New Profiles and Articles on TRAC

  • Nusra Front in Lebanon is a radical extremist group that surfaced during mid-December 2013 and takes its name from the Al-Qaida-linked group fighting in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra (JN). The Nusra Front targets areas under Hezbollah control in eastern Lebanon and southern Beirut and is opposed to Hezbollah fighters in Syria supporting the Assad government.

  • Who holds the Western Islamic State's hostages? There are at least a dozen surviving members of the captor's units, all French-speaking, and all guided by someone who can train as efficiently as he can effectively. TRAC and the Geneva Centre for Training and Analysis of Terrorism (GCTAT) have uncovered more about the captors than anyone has previously known, including names and photographs.

  • The Khorasan group is comprised of veteran al Qaeda fighters from Afghanistan and Pakistan who travelled to Syria to support Jabhat al-Nusra (JN). Western media portrayed the Khorasan group as an imminent threat to the US and Europe. Intelligence reports stated that the Khorasan group objectives include the recruitment of foreign fighters in Syria from Europe and the US to execute attacks against Western targets.

  • Soldiers of the Caliphate in Algeria is a splinter group from al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) that has pledged loyalty to the Islamic State (IS). In a statement released on 14 September 2013, the leader of the group Abdulmalik Suleiman Abu Gori (aka Khaled) accused AQIM of "deviating from the true path". On 24 September 2014, the group beheaded a Frenchman, Herve Gourdel (55).

  • TRAC featured Infographs created September 22, 2014 featuring foreign fighters, supporting cell structure by country for both the Islamic State and for Nusra Front.

  • The AAA presents itself as aligned to Iran’s Supreme Leader and Iraq’s Sadrist Movement (Al-Tayyar al-Sadri) through postings which include photos of late Ayatollah Muhammad Muhammad Sadiq Sadr.

  • The Islamic State phenomenon is being studied by other Jihadist groups as a blueprint for use against other governments much in the same way that it (ISIS) has used the inhuman tactics of its predecessor Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi as a template for a even more efficient war-machine. The existence and expansion of the ISIS Caliphate is making the entirety of the Middle East unstable and causing the rest of the world to be vulnerable as these conflicts are occurring in areas rich in the natural resources that other countries rely on for their economic prosperity. The research identifies weak spots in the composition of ISIS.

  • Much has been reported on the profit made from ISIS oil smuggling, yet, not much has been said on the "how and where" the oil is smuggled.  New TRAC content shows out the how and where the oil routes are coming in.  Ironically, the attempt to control the border with Turkey is most likely not as much about control of smuggling routes but rather about control of flow of fresh fighters.

  • Since the GICM formation there has been close collaboration with al Qaeda. According to Noureddine Nafia, a meeting was held with Ayman al-Zawahiri during July 2000, upon which al Qaeda provided support to establish a reception center in Jalalabad and a training camp referred to as Tarek ben Ziyad. At the training camp GICM members received training in how to falsify identification documents as well as handling of explosive devices and weapons.

  • Previous charts on TRAC reflected the Islamic State before the Caliphate was declared: IS then and IS now are not the same.  The ISIS of before the Caliphate was oriented on war; The Islamic State of today has added an entire governance section.  These structures are NOT mutually exclusive and reflect how the Islamic State is evolving in to a government with military capabilities, these are fluid expect the names in charge will change continously.

  • The Islamic Movement of Iraq is a Shi'ite extremist groups in Iraq, formed during 2014. Whilst the group is opposed to the Islamic State (IS), it follows a similar strategy whereby atrocities committed, such as beheadings, are released on social media, such as You Tube and Facebook. The Islamic Movement of Iraq follows a trend of the formation of various small Shi'ite militias groups to counter the IS. However, its propaganda tactic of posting atrocities is unique to this Shi'ite group. These groups reportedly act independently from Iraq authorities and are open in admitting that they are receiving funds from Iran and support from Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

  • On 6 September 2014 al-Shabaab announced Sheikh Ahmad Umar (aka Abu Ubaidah/ Abu-Ubeydah and in his early 40s) as its new leader following Godane’s death during a drone attack on. Umar is reportedly a devout and ruthless hardliner and was one of the most trusted lieutenants of Al-Shabaab deceased leader, Godane. Abu Ubaidah is believed to have played a senior role in al-Shabaab’s internal intelligence structure, the Amniyat

  • Four insurgent groups are active in north east Nigeria. The groups are categorised as Yusufiyya groups, a reference to their support and loyalty towards the former Boko Haram leader, Muhammed Yusuf: Boko HaramJamaa’atu Ahlis-Sunnah Ahlis-Sunnah Lid-Da’wati Wal-JihaadAnsorul-Muslimiina Fii Bilaadis-SudanHaraktul-Muhajiriina wal-Mujahidin.

  • The notion that the notorious battle between Belmokhtar and AQIM was nothing but "squabble" between operational units might sound a bit preposterous, but there are good reasons to think this may actually be the case.  It is highly likely that Belmokhtar is still working in full cordination and cooperation with his former organization.

  • In addition to updating hundreds of existing TRAC group profiles, in August 2014, TRAC compiled 40 profiles of new and emerging groups: 10 operating in Syria; 7 in the DRC; 12 U.S./Mexican gangs and motorcycle clubs; 3 hackers; and a variety of other locations. The Syrian and DRC profiles were compiled by TRAC analyst Jasmine Opperman.

    In an on going effort to update our subscribers we will now publish the list of new group profiles every month. Please click "read more" to see the list in detail linking to each profile.

  • Borno, Yobe and Adamawa regions

  • The Islamic State’s ideology combines millennial, takfiri, salafi and sectarian components in a powerful jihadist narrative of Islamic regression, exploitation, ultimate redemption, and triumph. It is a Manichean world view that separates the world in two camps: … between the camp of the kufr (disbelief) and hypocrisy and the camp of the Muslims and the mujahidin"

  • On 3 September 2014, Ayman al-Zawahiri declared in a video message, titled “War should continue, message to the Muslims of Kashmir,” that al Qaeda launched Qaedat al-Jihad in the Indian sub-continent. Zawahiri said that "Establishing Al Qaeda in the Indian subcontinent is the result of two years of work to unify the Mujahideen.