“The Painful Truth: Al-Qaeda is Losing the War in Iraq”

That’s the title of a post by hamzacom on the Faloja forum.  In it, he draws an analogy with Afghanistan just after the U.S. invasion.  It was a time of defeat for the mujahids but now they are resurging.  The same will happen in Iraq. Other forum members are predictably annoyed by hamzacom’s pessimistic title.  Abu `Umar al-Masri retorts that it is merely “a knight’s stumble,” not a loss.  Qannas al-Dawla al-Islamiyya (“The Islamic State’s Hunter”) is even more optimistic: “We will never lose the war as long as God is with us.” Others share hamzacom’s pessimism but are nonchalant.  “If al-Qaeda has lost the war, what’s the problem?” Shabab Lubnan (“Youth of Lebanon”) states blithely.  “There really isn’t a problem.  There are a number of Jihadi groups that possess the idea of al-Qaeda even if they do not aid (the organization) publicly.  It is possible for these groups to

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Lamenting Loss of Anbar, Apprehensive of Jihad’s Future in Iraq

In response to Bush’s recent statement that al-Qaeda lost Anbar Province in Iraq, Ekhlaas member Abu Mu`adh al-Maqdisi defiantly writes that it is the U.S. and its allies that lost the province. Nevertheless, he tacitly admits the truth of Bush’s words, writing: “War has ups and downs. Soon, by the permission of God, Anbar will return and the law of God will be applied in it. However, ye are an impatient people.” Mukashshir Anyabahu (“Bares His Teeth”) replies that the people of Anbar, not just the Awakening members, deeply betrayed the mujahids. Mu`adh optimistically responds, “As long as the Commander of the Faithful Abu `Umar al-Baghdadi is present, there is no need to worry.” To which Mukashshir retorts: You have no idea of the extent of the betrayal and apostasy which transpired in Iraq, especially in Anbar….The people of Iraq completely betrayed the mujahids and allied with everyone who had

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New Issues of Two Jihadi Journals

Issue 28 of Sada al-Jihad is out.  Articles include, “Hamas Responds Negatively to the Invitation of Shaykh Ayman al-Zawahiri” and “The Intellectual Pollution of the Followers of the Salafi-Jihadi Method.” A new journal, Qadaya Jihadiyya (Jihadi Issues), has also be released.  The production quality is better than most of the Jihadi journals and the articles look interesting.  There is a “Strategic Issues” section, reminding me of Abu `Ubayd al-Qurashi’s column in the Ansar journal.  It has two articles: “The Islamic State of Iraq and Early Signs of American Failure” and “Regional Alliances and the Path of Jihad.”  Another section, “Thoughts of a Mujahid,” has the memoir of someone who attended the al-Faruq training camp. Document (Arabic): 8-8-08-faloja-issue-28-of-sada-al-jihad Document (Arabic): 8-12-08-faloja-issue-1-of-qadaya-jihadiyya

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Spinning the Failure of the Islamic State of Iraq

More evidence that the failure of the Islamic State of Iraq is severely demoralizing Jihadis, at least in the Arabic-speaking world. Asad al-Jihad2, a popular commentator, has written a new booklet, “The State of Islam Remains Defiant.” In it, he seeks to assuage growing doubts about the viability of the Islamic State of Iraq: Upon reflection, some may say, “The Islamic State of Iraq is still in the right. So why are things becoming so difficult for it, its enemies joining against it from all sides?” (p.7) The answer is that God is testing the resolve of the mujahids in Iraq, the same answer Yaman Mukhaddab gave in July to dispel the pessimism of the Hesbah forum members. On the Faloja forum, Hafid al-Husayn has a similarly defiant title for his post: “The State of Islam Remains, Despite the Tricks of the Tricksters.” Hafid acknowledges that things are not going

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Jihadis Apprehensive About the Future

