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01 August 2011
Whither the jihadi forums?

There are currently only three jihadi forums that are sufficiently active and well-connected to be of any interest whatsoever. Why we claim to be on the verge of defeating al-Qaida while simultaneously watching passively as they use these forums to regroup and regenerate is beyond me.

These are the forums three:

• al-Fidaa, a forum created by al-Qaida core. That it is directly linked to al-Qaida by definition moves it to the top of the list. Current membership: 2,462, all of whom can be considered "active" if only because they just joined the forum.

• al-Shmukh, a forum with a long history that includes connections al-Qaida core. Current membership: 14,327.

• Ansar al-Mujahideen Arabic Forum, which was stood up with the assistance of at least one individual with bona fide connections to al-Qaida core. Current membership: about 10,000.

Some conclusions and some speculation:

1. There are far fewer jihadi activists on the Arabic forums than there used to be. With each round of shutdowns a portion of the membership never comes back (they had probably already become inactive).

2. A portion of the jihadi community globally bypasses the forums entirely, and instead relies on Facebook and Youtube. This seems particularly true of Western jihadis, the HVEs.

3. In the Middle East, the Arab Spring is likely to be causing a short-term drop in support for or interest in the global jihad. As these popular protests fail to achieve their not-very-well-defined objectives, this will likely change.

On a related note, the Majahden forum is once again closed...

...and its spawn, the al-Jehad al-Alami forum, is barely keeping afloat.

Posted on 01 August 2011 @ 18:06

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