killed. The US said the strike was meant to deny the al-Qaeda-linked extremist group, the deadliest in sub-Saharan Africa, the ability to reconsolidate. Al-Shabaab has several thousands of fighters and has proven to be resilient over the years, carrying out suicide bombings on high-profile targets in the capital, Mogadishu, and other cities as well as more conventional attacks against Somali, US and African Union forces. Some of the al-Shabaab fighters killed in the US airstrike, who had gone through months of training, were being prepared to carry out suicide bombings on Somali and AU bases while others were foot soldiers meant for complex attacks across central and southern Somalia, one of the Somali intelligence officials said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to reporters.”

Sudan Tribune: Sudan Says Keen To Cooperate With U.S. On Counter-Terrorist

“Sudanese Army’s Chief of General Staff Kamal Abdel-Marouf has renewed his country’s keenness to exert further efforts to promote peace, security and stability in the African continent. Abdel-Marouf has arrived in Washington last week at the invitation of the Chairperson of Joint Chiefs of Staff of USA, General Joseph Dunford, to participate in a meeting on counter-terrorism organized by the U.S. Army. On Tuesday, Abdel-Marouf met with Dunford, in the presence of the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley. He thanked Dunford for extending the invitation to him to participate in the conference, saying it offered a good opportunity to discuss the future of joint cooperation between the two countries. Abdel-Marouf also pointed to the upcoming second phase of dialogue between Sudan and the U.S., saying his visit to Washington would enhance military diplomacy and political efforts aiming at achieving full normalization of bilateral ties. He expressed his country’s readiness to activate the joint work with the U.S. particularly on combating terrorism and protecting borders.”

Premier: Christian Teachers Killed By Suspected Al-Shabaab Militants

“Philip Okumu, 26, and Daniel Wekesa 39, died in the East African country's Mandera County, near the Somali border last Wednesday. According to Olaka Kutswa, the Mandera County Commissioner, more than 20 militants arrived at the school around 1am and threw an explosive device into one of the rooms of the house where the school's four non-local teachers stayed. His statement revealed the house was set on fire as a result and both of the Christian teachers were shot as they tried to escape. Two non-local teachers, Elijah Nderitu and Kelvin Lomusi, survived the attack but sustained injuries. Lomusi told local broadcaster Citizen TV: "After witnessing the attack and the killing of my colleagues, I can no-longer endure working there anymore. According to World Watch Monitor, police have said the attack was planned by a Somali national from the Damasa area. They added that the terrorist organisation appear to be preparing further attacks in the Kenya-Somalia border region. Al-Shabab is a faction of al-Qaeda and was forced out of Somalia's capital, Mogadishu in 2011 by Somali government forces and African Union troops. However, it still operates freely in many rural parts of southern Somalia, where it often enforces Islamic law.”

United Kingdom
The Independent: Anjem Choudary: How Islamist Preacher Sparked Rise Of Tommy Robinson And The Far-Right

“Anjem Choudary may have been sent to prison for supporting Isis, but he radicalised people far beyond his circle of fanatical Islamists over two decades of peddling hate. The radical preacher became the leader of al-Muhajiroun, which was banned by the government for its extremist activities and links to terrorists and plotters. But Choudary’s gang merely split into factions and continued their activity under different names to evade the law. One of their many provocative demonstrations came in March 2009, when members called soldiers returning from Iraq “terrorists” during a homecoming parade through Luton and held signs saying “soldiers go to hell”. The stunt received substantial media coverage and sparked national outrage, including from a young father-of-one from Luton.”

Asharq Al-Awsat: France Thanks Saudi Arabia, Oman For Helping Release Frenchman Held By Houthis

“Saudi Arabia succeeded in releasing a Frenchman held captive by Houthis in Yemen for over four months after his boat ran into trouble near the port of Hodeida. Alain Goma, 54, dropped anchor in Hodeida on June 3 after running out of water while sailing to India. He was then detained in a Houthi-controlled prison in Sanaa. On Tuesday, a Saudi official announced that the operation to release Goma was done in compliance with the orders, following the request of the French government to “assist in the release of a French citizen being held in Yemen by Houthi militias.” He explained that the release was done in coordination with the joint forces to facilitate the procedures of obtaining a permit for the C130 plane of the French Army. He also indicated that the plane was authorized to fly on Tuesday and transported the Frenchman to Oman. Oman’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement regarding the release of Goma indicating that Goma "was transported to the Sultanate on Tuesday evening in preparation for his return home.”

