Monday, January 23, 2017

CEP Applauds Designation of Five ISIS Operatives by Treasury, State, Since January 1

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CEP Applauds Designation of Five ISIS Operatives by Treasury, State, Since January 1

Urges similar action on three additional ISIS leaders 

(New York, NY) – The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) today applauded U.S. government action taken against five ISIS operatives, while at the same time urging that three additional leaders be similarly designated.
Since January 1, the U.S. Treasury and State Departments have named five ISIS operatives Specially Designated Global Terrorists, continuing the fight to disrupt the extremist group’s global fundraising, propaganda, and support network. The sanctions freeze any U.S. property designated individuals may own, impose travel restrictions, and prohibit financial transactions with U.S. citizens. 
At the same time, CEP is urging similar actions be taken against:
Abu Hassan al-Muhajir, the new ISIS spokesperson; Abu Musab al-Barnawi, the new ISIS-appointed leader of affiliate Boko Haram; and Abdul Qadr al-Najdi, the ISIS leader in Libya.   
The ISIS designees announced since January 1 include: 
  • Neil Prakash, an Australian recruiter and propagandist notorious for his extremist Twitter presence. Prakash is currently being detained in Turkey.
  • Khaled Sharrouf, an Australian executioner and propagandist. Sharrouf became infamous in 2014 when he posted on Twitter a photo of his seven-year-old son holding the severed heads of executed ISIS victims.
  • Bachrumsyah Mennor Usman, an Indonesian ISIS commander, recruiter, and fundraiser based in Syria.
  • Aman Abdurrahman, a.k.a. Oman Rochman, an Indonesian ideologue who—from prison—serves as the de-facto leader of ISIS supporters in Indonesia. Abdurrahman is serving a nine-year prison term for a 2010 terrorism conviction.
  • Alexanda Amon Kotey, a British foreign fighter and recruiter for ISIS and a former member of a beheading squad dubbed “the Beatles,” to which Mohammed Emwazi a.k.a. Jihadi John, also belonged. Kotey is still at large in Syria. Emwazi was killed by a drone strike in November 2015. 
  
 

Death Threats Are Nothing New for Muslim Reformers



Death Threats Are Nothing New for Muslim Reformers

by Tarek Fatah
The Toronto Sun
January 10, 2017
Be the first of your friends to like this.
Originally published under the title "The Latest Death Threat Against Me."
Imam Maulana Barkati wants me dead. He'll have to take a number.
"Your throat will be slit." Glaring at me across the TV monitor, the red-bearded Mullah smirked as he delivered a death threat on India's most-watched national news network, Zee News.
The remark stunned the host and the panel, who were discussing a "fatwa" against Prime Minister Narendra Modi by the very same Islamic cleric when out of nowhere Maulana Barkati made me the target of his anger.
As a vocal critic of Islamism and the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as its sister organizations cultivating radical Islam across the world, I am quite accustomed to death threats, but never this direct and so public.
The same Islamic cleric had earlier issued a fatwa on my friend Taslima Nasreen, offering 50,000 Indian Rupees to anyone who would behead her. He is also known for organizing a funeral prayer for Osama Bin Laden in Kolkata, West Bengal.
And if you believe such death threats happen only in faraway India or in the Middle East, then you are missing out on the risks ordinary Muslims take in fighting Islamists right in our backyard, across Canada.
Ordinary Muslims the world over take enormous risks fighting Islamists.
Nearly 10 years ago, I and a colleague were the subject of a telephonic death threat. In March 2007, a message was left on the voice mail of the secretary general of the Muslim Canadian Congress (MCC) warning that my colleague and I "cease from your campaign of smearing Islam ... I will slaughter you."
An apostasy death fatwa is one of the most effective weapons that Islamists deploy to silence fellow Muslims who stand up against, and expose the Islamofascist and supremacist doctrine of radical Islamists.
This threat becomes all the more alarming when ordinary Muslims fear that Islamists have their tentacles inside the state machinery as well as within security agencies and police forces.
Suffice to say, nothing came of the 2007 death threat and police were more interested in the veracity of the complaint than the threat.
This was not the last. The death threats keep on coming.
In 2011 I woke from a surgery to remove a cancerous tumour on my spine and checked my Twitter feed. I was confronted with another death threat, this time from a teen of Somali Muslim background. She wrote, "This is an open threat to Xaar Boy @Tarek Fatah," (Xaar boy being a vulgar Somali slur). "I know where you live & and where your office is." Later she tweeted, "He was also the 1 to propose banning the Niqab in Quebec... (and he) supports homosexuality," she wrote, reiterating again: "This is an open threat. I know where you live/work @TarekFatah."
Our apologists see Islamophobia as the real threat, not Islam-inspired terrorism and death threats to writers.
The hospital immediately moved me to another room and contacted the police. Within hours, two police intelligence officers interrogated me for two hours. One of them I recognized by reputation – a Muslim officer who had shut down a previous investigation into a death threat against me in 2008 and another one against broadcaster Tahir Gora.
Again, nothing came about and even though police identified the teenager who had threatened me, they decided she was not serious and didn't file any charges.
So if the Kolkata Police don't charge Mullah Barkati, don't feel it's Third World lawlessness. We Canadians too have our apologists who see Islamophobia as the real threat, not Islam-inspired terrorism or death threats to writers.
Tarek Fatah, a founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress and columnist at the Toronto Sun, is a Robert J. and Abby B. Levine Fellow at the Middle East Forum.



