New statement from al-Qā’idah’s General Command: “Condolences and Remembrance Regarding the Martyrdom of Shaykh Abū ‘Iyādh al-Tūnisī”

Click the following link for a safe PDF copy: al-Qā’idah’s General Command — Condolences and Remembrance Regarding the Martyrdom of Shaykh Abū ‘Iyādh al-Tūnisī

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Source: RocketChat

To inquire about a translation for this release for a fee email: [email protected]

Check out my new article for the Global Network on Extremism & Technology: “How Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia’s Message Framing Primed Its Members To Become Recruits For The Islamic State”

There are a number of reasons why Tunisians joined the Islamic State in Iraq, Syria, and Libya. One underappreciated aspect of this is the way Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia’s (AST) messaging primed members of the group and others in society that were exposed to, attended, or followed online AST activities and events. In my new book, Your Sons Are At Your Service: Tunisia’s Missionaries of Jihad, I describe this process, which I will examine in brief here. In particular, I will explore AST’s motivational framing, which “functions as prods to action.” The major themes AST crafted in its narrative was related to brotherhood, the defense of Islam, the creation of an Islamic state, and remaining as an entity.

Click here to read the rest.

Check out my new ‘Policy Watch’ for the Washington Institute: “Tunisia Turns a Corner Against the Jihadist Movement”

For the first time since its 2011 revolution, Tunisia is not on the defensive in its battle with the Islamic State and al-Qaeda. Data from 2019, paired with a more holistic approach to combating jihadists, bears out this claim. Specifically, Tunis is expanding its toolkit beyond a purely military or law enforcement approach. Because of these advances, which have developed over the past few years, Tunis and Washington will have widened opportunities to engage on more complex aspects of reform that could make Tunisia a regional and global model. Both internal and external challenges remain, such as from foreign fighters dwelling abroad, an overcrowded prison system, and the threat of resurgent jihadism next door in Libya, but these need not diminish the accomplishments. Moreover, Tunisia can now build on its achievements, continuing the process of reform after decades of authoritarian rule.

SUCCESSES

At the beginning of 2019, according to the United Nations, only eighty jihadist insurgents remained in the mountainous region along the Tunisian border with Algeria—fifty from Katibat Uqba ibn Nafi, al-Qaeda’s Tunisian branch, and thirty from the Islamic State. Over the remainder of 2019, Tunisia’s military further degraded both groups by killing a number of their leaders:

  • From the Islamic State: Izz al-Din Alawi, Hatim Basduri, Muhammad Basduri, Mundhir Gharsali, Muntasar Ghuzlani, Muhammad Amin Mahkuka, Muhammad Nasir Mubarki, Lakhzar Nasiri, Hossam Thalithi, Ghali Umri
  • From Katibat Uqba ibn Nafi: al-Bay al-Akruf, Tahar Hijili, Salah al-Din Qasimi, Usama Salmi, Murad al-Shayeb

The year 2019 also saw a decline in attacks, even though the overall numbers appear to show them on par with 2018. Before an improvised explosive device strike in January 2020, no attack had occurred since late October, the lengthiest lull since 2012–2013 (see table below). The arrest figures, which have also fallen, reflect smarter, intelligence-led policing that the Tunisian government began to implement more directly in October 2018. The previous “roundup” style was a holdover from the pre-revolution era.

Click here to read the rest.

The Islamic State’s Bayat Campaign

In the aftermath of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s death, I noted that the Islamic State (IS) was likely to start a bayat campaign for its new Caliph Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi. Beginning November 2, IS’s official Telegram channels began posting such bayat.

There are two main reasons for this: 1. pledges are leader-specific rather than group-specific and thus need to be renewed with each succession and 2. it is a way to legitimize al-Qurashi’s rule and create a media event so that the group can promote itself as it transitions to a new phase.

The first reason is also something that IS pointed to when it began to overtly feud with al-Qaeda (AQ) in 2013, by saying that following Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi’s death, his successor Abu Hamzah al-Muhajir gave baya to the newly created Islamic State of Iraq’s leader Abu ‘Umar al-Baghdadi and even after Abu ‘Umar was killed, when Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi took over in 2010 and then Usamah Bin Laden was killed in 2011, Abu Bakr never publicly gave baya to Ayman al-Zawahiri, even if al-Zawahiri claims he gave it to him privately. Therefore, from the perspective of IS this whole process is not trivial, but important for legitimacy of its leadership and to potentially weed out any insubordination before it manifests into something larger as it already did in the past vis-a-vis AQ.

This post will be updated with the latest official pledges.

