66 Important Jihadist Twitter Accounts (part 2)

In our earlier post, together with Ali Fisher we detailed and assessed 66 accounts listed by Shumukh al-Islam jihadi Forum member Ahmad ‘Abdallah as ‘important jihadist’ members on twitter. We looked primarily at the users individually, using the data of these 66 accounts to create this infographic to give our readers an overview of these users. In this post we focus on what we are able to find out about them as a group and provide an interactive network map to show the links between these advocated ‘important jihadist’ twitter accounts. Relational dynamics Analysing the relational dynamics between these accounts as a group and those who choose to follow them is a key part of understanding the online strategies of “The most important jihadi and support sites for jihad and the mujahideen on Twitter”. As we identified previously, the accounts had been categorized in different types by Ahmad ‘Abdallah. This

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Jihadi Encryption

The Wall Street Journal ran a fascinating story on Monday about the encryption methods employed by radical Islamist activists. The details emerged in the ongoing UK trial of Rajib Karim. The article is a reminder that there is more to online jihadism than what we see published on radical websites.

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Quilliam Report

The Quilliam Foundation, a London based think tank, has released a very interesting new report by Muhammad Ali Musawi titled Cheering for Osama: How Jihadis Use Discussion Forums. It is one of the best introductions to the world of online jihadism that I have seen. It also points out some recent forum trends that should interest more seasoned observers.

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Spy Forums

In a remarkable story, the Washington Post reported today that Saudi intelligence and the CIA operated a honeypot jihadi forum for years until it was shut down by the US military in 2008. The news here is obviously not that intelligence services run jihadi forums, but that US agencies wage cyberwarfare on each other. Since I don’t know what is technologically possible and what is not, I don’t have an opinion on the issue of forum takedowns, but I find the lack of interagency coordination appalling. Bureaucratic politics aside, which forum was it? The Post article does not say. There are several candidates, since many forums went down in 2008, foremost of which Ekhlaas (September) and Hesbah (November). I initially suspected the latter, but I was a little confused by the article mentioning events in “early 2008”. So I asked my forum-watching colleagues Evan Kohlmann and Reuven Paz, and they

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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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New Book On Al-Qaeda And WMD

Many of you who follow al-Qaeda may not be familiar with FFI, but you’re doubtless familiar with the excellent work of its members (e.g. Lia, Hegghammer, and Nesser).  However, FFI has a secret weapon who only insiders know: Anne Stenersen.  Anne is an outstanding Arabist (and Russianist) and has an unfair amount of knowledge about terrorist training and weaponry.  She’s now published a book on al-Qaeda and WMD.  Like everything else the FFI crew produces,  I’m sure it’s going to set a new standard for study of the subject.

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How to Raid Wikipedia

The title of al-Faruq al-`Iraqi’s post on Ekhlaas is more exciting than the content.  Faruq, like countless corporate PR offices, has discovered that Wikipedia entries can be edited by users (although it seems much easier to do on Arabic Wikipedia). As proof, he points readers to his addition of two sections (“supervisory positions” and “the stance of the leaders of jihad toward him”) at the end of the Arabic entry on Abu `Umar al-Baghdadi, the head of the Islamic State of Iraq. Faruq appeals to his comrades to start editing the profiles of prominent Jihadi leaders on Wikipedia “since many people refer to this site to obtain information on a specific person.” Document (Arabic): 6-29-08-ekhlaas-how-to-raid-wikipedia

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Jihadi Observations Raid

Ekhlaas member Battar16 is calling others to participate in the awkwardly titled “Jihadi Observations Raid.” The object of the raid is to blast text messages (the “jihadi observations”) to people on their cell phones using Bluetooth. Battar16 has supplied two messages to kick off the campaign: The first, “Know the Truth” by the prolific Jihadi author Husayn b. Mahmud, is a short rundown of all the dastardly things the Jews are up to in the Middle East; it ranges from the creation of Freemasonry and the Baha’i religion to the bombardment of Nahr al-Barid. The second text is “They say…we say,” which employs a dialectic format and is very succinct. For example: They say: Where is Usama and his companions regarding Palestine! We say: Is Usama closer (to Palestine) or you with respect to the individual duty! [ie if you are closer to Palestine than Usama, then it is more

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