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Thursday, January 15, 2015

INTELWIRE Weekly Brief


Google searches for Boko Haram outnumbered searches for either al Qaeda or ISIS by an almost unbelievable margin, despite the Paris attacks and despite widespread complaints that its recent string of atrocities (below) is not garnering enough media attention. Searches for al Qaeda outstripped searches for ISIS (under its various names) for the first time since June.


Europe's New Crackdown 

They can take our lives, but can they also take our freedom? The Charlie Hebdo assault in Paris last week is only the latest chapter in a months-long series of attacks, which built in turn on a yearlong escalation of concerns about the extraordinary number of Europeans traveling to Syria and Iraq to join the Islamic State, al Qaeda's Syrian affiliate, and a host of other jihadi groups. 


Be Afraid. Be A Little Afraid: The Threat of Terrorism from Western Foreign Fighters in Syria and Iraq 
Many U.S. and European intelligence officials fear that a wave of terrorism will sweep over Europe, driven by the civil war in Syria and continuing instability in Iraq. Many of the concerns stem from the large number of foreign fighters involved. By Daniel Byman and Jeremy Shapiro


Nigeria's Boko Haram: Baga destruction 'shown in images'
Satellite images of Nigerian towns attacked by Boko Haram show widespread destruction and suggest a high death toll, Amnesty International says.

More Than a Dozen Detained in European Counterterrorism Raids
As European investigators moved on a broad front to sweep up suspected radicals, the Belgian police said on Friday that 13 people had been detained in Belgium and two in France after a shootout in which two men believed to be militants were killed.

West Struggles to Halt Flow of Citizens to War Zones
For more than a decade, Western governments have struggled to stem the flow of their citizens traveling to fight in war zones in Muslim countries. But last week’s commando-style raids in France were deadly reminders that those measures have done relatively little to reduce the threat. The number of people traveling abroad to fight continues to grow, with about 1,000 militant recruits joining the fight in Syria and Iraq each month, according to recent United States government figures.

Boko Haram galvanized activists all over the world last year when it kidnapped hundreds of school girls in Nigeria and threatened to sell them into slavery, but hardly a peep has been uttered since the Al Qaeda-linked army massacred as many as 2,000 people near the Chad border last week.

In the wake of the tragic shootings in Paris, French police and intelligence agencies are being asked to explain why known militants—including one who had visited an al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen several years ago—were not subject to intense surveillance before they launched last week’s terrorist attack at the offices of a French satirical weekly.

Belgian operation thwarted 'major terrorist attacks'
A terror cell on the brink of carrying out an attack was the target of a raid Thursday that left two suspects dead, Belgian authorities said. A third suspect was injured and taken into custody in the operation at a building in the eastern city of Verviers, prosecutor's spokesman Thierry Werts told reporters.

College considered booting al Qaida blogger, FBI records show
A batch of newly released FBI records shows that agents weighed turning a former North Carolina al Qaida propagandist, Samir Khan, into an informant while the community college he attended considered expelling him over possible security threats to other students and faculty.

French Rein In Speech Backing Acts of Terror
The French authorities are moving aggressively to rein in speech supporting terrorism, employing a new law to mete out tough prison sentences in a crackdown that is stoking a free-speech debate after last week’s attacks in Paris.
Two journalists from Tunisia have reportedly been executed by an Islamic State group in Libya.

Radicalized youth making pit-stops to earn cash in oil-sands before joining extremist groups such as ISIS: chief
Before heading abroad to join extremist groups like ISIS, some Canadians have been stopping first in northern Alberta to earn money to finance their terrorist activities, the chief of the Edmonton Police Service told the National Post in an interview.

Ohio Man Charged With Plotting ISIS-Inspired Attack on U.S. Capitol
An Ohio man was arrested Wednesday as he neared what authorities say were the final stages of a terror plot to attack the U.S. Capitol with guns and pipe bombs in support of the Islamic State militant group.

Briton Lead Suspect in CENTCOM Twitter Hack
The main suspect in the hacking of the US Central Command is a Briton who spent time in prison for accessing Tony Blair’s personal accounts. Junaid Hussain, who is from Birmingham and is in his early twenties, is believed to be in Syria. Based on what appears to be his Twitter account, he has aligned himself with the jihadi group ISIS.

J.M. Berger joined the BBC to discuss the CENTCOM Twitter hack:

-- Compiled by INTELWIRE Staff 

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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