Eye on Extremism, October 20, 2016

Associated Press: US General Said Mosul Battle Could Last Months

“The fight for Mosul, launched this week by Iraqi security forces supported by U.S. air power and advisers, could take months and is likely to feature periods of fierce combat, the commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East said Wednesday. Army Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of U.S. Central Command, said the duration of the battle will be determined in part by how the Islamic State group reacts and adjusts to the unfolding Iraqi offensive. He noted that the extremist group has had more than two years to prepare its defenses in and around the sprawling Tigris River city. The militants thus far have put up significant resistance in villages surrounding Mosul. They have sent trucks loaded with explosives careening toward the front lines and fired mortars to slow the Iraqi forces’ advance since Monday.”

The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Builds Force To Retake Islamic State’s Syrian Headquarters

“With an assault under way to dislodge Islamic State from its Iraqi stronghold of Mosul, the U.S. is working to assemble a force across the border to retake the extremists’ de facto capital in Syria. Top U.S. officials have met in recent weeks with members of the anti-Islamic State coalition, including Turkey, Kurdish leaders in Syria and the U.K., trying to hammer out an agreement to launch an offensive soon on the city of Raqqa. Such an operation would aim to isolate the extremists in the Syrian city, limit their ability to reinforce its satellite strongholds across Iraq and Syria and seal off escape routes, as the flight of fighters is both a concern for the region and a terrorist threat to Europe.”

USA Today: How The U.S.-Led Coalition Transformed Iraq’s Army Into A Fighting Force

“Two years ago Iraq’s military all but collapsed as Islamic State militants swept into their country, seizing Mosul and other key towns and villages. Many Iraqi soldiers simply abandoned their equipment and fled. At the time, the Islamic State looked invincible, while the Iraqi forces were demoralized, poorly trained and ill-equipped. Today, Iraq’s military has a string of victories behind it and is on the verge of charging into Mosul, the militants’ last stronghold in Iraq. This time, the Islamic State is retreating, and it is the Iraqi troops that look formidable. In the intervening years, a U.S.-led coalition and Iraq’s government have achieved an unprecedented overhaul of Iraq’s armed forces, replacing commanders, training soldiers and issuing new weapons and equipment. They are about to face their most important test yet.

Associated Press: As Territory Shrinks, ISIS Group Looks For New Money Sources

“As the Islamic State group sees its territory shrink to half its original size and its dreams of a caliphate evaporate, the extremist fighters are losing access to the sources of revenue that once gave them their power, prompting them to turn to extortion, kidnapping or foreign donations like their predecessors, the militant group al-Qaida. The Islamic State group had a unique ability to capitalize on the natural resources of its territory in Iraq and Syria and swiftly implement a system of taxation and governance that allowed it to rule an area that once was the size of Switzerland. As the battle gets underway to retake Mosul, the group’s largest stronghold in Iraq, the Islamic State group is being denied access to revenue sources such as oil and gas and cash reserves that once amounted to more than $1 billion in 2014, said Daniel Glaser, the Treasury Department’s assistant secretary for terrorist financing.”

Reuters: Turkish Police Kill Suspected Islamic State Suicide Bomber In Capital

“Turkish police shot dead a suspected Islamic State militant overnight who was believed to be planning a suicide bomb attack in the capital Ankara, the city’s governor said on Wednesday. It was the latest in a series of counter-terrorist police operations coinciding with a Turkey-backed rebel operation in Syria to drive the jihadists away from its southern border. Turkish security forces have meanwhile stepped up action against Kurdish militants, killing 14 Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) fighters in eastern Turkey in recent days, the interior minister said. Police tracked the Islamic State suspect to the ninth floor of a building on Ankara’s outskirts, where he was killed in a gunfight around 3 a.m. after opening fire in response to a call to surrender, the state-run Anadolu Agency said.”

