State Manifesto Details Paris Attacks, Describes Expansion Plans
Terrorists behind last month's Paris attacks modeled their
assault on tactics developed by Al-Qaida in Iraq, now the Islamic State (ISIS),
during the Iraq War, according to a new Islamic State manifesto, "Black
Flags From the Islamic State."Originally disclosed
last week by the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), the 130-page
ebook details the extensive planning that went into the Paris attacks and
describes how plotters evaded detection by Western intelligence. Other aspects
of the manifesto detail the history of the Islamic State's emergence from Al-Qaida,
its plans for the future, and how it operates.
The Paris attacks, which left 130 people dead, were enabled by
at least 200
operatives in undisclosed locations who worked for two months, the
ebook claims. Some lived near the Belgian-German border and in other European
countries. Salah AbdelSalam, the surviving attacker, escaped by using a route
through Eastern Europe and Turkey to Islamic State territory that was
established in advance in case the plot was thwarted, "Black Flags From the
Islamic State" says.
"This has shocked the Intelligence agencies and many
European countries are thinking of closing their borders so future Mujahideen
cannot escape to neighbouring countries easily. (The praise is for Allah: While
the Islamic State is smashing borders in the Muslim world, the European Union is
crumbling and returning to the Darker Ages of enforced borders.),"
"Black Flags From the Islamic State" says.
Former Canadian intelligence operative Mubin Shaikh, who
infiltrated and brought down the Toronto
18 jihadist plot, expresses skepticism about the 200 number. ISIS
propagandists often exaggerate. The Paris attacks could have been done with far
fewer operatives, he says.
[You need to keep] better tabs on people," Shaikh says
about intercepting jihadis trying to blend in among the refugee flow. "I
don't know if it's going to require ... biometric passports because that's the
only thing they can do if these guys are slipping out and slipping back in, it
has to be at that point of exit/entry.
"It means having a fingerprint scan associated to your
passport. I don't think that will be a problem in France because they already
are surveillance-heavy as it is."
Attack mastermind AbdelHamid Abaaoud divided
the tasks needed for the operation, the ISIS booklet claims. One cell
planned the attacks, recruited operatives, directed and coordinated members of
the operation and maintained communications between the various cells. Another
cell armed the attackers with their AK-47s, suicide belts and other explosives,
and kept watch on French security forces' movements. This second group picked up Salah
Abdeslam and took him to a safe house. The attackers comprised the
Abaaoud recruited attackers one-on-one to help evade
detection by intelligence services. He communicated in person, telling
the attackers not to speak with others.
"Black Flags From the Islamic State" brags
that Abaaoud slipped in and out of Europe hiding among the throng of
refugees traveling through Turkey into Greece and then deeper into the
continent. He recruited Bilal
Hafdi, a French citizen previously thought to have been killed fighting in
Syria, to do the suicide bombing at the Stade de France. Abaaoud also tapped
two unidentified men who followed a similar path into Europe that he
used by blending in with refugees.
The attackers followed
rules recommended in the Islamic State manual "Safety and Security
guidelines for Lone Wolf Mujahideen" and hid
their degree of dedication to Islam. They avoided mosques. Salah and his
brother owned a bar so they would not "be perceived as 'devout Muslims' in
the sight of the security services."
"[T]he Cells role is to complete a mission, hide,
separate and go back to their daily lives or escape to another country
separately after the attack," "Black Flags From the Islamic
It notes that Al-Qaida
used this same tactic of pretending to be non-Muslim or non-practicing
Muslims to evade detection by Pakistani intelligence and the CIA following the
U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
Western intelligence agencies lack the manpower needed to
monitor the activities of thousands of Muslims and sift through the myriad of
data obtained through electronic means, let alone recruiting enough human spies,
the manifesto boasts.
to avoid using phone or computers, and instead use anonymous sites like
Ghostbin or privnote, online games with chat features.
This inability to gather adequate human intelligence may have
resulted in part from a political backlash against the Bush administration's
policies, a former high-ranking E.U. intelligence officer, who asked his name
not be disclosed, tells the IPT. Political lobbies and left-of-center
prosecutors in Europe pushed for policies that destroyed whatever work that had
been done to infiltrate terrorist groups, recruit trusted sources and arrest
jihadis to obtain information. These lobbyists exploited civil-rights fears
about jihadist renditions – a
policy also used during the Clinton administration – which curtailed
the ability to get needed information. President Obama's election and the end of
the surge in Iraq marked a turning point for the worse in the West's ability to
gather intelligence, the source says.
Strong human-intelligence gathering is vital, Shaikh says.
