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Shek
19 Dec 07,, 22:13
Here's another report just released by the CTC.


Greetings from West Point! We are pleased to provide you with Al-Qa’ida’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq: A First Look at the Sinjar Records. This report is a preliminary analysis of over 600 individual records containing background information on foreign fighters entering Iraq via Syria over the last year. This is the latest in a series of reports from the Combating Terrorism Center drawing on newly released information from captured al-Qa’ida documents maintained in the Defense Department’s Harmony Data Base. The report and the Sinjar Records themselves can be accessed at: Welcome to the Combating Terrorism Center (http://www.ctc.usma.edu)

Highlights of the report’s findings on this group of foreign fighters include:

· In terms of sheer numbers, Saudis constituted the largest group of foreign fighters, making up over 41% of the sample studied. Libya was second, contributing almost 20% of the total fighters listed in the Sinjar Records. In per capita terms Libya is far and away the most frequently listed country of origin for these fighters. The Libyan numbers vastly exceeds previous estimates of Libyan fighters in Iraq. The increase in Libyan fighters is likely linked to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group’s increasingly close relationship with al-Qa’ida, which culminated in LIFG formally swearing allegiance on November 2, 2007. The number of fighters from other North African countries such as Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco in the Sinjar records indicate that this region contributes more fighters than in previous estimates.

· 56% of the fighters that listed their “role” in Iraq were suicide bombers. Saudi Arabia contributed the most suicide bombers in absolute numbers, but the percentage of Saudi fighters that were listed as suicide bombers versus fighters was actually lower than non‐Saudis. Libyan and Moroccan fighters listed in the Sinjar Records had the highest percentage of suicide bombers as a group with 85% and 92% respectively claiming to travel to Iraq conduct suicide bombings.

· The Sinjar Records provide evidence that suggests al-Qa’ida’s Iraq affiliates rely on criminal smugglers as part of their logistics train in Syria.

· Many fighters to Iraq sign up for or travel to Iraq in small groups, rather than alone. 46% of fighters in the Sinjar Records that listed their date of arrival in Iraq arrived on the same day as another individual from their hometown.

· Over 40% of the fighters that listed their occupation were students. Al-Qa’ida is finding many of its volunteers for Iraq in universities.

S2
19 Dec 07,, 22:55
"· The Sinjar Records provide evidence that suggests al-Qa’ida’s Iraq affiliates rely on criminal smugglers as part of their logistics train in Syria.

· Many fighters to Iraq sign up for or travel to Iraq in small groups, rather than alone. 46% of fighters in the Sinjar Records that listed their date of arrival in Iraq arrived on the same day as another individual from their hometown."

These two points caught my attention. I'd think that the "buddy-plan" is a necessary moral/ethical reinforcement to scared young men heading to their death. It can't be easy as they move closer to Iraq on their journey. Having a "home-boy" would help. A cue, I'd imagine, for border agents/customs/police along Iraq's Syrian border these days.

Swift Sword
20 Dec 07,, 04:01

...Many fighters to Iraq sign up for or travel to Iraq in small groups, rather than alone. 46% of fighters in the Sinjar Records that listed their date of arrival in Iraq arrived on the same day as another individual from their hometown."

...I'd think that the "buddy-plan" is a necessary moral/ethical reinforcement to scared young men heading to their death...

Expanding upon this line, FWIW, it is a fairly common pattern in radical indoctrination in general to actively "deindividuate", (if you will allow the colloquialism...if I am even using colloquial in the proper context :confused: ) targets by surrounding them with other people, assigning other people as handlers, etc., etc.

Call it keeping them isolated by not letting them be alone.

However, there may lie herein a lever to work against the other guy's message.

Since the other guy is actively working to "deindividuate" it stands to reason our counter propaganda ought to stress "reindividuation".

If and when we decide to consider a solid counter propaganda effort, perhaps a counter collective effort might involve sowing doubt by playing the Greater Jihad as the cure for the Lesser Jihad...hit with the old "whom do ye serve" bit after a fashion.

There is enough speculation within Islamic thought itself about the nature and manner of Jihad that it might be a fertile area to induce cognitive dissonence in the targets as part of a package of offsets.

Food for thought, at any rate.

Regards,

William

ofogs
20 Dec 07,, 08:02
It seems the buddy team technique makes sense for AQI for the same reason armies have soldiers operate in buddy teams- it greatly increases the likelihood of the individuals going through with their attack. Grossman's On Killing discusses how few individuals actually fired their weapons during WWII, but crewed weapons had a much higher rate of actually being employed. Mutual moral support and so forth, plus, even if both individuals have their doubts, neither will want to lose face to their friend.

S2
20 Dec 07,, 09:14
"There is enough speculation within Islamic thought itself about the nature and manner of Jihad that it might be a fertile area to induce cognitive dissonence in the targets as part of a package of offsets."

Yup. A few at CTC seem to be interested here already. Lia's al-Suri article and the "Harmony/Disharmony" studies aren't academic exercises. Somebody somewhere is taking a look at practical exploitation of these fissures on many different levels.

It's a VERRRRY interesting collection of folks quietly engaged in some amazingly serious work up there on that campus.

Ray
22 Dec 07,, 03:18
I found the articles in the CTC very interesting.

Mobbme
23 Dec 07,, 23:41
I found the articles in the CTC very interesting.

Sir, I also found this quite interesting:

Interview with a former Training Emir Of Al Qaeda
LiveLeak.com - MEMRI: Interview with former Training Emir of Al Qaeda (http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=499_1197501355)
(with english subtitles)

Ray
24 Dec 07,, 16:40
Shek is doing great service in updating all of us.

An asset to the WAB.

Thank you, Shek.

GVChamp
30 Dec 07,, 00:49
Alright, I'm going to give my uneducated impressions on the matter.

The first thing that stuck out to me was the ages, and the especially high incidence of people born in 1984, IE, 23 year olds, as well as the number of students involved. If college in the Middle East is a 4 year affair like it is in the states, I think there is possibly a very clear explanation of radicalization: unemployment. Radicalization aside, a poor job market for college kids is the spark in the ignition system.

I also wonder if these documents are biased somewhat towards more educated people (literacy rates)

I also wonder why so many people are coming out of a town in Libya that Qaddafi apparently hates. It does not seem like the kind of place that would be producing high numbers of college students, leading me to wonder exactly who is coming from that country.

ofogs
30 Dec 07,, 16:43
I think your comment about the ages is interesting, but may also offer another explanation for the radicalization: the college education itself. As I recall, many of the 9/11 hijackers were highly educated, as well. Also, college may, indeed, indicate a college in religious teachings, which could easily lead people to follow a radical strand of Islam.