Hiding in Plain Sight: Jihadi Activism on Twitter

By Roger Farhat:

Well into the new millennium, radical Islamist propaganda has found a popular platform for terror groups to disseminate their messages with relative ease, while reaching out to a wider audience than they ever could before.

This has been accomplished through access to the Web, initially by establishing networks and platforms designed for purposes that range from propaganda and news to recruiting new operatives, planning, and exchange of ideas, whilst limiting access by password restriction.

In the wake of flourishing jihadi use of the Internet, considerable effort has been invested by security agencies around the world to thwart this trend, only to yield a counter-productive result by prompting the mushrooming of multiple new outlets for every forum blocked.

In recent years, this issue has developed and evolved at a far greater rate, owing to social media platforms that enable any hardline Islamist or extremist to become a virtual activist, irrespective of hierarchy or organization. Nonetheless, jihadists who have realized the great potential of social media as a prominent and rapid means of spreading propaganda for a multitude of sympathizers, supporters, and would-be jihadists are now utilizing these platforms to reach out and target a new audience.

This new target population includes neutrals and Westerners seeking extreme adventures and experiences.

To this end, this article presents an examination of expanded jihadi activism on Twitter, and highlights the tardy U.S. efforts to counter this trend, specifically with regards to addressing Muslims in the West.

Senior Jihadists Join Twitter, Forum Members Follow Suit

Between late 2012 and early 2013, notable jihadi discussions were observed on al-Qaeda (AQ) affiliated password-protected forums regarding the importance of the online media battlefield and the emphasis on the risks inherent in its use.

Additionally, a general abatement in the participation of activists on these forums was discerned, prompting top AQ ideologue Abu Saad al-Amili to pen an essay lamenting the decline and calling upon the “soldiers of the jihadi media” to return to their (virtual) arenas.

One of Amili’s social media columns

One of Amili’s social media columns

In the essay, titled “Appeal to the Media Soldiers of Jihad: Maintain your Positions and Return to your Enclaves,” al-Amili attributed the shrinking activity on jihadi forums to the migration of members into such social media networks as Facebook and Twitter.

al-Amili’s Twitter account

al-Amili’s Twitter account

Although himself a Twitter activist (@al3aamili), in his article al-Amili attempts to motivate members to remain active on the forums. Yet, the fact that he, together with top AQ brass, has become a prominent Twitter user appears to have encouraged forum members to “migrate” to Twitter en masse instead of “maintaining their position” elsewhere.

Twitter as an Instant Relay for Booming Jihadi Activities

Serious jihadi activism on Twitter floundered for some time before eventually taking off and developing into a full-fledged propaganda arena, massively utilized by senior jihadists, actual fighters on the battlefield, and media jihadists alike.

This trend has also swept the once-wary jihadi platforms that until recently complained about losing members to the open Internet sphere. Nowadays, the majority of jihadi forums and platforms have official and unofficial Twitter accounts, most of which advertise these accounts on their main page.

The intensification of the armed conflict in Syria, where jihadists and AQ-splinter groups have flooded in from around the globe to successfully establish strongholds in various parts of the country, precipitated an expansion of war efforts to social media.

It is in this conflict that Twitter has become the ultimate intersection for jihadi propaganda and activism, where actual fighters and their followers publish first-hand statements and accounts in addition to uploading raw footage from the battlefront. Foreign jihadists who “migrated” from Western countries to Syria greatly contributed to the rise of this phenomenon, as they regularly update their friends, family, and followers on their well-being, as well as on their “holy war adventures.”

Read more at PJ Media

Also see

Spain: Kebab Shops Financing Global Jihad

by Soeren Kern:

At least 2,000 European jihadists — many from Spain — have now travelled to Syria in the hopes of replacing the Assad regime with an Islamic state governed by Sharia law.

“Clearly Spain forms part of the strategic objectives of global jihad. We are not the only ones, but we are in their sights.” — Jorge Fernández Díaz, Minister of the Interior, Spain.

Police in Spain and Morocco have dismantled a jihadist network suspected of recruiting Islamic radicals in Europe and dispatching them to “hotbeds of tension” in Syria and other conflict zones.

Spanish officials say the cell, based in southern Spain, was one of the largest of its kind in Europe and responsible for recruiting more jihadists than any other network discovered in Spain so far.

The sting operation—in which seven suspected jihadists were arrested—was conducted on March 14, just three days after Spain marked the 10th anniversary of the 2004 Madrid train bombings that killed 191 people and wounded nearly 2,000.

Officials say the latest arrests demonstrate that Spain continues to be central to the ambitions of the global jihadist movement, which says it is committed to establishing a worldwide Caliphate.

Four of the suspects were arrested in Spain and the other three in Morocco. Of the suspects arrested in Spain, one was detained in the southern city of Málaga and the other three in Melilla, a Spanish exclave in North Africa. The three suspects arrested in Morocco had all recently returned from combat in Syria.

The suspected ringleader of the cell is a wheelchair-bound Spanish convert to Islam named Mustafa Maya Amaya. Maya, 51, was born in Brussels after his Spanish parents moved to Belgium in the 1960s to look for work there. After converting to Islam, he changed his given name from Rafael to Mustafa.

 

From left to right: Mustafa Maya Amaya, Paul Cadic and Farik Cheikh, three of the jihadists arrested by Spanish police. (Image source: Spanish Ministry of the Interior)

Maya eventually married a woman from Morocco, where he lived until December 2012, when he was arrested by Moroccan police for conspiring to overthrow the Moroccan monarchy and replace it with an Islamic government.

After escaping from prison in Morocco, Maya took refuge across the border in Melilla and became a naturalized Spanish citizen. Spanish counter-terrorism officials say Maya is well known for his advocacy of extremist Islam—he once told the Málaga-based newspaper Diario Sur that he supported the way the Taliban in Afghanistan treated women there—but that until now he had not been directly linked to terrorist activities.

Investigators say Maya—who maintained close ties to jihadist cells in Belgium, France, Indonesia, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey and Syria—is suspected of recruiting dozens of volunteer jihadists on the Internet and, after a careful selection process, sending them to join terrorist organizations in the Middle East and North Africa.

