A Jihadi-Salafi Case against Hamas

In the past few years, an increasing number of news items have focused on the clashes between Hamas in the Gaza Strip and more radical Jihadi-Salafi groups. (For a recent example, see here.) Analyses of these groups have mostly concentrated on their alleged ties with al-Qa‘ida and their criticism of Hamas as being soft (see here, for example) but little is known about their actual ideology. Last year, however, a book giving a detailed ideological critique of Hamas (Al-Qawl al-Asas fi Hukumat Hamas) was released by a Jihadi-Salafi from Gaza called Abu ‘Abdallah al-Maqdisi, not to be confused with Abu l-Nur al-Maqdisi, the leader of Jund Ansar Allah, whose death at the hands of Hamas last year caused a widespread uproar among Jihadi-Salafis. It is not clear how representative this book is of Hamas’ radical opponents’ ideology in Gaza but the arguments are typically Jihadi-Salafi ones and are therefore likely

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Did the Quetta Shura Break With al-Qaida?

Mustafa Hamid, aka Abu’l-Walid al-Masri, published a blog piece a little while ago which discussed the arrest of Mullah Baradir. It’s fascinating reading, especially the first part which deals with the historical role of Mullah Baradir in the Taliban insurgency. It’s already been covered in part by Leah Farrall. I thought I’d add some comment about the opening lines of the article, in which Mustafa Hamid says that the Taliban’s high council made three important decisions after 2001, one of which was to “break the ties between the Taliban and al-Qaida.” Mustafa Hamid has previously said that al-Qaida and the Taliban have moved further apart after 2001, although I don’t think he’s ever been this specific. We have heard similar things in the media, but the reports are hard to confirm. Was there actually a decision in the Quetta shura, led by Mullah Baradir at the time, to break ties

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Spy Forums

In a remarkable story, the Washington Post reported today that Saudi intelligence and the CIA operated a honeypot jihadi forum for years until it was shut down by the US military in 2008. The news here is obviously not that intelligence services run jihadi forums, but that US agencies wage cyberwarfare on each other. Since I don’t know what is technologically possible and what is not, I don’t have an opinion on the issue of forum takedowns, but I find the lack of interagency coordination appalling. Bureaucratic politics aside, which forum was it? The Post article does not say. There are several candidates, since many forums went down in 2008, foremost of which Ekhlaas (September) and Hesbah (November). I initially suspected the latter, but I was a little confused by the article mentioning events in “early 2008”. So I asked my forum-watching colleagues Evan Kohlmann and Reuven Paz, and they

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New Reports

My brilliant friend and countryman Jacob Høigilt has just written an absolutely fascinating report on Islamism and Education in the Palestinian Territories. It’s fieldwork-based, rich  and nuanced, and it undermines widespread assumptions about the link between Islamic education and militancy. While I am at it, I might as well mention my own completely unrelated CTC paper on the Failure of Jihad in Saudi Arabia.

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