Reuters: Exclusive: Iran Steps Up Weapons Supply To Yemen’s Houthis Via Oman — Officials

“Iran has stepped up weapons transfers to the Houthis, the militia fighting the Saudi-backed government in Yemen, U.S., Western and Iranian officials tell Reuters, a development that threatens to prolong and intensify the 19-month-old war. The increased pace of transfers in recent months, which officials said include missiles and small arms, could exacerbate a security headache for the United States, which last week struck Houthi targets with cruise missiles in retaliation for failed missile attacks on a U.S. Navy destroyer. Much of the recent smuggling activity has been through Oman, which neighbors Yemen, including via overland routes that take advantage of porous borders between the two countries, the officials said.”

The New York Times: All The Victims Of Boko Haram

“The liberation of 21 of the more than 270 girls abducted from a Nigerian school in April 2014 is certainly to be celebrated. Yet, those heartwarming scenes of parents and girls joyously dancing and hugging are not the end of this terrible saga — not for the children still in the clutches of Boko Haram, the extremist Islamist group that has been spreading death and destruction across northeastern Nigeria for seven years, and perhaps not even for the girls who have been set free. The abduction focused global attention on the evils of Boko Haram, which, like the Islamic State to which some of its factions claim allegiance, has forsaken scruples about victimizing children or anyone else. According to human-rights organizations, as many as 2,000 women and children, both girls and boys, have been abducted since 2012. And according to Unicef, the conflict has displaced 2.6 million people in what already was one of the world’s most destitute regions.”

The Guardian: Muslim Council Of Britain To Set Up Alternative Counter-Terror Scheme

“British Muslims are planning to set up their own programme to stop people becoming terrorists in a direct challenge to the government’s controversial Prevent scheme, the Guardian has learned. The plans are being masterminded by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), representing 500 charities, schools and mosques, which plans to start the Muslim-run counter-radicalisation scheme next year. ‘In reflecting the wishes of a cross-section of British Muslim society, our affiliates have directed the MCB to explore a grassroots-led response to the challenge of terrorism. Real challenges exists, as we see with Muslim families broken up as a number of children, mothers and fathers leave to travel to Syria,’ the MCB said in a statement.”

NBC News: Will ISIS Fighters Driven From Mosul Launch Attacks In Europe?

“The military campaign to push ISIS out of its stronghold in Mosul may come at a high price: many hundreds of battle-tested and heavily armed fighters who could flee to Europe to launch terrorist attacks against U.S. and allied interests, officials tell NBC News. U.S. officials have long feared that this is a natural and expected result of the long-planned military operation against thousands of ISIS fighters operating out of Iraq’s second-largest city, some of whom have already used chemical weapons. ‘It’s a quite legitimate concern,’ Seamus Hughes, a former U.S. National Counterterrorism Center official, told NBC News.”

United States

BBC: Two Americans Killed At Military Base In Afghanistan

“Two Americans have been killed and a further three have been injured after a gunman opened fire on a military base in Kabul, Afghanistan, officials say. A service member and a civilian were killed in the attack, which Afghan officials are calling an ‘insider’ job. Two civilians and a service member are in a stable condition, a Nato military alliance statement said. The gunman has been killed. No insurgent group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack. The Americans were said to be conducting duties as part of their mission to train, advise and assist Afghan forces when they came under attack.”

CBS News: U.S. General: Apache Helicopters On Attack Against ISIS In Iraq

“Fighters with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, are likely to put up a stiff defense of Mosul but eventually lose their grip and morph into an insurgency, a U.S. Army general said Wednesday. Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky, commander of U.S. and coalition land forces in Iraq. said this transition from conventional combat to counter-insurgency is deemed so predictable that the U.S. training regimen for Iraqi security forces is already being adjusted to prepare them for insurgent threats. Volesky, speaking to reporters at the Pentagon via video link from his headquarters in Baghdad, also disclosed that U.S. Army Apache helicopters have entered the battle for Mosul. He declined to provide specifics, citing the need to preserve operational security, but said they have been striking ISIS targets at night. The mere presence of the Apaches on the battlefield has been a confidence booster for Iraqi soldiers, he said.”

