Friday, November 4, 2016

Eye on Extremism November 4, 2016

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Eye on Extremism

November 4, 2016

Counter Extremism Project

WTOP: The Rise Of Female Terrorists
“Female terrorists are not new, but ISIS has initiated a dramatic increase in their numbers. CEP Spokesperson Tara Maller joins host J.J. Green to discuss what is driving recruitment and what is being done to counter it.”
Vice News: Propaganda Fail
“Military-oriented videos have been the bedrock of IS propaganda, but the group's ability to gtovern once featured heavily as well -- on average accounting for one-fifth of hte media analyzed by Milton and a quarter of IS videos reviewed in separate research by Javier Lesaca, an analyst at the Counter Extremism Project”
CNN: Iraqi Troops Begin To Liberate Eastern Mosul Neighborhoods
“Buoyed after breaching the city limits of Mosul for the first time two years, Iraqi troops are engaged in hard-fought battles with militants to liberate the easternmost neighborhoods of the ISIS stronghold. Iraqi forces have started storming the neighborhoods of al-Karama, al-Zahra, al-Qudes, and al-Tahrir, Maj. Gen. Maan al-Saadi, commander of Iraqi counter-terrorism special forces tells CNN. Government troops struck ISIS positions early Friday morning, sending the militant group's ambulances rushing to the scene to extricate their wounded and dead.”
Fox News: River Of Tears In Northern Iraq As Refugees Escape The Grip Of ISIS
“It is the human toll of the war against ISIS in Mosul‎. Wave upon wave of refugees from towns where the fighting has been intense arriving at a new refugee camp outside Irbil in northern Iraq. They came in broken down cars, trucks buses. Men, women and children piling out, picking up blankets and other essentials, and heading to new shelters. Locals told us it was the biggest influx of displaced people since the fighting started nearly three weeks ago. As the camps filled up, the tales of terror mounted as well. ‎We spoke to one man sporting a bald head. He said he was captured by ISIS, the militants shaved his hair off, and then beat him... 95 times. He counted.”
Reuters: Kurdish Women Fighters Battle Islamic State With Machineguns And Songs
“When Islamic State insurgents fired mortar bombs at Iranian Kurdish women fighters holding a desert position in northern Iraq, the women first hit back by singing through loudspeakers. Then the women opened fire with machineguns. ‘We wanted to make them angry. To tell Daesh that we are not afraid,’ said Mani Nasrallahpour, 21, one of about 200 female peshmerga fighters who left behind their life in Iran to take on the hardline Sunni militants. A commander said Islamic State -- known to its enemies by the Arabic acronym Daesh -- deliberately targeted the female unit with 20 mortars when the singing began.”
Los Angeles Times: Visions Of Hell: Another Day In Aleppo Ancient City Under Siege
“The crowd convulsed and parted when a medic commanded, “Make a path! Make a path!,” as he and his colleagues pushed a gurney through the narrow emergency room entrance of the Razi hospital. His shouts rose above the shrieking of the woman running behind him.  “Save my son! Please save my son! He’s my only son. I have no one other than him,” she screamed. Her voice faltered for a moment as the doors of the emergency wing closed behind the doctors, who would try to save the life of her son, Dr. Hazem Sharifeh. He too was a physician, now a gravely injured patient.”
BBC: The Future Of The Yazidis In Iraq
“As so-called Islamic State militants are driven out of Mosul, Paul Moss reports on the continuing plight of the Yazidis, the Iraqi religious group who the United Nations says has suffered more destruction than any other at IS hands. First one of the Yazidi women started crying, then one of her friends. And then one of the visitors could be heard stifling a sob. We were listening as a group of Yazidis recounted the now horribly familiar story of how IS came to their homeland on Mount Sinjar in 2014, killing thousands and driving many thousands more into exile. ‘Some of our neighbours were running away, but before reaching the mountains, Islamic State gangs captured them and took them,’ one of the women said.”
Haaretz: Israeli Army: Stabbing Attack In West Bank, Assailant Shot Dead
“A suspected stabbing attack took place Thursday in the West Bank, the Israeli army said. According to initial reports, a Palestinian approached the hitchhiking post outside the settlements of Ofra and attempted to stab soldiers guarding the area. He was then shot dead. The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the alleged assailant as Ma'an Nasser Adin, 23, from the village of Mazra'a al-Quibliya, northwest of Ramallah. The incident comes after two earlier attacks this week. On Monday, three Israeli soldiers were wounded in a shooting attack at a checkpoint close to the West Bank settlement of Beit El. The Palestinian assailant, armed with a Kalashnikov rifle, was shot and killed at the scene.”
Associated Press: Explosion Hits Mainly Kurdish City In Southeast Turkey
“A large explosion hit the largest city in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast region on Friday, media reports said. There was no immediate word on casualties, but the state-run Anadolu Agency said several ambulances were sent to the scene. The blast occurred in Diyarbakir's Baglar district, near a building that is an annex to the city's police headquarters, Anadolu reported. The cause of the explosion was not immediately known but Hurriyet newspaper said it may have been caused by a car bomb. Turkey has been plagued by a series of deadly bomb attacks in the past 18 months, carried out by Kurdish militants or Islamic State group extremists. The blast came hours after authorities detained 11 pro-Kurdish lawmakers as part of ongoing terror-related investigations.”
Reuters: Turkey Blocks Access To Twitter, Whatsapp: Internet Monitoring Group
“Access to social media sites Twitter and Whatsapp was blocked in Turkey on Friday, an internet monitoring group said, following the detentions of 11 pro-Kurdish lawmakers in the mainly Kurdish southeast overnight. Access was being blocked by throttling, an expert from the monitoring group Turkey Blocks said, a method of slowing certain websites to the point where they are unusable.”

