Monday, November 14, 2016

Eye on Extremism November 14, 2016

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Eye on Extremism

November 14, 2016

Wall Street Journal: Iraqis Push Deeper Into Islamic State's Mosul Stronghold
“Iraqi troops pushed deeper into the country’s second largest city on Sunday, securing densely populated areas as commanders said Islamic State resistance began to buckle. “The first neighborhoods were the hardest because Daesh desperately fought to retain them. Now, as we go forward, I expect the battle to get easier,” said Brig. Gen. Maan al Saadi, the commander of the 2nd Group of Iraqi Special Operations Forces, which are spearheading the Mosul offensive. Daesh is the Arabic acronym for the terrorist group.”
CNN: Afghanistan: 4 Americans Dead In Blast At Bagram Airfield
“Four Americans were killed in an apparent suicide bomb attack early Saturday at Bagram Airfield, the largest US base in Afghanistan, US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said. Two of those killed were service members, and two were contractors, he said, adding he was "deeply saddened" by the news. The explosion also wounded 16 other US service members and one Polish soldier participating in the NATO mission, Carter said in a statement. The Taliban claimed responsibility in a tweet praising the "strong attack" on Bagram Airfield.”
CNN: Aleppo Residents Get Warning By Text Message: You Have 24 Hours To Leave
“Residents in war-ravaged eastern Aleppo received a dire warning early Sunday: Prepare for your city to be bombed and evacuate in the next 24 hours. The warning came via text message, urging the sick and wounded to flee before a "strategically planned assault using high precision weapons occurs within 24 hours." Rebels were also given an ultimatum to lay down their arms and renounce their leadership, or be killed.”
Associated Press: Minnesota Men To Be Sentenced In Plot To Join Islamic State
“Nine Minnesota men who have been convicted of plotting to join the Islamic State group in Syria are scheduled to be sentenced this week, capping a long court case that shined a light on terrorism recruitment. The men are expected to receive various sentences during separate hearings on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Prosecutors say that starting in the spring of 2014, a group of friends in Minnesota’s large Somali community began inspiring and recruiting each other to travel to Syria to join IS. Some succeeded in making the trip, but others didn’t. Nine men were prosecuted. Six of them pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, which has a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. The other three went to trial, where they were also convicted of conspiracy to commit murder outside the U.S., which carries a possible life sentence.”
Daily Beast: U.S. Can't Find ISIS Prisoners
“It’s the most important battle in the war against the self-proclaimed Islamic State to date: the fight to retake Mosul, the terror group’s Iraqi capital. But so far, the U.S. military does not know how many ISIS fighters have been taken prisoner, a senior defense official explained to The Daily Beast. Iraq’s security forces have allowed the U.S. military to interview fewer than “a handful” of detained fighters under Iraqi control since the Mosul offensive began in mid-October, a U.S. defense official told The Daily Beast. The official could not say if any of those detainees were captured before the Mosul offensive, or after it began. “We do occasionally get access to detainees that the Iraqis capture,” a second defense official said. “But it’s rare.”
CNN: Iraqi Forces Retake Ancient Assyrian Village Of Nimrud, Iraqi Military Says
“For centuries, the massive Assyrian city in Northern Iraq lay buried beneath the sands of time, forgotten by history. Archeologists first began excavating Nimrud -- built nearly 3,000 years ago -- in the 1840s. In the decades that followed, they unearthed priceless treasures from the city, including palaces adorned with unique frescoes and giant sculptures, that offered a window into Iraq's glorious past. Last year, ISIS blew up the ancient walled city. The terror group released disturbing footage of the destruction. Militants with electric drills and sledgehammers smashed statues and tore holes in the walls. Bulldozers razed structures to the ground. The last frame of the video captures a massive explosion and a cloud of smoke and dust.”
