BTW: 14 NOV 2016
November 21, 2012
U.S. temporarily closes Kabul embassy following Taliban attacks. The embassy shut down all facilities except for emergency services "as a temporary precautionary measure" following suicide attacks on Bagram Airfield and the German Consulate in Mazar-i-Sharif. (TNT comment: The Taliban began a wave of attacks against western targets last August. Recent American casualties in Afghanistan may cause concerns over troop safety and lead the incoming administration to pull remaining U.S. troops out of the country.)
Obama directs Pentagon to target Jabhat Fateh al Sham in Syria. The Pentagon will shift more intelligence resources to target the al Qaeda affiliated group formerly known as Jabhat al Nusra. (TNT comment: Jabhat Fateh al Sham is among the strongest forces fighting Assad, making it popular within the Syrian opposition. By targeting the group, the Pentagon may alleviate pressure on Assad's forces, and make it more difficult to maintain a unified coalition to fight the Islamic State.)
Turkish-backed Syrian rebels poised for al Bab assault. Turkey and allied units within the Free Syrian Army have begun bombardment of the ISIS-held city of al Bab in advance of a major operation there. From al Bab, Turkey alleges the next phase of Operation Euphrates Shield will target Syrian Democratic Forces' (SDF) hold of Manbij. (TNT Comment: As the operation's name suggests, Euphrates Shield represents Turkey's efforts to push Kurdish forces east of the Euphrates. That SDF is fighting the Islamic State is less concerning to Turkey than is denying multiple Kurdish factions the ability to unite 'Rojava'.)
Army Special Forces soldiers killed in Jordan were working for the CIA. U.S. officials report that the three Army Special Forces soldiers killed earlier this month at a Jordanian military base were working for a CIA program focused on training "moderate Syrian fighters." The soldiers were shot by a Jordanian soldier, but the circumstances surrounding the shooting still remain unclear (The Washington Post).
Islamic State attack at Pakistan shrine kills 52. The Islamic State claimed an attack on Shi'ite worshipers at the Shah Noorani shrine in Baluchistan province on Saturday, marking the second major attack in Baluchistan in two months (Reuters)
U.S. plans to hunt down escaped Islamic State fighters in Libya. The Pentagon is tracking down hundreds of ISIS militants fleeing heavy fighting in Sirte. AFRICOM is using intelligence from surveillance aircraft to help track down these militants and kill them, part of a final push by the Obama administration to thwart expanding militant threats across the Middle East (The Washington Post).
Duterte warns that if ISIS comes to Philippines, he would "forget human rights." Philippine President Duterte warned that he would not allow ISIS militants driven out of Syria and Iraq to set up in his country and terrorize his people. He said he would "forego human rights obligations," in the interest of keeping his people safe (Reuters).
ISIS suicide bomber kills six near Iraq's Karbala. ISIS claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed six civilians on Monday. The attacks took place near Iraq's holy city of Karbala at the start of a Shiite Muslim ritual (Al-Arabiya).
10 arrested in Russia suspected of plotting attacks. Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) arrested 10 people from Central Asia allegedly affiliated with ISIS and with plans to carry out attacks in Moscow and St. Petersburg (Reuters).
Pakistan warns of escalation after clashes in Kashmir. Pakistan's military accused Indian troops of firing on its soldiers on Monday, resulting in the death of seven of them. However, an Indian officer claimed that Pakistan had fired on Indian troops violating the cease-fire, thus they had "effectively retaliated." No casualties were reported on the Indian side (The Washington Post).
In The Weeds
More on Mosul:
During Mosul offensive, Kurdish fighters clear Arab village, demolish homes (Wall Street Journal)
Iraqi forces accused of unlawful killings in fight to recapture Mosul from Islamic State (LA Times)
For Iraq's Kurds, it's not about independence anymore (Al-Jazeera)
US can't find ISIS prisoners (The Daily Beast)
How will Mosul rise from the ashes of battle? (Al-Jazeera)
More on Syria:
Turkish warplanes strike 15 targets in Syria's al-Bab area (Reuters)
Russia accuses Syrian rebels of using chemical weapons (Al-Arabiya)
Amid starvation conditions, Syrian rebels losing Aleppo battle (CBS News)
The disappeared of Syria (Al-Jazeera)
Syrian rebels battle each other north of Aleppo (Reuters)
Director and Senior Fellow, Transnational Threats Project
Thomas Sanderson is director and senior fellow in the CSIS Transnational Threats Project, where he works on terrorism, transnational crime, global trends, and intelligence issues. With fieldwork across nearly 70 countries, Sanderson engages all manner of sources including extremists, insurgents, foreign intelligence officials, nongovernmental organizations, clergy, and academics. He has authored or coauthored 16 major CSIS reports, as well as opinion pieces and articles in the New York Times, Economist, Washington Post, West Point CTC Sentinel, and Harvard Asia-Pacific Review.
Transnational Threats Project Staff
Thomas Sanderson , Director and Senior Fellow
Zachary Fellman , Associate Director and Associate Fellow
Maria Galperin , Research Assistant and Program Coordinator
Debbie Stroman , Special Assistant
Nikita Mann , Research Intern
Hannah Werman , Research Intern