After Reported Arrest Of ISIS Supporters, Pro-ISIS Telegram Channels Urge Followers To Exercise Caution While Participating In Online Campaign Celebrating Release Of Al-Baghdadi's Speech

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September 18, 2019

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The Cyber & Jihad Lab

The Cyber & Jihad Lab monitors, tracks, translates, researches, and analyzes cyber jihad originating from the Middle East, Iran, South Asia, and North and West Africa. It innovates and experiments with possible solutions for stopping cyber jihad, advancing legislation and initiatives federally – including with Capitol Hill and attorneys-general – and on the state level, to draft and enforce measures that will serve as precedents for further action. It works with leaders in business, law enforcement, academia, and families of terror victims to craft and support efforts and solutions to combat cyber jihad, and recruits, and works with technology industry leaders to craft and support efforts and solutions.

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Al-Qaeda Affiliate In Yemen, Houthis Swap Prisoners in Al-Bayda' Province

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September 18, 2019

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The Cyber & Jihad Lab

The Cyber & Jihad Lab monitors, tracks, translates, researches, and analyzes cyber jihad originating from the Middle East, Iran, South Asia, and North and West Africa. It innovates and experiments with possible solutions for stopping cyber jihad, advancing legislation and initiatives federally – including with Capitol Hill and attorneys-general – and on the state level, to draft and enforce measures that will serve as precedents for further action. It works with leaders in business, law enforcement, academia, and families of terror victims to craft and support efforts and solutions to combat cyber jihad, and recruits, and works with technology industry leaders to craft and support efforts and solutions.

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Taliban Tell Afghan President Ashraf Ghani: 'If You Were To Lose The Shadow Of Your American Masters, You Would Fail To Cope For Even A Week'

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September 18, 2019

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The Cyber & Jihad Lab

The Cyber & Jihad Lab monitors, tracks, translates, researches, and analyzes cyber jihad originating from the Middle East, Iran, South Asia, and North and West Africa. It innovates and experiments with possible solutions for stopping cyber jihad, advancing legislation and initiatives federally – including with Capitol Hill and attorneys-general – and on the state level, to draft and enforce measures that will serve as precedents for further action. It works with leaders in business, law enforcement, academia, and families of terror victims to craft and support efforts and solutions to combat cyber jihad, and recruits, and works with technology industry leaders to craft and support efforts and solutions.

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Urdu Daily: Afghan Taliban Have Accelerated 'Efforts To Acquire Portable Missiles' After Failure Of U.S-Taliban Talks

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September 18, 2019

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The Cyber & Jihad Lab

The Cyber & Jihad Lab monitors, tracks, translates, researches, and analyzes cyber jihad originating from the Middle East, Iran, South Asia, and North and West Africa. It innovates and experiments with possible solutions for stopping cyber jihad, advancing legislation and initiatives federally – including with Capitol Hill and attorneys-general – and on the state level, to draft and enforce measures that will serve as precedents for further action. It works with leaders in business, law enforcement, academia, and families of terror victims to craft and support efforts and solutions to combat cyber jihad, and recruits, and works with technology industry leaders to craft and support efforts and solutions.

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September 18, 2019 Special Dispatch No. 8283

Editor Of Turkish Pro-Government Daily Suggests: Two Iranian Missiles Striking Dubai Will Leave Neither An Economy Nor The UAE In Its Wake

