Inside the Mind of the Western Jihadist

Shiraz Maher

Shiraz Maher

Shiraz Maher, a British citizen who lived the experience, describes the allure of the Islamic State for young Westerners and the deadly peril it poses.

By SOHRAB AHMARI:

London

On 9/11, Shiraz Maher thought to himself: “Yeah, you Americans deserve this. For meddling in the Arab world. For supporting Israel. You shall reap what you sow, and this is what you’ve sown for a long time.”

Within days the college student would quit alcohol, dump his girlfriend and join Hizbut Tahrir, a radical Islamist group he describes as the “political wing of the global jihad movement.” He quickly climbed the ranks before eventually leaving the U.K. Islamist movement and rededicating his life to countering it.

Mr. Maher is today a senior fellow at the International Center for the Study of Radicalization, King’s College London, where he researches Europe’s homegrown Islamist movement and profiles the droves of young Britons who are decamping for Syria and Iraq to wage jihad with ISIS, aka the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham.

These include Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, a wannabe rapper from a posh west-London neighborhood who recently posted a Twitter selfie of himself holding a severed head. “Chillin’ with my homie,” read the caption, “or what’s left of him.” Abdel Bary is also suspected to be the terrorist who addresses the camera before beheading American journalist James Foley in a widely circulated online video, though Mr. Maher thinks the masked figure is a different British jihadist.

Abdel Bary is one of 500 to 600 British citizens who have joined the Islamic State, and Mr. Maher’s center estimates about 2,200 foreign fighters from Europe are operating in the region. “Globally we believe the number to be somewhere in excess of 12,000. We’ve counted 74 different nationalities that are represented on the ground.”

Many fighters have European passports, which means they can travel around the Continent and even enter the U.S. with relative ease. Two-hundred-fifty fighters have already returned to the U.K., according to Mr. Maher.

Not all of the foreigners in the region initially intended to join ISIS, which is only one of several groups fighting Bashar Assad’s regime. Yet in recent months the Islamic State has emerged as the most successful and prestigious outfit, while recruits to the other groups have slowed to a trickle.

ISIS proved appealing in part because it was the easiest group to join. Says Mr. Maher: “We know of a lot of people including Britons who’ve tried to join Jabhat al Nusra”—al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise—”who were turned away because Jabhat felt it didn’t know them and so couldn’t trust them. And then they went to ISIS, and ISIS welcomed them with open arms.”

Battlefield prowess was another advantage. “ISIS has been particularly successful at bringing in fighters from Bosnia and Chechnya,” Mr. Maher says. “The greatest human asset that an army can have is fighters with combat experience. And the Bosnians and Chechnyans of course have huge experience, a great deal of sophistication and knowledge about how to fight guerrilla warfare.”

Cultivating a brand helped, too. “ISIS developed a strong social-media presence,” Mr. Maher says, while “other organizations didn’t have the same glamour. And we’re dealing with young men. They want to be with a strong horse, with a winning team. At the moment, ISIS has momentum.”

Finally, the Islamic State has a veneer of authenticity. Its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, presides over “land that these guys regard as pure and holy,” Mr. Maher says. “There’s a lot of stuff in normative Islamic theology which talks about bilad al-Sham, the land of Syria. The Hadiths, the prophetic tradition, say that when God sends angels, they rest in Syria after their journey.”

Reverence for this angelic pit stop hasn’t stopped the Islamic State from turning it into hell on earth. “In the last 10 months we’ve seen British fighters serve as suicide bombers,” Mr. Maher says. “We’ve documented British fighters executing prisoners of war. And we have documentary evidence of British fighters torturing people in their care.”

The typical British Islamic State terrorist is male, in his 20s and from a South Asian background. “He usually has some university education and a history of Muslim activism,” Mr. Maher adds. The fighters broadly fall into three personality types.

The first is the adventure-seeker. “They’re in jihadist summer school or camp,” Mr. Maher says. “I’m with my buddies, we’re hanging out and we have these greatweapons—AK-47s, RPGs.” The adventure-seekers are often involved with U.K. gangs or drugs, and they might consult “Islam for Dummies” before traveling to Syria. They publish photos of themselves eating fast food, swimming and playing soccer in al-Sham. The message they telegraph to friends back home is: “We live better lives here than we were in London—come.”

Then there are the “really nasty guys,” Mr. Maher says, “the ones who will show off a severed head on Facebook and say, ‘Yeah, I just beheaded this son of a bitch.'” These guys, Mr. Maher adds, “should definitely never come back.'”

The third type are “what you might call idealistic or humanitarian jihadists for want of a better phrase,” Mr. Maher says. “They would say, ‘Look, haven’t you seen what’s happened to the women and children of Aleppo?’ ” Over time, they become hardened and no longer mention the innocents they came to rescue. “The land belongs to Allah,” they now say. “We’re here to impose Islam.”

Mr. Maher himself fits the third type most closely, and had he been born a decade later he might not be sitting across from me at a restaurant eating steak tartare and sipping Guinness. “If I were younger and instead of 9/11 it was the Syrian conflict,” he says, “there’s a very, very good chance I would go. Instead of studying them, I would be the one being studied.”

Read more at Wall Street Journal

See also Shiraz Maher’s latest article at ICSR. Having been deradicalized himself he makes the case for trying to rehabilitate those returning fighters who have not become hardened jihadists:

ICSR Insight – Offering Foreign Fighters in Syria and Iraq a Way Out

Egypt Strikes Jihadis After Decapitation Video

ansar-bayt-al-maqdis-israel-mossad-beheadingjpg (1)Breitbart, By KATIE GORKA, Sep. 1, 2014:

Within just days of a video surfacing showing the decapitation of four Egyptian nationals, the Cairo government took decisive military action and killed the leader of the Jihadist group alleged to have been responsible

Several sources have reported that on Sunday, August 30, Egyptian forces carried out two successful operations against Islamist militants in Sinai. In Al Arish, a city on the northern coast of Sinai, members of a joint police-military action killed Fayez Abdallah Hamdan Abu-Sheta, believed to be a leader of the terrorist group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM), thought responsible for the May 2013 kidnapping of 7 police officers and a border guard.

In a separate operation 32 miles away, in the town of Rafah, which borders Gaza, Egyptian forces killed 6 and arrested 10 others, Daily News Egypt reported. It has not yet been revealed whether those killed or arrested are members of Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, but this raid occurred three days after the Jihadi group released a very graphic video of the beheading of four Egyptians in Sinai for allegedly spying on behalf of Israel. The video is similar to that of U.S. journalist James Foley, whose beheading by ISIS on August 19, 2014, was also posted online.

While the world’s attention has been focused on the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and their aggressive sweep across Iraq and Syria, Egypt has been waging its own battle against violent jihadists, particularly in the Sinai.  This is a conflict kindled under the Muslim Brotherhood leadership of Mohamed Morsi and which exploded with his ouster in July 2013. When the Muslim Brotherhood announced at a rally on May 1, 2012 that their candidate for president would be Mohammed Morsi, Egyptian Cleric Safwat Higazi declared the following in his impassioned speech to the crowd of thousands (broadcast on Al-Nas television and translated by MEMRI TV):

We can see how the dream of the Islamic Caliphate is being realized, Allah willing, by Dr. Muhammad Mursi, and his brothers, his supporters, and his political party.  We can see how the great dream—shared by us all—that of the United States of the Arabs…the United States of the Arabs will be restored, Allah willing.  The United States of the Arabs will be restored by this man and his supporters. The capital of the Caliphate—the capital of the United States of the Arabs—will be Jerusalem, Allah willing.  Mursi will liberate Gaza tomorrow….Our capital shall not be Cairo, Mecca or Medina.  It shall be Jerusalem, Allah willing. Our cry shall be: ‘Millions of martyrs march toward Jerusalem.’  Banish the sleep from the eyes of all Jews. Come on, you lovers of martyrdom, you are all Hamas. Forget about the whole world, forget about all the conferences. Brandish your weapons…Say your prayers….And pray to the Lord.

