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AQAP Releases Video of Deterring Houthi Advance in Rada'a, Claims Attacks in Abyan, al-Bayda', and Ibb

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed six attacks on Houthi fighters and commanders, and Security Belt Forces, in Yemen's Abyan, al-Bayda', and Ibb governorates, and released a video on its deterring a Houthi advance in the city of Rada'a.

Monday, 31 October 2016
British Islamic State Fighter Warns of Attack on July 7

A fighter belonging to the Islamic State (IS) has warned of attacks that will occur in England on July 7, 2015.

Friday, 03 July 2015
Syrian Jihad: The Weakening of al-Qaeda’s Leadership

Syrian Jihad: The Weakening of al-Qaeda's LeadershipBy Rita Katz and Adam Raisman

In an unexpected and unprecedented turn of events, al-Qaeda members and jihadists from all over the world who embrace the ideology of global jihad are now doubting the group's leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and calling for his removal.

Tuesday, 08 April 2014
Al-Qaeda-Affiliates Expand Online Platform to Twitter

Al-Qaeda-Affiliates Expand Online Platform to TwitterBy Rita Katz and Adam Raisman

On December 5, 2013, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) joined the long list of al-Qaeda affiliates with a presence on Twitter.

Friday, 03 January 2014
Similarities in Tactics in Major Attacks on Western Targets in 2013: A Look at Tigantourine and Westgate

Similarities in Tactics in Major Attacks on Western Targets in 2013: A Look at Tigantourine and Westgate

By Rita Katz and Margaret Foster

Two of the most high-profile jihadi attacks during 2013 displayed a striking similarity in targets and tactics, raising the possibility that the attacks are on the vanguard of an emerging trend in jihadi operations.

Thursday, 02 January 2014
Brigades of Abdullah Azzam: Bringing the War into Lebanon

After years of threatening Hezbollah and Iranian interests in Lebanon, and solely claiming responsibility for attacks outside the country, the Brigades of Abdullah Azzam took credit for the November 19, 2013, twin suicide bombings near the Iranian embassy in Beirut.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013
The Westgate Attack: A New Trend in al-Qaeda Communication Strategies

The Shabaab al-Mujahideen's attack and four-day-long siege at the Westgate mall in Nairobi, Kenya demonstrated a new trend in al-Qaeda's online media strategies, as online communication from the al-Qaeda affiliate in Somalia was routed exclusively through social media sites.

Monday, 30 September 2013
Jihadis Look For Gains In Egypt, Call For Armed Uprising

The August 14, 2013, clashes between Egyptian security forces and supporters of Mohamed Morsi have reinvigorated calls amongst jihadis for the establishment of armed jihadi groups in the country.

Thursday, 15 August 2013
U.S. Travel Alert Comes Amidst Recent Threats from al-Qaeda and its Affiliates

Three days after al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri called for attacks on U.S. interests in response to its military engagements in the Muslim world and its drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen in particular, the U.S. State Department issued a travel alert about the terror group potentially launching operations in the Middle East and North Africa.

Friday, 02 August 2013
PRISM and US Government Surveillance: No News to Jihadists

The revelations by Edward Snowden about PRISM, a NSA-operated national security electronic surveillance program, and that the agency used it to gather data from Google, Facebook, Paltalk and other sites, came as little surprise to jihadists, who for the past decade have tried to stay two steps ahead of monitoring...

Friday, 28 June 2013
Marathon Bombing: Why Target The Boston Marathon?

On June 1, 2013, the eleventh issue of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP’s) English-language magazine, Inspire, was released to jihadist forums...

Friday, 21 June 2013
London Attack Echoes al-Qaeda Incitement to Target Soldiers in West

Aftermath of attack in Woolwich, London / Credit: ITV

Although it is not yet clear what motivated the beheading of a man believed to be a soldier outside of the Woolwich barracks in London, the incident, which is being treated as an apparent terrorist attack, is reflective of al-Qaeda's incitement for lone-wolf strikes against soldiers in Western countries.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013
Profiles of Djohar Tsarnaev's Twitter, Tamerlan's Alleged YouTube Channel

The suspects behind the bombings during the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, Chechen brothers Djohar (Dzhokhar) and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, both maintained social networking accounts, one on the microblogging website Twitter, and the other on the video sharing site YouTube.

Friday, 19 April 2013
Federal Reserve Banks Among Targets Listed By Jihadists

On October 17, 2012, a Bangladeshi national, Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, was arrested for allegedly attempting to detonate what he believed was a 1,000-pound bomb at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in Manhattan.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012
As-Sahab Video Shows Fighters' Activities in Ghazni

Al-Qaeda's media arm, as-Sahab, released a video showing activities of fighters in Ghazni province of eastern Afghanistan, including their carrying out attacks and evading enemy aircraft.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012
Egyptian Salafists Demand Second Revolution

Al-Faroq Media, an Egypt-focused jihadist media group, released a statement from the "Salafist Jihadist Movement in Egypt" that demands a second revolution and the ouster of the country's ruling military council.

