Expressions Of Solidarity With ISIS In The West

from MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM) June 30, 2014:

In April 2013, a rift was created in the global jihadi movement when the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) announced that it was expanding into Syria and that it was changing its name to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Following this announcement, another jihadi organization in Syria, Jabhat Al-Nusra (JN), rejected ISIS’s authority, remaining loyal to Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri. ISIS even challenged Al-Zawahiri himself, refusing to follow his instructions to restrict itself to operating in Iraq. In early 2014, the rift escalated to violent conflict – ISIS versus JN and other jihadi organizations in bothIraq and Syria.

Having taken control of large areas of Iraq in recent months, ISIS is now enjoying increasing shows of solidarity from the Middle East and from across the Muslim world – and also from Western countries. Several factors contribute to its popularity, among them its jihad against the Americans in Iraq prior to its expansion into Syria, when it was ISI; its current struggle against Iraq’s Shi’ite government and its security forces – perceived as apparatuses for Shi’ite suppression of Sunnis; and its war against the Alawi Assad regime, which is an ally of the Shi’ites. ISIS’s activity on these fronts has helped bolster its image as the spearhead in the war against the enemies of Islam within and without the Muslim world, and raised its stature among supporters of global jihad.

Further adding to its popularity are ISIS’s achievements on the battlefields of Iraq and Syria, and its image as the only organization today that is actualizing authentic Islamic ideals and striving towards establishing the Islamic idea of a greater caliphate. It casts itself, and its propagandists depict it, as a legitimate sovereign body implementing shari’a law in areas under its control, and spreading Islam by means of jihad, thus forming the core of this future caliphate. Recently, ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad Al-‘Adnani even called on Al-Qaeda to swear fealty to his organization, because the “state” it embodies supersedes any organization.[1]

Sympathy for ISIS extends also to its leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, who is seen by the organization’s fans as the legitimate leader of all Muslims. This is because of his religious education, his lineage, and his jihadi past. As a challenger to Al-Zawahiri, he is considered more charismatic and more capable of leading the Muslim ummah towards the longed-for caliphate. Thus, under Al-Baghdadi’s leadership, ISIS is emerging as an alternative to Al-Qaeda, and is seen as working diligently to actualize the Muslims’ goals without Al-Qaeda’s religion-based reservations about, for example, imposing the jizya poll tax on Christians or conducting mass killings of Shi’ites.

The persecution of ISIS, even by Al-Qaeda, adds to its status in many circles as an “underdog” fighting for the goals of Islam and the good of all Muslims. Additionally, its highly efficient propaganda apparatus circulates videos and publications via jihadi forums and social media, praising itself and criticizing its rivals and opponents.

Westerners Joining And Promoting ISIS

The Westerners who are leaving their home countries to join ISIS in its fight in Iraq and Syria also add to the organization’s prestige, both inside and outside the Muslim world. These volunteers are widely covered by the media in their own countries, and each new arrival also receives a fanfare in the organization’s local press outlets and social media; these volunteers themselves are usually very active users of social media, communicating with friends and family back home as well as followers and engaging in their own efforts to promote and recruit for the organization in the West.  

Further evidence of its sweeping popularity was the June 19, 2014 “One Billion Muslims Support ISIS” campaign, which urged ISIS sympathizers worldwide to express their support for the organization on  Friday, June 20, and even devised a special Twitter hashtag for the purpose. The campaign elicited considerable response from supporters in numerous participants, who posted images and videos expressing their support for ISIS.[2]

This Western support for ISIS is crucial to the group’s propaganda efforts; in addition to swelling the ranks of its fighters and bringing in funds and logistical support, it increases its prestige and deters its rivals.

Elements Used In Expressions Of Support For ISIS

These expressions of solidarity with ISIS on social and other media use common ISIS symbolism. They include posters of support for it and for Al-Baghdadi; the use of the slogan baqiya wa-tatmaddad, “will remain and spread”;[3] the black tawhid flag, widely used by other global jihad elements; and ISIS nasheeds, or Islamic songs.

Other expressions of solidarity include: photos of ISIS posters next to Western landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Big Ben in London, the Atomium building in Brussels, and the Coliseum in Rome; photos of ISIS posters alongside Western passports; and other images shared on social media. All these add to ISIS’s image of an organization on the rise, and may also indicate its expansionist ambitions.


Tawhid banner used by ISIS


A poster supporting the “One Billion Muslims” campaign (Source: Twitter.com/Minbar_s, June 19, 2014)

This report will present examples of support for ISIS from the West. A future report will present similar examples of support from the Middle East and the Muslim world.[4]

U.S.

