Friday, December 31, 2010

Nigeria Christmas bombings

On Christmas a number of Christian facilities were attacked in Nigeria. A prime suspect for the bombings was swiftly named: Boko Haram, a salafî jihâdî group (no idea why they are often called "sect" by the media while groups with roughly the same ideology are "terrorist groups" to them) that it had cracked down on in 2009 killing the then time leader Muhammad Yûsuf. Following the crack down Boko Haram was announced dead by the Nigerian government/police.

They were obviously wrong. It seems that the former second in command Abû Bakr Shekaû has taken over. A written speech purportedly by him was released in October. The statement was a message on the Muslim holiday of 'Aîd al Fitr. Surprisingly the speech was released by AQMI (AQ Islamic Maghrib - means North Africa) media front al Andalus.

A photo showing Abû Bakr released with his 'Aîd al Fitr speech - released October 2010

The last months have seen a steady comeback of the group that seems to be intent on revenge against the police. The group also uses religious unrest that occurs between Muslims and Christians in Nigeria by targeting Christians thereby creating an image of them being the defenders of Nigeria's Muslims.

Such anti-Christian attacks took place last week, the attacks triggered clashes between followers of the two religions that led to higher casualties than the original bombings.

The media reported a claim of responsibility by the group yet it has still not appeared on the usual forums. The website that carried the groups claim and is said to belong to the group is offline by now, the statement is still available in English thanks to Google though.

In the Name of Allah Most Beneficent Most Merciful



In the name of Allah the mighty Who has power over everything, Who made fighting the disbelievers an obligation until justice is established on earth.

May peace and blessings continue to be upon the last messenger who wage jihad, the best of it.
O Nations of the World, be informed that verily the attacks in Suldaniyya (Jos) and Borno on the eve of Christmas was carried out by us, JAMA’ATU AHLUS-SUNNAH LIDDA’AWATI WAL JIHAD, under the leadership of Abu Muhammad, Abubakar bin Muhammad Shekau (May Allah preserve him), to start avenging the atrocities committed against Muslims in those areas, and the country in general. Therefore we will continue with our attacks on disbelievers and their allies and all those who help them, until Allah’s deen triumph by His Grace and Will.
O Muslims! Do not forget that Allah has enjoined us to make provisions for fighting the disbelievers, and for that we are reminding you that the disbelievers of the world are fighting Islam and Muslims. So you must stand and strive to protect your religion and life.
With Peace
Who is waging Jihad in the country called Nigeria.

The video is accompanied by a video statement. To my knowledge this is the first video released by the group. The name the group is using "Jam'âh Ahl al-Sunnah lil-D'wah wal Jihâd (Sunni Group for Preaching and Jihâd) has been used by the group before, for example in Abû Bakr's speech.

Screenshot of  the Christmas bombings claim video that was released last week

Right now there are reports of a new bombing in Nigeria, this time targeting a New Year's Eve celebration in the capital. If Boko Haram is behind this it is a worrying sign and maybe the uptick for a troublesome year in Nigeria.

For further reading on Nigeria see Alex Thurston's Sahel Blog.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Year of Unity

Well, now it has happened. The two jihâdî groups fighting against the Transitional Federal Government and the African Union troops in Somalia - namely Harakah al-Shabâb al Mujâhidîn (Youth Mujâhidîn Movement also known as Shabab, Hisbul Shabab) and al Hizb al Islâmî (Islamic Party also known as Hisbul Islam) have merged. Both groups are remnants of the Islamic Courts Union.

The ICU was a group of Islamists who tried to bring Islamic rule to the post 1991 civil war Somalia. They began to expand their territory in early 2006 and at their end they ruled much of the south of the country until Ethiopia felt threatened and invaded in late 2006. WikiLeaks tells us that the Ethiopian intervention was heavily lobbied for by the then time US government. The current President Sharîf Shaykh Ahmad had also been a member of the ICU but came to an agreement with the old TFG after Ethopia left in 2008 securing the job as President for himself. His former companions didn't accept that peace deal though and consider him a traitor.

In the years following the Ethiopian intervention the ICU split into numerous parts, in the course of the following conflict as already mentioned one party (Alliance for the Reliberation of Somalia - Djibouti faction, Sharîf Ahmed) joined the government while two parties emerged as the opposition, the first of them beeing al Hizb al Islâmî, a merger of various ICU remnants, namely Mu'askar Râs Kâmbônî, 'Anôle and Jabhah al Islâm and the Alliance for the Reliberation of Somalia - Asmara faction. The group was led by Hassan Tâhir Aways (Hasan Dahir Aweys - head of the ARS - Asmara faction), said to be the godfather of Islamism in Somalia. Aways is listed as an AQ associate by the UN.

The other slightly more radical one is Harakah al-Shabâb al Mujâhidîn. The group consisted of the original Shabâb that were a hardcore militia of the ICU and a number of local groups that operated under the ICU. Their commander is commonly known as Mukhtâr 'Abdul-Rahmân Abû Zubayr (also known as Abdul-Rahman Ahmad Godane). One of the founders of al-Shabâb, 'Adan Hâshî 'Ayrô, was killed in an American airstrike in 2008. He is commonly referred to as the first Amîr of the group but I have never seen al-Shabâb confirming this. Shabâb is linked to AQ and two AQ members/affiliates were killed fighting in Somalia. In late 2006 Abû Talhah al-Sûdânî was killed in the Ethiopian intervention and in late 2009 Abû Yûsuf Sâlih al-Nahbân was killed in another US operation.

The two opposition groups were natural allies against the TFG and the African UN forces from Uganda and Burundi, they cooperated, formed regional administrations together and conducted unity talks. Still there happened quite some armed conflicts between the two groups. The conflicts were not really about ideology as far as we know but conflicts between individuals and their clans about power and money.

There have been reported clashes between 'Anôle and Râs Kâmbônî as well as between Râs Kâmbônî and al-Shabâb. The late 2009/early 2010 clashes between Râs Kâmbônî and al-Shabâb led to a split in Râs Kâmbônî. The faction of Ahmed Madôbe went to all out war with al-Shabâb and lost, while the faction loyal to the second godfather of Somali Islamism Hassan 'Abdullah Hersî al-Turkî (Hassan Turki - and he is also on that UN list) joined al-Shabâb in February 2010.

In December 2010 there were clashes between al-Shabâb and al Hizb as well as rumours of a split within al-Shabâb between the southern leaders and the overall Amîr Mukhtâr Abû Zubayr who reportedly hails from the north. Such rumours were not exactly new.

In early 2009 as official spokesman Mukhtâr Abû Mansûr Robôw (Abu Mansur) was replaced with 'Alî Mahmûd Râge ('Alî Rege, 'Alî Tere, 'Alî Dere) a split was assumed but numerous appearings of the former and current spokesman ended the story.  In early 2010 rumours of a split within al-Shabâb between a majority faction naming themselves Millah Ibrâhîm and a minority faction under Abû Zubayr emerged. There was a notion that the majority group was less radical at the same time the foreign fighters were said to be with the majority. These rumours fizzled out too.

Between September and December 2010 in league with high losses in the capital and the clashes with al Hizb there seems to have been a deal of criticism inside the group. Again a split between southern commanders like Abû Mansûr and Amîr Abû Zubayr was all over the media. Plenty of reasons were given.