The Sun: ISIS Vows Eiffel Tower Drone Attack In New Poster

“ISIS has threatened a drone attack on the Eiffel Tower with a chilling new poster. The threat comes just four months after Paris installed a 10ft anti-terror wall around the landmark, using bulletproof glass to protect visitors from potential attacks. The red and black poster shows a drone carrying a sizeable object while flying next to the Eiffel Tower, which is framed in crosshairs. A jihadist is depicted walking nearby. The poster warns: "Await for our surprises.”

Deutsche Welle: German intelligence foiled 2016 Islamic State terror attack

“Three teams of "Islamic State" (IS) terrorists were to have traveled to Germany in 2016 to prepare for and carry out a devastating attack — with the target possibly a music festival. A man, Oguz G., and woman, Marcia M., who traveled to Syria in autumn 2015 to join IS were to have played a central role in the attack. From IS' then-de facto capital of Raqqa, Marcia M. — who was herself a convert to Islam — tried to recruit women in northern Germany to marry IS members so that they could be granted permission to enter Germany. However, one of the women who was contacted was an informant for Germany's domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), who alerted authorities. Details of the case emerged after an investigation by the German broadcasters ARD and WDR, as well as the Süddeutsche Zeitung and Zeit newspapers. The case was confirmed by the German Federal Prosecutor's Office. "We learned of the attack plan, so we were able to able to initiate criminal proceedings in October 2016," Public Prosecutor General Peter Frank told ARD. "For us, the facts in the case were very concrete and also credible.”

Associated Press: German Woman Who Married IS Fighter Faces Terrorism Charges

“Federal prosecutors say they’ve arrested a 46-year-old German woman on terrorism charges as she attempted to return to the country after marrying an Islamic State fighter and living in Iraqi homes seized by the extremist group. Mine K., whose last name wasn’t provided in line with German privacy laws, was arrested at the Cologne airport Wednesday on charges of membership in a foreign terrorist organization, prosecutors said. She’s accused of marrying an IS fighter in a January, 2015 video-call ceremony from Germany and joining him in Turkey the next month. After spending time in Syria, they ended up in Tal Afar in Iraq, and lived in a house seized by the group. Prosecutors say the woman decided to return home, through Turkey, after her husband was killed in mid-2015.”

Reuters: At Facebook, Public Funds Join Push To Remove Zuckerberg As Chairman

“Four major U.S. public funds that hold shares in Facebook Inc on Wednesday proposed removing Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg as chairman following several high-profile scandals and said they hoped to gain backing from larger asset managers. State treasurers from Illinois, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania, and New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, co-filed the proposal. They oversee money including pension funds and joined activist and original filer Trillium Asset Management. A similar shareholder proposal seeking an independent chair was defeated in 2017 at Facebook, where Zuckerberg’s majority control makes outsider resolutions effectively symbolic. Rhode Island State Treasurer Seth Magaziner said that the latest proposal was still worth filing as a way of drawing attention to Facebook’s problems and how to solve them. “This will allow us to force a conversation at the annual meeting, and from now until then in the court of public opinion,” Magaziner said in a telephone interview.”

The Wall Street Journal: Facebook Finds Hack Was Done by Spammers, Not Foreign State

“Facebook Inc believes that the hackers who gained access to the private information of 30 million of its users were spammers looking to make money through deceptive advertising, according to people familiar with the company’s internal investigation. The preliminary findings suggest that the hackers weren’t affiliated with a nation-state, the people said. Facebook’s security team has been investigating the incident since Sept. 25, when it discovered that someone was downloading a large quantity of digital access tokens on the social network. In several public briefings about the incident, the company has declined to say who is behind the attack, which it has called the biggest security breach in its history. When they first announced the attack, Facebook officials said they may never discover the identities of the hackers.”

Adage: Twitter Posts Massive Data Dump Exposing Bad Actors In Russia, Iran

“Twitter has published data sets comprising millions of tweets, images and videos and thousands of accounts linked to operatives based in Russia and Iran, shedding light on how bad actors outside the U.S. sought to manipulate social-media discourse in their home countries and abroad. The social-media company has previously disclosed the activities, going back to 2016, but said in a blog post Wednesday that it was opening up the data to the public to encourage independent analysis by researchers, academics and journalists. The data sets just released are made up of 3,841 accounts affiliated with the Russia-based Internet Research Agency, 770 other accounts potentially based in Iran as well as 10 million tweets and more than 2 million images, videos and other media. Many of the accounts disclosed in the data sets have been previously reported. What's unprecedented is the size of the archive of information. Researchers were able to glean that the IRA posted far more in Russian than in English, especially in late 2014 until early 2015, when Russia was fighting in Ukraine, according to analysis conducted by the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab. "One of the big takeaways is just how big these operations were. The second point is that these operations started out for the benefit of the countries they were working in," said Ben Nimmo, a senior fellow at the DFRLab.”