At least two contributions to the One Billion Muslims campaign came from the U.S. One was a photo of a drawing of ISIS emblem against the backdrop of the New York City skyline, and the other was a photo of a sign of support for ISIS taken in downtown Chicago.


Source: Twitter.com/truthsMaster, June 20, 2014.


Sign reads: “The soldiers of the #Islamic State in Iraq and Syria will soon pass through here… ” June 20, 2014. Source: Twitter.com/msn291.

Read more at MEMRI

‘You’re Dangerous!': Sparks Fly Between ‘Hannity’ Panel on Radical Islam

Fox News Insider:

On a special Hannity, Sean welcomed a panel of national security experts and commentators to examine the rise of radical Islam.

Sean asked Michael Ghouse, from the America Together Foundation, if he thinks enough moderate Muslims are speaking out against extremists who are hijacking his religion.

“They’re not loud enough. We need to gather momentum. Shows like yours have given voices to moderate Muslims like me,” he said.

Things quickly escalated when Fox News contributor Tamara Holder blasted Act for America President Brigitte Gabriel as the “most dangerous person in society.” [Tamara begins at 9 min. into the video and Jamie Glazov gives a a fantastic rebuttal at about 12 min.]

“To say things like moderate Muslims are ‘supposedly’ not terrorists, ‘supposedly’ are not dangerous – the majority of Muslims in this country and in this world are safe, loving people who want peace. Those Nigerian girls were Muslims as well,” Holder said.

Gabriel defended her stance, saying, “I’m not saying the majority of Muslims are terrorists. […] The terrorists are only 15 to 25 percent.”

Holder shot back, saying that percentage is much lower and charged Gabriel with spewing hate.

Go to 32 minutes into the video to see Jamie Glazov courageously stand up to Mike Gouse and Tamara Holder when they try to prevent him from criticizing Islam. 

 

Refusal by Our Leaders to Know the Enemy and Destroy Them Leads to Catastrophic Consequences

AQUTT, by John Guandolo:

The American military crushed the Islamic fighters on the field of battle in Afghanistan and Iraq. Yet, long before the U.S. achieved unconditional surrender from the enemy – which never materialized – the State Department wrote constitutions in those two countries which created Islamic Republics under the rule of Sharia (Islamic Law), thus giving Al Qaeda two of its key regional objectives – Islamic States in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This is one in a long line of policy, war fighting, and foreign policy decisions highlighting the failure of America’s leadership to know our enemy and defeat them. This failure is coming back to haunt us with the events currently unfolding in Iraq and will lead to the loss of Iraq to Jihadi forces, as has been predicted by anyone who understands this enemy.

Today, these Jihadi/Islamic forces – and it does not matter what they call themselves – are moving towards Baghdad and seek to defeat the Iraq military and overthrow the government. In the not-so-distant future, Iraq will fall under the control of the Shia – 60% of the Iraq population – in tandem with Iran. Once the Shia control Iraq, Saudi Arabia will be vulnerable, and they know it. This is why Saudi lobbied so hard for so long to keep American troops in Iraq.

All that is unfolding is the logical outcome of this enemy practically fulfilling its stated doctrine. The Global Islamic Movement does not hate us and wage war against the West because of something we did. Nor do they do it merely for land conquest and material gain.
This enemy does what it does because its doctrine requires it.

The enemy threat doctrine is Sharia (Islamic Law). It is what the enemy states it is fighting to impose on the world, and it is the blueprint for all they do. Sharia is the filter by which we must understand all of their communications at all levels especially militarily and politically.

“Implementation of Sharia law and replacement of system of nation states with a worldwide Caliphate are the ultimate political aims (of the Jihadis).”
NYPD Report: Radicalization in the West

All of the jihadis we capture on the battlefield; all of Al Qaeda’s writings and videos; all of the Muslim Brotherhood’s bylaws, strategic plans, and doctrine; and all of the jihadis we have caught or have conducted operations here in America state they do what they do to impose Sharia and re-establish the global Islamic State (Caliphate). In the investigative world that is called a “clue.” Where do the jihadis get these ideas from? The U.S. Attorney General, military leaders, FBI Director, DHS Secretary, Secretary of State, leaders of both political parties, and many other U.S. leaders call this ideology a “distorted version” or “radical interpretation” of Sharia. So we must ask the question…what Sharia law have you read?