- The other commanders were not happy with their tribesmen dying under the command of a tribal outsider
- The other leaders didn't want to join international jihâd like Abû Zubayr
- The other leaders were unhappy about the clashes with their respected elder Hassan Aways

Reason 1 is a possibility I doubt it though as unlike to al Hizb we have not seen tribal troubles within al-Shabâb before. Concerning reason 2 - meaning their AQ contacts - I don't think that the al-Shabâb leaders disagree. We have not seen any signs for anyone of them disagreeing about this, to the contrary every single one of the public leaders praises AQ.  Reason 3 would make sense to me. Anyway, as of now there is no proof that there was, is or will be a split within al-Shabâb.

To the contrary on December 19th it emerged that Hassan Aways was ready to stop the fighting between the two groups and join his opponents from al-Shabâb. The following days several al Hizb commanders confirmed the news yet there was still nothing official. Some commanders could not be reached by the press and Aways was silent too. It seemed as if there were back room talks between the two groups.

On December 23rd a press conference was held in Mogadishu and an official statement concerning the merger of the two groups was published. Following is the official statement in English language (the statement was released in Somali at the press conference and in English and Arabic on the internet two days later):

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Statement from

Harakat Al-Shabaab Al-Mujahideen & Hizbul Islami

1432 H

__"The year of Unity"__

All praise is due to Allah who said: “Verily Allah loves those who fight in His cause in ranks as if they were a solid structures”, and prayers and peace be upon the leader of the Faithful who said: “And I declare obligatory upon you five things; Allah has commanded me to do so. They are: listening and obeying, Jihad, Hijra and community”

It is no secret that the Muslim people of Somalia had for a long time suffered oppression and tyranny at the hands of warlords and the evil forces of atheism, and what they have inherited from the blind tribalism, disintegration and the successive wars. Thus the only viable solution was to return to the religion of Allah and to stick to it in order to escape these tragedies and confront the Christian Crusade with everything in their possession, in terms of preparation and military hardware, while remaining steadfast in the face of the obstacles and setbacks that accompany the Jihadi activities and reliant upon Allah, without worrying about the length of the road ahead or the difficulty of the journey.

And every now and then, the conflict was being renewed and transformed; and the enemy assumed a role for every stage, preparing their men and whatever they needed of moral and material support, but with the grace of Allah, all these efforts were in vain.

The role of the Mujahideen, however, was not limited to the duties of Jihad and the confrontation of the enemy alone, but they have dedicated all their efforts to the application of the Shariah of Allah in all the ten regions that Allah had permitted them to govern. And as a result, peace soon enveloped those regions to replace the anarchy that prevailed and the residents attained a sense of stability and safety that once seemed unattainable.

The unity of Muslims has been and still remains a very important issue; for when the Messenger Muhammad (May peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came with the message of Tawheed, he found that the Arabs were scattered and divided among themselves, supporting one another on the basis of tribes and lineages, so he united them, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, fulfilling the call of the Qur’an: “Truly! This, your Ummah is one, and I am your Lord, therefore worship Me (Alone)”

Your brothers in Somalia have become aware of the issue of unity and its importance, especially during these desperate times in which the enemies of the Muslim Ummah have united in order to implement their policy of ‘divide and conquer’ to split up the hearts and weaken the unified body so that they may achieve their evil objectives, i.e. the occupation of Muslim lands, the enslavement of their people, plundering of their wealth and abolition of their identity and religion.

History has shown us that Muslims were not able to achieve glory and propagate their religion except through their unity and holding on to the rope of Allah; and that Muslims have never tasted humiliation of defeat except when they were divided. We now live at a time when the degree of fragmentation is at its highest level and as such our holy places in Palestine have been occupied and the sanctity of our blood has been violated in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Chechnya, Turkmenistan, Nigeria, and elsewhere, that is in addition to the despicable plots by the enemy to disrupt many lands of the Muslims such as Sudan. This tragedy, however, will not end except with the unification of Muslims on the basis of Islam and the methodology of Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama’ and not on the basis of secular nationalism.

The significant transformation that has engulfed the Muslim world today has become widely apparent to all and the victories achieved by the steadfast Mujahideen in Afghanistan and their destruction of the evil forces, led by NATO and US, is no longer a secret. Similarly, following the footsteps of their brothers in Afghanistan are the heroes of Iraq, who have dealt the Americans a humiliating defeat, forcing them to withdraw their troops, leaving behind a trail of destruction as well as the fate of their puppets from the Rafidhah sect at the hands of the Mujahideen. And in Yemen, the nobles rose to their feet to restore the dignity of a bruised nation, and raised the banner of truth. Within a short period of time, they have managed to break down the tyranny of one of the most arrogant infidel nations by penetrating their bastions and depleting their resources, thereby remaining a powerful nightmare in the minds of the Crusader. Also, we do not forget the heroes of Algeria and their constant struggle against the heads of disbelief and apostasy; for they have shaken the ground beneath their feet, destroyed their fortresses, and foiled their plans and wicked plots against the Muslim Ummah.[

And here we are in Somalia; and after the arrival of the invaders into this land and their imposition of laws upon the people, soon the sons of Islam and the battalions of Tawheed emerged in Somalia, under various names. There have been persistent efforts to unite the ranks of these groups, and with the passage of time, the numbers of groups still firmly standing in front of the enemy were reduced to two. After consecutive meetings and fundamental discussions around the methodology (Manhaj) between the leaders of Harakat Al-Shabab Al-Mujahideen and Hizbul Islami, the long awaited day had finally come: a day of unification and reconciliation, a day of collaboration and unity and holding on collectively to the rope of Allah.

And at this juncture, it pleases Harakat Al-Shabab Al-Mujahideen in the Land of Two Migrations – a land which is still being irrigated with the blood of its Martyrs - to announce to the Muslim Ummah and its vanguards waging Jihad in all the field and fronts, that Allah has permitted their brothers from Harakat Al-Shabab Al Mujahideen and Hizbul Islami to unite their ranks upon the statement of Tawheed, and to operate under the name ‘Harakat Al-Shabab Al-Mujahideen’ in an effort to enrage the enemies of Allah and to please the hearts of the Monotheists around the world.

And this unity comes as a clear testament to the brotherhood of faith that unites between the hearts, combines the efforts and unifies the ranks; because the fundamental aspect of this unity is based upon the pure creed of Tawheed, where the exemplar is the Messenger Muhammad (may peace and blessing of Allah be upon him), and the methodology is the pure Shariah of Islam.

We have also agreed upon the following:
  • Working towards the establishment of the Islamic Caliphate upon the path of the prophet.
  • Waging Jihad in the cause of Allah to accomplish Tawheed and eradicate Polytheism until Allah is worshiped alone without partners
  • Confrontation of the global Zionist-Christian Crusade and its suppression.
  • Application of the Shariah of Allah and the administration of justice and elimination of injustice.
  • The application of the ideology of Alliance and Enmity ( Al Wala Wal Bara)
  • Restoration of the Islamic sanctities and cleansing them from the Jews, Christians and apostates
  • Supporting the oppressed and freeing the Muslim prisoners
  • Unification of the Muslim Ummah upon the banner of Tawheed
  • Creation of a cohesive Muslim society that is guided by a correct ideology, Islamic morals and Shariah
The Mujahideen in Somalia are sending, through this action of unity and solidarity, a message to the Muslim Ummah that we are one nation whose banner is Islam, and that this is the only way to triumph over the enemies of Allah; and that this unity hasn’t been achieved except to exchange our wealth and souls cheaply for the sake of Allah and not to attain any status or benefit from anyone except Allah.

