This report summarizes notable events discussed on jihadist Web forums during October 2017.
- Zabihullah Mujahid, the official spokesman for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, condemns the strategy of US President, Donald Trump, vis-à-vis Afghanistan and threatens that the US will suffer should it continue its battle in Afghanistan. According to him, the US suffered a severe defeat in Afghanistan, and lost a great deal of money and soldiers, and still continues to suffer heavy losses while Emirate fighters are enjoying many victories in the battle. He adds that Trump’s strategy is not receiving support within the US and is expected to cost the country a lot of money. He emphasizes that the return of sovereignty to Afghanistan and the establishment of an Islamic system in the country are more important to the mujahideen than their own lives and, therefore, the mujahedeen’s battle cannot be undermined by the Americans. He even threatens that the President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, will be prosecuted for all of the offenses that he committed against religious institutions in the country.
- Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of Al-Qaeda, praises the achievements of jihad fighters since the September 11 attacks in the US against the West and its allies, such as Russia, China, Iran and rulers of Arab countries. For example, they were able to spread to other areas and create new arenas of jihad, to open the eyes of the Muslim Nation regarding the identity of their enemies and the need to respond to them through jihad. At the same time, al-Zawahiri criticizes the disregard shown by Islamic groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists in Egypt, for the injustices committed by Muslim regimes. He also calls for unity among the ranks of the mujahideen in Syria so as not to facilitate the failure of the Syrian revolution, as happened in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen, and not to enable the Muslim Nation’s enemies to return to the arena and join the US. In addition, he calls for the liberation of Al-Aqsa Mosque through jihad.
- Sheikh Khalid bin ‘Umar Batarfi, a senior member of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, accuses the Saudi Kingdom of conducting policies that violate shari’a, such as permitting women to drive, and of striving for normalization with Israel. He criticizes the arrests of clerics by the Saudi regime for condemning these policies. According to him, Muslims must wake up from their apathy and act against the tyrant regimes harming shari’a using any means possible, including jihad.
- Three sheikhs, including Abu Qatada al-Filastini and Muhammad al-Maqdisi publish an initiative for reconciliation between the jihadist factions, including Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, Ahrar al-Sham, supporters of Al-Qaeda in Syria and those who interested in shari’a rule. In the announcement, the sheikhs call on the mujahideen to re-unite and abandon their differences of opinion since their main objective is to defeat the enemy. The initiative gains support among jihad factions in Syria and abroad.
- A new Salafi-jihadist organization called Ansar al-Furqan fi Bilad al-Sham, which is seemingly affiliated with Al-Qaeda, declares its establishment. In its doctrine, the organization explains that its goal is to apply shari’a and renew the institution of the caliphate through jihad, and it emphasizes that it sees itself fighting, first and foremost, against the Alawites, Shi’ites and Russians on Syrian soil. In addition, it calls on Muslims around the world to migrate to the arena of jihad in Syria, and defines jihad against the Syrian regime as an individual duty imposed on every Muslim.
- Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, publishes an announcement regarding the change of roles in the organization’s leadership. The announcement states that the Shura Council of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham accepts the resignation of the organization’s leader, Abu Jaber, and appoints his deputy, Abu Mohammad al-Julani, to manage the organization’s affairs. The announcement also states that Abu Jaber will be appointed Chairman or the organization’s Shura Council.
- Jam?’at Nu?rat al-Isl?m Wa-l-Muslim?n, a Salafi-jihadist umbrella organization in Mali, which is affiliated with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, accuses the Mauritanian regime of providing assistance to the French in their attacks on northern Mali. At the same time, the organization claims that the organization successfully caught two Mauritanian spies.
- The Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF), which serves as a platform for the publications of Al-Qaeda, publishes an article by Sheikh Anwar al-Awlaqi, a former senior member of Al-Qaeda who was killed in a US drone strike in 2011. In the article, al-Awlaqi ruled that one must help jihad fighters and their families in every way, including financially, and therefore it is permissible to loot the property of non-Muslims, whether by force, fraud or theft. According to him, one should focus on looting government property, banks, international associations and property belonging to non-believers known for their hatred of Muslims, and with regard to the United States one should focus on government property and private property.
- The Hasm movement, a Salafi-jihadist organization in Egypt, claims responsibility for a terrorist attack at the embassy in Myanmar in revenge for the slaughter being carried out by the regime in Myanmar against the Muslim minority in the country.
- Militants associated with the Islamic State publish several statements in Arabic, Russian and English that include threats against the World Cup set to take place in Russia. In one of the statements, a masked gunman appears against the backdrop of a sports stadium, and in another an armed militant is shown watching a stadium with an explosive charge at his feet. Other announcements show famous soccer players, such as Lionel Messi, imprisoned and bleeding.
Islamic State supporters praise the shooting attack in Las Vegas that was carried out by Stephen Paddock, and refer to him an IS fighter after he was identified as such and call him Abu Abd al-Birr al-Amriki in a claim of responsibility published by the organization. One Web surfer claims that the attack should be exploited for media purposes while placing emphasis on the fact that Las Vegas is considered “Sin City” even in the eyes of the Americans themselves.
This article is part of the RED-Alert project, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation Programme under grant agreement No 740688.