Eye on Extremism, July 11, 2017

Newsweek: War In Iraq: Isis Trapped Families Inside Homes Rigged With Bombs To Use Civilians As Human Shields
“The Islamic State militant group (ISIS) welded the doors shut of civilian homes and used improvised explosive devices (IED) to trap the population of Mosul as a human shield during the U.S.-backed offensive to liberate the city, Amnesty International says.  A report by the human rights organization this week details how ISIS carried out a systematic campaign of forced displacement in the Mosul area since October 2016, moving thousands of civilians from neighboring villages into districts under ISIS control. These civilians were then used as human shields.”
The New York Times: Iraq’s Moment Of Celebration Is One Of Deeper Risk, Too
“The fighting is all but over in Mosul, and the billboards are already up: hastily raised signs in which the government urged the city’s Sunni residents to ‘turn the page’ from the terrorists of the Islamic State. As Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi visited Mosul to declare victory and call for unity, civilians on the longer-secured east side of the city danced and waved Iraqi flags. Some called for brotherhood between Sunnis and Shiites, or chanted, ‘By our souls and blood, we sacrifice for you, Iraq!’ It is a moment for Iraqis to celebrate after nearly nine months of bloody warfare against the Sunni extremists of the Islamic State.”
ABC News: Islamic State Built In Staying Power With Global Jihadis
“The Islamic State group’s mix of a local insurgency and digitally-connected global jihadis gives the group staying power and the means to relaunch its future, from small cells of extremists escaping the war zone in Iraq and Syria to those who never went there in the first place. The impending loss of Mosul and Raqqa cuts out the urban heart of its self-proclaimed caliphate, but the extremist organization has built-in plans to endure and has shown a degree of flexibility that will be difficult to counteract. For more than a year, Islamic State has acknowledged the possibility of losing the territory that propelled it to the forefront of the global jihadi movement — and drew thousands of foreign fighters.”
CNN: Exclusive: The Secret Documents That Help Explain The Qatar Crisis
“Qatar made a series of secret agreements with its Gulf neighbors in 2013 and 2014 barring support for opposition and hostile groups in those nations, as well as in Egypt and Yemen. The existence of the agreements has been known, but both the content and the documents themselves were kept secret due to the sensitivity of the issues involved and the fact that they were agreed in private by heads of state. The agreements were exclusively obtained by CNN from a source from the region with access to the documents. The Gulf countries have accused Qatar of not complying with the two agreements, which helps explain what sparked the worst diplomatic crisis in the Middle East in decades.”
Reuters: U.S. Army Soldier Arrested In Hawaii On Terrorism Charges
“A U.S. Army sergeant stationed in Hawaii after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan was charged on Monday with attempting to provide material support to Islamic State extremists, including a drone aircraft and combat training instructions. Ikaika Erik Kang, 34, an air traffic control specialist who also had extensive military training in hand-to-hand combat, was arrested by the FBI on Saturday following a year-long undercover probe, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. An FBI affidavit filed in court with the criminal complaint summarized a lengthy sting operation employing several undercover agents and other ‘confidential human sources’ who posed as Islamic State operatives and sympathizers.”
Reuters: Al Qaeda supporter pleads guilty to seeking Ohio judge’s murder
“An Indian citizen pleaded guilty in a U.S. court on Monday to conspiring to aid an al Qaeda leader in Yemen and attempting to pay an undercover FBI agent $15,000 to murder a U.S. federal judge, authorities said. Yahya Farooq Mohammad, 39, who studied engineering at Ohio State University from 2002 to 2004 and married a U.S. citizen in 2008, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Toledo to one count of conspiracy to provide and conceal material support to terrorists and one count of solicitation to commit a crime of violence, the Department of Justice said in a statement.”
