Monday, October 31, 2016

Eye on Extremism October 31, 2016

Counter Extremism ProjectTwitterFacebook

Eye on Extremism

October 31, 2016

CNN: Human Shields In Iraq: The New ISIS Strategy In Fight For Mosul
“The reports are disturbing: Tens of thousands of men, women and children snatched from their homes and forced into the center of Mosul as the battle intensifies to drive ISIS out of Iraq's second-largest city. The intent is sinister: Using civilians as human shields is ISIS's attempt to hold onto the city, the jewel of its self-proclaimed caliphate. No one expected the militants to surrender Mosul without a hellish fight. But for Iraqis still living under ISIS control in the city and surrounding areas, every option now is grim. They can try to flee but be branded by ISIS as ‘apostates,’ for which the penalty is death. Or they can potentially be seen as ISIS sympathizers in a new place and risk becoming victims of revenge crimes.”
The Wall Street Journal: Islamic State Will Try To Spread Terrorism Once Mosul Falls, U.S. General Says
“After Mosul falls to Iraqi and Kurdish forces, Islamic State militants will try to transition to insurgent and terrorist attacks both in Iraq and across the globe, a top American general said in an interview. Islamic State has already moved to terrorism and insurgency in parts of Iraq it has been pushed out of, said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky, the commander of the 101st Airborne Division, who has been in Iraq since March. ‘We see the enemy transitioning in the middle to lower portions of Iraq to this high-profile attack terrorism model,’ Gen. Volesky said. ‘It is an insurgency mold to maintain relevance in the Euphrates River Valley and just try and take attention away from their losses, which have been fairly significant over the last two months.’”
BBC: Mosul Iraq Battle: Shia Militias Aim To Take Tal Afar
“Iraq's Shia militia groups say they have launched an attack against Islamic State militants west of Mosul, as the offensive to retake the city continues. The Hashid Shaabi groups say their aim is to oust IS from the town of Tal Afar, cutting jihadist supply routes to Mosul from Syria. Tal Afar had sizeable Shia community before IS overran it in 2014. Mosul is a Sunni city, and the Shia militias have pledged not to enter it. Iraq began the offensive last week. Iraqi, Kurdish and allied forces, backed by US air power, have advanced in their push to retake Mosul, IS's de facto capital in Iraq.”
Reuters: Aleppo Fighting Spreads Amid Accusations Of Gas Attack
“Syrian rebels opened a new front in Aleppo as fighting spread on the third day of a major insurgent counter-attack to break the government's siege of the opposition-held part of the city, and each side accused the other of using poison gas. The rebels, including both Free Syrian Army factions and jihadists, are seeking to end the siege by seizing government-held areas of Aleppo, in an effort to link the city's rebel-held east with rebel-held rural areas to the west of the city. Syrian state media said militants had fired shells containing chlorine gas at a residential area of the government-held western part of the city, al-Hamdaniya. Rebels denied that, and said government forces had fired poison gas on another frontline. State media cited an Aleppo hospital director saying three dozen people - civilians and soldiers - had suffered suffocation in the alleged rebel gas attack, but did not report any deaths.”
Voice Of America: Afghan Forces Suffered 15,000 Casualties In First 8 Months Of 2016
“Afghanistan’s security forces battling the resurgent Taliban have suffered around 15,000 casualties, including 5,523 fatalities in the first eight months of 2016, says a U.S. government monitoring agency. The agency has also warned of eroding gains the war-shattered country has made with the help of the international community. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) in its quarterly report published Sunday noted the Afghan government lost 2.2 percent territorial control during this year’s fighting. Of Afghanistan's 407 districts, 258 districts were under government control or influence, 33 districts were under insurgent control or influence, and 116 districts were ‘contested.’”
The Wall Street Journal: Saudi Arabia Arrests Suspects Linked To Islamic State
“Saudi Arabia has arrested more than a dozen suspects linked to Islamic State, the Ministry of Interior said Sunday, moves intended to head off attacks inside the kingdom that would have echoed recent assaults in Europe. Four people were arrested on October 10, one day before a soccer match between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates at King Abdullah Sports City Stadium in the coastal city of Jeddah, where more than 60,000 spectators had gathered to watch the 2018 World Cup qualifier game. The people—two Pakistanis, a Syrian and a Sudanese—were planning a suicide car bomb attack during or after the match, ministry officials said. The plot was similar to an attack carried out by Islamic State last November in France where three suicide bombers targeted the Stade de France in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, part of a wider range of attacks the same day. Four people were killed in the stadium attack, including the three bombers.”
New York Times: Fire, Film, Tweet: The Taliban's New Way Of War
Taliban fighters posed for the camera, their shawls and bandannas covering their identities but not their jubilation, as they captured the main roundabout in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz early this month in what could have been called “operation hoist the flag and pull out a smartphone.” The shaky cellphone video directly contradicted Afghan and American military spokesmen, who were promising that Kunduz was safe from falling for a second time in one year. During the invasion, insurgents live-tweeted their victory and flooded social media with videos, often shot by fighters narrating their movements in close to real time. In the video from the roundabout, one of the many fighters in the background is heard saying into a phone: “I will call you back. The flag is going up. I have to film it.”
Reuters: Israel Says Troops Kill Palestinian Who Injured Three In Car Attack
“Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian who had rammed three border policemen with his car in the occupied West Bank on Sunday, Israeli police said. The three officers were lightly injured when they were struck by the car near the West Bank town of Beit Ummar, a police spokesman said. Troops at the scene opened fire and killed the driver. The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the driver as a 23-year-old from the town. Over the past year, Palestinians, many acting alone and often using rudimentary weapons and cars, have killed at least 35 Israelis and two visiting Americans in similar attacks. During the same period, at least 224 Palestinians have died in violent incidents in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Of those, Israel has identified 152 as assailants, while others were killed during clashes and protests.”
Deutsche Welle: UNICEF Frees 876 Children Held By Nigeria Army For Possible Boko Haram Ties
“According to the UNICEF, it was not immediately clear how long the children had been held because the army often detains civilians to check whether they have links to Boko Haram militants. ‘We fear there are still kids who are being at least temporarily detained because they are being released from Boko Haram areas by the army but then kept for a while,’ Manuel Fontaine, the UNICEF's regional director for Western and Central Africa, told reporters on Friday. ‘Once we get children out, there is a major issue of stigmatization in the communities…There is a sense that children who have been associated with Boko Haram for a while, could be, and in some cases we have some evidence, rejected by community and people around them.’ Fontaine added.”
Reuters: Al-Shabaab Seizes Town From Somali Government
“The Islamist group al Shabaab seized a town northwest of Somalia's capital from government forces on Sunday, the latest small center taken by the militant group trying to topple the country's Western-backed government. Al Shabaab, which once ruled much of Somalia, has been fighting for years to impose its strict interpretation of Islam on Somalia. African Union and Somali troops have driven it from major urban strongholds and ports, but they have often struggled to defend smaller, more remote areas from attacks. "Many al Shabaab fighters attacked us this morning and after brief fighting we left the town for tactical reasons," Somali army Major Hussein Edin told Reuters from the nearby town of Baidoa. One Somali soldier was killed, he said.”
New York Post: Ex-Jihadi Explains ISIS Brainwashing: 'It Kind Of Takes Control Of You'
“A convicted jihadi from Minnesota says he was so brainwashed that he would have had no qualms about carrying out brutal ISIS executions — as he warned other young Muslims against turning to terror. “I say it’s not worth it. It’s not worth your family going through all the pain and suffering just because you believe in something that is total nonsense,” said Abdirizak Warsame. “That doesn’t make sense. It’s not worth your life.” The 21-year-old faces up to 15 years behind bars for helping other Muslim youths join ISIS and for trying himself to join the terror group, where he said he intended to commit the kind of atrocities that have made the organization so notorious, such as beheadings, drownings and burning prisoners alive. “Yeah, I was going to be, I was going to be participating in those activities,” Warsame told “60 Minutes” in an interview that aired Sunday night.”
Daily Caller: Syrian Refugees: Mosques In Germany Are Too Extreme
“Syrian refugees in Germany have a hard time finding mosques to attend, as the available ones are more conservative than what they’re used to. Islamist extremists are trying to capitalize on the refugee crisis by recruiting migrants to their networks. Around 90 mosques suspected of having ties to extremism are currently under surveillance in Germany. The lack of moderate Arab-speaking mosques have become a problem for the hundreds of thousands of Syrians that came to the country in 2015. Salam — a 36-year-old refugee from Damascus — was told ‘good Muslims grow beards, not mustaches’ outside his local mosque in Cologne. He recalls a man getting kicked out of a sermon for wearing shorts in the mosque, which Salam found shocking in comparison to what he’s used to in Syria.”

