Thursday, November 17, 2016

Eye on Extremism November 17, 2016

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Eye on Extremism

November 17, 2016

Reuters: Islamic State killed 300 former policemen south of Mosul, HRW
“Islamic State militants probably killed more than 300 Iraqi former police three weeks ago and buried them in a mass grave near the town of Hammam al-Alil south of Mosul, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday. A Reuters reporter visited the site of the mass grave, where residents said the ultra-hardline militants buried victims who had been shot or beheaded. The residents said they believed up to 200 people were killed in the weeks before Islamic State withdrew from the town. Human Rights Watch said some of the former policemen were separated from a group of about 2,000 people from nearby villages and towns who were forced to march alongside the militants last month as they retreated north to Mosul and the town of Tal Afar.”
Rudaw: ISIS Reportedly Using Anti-Tank Missiles Against Iraqi Forces In Mosul
“ISIS is reportedly using advanced weaponry against advancing Iraqi forces in Mosul, including laser-fitted weapons and Russian-made Kornet anti-tank missiles.  “We cannot transport our soldiers in tanks and armored vehicles because of the smart- and high-precision weapons that ISIS is using on the battlefield,” an Iraqi military commander from the 9th Armored Division told Rudaw in Mosul. “We cannot move our tanks and armored vehicles into the districts until our forces take control of the alleys,” he said. Iraqi forces say they have taken control of a third of Mosul’s east bank, but are facing stiffer resistance from ISIS fighters as they push to penetrate deeper into the city.”
CNN: Syria War: Regime Blitz On Aleppo Kills 87, Including Children
“A boy sits on a sidewalk barefoot, his head wrapped in a bandage. For the past three weeks, he hasn't heard the pummeling of air raids in the city. Bombings had been temporarily stopped in Aleppo. A wounded boy in Aleppo in the aftermath of Syrian airstrikes. But Wednesday, his childhood of war resumed. His dad sits beside him holding one of his injured siblings. Behind him, his sister is covered in a red blanket. She's dead. And life goes on for the boy in Aleppo. The photo was shot after the Syrian government bombed rebel-held areas in the city.”
Department Of Defense: OIR Spokesman: Top ISIL Operative Killed In Coalition Airstrike In Syria
“A U.S.-led coalition airstrike in Raqqa, Syria, killed a senior leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Air Force Col. John Dorrian, the spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, told reporters today. Dorrian addressed Pentagon reporters from Baghdad via teleconference and said Iraqi national Abdul Basit al-Iraqi was in charge of ISIL's Middle East external networks that included American, Turkish and European targets. He was a key facilitator for ISIL's external operations routes through Turkey and was responsible for attacks within the Middle East, the spokesman added.”
New York Times: U.S. Investigates Deaths Of 3 Soldiers In Jordan As Possible Terrorism
“American officials said Wednesday that they were investigating the killing of three United States soldiers at a Jordanian air base this month as a possible terrorist attack and dismissed suggestions that the three had done anything to provoke the shooting. The Nov. 4 shooting has been shrouded in secrecy as American and Jordanian officials investigate it, a sign of the sensitivity surrounding the episode. But the Americans evidently became irritated at reports that seemed to place at least some blame on the soldiers.”
Reuters: Iraqi Militia Threatens Islamic State's Supply Route To Syria
“Iraqi Shi'ite militias said on Wednesday they had driven Islamic State fighters from an air base west of Mosul, a victory which would threaten the Sunni group's supply route from Syria to its last major stronghold in Iraq. "The airport of Tal Afar has been liberated," Yusif al-Kallabi, a spokesman for Popular Mobilisation, a coalition of mainly Iranian-backed militias, told Iraqi state TV. The capture of the base, if confirmed, could be a significant development in the campaign to recapture Mosul, Islamic State's de facto capital since its forces swept through Iraq in 2014 and set up a self-declared caliphate in a swathe of Syria and northern Iraq.”
Wall Street Journal: Islamic State Affiliate In Afghanistan Claims Suicide Bombing
“Islamic State’s Afghan affiliate claimed responsibility for a Wednesday suicide attack that killed six people, including members of the country’s secret service, in Kabul, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks global jihadist activity. The division known as Islamic State Khorasan has claimed three other major bombings in the Afghan capital, including a suicide attack that killed more than 80 people at a July protest led by the country’s Shiite Muslim minority.”
Wall Street Journal: Federal Judge Grants Array of Sentences to Men Convicted of Supporting Islamic State
“After three days of back-to-back hearings, a federal judge in Minneapolis gave a wide range of sentences to nine men convicted of supporting Islamic State, reflecting the tough balance for judges between punishment and rehabilitation when sentencing young terrorist sympathizers. The sentences ranged from immediate release into a halfway house for 20-year-old Abdullahi Yusuf to 35 years in prison for 22-year-old Guled Omar. The nine men were all Somali-Americans in their 20s who were convicted, either by guilty plea or at trial, of conspiring to join Islamic State overseas.”
Washington Post: Fairfax Man Pleads Guilty To Gun Charge In ISIS-Related Case
“A Fairfax County man who authorities said had celebrated attacks by the Islamic State extremist group pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal crime that could send him to prison for 10 years. But 25-year-old Yusuf Wehelie admitted only to illegal gun possession and was never charged with any crimes related to terrorism. An undercover FBI agent paid Wehelie to transport four machine guns from Maryland to Virginia, according to court documents and testimony. Wehelie could not legally possess a gun because of a 2011 burglary conviction.”
Premium Times: Boko Haram Attacks Borno Communities, Kills 22 Villagers
“At least 22 persons were killed in separate attacks this week by suspected Boko Haram gunmen in Monguno Local Government Area of Borno State, security sources said. The attacks were carried out between Monday and Tuesday, according to a top official of the Vigilante Group of Nigeria in Borno State, Abbas Gava. The vigilante usually work with soldiers to secure Borno, and the government has said many of them will be recruited into the army after the Boko Haram is defeated. The source informed PREMIUM TIMES that the villages of Dasa and Duwabayi, both in Monguno Local Government Area, were attacked by the Boko Haram insurgents.”