CNN: CNN Exclusive: Somali Pirate Kings Are Under Investigation For Helping ISIS And Al-Shabaab

“In the vital transport corridors of the troubled Gulf of Aden, an old but dangerous adversary has returned to the seas — pirates. But they may not be acting alone. Four years since piracy attacks reached their peak, CNN sources have found threats on Somali waters are broader than ever. CNN has learned that the United Nations and the United States are investigating at least two pirate kingpins for providing material support to terror groups. That material support includes helping factions of the two terror groups, al Qaeda linked al-Shabaab and Somalia’s ISIS faction, who ironically despise each other, smuggle weapons and perhaps even people across the Gulf of Aden.”

United States

NPR: Tillerson Arrives In Kuwait, Opening Days-Long Dialogue On Qatar Standoff
“Secretary of State Rex Tillerson touched down in Kuwait City on Monday, opening a series of talks aimed at ending a diplomatic impasse between Qatar and four of its Arab neighbors. The trip this week will take Tillerson from Kuwait to Qatar, then on to Saudi Arabia. The Saudis, together with Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, moved last month to isolate Qatar for its alleged ties to terrorist organizations. They also hit the peninsula nation with a 13-point list of steep demands. Qatar, for its part, has rejected the allegations and has refused to comply with the ultimatum.”
Reuters: Tillerson Says U.S. And Turkey Starting To Mend Relations
“The Trump administration is starting to repair ties with NATO ally Turkey, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Monday, without acknowledging Washington still pursued some policies that have been the focus of tension. Tillerson’s comments came a day after he met Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan for talks on regional security issues, including U.S. backing for Kurdish Syrian YPG forces fighting to drive Islamic State from their Raqqa stronghold. ‘I think we’re beginning to rebuild some of that trust that we lost in one another. They lost our trust to a certain extent, we lost theirs,’ Tillerson, in Istanbul for an international petroleum conference, told U.S. consulate staff members.”
The Hill: Trump Advisers Sought Alternative Plans For Afghanistan From Military Contractors
“Top Trump advisers recruited two businessmen with backgrounds in military contracting to come up with alternative plans for Afghanistan, the New York Times reported Monday. Blackwater Worldwide founder Erik D. Prince and DynCorp owner Stephen A. Feinberg have floated proposals to use contractor instead of U.S. military forces in Afghanistan. According to the Times report, they have presented their alternatives to the Pentagon’s plan to send thousands more troops to Afghanistan to chief strategist Stephen Bannon and senior advisor and Trump son-on-law Jared Kushner.”
BBC News: Mosul: US Commander Says Iraq Must Stop Islamic State 2.0
“The senior US commander in Iraq has warned that the war against the so-called Islamic State (IS) is not over, despite a ‘historic’ victory in Mosul. Lt Gen Stephen Townsend told the BBC there were still IS fighters in Iraq. He said the government should now reach out to Iraq’s Sunnis to stop the jihadist group from renewing itself. ‘If we’re to keep… ISIS 2.0 from emerging, the Iraqi government is going to have to do something pretty significantly different,’ he said. ‘They’re going to have to reach out and reconcile with the Sunni population, and make them feel like their government in Baghdad represents them.’”
Syria
Reuters: Syrian Army, Militias Attack Rebels In Southeast Desert
“Syrian troops and Iranian-backed militias launched an assault on Bedouin villages in southeast Syria on Monday to consolidate control of a swathe of desert stretching to the Iraqi border, Western-backed rebels said. The rebels said they came under attack at dawn in a sparsely populated desert area that lies east of the pro-government controlled city of Sweida, mainly inhabited by the Druze minority. The air and ground offensive, backed by Russian air power, was waged on eight villages from Tal Asfar to Tlul al Shuhaib that had been seized at the end of March by Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels from Islamic State after the hardline militants had retreated to regroup further north.”
