Meshal, Beantown and the London Boys

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Amir Meshal

In my last article I said that the story of Amir Meshal deserved its own article, and I thought I might do that here.  But as Burns once wrote, “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an ‘men, / Gang aft agley.”  Meshal’s ordeal in Africa will matter here, but in some senses it will serve as the backdrop of a much different facet of the jihad story, one fairly well known but surprising in its relationship.  With respect to Meshal, it may simply be a series of unfortunate coincidences, but if it isn’t then it may say a great deal about him and the danger he potentially represents.  To be clear, much of the detail surrounding his experience there is drawn from the court filing in the Higgenbotham case, so it represents Meshal’s point of view.  What the government contends with respect to Meshal’s activities can’t be probed directly.

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US v. Rahman, et al: Who Is Unindicted Co-Conspirator Khaled Ibrahim?

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Codefendants at their arraignment on Aug. 26, 1993 (Ruth Pollack/AFP/Getty Images)

Omar Ahmed Ali Abdel Rahman, the “Blind Sheikh”, passed away at the age of 78 in a North Carolina prison hospital on February 18, 2017.  For such an important character in the modern jihadist movement, the event passed with little fanfare—a few stories and no protests or celebrations to my knowledge.  Yet, his story here in the US deserves more attention because he and his associates were at the epicenter of the burgeoning confrontation between the United States and some of its erstwhile allies in Afghanistan.  Continue reading

The Fifth Man (oder der V-Mann)

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My mini-foray into the old Salafist scene in Ulm, Germany, based on the Leicester angle of the recent arrest of the Belkaid brothers got me very interested in the old Sauerland Cell.  For my readers who are thoroughly familiar with this group, I beg your patience as I relate the details to those who aren’t so familiar. Continue reading

The “Sapling” Has A Different Root

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Murder of Aurelie Chatelain: reconstruction in Villejuif with Ghlam

A friend recently sent me an article by Matthieu Suc from March 23, 2016, that I had somehow missed.  Entitled “The terrorist networks of the Islamic state (2/3): the chain of command leading to the attacks,” it details the background stories of a few of the major figures involved in organizing attacks in France and Belgium.  One of them, the least well known by far of the group, is related to the fifth article I ever wrote for my blog.  His name is Abdelnacer Benyoucef. Continue reading

The Devil on Your Shoulder

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Apartment bloc in the Rue Rene Descartes, home to Julien Bataille (Le Parisien)

In the course of researching my last article on the “Swingers Club” plotters and trying to figure out the identity of Julien Le Prado, I came across another Julien, a fiche ‘S’ subject mentioned intermittently in the pages of Le Progres and other papers in the Lyon area: Julien Bataille (often see as Julien B.).  He was arrested on 16 September with respect to his activities as a recruiter of youth for jihadist causes, his ongoing communication with the wanted Rachid Kassim over Telegram, and for having made death threats against a police officer back in 2015—all the sorts of things that will earn one a charge of “criminal association in relation with a terrorist enterprise.”

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Under the Radar in Basel

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Ali J. presenting at Kirschgarten-Gymnasium

In the past couple days I’ve incidentally run across news stories out of Basel, Switzerland, involving the arrest in one case and the prosecution in another of two Islamists.  In one case, Ali J. alias “der Apotheker” (“the Pharmacist”) is currently sitting in detention awaiting deportation.  In the other, Safet Čajlaković alias Šejhan (S.C. in the press) is nearing the end of his trial, a process which began approximately two years ago and of which we are only now being told.  Little of what follows is unique to me apart from finding the identity of Čajlaković and a couple pieces here and there, but it’s something I haven’t seen in the English-language press yet and thought my readers would find of interest.  It’s piqued my interest in radical individuals/groups coming out of Switzerland, though, and I look forward to digging into Lorenzo Vidino’s 2013 report on the country now. Continue reading

Still in the Game

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Melouk, Kouachi, Beghal, and Laidouni hitting the soccer field in Cantal, France, on 4/4/2011

In my last post, I mentioned that I had decided to take one individual from an old plot—in this case, Slimane Khalfaoui from the 2000 Strasbourg Cathedral/Christmas Market plot—and research what had become of him.  I ended up going off on a tangent and looking at Rabah Boukaouma, a conspirator most recently with respect to the Sid Ahmed Ghlam affair. Continue reading

“Le Kabyle” aka Rabah Boukaouma

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Image: Google Maps

A few nights ago, I was going through some old notes, when I came across a list of names I had written down related to the Strasbourg Cathedral plot from 2000.  One of the important figures from that case was a man named Slimane Khalfaoui.  He was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2004, so I decided to see what had become of him. Continue reading

Two Weeks in the New Normal

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Mourad Hamyd in detention in Sofia (Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP)

I’ve been away for a while, so I’m catching up with recent news stories on events in Europe.  After the recent spate of attacks, things have simmered at a lower level in the past couple weeks, but there is still plenty in which to delve, even if one limits himself to France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Continue reading

From the UK, to Italy, then Singapore, and Back to Brussels

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Mohammed Ali Ahmed, Zakaria Boufassil, and Soumaya Boufassil in the dock at Westminster Magistrates Court CREDIT: JULIA QUENZLER

I’ve taken a few days off from writing due to the requirements of everyday life, but I haven’t stopped paying attention.  Law enforcement throughout the world have continued to uncover cells and plots, revealing that al Qaeda, the Islamic State, and other global-jihadist-minded actors have not swerved from their program to implement the Sharia throughout the world.

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