TGIF and terrorism's theatre of the absurd
Time for another installment of Terrorism's Theatre of the Absurd:
For gamers: "Muslim Mali," which pits Islamic militants against the French Air Force in Mali is reportedly taking Internet jihadi forums by storm. And hey, it's a win-win, even if you lose, you supposedly get a message that says "Congratulations, you have been martyred." Foreign Policy's National Security Reporter John Hudson tried the game so you don't have to.
What terror roundup is complete without the rantings of one of the most famous American jihadists - Omar Hammami, aka: Abu Amriki. He is the Alabama native who spent a year in Toronto - long enough to fall in love with Tim Hortons - before joining the fight in Somalia. He reportedly communicates through Twitter, although there has been some doubt as to whether it is really him. Lately, his tweets have been about as exciting - and frequent - as the teenager who wants to tell you about the bagel she had at lunch, or when she's off for a mani-pedi.
Don't bother following "him" on Twitter, but watch for analysis by Clint Watts on his blog Selected Wisdom or J.M. Berger at Intelwire. They have the patience to communicate with him and read the tweets. Berger says he is convinced it is Hammami.
Amid all the babble, there are some interesting nuggets of information that may shed light on Somalia's Al Qaeda group, Al Shabab, which Berger and Watts highlight.
Earlier this month, Yemen's Al Qaeda branch released its 10th edition of the English-language "Inspire" magazine. The much-ridiculed publication known as Al Qaeda's Cosmo, follows a similar format from past editions despite a new editorial board, including some self-help hints, such as avoiding getting petrol on yourself when you're torching cars. Now you know.
And for your weekend read, an update to our blog about Yemen's newest museum - to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, by Saleh. The intrepid Sanaa-based journalist Adam Baron, chewed some khat and got a tour, writing about his adventure and Saleh's "hot pants."
Michelle Shephard is the Toronto Star's National Security correspondent and author of "Decade of Fear: Reporting from Terrorism's Grey Zone." She is a three-time recepient of Canada's National Newspaper Award. Follow her on Twitter @shephardm