Syria

CNN: Syria: Aleppo Residents Say Airstrikes Have Halted

“There have been no airstrikes in besieged eastern Aleppo since dawn Tuesday, residents of several neighborhoods told CNN on Wednesday morning. This brief respite follows a weeks-long bombardment on parts of the city by Syria’s military, backed by Russia, which has been fiercely criticized by Western powers for its deadly toll on the civilians trapped there. The Russian Defense Ministry announced unexpectedly on Tuesday that there would be a pause in Russian and Syrian airstrikes to allow rebels and civilians to leave the rebel-held section of the Syrian city via several ‘corridors,’ ahead of a humanitarian ceasefire planned for Thursday morning.”

Reuters: Says East Aleppo Ceasefire Has Begun, Promises ‘Safe Exit’

“The Syrian military said on Thursday a unilateral ceasefire backed by Russia had come into force to allow people to leave besieged eastern Aleppo, a move that the rebels have said was part of a psychological campaign to get them to surrender. State media earlier said the army had opened exit corridors in two designated areas in the Bustan al Qasr quarter and near the Castello road in northern Aleppo city, where waiting green buses were shown on state television. Intensified Russian and Syrian bombing of besieged rebel-held parts of Aleppo in the last few weeks has hit hospitals, bakeries and water pumping stations, and killed hundreds of civilians. The Syrian military said on Wednesday it would observe a temporary ceasefire to allow trapped civilians to escape and said it had pulled back to enable rebel fighters to leave the city via two designated corridors.”

BBC: Syria Conflict: Russia’s Aleppo ‘Humanitarian Pause’ Takes Effect

“A ‘humanitarian pause’ announced by Russia has formally come into effect in the Syrian city of Aleppo to allow civilians and rebels leave the city. Moscow earlier said air strikes by Russia and Syria’s government had been halted two days ahead of schedule. It also extended the pause by three hours, and suggested it could prolong the measure further. But a powerful jihadist group has refused to leave besieged rebel-held eastern areas of Aleppo. Last month, Syrian government forces encircled rebel groups and launched an all-out assault backed by Russia. Some 2,700 people have been killed or injured in the bombardment since then, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group.”

Iraq

Reuters: Abandoned Villages On Road To Mosul Rigged With Tunnels And Bombs

“A deep tunnel, booby-trapped with an improvised explosive device, burrows under houses at the entrance to the village. Nearby, an anti-personnel mine lies half buried in a dirt road. Residents began returning on Wednesday to the village of Sheikh Amir on the road to Mosul, recaptured overnight by advancing Kurdish fighters in the early days of the biggest advance that has been launched against Islamic State. They found a village rigged with explosives and dug in with elaborate underground defenses, abandoned by the Islamists who have retreated closer to Mosul, 30 km (19 miles) to the west. Three days into the assault on Mosul, U.S.-backed government and Kurdish forces are steadily recovering outlying territory before the big push into the city itself, expected to be the biggest battle in Iraq since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.”

Reuters: Islamic State Has 5,000 To 6,000 Fighters In Mosul — Iraqi Army

“Islamic State has 5,000 to 6,000 fighters defending the city of Mosul against an offensive by Iraqi forces, the head of Iraq’s special forces Lieutenant General Talib Shaghati said on Wednesday. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Monday announced the start of an offensive on the northern city, the last major stronghold of the militants in Iraq, with the backing of a U.S.-led coalition. ‘Intelligence information indicates that there are 5,000 to 6,000 Daesh fighters,’ Shaghati told a news conference near Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish region east of Mosul, using an Arabic acronym of Islamic State.”

Associated Press: Iraqi Town Outside Mosul Rises Up Against Militants

“The mutilated bodies of Islamic State group fighters were still strewn on the ground of this northern Iraqi town on Wednesday. One was burned. Another’s face was flattened by abuse. Iraqi troops on the march toward Mosul moved into al-Hud a day earlier and declared it liberated. But they found residents had already risen up and killed many of the militants in the town themselves. With the offensive to recapture Mosul in its third day, Iraqi forces advancing from the south and east are fighting to retake the towns and villages the dot the plains and line the Tigris River leading to the city. At times, they’ve met fierce resistance, with the militants sending explosives-packed vehicles careening toward the troops’ positions. This area has been under control of the militants ever since the summer of 2014, when IS fighters captured Mosul and much of the north in a lightning advance.”

