Ikhlaas Speaks Out, but Questions Remain

The Ikhaas forum that recently resurfaced just issued an explanation for its reappearance, only to close down again shortly afterwards. Site administrators claimed they kept the website down for the past year in order to “prevent the crusaders from entering and manipulating it.” They decided to go public again in commemoration of 9/11, but there was poor cooperation between the Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF) and the Fajr Media Center, who “produced dirty lies against our beloved site.” The statement insisted that the site was not fabricated. Instead it counterattacked, stating, “It is not possible to guarantee the honor of the Fajr Media Center and the Global Islamic Media Front because they … initiated a campaign against our beloved site.” The statement concluded saying that Ikhlaas would remain “concealed” until Fajr and the GIMF can confirm their honor, but it stated that the Ikhlaas “network” is prepared to call upon “the

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Annual Jihadi Cyberbattle Sees Return of Ikhlas

Like last year, this year’s 9/11 anniversary is the occasion of a major cyberbattle over jihadi forums. At least three of the top jihadi discussion forums – Faloja, Shouraa, Shumukh – have been down for the past couple of days, and I bet my left arm they have been hacked for the occasion. Other big forums such as Ana Muslim and Ansar were reportedly down for a while (though I didn’t see it and they are back up again now). Minor forums such as Tamkin, Madad al-Suyuf and al-Tahaddi seem to have been untouched. The other fascinating development, which must be connected in some way to the former, is that the good old Ikhlas forum is back up again after an absence of – guess what – a year.  The old passwords are still working. The return of Ikhlas is being presented by the administrators as “Usama bin Ladin’s Ramadan

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Falluja Analytics

[Editor’s note: I am pleased to introduce another new contributor, Scott Sanford, who is a graduate student at George Washington University specialising in jihadism in the levant. Scott has guest blogged for Jihadica in the past, but now he is joining us on a more regular basis.]   “What is the Secret of the Falluja Forum’s Success?” This was the intriguing title of a recent post on Falluja presenting a detailed analysis of the web traffic to the forum itself. The contributor, named “Song of Terror”, broke the article into two parts: the first supplying the web analytic data and the second providing strategies and further analysis.  While he claimed that jihadi propaganda efforts on the Internet are successful, the data does in fact not support his analysis. Using data from Alexa.com, Song of Terror started by asserting that Fallujah is the most “successful” jihadi forum.  Fallujah’s “Daily Reach”, the percent

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The History of the Jihadi Forums

One of the most intriguing questions about the jihadi internet is how it came into being. The early history of jihadi websites remains very poorly understood. Most of us started studying them too late, and we are too busy keeping track of present developments to examine the past. My curiosity was therefore piqued by a recent article by ‘Mihdar’ on Midad al-Suyuf, who provides what he calls a ‘complete historical analysis’ of the jihadi forums on the web. Considering Mihdar’s record as a somewhat controversial figure – for other controversies involving Madad al-Suyuf, see here or here, the study should be taken with a grain of salt. And indeed, Mihdar is more interested in politics than in facts. He devotes a considerable part of his ‘analysis’ to lashing out at other jihadi forums, in particular criticising the policy of closing forums to registered members only. This, he argues, both restricts

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Prêt à porter terrorism

As most Jihadica readers probably know, the jihadi internet is used for many things, but not for operational planning. I have yet to come across online discussions or instructions for concrete operations by professional militants. However, once in a while you see amateurs proposing specific operations – “prêt a porter plots” – for others to carry out. One such bright idea was posted on Faloja yesterday by a member named Sabir, who proposes that al-Qaida on the Arabian Peninsula (QAP) fire Katyusha rockets from the Saudi shore of the Gulf of Aqaba toward Sharm al-Sheikh, where international leaders are meeting today to raise money for the reconstruction of Gaza. Sabir addresses his message “to Abu Basir [Nasir al-Wuhayshi], Emir of al-Qaida on the Arabian Peninsula” and humbly presents “a small and simple operation for three Islamic lions from the military corps under your command.” He notes that Ras al-Shaykh Hamid

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Better Know a Forum: Sign-in Page

I have received several requests for an introduction to the world of Jihadi discussion forums, so I’ve decided to kick off a series on the subject. Today’s entry is the first page you will see when visiting a password-protected forum–the sign-in page. Rather than walk you through each component, I’ve jpeg’d the sign-in page of Ekhlaas and embedded my translations. Some of it requires explanation, but it’s better to jump in with both feet.

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