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July 15, 2016 1

Terrorist Propaganda Encourages Attacks With Common Items

The use of a vehi­cle to kill civil­ians in yesterday’s appar­ent ter­ror attack in Nice, France, serves as a reminder of how ter­ror­ist groups and their sup­port­ers encour­age their adher­ents to carry out attacks with com­mon resources.

In addi­tion to run-over style attacks, ter­ror­ists have encour­aged the use of com­mon items such as house­hold prod­ucts to make bombs, as well as var­i­ous other tac­tics in their online mag­a­zines, speeches and other propaganda.

Image encouraging car attacks from AQAP Inspire Mujahid Pocketbook propaganda

Image encour­ag­ing car attacks from AQAP Inspire Mujahid Pock­et­book propaganda

The fol­low­ing list pro­vides a sam­pling of some of the tac­tics pro­moted by for­eign ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions in the last sev­eral years. Notably, a num­ber of the sug­ges­tions are repeated by dif­fer­ent groups, and the use of vehi­cles in attacks is a com­mon theme.

ISIS:

  • The 14th issue of Dabiq, ISIS’s English-language pro­pa­ganda mag­a­zine, called on sup­port­ers to assas­si­nate promi­nent Mus­lim lead­ers in the U.S. and U.K. for not sup­port­ing ISIS, “with the resources available…(knives, guns, explo­sives, etc.).”
  • In a Jan­u­ary 2015 speech, al Adnani sim­i­larly called for attacks, “whether with an explo­sive device, a bul­let, a knife, a car, a rock or even a boot or a fist.”
  • An ISIS video released in Decem­ber 2014 stated, “There are weapons and cars avail­able and tar­gets ready to be hit. Even poi­son is avail­able, so poi­son the water and food of at least one of the ene­mies of Allah. Kill them and spit in their faces and run over them with your cars.”
  • In a Sep­tem­ber 2014 speech that was widely trans­lated and shared over social media, ISIS spokesman Abu Mohamed al Adnani called for ISIS sup­port­ers to com­mit lone wolf attacks against civil­ians, and pro­vided a num­ber of sug­ges­tions for doing so, includ­ing by run­ning them over. He stated: “If you are not able to find an IED or a bul­let, then sin­gle out the dis­be­liev­ing Amer­i­can, French­man, or any of his allies. Smash his head with a rock, or slaugh­ter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poi­son him…. If you are unable to do so, then burn his home, car, or busi­ness. Or destroy his crops.”

Al Qaeda:

  • Cover of the first issue of Inspire, AQAP's English-language magazine

    The first issue of Inspire pro­vided direc­tions to “make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom.”

    Fol­low­ing the ter­ror attack in Orlando, a June 2016 pub­li­ca­tion released by Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula (AQAP) pro­vided advice for mak­ing copy­cat attacks more lethal and max­i­miz­ing their pro­pa­ganda value.

  • In May 2016, the 15th issue of Inspire mag­a­zine, AQAP’s English-language pro­pa­ganda magazine’s pro­vided sug­ges­tions for mak­ing bombs using read­ily avail­able items to con­duct the assas­si­na­tions, includ­ing pack­age bombs, small bombs under cars, and bombs that can be attached to a doorframe.
  • In March 2014, the 12th issue of Inspire mag­a­zine pro­vides instruc­tions for assem­bling car bombs out of “eas­ily avail­able” materials.
  • In 2013, Inspire mag­a­zine, AQAP’s English-language pro­pa­ganda mag­a­zine, issued a com­pan­ion pub­li­ca­tion titled the “Mujahid Pock­et­book,” which aggre­gated var­i­ous attack sug­ges­tions pro­moted in Inspire and pro­vided some addi­tional sug­ges­tions as well. Plot ideas included torch­ing parked vehi­cles, caus­ing road acci­dents, start­ing for­est fires, using vehi­cles to run over civil­ians, and build­ing bombs.
  • In Octo­ber 2010, sec­ond issue of Inspire mag­a­zine sug­gested using a mod­i­fied vehi­cle to run over civil­ians and pro­vided instruc­tions on build­ing an explo­sive device.
  • The first issue of Inspire mag­a­zine, released in July 2010, pro­vided instruc­tions for build­ing a pres­sure cooker bomb, which can be made out of com­mon house­hold items.