United States

CNN: Turkey: US Orders Istanbul Consulate Staff Families To Leave
“The US government has ordered all civilian family members of its Istanbul consulate staff to leave Turkey because of increasing threats from terrorist organizations, according to a travel warning issued Saturday by the US State Department. ‘The Department of State made this decision based on security information indicating extremist groups are continuing aggressive efforts to attack US citizens in areas of Istanbul where they reside or frequent,’ the warning said. The warning goes beyond the one issued Monday that urged Americans to avoid traveling to southeast Turkey, especially urban centers near the Turkish-Syrian border, because of recent terrorist attacks. Turkey has become increasingly volatile in the past year because of terrorist attacks at home and its involvement in the Syrian civil war.”


Associated Press: Syrian Airstrikes On Aleppo Amid Intense Clashes
“Syrian government forces launched a counteroffensive Saturday under the cover of airstrikes in an attempt to regain control of areas they had lost to insurgents the day before in the northern city of Aleppo as insurgents launched a fresh offensive on the city, activists and state media said. The offensive came a day after Syrian rebels launched a broad ground attack aiming to break a weeks-long government siege on the eastern rebel-held neighborhoods of Syria's largest city. The insurgents were able to capture much of the western neighborhood of Assad where much of Saturday's fighting was concentrated, according to the Syrian army and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The Observatory said the new offensive by Syrian troops and their allies was ongoing under the cover of Russian and Syrian airstrikes.”
Associated Press: Russia Blames Us For Near-Collision Of Planes Over Syria
“A Russian military spokesman is blaming the United States for a near-collision of the countries' warplanes in Syrian airspace. Major-General Igor Konashenkov said in a statement Saturday that the Oct. 17 incident involved a Sukhoi-35, Russia's most advanced fighter jet, and an American E-3 radar plane near the city of Deir al-Zour. Konashenkov said Russia had informed the U.S. military of the Su-35's intent to fly in the area. But , Konashenkov says the American plane unexpectedly descended by about one kilometer (0.6 miles) and came within 500 meters (0.3 miles) of the Russian plane. The incident was first reported on Friday by a U.S. military spokesman, who said it had been raised with Russian commanders but deliberately not made public. Konashenkov said the Americans apologized for the incident.”


Reuters: Iraqi Villagers Escape Islamic State Snipers, Leave Family Behind
“Iraqi troops and Kurdish fighters have cleared dozens of villages as they press towards the city of Mosul for an offensive against the Islamic State's last main stronghold in the country. The momentum has encouraged Iraqis like Ahmed to take a risk, despite warnings from the world's most feared and violent Islamist militant group that anyone who attempts to flee their self-proclaimed caliphate will be shot dead. They are slowly emerging from villages and towns with accounts of Islamic State's ferocity in imposing their ultra-hardline interpretation of Islam.”
The New York Times: Tal Afar, West Of Mosul, Becomes Center Of Battle For Influence In Iraq
“The city of Tal Afar, a former Ottoman outpost not far from Mosul that has a mostly ethnic Turkmen population and has been home to a corps of Islamic State leaders, on Saturday became the focus of a growing struggle between Turkey and Iran for influence in northern Iraq. That is because Iraq’s Shiite militias, some of which receive support from Iran, began on Saturday to move west of Mosul, a trajectory that would essentially cut off Islamic State fighters in the city from their bases in Syria. The Shiite militias’ move toward Tal Afar could also draw Turkey deeper into the already complex battlefield around Mosul.”


