Britain’s Jihadists Within

70976852_019514832-2-450x325by :

Some of the “freedom fighters” who are at war against the evil tyrant Assad in Syria, the “rebels” whom both U.S. President Obama and British Prime Minister Cameron wanted to help, have now been re-classified as “the biggest threat to Britain’s security” and a “greater threat than al-Qaeda terrorists in Pakistan and Afghanistan.” The British Home Office identifies Syria as “the most significant development in global terrorism.”

More than half of anti-terror investigations by the UK security service MI5 involve “Britons” who went to fight in Syria. Charles Farr, the Home Office’s counter-terrorism chief, and others warned that the Syrian war is stoking the biggest terror threat to the West since September 11, and this problem is predicted to persist for as long as the hostilities will continue.

Syria is much closer to Europe than Afghanistan and Pakistan, making it a particularly easy and dangerous destination for UK Muslims who come back well trained, armed and ready for business: terrorism. And because the security services monitor about half of them, the risk is very high.

Robert Spencer asks some pertinent questions:

Why aren’t they monitoring the rest? And why were these men let back into the country in the first place? Simply because they’re citizens? (Are they even all citizens?)

In the past three years, from the beginning of the conflict, no fewer than 500 Britons have travelled to Syria to fight, many more than the corresponding number for Iraq. According to French President Francois Hollande, they are actually up to 700.

Between 250 and 400 of them are believed to be back with us, although the number may be higher. Apparently, they found life there “too hard,” so they say. But they may have been encouraged to return “home” in order to carry out attacks in the UK.

Hundreds more are still in Syria, and one of them has posted an Internet video urging his coreligionists in Britain to join them and help their Syrian brothers and sisters, saying: “The doors of jihad are still open.” He is a member of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a group which wants Syria to become an Islamic state ruled by Sharia law and which is considered too extreme even by Al-Qaeda, that officially disowned it. The first jihadists returning provincial capital to be occupied by ISIS was the city of Raqqa, on whose Christian community it has imposed payment of the jizya and other rules associated with dhimmi status.

These are people who know their Islam, no doubt. They’ve forced even the BBC reporters to become familiar with the triple choice: convert, submit, die.

Read more at Front Page

The Red Line and the Rat Line

Seymour M. Hersh on Obama, Erdoğan and the Syrian rebels:

In 2011 Barack Obama led an allied military intervention in Libya without consulting the US Congress. Last August, after the sarin attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, he was ready to launch an allied air strike, this time to punish the Syrian government for allegedly crossing the ‘red line’ he had set in 2012 on the use of chemical weapons. Then with less than two days to go before the planned strike, he announced that he would seek congressional approval for the intervention. The strike was postponed as Congress prepared for hearings, and subsequently cancelled when Obama accepted Assad’s offer to relinquish his chemical arsenal in a deal brokered by Russia. Why did Obama delay and then relent on Syria when he was not shy about rushing into Libya? The answer lies in a clash between those in the administration who were committed to enforcing the red line, and military leaders who thought that going to war was both unjustified and potentially disastrous.

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The full extent of US co-operation with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in assisting the rebel opposition in Syria has yet to come to light. The Obama administration has never publicly admitted to its role in creating what the CIA calls a ‘rat line’, a back channel highway into Syria. The rat line, authorised in early 2012, was used to funnel weapons and ammunition from Libya via southern Turkey and across the Syrian border to the opposition. Many of those in Syria who ultimately received the weapons were jihadists, some of them affiliated with al-Qaida. (The DNI spokesperson said: ‘The idea that the United States was providing weapons from Libya to anyone is false.’)