Groups benefiting from Maya’s recruitment services include the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), an al-Qaeda splinter group active in Iraq and Syria, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), a Sunni Muslim jihadist group committed to establishing an Islamic government in North Africa and parts of Spain, and the Al-Nusra Front, a branch of Al-Qaeda operating in Lebanon and Syria, where it is fighting against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Read more at Gatestone Institute

Because We Are at War

UTT, By John Guandolo:

“The Islamic nation must be fully prepared to fight the tyrants and the enemies of Allah as a prelude to establishing the Islamic State.”
By-Laws of the International Muslim Brotherhood
“Killing is to continue until the unbelievers pay jizyah after they are humbled or overpowered.”
Sheikh Muhammad Taqi Usmani
One of the leading Islamic Scholars alive today.
Deputy Chairman, Fiqh Council for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation
Former Judge, Pakistani Supreme Court
“We do not disassociate Islam from war.  On the contrary, disassociating Islam from war is the reason for our defeat.  We are fighting in the name of Islam. Religion must lead to war.”
Sheikh Dr. Yusuf Al Qaradawi
Preeminent Islamic Scholar in the world
Leading Legal Jurist of the International Muslim Brotherhood
Chairman – International Union of Muslim Scholars
“This means that you wage war so that the evil sovereignty of beings other than that of Allah is wiped out and only the law of God operates in the world.”
U.S. Training Guide for Muslims published by
Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and the Muslim American Society (MAS)
 
“To be true Muslims we must prepare and be ready for jihad in Allah’s way…The military education is glued to the faith and it’s meaning, and the duty to follow it.”
Islamic High School text book, Islamic Center of Oakland (and elsewhere)
“America will become a Muslim country.”
Former Islamic Advisor to President Clinton and convicted Al Qaeda financier Abdurahman Alamoudi
The civilian and military leadership in America, and much of the West, is strikingly blind to and grossly ignorant of the swiftly growing threat we face from the Global Islamic Movement.
Yet those inside government agencies, members of the military, and American citizens who have taken the time to get educated on this threat are horrified at the grand canyon size schism between the reality of the threat and the posture the United States government continues to take – a position which can only be characterized as “Aiding and Abetting” the enemy, Material Support for Designated Terrorist organizations (Al Qaeda and others), and Treason.
Patriots are asking themselves, “How can this be happening?
It is happening because we are at war – and we are losing.

In 2005, the current leader of Al Qaeda, Ayman al Zawahiri said “I say to you that we are in a battle, and that more than half of this battle is taking place in the battlefield of the media.  We are in a media battle in a race for the hearts and minds of our Ummah (global Muslim community).”

Al Qaeda understands the majority of this war is being fought in the Information Battlespace – propaganda, influence operations, and political subversion, are but a few of the tools.
When the Muslim Brotherhood states in their strategic memorandum they are waging Civilization Jihad to “destroy Western civilization from within” and they are going to do it by getting U.S. leadership to do their bidding for them – they mean it.
We are in a war against an enemy who states they are Muslims fighting Jihad in the Cause of Allah in order to impose Islamic Law and re-establish the global Islamic State (Caliphate).  Al Qaeda says it, the Muslim Brotherhood says it, nation-states say it, martyrs say it on their videos, and all of the jihadis we have captured before or after the act (if they lived) all say they did what they did because it is a command to wage jihad until Sharia is the law of the land.  Yet, in the FBI, DHS, and U.S. military, all training on Islamic Law, specifically the requirements of Jihad and the Law of Jihad cannot be taught.  Why?
Because we are in a war – primarily an information war – and we are losing.
100% of all published Islamic Law only defines “Jihad” as warfare against non-Muslims.  Yet, at the leadership level of our civilian government and military, they are still “pondering” what the “root meaning” of Jihad really is.  How can something so objectively clear be so difficult for our leadership to grasp?
How can it be that the most prominent Islamic organizations in America have been identified as being a part of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Movement, yet their leaders serve in advisory roles across the entire spectrum of our government – including the FBI, CIA, and DHS?
In 2012, five Republican Members of Congress layed out the evidence of the Muslim Brotherhood’s network in America and asked the Inspector Generals of key government agencies to consider opening investigations.  These Members of Congress were not publicly blasted by Democrats or the media for this, but by John McCain, John Boehner, Marco Rubio, Eric Cantor, and others.  Why?
Because we are losing in the Information Battlespace.  As a matter of fact, we are not even engaging the enemy there.
The U.S. Department of State wrote the Constitutions in Iraq and Afghanistan which created Islamic States under which Sharia is the law of the land.  Two check marks on Al Qaeda’s regional objectives list.  Civilization Jihad “by our hands.”  How could this happen considering our military crushed the enemy on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan?
How can Jewish Rabbis across America hold “religious outreach” events with known members of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood who are usually also leaders of Hamas?  How was Sheriff Baca of America’s largest county – Los Angeles – able to regularly raise money for Hamas (dba CAIR) without being prosecuted after being told publicly in a hearing by a U.S. Congressman that CAIR is a Hamas entity?
How are elected and appointed officials and law enforcement officers able to publicly promote known Hamas, Al Qaeda, and Muslim Brotherhood organizations with no repercussions?
Because we are at war – a war in the information battlespace – and we are losing.
Our government provided material support to the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda in Libya and are now doing the same in Syria.  Isn’t this in violation of U.S. law?  Wouldn’t any U.S. citizen be prosecuted for this?
Sharia Compliant Finance (SCF) is now promoted by major banks across the globe because Islamic Scholars (like Taqi Usmani and Yusuf Qaradawi – see above) tell the leaders of major financial institutions that SCF is simply a way for Muslims to handle their money in accordance with “religious practices.”  Yet, a portion of the money associated with SCF must go to support Jihad – “terrorism” – in accordance with Sharia.  How can this be?
Because we are at war – and we are losing.
Friends, our enemy has insinuated itself inside local school boards, civic groups, universities, political circles, and is driving the “religious outreach” efforts across this country.  Well intentioned but naive people are being drawn in an used by the enemy to defend the enemy and “stand up” for their “religious” rights.
Men and women in positions of leadership in this nation have not even taken the time to get to know an enemy that unequivocally states he wishes to destroy us.
But, the enemy has taken the time to know us.  This enemy knows us very well.  The enemy knows American leaders are more concerned with their reputations and not being embarrassed than defending the Constitution by all means necessary.
The enemy uses intimidation and pressure tactics – they call it the “political pressure approach” – to get what they want.  What do they want?  They never want us to look at authoritative Islamic Law.  They want to shut down all conversations about the Islamic threat.  They want us looking anywhere but to Islam to define the threat.  Therefore, “Violent extremism” or some other made up and useless phrase becomes the focus of the day.
Advising our senior leaders, controlling the language we use to describe the threat, and shutting down any critique of the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic Doctrine are their goals.  It appears they are batting a thousand.
This is much more a counterintelligence and espionage issue than it is a counterterrorism one.  So we will keep focusing on Counterterrorism – things that go boom and people who want to make them go boom.  That will be our focus.  And while we are doing it, the enemy will continue to work with our leaders to create foreign and domestic counterterrorism policy which serves the enemy’s purposes, softens the ground domestically gets law enforcement to back off so as not to “offend” the Muslim Community, and turns a blind eye to facts and evidence identifying the threat to the American people.
We will continue to let Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and Al Qaeda leaders to teach our military and law enforcement about “Islam” while the Brotherhood and Hamas build $100 million dollar Islamic Centers across America which their own documents state are military outposts from which jihad will be launched.
And all the while the “mainstream” media in America – ABC, NBC, CBS – is silent…even when Al Qaeda is involved.
Friends, until we realize how dire the situation is, we cannot even begin to discuss solutions. Once you understand how dire the situation is, the solutions required become a whole lot clearer.