The Wall Street Journal: Iraq Troops Ordered To Pause Mosul Advance

“Iraqi troops south of Mosul paused their advance on Wednesday for 48 hours, a decision commanders said was aimed at ensuring a coordinated military offensive to retake Islamic State’s last major bastion in the country. Iraqi military officials ordered a pause so an Iraqi army division operating south of Mosul could make up ground. The division had been delayed in the first two days of the offensive, moving only about half a mile along the 35-mile route to Mosul, said an officer with the government’s Emergency Response Division. It wasn’t clear why the division was delayed, the officer said. Iraqi forces moving toward Mosul along one southern front progressed quickly Monday, the first day of the offensive. But the push slowed Tuesday, as forces still miles outside Iraq’s second-largest city regrouped and rested before resuming efforts to encircle it.”

CNN: Iraqi-Led Forces Clash With ISIS In Push To Free Christian Town

“In the push to free Mosul, Kurdish Peshmerga forces ideally wanted a political plan — not just a military one — to help retake the city from ISIS, Iraqi Kurdish President Massoud Barzani said. ‘We would have loved to have a political plan along with a military plan, how to manage Mosul, how to administer Mosul, because Mosul has a variety of religions, with ethnicities,’ Barzani told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday. But he acknowledged that having one probably ‘would have taken a longer time.’ The operation to free Mosul from two years of ISIS rule marks the first time Kurdish Peshmerga and Iraqi forces have fought against a common enemy, Barzani said.”

Turkey

Reuters: Turkish Jets Strike Kurds In Syria: Monitor

“Turkish jets on Wednesday unleashed more than 20 air raids against the Syrian Democratic Forces, a Kurd-led group of militias north of Aleppo, Kurdish authorities and a war monitor said. The jets targeted positions in the villages of al-Hasiya, Um al-Qura and Um Hosh, which the SDF had captured from Islamic State, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said late on Wednesday. Turkish jets carried out 26 airstrikes on 18 Syrian Kurdish YPG militant targets in northern Syria and killed 160 to 200 militants, the Turkish army said on Thursday. Turkey, a main backer of the insurgency against President Bashar al-Assad, entered the Syrian conflict in August, using its armor and air power to help Free Syrian Army rebel groups take territory near the border held by Islamic State.”

Reuters: Mortar Shells Wound Woman, Child In Southern Turkey: Dogan

“Three mortar shells were fired into the town of Osmaniye in southern Turkey near the border of Syria on Wednesday, wounding a woman and her child who were hit by shrapnel, the Dogan news agency reported. It said the shells hit gardens in two districts of Osmaniye, at the foothills of the Nur mountains. It was not clear who fired the mortars or from where. Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants are active in the region.”

Voice Of America: Turkey’s Crackdown On Businesses Sparks Concern

“The Turkish government crackdown that followed the failed July coup is expanding to businesses, with the assets of major multibillion-dollar conglomerates seized, along with hundreds of smaller companies. Earlier this month, three of Turkey’s most prominent businessmen, the Boydak brothers, appeared in handcuffs at their mother’s funeral. Their multibillion-dollar Boydak Holdings was seized and they were jailed, accused of being linked to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom the government blames for the coup attempt. Istanbul-based political consultant Atilla Yesilada of Global Source Partners said Boydak’s seizure was part of a much wider crackdown on business.”

Reuters: Evoking Ottoman Past, Erdogan Vows To Tackle Turkey’s Enemies Abroad

“Smarting over exclusion from an Iraqi-led offensive against Islamic State in Mosul and Kurdish militia gains in Syria, President Tayyip Erdogan warned on Wednesday Turkey ‘will not wait until the blade is against our bone’ but could act alone in rooting out enemies. In a speech at his palace, Erdogan conjured up an image of Turkey constrained by foreign powers who ‘aim to make us forget our Ottoman and Selcuk history’, when Turkey’s forefathers held territory stretching across central Asia and the Middle East. ‘From now on we will not wait for problems to come knocking on our door, we will not wait until the blade is against our bone and skin, we will not wait for terrorist organizations to come and attack us,’ he told hundreds of ‘muhtars’, local administrators generally loyal to the government.”

