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.
By: R. Green
In recent months, there have been signs of waning commitment on the margins of the Islamic State (ISIS) to the ideological underpinnings of the movement, revealed through doubts as to whether the caliphate is legitimate, and whether its leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, is the rightful leader of Muslims worldwide. This erosion of commitment is caused by internal disputes and struggles, and linked to the loss of territory and the setbacks on the battlefield faced by the group. However the main cause appears to be the ongoing ideological dispute within ISIS. This erosion a has appeared on both sides of the controversy – in the dissident "scholars' camp," comprised of former officials in the now-defunct ISIS religious bureaucracy, and among the "extremists" or ultra takfiris (those with a propensity to proclaim other Muslims as unbelievers). The ideological dispute exacerbated and brought to the surface criticism regarding lack of competence and injustice on the part of the ISIS leadership. In the past, detractors and dissenters were careful to refrain from criticizing Al-Baghdadi personally, and declared that they were firm in their loyalty to ISIS, ascribing the faults in the organization to those he appointed to carry out his orders, namely the "governors" of Syria and Iraq, and the members of the Delegated Committee (the top ISIS executive body). ISIS members are bound by their oath of allegiance to obey all directives, unless the caliph commits a clear transgression against the Islamic faith, and reneging on this oath is highly problematic from a religious standpoint. However, developments in recent months have led to criticism of, and a lack of faith in, Al-Baghdadi himself and the ISIS project as a whole. This report will be presented in two parts. The first will provide examples of supporters of the "scholars' camp" expressing their disillusionment, and the second part will present an example of an extremist who explains why he left ISIS entirely.
Note to media and government: For a full copy of this report, 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. JTTM subscribers can view this report here.
On February 3, 2019, the "Incite the Believers" operations room, which coordinates the military activities of Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups in Syria, released a 17-minute video titled "The Four Lions On The Day Of Battles."
A jihadi Telegram channel appears to have been created by a woman and for women.
On February 5, 2019, Al-Sahab, the media arm of Al-Qaeda, released a video featuring the group's commander, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, declaring that the 2011 Arab uprisings have failed to achieve their objective and calling on the ummah to unite behind the mujahideen and the scholars to confront the ummah's enemies, which he describes as the U.S., Israel, Russia, France, China, the Hindus, and treasonous rulers.
On February 1, 2019, activists from different countries, including the U.S. and the U.K., reported on Telegram the launch of an initiative called the "Unity Project" to unite foreign activists in rebel-held territory in northwest Syria and coordinate and maximize the results of their efforts.
On February 5, 2019, several foreign jihadi fighters in Syria, representing various groups comprised of foreign fighters fighting against the Assad regime, signed a statement of effusive praise for Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS), defending the jihadi organization against the criticism it has recently received from Al-Qaeda supporters, both in Syria and abroad.
On January 30, 2019, two leaders of Al-Qaeda in Syria who established the Hurras Al-Din group released a statement on Telegram demanding their "weapons and rights" from Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS).
A general order by the Monitoring and Overseeing Committee of Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS), issued on January 30, 2019, prohibits the group's members from publishing their opinions about current military and political events in Syria and abroad without the permission of HTS command.
A video showcasing Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham's special forces training camp was uploaded to the Internet on January 30, 2019. The narrator explained that the special forces training stands out for its focus on concentration, instinctive shooting, weapons proficiency, and day and night storming operations, as well as its use of live ammunition, APCs, tanks, and armored fighting vehicles during drills. The video shows HTS operatives performing various training exercises.
Note to media and government: For a full copy of this video, send an email with the title of the video in the subject line to [email protected]. Please include your name, title, and organization in your email. JTTM subscribers can view this video here.
The "Incite The Believers" operations room, which coordinates the military operations of Al-Qaeda affiliated groups in Syria, has recently released material on Telegram documenting its activity in video and photography.
On February 6, 2019, a Syria-based Saudi jihadi cleric condemned on his Telegram channel the Pope's visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and said it was a "humiliation" for the Muslim ummah.
