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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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 Online Recruitment Works

In a feeble attempt to live up to Jihadica’s new billing as the “most dangerous” website monitoring Jihadis online, I thought I’d post some thoughts on what role Jihadi forums play in recruitment and radicalization. The usual characterization of online recruitment goes like this: some hapless Sunni Muslim starts poking around online, discovers Jihadi propaganda, and upon watching or reading it becomes radicalized and ready to fight. It is certainly the case that some Sunni Muslims see or read online Jihadi propaganda about Muslim suffering at the hands of the West and decide they need to do something about it.  Why some respond and not others is a complicated issue that I won’t deal with here.  What I’m interested in is the mechanics of the propaganda’s delivery and how its effects are sustained. Firstly, we don’t have a lot of examples of Muslims who were radicalized online and remained radicalized

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Training for the Lone Jihadi

Ekhlaas member Dir` li-Man Wahada (Armor for One Who Was Alone) has written a brief guide for the Jihadi initiate to consult in preparation for the coming al-Qaeda strikes.  His purpose, he says, is to enumerate the general strategic framework of al-Qaeda so the initiate will be able to implement the organization’s vision locally, either by himself or in a small group. The initiate must prepare himself in three respects: religiously, intellectually, and physically. For the religious aspect, he must read: تنبيه الراحل إلى أهم ما يحتاجه من المسائل (Informing the Traveler of the Most Important Issues He Needs to Know) by `Izz al-Din al-Maqdisi حقيقة الحرب الصليبية الجديدة (The Reality of the New Crusader War) by Yusuf `Uyayri (or `Ayiri–have we decided yet?) الباحث في حكم قتل أفراد وضباط المباحث (An Inquiry Into the Ruling of Death upon Soldiers and Officers of the Security Forces) by Faris Al al-Shuwayl

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