 

 

As Thomas Joscelyn, senior editor of the Long War Journal, testified before Congress in February 2014, with the Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power in Egypt in January 2011, Al Qaeda and other violent jihadist groups saw an opportunity for proselytizing and rebuilding the ummah, or Muslim community of believers. Not only was the new government of Mohamed Morsi not going to crack down on jihadists, but he greatly aided their cause by releasing many of them from prison, including members of Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) and Gamaa Islamiyya (IG). Egypt became fertile ground for their activities, and the Sinai took on a particular importance because it was the perfect launching ground for renewed attacks on Israel. This suggests that there is also a strong correlation between the terrorism in the Sinai and the fighting in Gaza. The Muslim Brotherhood promised to free Gaza and to rebuild the Caliphate with Jerusalem as its capital.

Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, which translates to “Champions of Jerusalem,” began operations in January 2011 with the uprisings that led to the overthrow of the Egyptian government. Initially, they targeted Israel. In July 2012, they blew up a pipeline that served Israel, calling it treason to send Egyptian resources to Israel, according to an article in Egypt News Daily. But following the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood-led government on July 3, 2013, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis stepped up their attacks and directed the majority of them against the Egyptian police and military. Their near-daily attacks included the execution of 24 unarmed policemen on August 19, 2013, the attempted assassination of Interior Minister Muhammad Ibrahim in September 2013, an attack on South Sinai’s Security Directorate, and an attack on the military intelligence building in the Suez Canal city of Ismailiya in October 2013.

The attacks by Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis as well as other terrorist groups operating in the Sinai are explicitly carried out in retaliation for the Egyptian military’s role in helping to oust Mohammed Morsi and for their subsequent crackdown by military and police on groups engaging in violence. Indeed, the relationship between groups such as the violent Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis and the “non-violent” Muslim Brotherhood may be more than ancillary. According to the BBC, some have identified Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis as the military wing of the Muslim Brotherhood. Several different sources, including Nabil Naeem, founder of the Islamic Jihad, allege that Khairat al-Shater, the deputy supreme guide of the Brotherhood, directly supports Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis.

Katie Gorka is the president of the Council on Global Security. Follow her on Twitter@katharinegorka.

 

Report: 3 More Americans Killed Fighting with ISIS in Syria

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, Aug. 31, 2014:

Reports this past week identified two Americans – Douglas McCain from San Diego and Abdiraaman Muhumad from Minneapolis — who were killed by Syrian rebel groups last weekend as they were fighting with ISIS.

A new claim was made on a Syrian rebel Twitter feed this morning saying that an additional three Americans have been killed fighting with ISIS near Ghouta.

A video purporting to show the three dead Americans was posted on Youtube (WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO):

 

Yet another American from Florida, Moner Mohammad Abusalha, conducted a suicide bombing for Jabhat al-Nusra — the official Al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria — back in May.

An article in the current issue of The Economist reports on Western foreign fighters joining jihadist groups in Syria and Iraq. The following graphic included in that article estimates that 70 Americans are currently fighting there, though other estimates have indicated that more than one hundred may be in the area.

20140830_MAC990_595

GRAPHIC: The Economist

ISIS, AL-SHABAAB, AL-QAEDA, MUSLIM RADICALIZATION NETWORKS PROPEL SAN DIEGO TO #4

Douglas-McArthur-McCain-APby MICHELLE MOONS:

Recent discovery of terrorist ISIS fighter Douglas McAuthur McCain’s body in Syria has spurred investigation into the radicalization of Muslims within the United States.

San Diego is fourth on a list of five cities with the most “known or suspected terrorists,” according to recently leaked classified government documents. Following the 9/11 attacks, investigations in San Diego uncovered terrorists and their links to terrorist organizations al Qaeda, al-Shabaab, and ISIS, among others.

Classified government documents obtained by The Intercept include statistics on watch-listed individuals in the U.S. The 2013 document, prepared by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), lists the top five cities with the highest number of known or suspected terrorists (KST) in the U.S. (in order): New York, New York; Dearborn, Michigan; Houston, Texas; San Diego, California, and Chicago, Illinois.

NCTC reports have noted the high level of terrorist activity in Somalia, as terrorist groupal-Shabaab has intermittently controlled various key regions of Somalia. A Center for Disease Control and Prevention document cites Office of Refugee Resettlement statistics that list Minnesota, California, Georgia, and Washington, D.C. as locations where the majority of Somalis have settled in the U.S. Thousands have come to the U.S. as refugees under the banner of fleeing war and persecution in their home country. Current population estimates of Somali-born individuals living in the U.S. range from 35,760 to 150,000.

In fiscal year 2014 so far, October 1-July 20, 290 Somalis either turned themselves in or were caught trying to sneak into the U.S. undetected through official ports of entry, according to a leaked U.S. Customs and Border Protection report obtained by Breitbart Texas. In 2010, KPBS reported on circuitous routes taken by Somalis looking to cross into the U.S. over the southwest border. Those routes would take Somalis through locations including Cuba and Tijuana, Mexico before crossing into the U.S.

In November, 2013, three Somali men in San Diego, cabdriver Basaaly Saeed Moalin, local mosque imam Mohamed Mohamed Mohamud, and money transmitter Issa Doreh were sentenced for crimes involving conspiring to or providing material support to the Islamic Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab. An FBI press release described jihadi group al-Shabaab as “a violent and brutal militia group that engages in suicide bombings, targets civilians for assassination, and uses improvised explosive devices.”

Somalia has been marked “a desirable haven for transnational terrorists, something al-Qaeda has tried to capitalize on before, and is trying again now,” according to a Council on Foreign relations analysis.

U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said of the three men sentenced, “Months of intercepted phone conversations included discussion of suicide bombing, assassinations, and jihad,” according to the release. Evidence at trial showed that the defendants “conspired to transfer the funds from San Diego to Somalia through the Shidall Express.”

Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) and the U.S. Attorney’s office were commended by multiple people involved in the 2013 case for their tireless and effective efforts to dismantle the effort to provide support for terrorists.

A fourth man, San Diego cabdriver Ahmed Nasiri Taalil Mohamud, was also convicted for charges of conspiracy. “Moalin, a taxi driver, reportedly taught weekend classes at the local Somali mosque. Mohamud, an imam, has led prayer services at Masjid Al-Ansar for the past 10 years,” according to a 2010 post on the Anti-Defamation League website. Masjid Al-Ansar is located just over a block from Masjid Nur.

Breitbart recently reported that Masjid Nur is the mosque associated with Douglas McAuthur McCain, an American recently killed fighting for ISIS in Syria. McCain was from Minnesota, but worked and went to college in San Diego.

August 29, Breitbart Texas released a newly leaked document from the Texas Department of Public Safety, warning federal agents of ISIS’s active efforts to exploit weaknesses in the U.S. southwest border. The warning referred to “Outright calls for ISIS to infiltrate the southwestern border through Mexico to stage terrorist attacks.” Though the report focused on Texas, Breitbart Texas confirmed agents received the ISIS terror warning across the entire U.S.-Mexico border.

