Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM) Weekend Summary
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@example.com with "Membership" in the subject line.)
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After being offline for more than two weeks, several major jihadi forums have returned to normal activity. On December 3, 2012, the Al-Qaeda-affiliated forums Shumoukh Al-Islam and Al-Fida' Al-Islamiyya went offline without warning. They were followed several days later by the Arabic Ansar Al-Mujahideen forum. All three forums came back online today (December 18, 2012).
Due To Shutdown Of Major Jihadi Forums, Jihadis Forced To Rely On Facebook, Twitter To Disseminate Messages
U.S.-based social media websites have long served as platforms for online jihadis, who have used them primarily to publish jihad-related news and to propagate their ideology by posting and reposting jihadi materials, including written, audio, and video statements from jihadi groups, as well as videos, magazines, and articles. Recently, as a result of the shutdown of all major jihadi forums, radical groups and individual jihad supporters have increased their use of Facebook and Twitter. In fact, for the first time, Twitter became a primary means of publishing statements and jihadi productions, a role which had previously been served by the jihadi forums.
Abu Mansour Al-Amriki Responds To Al-Shabab's Renunciation Of Him: Al-Shabab Seeks To Discredit Me, And Is Targeting Foreign Fighters In Its Ranks
Shortly after Al-Shabab Al-Mujahideen publicly announced that it was renouncing American Al-Shabab operative 'Omar Hammami, aka Abu Mansour Al-Amriki, Hammami stated via his Twitter account that the group was seeking to discredit him. This presumably is because of Hammami's statements in recent months regarding a schism within Al-Shabab's ranks. Back in March 2012, Hammami released a brief video message in which he claimed that his life was in danger from
Abu Ahmad (right, in civilian clothes)
In a December 15, 2012 article in The National, an English-language daily published in the UAE, journalist Balint Szlanko presents an interview with Sheikh Abu Ahmed, a high-ranking military commander of the jihad group Jabhat Al-Nusra in Syria. In the interview, Abu Ahmed describes his vision for a Syria ruled by Shari'a law. The following is the full text of the interview:
"The man wearing the balaclava had eyes that never stopped smiling. Reclining on a pillow in an otherwise empty room, this burly, 41-year-old commander of Jabhat Al-Nusra – the most fearsome jihadi group in Syria – exuded an almost disturbing calm, in marked contrast to the loud, chatty air that often characterises more mainstream groups of the Free Syrian Army..."
'Al-Hayat': Jabhat Al-Nusra Fighters Move Freely In Rebel-Controlled Areas; Group Recruited Norwegian Muslims
An Al-Hayat report presents information on the Al-Qaeda-affiliated jihad group Jabhat Al-Nusra (JN), which is operating in Syria, based on interviews with its operatives and with field commanders in the Free Syrian Army (FSA). The following are the main points of the report.
On December 18, 2012, Khatab, a member of the leading jihadi forum Shumoukh Al-Islam, announced that Muhib Ru'yat Al-Rahman, a prominent writer on the major jihadi forums, had died in Syria. Khatab, described as a "student at Shumoukh's College of Media," provided no further details about the death of Muhib, whose last post was dated from two weeks ago, a day or two prior to the shutdown of all major jihadi forums.
Tunisian Fighter And Writer For Jihadi Forum Died In Syria Fighting With Jabhat Al-Nusra; Previously, He Travelled Through West – And Then Used Google Earth To Join Jihad In Afghanistan
Yesterday, December 18, MEMRI reported on the death of Mubib Ru'yat Al-Rahman, a well-known writer on the Shumoukh Al-Islam jihadi forum. However, nearly three months prior to that, on October 1, 2012, news of the death of another important contributor to a jihadi forum was posted on Facebook; the post stated that Abu Qasura al-Tunisi, aka Ahmad Mezanzeg, a Tunisian who fought with the Syrian jihadi group Jabhat Al-Nusra, had been killed in Syria. According to the post, Abu Qasura was a member of the now-defunct jihadi forum Al-Falluja, on which he went by the handle "Abukaswara Al Uzbeki."
Via Twitter, Al-Shabab Al-Mujahideen Issues Unsubstantiated Claims That It Targeted 'Top U.S. Counterterrorism Official' Who Was 'Setting Up New U.S. Base In Mogadishu' For Assisting Drone Ops
On December 14, 2012, the Somali Al-Qaeda affiliate group Al-Shabab Al-Mujahideen claimed via Twitter that its "intelligence units" had carried out an attack in Mogadishu on "a convoy carrying [a] top U.S. counterterrorism official."