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Attention Law Enforcement
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Knowledge of Jihad identifiers allows law enforcement to connect the dots before major terrorist attacks -- and solve cold cases. These identifiers provide unique insights into the recruitment and indoctrination that led to the Boston bombings and other attacks against America. If you see one, contact your department head or homeland security officer.
by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi • Dec 10, 2014 at 5:58 am
It is with great pleasure that I introduce readers to the Middle East Forum's Jihad-Intel database and blog project. One may ask what is the use of this project, which catalogues and analyzes images from numerous jihadi groups, some designated terrorist by Western countries, others yet to receive a designation. I submit that the Jihad-Intel database serves multiple important functions.
- For Law Enforcement: at a time when the world of open access social media plays an ever more prominent role in jihadi propaganda outreach and potential recruitment, marking out the warning signs of flags, slogans, Facebook and Twitter profiles and the like become vital in assessing potential terrorist suspects at home and would-be recruits intending to head from the West to the battlefields of jihadi groups abroad. Does a suspect have an Islamic State (IS) flag at home? Does a suspect use IS social media symbols in his/her online profile? Such questions may prove important in stopping terrorist attacks and sympathisers from heading abroad before it is too late.
- For Researchers: the Jihad-Intel database goes beyond some of the most recognisable names to profile up to 100 groups (as of the time of writing), providing concise descriptions and distinct markers that can serve as useful introductions for anyone wishing to explore these groups further on an academic basis. Moreover, we are non-sectarian, believing it vital to cover Shi'a jihadi groups as much as Sunni ones. Thus, there is extensive and ongoing profiling of the numerous Shi'a militia brands that have popped up in Iraq since June 2014: a seriously understudied phenomenon.
- For Policymakers: linking to the prior point on Shi'a militia brands is a question for U.S. and other Western policymakers: would any large scale troop redeployments to Iraq find themselves in conflict with these groups? One hopes the overview of the numerous groups can help policymakers understand the nuances of the variety of militias at play. In a similar vein, it must be emphasized that the Sunni jihadi brands operating in Syria go beyond the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra. Which ones are tied to other jihadi groups abroad? What are the implications? The Jihad-Intel database hopes to provide insight on these questions.
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