United States

Military Times: U.S. Halts Military Support For Turkey’s Fight In Key Islamic State Town
“The U.S. military has halted support for Turkish ground troops pushing deeper into Islamic State-held territory in Syria, highlighting the mounting tension between NATO allies over how to defeat the extremist group. A spokesman for U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria said on Wednesday that no airstrikes or American special operations advisers are assisting the Turkish military’s operation targeting ISIS fighters in al Bab. Located 20 miles south of the Turkey-Syria border, the town serves as an important transfer point for fighters and supplies bound for Raqqa, the Islamic State's self-proclaimed capital some 125 miles to the east.”


Associated Press: Russia Says Its Strike In Syria Killed 30 Al-Qaida Fighters
“A Russian airstrike in northern Syria this week killed at least 30 members of an al-Qaida-linked group, including some of its leaders, the Russian military said Thursday. The statement comes amid a new wave of airstrikes in the war-torn country, with the besieged rebel-held part of the city of Aleppo facing its third consecutive day of heavy bombardment by Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces. The Russians, who announced the new offensive in Syria this week, have denied bombing the rebel enclave. At least 59 people were killed across northern Syria in the first two days of the offensive, including besieged neighborhoods of Aleppo, as well as the surrounding countryside and the nearby rebel-held province of Idlib.”
BBC: Syria Conflict: Children's Hospital Hit In Deadly Aleppo Strikes
“The director of the Bayan Children's Hospital was forced to take shelter in the facility's basement. Activists say at least 32 people, including children, have been killed in Aleppo over the past two days. The air strikes resumed on Tuesday after a three-week moratorium declared by the government's ally Russia ended. Activists confirmed the resumption of government air strikes, amid reports by state media of large troop deployments on several fronts ahead of a major ground assault.”
BBC: Syria Conflict: Kurdish YPG Militia To Leave Manbij
“The Popular Protection Units (YPG) said it had finished training local security units in Manbij, which it captured from Islamic State militants in August. YPG fighters based there will join the US-backed offensive on IS-held Raqqa. Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist organisation and an extension of the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). It has repeatedly called for YPG fighters to be moved east of the Euphrates.”


Reuters: In Battered Town Seized From IS, Iraq's Yazidis Dream Of Return
“For the first time since Islamic State militants swept into Bashiqa two years ago forcing him to flee, 61-year-old Barakat has finally found work - on Sunday he will be coming back to help clear debris from the destruction wrought upon his home town. He and others who have been living in exile gathered in the town on Wednesday, just over a week after Kurdish peshmerga forces drove the jihadists out. Yazidi, Christian and Muslim former neighbors and old friends kissed and greeted each other. But it will be a long time before they can move back for good.”


