TRACWatch
Weekly Analyst Review
BOTTOM LINE UP FRONT: In the last several weeks through the crisis in Afghanistan, we have remained focused on other global hotspots including South America. This week, TRAC Research Associate, Dea Edington analyzed FARC activity in Colombia. He reports on an incident that In the early hours of 11 September, the Quirón Task Force of the Colombian Army's Eight Division, Land Operations Battalion were attacked with explosives and gunfire from rifles and machine guns in the village of Juju, Arauquita municipality, Arauca, Colombia. Presently, FARC and ELN elements are thought to have planned the operation from the relative safety of Venezuela before crossing into the border department of Arauca. The attack left 5 Colombian soldiers dead, 6 injured, and 1 reported missing. Thus far, little is known about the casualties suffered by the assailants. Iván Duque, President of Colombia, released a statement on Twitter condemning the attack. As usual, Duque states his belief that the assault was planned in Venezuela. He further acknowledges orders for immediate retaliatory military operations to "attack narcoterrorism." The complex attack was two pronged, first targeting the patrol with a bomb, followed by an armed assault. The assailants were clearly well fortified even before the shooting began. Although unknown at the time of this writing, it is likely that the bomb was planted as perimeter security to give the perpetrators warning that soldiers were in the area. The Arauquita municipality serves as a strategic cross-border corridor between Colombia and Venezuela, which both the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucinarias de Colombia (FARC) dissidents and the Ejército Nacional de Liberación (ELN) use to evade the Colombian security forces and traffic narcotics and humans. Turf wars ensued between the two groups after FARC signed the peace accord and surrendered their weapons.
Images (top) Screenshots from video
(Far-Right Extremism) Eco-Fascist Telegram Channel Shares a Video of Charles Manson, Highligting Manson as a "Spiritual Leader"
On 13 September, an eco-fascist Telegram channel released a video of Charles Manson, highlighting Manson as a "spiritual leader." The video likely serves as a response to the Terrorgram Collective channel's 'Saint Calendar." Every month, the channel publishes a calendar marked with various dates relevant to lone wolf attackers. The purpose of these calendars is to glorify lone wolves as 'saints' in an effort to inspire others to commit similar attacks. The channel problematizes the notion of the lone wolf saint. Continuing its "assault on the lone wolf archetype," the channel values the influence of an ideologue over that of a lone wolf attacker; it idolizes Manson for his power to mobilize recruits for the race war, embracing and in essence, depicting Manson as a 'spiritual leader' within the eco-fascist movement. The videos present Manson's views on the current climate crisis. Furthermore, they glorify Manson insofar as they demonstrate him equating himself to Jesus, discussing how loved he is by men and women alike, and detailing his 'wrongful imprisonment.' By concluding with the statement, "the Charles Manson you created - that's not me," the video deconstructs popular narratives of Manson as a murderer, thereby justifying any devotion to Manson. In this way, it suggests that the influence of Manson far outweighs that of any lone wolf attacker.
TRAC Incident Report: Islamic State Sinai (ISS) Mufti, Suspected Mastermind Of 24 November 2017 Sufi Mosque Bombing, Surrenders Himself To Egyptian Forces Under Pain Of Death - Sinai, Egypt
Muhammad Saad Kamel al-Saidi, known by the kunya Abu Hamzaal-Qadi, has turned himself in to Egyptian Military Intelligence in Sinai, Egypt. The Federation of Sinai Tribes spared al-Saidi’s life on the condition that he turn himself into Egyptian forces. It is not clear whether the capture of al-Saidi happened as a part of a clash between ISS and the Federation, but statements by the Federation of Sinai Tribes indicates that al-Saidi was “lured” from his location. The Federation of Sinai Tribes also reports that other top members of ISS were either killed by Egyptian forces or turned themselves in as well. Al-Saidi styled himself as a judge for the Sharia courts and traveled to Syria where he joined IS. He allegedly worked with the Sharia judge, Abu Shuaib a-Masry in Syria and remained in the country for a year before he was assigned by IS to return to Sinai, where he was responsible for most of IS operations against civilians and police in North Sinai. He supposedly issued a fatwa allowing the 24 November 2017 attack on the ar-Rawdah Sufi Mosque in Bir al-Abed, Sinai, Egypt. Although IS did reference the attack in Issue 58 of al-Naba newsletter, TRAC is attempting to find more information on this report, as the attack was never officially claimed by ISS. Even at the time of the 24 November 2017 attack, the Tarabin tribes were infuriated demanding retribution for one of the most horrific attacks on Egyptian soil. It is not surprising that that the tribes of the Sinai would not forget their promise to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Images: From TRAC Archives: Muhammad Saad Kamel al-Saidi
Images: Screenshots of magazine instruction.
(PDF / Instructional Guide) Al-Malahem Cyber Army (al-Qaeda): Appendix NO.1 "Manhattans Wolves Magazine - 11 September (Are We Not Able To Repeat It?!)
On 11 September, the al-Malahim Cyber Army's Manhattan Wolves circulated the publication "11 September (Are We Not Able To Repeat It?!) Appendix NO.1" on Telegram in French, Arabic and English. The first two editions of Manhattan Wolves were actual magazines and this being dubbed an "Appendix" suggests there will be more appendixes in the future. Much like AQC, who also released a publication this week entitled 'The Battle of Manhattan,' the entire Appendix focuses on how 9/11 was planned, executed, and the three teams assembled for the 9/11 plot. However, the Appendix also focuses on inspiring others to continue on the same path; albeit without AQ's guidance or funding. In the section titled "Youth of Islam, Do not undermine yourself" the publication attempts to inspire young Muslims to take aviation courses, indicating that the young can also be famous heroes. The instruction manual advises that "Incidentally, your planned attack doesn't have to be on US interests either." Aviation attack targets are suggested in Britain, France, Spain, Russia, China Sweden and Italy. Additionally, the airport in Tel Aviv were pointed to as especially vulnerable. 
On Our Radar:
Our integrative platform helps organizations assess and manage the risk environment. TRACFusion combines the contextual power and data of TRAC’s award-winning online digital repository with direct encrypted chat access to an assigned analyst, we extend an organization’s collection capabilities and expertise. We become partners who are able to provide “red cell” thinking and “outside” perspective. Contact us for more information.
Attend Weekly Analyst Briefing
As many of our clients know, we invite one organization a week to sit in on our Analyst Briefing. The briefings take place at 10 AM US eastern time and last an hour. We meet virtually in TRAC's online conference center.
If your organization is interested in attending, please schedule with the link below. We look forward to having you join us and ask questions.
2021 Past Newsletters