Terrorism & Counter-terrorism

Hungary Endorses Finland for NATO

The Hungarian parliament today voted 182-6 to approve Finland’s bid to join NATO. However, Sweden’s bid remains up in the air as Hungary awaits clarification on lingering disagreements before another vote. Turkey also objects to Sweden’s bid, saying it is too soft on expatriates it deems to be terrorists. [node:read-more:link]

Montrealer faces terrorist allegations

Mohamed Amine Assal, 18, of Montreal has been arrested by the RCMP acting on information from the FBI and was expected to have a video court appearance today. No charges have been laid and the RCMP say the operation was designed to have Assal sign a peace bond because there were “reasonable grounds to fear that Mr. Assal may commit a terrorism offence.” [node:read-more:link]

Turkey okay with Finland in NATO

Finland moved a step closer to NATO membership today Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said his parliament would ratify the application. Finland and Sweden applied 10 months ago but Turkey balked, accusing both of being too soft on political opponents it considered terrorist organizations and it still has reservations about Sweden. [node:read-more:link]

Delivery issues with costly Land Cruisers

Five years after Canada contracted with South Carolina-based Jankel Tactical Systems to buy 76 armoured Toyota Land Cruisers for its diplomatic missions at a unit cost of $261,622, less than half have been delivered. The Public Services & Procurement and Global Affairs departments are saying only that they are “working with the supplier […] to schedule delivery of vehicles as needed.” [node:read-more:link]

Guantánamo releases continue

A 48-year-old Saudi held without charge for nearly 21 years by the U.S. at Guantánamo Bay has been repatriated, the latest in a series of similar releases. Ghassan Al Sharbi, whom the Department of Defense said has “physical and mental health issues”, had been compliant in detention and was found to have had no leadership or facilitator roles in al-Qaeda. [node:read-more:link]

Mass police killing in Pakistan

At least 10 Pakistani police officers were killed today and 12 others wounded when their truck was attacked by a suicide bomber on a motorcycle. There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the southwestern province of Baluchistan, where the attack took place on a bridge, has a long history of small groups demanding independence from Islamabad. [node:read-more:link]

Trump dishes out dozens of whoppers

Fact-checking shows that Donald Trump’s speech to the annual U.S. Conservative Political Action Conference pushed the boundaries of creduility even for him. His lengthy March 4 address to the right-wing gathering in Maryland was packed with inaccurate claims about not only domestic politics but also, among other things, NATO, China, Russia, Ukraine and terrorism. [node:read-more:link]

G20 consensus undermined again

Foreign ministers from the G20 countries ended a March 2 meeting without consensus on the war in Ukraine as China and Russia refused to support a call on Russia to cease hostilities. However, India’s host foreign minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, said that there was agreement on most other issues such as climate change and counterterrorism. A finance ministers’ summit late last month also failed to reach consensus over Ukraine. [node:read-more:link]

Brothers released from Guantánamo

Two brothers from Pakistan have been released without charge and repatriated after two decades in Guantánamo Bay. Abdul and Mohammed Ahmed Rabbani, who were arrested as"terrorists" in Pakistan in 2002, claim to have been tortured by CIA officers in Afghanistan before they were shipped to the U.S. military prison. [node:read-more:link]

Another “Gitmo” detainee freed

Pakistani national Ahmed Rabbani, once described as one of “the worst terrorists” in the world, has been repatriated from Guantánamo after more than 20 years without charge. He had been handed over by Pakistani officials in September 2002 in return for a bounty despite his insistence that he was only a taxi driver. His British human rights lawyer says his treatment is more evidence of how the U.S. intelligence and military communities had mishandled most Guantánamo detainees’ cases. [node:read-more:link]

ISIS bride loses citizenship appeal

Shamima Begum, who travelled to Syria from Britain as a teenager in 2015 to join the Islamic State in Syria has failed in her latest bid to regain citizenship. A special tribunal dismissed the 23-year-old’s appeal February 22 despite arguments that she was trafficked to be a child bride, but her case is still subject to further challenges of Britain’s appellate and supreme courts. [node:read-more:link]

ISIS “facilitator” pleads guilty

Ottawa resident Awso Peshdary, who pleaded guilty February 23 to terrorism by facilitating Islamic State recruitment efforts, was sentenced to 14 years less time served, which means he will be released on probation in late 2024. The Crown and Peshdary’s lawyer had agreed to what Ontario Superior Court Justice Julianne Parfett called a “fit” penalty even though his activities were “horrific.” Peshdary actually thanked the RCMP for arresting him. [node:read-more:link]

Daylight raid in the West Bank

At least 11 Palestinians, including three militants targeted by Israel, were killed today during a rare daytime raid in the city of Nablus in the occupied West Bank. More than 100 residents also were injured in what the local Red Crescent director called a “massacre.” [node:read-more:link]

Iranian expats face U.S. charges

Three Iranian expatriates in Toronto who describe themselves as real estate professionals face what they say are baseless felony charges in the U.S. for allegedly conspiring to circumvent sanctions against Iran. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today that his his government is working “very closely with American partners” and the Iranian diaspora, some of whom say the government is doing too little to ensure Canada isn’t a haven for the Iranian regime’s allies. [node:read-more:link]

Moldovan government at risk?

President Maia Sandu of Modova accused Russia February 13 of plotting to undermine the former Soviet republic’s pro-western government. She says the sabotage would involve “protests by the so-called opposition” as well as third-country “saboteurs with military background, camouflaged in civilian clothes, to undertake violent actions, attacks on state institutions and taking hostages.” [node:read-more:link]


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