The Soufan Group Morning Brief



ISIS fighters are targeting Iraqi civilians as they attempt to flee the besieged city of Fallujah, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council. A member of Iraq’s elite counterterrorism unit also told reporters that ISIS militants shot and killed 14 people on Sunday as they tried to escape from Fallujah. On Sunday, Iraqi forces secured the southern edge of the city, which has been held by ISIS since early 2014. At least 50,000 civilians, including an estimated 20,000 children, are still trapped inside the city, according to the United Nations.  CNN, TIME, VICE News, The Independent

New York Times: Iraqis Who Flee Fighting in Falluja Find Hardship and Hunger
Wall Street Journal: Islamic State Members From the West Seek Help Getting Home
The Telegraph: Hundreds feared tortured in advance on Fallujah
CBS: As U.S. helps Iraqis close in, ISIS lashes out
CNN: ISIS executes accused spies, rights group says

The Obama administration is seeking to change surveillance law to give the FBI the authority to access citizens’ Internet browsing history and other online data without a warrant in terrorism and espionage cases. At the FBI’s request, some lawmakers are advancing legislation that would allow the government to obtain “electronic communication transactional records” with an administrative subpoena called a “national security letter.” These kinds of records provide individuals’ Internet IP addresses and how much time they spend on each website, but do not include content, such as text of an email or search terms. Washington Post

War authorization: A bipartisan group of senators introduced an amendment to the annual defense bill that would require a new authorization for use of military force for the ongoing military operations in Iraq and Syria. Senators Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) introduced an amendment to the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act that would require the Obama administration to obtain authorization from Congress in order to continue its fight against ISIS. The Hill

28 pages: 21 family members and survivors of the 9/11 attacks wrote a letter to the White House on Monday, urging President Obama to release 28 classified pages from the Congressional 9/11 Commission, which some believe link Saudi Arabia to the attacks. The Hill

Three Jordanian intelligence officers and two other security personnel were killed in an attack on a security office in a Palestinian refugee camp outside of the capital, Amman, on Monday. No group claimed responsibility for the attack and Jordanian officials said the incident appeared to be an “individual and isolated act.” Reuters, Washington Post, NPR

Syria: U.S.-backed local fighters have surrounded the ISIS-held city of Manbij as part of a recent military offensive against the group near the Turkish border. The Syria Democratic Forces, which include both Kurdish and Arab fighters, are attempting to cut off ISIS from its main route to the outside world along the Syrian-Turkish border. Reuters

Niger: Boko Haram militants retook the town of Bosso in southeastern Niger on Sunday following clashes with forces from Niger and Nigeria. The attack, which killed at least 32 soldiers, was the deadliest assault by Boko Haram in Niger since April 2015. Reuters

Turkey: A car bombing on Tuesday in Istanbul killed at least 11 people and wounded dozens of others. The attack targeted a police shuttle bus as it passed through the historic Beyazit district during rush hour. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. New York Times

Ukraine: On Monday, Ukraine’s intelligence agency said that it had arrested a French man who was planning an attack on France during the upcoming Euro 2016 soccer championship. Ukraine’s security service said that the suspect “intended to use weapons and ammunition to simultaneously blow up bridges and highway infrastructure across various regions of France.” Officials added that the suspect spoke “negatively about his government's actions, mass immigration, the spread of Islam and globalization, and also talked about plans to carry out several terrorist attacks.” NBC, Financial Times

South Africa: South Africa’s government told its citizens on Monday that they are in “no immediate danger” after the U.S. Embassy issued a warning on Saturday that it had received information that terrorist groups were planning “near-term” attacks in the country. South African officials said that the country’s security forces were working with U.S. officials in response to the threat. CNN
How to Contain Libya’s New Warlord: “Libya is already a mess, but things may be about to take a serious turn for the worse,” writes Tarek Megerisi on Foreign Policy. “The reason is simple. In their rush to create a new government that might restore a modicum of stability, Libya’s ostensible friends in the international community overlooked one big obstacle: General Khalifa Haftar and his motley band of Qaddafi-era soldiers and militias known as the Libyan National Army (LNA).”

How Ahrar al-Sham Has Come to Define the Kaleidoscope of the Syrian Civil War:  The debate over which armed opposition groups are outside the bounds of any settlement has proven controversial and divisive...much of this debate has centered on...whether Ahrar are “jihadists,” or how they might be linked with al-Qaeda,” writes Sam Heller on War on the Rocks. “Ahrar al-Sham has framed the Syrian war and the broader regional context as a sectarian cataclysm, in which Ahrar fights on behalf of Sunni Muslims everywhere.”

Fallujah is the Iraqis’ fight: Opposing view: “Fallujah needs to be retaken, but by Iraqi forces. Direct U.S. involvement is likely to create significant political problems,” writes Doug Bandow on USA TODAY. “Yet air power is of limited value in an urban campaign while the risk of civilian casualties is great. Washington already has been criticized for killing Iraqi civilians elsewhere. Given the American military’s history in Fallujah, the U.S. is at risk of being charged, fairly or not, with causing civilian deaths there.”

For cutting-edge analysis of the geopolitical events shaping global affairs, read today’s TSG IntelBrief: The Cities Held Hostage by the Islamic State

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