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U.S. Strikes Qaeda Target in Southern Libya, Expanding Shadow War There

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BENGHAZI, Libya — The United States military carried out its first ever drone strike against Qaeda militants in southern Libya this weekend, signaling a possibly significant expansion of the American counterterrorism campaign in the North African nation. The attack on Saturday that the military’s Africa Command said had killed two militants — later identified by a spokeswoman as belonging to Al Qaeda’s branch in northwestern Africa — took place in the country’s southwest, a notorious haven for a deadly mix of Al Qaeda and other extremist groups that also operate in the Sahel region of Niger, Chad, Mali and Algeria.

No positive response from Pakistan to terrorism


During the “Progress on Peace and Stability in Afghanistan” at the US Institute of Peace, Afghan National Security Adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar says the response from the Pakistan to terrorism has been mixed. He said that the consensus on how to fight the terrorists has broken slightly. Atmar added that there are nations in the region that draw a distinction between good and bad terrorists. Furthermore, the region actors all agreed to have state-to-state relations for counter terrorism, but there are some stat who look at state to non-state actors relations for counter-terrorism, like some that say they work with the Taliban against Daesh or against the ISIS. According to Atmar, this is unethical and self-defeating in terms of policy. Atmar said Afghanistan faces threat from a nexus of violent extremism, transnational criminalized networks and state sponsorship of terrorists, but it’s not just the Taliban and the Haqqani network that they are fighting. There is an increase of foreign fighters associated with at least three categories of terrorist networks. The global terrorist networks such as Al Qaeda, Daehs and ISIS-K. The regional terrorists such as IMU from Central Asia and China, and Pakistani terrorists such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and Jaish-e-Mohammed.

Newly Released Bin Laden Document Describes Iran, Al Qaeda Link


A document published on the night of the Bin Laden killing suggests that Al Qaeda and Iran had a more complicated and intimate relationship with the former – one that included threats and abductions, but also occasional co-operation. The document was resumed among a lot of material released Wednesday by the CIA following a request from the Long War Journal, a website that has introduced the history of the US War on Terrorism. The site received a copy of the materials on Tuesday. The US government released hundreds of thousands of files after the raid on May 1, 2011 in the territory of Bin Laden Pakistan and issued other tranches in 2015 and 2016. The Wednesday edition included nearly 470,000 more files recovered in the raid. Most of the material just described is in Arabic, not translated and calibrated. Includes Bin Laden private magazine 228 pages and other documents officials say support US estimation of US intelligence produced shortly after the attack that bin Laden continued to act as Al Qaeda’s operational commander even in the months prior to his death.


Saudi Arabia lists two entities and eleven names supporting al-Qaeda, ISIS


As part of the efforts targeting terrorism, Saudi State Security has listed two entities and 11 names of leaders, financiers and supporters of Al Qaeda and ISIS organization. The Saudi State Security listing targeted financiers and facilitators for the terrorist organizations and al-Qaeda group in Yemen. The establishment of the center was an expression of the strong will and determination of the member states to cooperate constructively in the fight against terrorism and it’s financing. The measures reaffirm the keenness of Saudi Arabia and the member States to deepen the partnership with the United States to stop financing of terrorist groups that pose a threat to the security, such as al-Qaeda and ISIS organizations in Yemen. Based on Saudi laws against terrorist crimes and its financing and in accordance with Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001), sanctions will be imposed on those names, including the freezing of any of their assets within the Kingdom. This is done by expanding and strengthening cooperation to combat the financing of terrorism, facilitating coordination and information sharing, and building the capacity of member states to target terrorist financing networks and activities, which pose a threat to the national security of the States of the Presidency and the member States of the Center. Citizens and residents of Saudi Arabia are prohibited from engaging in any transactions with those names and designated entities.

Afghanistan strongly reacts at Pakistan PM’s speech at UN General Assembly


The Afghan government’s mission in the United Nations strongly reacted at the allegations of the Pakistani Prime Minister regarding the terror sanctuaries in Afghanistan by raising questions regarding the safe havens and places where the Al-Qaeda and Taliban founds were killed or died as well as the killing of the former Taliban supreme leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor. “My delegation is exercising its right of reply because of an erroneous claim by one member-state regarding the presence of safe-havens and sanctuaries in Afghanistan”, the Afghan mission in UN said in a statement. The statement further added “Such reference is a deliberate attempt by the government of Pakistan to divert international attention over Pakistan’s longstanding failure to take effective action against various terrorist groups and sanctuaries on its territory. It remains evidently clear to the global community that the propagation of terrorist activities by State and non-State actors in neighboring Pakistan constitutes the main source of insecurity in our country Afghanistan and the wider region”.


C.I.A. Wants Authority to Conduct Drone Strikes in Afghanistan for the First Time


The C.I.A. is pushing for expanded powers to carry out covert drone strikes in Afghanistan and other active war zones a proposal that the White House appears to favor despite the misgivings of some at the Pentagon, according to current and former intelligence and military officials. If approved by President Trump, it would mark the first time the C.I.A. has had such powers in Afghanistan, expanding beyond its existing authority to carry out covert strikes against Al Qaeda and other terrorist targets across the border in Pakistan.

Iran, Russia, Turkey Agree on Idlib De-Esclation Zone


Iran, Russia and Turkey have agreed the borders of a “de-escalation zone” in Syria’s northern Idlib province, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Friday. It said representatives from the three countries, who met in Astana, were still discussing what forces to deploy in Idlib, which is under the control of a Takfiri alliance spearheaded by the former al-Qaeda offshoot Nusra Front. “Delegations from Turkey, Russia and Iran determined the borders of a fourth de-escalation zone that will be established in Idlib province in talks yesterday and today”, Anadolu said, citing sources attending the meetings in Astana, Reuters reported. Anadolu gave no further details. Turkey’s pro-government Yeni Safak newspaper said in an unsourced report on Friday that the three countries planned to divide the Idlib region in three, with Turkish forces and the so-called Free Syrian Army fighters in the northwest part bordering Turkey.

Al-Qaeda ousted from Hadi’s home district


Yemeni forces backed by the UAE have driven Al-Qaeda militants from a southern district that is the birthplace of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. Seven suspected Al-Qaeda members were arrested during the Wadea operation including an alleged explosives expert known as Abu Abdallah. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, seen by the US as the network’s most dangerous branch, has exploited years of conflict between the government and Houthi militias to expand its presence in Yemen, particularly in southern provinces. Separately, a Saudi pilot was killed in Yemen while providing air support for an operation against Al-Qaeda militants, a Saudi-led coalition backing the government. The Saudi Royal Air Force plane crashed in the southern province of Abyan on Wednesday night “due to a technical failure. Meanwhile, UN humanitarian coordinator Jamie McGoldrick said in Aden that the UN is in the process of expanding its role in southern Yemen.

Arab Media: ISIS after safe haven in North Africa


‘The Syrian government forces’ advances have left a few options for ISIS and it seems that ISIS can just find hideouts in the three regions of Derna, Benghazi and Cert in Libya’, al-Qods al-Arabi newspaper wrote in an analysis on Sunday. ‘They also use Libya as a training center for training and equipping suicide bombers, specially those who come from Tunisia,’ it added.The newspaper also referred to al-Qaeda Leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar’s presence in Libya, and said he is the main obstacle to ISIS’s advance in Southern Libya, Niger and Northern Mali unless the ISIS works out an agreement with him for alliance.For more than two years, fighters from the ISIS have exploited civil war chaos in Libya to establish control over large stretches of the coastline and pockets of territory elsewhere.

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