September 18, 2019
Turkey, United Arab Emirates | Special Dispatch No. 8283
In his September 17, 2019 column[1] titled in part "Saudi's Aramco Has Been Struck... Take This Attack Very Seriously! What If Two Missiles Were To Strike Dubai!" in Turkey's Yeni Şafak daily, which is a mouthpiece of Turkey's ruling Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (AKP), the paper's editor-in-chief, İbrahim Karagül, commented on the recent cruise missile and drone strikes on Saudi Arabia's Abqaiq oil processing plant and Khurais oilfield. Karagül wrote: "The attack conducted by Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen against Saudi oil company Aramco is the most dangerous attack to date... The civil war in Yemen was already a Saudi-Iran war. But this truth is now out in the open; parties of the fight are going to start attacking one another more directly." He predicted that following the attack, "the U.S.-Israel provocation will continue... to ready the region for a new Arab-Persian war." İbrahim Karagül shaking hands with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (source: T24.com.tr). Following is Yeni Şafak's translation of Karagül's column: "The Civil War In Yemen Was Already A Saudi-Iran War... Parties Of The Fight Are Going To Start Attacking One Another More Directly" "The attack conducted by Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen against Saudi oil company Aramco is the most dangerous attack to date. It will have consequences much beyond the surge in oil prices. This attack turned the Yemen war into the Saudi Arabia war. It is now the strongest sign of the regional earthquake which was scripted as the Persian-Arab war. "The matter is no longer a Houthi issue. It is not a Yemen war either. The civil war in Yemen was already a Saudi-Iran war. But this truth is now out in the open; parties of the fight are going to start attacking one another more directly. After the attack, Saudis first stopped oil production, then reduced it to 50 percent. What the Saudi administration is capable of doing in the event of a new attack needs to be considered, and the regional and global consequences of this need to be evaluated. "The Houthis who declared they carried out the Aramco attack with 10 drones, released another statement yesterday claiming they are going to carry out new attacks and called on foreigners to "leave the area." "The likely suspect was Iran. Because the Houthis work with Iran. Just like Hezbollah and Hashd al-Shaabi. Even though the Saudi and United Arab Emirates (UAE) administration did not accuse it openly, the U.S. directly accused Iran. Such accusations rose from the U.S. administration that voices saying, "Let us strike Iran's oil facilities" grew louder. "When U.S. President Donald Trump said, "We are ready for war. Our weapons are locked and loaded. We are focused on the target," U.S. sources again claimed the attack was made using guided missiles. In addition to the Houthis, this claim directly puts Iran and the Hashd al-Shaabi organization in Iraq in the spotlight. "How was the Aramco crisis evaluated at the tripartite summit in Ankara?" "The Impression Is That If Saudi Arabia Makes A Clear Statement Saying, 'Iran Conducted The Strike' Then The U.S. And Israel Are Going To Attack Iran Without Wasting Any Time" "The U.S. administration went even further. In their meetings with Russia, it was stated that it became clear the attack was not conducted from Iraq. According to Washington, the attack was made directly from Iranian territory. "The Houthis had hit Saudi Arabia's airbases in the past, targeted Jeddah on many occasions, and missiles were launched by air defense systems while flying over Mecca. "While the world was watching these reciprocal threats all day yesterday, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani were holding both bilateral meetings and a tripartite summit in Ankara. "Every move in the region concerns Turkey "The main topic of the meeting was Idlib and Syria's future in general, however, it is possible to think that the three leaders turned this mounting tension into the priority topic of the agenda. Because Iran is the main target of the tension. Russia is now a regional country through Syria. Turkey is the only country that is at the center of every step taken in both Syria and the region. "Another shock wave took place while the Syria summit was taking place. Iran seized an oil tanker belonging to the UAE in the Strait of Hormuz. Nobody is taking a step back. Every action is further rising tensions. "The impression is that if Saudi Arabia makes a clear statement saying, "Iran conducted the strike" then the U.S. and Israel are going to attack Iran without wasting any time. Israel's increasing air attacks on Syria and Iraq in the last two months further fortify this theory. "The 'Arab-Persian border' is moving to the Arab continent" "Back Then, The Arab-Persian Border Was The Iran-Iraq Border... Now, The Arab Continent, Saudi Arabia Is Directly Progressing Towards The Center Of War" "What will happen now? "1- The U.S.-Israel provocation will continue. This means that the indirect showdown between Iran and Saudi Arabia will continue. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are going to continue to corner Iran using U.S. and Israeli power, while Iran will continue to strike Saudi Arabia through the forces affiliated with it in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Yemen. "2- The U.S. and Israel's plans are to ready the region for a new Arab-Persian war, and they are not going to backtrack. All wars in the region since 1991 have been on Arab territory. And it was always Arab countries that were defeated. "Back then, the Arab-Persian border was the Iran-Iraq border. Then, this border was drawn to the Iraq-Syria border. Now, the Arab continent, Saudi Arabia is directly progressing towards the center of war. "US/Israel's 'Trojan horses.' The madness of the two Arab crown princes is going to burn the whole region to the ground... "3- The U.S. and Israel openly attacking Iran does not seem possible. The "Iran threat" for Saudis and Gulf countries is identified by the U.S., Israel and the U.K. This is further strengthened by Iran's actions. "4- Up until today I have written that, "Saudi Arabia is the actual target." I maintain the same opinion today. The continuation of the current state or an open war can lead to Saudi Arabia's division. The trap has been set against them. "5- Mohammed bin Zayed of the UAE and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman are playing the "Trojan horses" of the U.S. and Israel's new regional war plan. They are trying to carry out absurd regional plans through these hawkish but naive crown princes. If they succeed, the price of this madness is going to be paid by the whole region. Every country in the region will be impacted." "One Step Further Would Mean A New War In Lebanon And Iraq – This Is How The War Becomes Regionalized" "'Provoking Iran, scaring the Saudis.' Conditions are expected to mature "6- Riyadh's reaction against Iran's siege of Saudi Arabia from Yemen is a legitimate defense. But Iran's reactions against the Saudis and members of the Gulf Cooperation Council building up U.S. and Western armies on the Persian Gulf is also legitimate. "7- A scenario based on "provoking Iran and scaring the Saudis" has been written it is being performed. And they are settling scores with one another under this scenario. The result of this showdown will in no way be their war. "8- Unfortunately there is no mechanism that will dissuade them from this dangerous path or calm them down. Trump's statement, "We are locked and loaded, we are focused on the target," actually indicates that there is a waiting period for conditions to mature. It is now clear that they are going to elevate tensions in accordance with this aim. "This war will be strike the heart of the Saudis. Their major mistake: They lost Turkey "9- One step further would mean a new war in Lebanon and Iraq. This is how the war becomes regionalized. We can more or less guess the consequences regional countries will face, but it is now a fact that this war will strike the heart of Saudi Arabia. "10- The Saudi administration's biggest mistake in the circumstances of such a region was to stand against Turkey. The terror corridor they are trying to establish in the north of Syria together with the UAE, U.S. and Israel is actually a clear sign that they are openly in an anti-Turkey front and carrying on a war. "11- Those identifying the "Iran threat" for themselves also identified a "Turkey threat" and believed in it. Not only did they believe it, they started attacking Turkey regionally and from within the country itself. The Saudi administration that does not see Turkey by its side in a likely regional storm will have no chance." "Two Iranian Missiles Striking Dubai Will Leave Neither An Economy Nor The UAE In Its Wake" "Two Iranian missiles for Dubai: the UAE would be obliterated "12- The UAE stands as the main base off the anti-Turkey sentiment. There can be nothing more irrational than this country, which is trying to get Saudis to clash with Iran, risking war with Iran. Two Iranian missiles striking Dubai will leave neither an economy nor the UAE in its wake. "13- The Syria war has turned into a world war. Syria was the knot of the whole region; the knot was untied and cannot be retied. But this time, the scenario being played out is one that will completely destroy the connection between the Red Sea and Persian Gulf. "The invasion of the region, Western armies flocking to the region "14- Call it the "Arab-Persian war" or the "Islamic civil war." We can also say it is the "Invasion of the entire region." Because this would be a war that cannot be won by any country in the region. But it will end with the destruction of the entire region and Western armies spreading throughout it. "Then we will lament over the consequences we face because of the imbeciles in the region."     [1] Yenisafak.com/en/columns/ibrahimkaragul/saudis-aramco-has-been-struck-everybody-has-locked-and-loaded-their-weapons-take-this-attack-very-seriously-what-if-two-missiles-were-to-strike-dubai-the-madness-of-the-two-arab-crown-princes-is-going-to-burn-down-the-whole-region-2047170, September 17, 2019.

