Forum readers woke up this morning to find Taimour’s picture on the top banner of Shumukh (the main jihadi forum). The banner advertises a poem by a certain “Sha’ir al-Ansar” (Poet of the Ansar) praising Taimour Abdalwahab. At first sight this might seem like the work of an accomplice, but the poet explicitly states that he did not know Taimour personally.
More interesting is the posting of a new audio message by a certain Abu Sulayman al-Nasir titled “Warning to NATO Countries Following the Stockholm Raid.” The message echoes an earlier statement by the same person issued on 20 November.
What’s interesting here is not so much the messages as the messenger, because Abu Sulayman al-Nasir is the same person who first mentioned Taimour Abdulwahhab’s name on Shumukh. This obviously raises the possibility that he has some connection to the Stockholm attack.
The problem is that the earliest public reference to Taimour’s name was made on 11 December at 10.24 pm on a non-Islamist Swedish forum, based on private pictures on the license plate of the bombing vehicle. Abu Sulayman al-Nasir’s Shumukh post mentioning Taimour’s name was published at around 6pm on 12 December, ie almost 20 hours after the name had entered the public sphere. Al-Nasir could therefore very well have found Taimour’s name on the web.
In this connection it is worth noting that Shumukh has a LOT of readers in Sweden. Aaron recently posted traffic data for Shumukh for the month of November, according to which a full 3.6 percent of non-proxy IP addresses were based in Sweden. If you adjust for population size, this means Sweden had over 20 times as many Shumukh readers per 1000 inhabitants, and over 33 times as many readers per 1000 Muslims as the United Kingdom. This is admittedly back-of-the envelope calculations using on population data from Wikipedia, (here and here), but the proportions are striking.
As expected, the freelance jihadi media machinery has started churning out material glorifying the Stockholm bomber. In addition to the abovementioned poem, someone posted a Youtube production of Taimour’s martyrdom will, along with a cheesy photo montage with Taimour surrounded by lightning.
Mainstream media has also started digging into Taimour’s life in Luton, showing, among other things, that he was radicalised by at least 2007, when he revealed militant anti-Western views to an imam in a local mosque.
There is also a lot of interesting commentary in the blogoshpere, with Aaron at Haganah providing the most interesting information, as usual. Anyone who doubts the radicalising influence of Youtube should take a look at Taimour’s Facebook profile, retrieved by Aaron. Taimour wallowed in jihadi Youtube videos.
On a final note, let me clarify my view on the question of Taimour’s associations, as some readers seem to have misinterpreted my earlier post. I do not believe Taimour was a pure lone wolf. What I am saying is that he was most likely either alone or helped by at most two people in the final stages of – i.e. last few weeks before – the attack. The point here is that I think the initiative for the operation came from Taimour himself; I don’t think he was instrumentalised by a large, established organization. There could be a couple of people in Sweden or in Luton who were directly involved, but I would be very surprised if Taimour took orders from AQ in Pakistan or from ISI in Iraq.
Moreover, I don’t believe Taimour radicalised in a complete vacuum; people almost never do, as I stressed in my Cadadian Senate testimony last week. Taimour, like most other homegrown militants, must have interacted with other people during his radicalization process, even if the interaction occurred mainly on the Internet or in very small social circles.
[PS: the reason I am not posting pdfs of the forum posts is that I am using a different computer this morning which doesn’t allow me to print Arabic fonts to pdf. I’ll post pdfs later this evening.]