Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016
Group Name: Anonymous
Principal Ideology: Freedom of speech and non-censorship
Area of Operation: Worldwide
Leadership: Constantly shifting coalition of like-minded participants, shaped by current hot issues
Affiliated Groups: Affiliations change based on the targets of the collective, however anarchist affiliations are common
Principal Enemy: Organizations and individuals who seek to restrict freedom of speech, particularly on the Internet
Tactics: Internet “hacktivism”
Anonymous is an Internet-based collective with members worldwide. Essentially, all a person needs to do to join Anonymous is to join in their online activities. The group uses the Internet as a medium for communication and coordination for its actions. These actions have included Distributed Denial of Service Attacks (DDoS) on such disparate targets as Stratfor, the Motion Picture Association of America, the Church of Scientology, Paypal, Bank of America and various law enforcement organizations. The group gains its collective power from the participation and acts of individual participants. The group is largely associated with Internet “hacktivism.” Hacktivism is a fairly controversial term. The Oxford online dictionary defines a hacktivist as a “computer hacker whose activity is aimed at promoting a social or political cause.”
Friday, March 11th, 2016
Group Name: Hamas
Principal Ideology: Geopolitical Autonomy
Area of Operation: Gaza Strip
Leadership: Shura Council. Political Bureau-Khaled Meshaal. Military Wing Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades (Independent of political bureau) – Muhammad Deif
Affiliated Groups: Muslim Brotherhood; Iran
Principal Enemy: Israel
Tactics: Terrorist (Indiscriminate rocket attacks; kidnapping; suicide)
In the spring and summer of 2014, Israelis and Palestinians found themselves once again in open conflict, seemingly due to the kidnapping and deaths of three Israeli teenagers. How did the violence really start? On July 10, 2014, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told the UN Security Council, “Today, we face the risk of an all-out escalation in Israel and Gaza, with the threat of a ground offensive still palpable — and preventable, only if Hamas stops rocket firing…” As of July 11, 2014, Israel had killed more than 100 Palestinians and wounded several hundred in more than 1,100 air strikes. Yet with Israel poised for a ground invasion of Gaza, Hamas continued to launch rocket attacks without causing a single Israeli fatality. Why do terrorist organizations like Hamas carry on this way? The hair trigger was actually set months prior with the collapse of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, resulting in a new Fatah-Hamas alliance. The tripwire fired when three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped on June 12, 2014. Israel responded with sweeps through 1,350 West Bank sites, resulting in 330 arrests (including re-arresting previously released prisoners), two Palestinian deaths, and the apparent revenge killing of a Palestinian teenager.
Sunday, February 28th, 2016
Group Name: Abdallah Azzam Brigades
Principal Ideology: Sunni Salafist Jihadist
Area of Operation: Lebanon, Jordan, Pakistan, Syria, the Arabian Peninsula
Leadership: Saleh al-Qar’awi and Ibrahim Suleiman Hamad Al-Hablain
Affiliated Groups: Al-Qaeda
Principal enemy: Hosni Mubarak, Bashar al-Assad, Lebanese Hezbollah
Tactics: Insurgent and terror tactics in Israel, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and Sea of Oman
On May 30, 2012, the Department of State (“DOS”) designated the Abdallah Azzam Brigades (“Abdallah Azzam”) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and the group’s leaders, Saleh al-Qar’awi and Ibrahim Suleiman Hamad Al-Hablain, also known as Abu Jabal, both Saudi nationals, as terrorists. Formed in 2009, the Abdallah Azzam Brigades, a Sunni Salafist Jihadist religious group, is affiliated with Al-Qaeda and has been reaching out to Muslims worldwide through a network of branches, located in Lebanon, Jordan, Pakistan, Syria, and the Arabian Peninsula. The philosophy of the organization is deeply rooted in the radical ideology of its namesake, Abdullah Azzam, who was a mentor to Osama bin Laden. Azzam was killed by a car bomb in Pakistan in 1989; however, his name continues to live on through internet websites, such as www.azzam.com and www.kawkaz.com, and Azzam Publications, all of which are operated by Jihadists or unknown sympathizers.
Monday, February 22nd, 2016
Group Name: Jemaah Islamiyah
Principal ideology: Salifi Jihadist
Area of Operation: Indonesia, Malaysia, Southern Philippines
Affiliated groups: Jamaah Anshurat Tauhid (JAT), Abu Sayyaf, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)
Principal enemy: Indonesian Government
Tactics: Following the decimation of the organization’s leadership, JI senior leadership has focused on religious outreach. Several splinter groups oppose this shift in tactics and remain committed to violent attacks.
