The Rendon Group Snapshot Report – 15 December 2014

by TRG Alerts Admin on December 15, 2014

The Rendon Group Snapshot Report



Each week The Rendon Group’s media analysts will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent. As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request. For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at or +1-202-745-4900.


Nations step up efforts to stem the “foreign fighter” problem

Members of the “Islamic State” seen in Iraq (IS, formerly known as ISIL/ISIS)

Photo: Agence France-Presse


This week’s snapshot focuses on the action being taken by the international community to mitigate the systemic growth of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria as well as control the movement of foreign fighters from countries within North America, Europe and Southeast Asia to the region in order to fight with the terrorist group.



News Summary of events during the week of 08DEC-14DEC

  • 08DEC: EU foreign policy chief Mogherini hoped that increased intelligence-sharing would help stop the flow of foreign fighters joining the ranks of Islamic State militants (AFP)
  • 09DEC: UK PM Cameron stated that Britain and Turkey are working “as closely as possible” to stop foreign fighters joining Islamic State insurgents in Iraq and Syria (AFP)
  • 10DEC: Egypt imposed restrictions on male citizens travelling to Turkey and war-torn Libya to stop them from joining jihadist organizations like the Islamic State group (AFP)
  • 11DEC: Austria’s parliament passed a law outlawing the symbols of the Islamic State group and al-Qaida (AP)
  • 11DEC: NATO’s Secretary-General praised Gulf nations for their role in fighting extremists in Syria and Iraq (AP)
  • 12DEC: The Islamic State is attracting attention from jihadists in Africa, particularly Nigeria (AFP)
  • 13DEC: Australian FM Bishop called reports of young women going secretly to the Middle East to join IS “deeply concerning” (AAP)
  • 14DEC: Jordan’s King Abdullah II met his Saudi counterpart in Riyadh Sunday for talks as both nations participate in a US-led bombing campaign against Islamic State group extremists in Syria (AFP)



Sample of Twitter handles regarding action being taken to mitigate the threat of the Islamic State both regionally and abroad

  • @zaidbenjamin – Zaid Benjamin, Washington Correspondent at Middle East Broadcasting Networks
  • @Dbyman – Daniel L. Byman, Center for Middle East Policy senior fellow Brookings
  • @DickinsonBeth – Elizabeth Dickinson, Monitor Global Outlook, MENA editor
  • @charliewinter – researcher on jihadism in Syria and Iraq at @QuilliamF – usual caveats apply


Sample of Third Party Validators regarding action being taken to mitigate the threat of the Islamic State both regionally and abroad


Peter Pham, Head of the Africa Center, Atlantic Council

“There are no direct operational contacts, but it is quite clear that Boko Haram is paying attention to the IS and the IS is paying attention to Boko Haram.”

–       Islamic State influence spreads to African jihadists, AFP, 12DEC14


Ala’ Alrababa’h, Junior Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, United States

“Jordan has been deeply concerned about the effect of Syria’s civil war on its security. The Syrian civil war, and the rise of the Islamic State, could increase the appeal of jihadism at home¬—jihadi groups may target the Jordanian homeland through bombings. Some may argue that Jordan is safe because it has a 97 percent Sunni Muslim majority, so it does not suffer from the sectarian problems of its neighbors. This is true, but in 2005 al-Qaeda in Iraq—the predecessor of the Islamic State—carried out three bombings on a Jordanian hotel.”

–       Fighting Fire with Fire: Jordan’s Risky Strategy Against the Islamic State, Carnegie Middle East, 11DEC14


Paul Maley, National Security Correspondent, The Australian, Sydney, Australia

“Nearly one in four Australian jihadis fighting in Syria and Iraq have been killed as key battlegrounds such as the Turkish-­Syrian border town of Kobane have been transformed into “graveyards’’ for gullible foreign fighters duped by Islamic State. With coalition fighter planes pounding Islamic State positions in Syria and northern Iraq, there are warnings from within the community and from the gov­ernment that foreigners are being used as “cannon fodder’’ by Islamic militants hell-bent on waging a propaganda war.”

–       Australian Jihadis ‘cannon fodder’ for Islamic State, The Australian, 09DEC14


Daniel L. Byman and Jeremy Shapiro, Brookings Institute

“The Syrian conflict has captured the imaginations and inflamed the passions of Muslims around the world, spurring thousands to join the mostly Sunni rebels resisting the Assad regime. The influx of volunteers has bolstered jihadist groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), also known as the Islamic State, a militant organization that swept across Syria’s border into Iraq this past summer and proclaimed an Islamic caliphate.”