Friday, 22 June 2012
Al-Nusra Front Claims Execution of 13 Enemy Elements in Deir al-Zor

The al-Nusra Front claimed responsibility for the execution of 13 elements of Syrian security agencies and "thugs" in Deir al-Zor of eastern Syria.

Monday, 04 June 2012
Prominent Jihadist Forum Appears Again Online

The top-tier Shumukh al-Islam jihadist forum has come online once again after being offline for nearly a week and a half, though it is unclear whether its appearance is only temporary.

Monday, 02 April 2012
Lebanese Fighter in Afghanistan Recalls Slain Colleague in Interview (2)

In the second part of his interview, an alleged Lebanese fighter in Afghanistan, Abu Zubaydah al-Lubnani, discussed the current condition of al-Qaeda in the Afghan-Pakistan region and gave recommendations to prospective fighters.

Tuesday, 07 February 2012
Terror Suspect Sami Osmakac Criticizes Jews and Christians in Several Online Videos

Sami Osmakac, an American indicted on January 9, 2012, and accused of attempting to carry out a terrorist attack in Florida, appeared in several videos posted online throughout 2011 on YouTube and other video sharing websites.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012
Boko Haram Representative Solicits Guidance and Assistance on Jihadist Forums

{Image: UN bomber and Boko Haram member Mohammed Abdul Barra Source: AMEF}

On August 26, 2011, a suicide bomber detonated his car bomb outside of the United Nations headquarters in the Nigerian capital city, Abuja. The attack destroyed several floors of the building and killed at least 23 people. 

Wednesday, 28 September 2011
Insight into Al-Qaeda's Confirmation of Bin Laden's Death

In a four page statement released to jihadist forums on May 6, 2011, al-Qaeda officially announced the death of its leader, Usama bin Laden, stating that he “was killed in truth in a situation of truth.”

Friday, 06 May 2011
Another Ansar Member, Filiz Gelowicz, Convicted for Material Support

The arrest and recent conviction of Filiz Gelowicz in Germany once again illustrates the strong ties online jihadists have with actual jihadist groups.

Friday, 18 March 2011
In Frankfurt Attack, Echoes of Jihadist Propaganda

On March 2, 2011, Arid Uka reportedly boarded an American military bus carrying soldiers to the Frankfort airport and opened fire on them, killing two and injuring an additional two soldiers who were on their way to serve in Afghanistan.

Friday, 04 March 2011
Egypt Gas Pipeline Discussed by Jihadists Days Before Explosion

Three days prior to the February 5 explosion near the Arish-Ashkelon gas pipeline in Egypt, the SITE Intelligence Group advised its subscribers that jihadists were discussing targeting the pipeline on the jihadist Shumukh al-Islam forum, a password-protected website affiliated with al-Qaeda.

Saturday, 05 February 2011
Jundallah, Iranian Jihadist Group

On December 15, 2010, the Iranian jihadist group Jundallah, took credit for twin suicide bombings on a Shiite mosque in Chabahar, Iran, killing 32 people. Until that time, the group, despite ostensibly being based in Iran, had managed to operate a blog with updates about the group as well as claims of attacks.

Wednesday, 05 January 2011
Egyptian Church Bombing Follows Years of Instigation from Al-Qaeda against Copts

At midnight on New Year's Eve, twenty-one congregants at the Saints Church in Alexandria, Egypt, were killed in what was reported to be a suicide bombing. The attack was carried out exactly two months after the al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) had attacked a church in Baghdad and had threatened additional attacks against Christians, not only in Iraq, but also in Egypt and elsewhere.

Tuesday, 04 January 2011
Global Threat Assessment in 2011

In the spectrum of national security threats, transnational terrorism by Muslim groups is likely to remain the most profound threat in 2011. These politically motivated groups seeking to legitimize their thinking and actions by using, misusing and abusing Islam, will continue to dominate the global threat landscape.

Tuesday, 04 January 2011
Prognosis For 2011

After the developments in terrorism that unfolded throughout 2009 and 2010, only an inveterate optimist perhaps could look forward to a less dangerous or challenging 2011.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010
Emerson Begolly: An American Jihadist

Following the December 11, 2010, suicide bombing of Taymour Abdulwahhab Al-Abdaly, an American jihadist named Emerson Begolly recorded a chant honoring Al-Abdaly and uploaded it to jihadist forums. Singing lines such as "blow their heads right off their shoulders," Begolly encouraged others to emulate the bomber. A portion of his chant can be heard in the SITE Intelligence Group's YouTube video discussing the recent bombing, available online at http://youtu.be/_pQrBGQZ4Ug .

Wednesday, 22 December 2010
Brief on Recent AQAP Threats to the US and its Interests

In light of the discovery of packages originating from Yemen containing explosive materials, and those packages being attributed to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, SITE Intelligence Group has prepared a brief on examples of AQAP’s recent threats to the US and its interests. Since its establishment, AQAP has demonstrated its determination to launch strikes abroad, specifically in its deployment of Umar al-Farouk Abdulmuttalab to carry out a suicide bombing on a US-bound passenger plane, and to use innovative methods.