Deutsche Welle: Turkish Opposition Lawmaker Injured In Gun Attack In Southeast Turkey
“Turkey's Anadolu news agency reported that the deputy leader of the Republican People's Party (CHP), Bulent Tezcan, was in a stable condition following the attack on his life. Tezcan was shot in the leg with a handgun, Anadolu said. The injuries were reported to be not life-threatening. According to the Haberturk news channel, the attack happened in the city of Aydin, Tezcan's constituency. The motives of the assailant or assailants were not clear. There were conflicting reports over a single gunman operating as opposed to more than one. Police were reportedly pursuing the perpetrator. Tensions in Turkey's southeast have been on the rise since the failed coup attempt in July 2016 and after a series of deadly attacks on civilians this year, which have been blamed both on the outlawed Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) as well as on the self-styled "Islamic State" (IS) group.”
Reuters: Turkey's Erdogan Says Ankara Aims To Reinforce Troops On Iraq Border
“Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey was aiming to reinforce its troops deployments in its Iraqi border town of Silopi and that it would have a ‘different response’ for Shi'ite militia groups if they cause terror in the Iraqi city of Tal Afar. Iranian-backed Iraqi Shi'ite paramilitary groups have said they have started an offensive against Islamic State positions west of Mosul, which will target Tal Afar. Speaking to reporters at a reception marking Republic Day in Ankara, Erdogan said the information he received had not confirmed such movement. He gave no details on the numbers of reinforcements, or what the different response would be.”
CNN: Turkey Fires More Than 10,000 Public Officials
“Turkey continues its crackdown on government opponents following a coup attempt in July. Under a legislative decree published Saturday, Turkish authorities fired more than 10,000 public servants for alleged ties to the movement affiliated with exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, and shut down 15 Kurdish media companies for alleged ties to militant Kurdish groups, state-run news agency Anadolu reported. The new decree ‘made it easier to sack public officials believed to be members of terrorist organizations or groups involved in activities against the country's national security,’ Anadolu reported. The 10,131 dismissed government employees were alleged to have ties to Gulen, a US-based Turkish cleric, and his movement, which Turkey blames for the failed July coup and considers a terrorist organization.”


Bloomberg: Afghan Women See Little Gains 15 Years After Taliban’s Ouster
“Fifteen years after the U.S. ousted the Taliban regime, Afghanistan remains one of the worst places in the world to be a woman, said the U.S. government watchdog who monitors the country’s reconstruction. Improving the lives and opportunities of Afghan women has been a policy goal of the U.S. rebuilding effort, and at least $1 billion has been committed for activities to improve their condition, John Sopko, the U.S. special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, said in a quarterly report. Yet corruption and lack of security remain major roadblocks. Inadequate security ‘not only makes it dangerous for women to go to school, work outside the home, and access health services, but also perpetuates social attitudes that women are vulnerable and thus should not leave the home,’ Sopko said in the report.”
The New York Times: Taliban Gain Ground In Afghanistan As Soldiers Surrender Their Posts
“Besieged Afghan officials in the southern province of Oruzgan said on Sunday that scores of regular Afghan soldiers had surrendered in the past week to the Taliban, a trend also occurring recently in other provinces. The latest case involved 41 Afghan National Army soldiers who surrendered and turned their base, the Mashal base in Chora District, over to the insurgents on Saturday night, according to Dost Mohammad Nayab, the spokesman for the province’s governor. He said it was the third Afghan Army post in the province to surrender to the Taliban in the past week. Significant surrenders have been reported in Kunduz and Helmand Provinces as well.”
The Guardian: Armed Men Burn Down Girls’ School In North Afghanistan
“Armed men have burned down a girls’ school in northern Afghanistan, officials said Saturday, with police blaming the Taliban for the assault as the militants expand their foothold across the country. The attackers burst into the school in northern Jawzjan province on Friday night, beat up the security guards and set the building on fire, a local government official told AFP. ‘The armed men entered the school at around 10 p.m, beat the guards and set chairs, books and classes ablaze,’ the provincial governor’s spokesman, Reza Ghafoori, said.”
Reuters: Afghan Government Loses 2 Percent Of Territory In Three Months: Watchdog
“The Afghan government lost control or influence between May and August over two percent of the territory it controlled, the U.S. government's top watchdog on Afghanistan said in a report on Sunday, a sign of the precarious security situation in the country and challenges posed by the Taliban and other militant groups. Fifteen years after the United States invaded Afghanistan to topple the Taliban rulers who had harbored al Qaeda militants who attacked the United States, the Taliban have made major gains and are estimated to control more territory than at any time since 2001. The report, published by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), said the area under Afghan government ‘control or influence’ had decreased to 63.4 percent by the end of August from 65.6 percent near the end of May, based on data provided by U.S. forces in Afghanistan.”


Reuters: War Pushes Yemen To Partition, Thwarting Peace Efforts
“Yemen has endured thousands of air strikes and the deaths of more than 10,000 people in a 19-month war that has also unleashed hunger on the desperately poor country - but its biggest challenge may be yet to come. The conflict has led to Yemen's de facto partition, with rival armies and institutions in the north and south, and could mean the map of the Middle East will have to be redrawn. A three-day truce to allow in more humanitarian aid and prepare a political settlement collapsed last week, reflecting deadlocked efforts to end the stalemated war. But behind the combatants' disagreements over how to share power, Yemen's future as a unified state appears increasingly in doubt.”

Saudi Arabia

Associated Press: Saudi Arabia Says It Breaks Up 2 Militant Plots
“Saudi Arabia says it has broken up two militant plots, one targeting police officers and the other a plan to bomb a soccer match between the kingdom and the United Arab Emirates. The Saudi Interior Ministry announced Sunday it had disrupted the plots. It said the first plot involved killing police officers and that four Saudis who received instructions from an Islamic State leader in Syria were arrested. The ministry said the second plot involved planting a car bomb at the soccer match between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates at a stadium in Jiddah.”
Voice Of America: Saudi Arabia: Attack On World Cup Qualifier Foiled
“Saudi Arabia says it foiled a plot to bomb a World Cup 2018 qualifying match earlier this month and has arrested terror suspects linked to the Islamic State militant group. An alleged terror cell had planned to place a car bomb outside the Al-Jawhara stadium in Jeddah during an October 11 match between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Saudi authorities announced Sunday. The sports complex can seat 62,000 spectators. Four foreigners - two Pakistanis, a Syrian, and a Sudanese national - were detained a day before the attack was to take place. Officials have not said whether they are tied to Islamic State. Saudi officials say a separate group of four Saudi citizens planned to target police officers in Shaqraa province under the direction of an Islamic State leader, but were also arrested before carrying out the plot.”