Other ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions and their sup­port­ers have been sim­i­larly active in pro­mot­ing var­i­ous spe­cific attack sug­ges­tions. This has been par­tic­u­larly clear among Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions and their sup­port­ers, who have pro­moted sug­ges­tions that par­al­lel those advo­cated by Al Qaeda and ISIS.

Ter­ror­ist sup­port­ers some­times pro­mote their own ideas for non­tra­di­tional attacks online as well. In a recent exam­ple, a dis­cus­sion on a pro-ISIS forum that ran between June and July 2016 included a num­ber of ter­ror attack sug­ges­tions from forum users, some of which had been sug­gested by offi­cial ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda as well. Among them were set­ting for­est fires and call­ing in false reports of bombs to dis­rupt the oper­a­tions of emer­gency services

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July 7, 2016 2

The Iran Nuclear Deal: One Year Later

By Jonathan Green­blatt
CEO of the Anti-Defamation League

This blog orig­i­nally appeared on Medium

As we approach the first anniver­sary of the Joint Com­pre­hen­sive Plan of Action (JCPOA) it is an appro­pri­ate time to reassess the mer­its of the deal. ADL was among the nuclear deal’s crit­ics.

Beyond the nuclear restraints it would impose on Iran, our con­cern it is that it would nor­mal­ize an expan­sion­ist, mil­i­tant regime whose unre­pen­tant and fun­da­men­tal­ist ide­ol­ogy was not tamed by the deal.

Unlike pre­vi­ous major arms con­trol treaties in our country’s past that sig­naled a strate­gic turn in rela­tion with his­toric adver­saries, the Iran nuclear deal promised no such realign­ment. That is why we felt the sun­set of the JCPOA’s most impor­tant con­straints posed such a trou­bling prob­lem. That is ulti­mately why we could not abide by it.

Iran Deal-condensed

Dur­ing the past year, Iran has taken key steps out­lined in the JCPOA to limit its nuclear pro­gram, includ­ing ship­ping the vast major­ity of its enriched ura­nium out of the coun­try and dis­man­tling cen­trifuges. In this sense, the Admin­is­tra­tion has deliv­ered on its imme­di­ate term objec­tives of sig­nif­i­cantly length­en­ing the break­out time for Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon. Fur­ther­more, the inter­na­tional com­mu­nity suc­cess­fully has imple­mented a far reach­ing ver­i­fi­ca­tion sys­tem across the entire sup­ply chain of the pro­duc­tion of ura­nium, mak­ing it far less likely for Iran to suc­cess­fully main­tain a covert ura­nium enrich­ment capac­ity. Indeed, as retired Israeli gen­eral and for­mer direc­tor of Mil­i­tary Intel­li­gence, Amos Yadlin has pointed out, if Iran remains fully com­pli­ant with the terms of the JCPOA, the deal will sig­nif­i­cantly reduce the imme­di­ate threat of a nuclear con­flict in the Mid­dle East.

Any rea­son­able observers must acknowl­edge this impor­tant reduc­tion of nuclear risk in the short term. How­ever, it would be fool­ish not to con­sider the wider effects of the JCPOA in the region — as well the chal­lenges the deal will present over the long term. Iran reached an accom­mo­da­tion with the inter­na­tional com­mu­nity due to the tremen­dous eco­nomic dam­age it suf­fered under the unprece­dented sanc­tions regime. Together with the pre­cip­i­tous drop in oil prices, the Islamic Repub­lic of Iran essen­tially made a deal to post­pone its nuclear options for 10–15 years.

But even before Iran is — under the terms of the deal — allowed to engage in research and devel­op­ment on advanced cen­trifuges, we can eval­u­ate its behav­ior to deter­mine whether early com­pli­ance was a good mea­sure of the long term effec­tive­ness of the JCPOA in terms of help­ing to facil­i­tate Iran’s reen­try into the com­mu­nity of nations. The­o­ret­i­cally there is much we can learn by look­ing at the early warn­ing signs rather than wait­ing for a decade to deter­mine progress. Indeed, in that time­frame, when sanc­tions are only a dis­tant mem­ory and with busi­ness and for­eign invest­ment likely flow­ing, a regime still com­mit­ted to hos­til­ity could try to vio­late aspects of the agree­ment, test­ing the inter­na­tional com­mu­ni­ties’ will­ing­ness to enforce its pro­vi­sions. Per­haps at first, these vio­la­tions will not be egre­gious. But, slowly, an unre­pen­tant Iran is likely to test the lim­its of enforcement.

So is Iran nor­mal­iz­ing? Does the JCPOA her­ald a new era in its rela­tions with the West? The early signs are not encouraging.

