Sayf al-`Adl a Nobody

Shmukh forum user Amal wa-Alam complains that the brothers are disparaging Sayf al-`Adl, the operational leader of al-Qaeda.  “They are beginning to talk about him as if he is a nobody.” Amal strongly disagrees and adduces as evidence West Point’s study of his handiwork in Africa that Clint Watts, Jake Shapiro, and Vahid Brown had a hand in. “It’s strange that the Americans know” and the brothers do not. It’s not clear who these naysaying brothers are, and another Shmukh user disagrees with Amal, saying that he has heard no disparaging remarks. But if it is true that Sayf is being criticized in some jihadi circles as irrelevant, it is quite a change from the rumors two months ago that he was the acting head of al-Qaeda after Bin Laden’s death. This isn’t the first time that jihadi leaders have referenced the studies of American and European analysts to bolster

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Breivik and Al-Qaeda

In his summary of a massive manifesto written by Anders Breivik, the alleged terrorist who carried out Friday’s horrible attacks in Norway, Blake Hounshell observes that although Breivik wants to purge Europe of Islam, he also deeply admires al-Qaeda.  Indeed, Breivik is inspired by the organization’s quest for cultural purity in the Middle East and wishes to do the same in Europe using similar means: “Just like Jihadi warriors are the plum tree of the Ummah, we will be the plum tree for Europe and for Christianity.”  This symmetry is also noted by Spencer Ackerman, who provides a very useful rundown of the intellectual parallels between Breivik and al-Qaeda. Breivik admires few other terrorist groups, listing al-Qaeda as one of only two successful terrorist organizations. The reason for al-Qaeda’s success, he argues, is that it made other Islamists look moderate in comparison, making it easier for them to culturally gobble up

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Alleged Claim for Oslo Attacks

This was posted by Abu Sulayman al-Nasir to the Arabic jihadi forum, Shmukh, around 10:30am EST (thread 118187).  Shmukh is the main forum for Arabic-speaking jihadis who support al-Qaeda.  Since the thread is now inaccessible (either locked or taken down), I am posting it here.  I don’t have time at the moment to translate the whole thing but I translated the most important bits on twitter. Update: Abu Sulayman has now issued a retraction, stating clearly that “Helpers” was not involved in the operation and that his statement was not an official statement. He says those who carried out the attacks “must surely be known to all.” Update2: “Surely known to all” apparently means a right-wing Norwegian extremist who likes World of Warcraft and Dexter. الحمد لله ناصر عباده الموحدين ومذل اهل الشرك والكفر اجمعين والصلاة والسلام على نبينا محمد خاتم النبيين وعلى اله وصحبه اجمعين وبعد قال تعالى :

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Sign of the Times

A cleric who was very popular among the 9/11 hijackers and jihadis in North Africa, Muhammad al-Fazazi, is now causing a stir with an article he published in Hespress. The following passage addressed to a secular critic is particularly aggravating his former fan club: I am now in the same trench with the king [of Morocco] fighting the enemies of God and the nation on all sides, including associates like yours who are homosexuals, eat during Ramadan, and advocate apostasy.  You pick a fight with the government and still do not understand that I accept the establishment of an Islamic party if it offers assurances. I may join the Justice and Development Party–the party you hate for no other reason than it is Islamic. Shmukh forum member abuhamza rightly observes that Fazazi previously considered parliamentary politics to be heresy. “His words now resemble the words of the secularists and the Brotherhood.” Fazazi’s

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What’s AQIM’s Strategy?

“What is the brothers’ plan in the Islamic Magreb?”  That’s the question raised today by Shmukh member Abu Safiyya.  He thinks it’s perfectly legitimate to kill troops but it’s getting Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb (AQIM) nowhere.  AQIM should be going after the leadership of the militaries in the region. Some readers are sympathetic but most respond that you have to kill troops to get to the officers. To which Abu Safiyya retorts, “What effect does it have on the tyrants to kill a thousand or two thousand of their servants?”  Abu Safiyya’s retort is inadequately answered with, “Show us a better plan.”

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AQ’s Enabler

Don Rassler and Vahid Brown have written one helluva report on the Haqqani network, the folks who have been providing aid and sanctuary to AQ Central for decades. Based on thousands of pages of primary source documents–many not previously released to the public–Rassler and Brown explain how the Haqqanis did (and do) it. Still not sure you want to read it? The authors borrow network analysis tools from Renaissance Studies to show how the Haqqani network functions. C’mon.

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Al-Qaeda Is Making a Cartoon

According to a member of the Shmukh jihadi forum, the media wing of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is making a cartoon. I haven’t seen anything like this before and I am very skeptical that it is a real product. But if it’s legit and anywhere near like the purported screen shots and promotional banner below, it would indicate that AQAP is becoming even more sophisticated in its efforts to reach out to youth. Now they just need some action figures. (If this is old hat or a rip-off of some other cartoon, please let me know and I’ll update the post.) Update: Adam Rawnsley at Danger Room has dug deeper. His references to the Super Friends and Thundercats clinch his credibility. Update2: Yammani, the Shmukh user who posted the pics, provides an update today.  He explains that the film is in the final stages and the “brothers” asked him

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