Jihadica reader Jallen asks some good questions about the pessimism of Jihadis regarding Iraq: How long have forum members been pessimistic over Iraq? Is the pessimism widespread or just a few members in one forum? Is pessimism over Iraq matched by increased optimism over Afghanistan or are these independent? It depends which forum you read. On Hesbah, there is a more frank discussion of the fortunes of al-Qaeda in Iraq (at least judging from the posts that leak out). This is probably because Hesbah is a closed forum full of old Jihadi hands, so members don’t have to be so guarded. The opposite is true on Ekhlaas, where newbies take turns one-upping each other with paeans to al-Qaeda. No one wants to be a downer. But since the end of 2007, I’ve noticed a steady increase in posts on Ekhlaas that say, “Just wait, a major victory is right around

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Ekhlaas Members Travel to Somalia, Iraq

Under_cover2, a member of Ekhlaas, announced two weeks ago that two of his fellow forum members have made the transition from forum fighters to foreign fighters.  One went to Somalia, the other to Iraq. Iraq makes sense, particularly for Jihadis living nearby.   But Somalia?  I don’t see it mentioned much as a destination anymore. Document (Arabic): 7-11-08-ekhlaas-news-of-forum-member-who-went-to-somalia-and-another-who-went-to-iraq

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Jihadis Despair of Iraq

Yaman Mukhaddab, a popular contributor to al-Hesbah (the most exclusive Jihadi forum), wrote an essay on July 21 in which he expressed alarm at the low morale and pessimism of some of his fellow forum members on account of al-Qaeda setbacks in Iraq. One brother, he notes, said that the jihad in Iraq is ending like the jihad in Algeria (badly). Another brother criticized Mukhaddab for being optimistic about Iraq. A third said the situation is out of control and the outcome is already known. Mukhaddab responds that such pessimism is unwarranted.  As scripture says, victory will come after severe testing.  And things can turn around at any time.  If AQ is able to strike the U.S. or if the U.S. strikes Iran, the mujahids in Iraq will benefit greatly (he doesn’t explain why). Mukhaddab ends by reminding his readers that there was a similar level of despondency after the

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New Issues of Three Jihadi Journals

Issue 4 of Sada al-Malahim (The Echo of Glorious Battles), the main organ of al-Qaeda in Yemen, is out. One article caught my eye: “Somalia…The Forgotten Land.” Issue 27 of Sada al-Jihad (The Echo of Jihad) is also out. SJ is produced by the Global Islamic Media Front. A few articles look interesting: “Al-Qaeda Is a Stone’s Throw From Palestine,” “Apostates Are More Dangerous Than the Enemy,” and “Interrogation (Methods and Phases).” Finally, the Ansar Media Institute published issue 50 of Hassad* al-Mujahidin (Harvester of the Mujahids). The periodical focuses mainly on Iraq and most of this issue is about various attacks and prison breaks. There is one article worth noting: “The Camera: A Weapon Without Bullets.” * Note: Hisad (“harvest”) seems to make more sense than Hassad (“harvester”) for the title, but that’s how the .pdf file is vocalized, so I’m going with it. Document (Arabic): 7-13-08-ekhlaas-issue-4-of-sada-al-malahim Document (Arabic):

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Walking the Talk: Forum Members Travel to Afghanistan and Iraq (Pt. 4)

When we left Harbi, he had met a Algerian Jihadi who told him how to get to Iraq. According to Furqan al-Junubi’s account, Harbi and two other Kuwaitis–Abu Salih (`Abd Allah Salih al-`Ajami), and Abu Talha (Nasir) al-Dawsari–pledged to go to Iraq and die there. They called this “The Pledge of the Houris” (the virgins promised to those allowed to enter Paradise–martyrs are a shoe in). Al-Miskin al-Muhajir was with them, but he could not go due to personal circumstances (he was able to go to Afghanistan latter–see part 1). I haven’t been able to find much on Dawsari, but there’s plenty on `Ajami. He was actually being held in Guantanamo until the U.S. transferred him to Kuwaiti custody in 2005; the Kuwaits acquitted him of all charges. By the time `Ajami met Harbi, he was married, had one child, and was financially comfortable. Those who knew him thought he

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