Al Qaeda’s general manager threatens America in video of large gathering

WuhayshiBy 

A video released by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in late March has garnered renewed attention in the media. The video, entitled “The First of the Heavy Rain,” features two AQAP leaders, as well as lower-level fighters who escaped from a Yemeni prison in February 2014.

Nasir al Wuhayshi, who is both the emir of AQAP and al Qaeda’s overall general manager, is shown speaking to a gathering of more than 100 people. “O brothers, the Crusader enemy is still shuffling his papers, so we must remember that we are always fighting the biggest enemy, the leaders of disbelief, and we have to overthrow those leaders, we have to remove the Cross, and the carrier of the Cross is America,” Wuhayshi says, according to a translation by the SITE Intelligence Group.

Ibrahim al Rubaish, a Saudi who was once held at Guantanamo and now serves as a top sharia official in AQAP, is also shown speaking in the video. Rubaish praises the newfound freedom of some jihadist fighters, including those shown in the video, but he laments the fact that others remain imprisoned in Guantanamo and elsewhere.

The video has sparked the media’s interest because it is a brazen display of AQAP strength inside Yemen. Wuhayshi is a hunted man and he is presumably on America’s list of potential targets for drone strikes. Yet, he felt comfortable enough in his home country to lead a large, public gathering of his followers.

“Core” al Qaeda in Yemen

Wuhayshi served as Osama bin Laden’s aide-de-camp and protégé in pre-9/11 Afghanistan. He fled to Iran, where he was detained, sometime after the Battle of Tora Bora. Wuhayshi was eventually transferred to Yemeni custody, but he escaped from prison in 2006.

Al Qaeda has long sought to wage insurgencies in Muslim countries it considers ripe for a jihadist takeover. Yemen and Saudi Arabia have been high on al Qaeda’s list of target countries. However, a fierce counterterrorism campaign in Saudi Arabia that began in 2003 quashed al Qaeda’s early efforts in the Arabian Peninsula. Al Qaeda also struggled, at first, to establish a full-scale insurgency in Yemen. But prison escapees such as Wuhayshi and Guantanamo returnees such as Rubaish have replenished al Qaeda’s leadership in the Arabian Peninsula and contributed to al Qaeda’s resurgence.

In early 2009, Wuhayshi and other jihadists announced the rebirth of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, swearing allegiance to al Qaeda’s senior leadership in the process. Ayman al Zawahiri had previously recognized Wuhayshi as al Qaeda’s top man in the Arabian Peninsula.

In the summer of 2013, Zawahiri appointed Wuhayshi to the position of al Qaeda’s general manager. Wuhayshi’s appointment to the role of general manager was accompanied by a large-scale threat that forced the closing of American diplomatic facilities around the world. The US learned of this threat when intelligence officials captured video of Zawahiri communicating, via a complex Internet-based system, with more than 20 of his subordinates, including Wuhayshi.

Al Qaeda’s general manager serves a “core” function within the group. The role was previously held by senior terrorists in South Asia. According to declassified documents captured in Osama bin Laden’s compound, the duties performed by al Qaeda’s general manager include coordinating military and media activities, and communicating with al Qaeda’s “regions,” or branches, as well as with allies such as the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban. [For a more complete discussion of the general manager's role, see LWJ report, AQAP's emir also serves as al Qaeda's general manager.]

In another recent video, Abu Sulayman al Muhajir, a sharia official in the Al Nusrah Front, explains that al Qaeda also has a leader who oversees the organization’s efforts in various geographic locations, or regions. The Al Nusrah Front is al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria.

Al Qaeda “draws up its plans and its strategy based on what we call al Qalim, or locations,” Sulayman says in the video. And a leader, who swears bayat (an oath of allegiance) to Ayman al Zawahiri, is chosen to oversee each of these locations. In addition, Sulayman explains, al Qaeda appoints another leader who “overlooks all of these different locations,” and this position is called Masul al Qalim. [See LWJ report, Al Nusrah Front official explains al Qaeda's strategy, conflict with former branch.]

This leadership role described by Sulayman is filled by someone other than al Qaeda’s general manager, according to US intelligence officials. Both the general manager and the Masul al Qalim have deputies on their staff to support their work.

Such roles, and what they say about how al Qaeda is actually organized, are generally not reflected in the public discourse. It is commonly argued that there is a “core” of al Qaeda in South Asia and this entity is distinct from al Qaeda branches elsewhere. But Wuhayshi serves as one of al Qaeda’s most senior leaders from Yemen. And his role is part of the same leadership structure that includes Zawahiri, other deputies, and various supporting councils. These leaders are located not just in South Asia, but also elsewhere.

Read more at Long War Journal

U.S. May Have Missed Opportunity to Take Out Top Al Qaeda Leaders

Screen-Shot-2014-04-16-at-10.06.28-AMBY: Washington Free Beacon Staff:

April 16, 2014 10:14 am

Al Qaeda leaders were able to hold a large meeting somewhere in south Yemen despite U.S. drone warfare targeting that region, according to a video published on Hot Air.

The video comes from a CNN report:

A new video shows what looks like the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years. And the CIA and the Pentagon either didn’t know about it or couldn’t get a drone there in time to strike.

U.S. officials won’t comment on that, but every frame of the video is now being analyzed by the United States.