Jihadis Are Seething at Russia Over Crimea—Will It Boil Over?

Crimean Tatars hold flags during rallies near the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol this week. (Baz Ratner/Reuters)

Crimean Tatars hold flags during rallies near the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol this week. (Baz Ratner/Reuters)

By  and :

Some are calling on Muslims to travel to Ukraine to take up arms for their Crimean brothers

With Russia and Ukraine in a tense standoff over the fate of Crimea, jihadis are bashing Russia in their forums and social media accounts. In some cases, they’re even calling on Muslims to travel to Eastern Ukraine to defend their religious brothers.

This week, the hashtag #NafirforUkraine began making the rounds on Twitter. The Islamic Arabic term “Nafir” is a call to action that requires any member of a jihadi group to travel to the country Nafir is called against and participate in a holy war in the name of Allah. Nafir was declared in the early stages of the conflicts in Syria and Egypt, and it helped spark jihadi migrations into these nations.

In this case, there’s no evidence yet of radical Muslim fighters flocking to Crimea to team up with the Muslim minority living there, but the #NafirforUkraine hashtag has been used more than 1,000 times, predominantly in tweets from Saudi Arabia.

One tweeter offered advice on traveling to Ukraine, suggesting that Turkey is the best route into the country.

One of these forums, Hanein, is an Al Qaeda-connected site that frequently disseminates propaganda and is used to recruit members and pass on tactical know-how to active fighters.

An Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Facebook page, which has almost half a million likes, referred to the Tatar community as their fellow Muslim compatriots. They provided videos showing the loyalty of the Tatars to their Sunni brothers in Syria.

On a forum related to the conflict in Syria and affiliated with the Free Syrian Army, members spoke about the Tatar leader, Mustafa Cemil, declaring that jihadis are ready to resist the Russian occupation.

We also talked with Fazil Amzayev, a representative for the Crimean Hizb ut-Tahrir, a group that seeks to establish Islamic rule in Muslim countries and that has been blamed for promoting radicalism in some places. “If there will be some conflict, I think that Muslims will come here. It is natural now in all Muslims countries if there is a war, then fighters from different countries try to come,” he says, adding that he hopes Crimea doesn’t become a war zone.

“We ask God for this conflict not to go on,” Amzayev says. “I think it may become another Pakistan, Afghanistan [or] Syria.”

Read more at vocativ.com

How Al Qaeda Is Winning the War on Terror

al-Qaeda-450x299by :

There are two ways of looking at Osama bin Laden’s death. One is to see his end surrounded by wives, pornography and unanswered messages to Al Qaeda leaders who were no longer taking orders from him as the fall of the leader of a failed movement.

The other is to see his death in a walled compound at the heart of the Pakistani military order that had protected him as the fading away of a retired figure in a movement that had outgrown him.

The debate over whether Al Qaeda is on the path to victory or defeat is also a debate over what Al Qaeda is. A vocal school of thought among some foreign experts of the left was that there was no Al Qaeda. The updated version of that thesis was embraced by Obama and some of his subordinates looking to do an end zone dance and hang up the Mission Accomplished banner by celebrating victory over the core of Al Qaeda and dismissing its affiliates, some of which number in the tens of thousands and are fighting to take over entire countries, as Obama put it, as Jayvee players in Lakers uniforms.

But what if the decline of the core Al Qaeda and the growth of its affiliates is the next step? What if the Lakers decided that they don’t need one really good team, but a hundred smaller teams in every city because they want to capture the entire game?

The men hanging up the Mission Accomplished banner in the East Room of the White House say that Al Qaeda can no longer stage another September 11. They may be right, though as with the last attack, we may end up discovering that they are wrong the hard way, but they are also missing the point.

The handful of Al Qaeda still hanging around Afghanistan are probably not going to pull off another spectacular terrorist attack in America, if such an attack did happen it would come out of cells in Europe or the US by terrorists who were born in the West, but who have learned the business from the ground up in Syria or in training camps in Yemen.

Or it may come from one of the Al Qaeda affiliates in Syria out to prove that it can wear the NBA Jihad uniform the same way that the original team did… by killing large numbers of Americans.

September 11 was a calling card that served its purpose for Al Qaeda moving it along to its next stage from a series of isolated terror groups to a global army with the manpower to launch full scale guerrilla wars seizing cities and entire regions. The core Al Qaeda doesn’t need another September 11. It will leave that to its affiliates, some of which are already playing with WMDs.

The Al Qaeda that we think we know, the terrorist group with cells lurking and plotting attacks, was only an intermittent stage in its growth strategy. The same is true of most terrorist groups. There was a time when the Communists were just another bunch of quarreling groups. Then they became an army and a country and a whole global union of countries. That is where Al Qaeda wanted to go all along.

Al Qaeda wants to destroy America, but it doesn’t need it to do it in the linear fashion that many imagined after September 11, by scaling up to more and more devastating attacks.

The ‘smaller and smarter’ drone strikes approach to Al Qaeda touted by Obama (if you don’t count the +1500 soldiers killed in Afghanistan) postdates a ‘smaller and smarter’ Al Qaeda approach to America.

Al Qaeda has crowdsourced terrorism to domestic “lone wolf” attackers like the Tsarnaev brothers and Nidal Hasan. Most of the attacks have failed, but as the Boston Marathon massacre reminds us, they only need to succeed once and Al Qaeda doesn’t lose any money or resources on them if they fail.

Its vision for Islamic terrorism in America is a domestic franchise, Al Qaeda in America, made up of American Muslims who are young, online and blend easily into a crowd the way the Tsarnaevs did.

Eventually it envisions Syrian style insurgencies in Western countries and while it may take a while before there are enough Muslims in America to make that a viable proposition, there are European countries whose Muslim demographics are severe enough that they have less time before the war.

This international Islamic revolution with franchises emerging everywhere, going from lone wolf attacks based on training manuals, graduating to terror cells and then to guerrilla armies and finally to emirates that swallow up entire countries is the transformative process that Al Qaeda was meant to undergo.

Al Qaeda has become less of a command center and more of a model to its franchises. Some terror experts read this as a decline, when it’s really a mission accomplished. It means that Al Qaeda has served its purpose as a base. It hasn’t lost, it has won. And the war moves on to the next stage.

Read more at Front Page

Congress Warned About Evolution of Jihadist Networks

download (73)By Rodrigo Sermeño:

WASHINGTON – Terrorism experts warned Congress last week that Islamist terrorist groups are expanding in complex networks across the Middle East, highlighting the evolving nature of the threat these organizations pose to the region.

Seth Jones, a national security analyst with the RAND Corporation, told the House Armed Services Committee that there has been an increase in the number of Salafi jihadist groups, particularly in North Africa and the Levant. Al-Qaeda is the largest one, and all emphasize the importance of returning to a pure Islam and believe that violent jihad is a religious duty.