Afghanistan

Deutsche Welle: Taliban ‘Too Strong’ To Enter Peace Talks With Kabul

“On Wednesday, October 19, the Afghan Taliban denied reports of secret peace talks with Afghan government officials in Qatar, stressing that the group’s ‘stance about peace negotiations has not changed.’ The Guardian reported about alleged secret talks on Tuesday, claiming that the meetings took place in September and October. According to the British newspaper, Afghan officials and high-ranking Taliban commanders, including Mullah Abdul Manan Akhund, brother of former Taliban leader Mullah Omar, participated in the talks. Masoom Stanekzai, head of the Afghan National Security Directorate, and Hanif Atmar, National Security Advisor to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, attended the meetings in Qatar, the newspaper claimed.”

Reuters: Afghan Troops Causing More Civilian Casualties, U.N. Says

“Afghan civilians are paying the price for increased fighting in populated areas around the country, the United Nations reported on Wednesday, with government troops responsible for a growing share of civilian casualties. At least 2,562 civilians died and another 5,835 were wounded in the conflict in Afghanistan in the first nine months of this year, U.N. officials said. A similar number of civilian casualties occurred in the same period in 2015, indicating rates may be levelling off at near-record levels after steadily increasing since the U.N. began monitoring them in 2009. Ground fighting between pro-government forces and Islamic militants caused nearly 40 percent of all the casualties.”

Yemen

Voice Of America: Yemen Cease-Fire Provides Slim Window For UN To Distribute Aid

“A senior U.N. official says humanitarian agencies will take advantage of a 72-hour cease-fire in Yemen to rush life-saving aid to tens of thousands of people in areas that have been cut off by the conflict for a long time. The cease-fire is to go into effect Wednesday night. The U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen says the window for delivering aid is very slim and limited to areas where the fighting has stopped. Speaking on a telephone line from the capital, Sana’a, Jamie McGoldrick tells VOA the fighting is still going on in many areas and he does not expect the cease-fire to kick in throughout the country at the stroke of midnight.”

BBC: Yemen Conflict: UN-Brokered Three-Day Ceasefire Begins

“A three-day ceasefire brokered by the UN has officially begun in war-ravaged Yemen. The truce went into effect a minute before midnight local time, just hours after clashes were reported. Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi’s forces — supported by a Saudi-led coalition — have been fighting Houthi rebels, who control Sanaa. The UN hopes the break in fighting might lead to a resumption of peace talks between the two sides. The coalition, led by Saudi Arabia, said in a statement it would respect the three-day truce provided its foes in Yemen’s Iran-allied Houthi movement also complied. The parliament in Sanaa, in which pro-Houthi MPs hold a majority, called on Wednesday for a ‘full commitment’ to the truce.”

Saudi Arabia

The Washington Post: Saudi Arabia Executes Member Of The Royal Family For First Time In Four Decades

“There was no doubt in Saudi Arabia’s judicial system that Prince Turki bin Saud al-Kabir pulled the trigger during a melee that left a man dead. The bigger question in the public’s mind was whether a member of the royal family would escape the common punishment of execution. The answer came Wednesday with official reports that the prince was put to death the previous day. There was more to the sentence, however, than carried in the brief report by the state-run Saudi Press Agency. It was widely interpreted as a message from the leadership that no one in the kingdom is above the law during a difficult period of social retrenching.”

Middle East

The Times Of Israel: 5 Palestinians Arrested For Shooting At IDF Troops

“Israeli security forces arrested five Palestinians for a shooting attack against IDF troops in the West Bank last week, the army said in a statement Wednesday. The five suspects — all residents of the village of Ni’lin near Ramallah — were arrested in the days following the attack. All five admitted to purchasing weapons from a local arms dealer and carrying out the attack, the army said. The five approached the security fence near Ni’lin last Tuesday, and opened fire on IDF troops before fleeing the scene. No soldiers were injured in the incident.”