In the middle of the clip, the man known as al Qaeda’s crown prince, Nasir al-Wuhayshi, appears brazenly out in the open, greeting followers in Yemen. Al-Wuhayshi, the No. 2 leader of al Qaeda globally and the head of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, has said he wants to attack the United States. But in the video, he looks unconcerned that he could be hit by an American drone.

The video started appearing on jihadist websites recently, drawing the attention of U.S. officials and global terrorism experts. U.S. officials say they believe it’s authentic.

Hot Air writer Ed Morrisey wonders if the United States may have missed a “golden opportunity to take out a large number of al Qaeda leaders.”

Did the U.S. know about this [meeting] ahead of time? If they did, they must have either had difficulty arranging the logistics of an attack — or perhaps had other assets in place for other reasons. 

Morrisey speculates that the lost opportunity could have been caused by the effort to transfer the drone program from the CIA to the Defense Department.

Obama Admin: Fighting Terrorism but Supporting Terrorists?

1340112075904by Raymond Ibrahim:

News recently emerged that “the Obama administration is imposing sanctions on an Egypt-based group that has claimed responsibility for attacks against Egyptian officials, Israeli interests and foreign tourists in Cairo and the Sinai peninsula. The State Department said Wednesday [4/9/14] it has designated Ansar Bayt al-Muqadis a ‘foreign terrorist organization.’”

While ostensibly a laudable move, some—many in Egypt—think this announcement is a ruse to portray the Obama administration as committed to combating terrorism, even as it supports the head of the terrorist-snake, the Muslim Brotherhood.

For instance, according to Mustafa Zayid, the Coordinator of the Sufi Coalition Forces in Egypt, “The expectation was for the United States of America to announce its designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization—as opposed to Ansar Bayt al-Muqadis, which takes its lead from it [Brotherhood].”

The Sufi leader further added in published comments to Watan “that Ansar Bayt al-Muqadis is a pseudonym for the terrorist Brotherhood organization, clarifying that what the U.S. State Department did was one of the administration’s tricks to deceive the world, mocking it into believing that the U.S. is combatting terrorism.”

He further added that “the U.S. supports the Muslim Brotherhood and sponsors its terrorist activities throughout Egypt.”

Nor is the Sufi the only one making such charges.  According to Nabil Na’im, a Salafi, former member of Egyptian Islamic Jihad and confidante of al-Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri, Ansar Bayt al-Muqadis is funded by Khairat al-Shatter, the currently imprisoned, multi-millionaire Brotherhood leader.

Of note is the fact that, although al-Shatter was never part of the Morsi government, U.S. diplomats often met with him, including Ambassador Anne Patterson and Sen. John McCain.

***************

Former Jihadi Leader: Brotherhood Bought Al-Qaeda ‘Terror Support’ for $25 Million

Yesterday on Haya TV, Nabil Na‘im, a former leader of Egypt’s Islamic Jihad and close confidante of current al-Qaeda leader, Ayman Zawahiri—who also helped found Egypt’s Islamic Jihad—asserted that, during the reign of former president Muhammad Morsi, Zawahiri was given $25 million from Muslim Brotherhood leader Khairat al-Shatter to organize, fund, and assemble the jihadi groups “in order to support the Brotherhood.”  (For more on the Muslim Brotherhood/Al-Qaeda relationship, click here).

13820221303436It should be noted that al-Shatter, though not a member of Morsi’s government—only a leader of the Brotherhood—was, after being imprisoned after the revolution, asked for personally by John McCain during his visit to Egypt some months back, when he pushed for Brotherhood reinstatement.  Also, U.S. ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson was reportedly seen visiting Shatter often.

Earlier, Na‘im, the former Jihad leader had said that attempts by the U.S. to “reconcile” Egypt with the Muslim Brotherhood was “nothing but a conspiracy by the American administration,” and that the Brotherhood, when in power, had betrayed Egyptian sovereignty, adding that ousted president Morsi granted Egyptian citizenship to more than 60,000 Palestinians, many of whom were in the ranks of the jihad.

Longtime U.S. ‘Allies’ Qatar, Kuwait Prime Terror Financiers

al-Thani and Haniyeh

The message the West is delivering is that once you’re an ally, you’re always an ally — even if you help our enemies.

BY RYAN MAURO:

David Cohen, the Treasury Department Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, has stated for the record what no other U.S. official would: Qatar and Kuwait, two supposed “allies” of the U.S., are facilitating Islamist terrorism and extremism.

Last month, Cohen spoke at a think tank and immediately turned to Qatar after discussing Iran’s state sponsorship of terrorism.

“Qatar, a longtime U.S. ally, has for many years openly financed Hamas, a group that continues to undermine regional stability. Press reports indicate that the Qatari government is also supporting extremist groups operating in Syria,” he said.

Qatar’s staunch backing of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas hasalienated its Arab neighbors that view them as terrorist organizations. The leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad traveled to Qatar to meet with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal. Qatar appears to have helped heal the relationship between Iran and Hamas.

In August, 24 members of Congress confronted Qatar over its relationship with Hamas. The Qatari government subsidizes the spread of Islamism around the world, even in downtown Washington D.C.

The Qatari government is also guilty of helping Al Qaeda’s regional affiliates. Cohen pointed out that the Treasury Department sanctioned a terrorist in December named Abd al-Rahman bin Umayr al-Nu’aymi, who raises money in Qatar and channels it to Al Qaeda elements in Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Iraq.