Reuters: Egypt Gives Life Sentences To Brotherhood Supporters For 2013 Riot
“An Egyptian court sentenced two Muslim Brotherhood supporters on Saturday to life in prison and 16 others to 15 years in jail for a violent assault on a Cairo neighborhood in 2013 after the ouster of former president Mohamed Mursi. The attack, which left seven dead, was part of a wave of violence that swept across Egypt after the army removed elected Islamist president Mursi from power in July 2013 following mass protests against his rule. Since deposing Mursi, the authorities have held mass trials for thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters, with hundreds receiving death sentences or lengthy prison terms. Mursi has been sentenced in four cases since his ouster, including a death penalty for a mass jail break in 2011.”
The Times Of Israel: Egypt Marks Year Since Plane Downed By IS Over Sinai
“Egypt on Sunday commemorated the first anniversary of the Metrojet Russian airliner crash in the Sinai that killed all 224 people on board. The aviation minister and the Russian ambassador were among those who attended a ceremony in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheikh, from which the plane took off last October 31 before crashing 24 minutes later. The Egyptian affiliate of the Islamic State jihadist group said it downed the plane with a bomb hidden in a soft drink can. Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathy reiterated the government’s condolences to the relatives of victims, expressing ‘our feelings of sorrow and sadness over the lives we have lost.’”
Reuters: Roadside Explosion In Egypt's North Sinai Kills Senior Military Officer
“A senior military officer and one soldier were killed on Saturday by a roadside explosion in Egypt's North Sinai where the government faces an Islamic State-led insurgency, security sources told Reuters. Hundreds of soldiers and police have been killed in the insurgency and there have also been attacks in Cairo and other cities. Militant groups appear to be stepping up attacks with the emergence of a new group calling itself the Revolution Brigade which claimed responsibility for the killing of a brigadier general, a commander in North Sinai, outside his home on the outskirts of Cairo last week. That attack came just one week after Islamic State guerrillas ambushed a military checkpoint killing 12 Egyptian soldiers in the town of Bir al-Abd, the first major attack in the central Sinai area, which had so far escaped the militant Islamists' campaign.”

Middle East

The Times Of Israel: Elite Border Cops Train For Islamic State Attack Inside Israel
“An elite Border Police unit is training for the threat of terrorists affiliated with Islamic State infiltrating Israel from across the border with the Sinai Peninsula to carry out an attack. In an Israeli TV report, an officer said the fear was of cells of 15-30 terrorists, armed with anti-tank and a variety of other weapons. He noted the immense danger terror groups in the Sinai pose to Egyptian Army forces. The desert peninsula has long been fertile ground for terror groups including the Sinai Province fighters, which has pledged allegiance to the Syria- and Iraq-based Sunni Islamic State. The desert peninsula has long been fertile ground for terror groups including the Sinai Province fighters, which has pledged allegiance to the Syria- and Iraq-based Sunni Islamic State.”
The Times Of Israel: 3 Palestinians Jailed For Plan To Stab Israelis
“Three Palestinians from the northern West Bank city of Jenin were sentenced to jail Sunday for plotting to carry out a terror attack last year in the northern Israeli city of Afula. The three, two of whom were minors, were sentenced at Nazareth District Court after they were earlier convicted of illegally possessing a knife, obstruction of justice, and illegally entering Israel. The two minors received prison terms of two years and three months, while the adult was jailed for two and a half years.”


Reuters: Libyan Officials Squabble, Residents Protest As Cash Crisis Hits Home
“When the doors of a Tripoli bank open, hundreds of frantic customers surge forward, desperate for money they have been waiting weeks or months to withdraw. The scene, now commonplace, is a stark sign of Libya's slide towards economic collapse despite oil wealth, and a U.N.-backed government's lack of headway towards ending years of political turmoil and armed conflict that have splintered the country. Over the past week, frustration has spilled over into renewed street unrest and a public spat between Prime Minister Fayez Seraj and Central Bank Governor Sadiq al-Kabir over who is to blame for acute cash shortages. The dispute shows the U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) struggling to control Libya's finances even after a recovery in oil production raised the prospect of economic pressures easing.”
Reuters: Sixteen Migrant Bodies Washed Up In Western Libya: Red Crescent
“The bodies of 16 migrants have washed up on shore at the western Libyan city of Zuwara, a Red Crescent spokesman said on Sunday. Al-Khamis al-Bosaifi said the bodies, which were recovered on Saturday, were all men who appeared to be from sub-Saharan Africa. ‘The bodies are decomposed and we have no idea when they drowned,’ he said. Libya is a common departure point for migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe. They travel in ill-equipped boats that often break down or sink. More than 3,740 migrant deaths have been recorded this year in the central Mediterranean, most of them on the route between Italy and Libya.”
Reuters: Ten Bodies Bearing Signs Of Torture Found In Libya's Benghazi: Official
“The bodies of 10 men who appear to have been tortured and shot dead have been found in a suburb of Libya's eastern city of Benghazi, a security official said. The bodies were found overnight between Thursday and Friday in Benghazi's Shabna district, said Milad al-Zwai, a spokesman for Benghazi's special forces. For the past two years Benghazi has been the site of a military campaign led by eastern commander Khalifa Haftar against Islamists and other opponents. After long struggling to make progress, Haftar's forces seized several key neighborhoods earlier this year, though they still have not brought the city under full control.”


CNN: Female Suicide Bombers Suspected In Deadly Nigeria Blasts
“Female suicide bombers are suspected to be behind the twin explosions that rattled the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri on Saturday near a refugee camp and a fuel depot, officials said. The attacks targeted the city's Bakassi Internally Displaced Persons camp and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp.'s Mega Filling Station, the Nigerian army said in a statement. At least nine people were killed and 24 injured in the two explosions, according to the country's National Emergency Agency (NEMA). In the first attack the suspected bomber ran into a crowd at the entrance of the Bakassi IDP camp, killing five people, the army said. Ten minutes later and a mile away, a second blast killed three occupants on a motorized rickshaw at the entrance of a fuel depot owned by the National Oil Company. The army puts the total number of dead at 8.”
BBC: Nigeria Boko Haram: Army 'Releases Child Suspects'
“The UN says it has negotiated the release of 876 children in Nigeria, who were being held by the army over possible links to Islamist militants. The children, who had previously lived in areas controlled by Boko Haram, were held in a military barracks in the north-eastern city of Maiduguri, a UN spokesman told the BBC. Details of the children's ages and the length of their detention have not been given. The army has not made any comment. Human rights groups argue that there is no proper legal process for civilians, including children, who are detained by the army as part of their counter-insurgency operations.”
Voice Of America: Troops Kill Bomber Outside Camp Of Refugees From Boko Haram
“Troops shot and killed a man with explosives boldly showing strapped to his torso Sunday, as he tried to enter a refugee camp in northeastern Maiduguri city where another suicide bomber killed five people a day earlier. The Sunday morning bombing is the fifth explosion in three weeks in Maiduguri, the birthplace of the Boko Haram Islamic extremist group blamed for the bombings. Maiduguri is also the headquarters of the military campaign to halt the insurgency. The recent bombings have created a new wave of fear at Bakassi camp, which houses more than 16,000 people terrorized by Boko Haram into fleeing their homes.”

