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Friday, January 30, 2015

INTELWIRE Weekly Brief, 1/30/2015


Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

INTELWIRE's J.M. Berger testified before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade about terrorist use of social media. His written testimony can be found here. Berger also spoke to All Things Considered on the subject.


The Islamic State’s model
The Islamic State announced several months ago that it was “annexing” territory in Algeria (Wilayat al-Jazair), Libya (Wilayat al-Barqah, Wilayat al-Tarabulus and Wilayat al-Fizan), Sinai (Wilayat Sinai), Saudi Arabia (Wilayat al-Haramayn) and Yemen (Wilayat al-Yaman). It is likely that the Islamic State plans to pursue a similar approach in Afghanistan and Pakistan following its announcement of accepting pledges of allegiance from former members of the Afghan and Pakistan Taliban to also try and “annex” territory there under the framework of a new wilayah called “Wilayat Khorasan.”

ISIS and Boko Haram’s Unholy Online Alliance
Boko Haram, which has terrorized Nigeria in its quest to create an Islamic caliphate, appears to mirroring the Islamic State’s online media campaign and potentially laying the groundwork for future coordination between the groups, U.S. government officials and experts told The Daily Beast.

Group Linked to ISIS Says It’s Behind Assault on Libyan Hotel
Militants claiming allegiance to the Islamic State said they were responsible for an armed assault on a luxury hotel that killed at least eight people here on Tuesday, the most significant in a string of terrorist attacks against Western interests and government institutions in the capital since the ouster of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi more than three years ago.

'We Were Conned,' Chechens Who Fought With IS Tell Russian Media
Two Chechens who say they fought with the Islamic State (IS) group have expressed negative attitudes about the militants and say they regret their decisions to go to Syria, according to interviews published by Russian state media.

Anarchy leaves Libya vulnerable to expansion of Islamic State affiliates, potentially threatening oil sector
A vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) was detonated on 27 January outside the Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli. The attack was claimed by the Tripoli wilaya (province) branch of the Islamic State. This report examines the impact of the jihadist's rise on the conflict between the Libyan National Army-backed House of Representatives and the Islamist Libya Dawn-backed General National Congress.

Pro-ISIS Messages Create Dilemma For Social Media Companies
According to law enforcement officials, ISIS and other terrorist organizations are increasingly adept at using social media to recruit from abroad. Last year alone, the FBI reports, around 20 American citizens were detained trying to travel to Syria to join militants fighting for the so-called Islamic State.

Dozens dead in Egypt's Sinai as Islamists launch simultaneous attacks
Islamic State-linked militants killed at least 29 people in simultaneous attack around Egypt’s North Sinai region on Thursday night in one of the deadliest attacks on the country’s military for decades.


Israel Is the New Front in the Syrian War
On the afternoon of Jan. 28, two Israeli soldiers were killed during a Hezbollah missile attack in Shebaa Farms, a disputed strip of land in the Golan Heights abutting southern Lebanon. Israel Defense Forces positions along the border in Mount Hermon were also mortared. Earlier in the day, following a Jan. 27 rocket attack launched into an Israeli section of the Golan, the Israeli Air Force hit Syrian Army artillery positions.

Who is in charge in Yemen?
The latest political developments in Yemen — which culminated in the sudden resignation of Prime Minister Khaled Bahah, his Cabinet and President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi on Jan. 22 — have left even the most politically consummate Yemenis struggling to put the pieces together.

Former Al-Shabab Commander Denounces Terror Group
A former top commander of Somalia's al-Shabab terror group says he has quit the insurgency, renouncing the violence perpetuated by his former comrades.


Becoming Mulan: Female Western Migrants to ISIS
The current flow of foreigners to Syria and Iraq is remarkable not only for its scale, but also for its inclusion of many women. Much has been written about the male fighters who migrate to engage in the conflict there; these fighters are prolific on social media and share details of their day-to-day experiences with supporters and opponents alike. Less, however, is known about the women who travel to join ISIS and support its state-building efforts. The flow of both men and women is a concern for Western governments, who fear that these individuals could pose a threat on return home. The number of Western migrants overall is estimated at 3,000, with as many as 550 of these being women.


Pre-order ISIS: The State of Terror by Jessica Stern and J.M. Berger. Buy J.M. Berger's book, Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam


Views expressed on INTELWIRE are those of the author alone.



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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

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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


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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