- Ansar al-Islam Video of Fighters Recounting Events in Kirkuk
Ansar al-Islam released a video of two fighters recounting events from a clash with American soldiers in Kirkuk province of Iraq. The 54 minute, 50 second video is titled “The Courageous is Protected and the Coward is Exposed,” and was posted on jihadist forums on March 28, 2011.
- Tawhid and Jihad Group Releases Video of Sderot Rocket Strike
Tawhid and Jihad Group in Jerusalem, a militant faction in Gaza, released a video showing what it says is a rocket strike on the city of Sderot in southern Israel.
- Tawhid and Jihad Group Eulogizes Slain Fighter
Tawhid and Jihad Group in Jerusalem, a militant faction in Gaza, eulogized one of its fighters, Muhammad Khalid Mu’ammar, in a statement issued on jihadist forums on March 30, 2011.
- Jihadist Cleric Warns Against Continued Foreign Intervention in Libya
Sheikh Abu Muslim al-Jaza’iri, a jihadist cleric on the Shariah Committee of Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi’s website, Pulpit of Tawhid and Jihad, warned Libyan rebels against continued foreign military intervention in Libya.
- Al-Yaqeen Calls Syria’s Release of Prisoners a “Deception”
Al-Yaqeen Media Center said that the Syrian authorities’ release of more than 200 political prisoners is a “deception to anesthetize the angry masses” in a message posted on jihadist forums on March 27, 2011.
- The Third Palestinian Intifada’s Facebook Page
An Arabic-language Facebook page called the “Third Palestinian Intifada,” has declared May 15, 2011, as the beginning of a third Palestinian intifada, modeled after the First and Second Intifadas, but inspired by the recent uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya.
- Ansar al-Islam Video of Bombing an Iraqi Vehicle in Kirkuk
Ansar al-Islam’s media arm, al-Ansar Media Foundation, released a video of bombing what they say is an Iraqi military vehicle in Kirkuk province of Iraq. The 36 second video was posted on jihadist forums on March 24, 2011.
- Jihadists Discuss Idea to Strike Libyan Oil Facilities
The suggestion by a jihadist that Libyan oil facilities be attacked so as to halt “Crusader” ambitions in the country generated responses from Shumukh al-Islam forum users, some of who support the idea and some who feel it may be detrimental to the rebels.
- Jihadist Suggests Striking Libyan Oil Wells to Halt Enemy Ambitions
A jihadist suggested strikes against Libyan oil refineries and wells so as to halt “Crusader” ambitions in the country in a message posted on the Shumukh al-Islam forum on March 24, 2011.
- Al-Qaeda Official Explains Merits, Rewards of Martyrdom
Abu Yahya al-Libi explained the merits and rewards of martyrdom and urged Muslims to pursue it in battle in a 61-page booklet published by al-Fajr Media Center and released on jihadist forums on March 23, 2011.
- Al-Qaeda Official Urges Patience Amidst Tribulation
Abu Yahya al-Libi urged fighters to demonstrate patience and steadfastness amidst tribulations they face in a 33-page booklet published by al-Fajr Media Center and released on jihadist forums on March 16, 2011.
- Masada al-Mujahideen Condemns Hamas’ Treatment of Prisoners
Masada al-Mujahideen, a Palestinian militant group, condemned Hamas’ treatment of Salafist Jihadist prisoners in a statement issued on jihadist forums on March 23, 2011.
- Jihadists Urge Revenge against Terry Jones for Qur’an Burning
Jihadists urged that Muslims take revenge against Terry Jones, a pastor in Gainesville, Florida, who presided over a “trial” that ended with the burning of a copy of the Qur’an.
- Jihadists React to Western Military Intervention in Libya
Members of the jihadist internet community reacted to Western military intervention in Libya, with some voicing outright condemnation and others expressing concern that what began with airstrikes may ultimately put troops on the ground.
- Jihadist Releases al-Qaeda-Themed Modification to Computer Game
A jihadist released an al-Qaeda-themed modification to the first-person multiplayer computer game shooter “Counter-Strike” on the Shumukh al-Islam forum on March 22, 2011.
