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A blog on terrorism, democracy and international politics

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Mullah Krekar's Passport on al-Qaeda's Hard Drive 

One of my first posts on this blog was about Mullah Krekar, the leader of Kurdish Ansar al-Islam who now lives in Norway as a refugee. Krekar has spent years posing as a victim of the CIA and the Norwegian security services, both of which claim he is a terrorist. Krekar is particularly adept at spreading confusion, continually contradicting himself. He has managed to convince a significant slice of the Norwegian intelligentsiya that his intolerant views were simply manifestations of an alien but nonetheless legitimate culture, and that his detractors were simply bigots.

In my original post, I quoted from a long-forgotten 1997 interview with Krekar published in Nida'ul Islam, demonstrating that Krekar was firmly in the Jihadi-Salafi mould - he even named his children after Islamic radicals and their books.

Recently, while reading an excellent article in the Atlantic Monthly, Inside al-Qaeda's Hard Drive (Alan Cullison), I saw something that caught my attention.

The article revealed a treasure trove of documents found on a computer hard drive abandoned by al-Qaeda leaders as they fled their Kabul office before advancing Northern Alliance troops. Amongst the article's illustrations was a passport featuring an unmistakable photograph of Mullah Krekar. The name on the passport was one of Krekar's aliases. The caption revealed only that Krekar was a Kurdish militant.

I have now written and uploaded a biographical profile of Krekar, the enigmatic Norwegian Islamic terrorist.

[ Update: Since writing the above, further information has come to light. The identity document is not a passport, but a membership card for the (now defunct) Islamic Movement for Kurdistan (IMK) issued in 1999. The name on the card, Aso Muhamad Hasan, is also not a known alias of Krekar, but is very similar to an alias of another Ansar al-Islam figure, Aso Hawleri ('of Irbil') who was arrested in Iraq last year. However, two Kurdish sources (including intelligence sources in Sulimaniya) have now said that the picture is Krekar. I am updating my Krekar bio as information comes to hand. Thanks to Kurdo, Michael Rubin and Bjørn Stærk blog for assistance. 19/04/2005 ]
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