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Sunday, October 24, 2010

New Awlaki Video A Work In Progress

A new video from Anwar Awlaki was posted onto one of the main jihadist forums this weekend. It's an odd duck. The video is in Arabic, lasts for 90 seconds of typical Awlaki fare about the plight of Muslims, then cuts off in mid-sentence. This led to a bizarre story on AFP saying a video had been released but offering no other information.

Awlaki is sporting a particularly huge version of the traditional Yemeni dagger, which seems to be pointed directly at an uncomfortable spot below the belt, and which waggles disconcertingly as he talks. Given Awlaki's history of visiting prostitutes and hanging around schoolyards, Shaykh Siddiqmund Al-Freud might have something cutting to say about this presentation.

Although it was posted to a forum, it was not posted through normal channels -- in other words, it was not designated as a formal release and promoted by the site's moderators. It also lacks the logo and graphics signature of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's Al-Malahem media operation.

Given Awlaki's recent affiliation with AQAP, this is an interesting development. Is Awlaki trying to maintain an independent channel to Muslims where he can downplay his terrorist ties? Has there been a break (less likely)? Or is the video still in the process of being readied for an AQAP release (perhaps more likely)? Stay tuned.

UPDATE 1:35 p.m.: Christopher Anzalone of Views From The Occident tweets me that a similar teaser clip preceded the release of Awlaki's Al-Malahem interview. So keep your eyes peeled for a full release, which will be noted here when it arrives.

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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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