Reuters: Turkey Detains Mayor, Appoints Administrators In Southeast – Sources
“Turkey detained the mayor of the southeastern city of Van on Thursday, replacing him and two other mayors in the region, security sources said, pressing on with a crackdown on pro-Kurdish politicians. The government appointed administrators to run the municipalities in Van and the provinces of Siirt and Mardin in the mainly Kurdish southeast, said the sources, who declined to be identified as they are not authorized to speak to media. Turkey is fighting an insurgency by Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants, but its arrest of many pro-Kurdish politicians and journalists in the crackdown has triggered concern among its Western allies about the human rights situation in the region.”


Al Jazeera: Scores Reported Dead In Heavy Fighting In Yemen
“Heavy fighting between government troops and opposition forces in various parts of Yemen has left 51 dead, according to military officials. They said on Wednesday that forces loyal to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi been engaged in combat with the Iran-allied Houthis and their allies in the Arabian Peninsula nation's northwest, near the border with Saudi Arabia, since Tuesday. The fighting came as loyalists launched an attack on three fronts to recapture the coastal town of Midi and nearby Haradh, the officials quoted by the AFP news agency said.”
Daily Progress: Yemen's Shiite Rebels Say They Back US-Brokered Cease-Fire
“Yemen's Shiite rebels say they have endorsed a U.S.-brokered cease-fire deal, confirming an earlier announcement by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on their conditional acceptance of the proposal. A spokesman for the rebels known as Houthis told the rebel-run Al-Masirah TV late on Wednesday that they agree to a cease-fire, the forming of a national unity government and discussing ways to end the conflict. However, Yemen's internationally-recognized government has dismissed the deal as "unilateral." Kerry had said the cease-fire was to start on Thursday.”

Saudi Arabia

Al Arabiya: Saudi Man, Wife Killed By Projectile From Yemen
“A Saudi man and his wife were killed on Wednesday after a projectile launched from Yemen landed in Jazan, southwest of Saudi Arabia. The attack also left other family members injured, according to a report from Al Arabiya's correspondent.”


Reuters: Egypt Clears Way For Former Presidential Candidate To Return Home
“Egyptian authorities have taken the name of former presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq, who fled the country after his 2012 defeat, off airport watch lists, his lawyer said, clearing the way for him to return home. Shafiq had faced various corruption charges but was either acquitted or had cases against him dropped in most instances. He filed a motion to be removed from the watch lists and a Cairo criminal court accepted it on Wednesday. "There is nothing stopping him from returning," said his lawyer Yehia Kadri. Shafiq, 70, is a former air force chief who served as the last prime minister of Hosni Mubarak, the veteran president who was ousted in a popular uprising in 2011.”

Middle East

Associated Press: Azerbaijan Jails 7 Who Joined Militants In Syria, Iraq
“A court in Azerbaijan's capital has convicted seven Azerbaijani citizens accused of joining the Islamic State group and other alleged extremists in Syria and Iraq. The court in Baku on Wednesday sentenced the men to prison terms that ranged from 2 ½ to 14 years after they were found guilty of terrorism and involvement in illegal armed groups. Investigators say the seven fought alongside IS and other radical Islamic groups during 2013-2015. They were arrested by Azerbaijani security agencies after returning home.”


Reuters: At Least 20 Troops Dead In Fighting In Libya's Benghazi, Hospital Says
“At least 20 members of the Libyan National Army (LNA) have been killed and 40 injured in two days of fighting in the eastern city of Benghazi, a hospital official said on Wednesday. The clashes come as the LNA, a force loyal to the country's eastern government, tries to extend its grip on the port city and dislodge the Islamist-dominated forces it has been battling for more than two years. Led by Khalifa Haftar, the LNA has made major gains in Benghazi this year but still faces pockets of resistance. On Monday, it launched a fresh offensive in the Guwarsha and Ganfouda districts, carrying out air strikes and saying it had made some progress in ground fighting.”


Premium Times: 60 Per Cent Of Boko Haram Not Nigerians – Army Chief
“The Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, on Wednesday said that judging by the current activities of the Boko Haram terrorists, 60 per cent of them are not Nigerians. Mr. Buratai, a lieutenant general, said this in Maiduguri when he received the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, Mohammed Ibn Chambas, at the headquarters of the Theatre Command of Operation Lafiya Dole at the Maimalari Cantonment. “Your Excellency, I want to bring to your attention that while the Boko Haram (insurgency) can be said to have started in Nigeria, by and large as at today, I can say that almost 60 per cent of the insurgents are from our neighbouring countries.”