He managed the movement of over $2 million every single month to Al Qaeda in Iraq at one point and delivered the terrorists’ messages to media outlets from 2003-2004. This means that Qatar, a U.S. “ally,” has the blood of American soldiers in Iraq on its hands.

Read more at Clarion Project

Terrorism in the Caucasus and the threat to the US homeland

 

Salahuddin al Shishani (left), a Chechen commander who leads the Jaish al Muhajireen wal Ansar, and Abdul Karim al Ukrani (center), a Ukrainian, sitting behind an Imarat Kavkaz flag while in Syria.

Salahuddin al Shishani (left), a Chechen commander who leads the Jaish al Muhajireen wal Ansar, and Abdul Karim al Ukrani (center), a Ukrainian, sitting behind an Imarat Kavkaz flag while in Syria.

By 

Editor’s note: Below is Bill Roggio’s testimony to the House Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence on the threat posed by the Islamic Caucasus Emirate and the implications for US homeland security. If you wish to view the testimony with footnotes included, download the PDF by clicking here.

Chairman King, Ranking Member Higgins, members of the committee, thank you for inviting me here to discuss the terrorist threat emanating from the Caucasus. Unfortunately, as we saw nearly one year ago today at the Boston Marathon, the jihad in the Caucasus has already impacted lives here in the US.

There is still much we do not know for certain about Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s travels in Dagestan and Chechnya, but we do know that, at a minimum, he was sympathetic to the jihadists operating there. Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his younger brother were, of course, responsible for the attacks on the Boston Marathon. As a report by the House Homeland Security Committee noted just last month, it “is reasonable to assume that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was at least inspired by” the “activity and ideology” of jihadists fighting in the Caucasus and he was “driven to take part in the vision of global jihad which they share with al Qaeda.” Indeed, the Imarat Kavkaz or “IK” (otherwise known as the Islamic Caucasus Emirate) does have links to al Qaeda. And Tsarnaev is known to have sympathized with the IK and its fighters.

The IK has openly proclaimed itself a threat to the US and the West, and we should take these threats seriously. The US State Department certainly does. In May 2011, the State Department officially designated the IK as a terrorist organization. “The designation of Caucasus Emirate is in response to the threats posed to the United States and Russia,” Ambassador Daniel Benjamin, the State Department’s Coordinator for Counterterrorism, said at the time. “The attacks perpetrated by Caucasus Emirate illustrate the global nature of the terrorist problem we face today,” Benjamin added. In June 2010, the State Department added Doku Umarov, who was then the emir of the IK, to the US government’s list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists. And in May 2011, Foggy Bottom offered a reward of $5 million for information leading to Umarov’s location. In both its June 2010 and May 2011 announcements, the State Department noted that Umarov and the IK pose a threat to the US and other countries. Indeed, Umarov described the IK as “a part of the global Jihad” in a July 2013 statement in which he called for further attacks aimed at disrupting Russia’s plans for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

Despite the fact that Umarov was recently killed, there are good reasons to suspect that the IK will continue to pose a threat to American and Western interests both in and outside of Russia. As with other al Qaeda-affiliated groups, the IK will continue to spend most of its resources waging insurgencies, both inside Russia and elsewhere. Still, in my testimony today, I will highlight several key reasons why the IK poses a terrorist threat to the West. Those reasons are:

Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda helped transform the insurgency in Chechnya from a nationalist one into part of the global jihad.

Al Qaeda’s senior leadership established its influence within the Caucasus long ago. While al Qaeda was headquartered in Sudan from 1991 to 1996, Osama bin Laden maintained a network of training camps and other facilities that shuttled fighters to several jihadist fronts, including Chechnya. During the 1990s al Qaeda and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) funneled cash and other support to Muslim rebels in Chechnya through a charity in Baku, Azerbaijan. Ayman al Zawahiri himself, then the head of the EIJ, as well as second in command of al Qaeda, set out for Chechnya in late 1996. He was accompanied by other dual-hatted al Qaeda-EIJ operatives. Zawahiri was arrested in Dagestan before he reached Chechnya and spent several months in prison. Zawahiri’s trip to the region underscores, from al Qaeda’s perspective, the importance of supporting the jihad in Chechnya.

Read more at Long War Journal

Zawahiri’s longtime deputy reportedly arrested in Egypt

Thirwat Shihata

Thirwat Shihata

By 

Thirwat Salah Shehata, an Egyptian who long served as one Ayman al Zawahiri’s top deputies, has reportedly been arrested in a suburb of Cairo.

Unnamed Egyptian officials who spoke with Agence France Presse and the Associated Press say that Shehata had traveled to Libya and Turkey before returning to his home country, where he was arrested.

Shehata was among the senior al Qaeda leaders who were sheltered inside Iran for much of the post-9/11 period.

In early 2011, Shehata released a statement supporting the Egyptian uprisings. He called on the people to “remain steadfast” and reject any economic concessions from then president Hosni Mubarak. “Indeed, the Pharaoh and his rotten party must depart,” Shehata said in the statement, which he reportedly released from inside Iran. [See LWJ report, Ayman al Zawahiri's deputy releases statement in support of Egyptian opposition.]

