Analysis & Insight

Lisa's Desk

The latest stories and updates

from our Editor-in-Chief Lisa Daftari.

About Lisa Daftari

Not Without My Mullahs: Russia Declines Warsaw Conference After Iran Not Invited

Far be it from Russia to show loyalty in geopolitics, but in this case, Russia says since Iran is not invited to next month’s world conference on the Middle East taking place in Warsaw, they will also turn down the invitation, according to Poland’s foreign minister. The conference, which has garnered much media attention so…

Iran regime forces confront teachers’ protest with tear gas and arrests

A gathering of Iran’s teachers in Isfahan Thursday was met with harsh contact with regime forces who threatened the protestors and sprayed tear gas, forcing them to disperse, according to multiple accounts. The protest was held outside the Department of Education building where current and retired teachers, mostly female, gathered. The teachers chanted, “We shout.…

UPDATE: Jordan immigrant gets death penalty in Texas “honor killings” case

The Jordanian immigrant found guilty by a Texas jury of killing his American son-in-law and his daughter’s close friend in “honor killings” linked to her marriage to a non-Muslim has been sentenced to death. Ali Mahwood-Awad Irsan, 60, received the death penalty after being found guilty two weeks ago for resorting to murder in reaction…

Iranian soccer player faces backlash after posing with Israeli counterpart

A chance meeting between Israeli and Iranian soccer players which culminated in a photo and social media post that has since gone viral, is causing a commotion across the web. Israeli international midfielder Maor Buzaglo, 30, who plays for the Maccabi Haifa team was in London where he was receiving treatment for an injured knee…

ISIS urges jihadis to imitate Times Square car ramming incident

Opportunistic jihadis have posted messages urging supporters to carry out vehicular attacks similar to Thursday’s Times Square car crash even as law enforcement officials confirmed that the incident had no connection to terrorism. Pro-Islamic State jihadis shared images and messages such as, “Soon, the vehicle attacks will be witnessed on your streets, by Allah’s permission,”…

Al Qaeda contest in Yemen offers guns, cash prizes in honor of Ramadan

As Yemen continues to battle civil war and stave off famine, militants with the Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) branch Ansar Al Sharia are seizing upon the latest unrest to attract people to jihad. This week jihadis launched a contest in the city of Taiz offering prizes, including an automatic rifle, a pistol…

ISIS calls on "Muslims in France" to launch Election Day attacks

ISIS has called upon Muslims in France to “kill candidates” and “burn down polling stations” as the country prepares to vote in the second round of the presidential election this weekend. An article appearing in the French edition of the terror group’s monthly propaganda magazine “Rumiyah” addresses all Muslims in France stating: “Don’t forget your…

ISIS all-female hacking group looks to recruit more women

An all-female division of an ISIS-affiliated hacking group released a video online claiming to have hacked multiple social media accounts. The “Al Khansaa Kateeba” (battalion), which claims to be a division of the notorious United Cyber Caliphate (UCC) released the video over the weekend glorifying the recent launch of its all-girl division, threatening anyone exposing…

ISIS using kidnapped Yazidi children in suicide missions

The Islamic State is using kidnapped Yazidi children to carry out suicide missions as the U.S.-led coalition forces continue their assault on the terror group’s remaining strongholds in Syria and Iraq. In a video posted Tuesday, two young Yazidi boys seemingly brainwashed by the Islamic terror group talk about their departure from their Yazidi identity…

Iran conducts ‘war-game’ exercises, threatening to shoot down trespassing aircraft

Iran has kicked off a five-day large scale military exercise in the country’s southern region warning that civilian and military aircraft risk being shot down if they stray into Iranian airspace occupied by the drill. The exercises, codenamed Modafe’an-e Aseman-e Velayat 7 or Defenders of Velayat Skies 7, include air defense drills and various missile,…

Iran sentences British mother to 5 years in Evin Prison

A British mother detained in Iran since April has been sentenced in a secret trial to five years in prison on unknown charges, her husband has informed The Foreign Desk. Nazanin Ratcliffe, 37, confirmed her sentence to her British husband Richard in an emotional jailhouse phone call Friday morning. “Five years is ridiculous. For what?”…

