Weekly Analyst Review

05 January 2022

Bottom Line Up Front


To close out 2021, Islamic State claimed 139 attacks throughout the month of December 2021. This represents a 9% decrease over the previous month, with all major theaters seeing a level or slight decrease in attacks, but it does not necessarily indicate a reduction in the scale or severity of the attacks. Notably, in Central Africa, claimed attacks in the Congo (DRC) decreased while attacks in Mozambique increased with the expansion of the Islamic State Central Africa (Ahlu Sunna Wa-Jamo/Ansar al-Sunna (Shabaab Cult)) into new territories. Iraq has maintained its decreased level from November, but the scale and deadliness of attacks has increased; meanwhile, attacks in As-Sham (Syria) have maintained an increased operational tempo stemming from its push in November against the PKK. Although attacks in Syria are down this month over November 2021, the decrease is not significant enough to suggest that the operations in the theater are subsiding. In fact, the number of attacks still remain above the levels seen since the beginning of 2021.

Other Developments

Right Wing Extremism / Video:

“Black Crimes Matter Top 10 From 2021”

Black Crimes.png

Image:  Screenshot from video distributed throughout Telegram and "dark" social media platforms.

On 02 January 2022, right wing extremists disseminated a "Black Crimes Matter: Top 10 from 2021" video via Telegram and other "dark" social media platforms. The video is more than merely offensive as it attempts to normalize racism, depicting all black people as violent thieves and degenerates. Furthermore, what makes the video so alarming is that it is significantly more engaging than most racists' propaganda, striving to appeal to a wider audience under the guise of humor. It should be presumed, based on the video's distribution channels outside of Telegram, as well as the number of shares throughout multiple Telegram channels, that substantially more than the 4,100 who viewed it within the first 24 hours after release, will see this video. The clear intended target audience is the United States and Canada; however, given the iconic nature of many of the topics – such as The Beatles and Sesame Street – any English speaker could easily understand the video. The video glamorizes the white society of the 1950s and is divided into ten demeaning segments, to include, racial literacy and an outdated PSA explaining the different levels of mental defects or learning disabilities.

TRAC Incident Report:

Russian PMC, Wagner Group, and Jihadists Clash on the Bandiagara-Bankass Road, Mopti Region, Mali


Image: Map showing the Bandiagara-Bankass road, located in Mali’s Mopti region.

On 03 January 2022, reports emerged that the first clash had taken place between Wagner Group mercenaries and jihadists on the Bandiagara-Bankass road, located in Mali’s Mopti region. According to local reports, one Wagner militant was wounded in the clash and several jihadists were killed, although, it should be noted that this has not been confirmed by official sources. Both Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) and Jama’a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin (JNIM) operate in the Mopti region, but is not evident which group was involved in the clash. With the withdrawal of France’s Barkhane forces, Russia has swiftly stepped in with the private military company (PMC), Wagner Group as an attempt to assert its influence in the Sahel region. Reports about the Wagner Group’s arrival has sparked widespread controversy, with France, Canada and a dozen European countries condemning Moscow for aiding the supposed deployment of Russian-backed Wagner Group contractors to Mali. President Putin has claimed that the Wagner Group does not represent the Russian state, but that private military contractors are allowed to operate anywhere in the world as long as they do not break Russian law. Despite rumors of a $10.8 million deal per month, in which 1,000 mercenaries are to be hired to train the Malian military and provide security to officials, the Malian interim government has denied any support from Russian paramilitaries. Despite Bamako’s denial of any support from Russian PMCs, this clash gives proof of Russian presence in the region.

TRAC Incident Report:

Uzbek Islamic State Supporter Arrested with Counterfeit Passport after Arriving from Ukraine at the Istanbul Airport, Turkey


Image:  Uzbek Islamic State Supporter Arrested after Arriving from Ukraine at the Istanbul Airport

On 29 December 2021, Turkish special services arrested an Islamic State supporter at the Istanbul Airport, where he had just arrived from Ukraine. The suspect, a Russian national from Uzbek, aroused suspicion when he attempted to pass through immigrations and customs with a forged passport from the Republic of Uzbekistan. After inspecting the man’s digital devices, the security services discovered Islamic State propaganda, including execution videos and military operations. In early February 2021, an Islamic State foreign fighter cell was dismantled in Kiev for running a counterfeit passport ring. It is highly likely that this arrested Russian national in the Istanbul airport had acquired his forged passport from the same cell in Ukraine. Turkey has traditionally been used as a transit hub for Islamic State supporters for not only travel in and out of ash Sham, but also in and out of Europe. Islamic State also operated a media branch out of Turkey during the heyday of the Caliphate. The solo arrest could be the tip of a covert operation for Islamic State’s external operations branch, Emni, that appeared to be reactivating cells in many different locations worldwide over the fall of 2021.

On Our Radar:


Far-Right Extremism/ Poster: Right-Wing Telegram Channel Encourages Subscribers

to Bring Baseball Bats to Protests


TRAC Incident Report: Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Injured a Police Officer During a Grenade Attack on Maripur Road in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan


TRAC Incident Report: Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) Dissidents and Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN) Rebels Clash in the Venezuelan Border Area of Arauca, Colombia



TRAC Logo_Primary_TransparentWhite.png
Facebook          Twitter          Instagram