Egyptian officials say Shehata was training militants in Libya

Sometime after his 2011 statement, Shehata left Iran. It is not clear when he left, but The Washington Post reported in February that US officials believed he had traveled to Libya. Egyptian officials have now confirmed Shehata’s previous presence in Libya.

A former US official told the Post that Shehata is suspected of meeting with other senior al Qaeda leaders inside Libya in 2013. Among them are Abu Anas al Libi, who was detained by US forces in Tripoli in early October, and Zubayr al Maghrebi. Al Libi was wanted for his role in the 1998 US Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania and had also fled to Iran following 9/11.

According to the AP, Egyptian officials say Shehata “has been training militants in eastern Libya.” These same officials say that he is currently being interrogated.

Al Qaeda has established an extensive presence in Libya.

Read more at Long War Journal

Muslim Brotherhood Slaughter Christian Woman

by :

On Friday, March 28, in Ain Shams, a suburb of Cairo, Muslim Brotherhood supporters attacked the Virgin Mary and Archangel Michael Coptic Orthodox Church, including by opening fire on it and setting parked cars aflame.  Four people died.

One of the slain, a young Coptic woman, was savagely mauled and molested before being murdered—simply because her cross identified her as a Christian to the Brotherhood rioters.

According to an eyewitness who discussed the entire event on the Egyptian program, 90 Minutes, Mary Sameh George was parking by the church to deliver medicine to a sickly, elderly woman:

Once they saw that she was a Christian [because of the cross hanging on her rear view mirror], they jumped on top of the car, to the point that the vehicle was no longer visible. The roof of the car collapsed in.  When they realized that she was starting to die, they pulled her out of the car and started pounding on her and pulling her hair—to the point that portions of her hair and scalp came off.  They kept beating her, kicking her, stabbing her with any object or weapon they could find….  Throughout [her ordeal] she tried to protect her face, giving her back to the attackers, till one of them came and stabbed her right in the back, near the heart, finishing her off.  Then another came and grabbed her by the hair, shaking her head, and with the other hand slit her throat.  Another pulled her pants off, to the point that she was totally naked.

The eyewitness, as well as many others who have since appeared on videos, complained about Egyptian State Security and how it did not intervene—just like under Morsi, when St. Mark Cathedral was besieged, even as security stood by—how it knows exactly who the murderers are, and how one of Mary’s murderers, whom “everyone reported to Security,” was simply relaxing in his home, not even hiding.

Added the eyewitness: “Let me tell you, here in Ain Shams, we [Christians] know that every Friday is a day of death; that the day after Friday, Saturday, we’ll be carried to the morgue!”

In fact, the overwhelming majority of attacks on Egypt’s Christians occur on Friday—the day when pious Muslims meet in mosque for prayers and to hear sermons.

The significance of this fact can only be understood by analogy: what if Christians were especially violent to non-Christian minorities on Sunday—right after they got out of church?  What would that say about what goes on in Christian churches?

What does it say about what goes on in Muslim mosques?

A video of Mary’s family members has one woman screaming out the following words—which may be of interest to some Americans:

A message to [U.S. President Barack] Obama, who is calling for the Brotherhood to return to power again.   I want to tell him, have mercy, enough is enough!  His brother is in the al-Qaeda organization!  Why do you want to destroy Egypt?….Egypt will remain whether you, the Brotherhood, or anyone else likes it or not!

She was referring to something that is as well known in Egypt as it is little known in the United States:  that the Obama administration is a sponsor of the Muslim Brotherhood, which itself is connected to al-Qaeda.

The rest of the video portrays some of Mary’s other family members—many in tears and near hysteria—prompting one to wonder: where is the U.S media?  I have not seen a word on this latest Islamic attack on a church and Christians on BBC, CNN, or any of the so-called “mainstream media”?  Why is that?  They had no problem constantly showing us (over and over again) a video clip of a hysterical female relative of a member of Malaysian flight MH370.

Mary’s family members mourn during church funeral

The mainstream media is silent because Muslim persecution of Christians in general—Obama-sponsored Muslim Brotherhood in particular—throws a huge wrench in that narrative.

After all, how many Americans ever heard of the largest massacre of Syrian Christians by U.S.-supported Islamic rebels?

Read more

Al Qaeda spokesman convicted on terrorism charges

Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, Osama bin Laden, and Ayman al Zawahiri, from an al Qaeda propaganda tape. Image from BBC/AP

Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, Osama bin Laden, and Ayman al Zawahiri, from an al Qaeda propaganda tape. Image from BBC/AP

By 

Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law and spokesman after the 9/11 attacks, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, has been convicted on terrorism charges by a New York jury.

Years before his conviction for supporting al Qaeda and conspiring to kill Americans, Abu Ghaith garnered international infamy after his appearance with bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders in a video that was filmed on Sept. 12, 2001. In the weeks that followed, his threats of additional attacks were seen as an ominous indication of things to come.

Additional attacks were averted, but Abu Ghaith continued to threaten Americans.

Threats against America

In a June 2002 statement, Abu Ghaith argued that “Al Qaeda has the right to kill four million Americans, including one million children, displace double that figure, and injure and cripple hundreds and thousands.”

In his memoir, At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA, former CIA director George Tenet says that an alarmed US government “had to consider the possibility that Abu Ghaith was attempting to justify the future use of weapons of mass destruction that might greatly exceed the death toll of 9/11.”