As noted in the UTT May 8th blog article, 100% of all Islamic doctrine – including first grade school books in Islamic schools across the globe – define Islam as a “complete way of life (social, cultural, political, military, religious) governed by Islamic Law (Sharia).” 100% of all published authoritative Islamic Law obliges Jihad until the entire world is subordinated to Islamic Law. 100% of all published authoritative Islamic Law ONLY defines Jihad as “warfare against non-muslims.”

The next time someone tells you this is not true, ask them to produce one authoritative book on Islamic Law which details the “other version” of Islam as described by our leaders. You will not find it because it 1400 years it has never been written.

Until the time comes when America’s leaders decide to face reality that continues to smack us in the face – as jihadis are rising up in nearly every country around the world – that we have an enemy who is doing what they are doing because their doctrine requires it when they have the strength to carry it out, then we will continue to watch nations fall, tens of thousands of people be killed in barbaric ways, and our foreign policy and domestic “terrorism strategies” fail completely because our leaders have made the decision not to know the enemy.

Former FBI Special Agent and counterterrorism expert John Guandolo is the Founder of Understanding the Threat, an organization dedicated to providing threat-focused strategic and operational consultation, education, and training for federal, state and local leadership and agencies.

14 Islamist Incidents Since Tony Blair’s Landmark Speech

 

Iraqi elections saw renewed Sunni-Shiite violence. (Photo: © Reuters)

Iraqi elections saw renewed Sunni-Shiite violence. (Photo: © Reuters)

BY ELLIOT FRIEDLAND:

On April 23, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair gave a keynote speech in London in which he described Islamic extremism as a global phenomenon that threatens almost every region of the world. Since he gave that speech, there have been numerous atrocities and aggressions committed by Islamists across five continents.

1. In the U.S. in Pennsylvania, a Muslim man murdered his pregnant wife in a fight over her refusal to wear what he regarded as sufficiently Islamic dress. It is widely regarded as an honor killing.

2. In Nigeria, 236 schoolgirls abducted by the terrorist group Boko Haram in Nigeria remain in captivity. They have been sold into sex-slavery, forcibly married to the mujahideen for the price of $12 each. An international grassroots campaign has been building to pressure the Nigerian government to do more to bring about their release. But, as Nick Cohen wrote in the Guardian, “Boko Haram is a vile manifestation, yet the liberal press stays silent, fearful of ‘demonising the other.’ ” Maajid Nawaaz of the Quilliam Foundation tweeted his fury at this Guardian article that described “mass-marriages” rather than mass rape in its headline on the story.

3. While the girls remained in captivity and efforts to find them increased, Boko Haram took advantage of the situation and massacred 300 people in an undefended town. The soldiers that would normally have defended it were redeployed north to join the search.

4. Nor is kidnapping girls into sex-slavery a specific tactic of Boko Haram. A new study has revealed that every year hundreds of Christian and Hindu girls, mostly prepubescent, are abducted, beaten, raped and forced to marry their captors and converted to Islam. Over Easter, an eight-year old Christian girl was raped by three Muslim men. The girl’s father was kidnapped and forced not to press charges about two of the attackers, while the third was released.

5. In China, a bomb and knife attack in the regional capital of Xinjiang province killed three and wounded 79. The Chinese government has said the attack was carried out by Islamic Uighur separatists. Tony Blair remarked in his speech that “radical influences are stretching across the whole of the central part of Northern Asia, reaching even the Western province of Xinjiang in China.”

Read more at Clarion Project

When jihadists learn how to help

Members of the Libyan Salafi armed group Ansar al-Sharia guard the gates of a hospital to protect doctors from armed youths in Benghazi on Sept. 20, 2012. (Asmaa Waguih/Reuters)

Members of the Libyan Salafi armed group Ansar al-Sharia guard the gates of a hospital to protect doctors from armed youths in Benghazi on Sept. 20, 2012. (Asmaa Waguih/Reuters)

ASL is the first truly global jihadi dawa organization.

By Aaron Y. Zelin:

Within the academic literature on global jihadi organizations there has been a major lacuna on the issue of groups evolving to become more than just violent actors; many now act as social movements, too. While no one denies this change, little has been written about it, save for smaller non-academic pieces. Thus far, there have only been examples of localized dawa (calling people to the particular individual or group’s interpretation of Islam/proselytization), social services, and proto-governance efforts, even if the organizations profess a transnational ideology and goal. However, this trend is no longer true: New evidence suggests that Ansar al-Sharia in Libya (ASL) is conducting these types of activities not just in Libya, but also abroad.