Friday, 29 October 2010
Iraqi Insurgent Groups Predict Victory on 5th Anniversary of War

Al-Qaeda and Iraqi insurgents marked the five year anniversary of the Iraq war with a flurry of propaganda. Reactions by these groups also addressed US President George W. Bush declaring that as of March 24, 2008, 4000 US soldiers were killed in Iraq. Although this figure is viewed as a fabrication by the insurgents, who claim the true number to be much higher, it emboldened the mujahideen and stepped up their rhetoric declaring imminent victory. In the years following the launch of major combat operations in Iraq on March 20, 2003, Iraqi insurgents continue to tout that their victory is made possible through jihad and anticipate that US-led coalition forces will soon withdraw. Audio messages from al-Qaeda leaders and communiqués from insurgent media departments each share this vision, highlighting their imminent victory in their anniversary statements. However, as the war enters its sixth year, these statements belie the fractured state of the Iraqi insurgency, and the increasing difficulties faced by al-Qaeda on the ground.

Thursday, 14 October 2010
Abu Musab al-Suri's Military Theory of Jihad

First Part of Translated Excepts from The Call to Global Islamic Resistance:

In April 2008 in response to questions posed by jihadists all over the world regarding al-Qaeda’s strategy, Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri pointed to Abu Musab al-Suri and the ideas presented in his 1600-page book, The Call to Global Islamic Resistance. “The suggestions of Abu Musab [al-Suri] - may Allah release him - present rich thoughts from which the mujahideen can benefit…the intellectual treasure of Sheikh Abu Musab… is a rich river for the mujahideen,” Zawahiri stated in an audio message produced by as-Sahab.

Thursday, 14 October 2010
Mumbai Investigation

“Brother, you have to fight. This is a matter of prestige of Islam. Fight so that your fight becomes a shining example. Be strong in the name of Allah. You may feel tired or sleepy but the commandos of Islam have left everything behind. Their mothers, their fathers, their homes.”Phone call intercepted from terrorist handler in Pakistan to hostage taker in India at the Jewish Centre in Mumbai at 10.26 p.m. on November 27, 2008.[1]

The Operatives, Masterminds, and Enduring ThreatRohan Gunaratna

The most devastating terrorist attack in 2008 was the coordinated, near-simultaneous, no-surrender attack on India’s entertainment and financial capital from November 26-29.[2]

Thursday, 14 October 2010
Indonesia: Still a Land of Jihad

At 7:45 am on July 15, 2009, bombers attacked the J. W. Marriott and Four Seasons hotels in Jakarta. According to the Jakarta Police Chief, the attackers used room 1808 of the Marriott to assemble explosives before killing eight in the largest jihadi attack in Indonesia in five years. The attack was followed a week later by mass arrests of alleged jihadists and jihadi conspirators. Although their establishment is uncorroborated by al-Qaeda leaders, an organization calling itself “Tandzim Al Qo'idah Indonesia” (al-Qaeda in Indonesia) claimed responsibility for the attacks in an Indonesian-language communiqué posted online on July 26, 2009.

Friday, 09 July 2010
Timeline of Communications from Mustafa Abu al-Yazid

Mustafa Abu al-Yazid’s first appearance in an al-Qaeda video came on May 25, 2007, when as-Sahab released a 42:24 minute video interview with him. The video displayed Yazid seated alone, with an off-camera interviewer. Interview questions touched upon a variety of topics concerning the state of jihad and issues such as the row between Hamas and al-Qaeda over the Palestinian; the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya in Egypt; the perception of al-Qaeda as a weakened organization post-September 11th; the arrest of Yazid’s predecessor Abdul Hadi al-Iraqi in Turkey; and the importance of unity for the mujahideen.

Thursday, 01 July 2010
Jihadist Groups Look Beyond Local Borders

Until recently, the concept of a local group was clear: insurgent and jihadist groups were local when they fought on behalf of regional interest and only represented a threat the primary country they targeted. The scope of their ambition and threat was limited to their immediate targets and close neighbors. Trends in recent years, however, show the threat from al-Qaeda affiliated local jihadist groups is the same as that posed by the transnational al-Qaeda core, based in Afghanistan. The expansion of operations and ambition from formerly local groups has been illustrated in recent years by al-Qaeda-linked jihadist groups such as al-Qaeda in Iraq, the Shabaab al-Mujahideen in Somalia, and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

Thursday, 01 July 2010
Awlaki Justifies Deaths of Millions

Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical American-born cleric, has drawn attention for providing spiritual guidance to many of the recent homegrown jihadists targeting the United States. The additional scrutiny, and prestige, resulting from a number of his followers being arrested while attempting terrorist attacks against the United States, appears to have exacted changes to Awlaki’s status within the jihadist community. Messages and interviews in recent months indicate that Awlaki’s views have been increasingly moving towards those held by some of the most extreme ideologues of al-Qaeda. Best illustrated in his May 22, 2010 video interview with a representative of the al-Malahem Foundation, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) media wing, Awlaki expressed views closely approximating the official al-Qaeda justification for September 11, 2001. Through the interview, Awlaki repeatedly called on followers to either carry out attacks or leave the West for jihad. In support of his calls to jihad, Awlaki provided his followers with a ruling justifying the deaths of millions of civilians as well as a near-boundless permission for followers to attack the United States.