On February 6, 2019, Al-Sahab, the media arm of Al-Qaeda, released Issue 29 of its Al-Nafir bulletin, titled "The Most Beneficial Way To Stop The Crusader Campaign Against Muhammad's Peninsula," in which the group condemns the UAE for hosting the Pope and urged Muslims to wage jihad on everyone who allows the Christians to spread their religion in Muslim countries.
On February 4, 2019, Al-Shabab Al-Mujahideen, an Al-Qaeda affiliate active in Somalia and the Horn of Africa, claimed via its Shahada News Agency that a "security detachment" belonging to the jihadi organization assassinated the operator of the Bosaso Port on the Gulf of Aden.
On February 4, 2019, a pro-Islamic State (ISIS) media outlet published a eulogy for a Belgian operative identified who worked in the organization's Media Department.
On February 3, 2019, a pro-Islamic State (ISIS) media outlet published a eulogy for a slain German media operative. According to Al-Muhajireen, the media operative was born to a German father and a Hungarian mother who both worked as teachers, and was raised in "an atheist Christian family" in the town of Hildesheim.
On January 31, 2019, a pro-Islamic State (ISIS) media foundation, uploaded to the audio distribution website SoundCloud an audio production that featured ISIS fighters urging Muslim men to join ISIS.
On January 31, 2019, the Islamic State (ISIS)-affiliated Nasher News announced on Telegram that it had opened an account on the Russian social media platform Vkontakte (VK). In the same announcement, Nasher News posted a link to its account on Rocket.chat, a collaboration platform that the group began using in December 2018.
Jihadi Social Media – Account Review (JSM-AR): Palm Beach, Florida Competitive Marksman Posts About Buying Guns, Says He Hopes U.S. Muslims Have Been 'Preparing'; Shares Content Featuring Anwar Al-'Awlaki, Suleiman Anwar
Pro-ISIS 'Military Sciences' Telegram Channel Distributes Detailed DIY Instructions On How To Build Explosives, Some With Poisonous Chemicals, Without Getting Caught And Effectively Detonate VBIEDs, Says Instructions Are 'Prepared For Jihad Against Apostates And Infidels Of Jews, Christians And Others'
A pro-Islamic State (ISIS) Telegram channel distributed dozens of posts worth of step-by-step technical English-language instructions, often accompanied by diagrams, photos, and videos, on how to build explosives.
The following information is based on a general overview of a social media account demonstrating terror-related activity / sympathies
On February 5, 2019, the Syrian branch of the Uyghur jihad group Islamic Turkestan Party (TIP) released Part 2 in a video series titled "Protectors Of The Koran," which documents the religious and military training of Uyghur children in Syria. The 24-minute video is in Uyghur and Arabic, and is dated January 2019.
Speaking at a martyr's conference the Hangu district of Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, radical Islamic cleric Maulana Ilyas Qasmi said: "Mujahideen's victory [in Afghanistan] is the peak of the happiness of the Muslim ummah."
A group of Islamic clerics delivered 28 lectures in villages around Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Radical Islamic cleric Maulana Ilyas Qasmi delivered a keynote speech at a conference in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Addressing a Seerat-un-Nabi ("Life of the Prophet") conference in the Bahawalpur district of Pakistan's Punjab province, radical Islamic cleric Maulana Ataullah said: "Islam received strength from the international movement of jihad."
According to a report in the January 18-24, 2019 issue of an Urdu-language weekly, a delegation of radical clerics associated with the charity wing of Pakistani jihadi group Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), held several meetings with Islamic religious scholars and their aides in the regions of Sialkot in Punjab province and Narwal in Pakistani Kashmir.
A delegation of radical Islamic clerics from the Pakistani jihadi organization Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) delivered eight lectures in Peshawar, telling their audiences not to think about a "shortage" of resources while on in the path of jihad.
Addressing a large congregation at a mosque at Khar Batkhela in Malakand district of Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, radical Islamic cleric Maulana Talha As-Saif said: "Jihad is an act that is never unsuccessful in any situation."
Addressing a conference held to remember Noman, a young man identified only by his first name and who recently died fighting, possibly in Kashmir, a radical Pakistani cleric paid tribute to the young man.