Associated Press: Israel: Troops Kill Palestinian Woman Approaching With Knife

“Police say Israeli troops have killed a 19-year-old Palestinian woman who approached them at a West Bank intersection while holding a knife. Police spokeswoman Luba Samri says the forces ordered the woman to stop and shot in the air before killing her on Wednesday when she kept walking toward them. Samri says no troops were wounded. It’s the latest in a year-long wave of violence. Palestinian attackers have killed 36 Israelis and two visiting Americans, mainly in stabbings. About 220 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire, most of them identified as attackers by Israel.”

Reuters: Pakistan Arrests Two For Spreading Islamic State Propaganda

“Police arrested two men suspected of distributing pamphlets for Islamic State (IS) following a raid in the northwestern city of Peshawar, officials said on Wednesday, amid lingering fears that the Middle East militant group was making inroads in Pakistan. Last month, the military said that it had stemmed Islamic State’s attempts to expand in the country, having arrested more than 300 people suspected of plotting attacks against government, diplomatic and civilian targets. Following Tuesday’s raid, however, police in the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province said militants were operating in parts of Peshawar, including some from Islamic State. ‘Some of areas in the provincial capital including Tehskal, Palosai, Charsadda Road and Regi are known for activities of militant groups such as IS,’ police official Ishtiaq Ahmed told Reuters.”

Nigeria

PBS Newshour: Surviving Boko Haram: Kidnapped Girls Tell Their Stories

“In April 2014, more than 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped from the Nigerian town of Chibok. The abductions received international attention and launched a #BringBackOurGirls social media campaign. In mid-October, 21 of the Chibok girls were released and reunited with their families. But their trauma doesn’t end when they escape. ‘They’re not trusted’ by the community, said Kimairis Toogood, senior peacebuilding adviser at International Alert in Nigeria. The townspeople think the former captives are still under the influence of Boko Haram and could attack them at any time. ‘When people are afraid, they lash out,’ she said. ‘There’s a lot of fear and hatred toward Boko Haram,’ and it ends up being directed at those who lived with them, even unwillingly, and they become the targets of hate. People call the girls ‘Boko Haram wife’ and sometimes harass and beat them.”

United Kingdom

Daily Mail: Obliterated: British Drones Wipe Out ISIS Fighters, Truck Bomb And Explosive Devices During Battle For Mosul

“British jets and drones have hit crucial Islamic State targets in Mosul as part of the push to drive the jihadist group out of their Iraqi stronghold. The RAF took part in strikes around the northern Iraqi city, hitting targets including a truck bomb and anti-tank gun in support of the ground offensive. Dramatic footage captured the moment the bombers took out a large armed truck, before it could be used by Islamic State. It comes amid warnings that 1.5 million people in Mosul could be at great risk of being targeted, caught in cross-fire, forcibly expelled or used as human shields during the operation to oust ISIS extremists. Fanatics have been preventing the residents from escaping in recent weeks and holding them ‘against their will’, according to Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis. But thousands have now started fleeing the city, which has been under IS control since 2014, leading to warnings of a humanitarian crisis.”

France

Breaking Israel News: French Party Leader Calls to Outlaw Yarmulkes, Crosses Along With Hijab and Burka

“France’s conservative National Front Party leader Marine Le Pen said in an interview Sunday she will ban the public display of all religious symbols and clothing if elected president in the 2017 national elections. Jewish and Christian symbols, such as wearing kippahs (yarmulkes) and crosses, would be outlawed in public along with the Muslim hijab and burka. Le Pen said in a radio interview with France’s BFMTV channel, this sacrifice would be made in the name of ‘national interest’ to ‘confront the rise in power and extremely strong pressure of political Islam that uses women and the veil to advance their propositions,’ Yedioth Achronoth reported.”

Europe

Daily Mail: Sweden To Give ISIS Fighters Housing Grants And Free Driving Licences To Encourage Them To Reintegrate Into Society

“Sweden is planning to give ISIS defectors housing grants and free driving licences to encourage them to reintegrate into society, it has emerged. Lund County council in southern Sweden is looking at offering incentives to jihadi defectors — including helping them to secure work. The plan has reportedly received backing from an anti-violent extremism body. According to the Daily Express, about 140 Swedish citizens have come back to the country having fought for terror groups in Iraq and Syria. Defectors would be encouraged to re-enter society with incentives like housing grants and driving licences under the plans.”