Reuters: German Cabinet Backs Continued Military Mission In Afghanistan
“Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet on Wednesday approved the continuation of Germany's deployment of up to 980 soldiers to Afghanistan through the end of 2017, a government spokesman said. The decision, which must still be approved by parliament, came less than a week after armed Taliban militants stormed the German consulate in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif and killed at least four Afghans and wounded more than 100 people. "With up to 980 soldiers, the German army will in future advise, support and train Afghan security services," said the government in a statement.”

Terrorist Financing

Enab Baladi: Lafarge Company Accused Of Terror Funding
“The French non-governmental "SHERPA" Association filed a complaint in Paris, on Tuesday November 15th, against Lafarge Holcim Company, a manufacturer of cement and building materials, due to the role it has played in "terrorist financing." The complaint was filed in conjunction with the European Center for Constitutional & Human Rights (ECCHR)." Miriam Saage-Maab, the Legal Director at ECCHR, explained that the case of Lafarge in Syria "indicates how multinational companies operating in areas of unrest can feed into armed conflicts and contribute to serious violations of human rights.”


Noon Presse: Morocco: Fears Of Infiltration By "ISIS Merchants" From Across The Border With Mauritania
“Informed sources revealed that Moroccan Intelligence has taken action based on a {recent} report attributed to US Intelligence. In the report, the US Intelligence warned that ISIS operatives may be impersonating merchants and businessmen in an attempt to infiltrate into Morocco. This comes amid a wave of mass fleeing {by ISIS militants} from Libya who are liable to penetrate, especially from areas close to the border with Mauritania, which is a very active arena for smuggling activities. The report revealed that members of the {jihadist} organization are now moving more freely across the long and porous Libyan border with Tunisia. They pose as merchants of commodities or fuel. These militants have the means to bribe smugglers to help them cross the border.”

Muslim Brotherhood

Elwatan News: Ex-Qatari Minister: Muslim Brotherhood Dominates Media In Qatar
“Despite all the changes occurring in the region and the fact that Qatar has become entangled in crises with several major Arab countries, Doha is still clinging to its relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood. This {alliance} allows the group access to major media and financial platforms in Qatar, according to Qatar's former Justice Minister Dr. Najib Mohammed Al-Naimi. He claimed that the group is in complete control of Qatar's media including the Aljazeera Channel. He added that his country's bet is on the Brotherhood's resuming its reign {of Egypt} to fulfill Qatar's interests and major political gains. He admitted, however, that this policy was {probably} a mistake. Al-Naimi noted that those backing the Brotherhood in Qatar are Da'wah (preaching) centers and charities which "are stealing {the minds of} the Qatari People." He was quoted as saying: "Everywhere you look you can find people who fled to Qatar; they {subsequently} enter the media, particularly the "Aljazeera" channel, which is completely dominated by them.”
Sada El-Balad: Expert: Muslim Brotherhood Instigates Rallies To Intimidate Investors
“In an open meeting with Cairo University students, under the title "My journey from the depths of the Brotherhood to the bosom of the homeland," Tharwat el-Kherbawy, former Muslim Brotherhood member and Islamic-groups researcher, said that the group had instigated the November 11th demonstrations. He claimed the assemblies were intended to intimidate investors and to tighten the economic siege on Egypt. He stressed that Egypt faces the "dirtiest" of economic wars. El-Kherbawy explained that the Brotherhood has set up a committee which aims to create {a climate} of crisis nationwide. Its goal is to undermine the country's economy and sabotage what is left of the tourism {sector}. He asserted that the banned group aspires to keep Egyptian society in a state of distress, without jobs and with a constant feeling of instability.”


Nass Times: Expert: Houthis Stole 16 Trillion Yemeni Riyals To Build Their Own Parallel Economy
“Economic sources revealed that Houthi militias looted 16 trillion riyals ($74 million) over the past two years from proceeds gained by the formal economy and the currency exchange market. They channeled these funds towards building their own parallel economy. The Houthi group seeks to use employee salaries, as well as revenues from the provinces under its control, to build its own economic enterprises. Chairman of the Yemeni Studies and Economic Media Center, Mustafa Nasr, asserted in a press statement that Houthi militias have striven, ever since taking over Sana'a and other Yemeni cities in 2014, to embezzle public funds in an orderly and meticulous manner. They have directed the proceeds to create a parallel economy to that of the State, by supporting and encouraging black markets for the sale of goods and commodities ranging from oil derivatives to food products and clothing.”


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