Germany fears ISIS may have infiltrated its army

Senior officials in Germany’s army have called for background checks on all new recruits after discovering that dozens of soldiers with links to jihadi groups have enlisted in the country’s armed forces. More than 60 recruits with Islamist links have already been exposed as Bundeswehr officials hastily proposed a draft amendment calling for new screening…

Pentagon looking to Israel for Iron Dome-type missile defense shield to protect troops abroad

American defense contractor Raytheon and Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems who work together developing Israel’s Iron Dome—the highly-acclaimed mobile air defense system that has become critical to Israel’s national security—are now collaborating on an American prototype. The U.S. version of the missile system would help protect U.S. forces in advanced combat positions around the world from a…

ISIS video: Normandy church attackers pledge allegiance to Al Baghdadi

A new Islamic State video features the two men who carried out Tuesday’s attack on a church in France killing an 86-year old priest by slitting his throat, pledging allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi. The video, entitled “The 2 attackers of the Church in Normandy pledge allegiance to the Islamic State,” shows…

ISIS in Brazil: Just ahead of Olympics, group pledges allegiance to Caliphate

As fears rise over Brazil’s security apparatus ahead of this summer’s Olympics games, a group calling itself “The Brazil Caliphate” has released a statement on social media pledging allegiance to Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed leader of the Islamic State. In the pledge issued July 17, “Ansar al-Khilafah Brazil” posted to its Telegram channel…

Al Qaeda in Yemen provokes the U.S. into battle, vows to “liberate Palestine”

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) commonly known as Ansar Al Sharia has unveiled a new special operations training video seen by The Foreign Desk, featuring jihadis taunting the U.S. into military confrontation and vowing to fight to capture Palestine and the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. At the Hamzah Zinjibari training camp, militants…

ISIS confirms death of senior militant Omar Al Shishani

The Islamic State has confirmed the death of Omar al-Shishani, a senior ISIS commander who was mistakenly reported dead in March. In a posting on its Amaq newswire, the militant group said Shishani was “martyred in #Shirqat as he participated in clashes to repel the campaign against the city of #Mosul.” Earlier today, CNN reported…

ISIS lauds "results" of a bloodthirsty Ramadan, claims 5200 victims

In a celebratory infographic posted online, the Islamic State is claiming major victory in killing and injuring up to 5,200 people over the holy month of Ramadan. The infographic, lauding the “results” of a bloodthirsty Ramadan, published by ISIS’ Al Naba weekly magazine notes the 14 terror attacks around the globe attributed to ISIS including…

ISIS introduces ‘Golden Dinar’ currency, Hopes it will collapse U.S. dollar

ISIS is now issuing its own currency referred to as the ‘Golden Dinar,’ with engravings bearing the words “Islamic State.” The coins, currently being released in limited quantity, are to primarily be used by traders in the oil industry in areas under Islamic State control, according to reports on jihadi online forums. Activists in Deir…

Jihadist website profiting from online advertising, including U.S. companies

A convicted Islamic extremist in Indonesia running a popular jihadi website has been profiting from revenue generated by online advertising platforms according to reports.. Muhammad Jibril Abdul Rahman, whose website Arrahmah.com featuring pictures of beheadings has garnered 600,000, and on occasion upwards of 1 million visitors, a month, has been using platforms such as Google’s…

Woman in Iran sentenced to 100 public lashes for extra-marital affair

  An Iranian woman serving a 15-year prison sentence for the alleged murder of her husband will now receive 100 public lashes for her assumed involvement in an extra-marital affair, according to an Iranian news outlet. The woman, known only as “ST” in the news report translated by The Foreign Desk, was sentenced April 27…

ISIS in Libya training women for combat, suicide bombing attacks

The Islamic State in Libya is pulling its female recruits from the kitchen and placing them alongside men on the battlefield, according to a Tunisian family whose daughters have joined the terror group. Olfa Hamrouni, a Tunisian woman from the Hay al-Tadamon district whose two daughters, Rahma, 17, and Ghofran, 19, left home to go…

