Did al-Maqdisi make a deal with the Jordanian regime?

On 16 June, Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, the well-known Jordanian radical Islamic ideologue, was released from prison. In the six weeks since his release, many people have argued that there must have been some sort of deal between al-Maqdisi and the Jordanian regime that caused the latter to release him. This blog post looks into these claims. A Secret Deal The idea that al-Maqdisi has made a secret deal with the Jordanian regime is widespread. On Twitter, for example, several people expressed their suspicion about al-Maqdisi’s release, claiming that its timing amidst the turmoil involving the Islamic State (of Iraq and Sham, IS(IS)) could not have been a coincidence. Similarly, The Economist stated that al-Maqdisi was released only after “he had been persuaded to issue two fatwas declaring followers of ISIS as ‘deviants’ and telling them not to make attacks in Jordan”. The connection between al-Maqdisi’s release and his criticism of

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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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Pathetic Psy-ops

The British tabloid The Sun reported yesterday that al-Qaeda leaders rape male recruits to shame them into becoming suicide bombers. Let me start by congratulating the journalist on being able to fit the four words “al-Qaida”, “gay”, “rape” and “horror” in one and the same headline in the world’s largest English-language newspaper. I would not normally bother with this kind of nonsense were it not for the fact that it sheds light on the recent reports about AQIM’s alleged plague experiments, covered previously on Jihadica. Both stories were broken in the West by The Sun, and both stories relied on Algerian security sources. We are most likely dealing here with an anti-al-Qaida psy-op, and a very poor one at that. These latest stories echo an only marginally better operation targeting al-Qaida in Iraq last winter. It involved a steady stream of articles about al-Qaida exploiting all kinds of defenceless people

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Pakistan Preparing All-Out Confrontation of Militants?

[Chipotle Mystery] Since late July a number of suicide attacks have struck Pakistan, reminiscent of the spate of violence that ringed in the New Year and witnessed the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. The rise in violence comes as the Pakistani military appears to be engaging in a large-scale offensive in Bajaur, one of the seven agencies that make up the semi-autonomous Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), and also follow the visit of Yusuf Raza Gillani to Washington in July (It appears that the U.S. Government gave its approval for the removal of Musharraf during this meeting – but this is just speculation). Quick background: The FATA serves as a sanctuary for various Taliban-affiliated groups, notably the “Pakistani Taliban” led by Baitullah Mehsud who has been blamed for Ms. Bhutto’s assassination. The FATA may also house Al-Qaeda leaders, and Bajaur in particular has often been speculated as serving as a hiding

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Jihadi Explains Iranian Realpolitik

Abu `Abd al-Rahman `Atiyyat Allah (possibly this person) has written a new booklet titled Ru’ya kashifa in which he tries to convince his Jihadi brethren that Iran and Hezbollah are not working with the U.S. and Israel as part of a grand conspiracy to subjugate Sunnis. Rather, he argues, Iran and its cat’s paw Hezbollah are seeking hegemony in the region. Achieving it means supporting popular Muslim causes and making temporary alliances with ideological enemies or competitors. Below is a summary: It is hard to analyze Shia states and groups because of their doctrine of dissimulation (taqiyya), or concealing one’s true beliefs. p.4 Dissimulation is permitted in Sunni Islam if you are in danger. But the Shia make a habit of it. p.5 Outwardly Iran and Shia groups stress Sunni-Shia unity; embrace causes that are important to Muslims, particularly the Palestinian issue; and put Iran forward as the only authentic

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In Defense of Sahab

Today, an apologia for Sahab Media, which distributes al-Qaeda’s media materials, was posted to the English forums on Ekhlaas. The text is directed not at the U.S. public in general, but at conspiracy theorists who argue that 9/11 was perpetrated by the U.S. government. The text was written by inshallahshaheed, aka Samir Khan, a Jihadi sympathizer who runs a well-known, English-language blog from his home in North Carolina.  Khan has posted the text there as well. Document (English): refuting-the-conspiracies-surrounding-as-sahab-media

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Jihadi Book Club: Kenyon Gibson’s Nest of Evil

This is a good one. Ekhlaas member Taqi al-Din posts a still from a Zawahiri video. He notices (correctly) that one of the books on Zawahiri’s shelf is Kenyon Gibson’s Awkar al-sharr (Nest of Evil), which is an Arabic translation of his book Common Sense: A Study of the Bushes, the CIA, and the Suspicions Regarding 9/11. Gibson is also the coauthor of Hemp for Victory, a noted 9/11 conspiracy buff, and a former naval intel officer. Well, at least the first two are certainly true. It is not uncommon in the Arab world for this type of literature to be carried in mainstream bookstores, along with translations of works by better-known members of the left in the U.S. like Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore. There also seems to be a stream of similar literature coming from Europe. Books like these profoundly shape Arab understanding of U.S. intentions in the

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