How the FBI is whitewashing the Saudi connection to 9/11

DECADE-US DOMESTIC NEWSNew York Post, by Paul Sperry, April 12, 2015:

Just 15 days before the 9/11 attacks, a well-connected Saudi family suddenly abandoned their luxury home in Sarasota, Fla., leaving behind jewelry, clothes, opulent furniture, a driveway full of cars — including a brand new Chrysler PT Cruiser — and even a refrigerator full of food.

About the only thing not left behind was a forwarding address. The occupants simply vanished without notifying their neighbors, realtor or even mail carrier.

The 3,300-square-foot home on Escondito Circle belonged to Esam Ghazzawi, a Saudi adviser to the nephew of then-King Fahd. But at the time, it was occupied by his daughter and son-in-law, who beat a hasty retreat back to Saudi Arabia just two weeks before the attacks after nearly a six-year stay here.

Neighbors took note of the troubling coincidence and called the FBI, which opened an investigation that led to the startling discovery that at least one “family member” trained at the same flight school as some of the 9/11 hijackers in nearby Venice, Fla.

The investigation into the prominent Saudi family’s ties to the hijackers started on Sept. 19, 2001, and remained active for several years. It was led by the FBI’s Tampa field office but also involved the bureau’s field offices in New York and Washington, and also the Southwest Florida Domestic Security Task Force.

Agents identified persons of interest in the case, establishing their ties to other terrorists, sympathies with Osama bin Laden and anti-American remarks. They looked into their bank accounts, colleges and places of employment. They tracked at least one suspect’s re-entry into the US.

The Saudi-9/11 connection in Florida was no small part of the overall 9/11 investigation. Yet it was never shared with Congress. Nor was it mentioned in the 9/11 Commission Report.

Now it’s being whitewashed again, in a newly released report by the 9/11 Review Commission, set up last year by Congress to assess “any evidence now known to the FBI that was not considered by the 9/11 Commission.” Though the FBI acknowledges the Saudi family was investigated, it maintains the probe was a dead end.

The review panel highlighted one local FBI report generated from the investigation that said Abdulaziz and Anoud al-Hijji, the prominent Saudi couple who “fled” their home, had “many connections” to “individuals associated with the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001.”

But: “The FBI told the Review Commission that the communication was ‘poorly written’ and wholly unsubstantiated,” the panel noted in its 128-page report. “When questioned later by others in the FBI, the special agent who wrote (it) was unable to provide any basis for the contents of the document or explain why he wrote it as he did.”

How strange. Yet panelists did not interview the unidentified agent for themselves. They just accepted headquarters’ impeachment of his work.

Odder still, the agent’s report was just one of many other FBI communications detailing ties between the Saudi family and the hijackers. In fact, the Tampa office of the FBI recently was ordered to turn over more than 80,000 pages of documents filling some 27 boxes from its 9/11 investigation to a federal judge hearing a Freedom of Information Act case filed by local journalists over the Sarasota angle. The judge is sorting through the boxes to determine which documents should remain classified. Most are marked “SECRET/NOFORN,” meaning no foreign nationals — a classification reserved for highly sensitive materials.

“The report provides no plausible explanation for the contradiction between the FBI’s current claim that it found nothing and its 2002 memo finding ‘many connections’ between the Sarasota family and the 9/11 terrorists,” Thomas Julin, the attorney who filed the FOIA lawsuit against the FBI, told the Miami Herald.

The panel’s report also doesn’t explain why visitor security logs for the gated Sarasota community and photos of license tags matched vehicles driven by the hijackers, including 9/11 ringleader Mohamed Atta.

The three-member review panel was appointed by FBI Director James Comey, who also officially released the findings.

Former Democratic Sen. Bob Graham, who in 2002 chaired the congressional Joint Inquiry into 9/11, maintains the FBI is covering up a Saudi support cell in Sarasota for the hijackers. He says the al-Hijjis’ “urgent” pre-9/11 exit suggests “someone may have tipped them off” about the coming attacks.

Graham has been working with a 14-member group in Congress to urge President Obama to declassify 28 pages of the final report of his inquiry which were originally redacted, wholesale, by President George W. Bush.

“The 28 pages primarily relate to who financed 9/11, and they point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as being the principal financier,” he said, adding, “I am speaking of the kingdom,” or government, of Saudi Arabia, not just wealthy individual Saudi donors.

Sources who have read the censored Saudi section say it cites CIA and FBI case files that directly implicate officials of the Saudi Embassy in Washington and its consulate in Los Angeles in the attacks — which, if true, would make 9/11 not just an act of terrorism, but an act of war by a foreign government. The section allegedly identifies high-level Saudi officials and intelligence agents by name, and details their financial transactions and other dealings with the San Diego hijackers. It zeroes in on the Islamic Affairs Department of the Saudi Embassy, among other Saudi entities.

The review commission, however, concludes there is “no evidence” that any Saudi official provided assistance to the hijackers, even though the panel failed to interview Graham or his two key investigators — former Justice Department attorney Dana Lesemann and FBI investigator Michael Jacobson — who ran down FBI leads tying Saudi officials to the San Diego hijackers and documented their findings in the 28 pages.

Graham smells a rat: “This is a pervasive pattern of covering up the role of Saudi Arabia in 9/11 by all of the agencies of the federal government which have access to information that might illuminate Saudi Arabia’s role in 9/11.”

Paul Sperry is a Hoover Institution media fellow and author of “Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington.”

Also see:

Khamenei Smashes Terms of Nuclear Agreement

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Kamenei (Photo: © Reuters)

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Kamenei (Photo: © Reuters)

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, April 12, 2015:

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei ended his eerie silence since the nuclear framework agreement was announced with a fiery speech accompanied with “Death to America” chants. Khamenei essentially smashed the viability of the nuclear framework to pieces, signalled a major escalations in the war in Yemen and essentially endorsed a violent jihad against the Saudi royal family.

Wishful thinkers can’t dismiss the speech as theater for a domestic audience. Khamenei tweeted highlights in English to make sure the world, especially Americans, saw them. The threats and demands are so unequivocal that failing to follow through would sacrifice his entire credibility and prestige.

The Iranian Supreme Leader is unsatisfied with the nuclear framework agreement even though it generously permits Iran to retain the ability to produce nuclear weapons while getting major sanctions relief.

First, he said that the fact sheet published by the U.S. contains lies and does not reflect what Iran agreed to. The statement obliges the regime to seek significant revisions shortly after it gave President Obama the go ahead to make a high-profile victory lap.

Khamenei’s demands are inescapably incompatible with America’s requirements for a deal.

First, Iran is demanding that all sanctions be lifted on the first day that a final deal is signed. The framework only agrees to lift sanctions in phases and only those related to nuclear activity, not terrorism or human rights. Doing so would unfreeze the assets of individuals and entities involved in terrorism around the world, sparking a massive growth in Iran’s terrorist apparatus and proxy warfare.

The inherently flawed hope by the West that “moderate” President Rouhani and other Iranian figures can reign in Khamenei can be immediately ruled out, since Rouhani said the same exact thing.

Read more

Also see:

Obama issues dire prediction for Saudis

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman interviews President Obama

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman interviews President Obama

WND, by Aaron Klein, April 7, 2015:

TEL AVIV – In his sit-down interview with the New York Times over the weekend, President Obama issued a dire, largely unreported prediction about the future of Saudi Arabia and other Sunni allies of the United States.

“I think the biggest threats that they face may not be coming from Iran invading,” said Obama. “It’s going to be from dissatisfaction inside their own countries.”

While the president’s remarks were mostly overlooked by the U.S. and Western media, the comments received headline coverage in news outlets run by Iran and by the Hezbollah jihadist organization.

Obama sat down Saturday with Times’ columnist Thomas L. Friedman, who asked about “protecting our Sunni Arab allies, like Saudi Arabia.”

Obama explained he thinks “that our friends in the region, our traditional Sunni states, have some very real external threats, but they also have some internal threats.”

He highlighted the “threat” of “populations that, in some cases, are alienated, youth that are underemployed, an ideology that is destructive and nihilistic, and in some cases, just a belief that there are no legitimate political outlets for grievances.”

“And so,” Obama said, “part of our job is to work with these states and say, ‘How can we build your defense capabilities against external threats, but also, how can we strengthen the body politic in these countries, so that Sunni youth feel that they’ve got something other than [ISIS] to choose from?’

“And that’s going to be a generation process … and ultimately it will be up to the societies to do that.”

Obama warned of a possible Arab Spring-style revolution in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and other Sunni-majority countries.

