Eye on Extremism, June 23, 2017

The Washington Post: Beatings, Shocks And ‘The Grill’: Reports Allege Torture In Secret Prisons Run By United Arab Emirates In Yemen
“The United Arab Emirates and allied security forces maintain a secret network of prisons in Yemen where dozens and perhaps hundreds of people are detained, routinely abused and in some cases severely tortured, according to separate reports released Thursday by Human Rights Watch and the Associated Press. The investigation by the AP also found that forces from the United States, a close counterterrorism ally to the UAE, had participated in interrogations of prisoners in Yemen. American forces had been ‘yards’ away from a facility where torture took place, one Yemeni security officer told the news agency.”
Newsweek: The Problem With Qatar’s Foreign Policy—It Backed The Wrong Side
“At its core, the dynamic behind the rift with Qatar is that while the small Gulf nation has the finances to engage in regional political escapades, it is geographically and demographically insulated from any domestic unrest or blowback. Qatar’s diplomatic forays, therefore, are potentially high impact but extremely low risk—at least, until last week. Qatar has the highest GDP per capita in the world, a population of 2.5 million—less than twelve per cent of which are Qatari citizens—and enormous financial capabilities. It has used its finances to acquire a mammoth portfolio of trophy real-estate assets across Europe, and in the UK alone has pumped more than $38 billion into the real-estate market.”
BBC News: Facebook Launches Initiative To Fight Online Hate Speech
“Facebook is launching a UK initiative to train and fund local organisations to combat extremism and hate speech. It comes a week after the social network announced steps of its own to remove terrorist-related content from its site. The UK Online Civil Courage Initiative’s initial partners include Imams Online and the Jo Cox Foundation. Facebook has faced criticism for being slow to react to terrorist propaganda on its platforms. ‘The recent terror attacks in London and Manchester – like violence anywhere – are absolutely heartbreaking,’ said Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg.”
Reuters: U.S. Military Says Kills Al Qaeda Leader In Key Yemen Province
“The U.S. military said on Thursday it carried out an air strike in Yemen that killed Abu Khattab al Awlaqi, the emir for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s Shabwa province, along with two other militants. ‘Al Awlaqi was a senior leader responsible for planning and conducting terrorist attacks against civilians,’ the U.S. military’s Central Command said in a statement. ‘He had significant influence throughout AQAP’s terrorist stronghold, had ties and access to the group’s other senior leaders, and was implicated in planning and leading efforts to exacerbate instability in southern Yemen.’”
BBC: After Mosul: The Iraqi Towns Still Under IS Control
“With Iraqi forces close to retaking full control of the city of Mosul, so-called Islamic State (IS) is about to lose its last – and largest – urban bastion in Iraq. Elsewhere in Iraq, though, the jihadist group still controls a number of towns. IS designates Tal Afar as part of its self-titled “Jazeera Province”, which encompasses areas to the west of Mosul, near the Syrian border. Tal Afar was a hub for Sunni Muslim militancy long before the group’s arrival. Its Shia population, including a large number of ethnic Turkmen, suffered attacks that gave rise to inter-communal tensions and provided ripe conditions for an effortless IS takeover in 2014. In addition, Tal Afar’s strategic location near the Syrian border was ideal for the movement of IS militants and weapons, and this soon led to it becoming one of the group’s headquarters in Iraq.”
Time: Arab Neighbors Demand Qatar Shutter Al-Jazeera And Cut Ties With Iran To End Diplomatic Row
“Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries that have cut ties to Qatar issued a steep list of demands Thursday to end the crisis, insisting that their Persian Gulf neighbor shutter Al-Jazeera, cut back diplomatic ties to Iran and close down a Turkish military base in Qatar. In a 13-point list — presented to the Qataris by Kuwait, which is helping mediate the crisis — the countries also demand that Qatar sever all ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and with other groups including Hezbollah, al-Qaida and the Islamic State group. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the list in Arabic from one of the countries involved in the dispute.”