Thursday, 01 July 2010
Al-Qaeda's Continuing Threat To The Homeland: "Diversity Is Definitely The Word"

 

  “I am going to plead guilty a hundred times over.”

-- Faisal Shahzad[1]

   

Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square bomber, had his day in court on 21 June 2010.  And, it was a remarkable performance.  Spurning both a trial and any kind of plea agreement, Shahzad brazenly pleaded guilty to all ten counts of terrorism stemming from his failed attempt to detonate an improvised explosive device concealed in an SUV that he had parked in the heart of New York City’s entertainment district on the evening of 1 May 2010.

Thursday, 01 July 2010
Jihad Comes To America

Several disquieting trends converged in New York City’s fabled Times Square entertainment district on Saturday evening, May 1st, 2010. [1] First, a foreign terrorist group with a hitherto local agenda and otherwise parochial aims once again is believed to have stretched its wings and sought to operate on a broader, more ambitious global canvas. Second, the conventional wisdom, which long held that the threat to the U.S. was primarily external and involved foreigners coming from overseas to kill Americans in this country (as had occurred on September 11th 2001) again has been shattered.

Thursday, 01 July 2010
The Shabaab Al-Mujahideen Movement: Local Group With An International Focus

On July 11, 2010, three coordinated attacks tore through the Ugandan capital of Kampala, striking World Cup viewing parties, and killing at least 76 people.  Suspicion of responsibility for the attacks immediately fell upon the Somali-based Shabaab al-Mujahideen (Shabaab). The group confirmed their responsibility the next day, at a press conference in Mogadishu.  Several hours later, the Shabaab reiterated their claim by posting excerpts on their official website from the 10 minute, 10 second Somali language statement given by their spokesman, Sheikh Ali Muhammad Raghe (AKA Dheere).  The statement clearly asserts Shabaab responsibility for the attack and announces that the Shabab's attack intentionally targeted Ugandan civilians in retribution for Uganda's military presence in Somalia:

Thursday, 01 July 2010
Translated Message From Zawahiri's Wife To Muslim Women

The role of women in jihad, as caregivers or fighters, as raisers of children or suicide bombers, is a contentious point amongst male and female jihadists. Al-Qaeda deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahiri had responded to two questions on this subject in the open interview with jihadist forum members held in early-2008.

Thursday, 01 April 2010
Connecting The Dots Of Americans Joining The Jihad

The conventional wisdom has long been that America was immune to the heady currents of radicalization affecting both immigrant and indigenous Muslim communities elsewhere in the West.[1] It has now been shattered by the succession of cases that have come to light in recent months of terrorist radicalization and recruitment occurring in the United States. And while it must to be emphasized that the number of U.S. citizens and residents affected or influenced in this manner remains small; at the same time the sus­tained and growing number of individuals heeding these calls is nonetheless indisputably alarming.

Thursday, 01 April 2010
The Imagined Community of Jihadists

For many, Colleen LaRose’s alleged attempt to carry out a violent act in the name of jihad is inexplicable. How could a 46-year-old Christian woman from Texas with blonde hair and blue eyes become a jihadist? Was there a traumatic event in her childhood or adolescence that left her susceptible to radicalization? Was she lonely, seduced by jihadist men online and recruited to their cause? Or was she just mentally ill?

Thursday, 01 April 2010
The Bad News Only Gets Worse: Has a Terrorist Infrastructure Been Established in the United States?

By any metric, the past year has been the worst since 2001 afor the United States in terms of terrorist threats, and now perhaps a terrorist attack. Although the exact circumstances behind the tragic shooting spree at Fort Hood, Texas, which killed 12 persons and wounded 30 others, at this time are still obscure, the possibility that the attack was motivated as much in protest of continued American military operations in the Muslim countries of Iraq and Afghanistan as by personal fears of deployment to one of those war zones, raises new and acutely discomforting concerns about the likelihood of future terrorist attacks and related violent acts in the U.S.

Sunday, 01 November 2009
Is al-Qaeda Broke?

More so than at practically any other time in the previous few years, communications from al-Qaeda and affiliated movements have been full of calls for financial support from followers. The most dramatic pleas for money emanate from al-Qaeda affiliates and fighters in Afghanistan and Pakistan, yet leaders from several jihadist battlefields have been issuing statements of financial need. Although calls to support fighters both materially and spiritually are a reoccurring theme in messages sent out by jihadist leadership, requests for aid have been a growing component of communications from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Gaza.

Wednesday, 01 July 2009
Xingjiang: China’s Flashpoint

The Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) and its militant wing, the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), exploited the recent violence in Urumqi in China on July 5, 2009 by issuing a statement on July 9, 2009 accusing China of “genocide” of the Uighur Muslims. ETIM propaganda claimed that the Chinese government killed “more than 1000,” wounded a “number that exceeded 2000,” and “dumped in prison more than 2000.” Furthermore, Seyfullah, TIP’s military commander, threatened the Chinese by saying: “Know that this Muslim people have men who will take revenge for them.  Soon, the horsemen of Allah will attack you, Allah willing.  So lie in wait; indeed, we lie in wait with you.”

