Archive for January, 2009

My latest for Jamestown, looking at Al Qaeda’s new focus on Germany – am also shopping some other piece around about this, but no bites yet. Interesting topic, but hard to know what exactly is going to happen – is this all going to lead to something? Or is it simply hot air? I am also very interested in the parallels between the situation in Germany and that in the UK – happy to expand if anyone is interested.

Afghanistan Deployment puts Germany in al-Qaeda’s Crosshairs

Publication: Terrorism Focus Volume: 6 Issue: 3
January 28, 2009 03:41 PM Age: 14 hrs
Category: Terrorism Focus, Home Page, Featured, Global Terrorism Analysis, Afghanistan, Terrorism

Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier tours a German ISAF contingent in Afghanistan (German Federal Foreign Office photo)

Speaking in accented but fluent German, Abu Talha al-Alamani made al-Qaeda’s most direct threat to the German nation yet in a recent video, saying that Germans were “naive and gullible” if they thought they could “emerge unscathed” from being the third-largest troop provider in the NATO alliance in Afghanistan (, January 19). The video, released by al-Qaeda’s al-Sahab media wing and entitled “Das Rettungspaket Fuer Deutschland” (The Rescue Package for Germany), first emerged on jihadi websites on January 17 (though it is dated October 2008). The video showed a turbaned individual identified as Abu Talha al-Alamani (Abu Talha the German) brandishing weapons in a rocky environment, before switching to a direct picture of him preaching to the camera. In the half-hour video, Abu Talha declares that it has been his “wish to blow myself up for Allah since 1993,” and provides a nuanced overview of the German political environment highlighting the nation’s involvement in Afghanistan. [1] Germany currently provides over 3,300 troops to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan and has agreed to increase the size of its deployment to 4,500 troops.

A longer piece looking at the recently concluded trial into Rangzieb Ahmed and Habib Ahmed up North in Manchester. Some other details that I didn’t get to include in here as they didn’t impinge on the actual narrative, including looking into South Africa as a transit point or hub for terrorists moving from East to West. Something for a future article maybe. However, the links to Al Muhajiroun and Omar Saeed Sheikh are amongst the most interesting to emerge here, and I would welcome any further comments or information from anyone out there on either topic.

UK Trial Exposes al-Qaeda Terrorist Network with Connections to Pakistan

Publication: Terrorism Monitor Volume: 7 Issue: 2
January 23, 2009 11:05 AM Age: 60 min
Category: Terrorism Monitor, Global Terrorism Analysis, Europe, Terrorism

In a trial that passed with remarkably little fanfare last December, a jury in Manchester, England, convicted Rangzieb Ahmed and Habib Ahmed (no relation) on charges of being members of al-Qaeda. In a released statement, the Crown Prosecution Service described Rangzieb Ahmed as “an important member of al-Qaeda and in a position to direct some of its activities.” [1] Detective Chief Superintendent Tony Porter of the Greater Manchester Police went further, describing Rangzieb as “a very dangerous man,” whom he believed “was intent on masterminding terrorist attacks and would have considered mass murder part of his duty” (BBC, December 18, 2008).

While undoubtedly this is all going to get buried by the Obaminator – my last piece for CII got picked up in an insurance trade paper. So for those who don’t read them, here it is…


UK Insurance Institute Says Insurers Can Help Mitigate Terrorist Risk

The insurance industry can play a key role in preparing businesses for the terrorist threat according to the global security think tank International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) in the latest Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) Thinkpiece entitled “Responding to the terrorist threat: Implications for UK businesses and insurance.”


This is a longer one off piece that I have done for the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), it draws on work that I have contributed previously that we have done for other parts of the insurance industry, on home-grown terror in the UK, and terrorism in Southeast Asia. This analyzes the threat, offers some thoughts on what business can do and some description on how the insurance industry works in these matters.

Here is the finished product, am not pasting any of it below, as it is all a pdf: