Happy New Year

The Jihadica crew would like to wish all our readers a very happy new year. 2009 was an exciting year for the blog. Our readership grew, and some of our postings made news. One post even inspired a front page story in the New York Times. Other posts were widely noted in the policy community. Posting was irregular in the second semester, but at least we kept afloat, much thanks to our guest bloggers. Our readership is not enormous, but it seems to be loyal, something for which we are extremely thankful. We are also very grateful for all your comments and emails. We probably don’t respond as often as we should, but we read them all. I suspect 2010 is going to be an eventful year in the world of jihadism. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a major breakthrough against AQ Central in Pakistan. AQ in Yemen

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Holiday Reading

I’d like to draw our readers’ attention to several interesting new academic publications have come out in the past few weeks: Nelly Lahoud – In Search of Philosopher-Jihadis: Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi’s Jihadi Philosophy A Aaron Weisburd – Comparison of Visual Motifs in Jihadi and Cholo Videos on YouTube Stig Jarle Hansen and Atle Mesøy – The Muslim Brotherhood in the Wider Horn of Africa Although not central to the Jihadica portfolio, I also strongly recommend the following indispensable contributions to the AfPak debate. Marc Sageman – Confronting al-Qaeda: Understanding the Threat in Afghanistan Nir Rosen – Something from Nothing Yours truly also has a new article out, entitled Jihad, Yes, But Not Revolution: Explaining the Extraversion of Islamist Violence in Saudi Arabia

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Al-Qa’ida in Arabian Peninsula Issues Claim of Responsibility

The Malahim Foundation, the media wing of al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), has issued a statement on the forums today claiming responsibility for the attempted attack on a Detroit-bound commercial airplane on Christmas Day.  The statement claims that the “martyrdom-seeking mujahid brother ‘Umar Faruq” attempted the attack “in coordindation with mujahidin in the Arabian Peninsula” in retaliation for US airstrikes on AQAP targets in Yemen.  The message boasts that Faruq’s successful negotiation of airport security in getting on the plane was further proof that the AQAP had perfected its detection-resistant bomb technology, claims that a technical fault frustrated Faruq’s attempt, and vows that “we will continue on this path with God’s permission until we have obtained our objective.” The message then addresses appeals to various audiences to take up arms against Americans and American interests. “All Muslims of fervid faith and belief” are called upon to help expell infidels from

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Waziristan of Arabia

In what has turned out to be a rather prescient quip, the Arab journalist Abd al-Ilah Sha’i, who has conducted interviews for al-Jazeera with both Nasir al-Wuhayshi and Anwar al-Awlaqi and who is an occasional commentator on the jihadi forums, wrote last week on the Falluja forum that South Yemen was becoming the “Waziristan of the Arabian Peninsula.” This comment was made in connection with the US-supported airstrike on an alleged AQAP training camp in Abyan, Yemen, early on December 17, corresponding with the Islamic calendar’s New Year’s day (1 Muharram 1431).  Events that have unfolded since then have unfortunately only strengthened the aptness of the comparison. This past Wednesday, December 23, Abu ‘Umayr Muhammad Ahmad bin Salih ‘Umayr al-‘Awlaqi, described variously as a “mid-level figure” in AQAP, or as the “al-Qa’ida leader for Shabwa Province,” appeared in an al-Jazeera video taken at a protest rally in Abyan, seeking to stoke

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Hittin Magazine: China – Friend or Foe?

The latest issue of Hittin magazine includes an article titled “China – friend or foe?” by Qari Abdulhadi that centers on the “injustice” committed by China on Muslims, which he argues is unprecedented in history. While the details of this injustice have been hidden from the media, the writer maintains that the growing jihadi activities in China, and the struggles of the mujahidin in Afghanistan and Pakistan, have rendered it difficult for China to keep its true face as the “enemy of Islam” hidden from the public. While the author accuses the entire umma of referring to China as a “friend” and “brother”, he singles out Pakistan, where diplomatic relations with China have been given a status “even higher than the Himalayas.” Similarly, when listing the responsibilities of the umma with regards to aiding the mujahidin in East Turkistan, neighboring countries – with special emphasis on Pakistan – are said

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A Mujahid’s Bookbag

Earlier this month a new and expanded edition of a popular jihadi text collection was released on the forums (e.g., here). Called “A Mujahid’s Bookbag” (Haqibatu’l-Mujahid), the collection of over 2000 jihadi texts was compiled by Zubayr al-Ghazi, a functionary of the Falluja forums, and consists of searchable, indexed Word files. Some of these texts are thousands of pages long, others are brief letters, fatwas or interview transcripts.  The list of authors whose works are compiled here is of note, and provides a useful benchmark for currently-influential ideologues in the Arabophone Salafi jihadi movement.  When cross-referenced to the Militant Ideology Atlas (MIA), our best benchmark of influence circa 2006, I found that 21 of the 53 named authors in this collection were not cited in the works we canvassed for the MIA. I also cross-referenced the list of 19 scholars identified by Zawahiri in the Exoneration as supportive of al-Qa’ida; 8

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