The Soufan Group Morning Brief


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TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2016
FIGHTING IN YEMEN CONTINUES DESPITE START OF CEASEFIRE

A UN-brokered ceasefire began on Monday before further UN-sponsored peace talks begin between forces loyal to Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi and Houthi Rebels in Kuwait on April 18. However, residents in the southern city of Taiz reported continued airstrikes by the Saudi-led military coalition. Witnesses also reported fighting in areas east of the capital, Sana’a. U.N. special envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed claimed the the ceasefire was largely holding, despite “pockets of violence.” Reuters, Wall Street Journal, Voice of America, BBC News

Related:
Sky News: Al Qaeda Digs In As Dust Settles On Yemen War
Guardian: UK special forces and MI6 involved in Yemen bombing, report reveals

REPUBLICAN BILL WOULD HALT GITMO TRANSFERS
Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) introduced a bill on Monday that would halt transfers of Guantanamo Bay detainees from the military prison to foreign countries until September 2017. The proposed legislation would also permanently ban the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to U.S. soil. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) introduced a Senate version of the bill last week. The Hill

Gitmo: The judge in the case against five suspects in the 9/11 attacks, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, said that a Pentagon official acted independently without outside influence in 2012 to authorize a death penalty trial. Army Col. James. L. Pohl said in a 17-page ruling on Monday that defense attorneys will be allowed to more closely scrutinize and question the jury selection of U.S. military officers. Miami Herald

Cybersecurity: A former Department of Energy employee was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Monday after being accused of attempting an email “spear-phishing” attack as part of a FBI sting operation and for offering to help a foreign government steal U.S. nuclear secrets. Charles Harvey Eccleston, a former environmental scientist at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, pleaded guilty in February to one charge of attempting to damage protected government computers. Washington Post, Law360

Nuclear Security: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission plans to introduce new cybersecurity requirements for facilities that house nuclear materials. According to an NRC regulatory document released on Monday, the requirements will include “high assurance that digital computer systems, communication systems, and networks associated with safety, security, emergency preparedness, and material control and accounting functions are protected from cyber attacks.” Morning Consult, The Hill


OBAMA DEFENDS CLINTON’S PRIVATE EMAIL USE
President Obama defended Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as Secretary of State, despite allegations that it contained classified information. In an interview with ‘Fox News Sunday,’ President Obama said that Clinton would “never intentionally put America in any kind of jeopardy.” Obama also shed light on the degree of sensitivity of classified information, saying that “there’s classified and then there’s classified...there’s stuff that is really top secret, top secret and then there is stuff that is being presented to the president or the secretary of state that you may not want on the transom, or going out over the wire, but is basically stuff that you can get in open source.” New York Times, Washington Post

Related:
Daily Beast: President Obama Defends Hillary Clinton Private Email Use on Fox News
Politico: Obama: I 'guarantee' Justice Dept. won’t protect Hillary


ISIS RETAKES KEY TOWN FROM REBELS
On Monday, ISIS militants recaptured a strategically important town in northern Syria after two days of fighting with rebel factions, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The city of Al-Rai, which had been taken by rebel groups last Thursday, lies close to the Turkish border and is part of a key supply route into ISIS-held territory near Aleppo. BBC News

Related:
Reuters: Russia says there are no plans to storm Syria's Aleppo

Afghanistan: A suicide bomber killed at least 12 people and wounded dozens of others in an attack on a bus of Afghan Army recruits near Jalalabad in Nangarhar Province, according to government officials. The Afghan Ministry of Defense said on Monday that all of the victims killed were army recruits. Meanwhile the U.S. embassy issued a warning on Monday of a potential attack on the Star Hotel in Kabul. New York Times, Reuters


Russia: Russian authorities thwarted a suicide bombing on Monday near the city of Stavropol in southern Russia. Three suicide bombers attempted to attack a small police station in the village of Novoselitsk, but were stopped at a checkpoint outside of the building, where police opened fire on the attackers. Two of the suspects were killed, while the third detonated his device and blew himself up, according to Russian security officials. There were no other casualties. Stavropol is near the North Caucasus region, which has been a hotbed for Islamic insurgency. New York Times, France24

Portugal: A former CIA officer has appealed the Portuguese Supreme Court’s decision to extradite her to Italy. Sabrina De Sousa, a dual American and Portuguese citizen, faces up to six years in prison in Italy for her role in the 2003 kidnapping of terror suspect and Egyptian cleric Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, in Milan. Associated Press, New York Times

Brussels and Paris: The terror cell that carried out the Paris and Brussels attacks also sought to target the Euro 2016 soccer championship in France, according to sources close to the investigation. Mohamed Abrini reportedly told interrogators about the potential target, according to a report on CNN. Also, a computer used by Ibrahim and Khalid El Bakraoui, the two brothers involved in the Brussels attacks, contained information about two additional targets: La Defense shopping mall and a Catholic association, both in Paris. CNN
TOP OP-EDS
Questioning America’s Role in Yemen: “Technically, the United States is not a combatant in the air war launched one year ago by a Saudi-led Sunni Arab coalition in support of the Yemeni government against Houthi rebels, members of a Shiite Muslim group. But America plays important, even indispensable, roles,” writes Carol Giacomo in The New York Times. “It is a major arms supplier to the Saudis, now the world’s number three arms purchaser. The United States also provides other critical support to the coalition in the form of intelligence from reconnaissance drones and aircraft refueling via airborne fuel tankers.”

Europe: A Better Plan for Refugees: “It is clear that the EU must undergo a paradigm shift. EU leaders need to embrace the idea that effectively addressing the crisis will require ‘surge’ funding, rather than scraping together insufficient funds year after year,” writes George Soros in The New York Review of Books. “Spending a large amount at the outset would allow the EU to respond more effectively to some of the most dangerous consequences of the refugee crisis.”

Parents on the Front Lines of Youth Radicalization: “It is important to understand that although most radicalization groups do go against the establishment or the cultural norms we live by it is important not to equate radicalism with terrorism,” writes Linda Durnell in The Huffington Post. “Terrorism is a tactic and it is not limited to Islam, or any religion for that matter.  There exists an important difference between holding radicalized beliefs and engaging in radicalized actions and as such, radicalization does not always lead to violence.”
EDITOR'S PICK

SOUFAN GROUP
For cutting-edge analysis of the geopolitical events shaping global affairs, read today’s TSG IntelBrief: Unraveling Europe’s Terror Networks

ANNOUNCEMENTS
The Center on National Security at Fordham Law will host a full-day conference “Hindsight: Reflections on 15 years of The War On Terror” on Tuesday, April 26, 2016. To RSVP, click here.

Fordham Law School will host the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals for an Outreach Argument and Q&A: “United States v. Staff Sergeant Charles D. Buford Jr.” on Friday, April 15, 2016. To RSVP, click here.

Join Fordham for a discussion on "Iran-U.S. Relations after the Nuclear Deal" on Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at 12:30pm  To RSVP, click here.




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