United States

NPR: 2 U.S. Service Members Killed In Afghanistan
“Two U.S. service members were killed after taking fire in Afghanistan, the NATO says. They were part of a group of military personnel working to assist Afghan partners in an attack on the Taliban, NATO said in a statement. Two other U.S. service members were wounded in the attack. The military has not released any of the service members' identities. ‘Local officials later said they were investigating claims that civilians also were killed in the fighting, possibly in a retaliatory airstrike,’ The Associated Press reports. NATO and the Pentagon have not responded to questions about civilian casualties, the AP says.”
Fox News: Mom Of Kidnapped American Journalist In Syria Urges Others To Call On Obama For His Release
“The mother of an American journalist who vanished in Syria in 2012 is urging everyone to encourage and remind President Obama of his ‘obligation’ to bring her son home. Austin Tice, a Marine and Georgetown Law student from Houston, disappeared in August 2012. A video released a month later showed the journalist blindfolded and held by armed men. He has not been heard from since. ‘It helps tremendously when people pray for Austin, pray for his release, pray for us to continue to have the strength to work and wait for him to come home,’ his mother Debra told Fox News' ‘Happening Now’ on Thursday. She also urged Americans to ‘continue to encourage and remind our president of his obligation to bring Austin home.’”


Reuters: Rebel Groups Clash With Each Other In Syria's Aleppo
“Syrian rebel factions fought each other in besieged eastern’ Aleppo on Thursday, officials from two of the groups and a war monitor said, potentially undermining their efforts to fend off a major Russian-backed offensive. Rebel groups have been plagued by disunity and infighting throughout the 5 1/2-year-old conflict, for ideological reasons, over tactical differences or in disputes over territory. Fighters of Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, Nour al-Din al-Zinki and Abu Amara attempted to seize positions and weapons from Fastaqim, one of its officials said. Fateh al-Sham is a jihadist group. Zinki and Fastaqim fight under the Free Syrian Army (FSA) banner.”
The Huffington Post: Russian Soldiers Are Secretly Dying In Syria
“The start of this year proved deadly for one unit of about 100 Russian fighters supporting President Bashar al-Assad’s troops in northern Syria. On Feb. 3, 38-year-old Maxim Kolganov was killed in a firefight with rebels near Aleppo when a bullet pierced his body armor and heart. Then, on March 9, the same unit came under shell-fire near Palmyra, and Sergei Morozov, also 38, was hit and died on the way to hospital. Back in southern Russia, medals were delivered to their families: the order of bravery, with certificates signed by President Vladimir Putin. The medals, seen by Reuters, were intended to honor the sacrifice they had made for their country.”
BBC: Syria Conflict: Rebels Ramp Up Attacks On Government-Held Aleppo
“Rebel fighters in east Aleppo have intensified their attempts to break the Syrian government's siege, ahead of what Russia says will be their last chance to leave the city in safety. Many people have been killed or injured in rebel attacks on western, government-held areas. Russia, a key ally of the Syrian government, says rebel fighters may leave with their weapons during a 10-hour window on Friday. But rebels have rejected the offer. They said they would not surrender and would continue their efforts to break the siege.”
BBC: Syria Conflict: East Aleppo Braces Itself For More Air Strikes