He said that while about a half-dozen terrorist groups have sworn allegiance to al Qaeda’s core, led by Ayman al-Zawahiri, there now exists various Salafi jihadist groups that have not formally pledged allegiance to the militant group, and yet they share a common goal of establishing an extreme Islamic emirate.

“They are committed to establishing an Islamic emirate, and several of them have plotted attacks against the U.S., against U.S. embassies, against U.S. diplomats, against U.S. targets overseas,” Jones said.

Among these groups are also al-Qaeda-inspired individuals and networks, including the Boston Marathon bombers, who had no direct ties to the terrorist organization but listened to al-Qaeda’s propaganda and used it to plan attacks.

“I think there’s been a tendency among some journalists and pundits to lump all Sunni Islamic groups under the title al-Qaeda, which I think has clouded a proper assessment of the movement,” Jones said.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told a Senate hearing recently there are at least five al-Qaeda franchises in 12 countries that “this movement has morphed into.”

According to data compiled by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, more then 6,800 terrorist attacks killed more than 11,000 people in 2012, making it the most active year of terrorism on record.

Bill Braniff, a terrorism analyst at the University of Maryland, said the six most lethal groups in 2012 – the Taliban, Boko Haram, al-Qaeda in Iraq, Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and al-Shabaab – were responsible for approximately 5,000 deaths.

He noted that these groups are generally considered affiliates of al-Qaeda, and yet al-Qaeda itself has not been directly responsible for an attack since 2012.

Braniff said that a dozen of the 20 most lethal terrorist organizations and half of the 20 most active organizations had connections to al-Qaeda in 2012, suggesting that al-Qaeda remains a “central hub in a network of highly lethal and active terrorist groups.”

“What should we take from these seemingly contradictory developments?” he said. “Did al-Qaeda succeed by inspiring widespread jihadism, or has it lost to a variety of more parochial, albeit popular, actors?”

Braniff warned that it would be wrong to conclude that because al-Qaeda itself is not carrying out violent attacks that the group’s strategy has become ineffective.

“This has been the most active two years in the history of modern terrorism and al-Qaeda remains at the historical, organizational and ideological center of the most lethal terrorist threats of our time,” Braniff said.

Several Republicans have accused the Obama administration of downplaying the threat from al-Qaeda, its affiliates and the groups that it has inspired.

Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) said that while President Obama has declared that al-Qaeda was on a path of defeat, the organization currently controls over 400 miles of territory in the Middle East – the most in its history.

“While the president seeks an end to war on terrorism and is not providing the leadership necessary for our efforts in Afghanistan, al-Qaeda seeks a continued war against the United States and the west. This is the reality and this is what our policy and strategy must address,” McKeon said.

Read more at PJ Media

‘Army of Muhammad’ Calls for Mega Jihad to Create Caliphate

syria-jihadisBy Raymond Ibrahim:

The Army of Muhammad (Tanzim Jaysh Muhammad), one of the Sunni jihadi organizations operating in Syria and which is named after the prophet of Islam, has just called for the creation of an Islamic, jihadi army of at least 800,000 fighters, composed of all Muslim nationalities, from Europe, Africa, and Asia.  Its stated purpose would be to depose the military regimes of the Middle East and herald the way to resurrecting the Islamic caliphate, or the creation of one unified Islamic state in the Middle East.

According to Arabic media, the Army of Muhammad declared in a recent statement that “It is incumbent on all Islamic jihadi organizations around the world to work under one banner to depose the military regimes, which were created by the Sykes-Picot Agreement to divide the Islamic world, and at the head of these military regimes are the armies of Egypt, Syria, Yemen, and Algeria.”

The statement complains that all these armies have tried to halt the spread of “the Arab Spring, and for their own benefit.”

Later in the statement, the Army of Muhammad’s goals become even more ambitious, as it elaborates, saying that “It is time for the followers of the [Islamic/jihadi] Black Flag—the mujahidin—to announce the armed jihad against the regimes and arm the Arab peoples in order to overthrow the regimes in Egypt, North Africa, Syria, the Gulf monarchies, and Iran.”

Also see:

 

A new definition for al-Qaeda

 

Image Credit: AEI's Critical Threat's Project

Image Credit: AEI’s Critical Threat’s Project

above image source: http://www.aei-ideas.org/2013/09/the-al-qaeda-network-today/

 

 

Washington Post, By Katherine Zimmerman, Jan. 31:

What exactly is al-Qaeda? And who cares? Confusion about how to define the terrorist group is rife. Was al-Qaeda involved in the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead? The Obama administration says no. Are the groups proliferating around Africa and the Middle East really part of the al-Qaeda that toppled the World Trade Center and hit the Pentagon?

There is no simple answer. Al-Qaeda is a global terrorist organization that relies on secrecy to survive. Even al-Qaeda members are confused about each other’s status: The leader of the group in Yemen had to ask his Algerian counterpart for clarification about Ansar al-Din’s relationship to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. The covert nature of the network intentionally obscures many relationships.

Here’s the problem: According to recently declassified testimony of Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, before the House Armed Services Committee in October, the U.S. military regards itself as legally barred from going after the perpetrators of the Benghazi attacks (and, presumably, others who attack Americans) unless they are affiliated with al-Qaeda. The Obama administration’s parsing of words to deny al-Qaeda’s direct involvement effectively precludes a military response in these situations.

But the United States can neither disrupt nor defend itself from an enemy it cannot define. Nor are we safer because of arbitrary definitions. The question demands an answer: What is al-Qaeda?

Al-Qaeda’s leadership regulates the use of its name and resources; it has formally and publicly recognized affiliates in Yemen, Iraq, Somalia, Syria and West Africa. In each of these cases, the regional leadership pledged loyalty to the al-Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who accepted their oaths. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki may have been right when she said last month that “they don’t give out T-shirts or membership cards,” but any sensible definition of group membership must surely recognize the explicit and public exchanges of oaths of loyalty and command between Osama bin Laden and Zawahiri, on the one hand, and the leaders of overt franchises on the other.

Many experts disagree about the extent to which locally oriented militants are officially part of al-Qaeda. The White House has focused on terrorists currently targeting the United States, which form a small subset of the overall al-Qaeda movement. In the course of the debate over Benghazi, that focus has narrowed further to the question of whether “al-Qaeda core” ordered a specific attack.

There is even disagreement over the definition of “core” al-Qaeda. Most administration officials suggest that it is the small group keeping company with Zawahiri in Pakistan. Others define it as veteran members of the al-Qaeda network, active before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. But this core has long been dispersed, with only a small part still in Pakistan. Some members now lead regional franchises: Nasir al-Wuhayshi, bin Laden’s former secretary, is both emir of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and al-Qaeda’s general manager.

In reality, al-Qaeda’s goals are furthered by the so-called core, affiliates and local groups that enjoy no formal relationships with the Zawahiri contingent. The Jamal Network in Egypt, al-Mulathamun in the Sahel and the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have a direct but informal relationship with al-Qaeda. The TTP poses a particular definitional problem because it has neither sought nor received formal membership in al-Qaeda, yet it conducted the attempted Times Square bombing in May 2010.