In January, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on the assault by a local militia in September 2012 on the American consulate and a nearby undercover CIA facility in Benghazi, which resulted in the death of the US ambassador, Christopher Stevens, and three others. The report’s criticism of the State Department for not providing adequate security at the consulate, and of the intelligence community for not alerting the US military to the presence of a CIA outpost in the area, received front-page coverage and revived animosities in Washington, with Republicans accusing Obama and Hillary Clinton of a cover-up. A highly classified annex to the report, not made public, described a secret agreement reached in early 2012 between the Obama and Erdoğan administrations. It pertained to the rat line. By the terms of the agreement, funding came from Turkey, as well as Saudi Arabia and Qatar; the CIA, with the support of MI6, was responsible for getting arms from Gaddafi’s arsenals into Syria. A number of front companies were set up in Libya, some under the cover of Australian entities. Retired American soldiers, who didn’t always know who was really employing them, were hired to manage procurement and shipping. The operation was run by David Petraeus, the CIA director who would soon resign when it became known he was having an affair with his biographer. (A spokesperson for Petraeus denied the operation ever took place.)

The operation had not been disclosed at the time it was set up to the congressional intelligence committees and the congressional leadership, as required by law since the 1970s. The involvement of MI6 enabled the CIA to evade the law by classifying the mission as a liaison operation. The former intelligence official explained that for years there has been a recognised exception in the law that permits the CIA not to report liaison activity to Congress, which would otherwise be owed a finding. (All proposed CIA covert operations must be described in a written document, known as a ‘finding’, submitted to the senior leadership of Congress for approval.) Distribution of the annex was limited to the staff aides who wrote the report and to the eight ranking members of Congress – the Democratic and Republican leaders of the House and Senate, and the Democratic and Republicans leaders on the House and Senate intelligence committees. This hardly constituted a genuine attempt at oversight: the eight leaders are not known to gather together to raise questions or discuss the secret information they receive.

The annex didn’t tell the whole story of what happened in Benghazi before the attack, nor did it explain why the American consulate was attacked. ‘The consulate’s only mission was to provide cover for the moving of arms,’ the former intelligence official, who has read the annex, said. ‘It had no real political role.’

Washington abruptly ended the CIA’s role in the transfer of arms from Libya after the attack on the consulate, but the rat line kept going. ‘The United States was no longer in control of what the Turks were relaying to the jihadists,’ the former intelligence official said. Within weeks, as many as forty portable surface-to-air missile launchers, commonly known as manpads, were in the hands of Syrian rebels. On 28 November 2012, Joby Warrick of the Washington Post reported that the previous day rebels near Aleppo had used what was almost certainly a manpad to shoot down a Syrian transport helicopter. ‘The Obama administration,’ Warrick wrote, ‘has steadfastly opposed arming Syrian opposition forces with such missiles, warning that the weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists and be used to shoot down commercial aircraft.’ Two Middle Eastern intelligence officials fingered Qatar as the source, and a former US intelligence analyst speculated that the manpads could have been obtained from Syrian military outposts overrun by the rebels. There was no indication that the rebels’ possession of manpads was likely the unintended consequence of a covert US programme that was no longer under US control.

By the end of 2012, it was believed throughout the American intelligence community that the rebels were losing the war. ‘Erdoğan was pissed,’ the former intelligence official said, ‘and felt he was left hanging on the vine. It was his money and the cut-off was seen as a betrayal.’ In spring 2013 US intelligence learned that the Turkish government – through elements of the MIT, its national intelligence agency, and the Gendarmerie, a militarised law-enforcement organisation – was working directly with al-Nusra and its allies to develop a chemical warfare capability. ‘The MIT was running the political liaison with the rebels, and the Gendarmerie handled military logistics, on-the-scene advice and training – including training in chemical warfare,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘Stepping up Turkey’s role in spring 2013 was seen as the key to its problems there. Erdoğan knew that if he stopped his support of the jihadists it would be all over. The Saudis could not support the war because of logistics – the distances involved and the difficulty of moving weapons and supplies. Erdoğan’s hope was to instigate an event that would force the US to cross the red line. But Obama didn’t respond in March and April.’

