The “Malaysian Troll Army” Shows How Hamas Conducts War on Social Media

During the latest round of fighting between Israel and Gaza-based terrorist groups, there was a deluge of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activity on Facebook, Twitter, and similar sites, ranging from the merely deluded to the vile. But not all of it was due to the spontaneous spread of “viral” comments. Emily Schrader notes the seemingly orchestrated activities emanating from Malaysia, a country whose recently retired prime minister was notorious for his anti-Semitic declarations:

During the operation in May, the IDF announced that it was its policy to target Hamas activists anywhere, including, specifically, Malaysia. . . . From May 10 to May 21, anti-Israel trolls from Malaysia launched an organized and coordinated cyberbullying [campaign, involving] efforts to hack into social-media accounts of major pro-Israel voices (including mine) and to lock their accounts. In addition, they used information from data leaks to spam private citizens and public officials on WhatsApp, [a popular messaging service], effectively locking their accounts.

For example, Malaysian trolls were able to obtain the personal phone number of the IDF Arabic spokesman Avichay Adraee, and locked his WhatsApp account during a military operation.

New research on what happened during the operation indicates an orchestrated and well-planned effort across social-media platforms to target Israeli and Jewish users. Using [the encrypted-messaging software] Telegram, activists in Malaysia used channels with thousands of such as “Team Suspend Twitter” in which they sent out lists of major pro-Israel accounts, followed by instructions on how to maliciously attack the accounts with fake passwords to trigger account suspension.

One of the leading groups behind this cyberattack was a Facebook group called the “Malaysian Troll Army” which has over half a million followers. . . . Another group which works with the Malaysian Troll Army is the Cinta Syria Malaysia, with 300,000 followers, and its sister organization, Cinta Gaza Malaysia, which is run by a Malaysian in Gaza, Nadir al-Nuri.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Anti-Semitism, Cyberwarfare, Hamas, Malaysia

Iran’s Program of Subversion and Propaganda in the Caucasus

In the past week, Iranian proxies and clients have attacked Israel from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Yemen. Iran also has substantial military assets in Iraq and Syria—countries over which it exercises a great deal of control—which could launch significant attacks on Israel as well. Tehran, in addition, has stretched its influence northward into both Azerbaijan and Armenia. While Israel has diplomatic relations with both of these rival nations, its relationship with Baku is closer and involves significant military and security collaboration, some of which is directed against Iran. Alexander Grinberg writes:

Iran exploits ethnic and religious factors in both Armenia and Azerbaijan to further its interests. . . . In Armenia, Iran attempts to tarnish the legitimacy of the elected government and exploit the church’s nationalist position and tensions between it and the Armenian government; in Azerbaijan, the Iranian regime employs outright terrorist methods similar to its support for terrorist proxies in the Middle East [in order to] undermine the regime.

Huseyniyyun (Islamic Resistance Movement of Azerbaijan) is a terrorist militia made up of ethnic Azeris and designed to fight against Azerbaijan. It was established by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps . . . in the image of other pro-Iranian militias. . . . Currently, Huseyniyyun is not actively engaged in terrorist activities as Iran prefers more subtle methods of subversion. The organization serves as a mouthpiece of the Iranian regime on various Telegram channels in the Azeri language. The main impact of Huseyniyyun is that it helps spread Iranian propaganda in Azerbaijan.

The Iranian regime fears the end of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan because this would limit its options for disruption. Iranian outlets are replete with anti-Semitic paranoia against Azerbaijan, accusing the country of awarding its territory to Zionists and NATO. . . . Likewise, it is noteworthy that Armenian nationalists reiterate hideous anti-Semitic tropes that are identical to those spouted by the Iranians and Palestinians. Moreover, leading Iranian analysts have no qualms about openly praising [sympathetic] Armenian clergy together with terrorist Iran-funded Azeri movements for working toward Iranian goals.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Azerbaijan, Iran, Israeli Security