“I think the biggest threats that they face may not be coming from Iran invading. It’s going to be from dissatisfaction inside their own countries. … That’s a tough conversation to have, but it’s one that we have to have.”

And what about Iranians dissatisfied and disillusioned with the Shiite theocratic regime?

Obama told Friedman the best hope for democratic change in Iran is through the accomplishment of a final nuclear deal.

“But if we’re able to get this done,” he said, “then what may happen – and I’m not counting on it – but what may happen is that those forces inside of Iran that say, ‘We don’t need to view ourselves entirely through the lens of our war machine.’

“’Let’s excel in science and technology and job creation and developing our people,’ that those folks get stronger. … I say that emphasizing that the nuclear deal that we’ve put together is not based on the idea that somehow the regime changes.”

Obama was widely criticized in 2009 for not interfering when Iran brutalized civilian opposition protesters challenging the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who tallied nearly 60 percent amid widespread reports of vote irregularities.

While the U.S. and Western media largely glossed over Obama’s comments about a possible uprising in Sunni states, the remarks received top coverage in Iranian regime and Hezbollah-linked newspapers.

Al-Manar, a Lebanese satellite television station affiliated with Hezbollah, led with the headline “Obama to ’Gulf States’: Biggest Threat is from inside own Countries, not Iran.”

Al-Manar is banned in the U.S., France, Spain and Germany and was named by the State Department as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity.”

Iran’s state-run Press TV led with Obama’s remarks, reporting Obama “says what threatens the Arab governments is the increasing dissatisfaction inside their countries, not the growing influence of Iran in the region.”

The Tehran Times published the headline, “Obama says threat against Arabs comes from within not Iran.”

With additional research by Joshua Klein.

Also see:

Houthis Capture Aden, What’s Next For The Saudis?

CSP, by Sean MacCormac, April 2, 2015:

Houthi rebels seized the Maasheeq presidential palace in Aden after an intense battle through the city’s commercial center today, despite stiff resistance from Saudi air support over the past two days. Early reports about a possibly Saudi-led amphibious landing at Aden were false; a port official indicates that the warship was a Chinese vessel sent to the area to evacuate foreign nationals. The loss of Aden, the last real stronghold of pro-Hadi forces, is a major blow to the Saudi-led coalition. Fighting is still underway as loyalist forces still maintain control of several sectors of Aden. As long as Aden remains in rebel hands, President Hadi will find it nearly impossible to return to Yemen. Furthermore, with Aden in Houthi control, Iran may find it a convenient port and base for any operations near the Bab el-Mandeb strait, and to protect shipping from east Africa to Iran.

The fall of Aden comes just hours after Al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula conducted a raid on the Hadrawmawt prison complex in the coastal city of Mukalla in southeast Yemen. 300 prisoners were freed, including Al-Qaeda top regional commander Khalid Batarfi. Whatever the ideological leanings of the prisoners, past events have shown that these prison breaks make excellent recruitment opportunities for Al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda militants were also able to seize Mukalla’s radio headquarters and also engaged in combat with security forces throughout the city.

Saudi Arabia has also confirmed the first Saudi casualty since their entrance into the conflict a week ago. Border guard Cpl. Ali Yahya al-Maliki was confirmed killed along with ten other Saudis wounded when his observation post in Asir province was fired upon. With the situation in Yemen deteriorating even further, and the inability of the airstrikes to put an end to the Houthi rebellion, Saudi Arabia and their Gulf State allies may be forced to send ground troops into Yemen.

***

Published on Apr 2, 2015 by Wrath0fKhan

Al-Qaeda fighters attacked a prison in the coastal Yemeni city of al-Mukallah, freeing nearly 200 prisoners. CNN’s Ian Lee reports.

Also see:

Saudis Bolster Yemeni Border Attempt to Downplay Likelihood of Ground Invasion

3950970906CSP, by Sean MacCormac, April 1, 2015:

Saudi Arabia’s incursion into Yemen via air strikes may portend a change in the kingdom’s foreign policy. With Washington unwilling to get directly involved further in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia may take it into their own hands to quell the Houthi uprising in the Middle East in order to prevent Iran, the key supporter of the Houthis, from gaining a foothold close to Saudi soil. Previously, Saudi Arabia has been content and dependent on the United States to provide defense, despite a well funded (albeit of dubious competence) military. But with a more confident Iran getting involved in Yemen and Iraq, and the United States more and more on board with Iran concerning the balance of power in the Middle East, the Saudis feel that they cannot count on direct assistance in these harsh times.

With the Houthis capturing a naval base overlooking the strategic Bab el-Mandeb strait on the Red Sea, the Saudis have good reason to be worried. 3.8 million barrels of petroleum and other refined petroleum products pass through the Bab el-Mandeb strait each day, making it the fourth busiest chokepoint in the world.

There has already been significant shelling and exchanged fire over the border by Houthi fighters and Saudi military as of Tuesday. Locals have stated that the combat was the heaviest seen since the beginning of hostilities between Saudi Arabia and the Houthis last week. Saudi Arabia has stated that ground troops will only be used if necessary in Yemen, restricting their current military actions to airstrikes and a blockade of Yemeni ports.Spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri stated that “limited ground operations” in specific areas were a possibility, but were by no means guaranteed or a first choice of action. Yemeni Foreign Minister Riyadh Yaseen, currently seeking asylum in Saudi Arabia, has however called for an immediate ground intervention in Yemen.

Despite what the official line is over the current Saudi forces on the border being sufficient to hold off the Houthi threat, the Saudis have been moving heavy military equipment down near the Yemeni border, undoubtedly to support these “limited ground operations.” Saudi Arabia can ill afford the conflict in Yemen and its attendant Iranian influence spilling over into its oil-rich, and heavily Shia, Eastern province.

Also see:

Why Yemen Matters

by Daniel Pipes
Washington Times
March 28, 2015

The Middle East witnessed something radically new two days ago, when the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia responded to a plea by Yemen’s president and led a 10-country coalition to intervene in the air and on the ground in the country. “Operation Decisive Storm” prompts many reflections:

Saudi and Egypt in alliance: Half a century ago, Riyadh and Cairo were active in a Yemen war, but then they supported opposing sides, respectively the status-quo forces and the revolutionaries. Their now being allies points to continuity in Saudia along with profound changes in Egypt.

Arabic-speakers getting their act together: Through Israel’s early decades, Arabs dreamt of uniting militarily against it but the realities of infighting and rivalries smashed every such hope. Even on the three occasions (1948-49, 1967, 1973) when they did join forces, they did so at cross purposes and ineffectively. How striking, then that finally they should coalesce not against Israel but against Iran. This implicitly points to their understanding that the Islamic Republic of Iran poses a real threat, whereas anti-Zionism amounts to mere indulgence. It also points to panic and the need to take action resulting from a stark American retreat.

Arab leaders have a long history of meeting but not cooperating. From the right: King Hussein of Jordan, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, Yasir Arafat of the PLO, and Muammar Qaddafi of Libya in September 1970.

Yemen at the center of attention: Yemen played a peripheral role in the Bible, in the rise of Islam, and in modern times; it’s never been the focus of world concern – until suddenly now. Yemen resembles other once-marginal countries – the Koreas, Cuba, the Vietnams, Afghanistan – which out of nowhere became the focus of global concern.

The Middle East cold war went hot: The Iranian and Saudi regimes have headed dueling blocs for about a decade. They did combat as the U.S. and Soviet governments once did – via contending ideologies, espionage, aid, trade, and covert action. On March 26, that cold war went hot, where it’s likely long to remain.

Can the Saudi-led coalition win? Highly unlikely, as these are rookies taking on Iran’s battle-hardened allies in a forbidding terrain.

Islamists dominate: The leaders of both blocs share much: both aspire universally to apply the sacred law of Islam (the Shari’a), both despise infidels, and both turned faith into ideology. Their falling out confirms Islamism as the Middle East’s only game, permitting its proponents the luxury to fight each other.

The Turkey-Qatar-Muslim Brotherhood alliance in decline: A third alliance of Sunni revisionists somewhere between the Shi’i revolutionaries and the Sunni status-quotians has been active during recent years in many countries – Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Libya. But now, in part thanks to diplomacy initiated by the brand-new King Salman of Saudi Arabia, its members are gravitating toward their Sunni co-religionists.

King Salman of Saudi Arabia has done something unprecedented in putting together a military coalition.

Isolated Iran: Yes, a belligerent Tehran now boasts of dominating four Arab capitals (Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut, Sana’a) but that’s also its problem: abrupt Iranian gains have many in the region (including such previously friendly states as Pakistan and Sudan) fearing Iran.