There was no public sign of discord when Erdoğan and Obama met on 16 May 2013 at the White House. At a later press conference Obama said that they had agreed that Assad ‘needs to go’. Asked whether he thought Syria had crossed the red line, Obama acknowledged that there was evidence such weapons had been used, but added, ‘it is important for us to make sure that we’re able to get more specific information about what exactly is happening there.’ The red line was still intact.

An American foreign policy expert who speaks regularly with officials in Washington and Ankara told me about a working dinner Obama held for Erdoğan during his May visit. The meal was dominated by the Turks’ insistence that Syria had crossed the red line and their complaints that Obama was reluctant to do anything about it. Obama was accompanied by John Kerry and Tom Donilon, the national security adviser who would soon leave the job. Erdoğan was joined by Ahmet Davutoğlu, Turkey’s foreign minister, and Hakan Fidan, the head of the MIT. Fidan is known to be fiercely loyal to Erdoğan, and has been seen as a consistent backer of the radical rebel opposition in Syria.

 Sitting around the table (left to right): Ahmet Davutoglu (Turkish FM)–back of head–,Tayyip Erdogan, Hakan Fidan, John Kerry, Barack Obama, (possibly Hilary Clinton), Tom Donilon.

Sitting around the table (left to right): Ahmet Davutoglu (Turkish FM)–back of head–,Tayyip Erdogan, Hakan Fidan, John Kerry, Barack Obama, (possibly Hilary Clinton), Tom Donilon.

The foreign policy expert told me that the account he heard originated with Donilon. (It was later corroborated by a former US official, who learned of it from a senior Turkish diplomat.) According to the expert, Erdoğan had sought the meeting to demonstrate to Obama that the red line had been crossed, and had brought Fidan along to state the case. When Erdoğan tried to draw Fidan into the conversation, and Fidan began speaking, Obama cut him off and said: ‘We know.’ Erdoğan tried to bring Fidan in a second time, and Obama again cut him off and said: ‘We know.’ At that point, an exasperated Erdoğan said, ‘But your red line has been crossed!’ and, the expert told me, ‘Donilon said Erdoğan “fucking waved his finger at the president inside the White House”.’ Obama then pointed at Fidan and said: ‘We know what you’re doing with the radicals in Syria.’ (Donilon, who joined the Council on Foreign Relations last July, didn’t respond to questions about this story. The Turkish Foreign Ministry didn’t respond to questions about the dinner. A spokesperson for the National Security Council confirmed that the dinner took place and provided a photograph showing Obama, Kerry, Donilon, Erdoğan, Fidan and Davutoğlu sitting at a table. ‘Beyond that,’ she said, ‘I’m not going to read out the details of their discussions.’)

Read more at London Review of Books

Walid Shoebat has some interesting observations on this here: CIA Was Involved In Benghazi Attack

Muslim Cleric Urges Poor Women to Become Sex-Slaves

Sheikh al-Ajlawni justifying his fatwa on video

Sheikh al-Ajlawni justifying his fatwa on video

by :

Within the context of keeping the Syrian jihad alive, it seems there is no end to the attempts of some Islamic clerics to legitimize otherwise forbidden behavior in order to gratify the sexual urges of the jihadis and keep them fighting Syrian president Bashar Assad.

First, there was the now infamous “sex-jihad” fatwa, which holds that any Muslim woman who willingly allows her body to be used by the sexually-deprived jihadis becomes herself a jihadi, if not a “martyr,” deserving of all the honor and rewards associated with those titles.  (Much has been written about the sex jihad, including videotaped testimonials—and how one teenage girl, after copulating with countless jihadis, got pregnant and contracted aids—even as pro-Syrian war Western entities like Foreign Policy try to deny it.)

Another fatwa permitted the jihadis in Syria to enslave and rape any non-Sunni women—including Alawites (Assad’s sect), Christians, Druze, and all Shia—in the context of their status as melk al-yamin or “right hand possessions,” per Koran 4:3 (a verse that permits the enslavement and sexual use of conquered “infidel” women).