In an audio recording that was also released in June 2002, Abu Ghaith claimed credit on behalf of al Qaeda for the April 11, 2002, truck bombing of a Tunisian synagogue. NBC News and the Associated Press reported that the cell responsible for the bombing had been in touch with al Qaeda leaders inside Iran.

After he was captured in 2013, Abu Ghaith told the FBI that he had been smuggled into Iran that same month.

copy of Abu Ghaith’s statement to the FBI can be found at Downrange, a publication launched by Kronos Advisory.

Between June 2002 and April 2003, when Abu Ghaith says he was placed under house arrest by the Iranians, the al Qaeda spokesman continued to make provocative statements.

In July 2002, Abu Ghaith threatened more bloodshed. “Al Qaeda will organize more attacks inside American territory and outside, at the moment we choose, at the place we choose and with the objectives that we want,” he said, according to an account published at the time by the Associated Press.

On Oct. 8, 2002, an al Qaeda cell that was reportedly recruited and indoctrinated by Abu Ghaith opened fire on US Marines stationed on Kuwait’s Faylaka Island. One Marine was killed and another was seriously wounded.

Then, in November 2002, al Qaeda terrorists attacked an Israeli hotel, killing 13 people, and tried to down an Israeli jetliner in Mombasa, Kenya. Abu Ghaith claimed credit for that operation on behalf of al Qaeda the following month.

Also in December 2002, Abu Ghaith threatened additional attacks against the United States and Israel. Bin Laden’s spokesman warned the Muslim world of the “danger of what America and its allies are preparing against Iraq and its people,” which “is not limited to overthrowing the infidel regime and its dictator but is aimed at … Balkanizing this great country.”

In his statement to the FBI, Abu Ghaith claimed that his statements in the latter half of 2002 were unconnected to al Qaeda’s operations. But his claim does not ring true.

Al Qaeda has strict protocols for claiming responsibility for its attacks. That Abu Ghaith trumpeted the organization’s culpability in Tunisia and Kenya strongly suggests he was coordinating with al Qaeda’s most senior leaders at the time.

Read more at Long War Journal

MET: Readers of Radical Islamist Sites Could Be Prosecuted

New_Scotland_YardBreitbart, By Nick Hallet:

The Metropolitan Police have warned that people who seek out and read radical Islamist websites could face prosecution under anti-terrorism laws.

RT reports that a Metropolitan Police spokesman told Press Association: “The MPS Counter Terrorism Command is aware of the websites and appropriate steps have been put in place, including providing security advice where relevant.

“The public is reminded that viewing downloading or disseminating extremist material within the UK may constitute an offence under Section 1 and 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006.

“As part of our continued work, we regularly work with, and support, industry, the organisers of sporting events and companies overseeing crowded places with a variety of briefings and advice.”

The advice was issued after the latest issue of ‘Inspire’, a magazine published by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, told readers to blow up famous spots and crowded places in the UK and abroad, such as the Savoy hotel.

The magazine also contained articles on making a car bomb, and a piece by a deceased Al Qaeda leader encouraging readers to target civilians.

The first issue of the magazine, which contained the article “How to make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom” is said to have inspired the Boston bombers.

Al Qaeda veteran appears in Al Nusrah Front video, criticizes rival

Abu Firas al Suri, a senior al Qaeda operative, was sent to Syria from Yemen in 2013. According to the Al Nusrah Front, Al Suri served as an "envoy" for Osama bin Laden and helped establish Lashkar-e-Taiba. The picture above is from an Al Nusrah Front video.

Abu Firas al Suri, a senior al Qaeda operative, was sent to Syria from Yemen in 2013. According to the Al Nusrah Front, Al Suri served as an “envoy” for Osama bin Laden and helped establish Lashkar-e-Taiba. The picture above is from an Al Nusrah Front video.

By THOMAS JOSCELYN:

A recently released video produced by the Al Nusrah Front features Abu Firas al Suri, an al Qaeda veteran who has waged jihad since the late 1970s. In his video debut, al Suri criticizes the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (ISIS), a jihadist group that has been disowned by al Qaeda’s senior leadership.

The Al Nusrah Front is al Qaeda’s official branch inside Syria and has been openly fighting ISIS both online and on the ground.

Abu Firas is one of the senior al Qaeda officials who was entrusted to mediate the dispute, but those efforts have failed.

“I was not intending to talk about the State (ISIS) and about its crimes against the Islamic ummah and against Islam,” Abu Firas says in the video, according to a translation obtained by The Long War Journal. However, an ISIS leader known as Abu Muhammad al Adnani recently accused Abu Abdallah al Shami, a Nusrah Front official, of “lying and slander.” Al Adnani also called for Allah to curse the lying party in the dispute, by which al Adnani meant the Al Nusrah Front.

Abu Firas says that al Adani’s speech, which was widely disseminated online, was “devastating” and therefore he had to respond.

Abu Firas addresses two issues in his response to ISIS: the assassination of al Qaeda’s top representative in Syria, known as Abu Khalid al Suri, and ISIS’ habit of declaring other Muslims to be apostates.

Shortly before Abu Khalid al Suri (whose real name was Mohamed Bahaiah) was killed, Abu Firas says the two met. Abu Khalid claimed to have had warnings about an impending attack on him by ISIS. “They put me on the black list and they want to assassinate me,” Abu Khalid said, according to Abu Firas’ account.