- Nokhba Jihadi Media Releases Jihadist-Produced First Aid Booklet
Nokhba Jihadi Media released a 45-page first aid booklet authored by a member of the jihadist internet community. The booklet, titled “First Aid in the Jihadi Arenas,” was posted on jihadist forums on March 20, 2011.
- Muhammad al-Zawahiri Re-Arrested by Egyptian Security
Hani al-Sibai, a jihadist ideologue and director of al-Maqreze Center, reported that Muhammad al-Zawahiri, the brother of al-Qaeda’s second-in-command, was re-arrested by Egyptian security forces two days after his release from al-Aqrab prison in Egypt.
- Jihadists Express Joy for Prison Release of al-Qaeda Official’s Brother
After learning of the release from prison of al-Qaeda official Ayman al-Zawahiri’s brother Muhammad, jihadists expressed their joy in postings on jihadist forums and prayed for his success.
- Al-Qaeda Ideologue Gives Advice to Libyans
Al-Qaeda ideologue Attiya Allah gave advice to Libyans for what he sees to be the coming post-Gaddafi phase in an audio speech released on jihadist forums on March 17, 2011.
- Jihadist Reminisces about Personal Relationship with Slain Fighter
A jihadist reminisced about his personal relationship with slain fighter and former jihadist forum administrator Abu Kandahar al-Zarqawi (AKA Haitham Muhammad al-Khayat) in a message posted on the Ansar al-Mujahideen forum on March 11, 2011.
- Al-Qaeda Ideologue Denies Group’s Culpability in Muslims’ Deaths
Al-Qaeda ideologue Attiya Allah denied the group’s culpability in Muslims’ deaths, reiterating prior statements from al-Qaeda officials such as Ayman al-Zawahiri and Adam Gadahn, in a video speech released on jihadist forums on March 13, 2011.
- Al-Qaeda Official Incites Libyans to Take Up Arms against Gaddafi
Abu Yahya al-Libi incited Libyans to take up arms against the regime of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, and urged that they and other Muslim peoples dispel their “inferiority complex” before the West in a video speech released on jihadist forums on March 12, 2011.
- As-Sahab Video Shows Life of Fighters in Afghanistan
Al-Qaeda’s media arm, as-Sahab, released a video focusing on the life of fighters in Afghanistan, highlighting the joys as well as the hardships of jihad.
- Zawahiri Criticizes Democracy, Calls US Origin of Muslims’ Issues
Ayman al-Zawahiri continued his incitement of Egyptians against the United States in the fourth audio speech in his series titled “A Message of Hope and Glad Tidings to Our People in Egypt,” and criticized the American concept of democracy as a system that benefits its interests and those of Israel.
- Al-Qaeda, Tehrik-e-Taliban Punjab Allegedly Claim Minister’s Assassination
A message attributed to al-Qaeda and Tehrik-e-Taliban Punjab claiming responsibility for the assassination of Pakistani Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti was posted on jihadist forums on March 3, 2011.
- Jihadists Innovate New Methods of Attack on Aircraft
Motivated by al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri’s call for innovative ideas for attacks, a jihadist suggested that an individual release scorpions onboard an aircraft to sow fear and panic.
- Zawahiri Incites Egyptians, Tunisians Against US, West
Ayman al-Zawahiri incited Egyptians and Tunisians against the United States in the third audio message in his series titled “A Message of Hope and Glad Tidings to Our People in Egypt,” charging that it stood behind Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak and only supported ouster when the leaders no longer proved beneficial to their interests.
- Zawahiri Releases Third Audio in Series on Egypt
Ayman al-Zawahiri, the second in command of al-Qaeda, released a third audio message in his series titled “A Message of Hope and Glad Tidings to our People in Egypt.
- Jihadists Use Facebook to Exploit Protests in the Middle East
Inspired by the importance of social networking sites in the Middle East used in part to rally the protests that brought down the regimes of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak in Tunisia and Egypt, jihadists, even more than before, are on Facebook and Twitter to spread their violent ideology.
- Jihadist Warns Against Use of Mobile Phones, Recounts Incident
A jihadist warned against the use of mobile phones and used an incident that happened to a fighter’s family in the area of Dera Ismail Khan, a city in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan, to highlight their potential danger.
- Zawahiri Urges Christians to Not Fight al-Qaeda, Calls for Innovative Attacks
Ayman al-Zawahiri, the second in command of al-Qaeda, released a second audio message in his series titled “A Message of Hope and Glad Tidings to our People in Egypt.
- Al-Qaeda Ideologue Remarks on Revolutions, Incites Against the West
Al-Qaeda ideologue Attiya Allah remarked on the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia and incited against the West, claiming that Western countries demand the permanence of the “tyrannical” regimes in the Middle East and North Africa to protect their interests.
- Jihadist Suggests Libyans Use Semtex in Protests
A jihadist urged Libyans to acquire Semtex, a plastic explosive containing RDX and PETN, and to use it in their protests against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in a message posted on the Shumukh al-Islam forum on February 23, 2011.
- As-Sahab Video Shows Strikes on US Base in Wardak
Al-Qaeda’s media arm, as-Sahab, released a video showing multiple mortar and rocket strikes on an American base in Wardak province of Afghanistan, and focusing on the fighters giving supplications that ask for success.
- Zawahiri Attacks Egypt’s Secularism, Subservience to West
Ayman al-Zawahiri, the second in command of al-Qaeda, gave a lecture about the Egyptian government in terms of its separation from Islam and its subservience to the West in a speech released on jihadist forums on February 18, 2011.
- AQAP and Strikes against Houthis - “Echo of the Epics,” Issue 16
An article examining reactions to the attacks on Houthis in al-Jawf and Sa’ada provinces of Yemen and what the attacks demonstrate in terms of al-Qaeda supporting Sunnis, was published in the 16th issue of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s Arabic-language e-magazine, “Echo of the Epics” (Sada al-Malahem).
- Deceased Al-Qaeda Preacher Lectures in Posthumously Released Audio
Al-Qaeda’s media arm, as-Sahab, released a posthumous audio from one of its “mujahid scholars” Maulana Abdul Samad, lecturing on Muslims needing to sacrifice material gains in order to achieve good standing in the hereafter.
- Usama bin Laden Demands French Withdrawal from Muslim Lands
Al-Qaeda’s media arm, as-Sahab, released the full audio of Usama bin Laden’s demand that the French government withdraw its forces from Muslim lands, or its kidnapped nationals would be killed.
- Afghan Taliban Video Shows Captive US Soldier, Suicide Bombers
Manba al-Jihad, a media unit of the Haqqani Network within the Afghan Taliban, released a video focusing on its suicide bombers, and included a passing look at captive US soldier Bowe Bergdahl. The 69-minute Pashto-language video was released on the website of the Afghan Taliban on December 2, 2010, but appeared on jihadist forums on November 24.
- As-Sahab Publishes Second Edition of Zawahiri Book
Ayman al-Zawahiri published via al-Qaeda’s media arm, as-Sahab, the first part of the second edition of his book “Knights Under the Prophet’s Banner, Allah’s Peace and Prayer be Upon Him.” The 507-page text was released on jihadist forums on November 27, 2010.
- Awlaki Urges Support of Mujahideen, Killing of Americans
Anwar al-Awlaki urged Sunni Muslim scholars to incite people to support the mujahideen and to disavow loyalty to Arab rulers in a lecture released on jihadist forums on November 8, 2010. The lecture, entitled, “And to Make it Known and Clear to Mankind,” came in a 23 minute, 5 second video. Awlaki, a radical Yemeni-American cleric, speaks in Arabic from behind a desk with a sheathed dagger in his belt.
- Zawahiri Urges Revenge for Sentencing of Aafia Siddique
Ayman al-Zawahiri, the second in command of al-Qaeda, urged Muslims to avenge the sentencing of Aafia Siddique in an audio speech released on jihadist forums on November 4, 2010. The speech, entitled, “Who Will Come to the Aid of Scientist Aafia Siddique,” came in a 4 minute, 32 second video produced by al-Qaeda’s media arm, as-Sahab.
- Usama bin Laden Justifies Threats to France
Al-Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden justified threats to France and the capturing of its nationals in North Africa in an audio speech broadcast by al-Jazeera Arabic Television on October 27, 2010. Al-Jazeera provided a clip from the as-Sahab-produced video that contained the audio, and also published the Arabic transcript.
- Al-Qaeda's Adam Gadahn Urges Individual Jihad
Al-Qaeda’s American spokesman Adam Gadahn (AKA Azzam the American) urged Muslims to take initiative and carry out acts of individual jihad in states of the “Zio-Crusader coalition” in a video released on jihadist forums on October 23, 2010. Gadahn appeared in the video and spoke entirely in Arabic.
- Al-Qaeda’s Adam Gadahn Speaks on Pakistan Floods
Adam Gadahn (AKA Azzam the American), al-Qaeda’s American spokesman, appeared in a video released by the group’s media arm, as-Sahab, speaking on the Pakistan floods.
- Zawahiri Gives Eulogy for Mustafa Abu al-Yazid
Ayman al-Zawahiri, the second in command of al-Qaeda, eulogized Mustafa Abu al-Yazid in an audio speech released on jihadist forums on July 26, 2010. His speech came in a 47-minute video produced by al-Qaeda’s media arm, as-Sahab.
- Zawahiri Lauds Success of Afghan Taliban, Speaks on Jerusalem
Ayman al-Zawahiri, the second in command of al-Qaeda, lauded the success of the Afghan Taliban and gave news of their “imminent conquest” in Afghanistan in an audio speech released on jihadist forums on July 19, 2010. His praise for the Afghan Taliban and commentary on current developments in the war in Afghanistan come in the introduction to a speech focusing on Jerusalem and inciting Muslims to fight and support Palestinians.
- As-Sahab Releases Second Interview AQ Pakistan Media Head
Al-Qaeda’s media arm, as-Sahab, released on jihadist forums on July 13, 2010, the second interview it conducted with Ustadh Ahmad Farooq, al-Qaeda’s head of preaching and media in Pakistan. The interview, dated March/April 2010, was released as a 69 minute, 45 second Urdu-language video with corresponding Arabic and Urdu transcripts.
- As-Sahab Video of Suicide Bombing in Margha, Paktika
Al-Qaeda’s media arm, as-Sahab, released a video of a suicide bombing carried out by a Kuwaiti fighter in the area of Margha in Paktika province of Afghanistan. The 11 minute, 32 second video is titled, “The Knights of Khorasan,” and was posted in separate Arabic- and Urdu-language versions on jihadist forums on October 15, 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.
- As-Sahab Releases Second Video of Mortar Strike in Wata Pur
Al-Qaeda’s media arm, as-Sahab, released a video showing a mortar strike on an unidentified base in Wata Pur district in Kunar province of Afghanistan.
- As-Sahab Releases Videos of Attacks in Khyber, Landi Kotal
Al-Qaeda’s media arm, as-Sahab, released two videos showing BM rocket attacks on Pakistani military locations in the Khyber and Landi Kotal tribal regions of Pakistan.
- As-Sahab Releases Third Video of Strike in Wata Pur
Al-Qaeda’s media arm, as-Sahab, released a third video showing a strike on an unidentified base in Wata Pur district in Kunar province of Afghanistan.
- 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.
- Al-Qaeda's Continuing Threat To The Homeland: "Diversity Is Definitely The Word"
-- Faisal Shahzad
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.
- Jihad Comes To America
Several disquieting trends converged in New York City’s fabled Times Square entertainment district on Saturday evening, May 1st, 2010.  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.
- Al-Qaeda's Adam Gadahn Gives Demands to Obama
Al-Qaeda’s American spokesman Adam Gadahn (AKA Azzam the American) appeared in a video released by the group’s media arm, as-Sahab, dictating demands to US President Barack Obama. The 24 minute video was posted on jihadist forums on June 20, 2010, and is titled, “Legitimate Demands 2: Barack’s Dilemma.”
- Libi Offers Condolences for Slain ISI Leaders in Video
Abu Yahya al-Libi, a member of al-Qaeda’s Shariah Committee, appeared in a video, offering condolences for the deaths of top Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) officials, and urging fighters in Iraq to unite. The 19 minute, 41 second as-Sahab-produced video is titled, “Blood of Our Leaders… Fuel for Our Battles,” and was released on jihadist forums on June 15, 2010.