Now, the same Islamic cleric who issued this last “rape fatwa” has issued another fatwa urging destitute women in war torn Syria to become the “right hand possessions” of any man willing to support them—basically, to sell themselves into sex-slavery.

In a video that appeared in December 2013, Jordanian Sheikh Yassin al-Ajlawni, who says he lived in Syria for 17 years, asserted that “the needy, disenfranchised Syrian woman is permitted to ask the Muslim man who is capable of supporting her, to enter into a “right hand possession” contract with him, whereby she becomes his right hand possession.”

Ajlawni’s logic is that, because Syria is in a state of war, and the numbers of men are dropping, needy and displaced women are permitted to seek out support by selling themselves into concubinage.

In the Muslim sheikh’s own words:

We hereby give fatwa permitting the Syrian woman who desires to be married to a Muslim man, via a “right hand possession” contract—whereby he becomes her master and she becomes his slave—that all this contract needs is for the woman be clean of her menstruation period, and that this contract be registered with the sheikhs or other authorities, either in a Sharia or civil court…  Afterwards, once the woman says, “I give you possession over myself,” via contract of “right hand possession,” this woman becomes his loyal servant, and he her lord; she becomes a slave and concubine to him, and he must support her according to a previously agreed upon monetary fee … thus they become governed by the rulings of “right hand possession,” and there is no problem with this, Allah willing.

To bolster his fatwa, al-Ajlawni referred to a few hadiths (recorded words and teachings of Islam’s prophet Muhammad), including: “One of the signs of the [final] hour is that knowledge will decrease, ignorance will increase, adultery will appear, women will grow in numbers, while men will grow less, so that fifty women will be worth one [man].”

Read more

Armenians Flee Syrian Town Seized by Radical Islamists

Also see:

“Yes we ban” Turkey blocks YouTube after audio recording leaked

 

A view of a computer screen showing a digital portrait of the Turkish prime minister and text reading "Yes we ban" in Istanbul on March 27. Turkey banned video-sharing website YouTube, having blocked Twitter a week earlier after both were used to spread audio recordings damaging to the government, local media reported. (Photo: Ozan Kose, AFP/Getty Images)

A view of a computer screen showing a digital portrait of the Turkish prime minister and text reading “Yes we ban” in Istanbul on March 27. Turkey banned video-sharing website YouTube, having blocked Twitter a week earlier after both were used to spread audio recordings damaging to the government, local media reported.
(Photo: Ozan Kose, AFP/Getty Images)

USA Today March 27, 2014

Turkey on Thursday blocked access to YouTube following its recent order banning Twitter after someone posted an audio recording in which senior Turkish officials are purportedly discussing a scheme to create a pretext for waging war on Syria.

The audio claims to be a recording of Turkey’s foreign minister, its intelligence chief and an undersecretary of foreign affairs discussing plans to stage attacks on Turkey from Syrian soil to justify waging a counterattack on Syria, says Ilhan Tanir of the Turkish Daily Today’s Zaman in Istanbul.

The Turkish foreign ministry said the recording had been manipulated, but at a rally in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir on Thursday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan appeared to confirm the leak was genuine, according to the BBC.

“They even leaked a national security meeting,” he said. “This is villainous, this is dishonesty. … Who are you serving by doing audio surveillance of such an important meeting?”

The YouTube blockage caused an uproar across Turkey, with most newspapers carrying the news at the top of their Web pages.

A telecommunications authority Web page gave the following information for YouTube.com: “After technical analysis and legal consideration based on the law, an administrative measure has been taken for this website.”

In an e-mailed statement from Google Inc., which owns YouTube, spokeswoman Abbi Tatton said the company had seen reports that some users in Turkey weren’t able to access YouTube.

“There is no technical issue on our side and we’re looking into the situation,” she said.

The move came a day after a court in Turkey’s capital, Ankara, said the government could not continue a ban it imposed on Twitter last week. Many Turkish users found ways to access Twitter despite the ban.

