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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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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Anwar al-Awlaki, the Infidel

[Editor’s note: I am extremely happy to present a new ad-hoc contributor. He should be known to most Jihadica readers: Brian Fishman is a former director of research at West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center and the author of several landmark studies on al-Qaida in Iraq, several of which are available here. He brings us quite a story today.]   Since the awful shootings at Fort Hood, media attention has focused on MAJ Nidal Hasan’s relationship with Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born salafi preacher now in Yemen. Less well known, however, is that al-Awlaki was once declared kafir (infidel) by then London-based jihadi Sheikh Abdullah al-Faisal. The Jamaica-born al-Faisal, himself a convert, was a key figure in late 1990s and early 2000s “Londonistan”; he was imprisoned in 2003 for soliciting murder and eventually deported from the UK in May 2007 for his links to 7/7 bomber Germaine Lindsey. Indeed it is al-Faisal, not al-Awlaki, who is the most prominent English-speaking jihadi preacher. The lesson here is certainly

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Q&A With Abu Qatada

Abu Qatada, often called “al-Qaeda’s ambassador to Europe” by the press, has been interviewed by his fellow inmate, `Adil `Abd al-Majid.  A transcript of the lengthy, wide-ranging interview has been posted on the Shumukh forum.  Second only to Maqdisi as an ideologue among Jihadis, Abu Qatada has been in and out of detention in the U.K. since 9/11 (he’s in again).  This interview gives us a snapshot of where he stands intellectually after seven years.  Particularly of note are his remarks on the Muslim Brotherhood,  Alan Johnston (the BBC reporter held hostage in Gaza), and dialogue with the British government.  Here’s a summary of some of the interesting bits (direct translations are in quotes): Opinion on Saudi Shaykhs – Bin Baz: No one alive today is his equal, but he made the mistake of obeying the Saudi regime, which brought great harm to the umma.  Safar al-Hawali: He’s good, but

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