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India, Pakistan, Philippines among 5 countries with most terrorist attacks in 2017

(GULF NEWS) — Almost 59 per cent of all terrorist attacks in 2017 took place in five Asian countries, including India and Pakistan, a US report said Thursday. The other three countries, according to the The annual State Department Country Report on Terrorism, include Afghanistan, Iraq and the Philippines.

The total number of terrorist attacks worldwide last year decreased by 23 per cent. Similarly, the total deaths due to terrorist violence decreased by 27 per cent, according to the report.

The decline in terrorist violence was largely due to dramatically fewer attacks and deaths in Iraq, Nathan Sales, State Department Coordinator of Counter-terrorism, said during a conference call with reporters on Thursday.

“Although terrorist attacks took place in 100 countries in 2017, they were concentrated geographically. Fifty-nine percent of all attacks took place in five countries. Those are Afghanistan, India, Iraq, Pakistan, and the Philippines. Similarly, 70 per cent of all deaths due to terrorist attacks took place in five countries, and those are Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Somalia, and Syria,” he said.

The report, he added, notes a number of major strides that the United States and its allies made to defeat and degrade terrorist organizations in 2017. “We worked with allies and partners around the world to expand information sharing, improve aviation security, enhance law enforcement and rule of law capacities, and to counter terrorist radicalization with a focus on preventing recruitment and recidivism,” Sales said.

However, despite these many successes, the terrorist landscape grew more complex in 2017, he said. “ISIS [Daesh – the extremist terrorist group], Al-Qaida, and their affiliates have proven to be resilient, determined, and adaptable,” Sales added. He said foreign terrorist fighters were heading home from the war zones in Iraq and Syria or traveling to third countries to join Daesh branches there.

“We also are experiencing an increase in attacks by home-grown terrorists – that is, people who have been inspired by Daesh but have never set foot in Syria or Iraq. We’ve seen Daesh-directed or Daesh-inspired attacks outside the war zone on soft targets and in public spaces like hotels, tourist resorts, and cultural sites,” Sales said.

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China defends mass internment of Muslim ethnic minorities

(VOA) — China is defending its mass internment of Muslim ethnic minorities, saying it is preventing terrorism by helping them improve job skills, by teaching them the Mandarin language and encouraging them to accept modern science.

A senior Chinese official made that argument in a report released Tuesday, the latest action in a broad campaign to defend its internment of Uighurs, Kazakhs and other minorities in the face of growing criticism.

The report, published by China’s official Xinhua News Agency, said the ruling Communist Party’s vision for the far western Xinjiang region is the assimilation of the indigenous Central Asian ethnic groups into Chinese culture and introducing them to a “modern” way of life.

Governor Shohrat Zakir said in the report the extrajudicial internment of the Muslims was an effort to provide “free vocational training” in centers. He said they are paid a “basic income” during the training and that free food and accommodations are provided.

China’s Communist Party has resisted Western pressure related to the internment camps. The resistance is seen as an indication of China’s growing faith in President Xi Jinping, the country’s most powerful leader in decades.

China has insisted that its vast police pursuit and surveillance program is needed to counter latent extremism and to maintain stability.

Former detainees have described the facilities as political indoctrination camps where they were forced to condemn Islam and declare loyalty to the Communist Party.

Turkik-speaking Uighurs have resented restrictions on their religious practices and have complained about widespread discrimination in the job market and obtaining access to passports.

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“We Try to Learn Every Terrorist Attack”: Inside the Top-Secret Israeli Anti-Terrorism Operation That’s Changing the Game

(VANITY FAIR) — Governments around the world are quietly turning to YAMAM, Israel’s special police force, for help with their most intractable security problems. And now, elite commandos publicly reveal the tactics that have made it one of the most fearsome counterterrorism units in the world.

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Report: White House counterterrorism strategy dismantles terrorist networks, stops recruitment

(LAS VEGAS NOW) — The threat of terrorism and how to fight it is the topic of a 25-page report released by the White House this month.

The report states how counterterrorism isn’t just about killing or capturing terrorists; it’s also about dismantling terrorist networks and stopping recruitment for their groups, which is tough, considering they have a major tool in the internet that allows them to connect with people.

“We will continue to work with friends and allies to deny radical Islamic terrorists any funding, territory or support, or any means of infiltrating our borders,” President Donald Trump said.

According to the National Strategy for Counterterrorism, today’s terrorist landscape made up of radical Islamic terrorist organizations like ISIS and Al Qaida, along with domestic terrorism, is more fluid and complex than ever. The more technology advances, the more cyber threats increase.