MONDAY Security Update: Day 1 is more than just a day. It’s the end of an era.

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Eye on Iran: British-Iranian Aid Worker's Five-Year Jail Term Upheld in Iran


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An Iranian appeals court has confirmed a five-year jail sentence for British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe on security charges, Iran's judiciary spokesman said on Sunday. Zaghari-Ratcliffe's family said in September that a Revolutionary Court had handed down the sentence on undisclosed charges. Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei said the term had been upheld. "The five-year prison verdict against the security defendant Nazanin Zaghari has been finalised," the judiciary's website Mizan quoted Ejei as telling a weekly news conference. Ejei also said Farhad Abd-Saleh was handed a five-year sentence on appeal on security charges, without elaborating. Iranian authorities have given few details about Abd-Saleh, who was named in October along with five others, some of them Iranian dual nationals, who had been sentenced to 10 years in jail for "espionage and collaborating with the American government".

In his first phone conversation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday evening, new US President Donald Trump pledged close consultation in "addressing the threats posed by Iran," unprecedented support for Israel's security, and a determination to help Israel achieve peace with the Palestinians... The two agreed to "closely consult on a range of regional issues, including addressing the threats posed by Iran," the White House said. The pledge of close consultation, and the active reference to addressing the Iranian threat, contrasted sharply with President Barack Obama's friction-filled dealings with Netanyahu on the Iran issue; the nuclear deal the last president negotiated with Iran in 2015 was bitterly attacked by the Israeli prime minister.

Gulf Arab states are quietly applauding the arrival in the White House of a hawkish leader opposed to their adversary Iran, even if they suspect Donald Trump's short temper and abrasive Tweets may at times heighten tensions in the combustible Middle East. While many countries around the world listened with concern to his protectionist inaugural address, Gulf Arab officials appear optimistic. They see in Trump a strong president who will shore up Washington's role as their main strategic partner in a region central to U.S. security and energy interests. In Gulf Arab eyes, that involves above all checking what they see as a surge of Iranian support for paramilitary allies in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon and for fellow Shi'ite Muslims in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia's oil-producing Eastern Province.

