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OSC Analysis - Terrorism -- AQIM Likely to Continue Using ANI for Public Communiques

OSC Analysis - Terrorism -- AQIM Likely to Continue Using ANI for Public Communiques

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UNCLASSIFIED//FOUO17 May 2011
Open Source Center 
 Analysis
This OSC product is based exclusively on the content and behavior of selected media and has not been coordinated withother US Government components.
UNCLASSIFIED//FOUO
Terrorism
-- AQIM Likely To Continue Using ANI for Public Communiques
 Al-Qa'ida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is likely to continue using mainstreamnews agencies, principally the privately owned online news agency
Agence Nouakchottd'Information
(
ANI
), as opposed to jihadist websites to communicate with a wider international audience. Regional and international media published AQIM's denial of the 28 April Marrakesh bombing from
ANI
 , to whom AQIM has frequently sent communiques, not  from AQIM's regular jihadist venues. This suggests that AQIM relies upon regular media and not official Al-Qa'ida websites to communicate internationally.
On 6 May,
 ANI 
-- the independent Mauritanian online news agency -- published an AQIM statement, reportedly sent to
 ANI 
from AQIM,denying any involvement in the 28 April suicide bombing at Argana Cafein Marrakesh, Morocco.
1
This report was subsequently picked up andcited by regional and international media.
 
 ANI 
published, in Arabic, an AQIM statement denyingresponsibility for the Marrakesh bombing and claimed that thestatement "was sent to"
 ANI 
.
2
 
 
 Numerous media outlets, regional North African press, and international media -- Paris- based
 Le Monde
, France24, BBC, Algerian daily
 El Watan
, Lebanon NOW, and manyothers -- cited
 ANI 
's 6 May publication of AQIM's denial.
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
  None of the media that reported on AQIM's denial were observed to cite the jihadist website
 Ansar al-Mujahidin
, which posted the same statement on 5 May -- a day earlier than the
 ANI 
 report.
8
 
9
 
Continuing Tradition
AQIM has sent communiques to
 ANI 
while also publishing them on jihadist websites such as
 Ansar al-Mujahidin
,
Global Jihad Network 
,
 
and
Shumukh al-Islam
. Moreover,
 ANI 
's claimsthat they have received AQIM statements directly from AQIM -- since at least 2010 -- havenever been refuted in jihadist media, suggesting that
 ANI 
's claims are accurate.
 
On 2 February, AQIM reportedly sent a statement to the
 ANI 
claiming the 2 Februaryattack in Nouakchott
10
 
11
-- thwarted by Mauritanian security
12
-- as an AQIM operationand claimed that it targeted Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz.
 
On 18 April, AQIM rejected London-based, Arabic-language daily
 Al-Hayat 
's supposedinterview with an "AQIM spokesman" as fake; AQIM's statement was published first by
 ANI 
.
13
 
 Logo for Agence Nouakchott d'Information
 
UNCLASSIFIED//FOUO
 
This OSC product is based exclusively on the content and behavior of selected media and has not been coordinated withother US Government components.
UNCLASSIFIED//FOUO
2
 
 
 Al-Mujahidin Electronic Network 
in February published AQIM's claim to the 2 February attack in Nouakchott.
14
 
Global Jihad Network 
 postedAQIM's refutation of 
 Al-Hayat 
's interview on 19April.
15
No news agency was observed to citethese jihadist reports.
 
 ANI 
published AQIM communiques in 2010 thatcondemned Mauritanian military operations inMali and to disseminate information aboutFrench hostages held by AQIM.
16
 
17
 
Jihadist Websites' Narrow Audience Limits Reach
Jihadist media venues largely cater to jihadist supporters, partly explaining why AQIM will continue to needmainstream media to communicate with a broader audience.
 
Jihadist forums are limited as dissemination platforms in that their audiences are likely self-selecting jihadist supporters and that messagesthere do not always reach the general public.
 
Further, several of the most important forums,such as
Shumukh al-Islam
, are currentlyrestricted to members only.
AQIM, Jihadist Sites
AQIM posts all of its officialstatements to the jihadist forumsthrough its media production arm,Al-Andalus, and through the Al-Qa'ida-associated distributor, Al-Fajr Media Center. These factors -- Al-Andalus, Al-Fajr, and the posting on the forums itself --authenticate the statement for readers as a genuine AQIMmissive. Further, because all Al-Qa'ida messages go to the samecommunity of forums --
 Ansar al- Mujahidin
,
Global Jihad Network 
,among others -- this process provides AQIM with a global jihadist audience.
Jihadist Sites as Verifiers
In the event a statement is carried by a regional media outlet but isnot posted to a trusted jihadist site,the communique risks beingunauthoritative. While jihadistsites may not reach theinternational audience that AQIMdesires, they still serve toauthenticate Al-Qa'ida statements.
 