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September 18, 2019 Special Dispatch No. 8282

Saudi Media Campaign Against Circulating Images, Videos Of Attack On Aramco Oil Facilities On Social Media: 'This Is A Real War,' 'Caution Is Paramount'

September 18, 2019
Saudi Arabia | Special Dispatch No. 8282
Following the September 14, 2019 attacks on the Aramco oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, Saudis who were near the attack sites posted images and videos of the aftermath, including images of missiles found by the sites and of the large fires that had broken out. These images were posted independently on social media and were widely disseminated before the Saudi state media and security authorities could control the story, thereby placing the Saudi authorities in an embarrassing position. The circulation of these posts evoked criticism from other social media users, who claimed that they exaggerated and distorted the events and jeopardized state security. Criticism was also voiced by writers in the Saudi press, who called on the security apparatuses to educate the public about responsible use of social media and to punish those who disseminated harmful information. This report presents some of the posts that were circulated about the attacks, and some of the responses on Twitter and in the Saudi press. Tweets By Saudi Users Reveal Details About The Attacks Precede Official Reports, Criticized By Fellow Users Posts published by Saudi Twitter users on September 14 showed remnants of "cruise missiles that were fired at the Abqaiq oil [facility]," when the official media was still referring to the incident as a drone attack. Tweet by user OTB shows remnants of cruise missiles (twitter.com/fnaot, September 14, 2019). A user called Qassem_saad1 posted a video of the fire at Abqaiq and expressed his joy about the attack. The post evoked furious responses from Saudi users, such as a user calling herself Gharaam MBS, who wrote: "After this video this animal should be banished." Twitter user Gharaam MBS retweeted the video by Qassem_saad1 of the fire at Abqaiq, while criticizing him for posting it (Twitter.com/gharaam96__, September 14, 2019) Other videos of the attacks likewise sparked criticism on Twitter. Saudi user 'Amr Darwish wrote in response to another video of the fire in Abqaiq: "Severe legal measures must be taken against whoever filmed this event and [posted the video] with the overblown comment that even the October 6, [1973] war did not see an incident like the Abqaiq fire." 'Amr Darwish's post (twitter.com/DarwishAmrM, September 14, 2019) Saudi Campaign For Information Security On Social Media: "Don't Be A Tool In The Hands Of Your Homeland's Enemies" In response to the videos and images documenting the attack, posters were circuated calling on the public to refrain from publishing sensitive information that harms the homeland and serves the enemy. Some of the posters also noted that this was a criminal offense. The posters were circulated on the social media accounts of Saudi state bodies as well as by private users. The Saudi News Twitter page posted the following message: "Be aware: When you relay videos and rumors, this gladdens the enemies of the homeland and spreads alarm, and you may be held to account by the authorities. Do not be a tool in the hands of your homeland's enemies."[1] Twitter user Bint Al-Ajwad posted a series of old posters urging caution on social media, captioned "Don't Be Their Lens," "Don't Be Their Eye," and "Don't Be Their Reporter."     Posters tweeted by Bint Al-Ajwad: "Don’t Be Their Reporter," "Don't Be Their Lens." (Twitter.com/Ghostshi1, September 14, 2019) 'Abdallah Al-Bander, a Saudi host on the Sky News Arabia channel, posted on his personal Twitter account a quote from Article 6 of Saudi Arabia's Anti-Cyber Crime Law, stipulating that any person who publishes information on the Internet that infringes on public order, religious values, public morals and privacy shall be subject to imprisonment for a period of up to five years and/or a fine of up to three million riyals. He expressed puzzlement at people who post information without taking note of its sensitivity, and called for "spreading awareness and a culture of responsibility." 'Abdallah Al-Bander's tweet (Twitter.com/a_albander, September 14, 2019) Saudi user Amira Zamani tweeted under the #Abqaiq hashtag an old announcement by the Saudi Interior Ministry warning the public that circulating information about movements of the Saudi military and security forces places their members in danger. Amira Zamani's tweet (Twitter.com/wwff55555, September 14, 2019) Saudi user 'Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rwais addressed his fellow citizen, using the same hashtag, stating that posting information about movements of the security forces constitutes treason against their own faith, homeland, and security. He called on people to be responsible and post no information on security issues before the Interior Ministry releases its official announcements. 'Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rwais's tweet (Twitter.com/ajaalrwaes, September 14, 2019) Columnists In Saudi Press: This Is A Real War; Caution Is Paramount As stated, columnists in the Saudi press denounced the circulation of details about the attacks on social media, and called for punishing those who did so but also for educating the public on its role in Saudi media efforts. Those Who Circulate Such Videos Are Hostile To The State, Must Be