Tag Archives: Peter Kassig

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

Qatar and the Gulf Crisis

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 30 November 2017

I released a report today, published by the Henry Jackson Society, Qatar and the Gulf Crisis. The intent was to examine the charges made against the Qatari government by its Gulf neighbours with regard to the funding of terrorism, the hosting of extremists, the dissemination of hate speech and incitement, among other things. Having separated fact from fiction with regards to he accusations against Qatar, the report proposes how Britain might proceed in such a way as to press Doha on issues of concern, while avoiding being drawn into the middle of the Gulf dispute, and trying to foster reconciliation between allies, especially at a time when a united front is necessary to oppose the far larger challenge of the Iranian theocracy.  Continue reading

Senior Islamic State Cleric Turki al-Binali Killed in an Airstrike

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 11 June 2017

Turki al-Binali at prayers in Raqqa, July 2015

It was reported on jihadist websites and by local activists that Turki al-Binali, a senior cleric of the Islamic State (IS) and perhaps the most important public proponent of the caliphate’s formation, had been killed in Syria by an airstrike from the U.S.-led Coalition on 29 May. IS has been silent on this despite releasing their newsletter al-Naba and the tenth edition of their English-language propaganda magazine Rumiyah since then. On Tuesday, the intelligence services of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq confirmed that al-Binali had been killed. Continue reading

Paris Attackers Had Already Appeared in the Islamic State’s Propaganda

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on January 25, 2016

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It has already been established that the on-the-ground leader of the Islamic State’s atrocities on Paris on November 13, Abdelhamid Abaaoud (Abu Umar al-Baljiki), had already been promoted in IS’s media. Abaaoud appeared in the February 2015 edition of IS’s Dabiq magazine. It now seems likely that at least one more of the Paris attackers, Foued Mohamed Aggad (Abu Fu’ad al-Faransi), had appeared in IS media already—the November 2014 video that was the fifth (of seven) in the series fronted by Mohammed Emwazi (“Jihadi John”), IS’s British executioner. The November 2014 video showed the slaughter of around twenty men, supposedly soldiers and airmen of the Assad regime, in the village of Dabiq, and the beheading of American aid worker Abdul-Rahman (Peter) Kassig. It is also possible that two further Paris attackers, Bilal Hadfi (Abu Mujahid al-Faransi) and Brahim Abdeslam (Abul-Qa’qa al-Baljiki), appeared in the November 2014 video. Continue reading

Islamic State Claims Responsibility for Terror Attacks in Australia, Canada, and America

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on November 21, 2014

The Islamic State released the fifth edition of its English-language propaganda magazine, Dabiq, on November 21, 2014. In it, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the terrorist attacks: in Australia by Numan Haider on September 23, in Canada by Martin Couture-Rouleau on October 20 and Michael Zehaf-Bibeau on October 22, and in America by Zale Thompson on October 23. The Islamic State says these attacks were in response to the call on September 22 by the organization’s spokesman, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani. The article is reproduced below with some minor editions for transliteration and some important sections highlighted in bold. Continue reading