Apologies for the slow publication pace here at Jihadica, but deadlines and an upcoming house move mean I can only dream about serious blogging these days.
This does not mean forums are quiet. Every morning this past week I found things on the forums that deserved commentary. In a dream world, here’s what I would have written about had I had the time:
– France is taking heat. Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb published a statement declaring “France the mother of all evils”, and other posts fumed over the recent French plans to ban the niqab or the burka. I suspect the Americans and the Brits (who of course have long argued that France is the mother of all evils) are happy to share the burden of jihadi attention. Unfortunately for the Anglo-Saxons, however, I don’t think the veil weighs nearly as heavy in the jihadi basket of grievances as military occupations.
– Another one bites the dust. Exiled leaders of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group told al-Quds al-Arabi on 2 July they are laying down their arms. The declaration is now being spun in the media as the first case of a group leaving al-Qaida. This is a misrepresentation of what’s happening but I can see why people want to spin it that way.
– The non-strategic “Special strategic study”. The “Department for Historical Studies and Strategic Advice” of the “Falluja Think Tank” released a widely publicized “special strategic study” of the war between America and the jihadi movement. The title and the high-profile advertising had raised my expectations, but I was a little disappointed, mainly because it’s not a proper strategic study. It is a political analysis which stays at the macro-level and doesn’t offer much in terms of meso-level considerations and concrete recommendations that I associate with classics of jihadi strategic studies. It is still worth reading, though, and there is an intriguing note on AQ and nuclear weapons at the end. Scott might be covering the study it in more detail later this week.
– Jihadis “twittering” about Swat and Helmand campaigns. The jihadi commentary and analysis of battles in Afghanistan and Pakistan is coming out so quickly it is close to twittering. Within days of the Helmand offensive there was a long Faluja thread reporting news from the frontline. The Swat debacle has been followed closely for a while, and there is now already a strategic study of the campaign. I haven’t read it yet but it looks very interesting.
– The other American. The Somalia-based Abu Mansour al-Amriki has released a new audio statement in English entitled “The beginning of the end” It lambasts Obama along well-known lines in very articulate native English. I agree with Evan that Abu Mansour beats Adam Gadahn on presentation skills. Abu Mansour’s tajwid is really impressive. The message is clearly intended for the mobilisation of US-based Muslims. As interesting as the message itself was the accompanying pictures of three other alleged Americans in Somalia, not least given the New York Times story about Shabab recruitment in America. By the way, Evan has a fantastic post on the Shabab on the CTBlog today.
– Happy birthday ISI. Last Thursday was the 1000-day anniversary of the foundation of the Islamic State in Iraq, and the occasion was marked with banners on all the forums, but not much more.
– Good Qaradawi or bad Qaradawi? Marc Lynch had a great post the other day on Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s latest book on jihad, which he thinks will undermine al-Qaida, more so than the recantations of Dr Fadl and others. Rob at the Shack disagrees, saying the side effect of Qaradawi’s stance is more legitimacy for regular national liberation struggles, which might actually cause more problems for the US in the long term. They are of course both right.
Finally there is this gem from the CBS Terror Monitor (hat tip: Cecilie), by an analyst who has clearly had enough forum watching (here’s a pdf if they remove it). Hoda you have my sympathy – there have been days where I have felt the same.
Have a great week everyone!
Actually, Sarkozy did not propose a ban per se. He said “the burqa has no place on the territory of the French republic,” presumably because the burqa contradicts French principles of secularism and gender equality.
The problem is that by raising the prospect of a ban without actually having a specific policy in mind, Sarkozy has just allowed the radicals of all sorts to frame the debate to their advantage and push aside other significant overtures to French Muslims Sarkozy made in his speech.
And by “burqa” he primarily meant the “niqab”. Lots of people call everything related to veiling a “burqa.”
Sarkozy only mentioned the burqa in his speech. Andre Guerin, a representative who asked for a parliamentary inquiry looks into the burqa’s wear in France specifically referred to the burqa and the niqab. By all accounts, the burqa is extremely rare in France. It is very difficult to find any. The niqab, which is worn by a minority of conservative women in the Maghreb, is a bit more widespread. Personally, I think that Sarkozy purposefully referred to the burqa only because it concerns so few women and it is culturally estranged from the experiences of the vast majority of Muslims living in France.
In this post you mentioned that jihadi analysis of battles in Pakistan and Afghanistan was coming out so quickly that it was close to twittering. I’m curious, do you know of any jihadis or jihadi sympathizers spreading news or links to forums on Twitter?