Wednesday, 01 July 2009
Is Laskhar-e-Toiba the Next Hezbollah?

Then-Deputy Secretary of State Armitage’s famous description of Hezbollah is a cautionary tale for those who argue either that terrorism never works or that it is an irredeemably failed strategy. Not only has Hezbollah not been taken down, but to the contrary it is today the most politically powerful party in Lebanon. With formidable parliamentary representation, a rock solid constituency that extends even beyond its core Lebanese Shi’a base, and the new-found legitimacy provided militarily by its performance in the 2006 Second Lebanon War and politically by developments like the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s decision to open discussions with its political wing——Hezbollah provides an example of how a terrorist movement can effectively transform itself from an international pariah to a respected political powerhouse.

Wednesday, 01 July 2009
AQIM Expansion Throughout North Africa

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), through its violent activity in countries in North Africa and its propaganda aimed at enemies and Muslims abroad, has demonstrated its expanded presence outside of Algeria. The group’s offensive operations, including suicide bombings, strikes against employees and facilities of foreign corporations, and its taking of foreign prisoners, have also become prevalent since its joining al-Qaeda officially in January, 2007.

Monday, 01 June 2009
The Taliban Threat Spreads to Mainland Pakistan

Introduction:After the U.S.-led coalition forces intervened in Afghanistan in October 2001, multiple threat groups in Afghanistan including the Afghan Taliban and al Qaeda relocated to tribal Pakistan. Nearly seven years after, Pakistani security forces, primarily the army, is fight a high intensity insurgency in the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA), the tribal belt separating Afghanistan from Pakistan. The insurgent and terrorist groups located on that rugged border mount attacks against U.S. led coalition and Afghan forces in Afghanistan and against Pakistani forces and other targets in Pakistan. The spillover effect of the insurgency in FATA into mainland Pakistan is profound.

Monday, 01 June 2009
Covering the Waterfront: The Continuing, Myriad, Threats From Both Leader-Led and Leader-Less Terrorism

Is al-Qaeda on the run or on the march?  This question has overshadowed the discourse on terrorism and counterterrorism since the war on terrorism began eight years ago.  Last year, it crystallized in a pointed debate over whether the most salient terrorist threat we face is primarily “bottom-up”——that is, from self-selected, self-radicalized “bunches of guys” loosely grouped in entirely independent cells——or if it continues to be posed from the “top down”——by existing, identifiable terrorist organizations actively exploiting the radicalization process for new recruits to whom training, guidance, and direction is then provided.

Monday, 01 June 2009
Iraqi Insurgent Groups Respond to Baghdadi's Call for Unity

After being severely weakened by the Awakening Councils and the US troop surge, the Islamic State of Iraq has appeared to reemerge, after lying low for some time.  In recent weeks, the ISI has raised its profile with new claims for attacks, as well as a string of releases of propaganda and speeches by the group's leaders.  In an atmosphere where the Awakening Councils appear to be under strain and other Iraqi insurgent groups have publicly reached out to the ISI, al-Qaeda's franchise in Iraq might have an opportunity to reconstitute itself.

Friday, 01 May 2009
Taliban Activity Soars in “Victory” Campaign

Military activity claimed by the Taliban in Afghanistan increased to its highest point in 2009 amidst what the group calls its “Victory” campaign. The campaign, which commenced on April 30, was announced by the Deputy Leader of the Taliban, Mullah Bradar, as a response to the troop surge proposed by US and NATO countries.

Friday, 01 May 2009
Al-Qaeda’s Grand Strategy

Winston Churchill described Russia as “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” Were he alive today, the famed British statesman, who also knew something about fighting extremist Muslim tribesmen along Pakistan’s lawless frontier,[1] would likely have characterized al-Qaeda in identical terms. In this respect, the perennial question for at least the past five years has been whether al-Qaeda is on the march or on the run?[2] No less frequently the answer has presented a mixed picture of a movement under enormous pressure while simultaneously demonstrating a remarkable resiliency and capacity to adapt and adjust to even its opponents’ most consequential countermeasures.

Friday, 01 May 2009
Al-Qaeda and Jihadists Respond to Obama Speech

During the first week of June 2009, al-Qaeda leadership released two messageswithin 24 hours reacting to President Obama's speech to the Muslim world that took place on June 4th in Cairo, Egypt. First was a speech from Ayman al-Zawahiri on June 2nd, arguing that Obama had already presented a clear message to Muslims through US political and military policy in the Middle East and its conduct in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He said: “His bloody messages were received and are still being received by Muslims, and they will not be concealed by public relations campaigns or by farcical visits or elegant words.”

Friday, 01 May 2009
TIP Enters Jihadist Mainstream

The Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), a Uyghur-speaking jihadist organization based in the Xinjiang province of northwest China, has entered the jihadist mainstream by virtue of its association with al-Fajr Media Center, a virtual jihadist organization that distributes propaganda for al-Qaeda-linked groups and al-Qaeda leadership . In 2008 and proceeding years, TIP operated a website under a constant threat of closure reaching a narrow audience.

