The Soufan Group Morning Brief



The primary suspect in last weekend’s bombings in Manhattan and New Jersey was arrested on Monday after a shootout with police. Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, was wounded in a gun battle with officers in Linden, New Jersey. Authorities believe Rahami is “directly linked” to the bombings in the Chelsea neighborhood in New York City and Seaside Park, New Jersey, as well as to the pipe bombs found Sunday night in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Rahami has been charged with five counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer as well as second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon and second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. On Monday, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said of the weekend bombings that “we have every reason to believe this was an act of terror.” New York Times, CNN

Reports suggest that Rahami traveled to Pakistan at least twice in the last several years - for three months in 2011 and more recently to Quetta, for nearly a year, returning in March 2014. While there, he is believed to have married.

New York Times: Ahmad Rahami: Fixture in Family’s Business and, Lately, a ‘Completely Different Person’

Washington Post: Bomb suspect’s family life shadowed by financial troubles and violence
The Hill: Obama praises law enforcement for arrest of bombing suspect
BBC: New York bombing: What next in the investigation?
Slate: The Jane Jacobs School of Counterterrorism
Washington Post: Army briefly locks down West Point after false sighting of bombing suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami

Authorities identified the attacker who stabbed nine people in a Minnesota shopping mall this weekend before being shot and killed by an off-duty officer. Dahir Adan, 22, was a Somali computer student and part-time security guard who had lived in the United States for 15 years. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, calling Adan one of its “soldiers.” An FBI Special Agent working on the case said that “we don’t know if the suspect was in contact with or inspired by foreign terrorist organizations.” If determined to be a terrorist act, the attack would be the first carried out by a Somali on U.S. soil, according to Karen J. Greenberg, director of the Center on National Security at Fordham Law. The Telegraph, AP

New York Times: Friends Say Minnesota Attacker Was ‘Normal American Kid’
Washington Post: An unassuming life before a suspect’s rampage in a Minnesota mall

ISIS terror claims: ISIS militants frequently take credit for terror attacks on U.S. soil, despite only having loose, if any, ties to the attackers. Karen J. Greenberg, director of the Center on National Security at Fordham Law said that in many cases, “if they find out the person is Muslim—that alone might be enough for [ISIS] to claim credit.” Many believe ISIS is quick to take credit for attacks in order to catch headlines and drive recruitment, even if it is unclear whether the person was directly in contact with the group or adheres to the group’s core beliefs. Washington Post

On Monday, Hillary Clinton accused Donald Trump of giving “aid and comfort” to Islamic terrorists, saying his anti-Muslim rhetoric supports ISIS and other extremists’ recruitment efforts. Clinton described Trump as a “recruiting sergeant for the terrorists” and highlighted her own record in the fight against terrorism. Trump responded, arguing that Clinton and the Obama administration had not done enough to prevent the rise of ISIS. Trump said Clinton’s “attacks on me are all meant to deflect from her record of unleashing this monster of evil on us and on the world.” New York Times, USA Today, AP

The Atlantic: Clinton and Trump Accuse Each Other of Inspiring ISIS

The United Nations is suspending its aid deliveries in Syria after a convoy and carrying medicine and food was attacked on its way to the embattled city of Aleppo. Twelve people assisting in the aid delivery were killed in the attack. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the incident, which threatens the ongoing U.S. and Russian-backed ceasefire. CNN, New York Times, Reuters

BBC: Syria conflict: UK took part in strike that killed government troops
The Hill: Syrian military declares ceasefire to be over

Afghanistan: At least eight Afghan police officers were killed in two U.S. airstrikes in southern Uruzgan province in an apparent friendly-fire incident, according to an Afghan official. An Afghan provincial operational commander said the airstrikes took place on Sunday afternoon around the city of Tirin Kot. CBS

Yemen: Saudi Arabia is allegedly using U.S.-supplied white phosphorus munitions in its military operations in Yemen, according to human rights groups. Under U.S. regulations, the munitions are only meant to be used for signaling to other troops and creating smoke screens. Washington Post

The Hill: Senators push to block $1.15B Saudi arms sale

China: President Obama and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang agreed on Monday to step up cooperation in the UN Security Council in response to North Korea’s fifth nuclear test. The two countries have reportedly begun discussions on a possible new UN sanctions resolution in response to the nuclear test earlier this month, according to UN diplomats. Reuters

Uruguay: On Monday, Uruguay’s government rejected an ultimatum from former Guantanamo detainee Abu Wa’el Dhiab, who is on a hunger strike demanding he be allowed to leave the country. Dhiab reportedly had given the government until Sunday to provide a proposal for his departure, threatening to continue his hunger strike. AP
The Latest Bad Idea for Guantánamo: “Since it opened in 2002, the prison has been an emblem of America at its worst, a place of torture, in which fundamental principles, including the right to due process, were abandoned,” writes The New York Times in an editorial “It has subjected Washington to international scorn and given credence to the propaganda of extremist groups. It is no coincidence that the Islamic State has adopted Guantánamo’s familiar orange jumpsuits in videos depicting the execution of Western hostages.”

Terrorism has been democratized, so too must counterterrorism: “As this weekend’s bombing in New York City and stabbing spree in a Minnesota mall prove, no amount of policing can prevent committed, disturbed individuals, with easy access to weapons and online ‘how to’ manuals, from carrying out small but deadly attacks against the homeland,” writes Shannon Green in the Boston Globe. “Dealing with a terrorist threat that is more atomized and pervasive will require a new approach — one that relies much more on communities, families, peers, and those closest to would-be terrorists.”

How ‘Snowden’ the movie could help win a pardon for Snowden the man: “The Espionage Act was enacted nearly a century ago following World War One, and has already been amended several times. One key issue confronting the next president and the new Congress is whether the law needs to be amended again – this time to separate the whistleblowers from the spies,” writes James Bamford for Reuters.

Why Trump Is the Islamic State’s Dream Candidate: “For all of his huffing and puffing, Trump has yet to offer any remotely workable solution to terrorism,” writes Max Boot on Foreign Policy. “What he offers is a lot of anti-Muslim animus that is guaranteed to backfire. It’s little wonder why the Islamic State is praying for a Trump victory.”

For cutting-edge analysis of the geopolitical events shaping global affairs, read today’s TSG IntelBrief: A Model Joint Terror Investigation

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