The Soufan Group Morning Brief


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MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2016
IMAM OF NY BOMBING SUSPECT SPEAKS OUT AGAINST VIOLENCE

The spiritual leader of the mosque attended by New York and New Jersey bombing suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami condemned the use of violence during a sermon on Friday. Imam Syed Fakhruddin Alvi warned his congregation in Elizabeth, New Jersey against the dangers of online radicalization, saying “this problem comes once you are not mindful to your family, to your children.” This comes after a notebook found on Rahami at the time of his arrest contained references to American Al Qaeda propagandist Anwar al-Awlaki. Wall Street Journal, NBC

Ahmad Khan Rahami’s public defender said last week that his client has been denied access to his client for much of the time he has been in custody. Peter A. Liguori, a New Jersey public defender, said he “attempted to meet with or at least see Mr. Rahami to confirm his condition,” but was denied permission to visit his client. The question of Rahami’s legal representation remains unsettled, as he has been charged by three different prosecutors. New York Times

Related:
Washington Post: Investigators said they killed for ISIS. But were they different from ‘regular’ mass killers?
Associated Press: US Terror Attacks' Common Denominator: Anwar Al-Awlaki
Wall Street Journal: Ahmad Khan Rahami Took Long Path to Radicalization
Washington Post: When a lone wolf slips through the net

TERRORISM RULED OUT IN WASHINGTON MALL SHOOTING
On Friday, a gunman shot and killed five people in an attack on a shopping mall in Washington State. After a 24-hour manhunt, Arcan Cetin, 20, was arrested on Saturday as the primary suspect in the shooting at a mall north of Seattle. FBI officials said on Saturday that there was no evidence to suggest the incident was an act of terrorism. Cetin will be arraigned today on five counts of first-degree murder. New York Times, CNN

NYC emergency alerts: New York City is pushing for Federal Communications Commission regulators to overhaul a smartphone emergency alert system in the wake of last weekend’s bombings in New York and New Jersey. City officials want changes to the system to allow for more information and features, such as longer messages, images, and location-specific alerts. The Hill


AIRSTRIKES IN SYRIA KILL 85 IN ALEPPO
Syrian government forces launched dozens of airstrikes against rebel-held positions in Aleppo on Sunday, killing at least 85 people and wounding as many as 300 others. U.S. diplomats condemned the bombardment, calling it an act of “barbarism.” Russia echoed a negative outlook saying that ending the civil war was almost “impossible,” during a meeting of the UN Security Council. New York Times, CNN

Yemen: Four members of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula were killed in a suspected U.S. drone strike, according to local officials. The attack in Marib province reportedly killed a local commander while he was traveling in a vehicle east of the capital, Sanaa. Reuters


Jordan: A Jordanian writer facing charges for drawing a “blasphemous” anti-ISIS cartoon was shot and killed in the capital, Amman, on Sunday. Nahed Hattar, a member of Jordan’s Christian minority, was shot outside a courthouse in Amman for his drawing which allegedly insulted Islam. CNN, New York Times

Switzerland: Swiss voters have passed a new surveillance law that would allow authorities, with prior approval, to tap phones, view emails, and deploy hidden cameras, despite the country’s history of strict privacy laws. The law, which passed with over 65% support, will allow the Swiss Federal Intelligence Service and other agencies to place suspects under electronic surveillance if authorized by a court. BBC
TOP OP-EDS
Saudi Arabia: Why We Need This Flawed Ally: “But critics of the partnership with Saudi Arabia often confuse the costs of tactical disagreements – which are many – and the benefits of strategic alignment. Viewed through this lens, it is a necessary, if difficult arrangement,” writes Michael Stephens and Thomas Juneau on Lawfare. “Indeed the alternatives are worse: a collapsed or enemy Saudi Arabia would be much more damaging to U.S. interests, and it would not be more democratic.”

America’s Duty to Take In Refugees: “This year the United States will take in 85,000 of the world’s most vulnerable so they can begin new lives in America, the highest number since 2001,” writes Scott Arbeiter in The New York Times. “But at a time when 65 million people have been displaced by violence, and 20 million of them are classified as refugees — more than half of them children — it is not enough.”

Obama’s failed legacy on child soldiers: “President Obama will leave office having failed to use the tools at his disposal to make significant progress on getting child soldiers off the battlefield,” writes Josh Rogin in the Washington Post. “As early as this week, the administration will announce for the final time a list of waivers and exemptions to the Child Soldiers Protection Act, a law passed in 2008 that forbids the United States from giving military aid to any foreign government that systematically uses children in its armed forces. According to officials involved in the process, the president will either fully or partially waive sanctions for every abuser country that receives U.S. military assistance.”
EDITOR'S PICK

SOUFAN GROUP
For cutting-edge analysis of the geopolitical events shaping global affairs, read today’s TSG IntelBrief: Western-Russian Tensions Boil in Syria




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