The goal of Jemaah Islamiah (JI) is to create a Southeast Asian pan-Islamic State incorporating Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, and portions of the Philippines and Thailand.
The antecedent of JI was an Indonesian Muslim militia that emerged in 1942 known as Darul Islam/Tentara Islam Indonesia (DI). DI had its roots in Islamic resistance groups attempting to gain Indonesian independence from the Dutch Colonial government. Following Indonesia’s independence DI attempted to proclaim West Java as an independent Islamic State, but was crushed by the military of the fledgling Indonesian government. The first appearance of the name Jemaah Islamiyah can be traced back to the 1970’s, where it was used to describe proponents of Sharia law in Indonesia. In the 1980s Abu Bakar Bashir, an influential Islamic cleric that had fled Indonesia to avoid incarceration, gathered together exiled Indonesian Muslims and brought JI into being. In the late 1990s shifts in the political environment led to Bashir returning to Indonesia and heralded an increasingly violent operational philosophy. The apex of these violent attacks was the 2002 bombings in Bali, which resulted in 202 casualties.
Saturday, February 20th, 2016
Group Name: Christian Identity (various groups)
Principal Ideology: White supremacy, mistrust of government
Area of Operation: Throughout the United States, Canada, South Africa and Australia
Leadership: Richard Butler (deceased), Dan Gayman, Ted Weiland and various religious-social leaders
Affiliated groups: Posse Comitatus, Church of Jesus Christ Christian-Aryan Nations, Aryan Nations, The Order, Ku Klux Klan
Principal enemy: Varies among groups, but principally Jews, African- Americans, homosexuals, government leaders
Tactics: Promotional/persuasive literature, nurturing paranoia, intermittent violence toward minorities, planned attacks
“Christian Identity” is a term used to describe a variety of groups that promote the supremacy of Whites as God’s true chosen people. Generally, adherents believe that English, American, and other White Caucasians are the literal descendants of the “lost tribes” of Israel, consigning Jewish individuals to an inferior status that resulted from a sexual union between Biblical Eve, and Satan. With roots in the British-Israel movement of the 19th century, Christian Identity concepts spread to the United States, finding a place in the pulpit and in religious-social groups such as Posse Comitatus and the Church of Jesus Christ Christian-Aryan Nations. Groups that promote self-reliance, militias, and those that resent perceived government interference in everyday life are sometimes also lumped together under a broad definition of Christian Identity. While care must be taken to independently evaluate each group associated with Christian Identity, recent national controversies might play right into a given group’s paranoia about the need to defend their rights. The election and re-election of an African-American President, school shootings that touch off widespread debate about gun control, or health care legal decisions that ignite the topic of abortion might push a previously law-abiding organization into taking action to “protect” itself. Given this potential motivation for action, and the relative ease with which disparate groups may coordinate their efforts in the highly “connected” era of the 21st century, it is prudent for the United States homeland security enterprise to continue monitoring Christian Identity groups for criminal activity.
Saturday, February 20th, 2016
Group Name: Sovereign Citizens
Principal Ideology: Anti-government – based on various conspiracy theories
Area of Operation: United States
Leadership: Loosely connected coalition of self-appointed gurus
Affiliated Groups: Patriot/Militia and Tax Protestor Movements
Principal Enemy: Federal government, especially law enforcement
Tactics: Primarily white collar crime and fraudulent lawsuits
Sovereign citizens are members of an extreme anti-government movement who believe government has no legal authority. Because they “believe federal, state and local governments operate illegally,” they can be an extremely dangerous group for law enforcement and public government agencies. The FBI considers the sovereign citizens a domestic terrorist movement. According to the FBI, “Sovereign citizens do not represent an anarchist group, nor are they a militia. Rather they operate as individuals without established leadership.” They refer to themselves as “constitutionalists” or “freemen” in reference to their belief they are free from government control. According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the structure of their “movement is that of a large mass of individuals or loosely aligned and informal ad/hoc groups, led by a number of sovereign citizen ‘gurus,’ who provide leadership and inspiration as well as new sovereign citizen ideas and tactics.”
Friday, February 19th, 2016
Group Name: Jemaah Islamiyah
Principal Ideology: Islam
Area of Operation: Southeast Asia
Leadership: Abu Bakar Ba’asyir and Abdullah Sungkar
Affiliated Groups: Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MIILF), Darul Islam (DI), Dewan Da’wah Islamiyah Indonesia (DDII) and Al-Qaeda (AQ)
Principal enemy: Westerners and Muslims who do not follow Wahhabi Islamic practices.