–       Homeward Bound? Don’t Hype the Threat of Returning Jihadists, Brookings, 30SEP14


Omer Mozaffar, Muslim community leader and Theology teacher, Loyola University Chicago and University of Chicago

“There’s a defensiveness that compels parents to pull their kids out of everything. A lot of parents feel overwhelmed and don’t know what to do, so they try to isolate their children. Parents send them less for the Islamic tutelage and more for the sense of protecting them. They think ‘American’ equals ‘immoral,’ and there’s a common belief that if it’s more strict, it’s more pious. This is something I have to preach against all the time.”

–       Bolingbrook teens’ parents ‘stunned’ by Islamic State recruitment claims, Chicago Tribune, 09DEC14



Sample of open source research conducted by TRG analysts related to action being taken to mitigate the threat of the Islamic State both regionally and abroad.


1. Analysis: How students are being radicalized by Islamic State


Media: Reuters

Byline: N/A

Date: 08 December 2014


A quiet student at Kabul University, 25-year-old Abdul Rahim has a dream: to join Islamic State in Syria and fight for the establishment of a global caliphate – a new, alarming form of radicalism in war-weary Afghanistan. “When hundreds of foreigners, both men and women, leave their comfortable lives and embrace Daish, then why not us?” he asked, using a word for Islamic State common in the region.


Although IS is not believed to have operations in Afghanistan, its influence is growing in a country already mired in daily bombings and attacks by Taliban insurgents. With most foreign combat troops leaving the country by the end of the year, there is growing uncertainty over what direction Afghanistan will take, with the emergence of IS ideology adding a new risk.


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2. ISIS: The Inside Story


Media: The Guardian (UK)

Byline: Martin Chulov

Date: 11 December 2014


In the summer of 2004, a young jihadist in shackles and chains was walked by his captors slowly into the Camp Bucca prison in southern Iraq. He was nervous as two American soldiers led him through three brightly-lit buildings and then a maze of wire corridors, into an open yard, where men with middle-distance stares, wearing brightly-coloured prison uniforms, stood back warily, watching him. “I knew some of them straight away,” he told me last month. “I had feared Bucca all the way down on the plane. But when I got there, it was much better than I thought. In every way.”


The jihadist, who uses the nom de guerre Abu Ahmed, entered Camp Bucca as a young man a decade ago, and is now a senior official within Islamic State (Isis) – having risen through its ranks with many of the men who served time alongside him in prison. Like him, the other detainees had been snatched by US soldiers from Iraq’s towns and cities and flown to a place that had already become infamous: a foreboding desert fortress that would shape the legacy of the US presence in Iraq.


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3. U.S. ‘very closely’ monitoring worldwide spread of Islamic State


Media: The Washington Times

Byline: Guy Taylor

Date: 11 December 2014


President Obama’s top adviser overseeing the coalition fighting the Islamic State said Thursday U.S. officials are “very closely” monitoring the possible spread of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s extremist movement beyond Syria and Iraq, especially as international efforts ramp up toward confronting the group in those two nations.


“We are keeping close tabs on other groups that may swear fealty ultimately to Baghdadi … and to the organization, which then gives them, in essence, a franchise reach into other areas of the globe as far away as East Asia,” said retired U.S. Marine Gen. John Allen, the president’s special envoy for the global coalition fighting the Islamic State, also known by the acronyms ISIS and ISIL.


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4. Bolingbrook teens’ parents ‘stunned’ by Islamic State recruitment claims


Media: Chicago Tribune

Byline: Kevin Sullivan

Date: 09 December 2014


Mohammed Hamzah Khan, 19, rose before dawn on Oct. 4 to pray with his father and 16-year-old brother at their neighborhood mosque in Bolingbrook.


When they returned home just before 6 a.m., the father went back to bed and the Khan teens secretly launched a plan they had been hatching for months: to abandon their family and country and travel to Syria to join the Islamic State.


While his parents slept, Khan gathered three newly issued U.S. passports and $2,600 worth of airline tickets to Turkey that he had gotten for himself, his brother and their 17-year-old sister. The three teens slipped out of the house, called a taxi and rode to O’Hare International Airport.


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5. America is building a Sunni army in Iraq to take on the Islamic State


Media: Global Post

Byline: Susannah George

Date: 12 December 2014


BASHIQA, Iraq — At a small military base just outside of Mosul, a few hundred Iraqi troops stand at attention in three neat rows.


Within a prefab office nearby, a group of US officials is sitting down with some local commanders. They make introductions and exchange pleasantries, before the Americans ask the question they came all this way to ask: “How can we help?”


When the US announced its intention to support Iraq in its fight against the Islamic State (IS), it did so on the condition that the government undergo serious reforms to reach out to the country’s Sunni population, who were severely marginalized under the sectarian rule of former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.


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