International Business Times: ISIS Targeting Macy's Thanksgiving Parade? Islamic Groups Asks Lone-Wolf Attackers To Use Vehicles To Inflict Damage
“The Islamic State group (also called ISIS) said Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade would be an “excellent target” for lone-wolf attackers and called on them to use vehicles to inflict maximum damage during the yearly parade that attracts huge crowds. In the latest edition of its new English-language magazine Rumiyah, the terror group that has wreaked havoc across the globe attempted to incite those who share its views into committing acts of violence in the organization’s name.”
New York Times: Islamic State Group Flourishes And Recruits In Pakistan
“The Islamic State group is increasing its presence in Pakistan, recruiting Uzbek militants, attracting disgruntled Taliban fighters and partnering with one of Pakistan's most violent sectarian groups, according to police officers, Taliban officials and analysts. Its latest atrocity was an attack Saturday on a Sufi shrine in southwestern Pakistan that killed at least 50 people and wounded 100 others. The group said in a statement that a suicide bomber attacked the shrine with the intent of killing Shiite Muslims and issued a picture of the attacker.”
Washington Post: In Libya, United States Lays Plans To Hunt Down Escaped Islamic State Fighters
“The Pentagon has tracked scores of Islamic State militants escaping fierce fighting in Libya’s coastal city of Sirte and has begun laying the groundwork for expanded air attacks to follow and kill them, part of a final push by the Obama administration to blunt multiplying militant threats across the broader Middle East. Intelligence from surveillance aircraft flying over Sirte and areas south of the city allowed the U.S. military’s Africa Command to track up to several hundred militants who U.S. officials now fear could be preparing to mount a counter­attack on allied Libyan forces.”
Washington Post: France marks 1 year after Paris attacks, wary and watched
“Less insouciant, more policed — France is a changed place since Islamic State extremists killed 130 people in the country’s deadliest attacks a year ago. Fearing it’s becoming more divided, too, survivors and victims’ families marked Sunday’s anniversary of the violence by pleading for national unity instead. Tourism is hurting, armed forces roam streets and France is still under a state of emergency that rights groups call abusive and ineffective — and that the prime minister now says may be extended yet again. “We always have this fear that weighs heavily in our hearts. We always try to be careful. And every time we pass by here, we think of them,” said Sabrina Nedjadi, paying respects Sunday at two cafes in her diverse eastern Paris neighborhood targeted in the attacks.”
Daily Caller: Isis Terrorists Trained To Beat Refugee Vetting Process, Report Warns
“The Islamic State trains its fighters to pass refugee vetting procedures and come across as ordinary asylum seekers, according to a new report from German’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND). ISIS has a handbook on how a person can infiltrate among regular refugees and not attract attention from law enforcement agencies. Militants know what answers to give in interviews with police and in conversations with ordinary refugees, intelligence sources told German Newspaper Die Welt.”
Daily Trust: 200 Islamic Clerics Receive Trainings On De-Radicalization Counter-Terrorism And Migration
“In view of the present insurgency by extremist Boko-Haram, the Japanese governments, through the United Nation Development Program (UNDP) has trained two hundred clerics on how to change people’s perceptions on what Islam really is.  The clerics pointed out reasons why some Muslims support violent extremism, their lack of vast knowledge on the religion and the ordinary Muslims without sufficient grounding in Islamic learning left confused as major causes of the extremist groups. The Program Officer, Mr. David Omogede, said in other to ward-off the ideology the Boko-Haram sect have engraved on people, they have trained 80 Clerics in Maiduguri, 60 in Yobe and another 60 in Adamawa state.”

