Archive for Information Warfare

Inspire Magazine’s 10th Issue

Assessing Inspire Magazine’s 10th Edition

By Scott Stewart  [ VP of Analysis at STRATFOR ]

Republished with permission of Stratfor.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula released the 10th edition of its English-language magazine, Inspire, on March 1. After discussing its contents with our analytical team, initially I decided not to write about it. I concluded that Inspire 10 conformed closely to the previous nine editions and that our analysis of the magazine, from its inception to its re-emergence after the death of editor Samir Khan, was more than adequate.

Since making that decision, however, I have been very surprised at how the media and other analysts have received the magazine. Some have overhyped the magazine even as others have downplayed — even ridiculed — its content. I have heard others say the magazine revealed nothing about al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. All these reactions are misguided. So in response, I’ve endeavored to provide a more balanced assessment that can be placed in a more appropriate perspective.

» Continue reading “Inspire Magazine’s 10th Issue”

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Nigeria’s Boko Haram Attacks

My Op-Ed piece, co-authored with Vanda Felbab-Brown, is available online at the Brookings website [ Click Here ]

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Brachman Testimony

Jarret Brachman Testifies on AQAP Media

Earlier this week my colleague Jarret Brachman provided expert testimony to the Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence. The hearing, which was entitled, “Terrorist Threat to the U.S. Homeland – Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP),” focused on AQAP’s use of new media for radicalizing, mobilizing and operationalizing American nationals.

Click here to view the video, download his testimony, etc.

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Can Al Qaeda Survive the Revolts in the Middle East?

Great commentary by Bruce Riedel.

“As the Arab world undergoes the most profound changes it has seen in over a half century, and the first-ever democratic revolutions in its history, al Qaeda has been caught off guard like everyone else. Now it is trying to regain its footing by looking for ways to gain advantage. So the stakes in Arabia’s earthquake include not just the outcome in each country, the price of oil, and broader regional security, they also involve a battle for the future of the global jihad.” Click here for more . . .

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Debates and Divisions within Al-Qaida

Self Inflicted Wounds

Here is an excellent example of the kind of research that definitely improves our understanding of al Qaida. “ Self Inflicted Wounds: Debates and Divisions within al-Qaida and its Periphery” was released earlier this week and is edited by Assaf Moghadam and Brian Fishman, two of my former colleagues at the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. The report offers a systematic and comprehensive examination of the broad range of divisions that contribute to the weakening of the jihadi movement. To that end, it analyzes fissures dividing jihadis themselves as well as divisions separating jihadis from other Muslim and Islamist groups. Intra-jihadi divisions discussed in the report include those over strategic, tactical, and organizational issues. The report then addresses several important case studies of jihadi altercations with other Muslim and Islamist groups of non-jihadi persuasion, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and Shiis. The report addresses critical policy issues of relevance to the broader struggle against the global jihadi movement. The editors conclude that these divisions have and continue to weaken al-Qa’ida, but neither in an automatic nor in an exclusive fashion—for these divisions render the global jihadi movement simultaneously vulnerable and more resilient. Co-edited by Assaf Moghadam and Brian Fishman, the report includes contributions by Steven Brooke, Vahid Brown, Mohammed Hafez, Bernard Haykel, Brynjar Lia, Marc Lynch, Reuven Paz, Anne Stenersen, as well as the editors.

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National Framework for Strategic Communication

Click Here to download
the National Framework for Strategic Communication,

President Barack Obama’s Report to Congress, March 16, 2010.

This 14-page report, described in the President’s transmittal letter as the “Administration’s comprehensive interagency strategy for public diplomacy and strategic communication,” was submitted in response to a requirement in Section 1055 of the Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009.  The report seeks to clarify the meaning of strategic communication; present a strategy for “deliberate communication and engagement;” identify strategic communication priorities; and explain the roles and responsibilities of the National Security Council, embassies, the military’s geographic combatant commands, and executive branch departments, and agencies.  The report states also that the National Security Council staff “currently sees no need to establish a new, independent, not-for-profit organization” as recommended by the Defense Science Board’s Strategic Communication Task Force.  The NSC staff reasons that the Administration’s “existing enterprise either already meets or is working to meet the recommended purposes of the organization prescribed by the Task Force.”

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Fouad Ajami on Radical Islamists

Islam’s Nowhere Men


Wall Street Journal, May 10, 2010

‘A Muslim has no nationality except his belief,” the intellectual godfather of the Islamists, Egyptian Sayyid Qutb, wrote decades ago. Qutb’s “children” are everywhere now; they carry the nationalities of foreign lands and plot against them. The Pakistani born Faisal Shahzad is a devotee of Sayyid Qutb’s doctrine, and Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter, was another.

Qutb was executed by the secular dictatorship of Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1966. But his thoughts and legacy endure. Globalization, the shaking up of continents, the ease of travel, and the doors for immigration flung wide open by Western liberal societies have given Qutb’s worldview greater power and relevance. What can we make of a young man like Shahzad working for Elizabeth Arden, receiving that all-American degree, the MBA, jogging in the evening in Bridgeport, then plotting mass mayhem in Times Square?

» Continue reading “Fouad Ajami on Radical Islamists”

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Internet Terror Recruitment and Tradecraft

Internet Terror Recruitment and Tradecraft: How Can We Address an Evolving Tool While Protecting Free Speech?

Hearing, House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing and Terrorism Risk Assessment
Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Click here to read the comments and Congressional testimony provided by Bruce Hoffman, Brian Jenkins, Anthony Romero, John Morris, and John Philip Mudd

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Conference Announcement – 2010 International Security Studies (ISAISSS/ISAC) annual conference (Providence, RI – October 14-16, 2010)

Conference Announcement – Terrorism and New Media: Building a Research Network (Dublin City University, 8-9 September 2010) – Plenary speakers include Jarret Brachman and John Horgan

Call for Authors: Praeger Security International series – the PSI Guides to Terrorists, Insurgents, and Armed Groups (now includes organized criminal networks, gangs, etc.)

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