Two Important Sites Back Up

Faloja, one of the second-tier sites that was closed down two weeks ago, is back up.  In announcing its return, the administrators acknowledged that it had fallen victim to the same wave of closures that shut down the top-tier sites in September.  It also announced that several of these sites will be back online shortly. Even more significant is the return of Tawhed.ws.  For those of you who have browsed the Atlas before, you know that this is the main online library of Jihadi literature.  Although a static site, it was shut down in June when the first wave of attacks was launched on the top-tier discussion forums.  Prior to that, you could only access it through a proxy if you live in the U.S. (although now it seems that a proxy is not necessary). Tawhed.ws is affiliated with Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, Zarqawi’s spiritual mentor who was in a Jordanian prison until

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Returnee from England

Hani al-Siba`i, Egyptian Jihadi and provocateur extraordinaire, is being kicked out of the U.K. and sent back to Egypt.   Hani, like Sayyid Imam, was a member of Egyptian Islamic Jihad and convicted in absentia in the Returnees from Albania case.  Sayyid Imam is serving a life sentence for his conviction and jail time surely waits for Siba`i.  We’ll see if he maintains his harsh condemnation of Sayyid Imam’s and EIJ’s “reconsiderations” of jihad. Those who follow the forums are very familiar with Siba`i’s Jihadi advocacy, both online through his Maqrizi Center site, and on television.  Since he may be entering a period of extended silence, savor his brilliance one last time (go to the 3:35).

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More on Online Recruitment

Tim has a nice summary of a recent conversation between him, me, and Aaron about online recruitment.  Tim and I agree and I think Aaron does too, but he wants more rigorous metrics.  Fair enough. Aaron observes that there are three things involved with radicalization: Motivation (I’m willing to fight) Association (I want people to fight alongside, both to steel my resolve and to help me carry out attacks) Opportunity (I need places and means for carrying out an attack) (Tim glosses these as Psychological, Social, and Organizational factors, which is helpful.) Aaron goes on to say: When we see so-called Internet jihadis who become active in real-world plots, they frequently come from the ranks of the forum activists, the guys who are more than just part of the Allahu Akbar chorus. It is through their online associations and the opportunities that the Internet provides that they are able to

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The Noose Tightens: Second-Tier Forums Down, Call for Information Ops on U.S. Forums

It has been almost a month since the top-tier Jihadi forums were taken down (with the exception of Hesbah–suspicious).  Now the second-tier forums have been taken down: Faloja, al-Ma`arik al-Salafiyya, and Shura.  Shumukh is hanging on and that’s where most of the hand wringing is happening at the moment.  Some are accusing the Shia of shutting down the forums in retaliation for their websites being hacked; others believe the U.S. is behind it. One member of the latter group, al-Hizbar al-Ansari (The Ansari Lion), proposes that American forums be “raided” in retaliation.   He suggests that Jihadis sign up on highly-trafficked forums and post disturbing images of U.S. dead in Iraq and Afghanistan.  This, he believes, will demoralize the enemy.  To get the ball rolling, Hizbar says he signed up for one of them under the name “osama bin laden” and posted a picture of an American woman with a burned

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Analyses of U.S. Economic Crisis

Husayn b. Mahmud and Akram Hijazi, two influential voices in the jihadosphere, have opined on the U.S. economic crisis. Husayn, a pundit on Hesbah, argues that the U.S. financial crisis is happening because the U.S. spent too much money fighting wars in the Middle East and too little on domestic projects that would have created jobs and driven demand for materials.  The U.S. is fighting these wars to safeguard oil and oil pipelines but it did not count on the fierce “Jihadi resistance.”  Now it and its allies will pay the price. Akram Hijazi, a Jordanian professor and blogger, takes a different tack.  Rather than argue that U.S. military intervention in the Middle East is the root cause of the crisis, Hijazi asserts that the real cause is America’s unbridled capitalism based on usurious loans that benefit the few at the expense of the many.  The government’s recent intervention will

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New Issues of Two Jihadi Journals

Issue 12 of the Tala’i` Khurasan (Vanguards of Khurasan) is out.  Several big names have written pieces, including Atiyyat Allah (we have to learn from our mistakes), Abu al-Walid al-Ansari (how past jihads failed), Abu Yahya al-Libi (fighting to restore the Sharia is the only way forward in Palestine), and Mustafa Abu al-Yazid (the meaning of piety and patience).  It also includes a 9/11 anniversary article on al-Qaeda’s strategic reasons for attacking the U.S., an article on Jihadis released from prison in Afghanistan, and a summary of the most important operations in Afghanistan over the last four months. This month we also have a new journal published by al-Shabaab, the AQ-linked group in Somalia.  Marisa thinks its publication means Shabab is growing stronger; that may be, but they can’t produce an attractive journal yet.   The name of the journal, Millat Ibrahim (The Religious Community of Abraham), is an allusion

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Jihadi Media Pioneer Drowns, Friend Explains How They Met Online

The Sumud Squadron announced last week that one of its founding members, Abu al-Haytham al-Shamali, had drowned.  According to the statement, Abu al-Haytham had established a number of media brigades and squadrons, including the Ghuraba Brigade and the Sumud Squadron.  He was also known on the forums for his postings on security and propaganda.  The statement gives the following as his online aliases: مخابرات المجاهد on Ekhlaas, Hesbah, Shumukh, and others عيون المجاهد on Faloja أبو عاصم المغربي when meeting with hadith scholars عالي الهمة on the Alukah forum أبو الهيثم النقشبندي on the Ana Muslim forum al-monsif as a supervisor on the Shamal Room forum On Faloja, a member posted a letter from Faris al-Khafa’ (Knight of Secrecy), who claims to know Abu al-Haytham personally.  Faris says that he met Abu al-Haytham on the forums and did not realize initially that they were from the same country.  Abu al-Haytham

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“The Painful Truth: Al-Qaeda is Losing the War in Iraq”

That’s the title of a post by hamzacom on the Faloja forum.  In it, he draws an analogy with Afghanistan just after the U.S. invasion.  It was a time of defeat for the mujahids but now they are resurging.  The same will happen in Iraq. Other forum members are predictably annoyed by hamzacom’s pessimistic title.  Abu `Umar al-Masri retorts that it is merely “a knight’s stumble,” not a loss.  Qannas al-Dawla al-Islamiyya (“The Islamic State’s Hunter”) is even more optimistic: “We will never lose the war as long as God is with us.” Others share hamzacom’s pessimism but are nonchalant.  “If al-Qaeda has lost the war, what’s the problem?” Shabab Lubnan (“Youth of Lebanon”) states blithely.  “There really isn’t a problem.  There are a number of Jihadi groups that possess the idea of al-Qaeda even if they do not aid (the organization) publicly.  It is possible for these groups to

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