Important al-Qaeda Scholar Identified

In the Tabri’a (Exoneration), released a few months ago, Zawahiri mentions several clerics he admires and who continue to support al-Qaeda. One of them is an Egyptian named Abu `Amr `Abd al-Hakim Hassan, whom he describes this way: He has a long history in hijra, ribat, and jihad. He was arrested and tortured in Egypt, which he endured patiently. He graduated from the College of Commerce and then from al-Azhar’s College of Theology. His scholarly and scientific efforts are copious. Among the works he produced were the books Elucidation of the Importance of Issues Surrounding Unbelief and Faith (التبيان في أهم مسائل الكفر والإيمان) in three parts, Jihad in the Path of God: Etiquette and Rules (الجهاد في سبيل الله- آداب وأحكام) in two parts, and Guiding the Mujhadis to the Commission of the Trustworthy Prophet (هداية المجاهدين إلى وصية النبي الأمين), which is a book explaining the Prophet’s (peace

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Jihadi Operations in Northern and Southern Lebanon

On Saturday, an Ekhlaas member asked, “Have Jihadi operations returned to striker the Crusader Lebanese Army?” His proof that it might be so are two pieces of that day’s news: There was an explosion at the intelligence headquarters of the Lebanese Army at Abdeh in northern Lebanon. The army killed a Palestinian suicide bomber at a military checkpoint outside the Ayn Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon. The first incident has been claimed by Fatah al-Islam, the Lebanese Jihadi group that was crushed by the Lebanese Army in the nearby Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp last summer. The second incident does not seem to have made news yet in the English-language media, but it has received coverage in the Arabic press.  That the attacks came within hours of each other, one in the far north, the other in the far south, suggests coordination.

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Reaction to News of AQ Defeats

The online Jihadi response to Michael Hayden and Robert Gates’ claims of recent al-Qaeda defeats is predictable: lies!!!  But the proof offered is worth noting.  Ekhlaas member Ubayda al-Muhajir writes, “News is what you see, not what you hear.”  To make his point, he posts several links to mine sweepers being blown up in Mosul. Abd al-Wahhab takes a different tack.  He says that U.S. officials have no idea what they are talking about.  For example, last Tuesday, the FBI said there was a super secret nuke video coming out, but the tape had already been posted to Ekhlaas on Sunday.  So why would you believe them now? The emphasis is on credible predictions and visual evidence. Document (Arabic): 5-30-2008-ekhlaas-refutation-of-cia-claim-of-aq-defeat-in-iraq-and-saudi Document (Arabic): 5-30-2008-ekhlaas-readction-cia-and-sod-claim-that-aq-being-defeated

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Measuring the Terrorist Threat

Daniel Benjamin has an excellent piece in Slate on the difficulty of measuring terrorist threats. The common way to measure it is body count: if the number of people killed annually by a terrorist group goes down, then the threat from that group is reduced. This measurement also allows people to say things like, “Only 100 people died in the United States this year from terrorism, whereas 3,000 died from gang-related deaths. So gang-related deaths are more of a problem and we should shift resources accordingly.” As Benjamin points out, the problem with the body count metric is that it does not capture the real danger of terrorism: severe economic dislocation and government overreaction. Of course, both are predicated on people and officials reacting in ways that are way out of proportion to the actual physical threat, but that is precisely the response that terrorism is designed to provoke.  Books,

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