Punished Sigha Al-Shammri wrote in her column in the Al-Jazirah daily: "The recent event in Abqaiq exposed a situation that persists despite all the warnings and severe penalties, which can amount to a five-year prison sentence and a fine of three million riyals. Yet some ignorant people still provide the enemy with videos that are used against our country and its people. In my opinion, anyone who uses social media applications knows how dangerous it is to film videos of fires and explosions, whether [the filming is done] by a passerby or by someone who came to the site deliberately and [then] posted [the video] on his personal [social media] account, so that it spread all around the world within minutes... "People who rush to film various fires and accidents fall into several categories, including: despicable, hostile people with a hostile agenda against our country, who wish to publish anything negative in order to undermine security and sow division in [our] ranks; and foolish and ignorant people who are addicted to publishing scoops in order to gain more and more publicity or followers, and who ignore the catastrophic effects of the video they posted... The only way to eliminate this addiction is by imposing penalties and publicizing this in all the media, in order to clarify to these idiots that [they] may not treat the homeland with contempt, and harm its security as they please, whether it is out of hostility or out of ignorance... "The worst of the people who engage in these practices were those who used Snapchat to circulate images of the fire at Abqaiq... that even the civil defense [forces] did not circulate. But, thank God, these people encountered other citizens who filmed videos, who patrol every part of Abqaiq and assure everyone that the situation is not as bad as [those] hostile, foolish people made it out to be..."[2] Citizens Must Understand Their Role In The Media Effort Columnist 'Abdallah bin Bakhit wrote in the Al-Riyadh daily: "Israel, whose army is the only reason it continues to exist, pays [even] more attention to information [efforts] than to [its] military [efforts]. In every war or military operation against it, it keeps the media from covering the operation and refrains from disclosing [the number] of soldiers or civilians hurt, unless [releasing this information] serves its international information efforts, which is the case today with the missiles [fired by] Hamas... [Today] media [coverage] is no longer under the control of the responsible and professional official and state media. [Covering] events, large and small, is within the capacity of anyone who possesses a camera, and everyone possesses such a device. "The footage we saw of the fires at the [Aramco] facilities [that were attacked] was apparently filmed by passersby, and was not [the result of] deliberate or professional [media efforts], yet this is [nevertheless] a negative phenomenon. I'd like to see the security apparatuses quickly responding to this footage by [circulating] authorized images that convey messages that thwart the enemy's psychological [warfare]. I do not mean that they should circulate fake images, but rather genuine ones [presented] from our point of view, as the [state] media does when handling genuine reports that are negative: it reframes them as positive without detracting from their authenticity. "Now that the responsibility for circulating [information] is shared by the state and the citizens, programs must be formulated to help the ordinary citizen understand his role in the information [efforts], so as to enable responsible behavior in terms of [choosing] what to publish, what not to publish and when to consult [the authorities]. The members of the public cannot be kept from documenting what they witness, but we must increase their sense of responsibility regarding what should be published and what must not be..."[3] A Media Administration Must Be Formed Which Citizens Can Rely On 'Okaz columnist 'Abdu Khal wrote under the title "In War, We Need A Media Support [Framework]": "We see that social media [and not traditional media] is the first to rush to provide context for events. This is very dangerous, since [social media allows people] to act freely, letting the many recruits on the Internet who oppose us to manipulate the news in a way which undermines the security of our people. On the night [when the oil facilities were attacked] thousands of Twitter users followed a handful of tweets which were biased [against us] in one way or the other. "Since we are living in a period of war on all fronts, reality dictates forming an official media administration, which will be present at all times and which citizens will be able to rely on when something occurs. This military mouthpiece must be the one to transmit the details about every event. If it is absent [from the scene], it will be an opportunity for [hostile] media that work against us to fill the vacuum, create uncertainty, and distort the facts… "There is another matter which the citizens must be aware of, namely [the issue of] disseminating videos of sites of attack, for this is not a wedding whose every detail [can be] publicized. Caution is paramount, for this is a real war, and each of us must do his patriotic duty and defend the homeland."[4]       [1] Twitter.com/SaudiNews50, September 14, 2019. [2] Al-Jazirah (Saudi Arabia), September 16, 2019. [3] Al-Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), September 18, 2019. [4] 'Okaz (Saudi Arabia), September 16, 2019.