Abu Firas maintains that he warned Abu Khalid to take special precautions, but the attack was successful on Feb. 23, the day after they met. Although Abu Khalid had worked with Abu Firas to end the disagreement between ISIS and the Al Nusrah Front, all Abu Khalid did was earn ISIS’ enmity.

Another senior al Qaeda official in Syria, a Saudi known as Sanafi al Nasr, has made similar claims on his Twitter feed. Nasr has alleged that Abu Khalid al Suri warned him about ISIS’ threats just two weeks prior to the suicide bombing. [See LWJ report, Head of al Qaeda 'Victory Committee' in Syria.]

Given the similarity of their claims, it is likely that al Qaeda operatives inside Syria are coordinating their testimony against ISIS. By claiming that Abu Khalid al Suri warned of his own death beforehand, they are building the case against ISIS in jihadist minds.

Abu Firas also levels another charge against ISIS: that the group is “takfiri” because it declares other practicing Muslims apostates. Abu Firas says that when the Al Nusrah Front attempted to shelter ISIS fighters during a battle in northern Syria, an ungrateful ISIS commander complained that Al Nusrah raised its banner above an ISIS building in the process.

According to Abu Firas, this same ISIS leader also lashed out at Al Nusrah for accepting oaths of support from members of the Free Syrian Army. But Abu Firas claims that Al Nusrah was simply receiving pledges of support for jihad. Thus, the longtime al Qaeda ideologue says, ISIS is “takfiri” for denouncing acts that are consistent with the will of Allah.

Little known, but with an extensive biography

Little was publicly known about Abu Firas al Suri until his sudden appearance in the Al Nusrah Front video, which includes a summary of his biography.

According to Al Nusrah, Abu Firas went to military school and joined the Syrian military, but was relieved of his duties because of his “Islamic tendencies.” Abu Firas was a member of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and fought against the regime of Hafez al Assad, Bashar al Assad’s father, in 1979 and 1980.

Abu Firas traveled to Jordan and then Afghanistan, where he met with Abdullah Azzam and Osama bin Laden. He trained both Afghans and Arabs, as well as jihadists from other countries around the world, and worked to end the conflict between unidentified jihadist groups inside Afghanistan.

The Al Nusrah Front claims that Abu Firas served as Osama bin Laden’s “envoy” for “mobilizing Pakistanis for jihad.” The Pakistani jihadist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) was set up for this purpose, the Al Nusrah Front says. The LeT and another group “were established, trained, and funded by Osama Bin Ladin.”

Read more at Long War Journal

Also see:

Islamist Terror Challenge Continues in Britain

by Irfan Al-Alawi:

Moderate, traditional, spiritual and even conservative British Muslims should hearken to London Mayor Boris Johnson’s message and support effective measures to curb the spread of extremist ideology among their vulnerable offspring. Not only are these practices morally abhorrent, and deserve better than the complicity of silence, but in addition, the survival of Islam as a normal component of the religious spectrum in the UK is at stake.

As Britain continues to wrestle with the challenge of radical Islam and its product, terrorism, on March 2, 2014, London Mayor Boris Johnson contributed a column to one of Britain’s leading journals, The Sunday Telegraph, “The children taught at home about murder and bombings.”

Johnson’s commentary correctly placed radical Islamist ideology in the same category with pedophilia and female genital mutilation (FGM) as moral abominations with which the British political class has failed adequately to contend, and continued, “I worry that their work is being hampered by what I am obliged to call political correctness. … There is built in to the British system a reluctance to be judgmental about someone else’s culture, even if that reluctance places children at risk” – a decision, Johnson said, that led to abusers being “emboldened.” Johnson continued:

We have thousands of victims [of FGM] in Britain, thousands of girls being cut every year, and yet we have managed not a single prosecution — let alone a conviction. Again, there is that fatal squeamishness about intervening in the behavior of a ‘protected group’. … We need to be stronger and clearer in asserting our understanding of British values. That is nowhere more apparent [than] in the daily job of those who protect us all from terror — and who are engaged in tackling the spread of extremist and radical Islam.

We are familiar by now with the threat posed by the preachers of hate, the extremist clerics who can sow the seeds of madness in the minds of impressionable young people. We are watching like hawks to see who comes back from Syria and the ideas they have picked up.

The horrific bloodshed in Syria has indeed attracted terror recruits from British and other Muslim communities, and Johnson’s warning was timely. On the same day he published his column in The Sunday Telegraph – March 2 — one of that paper’s more “progressive” competitors, The Observer, which is the weekend edition of The Guardianreported that Moazzem Begg, 45, a resident of Birmingham, in the British Midlands, interned for almost three years as a terrorist suspect in the US base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was ordered held in custody for terrorism-related offences involving Syria.

Begg’s arrest had been revealed by The Daily Telegraph on February 25.

CNN International stated on March 3, 2014, that Begg was “accused of providing instruction and training for terrorism and funding terrorism overseas,” as disclosed by West Midlands Police. Begg is due to return to court on March 14, The Observer said.

 

Former Guantanamo detainee Moazzam Begg was recently arrested on suspicion of Syria-related terrorism offences. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Observer had noted that a female Birmingham resident, Gerrie Tahari, 44, was also in custody after she was similarly charged with facilitating terrorism overseas, and that two more men, aged 20 and 36, were arrested at the same time in Birmingham and held by the authorities. The original February 25 Telegraph account of the case described the 20-year old as Tahari’s son.