ASL has a number of identities as an organization: On the one hand, it’s a charity, a security service and a health services and religious education provider. On the other hand, it’s a militia, a terrorist organization, and it trains individuals for foreign jihads. While many jihadi organizations are involved in the latter within transnational networks and a smaller percentage are active in the former on a local level, ASL is the only global jihadi organization that has an international dawa campaign. ASL’s unprecedented reach belies the notion that the organization has only local aims, while it is in fact attempting to cultivate an international constituency based on aid and proselytization to its strict legal interpretations of Islam.

Theoretically speaking, there is now a spectrum of jihadi organizations that can be described as purely focused on violent jihad on a local or global level and that use dawa as their main organizing principle, yet still utilize violence on a local or global level. There are also mixed cases in which neither violent jihad nor dawa take precedence over the other. These categories are not necessarily static for organizations and can change depending on endogenous and exogenous factors.

Table 1. Types of Jihadi Organizations

Local Transnationally
Violent Jihad-First Gamaa al-Islamiyya, Abdullah Azzam Brigades Al Qaeda, Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham
Mixed Jabhat al-Nusra, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahidin No known cases
Dawa-First Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia Ansar al-Sharia in Libya

The most important trend within the global jihadi movement after the Arab uprisings in 2011 is its ability to step beyond just the terrorism box to add tools to its repertoire to expand its support from its clandestine base. While it is true that organizations such as Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahideen in Somalia had been involved in dawa and proto-governance principles before 2011, it became more of a norm with the open spaces provided by new freedoms or liberated territories, depending on the country-specific context. More freedoms have allowed global jihadi groups from Yemen to Tunisia to Libya to Syria to evolve into multipurpose organizations.

In the context of Yemen, with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and its front group Ansar al-Sharia in Yemen (ASY), and even more so in Syria, with groups like J abhat al-Nusra (JN) and to a lesser extent the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), these organizations have become true insurgent forces and are relying on the population as much as the population has come to rely on them. This is partially a result of the implementation of the lessons learned from the failed takeover of territory by ISIS’s predecessor al Qaeda in the Land of Two Rivers (Iraq) last decade. It is true that ISIS has repeated its own mistakes again in the Syrian context, but in Iraq, since its re-emergence, ISIS has been a lot more adept at dealing with the local populace (though part of it also has to do with the Maliki government’s alienation of the Sunni populations, too).

In non-war zone contexts, ASL along with its neighbor sister organization, Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia (AST), have been able to become true social movements within each of their countries. While AST was more or less a national organization from its beginning, ASL had to build out its support from its base in Benghazi to other areas such as Tripoli, Ajdabiya, Sirte, Darna and the Gulf of Sidra, among other smaller locales. This success was a result of its dawa efforts such as providing food, medical care, religious education  and other services to the poor and others. ASL has also helped fix roads and bridges, repaired homes of the needy, provided slaughtered meats on the main Muslim holidays of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, and mediated disputes between tribes. As part of all of these activities, it has passed out custom ASL-approved Islamic literature, highlighting the twin purpose of service and the call to Islam.

Read more at Washington Post

Aaron Y. Zelin is a PhD candidate at King’s College London writing his dissertation on the history and evolution of the Tunisian jihadi movement. He is also the Richard Borow Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the Rena and Sami David Fellow at the International Center for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence. Zelin also runs the Web site Jihadology.net.

Video: Sharia and the Threat to American Freedom

American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) Co-Founders and Senior Counsel David Yerushalmi and Robert Muise gave a presentation in Cincinnati to a standing-room-only crowd entitled, “Sharia: Threat to American Freedom.”  Yerushalmi explains sharia as “the enemy threat doctrine”. A highlight of Muise’s presentation is his discussion of American Freedom Defense Initiative’s freedom of speech cases. Watch this very informative video.

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

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:

 

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.

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.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham

Jawad-Figure-7by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi
MERIA
December 11, 2013

PDF version available here

This article examines the rise of the al-Qa’ida-aligned group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) since its announcement in April 2013 until September 2013. It focuses in particular on its military operations and its relations with other rebel groups. The article concludes by examining what the future holds for ISIS on the whole.

