Center for Strategic Communication

by Steven R. Corman

In the past couple of days I have received email alerts from ESISC, an independent European group based in Brussels that describes itself as doing observation and analysis of international terrorism and related strategic issues. The emails indicate concern that the Bad Guys are planning attacks during the upcoming Ramadan (which this year exactly occupies the month of September).

The first alert from two days ago says that a forum (unnamed), which is “generally used by Al Qaeda and its affiliates” has posted

a lengthy message signed by “Baghdad Al-Khilafa” (war name) urging to perpetrate suicide attacks in Sweden during the first month of Ramadan

In their analysis of the message they say this threat must be taken seriously because it is one of a

growing number of messages hinting to a “campaign of attacks in Europe during the holy month of Ramadan” [that] have been posted on websites close to Al Qaeda.

Today I received another ESISC alert, this one focusing on year-old pictures of a training camp for suicide bombers, taken in the Pakistani FATA and sold to ABC News. According to the alert these pictures were taken from the ABC web site and reposted on an (again unnamed) extremist forum earlier this week.  The post included a call to strike Canada, Germany, the UK and the US.  ESISC sees this as worrisome in the context of the above-mentioned hints about impending Ramadan attacks.

I don’t normally pass along “warnings” like this.  The posts being referred to in the alerts can come from over-excited newbies rather than actual operatives, and even when from the latter can be puffery.  But since the ESISC people are claiming this is a pattern, I pass it along as an information item.  Maybe Will or somebody else who monitors the forums can confirm, deny, or otherwise shed some light on this.

UPDATE 8/10/08

Will from Jihadica writes:

I checked a number of forums, but there isn’t much on the topic.  Still, that doesn’t mean Ramadan is bad time to launch attacks.  In 2006, Abu Ayyub al-Masri announced that a major AQI offensive, “The Clear Conquest,” was to begin on Ramadan of that year.