It is also worth mentioning here that this unity came after the brothers from Hizbul Islami, leaders and soldiers alike, conceded and joined their brothers in Harakat Al-Shabab Al Mujahideen in compliance with the order of Allah: “And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allah, and be not divided among yourselves”, and also for the initiative to do good and to complete what is left in the application of Islamic Shariah Law (i.e unity), and advance the Jihadi activity in the region and in order to preserve the Muslim blood and veer away from the likely occurrence of rifts among the Mujahideen.

This unity sets a precedent for the contemporary Islamic activity and is an example of Sayyid Hassan bin Ali, may Allah be pleased with them both, of whom the Messenger of Allah, may the blessing of Allah be upon him and his family said:

“This son of mine is a Sayid (i.e. a noble) and may Allah make him the cause of reconciliation between two big groups of Muslims through him” (Bukhari)

And this has been accomplished when he conceded to Muawiya bin Abi Sufyan, may Allah be pleased with them, in the ‘Year of Unity’ in 41 AH. Similarly, we have termed this year, 1432 AH, as the ‘Year of Unity’ and we ask Allah to make it indeed a year of unity for all the Mujahideen around the globe.

And on this occasion, we call upon our beloved Muslim Ummah:

Dear beloved Ummah: We give you the glad tidings that we have, by the grace of Allah, become a single row, unified in our ranks. Our speech is synchronized, our banner has become one and we are now united in our goals. We have combined our efforts and we will remain, by the will of Allah, a lump in the throats of Crusaders and shelter for all the vulnerable and the immigrants.

So here are your sons in Somalia – they have become united upon clear objectives and a pure banner. So take up your role and uphold the trust of this unity, for only an hour’s patience is all that is left to achieve victory; be firm and let not Islam be defeated from your flank.

We also extend an invitation to the people of knowledge and those who possess experiences in all fields to take part in the making of this victory and supporting the Muslim Ummah. And we call upon the Muslims with Gheerah for the sanctity of Islam and Muslims to march forth towards Jihad and the catch up to the convoy in order to achieve one of the two blessed goals.

To the Vanguards of the Mujahid Ummah:

To the Mujahideen everywhere... To the leaders in Afghanistan ...and the Islamic State of Iraq and to the heroes of Ansar Al-Islam in Iraq…to the commanders in the Arabian Peninsula and the Islamic our brothers in creed in Ash-Sham and the environs of the patient ones in the Caucasus and Chechnya…to the giants in the north of Nigeria...and to every Mujahid who took up arms in the face of the Crusaders and apostates:

Bear these glad tidings, for the enemy has now begun to retreat and panic. So preserve the fruits of your Jihadi struggle and unify your ranks; and remember that the Muslim Ummah is waiting for us to overcome the phases of disunity and divisions which do not unify the ranks towards the stage of unity and collaboration that is dominated by hearing and obedience, for it is by collaborating together as a group through which the practical application of loyalty among the Muslims is achieved. Allah says: “Those who believed, and adopted exile, and fought for the Faith, with their property and their persons, in the cause of Allah, as well as those who gave (them) asylum and aid,- these are (all) friends and protectors, one of another.”

And from here we call upon our brothers and the crowns upon our heads in Ansar Al-Islam in Iraq Caliphate to please the hearts of their brothers in creed by unifying their ranks with the Islamic State of Iraq; for the enemy has indeed failed to penetrate your ranks except through the manipulation of your divisions. Ibn Masood, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “Upon you is to preserve unity for it is the rope of Allah that he has ordered you to cling to, and that which you dislike in group and obedience, is better than that which you love in division”

To the Somali Muslim Nation:

Enough of fighting and disagreements! Enough of conferences, which indeed were conspiracies, from the atheist assembly of the United Nations and U.S. bases in Qatar and Djibouti! Enough of the psychological warfare and political deceptions exercised by the enemy against you for more than a century in order to brainwash you! Enough..! For how long will you be deceived by puppet regimes and their imported constitutions? And for how long will you amuse yourself with your local tribal administrations and evil societies? For how long will you pursue the mirage disseminated through the enemy’s media that makes you think that you are fortunate when indeed you have lost everything? It is this that has brought us to endure the bitter invasion of the spiteful crusaders.

But now the dawn of Islam has broken, and the schemes of the invaders have faded, and the darkness of Jahilliya (ignorance) has eroded, with the blessings of Allah who has granted our Ummah with people who are ready to sacrifice their blood in order to defend the religion of Allah and safeguard the sanctity of the Muslims. So preserve this opportunity and do not waste it and take this unity with vigor so as to strengthen the efforts of your Jihad with the permission of Allah.

Finally, to all those who stay behind from Jihad and use the lack of unity among the Mujahideen as an excuse, then here are the Mujahideen now – they have, by the grace of Allah, become united, so fear Allah and take up your role as there is nothing left for you to use as an excuse.
Allah says:

“O you who believe! What is the matter with you, that when you are asked to march forth in the Cause of Allah (i.e. Jihad) you cling heavily to the earth? Are you pleased with the life of this world rather than the Hereafter? But little is the enjoyment of the life of this world as compared to the Hereafter. {38} If you march not forth, He will punish you with a painful torment and will replace you by another people; and you cannot harm Him at all, and Allah is Able to do all things.{39}

To the Enemy at Home and Abroad:

You have often spent much wealth and amassed multitudes of soldiers and plotted day and night to overcome the Muslim Ummah and to cause dissent among us, now rejoice with ill “but the evil plot encompasses only him who makes it.” Here we have unified our ranks, prepared our might, unsheathed our swords, loaded our bullets, equipped ourselves and we have become, by the grace of Allah, stronger than we were yesterday.

We ask Allah, the Exalted, to make this unity a blessed victory in which the last of the crusaders and their apostate puppets are defeated; and to heal the hearts of the believers and to glorify them with His religion and soldiers. So receive the glad tidings, O’ nation of Muhammad, of victory and empowerment and rejoice, O’ nation of the cross, with defeat and displacement.

والله أكبر

{ وَلِلَّهِ الْعِزَّةُ وَلِرَسُولِهِ وَلِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَلَكِنَّ الْمُنَافِقِينَ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ }

Al Kataib Foundation
For Media Production

Harakat Al-Shabab Al-Mujahideen

Muharram 1432 / December 2010

Do not forget us in your prayers.

The statements title is a reference to early Islamic history. The forth caliph 'Alî ibn Abû Tâlib was not accepted by all Muslims. This led to civil wars, the last being fought between 'Alî and his opponent M'uâwîyah ibn Abû Sufyân. After 'Alî was murdered by a member of the Khawârij (a sect opposing 'Alî and M'uâwîyah) his followers pledged allegiance to his son Hassan. In order to stop the possibility of a civil war Hassan abandoned his position as caliph to M'uâwîyah. This incident and what followed is known in history as the Year of Unity (note the symbolism: "Hassan" Aways, to my knowledge there is no M'uâwîyah in a high position in the al-Shabâb though).

While the statement seems to be pretty big the press conference was rather small. Just four commanders, as far as I could figure out two of each group attended. Al-Shabâb was represented by its official spokesman 'Alî Rege and another commander (it could be al-Shabâb's Mogadishu governor 'Alî Muhammad Hussayn also known as 'Alî Jabal but I am not sure about this) while al Hizb was represented by its spokesman 'Abdul Fatâh M'alin Muhammad'Alî and field commander Muhammad Mahmûd Dulyadayn.