Bloomberg: Facebook, Google Face Legal Pressure To Curtail Extremism
“European leaders struck by a wave of terror attacks are putting added pressure on technology companies including Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google to weed out extremist content spread with social media, and to make their data available to law enforcement authorities. Technology companies were instructed to develop methods that automatically detect and remove content that may incite violence. ‘Industry has its own responsibility to help combat terrorism and crime online,’ the bloc’s 28 governments said in a statement during a summit in Brussels on Thursday. ‘This should be complemented by the relevant legislative measures at EU level, if necessary.’”
The Huffington Post: Google’s New Anti-Extremist Policy Is Thin Gruel Against Terrorism
“Two years ago, there were approximately 64,000 uploaded videos on YouTube of Anwar al-Awlaki who is directly responsible (ask the FBI) for inspiring and radicalizing almost every perpetrator of an American terrorism act. One year ago, by my count, that number was slighter lower (@62,000). According to the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) (www.counterextremism.com) as of June 5, 2017 the number of al-Awlaki videos was up to 80,300. So much for Mr. Walker’s assertion that YouTube has been removing violent content for years. CEP has done everything in its power over four years to convince YouTube’s management to utilize eGLYPH software developed by one of the great pioneers of anti-child porn and anti-extremist content, Dr. Hani Farid of Dartmouth. eGLYPH software is able to ‘fast track’ at warp speed the identification of patently violent extremist content.”
The Daily Caller: FBI Nabs Would-Be ISIS Terrorist In Sting Operation
“FBI agents and New York City police officers arrested a would-be Islamic State terrorist attempting to travel to Syria on Wednesday after catching him in a months-long sting operation. Saddam Mohamed Raishani (also known as Adam Raishani), 30, of the Bronx, N.Y., was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport and charged with ‘attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham.’ Law enforcement officials became aware of Raishani after he contacted an individual who was acting as a confidential source for law enforcement in January, according to a Department of Justice statement.”
The Guardian: Iran Nuclear Chief Warns US Over Support For Saudi Arabia
“The head of Iran’s atomic energy organisation, one of the architects of the 2015 landmark nuclear deal, has warned the US to stop upsetting the regional balance of power by siding with Saudi Arabia. Writing in the Guardian, Ali Akbar Salehi said ‘lavish arms purchases’ by regional actors – a reference to the Saudi purchase of $100bn of US arms during Donald Trump’s recent visit to Riyadh – would be seen as provocative in Tehran and that it would be unrealistic to expect Iran to remain ‘indifferent’. Salehi, an MIT graduate scientist who has also served as foreign minister, was the second most senior Iranian negotiator, dealing with technical aspects, during nearly two years of talks between Tehran and six of the world’s major powers that led to the final nuclear accord in Vienna in July 2015.”
United States
The Times Of Israel: US-Led Coalition Building Global Jihadist Database, Envoy Reveals
“The US-led coalition battling the Islamic State group is building a database of foreign fighters to track jihadists returning from Iraq and Syria when they come home, a senior US official said Thursday. Brett McGurk, the White House envoy to the anti-IS coalition, told an Israeli security conference that the effort aimed to help prevent attacks like those recently carried out in Europe. ‘Our coalition is building a global database of foreign fighters, through information-sharing networks and Interpol, to ensure that anyone who fought with ISIS in Syria and Iraq can be identified in either routine traffic stops, border entry points or in the course of routine police work,’ McGurk said.”
NPR: Federal Judge In Michigan Temporarily Halts Deportation Of Iraqis Who Fear Torture
“A federal judge in Michigan granted temporary reprieve from deportation on Thursday to more than 100 Iraqi nationals with criminal convictions who were living in the Detroit area. They had argued they could face persecution or torture in Iraq because of their status as religious minorities, The Associated Press reports. The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented the Iraqis, says they include Christians and Muslims. ‘We are thankful and relieved that our clients will not be immediately sent to Iraq, where they face grave danger of persecution, torture or death,’ ACLU of Michigan Legal Director Michael Steinberg said in a statement. ‘It would be unconstitutional and unconscionable to deport these individuals without giving them an opportunity to demonstrate the harm that awaits them in Iraq.’”
The New York Times: U.S. Sends Civilian Team To Syria To Help The Displaced Return Home
“The Trump administration is sending a civilian team into Syria to try to bring stability to areas that American-backed forces have retaken from the Islamic State and to avert a humanitarian crisis, according to United States officials. The team consists of only seven members, State Department officials and security personnel, several of whom have already arrived in Syria. Their mission, which has not been made public, is not to rebuild damaged cities and towns but to help Syrians return home by organizing efforts to clear roadside bombs left behind by the Islamic State and to restore electricity and access to clean water, in part to prevent the areas from becoming breeding grounds for militants.”
The New York Times: Fears Grow That U.S. Is Inching Toward Bigger Role In Syria War
“To hear the Pentagon tell it, the United States still has no intention of getting involved in Syria’s six-year civil war; the American presence there is solely to help its allies defeat the Islamic State. But a recent spate of incidents have raised alarm from diplomats and national security officials that the United States may be inadvertently sliding into a far bigger role in the Syrian civil war than it intended. ‘We don’t seek conflict with anyone other than ISIS,’ Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said on Wednesday, using an acronym for the militant Sunni extremist group that is rooted in Syria and Iraq.”
Voice Of America: US Examining Taliban Video Of American, Australian Hostages
“U.S. officials say they are still working to examine a video released by the Taliban purporting to show an American and an Australian abducted in Afghanistan. The video, released Wednesday, shows the two men urging U.S. President Donald Trump to negotiate their freedom with the Islamist insurgent group. American Kevin King, 60, and Australian Timothy Weeks, 48, teachers with the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul, were kidnapped at gunpoint near the campus last August.”
BBC News: Raqqa: The Desperate Fight For Islamic State Group’s ‘Capital’
“So-called Islamic State is defending its Syrian ‘capital’ against a major offensive by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters. The BBC’s Gabriel Gatehouse is one of the first reporters to reach the city. This has been a long and brutal road. Driving through the suburbs of Raqqa towards the centre, we pass collapsed buildings, hit by American air strikes, and pockmarked shop fronts, caught between the advance of the SDF and the retreating fighters who call themselves Islamic State (IS). As the SDF push forward, carts emerge, piled high with people and belongings, flying white flags. Some of these families sought refuge in Raqqa from other battles in Syria’s long war, only to find themselves now back at the centre of the fighting.”
CNN: Russian Warships Fire Missiles At ISIS In Syria
“Russian warships fired six missiles on ISIS targets in Syria on Friday, according to state media. ‘From the eastern part of the Mediterranean, the frigates ‘Admiral Essen,’ ‘Admiral Grigorovich’ and the submarine ‘Krasnodar’ of the Russian Navy fired six cruise missiles ‘Caliber’ on the ISIS targets in Syria. Submarine ‘Krasnodar’ carried out launches of cruise missiles from an underwater position,’ the Defense Ministry said in a statement posted to state news agency RIA. Command points and weapon and ammunition of ISIS were destroyed in Hama province of Syria, according to the state news agency.”
Reuters: Anger In Mosul As Islamic State Destroys Historic Mosque
“The leaning al-Hadba minaret that towered over Mosul for 850 years lay in ruins on Thursday, demolished by retreating Islamic State militants, but Iraq’s prime minister said the act marked their final defeat in the city. ‘In the early morning, I climbed up to the roof of my house and was stunned to see the Hadba minaret had gone,’ Nashwan, a day-laborer who lives near the mosque, said by phone. ‘I felt I had lost a son of mine.’ His words echoed the shock and anger of many over the destruction of the Grand al-Nuri Mosque along with its famous minaret, known affectionately as ‘the hunchback’ by Iraqis.”
CNN: Sniper Hits ISIS Target From Over 2 Miles Away
“A Canadian special operations sniper successfully hit an ISIS fighter from a record-breaking distance of more than two miles away while assisting Iraqi forces in the push to retake Mosul, according to Canadian Special Operations Command. The unnamed marksman was part of Canada’s elite Joint Task Force 2 special operations unit that is currently deployed in an ‘advise and assist’ capacity to help Iraqi security forces battle ISIS from behind the front line in Mosul. ‘The Canadian Special Operations Command can confirm that a member of the Joint Task Force 2 successfully hit a target from 3,540 meters. For operational security reasons and to preserve the safety of our personnel and our Coalition partners, we will not discuss precise details on when and how this incident took place,’ the unit said in a written statement.”
The Wall Street Journal: Mosul Seeks To Expel Families Of Islamic State Members
“Local governments in northern Iraq are seeking to punish the families of Islamic State members, in defiance of warnings by the nation’s leader that the policy will further fragment the country as it emerges from years of war. The city council of Mosul passed an ordinance this week saying it would expel all families of those who had joined the extremist group, as a neighboring province said it would refuse to accept any of their refugees.”
Voice Of America: Turkey To Move More Troops, Food To Qatar
“Turkey has deployed 23 additional military personnel to Qatar and sent a cargo ship carrying food to the tiny Gulf state. Three weeks ago, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates cut diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar over concerns that the nation was supporting terrorist groups – accusations Qatar denies. Turkey has stood behind Qatar during the dispute, providing the desert nation with food and pledging military support. After an initial run on grocery items in Qatar, Turkey stepped in to fill the shelves.”
Reuters: Turkey And Russia To Deploy In Syria’s Idlib: Erdogan Spokesman
“Turkish and Russian personnel will be deployed in Syria’s northern Idlib region as part of a de-escalation agreement brokered by Russia last month, Turkish broadcasters quoted President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman as saying on Thursday. Ibrahim Kalin said the de-escalation zones, agreed by Turkey, Russia and Iran, would be further discussed during talks in the Kazakh capital Astana in early July, Haberturk television channel said. ‘We will probably be most prominent in the Idlib region with the Russians; mostly Russia and Iran around Damascus, and a mechanism involving the Americans and Jordan in the south in the Deraa region is being worked on,’ Kalin was quoted as saying.”
Reuters: U.S. Will Take Weapons From Kurds After Islamic State Defeat: Turkey
“The United States has told Turkey it will take back weapons supplied to the Kurdish YPG militia in northern Syria after the defeat of Islamic State, Ankara said on Thursday, seeking to address Turkish concerns about arming Kurds on its border. Turkish defense ministry sources said U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis also promised his Turkish counterpart to provide a monthly list of weapons handed to the YPG, saying the first inventory had already been sent to Ankara. Turkey sees the YPG as an extension of the outlawed Kurdish PKK, which has been waging an insurgency in the country’s southeast since the mid-1980s. It has said supplies to the YPG have in the past ended up in PKK hands, and described any weapon given to the force as a threat to its security.”
Reuters: Turkey Has No Plans To Reassess Military Base In Qatar: Minister
“Turkey’s defense minister said on Friday his country had no plans to review its military base in Qatar and that any demand for its closure would represent interference in Ankara’s relations with the Gulf state. Defense Minister Fikri Isik told broadcaster NTV that he had not seen a demand for the base to be shut. ‘The base in Qatar is both a Turkish base and one that will preserve the security of Qatar and the region,’ Isik said in an interview. Four Arab states boycotting Qatar over alleged support for terrorism have sent Doha a list of 13 demands including closing Al Jazeera television and reducing ties to their regional adversary Iran, an official of one of the four countries said.”
CNN: Car Bomb Kills 30 People Outside Afghanistan Bank
“At least 30 people were killed Thursday in a car bomb attack outside a bank in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province, officials said. In a statement to journalists, Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi said the group was behind the attack. A suicide bomber driving an explosive-packed car targeted the New Kabul Bank branch in Lashkar Gah, said Omar Zwak, a spokesman for Helmand province. ‘Both civilians and police are among the victims who had gone to the bank to collect their salaries,’ said Mohammad Karim Atal, the head of the local provincial council. About 60 others were injured during the blast and were hospitalized, Zwak said.  Helmand province has been the site of intense conflict between the Taliban and Afghan and NATO security forces.”
Reuters: Taliban Say U.S. Must Quit Afghanistan For Peace
“The Taliban warned on Friday against sending more Western troops to Afghanistan, while pledging that it sought only independence under Islamic rule and rejecting concerns it would harbor foreign militants. In a statement marking Eid al-Fitr, the festival at the end of the holy month of Ramadan, Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada combined defiant calls for the United States to get out of Afghanistan with more conciliatory messages. ‘The occupation is the main obstacle in the way of peace,’ he said, in comments which echoed similar messages the movement has sent in the past. While not explicitly acknowledging the recent debate in Washington over U.S. policy in Afghanistan, the message appeared to address several of the arguments made for maintaining or even boosting support for the Western-backed government in Kabul.”
Reuters: Pakistan Decries Drone Strikes On Its Soil, As U.S. Considers More
“Pakistan on Thursday condemned drone strikes on its soil as violations of sovereignty, after U.S. officials suggested Washington might ramp them up against Afghan Taliban taking refuge inside Pakistan. The foreign ministry statement also came a day after Pakistan said its forces had shot down an Iranian drone near its southwestern border with Iran. Washington claims Islamabad provides safe havens for the Afghan Taliban and other militants fighting the U.S.-backed government in Kabul, something Pakistan strongly denies. U.S. officials told Reuters this week Washington was hardening its stance toward Pakistan, and a new policy on Afghanistan could see an increase in drone attacks.”
Reuters: Afghanistan to hold elections in July next year
“Afghanistan will hold long-delayed parliamentary and district council elections on July 7, 2018, some three years after they were meant to take place, the country’s Independent Election Commission said on Thursday. Najibullah Ahmadzai, chairman of the Independent Election Commission (IEC), announced the date at a news conference in Kabul. He said the success of the polls would depend on proper funding and security. ‘The government has the responsibility to prepare the budget. Security of the election will be the responsibility of the government and security agencies,’ he said. Preparations for the polls were hit by infighting within a government struggling to contain the Taliban insurgency.”
Saudi Arabia
The Washington Post: Who Is Saudi Arabia’s New Crown Prince?
“The elevation of Mohammed bin Salman to crown prince of Saudi Arabia is a calculated risk with potentially enormous consequences for the kingdom. If he succeeds with his vision to transform the Saudi economy by 2030 and reduce the country’s reliance on oil revenue, the crown prince — widely known as MBS — could enjoy a reign that lasts for decades, given that he only turns 32 in August and could take Saudi Arabia well into midcentury. Were this to happen, the future King Mohammed would go down as the ruler who renewed his kingdom and regarded as the 21st-century equivalent of his grandfather, Abdulaziz, whom he so closely resembles physically.”
The Hill: Saudi Arabia Demands Qatar Shut Down Al-Jazeera, Cut Ties With Iran
“Saudi Arabia and several other Arab nations have demanded that Qatar shutter the broadcasting network Al-Jazeera, cut diplomatic ties with Iran, and close Turkey’s air base in the country, the Associated Press reported Thursday night. The list of demands was released by Kuwait, which is helping mediate the dispute. The list demanded that Qatar end all military cooperation with Turkey as well as an unspecified sum of money. According to the document, the country has 10 days to meet the list of demands. The U.S. has been pushing Saudi Arabia and the other nations to release their demands.”
Reuters: Egypt To Extend State Of Emergency For Three Months
“Egypt will extend a national state of emergency for three months after the government approved President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s proposal to do so, the cabinet said on Thursday, amid an ongoing militant campaign against a Christian minority. Parliament unanimously approved a three-month state of emergency in April, broadening the power of authorities to crack down on what they call enemies of the state after two church bombings killed at least 45. The state of emergency, which would have expired at the end of June, has been extended by three months, cabinet statement showed, meaning it will now last at least until the end of September.”
Reuters: Egypt’s Police Kill Seven In Connection To Violence Against Christians
“Egyptian police have killed seven people in connection to recent violence against Christians that included three church bombings and a shooting which left around 100 people dead, the Interior Ministry said on Thursday. Police found militants hiding in a desert training camp ‘as part of the ministry’s efforts to track down fugitive terrorist elements involved in violence witnessed by the country recently, including targeting the Christian community and their places of worship,’ it said in a statement. Security forces attempted to arrest the men who opened fire. Police returned fire and have so far found seven bodies as well as weapons, a motorcycle, and military uniforms.”
Middle East
The Times Of Israel: After Attacks, Officials Seek ‘Unprecedented’ Damascus Gate Security Boost
“Israel is planning to significantly beef up security at the Damascus Gate entrance to Jerusalem’s Old City following several deadly attacks in the area over the past two years, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Thursday. ‘Murderers have gathered at this gate time after time, attacking time after time,” the prime minister said at an event in Bat Yam. “It has become a symbol of terror.’ On Friday, three Palestinian men carried out a stabbing and shooting attack near the gate, killing border guard Hadas Malka and inured four others. Security has been significantly ramped up since at the site, the main entrance into the Old City for many East Jerusalem Muslims as well as ultra-Orthodox Jews, with Arabs subjected to pat downs and searches.”
Newsweek: Israel’s Next War On Lebanon Will Kill Civilians, Air Force Commander Says
“The head of Israel’s air force said that the military was prepared to launch another, surprise war against neighboring Lebanon if necessary and that, despite plans for a mass evacuation of civilians, innocent people were likely to die. Israeli Major General Amir Eshel told a security conference Wednesday that Israel was keeping a close eye on the Lebanese Shiite Muslim militant group and political party Hezbollah and its deep involvement in Syria, where its fighters are obtaining high-tech weaponry and crucial battle experience. Israel considers the Hezbollah a terrorist organization and has launched two previous incursions into Lebanon that were ultimately countered by the militants.”
The Times Of Israel: Iranian Regime-Linked Media Claims Israeli F16s Are In Saudi Arabia
“A regime-linked Iranian news agency claimed Thursday that Israel has sent fighter jets to Saudi Arabia to help the new Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman stave off a possible coup by ousted ex-crown prince Mohammed bin Nayef. The startling claim — which was not sourced, not even anonymously, came in an article in the semi-official Fars News Agency. The piece, dramatically headlined ‘18 Israeli Fighter Jets Deployed in S. Arabia to Prevent Coup,’ also makes other rather dramatic assertions, including that bin Salman bribed US President Donald Trump to the tune of $56 million, and that Riyadh has paid the US ‘several trillion dollars… to protect its crown.’”
United Kingdom
USA Today: UK Terror: 4 Attacks, But 5 Plots Thwarted Since March
“Britain is experiencing ‘a new phase of global terrorism,’ Home Secretary Amber Rudd said Thursday while revealing that five possible terrorist attacks were thwarted since the March car-and-knife assault outside Parliament. The figures, announced during Rudd’s address to the House of Commons, come as Britain has experienced four terrorist attacks in the past three months that killed 36 people and injured more than 150. Between June 2013 and the March attack on Westminster Bridge, 13 plots were foiled.”
BBC News: UK Terror Attacks: Home Secretary Says Police Stretched
“Terror attacks in the UK over the past three months have left police resources pulled ‘very tight’, the home secretary has said. Amber Rudd said an emergency counter-terrorism plan could not continue ‘indefinitely’ but added that she would not rush to release extra money. She said she would liaise with senior officers to make sure the government comes up with the ‘right response’. It follows three attacks in London and one in Manchester. It is the first time a senior government minister has publicly accepted how stretched police are because of the heightened risk from terrorism, BBC Home Affairs Correspondent Danny Shaw said.”
Politico: German Government To Spy On Encrypted Messaging Services
“The German parliament on Thursday voted into law a bill allowing the government to hack into encrypted messaging services during certain criminal investigations, charting new territory in the field of online law enforcement. The bill passed with support from the grand coalition of Conservatives (CDU/CSU) and Social Democrats (SPD), with the exception of two SPD lawmakers who voted no. The environmentalist Green Party and the far-left Die Linke opposed the bill. Until now, German investigators could tap into a suspect’s SMS communication and regular phone conversations, provided the alleged crime was severe enough. However, they were barred from surveilling messages sent via end-to-end encryption services like WhatsApp, Signal or Threema.”
Deutsche Welle: Bundestag Cancels German Government Funding Of Non-Democratic Parties
“A majority of 502 of 579 delegates in the German Bundestag voted Thursday in favor of amending the country’s constitution to deprive anti-democratic political parties of federal money. One of the first groups likely to be affected by the new rules is the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD), which received 1.1 million euros ($1.2 million) last year. German Justice Minister Heiko Maas was pleased with the constitutional amendment. ‘The state is under no obligation to finance enemies of democracy,’ Maas said in a statement just ahead of the vote. ‘Devoting tax money to the NPD is a direct state investment in radical right-wing incitement.’”
The Washington Post: French Leader Macron Proposes Big Expansion Of His Counterterrorism Powers
“President Emmanuel Macron’s government on Thursday proposed a significant expansion of authorities’ powers to fight terrorism, alarming civil liberties advocates even as defenders said the plans would help keep French citizens safe. The draft law was introduced after a series of attempted terrorist strikes in Paris and Brussels in recent weeks and several bloody attacks in Britain that were claimed by Islamic State-inspired militants. Those have prompted European leaders to search ­urgently for new strategies to combat terrorism.”
Fox News: Champs-Elysees Attacker Was Questioned In Turkey Over Large Cache Of Weapons, Prosecutor Says
“The man accused of being behind the attempted Paris attack at Champ Elysees several times traveled to Turkey, where he was once questioned over large amounts of gold, jewelry and weapons in his possession, the Paris prosecutor said Thursday. Prosecutor Francois Molins said during a news conference that Adam Djaziri had pledged his allegiance to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a letter written in the form of a will and dated the day before the June 19 attack. In the letter, Djaziri said he practiced shooting ‘to prepare for jihad.’”
Reuters: French Special Forces Not Specifically Targeting Jihadis: Chief
“The head of France’s special forces said on Thursday his units were directly involved in street battles in Mosul’s Old City but denied they were specifically targeting French-born jihadis fighting for Islamic State. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that French citizens had been killed by Iraqi artillery and ground troops using location coordinates and other intelligence supplied by French special forces during the battle to drive the extremist group from the Iraqi city of Mosul. About 700 French nationals are fighting in Islamic State ranks in Iraq and Syria. French officials have in the past said their priority on the ground was to ensure they did not return to their homeland to carry out attacks.”
Associated Press: EU Leaders To Weigh Terrorism, Defense Ties, Migration
“European Union leaders are gathering Thursday to weigh measures to tackle terrorism, closer defense ties and migration, convinced that anti-EU sentiment and support for populist parties are waning. Ahead of the two-day meeting in Brussels, summit chairman Donald Tusk trumpeted the resurgence of the EU, even as Britain launched talks this week on leaving. Tusk told the leaders in an invitation letter that after a series of election defeats for anti-migrant parties, notably in France, the EU is ‘slowly turning the corner.’ ‘We are witnessing the return of the EU rather as a solution, not a problem,’ he wrote. French President Emmanuel Macron, attending his first summit, warned countries against defying Europe’s principles and values, as some eastern European states challenge the bloc’s refugee-sharing scheme, which was adopted with a legally binding majority vote.”
Newsweek: ISIS Supporters Likely Targeting Singapore For Attacks, Report Suggests
“Supporters of the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) have signaled that that group considers Singapore part of its self-defined territory, which means foreign fighters could consider the city state as a greater target analysts have warned. Intelligence analyst Jasminder Singh picked up chatter on social media that singled out countries or territories that ISIS see as part of its ‘wilayah’ (or province) in the region. Singh also noted in his paper, published by the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies June 15, that ISIS supporters were talking about Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Japan in similar terms.”


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