Tag Archives: Bilal el-Berjawi

The End of the Line for “The Beatles” of the Islamic State

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 9 February 2018

El Shafee Elsheikh (image source) and Alexanda Kotey (image source)

Last night, The New York Times reported and Reuters confirmed that two British Islamic State (IS) jihadists, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey, both of them designated terrorists by the United States, have been arrested in Syria. Kotey and Elsheikh, along with the late Mohammed Emwazi (Abu Muharib al-Muhajir) and Aine Davis, formed a four-man cell that has become known as “The Beatles”—hence Emwazi being near-universally known as “Jihadi John”—that guarded, abused, and murdered hostages for IS from before the “caliphate” was founded in 2014. Continue reading

The Rise and Fall of Mohammed Emwazi

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on January 20, 2016

Emwazi

Emwazi’s eulogy picture in Dabiq

Yesterday, the Islamic State (IS) released their thirteenth issue of Dabiq. Among many things, it contained an admission of death for Mohammed Emwazi (“Jihadi John”). Referred to by his kunya, Abu Muharib al-Muhajir, Dabiq said (pp. 22-23) Emwazi had been hit by an “unmanned drone in the city of ar-Raqqah” on November 12, “destroying the car and killing him instantly.” The biography that Dabiq offered gave some intriguing details, confirming some surmises I had made about Emwazi when his identity was revealed last spring, including his early involvement in an al-Qaeda network in London sending fighters to al-Shabab in Somalia—the thing that brought him to the attention of the security services, confirming that the truth was the inverse of CAGE’s infamous claim that harassment by the MI5 had radicalized Emwazi—and that Emwazi had left Britain to do jihad in Syria in the company of another British citizen. Emwazi was also in the thick of it when IS broke from al-Qaeda and offers an interesting and rare example of a European IS fighter entrusted with an internal security role for the caliphate.
Continue reading

Further Evidence of Mohammed Emwazi’s Radical Ties—And CAGE’s Meltdown

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on March 7, 2015

Asim Qureshi; Mohammed Emwazi (

Asim Qureshi; Mohammed Emwazi (“Jihadi John”)

Earlier this week I wrote of the unmasking of “Jihadi John,” the Islamic State’s (ISIS) video-beheader, as 26-year-old British citizen Mohammed Emwazi. I had two purposes. One was to gloat over the implosion of CAGE (formerly Cageprisoners), an Islamist terrorist-advocacy group that had gotten itself called a “human rights organisation“. And the second was to point out that the narrative peddled by CAGE and other apologists, that Emwazi had been radicalised by heavy-handed British security methods, was plainly absurd.

Emwazi had been associating with al-Qaeda agents and sympathisers and was part of a London-based network that dispatched fighters to al-Qaeda’s Somali branch al-Shabab years before he came into contact with the security services—indeed the security services had only taken an interest in Emwazi because he was already radicalised. In the last few days both of these trends have continued: CAGE’s total collapse moves closer and Emwazi’s known nefarious associations are multiplying. Continue reading

Mohammed Emwazi and al-Qaeda in Somalia

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on March 1, 2015

Mohammed Emwazi (

Mohammed Emwazi (“Jihadi John”)

The good news of the week is that CAGE (formerly Cageprisoners) is finished. While there had been no shortage of people pointing out that CAGE is a Salafi jihadist advocacy group and terrorist-supporting outfit, not a human rights organisation, this was often met with accusations of “Islamophobia,” McCarthyism, and worse. In 2010, Amnesty International—which partners with CAGE—fired the head of its Gender Unit, Gita Shaghal, when she complained of making Moazzam Begg an A.I. poster-boy. Begg claims to have been wrongfully imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay; for his actual record see the excellent work done by Thomas Joscelyn (start here and here.) But no person of good faith will ever again defend CAGE. Continue reading