The greatest al-Qaeda threat to the United States is AQAP, which has attempted to attack the U.S. homeland three times since 2009 and whose leader is clearly a member of al-Qaeda core, despite his location in Yemen. Still, most of AQAP’s efforts in recent years have gone into seizing control of parts of Yemen, making it “locally focused.” And what to make of al-Shabab, the formally recognized affiliate in Somalia that does not use the al-Qaeda name? It has been fixated on Somalia but has conducted attacks throughout the region and recruits directly, and in English, from the American Somali community.

Al-Qaeda today is the realization of bin Laden’s broader vision. He did not limit himself only to the founding and running of al-Qaeda but imagined a network uniting like-minded groups extending far beyond state borders. The al-Qaeda operatives around bin Laden’s successor in Pakistan are — at least for the time being — hemmed in by U.S. forces in Afghanistan, and they are under siege from Afghanistan-based U.S. drone attacks. But the al-Qaeda network — a defined set of groups running from West Africa to Southeast Asia — carries on bin Laden’s legacy and remains a danger.

An excessively narrow definition of al-Qaeda is just as dangerous as one that includes every Sunni Muslim extremist group. Clearly not all parts of the broader al-Qaeda network are equally dangerous. Nor does dealing with each automatically require the use of military force. Decisions to use force against al-Qaeda must be shaped by strategy and prioritization, like any other national security decision. But excluding large portions of the al-Qaeda network from consideration and hiding behind semantics guarantees strategic failure. Defining the enemy down is not the answer.

Katherine Zimmerman is a senior analyst at the American Enterprise Institute’s Critical Threats Project and authored the report “The al-Qaeda Network: A New Framework for Defining the Enemy.”

Also see:

Al Qaeda in Jerusalem

Sheikh-Ayman-Al-Zawahiri-450x347

Al-Qaeda itself “remains a cohesive organization” and its core ”leadership continues to be important to the global movement,” according to the National Counterterrorism Center.

by :

Israeli security forces have shut down a massive al-Qaeda plot coordinated by terrorist mastermind Ayman al-Zawahiri that involved attacking the Jerusalem Convention Center and the American embassy in the diplomatic center of Tel Aviv.

This is believed to be the first time that al-Qaeda chief al-Zawahiri has gotten personally involved in engineering strikes within Israel.

The foiled plot is a sobering reminder that al-Qaeda has been experiencing a comeback in the Obama era.

Weeks before the November 2012 election Obama bragged, “al-Qaeda is on the path to defeat and Osama bin Laden is dead.” It is true that al-Qaeda is “on the run,” but not in the sense that President Obama uses the term. The stock of the international Muslim terrorist network is experiencing a bull run in many corners of the world, lifted higher by the profuse pro-Islamist promises of appeasement offered by Secretary of State John Kerry.

Meanwhile, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) told the Jerusalem Post Wednesday that it arrested three Palestinians from east Jerusalem recruited online by a Gaza-based al-Qaeda operative. The three men were preparing to launch a wave of terror attacks involving bombs and firearms that would have targeted the Jerusalem Convention Center, a bus route, the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, and the emergency responders who would have attended to the wounded at the attack sites.

A U.S. State Department official suggested that the plot against the diplomatic facility had been a matter of discussion between the American and Israeli governments for some time. “The U.S. embassy was not just the target, but obviously other targets were involved as well in the threat,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Wednesday.

The U.S. won’t be evacuating the embassy, Harf said. “We obviously don’t discuss all of our security measures.”

The Shin Bet said al-Qaeda operative Ariv Al-Sham used the Internet to sign up Iyad Khalil Abu-Sara, Rubin Abu-Nagma, and Ala Anam for the violent campaign. At press time it was unclear if Al-Sham was in Israeli custody. The Shin Bet said he received orders directly from Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s successor as head of al-Qaeda.

Abu-Sara confessed he volunteered to carry out a “sacrifice attack” on an Israeli bus traveling between Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim. The plan was to shoot out the vehicle’s wheels, causing it to turn over, and then to gun down passengers and first responders. The suspect also confessed he planned to participate in simultaneous suicide bombings at the U.S. Embassy and the Jerusalem Convention Center. Abu-Sara would have killed responders at the convention center by detonating a suicide truck bomb at the scene.

“Al-Sham and Abu-Sara plotted to bring a group of foreign terrorists to Israel using fake Russian passports, who would have entered the country by posing as tourists,” the newspaper reported. ”Abu-Sara was meant to receive the terrorists, and prepare their suicide bomb vests and a truck bomb. Abu-Sara was also supposed to travel to Syria for training in combat and explosives manufacturing, and had purchased a flight ticket to Turkey, a gateway to Syria.”

Abu-Nagma admitted he intended to kidnap a soldier and bomb a building housing Israeli Jews in east Jerusalem. Ala Anam admitted planning to establish a Salafi-Jihadi cell in Samaria for the purpose of launching terror attacks.

The Jerusalem Post quoted an unnamed source saying the new arrests are proof that al-Qaeda-affiliated elements — as well as operatives from Hamas and Islamic Jihad — are using the Gaza Strip as a terrorism base. “Hundreds of Salafi-jihadis in Gaza have access to rockets and arms, and travel to Sinai to attack both Egypt and Israel,” the source said.

News of the foiled plot runs counter to the Obama administration’s fanciful insistence that al-Qaeda no longer matters and its denial, on display in a recent interview with the New Yorker, that al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorism is spreading rapidly around the globe.

After some major setbacks in recent years, al-Qaeda’s influence is growing as it establishes and fortifies terrorism beachheads throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Al-Qaeda’s affiliate al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) now controls large chunks of Iraq.

The group “is trying to take over two countries at once; Iraq and Syria,” as Daniel Greenfield notes. ”It’s a big goal, but it knows that in Syria, Obama will help them and that in Iraq, he won’t do anything to stop them.”

Read more at Front Page

Also see: Israel busts ‘global jihad’ terror cell planning attacks, including against US Embassy (longwarjournal.com)

Never Mind Group Membership — It’s Islamic-Supremacist Ideology That Matters Most

article-2506545-1964AE9B00000578-195_634x411National Review, January 8, 2014

By Andrew C. McCarthy:

There’s a lot to be said about the matters covered in Patrick’s excellent post, which continues to plumb the depths of farce in the New York Times’ Hillary-free revisionist history of Benghazi. For now, though, just one observation: Far too much is made of the taxonomy of these multiple, expanding, cross-pollinating jihadist groups. (Judean People’s Front … or is it People’s Front of Judea?)