Read more at Breitbart

Also see:

ISIS has Capability and Intent to Attack the Homeland

IS-facts-findingsBlind Eagle, By Brian Fairchild, Aug. 30, 2014:

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:

  • Based on the intelligence analysis of the facts and findings below, as of August 29, 2014, the Islamic State has the capability and intent to launch an attack against the American homeland.  Moreover, the internecine war between “core” al Qaeda and the Islamic State represents a struggle for the leadership of the international jihad movement that provides both organizations with a strong motivation to attack America.  There is no way to predict a specific date when attacks will occur, but it is clear from the evidence that the Islamic State has the capability to launch an attack at a time and place of its choosing.

In intelligence analysis, analysts must first find and document substantiated and relevant Facts on the topic of their investigations.  Expert knowledge is then used to make sense out of these facts in a cogent, organized and articulate manner in a section called Findings.  Having made sense out of the facts in the articulated findings, the analyst can then see where all of the facts and findings lead, and make a Forecast as to what is likely to happen in the future.  It’s not a perfect or foolproof system, but it forces analysts to work with well-substantiated and relevant facts rather than opinion and hearsay.

On August 22, 2014, Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby stated that the Defense Department does not believe that ISIS has “the capability right now to conduct a major attack on the U.S. homeland.”

The following analysis will test this hypothesis using the tried and true method of establishing Facts, Findings, and Forecasts.

FACTS:

  • On October 4, 2011, then leader of al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and current leader of the Islamic State (IS), Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, was declared a Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the State Department for his role in “managing and directing large scale operations”.
  • ISIS is a multi-faceted entity:

o   According to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, the Islamic State demonstrates “a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess”,[1] and represents an “imminent threat to every interest we have”.

o   IS has “…an effective management structure…overseeing departments of finance, arms, local governance, military operations and recruitment”[2].  It operates like a national government in the areas it occupies providing electricity and water, levying taxes, providing police services, establishing religious schools and courts, and running training camps.

o   IS has a war chest estimated at $2 billion dollars, accrued from:  taxes, the sale of oil and antiquities on the black market, ransom for hostages, seized bank assets, donations from wealthy Gulf donors, the theft of all property and assets from the minorities it victimizes, and proceeds from zakat (tithing) and Muslim charities.

o   A report prepared in June 2014 by the former head of the counter terrorism office of British Intelligence (MI6), reported that over 12,000 radicalized Muslims have departed their homes in 81 countries to join the jihad in Syria and Iraq.  An estimated 3,000 of them are western passport holders.  These individuals are now routinely referred to as “foreign fighters”.  There is no doubt that the number of foreign fighters overall and the number hailing from Western countries has significantly increased since the publication of this report, which went to press before al Baghdadi announced the creation of the “Caliphate” and called for Muslims to emigrate to it.

o   IS has a virtual monopoly over the foreign fighters flooding into Syria and Iraq.  They constitute the majority of IS’ suicide bombers, and are responsible for 30 to 50 suicide bombings per month.[3]  Increasingly, they come from Western countries including the US, France, the UK, Norway, Austria, Australia, and Germany. They are infiltrated into the Islamic State via a global IS network, and then trained in secure bases there.[4]

  • On February 4, 2014, CIA Director John Brennan testified before the Congressional House Intelligence Committee during which he described the capabilities of these  training camps: 

o   We are concerned about the use of Syrian territory by the Al Qaida organization to recruit individuals and develop the capability to be able not just to carry out attacks inside of Syria, but also to use Syria as a launching pad…There arecamps inside of both Iraq and Syria that are used by Al Qaida to develop capabilities that are applicable, both in the theater, as well as beyond.” 

  • The Islamic State possesses chemical weapons seized from Iraq’s al Muthanna chemical weapons complex, including munitions containing Sarin, Mustard gas, and the nerve agent VX.  In 2006, then Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Lt. General Michael Maples stated that, while the munitions couldn’t be used as originally intended because of corrosion, “The agent remaining in the weapons would be very valuable to terrorists and insurgents”.[5]

o   In July 2014, IS fighters seized 88 pounds of uranium compounds from the University of Mosul that can be used to construct a radioactive dirty bomb.

  • IS was formerly constituted as al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), but was disowned by “core” al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri in February 2014.  This fracture resulted in all-out war between the two groups for the leadership of the international jihad movement.
  • Despite his war with “core” al Qaeda, IS leader al Baghdadi reveres Osama bin Laden.  When bin Laden was killed in the American raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan, he vowed violent retaliation.  Almost immediately, he launched numerous attacks and suicide bombings, and vowed to conduct 100 attacks across Iraq to seek vengeance for bin Laden”.[6]
  • On January 21, 2014, al Baghdadi recorded an audio message in which he recognized that he and his organization would soon be in direct confrontation with the United States:

o   “Our last message is to the Americans. Soon we will be in direct confrontation, and the sons of Islam have prepared for such a day. So watch, for we are with you, watching.”[7]

  • In August 2014, IS declared war against the US in a document sent to the family of beheading victim James Foley.  It was addressed to the “American government and their sheep like people” and threatened the following (all emphasis added by IS in the original):

o   “Today our swords are unsheathed towards you, GOVERNMENT AND CITIZENS ALIKE!  AND WE WILL NOT STOP UNTIL WE QUENCH OUR THIRST FOR YOUR BLOOD.  You do not spare our weak, elderly, women or children, so we will NOT spare yours!  You and your citizens will pay the price of your bombings!  The first of which being the blood of American citizen, James Foley.”

  • In response to US airstrikes against IS positions in early August 2014, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)pledged solidarity with the Islamic State and promised to conduct mass casualty attacks against the US in retaliation:

o   “Hence, we declare our solidarity with our Muslim brethren in Iraq in [their struggle against] this Crusade. Their blood is our blood, their wound is in our hearts, and we have a duty to defend them. With Allah’s help, we will employ every means to cause the US as many casualties as possible, as part of jihad for the sake of Allah and in order to realize what our Sheikh Osama [bin Laden] vowed [to achieve].”

FINDINGS:

  • As made clear by the 2011 State Department designation of al Baghdadi as a global terrorist, he is adept at “managing and directing large scale operations”.  The Islamic State reflects these abilities.  It is a sophisticated organization that simultaneously plans and conducts offensive operations using conventional military strategy, as well as synchronized multiple-location suicide bombings, all the while operating a global network that recruits, trains and deploys foreign fighters.  Underlying its military capabilities is a government structure of provincial governors and officials that manage the civilian population like a small nation state.
  • IS has thousands of trained and combat-tested foreign fighters from which to select teams that could conduct attacks in the United States, including over 100 Americans.  The Islamic State is not restricted to using only American citizens for such attacks, and for security reasons, may well create cells of individuals from the UK and Western Europe that are not likely to be revealed by US databases.  It is likely that many of these individuals speak English and have previously traveled to the US.
  • IS has a seemingly endless supply of foreign fighters willing to martyr themselves.  Suicide bombings, once rare, have become routine for IS foreign fighters who conduct approximately 30 to 50 each month.  Importantly, the majority of these bombings are conducted with a high degree of operational security against targets in cities such as Baghdad and Kirkuk where security forces are on high alert employing road blocks, patrols, and area surveillance.  IS teams deploying to the US face only one real security obstacle – physically entering the country; once inside they would operate in an environment much less controlled than those they are used to.
  • IS possesses chemical weapons and radioactive compounds that it could smuggle into the United States via the southern border or other access points.  Even in the event that IS has no smuggling connections, its remarkable treasury could well buy such cooperation.
  • Should IS leadership decide, its financial assets, and extensive number of trained and experienced operatives willing to die for their cause, are adequate to fund and deploy numerous terrorist teams worldwide.
  • Despite the increasing number of American airstrikes against IS positions, and the rising calls for extensive military action against IS targets in Iraq and Syria, there is no evidence to indicate that IS leadership seeks to avoid a military confrontation with the United States.  Quite the contrary, all evidence indicates that it is actively trying to provoke such a confrontation, as demonstrated by the following:

