Tag Archives: Telegram

Ruslan Asainov: An American Islamic State Jihadist

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 20 July 2019

Sketch of Ruslan Asainov // Image credit: Jane Rosenberg/Reuters

In the Eastern District of New York, on 19 July, a criminal complaint was unsealed against Ruslan Maratovich Asainov, described in the press release as a “naturalized U.S. citizen born in Kazakhstan”. According to the release, Asainov is to be charged with providing and attempting to provide “material support, including training, services, and personnel” to a terrorist group, namely the Islamic State (IS), which he joined in 2013 and rose through the ranks to become an emir. Asainov was captured by the “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF), the Coalition’s anti-IS Kurdish partner force, and handed over to the FBI, before being returned to America this month.  The maximum penalty for these charges is twenty years imprisonment, and it is likely the U.S. government will be seeking additional charges in the indictment. The case raises an interesting question over the gaps in knowledge about IS. Continue reading

The Memoir of a British Spy in Al-Qaeda

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 8 July 2019

The main issue with that Nine Lives has to overcome is the one that has attended Aimen Dean (a pseudonym) since he went public in March 2015 with an interview he gave to the BBC, claiming he had been a British spy within Al-Qaeda between 1998 and 2006. That issue is overcoming the doubts about his story. Nine Lives goes a long way to solving this by bringing in Paul Cruickshank, the editor-in-chief of CTC Sentinel, one of the premier academic resources in the terrorism field, and Tim Lister, a terrorism-focused journalist with CNN, as co-authors. As well as helping structure the book from Dean’s memories, the two co-authors note they had been able to “corroborate key details” that convinced them: “In the years immediately leading up to and following 9/11, Aimen Dean was by far the most important spy the West had inside al-Qaeda”. Continue reading

The Unravelling of a Guided Islamic State Plot in Russia

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 26 February 2019

Islamic State terrorists responsible for the Danghara attack in Tajikistan, July 2018 [source]

Kommersant reports on the FSB foiling a series of guided plots by the Islamic State (IS) in late 2016. The IS guide in these cases was a Tajik, Tojiddin Nazarov (Abu Usama Noraki). Had IS’s operations been successful, they would have blown up the headquarters of Russian military intelligence (GRU) on the Khoroshevskoye Highway, as well as railway passengers. Continue reading

American Islamic State Jihadist Plotted to Bomb Trump’s First Presidents’ Day

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 17 December 2017

Robert Hester

The U.S. Department of Justice indicted Robert Lorenzo Hester, Jr., 25, of Columbia, Missouri, on 21 February 2017, for attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State (IS) and plotting an act of domestic terrorism. The plan had been an attack on 20 February, the first Presidents’ Day of the Donald Trump administration. Continue reading

The Fall of Islamic State’s Caliphate Won’t End the Foreign Attacks

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 28 July 2017

Screenshots from the bay’a-martyrdom videos of: Riaz Khan Ahmadzai (Muhammad Riyad), Anis Amri, Mohammad Daleel (source)

The Islamic State (IS) has escalated a campaign of global terrorism over the past few years, exactly as it was losing overt control of territory. In 2016, IS consolidated a model of guiding and claiming attacks in the West and elsewhere via is media channel, Amaq. The outlines of this have long been known. Now there is significant new detail thanks to a four part reporting series in the German newspaper BILD by Björn Stritzel, who contacted Amaq and posed over many months—in consultation with Germany security agencies—as a potential terrorist. Continue reading

Al-Qaeda in Syria Linked to a Terror Plot in the United States

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 30 June 2017

Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud (source)

In April 2015, a United State Federal Grand jury in Ohio charged Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud, also known as “Ayanle”, with three terrorism-related offences. Yesterday, court records were unsealed that revealed that Mohamud pleaded guilty to all charges, admitting to having fought with a terrorist organization in Syria and returned to the United States with the intention of carrying out an act of domestic terrorism. Mohamud was in contact with foreign terrorist operatives throughout the period he was plotting an attack within the United States. But—and this is the most significant aspect of the case—Mohamud was not in contact with one of the Islamic State’s intelligence operatives, who guide attacks in a manner now relatively well-understood. Instead, Mohamud was in contact with Jabhat al-Nusra, at that time al-Qaeda’s declared branch in Syria. Al-Nusra is now known as Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and claimed in July 2016 to have disaffiliated from al-Qaeda’s “central”, not that this has (nor will nor should) remove HTS from the terrorism list. Regardless of its formal status within al-Qaeda’s command structure, HTS retains significant links with al-Qaeda’s global networks, and a breakaway group from HTS in Syria has reaffirmed its loyalty to al-Qaeda. Mohamud’s case is an extremely important data point in assessing the risk these overlapping and mutually reinforcing entities pose to the West and the wider world. Continue reading

The Islamic State Guided the Normandy Church Attack

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on August 22, 2016

Normandy church killers, Adel Kermiche and Abdelmalik Petitjean, swear allegiance to the Islamic State [video, 27 July 2016]

Normandy church killers, Adel Kermiche and Abdelmalik Petitjean, swear allegiance to the Islamic State [video, 27 July 2016]

In Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, south of Rouen in Normandy, northern France, on 26 June 2016, two men wielding knives took five hostages in a church around 10:00 local time (just a bit before).[1] Initially there were six hostages consisting of a priest, three nuns, and two worshippers, but one nun managed to escape and alerted the authorities, who surrounded the church.[2] The attackers murdered the priest, Jacques Hamel, 85 (born 30 November 1930[3]), making him kneel on the alter and slitting his throat while preaching in Arabic.[4] One of the nuns present said that while the two killers were initially nervous and aggressive, by the time of the murder they seemed content: one of them gave “a soft smile, that of someone who is happy”.[5] An elderly male worshipper was handed a mobile telephone and made to film the attackers slaughtering the priest, and was himself then slashed and grievously wounded.[6] That footage has not been released, but almost certainly will be at some point. “The two men had cried Allahu Akbar (God is Great) as they left the church with three of the hostages. One man had a fake suicide belt made of aluminium and three knives; the other was carrying a backpack made to look like a bomb and a kitchen timer.” The two attackers were shot dead by police.[7] Continue reading