“In cyber warfare or cyber terrorism, it can affect the entire United States,” said Shannon Wilkinson, Axiom Cyber Solutions. “It’s kind of like the new arms race if you think about it. Cybersecurity or cyber is like the new tenant of warfare.”

Axiom Cyber Solutions is a Las Vegas-based company that works with businesses and public agencies to help protect them from cyber threats, and at times to respond to them once they’ve already been hit.

“Cyber is really like the new frontier,” Wilkinson said. “They’re all nation-state actors from China, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Russia, of course, and Ukraine, all trying to break into not only businesses.”

Terrorists are also using the internet to recruit. Wilkinson does public outreach at locations like schools. Her advice on cyber safety continues to evolve, just like the threats do.

“Just being kind of aware if your children are online; what are they doing? Who are they talking to? If they get sucked into one of these schemes where somebody is trying to recruit them overseas,” Wilkinson said.

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Is Saudi Arabia the Middle East’s Next Failed State?

(Consortium News) — By Daniel Lazare

Reports are growing that Muhammad bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s hyperactive crown prince, is losing his grip. His economic reform program has stalled since his father, King Salman, nixed plans to privatize 5 percent of Saudi Aramco. The Saudi war in Yemen, which the prince launched in March 2015, is more of a quagmire than ever while the kingdom’s sword rattling with Iran is making the region increasingly jumpy.

Heavy gunfire in Riyadh last April sparked rumors that MBS, as he’s known, had been killed in a palace coup. In May, an exiled Saudi prince urged top members of the royal family to oust him and put an end to his “irrational, erratic, and stupid” rule. Recently, Bruce Riedel, an ex-CIA analyst who heads up the Brookings Institution’s Intelligence Project, reported that the prince is so afraid for his life that he’s taken to spending nights on his yacht in the Red Sea port of Jeddah.

What does it all mean? The person to ask is Ibn Khaldun, the famous Tunisian historian, geographer, and social theorist. You might have trouble getting him on the phone, though, since he died in 1406. But he’s still the single best guide to the deepening Saudi crisis.

If you do somehow channel him, the message might be grim. In a nutshell, it’s that if MBS goes, he’ll likely take the Al-Saud with him, and that the people waiting in the wings will not be the “moderates” beloved of Washington, but ISIS and al-Qaida. A modern state bristling with shopping malls, superhighways, and high-tech weaponry thus will succumb to a ragtag militia riding Toyota pickups and waving AK-47s.

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ISIS’s Second Resurgence

(Institute for the Study of War) — The Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) is reconstituting a capable insurgent force in Iraq and Syria despite efforts to prevent its recovery by the U.S. Anti-ISIS Coalition. The U.S. Department of Defense stated in August 2018 that ISIS retains nearly 30,000 fighters across Iraq and Syria and is “more capable” than Al-Qaeda in Iraq – ISIS’s predecessor – at its peak in 2006 – 2007. ISIS is waging an effective campaign to reestablish durable support zones while raising funds and rebuilding command-and-control over its remnant forces. On its current trajectory, ISIS could regain sufficient strength to mount a renewed insurgency that once again threatens to overmatch local security forces in both Iraq and Syria. The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) is issuing a map update depicting ISIS’s current operating areas based on an analysis of its activity from January 1, 2018 to October 1, 2018.

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Jewish dreams of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital go back thousands of years

(NEW YORK POST) — In the Second century AD, Jewish rebels who had stunned the Romans and liberated a portion of Judea, overstruck imperial coins with images and a message of their own, “Year One of the Redemption of Jerusalem.”

The Roman emperor Hadrian had planted the seeds for the rebellion with his ambitions to remake Jerusalem, including the planned construction of a Temple to Jupiter on the site of the old Jewish Temple.

The leader of the Jewish rebellion, Bar Kokhba, was fired by a vision of a united Israel with Jerusalem as its capital that had been the exception during the prior millennium, thanks to the depredations of the Assyrians and Babylonians, among others. But such was the power of the national idea — and his messianic zeal — that Bar Kokhba ventured all on regaining it.

And lost. Not for nearly another 2,000 years would the vision come to fruition. At a ceremony in 1982 burying bones of some of those long-ago rebels with military honors, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin declared, ‘’Israel and Judea are reborn. We have redeemed Jerusalem.”