o   Al Baghdadi has been at war against the US since 2003 when he co-created his first jihad organization.  He experienced first-hand the American dismantling of AQI in 2006, he spent time in American custody in Camp Bucca, he replaced leaders killed by the US, and sought vengeance for the killing of Osama bin Laden.  Given this experience, it is likely that in January 2014 when he recorded his audio statement, he was well aware that his plan to blitzkrieg across Syria and Iraq and his plan to establish a Caliphate that threatened US allies would provoke an American military response.  In this context, the specific phrases he chose to stress:  “Soon we will be in direct confrontation” – “the sons of Islam have prepared for such a day” – “we are with you, watching”, could well indicate that in anticipation of the coming confrontation, he deployed cells to the homeland that are “watching” and preparing attacks.

o   IS leadership chose to publicly butcher James Foley on August 19, 2014 describing Foley as the first American casualty of war, which strongly suggests that Foley’s murder was a deliberate attempt to provoke a military response.  Additional examples of IS’ willingness to provoke the US are revealed in passages from its official Dabiq magazine, published on August 29, 2014, that ridicule President Obama, gloat over the beheading of James Foley and the US inability to rescue him, blame the US for atrocities against Muslims, and call for American and Western Muslims to rush to the “Caliphate” to support the jihad.

o   IS’ declaration of war against the US government and its citizens, including America’s weak, elderly, women and children can only be taken as a direct provocation.

  • The war between IS and “core” al Qaeda is, at its essence, a battle for the ideological leadership and operational direction of the international jihad movement.  At present, the Islamic State, flush with money and recruits, is winning.    If IS cells successfully attack the homeland in the near future it would virtually cement its leadership over the movement.  If it were successful in conducting an attack on the anniversary day of the 9/11 attacks, the Islamic State and al Baghdadi would be catapulted into a new terrorist dimension that would have profound security implications for the US for decades to come.
  • This war for primacy, however, is also likely to prompt “core” al Qaeda to launch an attack against the homeland to regain its lost leadership.  Because Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden planned and conducted the historic 9/11 attacks, a commemorative attack on 9/11’s thirteenth anniversary would likely re-establish Zawahiri as the movement’s premier leader.  It is not clear at this point, however, if “core” al Qaeda has the resources and capability to conduct such an attack.
  • AQAP’s pledge to conduct mass casualty attacks in retaliation for US airstrikes against IS fighters, adds another threat stream.  AQAP’s proven record of near misses against the US via the 2009 Underwear bomber plot, and the plot to blow up cargo aircraft over the US with explosives hidden in copy machine ink cartridges, is sobering, but further exacerbated by AQAP’s reported development of a new explosive compound that is undetectable by existing sensors.  Like “core” al Qaeda, it is unclear if AQAP has the resources to conduct a separate attack against the homeland.  In order to remain relevant in the international jihad movement, however, AQAP could assist IS in attacking the homeland, which could explain its pledge of solidarity to IS and its promise to carry-out mass casualty attacks.

FORECAST:

Based on the above facts and findings and contrary to the statements of the Pentagon, as of August 29, 2014, the Islamic State has all the capabilities required to launch an attack against the American homeland.  Within its ranks alone, it has the expertise, trained operatives, financial resources, possession of WMD, a virulent anti-American ideology, and the intent to confront the United States.  Despite increasing American military action against it, there is no evidence that the Islamic State is trying to avoid a military confrontation.  Rather, its recent actions are tailored to provoke a military response.

Moreover, the war between “core” al Qaeda and the Islamic State is a struggle for the ideological leadership and the operational direction of the international jihad movement that provides both organizations with a strong motivation to attack America.  Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s recent pledge of solidarity to IS and its promise to perpetrate mass casualty attacks on its behalf exacerbates an already bad situation.  While it is unclear if “core” al Qaeda and AQAP have the resources on their own to conduct such attacks, AQAP’s pledge of solidarity to IS may well indicate its willingness to conduct a joint IS-AQAP attack.

Absent specific actionable intelligence, there is no way to predict a specific date when attacks will occur, as all terrorist plots run according to operational requirements.  It is clear, however, that a successful attack on the American homeland by any or all of these organizations would boost their respective standing in the jihad movement, especially if such an attack was conducted on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.  It is also clear that the Islamic State has the capability to launch an attack at a time and place of its choosing.

 

Latest Islamic State Magazine Touts Foley Killing, Taunts Obama

IPT, by John Rossomando:

Al-Hayat Media, an important part of the Islamic State’s propaganda machine, released the third issue of its English-language jihadist publication Dabiq Friday. It released its first two editions of the magazine written in the style of Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula’s Inspire magazine earlier in August.

A recent article in the New Republic compared the first two editions of Dabiq with Inspire, saying the new magazine provided a more “comprehensive attempt to recruit westerners” than its Al-Qaida predecessor.

1058The cover, “A Call to Hijrah,” recalls the Muslim Prophet Muhammad’s journey from Mecca to Medina and reads like a glossy recruiting guide.

It sets up the United States as the boogeyman all Muslims must fight because Americans killed thousands of Muslims during their occupation of Iraq, calling their deaths “collateral damage.”

Dabiq gloats over James Foley’s beheading, calling it “a cooling balm for the believers’ hearts” that served “as a retribution for the recent American aggression against the Muslims of Iraq.”

It claims that the Obama administration was “dragging its feet” its feet for nine months trying to save Foley’s life and those of other American and British hostages held in the Islamic State’s dungeons. In the new issue, the Islamic State (also known as ISIS, or ISIL) again raises the administration’s refusal to release Aafia Siddiqui, who is serving an 86-year sentence for attempting to murder Americans in Afghanistan and plotting ‘mass-casualty’ attacks in New York.

Obama acts “more foolishly” than Bush on matters of foreign policy in the Middle East, the magazine says, and calls him an “apostate.”

The magazine also provides religious justification for Muslims living in the West to leave their countries and join the fight, depicting a Muslim society free from nationalism and where they can live in full accord with Islamic law and morality. It also uses guilt against Muslims who refuse to follow the Islamic State.

“So abandoning hijrah (migration to the Islamic State) – the path to jihad – is a dangerous matter. In effect, one is thereby deserting jihad and willingly becoming a hypocritical spectator,” the magazine said, criticizing Muslims in the West who live like their non-Muslim neighbors. “… [N]ow there is a Khalifah (Caliphate) prepared to accept every Muslim and Muslimah into lands and all it can within its power to protect them alone.”

The “life of jihad” it says is only possible if Muslims move to the Islamic State’s caliphate.”