“Today the most impor­tant point for the Islamic world is unity against Israel and who­ever breaks this unity would be a trai­tor. Peo­ple of Iran never aban­don their goal. I hope that a third intifada will lead to the destruc­tion of Israel.”

— Grand Aya­tol­lah Hos­sein Nouri Hamadani

Iran’s con­tin­ued devel­op­ment of bal­lis­tic mis­siles while not included in the terms of the JCPOA, con­tin­ues in clear vio­la­tion of exist­ing UN Secu­rity Coun­cil Res­o­lu­tions. So far it has faced few consequences.

It main­tains the unen­vi­able title of the “fore­most state spon­sor of ter­ror­ism” in the world.

As man­i­fested in recent Quds Day demon­stra­tions, its con­tin­ued geno­ci­dal rant­i­ngs toward Israel — includ­ing threats by Iran’s Supreme Leader that “God will­ing, there will be no such thing as a Zion­ist regime in 25 years. Until then, strug­gling, heroic and jihadi morale will leave no moment of seren­ity for Zion­ists,” — are far out­side the pale, indica­tive of its role as lead­ing fomenter of regional instability.

Indeed, in the eyes of its neigh­bors, the Iran­ian threat has grown, not dimin­ished since the deal was signed. More trou­bling is that few coun­tries have con­fi­dence that Iran­ian expan­sion­ism will be con­tained by reli­able Amer­i­can lead­er­ship are low. Reports indi­cate that it is increas­ing its fund­ing for the Lebanese ter­ror mili­tia Hezbol­lah whose leader recently admit­ted that for his group, “its bud­get, its income, its expenses, every­thing it eats and drinks, its weapons and rock­ets, come from the Islamic Repub­lic of Iran.”

Beyond Lebanon, Iran works to spread its rev­o­lu­tion­ary ide­ol­ogy in order to desta­bi­lize other coun­tries through­out the region includ­ing IraqBahrain,Yemen and oth­ers. The noted Syrian-Palestinian activist Kassem Eid pub­licly described the Islamic Repub­lic as “a reli­gious dic­ta­tor­ship, the Shia face of ISIS” that “uses its resources to estab­lish a sec­tar­ian empire across the Islamic world.”

Iran’s record on human rights at home is deplorable. Dr. Ahmed Sha­heed, UN spe­cial rap­por­teur for human rights in Iran, recently reported that there “is an alarm­ing surge in the rate of unlaw­ful exe­cu­tions in the coun­try, and ongo­ing arbi­trary arrests, deten­tions and pros­e­cu­tions of indi­vid­ual for the exer­cise of their fun­da­men­tal rights.” Eth­nic and reli­gious minori­ties includ­ing Baha’i,Chris­tians, and Sunni Mus­lims con­tinue to suf­fer the cruel whims of the regime. Sim­i­lar sorry fate is what is faced by juve­niles and jour­nal­ists tar­geted by the regime.

One year after it signed the sup­pos­edly his­toric agree­ment with the United States and its part­ners in the P5+1, the Islamic Repub­lic remains the lead­ing exporter of deadly con­spir­acy the­o­ries and hos­tile pro­pa­ganda against the Jew­ish peo­ple and the Jew­ish state. In recent months we have seen a revival of their noto­ri­ous Holo­caust car­toon con­test, which encour­ages Holo­caust revi­sion­ism and out­right denial. The regime is a font of global anti-Semitism. Wild accu­sa­tions of Zion­ist plots abound, such as blam­ing imports of genet­i­cally mod­i­fied prod­ucts to infect Ira­ni­ans with dis­eases on the Zion­istsor accus­ing “Jew­ish actors” of con­spir­ing Saudis to spread Wah­habism. In the last few days when the rest of the world has mourned the loss of noted peace activist Elie Weisel, Iran opted to slan­der the Nobel Lau­re­ate as a “crim­i­nal Zion­ist and fake wit­ness of Holocaust.”

And while the lift­ing of sanc­tions was the trade-off in the deal, it is still trou­bling to see the Islamic Repub­lic land large con­tracts with ven­er­ated West­ern firms, such as Boeing’s $25 bil­lion deal with Iran to build up its air fleet. Not only might some of the planes be used for Iran­ian mil­i­tary activ­i­ties, this sends an unam­bigu­ous mes­sage that Iran has become a fully-accepted mem­ber of the inter­na­tional com­mu­nity, a viable part­ner for busi­ness, with­out chang­ing its extrem­ist course.