King David conquered the city in 1,000 BC and made it the capital of the kingdom of Israel. His son Solomon built the First Temple. “He who has not seen Jerusalem in her splendor has never seen a desirable city in his life,” declares the Babylonian Talmud. “He who has not seen the Temple in its full construction has never seen a glorious building in his life.”

But Jerusalem would repeatedly be captured and the Temple destroyed (first by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar and then by the Roman Emperor Titus).

The story of the Jewish people is one of loss, memory and faithfulness and persistence. Psalm 137 recounting the Babylonian captivity avers, “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.”

The Jewish people never forgot. In one of the miracles of our age, after long centuries of exile punctuated by genocide at the hands of the Nazis, they re-established Israel in 1948, and then gained control of all of Jerusalem in 1967 (prior to that, when Jordan held East Jerusalem, Jews couldn’t visit the Western Wall).

The notion that the City of David isn’t the capital of Israel was an impolite fiction, honored by the United States and the West for fear of provoking Arabs hostile to the very idea of the Jewish state. Its prime minister, parliament and highest court are based there, and it’s unimaginable that Israel would ever agree to any peace deal that didn’t recognize it as the capital.

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Slain Young Journalists Saw Their Work As A Way To Make Afghanistan A Better Place

(GANDHARA) — Radio Free Afghanistan journalist Abadullah Hananzai was furious on April 25 when he learned that a former colleague had been gunned down at a market in Kandahar in an apparent targeted killing.

“The murder of my former colleague at Kabul News, a great journalist named Abdul Manan Arghand, has greatly upset me,” Hananzai wrote in Pashto on his Facebook page. “Arghand is now a martyr for freedom of speech.”

It would be Hananzai’s last public Facebook post.

Hananzai and Radio Free Afghanistan video producer Sabawoon Kakar were among multiple journalists killed in a suicide bombing in Kabul on April 30. The journalists were covering an earlier suicide attack when a second bomber, disguised as a reporter, approached them and detonated his explosives.

Maharram Durrani, a 28-year-old university student who was training to become a journalist at the Kabul bureau of RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan, was also killed.

Claimed by Islamic State militants, the blasts killed at least 25 and injured 45. The Afghan Journalists Center said that, with nine reporters killed, it marked the deadliest attack against journalists in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001.

Abadullah Hananzai

Hananzai was a video journalist who had been working since October 2016 on an antinarcotics project at RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan — a project called Caravan Of Poison.

A graduate of Kabul University, Hananzai was 26 years old and was preparing to celebrate his first wedding anniversary on May 8.

He previously had worked for Kabul News and for Zhwandoon TV, as well as for the Educational and Cultural Center for Afghan Women.

Hananzai’s recent reports for RFE/RL focused on the social and economic implications of drug addiction in Afghanistan, as well as efforts by the Interior Ministry to crack down on international narcotics trafficking out of Afghanistan.

One of Hananzai’s last Facebook posts was a message in English on April 19 and a photograph taken of himself in the compound of Radio Free Afghanistan’s Kabul bureau shortly after a rainstorm.

“Feeling fantastic. I find Peace in the Rain,” Hananzai said.

Sabawoon Kakar

Kakar was one of the first journalists to arrive at the scene of the first suicide bombing in Kabul on the morning of April 30.

He died from his injuries at a hospital in Kabul several hours after the second blast.

Kakar was a key member of Radio Free Afghanistan’s video team over the past five years.

His work included feature stories about social issues in Afghanistan — such as the status of women’s cricket in the country — as well as news about counterterrorism operations and security issues.

Kakar’s last video report was on April 29 — a package he produced with RFE/RL reporters in the northern Afghan province of Baghlan about a battle between Afghan security forces and Taliban militants.

“He was often covering the aftermath of suicide attacks and other dangerous spot news situations,” said Qadir Habib, a senior editor for Radio Free Afghanistan. “He was a brave man who was never afraid to cover dangerous stories.”

On his Facebook page, Kakar declared that despite bombing attacks against voter registration centers in Kabul, he had registered and planned to vote in Afghanistan’s October 20 parliamentary elections.

The 30-year-old Kakar, a native of Kabul, died one day before his fifth anniversary as an RFE/RL journalist. He is survived by his wife and a two-year-old son.

Maharram Durrani was a third-year student of Islamic law at Kabul University who was just starting her career as a journalist.

Durrani was being trained to take part in the weekly woman’s program RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan — a job she was due to start on May 15.

She previously worked for an Afghan online music channel called Radio Salam Watandar.

“When I began working in media, one of my first bosses asked me why I was studying Islamic law but working in media,” Durrani told RFE/RL during a February phone-in program.

