Did Jordanian Intelligence Kill Abdallah Azzam?

Of the many fascinating details in the Sahab interview with Abu Dujana al-Khurasani, one made my jaw drop and break my self-imposed blogging ban. Abu Dujana says his Jordanian handler named another Jordanian intelligence official as the person responsible for the assassination of Abdallah Azzam in Peshawar in November 1989: “This idiot confessed to me and told me, ‘if you go and kill any leader of the mujahidin, you’ll become a top man in Jordan, like my chief, Ali Burjaq’. According to Abu Zayd [Abu Dujana’s handler], Ali Burjaq, Director of Jordanian counterterrorism, is the man responsible for the murder of the shahid, as we reckon him, shaykh Abdullah Azzam in Peshawar 20 years ago.”   (translation by Adam Gadahn) As you know, Azzam’s assassins have never been identified, and numerous theories have been suggested (CIA, Mossad, Usama bin Ladin, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Khad, KGB to mention a few).

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Umayma al-Zawahiri on Women’s Role in Jihad

In December 2009, al-Sahab released a missive entitled “Letter to My Muslim Sisters” (risala ila al-akhawat al-muslimat) by Umayma al-Zawahiri – Ayman al-Zawahiri’s wife. The letter is addressed to three categories of Muslim women: (1)    To the female jihadis (murabitat and mujahidat – I shall return to these terms later) in the Islamic umma. She believes that like her, these women have sacrificed their all; and despite their loss of loved ones and separation from family, their situation is one of grace, for they are ‘content with the honors God has bestowed upon us; He elected us from among all his servants by blessing us with [being part of] jihad in His path to make His religion triumphant and make His word supreme.’ Umayma al-Zawahiri urges these female jihadis to remain steadfast on that same jihadi path, for ‘victory is near’. God, she assures them, is not about to forsake

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Aafia Siddiqui

Shortly before Aafia Siddiqui was convicted on 3 February, the magazine Nawai Afghan jihad published an article about the Siddiqui case. In the article, entitled “Rescuing the Prisoners”, a certain Umm Hamam writes about Muslims around the world who have been imprisoned by “infidels”. Previously, numerous references have been made to the Aafia Siddiqui case by different jihadi groups, including  Jaish-e-Mohammad on their weekly online magazine, Al-Qalam. The “arrest/torture of our innocent, Muslim sister by the infidel” rhetoric plays on the honor code and anti-western sentiments of young Pakistani men whom militant leaders aim to attract and recruit. Siddiqui was brought up again in a recent joint interview by Hakimullah Mehsud and Wali-ur-Rehman in October 2009; the video ended with the question “who will rescue our sister Dr Aafia Siddiqui from these Christian barbarians?” That the new TTP leadership continues to use Siddiqui as subject matter to appeal to their

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Is RAND in Bed with Extreme Takfiris?

As regular readers of jihadi literature know, the RAND Corporation is no friend of al-Qa‘ida. Supporters of the latter have a tendency to blame RAND for trying to destroy them and the rest of the world’s Muslims into the bargain. Although RAND is not alone in being perceived by jihadis as an almost conspiratorial observer of every move the jihadis make (West Point’s Counter Terrorism Center, as long-time readers of Jihadica know all too well, is another), it is probably the one that gets criticised most. (If you were not aware of this, see Jarret Brachman’s excellent post on this subject.) Recently, however, one Nur al-Islam posed a question relating to RAND that I had not seen before: Is there a connection between the RAND Corporation and extremists of takfir? Takfir and takfiris Takfir, as many readers will know, is the practice of excommunication, i.e. of declaring another Muslim to

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Justifying Jihad against Pakistan

The January/February 2010 issue of Nawai Afghan Jihad included an article by Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesman, Azam Tariq, entitled “The Reality of the Waziristan Operation.” Azam Tariq mainly talks about the recent military operation in Waziristan and the complicity of Pakistani politicians and special forces (SFs) in importing and waging America´s war on Pakistani territory. Like most TTP leaders, Azam underlines that theirs is a “defensive” jihad against the Pakistani regime.  The image created is that of a hapless group being provoked into fighting an unwanted jihad. That is, against its own volition, the TTP must fight the Pakistani state and army. While the cardinal enemy, and “target of all jihadi struggles”, is the U.S. for it sits at the helm of all infidel nations, Pakistan´s “secular rulers” and their shameless submissiveness to the U.S. has left the TTP no choice but to fight the “domestic” infidels first.  The question, then,

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Midad al-Suyuf and al-Maqdisi: Sworn Enemies?

[Editor’s note: I am proud to introduce Joas Wagemakers as our new guest contributor. Regular Jihadica readers will know Joas as the world’s leading expert on Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi; but as you will discover over the next few weeks and hopefully months, Joas’s expertise extends way beyond the Jordanian ideologue. A lecturer and PhD candidate at Radboud University in Nijmegen, Joas has published widely on jihadi ideology and is a rising star in the Middle East and Islamic studies field.] In the past, Will (here and here), Brynjar (here) and Thomas (here) have written excellent posts on Jihadica about the Jordanian ideologue Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi’s credibility problems. Just to refresh everyone’s memory: as a result of al-Maqdisi’s criticism of his former pupil Abu Mus‘ab al-Zarqawi’s extreme use of violence in Iraq in 2004 and 2005, some fellow jihadis accused him of reneging on his earlier, supposedly more radical beliefs and

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