Imminent Terrorist Attack Warning By Feds on US Border

JW2Judicial Watch, Aug. 29, 2014:

Islamic terrorist groups are operating in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez and planning to attack the United States with car bombs or other vehicle born improvised explosive devices (VBIED). High-level federal law enforcement, intelligence and other sources have confirmed to Judicial Watch that a warning bulletin for an imminent terrorist attack on the border has been issued.  Agents across a number of Homeland Security, Justice and Defense agencies have all been placed on alert and instructed to aggressively work all possible leads and sources concerning this imminent terrorist threat.

Specifically, Judicial Watch sources reveal that the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) is confirmed to now be operating in Juarez, a famously crime-infested narcotics hotbed situated across from El Paso, Texas. Violent crimes are so rampant in Juarez that the U.S. State Department has issued a number of travel warnings for anyone planning to go there. The last one was issued just a few days ago.

Intelligence officials have picked up radio talk and chatter indicating that the terrorist groups are going to “carry out an attack on the border,” according to one JW source.  “It’s coming very soon,” according to this high-level source, who clearly identified the groups planning the plots as “ISIS and Al Qaeda.” An attack is so imminent that the commanding general at Ft. Bliss, the U.S. Army post in El Paso, is being briefed, another source confirms. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) did not respond to multiple inquiries from Judicial Watch, both telephonic and in writing, about this information.

The disturbing inside intelligence comes on the heels of news reports revealing that U.S. intelligence has picked up increased chatter among Islamist terror networks approaching the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. While these terrorists reportedly plan their attack just outside the U.S., President Obama admits that “we don’t have a strategy yet” to combat ISIS. “I don’t want to put the cart before the horse,” the commander-in-chief said this week during a White House press briefing. “I think what I’ve seen in some of the news reports suggest that folks are getting a little further ahead of what we’re at than what we currently are.”

The administration has also covered up, or at the very least downplayed, a serious epidemic of crime along the Mexican border even as heavily armed drug cartels have taken over portions of the region. Judicial Watch has reported that the U.S. Border Patrol actually ordered officers to avoid the most crime-infested stretches because they’re “too dangerous” and patrolling them could result in an “international incident” of cross border shooting. In the meantime, who could forget the famous words of Obama’s first Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano; the southern border is “as secure as it has ever been.”

These new revelations are bound to impact the current debate about the border crisis and immigration policy.

Also see:

 

CIA expert: Obama switched sides in war on terror

President Obama appears to bow to Saudi King Abdullah, on April 1, 2009, in London

President Obama appears to bow to Saudi King Abdullah, on April 1, 2009, in London

By GARTH KANT:

WASHINGTON – It’s an explosive charge, one that practically accuses the president of treason.

A former CIA agent bluntly told WND, America has switched sides in the war on terror under President Obama.

Clare Lopez was willing to say what a few members of Congress have confided to WND in private, but declined to say on-the-record.

She said the global war on terror had been an effort to “stay free of Shariah,” or repressive Islamic law, until the Obama administration began siding with such jihadist groups as the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates.

Why the switch?

Lopez explained, when the so-called Arab Spring appeared in late 2010, “It was time to bring down the secular Muslim rulers who did not enforce Islamic law. And America helped.”

And why would Obama want to do that?

As she told WND earlier this month, Lopez believed the Muslim Brotherhood has thoroughly infiltrated the Obama administration and other branches of the federal government.

She also came to the conclusion Obama had essentially the same goals in the Mideast as the late Osama bin Laden: “to remove American power and influence, including military forces, from Islamic lands.”

Why would Obama order the killing of bin Laden?

Because the president “couldn’t delay any longer,” once the opportunity was presented, Lopez told WND.

There were “no more excuses” available to avoid it and he “thought it might look good,” she mused.

The former CIA operative’s perspective affects her prescription for what the U.S. should do about the terror army ISIS, as she called for caution and restraint.

While there has been a sudden chorus of politicians and military experts calling for the immediate elimination of the terrorist army after it beheaded American journalist James Foley last week, Lopez believes the U.S. should have an overall strategy in place before fully re-engaging in the Mideast militarily.

Any military action would be further complicated, she told WND, if it were not clear which side the U.S. is on, either in the short term or in the overall war on terror.

Lopez’s insights are backed by an impressive array of credentials.

She spent two decades in the field as a CIA operations officer; was an instructor for military intelligence and special forces students; has been a consultant, intelligence analyst and researcher within the defense sector; and has published two books on Iran. Lopez currently manages the counter-jihad and Shariah programs at the Center for Security Policy, run by Frank Gaffney, former assistant secretary of defense for international security policy during the Reagan administration.

In a previous interview with WND, Lopez described the stunning extent of infiltration of the administration and other branches of the federal government by the jihadist group the Muslim Brotherhood.

She said the infiltration began under former President Bill Clinton but really took hold under the Obama administration, which, she said, “includes various levels of understanding and misunderstanding of Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood.”

“Some in the administration genuinely appear to believe the Muslim Brotherhood can act as a foil or counterweight to al-Qaida, although with what’s going on in Syria, it’s hard to understand how they would still think that,” she observed.

Lopez felt it was impossible to understand why the president and some of his top appointees, such as CIA Director John Brennan, “consistently seem to apologize for Islam, even in the face of such atrocities as the Foley beheading,” adding, they “take pains to assure the world they don’t think IS, (or the Islamic State, also called ISIS) or whichever perpetrator it was, has anything to do with Islam. How can they possibly believe that genuinely when everything these jihadis do tracks directly to the literal text of Quran, hadiths and Shariah?”

“In any case, and for whatever motivations, there is no doubt this administration switched sides in what used to be called the Global War on Terror,” she said. “Even though President George W. Bush was obviously confused and mistaken when he called Islam a ‘religion of peace’ the day after 9/11, he wasn’t deliberately exonerating the perpetrators. Surrounded by Muslim Brotherhood agents of influence, he simply didn’t understand.”

Much more at WND

Q & A about ISIS with Thomas Joscelyn w/ special remarks by Amb. James Woolsey

Published on Aug 28, 2014 by emetonline

Thomas Joscelyn, senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and senior editor of the Long War Journal, answers questions regarding the New Islamic Caliphate: ISIS.

Shouldn’t fighting for ISIS disqualify you as a US Citizen?

articlesfedsrevokecitizenship-fullCSP, by Ben Lerner:

Fox News is reporting that a second American citizen has been killed while fighting for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group in Syria.  That same report goes on to note that federal investigators estimate roughly one hundred American citizens have gone to Syria to fight for various jihadist organizations.  Other sources have indicated that the number of US citizens joining up with ISIS is as high as three hundred.

Homeland security officials are rightly concerned about this development.  American citizens fighting for ISIS and other groups can potentially return to the United States and apply their battlefield-acquired skills to carry out attacks against American targets – a list of which was just published in Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) publication, Al Malahem.

One way to inhibit such operatives from coming back to the United States to carry out such plans is to revoke their US citizenship, a move that would invalidate their US passports and make it that much harder to set foot on American soil.  Revocation of citizenship would have the added benefit of making such individuals eligible for trial by military commissions (assuming such individuals fall within the purview of an Authorization for the Use of Military Force, be it the one currently in effect or one passed in the months to come).