SANCTIONS RELIEF

Turboprop maker ATR has completed commercial negotiations with IranAir for the sale of at least 20 aircraft and expects to be able to sign a contract very soon, the head of the Franco-Italian aircraft maker said on Friday... "We have concluded the negotiations and we should sign the contract imminently," ATR Chief Executive Christian Scherer said. Scherer was responding to some Iranian media reports on Friday that ATR had already announced the signature of the keenly awaited deal... IranAir and ATR have spent months negotiating a firm order for 20 ATR 72-600 aircraft worth 540 million euros ($576 million) at list prices, with options for another 20.

SYRIA CONFLICT

A Syrian rebel group called on Russia to withstand pressure from Iran and the Syrian government to help ensure that a ceasefire agreed last month holds, the head of a delegation at peace talks told Reuters on Sunday. Mohammad Alloush said a failure by Moscow to end what the opposition says are widespread violations of a Turkish-Russian brokered ceasefire would be a blow to its influence in Syria. "It's a real test of the power of Russia and its influence over the regime and Iran as a guarantor of the deal, so if it fails in this role there will follow bigger failures," Alloush said in the Kazakh capital, where talks are due to begin on Monday. The Syrian opposition says the government and Iranian-backed militias are continuing military offensives in several areas in Syria, including in Wadi Barada near the capital, regardless of the ceasefire.

HUMAN RIGHTS

The family of British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has been sentenced to five years in jail in Iran on undisclosed charges, said she has been accused by a Revolutionary Court of acting against national security by cooperating with the BBC... Her family said in a statement that the appeal "was held in secret, in the presence of a large number of Revolutionary Guards". Neither Zaghari-Ratcliffe nor her lawyer had been allowed to tell the family what happened at her trial. However, the family said that at the appeal hearing two new accusations have been raised against her: being the head of recruitment for the BBC Persian service, and knowingly being married to a British spy.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Israel's leader has recorded a conciliatory message to the people of Iran, saying, "we are your friend, not your enemy." In the video uploaded to his Facebook page Saturday, Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the people of Iran in English, with Farsi subtitles... "You have a proud history. You have a rich culture. Tragically, you are shackled by a theocratic tyranny," he says.

OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) released 98 additional items from Osama bin Laden's compound today. If the ODNI has its way, then these files will be the last the American people see for some time. The accompanying announcement is titled, "Closing the Book on bin Laden: Intelligence Community Releases Final Abbottabad Documents." The ODNI says today's release "marks the end of a two-and-a-half-year effort to declassify several hundred documents recovered" during the Abbottabad raid. But the total number of files released thus far, including today's document dump, is just a drop in the bucket compared to what was found in the al Qaeda master's compound. And if the public and the media care about transparency, then they should push to see more... Transparency is important for a number of reasons. Consider the ODNI's own statement on today's release, and how it provides a remarkably incomplete picture regarding al Qaeda's decades-long relationship with Iran. Why would ODNI attempt to portray bin Laden's views as fixed and negative-"hatred, suspicion"-when documents written by bin Laden himself tell a more nuanced, yet troubling story? There's no question that some of bin Laden's files document the tensions and problems in al Qaeda's relationship with Iran. Bin Laden worried that members of his family would be tracked by Iranian intelligence. At one point, al Qaeda even kidnapped an Iranian diplomat in order to force a prisoner exchange. Some senior al Qaeda leaders have been held in Iranian custody for years. But there is much more to the story, including the documents detailing Iran's longtime collusion with al Qaeda. The ODNI is essentially asking readers to focus on the bad days in al Qaeda's marriage with Iran, while ignoring the good days.






Eye on Iran is a periodic news summary from United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) a program of the American Coalition Against Nuclear Iran, Inc., a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Eye on Iran is not intended as a comprehensive media clips summary but rather a selection of media elements with discreet analysis in a PDA friendly format. For more information please email press@uani.com.

United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) is a non-partisan, broad-based coalition that is united in a commitment to prevent Iran from fulfilling its ambition to become a regional super-power possessing nuclear weapons.  UANI is an issue-based coalition in which each coalition member will have its own interests as well as the collective goal of advancing an Iran free of nuclear weapons.