Combating Terrorist Financing
Alrai: Kuwaiti Commerce Ministry Issued 65 Precautionary Measures Against Terrorist Financing And Money-Laundering

“The Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism Department (AML/CFT) at the Kuwaiti Ministry of Commerce and Industry issued 65 precautionary measures last month (September). These measures were directed at any company not complying with the regulations {laid out} in Law no. 106 of 2013 concerning anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing, and all international legislation issued in that regard. In a press conference held earlier today, the ministry announced that it had sent written warnings to all violating enterprises in the sectors of real estate, currency exchange, jewelries, insurance and others. Additionally, the ministry stated that it had recently organized a workshop aimed at enlightening the workers in these sectors on the risks of money-laundering and terrorist financing. 18 companies participated in the event, including {commercial} enterprises in the sectors of gold and precious stones and metals.”

Bald News: Yemeni Ministry Of Interior: Coordination Between ISIS And Houthis

“The methods used by members of terrorist organizations, through killing, bombing and targeting institutions and civilians in the places they operate, show a striking resemblance between ISIS and the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen. On its part, the Yemeni Ministry of Interior confirmed that it had uncovered "hard evidence" of coordination among the leaders of various terrorist factions in Yemen, including al-Qa'eda, ISIS and the Houthis, in confronting the Yemeni army in some locations. These {united} efforts are aimed at stopping the advance of the Yemeni army, spreading chaos and undermining security in Yemen. Major-General Mohammed bin Aboud al-Sharif, the first Undersecretary of the Yemeni Ministry of the Interior, said that what has been observed in recent days confirms {suspicions} that these three terrorist groups (Houthis, al-Qa'eda and ISIS) maintain ties with one another. There is coordination among these groups to carry out terrorist acts to destabilize the country, the official stressed.”

Muslim Brotherhood
Al-Ain: Retired Libyan MP: Muslim Brotherhood Fights For Wealth Rather Than Power

“Dr. Mohammed Al-Abani, a resigning Member of the Libyan Parliament, pointed out that what is going on in Libya now is not a struggle for power as much as it is a struggle for wealth. The armed militias operating in Libya, including the pro-Muslim Brotherhood militant groups, {systematically} violate the citizens' rights and embezzle their income sources with the sole aim of maximizing their wealth, added Dr. Al-Abani, who is also a teacher of economics and international law. After accumulating such immense amounts of money and assets, these armed organizations desperately need the power to protect their wealth, the retired MP elaborated. In addition, Dr. Al-Abani stressed that the consolidation of the military establishment {national army} of Libya would seriously harm the interests of the Muslim Brotherhood movement, which, according to him, is backed by Qatar and Turkey. The veteran Libyan politician also noted that the current political, security and economic circumstances in Libya are unfavorable for conducting elections by the end of this year.”

Al-Hayat: Defecting Syrian Officers: Regime Helped To Train Militants Of Bahraini Hezbollah With Iranian Funding

“Officers who defected from the Syrian army revealed that the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad had helped the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Lebanese Hezbollah organization to train Bahraini citizens militarily. These Bahrainis were trained to use arms and ammunition in camps near Damascus. One of the officers disclosed that the Syrian regime “has been training the armed Bahraini opposition since 2008 and that between 15-30 trainees were enlisted in each 30-day course, which was followed by other courses in Lebanon and Iran." The alleged Syrian officer elaborated that the Bahraini recruits used to arrive in Damascus through the Lebanese Hezbollah and in cooperation with Iran's Embassy in Damascus, which provided the necessary funds and logistical support for these training activities.”

Newsyemen: Drugs Smuggled By Iran On The Houthis' List Of Funding Sources

“Drugs smuggled out of Iran have joined the list of Houthi funding sources, as the latter is reaping millions of dollars from banned smuggling and trade activities in Yemen. The leaders of the Houthi militia reached a stage of vast and rapid riches derived from drug trafficking by ruining Yemen's economy, plundering its capabilities and driving Yemenis to the brink of famine. It is reported that the hashish trade has flourished ever since the Houthis’ coup three years ago, when Houthi drug traffickers intensified their smuggling and marketing activities. This is the result of the growing number of {hashish} users, with some major cities becoming open markets for its supply and demand. Meanwhile, it is reported that security forces in the provinces of Marib and al-Jawf have foiled several attempts to smuggle large quantities of hashish and drugs enroute to the Houthis in the capital Sana’a.”

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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