United States

New York Times: Donald Trump Likely To End Aid For Rebels Fighting Syrian Government
“President-elect Donald J. Trump said Friday that he was likely to abandon the American effort to support “moderate” opposition groups in Syria who are battling the government of President Bashar al-Assad, saying “we have no idea who these people are.” In an interview with The Wall Street Journal that dealt largely with economic issues, including his willingness to retain parts of the Affordable Care Act, he repeated a position he took often during his campaign: that the United States should focus on defeating the Islamic State, and find common ground with the Syrians and their Russian backers.”


BBC: Syria Conflict: Aleppo Rebels Pushed Back By Assad's Forces
“The loss of the territory on the city's western edges was confirmed by the rebels themselves, as well as state media and UK-based monitors. An estimated 275,000 people live under siege in the rebel-held east, where the UN says food rations are running out. Meanwhile a Russian naval force led by an aircraft carrier is said to have moved into position off Syria. Capt Sergei Artamonov, commander of the Admiral Kuznetsov, told Russian state media the battle group had arrived at its designated point in the eastern Mediterranean and was carrying out "joint tasks.”


Associated Press: Bahraini Politician Faces Charges After AP Interview
“A secular political leader in Bahrain was charged Sunday with "inciting hatred" against the island's rulers after giving an interview to The Associated Press during a recent visit by Britain's Prince Charles, an activist and his party said. Ebrahim Sharif of the Waad party had told the AP on Friday he feared the Prince of Wales' visit to the tiny kingdom could "whitewash" an ongoing crackdown on dissent there. He also suggested the island's ruling family should enter into a power-sharing agreement with political parties as the kingdom faces growing financial pressure from low oil prices. On Sunday, Bahrain's public prosecution said it questioned an unnamed man over comments made to the foreign press.”


Associated Press: U.N. Reveals Fresh Evidence Of ISIS Using Chemical Weapons In Iraq
“Iraqi troops inched ahead in their battle to retake the northern city of Mosul from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, on Friday, as the U.N. revealed fresh evidence that the extremists have used chemical weapons. Exchanging small arms and mortar fire with ISIS positons, the special forces have entered the Qadisiya neighborhood, advancing slowly to avoid killing civilians and trying to avoid being surprised by suicide car bombers, said Brig. Gen. Haider Fadhil.”
Reuters: Iraq Troops Aim To Tighten Noose On Islamic State In Mosul
“Iraqi soldiers fighting just north of Mosul, within sight of city neighborhoods, said on Sunday they were ready to tighten the noose around Islamic State militants waging a brutal defense of their Iraqi stronghold. Four weeks into the campaign to crush Islamic State in Mosul, the city is almost surrounded but the jihadists' defenses have so far been breached only to the east, where they have battled elite troops for control of around a dozen districts.”


Reuters: Turkish Warplanes Strike 15 Targets In Syria's Al Bab Area: Military
“Turkish warplanes struck 15 targets in the al Bab area of northern Syria on Sunday in an operation with Syrian rebels to drive Islamic State (IS) militants out of the border region, the Turkish military said on Monday. President Tayyip Erdogan has said seizing control of al Bab, around 30 km (19 miles) south of the border, is a goal of the operation before targeting Manbij, from which Kurdish-led forces recently drove IS, and the IS stronghold of Raqqa. Ten Islamic State defensive positions, command centers and an ammunition store were destroyed in the strikes, the army said in a statement. Nine Syrian rebels were killed and 52 wounded during clashes in the region, it added.”


Yemen Online: Yemeni Troops Kill 30 Al Qaeda Suspects In South Yemen
“Yemeni troops in cooperation with UAE military support  killed at least 30 suspected al Qaeda militants in a raid backed by a Saudi-led military coalition, the Yemeni military said on Wednesday. Four soldiers were also killed in the operation on Tuesday at a farm west of Mukalla, the port city and capital of the province of Hadramout, the military said on its Facebook page. The raid was supported by the Saudi-led Arab coalition that has been fighting on the side of Hadi in a war against Houthi rebels and forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.”

Saudi Arabia

Middle East Monitor: Senior Saudi Prince Says Trump Shouldn’t Scrap Iran Deal
“US President-elect Donald Trump should not scrap a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers but should take the nation to task for its “destabilising activities” in the Middle East, said a former senior Saudi official. Gulf powers watched with alarm as US President Barack Obama forged a deal with its top regional foe over Iran’s nuclear programme last year and warned it would embolden Tehran’s pursuit of regional hegemony in part through support for proxy groups fuelling regional conflicts.”


Associated Press: Egypt Detains 200 Alleged Islamists Over Protest Calls
“Egyptian officials say some 200 supporters of the banned Muslim Brotherhood have been detained in connection with calls by the Islamist group for street protests against price rises. The officials say 229 people were detained Friday, but an unspecified number of minors and bystanders were later released. Those arrested came from seven provinces, with 78 from the capital, Cairo, 104 from the northern Beheira province and 21 from Minya, south of Cairo.”


Washington Times: Anniversary Of Paris Terrorist Attacks Remembered In France
“France paused in silence on Sunday to observe the one-year anniversary of coordinated Islamic terrorist attacks throughout Paris that left 130 dead and scores more injured. President Francois Hollande and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo unveiled plaques and left flowers at several sites where the massacres were carried out, including the Bataclan concert hall and the Stade de France. The commemoration at the latter read, “in memory of Manuel Dias,” the first victim in the hours-long onslaught carried out by the Islamic State. Dias, 63, was killed by a suicide bomber in one of three blasts that shook the foundations of France’s national stadium during a soccer match against Germany.”
Times Of Israel: Paris Attacks Suspect More ‘Radicalized’ Since Arrest
“The main Paris attacks suspect, Salah Abdeslam, has become even more radicalized since being imprisoned for his presumed role in the slaughter of 130 people a year ago, his former lawyer has said. “He’s got a beard, he’s become a true fundamentalist whereas before he was a kid wearing Nike trainers,” Belgian lawyer Sven Mary told Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant’s Saturday edition.”


RT: As Many As 5,000 ISIS Recruits To Return To Europe – Belgian Minister
“Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon estimates between 3,000 and 5,000 surviving Europeans among Islamic State’s dwindling ranks, but admits that the continent's intelligence agencies can only watch and wait to see how many of them return. “Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL] is under pressure in Mosul and Raqqa. Belgian fighters are helping defend the strongholds, but we must be aware that there are not only 200 of our countrymen there, but between 3,000 and 5,000 Europeans,” Jambon told state broadcaster RTBF on Sunday. “All the intelligence agencies are trying to monitor the situation and exchange information. If the wave comes, we must be ready."


Infirad: Wages Of ISIS Journalists Lowered Due To Financial Crunch
“An ISIS journalist, who is under investigation by the Iraqi Judiciary, divulged details of the terrorist group's diminishing financial resources and the work mechanism within the Aamaq News Agency, the mouthpiece of ISIS. The journalist, nicknamed "Abu Saleh", said in a statement to the Media Center of the {Iraqi} Judiciary on Sunday: "The sources of our information are military officials inside the ISIS organization." He added that ISIS had previously paid a monthly salary of up to $400, but this was subsequently reduced to 220,000 thousand Iraqi dinars (one US dollar equals approximately 1200 Iraqi dinars), due to the effects of the group's financial crisis and its austerity measures.”

Combating the Financing of Terrorism

Alhayat: Saudi Arabia: Campaign To Combat Terror Financing To Include Inspection Tours Of Real Estate Offices
“The {Saudi} Ministry of Trade and Investment is to launch, at the start of the next calendar year, inspection tours at offices of real estate brokers. The aim of this move is to ensure there are no devious operations of money laundering or terrorist financing. Alhayat learned that the Ministry of Trade addressed the Saudi Chambers and real estate committees in the Chambers of Commerce across the Kingdom's regions regarding these inspections of real estate offices. The tours are part of the implementation of seven procedures set by the {Saudi} anti-money laundering authorities. These measures are designed to ensure the safeness of real estate transactions.”
Alarab: Morocco Demonstrates Close Link Between Terrorists And Crime Organizations
“With the growing threat of terrorism and the improved work methods used by extremist organizations, Moroccan security forces have been devoting great efforts to establishing a databank that deals with these variables. The developing practices being used by terror groups include tactics of carrying out attacks, either by 'lone wolves' or latent 'microscopic' cells, depending on their targets, as well as funding and modes of communication. Mounting pressure is being exerted on these organizations, whether al-Qaeda or ISIS. This pressure is military, by waging war on their strongholds in Iraq, Syria, Libya and other places where have a presence. But this pressure is also logistical, intended to dry up financial resources and monitor their network of contacts around the clock. Thus, the leaders of those organizations have been trying to deal pragmatically with this reality. This is reflected in their building a network with international mafia organizations surrounding their common interests. Given the seriousness of the alliance between the two kinds of organizations, the competent authorities in Morocco are making every effort to obtain information showing the close ties between extremist groups and organized crime groups, ties which are considered to represent one of the main sources of terror financing.”

Muslim Brotherhood

Masralarabia: Expert: Muslim Brotherhood Benefits From Its Failed Campaigns
“Maher Farghaly, an Egyptian writer and researcher specializing in Islamist movements, claimed that the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood abroad benefit financially from their failed rumors and propaganda {campaigns}. Farghaly said on Saturday that {the November 11th} protests that were promoted by the Brotherhood media outlets were a form of "deception and lies." The researcher emphasized that the Brotherhood has made huge mistakes over the last two years, noting that the group's failure to admit its errors and conduct true appraisals {of its activities) is leading to more failures.”
Alkhaleej: Jordan: Muslim Brotherhood Joins Demonstrations Rejecting Agreement To Import Gas From Israel
“Jordan witnessed demonstrations on Friday, for the 7th straight week, denouncing the agreement to import gas from Israel. Protestors demanded that Parliament halt the implementation {of the deal}. Demonstrators also called for a vote of no-confidence in the government. Trade unions, however, voiced dissatisfaction upon discovery of the intervention in their work by the unauthorized Muslim Brotherhood. Members of the Jordan Bar Association and Jordan's Engineers' Association complained to their Boards of Directors about "blatant interventions" by the Brotherhood without any legal or legislative backing. Meanwhile, the Permanent Office of the Jordanian Parliament inflicted yet another blow to the "Al Islah" Parliamentary Bloc, which is affiliated with the Islamic Action Front (IAF), the Muslim Brotherhood's political wing in Jordan. The Office rejected Al Islah's candidates for the posts of first and second deputies to the Speaker of Parliament. It nominated only one candidate belonging to Al Islah {and only} for the post of second assistant.”
Al-Manar: Sources: Brotherhood Plot To Hit Tourism In Egypt
“Sources, citing intelligence reports, alleged that Qatari and Turkish Intelligence officials, joined by leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood's Egyptian Branch, recently met in Doha to discuss the final touches on a subversive plot against the Egypt. The plot includes bombings and assassinations inside Egyptian cities, particularly in the capital Cairo, to be committed by terrorists recruited by the Brotherhood in coordination with subversive groups in Sinai. The sources claimed that the Brotherhood has received money from Qatar to finance the scheme to destabilize Egypt by paralyzing its tourism sector. This comes when Egypt is already experiencing a grim economic situation and pressure by the Gulf states to curtail Egypt's {regional} role.”
Albawabh News: Expert: Muslim Brotherhood Leaders Stole Millions From Qatar
“Former Muslim Brotherhood member, Tharwat el-Kherbawy, claimed that, while the leaders of the group received millions of dollars from Qatar to support the armed revolt in Egypt, they took the money for themselves. El-Kherbawy, in an interview to Nogoum FM radio on Sunday, claimed that on November 11th, Brotherhood TV channels aired images of past demonstrations, adding: "Unfortunately, some Egyptians abroad believe that {ruse}." He stressed that "Egypt is in a real war, called 'the Fourth Generation'. It is different from any war before. The fighting is not done with tanks and guns, but with money. The enemy lives among us and has always claimed he stood beside the "Ghalaba" Movement (movement of the marginalized) and the poor.”


Barakish Net: Proceeds from oil derivatives go into the Houthis' pockets
“The oil company under the control of the Houthi militia in Sanaa stopped pumping fuel for filling stations, leaving this sector in the hands of black market merchants loyal to Houthis. These merchants raise the prices of oil derivatives {as they wish}, and the revenues go into the pockets of influential figures in the Houthi group. Industry sources estimate that the Houthis obtain nearly one billion riyals (about $4 million) daily from the oil-derivatives trade in the capital Sanaa, which alone consumes over 10 million liters of gasoline per day. Profits are exceeding 300%, amid the global decline in oil prices.”
Elghad: Houthis Want To Confiscate Funds Owned By Merchants
“Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, President of the so-called Revolutionary Committee, blamed the Attorney General for the non-payment of employees' salaries. Al-Houthi had asked him to enforce a law to confiscate funds owned by merchants who double as state officials and members of certain political parties. Al-Houthi said, in a series of tweets on his Twitter account, that commercial agencies and businesses owned by members of the Parliament, military commanders and government ministers can be considered illegal gains. Therefore, the Attorney General must impose a confiscation law on them. He added in another tweet: "We have documents, and we know the locations of their villas, agencies and commercial business." Al-Houthi emphasized that the Attorney General must enforce the law so that the Central Bank can pay the salaries easily. He stressed that this is needed {especially} for marginalized employees.”


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