In the jihadist plots of 1992-93 that we proved in the Blind Sheikh case, there was a New York-New Jersey-based cell comprised of a number of Sheikh AbdelRahman’s subordinates from Gama’at al-Islamia (the Egypt-based “Islamic Group”); Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s nephew; a group of Sudanese loyal to the Sheikh’s pal, Hassan al-Turabi; a Hamas guy; some other Palestinian and Iraqijihadists; a couple of Americans who’d made their bones fighting in the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan; an American from Puerto Rico (who today would be pigeon-holed into the misleading category of “home-grown” terrorist); and probably a few others who’ve slipped my mind. Al Qaeda existed at the time, but not in the same form it would have a few years later, much less the form it has now.

I do not mean for a moment to suggest that membership in a specific terrorist organization is unimportant. I am simply pointing out that it is a lot more important to the terrorists than it is to us. To us, the targets, what matters is the overall jihad.

In my Benghazi column over the weekend, I reiterated the point I’ve been striving to make for over a decade (with diminishing returns, I often fear):

What knits together the global jihad is Islamic-supremacist ideology — mainstream Middle Eastern Islam, directly traceable to Koranic scripture. The organizational niceties and shifting loyalties of jihadist groups are a sideshow — including what it has become fashionable to call “core al-Qaeda” and its expanding array of franchises, tentacles, and wannabes.

In fact, even the resurgent Sunni-Shiite divide that is currently tearing the Middle East apart is less important when it comes to the United States, the Anglosphere, Europe, and Israel. As much as they despise each other, they hate us more. That’s why they put their significant differences aside to collaborate against us. To take the best and most important example, Shiite Iran and Hezbollah have been arming, training and harboring Sunni jihadists (including but by no means limited to al Qaeda and Hamas) for over 20 years.

It is critical that we grasp this reality because hyper-focus on which organization is which can lead us to miss the big picture. It is how the Obama administration minimizes the terrorist threat – what’s the point of obsessing over “core al Qaeda” when we well know that (a) even before 9/11, al Qaeda colluded with other jihadist groups and regimes, and (b) after 9/11, al Qaeda of necessity evolved into a more atomized, less centralized network whose cells and franchises had varying degrees of interaction with the “core”?

Too much focus on the known organizations is also how the Bush administration underrated the ideological threat. The formal groups and the emerging cells are not merely “violent extremists”; they are Islamic-supremacists who adhere to an ideology globally propagated by, most notoriously, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Saudi regime, and the Iranian regime. Not everyone who shares the ideology is a terrorist. In fact, the vast majority are not. But huge numbers sympathize with the terrorists and abhor us. A good example: Polling during our military operations in Iraq indicated that a sizable majority of Iraqis believed Americans were legitimate targets of violent jihad, even though comparatively few Iraqis were terrorists. (This is because their sharia-based ideology teaches that non-Muslim “occupiers” must be driven out of Muslim lands – even if the said occupiers are actually trying to make life better for Muslims.)

We should be thankful that we have experts like Tom Joscelyn who understand the evolution, inter-connections, and infighting of jihadist groups and their members. You could never otherwise comprehend the threat and its global nature. But we also need to understand, first and foremost, that jihadists from different organizations – even ones like al Qaeda and Hezbollah, who are fighting each other in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq – will work together against us. When it comes to the jihad against America and our allies, shared ideology is key, organizational membership is secondary, and terrorist plots will often be joint ventures in which the perceived opportunity to attack an American target will be more relevant than which jihadist is in which group … at least for this week.

Of course, redirecting our focus to ideology instead of group membership would require overcoming our political correctness – namely, our willful blindness to the fact that the ideology in question is a mainstream interpretation of Islam – the “moderate” adherents of which are committedly anti-American even if they do not practice and may not support terrorist methods. Until we get that part right, we’ll never be able to develop an effective global counterterrorism strategy.

The wages of national security fraud

3831235057 (1)By Frank Gaffney:

As al Qaeda raises its black flag of jihad over parts of Iraq liberated from its clutches at the cost of enormous American blood and treasure, we are getting a taste of what President Obama’s serial national security fraud is wreaking around the world.

Remember back in the 2012 campaign when he told us, repeatedly, that al Qaeda was “on the path to defeat”?  That was a deliberate fraud, meant to shore up his Commander-in-Chief credentials at a time when he (wrongly) thought they might properly be seriously challenged by Republican Mitt Romney.

Remember when the jihadists’ flag was flown over the U.S. embassy in Cairo and accompanied the murderous sacking of two American facilities in Benghazi on September 11, 2012?  These events were symptomatic of our nation’s perceived weakness – a perception that is, as Donald Rumsfeld says, “provocative.”  (The failure of the Republican leadership in the House to hold the Obama administration accountable for such outrages – or even to establish the truth about the latter – is the subject of a scorching letter from conservative leaders, families of the fallen and others delivered on Monday.)

Remember when Mr. Obama assured us that there were “moderates” among the Syrian opposition and that we should bomb their enemy, Bashar Assad, to punish him and, presumably, with a view to bringing them to power.  As a practical matter, the only people who count among the “rebels” are Islamists, whose supremacist shariah doctrine requires them inevitably to seek our destruction.

The same goes for Assad’s Shiite backers in Iran and Hezbollah.  They hate the Sunnis of the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots, like al Qaeda.  But they are perfectly willing to make common cause against us whenever the opportunity presents itself.  Think 9/11.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea.  We have been repeatedly deceived by Team Obama about the nature of the enemy we face.  And our Islamist enemies have only grown more formidable, more numerous, on the march in more places and more emboldened by what they rightly see as our submission.

What is especially worrisome is that the wages of the ineptitude – or worse – of American leaders in the face of such threats are immensely increased by the fact that scarcely any among them are even aware that we face yet another kind of jihad: the stealthy type the Muslim Brotherhood calls “civilization jihad.”

Read more at Center For Security Policy

Global Terrorist Threat Set To Grow In 2014 – Analysis

By 

January 6, 2014

The past year has been the most violent since the beginning of the current wave of terrorism. Al Qaeda, though truncated, has become more influential globally via the web, guiding its associates to strike official and civilian targets. With the western withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014 the Taliban-led terrorist sanctuary is likely to be revived to threaten stability and security worldwide.

By Rohan Gunaratna

SINCE September 11, 2001 the global terrorist threat has been growing exponentially. According to START, the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, there were 5,100 terrorist attacks in the first six months of 2013, following the 8,400 attacks in 2012, which killed nearly 15,400 people. “The wave of violence shows few signs of ebbing,” reported the US-based START.

The western kinetic operations have failed to reduce the global threat. Indeed, the threat of international and national terrorism is projected to grow in 2014. With half of the countries in the world suffering from political violence and ideological extremism, terrorism will remain the Tier-One national security threat to the stability of most countries.

Hubs of global terrorism

Afghanistan and Syria are emerging as the two most important hubs of global terrorism that threaten the security of South Asia, West Asia and North Africa. Just as the anti-Soviet multi-national Afghan mujahidin campaign formed the foundation of contemporary terrorism, the blowback from the civil war in Syria is likely to produce the next generation of fighters – both guerrillas who attack government forces and terrorists who attack civilians.

