Beyond the Wire - 19 JUL 17
July 19, 2017
Your daily briefing on the state of the world and the state of the art for all things Transnational Threats.
Indonesia steps up efforts against Salafi ideology.
The Indonesian government officially banned the non-violent Salafi group Hizb ut Tahrir under the newly granted powers of a recently-issued presidential decree. Indonesia banned the group wholesale rather than prosecuting individual members, a first for the country which claimed HT “was a rejection of the Constitution and pluralist state ideology.” HT has survived previous bans under the Suharto dictatorship by functioning as an underground university. (TNT Comment: Indonesia is attempting to quell threats posed by hardline Islamists against the moderate Indonesian government. Though HT is nonviolent, the government likely sees it as an incubator for individuals to shift to violence later.)
Iraq’s Counter-Terrorism Service, a U.S. success.
In War on the Rocks, Michael Knights and Alex Mello contend that the U.S.-trained Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service has succeeded because it has stayed small and emphasized loyalty to Iraq above sectarian differences. The authors contend that to maintain its effectiveness moving forward, the United States should keep training the CTS and maintain an embedded presence within the group at all levels. (TNT Comment: Continued U.S. support of the Iraqi CTS is integral to countering Iran’s growing influence in country that most significantly manifests itself through the Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs). The CTS is thus not only an effective fighting force, but also an important extension of U.S. influence that can be leveraged to counter Iran’s sectarian agenda within Iraq.)
The Haqqani Network still thrives.
The Washington Post’s Haq Nawaz Khan and Pamela Constable contend that the Haqqani network has maintained its preeminence in Pakistan and is “center stage in U.S.-Pakistan tensions.” The two assert that this is because of the qualities passed on by founder Jalaluddin Haqqani to his son, Sirajuddin, which include kinship bonds, strict religious ideology, discipline, planning, and ability to attract recruits. (TNT Comment: Pakistan has regularly cooperated with the Haqqani network to enhance its security standing against India and advance other interests in the region. Recent reports suggest that the United States is considering cutting substantial aid to Pakistan and even downgrading its status as a non-NATO ally over its ties to the Taliban and Haqqani network.)
Philippine President requests martial law extension. As Islamic State militants continue to hold ground in Marawi, President Duterte has requested that the Philippine congress extend martial law on the island of Mindanao through the remainder of the year. (NYT)
The Salafi-jihadist threat. AEI’s Katherine Zimmerman published a new report on the threat of the Salafi-jihadist movement, detailing the importance of combating the Salafi-jihadist ideology and not just distinct groups or individuals. (AEI)
Turkey reveals locations of secret U.S. bases in Syria. In a possible response to the United States’ ongoing partnership with the YPG in spite of Turkish demands, the NATO ally released the location of 10 secret U.S. bases in northern Syria. (Daily Beast)
Violence flares between al Qaeda and Syrian rebels. On Wednesday, clashes exploded between al Qaeda militants and Syrian rebels in Idlib province, where various militant factions are vying for control of an area which houses over a million displaced Syrians. (WaPo)
Airstrike by Saudi-led coalition kills civilians in Yemen. The United Nations reported an airstrike in the southwestern city of Taiz killed 20 civilians, most of whom were family members from a small village. (Al Jazeera)
Bahrain arrests terror cell with alleged ties to Hezbollah. Bahrain arrested members of the Manama Human Rights Observatory, which they argue is a front for a Hezbollah funded organization to riots and violence against Bahraini police. (Al Arabiya)
Gulf countries shorten list of demands for Qatar. The Gulf countries who severed ties with Qatar last month shortened their list of 13 demands to six broad principles, focused on bolstering Qatar’s counterterrorism efforts. (BBC)
The importance of Mosul’s fall. Writing in Real Clear Defense, Robert T. Souza and Brian Williams conduct an in depth analysis of the battle for Mosul, and the symbolic importance of the Iraqi government retaking its second largest city. (RCD)
German girl who joined Islamic State found in Mosul tunnel. Iraqi troops detained a 16-year-old German girl in an abandoned tunnel under Mosul. She is believed to have joined the Islamic State over a year ago after converting to Islam and leaving Germany. (BBC)
High-ranking Boko Haram member surrenders. Several members of Boko Haram, including Konto Fanami, a top Boko Haram leader, turned themselves in to the Nigerian military on Monday. (News 24)
Multiple counter terror raids in Egypt target Islamic State militants. Two separate raids by Egypt’s counterterrorism forces killed three top Islamic State militants as they attempted to move weapons and equipment. (Al Arabiya)
Summer Camp in Ukraine. A newly released video shows children in Ukraine learning basic military skills at camps run by Ukrainian separatists. (NYT)
In the Weeds
More on Syria
U.S., Russia and Iran battle to build bases in Syria as ISIS falls (Newsweek)
Syrian rebels killed in Kurdish clashes (Al Jazeera)
Two Testimonials Shed Light on Syrian Life and Death (NYT)
De-escalation in Syria (Economist)