Erdogan had ordered Twitter blocked March 20, after the microblogging site refused to suspend anonymous accounts that linked to alleged recordings of Erdogan and his son talking about hiding money from police on a day of raids during a corruption investigation.

Erdogan called the recordings false and an invasion of privacy, and has said that the ban on Twitter could be extended to YouTube and Facebook.

The leak comes three days before elections Sunday for local offices, a referendum on Erdogan’s rule that could hurt his governing coalition if his party preforms badly.

YouTube was blocked about two or three hours after the audio appeared on an anonymous YouTube account, revealed publicly via Twitter, Tanir said.

The video contains audio and written text of a conversation that was allegedly recorded in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ building between intelligence chief Hakan Fidan, army deputy chief of staff Yasar Guler, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu.

Those talking discuss several options on what to do “if they wanted to create a reason to wage” war on Syria, Tanir said. Those recorded also talked about plans for a potential no-fly zone over Syria distributed by U.S. officials.

Read more

 

Western Ignorance of the ‘Conditions of Omar’

Church in RaqqaBy Raymond Ibrahim:

A jihadi group occupying the Syrian town of Raqqa recently gave Christian minorities living there three choices: 1) convert to Islam, 2) remain Christian but pay tribute and accept third-class subject status, or 3) die by the sword.

According to the BBC, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria issued a directive

citing the Islamic concept of “dhimma”, [which] requires Christians in the city to pay tax of around half an ounce (14g) of pure gold in exchange for their safety. It says Christians must not make renovations to churches, display crosses or other religious symbols outside churches, ring church bells or pray in public.  Christians must not carry arms, and must follow other rules imposed by ISIS (also known as ISIL) on their daily lives.  The statement said the group had met Christian representatives and offered them three choices—they could convert to Islam, accept ISIS’ conditions, or reject their control and risk being killed.  “If they reject, they are subject to being legitimate targets, and nothing will remain between them and ISIS other than the sword,” the statement said.

Because several Western media outlets uncharacteristically reported on this latest atrocity against Syrian Christians, many Westerners are shocked—amazed to hear of such draconian conditions.

In reality, however, these three choices are fully grounded in Islamic teachings, as shall be demonstrated below.

So why is the West, here in the “information age,” utterly if not abhorrently ignorant of the teachings of Islam?   Because those responsible for making such knowledge available—specifically academia, media, and government—are more interested in whitewashing Islam andbemoaning Islamophobia (see pgs. 219-249 of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians for specifics).

Western Dissembling

Most symbolic of all this is that right around the same time news that jihadis were subjugating and extorting jizya-money from Syrian Christians appeared, the Saudi-funded Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Christian-Muslim Understanding at Georgetown University, Washington D.C.,  held a seminar discussing how Islam is misunderstood and being demonized by so-called “Islamophobes.”

I have direct experience of this.  Many years ago, as a graduate student at Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, my interest in medieval Islamic history, Sharia, and jihad received askance looks from professors—not least because most classes offered were about the evils of colonialism and Orientalism, or Islamic “feminism.”

It was the same when I worked at the African and Middle Eastern Division of the Library of Congress, a governmental institution; there, our conferences regularly focused on the purported achievements of Islamic civilization.

As for the endemic Muslim persecution of Christians—past or present—apparently only an “Islamophobe” would raise that topic up.

Speaking of government, also around the same time jihadis were giving Christians the three classic choices of Islam—conversion, subjugation, or death—a delegation of Syrian Christian clergy came to the Senate Arms Services Committee meeting room to offer testimony concerning the sufferings of Syria’s Christians.  Then,

Sen. John McCain marched into the committee room yelling, according to a high-level source that attended the meeting, and quickly stormed out. “He was incredibly rude,” the source told Judicial Watch “because he didn’t think the Syrian church leaders should even be allowed in the room.” Following the shameful tantrum McCain reentered the room and sat briefly but refused to make eye contact with the participants, instead ignoring them by looking down at what appeared to be random papers. The outburst was so embarrassing that Senator Graham, also an advocate of U.S. military intervention in Syria, apologized for McCain’s disturbing outburst. “Graham actually apologized to the group for McCain’s behavior,” according to the source, who sat through the entire meeting. “It was truly unbelievable.”

