Month: October 2014

Canadian Foreign Fighter with ties to Jabhat al-Nusra Identified

Author: Jeff R. Weyers, iBRABO

From iBRABO material recently featured on Enquête | Radio-Canada.ca and The Fifth Estate

It started with a question posed to iBRABO by CBC; are there Canadians from the Montreal area fighting in Syria? Using the Identifying Vulnerable Persons Guidance in our examination of terrorist social media sites we came across several extremist individuals from Canada. One person in particular, Sami Elabi (AKA El Sami, AKA Abu Safwan AlKanadi) from Montreal quickly was identified as an individual who appeared to be fighting with the al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra. His post and photographs (below) demonstrated that Elabi had been pulled down the same extremist path that so many Canadians have recently also followed. This in fact appears to have been the impetus behind the latest attacks by Canadian radicals on our Canadian military personnel and Parliament building.

Sami Elabi Posing with other Fighters

Sami Elabi Posing with other Fighters

Sami Elabi Firing Rifle

Sami Elabi Firing Rifle

 

Lone wolves like Martin Coutour-Rouleau and Michael Zehaf-Bibeau involved in Canada’s most recent attacks have definitely demonstrated the capacity to carry out the calls of ISIS and Jabhat al Nusra to attack the west. In fact, in the months and weeks leading up the recent attacks in Canada, ISIS had demonstrated a particular interest in Canada on Social media. In their Dabiq Magazine (ISIS’s equivalent of Al Qaeda’s Inspire Magazine) they posted a full page feature on Andre Poulin who died fighting along side ISIS (below). Poulin was later also featured in a well produced five minute recruiting video.

Dabiq Issue 2 Andre Poulin

Andre Poulin Featured in Dabiq

Perhaps of equal concern to western law enforcement agencies is the potential for well trained and battle hardened foreign fighters to return home and use those skills. By all accounts numerous researchers have put the number of foreign fighters fighting for groups like ISIS and Jabhat al Nusra at between 12000-15000. Elabi is just one example of a steady stream of fighters with whom Canada has attempted to intervene. In videos posted by Elabi on his own extremist Facebook page he is actively seen burning and shooting his Canadian passport.

Sami Elabi Burning and Shooting Passport

Sami Elabi Burning and Shooting Passport

In a second video he records fighters blowing up a structure with explosives at an undisclosed location.

Sami Elabi with Fighters Blowing up Structure

Sami Elabi with Fighters Blowing up Structure

While it is unknown if Elabi will ever try to return to Canada he definitely represents the kind of threat Western nations are facing when it comes to citizens engaging with terrorist groups. As has been discussed by many experts this past week it will require the community to assist law enforcement in preventing violent extremism. It will necessitate discussions around early identification of persons on the path to violent extremism and the need to re-examine laws in a thoughtful way without changing the fabric of what it is to be Canadian.

On behalf of iBRABO, our thoughts are with the families of our brave fallen soldiers.

Islamic State Launches Dabiq Magazine and “We Are All Islamic State” Campaign on Facebook

Author Jeff R. Weyers, IBRABO

The Relaunch of the “We Are All Islamic State” Campaign

Just when it appeared that Facebook was beginning to get the upper hand on limiting ISIS content, ISIS has demonstrated that it has far from given up on the social media platform. In the last 24 hours ISIS has restarted its successful “We are all ISIS” campaign, relaunching it with its new name “We are all Islamic State”. Much like the Bilad al Shaam sites that ISIS rebuilt almost 100 times, the original ISIS campaign called “We are all ISIS” also was reiterated dozens of times by ISIS just prior to their changing names to the “Islamic State”.  If the past repeats itself we are likely to see ISIS maintain this current campaign for an equally long duration.

We Are All Islamic State Facebook Page

“We Are All Islamic State” Facebook Page

The Launch of Dabiq Magazine on Facebook

An examination of ISIS supporters also identified that AlHayat Media has launched ISIS’s Dabiq Magazine on Facebook in the last month. The site provides links to all of their previous magazine in addition to their newest magazine titled, The Failed Crusade. As has been the trend with ISIS they have distributed the magazine via Justepaste.it which continues to be a popular medium for ISIS to distribute its content.

Dabiq Magazine Issue 4

Dabiq Magazine Issue 4

Growth in Support of ISIS in Southeast Asia

Following a trend that has been observed for the last several months in the demographics represented by ISIS followers, one of the largest growing areas of support for ISIS continues to be Southeast Asia including, Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia. This trend has been well represented in social media as can be seen in the many pages targeting support in these areas (see examples below).

ISIS in Indonesia and the Philippines

ISIS in Indonesia and the Philippines

As ISIS’s capability continues to grow in Iraq and Syria, the very real possibility that their influence will extend beyond this region is a scenario that quickly appears to be materializing. No doubt this will pose immediate concerns for governments and intelligence agencies tasked with preventing broader regional destabilization and terrorist attacks.