Sidelining the Arab-Israeli conflict: If the Obama administration and European leaders remain obsessed with Palestinians, seeing them as key to the region, regional players have far more urgent priorities. Not only does Israel hardly concern them but the Jewish state serves as a tacit auxiliary of the Saudi-led bloc. Does this change mark a long-term shift in Arab attitudes toward Israel? Probably not; when the Iran crisis fades, expect attention to return to the Palestinians and Israel, as it always does.

American policy in disarray: Middle East hands rightly scoffed in 2009 when Barack Obama and his fellow naïfs expected that by leaving Iraq, smiling at Tehran, and trying harder at Arab-Israeli negotiations they would fix the region, permitting a “pivot” to East Asia. Instead, the incompetents squatting atop the U.S. government cannot keep up with fast-moving, adverse events, many of its own creation (anarchy in Libya, tensions with traditional allies, a more bellicose Iran).

Impact on a deal with Iran: Although Washington has folded on many positions in negotiations with Iran and done the mullah’s regime many favors (for example, not listing it or its Hizbullah ally as terrorist), it drew a line in Yemen, offering the anti-Iran coalition some support. Will Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamene’i now stomp out of the talks? Highly unlikely, for the deal offered him is too sweet to turn down.

American diplomats meet again with their Iranian counterparts to capitulate on yet another difference.

In sum, Salman’s skilled diplomacy and his readiness to use force in Yemen responds to the deadly combination of Arab anarchy, Iranian aggression, and Obama weakness in a way that will shape the region for years.

Mr. Pipes (DanielPipes.org, @DanielPipes) is president of the Middle East Forum. © 2015 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.

Also see:

Egypt seizes Bab el Mandeb ahead of Iran. Saudis bomb Iran-backed Yemeni Houthis. US launches air strikes over Tikrit

Yemen3_1DEBKAfile Special Report March 26, 2015:

In a surprise step, Egyptian marine naval and marine forces Thursday morning, March 26, seized control of the strategic Bab El-Mandeb Straits to foil Tehran’s plans to grab this important energy shipping gateway between the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Suez Canal, DEBKAfile’s military sources report from the Gulf. Egypt disguised the raid as a counter-piracy operation. It rounded off the Saudi-led air strikes launched the same morning against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. These operations signaled the start of a major Sunni Arab revolt against Iran’s approaching takeover of Yemen, through its Houthi proxy, and advances in other strategic positions in the Middle East, with Washington’s support.
Thursday morning too, the US launched the US launched its first air strikes against Islamic State positions in the Iraqi city of Tikrit, rallying to the aid of the Iranian-commanded Iraqi operation, which had failed to dislodge the jihadis in two weeks of fighting.

The separate operations in Yemen and Iraq attested to the widening breach between the Sunni Arab camp and the Obama administration and the former’s resolve to thwart US strategy for buying a nuclear deal with Tehran by empowering Iran to attain the rank of leading Middle East power.
DEBKAfile reported earlier Thursday morning:

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) are now leading war action in four Mid East arenas: Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon,while building Shiite “popular” armies deferring to Tehran in three: Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

The formal announcements coming from Riyadh and Washington attempted to gloss over the open breach. The Saudis Wednesday indicated that their military buildup on the Yemeni was “purely defensive,” while Washington subsequently declared support for the Saudi-Gulf-Egyptian air strikes after they began.

According to our Washington sources, President Obama decided Wednesday to accede to the Iraqi premier Haider al-Abadi’s request for air support to de-stall the Tikrit operation against ISIS. Iran’s Al Qods Brigades chief, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who commanded the operation from the start has departed the scene.

Nothing has been said to indicate whether the Iranian forces, including Revolutionary Guards officers, remain in the area. It appears that the Obama administration prefers as little as possible to be mentioned about US-Iranian battlefield coordination in Iraq versus the Islamists, especially since it was not exactly a big success. At the same time, US air strikes launched to support ground forces are bound to be coordinated with their commanders, who in this case happen to be mostly Iranian. In the last two weeks of the Tikrit operation, liaison between the US and Iranian military in Iraq was routed through the office of the Iraqi Prime Minister in Baghdad.

Early Thursday, Riyadh reported that the Saudi Royal Air Force had taken out Houthi air defenses, destroyed numerous Houthi fighter planes and were imposing a wide no-fly zone over Yemen.

Egypt is providing political and military support for Saudi-GCC operation against Houthi fighters in Yemen, the Egyptian state news agency said Thursday. Egypt’s Foreign Ministry was quoted as saying this support could involve Egyptian air, naval and ground forces, if necessary.

DEBKAfile’s military sources add: The Saudis declared Yemeni air space a no-fly zone to achieve to goals: (1) To deny the Yemeni forces advancing on the key port city of Aden access to air cover which would undoubtedly have been forthcoming from mutinous elements of the Yemeni air force. Without it, the rebel advance would be severely hobbled, and, (2) to prevent Iranian warplanes from landing at Yemeni air bases with deliveries of military equipment and ammunition  their Houthi proxies.
Gulf sources disclose that Saudi Arabia has placed 100 warplanes and 150,000 troops with heavy weapons at the disposal of the operation against Iran’s Yemeni proxy, the Zaydi Houthis, as well as pressing into service Pakistani, Moroccan and Jordanian military units. This force is a sign that Riyadh intends of following up its air action with a ground invasion across the border into Yemen to crush the revolt in its backyard.

Developing…

Also see:

1a98a643-0240-4cf6-8929-fa817e6736ea

Yemen isn’t on Verge of Civil War, It Already is – And Saudi Arabia Will Get Involved

March 21, 2015: Members of a militia group loyal to Yemen's President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, known as the Popular Committees, chew qat as they sit next to their tank, guarding a major intersection in Aden, Yemen. (AP)

March 21, 2015: Members of a militia group loyal to Yemen’s President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, known as the Popular Committees, chew qat as they sit next to their tank, guarding a major intersection in Aden, Yemen. (AP)

March 25, 2015 / /

Once again the American media is a day late and a dollar short in covering foreign policy matters. Now every major media outlet in the country is openly asking the question of whether or not Yemen is “on the edge of a civil war.” The problem with that is they’re still behind the power curve. Why? Because Yemen already is in a civil war and it has been going on for the last several months, only you wouldn’t guess from American media outlets since they were focused on more important things like Bruce Jenner’s transition into “womanhood” – but we digress. Follow-on forces continue to be flown into Taiz for the main Houthi push to take Aden, which we assess can begin within days. This will be a multi-pronged offensive, as we’re already seeing with forces elsewhere moving to isolate pro-Hadi forces in other areas. Hadi’s forces were able to temporarily halt the Houthi advance – although this will change as Hadi’s forces continue to get worn down. Those areas weren’t even one of the major objectives. If anything the forces currently advancing have the port of al-Mukha as one of their primary objectives prior to the main push for Aden being initiated.

What Yemen’s Coming Apart at the Seams Means to Arabian Peninsula

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=5737

Forces Loyal to President Hadi Halt Houthi Push Towards Yemen’s Aden

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/mideast/hadi-forces-check-houthi-push-towards-yemens-aden-n329681

hadi faction

Pro-Hadi forces manning a checkpoint in Aden
Source: al-Jazeera

The Gulf nations led by Saudi Arabia are reported to have agreed to a possible deployment of ground troops to support Hadi’s faction and confront the growing Iranian influence on the Arabian Peninsula. The Gulf nations had previously sent a multi-nation ground force to support the Bahraini government against Iranian proxies a few years ago, so there’s a precedence for this sort of thing. Also, Saudi Arabia has waged limited air campaigns along the Yemeni border off and on in the past for lesser reasons. The current buildup of Saudi ground forces suggests that they may be planning a proactive defense of the border region to keep the Houthis on their side of the border, but will likely initiate a ground campaign if Aden is perceived to be on the verge of falling – which might happen in the coming days. We assess that the violence will exceed anything the Saudis dealt with in previous operations that they conducted against the Houthis in 2009 and 2010. If it comes to that (and let’s be honest, does anybody truly think “negotiations” with Iran and its proxies will succeed?), we expect the initial ground deployments to consist of SOF personnel to perform an advise and assist role. That ground presence will likely grow in both role and numbers as the violence continues to escalate. Currently, the Saudis are providing financial support to Hadi’s faction and may be looking to provide lethal aid to keep the loyal military units in Aden propped up.