November 2, 2019:

Wilāyat Saynā’

al-Binghāl

November 3, 2019:

Wilāyat al-Ṣūmāl

November 4, 2019:

Wilāyat Bākistān

Wilāyat al-Yaman – al-Bayḍā’

November 5, 2019:

Wilāyat al-Shām – Ḥawrān

Wilāyat Khurāsān

November 6, 2019:

Tūnis

November 7, 2019:

Wilāyat Gharb Ifrīqīyyah – Nījīrīā

Wilāyat al-Shām – Ḥimṣ

Wilāyat al-Shām – al-Khayr

Wilāyat al-Shām – al-Raqqah

Wilāyat Sharq Asīā

Wilāyat Wasaṭ Ifrīqīyyah

November 8:

Wilāyat al-Shām – Ḥimṣ

November 9:

Wilāyat Sharq Asīā

Wilāyat Gharb Ifrīqīyyah – Mālī and Būrkīnāfāsū

Wilāyat al-Shām – al-Barakah

November 12, 2019:

Wilāyat al-Shām – Ḥalab

November 14, 2019:

Wilāyat al-‘Irāq – Shamāl Baghdād

November 15, 2019:

Wilāyat Lībīyā

November 16, 2019:

Wilāyat al-‘Irāq – Dijlah

November 17, 2019: 

Wilāyat al-‘Irāq – Diyālā‎

November 18, 2019: 

Wilāyat al-‘Irāq – Ṣalāḥ al-Dīn

November 19, 2019: 

Wilāyat al-‘Irāq – Karkūk

November 22, 2019: 

Wilāyat Sharq Asīā – Indūnīsīyā

November 29, 2019:

Adhirbayjān

Tunisia Kills Another Wanted Terrorist and the Growth of Jabal Orbata As An IS Base

Tunisia Kills Another Wanted Terrorist and the Growth of Jabal Orbata As An IS Base

Yesterday, Tunisia announced that its National Guard killed two terrorists in Jabal Orbata, which is in Gafsa governorate (see map below). As part of the preventative operation, the National Guard seized two Kalashnikov-type assault rifles, two explosive belts, and a pair of night vision goggles. Today, the government also announced the identities of those they killed.

To read the rest of this post, which includes more details on the operation and Jabal Orbata as a base, click here.

New statement from al-Qā’idah in the Islamic Maghrib: “Regarding the Destruction of the Tyrant of Tunisia al-Sabsī”

Click the following link for a safe PDF copy: al-Qā’idah in the Islamic Maghrib — Regarding the Destruction of the Tyrant of Tunisia al-Sabsī

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Source: Telegram

To inquire about a translation for this statement for a fee email: [email protected]

New video message from The Islamic State: “And The [Best] Outcome Is For The Righteous – Tūnis”

For prior parts in this video series see: Wilāyat Turkīyā, Wilāyat LībīyāAzerbaijanWilāyat KhurāsānWilāyat al-QawqāzWilāyat Sharq AsīāWilāyat Saynā’, and Wilāyat Gharb Ifrīqīyyah. The title of this release is in reference to a part of Qur’anic verses 7:128, 11:49, and 28:83.

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Source: Telegram

To inquire about a translation for this video message for a fee email: [email protected]

New release from Shaykh Abū ‘Abd Allah al-Tūnisī: “In Defense of the Muslim Niqāb in Tunisia”

Click the following link for a safe PDF copy: Shaykh Abū ‘Abd Allah al-Tūnisī — In Defense of the Muslim Niqāb in Tunisia

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Source: Telegram

To inquire about a translation for this release for a fee email: [email protected]

Check out my new ‘Policy Watch’ for the Washington Institute: “Tunisia Keeps Calm and Carries On After Latest Terrorist Attack”

On June 27, four years and a day after the Sousse Beach attack, Tunisia suffered twin suicide bombings against security services at two different locations in the capital’s downtown district. Within hours, however, life returned to normal in the city. The government soon highlighted that tourism was unaffected—a far different outcome than the 2015 Sousse attack, which saw mass cancellations by would-be visitors and spurred President Beji Caid Essebsi to claim that “if similar attacks occur again, the state will collapse.”

The North African republic is now far more mature in dealing with security threats related to jihadism; no longer do officials express existential angst, whether legitimate or fear mongering. Compared to 2015, the state and the people were far better prepared to deal with the aftermath of the latest attacks. Yet the growing lack of transparency regarding terrorism arrests and the apparent links to past jihadist mobilizations should draw concern about Tunisia’s broader transition from authoritarian tendencies to democracy and rule of law.

Click here to read the rest.

Also, if you haven’t seen, I did three detailed blog posts about this attack on my website that promotes my forthcoming book:

June 28, 2019: Details on the Two Attacks in Tunis

July 3, 2019: Mastermind of Last Week’s Attack, Ayman al-Samiri, Killed in Hay al-Intilaka

July 3, 2019: Ansar al-Sharia in Hay al-Intilaka

If you like this article and these posts please consider pre-ordering my forthcoming book Your Sons Are At Your Service: Tunisia’s Missionaries of Jihad.