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News, documents and analysis on violent extremism

Monday, January 18, 2016

INTELWIRE Weekly Brief, 1/18/16: New ISIS Research, AQIM, Latest Terror Attacks


The Islamic State’s Territorial Methodology
Since June 2014, when the Islamic State proclaimed itself a caliphate, a pattern has emerged in the way IS has attempted to expand, take over new territory, and then consolidate its control. The pattern is partly explained by IS’s systematizing, bureaucratizing, and formalizing of its governance structures, which allow it to operate consistently and in parallel across its various wilayat (provinces). By Aaron Zelin.

‘The disease is unbelief’: Boko Haram’s religious and political worldview
The Nigerian jihadi group Boko Haram has killed over 15,000 people, disrupted governance, and caused a humanitarian emergency in Nigeria and the surrounding countries. While its ideology is often described as opposition to democracy and rejection of Western-style education, its theology and politics encompass more than hatred for Western influence. By Alex Thurston.

The evolution of the ISIS’ language: a quantitative analysis of the language of the first year of Dabiq magazine
First, our analysis showed that affiliation seems to be an increasingly important psychological motive for the group. Secondly, ISIS has been increasingly using emotions, which are an important mobilizing factor in collective action literature, in a strategic manner. Thirdly, ISIS language presents an increasing concern with females. Last but not least, our analysis shows that ISIS has been increasingly using internet jargon. By Matteo Vergani and Ana-Maria Bliuc.

Internal Assessments of Terrorism Studies
Notes on the fields of terrorism studies, civil war studies, and social movement studies, looking at assessments from both people within these fields and people outside of them. By Andrew Zammit.


Internal Documents Show ISIS Slashed Fighter Salaries
"So on account of the exceptional circumstances the Islamic State is facing, it has been decided to reduce the salaries that are paid to all mujahideen by half, and it is not allowed for anyone to be exempted from this decision, whatever his position." Obtained and translated by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi.

A News Agency With Scoops Directly From ISIS, and a Veneer of Objectivity
In several terrorist attacks, an outlet called the Amaq News Agency was first with the news that the Islamic State was going to claim responsibility. The agency has been getting the scoops because it gets tips straight from ISIS. By Rukmini Callimachi.

‘I went to join Isis in Syria, taking my four-year-old. It was a journey into hell’
Sophie Kasiki is one of the few women to escape from Raqqa, the stronghold of Islamic State.

Beyond Bombings: The Islamic State in Southeast Asia
While hostage taking, executions and barricade style attacks garner less concern from security services than bombings, this is potentially an important development at both the tactical and strategic levels for Southeast Asian militants. If we are to understand the real impact of ISIL on Southeast Asian militancy, it is this.

Jakarta Attack Raises Fears of ISIS’ Spread in Southeast Asia
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for a terrorist attack in the Indonesian capital on Thursday, raising the specter of an expanded presence by the group in Southeast Asia.

Indonesia to strengthen anti-terror law following Jakarta attacks
Indonesia plans to strengthen its anti- terror law this year to give police greater powers of arrest, following last week's attack by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the capital.

In Libya, U.S. Courts Unreliable Allies to Counter ISIS
Counterterrorism officials regard the Libyan branch as the Islamic State’s most dangerous affiliate, one that is expanding its territory and continuing to mount deadly attacks, including several this month. But to stop its advance, the United States and its European allies have been forced to court unreliable allies from among a patchwork of Libyan militias that remain unaccountable, poorly organized and divided by region and tribe.

Istanbul Suicide Bomber Went From Dental School To ISIS
The man who blew himself up in Istanbul on Tuesday, killing 10 people, was a former dental student and member of ISIS who may have initially planned to carry out the attack on New Year’s Eve, sources told BuzzFeed News.

Dozens killed by Islamic State in 'massacre' in Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor
UK-based monitoring group claims 85 civilians have been killed while state media says as many as 300 died in Isis onslaught.

ISIS Militant Returned to Belgium Before Paris Attacks
Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the Islamic State militant who the authorities say helped plan the Paris terrorist attacks that killed 130 people, traveled widely across Europe in the lead-up to the attacks.

Maryland Man Faces Terror Charges in New York
A Maryland man who allegedly traveled overseas to fight alongside terrorists has been flown back to New York to face terror charges. A man known as Malik Jones -- but who also has several aliases --could appear in a New York courtroom as early as Monday afternoon.

Woodbridge Men Charged with Terrorism Offenses Related to Attempting to Travel to Syria to Join ISIL
Joseph Hassan Farrokh, 28, and Mahmoud Amin Mohamed Elhassan, 25, both of Woodbridge, were charged today for criminal activity relating to Farrokh’s attempt to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).


At Least 20 Killed in Siege by Militants in Burkina Faso
Gunmen from Al Qaeda stormed a luxury hotel frequented by foreigners in Burkina Faso’s capital on Friday night, seizing hostages and killing others while fighting with dozens of security forces who began a counterattack hours later. It was Al Qaeda’s first major attack in this landlocked sub-Saharan country, a former French colony.

Egypt's parliament endorses controversial anti-terrorism law
Egypt's parliament on Sunday overwhelmingly endorsed a controversial anti-terrorism law that sets up special courts and shields its enforcers from legal ramifications.

EU plans new measures against terrorism financing by February
The European Commission will announce new measures in February to tackle terrorism financing, EU officials said, as part of wider efforts to prevent new attacks in Europe after the Nov. 13 shootings and bombings in Paris that killed 130 people.

Israel Faces New Brand of Terrorism, This Time From Young Settlers
The existence of the network, known as the Revolt for the title of its manifesto, became known about six months ago, after the arrest of several suspected members. This latest manifestation of Jewish terrorism is the creation of young extremists rebelling against what they view as the inertia of the Israeli establishment.

Deadly suicide attack targets polio centre in Pakistan
A suicide bomber detonated explosives outside a polio eradication centre in Pakistan's western city of Quetta, killing more than a dozen people in the latest deadly assault on the campaign to fight the disease in the country.

Justices seem divided over Iran terror-related appeal
More than 30 years after 241 Marines died in a terrorist attack in Beirut, the Supreme Court on Wednesday weighed putting up a new roadblock for the victims’ families who are trying to obtain nearly $2 billion in judgments against Iran.


Libya's Fragile Unity Agreement
Mary Fitzgerald comes back on the show to discuss the latest attempts to bring an end to the conflict in Libya. Some of the topics we covered include background on the unity agreement that was signed in December, challenges the new unity government is already facing, and the new UN envoy's determination to make the unity agreement work. By Karl Morand with Mary Fitzgerald.

Jihadology Podcast: The Malian Jihadi Landscape
Andrew Lebovich comes on the show to discuss the various jihadi groups that have been active in Mali over the past few years. Some of the topics covered include the political process in Mali after the French intervention, why there has been a rise in violence recently, and why IS has not been able to penetrate Mali like many of the other jihadi zones. By Aaron Zelin with Andrew Lebovich.

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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