Publication: Terrorism Focus Volume: 4 Issue: 13
ANSAR AL-ISLAM IN THE MUSLIM DESERT DECLARES JIHAD ON MOROCCO
On May 1, jihadi forums were notified of the website https://sahara.6te.net, which contained a warning to the Moroccan government that “Ansar al-Islam in the Muslim Desert” has declared “jihad against this agent government headed by Mohammed the Sixth, and all the agent governments in the Muslim Maghreb.” The group distinguished itself from Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb through its statement of support to al-Qaeda to “remain steadfast in your positions.” The author of the announcement warns Muslims to avoid government-related facilities in Morocco and in the Maghreb since they are now targets for jihadi attacks. The document argues that Morocco and other Maghrebi states have become targets for the mujahideen due to their loyalty to the United States, which is “the tyrant of this age” and the “bearer of the Crusader-Zionist flag.” The announcement derides King Mohammed VI for claiming to rule an Islamic state when he has arrested sheikhs and other Islamist activists under allegations of supporting terrorism. While it is not clear whether the posting has any credibility, it does highlight growing tension in the Maghreb as seen through the recent terrorist incidents in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. It is possible that Ansar al-Islam in the Muslim Desert consists of a small group of individuals who are seeking al-Qaeda’s assistance and support. The announcement was also posted on https://www.aljazeeratalk.net/forum, and one user on that forum argued that the group is “nothing but Moroccans and I think they are penetrated by the apparatus of the Morrocan regime; therefore, they do not represent desert people and should spare us their tongues.”
SAUDIS CLAIM INTERNET RESPONSIBLE FOR 80 PERCENT OF JIHADI RECRUITMENT
According to Abdul-Rahman al-Hadlaq, the supervisor of the Saudi Arabian Interior Ministry’s Good Counsel Committee, the internet is responsible for 80 percent of the recruitment of youths for the jihad (Asharq al-Awsat, May 2). Saudi authorities have managed to control other recruitment avenues, said al-Hadlaq, but the internet still remains a powerful tool of mujahid fighters. Al-Hadlaq outlined the process involved in radicalization through the web. First, a youth interested in Islamist or jihadi ideology is attracted to radical websites for information. Second, the youth develops a bond with the operators of the jihadi websites. Third, the youth is motivated to individual action to prove his allegiance to the organization. Once the youth has proven his loyalty, the jihadi operators investigate the willing recruit’s background before accepting him into the group. After being properly vetted, the group exposes the new recruit to propaganda materials—such as incendiary pictures, films, among other media—to radicalize the recruit completely. Al-Hadlaq also stated that Islamist terrorists have evaded Saudi security by modifying their organizational operations; for instance, they no longer meet in mosques and other traditional locations, but instead frequent cafes and sports clubs to conduct their planning activities.
RECENT ATTACK SHOWS DIFFERENCES BETWEEN IJAW GROUPS
Highlighting the differences between various militant factions in the Niger Delta, the militant group Meinbutu decried a recent attack on the Bayelsa State Government House by a group of Ijaw militants known as the Freedom Fighters from Ijaw Territories in the Niger Delta (This Day, April 28). As part of the plan, the fighters intended to kidnap Vice President-elect Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, who is also Ijaw, on April 20, the day before the presidential elections (Vanguard, April 30). Meinbutu, which is Ijaw for “justice” and is one of the oldest groups in the delta, disapproved of the attack since they allegedly saw kidnapping Jonathan as counter-productive to the Ijaw cause. In a statement, Meinbutu said, “While we commend the role that all Ijaw sons and daughters, as individuals and as groups are playing and should play in the continuing Ijaw struggle, we consider the attempt to kidnap Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as a blunder that could not have served the interest of the Ijaw nation and call on all groups to tread the path of sanity…[Jonathan’s] emergence as the vice president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria would certainly provide an elevated platform and an unparalleled privilege for the deprived Ijaw nation and the Niger Delta to push its case for true fiscal federalism, resource control, self determination and the creation of more states” (Vanguard, April 30). From the statement, it is clear that Meinbutu sees the election of an Ijaw vice president as positive for Ijaw communities; this perception, however, is not shared among all of the Ijaw militant groups. For example, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), the most prolific militant group in the delta, released a statement through its main spokesman, Jomo Gbomo, denying reports that it supported Jonathan and President-elect Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’adua (Deutsche Presse Agentur, May 1).
ISLAMIC STATE OF IRAQ EULOGIZES INFORMATION MINISTER AL-JUBOURI
On May 3, the U.S. military announced the killing of Muharib Abdul Latif al-Jubouri, labeling him the senior minister of information for the Islamic State of Iraq. In response, the Islamic State of Iraq released an official statement confirming al-Jubouri’s death, which is available on jihadi forums. “Today we bring to you the good news of the martyrdom of the mujahid Sheikh Abu Abdallah al-Jubouri, who fought vice since the mid-eighties until today,” the statement reads. “In the middle of the night [on April 30], the enemies of God almighty attempted to carry out an airdrop over the house where Sheikh Muharib al-Jubouri, may God have mercy on his soul, was located. The sheikh and his companions fought against the planes, the vehicles and the soldiers of the cross in a battle that lasted eight hours, during which the soldiers of Islam were martyred after displaying the best example of heroism, courage and bravery…They refused to surrender and to fall captive to the worshippers of the cross. The battle ended and the enemies were unable to carry out their cowardly airdrop, which made them resort to air strikes, leading to the martyrdom of Sheikh Abu Abdallah al-Jubouri and his companions. We congratulate them and ask that God will accept all of them and make them dwellers of paradise.” The statement also denied a claim by the Iraqi government that the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, was killed in the strike: “We would like to put the minds of the ummah at ease by informing them that our leader and guardian Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, may God protect him, is well and is, by the grace of God, enjoying his presence among his kinfolk from the people of the Islamic State of Iraq and that the news about his being killed, may God make us his sacrifice, which was circulated by the media is not true. If God almighty wills something to happen to any of the leaders of the [Islamic State of Iraq], we would not hesitate to announce it because we know that the banner of our jihad will not be raised without the sacrifices and the lives of the leaders, even before their soldiers.”