- CIA Base Bomber Urges Suicide Attacks in as-Sahab Video
Al-Qaeda’s media arm, as-Sahab, released a posthumous video of Humam al-Balawi (AKA Abu Dujana al-Khorasani) inciting Muslims towards suicide attacks, or what he calls “martyrdom-seeking operations.” The video is 41 minutes, 43 seconds long, and was posted on jihadist forums on June 11, 2010.
- Usama bin Laden Warns Against Executing Khalid Sheikh Muhammad
Usama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda, addressed a message to the American people in an audio released on jihadist forums on June 14, 2010, giving warning about the US potentially executing Khalid Sheikh Muhammad. The audio came in a 1 minute, 30 second video produced by al-Qaeda’s media arm, as-Sahab, and showed only a still picture of bin Laden.
- Zawahiri Addresses Message to Turkish Muslims
Ayman al-Zawahiri addressed an audio speech to Turkish Muslims in an video released on jihadist forums on August 14, 2010. The audio speech, entitled, “A Message to the Turkish Muslim People,” came in a 19 minute, 53 second video produced by al-Qaeda’s media arm, as-Sahab.
- Yazid Urges Support of Jihad, Claims India Attack for al-Qaeda in Kashmir
Al-Qaeda’s media arm, as-Sahab, released a posthumous audio from Mustafa Abu al-Yazid urging support of jihad and claiming that the bombing in Pune, India, on February 13, 2010, was carried out by al-Qaeda in Kashmir. He added that Ilyas Kashmiri leads that group. The audio was released in a 26 minute, 17 second video, and is titled, “He Who Equipped a Raider, Raided.”
- 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.
- 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, 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? 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.
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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?
- Al-Qaeda: The Threat from Tribal Pakistan
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Marriott in Flames: The Attack on the World's "Most Protected" Hotel
Yesterday’s embassies are today’s hotels. The threat against diplomatic targets persists, but due to target hardening, the terrorists seek to attack international hotels. As Westerners frequent such hotels, they should be considered second embassies. Failure to understand the threat and creatively secure international hotels, especially in conflict zones, could lead to loss of life, property and business.
- 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.
- Re-Assessing the Terrorist Threat: The Past, the Present, and the Future
- Cradle of Jihad: Al-Qaeda Focus on Central Asia
Image of China from a November 27, 2006 video inciting jihad in East TurkistanCentral Asia, extending from the Caspian Sea through western China, has long been a strategic focus of al-Qaeda. The writings of top al-Qaeda strategists, most notably Abu Musab al-Suri (AKA Mustafa bin Abd al-Qadir Setmarian Nassar) and Ayman al-Zawahiri, advocate for the establishment of a jihadist front throughout Central Asia to serve as a stepping stone towards the creation of an al-Qaeda stronghold, extending from the Caucuses across the Caspian Sea and into Pakistan.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Who is Abu Ubaidah al-Masri and Why Should We Care: An Obituary
In death as in life, the person known by the nom de guerre, Abu Ubaidah al-Masri (“the Egyptian father of Ubaidah”) remains an enigma. US counter-terrorism officials announced in April 2008 that Abu Ubaidah had died of hepatitis the previous December. Although he was not a marquee name on par with instant-name-recognition figures like Usama bin Laden or Ayman al-Zawahiri, nor was he as publicly well-known as such prominent al-Qaeda talking heads as Adam Gadhan or Abu Yahya al-Libi, it would be a mistake to dismiss Abu Ubaidah as either a marginal figure or bit player. As a senior al-Qaeda operational commander, he was reportedly responsible for directing both the July 7, 2005 suicide bomb attacks in London, and the plot uncovered a year later to simultaneously blow up as many as 18 US and Canadian passenger airliners while en route from London to destinations in America. In many respects, Abu Ubaidah was the jihadist everyman- one of the legions of anonymous soldiers whom we should fear and remember, and indeed pay very close attention to. Moreover, his inexorable rise to the top of al-Qaeda’s senior command structure reveals as much about that movement’s resiliency, longevity, ambition and intentions as it does about our own ability to effectively deter al-Qaeda and counter the threat it still poses.
- 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.
- 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.