Press conference in Mogadishu announcing the merger between al Hizb al Islâmî and Harakah al-Shabâb al Mujâhidîn, from right: Muhammad Mahmûd Dulyadayn, 'Alî Rege, 'Abdul Fatâh Muhammad 'Alî, unknown - source Radio Alfurqaan

Still Aways was missing from the picture. Without him being on board the whole merging business could have backfired on al-Shabâb. I think it is safe to say that the final conditions of the deal were still being hammered. Finally the day before yesterday (28th December) the big press conference took place in Afgoye. Afgoye is in contrast to Mogadishu an Aways stronghold.

Press conference in Afgoye - source SomliMemo

This time Aways attended as did many other high ups of both organisations. Among them the three commanders mentioned above 'Alî Rege, 'Abdul Fatâh M'alin Muhammad'Alî and Muhammad Mahmûd Dulyadayn as well as 'Abdul Qadîr M'umin, a religious scholar who is near to or even a member of al-Shabâb, Hussayn 'Alî Fîdôw, a al-Shabâb field commander active in Mogadishu, F'uâd Muhammad Khalaf (Shongôle) a al-Shabâb religious scholar based in Mogadishu and again not sure on this al-Shabâb's Mogadishu commander 'Alî Jabal. Some other names were mentioned in the audio released on Somali news websites yet they don't ring a bell like one 'Abdullah Shaykh Yûsuf or I just can't understand the names.

Al-Shabâb's media front al Katâ'ib was very fast in getting the message out. An official statement on the press conference that was labelled "The joy of the Muslims concerning the unification of the Mujâhidîn" accompanied by pictures of the event was posted to jihâdî internet forums the day before yesterday.

Hassan Aways leading a prayer in Afgoye

The pictures are obviously a show of unity. A large crowd of Islamists and I think it's safe to say tribal elders attended. Commanders of both factions gave speeches and later on prayed together. It is noteworthy that Hassan Aways lead the prayer, thereby showing that he is the most senior in the religious and maybe also the political domain.

An unidentified man touching Hassan Aways' beard on the press conference in Afgoye - source Somali Memo

On another picture symbolizing respect for Aways an unidentified man is seen touching his beard, at least in some Islamic societies a sign of respect. This picture is not included in the official al-Shabâb release though. Another noteworthy propaganda picture shows the handshake between 'Alî Rege and Aways showing their unity.

Al-Shabâb's spokesman 'Alî Dere shaking hands with Hassan Aways Amîr of the now defunct al Hizb in Afgoye

So what are the implications of this merger? Well, if we look at the situation in Somalia and read their statement their immediate goals are clear. They will continue fighting the TFG and the UN troops in Mogadishu in order to establish an "Islamic State" like the Tâlibân successfully did in Afghânistân and as AQI did in Irâq with a very mixed outcome.

Both of these tasks (fighting the TFG and establishing a state) have been made easier by this merger. In the past the TFG could profit by the infighting between the two groups, especially as in some time periods fighters from one faction were banned from using territory of the other to attack the TFG and vice versa and didn't coordinate their attacks sufficiently. A unified rebel military command and a unified rebel territory in Mogadishu will certainly create headaches for the TFG and the AMISOM troops from Uganda and Burundi.
As for establishing an Islamic State let's look to the Islamic State of Irâq and the blowback it received from parts of the salafî and salafî-jihâdi camp. Salafî jihâdî groups inside Irâq criticised the announcement of the ISI as they had not even been asked about it. Some religious scholars inside and outside Irâq agreed to them their main points being: AQI is just one big jihâdî group, the other groups didn't join therefore the ISI isn't legitimate. The Amîr of the ISI (the now deceased Abû 'Umar al Baghdâdî) is unknown; the ISI doesn't have full control over the areas it claims to rule.

Let's apply this to al-Shabâb:

1. There is no other jihâdî group in Somalia after the merger - check, problem solved
2. There is no leader yet
3. The areas al-Shabâb control are fully under their control yet they don't control all of Somalia

As for point 2: The leader of al-Shabâb Abû Zubayr has indeed not shown his face to the public as of now. If he would be made Amîr in Somalia the ISI problem would be repeated. I feel al-Shabâb is just to clever to repeat such a mistake. They look to me as a learning group that adjusts to problems. If they will make Abû Zubayr Amîr he has to show his face. I personally am not convinced that they even plan to do so. They have two elder Islamists who are linked to AQ with the, namely Hassan Turkî and now Hassan Aways. Turkî is maybe too old and ill yet he seems to be the one most respected by AQ and thereby by the international salafî jihâdî current. He or Aways could be chosen. Another candidate would be 'Alî Rege who was one of the founders of the ICU.

As for point 3: I think al-Shabâb has learned by the ISI's problems in this matter too. I feel they will not announce a state unless they take all of Mogadishu, better yet all of Somalia (quite possibly excluding breakaway regions Puntland and Somaliland for the time being) in order to be able to claim full control over their "Islamic State".


Concluding, this merger is pretty bad news for the TFG, AMISOM and the West as a whole. I personally think it would have been a better idea to try and live with the ICU in 2006 instead of sending in Ethiopian troops with the outcome of the more radical al-Shabâb controlling basically the same amount of territory now in 2010. And a last thought: We can expect a video on the merger sooner or later; al Katâ'ib's cameras were in Afgoye too.

Members of al-Shabâb's media front "Al Katâ'ib News Channel" filming the press conference in Afgoye

Further reading on the merger and the situation in Somalia here, here and here.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Concerning bomb makers

As you may have heard AQAP tried to blow up two cargo planes in late October and may have suceeded in bringing one cargo plane down in early September. Two bombs hidden in toners were found on airplanes heading to the US on October 29th. On November 5th AQAP issued their claim of responsibility for the two bombs as well as for blowing up a cargo plain in Dubai on September 3rd. Last week (November 20th) AQAP's al Malâhim media released a special edition of their English language magazine "Inspire" describing the plot in detail.

There were some things in that magazine that caught my attention. One article I found especially interesting, namely "Technical details" by 'Ikrimah al Muhâjir, member of "the explosives department". The two last pages and some pictures are interesting too but what really hit me was a question posed on page 6:

"Isn't it funny that America thinks that AQAP has only one major bomb maker?"

Immediatly after the first round of rumours and the usual al 'Awlaqî is THE AQAP mastermind media blitz some informed people brought up the name of the person they think (or know?) is the bomb maker who designed the bombs: Ibrâhîm al 'Asîrî. And pretty soon he looked like the next one on the to be killed by drones list, right behind al 'Awlaqî.

The question AQAP poses is in my opinion totally justified. I mean al 'Asîrî is 28 years old, those people in Yemen have been active since at least the late 90's. Wouldn't they have some other good bomb makers, older ones who are more experienced and therefore better? Or is al 'Asîrî some bomb maker wunderkind?

I believe al 'Asîrî's rise to prominence is linked to the fate of his younger brother 'Abdullah. While both of them were listed on the S'aûdî most wanted list of 2009 they first grabbed the worlds attention when the younger one ('Abdullah) became the suicide bomber who tried to assassinate the S'aûdî Deputy Interior Minister on August 27th 2009. This made both of the 'Asîrî brothers propaganda gold mines for AQAP.

The connection between the Interior Ministry suicide bomber and AQAP's alleged master bomb maker has often been mentioned but the short appearance of Ibrâhîm in a recently released video by AQAP's al Malâhim media seems to have gone unnoticed. The brothers are shown hugging each other and saying their last goodbye in the propaganda film "By the Lord of the K'abah I have succeeded 2" that was released on October 5th (See 50:48 - 51:12).

'Abdullah and Ibrâhîm al 'Asîrî in AQAP's al Malâhim media release "By the Lord of the K'abah I have succeeded 2" (released October 2010), the Arabic caption reads: "Witness the last goodbye with his shaqîq (means full brother, as in has the same parents, the word akh - brother - could refer to every male Muslim) Ibrâhîm."

If Ibrâhîm al 'Asîrî is indeed the man behind the cargo plane bombs the timing of this release MAY be interesting. I mean it is almost right between the September 3rd Dubai plane crash and the October 29th attempt. This MAY have been planned as a media coup introducing the mastermind of an ongoing plot to the target audience. That would have been a novelty. I doubt my own theory though as the face of Ibrâhîm is blurred out thereby stealing some of the possible thunder.

On a side note I don't understand why they blur out his face while they do identify him by name. I mean his photo is known; it appeared on the most wanted list in February 2009. They obviously don't want to hide that he was there (that would be one reasonable explanation) and I doubt that he had plastic surgery (that would be another one). 

So, what about droning Ibrâhîm al 'Asîrî? 'Ikrimah al Muhâjir says it won't help. On page 14 of the new Inspire (no. 3, released November 20th 2010) he writes:

Another suggestion is that the bomb maker needs to be killed. I and my brothers in the explosives department are from among the blessings of Abu Khabab al-Misri and Abu Abdul Rahman al-Muhajir who were killed in Afghanistan. Do you think that our research will only be used by al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula and won't be shared with other mujahidin?

Abû Khabâb al Misrî was a bomb expert linked to Egyptian Jihâd and later on al Qâ'idah. He carried out experiments with toxic gas in camps in Afghânistân and his name was mentioned in conjunction with dirty bombs that AQ may have wanted to use. As far as I know he was THE bomb maker trainer in the time of the camps and apparently he kept his job even after 2001. He was killed in a drone strike in late July 2008 somewhere in Wazîristân. AQ second in command Ayman al-Dhawâhirî confirmed his death in a video speech released in late August 2008.

Ayman al-Dhawâhirî announcing the "martyrdom of Shaikh Abû Khabâb and his companions", the man with the red beard is Abû Khabâb al Misrî (video released in August 2008, just days after his death)

In late September 2009 a video was unofficially released on the forums showing a small bomb making training camp somewhere in Pâkistân. The publisher said that Abû Khabâb had been the trainer and could be seen in the video. For more on this video see this post by Leah Farrall of All Things CT.

According to the publisher of this video the standing man who is averted to the camera is Abû Khabâb (released 2009)

So we know that Abû Khabâb trained scores of bomb makers in a time period of more than 10 years. While it is unlikely that anyone of his students is as competent as he was I believe it is safe to say that it is impossible to "drone" all these bomb makers trained by Abû Khabâb out there. 

The second mentioned bomb maker is to my knowledge not Abû .. but just 'Abdul Rahmân al Muhâjir also known as Ibrâhîm al Muhâjir (it seems even AQ guys sometimes fall into the Abû trap). 'Abdul Rahmân al Muhâjir is no other than one of the masterminds and the bomb maker of the Kenia and Tanzania bombings in 1998. His name last appeared in context of Ahmad Khalfân al Gilânî's recent sentencing.

He was referred to as the one "who played the largest part" in the bombings in Kenya and Tanzania by fellow AQ member Abûl Hassan al-S'aîdî (Shâkirullah al Misrî) in the 2008 al-Sahâb video "Jihâd wa Istishhâd" (Jihâd and Martyrdom - showing Abûl Hassan giving an interview on AQ's history and his suicide bomber last will). To my knowledge this was the first time that AQ admitted the death of 'Abdul Rahmân.

AQ field commander Abûl Hassan speaking about the 1998 embassy attacks in Kenya and Tanzania - released 2008

He died sometime in 2006 - cause of death: drone in Pâkistân. Coincidently he appeared in a video released on October 27th. He is shown in al-Sahâb's (AQC media) video release "Rîh al Jannah 5" (Winds of Paradise 5), a video series that deals with AQ's "martyrs" in the AfPak region. We get to know that he was big in creating car bombs in the AfPak zone. The interesting thing is he is not the one eulogized in the video, it's one of his successors - Abû Salamah al-Najdî - who got into car bomb making after 'Abdul Rahmân's death. 

The standing man is 'Abdul Rahmân al Muhâjir, the caption reads Ibrâhîm al Muhâjir (an alias) - released October 2010

As far as I know nobody ever noticed a decrease in capabilities of local AQC to bomb things in the AfPak region while some of the major bomb makers were killed. AQ seems to constantly train new bomb makers who may not be as experienced as the killed ones but who are capable enough to blow things up (Camp Chapman comes to mind).  

The mentioning of these two particular bomb makers could be a hint that there are in fact alumni of AQC bomb making training camps in Yemen. Gregory Johnsen of Waq al Waq in a different context got the impression that AQC guys are coming to Yemen. If so one can't rule out that among the new talent are/have been bomb makers too.

Concerning the capabilities and background of bomb makers Clint Watts of Selected Wisdom described the bomb maker of AQAP as following:

AQAP’s bombmaker, however, is extremely rare.  Only real world practice and survival in Iraq and Afghanistan allows one to master these devices.

We know that some of AQAP's men are Irâq veterans (Muhmmad al-Râshid comes to my mind first), but I feel the hint concerning the two AQC bomb makers points to Afghânistân. Otherwise mentioning of AQ in Irâq's deceased commander Abû Hamzah al Muhâjir who was a bomb maker too would have fitted better.

This brings us to the question: who is this 'Ikrimah al Muhâjir? He seems to have detailed knowledge of the making of the device and he obviously isn't one of the English speaking crew (note the translated by al Malâhim above the article). Could he be the bomb maker? Is he an Afghânistân alumni? Or is the whole article just a smoke screen ...

Partial screen of page 13 (Inspire 3), notice the "Translated by al-Malahem Media" (released November 2010)

Concluding I do believe that al 'Asîrî is only one of AQAP's bomb makers, singled out because of possible propaganda value by AQAP and killing him wouldn't change much. We have seen AQC bomb makers come and go and know that the two AQC bomb makers mentioned above trained a number of people who were by and large able to replace them after their demise (at least in local bomb manufacture). I suppose that AQAP has other competent bomb makers than al 'Asîrî who may be training others the time I write.


On a side note concerning the magazine "Inspire 3" and Anwar al 'Awlaqî Thomas Hegghammer of Jihadica identifies al 'Awlaqî as the Head of AQAP's Foreign Operations based on the article "The objectives of Operation Hemorrhage" (Inspire, no. 3, released November 20th 2010, p. 7). The article finishes with mentioning the book Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, a book that al 'Awlaqî read in prison and posted about on his now defunct blog after his release nearly three years ago. Another point that links the article to al 'Awlaqî is according to Hegghammer the reference to Muslim Spain.

I personally am not fully convinced by this. Everyone who read his blog (certainly most of the Inspire crew) can plant this hint and there are more Andalus obsessed people other than al 'Awlaqî (An Incomplete History: Muslims in Andalus anyone?). To me this whole Inspire thing is directed to the CT community as well as to English speaking jihâdî's. See page 23 for example:

Screen of page 23 (Inspire 3), showing the use of "Wordle" (released November 2010)

This seems to be a shout to Jarret Brachman who has been in dialogue with English speaking jihâdî's for some time. In one of his posts he used a technique called "Wordle" and it looks like the Inspire crew did the same. Well, this is no proof that Jarret Brachman is with AQAP. In fact I strongly doubt it.

I don't rule out that al 'Awlaqî is indeed with AQAP and maybe he is operational and even  responsible for the cargo plane plot but from what I have seen I don't see enough proofs to get him jailed in court.

Therefore to me he is still a person linked to but not necessarily a member of AQAP. He is certainly supportive of them with his speeches but again I haven't seen a hard proof for his membership. Especially his recent video that was not released via AQAP's al Malâhim media is in my eyes an indication that he is somewhat independent from them.

Like Aaron Zelin of Jihadology I could imagine al 'Awlaqî as a supportive scholar to AQAP just like Abû Muhammad al Maqdissî was for AQI.  Still Thomas Hegghammer may have information that I don't have. Let's see how all this evolves ...

Friday, November 26, 2010

Zadrân and the American

This week (October 24th or 23rd) a new video from Afghânistân was posted to the usual forums. The film is produced by Manba al Jihâd - the media group loyal to the Haqqânîs.

The Haqqânîs are a Tâlibân faction led by Jalâluddîn Haqqânî and his sons, foremost Sirâjuddîn. Jalâluddîn has been active in the 1980's war against the Soviet's and belonged to the Hizb Islâmî Khâlis prior to joining the Tâlibân in the mid-nineties and becoming a minister in their government. The Haqqânîs operate in Eastern Afghânistân (especially Greater Paktiâ), have safe havens in Pâkistân's Tribal Areas (especially North Wazîristân) and are responsible for many of the high profile attacks that shook Afghânistân in recent years.

Jalâluddî Haqqânî in 1991 - the screen is taken from the latest Manba al Jihâd video (released October 2010)

To my knowledge Manba al Jihâd operates since late 2007. In the years since they have released parts 1-8 of their series Da Ghâziânô Kârwân - Caravan of Fighters (ghâzî is difficult to translate, I personally learned that word as a term for someone who HAD fought jihâd and came out alive).

Well, as you may have guessed their newest release is part 9 of their series. As usual it shows news footage overlaid with a voiceover denouncing Hâmid Karzai and the US as criminals, attacks on NATO and ANA forces (IED's, ambushes, suicide bombings) and here and there a glimpse of their leaders.

But this time I was surprised to see an American soldier, Bowe Bergdahl who somehow got into the hands of the Tâlibân in late June 2009. He has been shown on video by the Tâlibân on three occasions. The first came right after his capture - in July 2009. The Tâlibân produced a video that was meant as proof of life and seems to have been made under time pressure. Instead of one of the official and semi-official media groups of the Tâlibân the video just showed the seal of the "Islamic Emirate of Afghânistân" (the official title of Afghânistan under the Tâlibân and still used by them).

Bowe Bergdahl in a Tâlibân video (released July 2009)

In December 2009 they followed up with a highly polished propaganda video by one of the big media groups: al Imârah. The video release was timed to hit the American headlines on Christmas, but it was overshadowed by that incident in Detroit.

Bowe Bergdahl in a Tâlibân video (released December 2010)

The third video was published in April 2010. Again it was not marked by usual media groups. This time it was obviously meant to create pressure on the US and thereby getting a prisoner exchange.

Bowe Bergdahl shown in a Tâlibân video (released April 2010)

The recent video release shows Bergdahl and to his right is the man who is believed to be his captor: Sangîn Zadrân, a very important military commander who belongs to the Haqqânîs. His official Tâlibân job is military commander of the Paktîkâ province.

Bowe Bergdahl (l.) and Sangîn Zadrân (r.) in the recent Manba al Jihâd release (released October 2010)

Additionally he is one of about a handful of actual (as in Afghâns who hold high official Tâlibân positions) commanders who gave an interview to al-Sahâb, al Qâ`idah's media front. I believe this shows that he is nearer to AQ than other commanders who are either camera-shy or rather talk to the professionals from al Jazîrah or western media.

Sangîn Zadrân giving an interview to al-Sahâb (AQ's media) in 2009

When I saw that interview with al-Sahâb I got the impression that they tried to mirror their interview with Dâdullah Akhûnd (visiting training camp, shooting RPG etc.). Dâdullah was the major Tâlibân military commander in Southern Afghânistân and on top of that he was extremely media savy. Most times it wasn't al-Sahâb but al-Jazeera who interviewed him. Additionaly he appeared in Tâlibân productions, sometimes he did beheadings in front of a camera. All of this he did unveiled and thereby became something like the face of the Tâlibân, the "Zarqâwî of Afghânistân" till his death in 2007.

I think to jihâdists in 2010 Zadrân is the best known active - as in still alive, not in jail and did not surrender - (unveiled) face of the Tâlibân. The only other active Tâlibân commander who appears unveiled is to my knowledge the commander of Nûristân: Dôst Muhammad.

Anyway, none one them has yet made that step with the Western media but the Bergdahl capture could lead to Sangîn Zadrân becoming famous and infamous in the West.

Bowe Bergdahl and Sangîn Zadrân in the recent Manba al Jihâd video (released October 2010)

Besides, for all those who claimed that Bergdahl deserted and/or is giving training on IED's to the Tâlibân (which is absurd on its own) he doesn't look particularly happy next to Zadrân, it is more the other way round.

UPDATE: 05 June 2014

Bergdahl has been exchanged for five high ranking Tâlibân members who had been jailed in Guantanamo on May 31st. Many newspapers are running articles on him using a variation of the photo seen above. 

Interestingly I have not seen one reference to who the guy next to him is. While Sangîn Zadrân was of huge importance to the Tâlibân in Afghânistân and Pâkistân - for example he allegedly was the first trainer of the late Tehrîk e Tâlibân Pâkistân Amîr Hakîmullah Mehsûd - he never got famous in western media. To reiterate Zadrân was the most important field commander of the Haqqânî Tâlibân who were added to the US List of Foreign Terrorist Organization in late 2012.

A move that in my mind does not make sense as the Tâlibân are not designated as such and the so-called Haqqânî Network in my opinion is nothing but an unofficial sub-group within the Tâlibân. Jalaluddîn Haqqânî joined the Tâlibân in the mid-nineties and his so called network is right that - a network. a network built on personal connections, mostly of tribal character (Zadrân clan) and not an organisation in its own right. So, as the Haqqânîs are a designated FTO and were the ones holding Bergdahl the US did in some way deal with terrorists.

But what happened to Sangîn Zadrân? Last year in late summer he was killed in a drone strike in the Pâkistânî tribal area of North-Wazîristân. Photos of his funeral were later on released to jihâdist forums.

Sangîn Zadrân shown at his funeral in summer 2013

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The German martyrs and the Turkish groups

Sometime this month (about October 14th or 15th) a new video was posted to Turkish jihâdi websites. The video is 06:54 minutes in length and shows operational footage by the "Deutsche Tâlibân Mujâhidîn" (German Tâlibân) as well as the burial of four (or three?) of their fighters, namely 'Abd al Ghafâr al Almânî (Eric B.) Salahudîn al-Turkî (Ahmad M.), Abû 'Abdullah al Almânî (Danny R.? - at least "Der Spiegel" says so) and Hizbullah al Uzbekî. I am not sure whether the last one belonged to their group.

Who are the "Deutsche Tâlibân Mujâhidîn"?

Sometime in 2006 and 2007 the first wave of young German Muslims (most of them converts) went to Pakistan in order to get trained to fight and help the Talibân in their war. Most if not all of them joined the "Islami Cihad Ittehad" (Islamic Jihad Union, also known as Islamic Jihad Group, IJU, IJG), a group that had splintered of the original Uzbek group "Islami Harakat Uzbekistan" (Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, IMU) some time after 2001 (I have heard everything from 2001 to 2005 so no real idea when and why it happened).

This first group of Germans gained fame as some of them returned to Germany and tried to bomb US Army barracks in Germany. They are known as the "Sauerland Cell". Another German from the same "generation" became a suicide bomber in Afghânistân in a joint attack by the Tâlibân/Haqqâni faction and the IJU).

Suicide Bomber Cuneyt C. Sa'ad Abû Furqân in a IJU production (notice their media emblem on the right) - 2008

So to speak Eric B. was at one point the last German member of the IJU. In 2009 (?) he got permission from the IJU Amîr to form a new group with other new German recruits. The German Taliban were born. We have to see this group as just a handful of guys - I'd say about 20 who are just well known because most of them were German converts and thereby something new. We have not yet seen something similar for other non-Muslim majority countries.

Another thing that made these guys interesting is/was (?) "Elif Medya", a media organisation that cooperated and released footage for various groups among them the IJU (while the IJU got their own media group "Badr al-Tawhîd"), the Azeri/Turkish group Ta'ifah al Mansûrah (Taifatu'l Mansura), the Punjabi faction of the TTP and obviously the German Tâlibân. I am pretty sure that "Elif Medya" was active long before the German Taliban were founded. Salahudîn al-Turkî (Ahmad M.) was the one in charge of this media group.

An Elif Medya release (emblem on the right top) showing fighters from the TTP Punjâb - 2009

Now back to the video. The video is meant as a martyrdom video for the before mentioned. All of them were killed in an encounter with the Pakistani Army in North Wazîristân/Pâkistân on April 30th 2010. The video is patchwork, the quality is awful. It looks as if the short statements that are given by Salahuddîn al-Turkî and Abû 'Abdallah al Almânî are raw footage. The men are repeating the same sentences as if the cameraman had asked them to repeat or reword their appeals.

Screenshot of Salahudîn al-Turkî

[...] Brethren in Germany: Allah doesn't enable anyone to kill a kâfir (non-Muslim, disbeliever). It is a great favour from Allah to kill a kâfir. Therefore I call my dear brothers in Germany to come to us, to Afghânistân to fight with us against the kuffâr. (Salahuddîn al-Turkî)

While al-Turkî sits around 'Abu Abdullah is shown as a fighter on the ground:

Screenshot showing Abû 'Abdullah al Almânî

Dear brethren in Germany. Look how we shoot these BM rockets at the kuffâr. The kuffar shoot as if they were blind. They don't know where we are. Allah blinds them. May Allah destroy them and annihilate them [...] We are going to execute an operation with BM rockets here in the area of Murgha (no idea how to spell it but I think it is in Baluchistân/Pâkistân). There are the servants of the kuffâr. If Allah wills he shall destroy the kuffâr and give victory to the mujâhidîn (Muslim fighters). Brothers Germany please continue to support us in our jihâd so that we can fight the kuffâr so that they leave our lands and our lands are governed by shar'îah (Islamic law). (Abû 'Abdullah al Almânî)

Words are followed by actions and a number of BM rockets are shot. Then the video switches to the burial scenes. All four men are once again identified by name and are shown in their burial shrouds before they are actually buried. I think that one background voice talks about misk (musk), the smell of musk is seen as a sign of martyrdom in Islâm.

For further reading on this video see here and here.


Now, what to make out of this video?

Well, we can be sure that the media network around the German Tâlibân and the small Turkish groups is heavily damaged. A martyrdom video was announced to be released merely days or weeks after the actual engagement. It took nearly half a year to produce a video that doesn't even show the most famous face of this group, namely Eric B. speaking or giving his martyrdom address. The other orations aren't martyrdom speeches either. There is no storytelling in this video and on top of all that the video quality is awful. On the one hand the death of their media director may have been a hard hit but on the other hand the increased drone strikes in Wazîristân take a heavy toll on all media groups operating in the region.

On a second note there is happening something with the Turks in AfPak. Contrary to this article there is a multitude of groups with Turkish membership there. There is the Ta'ifah al Mansûrah, the Jaishullah (Ceyşullah), the IJU, Jamâ'ah Bulghâr, and numerous Turks that are directly aligned to non Turkish groups like the Tâlibân or AQ as well as Turks who are not known to operate for a certain group, like the most famous Turk in AfPak, Abû Dhar (Ebu Zer see point 2).

The recent video was released by a new Turkish online group (jihadmedia) that is linked to two new Turkish groups, namely the Jamâ'ah al Islâm (Cemaatul Islam) and the Türk İslam Kurtuluş Cephesi' (TIKC, Turkish Islamic Salvation Front). Unfortunately I don't speak Turkish so if anyone knows someone who has an idea on the Turks please tell him or her to enlighten me about these recent developments.

And while the video was released by this new media entity the statement announcing the death of the four insurgents was posted by the Ta'ifah al Mansûrah group. Basically we really don't have an idea on who is who over there unless "they" tell us. The best example for this mess is the fourth killed insurgent Hizbullah al Uzbekî. He could belong to any of the before mentioned groups we just don't know.


1. The video release information in German:

Das erste Mal bei; Äußerungen und die Beerdigungen, der im selben Kampf gefallenen Märtyrer Abdulgaffar Almani, Selahaddin Turki und anderen Brüdern. Die in der deutschen Presse mehrere Tage lang erwähnten Konvertierten Abdulgaffar Almani und Selahaddin Turki, die an der Front des Cihads gekämpft haben, sind in der Nähe von Miranshah von Marionettensoldaten verraten und in den Hinterhalt getrieben wurden. Nach einem lang anhaltendem Gefecht wurden erlangten sie den Märtyrertod. Die Aufnahmen zu der Beerdigung, werden das erste Mal über jihadmedia ausgestrahlt.

2. The original martyrdom statement in German:

die vertreter der Taifatu'l Mansura Deutschland gratulieren den am 30.04.gefallenen deutsch stämmigen Märtyrern nach dem heutmorgigen nachrichteneingang haben wir erfahren das die aus deutschland am cihad teilnehmenden ELIF MEDYA leiter  Selahaddin Türki und an seiner seite Abdulgaffar Almani märtyren gefallen sind. bei der selben ausseinander setzung sind auch unsere brüder Hizbullah und Ebu Abdullah gefallen. 
in der gegend von Miranşah-Mirali , in der nacht vom 30.04.wurde das Fahrzeug von unseren brüdern von pakistanischen ungläubigen angegriffen.selahaddin turki schaffte es in seiner verletzten weise die bombe in seiner hand platzen zu lassen und somit 4 ungläubigen Pakistanern ums leben zu bringen.nach diesem vorfall ist Selahaddin Turki gefallen .
eine weitere nachricht des Taifatu'l Mansura fürstentum ist das 8 weitere brüder aus unserer gemeinde während der angriffe in den letzten 10 tagen gefallen sind. Wir sind dabei ,diese brüder angehende ,videos zu erhalten. über die brüder die aus deutschland teilgenommen haben werden wir die angehenden videos unter veröffentlichen. als Taifatu'l Mansura veranttwortlicher für die deutschland region ist es angebracht mittzuteilen das in letzter zeit aus europa , vor allem aus deutschland grosse teilnahme am cihad festzustellen ist. wir hoffen geduld für alle famielenangehörigen der Märtyrern . wir wollen eindeutig festlegen; wir akzeptieren unsere märtyter nicht als verlusst sondern als gewinn. nach jedem gefallenen märtyrer öffnen sich wege für unängstliche mitglieder der islamischen jugend, diese werden die aufgaben mit stolz und willen fortsetzten.diese nachricht möchten wir allen, ob freund oder feind, mitteilen. die besetzter kuffar in afganistan sind auf dem weg zu gegensatz zu derren leeren versprechen kommen sie nicht vorran sondern im gegenteil, die soldaten geraten immer tiefer in derren kriese.dagegen ist die laune und die multivation der cihad angehörigen lobenswert. während die kuffar nach jedem verlorenen soldaten trauern, sind die cihad angeörigen nach jedem gefallenen bruder in der hoffung der nächste märtyrer zu sein. wir sind auf alle cihad kämpfer und auf unsere märtyrer stolz. wir bitten alle muslime für die cihad angehörigen zu beten und die hoffung auf sieg festzuhalten. der sieg ist von Allah Allahuakbar

Ebu Esila El Almani 
Afghanistan İslam Kommandatur
Taifatu'l Mansura Gemeinde

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The forgotten terrorist

As everybody knows there is an al Qâ'idah group (AQAP) in Yemen. As some know Abû Basîr Nâsir al Wuhayshî is their commander, Abû Sufyân S'aîd al-Shihrî is their vice-commander and Abû Hurayrah Qâsim al-Rîmî is their military commander.

As the media blitz goes on everybody knows that `Anwar al 'Awlaqî is with them. This is not yet proven without doubt but very likely. One may hear the media refer to him as their mufti (as in religiously knowledgeable person who makes religious rulings). Well, he isn't. Same goes for former Guantanamo inmate Ibrâhîm al-Rubaysh who also got famous in western media and some claim that he is AQAP's mufti. Well, he is neither.

The one who is the person in charge of their shar'îah comittee is named Abû Zubayr 'Adil al 'Abab. And it seems that about nobody notices that guy. The two that were mentioned before even "have his job" according to western media. I personally can't understand why. He is quite possibly the "number 4" of AQAP. I for one even think that he is rhetorically better than numbers 1,2 and 3. It's a complete mystery to me.

Recently an audio by Abû Zubayr was released and somebody noticed. As the coblogger at Jihadology rightly said: For more on [him] see the various posts by Gregory D. Johnsen of Waq al-Waq on him.

The use of `anâshîd in the new issue of AQAP's "Inspire" magazine

The international anti-terrorism community and to a lesser extent the jihâdi internet forums are abuzz with the news. Al Qâ'idah fî Jazîrah al 'Arab (AQ on the Arabian Peninsula, AQAP) has released the second issue of its English magazine "Inspire". You will read much about this the coming days. Pretty much of it will be alarmism and/or utter bulls**t. Some people will come up with a good analysis.

While I didn't plan to say something about the magazine after reading it through and after today mornings post I had to change my mind. I will post something about `anâshîd (Islamic songs without music). `Anâshîd are used as background or intro "music" in almost every video release of salafî (rigid group within Islâm, in this context AQ and company). So how is that important?

Music is an important theme in culture. Especially youth may define themselves by music and the corresponding culture. Furthermore music affects emotions and may enforce them. The music of the jihâdi culture are `anâshîd. 

Three `anâshîd are mentioned in the new magazine. The first one is "Sir
ya bin Ladin". Samîr Khân says in his article that he listened to the nashîd while on the road to join AQAP. But let him tell you this himself:

"I remember when I traveled from Sana'a, for what seemed like years, in a car to one of the bases of the mujahidin, the driver played this one nashīd repeatedly. It was ‘Sir ya bin Ladin’.     I already knew of this nashīd from before, but something had struck me at that moment. The nashīd repeated lines pertaining to fighting the tyrants of the world for the purpose of giving victory to the Islamic nation. But it also reminded the listener that Shaykh Usama bin Ladin is  the leader of this global fight. I looked out the window at the tal mud houses below the beautiful sky and closed my eyes as the wind blew through my hair. I took a deep breath to let it all out."
(Samîr Khân: I am proud to be a traitor to America, in: Inspire 2 by al Malahem, released on October 11th, 2010)

Samîr Khân is an American jihâdi blogger who was pretty famous in the international anti-terrorism community and to a lesser extent the jihâdi internet forums (he was quite known in the English ones, I mean he participated in them). If we take a peek at his old blog we find some of his words on `anâshîd:

"We all love the Arabic jihadi anasheed, but how often do we say the same of the English ones? That’s because they barely exist! So if brothers in the West can create a jihadi nasheed group (or single artists), that would be a huge step forward in the jihad media field and it’s possible that we’ll see those english anasheed being used in some of the official jihad videos."
(Samîr Khân, Shabab al-Mujahideen: Ambush at Bardal [english], in: The Ignored Puzzle Pieces of Knowledge, posted on March 31st, 2009)

Samîr Khân is believed to be the brain behind the Inspire magazine. His love for`anâshîd may explain that some are featured in "Inspire."

"This is a great classic which shows Abu ‘Ali singing some anasheed. When I saw this a few years back, it was the first time I was exposed to Jihadi Anasheed."
(Samîr Khân, Abu 'Ali singing live from Hijaz, in: The Ignored Puzzle Pieces of Knowledge, posted on March 05th, 2009)

Just for you to be in the same state of knowledge as Samîr Khân - the nashîd:


Let's come to the other `anâshîd that are mentioned. To be precise they aren't mentioned. They are translated to English.

Page 67, "Oh my Ummah be happy"

Page 67 of the new "Inspire" magazine

and page 71, "Please excuse me mother" - I couldn't find one with these exact lyrics.

"Please excuse me, O love of my life.
You have always been a mother of mercy.
Forgive me for the errors of my days,
And pardon me for that phase.
I know that I have wounded your heart,
Since I frequently experience the same dart.
But Paradise is calling me to conquer my fears
Thus I flew across the sea leaving you in tears…
Please excuse me, and don’t say
That I separated myself from you to play.
How is it that I separated my soul
From the one who kept me from the cold?
How is it that I make you cry,
When you are the one most precious to my soul and eye?
You are more precious than the day which my heart loves
As the thought of you gathers the most beautiful doves.
If you knew all the facts
You would certainly relax.
So lend me your compassion,
As I explain myself in succinct words of expression.
Mother, the Muslim’s humiliation is called peace,
And the heedless Rulers have put the Ummah up for a lease.
Mother, the Regimes of Sabotage have gathered on our land,
Sinking our Ummah's nobility to that of sand.
Mother, Palestine is the little child under the rubble,
And her grieving mother can only be heard in a bubble.
Mother, I can’t let this humiliation continue,
Allowing the disbelievers to rape our Nation in the holiest of venues.
The enemy will shout, yell and scream
But I will continue to let my heart beam
For I have put my worries behind my nation's,
Preparing myself to leave all of life's stations,
Even if it means that I fight and die,
Without saying goodbye.
Mother, I want to be above all of the strife,
So please excuse me, O love of my life."

The second one is quite similar to the one performed by the suicide bomber who attacked the Danish embassy in Islâmâbâd.

If you read and/or watch them think about what Samîr Khân had and has to say about `anâshîd. For further reading on `anâshîd see here, here, here and here and I suppose in many other posts on that blog too. If any one out there got a youtube link (or something like that) for the last nashid feel invited to comment.