Blogs of War

Hizballah Cavalcade

Internet Haganah



Kremlin Trolls

Making Sense of Jihad

Selected Wisdom

Views from the Occident


American Terrorists

Anwar Awlaki

Al Qaeda


American Al Qaeda Members

Inspire Magazine

Revolution Muslim


News, documents and analysis on violent extremism

Friday, August 21, 2015

INTELWIRE Weekly Brief, 8/21/15, ISIS Apocalypse, the Joker's Jihad, the More Things Change


How ISIL Out-Terrorized Bin Laden
An excerpt from the highly anticipated new book by Will McCants: The Islamic State’s brutality and its insistence on apocalypse now and caliphate now set it apart from al-Qaeda, of which it was a part until 2014. We’re used to thinking of al-Qaeda’s leader Osama bin Laden as the baddest of the bad, but the Islamic State is worse. Bin Laden tamped down messianic fervor and sought popular Muslim support; the return of the early Islamic empire, or caliphate, was a distant dream. In contrast, the Islamic State’s members fight and govern by their own version of Machiavelli’s dictum “It is far safer to be feared than loved.” They stir messianic fervor rather than suppress it. They want God’s kingdom now rather than later. This is not Bin Laden’s jihad.

The War on Terror and Batman's War on the Joker are sadly similar
Did you ever think about how the relationship between Batman and the Joker mirrors the West’s war with jihadists? Probably not. I mean, holy shaky metaphors, Batman! Still, it has a certain charm. By J.M. Berger

Obama and Terrorism: Like It or Not, the War Goes On
President Barack Obama came into office determined to end a seemingly endless war on terrorism. Obama pledged to make his counterterrorism policies more nimble, more transparent, and more ethical than the ones pursued by the George W. Bush administration. But in many important ways, the relationship between Bush’s and Obama’s counterterrorism programs is marked by continuity as much as by change. By Jessica Stern


Jihadology Podcast: Palestinians and Global Jihad with Samar Batrawi
Aaron Zelin and Samar Batrawi discuss the history, politics, and implications of Palestinians in the global jihadi movement.

Middle East Week: Libya Peace Talks Continue
Mary Fitzgerald and Karl Morand talk about the recent UN talks in Geneva and the ongoing effort to end the civil war in Libya.


How Is The War Against The Islamic State Going? 10 Expert Opinions

In August 2014 the United States joined the war against the Islamic State (IS). Collected here are evaluations of that war from 10 experts: Ahmed Ali of the American University of Iraq-Sulaimani, J.M. Berger of the Brookings Institution, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Dr. Michael Knights of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Aron Lund of Syria in Crisis, Alex Mello of Horizon Client Access, Douglas Ollivant of the New America Foundation, Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi of the Middle East Forum, Craig Whiteside of the Naval War College, and Aaron Zelin of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy all of whom have been astute observers of the Islamic State, Syria and Iraq.

Mothers of ISIS
Their children abandoned them to join the terror organization. Now all they have is each other. By Julia Ioffe.

Rescuing Yazidi Slaves From Islamic State
When so called Islamic State swept across northern Iraq more than a year ago, the Yazidis, a religious minority, were trapped and overwhelmed. Now, a secret network of Yazidi smugglers is working to rescue those who remain in captivity.

The ‘Caliphate’ Will Not Be Televised: IS Bans TV, Destroys Satellite Dishes

Islamic State (IS) militants are destroying satellite dishes and television receivers in civilian homes to prevent people from watching "dangerous" foreign channels that air anti-IS reports, activists and eyewitnesses in Syria told RFE/RL this week.

Jihad and Girl Power: How ISIS Lured 3 London Girls
An estimated 4,000 Westerners have traveled to Syria and Iraq, more than 550 of them women and girls, to join the Islamic State.

Syrian Expert Who Shielded Palmyra Antiquities Meets a Grisly Death at ISIS’ Hands
Months after his home fell to the jihadists of the Islamic State, Khalid al-Asaad, the retired chief of antiquities for Palmyra, has fallen, too.

Islamic State claims responsibility for massive car bombing in Cairo
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for a massive car bombing on Thursday that targeted security forces here in the Egyptian capital in what the militant group deemed as retaliation for a deadly government operation against its fighters.

Malaysia ISIS Recruits: Counterterrorism Police Detain 10 Suspected Islamic State Group Militants
At least 10 people with the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, were detained in multiple raids across Malaysia Thursday as the country's security forces continue to crack down on militant recruitment.


Obama and Terrorism: Like It or Not, the War Goes On
U.S. President Barack Obama came into office determined to end a seemingly endless war on terrorism. But in many important ways, the relationship between Bush's and Obama's counterterroism programs is marked by continuity as much as change. By Jessica Stern.

Should the United States Negotiate with Terrorists?
Longtime jihadist-watcher and FPRI fellow Clint Watts offers a provocative and novel idea: trying to splinter Nusra as a prelude to effective negotiations with it. By Clint Watts.

The Bin Laden Tapes
A trove of al Qaeda tapes provides a glimpse at the organization's early history, before its war with America.

Airstrikes by Syrian government kill as many as 100 in Damascus suburb
Government airstrikes killed as many as 100 people in a Damascus suburb Sunday, activists said, in one of the deadliest attacks of Syria’s four-year-old conflict.

Bangkok bombing: Thailand believes international terrorism is unlikely

Government suggests as many as 10 people were involved in atrocity, but finds no evidence of link to 'international terrorism.'

Nashville Hotel Nixes Conference for Group Cited by Charleston Church Gunman
A Nashville hotel has cancelled a conference by an organization cited in Charleston massacre gunman Dylann Roof's manifesto, leaving the group scrambling to find a new venue.

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.



Tweets referencing this post:



", 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.


Newest posts!

INTELWIRE Weekly Brief, 8/14/2015, ISIS and Rape, ...

INTELWIRE Weekly Brief, 8/7/2015, Perspectives on ...

INTELWIRE Weekly Brief, 7/31/2015, Mullah Omar Edi...

Mullah Omar and the AQ-ISIS War

INTELWIRE Weekly Brief, 7/24/2015, ISIS in AfPak, ...

INTELWIRE Weekly Brief, 7/17/15. Chattanooga, CVE ...

INTELWIRE Weekly Brief, 7/10/2015: July 4 Threats,...

INTELWIRE Weekly Brief, 7/3/2015

INTELWIRE Weekly Brief, 6/26/2015: Day of Terror, ...

A definition of terrorism


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