ISIS: STATE OF TERROR
LINKSBlogs of War
Making Sense of Jihad
Views from the Occident
American Al Qaeda Members
News, documents and analysis on violent extremism
Friday, February 4, 2011
Mapping Awlaki's Current Social Network And Influence On Radical Actors
Click on image for full-size picture.
The image above is a map of Anwar Awlaki's current social and inspirational connections to terrorism, an effort to illustrate some of his reach and influence. For a map of Awlaki's connections to the September 11 plot and Al Qaeda, click here.
The blue figures on the left are terrorism suspects who have been explicitly inspired by Awlaki to a greater or lesser extent. The data about "inspiration" is incomplete, but all of the people linked here were followers of Awlaki's work to a greater or lesser extent. I've only included the best-documented cases here, so this list is only a sampling of Awlaki's influence on radical actors.
The green figures are so-called "lone wolves" who were in direct contact with Awlaki and in some cases taking explicit instructions from him.
Figures in red are Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula members to whom Awlaki has been clearly attached. Abu Basir al-Wuhayshi, AQAP's emir, has pledged to revenge Awlaki's death should the United States succeed in its stated intention to kill the Yemeni-American cleric.
Samir Khan is the editor of AQAP's Inspire Magazine, in which position he closely works with Awlaki. Omar Abdulmutallab, the Christmas Day attempted bomber who set his underwear on fire in 2009, is listed here as part of AQAP because he was trained and equipped by them and was specifically directed by Awlaki. His bomb was designed by AQAP explosives expert Ibrahim al-Asiri, who also apparently designed the UPS cargo bombs deployed by AQAP in 2010, a plot which appears to have been tightly linked to Awlaki.
As you can see, Awlaki's disciples are largely independent from each other, although there is some measurable interconnection among various individuals, sometimes one or two people removed. One of Awlaki's strengths is that he can direct attacks through both organizational and "lone wolf" approaches.
So he's dangerously unpredictable, but on the bright side, he hasn't shown a real aptitude for planning terrorist attacks as of yet. Most attacks associated with him have been failures. His biggest success, Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan, received indoctrination from Awlaki that almost certainly contributed to his radicalization, but the best reports we have to date indicate Awlaki did not make any tactical/operation contribution to Hasan's attack.
Views expressed on INTELWIRE are those of the author alone.
Tweets referencing this post:
"...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
More on Jihad Joe
FBI Lab Took Nearly Three Years To Analyze Terry N...
Mapping Awlaki's 9/11 Social Network
New 9/11 Suspects In California, New Questions Abo...
Mubarak: The Early Days
Intelwire Sourcebook on Islamic Extremism Offered ...
Exclusive: State Department History of Muslim Brot...
Live video from Cairo protests
JTTF's Tommy Corrigan Needs Your Help; Bone Marrow...
Measuring Awlaki's Influence
Table Of Contents For "Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go...
New York Pipe Bomb Suspect Linked to Revolution Muslim
The Utility of Lone Wolves
Interview with Online Jihadist Abu Suleiman Al Nasser
A Way Forward for CVE: The Five Ds
How Terrorists Use The Internet: Just Like You
PATCON: The FBI's Secret War on the Militia Movement
Interview About Jihad With Controversial Cleric Bilal Philips
Forgeries on the Jihadist Forums
U.S. Gave Millions To Charity Linked To Al Qaeda, Anwar Awlaki
State Department Secretly Met With Followers of Blind Sheikh
State Department Put 'Political Pressure' On FBI To Deport Brother-in-Law Of Osama Bin Laden In 1995
FBI Records Reveal Details Of Nixon-Era Racial Profiling Program Targeting Arabs
Gaza Flotilla Official Was Foreign Fighter in Bosnia War
U.S. Had 'High Confidence' Of UBL Attack In June 2001
Behind the Handshake: The Rumsfeld-Saddam Meeting