ISIS

Source 7: Syria: The Actual Circulation Of ISIS Currency Is Yet To Begin

“ISIS has promoted its currency through directives to civilians to use it, claiming that the new gold and silver currency will protect the value of their money. Recently, Friday sermons have been entirely dedicated to ISIS’s efforts to impose this currency on money exchange offices and to promote them among locals in areas under ISIS’s control, especially in the city of Raqqa. Raqqa-based activist “Abu Cham” disclosed that the actual circulation {of the currency} among traders is yet to begin. The delay is due to major confusion between traders and the organization. The activist described this situation as being “between a rock and a hard place”, indicating the lack of confidence in the gold and silver currencies produced by the {terror} organization. “Abu Cham” said, “ISIS wants nothing in exchange for this currency but the withdrawal of Syrian currency and US dollars from the markets.” He added {ISIS’s} “Muslim Finance House” and the Office of Trade affiliated with the organization are directly in charge of the circulation of its currency.”

Muslim Brotherhood

Loma Zoma: Egypt: Owner Of Company Seized By Muslim Brotherhood Asset Freeze Committee Challenges Decision To Remove Him

“The First Circuit of Cairo Economic Court of Appeals decided on Wednesday to forward the lawsuit of Hussein El-Galada to the Administrative Court. El-Galada, who owns the Horse Tours Company, filed his lawsuit against the Egyptian Minister of Justice in his capacity as the Supreme Chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood Asset Freeze Committee. In it, El-Galada demands the invalidation of the Committee’s decision to oust him from his post as Chairman of the Board of Directors of “Horse.” He claimed he was caught by surprise in January by his removal from the Board and its seizure by the Muslim Brotherhood Asset Freeze Committee, which was established under the Ministerial Decree of the Minister of Justice, №7995 of 2013. The Committee issued a decision to sack El-Galada and seize all the company’s liquid, immovable and movable assets.”

Alahaly Gate: Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood Merchants Accused Of Hoarding Rice And Sugar To “Starve” The People

“The government took the decision earlier this year to prevent rice exports. Therefore, Egypt’s rice reserves are sufficient for a year and a half. Despite this, some monopolists and distributers have been hoarding rice, sugar and other strategic food supplies in secret storage facilities to deprive the market from having them and, consequently, {causing a shortage and} hiking up their prices. Security services have been monitoring the involvement of several members of the Muslim Brotherhood in such monopolistic practices, intended to spread pessimism and anger among the citizens. In addition, merchants are raking in huge profits from the sale of these commodities at such exorbitant prices.”

Hezbollah

All4syria: Lebanese Drug Dealer Confirms Siding With Hezbollah

“The infamous Lebanese drug dealer, Noah Zaiter, confirmed his support for Hezbollah’s intervention in Syria. Zaiter stressed, in a Facebook post, that he still maintains his previous position favoring Hezbollah. Sources claimed in the past that Noah Zaiter shares common interests with Hezbollah which allow them to collaborate on drug deals to obtain money and arms. Zaiter reportedly controls a number of villages with a Shiite majority in the Lebanese Bekaa region. He is also involved in the cultivation of cannabis, according to sources. About a year ago, Zaiter published photos of himself during an inspection tour of Hezbollah’s posts in {Syria’s} Qalmoun, where he appeared driving a tank, holding weapons and meeting with militants.”

Houthi

Al-Madina: Minister Of Social Affairs In Yemen: Houthi Militia Robbed The Money Of The Poor And The Disabled

“Dr. Samira Khamis Obaid, Yemeni Minister of Social Affairs and Labor, said that Houthi militia stole funds earmarked for social welfare and social security. The poor and the disabled from all governorates of the Republic were to benefit from these funds. Dr. Obaid stressed in an exclusive statement that the Ministry of Social Affairs serves a large segment of the poor and the disabled who are in need of special attention.”

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