Friday, 01 May 2009
Al-Qaeda’s Interest in the Sudanese Front

In a recently released speech, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the second-in-command of al-Qaeda, discussed Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and alleged designs of the West in Sudan, reinforces al-Qaeda’s continued interest in pursuing jihad in that country and re-establishing al-Qaeda's presence. In that speech, issued to jihadist forums on March 24, 2009, Zawahiri addressed Sudanese Muslims, particularly those in Darfur, urging they take lessons from fighters in Iraq and Somalia in combating the future Western military presence in Sudan.

Wednesday, 01 April 2009
It’s déjà vu All over Again Part 2: Update on The American-Somali Terrorist Connection

Evidence continues to come light to suggesting that the dozen or so young Somali-Americans initially reported as having left the United States last year to train in terrorism and guerrilla warfare in Somalia represent only the tip of a potentially dangerous iceberg.  And, like the captain of the R.M.S. Titanic, who failed to appreciate the dimensions of an impending menace and misread the murky waters through which his vessel sailed, the United States today appears to be in the same boat in terms of understanding this new threat to homeland security. 

Wednesday, 01 April 2009
Nasir al-Wuhayshi and the Arabian Peninsula

Three years ago, in the months leading up to the February 2006 escape of Nasir al-Wuhayshi and 22 other prisoners, al-Qaeda was in a state of disrepair in Yemen – its loyalists hunted, arrested and put on trial in a seemingly successful, US-backed counterterrorism campaign.  As al-Qaeda raged next door in Iraq, broadcasting its daily advances through web-based media, in Yemen, al-Qaeda was silent: no messages claiming attacks, no multimedia propaganda and, most importantly, no visible leadership.

Sunday, 01 March 2009
Mujab Al-Zahrani: Dead and Wanted

Several men alleged to be members of al-Qaeda who were listed amongst 85 individuals wanted by Saudi security authorities are already deceased, according to members of the jihadist Internet community. The Interior Ministry of Saudi Arabia released this wanted list on February 3, 2009, naming 83 Saudis and 2 Yemenis , including officials in al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Sunday, 01 March 2009
"Mom, I’m in Somalia” or It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again

The inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States on 20 January 2009, and attendant celebrations, fortunately passed without incident.  Interestingly, the most credible terrorist threat that had surfaced in connection with these events came not from al-Qaeda or its leader, Usama bin Laden, or indeed his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, as might have been expected, but from a largely unknown, radical Somalia organization, called al-Shabaab (Arabic: “the youth” or more accurately, the “young guys”).

Sunday, 01 March 2009
The Role of Women in Jihad

 

The role of women in jihad is a topic which has been fiercely debated among the jihadist community for many years.  The Qur'an is not completely clear regarding the female's role in jihad, leaving much room for interpretation and questions, like:  Should women remain on the sidelines caring for the wounded or engage in direct combat against the infidels?  Are they allowed to carry out suicide operations or should they stay home and raise their children to be Islamic militants?

Sunday, 01 February 2009
Germany and the Jihadist Threat

The appearance in an al-Qaeda video of Bekkay Harrach (AKA Abu Talha the German) speaking fluent German and possessing knowledge of the German social and political fabric brought to the forefront the preexisting jihadist threat to Germany. His video, released concurrently with a Taliban suicide bombing outside the German embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, on January 17, 2009, was celebrated on jihadist forums. Indeed, virtual jihadist groups, such as the Global Islamic Media Front and the Jihadist Brigades to Invade the Internet, launched a campaign for its distribution to German internet forums and German citizens via e-mail and Facebook groups.

Sunday, 01 February 2009
Al-Qaeda: The Threat from Tribal Pakistan

Threat Landscape

 When US-led coalition forces intervened in Afghanistan, the numerical strength of al-Qaeda numbered about 3,000. Today, the center of gravity of al-Qaeda and other foreign fighters has shifted from Afghanistan to tribal Pakistan.

Sunday, 01 February 2009
Al-Qaeda Reacts to Gaza Offensive

Since the Israeli offensive in Gaza began on December 27, 2008, al-Qaeda, its aligned groups and supporters, and nationalist Iraqi insurgent factions have contributed to a deluge of contemptuous criticism directed towards Israel and Western and Arab leaders, including calls for physical reprisals.

Thursday, 01 January 2009
Somali Jihad Lures Americans

In recent months, an increasing number of American Muslims have left the United States to join the Shabaab, an active jihadist group in Somalia closely aligned with al-Qaeda. Aspiring American jihadists have left, or attempted to leave, for Somalia from Muslim communities across the country.

Americans now appear to be participating at all levels of the Shabaab organization in Somalia, as military leaders, spokesmen, ideologues, fighters, and suicide bombers.

Thursday, 01 January 2009
Lashkar-e Tobia: A Global Threat

Regardless of whether Lashkar-e Toiba (LeT), now operating under the name Jama'at Ud-Da'wa, did have a pivotal role in the Mumbai attacks, the group nevertheless poses a severe threat to India and the rest of the world.  Though traditionally the group's theater of conflict is considered to be in Kashmir and executing terrorist attacks against Indian targets, LeT must be treated as a global, rather than local, concern. 

Monday, 01 December 2008
Carnage in Mumbai: The World's Longest Terrorist Attack?

