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07ALGIERS997 2007-07-11 16:39:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Algiers
Cable title:  

AQIM WEBSITE UPDATE - SHADOWS OF THE SWORD SERIES,

Tags:   ASEC CASC PTER AG 
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1. (C) SUMMARY: On July 3, AQIM released a new video on its
website www.qmaghreb.org. Entitled "Shadows of the Sword,
Part II," the video features AQIM leader Abdelmalek Droukdal
calling on viewers to repent and support AQIM with money,
weapons and by spreading the word. The video shows a January
2007 attack on two military vehicles in the Kabylie region.
Within four days of AQIM's announcement of this video, the
website received 2,446 hits and the video 878. Embassy
contacts identified the riot footage inserted into the attack
video as coming from the 2001 civil unrest in the town of
Khenchla. Contacts claim that the timing and substance of
the video is in response to GOA press statements that it has
vanquished AQIM in the Kabylie region. They assert that the
release of this video seeks to show AQIM's prowess to Kabylie
regional leaders as well as to GOA officials. This could
have been a perfect opportunity for AQIM to demonstrate its
allegiance to al-Qaeda by pursuing an international target.
Instead, AQIM appears to remain domestic in focus. End
Summary.

Shadows of the Sword - Part II



2. (C) Part I was a lengthy multi-segment video focused on
various aspects of recruitment (reftel). Part II is a
25-minute video that shows AQIM destroying a military target
in January 2007. On July 8, Echourouk el-Youmi editor Anis
Rahmani told PolOffs that inserted in this 2007 attack video
is footage of a 2001 riot in Khenchla that led to unrest in
the Kabylie region. Rahmani attributed AQIM's need to issue
a video about Kabylie to respond to numerous articles in
which the GOA claimed to have vanquished the group in that
region.

Introduction



3. (U) The video starts and ends with Droukdal reading from a
script. He calls upon viewers to stop supporting the
military generals who drink liquor and defile women. He
insists that AQIM does not love killing but loves Islam. He
pledges to continue fighting until every scrap of Islamic
land is liberated from the Crusaders. An animated sword then
slices a general's hat in two.

AQIM's Example of a Successful Attack



4. (U) A narrator boasts that AQIM incorporates good
terrorist methods: choosing the right target, surveillance
and successful ambush. AQIM cell leader Ali Abou al-Hajjah
sits on the ground among a group of fighters in the
mountains. The camera focuses on the fighters' faces,
covered and uncovered. The fighters do not appear to be
particularly young. Al-Hajjah outlines an attack.



5. (U) The video next shows fighters making a rudimentary
bomb. The camera zooms in on a Google Earth map of some army
barracks. A crawler at the bottom of the screen describes
the long hours of surveillance and the upcoming attack.
Jihadi music fades in. There are quick images of unrest that
date back to 2001 in Khenchla, emphasizing the unfairness of
the current government and the suffering of the Algerian
people. The crawler indicates the attack is in Tahouhet,
Tizi Ouzou. (Note: This footage is from a January 2007
attack. End Note)



6. (U) A fusillade of gunfire hits two military SUVs that
careen into the side of a hill. Two soldiers return fire but
bullets detonate the gas tanks and the cars ignite. Although
the narrator claims at least 7 soldiers were killed, only two
charred bodies are visible. A jihadist retrieves one of the
dead soldier's machine guns. Two helicopters fly overhead as
the jihadists scatter back into the mountains.



7. (U) The narrator reads a printed message from Droukdal,
urging viewers to repent their sins. He warns that enlisted
men who repent upon completion of the mandatory one-year
service will not be harmed. He promises to kill, crucify,

ALGIERS 00000997 002 OF 002


torture and chop off the hands and feet of any soldier who
continues to serve in the military or joins the intelligence
service. Droukdal insists that the best way to help AQIM is
to proselytize, and send money and weapons. This message is
dated March 14, 2007.

Website Difficulties



8. (C) On July 3, Al-Fajr media network's al-Farkan website
www.w-n-n.com announced the debut of AQIM's Shadows of the
Sword, Part II. The announcement alone received 2,446 hits
in four days. The video received 878 hits in the same amount
of time. However, by July 7 we could no longer download
AQIM's videos directly from www.qmaghreb.org or from
www.w-n-n.com. Noting the popularity of this website,
Rahmani suspected Algerian security service (the DRS) blocked
the website's download function. On July 8, he pointed out
that AQIM webmasters noted this change and quickly directed
viewers to another link to allow unhindered downloading of
the video at www.archive.org/details/33kamen. (Note: kamen
is the Arabic word for ambush). Over a period of 5 days,
there have been 1,553 downloads. (Note: AQIM's website is
registered in Toronto, Canada at Street 1, 96 Mowat Avenue.
The unnamed registrant can be reached by e-mail at:
maghreb.org@contactprivacy.com. End Note)



9. (C) COMMENT: Shadows of the Sword, Part II has format
similar to other AQIM videos. Interestingly, this latest
video carries a Droukdal threat against drafted soldiers that
is reminiscent of the threats against soldiers during the
1990s Islamic Armed Group (GIA) violence. Also notable in
the new video, Droukdal and the narrators do not reaffirm
their devotion to al-Qaeda and the global jihad. The video
does demonstrate AQIM's prowess in the Kabylie region, as if
to taunt the Algerian military that has recently claimed
successes on the ground in those mountains. If the website
is to be believed (and our contacts think it is), AQIM
appears focused on domestic military targets and not pursuing
action beyond its border. As if in support of that
assessment, on July 11 an apparent suicide vehicle bomb
rammed the entrance to a military barracks area in the town
of Lakhdaria, in the Kabylie region about 120 km east of
Algiers. At least eight people were killed, including a
number of soldiers. AQIM quickly claimed responsibility for
the attack.
DAUGHTON