Read more at Gatestone Institute

See also:

Could pilot, computer whiz, nuclear engineer Adnan el-Shukrijumah be involved with Malaysia flight #MH370?

20120913_adnan_el-shukrijumah_606 (1)

Part  I : Eleven Years after 9/11, the Threat Remains: The Leading Al Qaeda Operative  Remains at Large By Paul Williams at Family Security Matters, September 11, 2012

Adnan el-Shukrijumah has worked with  Mohammad Atta and the other 9/11 operatives; he has masterminded a plan to  launch a nuclear attack on American soil; he has attended leading al Qaeda  gatherings, including the Waziristan Summit of 2004; he has conspired with Jose  Padilla and others to blow up bridges and infrastructures in New York City; and  the search for his present whereabouts is littered with corpses, including that  of prominent California businessman Farouk Razac.

Part  II: 9/11 A Prequel? Next Attack on America in Works

Think 9/11 was a thing of the past?

Think that you’re safe and secure.

Think again.

Meet Adnan el-Shukrijumah.

He’s a chameleon.

Adnan el-Shukrijumah possesses an uncanny ability to blend into a  crowd, to alter his looks, and to assume a multitude of identities. Few things  about him indicate his Islamic orientation. He is often clean-shaven and rarely  wears a long shirt (shalwat kameez) or chews a toothpick. He has been  known to have a beer (like an average American Joe), to smoke a Marlboro, and to  carry rosary beads in his pocket. He has posed as an Italian-American, a  Mexican-American, a Canadian, a Saudi, a Jamaican, an Arab, and a Latino from  Trinidad. He stands somewhere between 5’4″ and 5’6″; weighs 140 pounds; and  suffers from sacute asthma. He has black hair, dark brown eyes, an olive  complexion, a mole on one cheek and a very prominent Mediterranean proboscis. A  key distinguishing feature is a scar on the left side of his face below and  forward of his earlobe.

Adnan is fluent in English, Spanish, Urdu, and Arabic. He is a trained pilot  and a computer whiz. But, his central area of interest, training and expertise  is nuclear engineering.

(Part III) Most Dangerous Terrorist Eludes Massive Manhunt: A Federal Folly 

…After days of interrogation, coupled with severe sleep deprivation, Mohammed  told U.S. officials that bin Laden was planning to create a “nuclear hell storm”  in America.[iv] Unlike other attacks, the terrorist chief said, the chain of  command for the nuclear attack answered directly to bin Laden, al-Zawahiri, and  a mysterious scientist called “Dr. X.” Mohammed later admitted that “Dr. X” was  Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani father of the Islamic bomb and the  godfather of modern nuclear proliferation. He further confessed that the field  commander for this operation was a naturalized American citizen whom he also  referred to as Mohammed Sher Mohammed Khan and “Jafer al Tayyar” (“Jafer the  Pilot”).[v] Both names are aliases of Adnan el Shukrijumah.

Khalid Mohammed went on to say that Adnan represents a “single-cell” – – a  lone agent capable of launching a solo nuclear or radiological attack on a major  American city.

Osama Bin Laden sickly boasted he’d get away with 9/11 attacks

Sulaiman Abu Ghaith took the stand at his Manhattan terror trial Wednesday. UNCREDITED/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Sulaiman Abu Ghaith took the stand at his Manhattan terror trial Wednesday. UNCREDITED/ASSOCIATED PRESS

BY :

Osama Bin Laden thought he was going to get away with it.

When Sulaiman Abu Ghaith on the night of 9/11 predicted that the United States would track Bin Laden down and kill him, the monster replied, “You’re being too pessimistic.”

That was the testimony Wednesday from Abu Ghaith, who later married Bin Laden’s eldest daughter and who is on trial in Manhattan Federal Court for terrorism.

Bin Laden had summoned Abu Ghaith to a mountain cave in Afghanistan just hours after the 9/11 attacks, said the defendant, whose decision to take the witness stand Wednesday was a surprise twist.

“He said, ‘We are the ones who did it. What do you expect to happen?’” testified Abu Ghaith, 48, who is charged with supporting terrorists and conspiring to kill Americans.

“I said, ‘Politically, America … will not settle until it has accomplished two things: to kill you and topple the state of the Taliban.’ He said, ‘You’re being too pessimistic.’”

Abu Ghaith’s prediction came true in May 2011 when Navy SEALs launched a daring raid into Bin Laden’s fortress in Pakistan and killed the Al Qaeda leader.

Abu Ghatih said Bin Laden had asked him to deliver a filmed propaganda speech about the attacks and, after some hesitation, the defendant agreed, he said Wednesday through an Arabic interpreter.

Abu Ghaith told the jury in his case that Bin Laden put words in his mouth and that he was in Afghanistan on a “humanitarian mission.”

“I want you to deliver a message to the world,” Bin Laden said, Abu Ghaith testified. “I’m going to give you some points and you will build around them.”

Read more at New York Daily News

AL-QAEDA CALLS FOR CAR BOMB ATTACKS ON AMERICAN CITIES, TARGETS ABROAD

times-square-bomb-plot-APby :

The latest issue of Al-Qaeda’s Inspire magazine contains an article about using car bombs in U.S. cities as well as abroad during election seasons, both presidential and congressional, as well as on Christmas and New Years Eve.