The conflicts in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as India, are the most violent in South Asia. Next are the Middle East: Syria and Iraq; and Africa: Nigeria and Somalia. Since 9/11 over a million people, combatants and non-combatants, have been killed or injured, mostly Muslims, by terrorists and US-led coalition forces fighting insurgents and terrorists. According to START, Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan suffered more than half of the 2012 attacks (54%) and fatalities (58%). The next five most targeted countries were India, Nigeria, Somalia, Yemen and Thailand. The threat is projected to escalate in 2014 and grow even further following the US-led coalition’s withdrawal from Afghanistan at year end.

Counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism efforts since 9/11 have had mixed results. Al Qaeda has weakened but the Al Qaeda family has grown in strength, size and influence. About 30-40 threat groups in Asia, Africa, Middle East and the Caucasus are emulating the Al Qaeda ideology of global violence and methodology of suicide attacks.

While the core Al Qaeda led by Dr Ayman al Zawahiri has transformed from an operational to an ideological and training organisation, the associate groups carry out the bulk of the attacks. Although the death of Osama bin Laden demonstrated that any terrorist can be hunted down, the death of the Al Qaeda leader did not reduce the growing threat.

Threat landscape

SMOKE OVER NAIROBI, KENYA WESTGATE SHOPPING MALL ON 23 SEPTEMBER 2013. PHOTO BY ANNE KNIGHT, WIKIPEDIA COMMONS

SMOKE OVER NAIROBI, KENYA WESTGATE SHOPPING MALL ON 23 SEPTEMBER 2013. PHOTO BY ANNE KNIGHT, WIKIPEDIA COMMONS

The deadliest terrorist groups in the world belong to the Al Qaeda family with the Taliban (both Afghan and Pakistan) heading the list. Others are Al Nusra Front in Syria, Boko Haram in Nigeria, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Al Shabaab in Somalia. The Al Qaeda ability to influence associate groups was brought to international attention by the brutal attack on the Westgate Mall in Kenya by Al Shabaab. With the decentralisation of the threat Northern Africa is emerging as a new epicentre of terrorism and extremism.

The “Arab Spring” has become a nightmare with multiple Al Qaeda-linked groups emerging throughout North Africa and the Middle East, including Al Nusra in Syria. With 12,000 Sunni and a comparable number of Shia foreign fighters in Syria the threat to the West and the rest of the world will grow.

Stemming from the developments in Syria, the Shia-Sunni conflict is threatening to break out into a regional conflict, involving Bahrain and Lebanon. Further afield in the Caucasus terrorists mounted year-end attacks in Volgograd, Southern Russia, hitting a railway station and a trolley bus. Shumukh al-Islam, the top forum for Al Qaeda-affiliated propaganda, praised the timing of the attacks. The SITE Monitoring Service reported the terrorists as saying Russians are not safe “since their country continues to supply arms to the malicious combatant regime of the doomed apostate Bashar”. From the Caucasus the terrorists are travelling through Turkey to Syria to fight against the Bashar al Assad regime.

Read more at Eurasia Review

Rohan Gunaratna is Head of RSIS’ International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR), Singapore. He is author of “Inside Al Qaeda” published by Columbia University Press.

Video: Christopher Holton on Civilization Jihad, the Global Islamic Insurgency and Shariah Compliant Finance

moa1Terror Trends Bulletin, Oct. 17, 2012, by Christopher Holton:

This information makes up the introductory portion of the briefing that I have been delivering around the country for the past 3 years. It is important given the mounting evidence of Muslim Brotherhood infiltration in the West, and the US in particular.

On 22 May 2007, the Pew Research Center, certainly not a “conservative” organization, published a report on a survey that they conducted of Muslims in America. The name of that report was “Muslims in America: Middle Class and Mostly Mainstream.”

Pew rolled it out as a celebration of Muslims in America. The media jumped on the bandwagon and the report was received with delight.

But there are aspects of the report which deserve more scrutiny and which Pew and the media essentially ignored in their spin during the release.

First a few background highlights:

• Pew reported that there were 2.35 million Muslims in America, including 1.4 million over the age of 18 (the target group of the survey).

This is important because the Muslim Brotherhood organizations, such as CAIR and ISNA, frequently claim that there are 5-6 million Muslims in America. President Obama parroted the bogus 5-6 million figure from the Muslim Brotherhood in his 2009 Cairo speech.

• 30% of the 1.4 million (420,000) were said to be between 18 and 29.

This is important because this is the demographic most likely to be involved in jihadist activity.

Most importantly, there were two particularly relevant questions that were buried deep in the Pew survey that Pew chose not to address or highlight in its release and rollout of the report:

Relevant Question Number 1: Can Suicide Bombing of Civilian Targets to Defend Islam be Justified?

A: Often/Sometimes: 8%

A: Rarely: 5%

A: Don’t Know/Refuse to Answer: 9%

A: Never: 78%

 In other words, AT LEAST 13% of American Muslims believed that suicide bombings of civilian targets was justified at least in some circumstances.

 182,000 Muslims in America over the age of 18 believed that Islamikaze bombings of civilian targets was justified at least in some circumstances.

Here is another important point: This same question was asked of Muslims under the age of 30 (the age group most associated with jihadist activity):

A: Often/Sometimes: 15%

A: Rarely: 11%

A: Don’t know/refuse to answer: 5%?

A: Never: 69%

 26% or 109,200 Muslims in America between 18 and 29 believed that Islamikaze bombings of civilian targets was justified at least in some circumstances.

Relevant Question Number 2: What is your view of Al Qaeda?

A: Favorable: 5%

A: Somewhat Unfavorable: 10%

A: Don’t Know/Refuse to Answer: 27%

A: Very Unfavorable: 58%

Same questions to Muslims under 30:

A: Favorable: 7%

A: Somewhat Unfavorable: 16%

A: Don’t Know/Refuse to Answer: 19%

A: Very Unfavorable: 58%

 70,000 Muslims in America admitted to having a favorable view of Al Qaeda.

 29,400 Muslims in America between the ages of 18 and 29 admitted to having a favorable view of Al Qaeda.

It is particularly noteworthy that younger Muslims in America appear to be more predisposed to violent Jihad than older Muslims based upon the answers to these two questions.

Note that this survey was conducted of Muslims in America, not Muslims in Benghazi, Ramadi, Fallujah, Gaza, Cairo, Sana’a, Tehran, Kandahar, or Islamabad. The tens of thousands of Muslims that harbor these views all live in America. These numbers are staggering and frightening.

Civilizational Jihad and Global Islamic Insurgency with Christopher Holton, Published on Dec 26, 2013 by Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors:

 

“… new reality makes identifying and understanding the Islamic doctrinal basis of our Jihadist enemies all the more important, yet with each passing attack, we seem to be getting further and further away from doing so.”

Christopher Holton of the Center for Security Policy discussed what America faces in addition to the threat of violent jihad another, an even more toxic danger — a stealthy and pre-violent form of warfare aimed at destroying our constitutional form of democratic government and free society. The Muslim Brotherhood is the prime mover behind this seditious campaign, which it calls “civilization jihad.”