Less dramatically but equally revealing, CIA chief John Brennan recently declared that the ideology of those offering Christians three choices is “a perverse and very corrupt interpretation of the Koran,” one that has “hijacked” Islam and “really distorted the teachings of Muhammad.”

And if the attempts to suppress the reality of Christian suffering under Islam by academia, media, and government were not enough, months and years back, when the plight of Syria’s Christians was becoming known, even random (but supposedly nonbiased and independent) think tanks and writers also tried to suppress it.

Is it any wonder, then, that Christians in Syria being offered three choices—Islam, subjugation, or death—is mindboggling to the average person in the West, appearing as a wild aberration?

The Conditions of Omar

Yet knowledge of the particulars of Islam’s three-fold choice has been available for centuries; early Western peoples were much acquainted with it, including the now much maligned “Orientalists.”

Whereas Koran 9:29 provides divine sanction to fight the “People of the Book”  (namely, Christians and Jews) “until they pay the jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued,” the lesser known Conditions of Omar (also known as the Pact of Omar) lays out in detail how they are to feel themselves subdued.

Named after the second caliph, Omar bin al-Khattab (r. 634 to 644), the Conditions was purportedly agreed upon between the caliph and a community of Christians conquered by invading Muslims, ironically in the region of Syria.  It has since been referenced in most major works on the treatment of dhimmis—non-Muslims living under Islamic authority.

Read more at PJ Media

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:

Two Americans Arrested for Plans to Join Syrian Jihadists

Syrian rebel fighters

By Ryan Mauro:

Two Americans were arrested in the past few days as the Syrian civil war attracts Western recruits. One sought to join Hezbollah and the other took the side of an Al-Qaeda affiliate, but both believed they were fulfilling a commandment to wage jihad against the infidel.

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

Syrian jihadists have a sophisticated network in America, including those favorable to Al-Qaeda-linked groups. One opposition group linked to the Muslim Brotherhood has received over $12 million in U.S. government assistance.

Another Islamist named Sheikh Osama al-Rifai has used the Syrian Sunrise Foundation to raise over $3.6 million in one tour, bringing him to Florida, Illinois, Texas, Indiana, California and Michigan. His fundraising pitch was that any donor qualifies as a “jihadist for Allah.” One event was held at the influential Mosque Foundation that is part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood network.

In January, a terrorism-supporting imam named Sheikh Mohammad Rateb al-Nabulsi came to the U.S. to fundraise for Syrian “rebels” in 11 cities with help from a group called the Syrian American Council. One of the fundraisers was held at the Islamic Center of Passaic County in N.J. Other events took place in Florida, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Virginia.

In the 1980s, Afghanistan acted as the incubator for a generation of terrorists. It was the one spot where aspiring jihadists could go to get everything they needed, especially fighting experience. Other Muslims, innocently hoping to stop oppression, became radicalized on the battlefield.

Syria is modern-day equivalent. The civil war could end tomorrow, but the jihad it intensified will go on.

Read more at Clarion Project

Also see:

Spain: Kebab Shops Financing Global Jihad

by Soeren Kern:

At least 2,000 European jihadists — many from Spain — have now travelled to Syria in the hopes of replacing the Assad regime with an Islamic state governed by Sharia law.

“Clearly Spain forms part of the strategic objectives of global jihad. We are not the only ones, but we are in their sights.” — Jorge Fernández Díaz, Minister of the Interior, Spain.

Police in Spain and Morocco have dismantled a jihadist network suspected of recruiting Islamic radicals in Europe and dispatching them to “hotbeds of tension” in Syria and other conflict zones.

Spanish officials say the cell, based in southern Spain, was one of the largest of its kind in Europe and responsible for recruiting more jihadists than any other network discovered in Spain so far.