 
UNCLASSIFIED//FOUO
 
This OSC product is based exclusively on the content and behavior of selected media and has not been coordinated withother US Government components.
UNCLASSIFIED//FOUO
3
 
1
[OSC | | OSC ID: AFP20110428644003 | 28 April 2011 | 28 April 2011 | Morocco: Explosion Shakes CentralMarrakesh; King Orders Inquiry | | (U) | (U) | Paris Jeune afrique.com in French -- Website of the privatelyowned, independent weekly magazine; URL: http://www.jeuneafrique.com]
2
[Online Publication | | Agence Nouakchott d'Information | ﻡﻱﻅﻥﺕ"ﻱﻡ.ﺱ.ﺍ ﺏﺭﻍﻡﻝﺍ
دلب
ﺓﺩﻉﺍﻕﻝﺍ"ﺭﻱﺝﻑﺕ ﻥﻉ ﻩﺕﻱﻝﻭﺅﺱﻡﻱﻑﻥﻱ ﺵﻙﺍﺭﻡ|6 May 2011 | | http://www.ani.mr/?menuLink=9bf31c7ff062936a96d3c8bd1f8f2ff3&idNews=13676 | 10May 2011 | Agence Nouakchott d'Information - a largely independent Mauritanian online news agency; URL:www.ani.mr]
3
[Online Publication | | www.lemonde.fr | AQMI nie toute implication dans l'attentat de Marrakech | 7 May 2011 || http://www.lemonde.fr/imprimer/articles/2011/05/07/1518684.html | 10 May 2011 | ]
4
[Online Publication | | France 24 International News | Al-Qaeda denies blame for Marrakesh attack | 7 May 2011| | http://www.france24.com/en/20110507-al-qaeda-denies-blame-marrakesh-attack | 12 May 2011 | ]
5
[Online Publication | | BBC Afrique | Marrakech : Aqmi nie être impliqué | 8 May 2011 | |http://www.bbc.co.uk/afrique/region/2011/05/110508_aqmi-bomblast-marrakesh.shtml | 10 May 2011 | ]
6
[Online Publication | | El Watan | AQMI nie toute implation dans l'attentat de marrakech | 7 May 2011 | |http://www.elwatan.com/depeches/aqmi-nie-toute-implication-dans-l-attentat-de-marrakech-07-05-2011-123450_167.php | 10 May 2011 | ]
7
[OSC | | OSC ID: GMP20110508966101 | 7 May 2011 | 6 May 2011 | NOW Lebanon: Al-Qaeda denies blamefor marrakesh attack | | (U) | (U) | Beirut NOW Lebanon in English -- A privately funded pro-14 March coalition,anti-Syria news website; URL www.nowlebanon.com]
8
[Online Publication | AQIM official statement | Ansar al-Mujahidin | ﺭﻱﺝﻑﺕﺏﻡﻱﻅﻥﺕﻝﺍﺕﻝﺹ ﻱﻑﻥ"ﺕﻥﺍﻙﺭﺃ"ﺵﻙﺍّﺭُﻡﺏnafi salat al-tanzim b-tafjir "argana" b-marrakish | 5 May 2011 | | http://www.as-ansar.com/vb/showthread.php?p=177548 |12 May 2011 | Ansar al-Mujahidin Network in Arabic -- Relatively new Salafi-jihadist web forum with a focus onglobal jihad, online since 2008; site correspondents reliably post Al-Qa'ida and affiliate messaging; URL: www.as-ansar.com/vb]
9
[OSC | | OSC ID: GMP20110509502001 | 5 May 2011 | | AQIM Statement Denies Responsibility for 28 Apr Marrakesh Bombing | | (U//FOUO) | (U//FOUO) | Ansar al-Mujahidin Network in Arabic -- Relatively new Salafi- jihadist web forum with a focus on global jihad, online since 2008; site correspondents reliably post Al-Qa'ida andaffiliate messaging; URL: www.as-ansar.com/vb]
10
[Online Publication | | Magharebia | La Mauritanie fait échouer un attentat d'AQMI | 3 February 2011 | |http://www.magharebia.com/cocoon/awi/xhtml1/fr/features/awi/features/2011/02/03/feature-02 | 12 May 2011 | ]
11
[Online Publication | | seneweb.com | Attentat manqué à Nouakchott : Aqmi voulait "assassiner" le présidentOuld Abdelaziz | 3 February 2011 | | http://www.seneweb.com/news/Afrique/attentat-manque-a-nouakchott-aqmi-voulait-quot-assassiner-quot-le-president-ould-abdelaziz_n_40725.html | 12 May 2011 | ]
12
[OSC | | OSC ID: EUP20110203950031 | 3 February 2011 | | France hails Mauritanian army's success in foilingAQLIM attacks | | (U) | (U) | Paris AFP (Domestic Service) in French -- domestic service of independent French press agency]
13
[OSC | | OSC ID: AFP20110418950070 | 18 April 2011 | | AQIM accuses Al-Hayat newspaper of falsifyinginterview with spokesman | | (U) | (U) | Nouakchott Agence Nouakchott d'Information in Arabic -- Website of largely independent news agency, ANI, in French and Arabic; one of the country's oldest online news sources;URL: http://www.ani.mr/anifr.php]

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