United Kingdom

Daily Mail: Police Foil At Least 10 Terror Plots In Two Years And Are Dealing With 550 ‘Live’ Investigations At Any Time 
“Police and the security services have foiled at least ten terror plots in the last two years, a top counter-terrorism officer has revealed. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, Scotland Yard’s new anti-terror chief, said the authorities are dealing with around 550 ‘live’ investigations at any one time. Mr Basu wrote in an internet post, published by the National Police Chiefs’ Council, that 850 Britons regarded as a security threat are believed to have taken part in the Syrian conflict, of which around half have returned to the UK. ‘The counter-terrorism network and security services have foiled at least ten attacks in the last two years,’ he added, ‘with 294 convictions for terror-related offences. ‘As soon as Daesh [Islamic State] started to lose on the battlefields abroad, it was clear their tactics would be directed closer to home.’”
Daily Mail: Up To 50 UK Families Have Had Their Children Taken Into Care Over Fears They Were Being Radicalised By Jihadi-Supporting Parents
“Children are being removed from families and taken into care over fears their radicalised parents plan to carry out terror attacks. Mark Rowley, head of national counter terrorism policing, said up to 50 radicalised families have been taken to court since last year.  The police boss said parents had tried to take teenagers and even young children to Syria to join ISIS and other terror groups. Last week a couple were arrested on suspicion of attempting to fly their five children to Syria from Luton airport. Since 2004, more than 700 British people have travelled to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS.”
The Guardian: 'It Wasn't About Killing People': What Drove A British Farmer To The Syrian Frontline?
“But that night, Evans became the second British citizen killed in Syria while fighting Isis. Evans’s final hours weren’t spent in a military-grade tank with RAF air cover or advanced medical support; he was fighting with a multinational group of ill-equipped militiamen loyal to the People’s Protection Units (YPG) of Syrian Kurdistan, a guerrilla group in which officers are elected by troops, and men and women fight side by side. A dairy farmer from Warminster, Wiltshire, Evans had smuggled himself into Syria on his own, having been recruited by Kurdish activists on Facebook. He had no proper body armour, and fought with a black-market rocket launcher that could jam at any moment.”


Voice Of America: 4 People Stabbed In Attack At Frankfurt Train Station
“Four people were stabbed Saturday in an attack inside the Hauptwache rail and subway station in downtown Frankfurt, German police said. Frankfurt police confirmed via Twitter that all four victims had been taken to the hospital with stab wounds, without giving further details of their condition. Police were investigating how many people were involved in the stabbing. The motive for the attack was not clear, officials said. Germany was struck by a series of attacks this summer. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for two attacks in late July, one on a train near Wurzburg and another at a music festival in Ansbach that wounded 20 people. Police fatally shot the assailants in both incidents. Two other attacks, including a deadly mall shooting in Munich, were unrelated to Islamic extremism, according to police.”
Fox News: ISIS Claims Responsibility For Germany Stabbing That Killed Teen
“The Islamic State terror network on Saturday claimed responsibility for a deadly stabbing attack earlier this month in Germany that left one teen dead and another undergoing psychiatric treatment. ‘A solider of the Islamic State stabbed 2 individuals in Hamburg city on the 16th of this month. He carried out the operation in response to calls to target the citizens of coalition countries,’ a ‘source’ told the ISIS-related media outlet Amaq. German police couldn't independently verify the claim, which differs from actual events in that only one person was stabbed. ‘We are aware of the statement and have to check the content thoroughly in regard to its reliability,’ said a spokesman for the prosecutor's office who spoke on condition of anonymity.”


RT: Fall Of ISIS In Mosul May Push Terrorists To Launch Attacks In Europe – German Spy Chief
“The defeat of Islamic State militants in their Iraqi stronghold Mosul may spark terrorist attacks across Europe, the head of the German Federal Office for Protection of the Constitution (BfV), Hans-Georg Maassen, has said. Speaking to German media outlet Deutschlandfunk, Maassen acknowledged that the jihadists ‘possibly stand with their backs to the wall’ and can ‘effectively face defeat’ in the Iraqi city, adding that the BfV is ‘closely watching the situation in Mosul.’ The Iraqi Army and allied militias backed by the US-led coalition launched an operation to retake the country’s second-largest city on October 17. ‘That is good. But this can lead to the consequence that this situation may alert its [IS] supporters in Europe, that it can lead to violent attacks,’ the BfV chief warned.”

Combating the Financing of Terrorism

Alkalima: Arab Initiatives To Combat The Financing Of Terrorism
Chairman of the Union of Arab Banks (UAB) and President of the Lebanese Banks Association, Joseph Tarabay, stated over the weekend that "the majority of funding used by {terror} organizations and militant gangs does not go through the banking sector." He made this comment during the opening session of the sixth annual forum of the heads of the Arab units of anti-money laundering and combating terror financing, which was held in Beirut. For his part, the Secretary-General of the UAB, Wissam Fattouh, spoke about four initiatives being promoted by UAB to combat the financing of terrorism:  "Raising awareness, through conferences and training courses to comply with international laws and regulations concerning anti-money laundering and terrorist financing." The second initiative includes "partnership between the public and private sectors to establish strong ties with security services and governmental legal departments to follow {relevant} developments." The goal of the third {initiative} is to "encourage the financing of small and medium-size enterprises and creating job opportunities." He stressed that the fight against unemployment "is one of the most powerful ways to fight terrorism indirectly." The fourth initiative calls for "financial inclusion to combat terrorist ideology."