Despite ban, women take part in “I run Iran” marathon

Update: Despite ban, two women unofficially ran the “I run Iran” marathon Saturday according to an AFP reporter in Tehran. Two women run unofficially on the sideline of the marathon "I run Iran" pic.twitter.com/MoDcXDCQdG — Bahar Shoghi (@baharshoghi) April 9, 2016 Earlier story: Iran will be holding its first running marathon next year, in a…

White House follows Congress in determining ISIS actions against Christians genocide

UPDATE: Following Congress’ designation, Secretary Kerry announced Thursday that the U.S. has determined ISIS attacks on minorities including Yazidis, Christians and Shiite Muslims, a genocide. Earlier story: Pressure is mounting on the Obama administration to take action following a unanimous Congressional vote Monday approving a resolution to designate the persecution of Christians and other minorities in…

Surge in recruitment of child soldiers in global conflict, report says

The number and threat of vulnerable children falling victim to the recruitment ploys of armed militant groups is steadily growing and continues to be an area of serious concern, according to a report by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). The increase in child soldier recruitment is a result of the steep rise…

State Dept. strengthens Iran travel warning to U.S. citizens

U.S. citizens traveling to Iran, particularly Iranian-Americans, risk arrest and detention in the Islamic republic, the U.S. State Department said in a travel warning Friday. The notice, which was previously issued in August, updates the last warning specifically for dual citizens, a State Dept. spokesperson told The Foreign Desk. “We just strengthened the language,” the…

ISIS 'lone wolf' guide advises avoid mosques, shave beard, act Christian

Islamic State militants have published an e-book advising ‘lone wolves’ across the world with instructions on how to carry out successful local attacks on behalf of the terror group. Jihadi readers are motivated to plot attacks by following the pointers, strategies and advice offered throughout the document such as cutting beards and adopting one or…

Probe: Spain’s ‘Podemos’ Party may have been given €5 million Euros by Iran regime

Spanish authorities are actively investigating rumors that Iran’s regime heavily financed the activities of the country’s Podemos political party, according to Spanish media sources. The Union of Economic and Fiscal Delinquency, La Unidad de Delincuencia Económica y Fiscal (UDEF), an investigative arm of the country’s National Police has launched a detailed probe in determining whether the…

ISIS forcing girls in eastern Syrian province to marry its fighters

Girls from a province in eastern Syria are being forced by extremists to marry ISIS militants or be put to death. Islamic State leaders in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor province released a statement last week demanding that parents allow their young daughters to wed ISIS militants or face severe consequences. According to a report from AhlulBayt News…

Egypt requests Israel keep Turkey out of Gaza

Senior Egyptian Foreign Ministry officials have quietly expressed concerns regarding the status of a possible reconciliation between Israel and Turkey and the impact that may have on Turkey’s access to Gaza. The prospect of Israel and Turkey resuming bilateral ties has left Egyptian officials concerned, according to Haaretz. Last month, Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily reported that…

Assad government is starving residents in besieged Syrian town

Starving and freezing cold residents of Madaya, a Syrian town north west of Damascus, are calling on the world to help provide aid as they run out of food and prepare to face a brutal winter. According to individual accounts from Madaya, the stranded have resorted to eating leaves and even their pets to survive…

Islamic State operating a 'jihadi technical college'

A new video obtained by Sky News depicts what can only be described as a ‘Jihadi technical college.’ In a video smuggled out of the Caliphate’s defacto capital Raqqa, Islamic State jihadis are seen converting heat-seeking fighter jet missiles into surface to air missiles with the help of their weapons research and development team. Islamic…

Up to 50 British children are in the clutches of the Islamic State

As many as 50 British children, including young babies, are in the clutches of the Islamic State, it emerged last night. Information from The Times database of 120 former United Kingdom residents who fled to join ISIS revealed that 35 children between the ages of 15 to 18 and more than 60 men between 18…