“He said these are not related subjects. But I said, ‘No, that’s not true’,” Durrani explained. “It’s very much related because the media can provide information to all people.”

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Can Islamization Be Rolled Back Without Eroding Civil Liberties?

(GATES OF VIENNA) — The following essay is based on a series of comments that emerged in the thread accompanying Part 1 of El Inglés’ recent three-part essay on the Pakistanis (see also Part 2 and Part 3).

Note: In the remarks below I write as if from a European point of view. I have been specializing in European affairs for so long that I have “gone native”: when considering the issues of mass immigration and Islamization, I tend to examine the situation in Western Europe to get a sense of the way we are headed.

Things are different here in the USA — we are careening towards the same cliff as the Europeans, but we are a right good ways behind them. As a result, America may be able to avoid the catastrophic future that faces Europe. Or, if Western Europe turns it around and follows El Inglés’ advice, we’ll be able to model our responses on theirs and escape martial law or civil war or revolution or whatever nasty outcome would await us otherwise.

But Western Europe will not have the luxury of returning to the idyllic status quo of 1955-2000. My contention is that things have gone too far down the multicultural primrose path for Europeans to be spared an illiberal outcome. The niceties of civil society will evaporate, no matter what. They will either be blown away by the imposition of sharia, or at the very least they will be reduced by whatever authoritarian regime emerges to resist the sharia.

There are no other choices.

Our situation in the West is similar to that of the Hindus who eventually became Sikhs, and violently resisted the Islamic invasion. Will we develop our own version of Sikhism? Or will we simply become the European version of Persia/Afghanistan/Pakistan/Indonesia?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A number of commenters on El Inglés’ posts objected to the idea of the draconian actions against Pakistanis that he proposed. They observed, correctly, that these things cannot be done without abrogating the civil liberties of at least some of the targets. They also noted that innocent Pakistanis — those few who do not oppress women, take little white girls as sex slaves, and engage in welfare fraud for their livelihood — would be caught up and punished along with the guilty ones. El Inglés addressed these objections in the conclusion of Part 3, but his answers evidently failed to assuage the fears of his critics.

We’ve been discussing these issues in this space for at least a dozen years. Time was short when the conversation started, and it is far shorter now. Back then we were at five minutes to twelve; today it may be five seconds to twelve.

Any solution that does not rend the civil fabric of our societies must be devised VERY quickly. Bear in mind that such a solution would first have to be raised and discussed in national legislatures. Then a majority coalition would have to somehow be cobbled together in support of it. Horses would have to be traded. Palms would have to be greased. Sausages would have to be made. Individual representatives would have to be convinced to vote in favor of something that would earn them a death fatwa from the Religion of Peace for doing so.

Just think how difficult it would be to accomplish that.

Furthermore, as soon as such a movement gained steam, it would be violently resisted by the antifas and other “anti-fascist” street thugs bankrolled by the globalists. We already know that antifas aren’t averse to a bit of ultra-violence when they bash the fash. How will they respond to real political and cultural change in Western Europe, the kind that would actually deport the “refugees” en masse?

Once the anti-fascists start killing police, for example, the rules of the game will change. The first thing the state will do at that point is to impose martial law and significantly reduce everyone’s civil liberties.

I can’t see a way out of this that preserves the customary civil society that Europeans have grown used to. It’s just too late.

Our choices are between sharia and some form of authoritarian governance by leaders of our own native ethnic groups. There are no other doors out of this room.

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There is no such thing as “peace” in Islam

(ARUTZ SHEVA) — Dr. Harold Rhode, one of the world’s preeminent scholars on Islam and author of a new book “Modern Islamic Warfare,” explains why Mahmoud Abbas will never adhere to a US-negotiated ‘peace deal’ with Israel.

Rhode who served as an adviser on Islamic Affairs at the US Department of Defense has a new book coming out titled “Modern Islamic Warfare.” The work exposes modern day terrorism as the classic style of Islamic warfare meant to instill fear in one’s enemy, whether they are fellow Muslims, Jews, Christians or others, in order to achieve one’s goals.

Rhode explains that Mahmoud Abbas will never adhere to a US-negotiated ‘peace deal’ with Israel, similar to arch terrorist Yasser Arafat, as he says there is no such thing as the concept of ‘permanent peace’ in Islam, only temporary truces when a side is weak and seeks to gain strength.

Ironically, Rhode believes that years of Islamic terror against the Jewish State has actually caused more and more Israelis to become stronger and deeply rooted in the Land of Israel.

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