February 09, 2009

Al Qaeda in Gaza Clarifies Relationship to GIMF

NEFA has released a translation of a communique between al Qaeda's Gaza affiliate, The Army of Islam, and Mahmoud Mahmoud [Muhammad Shawi Mahmoud], a one-time leading figure in the Global Islamic Media Front [GIMF]. Mahmoud was convicted of plotting to attack US targets in Austria. A Canadian member of the same cell, Said Namouh, is presently under indictment for the same conspiracy.

The communique starts with an accusation that the prosecution of Mahmoud represents an attack against Islam. Not very enlightening since the Islamist worldview is one of a vast conspiracy against Muslims by pretty much every one. It then goes on to refute something that was never alleged: that Mahmoud was not involved in the kidnapping of British journalist Alan Johnston.

No one ever accused GIMF of actually plotting the kidnapping. The accusation -- and the reality -- is that GIMF is linked to al Qaeda in Gaza. An accusation, I might add, first publicly made right here at The Jawa Report.

We have never said, nor have I read it in any reliable media source, that GIMF was actively involved in the plot. What we said was that GIMF served as intermediary between al Qaeda in Gaza and the Western press. If that isn't the very definition of a link, then I don't know what is.

Oddly, in the middle of this straw man denial, The Army of Islam confirms the allegations made against Mahmoud and GIMF:

“Seventh: brother Muhammad Shawqi Mahmoud made contact through private inbox inside a certain forum on the internet showing the desire of one of the Austrian reporters to know some news about the imprisoned British reporter, therefore he was a mediator between The Army of Islam and the Austrian reporter. His role was limited to that only, nothing else. The brother has advised us several times not to attempt to hurt the reporter. That was his personal point of view in which he saw benefit to all parts.”
So, what exactly is the controversy here? There is none.

GIMF is a media organization. They act as press agents. They are propagandists. In fact, they are also the official distribution source for al Qaeda in Somalia, the al-Shebaab. Just like as-Sahab produces videos for al Qaeda, al-Furqan for al Qaeda in Iraq, and the al-Fajr Media Center distributes them.

If that isn't a link -- and a strong one -- I don't know what is.

But it's more than that, and it gets down to the very definition of "terrorist organization" in the post-9/11 world. Organizations like as-Sahab, al-Furqan, and GIMF are virtual organizations. That is, they exist only because individuals and cells are linked through the internet.

As such, they are an inherent part of the larger organizations that they represent. No, GIMF members are likely not to be actually fighting in Mogadishu. They are too cowardly for that. Instead, they facilitate that fighting through propaganda distribution. Propaganda that inspires others -- less cowardly than themselves -- to join the jihad.

The evidence suggests that they also facilitate travel from Europe and North America to the jihad fields as well. And, as in the case of Mahmoud Mahmoud, they also may be involved in plotting terrorism closer to home.

In my mind, then, a member of GIMF is a terrorist by definition. He may not have bomb, but a computer and an internet connection is a powerful and important tool terrorists use.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 12:36 PM | Comments |