The sting operation—in which seven suspected jihadists were arrested—was conducted on March 14, just three days after Spain marked the 10th anniversary of the 2004 Madrid train bombings that killed 191 people and wounded nearly 2,000.

Officials say the latest arrests demonstrate that Spain continues to be central to the ambitions of the global jihadist movement, which says it is committed to establishing a worldwide Caliphate.

Four of the suspects were arrested in Spain and the other three in Morocco. Of the suspects arrested in Spain, one was detained in the southern city of Málaga and the other three in Melilla, a Spanish exclave in North Africa. The three suspects arrested in Morocco had all recently returned from combat in Syria.

The suspected ringleader of the cell is a wheelchair-bound Spanish convert to Islam named Mustafa Maya Amaya. Maya, 51, was born in Brussels after his Spanish parents moved to Belgium in the 1960s to look for work there. After converting to Islam, he changed his given name from Rafael to Mustafa.

 

From left to right: Mustafa Maya Amaya, Paul Cadic and Farik Cheikh, three of the jihadists arrested by Spanish police. (Image source: Spanish Ministry of the Interior)

Maya eventually married a woman from Morocco, where he lived until December 2012, when he was arrested by Moroccan police for conspiring to overthrow the Moroccan monarchy and replace it with an Islamic government.

After escaping from prison in Morocco, Maya took refuge across the border in Melilla and became a naturalized Spanish citizen. Spanish counter-terrorism officials say Maya is well known for his advocacy of extremist Islam—he once told the Málaga-based newspaper Diario Sur that he supported the way the Taliban in Afghanistan treated women there—but that until now he had not been directly linked to terrorist activities.

Investigators say Maya—who maintained close ties to jihadist cells in Belgium, France, Indonesia, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey and Syria—is suspected of recruiting dozens of volunteer jihadists on the Internet and, after a careful selection process, sending them to join terrorist organizations in the Middle East and North Africa.

Groups benefiting from Maya’s recruitment services include the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), an al-Qaeda splinter group active in Iraq and Syria, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), a Sunni Muslim jihadist group committed to establishing an Islamic government in North Africa and parts of Spain, and the Al-Nusra Front, a branch of Al-Qaeda operating in Lebanon and Syria, where it is fighting against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Read more at Gatestone Institute

Al Nusrah Front, Free Syrian Army launch joint operation

By BILL ROGGIO:

The Al Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, teamed up with a Free Syrian Army unit known as the Liwa al Ummah to overrun a military outpost in Idlib province last week. Free Syrian Army units continue to ally themselves with the Al Nusrah Front on the battlefield despite Al Nusrah’s public affiliation with al Qaeda.

The latest joint operations between the Al Nusrah Front and the Free Syrian Army took place on March 6, when the two groups attacked a Syrian Army outpost in the city of Khan Sheikhun in Idlib province. The Al Nusrah Front announced the joint operation in a statement that was released yesterday; the statement was translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.

The statement said that “a small group from the mujahideen of the Al Nusrah Front and Liwa al Ummah attacked the Tariq ‘Ajeeb barrier” and overran it, killing six Syrian soldiers and wounding 30 more. The Al Nusrah Front said that a tank was used by the group during the assault.

“The mujahideen took as spoils a BMP vehicle, 3 RPG launchers, a collection of light weapons, and various ammunition,” the Al Nusrah Front claimed. The two group then proceed to attack “the neighboring Ma’arzafi barrier.”

Heavy fighting has been reported in Khan Sheikhun over the past week as the Al Nusrah Front and Free Syrian Army groups have been attacking Syrian forces in the city [see video above, which shows Free Syrian Army fighters attacking Syrian troops].

The emir of the Al Nusrah Front, which was formed by al Qaeda’s branch in Iraq, publicly reaffirmed his allegiance to al Qaeda’s leader, Ayman al Zawahiri, in a statement released in April 2013. The group was added to the US’ list of Specially Designated Global Terrorist groups in December 2012. Several Free Syrian Army groups have openly joined the Al Nusrah Frontover the past year.