“With the Syrian government's final deadline for civilians and fighters to leave rebel-held east Aleppo about to run out, the city's residents are bracing themselves for more attacks from Syrian and Russian forces. Owen Bennett-Jones reports from government-held west Aleppo. Escape corridors for those who want safe passage will be opened between 09:00 and 19:00 on Friday (06:00 and 16:00 GMT). It is widely expected that once that deadline has passed, air strikes will resume. For their part the rebels, who are trying to break the siege of east Aleppo, have vowed to defend their positions.”


NPR: ISIS Leader Purportedly Releases Rare Message As Iraqi Troops Enter Mosul
“The reclusive leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has purportedly issued an audio message calling on his fighters to stand firm in Mosul, as Iraqi security forces enter the city for the first time since ISIS seized it more than two years ago. The message could not be independently verified, but if authentic, it would be Baghdadi's ‘first audio message released in nearly a year,’ Reuters reports. The recording also encouraged ISIS supporters worldwide to continue fighting and called for attacks in Saudi Arabia and Turkey, according to SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors militants on the Internet.”
USA Today: Iraq's Army Making Slow Progress On Mosul, But Quick Victory Unlikely
“To Western eyes, the Iraqi offensive on Mosul to oust the Islamic State militants seems slow and laborious, but that’s the way Iraq’s army has historically fought. With the exception of its highly regarded counterterror forces, Iraq’s military will follow its campaign plan started more than two weeks ago. What it will probably not do is change that strategy on the fly to exploit enemy weaknesses as the fighting unfolds, raising concerns that Iraq's military may miss opportunities for a quicker and more decisive victory over the Islamic State. Iraq's top-down hierarchy means only senior officers make decisions, which can take a long time and lead to delays. Faster action, for example, might have stopped the Islamic State from fleeing in previous battles in Ramadi and other parts of western Iraq.”
The New York Times: Iraqis Fear ‘Bloodshed Will Continue’ After Mosul If Sectarian Tensions Aren’t Addressed
“As Iraq comes closer to ejecting the Islamic State from its last major stronghold in the country, the question is no longer whether it can succeed. The question is whether it will all have to be done again someday. Even a complete military victory over the Sunni extremists in Mosul will not change the reality that there is still no political agreement in place, or even basic trust, that could reconcile Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority with the Shiite-dominated national government. Not only are there fears that another Sunni insurgency could rise after the Islamic State is beaten, but there also seems to be little beyond this immediate military campaign to unite the profoundly differing factions that have temporarily come together to fight the militants — government forces, Sunni tribesmen, Kurds, local Yazidis and Christians, and Iran-backed militias. Each has a different endgame in mind.”
CNN: Iraqi Forces Fight ISIS On Mosul Streets
“Iraqi forces entered ISIS-held Mosul on Thursday for the first time in more than two years, and are in a head-to-head battle with militants on the front line, defense officials said. Iraqi Defense Ministry spokesman Brig. Gen. Tahsin Ibrahim told CNN that units of the 9th Armored Division had entered the key city and that troops had stormed the neighborhood of al Intisar in the east. Penetrating the eastern border has been the most significant breakthrough in the offensive, which was launched two weeks ago to free Mosul from the militant group's brutal rule.”