Islamic State jihadis noted
this in their manifesto, "How To Survive in The West: A Mujahid's
"By 2010, Europe and the West was (sic) close to winning
the 'war on terror' in the West because it was able to stop most major terror
attacks from taking place within their home countries. They had mastered the art
of counter-terror by being on the offensive instead of just the defensive. They
would do this by doing 'sting-operations' whereby the FBI would send agent
provocateurs whose job would be to entice young Muslim men to do a terror
Policies that began to undermine human intelligence collection
largely came into effect after 2010, according to the E.U. intelligence source.
ISIS wants to use hit-and-run tactics to force E.U. countries
into massive spending for law enforcement and to force the shutdown of major
cities – as happened in Brussels and Paris following the Paris attacks,
"Black Flags From the Islamic State" says.
ISIS hopes overreactions by police, security services and right-wing groups will
help alienate Muslim populations and make them ripe for waging jihad in Europe.
"The reality is that so long as Mujahideen in Europe keep
their secret Cells secure from outsiders, and avoid electronic communications
for planning attacks, they are likely to succeed in their attacks because
weapons are flowing more freely across Europe due to an increase in organized
gangs and less police (due to a poorer economy:)," the "Black
Flags" ebook says.
Paris Terror Cell Modeled on ISIS Experience in Iraq and Syria
The manifesto holds up the Paris attacks as a textbook example
of adapting tactics developed and perfected on the battlefield in Iraq and Syria
for use in the West. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the slain leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, employed former
members of Saddam Hussein's intelligence service – some of whom hold important
positions in the Islamic State's infrastructure.
ISIS is encouraging small cells to preserve secrecy.
"The mix of military expertise, terror, and survival of a
few thousand Mujahideen into a lethal force. 1 Mujahid is equal to 100
disbeliever soldiers ...," the "Black Flags" booklet says.
During the Iraq conflict, the Islamic State, then known as Al-Qaida
in Iraq, established cells of five fighters or fewer to do missions. One person
would attack, another would help the attacker escape, while others would provide
a hiding place or dispose of weapons.
"Their strength lies in their secrecy and small number
because less numbers = less people to spill secrets of the small group. Cells
run independently, they find their own funding (money), they plan their own
attacks, and perform their own hiding places," "Black Flags From the
Islamic State" says.
It provides an in-depth
analysis of what intelligence agencies do to track terrorists and their
associates. Like other Islamic State instructions to its jihadi followers,
"Black Flags From The Islamic State" says to
"stay off the phone," avoid using ATMs, use cars that don't belong to
them and travel at night.
ISIS Plans for Global Jihad
"The aim of [ISIS leader] Abu Bakr [Al-Baghdadi] was to
use the Iraqi Jihad model in Syria, and once it worked there, to export this
model across the entire Muslim world for newer Jihads," "Black Flags
From The Islamic State" says.
Desired future jihads include: toppling the Saudi monarchy and
seizing Mecca and Medina, which it hopes will lead to the arrival
of the Mahdi, Islam's promised
messiah, around 2019; India; and the West. It notes that a "Clash
of Civilizations" is inevitable and claims that the rise of
neo-fascist groups in Europe, Donald Trump and Pamela Geller in the U.S. will
help them achieve their goal of radicalizing Western Muslims.
"Muslims are realizing day by day that there is no honor
except in Jihad, and there is only humiliation in sitting and talking about
'peace,' but they get no peace unless they fought to defend themselves,"
"Black Flags From the Islamic State" says.
Jihadis in the West are advised to study and copy the
sleeper-cell tactics used by Iraqi insurgents. They should start
with lone-wolf attacks to inspire others to join the cause. As more
people join the cause, the jihad will shift
toward using sleeper cellsand ultimately morph into an insurgent army.
"Ones the insurgency is in full action, the Organisation
leader can tell his subleaders to organize full scale attacks," "Black
Flags From the Islamic State" says.
Islamic State leaders put their hope in what they call "Mujahid
cubs" – children the group has indoctrinated with jihadist
ideology that it hopes will arise even if the West succeeds in ousting them from
the territory ISIS controls.
"Jihad will not be dependent upon Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's
inner circle. Infact (sic), killing the leadership will be even worse for the
Americans because the newer generation will be even more brutal because
everytime America tries to destroy an Islamic armed group – a even more
violent group is created," "Black Flags From The Islamic State" says.
It suggests that
killing Baghdadi would herald the arrival of the Mahdi, who will come at the end
of the world, a clear suggestion that the group may be trying to keep its
fighters and followers motivated.
If they lose, ISIS leadership
plans to hide in the deserts and mountains again, only to "start
the -> Lone Wolf -> Clandestine Cells -> Insurgency -> Army
technique, all over again."