Radio Free Europe: UN Envoy Launches New Round Of Syria Talks Amid Cease-Fire
“The UN’s envoy for Syria has opened a new round of indirect peace talks in Geneva between Syrian government representatives and opposition leaders. Speaking at the start of five days of peace talks, Staffan de Mistura told a news conference on July 10 that agreements to de-escalate the fighting in Syria could simplify the conflict and lead to a phase of stabilizing the country, but such deals must be an interim measure and avoid partition. The start of the seventh round of talks coincided with the first full day of a cease-fire for southern Syria that was brokered last week by the United States, Russia, and Jordan.”
The New York Times: Truce In Part Of Syria, Announced By Trump, Survives First Day
“Representatives of Syria’s warring parties gathered in Geneva on Monday for the seventh round of peace talks, as a limited truce, negotiated by their big-power backers, appeared to be holding for a full day in southwest Syria, according to local residents and human rights monitors. The cease-fire, negotiated by the United States, Russia and Jordan, applies to a strategic area across southwest Syria, near its border with Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The choice of southwest Syria for a truce reflected the relative stability of the front lines in the area and the small number of extremist fighters among the rebels who could act as spoilers, according to an official involved in the negotiations. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the news media.”
Iraq
Reuters: Amnesty Says Iraq And Allies Violated International Law In Mosul Battle
“Amnesty International said on Tuesday it had identified a pattern of attacks by Iraqi forces and the U.S.-led military coalition backing them in the battle for Mosul that violated international humanitarian law and may amount to war crimes. The rights group said in a report that the Islamic State militant group had flagrantly violated that same law by deliberately putting civilians in harm’s way to shield their fighters and impede the advance of Iraqi and coalition forces. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory in Mosul on Monday, three years after Islamic State seized the city and made it the stronghold of a ‘caliphate’ they said would take over the world.”
The Washington Post: Battle Of Mosul: How Iraqi Forces Defeated The Islamic State
“Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared the city of Mosul liberated from Islamic State control on Sunday, a watershed moment in the U.S.-backed Iraqi military campaign against the extremist group. The battle, which stretched nine months, was marked by fierce urban combat, the discovery of Islamic State atrocities and the use of small drones, ‘Mad Max’-style suicide vehicles and other tactics that prompted U.S. and Iraqi forces to adapt their operations as they fought. The primarily Sunni city, with an original population of more than 2.5 million, was the biggest prize claimed by the Islamic State in its violent, chaotic sweep across northern and western Iraq in 2014. Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a caliphate from Mosul’s Great Mosque of al-Nuri, which the Islamic State blew up June 22 as Iraqi forces closed in.”
Newsweek: U.S., Iran, Syria And Russia Finally Agree: Iraq’s Victory Over ISIS Praised Around The World
“Countries around the world, including U.S. allies and rivals, have come together in congratulating Iraq for its recent victory over the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) in its former stronghold. Amid sporadic fighting between security forces and remaining pockets of jihadist resistance, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi arrived Sunday in Iraq’s second city of Mosul, the largest city by far once controlled by ISIS, to congratulate his armed forces and officially declare the defeat of ISIS, BBC News reported. The nearly nine-month-long campaign to dislodge the ultraconservative Sunni Muslim group from the city has been regarded as one of the largest battles of the 21st century, and its conclusion has been met with worldwide praise.”
Turkey
Reuters: Kurdish Fighters Say They Clash With Turkish Forces In Northwest Syria
“Syrian Kurdish fighters clashed with Turkish forces shelling Kurdish-held towns in northwest Syria on Monday, Kurdish officials said. A spokesman for the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia in Afrin region, Rojhat Roj, said the Turkish military and Syrian rebels it supports shelled Tal Rifaat, Sheikh Issa and other towns north of Aleppo city. The bombardment with ‘artillery and rocket launchers’ killed two people and injured seven, he said. Kurdish fighters and allied groups retaliated and firing was continuing.There was no immediate comment from the Turkish army.”
Afghanistan
The Wall Street Journal: Pakistan And Afghanistan Look To Coordinate On Counterterrorism
“Kabul and Islamabad have agreed to work on a mechanism to jointly combat insurgents along their shared border, cooperating more closely than they have in years as the U.S. prepares to ramp up its troop numbers in Afghanistan, according to Pakistani and Afghan officials. The move, seen as necessary to halting the flow of fighters fueling a Taliban insurgency, would be an important step in the struggle to stabilize Afghanistan.”
Yemen
NPR: Suspected Cholera Cases Pass 300,000 In Yemen, Red Cross Says
“The cholera outbreak in Yemen marked a grim milestone Monday, as the International Committee of the Red Cross announced there are now more than 300,000 suspected cases of the disease in the country. The epidemic has claimed more than 1,600 lives in roughly 10 weeks and ‘continues to spiral out of control,’ according to the agency. In late June, the World Health Organization declared the epidemic in the war-torn nation ‘the worst cholera outbreak in the world.’ At that point, the WHO placed the number of cases at more than 200,000. Robert Mardini, the Red Cross regional director for the Middle East, says the epidemic is now growing by about 7,000 new cases per day.”

Egypt

Reuters: Security Forces Kill Six Suspected Militants In Shootout In Southern Egypt
“Egyptian security forces have killed six suspected militants sympathetic to Islamic State in a shooutout in the southern province of Assiut, an Interior Ministry said on Monday. A ministry statement said security forces were carrying out a raid on the group’s apartment in Assiut when a firefight ensued in which all six militants were killed. It did not say when the incident took place. The apartment was ‘an organizational base where (the group) was preparing to carry out a series of terrorist operations in the provinces,’ the statement said. Egypt faces an Islamist insurgency led by the Islamic State group in the Sinai Peninsula, where hundreds of soldiers and police have been killed since 2013.”
Middle East
Reuters: Arab States Seek To Step Up Pressure On Qatar Over 2013 Accord
“Four Arab states sought on Monday to pile pressure on Qatar over charges it backs terrorism, saying the publication of a previously secret accord between Riyadh and Doha showed Qatar broke a promise not to meddle in the affairs of Gulf countries. The text of the 2013 agreement, whose existence was known but whose contents have never before been made public, was first published by CNN on Monday and later released on social media by Saudi officials. In a joint statement, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt said the publication of the accord, meant to settle a previous dispute between Qatar and its Gulf neighbors, ‘confirms beyond any doubt Qatar’s failure to meet its commitments and its full violation of its pledges.’”
The Times Of Israel: Hamas Team Reportedly In Cairo For Prisoner Swap Talks
“Hamas delegation led by the deputy commander of the group’s military wing, Marwan Issa, is reportedly in Cairo to hold talks on a possible prisoner exchange with Israel. Countering Israeli denials, an unnamed Palestinian source told the London-based Arabic Al-Hiyat newspaper reported Monday that negotiations have ‘come a long way.’ Hamas, an Islamist terror group, is believed to be holding three Israeli men who crossed into the coastal territory of their own accord: Avraham Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, as well as Juma Ibrahim Abu Ghanima, whose presence in Gaza is unconfirmed.”
The Times Of Israel: Soldier Hurt In Apparent West Bank Ramming Attack
“A soldier was moderately wounded in a suspected car ramming attack outside the Palestinian village of Teqoa on Monday, medical officials said. The driver of the vehicle was shot dead by security forces at a junction on the road between the settlements of Tekoa and Efrat in the central West Bank south of Jerusalem, the army said. The injured soldier was approximately 20 years old. He suffered moderate wounds and received treatment at the scene by both civilian and military medics, the Magen David Adom ambulance service said in a statement.”
Newsweek: War Tourism: Israeli Holiday Camps Give Live Demonstrations Of Suicide Bombings And Knife Attacks
“Tourists who want to get their pulses racing and face their darkest fears are flocking to Israel to experience simulated suicide bombings and stabbings. Fantasy anti-terrorism camps have set up shop in Israel and a West Bank settlement to cater for tens of thousands of tourists who want to experience one of the world’s most intractable conflicts, at least in simulation, Haaretz reported.They are taught combat skills and counter terror tactics from former Israeli officers, in most cases graduates of elite units.”
Nigeria
Newsweek: ‘Make America Safe Again:’ President Trump Receives Support From Nigerian Girls Kidnapped By Boko Haram
“Don’t let the critics bring you down. That was the essence of the message two young Nigerians had for President Donald Trump at a recent meeting in the White House. The two girls know a lot about turmoil and despair. Joy Bishara and Lydia Pogu were among 276 girls kidnapped from their school in Chibok, northeast Nigeria, by Boko Haram militants in April 2014. The pair were among dozens who managed to escape in the immediate aftermath of the kidnapping, jumping from trucks after the Islamist militants rounded them up and tried to bring the girls to their forest hideout. But while more than 150 have escaped or been freed, 113 of the so-called Chibok girls remain in captivity.”
United Kingdom
CNN: UK Video Offers Vacationers Advice On How To Survive Terror Attack
“As millions of people in the UK prepare to take off on vacation at home or abroad, British counter-terrorism police have released a public information video about what to do in the event of a terror attack. The video, with its ‘Run, Hide, Tell’ message, shows scenes of a mythical hotel under fire, in a chilling reminder of a deadly armed assault on British sunbathers in Tunisia two years ago. The film depicts tourists relaxing before gunmen attack the hotel, and then shows the holidaymakers and hotel staff trying to escape. The video also tells people what to do when police storm the building.”
Germany
Politico: Rare Bipartisan Unity In Germany On Post-Hamburg Extremist Database
“In the ongoing blame game over who’s responsible for the violent fisticuffs that marred the weekend’s G20 gathering in Hamburg, the left and right in Germany seem to agree on one thing: the need for a database on leftist extremists. Members of the Social Democrats and the center-right called on the EU and Berlin to gather information about anti-globalization militants, as both currently do about right-wing extremists and suspected terrorists. ‘We need a comprehensive file on extremists, namely a Europe-wide one,’ Eva Högl, vice chairman of the Social Democratic parliamentary group, told the local newspaper Rheinische Post (RP) on Monday. ‘Then the authorities would have a better overview of violent criminals.’”
Europe
USA Today: Why Europe Has A Greater Terror Problem Than The United States
“Recent terror attacks in the United States are far less common than in Europe, and Americans can thank geography and assimilation for that. There were 100 attacks that killed 97 people in the U.S. in 2015-2016, compared to 604 attacks that claimed 383 victims in Western Europe during the same time period, according to the University of Maryland’s Global Terrorism Database. ‘There are oceans separating North America from the main conflict zones in the Middle East and Africa,’ where recent terrorists have been radicalized, said Phil Gurski, a former Canadian intelligence analyst who runs a threat and risk consulting firm. ‘It is far easier for extremists to get to Italy from Libya than it is for them to go from Libya to Canada or the U.S.’”
USA Today: You’d Be Surprised By The Trend In Europe’s Terrorist Attacks
“A truck rampage kills 86 on Nice’s famed French Riviera. Carefully coordinated mass shootings leave 130 dead at cafes and at a Paris concert hall. Eight die in a stabbing spree outside pubs and restaurants in London. A low-tech suicide bomb in Manchester aimed at teenagers causes 22 deaths. These high-profile attacks in Western Europe have triggered the terror the Muslim perpetrators intended, produced massive media coverage, unleashed a backlash against Islam and propelled governments to devote huge resources to prevent future random assaults on their citizens.”
Reuters: Austria Drafts Law To Let Police Access Messaging Data
“Austria is pursuing plans to give police authority to monitor messaging services such as WhatsApp (FB.O) and Skype in an attempt to ‘close the gap’ on criminals who increasingly avoid communicating via telephone. The government asked political, technology, civil rights and legal experts to review draft legislation that would give it authority to monitor real-time conversations using new messaging services and applications, Justice Ministry officials told Reuters on Monday. Such surveillance would be permitted only with a court order in investigations into terrorist activities or other crimes punishable by at least five years in prison, one of the officials said.”
ISIS
24: ISIS uses “brokers” to recruit youth in Egypt
“Jihadi sources revealed that inside Cairo ISIS uses a group of “brokers” roving between the various Islamists groups, especially supporters of Salafism, the Islamic Group, and Takfir wal-Hijra groups. Their job is to lure and recruit young people to the group based on their ‘power of persuasion’ and the ability to influence people’s thoughts and minds according to the jihadist vision. The jihadi sources pointed out that these roving “ISIS brokers” have so far succeeded in attracting under-20-year-old Egyptians thanks to the ease in which they influence their thoughts and “sell” them ISIS’s ideology without engaging in argument or objection. This is either because young people are often unable to distinguish between fact and fiction, or due to their insufficient knowledge of Islamic thought. The jihadist sources claimed that ISIS intermediaries or their proxies boast of certain qualities, especially the ability to influence and persuade. Their Arabic is excellent, and they use citations {from the Koran} to confirm the validity of their corrupt logic. They rely on religious discourse, which is different from the official discourse provided by the State through Al-Azhar and the Ministry of Endowments. These ISIS agents focus on concepts related to murder, assassination and the destruction of state institutions.”
Muslim Brotherhood
Sout Alomma: Seizure of five commercial entities owned by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt’s Fayoum
“Fayoum Security Directorate launched a major {counter-terror} campaign, led by Gen. Khaled Shalaby, Assistant of Egypt’s Minister of Interior and Director of Fayoum Security, Major General Hossam Fawzi, Director of Criminal Investigation Department and chiefs of Yousef el Sedek and Shawshna police stations. The campaign resulted in the questioning and release of 34 suspects. Five business establishments owned by the Muslin Brotherhood were also investigated, and legal proceedings are under way.”
Ahl Misr News: Egypt: Professor exploits his position to print Muslim Brotherhood publications at the university’s expense
“The owner of Aldar Al Mohamadia Printing House in Toukh, Al Qalyubiyah province, filed a complaint to the officials at the Faculty of Law at Ain Shams University. The complaint is against Dr. Mohammed Abu Al-Oula Aqidah, a Brotherhood-affiliated professor of criminal law. He refused to pay 13,000 pounds ($726) for printing books for the faculty until the printing house produced a propaganda brochure for the Muslim Brotherhood. It is worth mentioning that Dr. Aqidah’s son is a fugitive Takfiri who was sentenced to death in absentia in Case no. 2013199.”
Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (Al-Nusra Front)
Albawabh News: Sale of prisoners to finance terrorist acts
“Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, previously called Al-Nusra Front, the military arm of al-Qaeda, has adopted a new method to finance its terrorist activities in Syria. This comes after its recent plunge into a severe financial crisis due to its abandonment by financiers of the Syrian opposition movements. Their repudiation was a result of Jabhat Fateh al-Sham’s affiliation with al-Qaeda. Hence, the new method adopted by the group is to finance itself through the sale of its prisoners in return for large sums of money. The sale is made to parties interested in releasing them, primarily their families, relatives or the factions the prisoners were affiliated with. The sale has commenced under the banner of “ransom.” A few days ago, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham sold one of its prisoners for $50k.”
Houthi

Al-Tagheer: Houthi group uses money to buy tribal loyalty

“Yemen’s Houthi group is plotting to buy the loyalty of as many tribal elders as possible, using public funds it seized forcibly. The group channels the revenues from the areas it controls to its coffers under the banner of “the war effort” while declining to pay salaries to public employees. Yemeni sources assert that the Houthi militias are working to unravel the national and social fabric of the country. The removal of sheikhs not loyal to them has become one of the Houthis’ priorities, especially in the areas surrounding Sanaa. The sources stressed that gaining the allegiance of the tribes around Sanaa constitutes an important mission for the Houthis due to their wish to keep Sanaa and other adjacent provinces under their control.”

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