The vulnerability of cities worldwide to terrorism was highlighted when ten terrorists willing to kill and die brought India’s commercial and entertainment capital to its knees from November 26-29, 2008. Within two hours of landing in Mumbai, the terrorists seized landmark targets beginning a prolonged siege that would last three days. While Indian security forces failed to subdue the attackers and rescue the hostages during the first 60 hours, a world in shock watched the terrorists systematically kill 171, maim and injure 300, and damage and destroy ten targets.

Monday, 01 December 2008
Blown Apart: The Mumbai Attacks and the “Bunch Of Guys” Theory

Among the fatalities of the tragic attacks in Mumbai was the so-called “bunch of guys” theory. Like the scores of dead and hundreds of wounded, it too was the victim of a terrorist operation that was planned and premeditated and executed by trained commando-like teams deployed as part of an apparent command and control apparatus which orchestrated their deployment and coordinated their assaults. Schooled in the use of automatic weapons and apparently well-versed in close quarters combat tactics, the gunmen were able to stand their ground against furious security force response and counter-assault.

Monday, 01 December 2008
Al-Qaeda Video Commemorates 7th Anniversary of 9/11

Every year since the terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001, as-Sahab, al-Qaeda's media wing, has produced a video celebrating the anniversary of the attacks. This year's video, entitled "Results of 7 Years of the Crusades", commemorates the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks- excerpts of which were broadcast by al-Jazeera on September 8.

Wednesday, 01 October 2008
Tumult over al-Qaeda's State of the Union

Jihadists were surprised to discover on September 10, 2008 that they were unable to access al-Ekhlaas, a password-protected forum central to jihadist activity on the internet and a primary distribution point for al-Qaeda material into the public domain. Their frustration mounted when other al-Qaeda-affiliated forums, al-Firdaws and al-Hesbah, were also inaccessible.

Wednesday, 01 October 2008
Anatomy of a Debacle: The London Airline Bombing Plot Trial

Terrorist cases are notoriously difficult to prosecute. Conspiracy is often difficult to prove in the absence of an actual crime committed. Evidence is often fragmentary and inferential. Sensitive intelligence sources and methods, which are absolutely vital to the pre-emption of terrorist acts and the identification and apprehension of the would-be perpetrators, rarely can be introduced, much less discussed, in open court.

Wednesday, 01 October 2008
Criticism Within the Jihadist Community

Much terrorist propaganda that is disseminated aims to strengthen the cause of violent jihad, particularly in the case of a mujahid, who is glorified as giving up his civilian life to protect the Ummah of Islam. Mujahideen are often praised for their sacrifice for the Islamic community whether the mujahid is considered a “martyr” in a suicide operation that kills dozens, a participant in a battle, or when he fires a mortar rocket that only injures a few.

Monday, 01 September 2008
Arrests Made over Terror Threats in Britain

Three men arrested in Britain in connection with threats made on the al-Ekhlaas jihadist forum were charged on August 28, 2008, with terror offenses. Under the banner of “al-Qaeda Orga­nization in Britain”, postings were made by the online identity, “umar rabie”, threatening suicide bombings on British political targets. The three individuals, all from Blackburn in Lancashire, England were arrested on Au­gust 14 as suspects related to these threats. Read More While Abbas Iqbal and Ilyas Iqbal were charged with possession and dissemination of terrorist publications, Kanmi was also charged with soliciting murder and for claiming to be­long to al-Qaeda.

Monday, 01 September 2008
Parallel Universe: Pakistan, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and the War on Terrorism

There was perhaps no better time to be in Pakistan than late August to understand the powerful centrifugal forces that have plunged that country into disarray and undermined the U.S.-led war on terrorism. Within the space of a week, President Pervez Musharraf resigned and Asif Ali Zardari, Benazir Bhutto’s widower and a controversial political figure in his own right, was nominated to succeed him. Meanwhile, in a direct challenge to the state, two Taliban suicide bombers struck Pakistan’s largest munitions factory, a heavily guarded, supposedly “virtually impregnable” site, killing 64 persons.

Monday, 01 September 2008
The East Turkistan Islamic Movement: The Pre-eminent Threat to the Beijing Olympics

The pre-eminent threat to the Beijing Olympics stems from the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) located in the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) of Pakistan. ETIM headquarters is located in Mir Ali, North Waziristan, FATA, along the 1520 mile long rugged border separating Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Friday, 01 August 2008
Charter of the Turkistan Islamic Party

Definition and Goals

In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the MercifulThanks be to Allah alone and prayers and peace on the [last] Prophet, thank Allah who said in his good book (The believers are brothers), and prayers and peace on the good Prophet who said (The believers in their love and familiarity are like one body), and so:Broad Strokes on the Methodology of the Turkistan Islamic Party

Friday, 01 August 2008
Zawahiri Responds to Open Interview, Part III

Beginning in December 2007, members of jihadist forums were able to submit questions to Ayman al-Zawahiri in what was called an “Open Interview.” In April 2008, Zawahiri issued responses to several of these questions to jihadist forums in two installments. The first installment of Zawahiri's answers was covered in the May and June issues of inSITE. This issue of inSITE focuses on the second installment of responses released by Zawahiri, which was distributed as a two-and-a-half hour audio file along with a 79-page Arabic transcript.