INTRODUCTION: THE IDEOLOGY

The group under consideration in this paper–like al-Qa’ida central under Usama bin Ladin and subsequently Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Tehrik-e-Taliban of Waziristan, and others–is part of what one might term the “global jihad” movement. This movement is not a coherent whole organized by a strict central hierarchy, but rather one defined by a shared ideology. This ideology aims firstly to reestablish a system of governance known as the Caliphate–an Islamic form of government that first came into being after Muhammad’s death under Abu Bakr and saw its last manifestation in the Ottoman Empire–across the entire Muslim world. From there, the intention is to spread the Caliphate across the entire world.[1]

This worldview is one of many answers formulated to answer a question posed in the wider Muslim world: Namely, what has been the cause of decline of the Muslim world–and the Arab world in particular–in contrast to the apparent success of the West since the nineteenth century? The answer formulated by ideologues of the global jihad movement is that the cause of this decline is rooted in the Muslim world’s deviation from the path of Islam by not applying Islamic law to governance in its totality. This is to be contrasted with the “Islamic Golden Age” in Islam’s first five centuries or so–idealized in different ways by others not of this orientation–when the Muslim world was supposedly uncontaminated by foreign influences. Of course, given that era’s exploitation of the classical Greek heritage through the translation movement under the Abbasids- the global jihad movement’s portrayal of this era is blatantly unhistorical. Nonetheless, the perception is what matters.

In light of the ISIS’ ambitious goals, it is imperative to consider the group’s fortunes in Syria, which in turn will allow policymakers to assess what threat, if any, the group poses to the wider international order in the long-term.

Read more 

From 9/11 to Syria: Incompetence, Cowardice, and Treason Among American Leadership

americanflagand3crossloopBy John Guandolo:

Years ago, it is hard to imagine anyone being able to see into the future to today and predict the complete collapse of leadership in America – but it has come.

On 9/11/2001, I was plodding through the wreckage of the Pentagon as an FBI Special Agent, recovering what was left of fellow Americans in what was left in the sections of the building hit by an airplane commanded by jihadis.  Furious at our enemy, I was determined to do all I could to seek out this enemy and destroy  him.  I could have never imagined that, years later, America’s leaders would give such aid and comfort to our enemies.

As we survey the rubble of American foreign policy and the incoherent domestic agenda, specifically as they relate to the security of America, we discover a most incredible thing – the leadership of both political parties in America, through ignorance, cowardice, and outright treason, are aiding and abetting the very enemy who attacked us in our homeland on this day 12 years ago.

In the last several years we have seen the full authority of the U.S. government support:  the Muslim Brotherhood in their quest to take power in Egypt; Al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood “rebels” in Libya; the Taliban by holding direct talks with them and trying to appease their “concerns”; and Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood “rebels” seeking to overthrow the regime in Iranian-backed Syria.

At the same time, this Administration continues to give easily identifiable jihadis positions inside our government with access to classified systems within those agencies they work.

Departing FBI Director Robert Mueller III said in a final interview that “jihadis” are a major threat to this country, yet as Director the FBI gave official awards to known jihadis like Mohamed Magid (President of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Islamic Society of North America), Yahya Hendi (a leader on the Muslim Brotherhood’s Fiqh Council of North America), and so many others.  In open testimony to Congress, Director Mueller admitted to being ignorant of the significant fact that the Islamic Society of Boston (a subsidiary of ISNA) where one of the Marathon bombers attended was founded by Al Qaeda financier Abdurahman Alamoudi.  During his tenure, Mueller hosted many meetings at FBI HQ with known jihadis such as the leaders of Hamas in America (CAIR) and others.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has proven to be either grossly incompetent or a willful agent of our enemies.   Over the past several years she has directly changed or created DHS policy based on the complaints or recommendation of the jihadi leadership from the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.  From removing words DHS and other government employees can use to describe the jihad threat (you can’t say “jihadi”) to their “Building Bridges” campaign with the Brotherhood’s Muslim Public Affairs Council, to shutting down all fact-based training regarding the jihadi threat, to defending Muslim Brother Mohammed Elibiary in open testimony before Congress, our enemies couldn’t have it better if Mullah Omar was the DHS chief.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs has proven to be no more competent or faithful to his Oath to the Constitution.  General Dempsey has demonstrated his willingness to avoid his duties while ensuring the enemy gets a pass within the military by shutting down all training which honestly and factually assesses the enemy.  His decision over a year ago to cease all training In the military and “review it” to ensure it was not “offensive” – a move prompted by complaints to the White House from Hamas (CAIR) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council – makes it impossible for the military to understand the real threat we face.  General Dempsey may want to keep in mind that the truth is always offensive to those who don’t have it.  He may also want to note that when ordered to violate his Oath, he always has the option to step down.

Where are those men and women of courage in our government?

Read more at Understanding The Threat

John Guandolo’s new book, “Raising a Jihadi Generation” will be out in the next 10 days or so. This book details the threat for the Muslim Brotherhood network in the United States, their thousands of organizations here, and how they support jihadi operations.