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Friday, May 15, 2015

INTELWIRE Weekly Brief, 5/15/2015: Return of the Sith, ISIS in Pakistan, More

After weeks of conflicting and inconsistent reports about his alleged incapacitating injuries, self-styled caliph Abu Bakr al Baghdadi surfaced this week in an audio recording that did little to settle the question. The recording vaguely referenced events in a March-to-April time frame and seemed to almost studiously avoid anything that would give the impression it was intended as proof of life.

Most of the content of the lecture was tedious recapping and predictable exhortation. While it reiterated previous calls for Muslims to join the Islamic State immediately, Baghdadi took unusual pains to explain that this call was not a sign of weakness. ISIS doesn't need the recruits, he explained, the recruits need to be with ISIS to save their souls. Saying "I'm not desperate" when no one has asked is a little like volunteering "I'm not racist."

Baghdadi covered a massive range of topics using an excessive number of words, so much that it was easy to miss the fact that some of his choicest words and one of the longest single sections of the speech was devoted to Saudi Arabia. Baghdadi made a number of pointed comments about Saudi willingness to bomb its neighbor but not to take up arms "in defense of Muslims" in Syria, Burma, Palestine and so on.

"Their treachery has become clear even to the laymen of the Muslims. ... So their masters from amongst the Jews and Crusaders had no more use for them. And so their masters began to replace them with the Safawī (Safavid) Rāfidah and the Kurdish atheists," Baghdadi said. "When Āl Salūl realized their masters’ abandonment of them, their disposal of them like tattered shoes, and their replacement of them, they launched their supposed war against the Rāfidah of Yemen. And it is not a storm of resolve, rather it is the kick of a dying person, by Allah’s permission, as he struggles during his last breaths."


Minnesota Teen Terror Recruit Back in Prison After Violating Terms of Halfway House Agreement
Abdullahi Yusuf, a Somali-American who pleaded guilty to conspiring to support terrorists in the Middle East, has been taken into custody for allegedly violating conditions while living in a St. Paul halfway house. Yusuf drew national attention after a federal judge decided to place him in a halfway house and provide counseling for him rather than hold him in custody while awaiting sentencing. Yusuf’s alleged violations were not detailed in court records.

Review Roundup: The State of Terror
A look at the reviews for the new ISIS book by Jessica Stern and J.M. Berger. "Smart granular analysis... nuanced and readable... a profound act of counterterrorism... packed with useful insights... big-brained research on political violence and some of the most acute thinking about the insurgency that is around today..." Buy it today.

Gunmen Ambush Bus in Pakistan, Killing Dozens
At least 43 people were killed when gunmen ambushed a bus in this southern port city, Pakistani officials said, in a sectarian assault that was the country’s first major attack claimed by Islamic State.

NSA director says ISIS ideology 'increasingly resonating' with Americans
The head of U.S. Cyber Command said Monday that the ability of ISIS to recruit adherents online is "a trend that is clearly increasing, not decreasing" and that the terror group's ideology is "increasingly resonating" with Americans.

Virginia woman sentenced for lying about ISIS bomb plot
A Virginia woman who tried to help a teenager join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, and carry out a suicide bombing was sentenced Monday to 4½ years in federal prison for lying to the FBI about the plot.

Journey to ISIS: From an Astrophysics Student to Shell-Shocked Islamist Fighter
A Turkish foreign fighter's diary provides a unique glimpse into the everyday miseries of life in ISIS-held Syria and the psychological toll of air strikes on new recruits.

Defenders Of Minn. Men Accused Of Trying To Join ISIS Claim Entrapment
Lawyers for the four Minnesota men accused of trying to join ISIS say the FBI entrapped them.


The Unknown American Al-Qaeda Operative
By Arif Rafiq. An American-born terrorist, al Qaeda leader's Ahmed Farooq's life and recent death reveal the deep cleavages within Pakistan's society.

The Detail in Seymour Hersh’s Bin Laden Story That Rings True
Hersh contends that “the C.I.A. did not learn of Bin Laden’s whereabouts by tracking his couriers, as the White House has claimed since May 2011, but from a former senior Pakistani intelligence officer who betrayed the secret in return for much of the $25 million reward offered by the U.S.”

Al-Qaeda linked group brags about killing after blogger hacked to death
As the world reacted to the news that another secular blogger in Bangladesh had been killed in a machete attack in the north-eastern city of Sylhet, Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) claimed the attack on social media.

Four jihadists killed in clashes with Tunisian army
Four jihadists were killed Thursday in clashes with the Tunisian army in a mountainous region near the border with Algeria, the defence ministry said.

Inspectors in Syria Find Traces of Banned Military Chemicals
International inspectors have found traces of banned toxic chemicals in at least three military locations in Syria, four diplomats and officials said, less than two years after President Bashar al-Assad agreed to dismantle the country’s chemical arsenal.


“It's More Than Just a Name”: A Theoretical Approach to Eradicating Terrorism Through Propositions of Organizational Naming
The following study offers a series of propositions highlighting the effects and implications of organizational naming and labeling practices and their subsequent effects on the framing of terrorist organizations and activity. by Jacqueline S. Bruscella

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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