Divide And Conquer

The Hesbah forum’s reaction to two recent rumors is instructive. First, the claim by a Hamas official that Obama’s advisers met with members of the organization during the U.S. election is being met with derision.  The derision is directed not at Obama but at Hamas for selling out and walking down the trail blazed by Fatah.  Interestingly, the credibility of the story is not doubted.  In contrast, many Hesbah members are skeptical of a recent report that the U.S. is trying to cut a deal with Taliban ally Hekmatyar (a seriously bad dude).  Respondents doubt that someone of his stature, ideology, and ties to Bin Laden would cut a deal. Three thoughts:  First, Hesbah members believe the news about Obama’s advisers because it makes Hamas look bad; they don’t believe the news about Hekmatyar because it makes the Taliban look bad.  The Taliban is one of the Jihadis’ last, best hopes

Read More »

Hesbah Discusses U.S.-Taliban Negotiations

A quick rundown of the opinions on the Hesbah forum in reaction to news that the U.S. is negotiating with elements of the Taliban: `Umar: “Humilated, they [the Americans] will leave (Afghanistan) and all of the Muslim countries.” Al-Islam Nasir: “Aren’t negotiations with the Taliban a victory for us, brothers?  What if the result of these negotiations is the exit of the occupier from the land of Khorasan [Afghanistan]?  Is this not our objective?” Al-`Arabi Muslim: “It depends on what they are negotiating.  If they want to leave, then let them leave.  But if they want to negotiate for Karzai to stay, I think this should be refused.” Qahir al-Rafida: “A failed attempt to divide the ranks, fragment the efforts, and destroy the fruit of jihad.  These methods will do not be used by the troops of the emirate and its leaders, by the permission of God.  They are not

Read More »

Jihadis Skeptical Of Reported U.S. Pardon Of Mullah Omar

Members of the Shumukh forum are skeptical of a report in al-Islam al-Yawm that the U.S. is willing to remove Mullah Omar from its blacklist as part of its negotiations with the Taliban (a similar story, in English, is here).  One member, Jaysh al-Zahf (The Advancing Army), says its a Saudi ruse.  Another, Abu Muhajir, goes one better by crediting Satan with the ruse’s creation.   Document (Arabic): 10-26-08-shamikh-response-to-news-that-us-may-pardon-mulla-omar

Read More »

Pakistani Taliban Videos Posted On Mainstream News Site

[Chipotle Mystery] One of the difficulties in studying militant groups in Pakistan is that there aren’t a lot, if any, forums dedicated to these groups that are affiliated with the Taliban. Most Taliban-related information that is available in forums comes through Al-Qaeda clearinghouses like Al-Sahab, though smaller studios occasionally have videos that make it to the Internet (these were more common in the past). News about the activities of the Pakistani Taliban generally comes from the media and we have very few “primary sources” from such groups.  Although it is well known that they do produce and distribute tapes in Pakistan, I must admit from personal experience that I was unable to locate any when I was in Pakistan a few months ago. Asia Times Online has posted two videos from the Pakistani Taliban today. Syed Saleem Shahzad has alluded to these in his recent posts. They’re both interesting videos

Read More »

Pakistan Preparing All-Out Confrontation of Militants?

[Chipotle Mystery] Since late July a number of suicide attacks have struck Pakistan, reminiscent of the spate of violence that ringed in the New Year and witnessed the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. The rise in violence comes as the Pakistani military appears to be engaging in a large-scale offensive in Bajaur, one of the seven agencies that make up the semi-autonomous Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), and also follow the visit of Yusuf Raza Gillani to Washington in July (It appears that the U.S. Government gave its approval for the removal of Musharraf during this meeting – but this is just speculation). Quick background: The FATA serves as a sanctuary for various Taliban-affiliated groups, notably the “Pakistani Taliban” led by Baitullah Mehsud who has been blamed for Ms. Bhutto’s assassination. The FATA may also house Al-Qaeda leaders, and Bajaur in particular has often been speculated as serving as a hiding

Read More »

The Chameleon Strategy

Muhami al-Dawla (“Defender of the State”) has written an essay on Ekhlaas titled, “The Connection between the State of Islam and the Taliban is the Strategy of the ‘Chameleon.’”  His argument is that the Taliban’s recent successful surge in Afghanistan is the result of using “chameleon cells,” which are small, well-organized, armed bands that 1) blend into the population, 2) do not take orders from a commander, and 3) have penetrated the state security apparatus. Muhami claims that the Taliban borrowed the strategy from the Islamic State of Iraq, which used it after the tribal Awakenings.  The chameleon groups in Iraq are able to carry out attacks on Awakening leaders because of their infiltration of the Awakening security forces.  Moreover, their presence in these forces means that they can undertake attacks for which the Awakening leaders get blamed. Muhami argues that the Taliban has adopted this strategy because it is

Read More »

Al-Qaeda Cleric Linked to Chinese Terrorist Group

In the past week, there have been a spate of terrorist attacks in Xinjiang, the Muslim-majority province in China. On Aug. 4, militants killed 16 police in Kashgar, Xinjiang Province, which is near the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. On Sunday, bombers attacked 17 sites in Kuqa, west-central Xianjiang. Although I haven’t seen any claim of responsibility for the attacks, a good candidate is the Islamic Party of Turkistan (IPT), which in recent weeks has been threatening terrorist attacks in China during the Olympic Games.  They have also claimed other recent attacks. Although little is known about the IPT, Aaron Weisburd has done some amazing cyber sleuthing and discovered that the IPT hosted the website of `Abd al-Hakim Hassan. Aaron did not know who Hassan was and neither did the Jihadi ideologues on the elite Hesbah forum. But he knew that Hassan was someone important because al-Qaeda’s media distribution organization,

Read More »
Latest Jihadica