Desk Roundup

Lisa’s desk

Anwar Al Awlaki - ISIS

Anwar Al Awlaki: ISIS’ digital caliph preaching from beyond the grave

Just hours after Abdul Razak Ali Artan, the 18-year-old Somali refugee who rammed his car into the sidewalk at Ohio State University aiming to kill pedestrians and then subsequently exiting his vehicle and stabbing his victims with a butcher knife, authorities went to his Facebook page where they would find a number of posts allegedly written by Artan expressing anger and frustration with Americans and hailing the radical teachings of who he calls “our hero Imam Anwar Al Awlaki.” But just who is Awlaki, the notorious American-born Al Qaeda cleric, and why are jihadis still referencing his teachings in their left-behind diaries, notebooks and rants more than five years after his death? Awlaki, or ‘Sheikh Anwar’ as he was often called, specifically targeted Western jihadi-wannabes and lone-wolf potentials. With perfect command of both English and Quranic Arabic, he penetrated deep



Majority of Paris attackers entered Europe posing as refugees

Seven of the nine ISIS jihadis who launched a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris last November entered Europe by posing as refugees. The attackers were part of a group of 14 who plotted their way into Western Europe by riding the wave of the migrant crisis last year, according to Hungarian security officials. By using fake Syrian passports, many of the attackers, already on European terror watch-lists, were able to slip back into Europe undetected, along with thousands of other refugees. One hundred and thirty people were killed in November when a group of gunmen and suicide bombers launched a wave of attacks across Paris, targeting the Bataclan concert hall, the Stade De France and several restaurants and bars. Three hundred sixty-eight people were also injured in the attacks, almost 100 of them seriously. Some of the remaining terrorists in the group

Human Rights


U.S. State Dept. “troubled” by 18-year sentence handed down to U.S. citizen in Iran

The U.S. is "troubled" by reports of an 18-year sentence handed down to a dual U.S.-Iranian national, a State Department official told The Foreign Desk. "We are troubled by reports that Robin (or Reza) Shahini, a person reported to be a U.S. citizen, may have been convicted and sentenced to eighteen years in prison. We reaffirm our calls on Iran to respect and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, cease arbitrary and politically-motivated detentions and ensure fair and transparent judicial proceedings in all criminal prosecutions consistent with its law and international obligations," the State Department said. Earlier story: An Iranian court has sentenced a dual-citizen American Iranian man to 18 years in prison for allegedly ‘collaborating with a foreign government’ and for posts he published on his social media page, his family members told The Foreign