Civilizational Jihad is succeeding through government, finance, military institutions…and though our schools.

Christopher Holton is Vice-President of Outreach at the Center for Security Policy. He directs the Center’s Divest Terror Initiative and Shariah Risk Due Diligence Program. He has been involved in legislation in twenty states to divest taxpayer supported pension systems from foreign companies that do business with the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Islamic Republic of Sudan, and the Syrian Arab Republic. Since 2008, Chris has been the editor-in-chief of the Shariah Finance Watch Blog. In 2005, he was a co-author of War Footing, published by the US Naval Institute Press. Holton’s work has also been published by National Review, Human Events, The American Thinker, Family Security Matters, Big Peace, World Tribune, World Net Daily, NewsMax, and thehayride.com. Before joining the Center, Chris was President of Blanchard and Company, a two hundred million dollar per year investment firm, and editor-in-chief of the Blanchard Economic Research Unit. Christopher blogs at TerrorTrendsBulletin.com.

 

And this is an excellent presentation on Shariah Compliant Finance with a long Q&A beginning about 50 min. in:

 

Here is a transcript of a similar presentation given in 2012.

 

Foreign Jihadists in Syria: Tracking Recruitment Networks

Syrian rebels2
BY AARON Y. ZELIN

Thu, December 26, 2013

Monitoring jihadist social-media networks reveals where fighters are coming from, where in Syria they are fighting, and how best to stem their continued recruitment in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Libya, and Tunisia.

The clandestine nature of the various networks responsible for sending Sunni fighters into Syria makes it difficult to ascertain exactly how many foreigners have entered the war and from which countries. Yet social-media sources affiliated with jihadists often post death notices for slain fighters, providing a unique, though incomplete, picture of where they are being recruited and where in Syria they fought. Tracking and analyzing these notices can help broaden Washington’s understanding of foreign recruitment networks, the largest of which appear to operate in Saudi Arabia, Libya, and Tunisia.

HOW MANY HAVE BEEN KILLED?

Since the Syrian uprising turned into an armed rebellion, jihadists have announced the deaths of more than 1,100 fighters on their Twitter and Facebook accounts and, to a lesser extent, on password-protected forums. Although other foreigners have been killed in Syria, their deaths were reported by non-jihadist rebels, Western media, or Arabic media and are not included in this assessment. The figures below also exclude foreigners who have fought on the Assad regime’s side.

To be sure, the information gleaned from jihadist sources is self-reported, and some data might therefore be suppressed for political reasons, especially reports of Iraqi involvement. That said, it still offers a worthwhile snapshot of an otherwise murky world.

The most striking revelation in the latest data is the huge rise in overall death notices. Previously, jihadist sources had posted only 85 such notices as of February 2013, and only 280 as of June. In other words, the vast majority of the more than 1,100 notices have come in the past half year.

WHERE ARE THEY COMING FROM?

Arabs dominate the list of foreign jihadists who have died in Syria, and nine of the top ten countries represented are from the Arab world.

Death notices have mentioned fifty different nationalities in all, including twenty in Europe or elsewhere in the West. Yet Westerners make up only a miniscule amount of the total.

One of the most important trends in the past half-year is the rise in both the total number of Saudi foreign fighters and the number of Saudis killed (which far outpaces all other national groups). Only some 20 percent of the 1,100 death notices state group affiliation, so this data provides only a small window into which groups foreigners are joining. Of these, however, the vast majority name Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham — the two militant opposition groups designated as terrorist organizations by the United States. Other fighters were also reported to be members of Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar, Harakat Ahrar al-Sham al-Islamiyya, Katibat Suqur al-Izz, Liwa al-Umma, and Harakat Sham al-Islam, among others.

More than 60 percent of the notices offered more specific information about the fighter’s town or province of origin, providing insight into certain foreign networks. For instance, fifteen fighters were described as hailing from the Saudi province of al-Qassim, and it is possible that they came from the provincial capital of Buraydah, as the notices for twenty-two other fighters indicated. The largest network in this data set is from Riyadh, however, raising questions about whether the Saudi government is being duplicitous and/or looking the other way regarding significant jihadist activity in its capital.

Read more at Clarion Project

Aaron Y. Zelin is the Richard Borow Fellow at The Washington Institute.

Global Islamism: Prospects for 2014

Mideast-Iran-Election_Horo4-e1371313739782-965x543-450x313by :

Thanks to the Obama administration’s uninformed and flimsy foreign policy decisions, the year 2013 has distinctively been a blessing for the independent Islamist parties and fundamentalist Islamic governments throughout the Middle East and the world. Although it is somewhat difficult to predict what will happen in 2014 regarding the Islamists movements and prominent challenges within that (along with Iran’s nuclear ambitions), several issues can be projected based on the trends and polices carried out in 2013.

Firstly, the foreign and domestic policies carried out by the Obama administration have led to several key trends.  In 2013, Islamists and fundamentalists affiliated with Al-Qaeda and other Islamists parties have gained an unprecedented level of power, organization, and coordination, particularly across the Middle East and Africa. In Syria, for example, the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has emerged as among the most powerful jihadi groups. This particular Islamist group, which seeks to rule Syria and the Levant just as the Taliban did in Afghanistan (along with fighting against infidels), has become more centralized through obtaining a unified command-and-control structure, ideologically and politically.

Reportedly, this Islamist party— which has been behind thousands of beheadings, in many cases proudly beheading people and showing it on videos— is advocating for the systematic genocide of Shi’ite Muslims or others who are “damaging Mohammed’s legacy” in perpetrating their beliefs. Currently, ISIL is the most powerful oppositional group in Syria, even overshadowing the Free Syrian Army and other rebels. It is argued that many of the arms sent to the Free Syrian Army were actually obtained by several Islamist groups, including ISIL. In late 2013, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights labeled the Al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams as “the strongest group in Northern Syria.”

Beheading ordinary people, taking videos (such as the reported beheading of a young Christian girl in this widespread video, or others as seen in this video), targeting non-Muslims (primarily Christians), raping women, and kidnapping non-Muslims have become daily practice in several Muslim countries, carried out by either independent Islamist groups or by those who have recently gained control of the sovereignty of the state.

According to an Amnesty International report this week, Islamist militants are perpetrating “a shocking catalogue of abuses” conducted in secret jails, including torture, flogging, and killings after summary trials. Amnesty International added that, “Those abducted and detained by ISIL include children as young as eight who are held together with adults in the same cruel and inhuman conditions.” Despite all the atrocities and brutalities committed by the ISIL and other Isalmist groups, recent reports from various credible news outlets including Reuters indicate that the Obama administration has attempted to reach out to these Islamist groups, with the Islamists rejecting the administration’s overtures. Do these attempts empower and embolden these Islamist groups to further carry out their atrocities and barbarity?

Read more at Front Page

See also: