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Periodical Review: Summary from the Jihadi Forums – The First Half of January 2014

This report summarizes notable events discussed on jihadist Web forums during the first half of January 2014. Following are the main points covered in the report:

  • Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahiri, leader of Al-Qaeda, criticized Bangladesh for the massacre of Muslims on its land and berated the global media from its disregard of this humanitarian crisis. In addition, he accused Pakistan and India of focusing their efforts on weakening the power of Sunni Muslims. In light of this, al-Zawahiri plead with Muslims in Bangladesh and on the Indian subcontinent to defend themselves and wage jihad in order to change the current situation.
  • Abu Bakr al-Julani, leader of the Al-Nusra Front, called on armed factions in Syria to stop fighting one another and blamed the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham for this trend. According to him, if this trend continues, it is liable to cause a fatal blow to the mujahideen’s efforts to topple the Bashar al-Assad regime and result in their loss of control over the arena of jihad in Syria. In order to rectify this situation, he recommended the establishment of a religious legal council made up of representatives of all the battalions for the purpose of imposing peace and unity among them.
  • Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, spokesman for the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham, warned Sunnis in Iraq not to join the ranks of the Shi’ite security forces and threatened to harm anyone who does so. In addition, al-Adnani asked Sunnis in Syria not to cooperate with hostile forces against the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham, including the Syrian army’s secular security forces and threatened that anyone who helps them will be harmed.
  • The Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham reported that it was concentrating its efforts on weakening the Lebanese Hezbollah organization and attacking its stronghold. According to him, the terrorist attack that took place in the beginning of January 2014 in Dahiyeh Province – a Hezbollah stronghold – was symptomatic of this trend.
  • The discourse on jihadist Web forums indicated a significant increase in the level of tension between members of the Al-Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, and the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS). The latter’s admission to the killing of an Al-Nusra Front leader in Raqqa Province in Syria added to the tension.
  • The Abdullah Azzam Brigades, which operates in Lebanon and Syria, officially announced the death of Sheikh Majid bin Muhammad al-Majid, leader of the organization, who was captured by Lebanese security forces and died during his detention.
  • The Markaz Aysha jihadist media institution, which focuses on the Sunni population in Lebanon, announced the establishment of a new jihadist media institution called, “The Global Front for the Defense of the Islamic State”, to aid in public relations for the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham. 

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