New Sabah: Iraq: Disappearance Of ISIS's "Financial Mastermind"
“According to a local source in Nineveh province, the so-called "financial brain" of ISIS, together with an official in charge of recruiting female suicide bombers, have vanished under mysterious circumstances. The two had in their possession millions of dollars as well as documents related to the group's financial transactions in the province. The source revealed that the "Hisbah Diwan official known as Abu Moataz Al-Qahtani, an Arab national, disappeared under mysterious circumstances, accompanied by the official, a {female} German national, who recruits foreign suicide bombers {for the organization}."
Buratha News Agency: Iraq: 90 Million Dinars Vanish From ISIS Coffers
“A source in Anbar Operations Command said Sunday that "an armed clash broke out this morning, between ISIS terrorists following the disappearance of 90 million dinars ($78,000) from the coffers of the terror organization in the Rawa district (180 km west of Ramadi). Six members of the organization were killed." The source, who asked not to be named, disclosed that the ISIS terrorists in Rawa split into two factions. One is led by the terrorist Amer Tawfiq Zubai aka Abu Tammam and the other by the terrorist Muhannad nicknamed Abu Deraa al-Muhajer. The same source added that ISIS militants in the districts of Rawa, Anah and al-Qaim carried out search and inspection operations in all regions looking for the militants suspected of stealing the money. The source claimed that the funds stolen from Rawa were earmarked to cover the payment of salaries and allowances of sexual jihad.”

Muslim Brotherhood

Veto: Egypt: Brotherhood Member Attempting To Smuggle 47 Spying Devices Detained At Cairo Airport
“Cairo International Airport Customs authorities, on Saturday morning, apprehended a Brotherhood passenger arriving from Saudi Arabia. According to the authorities, he was attempting to smuggle 47 eavesdropping devices in the form of watches and office clocks as well as audio recording devices. Customs sources at Cairo International Airport reported that during inspections of Saudi Arabian Airlines Flight no. 305 arriving from Jeddah, a customs agent became suspicious of an Egyptian passenger. During the search, in his possession were found 25 watches with {tiny} video cameras, 10 audio recording devices, 8 small office clocks with {concealed} cameras, and five night-vision video cameras. In addition, authorities found 2500 tiny memory cards, which military authorities had banned for civilian use in decision No. 3 of 1998.”
Albawabh News: Partisan Activist Warns Against Muslim Brotherhood Efforts To Take Control Of Local Councils In Egypt
“Alaa Essam, the media manager of the Egyptian National Progressive Unionist Party (NPUP) {commonly known as "Al-Tagammu"} lamented that his party is impoverished and therefore cannot launch large propaganda campaigns during the next local council elections. He added that the party depends on the efforts of its members in the advertising campaigns. He said during an interview with "Sky News Arabia" on Saturday that the Muslim Brotherhood plans to promote unknown candidates in the local elections to take control of local councils at the provincial level with funding from donors from abroad.”
The Seventh Day: Egypt: Public Prosecutor Investigating The Case Of Muslim Brotherhood Media Committee
“Egypt's Public Prosecutor decided to detain a photojournalist for 15 days pending investigations related to case No. 10383 of 2016. This case is publicly known as "the file of the Muslim Brotherhood's media committee." Investigations have so far revealed that defendant Abdel-Rahman Ali worked as a photojournalist. Prosecutors charged him with joining an outlawed group and publishing false news. Investigations, undertaken by the Public Prosecutor, identified several suspected Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated companies, which are involved in running websites promoting hostile contents against the Egyptian regime. Among these companies: "Media House Egypt", "Islamstory", "White Media", N.K.D, and "Fekra Advertising Agency." All of these companies are suspected of "involvement in hostile acts threatening national security.”
The Seventh Day: Egypt: Cairo Airport Customs Chief Denies Affiliation Of Officer With The Muslim Brotherhood
“Chairman of the Central Administration of Cairo Airport Customs, Sami Abdul Rahman, denied what was published by some media outlets alluding to the affiliation of a customs officer with the Muslim Brotherhood. He claimed these allegations causing agitation among members of police force and customs, just days before protests called by the Brotherhood scheduled for November 11th. Abdul Rahman stressed that what was published is "completely untrue." Specifically, he emphasized there was not a single incident involving a customs officer who urged his colleagues to oppose the police or disobey orders delivered by their bosses during their work in the airport terminal. Abdul Rahman concluded by saying, "There is no Customs officer belonging to Muslim Brotherhood group inside Cairo's airport customs area.”
Elwatan News: Tourism Expert: Muslim Brotherhood-Affiliated Human Rights Groups Publish "Lies" About Egypt
“Tourism expert, Adel Abdelrazek, accused human rights groups "directly linked to the Muslim Brotherhood" of exploiting satellite TV channels and European news agencies for generating negative public sentiment abroad towards Egypt with the aim of harming the tourism coming into the country. He criticized the failure of Egypt's State Information Service‎ (SIS) to address such "flagrant lies." He also lashed out at SIS for its inability to present the reality of what is happening in Egypt. He attributed this failure to the fact that many states announced travel bans to Egypt for "purely political reasons.”


Treckat: Experts: Houthis Worked To Build Financial Empire And Parallel Economic Entity In Yemen
“The Houthi war in Yemen for control of state institutions is not just military. Another war is taking place against the official economy, in order to tear it down and set up parallel entities to become a future financing and supply source. Economists claim that the Houthis have been working on the creation of a financial empire and parallel economic entity ever since the destruction of the formal private sector. This new entity is based on the wealth of state resources and black market revenues. Mohammed Alhakimi, editor of the Economy Now magazine, stated: "The war has produced a new bourgeois class from the merchants of war. After boasting in battles, they are now the stars of the recession." Alhakimi added that "there are hundreds of Yemeni business owners and merchants who went bankrupt. For some of them, businesses ceased operations as a result of the war, while others left Yemen or their businesses were exposed to extortion by the militia. Amid these developments, Houthi merchants have emerged out of nowhere. Their investments include new currency exchange companies which have opened in Sanaa, private electric power stations supplied with giant generators, and gas stations operating without licenses.”
Arabi21: Russia To Print 400 Billion Yemeni Riyals For The Benefit Of The Central Bank Under Houthis' Control
“An official at the Central Bank of Yemen disclosed on Sunday that its management had decided to print 400 billion Yemeni riyals (about $1.03 billion) in Moscow. The bills {designated} to contend with the Bank's liquidity crisis are expected to reach Yemen in the upcoming days. The crisis, caused by the transfer of the headquarters of the Sanaa-based Central Bank which is under the Houthis' control to the city of Aden by the "legitimate government", resulted in the non-payment of salaries for state employees for three months in a row.”