Saudis Vow “Necessary Measures” in Yemen if Peace Talks Fail

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/8b9fa25a-d17f-11e4-86c8-00144feab7de.html#axzz3VMsKd8Ml

Exclusive: Saudi Arabia building up military near Yemen border – U.S. officials

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/24/us-yemen-security-usa-saudi-idUSKBN0MK2S120150324

Gulf states send forces to Bahrain following protests

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-12729786

Analysis: What is behind Saudi offensive in Yemen

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/saudi-arabia/091114/saudi-arabia-offensive-yemen-houthis

Saudi Forces Bomb Yemeni Rebels on Southern Border

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB125746088928732009

KSA capable of deterring attackers: Saudi King

http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2009/11/08/90588.html

Saudi jets bomb Yemeni Houthis

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2009/11/20091151323886933.html

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 6.28.06 PM

The Saudi Army: Ready to rock and roll
Source: thefewgoodmen.com

Saudi Arabia’s actions are hardly surprising given the clear and present threat the Iranian regime and its proxies pose to the region. Houthi fighters are reportedly serving in the ranks of the Iranian regime’s “Foreign Legion” known as the Liwa Abu Fadl al-Abbas (LAFA) in Syria against anti-Assad forces. Those Houthi fighters reportedly received pre-deployment training at Hezbollah camps in Lebanon much like Iraqi proxies such as Kitab Hezbollah (KH) and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS). Should the Saudis get involved militarily, and we think its only a matter of time before they do, we could very well see the Houthis applying what they learned from that Hezbollah training. We’ll also likely see more from the IRGC-Qods Force and its proxies like what we saw in 2009 with Hezbollah operatives shot down a Yemeni fighter jet in 2009. Its been a few years since that incident and the Iranian regime now has firm control of Sanaa’s international airport with regular flights coming and going between there and Tehran – meaning more weapons (and Qods Force personnel) are being brought into the fight.

Iranian Regime Consolidates Houthi Gains, Begins Work Forming Houthi Intel Proxy

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=5580

Yemen’s Houthi Rebels: The Hand of Iran?

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=1992

Shia Proxy Threat to US ISIS Strategy in Saudi Arabia

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=1837

Yemeni Fighter Planes Shot down by Hezbollah’s Elements

http://www.yemenpost.net/Detail123456789.aspx?ID=3&SubID=1391

Syrian Army Takes Advantage of US Airstrikes in Counter-Offensive

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=2788

hezbollah_24 mar

Hezbollah has been operating in Yemen for several years now – and their OP-Tempo is steadily increasing
Source: al-akhbar.com

As of this writing Hadi has the support of roughly 5,000 Yemeni Army personnel against a Houthi force numbering from 13,000-15,000 men. Those pro-Hadi Army personnel suffer from a lack of ammo, equipment and poor morale, so its debatable just how long they can hold out with no external support – which is a big reason why we assess the Saudis will become more involved. Here, air support will be key for both sides and the Saudis and UAE will be the most likely participants of any Gulf-led air campaign. However, the Saudis are not as capable as their UAE counterparts in terms of conducting sustained external operations.

Forming the bulk of Hadi’s supporters are the “Popular Committees” led by Abdul-Latif al-Sayid al-Bafqeeh. His faction had been working closely with the military in combatting AQAP in the Abyan-area when the Houthis launched their offensive to take Sanaa. Hadi didn’t order his security forces to combat the Houthis when they stormed Sanaa because he couldn’t trust his own men and didn’t know how strong his support was in the capital – which ultimately led to his and several Arab nations’ diplomatic missions being relocated to Aden. Bafqeeh is considered a local hero in the South for his opposition to AQAP and the Houthis. Although his estimated 6,700-man force adds much-needed bodies to Hadi’s beleaguered loyalist Army force, they’re not as well-trained as former President Saleh’s forces or even the Houthis. These Popular Committees were able to keep the Houthis from seizing Aden’s airport and are currently engaged in several battles north of the city – but they’re plagued by the same ammo and equipment shortage as the pro-Hadi Army units. There’s also some questions regarding Bafqeeh’s true allegiances, as he’s previously worked with AQAP when Saleh was in power. He claims to have left the group due to the leadership refusing to provide sufficient financial support. He also had this rather interesting comment when describing his reasons for his previous AQAP associations:

“when the regime was oppressive and brutal … People then joined al-Qaida to avenge themselves against the government. I and my men pulled out before we got involved with them.”

This pretty much cuts to the heart of what we’ve been saying about AQAP and the Islamic State (IS) being viewed more favorably by a local populace who feel threatened by the Iranian regime – which is every bit as bad as the two Sunni jihadist organizations. The problem with Bafqeeh is that he’s already shown that his allegiances are subject to change – so what will happen should IS offer him cash incentives to pledge allegiance to Baghdadi like they have with others? Something to think about as the Saudis ramp up their lethal aid to the Pro-Hadi crew. This will become a bigger factor later on as IS continues to gain more momentum in follow-on attacks to last week’s Sanaa Mosque bombings, especially if Hadi’s faction becomes even more weakened than it is. They have everybody’s attention now, and are fashioning themselves as the “protectors of the Sunni populace” against the Iranian regime. In the end people are people and like everybody else, the Yemeni Sunnis want to be part of a “winner.” Unfortunately, the factions they view as being the “strongest” just might be AQAP and IS.

abdul

Abdul-Latif al-Sayid al-Bafqeeh
Source: Associated Press

This great news for Iran’s strategic campaign to dominate the Middle East as it allows the Qods Force’s objective of forcing Saudi Arabia and the terror financiers residing there to divert resources from the anti-Assad war effort in Syria back closer to home. Control of key Yemeni real estate also allows the Iranian regime to have more options in disrupting international shipping if they so desire. Using Sanaa as a major support hub, the Qods Force and Hezbollah will be able to provide greater levels of material support to cells operating inside Saudi Arabia to destabilize the new King’s government while targeting IS support nodes throughout the country. With all the fighting taking place in the country, if this isn’t a civil war already, then what is it? Now think about this – President Obama’s “Yemen Success Story” being touted as the “model for future operations in the War Against Terror” has seen millions of dollars in equipment “disappearing,” Hadi being run out of the capital, parliament dissolved, US embassy evacuated and the last of our troops pulled out of the country. The cherry on top is that IS now has a foothold in the country and Iran emerged as the big winner by supporting terrorism and fomenting regional unrest. What we’re seeing in Yemen is Iran exporting their “Islamic Revolution” to the Arabian Peninsula by implementing the “Lebanon Model.” We were also told during the 2008 US Presidential election that he was going to “fundamentally transform America – and the world.” Is this the “fundamental transformation” he was talking about?

A veteran militia leader in southern Yemen emerges as key ally of president against rebels

http://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2015/03/24/in-south-yemen-a-militia-leader-is-presidents-top-ally?page=2

BRIEF CLASHES IN ADEN AS POPULAR COMMITTEES SET UP CHECKPOINTS

http://www.yementimes.com/en/1861/news/4902/Brief-clashes-in-Aden-as-popular-committees-set-up-checkpoints.htm

YEMEN’S USE OF MILITIAS TO MAINTAIN STABILITY IN ABYAN PROVINCE

https://www.ctc.usma.edu/posts/yemens-use-of-militias-to-maintain-stability-in-abyan-province

Millions in U.S. military equipment lost as Yemen heads down Syria’s path

http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2015/03/24/millions-in-u-s-military-equipment-lost-as-yemen-heads-down-syrias-path/

UPDATE – Reporting that just broke a little while ago suggests that Hadi fled his Aden-based residence. No word yet on his current whereabouts, but if he leaves the country, he could be making a mad dash for either Saudi Arabia or UAE. Should that happen, it would signal the Saudis to initiate the first phase of their military intervention. Oh, and the airfield our troops were stationed at has fallen to the Houthis now. More to follow…

Officials tell AP: Yemen president flees Aden home

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/c55bb2a7eabe4311b2eb40ba1c3f2abd/report-rebels-seize-yemen-air-base-used-al-qaida-fight

Other Related Articles:

Poised to Fill Yemen’s Power Vacuum – Iran Tightens Grip on the Peninsula

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4517

The Islamic State’s Arabian Peninsula Campaign

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4558

President Obama’s Yemen “Success” Story

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4751

IRGC-Qods Force: The Arabian Peninsula Campaign and the Failure of Obama’s Foreign Policy

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4478

ISIS Saudi Threat Continues

This chart shows the top locations claimed by Twitter users supporting ISIS in 2015. http://www.statista.com/chart/3326/where-are-isis-supporters-tweeting-from/

This chart shows the top locations claimed by Twitter users supporting ISIS in 2015. http://www.statista.com/chart/3326/where-are-isis-supporters-tweeting-from/

March 22, 2015 / /

The US embassy in Riyadh and the consulates remained closed through Thursday and set to resume on 22 MAR due to the Islamic State (IS) threat in the country. The two brothers who were detained – Abdullah and Mahmoud Owais – are both members of an attack cell led by Seif al-Bari Shaman known as the “Group of Lone Wolves” (so we’ve been told). This group is one of the cells operating under the umbrella of the greater IS-linked Abdullah bin Sayid al-Sarhan attack network. The Group of Lone Wolves (GLW) are reportedly planning to conduct multiple operations in Riyadh and other select locations in the country to include abductions of westerners to star in the next beheading video, complex/IED attacks on security forces, and assassinations of Saudi security officials.