All of these signs speak to a real­ity that Iran remains a bel­liger­ent actor whose norms and rhetoric do not line up with those of other nations, save per­haps North Korea. Despite the early ben­e­fits of the JCPOA, the regime appears more inter­ested in hos­til­ity than nor­malcy. It is clear, given its regional behav­ior, that Iran does not suf­fi­ciently fear con­se­quences for its actions. In short, it is unde­terred. This is all the more alarm­ing because as the robust­ness of the pro­vi­sions restrict­ing Iran’s nuclear ambi­tions wane towards the end of the life of the deal, cred­i­ble deter­rence will be the only force keep­ing it from cross­ing the hair-thin thresh­old to nuclear weapons.

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June 27, 2016 0

New AQAP Publication Encourages Additional Attacks Following Orlando

AQAP Inspire pamphlet encourages attacks following Orlando

Cover of the AQAP pam­phlet, fea­tur­ing an image of Omar Mateen

Al Mala­hem media, Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula (AQAP)’s pro­pa­ganda wing, released a pam­phlet on June 23 that praised the Orlando shoot­ing and pro­vided sug­ges­tions for copy­ing it and mak­ing addi­tional attacks both more lethal and bet­ter suited to AQAP’s pro­pa­ganda aims.

The four-page PDF pam­phlet, which was released on Telegram, was titled “Inspire Guide: Orlando Oper­a­tion,” and included mul­ti­ple ref­er­ences to Inspire mag­a­zine, AQAP’s English-language pro­pa­ganda magazine.

The pam­phlet indi­cated that its goal was to “[pro­vide] guid­ance to the Lone Mujahid (fighter)” and to “follow-up, guide, put right and cor­rect Lone Jihad oper­a­tions in order to real­ize the best mil­i­tary and polit­i­cal results that serve the gen­eral pol­icy of the Mujahidin (fight­ers) in our war with America.”

This fol­lows in the path of recent issues of Inspire mag­a­zine, which have focused on small scale attacks that can be con­ducted by indi­vid­ual sup­port­ers of AQAP.

The pam­phlet praised the fact that the shoot­ing was against a large pub­lic gath­er­ing in an enclosed area, and that the per­pe­tra­tor, Omar Mateen, owned his gun and had prior firearms train­ing. It sug­gested as well that Mateen was able to cause more destruc­tion because, it claimed, “those present in the night­club were drunk.”

How­ever, the pam­phlet sug­gested that it would be best for future per­pe­tra­tors not to tar­get spe­cific groups in soci­ety, such as Lati­nos or the LGBT com­mu­nity, because the focus of news cov­er­age would then be on the group tar­geted, rather than on the over­all ter­ror­ist ele­ment of the attack.

Despite its sug­ges­tion to tar­get more het­ero­ge­neous groups for strate­gic pur­poses, the pam­phlet did not shy away from anti-LGBT incite­ment. Rather, its cri­tique was couched by the state­ment that “the killing of such peo­ple is the most bind­ing duty and closer to human nature, but bet­ter than this is to avoid tar­get­ing areas where minori­ties are found.” ADL recently pub­lished an analy­sis of anti-gay rhetoric in Inspire and in ISIS’s English-language mag­a­zine, Dabiq.

Inter­est­ingly, the pam­phlet nods to the fact that Mateen indi­cated sup­port for ISIS, not Al Qaeda, while con­duct­ing the attack, stat­ing, “Lone Jihad is not monop­o­lized by al-Qaida (sic) or any other group, there­fore we call upon all active Jihadi groups, to adopt and build upon the idea of Lone Jihad and call towards it.” How­ever, it encour­ages would-be future per­pe­tra­tors to refer to bomb-making instruc­tions in past issues of Inspire mag­a­zine to make their attacks more deadly. An attack with weapons clearly taken from Inspire magazine’s sug­ges­tions would enable AQAP to claim some degree of credit.

To date, the Boston Marathon bomb­ing is the only domes­tic attack that was fully car­ried out that uti­lized direc­tions from Inspire mag­a­zine. How­ever, the mag­a­zine has played a role in the rad­i­cal­iza­tion of mul­ti­ple domes­tic extrem­ists, includ­ing the Tsar­naev broth­ers of the Boston Marathon bomb­ing, Jose Pimentel, who attempted a bomb­ing in New York, and Abdel Daoud, who attempted a bomb­ing in Chicago.

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