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Afghan Taliban On The Failed Peace Talks: '[America] And Specifically Donald Trump Are The Ones Who Are Now Responsible For The Continuation Of War And Bloodshed'

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September 18, 2019

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The Cyber & Jihad Lab

The Cyber & Jihad Lab monitors, tracks, translates, researches, and analyzes cyber jihad originating from the Middle East, Iran, South Asia, and North and West Africa. It innovates and experiments with possible solutions for stopping cyber jihad, advancing legislation and initiatives federally – including with Capitol Hill and attorneys-general – and on the state level, to draft and enforce measures that will serve as precedents for further action. It works with leaders in business, law enforcement, academia, and families of terror victims to craft and support efforts and solutions to combat cyber jihad, and recruits, and works with technology industry leaders to craft and support efforts and solutions.

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September 18, 2019 Special Dispatch No. 8281

Turkish President Erdoğan Threatens To Let Refugees Cross Into Europe Unless International Community Supports Turkey's Plans For Northern Syria

September 18, 2019
Syria, Turkey | Special Dispatch No. 8281
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in a September 5, 2019 speech that was aired by Ihlas News Agency (Turkey) that Syrian refugees are not living in humane conditions, and he criticized the international community and the European Union for not giving Turkey financial and logistical support for the construction of housing for refugees in a 20-mile-deep safe zone along Turkey's border with Syria. He said that the situation is further exacerbated by refugees from Afghanistan and by developments in Idlib, and he threatened that Turkey might be "forced" to open its border into Europe if it does not receive the support it is requesting. He asked: "Are we to be the only ones to bear this burden?" He added that Turkey is cooperating closely with Russia in order to keep Idlib and Syria safe. To view the clip of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on MEMRI TV, click here or below. "We Have Not Received From The World – Least Of All From The EU – The Necessary Support On The Matter Of The Refugees That We Have Hosted, And To Get [That Support] We May Be Forced To [Open The Border]" Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: "Think about it, we have cities made of shipping containers and tents, but people cannot live there in a humane way. You talk about living in a humane way and about having others live in a humane way. "At the same time, you [respond] to our offer of a safe zone [by saying]: 'It's a really great offer.' I also said this to the honorable İmamoğlu... 'It's a really great offer.' Okay, if it's a great offer, let's have the housing built. You can give us some financial and logistical support. Here, right now – let's build this housing in the Syria region, in northern Syria. It has a depth of what the honorable Trump calls 20 miles, or 30 kilometers, along the length of our border, which, as you know, is 910 kilometers... In this way, let's make it possible for them to live humanely. If we have local architects make for them housing that is 250 or 300 square meters, and around them small gardens of 100-150 square meters... If they plant and mow it... If nothing else, they will have learned to fish [for themselves] instead of [eating] prepared fish. "'It's a really great offer.' Well, if it's a great offer, then let's start the job. But they don't. Of course, we will continue to pursue [the matter]. Why? In our country there are 3,650,000... Now there is the Idlib threat, I'll talk about that later on. In addition, there are those coming from Afghanistan, and so forth... They are coming, but we are sending them back. But I'll say that this journey may bring us to a different place. "What is the different place? If [we get the support], great. If not, we'll be forced to open the [border] gates. If you are going to give support, give it. If you're not going to give it, then pardon me. We have tolerated this up to a point and we [continue to] tolerate it. Are we to be the only ones to bear this burden? We cannot be an instrument of this kind of injustice to these people. You look and see how this work is carried out. I am saying it here today: We have not received from the world – least of all from the EU – the necessary support on the matter of the refugees that we have hosted, and to get [that support] we may be forced to [open the border]." [...] "In Close Cooperation With Russia, By Keeping Idlib Safe, We Are Trying To Make It Possible For The People Here To Live In Their Own Homes" "Of course, we will continue to give our support until this work is completed. The developments in Idlib will pose the threat of another flow of millions of refugees toward our country. In close cooperation with Russia, by keeping Idlib safe, we are trying to make it possible for the people here to live in their own homes."

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In Wake Of ISIS Supporters Sharing Photos From Phones On Telegram, ISIS Supporter Advises On Removing Meta Data From Photos

September 18, 2019

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September 18, 2019 Special Dispatch No. 8280

Former Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu: 'If The Counter-Terror Files [Of Turkey] Were To Be Opened, A Lot Of People Could Not Face Anyone'

