The Soufan Group Morning Brief



Turkish police arrested 13 people in connection to Tuesday’s attack on Istanbul’s airport, which killed at least 42 people and wounded over 200 others. Over 200 anti-terror police carried out 16 raids on potential ISIS suspects overnight. Police sources said that the attackers were of Russian, Uzbek, and Kyrgyz origin. ISIS has not claimed responsibility for the attack, yet many experts, including CIA Director John Brennan, believe that the attack resembles similar ones carried out by the extremist group. NBC, CNN, AP

New York Times: Turkey’s Twin Terrorist Threats, Explained
Washington Post: Turkey and the Islamic State appear to be headed toward outright war
CNN: What you need to know about the Turkey airport attack
TIME: Turkey Has Become the New Front of ISIS’s War on the World

CIA Director John Brennan warned on Wednesday that ISIS wants to carry out attacks in the United States similar to Tuesday’s deadly attack at the Istanbul airport. Brennan spoke about the difficulty of preventing attacks saying, “it’s not that difficult to actually construct and fabricate a suicide if you have a determined enemy and individuals who are not concerned about escape, that they are going into it with a sense that they are going to die, that really does complicate your strategy in terms of preventing attacks.” The Hill, CBS

Yahoo News: CIA director tells Yahoo News Istanbul type attack could happen in U.S.

Gun control: House Democrats hosted 40 events around the country on Wednesday in an effort to garner public support for new gun control legislation. More than 60 members participated in the events, which are trying to build momentum after last week’s 25-hour sit in on the House chamber floor. Democrats believe that if brought to a vote, new gun control legislation would pass with bipartisan support. New York Times

Gitmo: On Wednesday, the Periodic Review Board heard the case of Musab Umar Ali Al-Mudwani, a thirty-six year-old Yemeni national known as one of the “Karachi Six,” six men captured during a raid on an Al Qaeda safehouse in Pakistan. The United States now believes the six Yemeni men were low-level fighters. Al-Mudwani has been held at the military prison at Guantanamo since October 2002 and is the 50th detainee the PRB has reviewed since hearings began in 2013. Human Rights First

CIA black sites: Human rights lawyer Amrit Singh told the European Court of Human Rights on Wednesday that the CIA paid Romania “millions of dollars” to host secret prisons where inmates were tortured. Singh, who represents Saudi Arabian national and Guantanamo detainee Abd al-Rahim Al Nashiri, said her client has been sleep-deprived, subjected to loud noise and bright lights, slapped, and forced rectal feeding at a CIA prison in Bucharest in 2004. AP

Donald Trump renewed his support for the use of waterboarding during a campaign event in Ohio on Wednesday. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee said about waterboarding that “I like it a lot. I don’t think it’s tough enough...we have to fight fire with fire.” He also compared the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal to “the rape of our country.” Guardian, BBC

New York Times: How Donald Trump Keeps Changing His Mind on Abortion, Torture and Banning Muslims

Forces loyal to the UN-backed unity government in Libya have made significant progress against ISIS, as they push closer to the center of the group’s stronghold in the city of Surt. Pro-government fighters have reduced ISIS held territory from 150 miles of coastline to around four miles, as forces converge on the city from both the East and the West. New York Times

Iraq: U.S.-led coalition airstrikes killed an estimated 250 suspected ISIS fighters on Wednesday around the city of Fallujah. If confirmed, the strikes would be some of the most deadly against the group since operations began in 2014. Reuters

Mali: The UN Security Council agreed on Wednesday to send an additional 2,500 peacekeepers to the peacekeeping mission in Mali. The resolution calls on the MINUSMA mission to “take all necessary means to carry out its mandate” and “to move to a more proactive and robust posture.” The MINUSMA mission has been the target of several recent terrorist attacks and the country has become the most dangerous place to serve as a UN peacekeeper. Reuters

Saudi Arabia: Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International called for Saudi Arabia to be removed from the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday. The advocacy groups accuse the Kingdom of unlawfully killing civilians during the conflict in Yemen. Saudi Arabia has fought earlier Security Council attempts to create an independent commission of inquiry to investigate human rights abuses in Yemen. New York Times, Washington Post

Norway: A Norwegian court approved the extradition of an Iraqi Kurdish imam to Italy to face terrorism-related charges on Wednesday. Najmuddin Faraj Ahmad, also known as Mullah Krekar, arrived in Norway as a refugee in 1991. He has been imprisoned in Norway since last October after being convicted for making death threats against several people, including Prime Minister Erna Solberg. He is accused of leading an Al Qaeda-linked group known as Rawti Shax and plotting to overthrow the Kurdish government in northern Iraq. New York Times

India: Indian authorities arrested 11 men suspected of planning a terrorist attack with instructions from “an Islamic State handler.” Authorities reportedly seized two guns, cash, and chemicals that could be used to make explosives. Wall Street Journal
ISIS' Ramadan terror campaign: “Unfortunately, we may see more attacks. For Islamist terrorist groups such as ISIS, the holy month of Ramadan -- a time of fasting and prayer for the vast majority of Muslims -- is seen as a particularly auspicious time to launch terrorist attacks,” writes Peter Bergen on CNN. “ISIS also has ample motivation to want to attack Turkey. Where the Turks once had a laissez-faire attitude to the tens of thousands of "foreign fighters" who have transited Turkey to join ISIS in neighboring Syria, now the Turks have substantially cut down on ISIS recruits traveling though their country.”

The Terrorism Fight Needs Silicon Valley: “The freedom to innovate lies close to my heart, and it lies at the heart of human progress. But it does not lie beyond the reach of the law,” writes Michael Bloomberg in the Wall Street Journal. “The freedom that Americans enjoy requires shared sacrifices, and not only by soldiers. ‘We the people’ impose limits on our personal liberty to protect ourselves and those around us...We also limit our right to privacy. The Fourth Amendment protects against ‘unreasonable searches and seizures,’ but it also explicitly authorizes warrants based on probable cause.”

What Comes After the Istanbul Airport Attack?: “Where will we go from here? The reaction from the government is sure to be severe. Raids on Islamic State cells in Turkey will most likely increase. So will airport security. Intelligence efforts will be stepped up and the border monitored more closely. But security and intelligence measures alone won’t bring an end to the bloodshed,” writes Mustafa Akyol in The New York Times. “The Turkish government also has to solve a strategic problem: Its “war on terror” has two conflicting objectives. It fights both the Islamic State and Kurdish militants, but the Kurds are the best force against the jihadists on the other side of the Syrian border.”

Out Now: Karen Greenberg's newest book, Rogue Justice: The Making of the Security State, is the definitive account of how America's War on Terror sparked a decade-long assault on the rule of law, weakening our courts and our Constitution in the name of national security.

For cutting-edge analysis of the geopolitical events shaping global affairs, read today’s TSG IntelBrief: The Caliphate: Two Years On

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