Eye on Iran: White House Angling for 'Clean' Renewal of Iran Sanctions

View our videos on YouTube


The House plans to vote to renew expiring sanctions on Iran without adding provisions the White House would likely find objectionable, and sources say President Barack Obama is likely to let such a "clean" bill become law. At issue is the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996, which targets the nation's energy sector and is due to expire Dec. 31. The White House says the president and Treasury Department already possess the sanctions-issuing authorities that the law grants. But Obama likely would not veto a "clean" renewal because administration officials have concluded it would not violate the terms of the nuclear deal the U.S. and other world powers brokered with Tehran last year, according to a source with knowledge of the White House's deliberations. One senior House GOP aide told Roll Call, "My understanding is that the bill being discussed is a clean renewal." White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on Tuesday that he had no "veto threat to issue at this point," adding, "I won't prejudge at this point about whether or not the president would sign that bill." "That sanctions authority has been used to impose costs on Iran for their support for terrorism, for their violation of human rights," Earnest said. "So this is authority that the United States government retains and has used to deal with a wide range of concerns we have with Iran's behavior."

Gun trucks and humvees streamed north on a highway heading to Mosul on Sunday flying the banners of Shi'ite militias along with Iraqi flags while blaring religious songs. The convoys were the first clear sign of a new player on the battlefield in the U.S.-backed offensive to retake Mosul from Islamic State: Hashid Shaabi or Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), a coalition of Shi'ite militias. Although it reports officially to Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, the coalition is mostly made up of groups trained by Iran and loyal to its Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. They have close ties with General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran's Quds Brigade, the extra-territorial arm of Iran's Revolutionary Guards. He was seen touring the frontlines around Mosul last week. Among the banners that could be seen flying from artillery cannons, communication towers and buildings recently retaken from Islamic State were those of Kataib Hezbollah and Asaib Ahl al-Haq, two of the main Iranian-backed groups, alongside the Badr Organization, considered the largest.

A senior commander of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards said Wednesday that cooperation with foreign firms on oil projects was necessary, but putting them in charge would be a national "disgrace." While the oil ministry has sought to attract foreign capital and technology to Iran's energy sector, it has faced opposition from other parts of the regime.  "No one is against foreigners coming. We can have some cooperation with them," said Brigadier General Ebadollah Abdollahi, head of the Guards' industrial conglomerate Khatam Al-Anbia. "(But) it is a disgrace to be under the hands of foreigners when we have so many educated young people," the ISNA news agency quoted him as saying. Khatam al-Anbia is Iran's biggest industrial contractor and its leaders have opposed recent plans by the oil ministry to put international firms in charge of major projects. "We are not saying that up-to-date know-how should not be used, but we are stressing the fact that the necessary know-how exists in our country already," Abdollahi said.


Iranian-American dual citizen Reza (Robin) Shahini, who was handed an 18-year prison sentence in Iran in October 2016, has vowed to go on hunger strike until his death if the sentence is not reversed on appeal. "This is a tyrannical sentence," an informed source close to the case told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. "If the sentence is not thrown out, he will go on a hunger strike until his death because he won't be able to tolerate such a heavy sentence." ...  "Reza blames (Iranian President) Hassan Rouhani because he repeatedly invited Iranian expats to return to Iran, but didn't protect them," added the source.


Attorney General Loretta Lynch is declining to comply with an investigation by leading members of Congress about the Obama administration's secret efforts to send Iran $1.7 billion in cash earlier this year, prompting accusations that Lynch has "pleaded the Fifth" Amendment to avoid incriminating herself over these payments, according to lawmakers and communications exclusively obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.) initially presented Lynch in October with a series of questions about how the cash payment to Iran was approved and delivered. In an Oct. 24 response, Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik responded on Lynch's behalf, refusing to answer the questions and informing the lawmakers that they are barred from publicly disclosing any details about the cash payment, which was bound up in a ransom deal aimed at freeing several American hostages from Iran. The response from the attorney general's office is "unacceptable" and provides evidence that Lynch has chosen to "essentially plead the fifth and refuse to respond to inquiries regarding [her] role in providing cash to the world's foremost state sponsor of terrorism," Rubio and Pompeo wrote on Friday in a follow-up letter to Lynch, according to a copy obtained by the Free Beacon.


Federal prosecutors charged two California men with conspiring to smuggle fighter-jet parts to Iran in a scheme they allege dates to 2009. The U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles said in a statement Friday that the pair worked with two Iranian nationals to break laws that restrict exports to the longtime U.S. adversary. A nine-count federal indictment unsealed Wednesday alleged that Zavik Zargarian of Glendale tried to help one of the Iranians purchase more than $3 million worth of parts for fighter jets, including F-15s and F-18s. Their would-be supplier was an undercover federal agent. Prosecutors also say Vache Nayirian of Los Angeles exported more than 7,000 fluorocarbon rubber O-rings, which could have military uses, including for aircraft landing gear. To evade detection, the shipments went to other destinations in the Persian Gulf before being routed to Iran, where the national air force received them, prosecutors said.


Imports of crude oil by Iran's four major buyers in Asia in September jumped more than 70 percent from a year ago as the producer continued to recoup market share lost under sanctions. Iran's top four Asian buyers, China, Japan, India and South Korea, imported nearly 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in September, government and ship-tracking data showed. That is down from the highest level in at least 5-1/2 years in August. But oil-purchase arrivals could rise again in October, with Asian buyers loading 1.83 million bpd of crude oil and condensate this month and about 1.96 million bpd in September, according to a source with knowledge of Iran's tanker schedules.

Abu Issa Holding, one of the largest retail and luxury goods firms in the Middle East, plans to expand into Iran next year and open stores in Tehran selling watches and confectionery as the market opens up after sanctions. The family-run Qatari firm is an example of a Gulf Arab business that could benefit from the lifting last January of nuclear-related sanctions that largely closed Iran off for years... "It's an obvious expansion for our business," 48-year-old Ashraf Abu Issa, chairman and chief executive of Abu Issa Holding, said at the Reuters Middle East Investment Summit... "We will start with five or six stores in Tehran. We plan to open a similar number every year for the next five years and also in the city of Isfahan, which we expect to become a touristic hub in coming years."


Federica Mogherini told local Iranian media on Saturday that the EU "needed the cooperation of Iran, a key power, to solve the region's problems." Mogherini's comments came after meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Iran is a key supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and provides the regime with financial and military aid.


Mullah Zabihullah, the official spokesman of the "Afghan Taliban" and the second man in the movement revealed the presence of relations and new networks with Iran. "The movement is trying to benefit from all legitimate means to reach a regional agreement as part of the war against the American invasion; therefore, the Imara holds ongoing networks with a large number of regional and neighboring states." He said to the London based Asharq Al-Awsat in an email 18 months ago, that the movement had received drone planes, which help film suicidal operations.


