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News, documents and analysis on violent extremism


Sunday, September 16, 2007
 

'The New Al Qaeda Central'

The Washington Post echoes what you read on INTELWIRE more than three months ago...

One figure attracting interest is a Libyan known as Abu Yahya al-Libi, who gained notoriety after he and three other al-Qaeda prisoners escaped from a high-security U.S. military prison in Bagram in July 2005.

Since then, he has appeared on more than a dozen videos produced by al-Qaeda's media arm. His speeches and treatises are so numerous that some analysts speculate he is being groomed to join bin Laden's inner circle. "Abu Yahya al-Libi is now the most visible face of al-Qaeda, surpassing al-Zawahiri, and in fact all of the jihadists," said Ben Venzke, chief executive of IntelCenter, a private terrorism research group that does work for the U.S. government.

In his videos, Abu Yahya al-Libi dresses the part of a gun-toting holy warrior but has made his reputation as a religious hard-liner. He frequently criticizes other Muslims as heretics; favorite targets include Shiites, Hamas and the Saudi royal family.

"He's young, but he's very smart," Benotman said. "For his career, the sky's the limit."

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BOOKS

"...smart, granular analysis..."

ISIS: The State of Terror
"Jessica Stern and J.M. Berger's new book, "ISIS," should be required reading for every politician and policymaker... Their smart, granular analysis is a bracing antidote to both facile dismissals and wild exaggerations... a nuanced and readable account of the ideological and organizational origins of the group." -- Washington Post

More on ISIS: The State of Terror

"...a timely warning..."

Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam:
"At a time when some politicians and pundits blur the line between Islam and terrorism, Berger, who knows this subject far better than the demagogues, sharply cautions against vilifying Muslim Americans. ... It is a timely warning from an expert who has not lost his perspective." -- New York Times

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ABOUT

INTELWIRE is a web site edited by J.M. Berger. a researcher, analyst and consultant covering extremism, with a special focus on extremist activities in the U.S. and extremist use of social media. He is a non-resident fellow with the Brookings Institution, Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, and author of the critically acclaimed Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, the only definitive history of the U.S. jihadist movement, and co-author of ISIS: The State of Terror with Jessica Stern.

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