September 18, 2019
Turkey | Special Dispatch No. 8280
In an August 23, 2019 speech in Sakarya, Turkey, former Turkish Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said: "If the counter-terror files [of Turkey] were to be opened, a lot of people could not face anyone. Those who criticize us today could not face anyone. I'm telling you. When, in the future, the history of the Republic of Turkey is written, I am sure that one of the most critical few-month periods will be that of June 7 to November 1, [2015]."[1] On September 13, Davutoğlu resigned, after notice was given that he would be expelled, from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's party, the ruling Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (AKP), of which Davutoğlu had at one point been the leader.[2] Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said that it had been requested that Davutoğlu be expelled from the party specifically because Davutoğlu's statement in the August 23 speech had been perceived as a threat to the AKP.[3] Davutoğlu was referring in his speech to two terrorist attacks in 2015 that impacted the re-election of Erdoğan's AKP and that authorities did not prevent, despite Turkish intelligence having had prior information and advance warning about the imminent occurrence of at least one of the attacks. Davutoğlu insinuates that the attack was permitted to happen in order to influence the results of an election in favor of Erdoğan. The first attack occurred on July 20, 2015, in the Suruç district of Şanlıurfa, Turkey, and killed 34 people. The second attack occurred on October 10 in Ankara and killed 104 people. While in the June 7 election, which took place before these two attacks, the AKP lost its parliamentary majority and faced the prospect of having to form a coalition with other parties, in the November 1 election, which took place after these two attacks, the AKP regained its parliamentary majority, allowing it to remain in power without forming a coalition. Government documents exposed after the attacks, the "counter-terror files" to which Davutoğlu referred, show that the government had been warned of the threat of an attack with the precise characteristics of the October 10 attack in Ankara and, to the benefit of the AKP and President Erdoğan, did not take any action to prevent it. The government further rejected the recommendations of inspectors to investigate the security chiefs in whose jurisdictions the attackers had operated and opened a criminal case against the journalists who published information about these events. It should be noted that Ahmet Davutoğlu, who called this period "one of the most critical few-month periods" of Turkish history, is not a journalist or commentator, but a man who has served as Turkey's prime minister, as its foreign minister, as a member of parliament, and as leader of the AKP. Indeed, he was prime minister and party leader during the five-month period in question. Following are the details of the two attacks and two elections. June 2015 – AKP Loses Its Majority, Must Form Coalition; Attacks In Şanlıurfa, Ankara Follow In the June 7, 2015 general election in Turkey, the AKP took only 40 percent of the vote,[4] losing, for the first time in its then 13-year rule, the parliamentary majority it needed to stay in power by itself, and so would have been forced to form a coalition government.[5] On July 20, at a rally of the Young Socialists Association Federation in the Suruç district of the Turkish city of Şanlıurfa, 20-year-old mechanical engineering student at Adıyaman University and Islamic State (ISIS) member Abdurrahman Alagöz[6] detonated his suicide vest, killing 34 people[7] and injuring 104.[8] On August 25, Turkey's Supreme Electoral Council announced that, because a coalition government was not formed within 45 days of the June 7 election, another election would be held on November 1, 2015.[9] The July 20, 2015 attack in Şanlıurfa, Turkey, killed 34 people and injured 104 (source: Haber-sanliurfa.com). On October 10, at a rally of opposition party Halklarin Demokratik Partisi (HDP) and other political groups held at the Ankara railway station, suicide bombers Ömer Deniz Dündar and Yunus Emre Alagöz detonated their explosive vests, killing 103 and injuring 391, of whom 48 were severely injured, in the deadliest terror attack in Turkey's modern history. Yunus Emre Alagöz was the older brother of Abdurrahman Alagöz, who attacked the rally in Şanlıurfa.[10] In the November 1 election, the AKP won enough votes to remain in power by itself without forming a coalition government.[11] The October 10, 2015 attack in Ankara killed 104 people and injured hundreds more (source: Dokuz8haber.net). Inspectors From Interior Ministry Find Government Was Warned Of Possible Attack And Did Not Take Precautions Government documents published by Turkey's Cumhuriyet daily, the country's leading opposition daily, showed that Ömer Deniz Dündar had been arrested by Turkish police and, after being set free, went to Syria to receive training. Police had reportedly tapped a May 2015 phone call in which Yunus Emre Alagöz, speaking from Syria two months before the Şanlıurfa attack, said to his other younger brother Yusuf Alagöz: "This may be the last time I will talk to you... for Allah, my last will to you is to take care of the family, Yusuf... There is no place as beautiful as here, we buried two of our brothers... They were blown to pieces in the path of Allah."