State-sanctioned Shiite militias joined Iraq's Mosul offensive on Saturday with a pre-dawn assault to the west, where they hope to complete the encirclement of the Islamic State-held city and sever supply lines from neighboring Syria... The involvement of the Iranian-backed Shiite militias has raised concerns that the battle for Mosul, a Sunni-majority city, could aggravate sectarian tensions. Rights groups have accused the militias of abuses against civilians in other Sunni areas retaken from IS, accusations the militia leaders deny... Jaafar al-Husseini, a spokesman for the Hezbollah Brigades, said his group and the other militias had advanced 4 miles (7 kilometers) toward Tal Afar and used anti-tank missiles to destroy three suicide car bombs that were heading toward them. He said the U.S.-led coalition, which is providing airstrikes and ground support to the Iraqi military and Kurdish forces known as the peshmerga, is not playing any role in the Shiite militias' advance. He said Iranian advisers and Iraqi aircraft were helping them.


Iran's justice minister has said the country should execute fewer people and revise its death penalty laws, local media reported Sunday. "These last years, the quantity of executions has not been effective. As a result, there must be a revision of the death penalty law," said Mostafa Pourmohammadi, according to the Tasnim news agency. "The judiciary as a whole shares this opinion," he said. Pourmohammadi called for "alternative penalties", but said it was not possible to abolish capital punishment entirely because "there are corrupt people in the country for whom there is no alternative but execution." ... The head of the judiciary, Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, said last month that drug laws were not "written in stone", but denied that the death penalty was ineffective. Earlier this year, an award-winning activist, Narges Mohammadi, was imprisoned for 10 years for forming an "illegal group" that pressed for an end to the death penalty.

Iran's Islamic Republic has arrested the organizers of a march last week near the tomb of the ancient Persian king Cyrus the Great that attracted thousands of people celebrating the country's pre-Islamic glory. Crowds of mostly young Iranians attended the march near the ancient city of Pasargadae in central province of Fars on Friday to celebrate the day unofficially marked in the Iranian calendar as Cyrus Day. Videos released on social media show them chanting "Iran is our country, Cyrus is our father." Reuters could not independently verify the videos' authenticity. "The main leaders and organizers of this gathering who chanted unconventional slogans against the (Islamic Republic's) values have been arrested," said prosecutor Ali Salehi in the provincial capital Shiraz on Monday, according to Fars news agency.


Another Iranian bank has received sanctions relief earlier than anticipated under the nuclear deal with Iran.  The European Union's sanctions on state-owned Bank Saderat Iran and its London-based subsidiary, BankSaderat PLC, which were originally set to last until 2023, were quietly lifted this week.  The decision was made in April, in response to Bank Saderat's successful legal challenge of its 2010 designation.  However, instead of lifting the sanctions in April, the E.U. modified the reasons supporting the sanctions and extended them-but only for a period of six months, through October 22.  This is the latest in a series of concessions to Iran's financial sector, beyond what was agreed to in the nuclear deal. Bank Saderat was originally sanctioned by the E.U. in July 2010 for providing financial services to three entities linked to Iran's nuclear and missile programs: Defense Industries Organization (DIO), Iran Electronics Industries (IEI), and Mesbah Energy Company.

After two and half years since the post of president fell vacant, Lebanon's parliament is expected to meet next Monday to elect Michel Aoun to the post. Aoun had been one of the nominees of the so-called March 8 coalition that is dominated by Hezbollah and is aligned with Iran and Syria's Assad regime. His candidacy gained momentum when Saad Hariri, leader of the opposing March 14 coalition, nominated him after exhausting most other options. In return for his support, Hariri has been promised the position of prime minister. He needs this position to shore up both his political and financial fortunes which have been flagging. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has confirmed that his party will vote for Aoun and accept Hariri as prime minister, while other members of the March 8 coalition, parliament speaker Nabih Berri and former presidential rival Suleiman Franjiyeh, so far say they will not vote for Aoun, but will not block his election. Aoun's election is a clear victory for the pro-Iranian axis in the Levant and another climb down for Saudi Arabia.

At the conclusion of its regular plenary meeting in Paris last week, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) released its "public statement" on "high-risk and noncooperative jurisdictions" -- a category that continues to include Iran. It was the first meeting of the international standard-setter for anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CFT) since the group suspended so-called countermeasures against Iran for a year while Tehran works to implement an "action plan" to address AML/CFT deficiencies. In its October 21 statement, the FATF urged members to "continue to advise their financial institutions to apply enhanced due diligence to business relationships and transactions with natural and legal persons from Iran." The organization also reiterated that Iran would remain on the public statement until it completes the full action plan. The FATF statement did not mention any Iranian progress in implementing the plan, which has faced strong domestic political opposition. As of mid-October, a special working group of the Iranian Majlis set up to review the plan had yet to determine whether the required measures conflicted with national interests... Although Iran's FATF action plan has not been publicly released, hardliners in Tehran have focused their objections on three areas: (1) amending the legal definition of terrorist financing to bring it in line with international standards, (2) recognition and implementation of international sanctions, and (3) international cooperation and information sharing... Looking ahead, Iran will need to find a way to implement the action plan before June 2017, at which time the FATF has said it will reimpose countermeasures. Even if Tehran succeeds on that front, it would still need to address the many other concerns that wary banks have about doing business with the Islamic Republic; indeed, it would still be far from full compliance with FATF standards, much less with the many other international regulatory requirements adopted over the decade since the global financial crisis. Yet failure to take even this first small step would be a significant setback in Iran's efforts to court global banks.

UK-based telecom giant Vodafone announced on October 18 plans to enter Iran's telephone operating market. Vodafone says it will work with Iran's HiWEB, a small privately owned phone operator... While Vodafone will not be a direct partner (calling it a 'non-equity Partner Market agreement'), the potential for complicity between Vodafone and Iran's existing telecommunication surveillance infrastructure is hard to ignore. Most countries have a precedent of forcing foreign telcos to cooperate with governments in communications surveillance. Iran, of course, is no exception. In Iran, observers got a taste of this problem in 2010, when Nokia Siemens aided in the surveillance and arrest of Iranian journalist and political reformer Isa Saharkhiz in June 2010. He was arrested after Iran's intelligence tracked his mobile phone location through a Nokia Siemens surveillance tool sold to Iran's state-controlled telecommunication providers... Despite this welcome step towards diversifying Iran's telecommunications market, it will be necessary to keep steady pressure and watch over the operations of Vodafone with Iranian carriers, especially with the precedent Vodafone has set in the UK and Egypt in cooperating with government surveillance efforts.

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

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.