The cities and areas listed in the piece include Washington, D.C., New York, Northern Virginia, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

America is our first target, followed by United Kingdom, France and other crusader countries.

As for the field target for the car-bomb, you have places flooded with individuals, e.g. sports events in which tens of thousands attend, election campaigns, festivals and other gathering. The important thing is that you target people and not buildings:

Washington DC and New York:

Washington is the capital, and New York is the former capital. Both have symbolic importance to the American people and government. Moreover, White House is in Washington, and DC has about 347,000 federal govern ment employees and many important figures in the government live there. As for New York, it is known for its status as a financial, cultural, transportation, and manufacturing center, it is the leading center of banking, finance and communication in the United States.

Northern Virginia:

It has a big military presence, almost all the military bases are based in this state, apart from the Air Force which is based in Chicago. There are federal agencies in Northern Virginia, including the headquarters of the Department of Defense and CIA; and military facilities in Hampton Roads, the site of the region’s main seaport. Virginia in general attracts a load of tourists.

Chicago:

It is in the mid of the US, hence it is a major transportation hub. It is an important component in global distribution, as it is the third largest inter-modal port in the world. It is also an important worldwide center of commerce. The city has the second largest financial center in the United States. Among its most important financial structures:

1. Sears Tower, a 108-story skyscraper, it held the title tallest building in the world for about 25 years.

2. The Chicago Board of Trade Building.

Los Angeles:

The most populous city in the state of California, and the second most populous in the United States. It is also the largest manufacturing center in the western United States. It is also the home base of Hollywood. Areas and Restaurants with high profile personalities – Usually these people visit the restaurants during the weekend:

Arlington

Alexandria

Restaurants and Bars in the M street, Washington.

Tennis stadiums; they are visited by thousands of people, and high profile people, especially the US Open.

The piece includes interviews with islamist and Al-Qaeda recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011, and Samir Khan, who was killed in the same air strike. Khan served as editor and publisher of Inspire up to that point. A photo of New York City is shown at the end of the piece.

Read more at Breitbart

 

CIA Chief: Jihad a Product of Injustices, Economics, and Ignorance

130114101304-oconnell-brennan-story-topBy Raymond Ibrahim:

CIA director John Brennan is at it again—equivocating over the nature of jihad by evoking paradigms familiar to the West.

Last Tuesday, “during an event at the Council of Foreign Relations, Brennan was asked about the ‘war of ideas’ surrounding Islam, which the questioner said many Americans tend to equate with violence.”

The CIA chief responded by saying that al-Qaeda’s ideology is “a perverse and very corrupt interpretation of the Qur’an”; that “al-Qaeda has hijacked” Islam; that “they have really distorted the teachings of Muhammad.”

Even so, “that ideology, that agenda of al-Qaeda,” confirmed Brennan, “has gained resonance and following in many parts of the world.”

So what is the CIA chief’s explanation as to why such a “perverse and very corrupt” understanding of Islam—one that has “distorted the teachings of Muhammad”— resonates among Muslims?

He gives none—other than to say that this ideology is “fed a lot of times by, you know, political repression, by economic, you know, disenfranchisement, by, you know, lack of education and ignorance, so there—there are a number of phenomena right now that I think are fueling the fires of, you know, this ideology.”

Interestingly, if you watch the video clip of Brennan talking, you will note that he only “you knows” in the above quotation (four times) and right before it, when he says that al-Qaeda has “distorted the teachings of Muhammad, you know, for violent purposes.”

The rest of his talk is relatively smooth.

Could Brennan be self-conscious of his own equivocations—hence all these stilted “you knows” in one sentence?

Could he be aware of the Rand Corporation report on counterterrorism, prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 2009?   It found that “Terrorists are not particularly impoverished, uneducated, or afflicted by mental disease. Demographically, their most important characteristic is normalcy (within their environment). Terrorist leaders actually tend to come from relatively privileged backgrounds.”

At any rate, this is all déjà vu.  Back in May 2010, I closely examined Brennan’s Islamic apologetics in an article that, in light of these recent remarks of his, is as applicable today as it was nearly four years ago.  It follows:

Obama’s Top Counterterror Adviser’s Inability to Think Outside the Box Bodes Disaster

“The greatest hurdle Americans need to get over in order to properly respond to the growing threat of radical Islam is purely intellectual in nature; specifically, it is epistemological, and revolves around the abstract realm of ‘knowledge.’ Before attempting to formulate a long-term strategy to counter radical Islam, Americans must first and foremost understand Islam, particularly its laws and doctrines, the same way Muslims understand it—without giving it undue Western (liberal) interpretations. This is apparently not as simple as expected: all peoples of whatever civilizations and religions tend to assume that other peoples more or less share in their worldview, which they assume is objective, including notions of right and wrong, good and bad. …. [T]he secular, Western experience has been such that people respond with violence primarily when they feel they are politically, economically, or socially oppressed. While true that many non-Western peoples may fit into this paradigm, the fact is, the ideologies of radical Islam have the intrinsic capacity to prompt Muslims to violence and intolerance vis-à-vis the ‘other,’ irrespective of grievances…. Being able to understand all this, being able to appreciate it without any conceptual or intellectual constraints is paramount for Americans to truly understand the nature of the enemy and his ultimate goals.”

Read more