Al-Qaida Advises the Arab Spring: Yemen

Uh-oh. Several jihadi scholars are engaged in some ideological infighting again and it’s not pretty. As long-time readers of Jihadica know only too well, several jihadi ideologues have participated in quite heated debates about jihad, violence and suicide bombings with the people who are supposedly their brothers in arms. The best-known among these are the accusations between Sayyid Imam and Ayman al-Zawahiri (see here for the first installment of Will’s series of posts on this subject, for example) and the conflict between Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi and the supporters of his former pupil Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi (see here, for instance). This time, it’s the Syrian-British shaykh Abu Basir al-Tartusi who starts this discussion by criticising the Yemeni militant group Ansar al-Shari’a, which is responsible for several major attacks in Yemen in the past months and is said to have strong ties to al-Qaida. This discussion does not just tell us something

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The Iraq Connection

A key question in the Stockholm investigation is whether Taymour Abdalwahhab was acting on behalf of the al-Qaida linked group “Islamic State in Iraq”. The question matters because if he was, then ISI is targeting Europe and can be expected to send more bombers. First, let me stress that “acting on behalf of” means someting more than simply “training with”. Given Taymour’s Iraqi background, his recent trips to Jordan (and possibly Syria), and his own claim of having been to the Middle East for jihad, we can pretty much assume that he trained with Islamist militants in Iraq. What we are trying to find out is whether he was dispatched by ISI – i.e. whether the plot was initiated, directed and resourced by senior ISI operatives – or whether he simply attended a camp and then acted independently, in a manner comparable to Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad. There is some concrete evidence in favour of Taimour having a close ISI

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Stockholm (2)

Forum readers woke up this morning to find Taimour’s picture on the top banner of Shumukh (the main jihadi forum). The banner advertises a poem by a certain “Sha’ir al-Ansar” (Poet of the Ansar) praising Taimour Abdalwahab. At first sight this might seem like the work of an accomplice, but the poet explicitly states that he did not know Taimour personally. More interesting is the posting of a new audio message by a certain Abu Sulayman al-Nasir titled “Warning to NATO Countries Following the Stockholm Raid.” The message echoes an earlier statement by the same person issued on 20 November. What’s interesting here is not so much the messages as the messenger, because Abu Sulayman al-Nasir is the same person who first mentioned Taimour Abdulwahhab’s name on Shumukh. This obviously raises the possibility that he has some connection to the Stockholm attack. The problem is that the earliest public reference to Taimour’s name was made on 11 December at

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Scandinavia witnessed its first suicide bombing yesterday when a man blew himself up in Stockholm, killing nobody but himself. There is an excellent roundup here (Swedish only, i am afraid).  Key information points: The bomber has been identified as Taimour Abdalwahhab al-Abdaly, a 28-year old man of Iraqi origin who moved to Sweden in 1992. He leaves a wife and three children. See here and here for profiles. The bomber sent an audio statement to a Swedish news agency shortly before the blast. The recording is available here. In the statement the bomber says he recently traveled to the Middle East “for jihad”. His Facebook page reportedly contained recent pictures of him in Jordan. The bomber lived for a while in Luton, UK, a city with a well known community of radical Islamists. The bomber’s facebook page reportedly carried gradually more jihadi videos starting in the spring of 2010 A Swedish explosives expert who examined pictures from the scene described the bomb as amateurish. The jihadi internet forum

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Justifiying Martyrdom in German

Editor’s note: I am glad to introduce Nico Prucha as a new regular contributor to Jihadica. Nico is an German Arabist who has followed the jihadi Internet for a long time and has written several articles on the topic for Jane’s and other publications.] In mid-April Elif Medya published a 30-page document in German justifying martyr operations. The text is essentially a significantly expanded translation of an English-language document published by Tibyan Publications a few years ago and attributed to the Saudi ideologue Yusuf al-Uyayri (d. 2003). The Tibyan text in turn was based on an Arabic text that al-Uyayri wrote for the Sawt al-Qawqaz website in late 2000 following the first suicide bombing in Chechnya (perpetrated by a woman named Khava Baraeva). Signed by “your brothers of the German Taliban Mujahideen”, the document has two parts. The first is a translation of the abovementioned Tibyan text. The second part

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