US embassy in Saudi extends closure to public

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2015/Mar-17/291081-us-embassy-in-saudi-extends-closure-to-public.ashx

SECURITY MESSAGE FOR U.S. CITIZENS

http://photos.state.gov/libraries/saudi-arabia/231771/public/securitymessageforuscitizensmarch.pdf

Saudi King Salman is seen during U.S. President Obama's visit to Erga Palace in Riyadh

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman: Ready to throw down with IS but won’t go after the Salafist and Wahabbist Imams and financiers bankrolling the terror organization’s external operations
Source: Reuters

The Saudis are looking to hire American oil workers who lost their jobs in America. There’s a reason for this – its because the people who were working in Saudi Arabia quit their jobs after the rising security threat made it a case of the juice not being worth the squeeze. We’re aware of a specific threat by GLW to target a South African national who works for a named US company. Other abductions of western oil workers – Americans in particular – are supposed to follow the South African, all of which are to appear in their own beheading videos.

Saudi Arabia Wooing Fired U.S. Shale Workers to ‘Join Our Team’

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-17/saudi-arabia-wooing-fired-u-s-shale-workers-to-join-our-team-

There’s also an IS threat to attack Shia Mosques, with a Mosque in Qatif coming up quite a bit in the reports we receive from our in-country sources. The al-Awamiyah Mosque has apparently been cased out a couple times judging by the frequency its been popping up, so we have a strong feeling that its on the short list to be hit in one of the planned attacks. Other than being a Shia Mosque, IS may suspect that the IRGC-Qods Force is running operations out of there as part of their tit-for-tat Cold War that’s being conducted in the country, although that’s just conjecture on our part. Our sources have also informed us of another possible plot to target Saudi border forts along the Iraq border. We assess that the IS presence in the country may be looking to expand their facilitation routes coming from Anbar, Iraq by reasserting themselves in the region by targeting the forts similar to what we’re seeing in the Sinai with Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM). So as you can see, the IS threat in Saudi Arabia hasn’t “gone away” and is here to stay for the foreseeable future. As the violence in Yemen escalates, keep close watch on things going on in Saudi Arabia – because there will be more to follow. Count on it.

Other Related Articles:

Amplifying Information on the US Embassy Threat in Saudi Arabia and Indications of Bigger Threats Emerging

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=5636

American Embassy in Saudi Arabia Closed Amid ISIS Threat

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=5611

The Islamic State’s Arabian Peninsula Campaign

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4558

To Topple the Throne: Islamic State Sets Its Sights on Saudi Arabia

saudiarabiaFortuna’s Corner, by R.C. Porter, March 15, 2015:

In light of this weekend’s heightened terrorist threat to the U.S. embassy and personnel in Saudi Arabia, The Jamestown Foundation has a timely article about the threat posed to the kingdom by the radical Islamic group — the Islamic State.  Chris Zambelis, had a March 6, 2015 article, “To Topple The Throne:  Islamic State Sets Its Sights On Saudi Arabia,” examines the threat the radical Islamic group poses to the kingdom.  Mr. Zambelis writes, “the Islamic State today represents the largest and potentially most complex set of challenges to Saudi Arabia, which had previously drawn the ire of al Qaeda, and its regional affiliates — al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

     The Islamic State’s leader (and self-styled caliph) Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, singled out Saudi Arabia in an audio statement titled, “Even If The Disbelievers Despise Such,” released by the group’s al-Furqan Media Foundation on November 13, 2014 in his statement  al-Baghdadi extolled what he describes as the purported expansion of the Islamic State to the “lands of al-Haramein” (two holy places) in addition to Yemen, Egypt, Libya and Algeria, through its acceptance of oaths of allegiance sworn by local militants to the self-styled caliphate.  Al Baghdadi’s mention of al-Haramein is notable in that it reflects the radical Islamic proclivity for avoiding any reference to Saudi Arabia by name, and by implication, any indirect recognition of legitimacy of the Saudi royal family, instead…highlighting Islam’s two holiest sights at Mecca and Mdeina.  Al-Baghdadi also proclaimed the appointment of regional governors to represent the Islamic State; and, called on all followers in Saudi Arabia and beyond, to to recognize and follow their leadership.  Al Baghdadi issued a categorical call to arms:  He referred to the Saudi royal family as “the serpent’s head,” and the “stronghold of disease,’ and implored his Saudi subjects to attack the “al Saloul,” and “their soldiers.”  The reference to al-Saloul represents a derogatory distortion of the al-Saud family name: in Islamic tradition, the al-Saloul family guarded the then pagan holy site of the Kaaba at Mecca, during the pre-Islamic period.  He also implored his followers to attack the polytheists and rafidah (rejectionists), an inflammatory label, often assigned to Shia Muslims by extreme Salafists and other hard-line Sunni Islamists, in apparent reference to the Kingdom’s substantial Shi’a majority population.  Al Baghdadi then issued an appeal for “patience,” and reassured his followers in the Kingdom that the “vanguards of the Islamic State are on their way” (al-Furqan Media Foundation, November 13, 2014).

     Mr. Zambelis writes that “the subsequent release of the fifth edition of the Dabiq, the Islamic State’s official magazine in November 2014 by its affiliated al-Hayat Media Center, followed up al-Baghdadi’s earlier de facto declaration of war against the House of Saud.  The cover of the magazine is emblazoned with a photograph of the Kaaba at Mecca, while the forward proclaims the Islamic State’s flag will “fly over Mecca and Medina.”  It is also emphasized that Saudi militants should take up arms at home and avoid traveling to battlefields abroad.  A section devoted to Saudi Arabia exalts the efforts of earlier generations of militants who resisted and attacked the monarchy, including al-Qaeda and its regional affiliate AQAP, while at the same time lamenting their failure to achieve their objectives.  Equally important, the Islamic State declares its opposition to Saudi’s fellow Persian Gulf monarchies in an apparent declaration of war against Saudi Arabia’s allies in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).  A section of rhe magazine dedicated to the group’s activities in Yemen emphasizes the proximity between Saudi- and Yemen-based Islamic State loyalists, and their potential to cooperate in launching attacks in the Arabian Peninsula (Dabiq, November 2014).”

     Mr. Zambelis warns that “an incursion by militants who had infiltrated Saudi Arabia’s northeastern town of Arar, located in the Northern Borders province that sits adjacent to Iraq’s southern border, on January 5, underlines the potential threat the Islamic State poses to the Kingdom (al-Jazeera, January 5).  While details surrounding the event remain murky, a band of Iraq-based insurgents reportedly associated with the Islamic State is said to have penetrated Saudi territory and engaged Saudi border police post.  The attackers are said to have employed small unit ambush tactics and a suicide bomber, who detonated his explosive-laden vest, while offering to surrender to a senior Saudi security officer, killing himself and the officer.  The ensuing incident left three border officers and four militants dead (Saudi Press Agency, January 5).  The Northern Borders province is located alongside Iraq’s Anbar Province, a key focus of support for the Islamic State that is hotly contested between the Islamic State and Iraqi security forces (Reuters, February 12).  The Saudi authorities have also linked the November 2014 murder of a Danish national in the capital, Riyadh..following the release of a video purportedly recorder by the perpetrator’s who claimed responsibility for the attack (The National [Abu Dhabi,] Dec. 2, 2014).  An attack that targeted Shi’a worshippers, who had gathered to commemorate Ashura, in al-Hasa, in the Kingdom’s Eastern province has also been attributed to the Islamic State (al Jazeera, November 25, 2014).  Saudi authorities are also reported to have disrupted numerous militant cells linked to the Islamic State (al-Arabiya [Dubai], August 28, 2014).