The United States government arguably already has the authority to revoke citizenship under these circumstances.  Title 8, Section 1481 of the U.S. Code lays out the various scenarios through which a US citizen could lose his/her citizenship, and states in part:

(a) A person who is a national of the United States whether by birth or naturalization, shall lose his nationality by voluntarily performing any of the following acts with the intention of relinquishing United States nationality—…

… (3) entering, or serving in, the armed forces of a foreign state if

(A) such armed forces are engaged in hostilities against the United States, or

(B) such persons serve as a commissioned or non-commissioned officer; …

Could existing law perhaps be tweaked to include US citizens who join the ranks of non-state actors like ISIS or al Qaeda?  Perhaps – then-Senators Joe Lieberman and Scott Brown introduced legislation a few years ago along these lines.  Such an effort may need to be undertaken again.

It is true that especially these days, ISIS and company need only cross our southwest border to do us harm from within.  But a vulnerable back door is no reason not to lock the front door.

Al Qaeda magazine hints of looming attack; urges bombing of Vegas, military targets

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 9.22.32 AM-thumb-560x363-3626

There could be some envy by AQAP that IS is now getting all the headlines

By :

A new English-language Al Qaeda magazine features a how-to article on making car bombs and suggests terror targets in the United States, including casinos in Las Vegas, oil tankers and military colleges, and implies that an attack is imminent.

The online publication, called “Palestine-Betrayal of the Guilty Conscience Al-Malahem” and put out by the media arm of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, calls for Muslims around the world to follow “the recipe” provided to set off car bombs in crowded venues. It includes a timeline of “selected jihadi operations” that the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which first flagged the slickly-produced latest edition of the terror publication, finds chilling.

“The timeline concludes with the date 201?’ and blank spaces and question marks for the photo and information of the next attack — implying that it is coming soon.” said MEMRI Executive Director Steve Stalinsky.

There is a suggested list of targets for lone-wolf, or individually executed, terror attacks, including New York’s Times Square, casinos and night clubs in Las Vegas, oil tankers and trains, the Georgia Military College, the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, and General Atomics defense contractor in San Diego.

“This recipe gives you the ability to make a car bomb even in countries with tight security and surveillance,” one article reads, before providing a “shopping list” of supplies needed to make such a bomb, including cooking gas, oxygen gas, a barometer, decoration lamps and matches.

There is also a list of targets in Britain including a military academy and the Marks and Spencers chain of department stores. The magazine calls for the stores to be hit on Friday during prayers so that Muslims won’t be affected.

Globally, AQAP calls for the targeting of tourist resorts frequented by Israelis, Britons and Americans.

Read more at Fox News

Also see:

The Islamic Terror Orchestra

377919105 (1)Center For Security Policy, By Nonie Darwish:

It has been 13 years since 9/11 and the West is still reluctant to link the non-ending parade of jihad groups with Islam. The West is also in denial about the similarities all radical Islamic groups share. It is important for the West to realize that there is a natural division of labor between the different terror groups. Some groups specialize in terror against non-Muslims and Western governments while others specialize in terrorizing Arab governments that refused to follow Sharia. But the truly sophisticated groups are those who reside in the West, calling themselves ‘moderate’ while at the same time defending and controlling the direction of Islamist goals through advocacy, diplomacy, negotiation and PR.

All of the above types of Islamist groups work together in perfect harmony like an orchestra that sings to the tune of “Allahu Akbar.” And when Islamic terrorism and beheadings anger the world and turn public opinion against Islam, that orchestra starts playing a different tune to confuse and prevent the world from uncovering their coordinated handy work. While one group proudly takes credit for the terror, another publicly denounces it. But most groups, while enjoying the power and attention the terrorists have bestowed on them, stand by with a look of victimhood saying: “I am a victim too because you condemn me and my peaceful religion when I did not do anything. That is not Islam and you are an Islamophobe.”

Not only is there division of labor amongst Islamist groups, but these groups also often change roles, tactics and appearances — after birthing other more radical terror groups to do the dirty work of terror. Because the West and some Arab governments refuse to deal with terror organizations, these organizations play a game of presenting a face of rehabilitation and moderation, while delegating the terror and assassinations to newer groups. Old guard terror groups like the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and Fatah were able to change color and they assumed a new, but only cosmetic, appearance of moderation, but not before birthing the more violent Al-Qaeda and Hamas.

The West was told the MB and Fatah were now the moderate and humanitarian face of Islam that could be counted on and that could run Islamic government. Islam will present itself as working with the rest of the world only for the sake of establishing the Kalifate. The West has been only too happy to welcome the new face of the old terror groups to the camp of moderation. But the new face of evil after the MB became Al-Qaeda.

When the MB won the Egyptian elections, Islamists believed the Kalifate could be achieved through elections, avoiding the usual violent jihad. But when Egyptians realized they had made a mistake by electing the MB and 35,000,000 Egyptians revolted against Islamist rule, the dreams of a Kalifate through peaceful elections were defeated. The only solution for Muslims to achieve their Kalifate is the old fashioned way of 7th century Islam: pure violence, savagery and terror; thus the rise of the newest Islamist terror group, ISIS, while the MB takes a back seat.

When Al-Qaeda’s reputation tanked after 9/11, even inside the Middle East, the terror jihadists were forced into working under a new name — same goals, but with a more ferocious appetite for terror and torture. After the defeat of the budding Islamist State through elections in Egypt in 2013, the restrained beast of public beheadings hidden in the Islamic genie bottle finally exploded for the world to see in the form of ISIS; an organization that declared itself as the true long-awaited Islamic State. Force became the only choice. Coincidentally, this follows the example of Mohammed who tried to peacefully Islamize Mecca for 13 years but failed and could only Islamize Arabia by force, terror and the sword when he became a warrior in Medina.

ISIS rushed to declare itself as the Islamic State even before finishing the job of conquering all of Iraq and Syria. It was flaunting its savagery to the world in the hope of giving the message to reluctant Arab countries that they will be next. The plan is very similar to what Mohammed and his followers did in the 7th century: conquer Arabia quickly by force so they could move to more important goals of taking over the outside world, now the West and Israel. By doing that they are confirming to Muslims around the world that terror works and that their prophet Mohammed was correct when he said: “I have been victorious through terror.”

Bottom line: What legitimate Islamic organizations must adhere to is obeying Islamic commandments to conquer the world for Islam, defeat and humiliate non-Muslim nations and establish the Kalifate — to be ruled by sharia. That is the plan. It is not the opinion of the writer of this article, but it is the basic objective of Islamic law books, scriptures and preaching, which explicitly define jihad as a war with non-Muslims to establish the religion of Islam. To facilitate this mission, Islamic law freed Muslims from any restrictions on their behavior; they can wage offensive wars, kill, terrorize, behead, lie, deceive, humiliate, slander, use corporal punishment on women and children, and sacrifice the well being of the family, all for the purpose of the empowerment of Islam.

But instead of properly facing the 21 Century Islamic challenge, the West has chosen denial. Obama is being criticized for resorting to golf in a time of trouble, but that is perhaps his only outlet when he feels paralyzed, because what he believed and advocated Islam to be and what it is turned out to be polar opposites.

Also, instead of facing the incompetence and many obvious weaknesses of Islamic terror groups, the West has chosen to appease an enemy that only respects power. Thus, the Obama administration decided to be more concerned with appearances and saying instead of doing the right thing. For example, Obama likes to correct Americans on the proper pronunciation of Arabic names and expressions such as Pakistan and ISIL instead of ISIS, etc. But when the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria was declared the West was too embarrassed to call it what it called itself, the Islamic State, and found the English abbreviation ISIS more appropriate than the Arabic name that linked the new terrorist state to Islam.

