The forums are dead - long live the forums!
It has been difficult for the jihadi forums since I last posted such a list, but they continue to exist, and have not fallen completely out of favor with the jihadi community. This despite accusations of espionage and revelations that previously prominent forums (e.g. al-Hesbah) were from their very inception intelligence operations.
The fact of the matter is that a jihadi forum that is accepted and used by the global community of al-Qaida supporters serves their interests at least as much as it serves ours, despite who is at the helm. Forums provide a venue for public discussion of issues of importance and serve as a clearinghouse for news and information, not to mention the vital task they perform of authenticating new communications from various terrorist organizations. That said, overall activity on the forums appears to be declining and much of the personal interaction has moved to mainstream social networking sites (e.g. YouTube).
The following Top Ten list is ordered according relative importance, both to the jihadis and to those who monitor their online activities, with preference given to sites which consistently offer up content that is unique to the particular site and community of users.
01. al-Faloja (188.8.131.52/~faaall3s/vb/, alfaloja.biz/vb/, alfaloja.ws/vb/, faloja.org/vb/, alfaloja.info/vb/, alfaloja.org/vb/, faloja.info/vb/, al-faloja1.com/vb/, alfalojaweb.info/vb/, alfaloja.net/vb/)
Currently among the oldest of the major jihadi forums, not least of which due to the fact that the administrators are mostly in Gaza.
02. al-Shamukh (shmo5alislam.net/vb/, shamikh1.net/vb/, 184.108.40.206/~shamikh/vb/)
Successor site to the forum called al-Mohajroon (no relation to the UK organization al-Mohajiroun). Quality stuff - more than just the usual boiler-plate AQ content. Went missing some months ago, but has since returned.
03. at-Tahaddi (atahadi.com/vb/, 220.127.116.11/~atahadi/vb/)
A site frequently sited for unique content, particularly by Israeli researchers in this area (e.g. ICT). Has risen in importance significantly over the last year.
04. al-Hanein (hanein.info/vb/)
Features significant amounts of jihadi content, but suffers from a certain amount of not-Islamicly-correct nationalism of various sorts (e.g. Iraqi, Egyptian, Moroccan "patriots").
05. al-Medad (almedad.com/vb/)
A site with a contentious admin who has been accused - wrongly I think - of being an agent of some secret service. Previously had a relationship with the reportedly deceased Sheikh Hakaymah and the pro-AQ branch of Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Activity on the site can vary widely from quite a lot to almost none at all.
06. Alqimmah-Golaha Ansaarta Mujaahidiinta (alqimmah.net/)
Added to this list despite the mix of languages, in acknowledgement of the prominent place the conflict in Somalia now has in the global jihad, and the role of core Arab jihadis in that conflict. This forum is directly associated with the al-Shabaab AQ franchise via supporters in Sweden.
07. al-Ma'ark (m3-f.com/forum/)
This forum has been building a following slowly and steadily for a couple of years. It is a survivor of the network of sites that went away in September of 2008.
08. as-Ansar (as-ansar.com/vb/, as-ansar.org/vb/, as-ansar.net/vb/, as-ansar.info/vb/, 18.104.22.168/vb/)
Has it's roots in a previous generation of forums, and persists despite having hopelessly compromised its own security over a year ago. Will wonders never cease...
09. The Majahden Electronic Network (majahden.com/vb/)
Looks to be the project of a Palestinian kid residing in Saudi Arabia, with a strong contingent of Hamas supporters, but an overall global jihad perspective.
10. Al-Luyuth al-Islamiyyah (leyoth.info)
Occasionally interesting, but currently not very active. I needed a tenth site to round out the list.
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