     Mr. Zambelis says that the Islamic State, “despises the Saudi royal family, for what they see as its pervasive corruption, strategic relationship with the United States, and illegitimate position as the custodian of Mecca and Medina.  In this regard, the Islamic State, much like al-Qaeda, views the Saudi royal family as an agent of U.S. imperialism that is bent on the domination and subjugation of the Arab and Islamic world.  Its status as the world’s largest exporter of oil, and second largest producer, adds another layer of complexity that is surely not lost on the Islamic State.  In this regard, Mr. Zambeis notes, al Qaeda’s earlier targeting of strategic energy infrastructure, including its February 2006 operation against the Abqaiq oil refinery — one of the world’s largest — may provide valuable insights into the Islamic State’s calculus with respect to prospective targets inside the Kingdom (al Jazeera, February 27, 2006).  The circumstances surrounding the 1979 seizure of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, by militants, led by Juhayman al-Qtabi, who were violently opposed to the Saudi monarchy, may also offer a glimpse into the Islamic State';s plans for the Kingdom (al-Majalla [London], November, 2009).”

     The threat to the U.S. embassy and its personnel — from either a kidnapping and/or car bomb, is very serious; and. likely to remain that way for the indefinite future — unless and until the Islamic State is eradicated from existence.  V/R, RCP

Also see:

American Embassy in Saudi Arabia Closed Amid Rising ISIS Threat

March 14, 2015 / /

The US State Department (DoS) announced the cancellation of all consular services for Sunday and Monday due to “heightened security concerns” that our sources in-country say has to do with an increased threat from the Islamic State (IS) to abduct western oil workers in the eastern part of the country. Specifically, an IS cell operating in the eastern part of the country has become increasingly active since last SEP 14. Much of this is the spillover we discussed in our previous article titled, “Iranian Regime Consolidates Yemeni Gains, Forming Houthi Intel Proxy.” As the IRGC-Qods Force and its proxies increase their OP-Tempo inside Saudi Arabia, so has IS. We are aware of specific threats targeting two oil workers, a French citizen and a US citizen. There’s also a separate VBIED threat targeting either the consulate in Dharhan or the embassy itself (we’re still working to identify the target location).

US shuts down Saudi embassy amid security fears
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31893070

US Embassy Warns Oil Workers of Saudi Arabia Kidnap Threat
http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/us-embassy-warns-oil-workers-saudi-arabia-kidnap-29636051

US Embassy in Saudi Arabia halts operations amid ‘heightened security concerns
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/03/14/us-embassy-in-saudi-arabia-halts-operations-amid-heightened-security-concerns/?intcmp=latestnews&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+feedburner%2FidRmZ+%28FOXNews.com%29

Saudi Arabia Travel Warning
http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings/saudi-arabia-travel-warning.html

Iranian Regime Consolidates Yemeni Gains, Forming Houthi Intel Proxy
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=5580

Shia Proxy Threat to US ISIS Strategy in Saudi Arabia
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=1837

riyadh

Source: BBC

In our piece titled “The Islamic State’s Arabian Peninsula Campaign,” we discussed how IS was forced into conducting operations inside the Saudi kingdom due to increased targeting by Saudi security forces and the IRGC-Qods Force. We saw that in the early-JAN 15 attack on a Saudi border post along the Iraqi border that IS took responsibility for in a video put out by their Anbar, Iraq-based media outlet. The individuals responsible for the attack were part of the Abdullah bin Sayid al-Sarhan attack network. This same network was also responsible for the deaths of five Shia locals under suspicions of being proxies for the IRGC-Qods Force back in NOV 14. The network was also responsible for a separate attack on two US citizens and a Danish national. This is the same part of Eastern Saudi Arabia that the French and American national IS is planning to abduct are located.

The Islamic State’s Arabian Peninsula Campaign
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4558

ISIS Claims Attack On Saudi Arabia Border, Signals Strategy Change In Militant Infiltration
http://www.ibtimes.com/isis-claims-attack-saudi-arabia-border-signals-strategy-change-militant-infiltration-1773754

Masked gunmen kill five in Saudi Arabia
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/04/masked-gunmen-kill-five-saudi-arabia

saudiborder

IS fighters along the Saudi-Iraq border
Source: International Business Times

The Saudis have detained over 150 IS fighters, facilitators and financiers over the past year. IS has already established a presence along the Iraq-Saudi border despite the ongoing project to erect a wall along the border. That presence enables them to send fighters and weapons across the border to and from the country at will, although Saudi military patrols have increased in recent months to interdict these smuggling operations. There are also elements of AQAP that have defected to the new IS-affiliate in Yemen, which suggests that the areas along the Southern border may be in play as well. Also keep in mind that Baghdadi specifically threatened Saudi Arabia in a NOV 14 video on “the next battlegrounds.” The current IS effort in Yemen, like their Iranian counterparts, appears to be connected to their operations in Saudi Arabia. We expect the threat to our fellow Americans and our country’s interests will continue to be threatened as the violence escalates on the Arabian Peninsula from IS, AQAP and the Iranian regime. We will continue to monitor develops in the country and update accordingly…

Saudi Arabia arrests first ISIS-related terror cell (this article has pics in it)
http://www.aawsat.net/2014/05/article55332025

Islamic State sets sights on Saudi Arabia
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30061109

ISIS gaining ground in Yemen, competing with al Qaeda
http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/21/politics/isis-gaining-ground-in-yemen/

Links to Other Related Articles:

Filipinos Among Arrested in Saudi Terror Sweep

Large-Scale Saudi Security Sweep Detains 88

Possible Cracks to The AQ Armor.

Bank Records Reveal Saudi Elites Gave Millions to Boston Marathon Bombers’ Mosque

Kayana Szymczak/Getty Images/AFP

Kayana Szymczak/Getty Images/AFP

Breitbart, by ILYA FEOKTISTOV, March 9, 2015:

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, currently on trial for terrorism charges from his role in the Boston Marathon bombings, prayed at the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) mosque in Cambridge, MA, which was founded by an Al Qaeda operative and funded with money from Saudi Arabia. According to Newsweek, the Tsarnaev brothers became radicalized after they started to attend this mosque.

Across the Charles River in Boston, the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) also operates the largest mosque on the Eastern Seaboard, the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center. It, too, was in large part established with money from Saudi Arabian elites. Indeed, former Saudi Minister of Petroleum Zaki Yamani gave the keynote speech at the celebration marking the transfer of public City of Boston land to the ISB to build its mega-mosque. Boston gave the ISB the land for less than 10% of its market value.

Now, for the first time, our organization, Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT) is making publicly available the names of wealthy Saudi and Gulf sources who together paid for over $8.6 million of the ISBCC mega-mosque’s $15.6 million price tag.

The Saudi donation records were recovered from the Islamic Society of Boston’s direct bank records, which were turned over to APT under court order during the ISB’s lawsuit against its critics for libel. The ISB was forced to drop the lawsuit after the lawsuit discovery process started revealing more and more of its connections to Islamic extremism and terrorism. A listing of donor names, donation dates, and dollar amounts, as well as the raw financial records in pdf form are included in this release. The records span the years 2000-2007, during which the ISBCC mosque was being built. There are multiple questionable Saudi and Gulf sources among these documents.

Among the donors to the ISB and its directors is Saudi Prince Bandar Bin Sultan. Earlier this month, in a lawsuit launched by 9/11 victims’ families against the Saudi government, Zacaraias Moussaoui, the would-be twelfth hijacker in the 9/11 attacks, gave sworn testimony in which he alleged that Prince Bandar was also a donor to Al Qaeda.

peaceandtolerance.org

Another donation to the ISB came from a Kuwaiti charity called Lajnat al Daawa al Islamiyya, a US Government designated terrorist entity whose Peshawar offices in Pakistan were once run by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.

peaceandtolerance.org

The largest source of Saudi funding for the ISB comes from the family fortune of Walid Fitaihi. A member of one of the wealthiest Saudi families, Walid Fitaihi also sits on the ISB’s Board of Trustees and is therefore one of the legal owners of both the ISBCC and the ISB Cambridge mosques. Fitaihi has written articles in Arabic-language newspapers expressing anti-Semitic sentiment. Writing in the London-based “Al-Sharq al Awsat” on October 18, 2000, Fitaihi prophesized that Jews will be:

[S]courged [because of their] oppression, murder, and rape of the worshippers of Allah…They have perpetrated the worst of evils and they have brought the worst corruption to the earth, and what we see of them these days is glad tidings for the Muslim heralding the fulfillment of Allah’s promise of victory after the second transgression.

Fitaihi and his father gave $2,387,025 to the ISB.

The Islamic Society of Boston received $1,000,000 from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB). At the time of the donation to the Islamic Society of Boston, the majority of the IDB’s funds were contributed by the governments of Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Libya – all countries with long-standing links to international terrorism. At the beginning of the Second Intifada, the IDB was involved in financing Hamas and PLO terrorism, including sending payments to families of Palestinian suicide bombers, through its management of the Al Quds and Al Aqsa Funds. In August 2001, the Arab daily Al Sharq Al Awsat reported that the IBD, led by its President Ahmad Muhammad Ali, supervises the Funds, which it characterized as supporting the Intifada. The paper also reported that the “IDB chief said there was no delay in paying financial assistance to the families of Palestinian martyrs.”