Reuters: Turkish Academics, Students Protest Against Post-Coup Purges
“Hundreds of academics, students and union members staged a protest on Thursday against a purge of thousands of educational staff since Turkey's attempted military coup in July. Turkey accuses U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen of orchestrating the July 15 putsch and has dismissed or suspended more than 110,000 civil servants, academics, judges, police and others over suspected links to the preacher. The crowd chanted ‘We will win by resisting’ in front of Istanbul University as dozens of riot police wearing gas masks looked on. Teachers who had lost their jobs wept and hugged students. Among those suspended or removed in the purges since July are nearly 50,000 educational staff. Under the coup probe, some 37,000 people have been jailed pending trial.”
Deutsche Welle: Turkey Threatens To Cancel EU Migration Deal
“Turkey will cancel a migration deal with the European Union if the bloc doesn't grant visa-free travel to Turkish citizens by the end of the year, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Thursday, a day after a top EU official suggested any visa deal was a long way off. As part of an agreement clinched between Ankara and Brussels earlier this year, Turkey agreed to take back migrants in exchange for billions in aid money and visa-free travel to the EU for Turkish citizens. After the EU repeatedly pushed back the date for visa-free travel amid concern over Turkey's draconian anti-terror laws and erosion of rights in the country, Cavusoglu told the ‘Neue Zürcher Zeitung’ on Thursday that Ankara's ‘patience was drawing to a close.’”
The Wall street Journal: Turkey’s Crackdown Sweeps Through Business And Finance, Imperiling The Economy
“Istanbul’s tightknit finance community first felt the chill of Turkey’s post-coup crackdown in late July when a senior banker was hit with a criminal complaint and stripped of his license. Fear spread when regulators started forcing banks to hand over internal client communications, according to several people familiar with the moves. Then, over succeeding weeks, Turkish authorities took over 496 companies, some with publicly held units, citing a hunt for coup plotters. The moves mark a sharp reversal for a country long seen as a free-market beacon among emerging nations, thanks to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s embrace of pro-business policies. Turkey attracted international investors in part because of the government’s lack of meddling.”
Voice Of America: Christian Groups Denounce Detention Of US Protestant Pastor In Turkey
“Christian groups are denouncing the jailing of an American pastor who has been detained for nearly a month in isolation in Turkey, accused of posing what officials call a ‘national security threat.’ Authorities and the representatives of Protestant Christian community in Turkey say that Andrew Brunson, who has been a Protestant missionary in Turkey for more than 20 years, is being held at the Izmir detention facility. He and his wife, Norine Brunson, who led the Protestant Resurrection Church in the city of Izmir, were detained October 7, Turkish officials confirmed. Norine Brunson was released October 20 and ordered to leave the country. Later, Turkish officials decided to allow her to stay until November 10 when her visa expires, according to church officials. They added that Andrew Brunson is expected to be deported after his release.”
BBC: Turkey Pro-Kurdish Leaders Demirtas And Yuksekdag Detained
“The two co-leaders of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party have been detained along with other MPs. Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag were detained at their respective homes as part of a counter-terrorism inquiry, security sources quoted by Anadolu news agency said. At least nine other MPs from the People's Democracy Party (HDP) were also taken into custody. Hours later, there were reports of a massive explosion in southeast Turkey. Ambulances were sent to the scene of the blast in Diyarbakir, the city where Mr Demirtas was arrested. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Whatsapp were reported to be inaccessible inside Turkey shortly after the detentions, even when users tried to circumvent restrictions using a virtual private network (VPN).”


