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News, documents and analysis on violent extremism

Monday, February 8, 2016

INTELWIRE Weekly Brief, 2/8/16


ISIS: The State of Terror, by Jessica Stern and INTELWIRE's J.M. Berger, is now available in paperback, with a new afterword on its strategy and global terrorist attacks. The book was also selected as a February book of the month by WSJ+, as part of a special package deal which includes a 35 percent discount.


Thousands Of Foreign Fighters Still Join ISIS Despite Visible Defeats
ISIS has lost a lot of territory but that hasn't translated into a loss of supporters. The reason: the group has convinced its followers that defeat is part of a larger plan.

The Battle of Aleppo Is the Center of the Syrian Chessboard
On February 2, the Syrian army and its allies succeeded in cutting the northern road between Aleppo city and Turkey, known as the Azaz corridor. Although the battle was a local affair involving a relatively small number of fighters, it may prove to be a turning point in the war.

Inside the Kurdish fighting forces: the U.S.’s proxy ground troops in the war against ISIS
With the fight against the Islamic State in its second year, American forces and their peshmerga counterparts have become deeply entwined. Both are preparing for a battle to retake the large northern city of Mosul, an Islamic State stronghold about 30 miles away. It is an operation likely to require bloody house-to-house combat.

Marketing Against ISIS: US State Department Enlists Students to Fight Terror
Last week, for the third semester in a row, the State Department hosted the P2P: Challenging Extremism finals in Washington. It's the culmination of an international "peer to peer" marketing contest that enlists students to combat extremism using the latest advertising techniques.

Experts weigh in (part 2): Is ISIS good at governing?
Aymenn al-Tamimi, a Jihad-Intel research fellow at the Middle East Forum, argues that internal documents show increasing challenges for the Islamic State.

Islamic State is no longer so formidable on the battlefield
The Islamic State’s recent defeats on the battlefield signal that its once-vaunted militia army has been hobbled by worsening money problems, desertions and a dwindling pool of fighters, analysts and monitoring groups say.

In Aleppo, underground schools face bombardments and burnout
At the unofficial schools run by Syrian activist group Kesh Malek in opposition-held districts of Aleppo, the children don't go outside to play during breaks in case a barrel bomb should drop from the sky.

Boko Haram’s Female Suicide Bombers Terrorize Nigeria
A recent attack included armed fighters, some wearing military uniforms and female suicide bombers. Nearby, Boko Haram raided a camp for internally displaced persons.

Moderate Syrian Rebel Factions Face Wipe-Out
The sweeping Russian-backed offensive in northern Syria by President Bashar al-Assad’s military and foreign fighters from Iran, Lebanon and Afghanistan is triggering a humanitarian crisis by propelling thousands of civilians to flee to the Turkish border, say political activists and rebel commanders. And the daunting offensive is altering dramatically the balance of insurgent forces in the north of the country to the benefit of al-Qaida-linked groups and the Islamic State.

Local man accused of supporting ISIS, planning terror attack at Detroit church
A local man is accused of being a supporter of ISIS and planning a terror attack against a Detroit church, according to an affidavit that has been filed in federal court.


Al-Shabaab returns to Twitter
On Thursday 21st January 2015, al-Shabaab attacked the Lido Beach area of Mogadishu in the heart of Somalia. For those following the attacks online, it was a surprise to see the emergence of a new Twitter account claiming to be a spokesperson for the terrorist group.

Federal Government Fails to Fund Fight Against Terror Recruitment
At a time when terrorists in Syria and Somalia continue to target Minnesota as one of their most fertile recruiting grounds, the U.S. government is failing to fund youth programs in the Twin Cities that are intended to counter violent extremism

Minnesota To Award Programs $250K To Prevent Terror Recruiting
The Department of Public Safety will soon start the process of awarding $250,000 to programs designed to combat terror recruiting in Minnesota.

Robert “LaVoy” Finicum: The Making of a Martyr
The death of Finicum unfor­tu­nately pro­vided adher­ents of the so-called “Patriot” move­ment (which includes mili­tia groups, sov­er­eign cit­i­zens, and other anti-government extrem­ists) with some­thing that author­i­ties had hoped to avoid: a poten­tial mar­tyr around whom anti-government extrem­ists could rally.

White supremacist admits plotting to start 'race war' by attacking black churches and synagogues
A white supremacist has admitted to a court that he planned to “start a race war” - allegedly by attacking black churches and Jewish synagogues.

My search for Gaddafi's golden gun
When Libyan rebels celebrated the death of Muammar Gaddafi, the colonel's gold-plated pistol was held up as a symbol of their victory - I watched as they passed it among themselves. Four years on, I've been back to Libya to find the man with the golden gun.

The rise of the Sagebrush Sheriffs
How rural ‘constitutional’ peace officers are joining the war against the feds.

Somalia investigates possible bomb blast on airliner
Investigators were examining the cause of an explosion that blew a large hole in the fuselage of a commercial aircraft, forcing an emergency landing minutes after take-off in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

Deadly Suicide Blast Hits Southwest Pakistan
A suspected suicide bombing in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta Saturday killed at least eight people and wounded many more, officials said.


Jihadology Podcast: al-Qaeda’s Franchising Strategy
Barak Mendelsohn comes on the show to discuss his new book, The al-Qaeda Franchise: The Expansion of al-Qaeda and Its Consequences. Some of the topics covered include how organizations expand, why AQ decided to branch out and the strategy behind that decision, and AQ’s choices on where to expand. By Aaron Zelin with Barak Mendelsohn.

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.


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