Al-Qa’ida and the Afghan Taliban: “Diametrically Opposed”?

Mullah Omar’s Afghan Taliban and al-Qa’ida’s senior leaders have been issuing some very mixed messages of late, and the online jihadi community is in an uproar, with some calling these developments “the beginning of the end of relations” between the two movements.  Beginning with a statement from Mullah Omar in September, the Afghan Taliban’s Quetta-based leadership has been emphasizing the “nationalist” character of their movement, and has sent several communications to Afghanistan’s neighbors expressing an intent to establish positive international relations.  In what are increasingly being viewed by the forums as direct rejoinders to these sentiments, recent messages from al-Qa’ida have pointedly rejected the “national” model of revolutionary Islamism and reiterated calls for jihad against Afghanistan’s neighbors, especially Pakistan and China.  However interpreted, these conflicting signals raise serious questions about the notion of an al-Qa’ida-Taliban merger. The trouble began with Mullah Omar’s message for ‘Eid al-Fitr, issued on September 19, in

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Coveters of Paradise

In the continuing salafi-jihadi media barrage against Hamas, the al-Sumud Media entity released its inaugural edition of the journal “Coveters of Paradise”. The cover is adorned with a photo of the battle-scarred Ibn Taymiya Mosque, which is where Hamas waged a battle against the salafi-jihadi group Jund Ansar Allah in August. The journal mainly consists of reprints of articles written by others. The Table of contents listed the following articles: · The Opening Article – by the Believer in God · The Piercing Pen and the Candid Word – by Abu al-Hasan Ghuraib · Comments on the Speech of Sheikh Osama bin Laden – by Sheikh Abi Ahmad Abd al-Rahman al-Masri · Golden Advice for the Ismail Haniyah Government – by Abu al-Nur al-Maqdisi · Raising the Argument between the Martyred Sheikh Abi al-Nur al-Maqdisi and between Secular Hamas – by Sheikh Abi Ahmad Abd-al-Rahman al-Masri · The 80 Year

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Information War in Gaza

The “Department of Documents and Research” from the “Jihadi Media Elite,” a jihadi media production entity, has recently announced its “Series for God and then for History” publications. These productions are intended to “document the important events” in the jihadi world “that are considered historical turning points in the Ummah’s path and in the circle of conflict between truth and falsehood.” The first installment is a book titled, “The Ibn-Taymiyyah Mosque Incident.” It deals with the violent August 2009 clash in Gaza between Hamas and Jund Ansar Allah, a group espousing salafi-jihadi ideology. The book is divided into several sections including jihadi “Statements” and “Hamas Statements” about the attack, “Articles Justifying Hamas’s Crime,” “Articles Regarding the Event,” “Photos,” and “Video.” The book is a salafi-jihadi attempt to capitalise on the event and ensure the jihadi storyline of events is the dominant version. Including the statements from Hamas and various other

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Media Incursion of Abu al-Nur al-Maqdisi

The Global Islamic Media Front, in cooperation with the Faloja Forums, has announced, “The Media Incursion of the Imam and Martyr Abu al-Nur al-Maqdisi.” It has five goals: Expose the truth about Hamas’s “crime” and “lies,” i.e. the recent attack on Jund Ansar Allah (JAA). Expose the truth about Hamas today and how it has “strayed” from its foundational roots. Let Muslims know that the money they give Hamas equates to “bullets in Muslims’ chests.” “Support the monotheistic mujahidin, who fight for the word of God and for the rule of God’s absent law.” “Distribute the legacy of the Imam Shaykh Abu al-Nur al-Maqdisi.” Thus far, the effort consists of a new forum dedicated to Abu al-Nur al-Maqdisi on Faloja. There are not many posts yet, but several appear to be interesting, such as a photo list of JAA members killed in the battle with Hamas. Other posts include: “Two

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How to Spot a Jihadi

On 30 August 2009, Jordanian journalist Murad Batal al-Shishani published a new article in al-Hayat where he asserts that an Islamist’s clothes are often political statements and can indicate his precise type of Islamist orientation. Al-Shishani states that during the 1980s, the Salafi style of “short clothing” (a likely reference to the ankle-high pants Salafis commonly wear) became prominent along with “Afghan clothing,” which is the shalwar kameez and which represented solidarity with the Afghan-Arab Mujahidin. Today, he claims that someone with a beard is often described as one of the “brotherhood.” He writes that two prominent differences in clothing currently exist. The first is the contention between those who follow Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi and the “neo-Zarqawis,” who consider themselves as the legacy of Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi. The second is between Hamas and the jihadi groups in Gaza. In the al-Maqdisi—neo-Zarqawi split, al-Shishani states that the neo-Zarqawis wear a black

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Jihadi Salafi but not al-Qaida

On 24 August 2009, Falluja Forum member Abu Yahya al-Mu’tasim issued a statement titled “A Jund Ansar Allah Clarification Regarding the Events of Rafah.” He claimed the statement is Jund Ansar Allah’s (JAA) newest, but forum comments to the post expressed doubts over its authenticity, referring to the fact that Hamas arrested JAA’s normal Internet spokesman after the “slaughter.” In the statement, JAA denounced several media allegations against the group and provided some clues to the make-up and outlook of the group. According to the statement, fifteen of the JAA casualities in the Hamas attack were former members of Hamas’s military wing, the Qassam Brigades. These included Ibn Shaqiq Musa Abu Marzuq, a supposed former deputy to Khaled Mash’al, and a former leader in a “manufacturing unit” for the Qassam Brigades. It also alleged that JAA leader Abu Abdullah al-Muhajir “was very close to the Qassam leaders and participated in

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