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News, documents and analysis on violent extremism

Monday, October 12, 2015

INTELWIRE Weekly Brief, 10/12/15, ISIS Propaganda, Media and Mass Shooters, and More


Documenting the Virtual ‘Caliphate’ 
This report illuminates the strategic thinking behind Islamic State’s propaganda machine by examining the content of one full month of its prodigious output. Recommended. By Charlie Winter.

Fishing and ultraviolence
So-called Islamic State is known for its brutality. But it's also hooking people in far subtler ways. By Charlie Winter.


Islamic State molds children into new generation of militants
France's first air strike targeting Islamic State (IS) in Syria is reported to have killed 12 children recruited by the jihadist group. Their deaths have highlighted how the young populations of Syria and Iraq are being moulded into a new generation of militants. By Jessica Stern.

Terrorist Tug-of-War: ISIS and al Qaeda Struggle for al Shabab's Soul
Without a doubt, the self-proclaimed Islamic State is currently the most preeminent global jihadist group in the world. Yet al Qaeda is still fighting for influence, in both the Middle East and Africa. In recent months, the showdown between the two groups has been most apparent in East Africa, where ISIS has attempted, but thus far failed, to convince the al Qaeda–linked Somali militia al Shabab to switch allegiances. By Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens.

The Cyber Activists Who Want to Shut Down ISIS
In August 2014, a Twitter account affiliated with Anonymous, the hacker-crusader collective, declared “full-scale cyber war” against ISIS: “Welcome to Operation Ice #ISIS, where #Anonymous will do it’s [sic] part in combating #ISIS’s influence in social media and shut them down.” By Simon Cottee.

ISIS: Paganism with an Islamic Face?
However effective the group's circus of horrors has been at daunting their enemies and attracting the allegiance of “zealous young men” to ISIS, it reveals an atavistic impulse at play that no amount of Quranic hand-waving can paper over and conceal. By Mark Safranski.

AP Investigation: Nuclear black market seeks IS extremists
At least four times in five years, which criminal networks with suspected Russian ties sought to sell radioactive material to extremists through Moldova, an investigation by The Associated Press has found. One investigation uncovered an attempt to sell bomb-grade uranium to a real buyer from the Middle East, the first known case of its kind.

Family Of French ISIS Fighters Try To Stop Young People From Going To Syria
In a bid to deter young people from traveling to fight in Syria and Iraq, the French government has released interviews detailing the experiences of relatives who have lost loved ones.

Why Is Money Still Flowing to ISIS?
Videos of Islamic State fighters driving brand-name S.U.V.s and pickup trucks in Syria, Iraq and Libya are graphic proof that efforts to squeeze the group financially have not done nearly enough.

Obama Administration Ends Effort to Train Syrians to Combat ISIS
The Obama administration on Friday abandoned its efforts to build up a new rebel force inside Syria to combat the Islamic State, acknowledging the failure of its $500 million campaign to train thousands of fighters and announcing that it will instead use the money to provide ammunition and some weapons for groups already engaged in the battle.

IS exploits Telegram mobile app to spread propaganda
So-called Islamic State group (IS) has shifted its propaganda distribution to the secure mobile messaging app Telegram from Twitter, where its accounts have been repeatedly shut down over the past year.

Islamic State closes in on Syrian city of Aleppo
Islamic State fighters have seized villages close to the northern city of Aleppo from rival insurgents, a monitoring group said on Friday, despite an intensifying Russian air-and-sea campaign that Moscow says has targeted the militant group.

ISIS Takes Responsibility for Bombings in Yemen
The Islamic State extremist group claimed responsibility for a series of bombings in Yemen’s two largest cities on Tuesday that killed at least 25 people, including troops from the Persian Gulf who are fighting Yemeni rebels.

Tunisia busts ISIS recruitment cells, arrests 11 suspected recruits
The Tunisian police has broken up three "cells" that were recruiting fighters for ISIS and arrested 11 people suspected of trying to join the militant group in Libya, the Tunisian Ministry of Interior said.

Men arrested in San Diego accused of trying to join Islamic State
A San Diego federal judge Monday ordered two men who were arrested on terrorism charges to be held without bail.

US Officials Ask How ISIS Got So Many Toyota Trucks
U.S. counter-terror officials have asked Toyota, the world’s second largest auto maker, to help them determine how ISIS has managed to acquire the large number of Toyota pick-up trucks and SUVs seen prominently in the terror group’s propaganda videos in Iraq, Syria and Libya.

Islamic State figures killed in air strike; Baghdadi not believed among them
Eight senior figures from Islamic State were killed in an air strike while meeting in a town in western Iraq, but the group's reclusive leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi did not appear to be among them, residents of the town and hospital sources said.


Turkish Capital Ankara Hit by Explosions, Killing at Least 95
At least 95 people were killed in twin blasts in the Turkish capital on Saturday, as the deadliest terror attack in the country’s modern history laid bare the precarious security environment just three weeks before snap elections.

How the media inspires mass shooters
There is growing evidence that the copycat problem is far more serious than is generally understood. By Mark Follman.

Egypt Begins Surveillance Of Facebook, Twitter, And Skype On Unprecedented Scale
Egyptians’ online communications are now being monitored by the sister company of an American cybersecurity firm, giving the Egyptian government an unprecedented ability to comb through data from Skype, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, among others.

Intelligence gaps pose challenge for Syrian refugee screening
Top U.S. national security officials said Thursday there are gaps in data available to screen Syrian refugees seeking to come to the U.S.

Baptist Pastor in Bangladesh Survives Knife Attack
A Baptist pastor in Bangladesh has survived a knife attack by three men who had been invited to his home to discuss religion, the police said on Tuesday.


Jihadology Podcast: The Khurasan Group: Myth and Reality
Thomas Joscelyn comes on the show to talk about the so-called “Khurasan group.” Some of the topics covered include: Why the group came into being and when its members arrived in Syria; Who are the key players and what are their backgrounds; What they’ve been up to in Syria and how they relate to Jabhat al-Nusra; and what this group of individuals can tell us about al-Qaeda’s strategy. By Aaron Zelin with Thomas Joscelyn.

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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