[12] Turkish government transcript of phone conversation between Yunus Emre Alagöz and Yusuf Alagöz (source: Cumhuriyet.com.tr). In an official report after the Ankara attack, a director at the Ankara branch of Turkey's Directorate of Security, identified only by the initials A.A., accused the Milli İstihbarat Teşkilatı (MİT), which is Turkey's intelligence organization, the Turkish armed forces, and the intelligence and counterterrorism units of Turkey's Directorate of Security of not taking the necessary precautions before the attack. A.A. wrote in his statement: "The terrorists who carried out the explosion came on a route through Syria, Gaziantep, Osmaniye, Adana, and Aksaray to reach Ankara. When the terrorists were in the jurisdiction of the governor of Gaziantep, the MİT regional director for Gaziantep, the gendarmarie command for Gaziantep province, and the General Security Directorate for Gaziantep province, why were they not located and caught?"[13] Inspectors from the Interior Ministry said in a preliminary report regarding the October 10 attack in Ankara that two days after the attack in Şanlıurfa, at a July 22 briefing at the Directorate of Security, the office of the governor of Ankara was warned that the Dokumacılar group, which had formed in 2013 in the outskirts of Adıyaman and in 2014 began recruiting for ISIS,[14] may attack Ankara. A wealth of intelligence had also been sent to the Ankara branch of the Directorate of Security after the July 20 attack in Şanlıurfa. These reports mentioned Yunus Emre Alagöz many times and said that the Dokumacılar group, of which Alagöz was a member, was targeting the HDP. A September 10 intelligence report said, as previous reports had done, that Ankara could be the target of an attack. While previous reports had warned that "places where people gathered in crowds" in general were potential targets for attacks, a September 14 report said that "a complex attack using multiple suicide bombers could take place at a rally/crowded place." Intelligence had also found that a cellphone associated with Alagöz and Mehmet Işık had been used in Ankara two days before the attack. Many reports saying that the AKP and HDP were potential targets had been distributed to employees of the Directorate of Security, and that those employees viewed the HDP as the potential target of an attack by ISIS. Ankara Governor's Office Refuses Investigation Recommended By Interior Ministry Inspectors The inspectors from the Interior Ministry wrote in their report that ahead of the October 10 attack in Ankara there was this much intelligence concerning how Alagöz and Işık had entered Turkey and were communicating using telephone numbers in Ankara and how a rally at which the HDP was a participant could be the target of an attack and yet no observable precautions had been taken against such an attack. The inspectors therefore concluded that "there is public interest in opening a legal investigation" into: then provincial security director Kadri Kartal; former Ankara Intelligence branch Director Cihangir Ulusoy; Ankara Counterterror Police Branch Director Hakan Duman; former Ankara Security Branch Director Adem Arslanoğlu; and Ankara Counterterror Chief Emir Hüseyyin Özgür Gür. The office of the governor of Ankara refused any such investigation.[15] Further, notice was given on April 15, 2017, that a criminal case had been opened against Evrensel.net editor-in-chief Fatih Polat, Cumhuriyet editor-in-chief Can Dündar, and reporters Tamer Arda Erşin, Cem Gürbetoğlu, and Kemal Göktaş, for publishing this information. Polat said of the case: "That's great, but there is no crime here. Just journalism." Can Dündar said: "Imagine witnessing a murder. You beguile the killer, the collaborator, and the lookout. You exclaim: 'This is the killer, that's the lookout.' And you are judged for giving away the killer and the lookout. This is the summary of the case opened against Cumhuriyet and Evrensel for its October 10 headlines." The case was later dropped.[16] Can Dündar, who had previously been imprisoned for his reporting related to Turkish intelligence shipments of weapons into Syria, now lives in Germany[17] and a "capture resolution" has been issued for him in Turkey.[18] Göktaş referred to the attacks as a "bloody election game."[19]   Former Cumhuriyet editor-in-chief Can Dündar (left) and Evrensel editor-in-chief Fatih Polat (sources: Aksam.com.tr, Gazetekarinca.com).   [1] Tele1.com.tr/davutogluacikla-7-haziran-1-kasim-arasinda-neler-yasandi-suruc-ankara-78588, August 24, 2019. [2] Tr.euronews.com/2019/09/13/ahmet-davutoglu-ak-partiden-istifa-etti, September 13, 2019. [3] Haberler.com/numan-kurtulmus-ahmet-davutoglu-nun-ihrac-12407790-haberi, September 9, 2019. [4] Sabah.com.tr/secim/7-haziran-2015-genel-secimleri, accessed August 27, 2019. [5] Cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/secim_2015/294008/Yeni_hukumet_nasil_kurulacak__iste_Koalisyon_senaryolari.html, June 7, 2015. [6] Haberturk.com/gundem/haber/1105897-supheli-adiyamanli-teror-sucundan-araniyor, July 22, 2015. [7] Web.archive.org/web/20151203120147/http://www.aljazeera.com.tr/haber/suructa-34-olum, August 14, 2015. [8] Bbc.com/turkce/haberler/2015/07/150720_suruc_saldiri, August 27, 2019. [9]  Hurriyet.com.tr/gundem/ysk-baskani-erken-secim-tarihini-acikladi-1-kasim-2015-29901387, August 25, 2015. [10] Cnnturk.com/turkiye/10-ekimde-oldurulenler-katliamin-3-yilinda-ankara-gari-onunde-anildi, November 12, 2018. [11] Secim.haberler.com/2015, November 1, 2015. [12] Cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/turkiye/389483/Polis_bombacilari_biliyordu.html, October 17, 2015. [13] Evrensel.net/haber/277374/guvenlik-sube-amirinden-10-ekim-itirafi-mit-tsk-ve-egm-onlem-almadi, April 12, 2016. [14] Internethaber.com/dokumacilar-grubu-nedir-liderleri-kimdir-1478571h.htm, October 14, 2015. [15] Evrensel.net/haber/277521/ankara-katliaminin-bir-tek-saati-bilinmiyormus, April 14, 2016. [16] Cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/turkiye/905343/10_Ekim_katliami_haberlerine_iliskin_acilan_dava_dusuruldu.html, January 15, 2018. [17] Bolgegundem.com/can-dundar-kimdir-can-dundar-nerede-yasiyor-564820h.htm, September 29, 2018. [18] Sabah.com.tr/gundem/2018/12/06/son-dakika-can-dundar-hakkinda-yakalama-karari, December 5, 2018. [19] Tr.boell.org/tr/2015/11/05/kanli-bir-secim-oyunu, November 5, 2015.

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