The National Commercial Bank (NCB) of Saudi Arabia sent $50,000 to the ISB. The NCB was founded by Khalid Bin Mahfouz, also the founder and prime benefactor of the specially-designated terrorist entity, Muaffaq Foundation. According to the U.S. Government, a 1998 audit found that the NCB funneled $3 million to Osama Bin Laden through the Muaffaq Foundation.

The Arab Bank gave the ISB $1,500. In a landmark judgment in September 2014, a New York jury found the Arab Bank liable for knowingly supporting and being complicit in at least two dozen Hamas terrorist attacks around Israel.

Since the early days of Al Qaeda, the majority of funding for radical Islamist causes around the globe have originated from Saudi Arabia — not primarily from the government itself, but rather from wealthy private individuals, financial institutions, and charities based in the Kingdom and in nearby Gulf countries. This continues to be the case today, even though the Saudi government itself has, over the last few years, pulled back on its support for radical Islamist groups across the militancy spectrum from the Muslim Brotherhood to the Islamic State. Riyadh is simply alarmed by potential blowback the Islamists pose to Saudi security.

There are many other members of the Saudi “one percenter” elite on the list of the Islamic Society of Boston donors. Research into their backgrounds is ongoing and crowdsourced research is more than welcome.

The Saudi society that these elites control is a deeply repressive and backward one. It is a society that publicly beheads people in the streets and has made a blogger who was critical of Saudi society face the death penalty for apostasy.

Saudi elites don’t practice moderate Islam and they don’t fund moderate mosques. It is therefore not surprising that the Islamic Society of Boston has been a source of extremism in the Cradle of Liberty, with 12 of its leaders or worshippers in jail, killed, or fugitives from the law due to their involvement in terrorism. Given the extremist Wahhabi form of Islam that the Saudi ruling elite have imposed on their people, it is about time we start asking what kind of Islam is being taught in a mosque built with their money.

World View: Reports Indicate Egypt, Italy, Russia Planning Military Action in Libya

Reuters

Reuters

Breitbart, by JOHN J. XENAKIS, March 1, 2015:

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Reports indicate Egypt, Italy, Russia planning military action in Libya
  • Egypt court declares Hamas to be a terrorist organization
  • Egypt and Turkey may try to create a ‘Sunni front’ with Saudi Arabia

Reports indicate Egypt, Italy, Russia planning military action in Libya

Russian warships in the Mediterranean (Russia Today)
Russian warships in the Mediterranean (Russia Today)

Various unconfirmed reports are emerging indicating that there may be joint international action planned in Libya as early as next week.

Egypt is already conducting air strikes against ISIS-linked targets in Derna, close to where Egyptian Coptics were massacred recently, as displayed in a gruesome video. Debka reports that Egypt’s president Abdel al-Fattah al-Sisi is planning further action in Libya, including more air strikes and possible ground troops, within a few days. According to the report, Egyptian commando and marine forces are preparing for sea landings to seize Derna and destroy the terrorist elements there. If this attack is actually launched, it will be the first time in modern times that an Arab country has sent ground forces into another Arab country.

Al-Jazeera television reports that the Italian navy is getting ready to carry off sophisticated military drills off the coast of Libya as early as Monday. Although Italy claims that it will be a regular exercise, there are many more vessels taking part in this year’s exercise than have in the past, which Italy explains by saying that they are testing out sophisticated new technologies.

There are several reasons why Italy is pursuing this show of force:

  • Italy considers the flood of migrants from Libya into Italy to be an existential threat to Italy itself, because there may be ISIS-trained terrorists smuggled in, along with the other migrants. Italy may be planning some kind of military action in Libya in conjunction with Egypt’s air strikes and other operations.
  • The GreenStream pipeline is a gas pipeline running underneath the Mediterranan Sea from Libya to Sicily. The pipeline is vital to economic relations between Italy and Libya. In recent months, there have been attacks by gunmen on oil installations in Libya, forcing some ports to shut down. The new show of naval force may be related to threats of attack or sabotage on the pipeline.
  • For over a year, Italy ran a search and rescue program called “Mare Nostrum” (“Our Sea”) that saved the lives of thousands of migrants attempting to travel from Libya to Italy. This program required Italian naval vessels near the Libyan coast. In November, the program ended and an EU program called Triton replaced it, but Triton restricts its operations to only 30 miles off the Italian coast. Triton has been considered unsatisfactory because many more migrants are drowning. Italy’s new show of naval force may be an attempt to restore a portion of the Mare Nostrum program.
  • Related to the last point, on Saturday there were large demonstrations in Rome by Italy’s anti-immigrant Northern League party for the government to do more to keep immigrants out. The naval show of force may help to mollify the protestors.

Some reports indicate that Russia has hinted at a willingness to participate in a naval blockade of Libya to prevent arm supplies from leaving Libya for other countries. Russia could play a role in this because it already has a naval fleet in the Mediterranean.

These are all unconfirmed reports of possible military action in Libya by Egypt, Italy and Russia. There are no reports of possible participation by Nato or the United States. Debkaand Cairo Post

Egypt court declares Hamas to be a terrorist organization

Egypt on Saturday became the first Arab country to name Hamas as a terrorist organization. The U.S. and the European Union have named Hamas as a terror group. An EU court took Hamas off the list in December 2014, ruling that the designation was not based on solid legal evidence, but the EU is appealing the court’s decision.

According to a decision on Saturday from the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters:

It has been proven without any doubt that the movement has committed acts of sabotage, assassinations and the killing of innocent civilians and members of the armed forces and police in Egypt.

It has been also ascertained with documents that [Hamas] has carried out bombings that have taken lives and destroyed institutions and targeted civilians and the armed forces personnel. It has also been ascertained that this movement works for the interests of the terrorist Brotherhood organization [which Egypt has already declared to be a terrorist organization].

About a month ago, the same court declared Hamas’s military wing, Al-Qassam Brigades, to be a terrorist organization. Saturday’s ruling makes the political wing a terrorist organization as well.

A Hamas spokesman denied all the charges and said that the ruling was “dangerous”:

History has recorded Egypt’s support to national liberty movements in the Arab world and Africa, particularly in Palestine. … This ruling serves the Israeli occupation. It’s a politicized decision that constitutes the beginning of Egypt evading its role toward the Palestinian cause. This is a coup against history and an Egyptian abuse of the Palestinian cause and resistance, which fights on behalf of the Arab nation. We call on Egypt to reconsider this dangerous decision.

Al Jazeera and Al Ahram (Cairo) and CS Monitor and Al Resalah (Palestine)

Egypt and Turkey may try to create a ‘Sunni front’ with Saudi Arabia

By coincidence or by planning, the presidents of both Egypt and Turkey will be in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, this week. Egypt’s Abdel al-Fattah al-Sisi and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan will both be visiting King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud, the new king of Saudi Arabia, who has replaced King Abdullah, who died last month.

It is not known whether Erdogan will ever be in the same room as al-Sisi. The two have been bitter enemies ever since a coup by al-Sisi ousted Egypt’s elected president Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood government in 2013, and later declared MB to be a terrorist organization. Erdogan’s own political party, the AKP, is an Islamist party like the Muslim Brotherhood, and they had good relations while Morsi was in power.

There has been some speculation that King Salman is going to completely reverse King Abdullah’s policy on the Muslim Brotherhood. Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) had branded MB as a terrorist organization, but some are wondering if Salman is going to shift from that policy. The Saudi foreign minister recently said that his government has “no problem with the Muslim Brotherhood; our problem is with a small group affiliated to the organization,” suggesting that shift is in the works.

Other problems make an Egypt-Turkey rapprochement unlikely: Erdogan vitriolicly hates Israel and supports Hamas. Al-Sisi vitriolicly hates Hamas and works closely with Israel on military matters, especially in North Sinai. It does n0t seem likely that any meeting, if one even occurs, will be pleasant.

If King Salman is able to pull off a miracle and mediate a new relationship between Egypt and Turkey, then it would appear to be the establishment of a new “Sunni front” in the Mideast, to oppose Iran, Hezbollah and the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Al Arabiya and Kurdistan and Arab Times

Secure the Border!

aisis-426x350Frontpage, February 19, 2015 by Raymond Ibrahim:

Originally published by PJ Media.

