The following are some of this week's reports from the MEMRI Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM) Project, which translates and analyzes content from sources monitored around the clock, among them the most important jihadi websites and blogs. (To view these reports in full, you must be a paying member of the JTTM; for membership information, send an email to [email protected] with "Membership" in the subject line.)
Note to media and government: For a full copy of these reports, send an email with the title of the report in the subject line to [email protected]. Please include your name, title, and organization in your email.
On April 1, 2016, Al-Athir, a media agency affiliated with Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), posted a video featuring coverage of an event organized by the group to memorialize its fighter who had been killed in a U.S. air strike targeting a military base in the city of Al-Mukalla, Yemen on March 22, 2016.
The first issue of Dabiq, the online English-language magazine of the Islamic State (ISIS), was released July 5, 2014, immediately following the declaration of its caliphate and of its leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi as caliph. It included reports, articles, photo spreads, and news of the Islamic State. This issue of the magazine drew clear lines between the group's friends and foes, quoting from Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi's July 4 address, his first public speech as caliph, in which he delineated the two camps. As Western leaders and officials began to speak out increasingly against the Islamic State, these statements, and subsequent Western actions, are used by ISIS to fatten its list of enemies. In general, it sees anyone who does not adhere to, or at least support, its unique fundamentalist vision and implementation of Islam as an adversary. These adversaries are subdivided into groups of kuffar (infidels) - for example, Jews, Christians, and Shi'ites - while Sunni Muslims who disagree with ISIS fall either into that category or into the category of murtaddin (apostates) or, possibly, munafiqoon (hypocrites).
By: M. Khayat*
The Islamic State's (ISIS) information apparatus is vast and based on well-coordinated and sustained efforts that are managed on the ground in ISIS-controlled areas. In cyberspace, ISIS leverages many platforms to deliver its message, including jihadi forums, blogs, social media platforms, and encrypted communication apps like Telegram, to name a few. In the last several months, despite concerted efforts to counter its propaganda, ISIS has intensified its online outreach efforts, launching several Android apps and simultaneously running a number of websites in order to stream its official radio network - Al-Bayan. These efforts underscore the role and importance that ISIS puts on these services, which are equally, if not more, important than the group's military efforts on the ground.
Recently the Islamic State (hereafter ISIS) published an article in its official newsletter Al-Naba assailing the concept that the Muslims must prioritize war against the U.S.. The article, titled "Jihad Against America -Above All a Matter of Religious Law," explains to the organization's militants and supporters and to the broader Muslim public, that the war on the U.S. is subordinate to the organization's religious and theological outlook that the U.S. is one enemy out of a long series of enemies of Islam, tyrants who must be destroyed. The article is part of ISIS' polemic with competing Islamist streams, particularly Al-Qaeda, that essentially view the U.S. as Islam's primary enemy and therefore jihad's current main target.
EXCLUSIVE: Editor Of 'Azan' Magazine Joins Islamic State, Says: 'ISIS Does Not Declare The Takfir Of The General Masses Of The Muslims'; 'I Call On All Our Readers To... Strive Forth Collectively To Free Al-Quds [Jerusalem]'
According to a posting on social media, the editor of jihadi magazine "Azan" has joined the Islamic State (ISIS). The magazine, published in English in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, was thought to be connected to the Taliban forces. While the editor of the magazine was never identified, a post on Justpaste.it names him as Muhammad Qasim, which may be an assumed name. The magazine has not been published since the release of its sixth issue in August 2014.
Pro-ISIS cleric Musa Cerantonio is active on Instagram. Cerantonio also recently used a similar name on Twitter. The cleric used to be a high-profile fixture on social media, openly calling upon Muslims to wage jihad in Iraq and Syria, but his activity noticeably decreased after his July 2014 arrest in the Philippines, which saw him deported back to Australia. After his arrest, he adopted the name Qillawri, and also used more obscure social media platforms such as Paltalk. He mostly posts photos of himself on his Instagram account, posing in various spots around the world. Cerantonio has a private Instagram account, so users must request to follow him. At the time of this writing the cleric had 127 followers and was following 178 accounts, mainly of ISIS supporters as well as a few ISIS members.
On April 2, 2016, the information office for the Islamic State (ISIS) in Al-Furat province, Iraq, published a pictorial report depicting the launch of its "Islamic police forensics department." The report, which was also posted on the jihadi forum Shumoukh Al-Islam, includes pictures of the equipment used by the department, its investigation of crimes by collecting, identifying, and comparing fingerprints, and more.
On April 5, 2016 the An-Nur Media Group, which publishes official Islamic State (ISIS) material in French on Twitter, tweeted two posters calling on their followers to participate in ISIS's media psychological warfare efforts. The messages also promoted the use of a French-language hashtag to aggregate ISIS content.
On April 5, 2016, a French-speaking media activist in Syria reported that a Belgian Jabhat Al-Nusra (JN) fighter known as Abou Souleyman Al-Belgiki was killed in a US drone strike in Idlib.
On April 4, 2016, Al-Wa'ad, a media production group which publishes pro-ISIS jihadi materials on social media platforms, released a video titled "Fight Them; Allah Will Punish Them By Your Hands" praising the attacks on Paris and Brussels and stating that London, Berlin or Rome could be the next target.
On April 2, 2016, the information office of the Islamic State (ISIS) in Kirkuk province, Iraq, published a 6-minute video titled "They plot and plan, and Allah too plans" (a reference to Koran 8:30). The video, which was also posted on the jihadi forum Shumoukh Al-Islam, praises the work of ISIS's anti-aircraft unit in Kirkuk, which it claims managed to recently shoot down two Iraqi recon aircraft in one day. This is likely a reference to the downing of two Iraqi army aircraft in the Kirkuk area on March 16, responsibility for which was claimed by the ISIS-affiliated 'Amaq news agency on the same day.
On April 5, 2016, the Islamic State (ISIS) in Najd, Saudi Arabia, released a statement claiming responsibility for the assassination of Colonel Kitab Majed Al-Hammadi a senior security officer. According to the statement, which was posted in leading ISIS-affiliated jihadi forum Shumoukh Al-Islam, Al-Hammadi, who was the director of internal security in the Al-Quwayiyah region, was assassinated in Al-Dawadmi, east of the capital city of Riyadh. The statement also threatened to target Saudi soldiers and policemen who were described as "guardian of the Crusaders" and promised that they should expect more attacks.
On April 6, 2016, Jabhat Al-Nusra (JN) released a statement eulogizing Abu Firas Al-Suri, the group's spokesman, who was killed in a U.S. airstrike several days earlier. Al-Suri was killed along with an unknown number of other men, whom JN collectively described as a group of "our best brothers."
On April 3, 2016, the Sawt Al-Isla ("Voice of Islam) media company, which is associated with the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP) jihadi organization, published a 15-minute video titled "And There Is No Victory Except From Allah - 4."
Following are excerpts from a Pakistani media report indicating that despite three military operations, the jihadi violence in Pakistan's tribal region is re-emerging:
On January 20, Taliban militants killed 20 people at Bacha Khan University
"'Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has become a safe haven for terrorists,' according to Awami National Party president Asfandyar Wali Khan. 'Until they take action against a mindset in the settled [non-tribal] areas, it is impossible to eradicate militancy,' he said in a statement, adding that the government was protecting the patrons of terrorism. According to Asfandyar Wali Khan, even some lawmakers and ministers [in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of which Peshawar is the capital] pay extortion money to terrorist organizations. The result, he says, is an increase in militant activities and the lowering of the police's morale."