The Liwa al Ummah, or Brigade of the Muslim Nation, was formed by Abd al Mahdi al Harati, a deputy of Abdul Hakim Belhaj, the former emir of the al Qaeda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. Al Harati, who headed a rebel group during the Libyan revolution, led Liwa al Ummah for six months in 2012 before merging with the Free Syrian Army. Liwa al Ummah is estimated to have around 6,000 fighters, and is comprised primarily of Syrians, but also includes a large contingent of Libyans, Sudanese, Palestinians, Egyptians, and Arabs.

Read more at Long War Journal

Also see:

9/11 recruiter reportedly freed in Syria

Mohammed Zammar. Photograph from Spiegel.

Mohammed Zammar. Photograph from Spiegel.

By THOMAS JOSCELYN:

Mohammed Zammar, the al Qaeda operative responsible for recruiting the suicide-hijack pilots for the 9/11 attacks, has reportedly been freed inside Syria.

Zammar’s freedom was reported by Zaid Benjamin, the Washington correspondent for Radio Sawaon his Twitter feed on Mar. 2.

Writing for Al-Monitor, John Rosenthal cited multiple sources confirming Zammar’s freedom in an account published on Mar. 10.

Zammar was captured in Morocco in late 2001. Unlike most of the 9/11 co-conspirators who were captured, however, Zammar was not transferred to US custody. Instead, he was sent to Syria, where he was imprisoned by Bashar al Assad’s regime.

Zammar, who was freed in late 2013, was exchanged for Syrian army officers who were being held by jihadist forces. The exchange of prisoners was reportedly negotiated by Ahrar al Sham, an al Qaeda-linked group that frequently fights alongside the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria. The Ahrar al Sham is a major constituent of the Islamic Front, a coalition of seven large Islamist fighting groups in the country.

The Long War Journal reported on Dec. 17, 2013 that a longtime senior al Qaeda operative known as Abu Khalid al Suri was a founding member of, and senior leader in, Ahrar al Sham. Al Suri was killed by a suicide bomber in late February. Other al Qaeda operatives continue to serve in leadership roles within Ahrar al Sham, US intelligence officials have told The Long War Journal.

9/11 recruiter

Both the “Joint Inquiry Into the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001,” a report prepared by the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, and the 9/11 Commission documented Zammar’s role as the recruiter for al Qaeda’s Hamburg cell. The cell included the terrorists who would go on to serve as the pilots aboard the hijacked planes on 9/11.

Read more at Long War Journal

Al-Qaeda’s invasion of Syria

USalliesSyriaWalid Shoebat:

Powerful documentary made by Vice News that exposes what we have been relaying on Syria for many months. The take over of “rebel” held positions in Syria by people indoctrinated with Nazi-style propaganda by al-Qaeda.

Children Victimized by All Sides in Syrian Conflict

Los Angeles Gang Members Fight In Syria Alongside Pro-Hizbullah, Pro-Assad Forces

18436MEMRI: Videos and images that surfaced recently show members of Los Angeles gangs fighting in Syria alongside pro-Hizbullah and pro-Assad forces. Two gang members, “Creeper,” from the G’d Up-13 gang and “Wino,” from the Westside Armenian Power gang, filmed themselves shooting AK-47s and boasting of being on the “front lines.” Wino, aka “Wino Ayee Peeyakan,” whose real name is Nerses Kilajyan, uploaded the images and videos to his Facebook profile.[1]

The images on Wino’s Facebook page include multiple photos of him brandishing weapons; in one he is seen standing beside a Hizbullah operative, and in another he himself is wearing Hizbullah garb. Creeper is photographed and filmed alongside Wino in multiple photos and videos posted on the page.

Judging by the photos, Wino seems to have been fighting in Syria since December 2012. Comments by Wino’s Facebook friends suggest that the two were deported from the U.S. due to their involvement in criminal activity.