I was recently asked by visitors from Egypt, “What is ISIS?” My answer was, it is the preferred name the US administration and media use to refer to the newly declared Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Their response was, “Why? In Arabic they call themselves ‘The Islamic State?’” I told them it is a long story, but the West does not want to offend Muslims who believe that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism, tyranny and hatred.

Obama insists on presenting himself as more of an expert on Islam than the founders of ISIS when he stated, “ISIL speaks for no religion.” It is not appropriate for the US government or media to define what is or what is not Islam to Muslims who are reading from their books statements that command them to kill infidels. All we should do is take them for their word.

Both the US government and media have decided, long before Obama, that it would be the wise thing to do to keep US citizens uninformed about the true goals of Islam. The goal of this policy was partially to convince Islamic terror groups to leave the West alone and perhaps in the long run Islam will reform on its own one day. But unfortunately history was not on the side of this theory. Appeasement did not work for Coptic Christians in Egypt nor for Zoroastrians in Persia when in the 7th century the two ancient civilizations fell to the Arab Islamic invasion in the same year. Both Egypt and Persia tried to appease but failed to win hearts and minds of the Muslim invaders who used the most barbaric forms of terror and tyranny to Islamize and Arabize both civilizations. Both Egypt and Persia never saw their glory days again and today they are incapable of ruling themselves without the usual Sharia-enforced oppression and tyranny.

What everyone misses here is the right of the American people to know the full truth about their new enemy directly and honestly from their politicians and media. By caring about the feelings of Muslims more than American citizens’ right to the truth, and without naming Islam by name, the US government and media will usher America into a dark phase marking the beginning of tyranny and the end of liberty.

 

 

ISIS Foreign Fighters: Implications for the US

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

By Brian Fairchild:

On August 17, 2014, The British Prime Minister announced that ISIS foreign fighters represent a “clear danger” to citizens “on the streets of Britain”.  In the United States, intelligence agencies report a significant rise in the number of foreign fighters pouring into Iraq and Syria, and warn that ISIS is now establishing cells outside the Middle East.  Any ISIS activity detected in the United States would represent a clear and present danger with national security implications, but to fully understand the nature of the threat, one must first understand the profound ideological and operational differences between core Al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

Al Qaeda is a Salafi-jihadi organization with a clear ideology, but it is also a practical organization willing to compromise on ideological matters for the sake of obtaining its goals.  Since its creation, it has focused its efforts on creating covert operational and support infrastructures in countries outside of the Middle East, while carving out niches for jihad groups in the ungoverned hinterlands of Yemen, Somalia, and the deserts of Algeria.

According to al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri, the entire jihad movement is dependent on Muslim popular support for its survival.  Therefore, he refuses to sanction any operation that would alienate the Muslim community.  While he regards the majority of the world’s Muslims as misguided and ignorant of their “true” religion, and sees his mission as creating an Islamic state ruled by Sharia law, he doesn’t demand that Muslims immediately accept and live according to strict Sharia practices.  On the contrary, he has often advised jihad groups not to implement Sharia too rapidly for fear that the population would rebel.

Embracing the old Arabic adage – “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” – he also makes alliances with ideologically tainted entities, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah and Iran, and he has steadfastly refuses to sanction sectarian war with Shia Muslims.  He adamantly rejects the public slaughter of hostages.

Not all of his associates, however, have held the same convictions.  One in particular, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, rebelled against him.  Zarqawi was the original leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), from which the new Islamic State emerged, and he is revered by the Islamic States leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi.  Despite Zawahiri’s preoccupation with popular support, Zarqawi personally beheaded two Americans on video, and uncompromisingly attacked Iraq’s Shia population in an attempt to foment sectarian war, both of which caused negative blowback from the Muslim community.  This prompted Zawahiri to write a revealing letter of reprimand to Zarqawi on July 9, 2005.  The following excerpts from the letter reveal Zawahiri’s preoccupation with maintaining Muslim support and his fear that Zarqawi’s actions jeopardized that support:

On the absolute need for popular support, Zawahiri stated:

  • “…the strongest weapon which the mujahedeen enjoy…is popular support from the Muslim masses in Iraq, and the surrounding Muslim countries. So, we must maintain this support as best we can, and we should strive to increase it…the mujahed (jihad) movement must avoid any action that the masses do not understand or approve…”

On his willingness to compromise on ideology for the benefit of the movement, Zawahiri stated:

  • “Also, the active mujahedeen ulema (Islamic clerics) – even if there may be some heresy or fault in them that is not blasphemous – we must find a means to include them and to benefit from their energy”.

Revealing his belief that bringing proper Salafi-jihadi ideology to the masses would take generations, he wrote:

  • “…correcting the mistakes of ideology is an issue that will require generations of the call to Islam and modifying the educational curricula…the mujahedeen are not able to undertake this burden, rather they are in need of those who will help them with the difficulties and problems they face…it is a duty of the mujahed (jihad) movement…to fill the role of leader, trailblazer, and exploiter of all the capabilities of the Umma (Muslim community) for the sake of achieving our aims…”.

Regarding his belief that attacking the Shia was a mistake, Zawahiri opined:

  • “…the common folk are wondering about your attacks on the Shia. My opinion is that this matter won’t be acceptable to the Muslim populace however much you have tried to explain it, and aversion to this will continue.

Revealing his total rejection of Zarqawi’s public beheadings of hostages, he said:

  • “Among the things which the feelings of the Muslim populace…will never find palatable…are the scenes of slaughtering the hostages.”

In response, Zarqawi ignored Zawahiri’s reprimand, and, approximately two months later, he launched an “all-out war” on the Shia.  His insubordination only ceased when he was killed by US forces in July 2006.

In 2013, Zarqawi’s successor and the current leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, received the same kind of reprimands from al Qaeda, and like Zarqawi, he rejected them.  His insubordination caused relations between him and al Qaeda to steadily deteriorate, and finally, in February 2014, the organization officially disowned him.  Al Baghdadi was not deterred, however.  Rather, he went to war with its Syrian affiliate the Nusra Front, and won, and in the process, walked-away with an estimated 80 percent of al Nusra’s foreign fighters.  By early July 2014, al Baghdadi’s ISIS forces swept through Syria and Iraq and established a new “Caliphate” in the heart of the Middle East, which claimed leadership of the worldwide Muslim community.  When al Baghdadi called for Muslims to emigrate to support the Caliphate the number of foreign fighters flooding into Syria and Iraq increased significantly.

In a disturbing new development, the main al Qaeda organizations, heretofore loyal to Zawahiri, appear to be switching sides.  Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), considered by the US government to be the leading threat to the homeland, expressed solidarity with the Islamic State after US airstrikes against it, and pledged to conduct attacks against the US in retaliation.  In addition, the leadership of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is reportedly fractured over support for the Islamic State, and analysts believe the leadership will either come out in support of al Baghdadi, or break in two with one faction supporting him while the other remains loyal to Zawahiri.  The notorious Boko Haram and other Salafi-jihad groups have also pledged allegiance to al Baghdadi.