The Wall Street Journal: Two U.S. Troops And At Least 30 Afghans Are Killed In Battle With Taliban
“Two U.S. Special Forces troops and at least 30 Afghans were killed during a firefight with the Taliban in Afghanistan’s Kunduz province, officials said, A provincial spokesman said 30 Afghan civilians were killed early Thursday in U.S. airstrikes that were called in to support troops under fire by Taliban snipers. A joint U.S.-Afghan operation had been targeting Taliban commanders northeast of the city of Kunduz when the troops came under heavy gunfire around 3 a.m., a coalition member said. In addition to the two American troops, three Afghan special forces members were killed, officials said.”
The Guardian: Afghanistan's Corruption Epidemic Is Wasting Billions In Aid
“The current political elite in Afghanistan took power 15 years ago after international coalition forces toppled the Taliban regime. Since then, the world has poured hundreds of billions of dollars to Afghanistan. Most of what was pledged was meant to bring peace, stability, build and rebuild institutions that would work for all Afghans after so many years of wars and devastation. Instead, much of that money has been wasted. You could even argue that the dangers posed by Isis and the Taliban, who now control more land than at any point since the 2001 western intervention, are ultimately less damaging than the country’s corruption. Afghanistan was ranked 166 out of 168 countries on Transparency International’s corruption perception 2015 index.”


Reuters: Boat That Attacked Gas Tanker Off Yemen Carried Explosives: Shipowner
“Unknown assailants who opened fire on a gas tanker last week off the coast of Yemen were also carrying a ‘substantial amount of explosives’, the vessel's owner said on Thursday, and a maritime source said it may have been an attempted suicide attack. Security experts said the new details of the Oct. 25 incident would heighten concerns for shipping in the narrow Bab al-Mandab waterway at the entrance to the Red Sea, a major choke point in the world oil trade. In an initial statement last week, shipping group Teekay said its LNG (liquefied natural gas) tanker Galicia Spirit had ‘experienced a suspected piracy attack’ but no one had managed to board it.”
Reuters: Yemen Peace Hopes Flicker As Saudi Studies U.N. Plan: Diplomats
“Diplomats promoting a U.N. plan to end Yemen's war detect cautious support for its ideas from Saudi Arabia, raising hopes the proposals might unlock stalled efforts to end the 19-month-old conflict and a worsening humanitarian disaster. The kingdom leads a mostly Gulf Arab military alliance which has launched thousands of air strikes in support of forces loyal to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who was driven into Saudi exile by the Iran-allied Houthi movement. But the campaign failed to dislodge the group and their allies in Yemen's army from the capital Sanaa, and the U.N. proposal to end the stalemate envisions Hadi handing his powers to a less divisive deputy in exchange for the Houthis quitting main cities.”


Reuters: Libya: U.N. Says 240 Migrants Drowned Off Libyan Coast On Wednesday
“At least 240 migrants have drowned off the coast of Libya within the last 48 hours, possibly as an unintended consequence of European efforts to stop people-smugglers and to train Libyan coastguards, the U.N.'s migration agency said. Five rescue ships, coordinated by the Italian coastguard, were within sight of the migrants but, despite attempts to rescue them, most died, the International Organization for Migration's (IOM) chief spokesman, Leonard Doyle, said. ‘Two rubber dinghies, which is what they are, rubber dinghies, packed with migrants, totaling over 300 we think in all ... have succumbed to the waves off Libya in very bad weather,’ he said.”


Newsweek: Cameroon Imprisons Three Men For 10 Years Over Boko Haram ‘Recruitment Joke’
“Rights group Amnesty International has criticized a Cameroonian military court after it sentenced three men to ten years imprisonment for circulating a sarcastic text message about Boko Haram. The Military Court of Yaoundé handed down the sentence Wednesday after recently convicting 27-year-old Fomusoh Ivo Feh and two of his friends for ‘non-denunciation of terrorist acts,’ according to Amnesty. Fomusoh had been arrested on December 13, 2014 after forwarding an SMS message to his friends containing a joke about the Nigerian militant group. After being held in a police cell in the western city of Douala, Fomusoh was transferred to the counter-terrorism agency in Yaoundé, the capital, and then to a prison in Yaoundé, according to a July report by the rights group.”
NPR: Safe From Boko Haram But At Risk Of Sexual Abuse
“In 2015, Masui Segun was conducting research for a report on attacks on teachers and students in camps for internally displaced people in northeast Nigeria. She's the senior researcher for Nigeria for Human Rights Watch, an international nongovernmental group that publishes about 100 reports a year on human rights issues. The people she met wanted her to look into a different topic. ‘People walked up to us and asked why we were not researching the violence against women in the camps,’ she told Goats and Soda. Segun and her team heard so many stories that they decided to investigate further, spending two weeks in late July interviewing women and girls from seven of the 13 government-run Internal Displacement Persons camps in Maiduguri, capital of Borno State, where the Boko Haram insurgency has led to massive population displacements.”

