Sarfo realized that they were preparing a global portfolio of terrorists and looking to fill holes in their international network, he said. There, a siege by a team of Islamic State gunmen left at least 20 hostages dead at a cafe last month, almost all of them foreigners. In his briefings with the German authorities, and again in the interview this week, Mr.
Sarfo explained that the Emni keeps many of its operatives underground in Europe.
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They act as nodes that can remotely activate potential suicide attackers who have been drawn in by propaganda. Linking them are what Mr. The intelligence documents and Mr. Yet one important region where the Emni is not thought to have succeeded in sending trained attackers is North America, Mr. Sarfo said, recalling what the members of the branch told him. Since late , the Islamic State has instructed foreigners joining the group to make their trip look like a holiday in southern Turkey, including booking a return flight and paying for an all-inclusive vacation at a beach resort, from which smugglers arrange their transport into Syria, according to intelligence documents and Mr.
Though the Emni approached him several times to ask him to return to Germany, he demurred, he said. Eventually, Mr.
What ISIS Really Wants
The unit only admitted single men who agreed not to marry during the duration of their training. In addition to providing the offensive force to infiltrate cities during battles, it was one of several elite units that became recruiting pools for the external operations branch, Mr.
Along with his German friend, he was driven to the desert outside Raqqa. Everything above ground was painted with mud so as to be invisible to drones. Sarfo said, adding that he had shared a cave with five or six others. Even drinking water was harshly rationed. The grueling training began: hours of running, jumping, push-ups, parallel bars, crawling. The recruits began fainting. The punishment for failing to keep up was harsh. Sarfo told the authorities. He learned that the special forces program involved 10 levels of training. After he graduated to Level 2, he was moved to an island on a river in Tabqa, Syria.
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They practiced swimming, scuba diving and navigating by the stars. Throughout his training, Mr. Sarfo rubbed shoulders with an international cadre of recruits.
When he first arrived at the desert campus, he ran laps alongside Moroccans, Egyptians, at least one Indonesian, a Canadian and a Belgian. And out on the island, he learned of similar special units, including one called Jaysh al-Khalifa, or the Army of the Caliphate. A page criminal complaint indicates that the Islamic State tried to recruit at least one American into that unit, but he declined to enroll.
In his debriefing with the F. As he progressed through the special forces training, Mr. Sarfo added. Born in the town of Binnish in northern Syria, Mr. But details about his life remain a mystery. Sarfo explained that when recruits to the special forces finished all 10 levels of training, they were blindfolded and driven to meet Mr. Adnani, where they pledged allegiance to him directly.
Sarfo was told that the blindfolds stayed on the whole time, so that even Mr. To the world, Mr. Adnani is better known as the official spokesman of the Islamic State, and the man who put out a global call this year for Muslims to attack unbelievers wherever they were, however they could. During his time in Syria, Mr.
Sarfo was contacted by other German fighters who wanted him to be an actor in a propaganda film aimed at German speakers. They drove to Palmyra, and Mr. Syrian captives were forced to kneel, and the other German fighters shot them, showing an interest only in the cinematic effect. One turned to Mr. Did I look good, the way I executed? Dell is working to build the first commercial-scale global ocean-bound plastics supply chain. The company started with feasibility work in Haiti and has used ocean-bound plastics in packaging and its popular products.
It hopes to expand these efforts with the continued help of NGOs and other companies. From retreating shorelines and sea-level rise to plastic pollution and endangered marine life, we are facing seas of change. The Arctic Council, the Port State Measures agreement, and private sector innovations offer ways forward but also highlight the hurdles ahead.
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Polar Institute. Science and Technology Innovation Program. Urban Sustainability Laboratory. Webcast Recap. Sustainable Infrastructure Many defensive systems, such as dams , are underperforming or failing in the face of flooding and other natural disasters, said John Matthews, Lead and Co-Founder of the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation. Their skepticism is comprehensible. Look instead, these scholars urged, to the conditions in which these ideologies arose—the bad governance, the shifting social mores, the humiliation of living in lands valued only for their oil.
Without acknowledgment of these factors, no explanation of the rise of the Islamic State could be complete. Many mainstream Muslim organizations have gone so far as to say the Islamic State is, in fact, un-Islamic. It is, of course, reassuring to know that the vast majority of Muslims have zero interest in replacing Hollywood movies with public executions as evening entertainment. Of partial Lebanese descent, Haykel grew up in Lebanon and the United States, and when he talks through his Mephistophelian goatee, there is a hint of an unplaceable foreign accent.
According to Haykel, the ranks of the Islamic State are deeply infused with religious vigor. Koranic quotations are ubiquitous.