Tuesday, 01 July 2008
Fatah al-Islam Regroups in the Gaza Strip

Since establishing a base of operations in Gaza in November 2007, Fatah al-Islam in Palestine has claimed nearly a dozen attacks on Israeli targets, joining other jihadist groups opposing both Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. “Here is Fatah al-Islam, appearing to you once again but this time from [Palestine], [ensuring] the entire world that it is made of Islam and Jihad,” the group proclaimed in a video distributed December 3, 2007 through jihadist forums.

Tuesday, 01 July 2008
Rise of the Islamic Jihad Union

One of the most striking developments in the past year within the global jihadist movement has been the rise in prominence of the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU), an Uzbek jihadist group known today as a European affiliate of al-Qaeda. The IJU, established in 2002, is a jihadist group created after members splintered from the more established Uzbek jihadist movement, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).

Tuesday, 01 July 2008
Sports Stadiums: An Easy Target for Jihadists?

Handmade Explosive

Source: “How You Can Kill Thousands of Americans with Few Hundred Dollars and 3 Men” message posted to forums

As overwhelming amounts of instructional material on constructing and developing unique methods of attack increase on the internet, so do discussions about how to carry out attacks targeting as many victims as possible. Thousands of jihadists brainstorm and contribute to this virtual knowledge base. With so many plans circulating on the message boards, online jihadists become enthusiastic, thriving off one another's ideas. Almost instantaneously, one jihadist's dream to successfully attack thousands of people can become the vision of an entire online jihadist community.

Sunday, 01 June 2008
European vs Arabic Jihadists: Differing Perspectives

Members of jihadist forums are often described as if they comprise a monolithic community, sharing, if not the same language, the same ideals, values, and goals. Although members of the online jihadist community are united in their strong support for jihad, al-Qaeda, and the mujahideen, variations in views and topics of interest appear among jihadists who are members of forums in differ­ent languages. One of the most striking differences between Arabic speaking jihadist forums, and French language jihadist forums lies in each community’s views of the potential strategic and tactical value of strikes against European interests. Members of French language forums express substantially less support for attacks against Europeans, seemingly viewing such attacks as undesirable, than do members of Arabic speaking commu­nities.

Sunday, 01 June 2008
Zawahiri Responds to Open Interview, Part II

On al-Qaeda vis-à-vis Israel:

Despite overtures by al-Qaeda leadership that liberating Palestine is a duty incumbent upon every Muslim, al-Qaeda itself does not demonstrate an active presence inside Israel. Jihadists frequently address this issue, stimulating discussion amongst jihadist forum members by questioning when al-Qaeda will launch strikes within Israel, and speculating why it has not yet risen to this task. Such questions were asked directly of Zawahiri, whereas he chose as representative one that is overtly critical of al-Qaeda and its tactics:

Sunday, 01 June 2008
Nuclear Jihad: Inspiration or Intent?

 

In the past month, members of password-protected online jihadist forums have participated in dramatically more frequent discussions advocating a nuclear strike in the United States or against Western targets. This uptick has sparked a reaction among American security agencies, such as the FBI, which issued a bulletin to 18,000 law enforcement agencies this week warning that al-Qaeda has made new threats to use weapons of mass destruction against U.S. targets.

Sunday, 01 June 2008
Reports of Al-Qaeda's Death May Be Greatly Exaggerated

 The fashion this spring in Washington, D.C. is optimism — at least so far as al-Qaeda and the war on terrorism are concerned. In recent weeks, a succession of senior Bush Administration officials, intelligence officers, pundits, newspaper columnists, academicians and other knowledgeable observers have joined in trumpeting, if not quite the imminent end of al-Qaeda, at least the beginning of its end.

Sunday, 01 June 2008
Zawahiri Responds to Open Interview

In the previous issue of inSITE, in December 2007, jihadist forums announced a month-long opportunity for individuals, organizations, and journalists to submit questions on any topic they desired to Ayman al-Zawahiri. Receiving nearly 2,000 questions across the jihadist forums discussing a variety of topics outlined in the last issue of inSITE, Zawahiri finally issued a response to the jihadist community on April 2, 2008.

Thursday, 01 May 2008
Al-Qaeda's Profile of Their Future Fighter

Fueled by public assessments from the intelligence community and arrests of European converts accused of plotting attacks, government officials, media organizations, and policymakers have paid increasing attention to the threat posed by al-Qaeda operatives of European descent.

These operatives, selected and groomed for their ability to infiltrate Western countries without arousing suspicion, would be much more difficult to track.

Thursday, 01 May 2008
Border Badlands: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Al-Qaeda and the Jihadist Threat

The central front in the war on terrorism today is not Iraq, but the lawless border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Our preoccupation with Iraq has already exacted a heavy price in terms of mounting instability and growing jihadist strength in both south Asian countries. Moreover, virtually every major terrorist attack or plot of the past four years has emanated from al-Qaeda’s reconstituted sanctuary in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and surrounding provinces.

Monday, 01 July 2002