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News, documents and analysis on violent extremism

Saturday, April 25, 2015

INTELWIRE Weekly Brief 4/24/2015


Al Qaeda’s American Dream Ends
The White House's announcement that Adam Gadahn was killed in a drone strike in Pakistan marked the end of a generation. Al Qaeda’s array of American recruits once inspired alarm at the highest levels of government; today they are a spent force, their most visible and influential members killed. Full story at Politico, and for more on American jihadists, check out Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam.


Education and Attitudes in Pakistan: Understanding Perceptions of Terrorism
This report examines the role of Pakistan’s official education system in encouraging an array of intolerant, biased, and—in some cases—radical attitudes in the Pakistani populace, including anti-Americanism, hatred of India and Hindus, intolerance of minorities, and some sympathy for militant groups. It is based on a curriculum and textbook study and fieldwork in high schools in Punjab from the fall of 2013 to the summer of 2014. By Madiha Afzal

Islamic State franchising: Tribes, transnational jihadi networks and generational shifts
A study of the nature of IS expansion into different areas of the Middle East and North Africa, the challenges it faces in doing so, and the impact it has on local power dynamics, in particular with respect to local jihadi groups. It also focuses on the incentives and conditions for expansion and brand affiliation, as well as its objectives and strategies. By Rivka Azoulay


Latest Reviews of ISIS: The State of Terror
Backbench: "Stern and Berger have made a valuable contribution to the discourse surrounding ISIS and I highly recommend their new book, which is equally accessible to both the academic and more casual reader with an interest in Middle Eastern affairs." Prospect Magazine: "...the heart of their book is about the technology and psychology of IS. They ... break down the illusion of novelty, by situating the militants' sadistic tactics, apocalyptic ideas and social media dexterity in the context of other violent extremist groups. This may not be consolatory, but it is clarifying."

ISIS targeting misfits and mentally ill to commit lone-wolf terror attacks, claims UK police chief
The Islamic State (ISIS) is not attempting to form terror cells based on the model of al-Qaeda to commit attacks in the West, but instead radicalize misfits, criminals and the mentally ill to carry out lone-wolf attacks, according to a UK police chief.

How ISIS is luring so many Americans to join its ranks
A year after ISIS became a household name in America, using brutality and savvy propaganda to challenge al Qaeda and its affiliates for jihadist adherents, U.S. prosecutions of would-be recruits have exploded.

Tension in court as 4 Minnesota men held on terror charges
Attorneys for four Minnesota men accused of trying to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State group questioned the government's use of a paid informant. But a judge found there was probable cause to believe a crime was committed and ordered the men held in custody.

Terror plot: teenagers linked to top Islamic State recruiter Abu Khalid al-Kambodi
The five Melbourne men arrested on Saturday over an alleged Anzac Day terror plot had close links to a senior Australian jihadist and Islamic State recruiter in Syria.

Al-Furqan Islamic Centre in Melbourne to close its doors after terror arrests
The Al-Furqan Islamic Centre, which has been linked to two teenagers charged with terrorism-related offences this week, has announced it is closing its doors.

Islamic State Offshoot Poses New Security Threat in Afghanistan
A bombing in the eastern city of Jalalabad killed 35 people in what appeared to be the first major operation claimed by militants in Afghanistan loyal to Islamic State.


What AQAP’S Operations Reveal About Its Strategy In Yemen
While AQAP has certainly taken advantage of chaos of the Houthi’s war in the south and the Saudi air campaign, the group has in fact been gearing up its own overt military campaign since last summer. Therefore, even if there is an eventual ceasefire between the Houthis and the Saudis, AQAP will continue fighting and operating on its own terms.

Twitter encourages users to report accounts 'promoting terrorism'
The micro-blogging service on Thursday added new language to its stance on abusive behavior noting that statements “threatening or promoting terrorism” were against its rules.

Ahmed Farouq: Leader of al Qaeda's Indian branch killed by U.S.
Ahmed Farouq didn't have the prestige of fellow al Qaeda figure Osama bin Laden, the influence of Anwar al-Awlaki, or the notoriety of Adam Gadahn. Still, he was a big deal.

Man arrested in France in plot to attack churches
A 24-year-old man is in custody after he called for an ambulance, only to have French authorities come and discover weapons, ammunition and evidence of his plans to target churches -- an attack that someone in Syria requested, a top prosecutor said Wednesday.

Buy the new book ISIS: The State of Terror by Jessica Stern and J.M. Berger.

Buy J.M. Berger's seminal book on American jihadists, 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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", 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


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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