United Kingdom

Daily Mail: Villagers' Fury After Nursery School With Just EIGHT Pupils Fails Ofsted Inspection Because Staff Are Not Trained On 'Extremism'
“A rural nursery school has failed its Ofsted inspection for failing to train staff to spot signs of extremism in its under-fives. Scole Pre-school was given the lowest possible rating of 'inadequate' over fears the children were not being protected from radicalisation. Villagers have branded the report 'ridiculous' and said the mostly white, Christian neighbourhood is 'the last place in the world' children would be at risk. The tiny pre-school group in rural Scole near Diss, Norfolk, currently has just eight pupils aged two to five and serves a community of only 1,400. However, under new rules designed to prevent children being groomed into becoming terrorists, all schools must now show that they are alert to the signs. A villager whose son used to attend the nursery said: 'It is total political correctness to make a point that the pre-school should be looking out for signs of extremism.”


Reuters: After Calais, France Prepares To Clear Migrant Camp In Paris
“French authorities prepared on Thursday to dismantle a makeshift migrant camp in central Paris, its numbers swelled by refugees from a larger settlement in Calais that was meanwhile shut down for good. In twin actions that epitomized Europe's failure to adequately cater for the waves of refugees that have reached its shores since early 2015, the last migrants left the Calais camp while some 3,000 prepared for what might be their last night under canvas near the capital's Stalingrad metro station. In a final operation in Calais after the camp was razed over the past two weeks, demolition teams knocked down a makeshift mosque and church that migrants who dreamed of reaching Britain would worship in.”


Newsweek: Belgian Counterterrorism Policies 'Abusive' Since Brussels Attacks: Report
“Belgium has responded to terror attacks on its capital in an overly heavy-handed and sometimes ‘abusive’ way, it has been claimed. A report by the Human Rights Watch (HRW) NGO published Friday finds that new measures introduced in the country include placing prisoners detained for terrorism in prolonged isolation and handing the government sweeping powers to suspend passports and review suspects’ phones and email logs. Belgium’s security apparatus came under international criticism at the end of 2015 when it was discovered that some of the attackers who killed 130 people in Paris lived in the Belgian capital, Brussels.”
Sputnik News: Germany, UK, US Float 'Problematic' Intel-Sharing Hub In Terrorism Fight
“The former head of Germany's intelligence bureau, BND, Augustus Henning has joined former spy chiefs from the US and the UK in calling for a joint EU-US intelligence-sharing operation to counter the myriad threats from terrorism, in a deal that could prove politically problematic, Sputnik has been told. Intelligence agencies in Europe — including Germany — were heavily criticized following the terror attacks in Paris, November 13, 2015, when it emerged many of those involved had been on the radar of EU member states' law enforcement agencies, but had been able to travel unheeded throughout Europe and to and from Syria, in some cases.”
Newsweek: Knocking On Europe’s Door: Why A Weaker Isis In Mosul Is No Good For The EU
“Although it is too soon to tell exactly what the impact of the Mosul offensive will be, the so-called Islamic State militant group is undeniably weakening in the Middle East as it loses ground. This would sound like good news, but the loss of territory for the group comes with a whole new range of challenges: will they lash out at the West in retaliation, and how soon will their battle-hardened fighters from Europe come back? The situation in Syria and Iraq has convinced an unprecedented number of people from different countries—especially the EU and North Africa, but also Russia, Australia and the US—to go fight on the frontline. Europol believes an estimated 5 000 radicalized EU nationals have travelled to Syria and Iraq to support or fight alongside ISIS.”

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