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News, documents and analysis on violent extremism

Monday, November 2, 2015

INTELWIRE Weekly Brief, 11/2/15: ISIS and Telegram, Shabab Split, and More


Islamist militants turn to less-governed social-media platform
The Islamic State and other terror groups are flocking to a Berlin-based social-media service that imposes few barriers on the distribution of violent content or recruiting propaganda, according to a new report.

The growing consensus in Washington holds that President Obama’s current path is unlikely to defeat ISIL any time soon. This view is warranted, but as pressure mounts to “do more” against the group, we should be very wary of a course of action that asks American men and women to take risks with their lives while members of Congress refuse even to risk a debate and vote about using force against the group. By Brian Fishman

From al-Shabab to the Islamic State: The Bay‘a of ‘Abd al-Qadir Mu’min and Its Implications
Mu’min, a longtime Al-Shabab preacher, ideologue, and leader, created a stir among jihadis and jihadi supporters online, particularly those supportive of IS, as well as analysts. By Christopher Anzalone

Lights Off in the Islamic State
Electricity production in ISIS-held regions of Iraq fell precipitously following the organization’s spread into the country last year and, until March, remained abysmally low. By Andrew Shaver and David Ensign

Syria: Obama authorizes boots on ground to fight ISIS
The United States is set to deploy troops on the ground in Syria for the first time to advise and assist rebel forces combating ISIS, the White House said Friday.

New Jersey Man Admits Conspiring to Provide Material Support to ISIL
Alaa Saadeh, 24, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton of the District of New Jersey to an information charging him with one count of conspiring with others to provide material support to ISIL. He remains detained without bail.

ISIS Assassinates Prominent Syrian Activists in Turkey
The men who formed Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently were gunned down inside what should’ve been a safe place by an Islamic State thug.

ISIS Is Target of Turkish Bombing Raids
Turkish jets on Saturday launched bombing raids against Islamic State targets in Syria, one day before Turks are set to vote in parliamentary elections, a senior government official said.


The critical role of friends in networks for countering violent extremism: toward a theory of vicarious help-seeking
Who would be the first to notice, and able to intervene, with individuals considering acts of violent extremism?  Also available in a shorter version with no paywall as part of this collectionBy Michael J. Williams, John G. Horgan and William P. Evans. 


Russia returns as al Qaeda and the Islamic State’s ‘Far Enemy’
Jihad’s real ‘Far Enemy’ in Syria for many years has been Iran and now Russia. By Clint Watts

Al-Shabab Claims Responsibility for Attack on Mogadishu Hotel
The Somali militant group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on a hotel in Mogadishu Sunday, leaving at least 12 people dead, including the owner of the hotel, a military commander and two lawmakers.

Violence in Syria Spurs a Huge Surge in Civilian Flight
The intensity of the fighting, they say, is fueling increased desperation as a growing number of Syrians are fleeing to neighboring countries and, especially, to Europe. More than 9,000 migrants a day crossed into Greece last week, according to the International Organization for Migration, the most since the beginning of the year.

Secular publisher hacked to death in latest Bangladesh attacks
A publisher of secular books has been hacked to death in the Bangladeshi capital, police have said. In a separate attack in Dhaka, police said two other writers and a publisher were stabbed and shot at a publishing house.

Al Qaeda Claims Responsibility for Attacks on 2 Publishers in Bangladesh
Statements attributed to a regional division of Al Qaeda late on Saturday claimed responsibility for attacks on two publishers in Bangladesh who put out works critical of fundamentalist Islam, according to SITE.

Inside the CIA Red Cell
How an experimental unit transformed the intelligence community. By Micah Zenko.


Jihadism in the Land of the Pharaohs
Mokhtar Awad comes on the show to discuss jihadism in Egypt, including Jama’at Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM) and how ABM has changed since it became Wilayat Sinai of the Islamic State. By Aaron Zelin with Mokhtar Awad

India's Relations with Israel & Palestine
Nicolas Blarel comes on the show to discuss India's relationship with Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Some of the topics covered include: controversies related to recent UN votes by India dealing with Israel-Palestine issues and how India's relationship with Israel and Palestine are viewed domestically in India. By Karl Morand with Nicolas Blarel

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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