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August 29, 2016

New ISIS Propaganda Continues to Encourage Easy Attacks

ISIS propaganda video Deter the Enemy from Harming Your State encourages attacks

Promo for the new ISIS propaganda video

Two newly released ISIS propaganda pieces  encourage the group’s supporters in the West to commit attacks using unconventional weapons, a message that has become a standard for ISIS and has increasingly been adopted by Al Qaeda as well.

A 19-minute long propaganda video circulated on August 23 via social media and Telegram made this call clear. Titled “Deter the Enemy from Harming Your State,” the video, created by ISIS’s Khayr Wilayah Media branch, called on followers “who are unable to make hijrah (travel to join ISIS) and join their brothers the mujahidin (fighters) in the Islamic State” to commit attacks using any means available. “Shake off the dust of negligence,” the video’s narrator intones, accompanied by English subtitles, “and do not try to excuse yourself due to lack of weapons or lethal tools, as you have the best example in the blessed attack in Nice.”

Using language that closely paralleled a 2014 speech by ISIS spokesman Abu Mohamed al Adnani – which was the first major instance of such calls – the video’s narrator  states, “If you lack a bomb or a bullet, take a single American or French kafir (apostate), or any of their allies, then smash his head with a stone, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or push him off a cliff, or strangle him, or poison him, but do not slacken or become weak.”

The video also attempts to exploit anti-Israel sentiment to encourage these attacks, a common tactic in terrorist propaganda. While showing video and images of alleged brutality by Israeli soldiers, the narrator criticizes Syrian preacher Ali Al-Halabi and other religious leaders who have argued against the killing of Jewish civilians, and contrasted those moderate views with ISIS’s assertion that all non-Muslims who are not subordinated by ISIS can be killed. By juxtaposing this with the images of Israelis, the video can be seen as implying that only ISIS takes the side of the Palestinians – and that killing civilians on ISIS’s behalf is  the only way one can be on the side of the Palestinians.

In a separate statement on Telegram,also released on August 23, the pro-ISIS media group Nashir Foundation similarly urges the use of unconventional weapons to commit terror attacks in the West. The statement includes a list of nine suggested plots, ranging from  the use of poison and creating dangerous driving conditions, to calling in false threats in order to create panic and waste resources.

This is not a novel call to action. Over the summer of 2016, several attackers in Western countries used commonplace items as weapons;  in  Nice, the perpetrator drove a truck into a crowd of people, while in other European cities and in the U.S., attacks were attempted or carried out with knives, machetes and axes.

ADL has compiled a list of prior examples of terrorist propaganda that encourages attacks with common items

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July 15, 2016

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

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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