In a move reminiscent of “ancient history,” Saudi Arabia is building a 600-mile-long “Great Wall”  –  a combined fence and ditch  –  to separate itself from the Islamic State to the north in Iraq:

Plans for the 600-mile wall and ditch Saudi Arabia will build with Iraq in an effort to insulate itself from the chaos engulfing its neighbors.

Much of the area on the Iraqi side is now controlled by Isil [the Islamic State], which regards the ultimate capture of Saudi Arabia, home to the “Two Holy Mosques” of Mecca and Medina, as a key goal….

The irony here is that those Muslims that Saudi Arabia is trying to keep out are the very same Muslims most nurtured and influenced by a Saudi — or “Wahabbi,” or “Salafi” — worldview.

Put differently, Saudi Arabia is again appreciating how jihad is a volatile instrument of war that can easily backfire on those who support it.  “Holy war” is hardly limited to fighting and subjugating “infidels” — whether the West in general, Israel in particular, or the millions of non-Muslim minorities under Islam — but also justifies fighting “apostates,” that is, Muslims accused of not being Islamic enough.

Indeed, the first grand jihad was against Muslim “apostates” — the Ridda [“apostasy”] Wars.  After Muhammad died in 632, many Arab tribes were willing to remain Muslim but without paying zakat (“charity”) money to the first caliph, Abu Bakr.  That was enough to declare jihad on them as apostates; tens of thousands of Arabs were burned, beheaded, dismembered, or crucified, according to Islamic history.

Accordingly, the Islamic State justifies burning people alive, such as the Jordanian pilot, precisely because the first caliph and his Muslim lieutenants burned apostates alive, and is even on record saying that “false Muslims” are its first target, then Israel.

This is the problem all Muslim nations and rulers risk: no one — not even Sharia-advocating Islamist leaders — are immune to the all-accusing sword tip of the jihad.  If non-Muslims are, as “infidels,” de facto enemies, any Muslim can be accused of “apostasy,” instantly becoming an enemy of Allah and his prophet.

A saying attributed to the Muslim prophet Muhammad validates this perspective: “This umma [Islamic nation] of mine will split into seventy-three sects; one will be in paradise and seventy-two will be in hell.”  When asked which sect was the true one, the prophet replied, “aljama‘a,” that is, the group which most literally follows the example or “sunna” of Muhammad.

This saying perfectly sums up the history of Islam: to be deemed legitimate, authorities must uphold the teachings of Islam — including jihad; but it is never long before another claimant accuses existing leadership of not being “Islamic enough.”

Enter the Saudi/Islamic State relationship. From the start, the Arabian kingdom has been a supporter of the Islamic State.  It was not long, however, before IS made clear that Saudi Arabia was one of its primary targets, calling on its allies and supporters in the kingdom to kill and drive out the Saud tribe.

Nor is this the first time the Saudis see those whom they nurtured — ideologically and logistically — turn on them.  Back in the 1980s, the Saudis were chief supporters of the jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan and helped create al-Qaeda.

But once the “distant” infidel was subdued, al-Qaeda and its Saudi-born leader Osama bin Laden came home to roost, doing the inevitable: pointing the accusatory finger at the Saudi monarchy for not being Islamic enough, including for its reliance on the great American infidel during the First Gulf War.

Moreover, Saudi Arabia is not only a chief disseminator and supporter of the Salafi ideology most associated with jihad, but the Arabian kingdom itself was forged in large measure by articulating and calling for holy war in the 19th and -20th centuries, including against Turks and fellow Arab tribes (both Muslim).

The Saudi argument then was the very same argument now being made by the Islamic State — that the rulers of Islam’s holiest mosques in Mecca and Medina (in this case, the Ottoman Turks) were not “Islamic” enough.

Such is the double-edged sword of jihad.   All Islamic governments, regimes, and kingdoms must always try to direct this potent instrument of war against enemies or neutral targets — preferably ones far away from their borders (Afghanistan, America, etc.). For they know that the longer the jihad waxes in strength and goes uncontained, the more it becomes like an all-consuming fire indiscriminately scorching all in its path.

And this explains why Saudi Arabia is a chief funder and supporter of external jihads: to send its own zealots out of its borders to fight distant infidels (a “better them than me” mentality).  It also explains why nations like Saudi Arabia, which were forged by the jihad, continually find themselves threatened by the jihad — or, to paraphrase a young Jewish rabbi: “Those who live by the sword will die by the sword.”

SAUDI ARABIA AND 9/11: THE REAL CONNECTION

saudi bushBreitbart, by Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Feb. 8, 2015:

Many expect a smoking gun to be found in the 28 still-classified pages of the official 9/11 Commission Report, evidence linking Saudi Arabia to Al Qaeda. The truth about the Kingdom’s links to the Global Jihadi Movement is historic and already established.

Again this week, there were calls to declassify the missing sections of the 9/11 Commission report. This time, the pressure comes from relatives of the 9/11 victims, who have brought a court case alleging that a charity linked to the government of Saudi Arabia was funneling funds to Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda. The revelation of official statements made last year by the so-called “20th hijacker,” Zacarias Moussaoui have given the accusations more credence. You can read the transcripts of his depositions here, here, here, and here.

Over the years, Moussaoui has made serial claims about Al Qaeda’s international links and plots beyond the 9/11 attacks, including a plan to down Air Force One with a Stinger missile. Now, he accuses members of the Saudi royalty of being financiers of Osama bin Laden and his organization. Unsurprisingly, the official response from the Saudi government has been swift and dismissive, with the embassy in Washington, D.C. stating that “Moussaoui is a deranged criminal” and that “His words have no credibility.”

Those who expect some kind of resolution or spectacular revelation will likely be disappointed even if the redacted portions of the Commission report are released. As has been documented, a wide range of Moussaoui’s stories in the past have been demonstrated to be not only questionable but even impossible. It should be remembered that back in 2006 he was diagnosed as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. Even if he no longer suffers from mental illness, his latest statements may be just another pedestrian case of a “lifer” bargaining testimony for concessions.

The truth about the Kingdom’s connections to the international jihadist movement are in fact much older and well documented.

To begin with, the Kingdom was actually created out of the pact made between Mohammad bin Saud and the fundamentalist religious leader Mohammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, the founder of the puritanical version of Sunni Islam know as Wahhabism. Subsequently, the nation that resulted was one defined in stark contrast to enlightened modern monarchies such as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan or secular Muslim republics such as Ataturk’s Turkey. But the definitive connection between the House of Saud and the Global Jihadist Movement can be traced back to 1979. In a year that would see the Soviets invade Afghanistan and catalyze a Holy War against themselves, and a theocratic revolution erupt in Iran, 500 jihadi terrorists stormed the holiest site in Islam, the Grand Mosque in Mecca. Their leader, Juhayman al Otaybi, launched the assault because of his belief that Islam had lost its way, that Muslims were weak because they had become unfaithful, and their leaders, starting with King Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al Saud had become un-Islamic.

Eventually, the siege was broken with the help of French counterterrorism operators that had been smuggling into the Kingdom and “converted” to Islam so they could enter Mecca. However, when the king found out that Saudi clerics, members of the learned ulema, had endorsed this holy war against him and his royal house, the king made a deal with the jihadist clerics. In exchange for Saudi Arabia being kept free from jihadist ideologically internally, his regime would support the export and dissemination of Jihadism outside of Saudi Arabia, to non-Muslim lands. For chapter and verse see the excellent book The Siege of Mecca. As a result, for several decades, the Saudi government facilitated the growth internationally of jihadist ideology, be it through Arab Mujahedeen in Afghanistan, or the Balkans, or elsewhere, until the First Gulf War. When the then-king invited “infidel” US troops to station themselves on the Arabian peninsula, Osama bin Laden added the House of Saud onto his target list, despite being born a Saudi Arabian and his father being very close to the royal family. For bin Laden, the House of Saud had become false Muslims, just as in the eyes of the original Meccan raiders on 1979. This has all been well-documented, most especially in Lawrence Wright’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Looming Tower. When we sent troops to the land of Mecca and Medina, Al Qaeda reinvented itself as an organization that would not only kill infidels, but also apostate or “false” Muslims, including a campaign after 9/11 that targeted the Saudi security services and government officials.

In recent years, especially with the rise of The Islamic State, Saudi Arabia has fundamentally reassessed its attitude to the Global Jihadist Movement. That does not mean, of course, that all its princes or government officials are whole-heartedly on the side of America and her allies, but it does mean that events such as the recent immolation of the Jordanian pilot Muadh al Kasasbeh have a much greater significance for the Islamic governments of the region.

Sebastian Gorka PhD. is the Major General Matthew C. Horner Distinguished Chair of Military Theory at the Marine Corps University. You can follow him of Twitter at @SebGorka.