Slain Austrian jihadi 'poster girls' gifted as sex slaves to ISIS fighters

There’s new information suggesting that the young teens from Austria who went to join ISIS were served to new Islamic State jihadis as sex slaves before they were killed. Samra Kesinovic, 17, and Sabina Selimovic, 15, both of Bosnian heritage, left their families in 2014 with a note saying, “Don’t look for us. We will…

ISIS mutilates, kills woman for breastfeeding in public

The Islamic State’s notorious all-woman Al-Khansaa Brigade savagely murdered a mother who was caught breastfeeding her baby on the streets of Raqqa, Syria. Aisha, a mother of two and a prior resident of Raqqa who fled the ISIS stronghold city after her husband was beheaded for smoking a cigarette told The Sunday Times, “An [ISIS]…

Christian convert arrested in Iran during holiday season

A Christian man was attacked and arrested in Iran just before Christmas, a time when Iranian officials have been cracking down on those celebrating or observing the holiday, according to an Iranian news agency. Meysam Hojjati, a convert to Christianity from Islam, was arrested Dec. 23 by plainclothes officers at his home in Isfahan, where they…

Biting the hand?! Iran announces boycott of 227 U.S. products ahead of sanctions release

The Iranian government has published a boycott list of American-made products ahead of the highly-anticipated lifting of sanctions which expects a flooding of foreign goods into the country, an Iranian news agency reported Monday. Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization has made public the names of 227 American-made goods that are now on an import ban list, Tasnim…

#MyTreedom campaign takes on global persecution with Christmas tree photos

Merry Christmas from…everywhere. Yes, even countries where being Christian is a crime, punishable by death. In the eye of increased Christian persecution around the world, a newly-launched Facebook campaign called My Treedom, posts daily photographs of Christmas trees and holiday decorations from some of the hardest places to live and practice as a Christian. Launched…

New ISIS video sends message to Pres. Obama

ISIS has released a new video threatening Pres. Obama and accusing him of “waging war against Allah.” The message refers back to the U.S./Kurdish coordinated raid that freed 70 hostages in Hawijah, Northern Iraq last week. Titled “The reality of the American raid,” the video appears to be a recounting of the attack by ISIS…

ISIS stops women from being treated by gynecologists; Closes women’s clinics

ISIS has allegedly called for the closing of all women’s clinics in Raqqa, the terror group’s headquarters in Syria, threatening to kill doctors, according to a human rights group. This is the latest in the Islamic State’s war on women, raping them, taking them as sex slaves, and forcing young children into marriages. ISIS is…

The awaited Al Qaeda comeback: Syria's Nusra Front releases magazine

Syrian rebels loyal to the Al Qaeda terror organization, released the second edition of its English-language magazine, “Al Risalah,” Sunday. The rebels, who identify with the Nusra Front (NF), Al Qaeda’s local branch, leaked the magazine onto the social media sphere using the group’s official Twitter account, which has still not been removed. The cover…

ISIS releases video in Hebrew with a “message to the Jews”

ISIS has released a video featuring a militant speaking in Hebrew. In a video seen by The Foreign Desk, a jihadist announces a “clear and important message for all Jews, the first enemy of Muslims.” Addressing “Jews who conquered the land of the Muslims,” he warns that the “real war has not started yet,” with…

Social media inciting Palestinian violence against Israel

It appears social media is fanning the flames of Palestinian violence against Israeli citizens that has escalated over the last month, sending messages praising the perpetrators by calling them “heroes,” encouraging others to carry out similar attacks and warning of more attacks in coming days. Popular Arabic hashtags such as “The Intifada has started,” “The…

ISIS using encryption app Telegram to spread propaganda

ISIS has been increasingly turning to Telegram Messenger, a popular messaging app that boasts end-to-end encryption and self-destructing messages, to continue spreading its propaganda online and delivering its recruitment message. ISIS has been posting frequent updates using the app, showing everyday life under the caliphate, the battles, the martyrs, the implementation of Sharia law – public…