Tactics: Original tactics included guerrilla-style bombings, assassinations, and terror tactics in their AOO.
Jemaah Islamiyah (JI or “Islamic community”) is a terrorist organization that has set itself apart from other radical Islamic Southeast Asian groups through its transnational and global aspirations. JI has strong ties to regional entities such as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Darul Islam (DI), Dewan Da’wah Islamiyah Indonesia (DDII) and has also united itself with Al-Qaeda (AQ) and its affiliated groups worldwide. Through these relationships JI has become the largest and most dangerous terrorist organization in Southeast Asia. Southeast Asia presents unique challenges for those trying to carry out the war on terror and gives JI an ideal recruiting and operating landscape because of the areas geography. The region in which JI operates is comprised of eleven countries (Burma, Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam), and over 17,000 islands. JI’s ability to hide in, recruit from, and train in this region has been empowered by the existence of porous maritime borders. The relatively short distances that separate these nations make JI’s ability to conduct transnational terrorism a reality.
Friday, February 19th, 2016
Group Name: The Islamic State (IS)
Principal Ideology: Salifi Jihadist
Area of Operation: Iraq and Syria (with global unaffiliated supporters)
Leadership: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Affiliated groups: 43 affiliate or supporter groups
Principal Enemy: Iraqi and Syrian Governments, U.S. Led Military Coalition
Tactics: Insurgent, Terrorism, Pseudo Nation-State
The Islamic State (IS) led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is the establishment of the new Islamic Caliphate by the group formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria which was a paramilitary group of Sunni Islamists. ISIS initially overthrew the Iraqi government in major northern cities and took weapons, military vehicles, and money within those cities. IS currently controls large portions of northern Iraq and the Syria north of the Euphrates River. While the speed that The State gained territory seemed shocking, religious group affiliations offers an explanation. IS’s supporters were initially a Sunni in-group in Iraq who felt that the former Shia Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki was not a legitimate leader due to his out-group membership and alignment with the United States. Iraq’s current Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who is a member of the Shia Islamic Dawa Party, continues to perpetuate the out-group dynamic of Iraq’s political leaders in relations to IS’s in-group supporters.
Friday, February 19th, 2016
Group Name: The Association for Muslim Mobilization and Propagation Group – UAMSHO
Principal ideology: Unconfirmed, possibly Wahhabi-Salafism
Area of Operation: Zanzibar Island, Tanzania
Leadership: Sheikh Farid Hadi Ahmed
Affiliated Groups: Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, al-Qaeda
Principal Enemy: Government of Tanzania, Christian minority, Western Tourists
Tactics: Acid attacks, church burnings, assassinations
On the Tanzania island of Zanzibar, members of an emergent secession-minded group are suspected of bombing, killing and maiming their way to an independent Islamic state. Since 2011, the Association of Muslim Mobilization and Propagation Group, commonly known as UAMSHO, or “Awakening” in Swahili, is blamed for acid attacks on western tourists and moderate Muslim clerics, church bombings and burnings, assassinations and beheadings of Catholic priests, grenade attacks on tourist hotspots and clashes with police.
Friday, February 19th, 2016
Group Name: Sendero Luminoso (Sendero, The Shining Path)
Principal Ideology: Communism (Maoist)
Area of Operation: Peru/Andes Mountains
Leadership: Abimael Guzman
Affiliated Groups: Peruvian Communist Party, Peruvian drug traffickers
Principal Enemy: Established Democratic Peruvian Government
Tactics: Insurgent but also using terror tactics while incarcerated
Sendero Luminoso (Sendero) is a communism inspired terrorist group whose push for a political revolution in Peru occurred primarily between 1980 and 1995. Sendero’s ideology is a product of the communist teachings of Peruvian writer Jose Carlos Mariategui, Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, and Mao Zedong. While attending the Universidad Nacional de San Cristobal de Huamanga in Ayacucho, Abimael Guzman became angered by the plight of the peasants who were struggling to survive economically. Guzman was inspired as a student by Marx, Lenin, and Zedong and would later teach Maoist doctrine and philosophy after graduation. Guzman became active in the Peruvian Communist Party, and would go on to attend a communist cadre school in China, embracing a peasant-based Maoist philosophy upon returning to Peru. He would splinter from the Peruvian Communist Party and found the Communist Party of Peru; commonly known as the “Shining Path”/ Sendero Luminoso, and father his Maoist based ideology “Gonzalo Thought”.