IW Roundup — March 1, 2021

This Week in Irregular Warfare

22 – 28 February

Welcome to the first installment of The Irregular Warrior’s news digest. No summary can capture all the news related to irregular warfare around the world, but we hope you’ll find this collection to be interestingly broad in its scope in addition to bringing you the stories most relevant to U.S. readers. To that end, we’ll be updating the format as we go in order to make this product as useful and informative as possible. Now on to the roundup:

US strikes Iranian backed Militant site in Syria in response to rocket attack

Air strikes were carried out following the authorization of newly-elected US President, Joe Biden, in the eastern part of Syria where Iranian-backed militants were alleged to be present. The strikes were conducted in response to the rocket attack against American troops in Iraq by same militants. The rocket attack on February 15th killed a Filipino contractor and wounded 4 American contractors. The retaliation was conducted to clearly convey that President Biden will ensure safety of American citizens and personnel by any necessary action. New York Times, February 26. [Biden Orders Airstrikes in Syria Targeting Iran-Backed Militias – The New York Times (nytimes.com)]

PKK killed 13 Turkish hostages – Turkey accused United States of supporting Kurdish militants

13 Turkish hostages were killed in Northern Iraq by Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK). The US State department condemned the attack but did not confirm the PKK’s involvement in the attack. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish President, called the statement “ridiculous” and alleged United States of backing the PKK by supporting Syrian Kurds who are also affiliated with PKK. Washington Post, February 15. [Turkey accuses U.S. of supporting Kurdish militants after 13 Turkish hostages are killed – The Washington Post]

Attack on UN convoy – Italian Ambassador to DRC killed

Italian ambassador Luca Attanasio, along with another embassy official and a driver, were killed in the attack in the DRC. The attack was launched on a World Food Program convoy near the city of Goma, in the Northern Kivu Province. The province is in close proximity with the border shared with Rwanda, a breeding ground for violent activities. Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda have been accused for the attack. New York Times, February 22. [Italian Ambassador Among Three Killed in Attack on U.N. Convoy in Congo – The New York Times (nytimes.com)]

Mass Shooting in Pensacola declared as an act of International Terrorism

In the lawsuit filed in Pensacola Federal Court by the families of victims, it was stated that the shooter had accomplices and facilitation from Saudi Arabia. The shooter, Royal Saudi Air Force 2nd Lt. Ahmed Mohammed al-Shamrani, was accused to be working with Al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). He and his facilitators had been planning the attack of five years. Washington Post, February 22. [Pensacola Navy base mass shooter had accomplices, help from Saudi Arabia, victims claim in terror lawsuit – The Washington Post]

Facilitator of Ehsanullah Ehsan’s escape convicted

Major General Babar Ifthikar, Director General of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), claims that actions have been taken against those involved in Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan’s escape in January 2020 from a “safe house” where he was being held. Ehsan had been taken in custody in 2017 after he claimed the attack on Army Public School Peshawar in which hundreds of children were killed. The details of the soldiers alleged to be involved in the escape have not been shared with public. Dawn, February 24. [Action taken against army officers over Ehsanullah Ehsan’s escape: DG ISPR – Pakistan – DAWN.COM]

Venezuelan court orders trail of US citizen charged with terrorism

Mathew Heath, a US citizen has been detained in Venezuela on terrorism charges. He was alleged to be spying on OPEC nation’s oil refineries and carrying specialized weapons. Washington denies its involvement or support in the matter; however, the US State department’s spokesperson called for a fair trial for the detained US citizen. On Wednesday, the court ordered that a trial proceed for Mr. Heath, although no further dates have been set. Al Jazeera, February 25. [Trial of US citizen charged with terrorism in Venezuela to begin | Courts News | Al Jazeera]

FATF keeps Pakistan on Grey List

The Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in its meeting on Thursday stated that Pakistan will continue to remain on its increased monitoring list as it has some serious deficiencies in keeping a check on terror financing. FATF also elaborated that Pakistan has made progress and addressed 24 out of 27 action items. However, country is yet to take serious actions against UN designated terrorist organizations. The Indian Express, February 25. [Serious deficiency on part of Pak in checking terror financing, will continue to remain on increased monitoring list: FATF | World News,The Indian Express]

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