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News, documents and analysis on violent extremism

Monday, February 1, 2016

INTELWIRE Weekly Brief, 2/1/15


Jihadi rivalry: The Islamic State challenges al-Qaida
International jihad has undergone a wholesale internal revolution in recent years. The dramatic emergence of the Islamic State (IS) and its proclamation of a Caliphate means that the world no longer faces one Sunni jihadi threat, but two, as IS and al-Qaida compete on the global stage. By Charles Lister.


Letters from a serial killer: Inside the Unabomber archive
It has been almost 20 years since Ted Kaczynski’s trail of terror came to an end. Now a huge trove of his personal writings has come to light, revealing the workings of his mind — and the life he leads behind bars.

Swedish neo-Nazis: Moves to de-radicalise amid far-right rise
Sweden is still home to an active and at times violent neo-Nazi movement, and there are fears that rising popularity of the Sweden Democrats will also benefit the extremists.

'Hundreds' of masked men beat refugee children in Stockholm
Hundreds of masked men marched through Stockholm's main train station on Friday evening, reportedly beating up refugees and anyone who didn't appear to be ethnically Swedish.

Syrian rebel splits deepen after failed 'merger' with al Qaeda arm
The leader of al Qaeda's Syrian wing tried unsuccessfully at a recent meeting to convince rival Islamist factions to merge into one unit, several insurgency sources have told Reuters.

FBI: Milwaukee man planned mass shooting at Masonic temple
A 23-year-old Milwaukee man charged with illegally possessing machine guns had planned a massacre at a Masonic temple in the city, federal officials said Tuesday.

Oregon standoff: Most phone and Internet service for occupiers ends, supporter says
As the anti-government standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge entered its 30th day, the remaining occupiers claimed many of their phone lines no longer worked.


Boko Haram burns kids alive in Nigeria, 86 dead: officials
A survivor hidden in a tree says he watched Boko Haram extremists firebomb huts and heard the screams of children burning to death, among 86 people officials say died in the latest attack by Nigeria’s homegrown Islamic extremists.

ISIS claims responsibility for deadly blasts in Damascus suburb
ISIS claimed responsibility for a triple bombing Sunday that killed at least 45 people and injured more than 100 others in a Damascus suburb, according to a statement circulating online from supporters of the terrorist group.

Experts Count Missteps in Fighting Islamic Radicalism
With the self-proclaimed Islamic State promising more carnage abroad as the Syrian conflict rages into its fifth year, the United States is grappling to understand the extent of homegrown radicalism here and how to address it.

New Photos Show 'Jihadi John' Unmasked in Warzone
“Jihadi John,” identified as British national Mohammed Emwazi, was confirmed dead by the terror group in a magazine last week, felled by a drone strike on his vehicle. U.S. officials said in November they believed Emwazi had been killed.

Experts weigh in (part 2): What is the future of al-Qaida and the Islamic State?
Clint Watts reflects on where we are in the fight against al-Qaida and its bête noire, the Islamic State.

Syria Peace Talks Inch Ahead as Bombings Near Damascus Continue
As a suicide attack killed more than 40 people near a revered shrine in Syria on Sunday and government forces pummeled a besieged town, peace talks inched forward in Geneva, where a reluctant opposition delegation met for the first time with a United Nations mediator.


How the Fight Against the Islamic State Is Being Covered
Charlie Winter comes back on the show to discuss how the Islamic State, and the campaign against them, is being covered. Some of the topics discussed include how the fight against the Islamic State is covered in the media and political discourse, differences in how the Islamic State is covered and discussed in the US vs the UK, and the focus on military solutions at the expense of political and diplomatic ones. By Karl Morand with Charlie Winter.

Covert Contact: Iran’s Quest for Regional Domination
Phillip Smyth joins the show to discuss Iran's detention of 10 American sailors and the avalanche of terrible analysis that it triggered, Iran’s quest for regional domination, and its use of proxies to further those aims.

Intelligence Unclassed: Episode 2 with J.M. Berger
J.M. Berger discusses social media tactics and messaging by both foreign and domestic terrorist groups.



I visited the Netherlands and Denmark last week, speaking at a number of venues including the Royal Danish Defense College, top, the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism in The Hague (center, with Prof. Dr. Edwin Bakker, left, and director Mark Singleton, right), and the University of Utrecht, below, pictured with Dr. Beatrice de Graaf. I had a great time meeting so many people with sharp insights, and I received a ton of hospitality. Thanks to all involved!

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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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