Al Baghdadi is supremely confident in his leadership and the capabilities of the Islamic State.  So confident is he, that in March 2014, he challenged his nemesis, the al Nusra Front, to Mubahala – a ritual Islamic prayer asking Allah to show his favor for one of the parties while cursing the other.  In Muslim tradition repeated military success can only occur if Allah wills it, and al Baghdadi believes that his series of successes proves that Allah has chosen the Islamic State as the winner.  Moreover, in the latest issue of its official publication, Dabiq magazine, al Baghdadi goes one step further by using the story of Noah and the Ark to legitimize his strict adherence to Sharia law.  No doubt the article also reveals how he views his role as the new “Caliph”.  In the story, Noah is described as an uncompromising prophet who gave his people a single but profound choice:

  • “He didn’t say to them, for example: “I have come to you with the truth, and your leaders are calling you to falsehood, so you are free to choose whether to follow me or to follow your leaders.” In fact, he didn’t even say anything to the effect of: “If you follow me then you would be correct, and if you follow your leaders then you would be mistaken.” Nor did he say anything to the effect of: “If you follow me you will be saved, and if you oppose me and follow your leaders then your reckoning is with Allah, and I have done what is required of me and you are free to choose.” Rather, he told them with full clarity:  “It’s either me or the flood.”[1]

Armed with new success, swelling ranks and funds, and the belief that Allah is on their side, the Islamic State’s leadership and fighters offer a stark and severe contrast to old guard al Qaeda:

  • They don’t care about Muslim public opinion or opposition from core al Qaeda and other jihad groups.
  • They believe that Muslims have no degree of free choice regarding their beliefs.
  • They embrace an “it’s either me or the flood” mentality in which they see themselves as Allah’s chosen vanguard on earth that all other Muslims must follow.
  • They believe that all Shia Muslims are apostates and must be killed.
  • They embrace brutal public executions, beheadings, and crucifixions to send the simple message – Muslims rule, apostates die.
  • They believe their success is a result of divine intervention by Allah.

These attributes, then, define the threat from ISIS’ foreign fighters.  Zawahiri’s reticence to conduct any operations that would offend the worldwide Muslim community is no longer operative.  ISIS fighters have disdain for Muslim public opinion – to them, anything goes.  In 2003, al Qaeda had a terrorist plan to attack the New York subway system with cyanide gas.  The device they created worked and it would likely have killed hundreds, but Zawahiri called the attack off at the last minute, most likely because he assessed there would be a negative backlash from his Muslim support base.  Al Baghdadi’s fighters would have launched the attack.

Read more at Blind Eagle

U.S. Links Iran to Both Al-Qaeda and Taliban Terrorists

Iran Ayatollah Khamenei in front of a picture of the leader of the 1979 Iranian Islamic revolution Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini

Iran Ayatollah Khamenei in front of a picture of the leader of the 1979 Iranian Islamic revolution Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini

By Ryan Mauro:

The U.S. Treasury Department is again linking the Iranian regime to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. On August 21-22, it sanctioned several terrorists and disclosed their Iranian ties. Yet again, it is confirmed that Shiite and Sunni terrorists are willing to cooperate against common enemies.

An August 22 press release announces the sanctioning of Abdul Mohsen Abdullah Ibrahim al-Sharikh, described as an Al-Qaeda facilitator and strategist in Syria. He is also a senior leader of Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, and very active in social media.

The Obama Administration explains that he also played a leading role in Al-Qaeda’s pipeline in Iran that operates with the consent of the regime:

“Prior to his work in Syria with [Jabhat al-Nusra], al-Sharikh served in early 2013 as chief of al-Qaida’s Iran-based extremist and financial facilitation network before the return of already designated al-Qaida facilitator Yasin al-Suri to the position. Al-Sharikh has also previously served al-Qaida as a key financial facilitator in Pakistan.”

A press release from a day prior announced that the Treasury Department was sanctioning the Basir Zarjmil Hawala based in Chaman of Pakistan’s Baluchistan Province. Hawala networks are underground money transfer systems in the Muslim world.

The U.S. government says the Basir Zarjmil Hawala became the “principal money exchanger” for Taliban leaders in Pakistan in 2012. It provides a list of branch offices, with one being in Iran. Given the tyrannical nature of the Iranian regime and suspicion of Sunni terrorists, it is inconceivable that the regime is unaware of this major operation. Other offices are in Afghanistan and Dubai.

The Clarion Project’s fact sheet on Iranian sponsorship of terrorism details how the Clinton, Bush and Obama Administrations have all asserted that the Iranian regime supports Al-Qaeda, despite their intense ideological divisions.

According to the 9/11 Commission Report, Iran and Al-Qaeda began collaborating in late 1991 or early 1992. Al-Qaeda operatives began receiving training, particularly in explosives, inside Iran and Lebanon.

The report leaves open the possibility that Al-Qaeda worked with Iran in carrying out the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia in 1996. The attack killed 19 U.S. soldiers. The Iranians wanted to expand the relationship after Al-Qaeda’s bombing of theUSS Cole in Yemen in 2000, but Osama Bin Laden was worried about losing Saudi supporters.

“The relationship between al-Qaeda and Iran demonstrated that Sunni-Shi’a divisions did not necessarily pose an insurmountable barrier to cooperation in terrorist operations,” the 9/11 Commission concluded.

***

Iran is offering to help the U.S. defeat the Islamic State (formerly Al-Qaeda in Iraq) if sanctions are lifted on its nuclear program. The Iranian regime is acting like a firefighter that sets blazes so it can come to the rescue.

The Shiite Iranian regime and the Sunni terrorists of Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State may kill and condemn each other, but they are far closer to each other than they are to us. The history of the relationship shows that they will work together against us, even as they fight tooth-and-nail in Syria and Iraq.

At the end of the day, Islamist terrorists will always choose each other over us. We ignore that demonstrated behavior at our own cost.

Read more at Clarion Project

DECLARE WAR ON SHARIAH

iraq-machine-guns-held-aloft-afpBreitbart, by FRANK J. GAFFNEY, JR., Aug. 24.2014:

The National Journal called earlier this week for the United States to “declare war on ISIS.” The magazine is right to argue for a new authorization for the use of military force (AUMF), a legislative vehicle that passes these days for a congressional declaration of war. It is wrong, however, to urge that the existing AUMF, which targets al Qaeda and “associated forces,” be replaced by one that focuses just on the Islamic State (also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Sham/Syria, or ISIS, or the Islamic State in the Levant, or ISIL).

Nearly thirteen years after 9/11, it is past time to recognize that we are at war not with one group of “terrorists” or another. Rather, adherents to a doctrine or ideology they call shariah are at war with us. Shariah is, at its core, about power, not faith. While some small percentage (some estimates suggest ten-percent) of its dictates prescribe the religious practices, the rest of it defines comprehensively how every relationship must be ordered – between individuals, families, neighbors, business associates, all the way up to how the world is governed.

Most importantly, shariah obliges its followers to engage in jihad (or holy war). Don’t be misled by those who argue jihad means “personal struggle.” The Koran makes clear that jihad is “holy war.” And for shariah-adherent Islamists that war has two goals: the triumph of shariah worldwide and the establishment of what is, for want of a better term, a theocratic government to rule the entire planet according to that doctrine.

The jihadists may disagree among themselves about some points of theology (notably, differences that divide Sunnis and Shiites). They may be committed to the use of terrifying violence under all circumstances. Or, as in the case of the Muslim Brotherhood, they may believe it is to be used where practicable, but insist on employing not so much non-violent as pre-violent, subversive techniques where terrorism will be counterproductive.

Whatever the banner under which these shariah-adherents wage jihad – for example, the Islamic State, al Qaeda, Taliban, Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, Taliban, Boko Haram, Al Shabab, Ansar al-Shariah or Muslim Brotherhood – all these Islamists are our avowed enemies. That is not because of how we view them. That is because of their own doctrine which is endlessly reinforced in their mosques, via the Internet, through social media and other vehicles.

We can no longer kid ourselves, or otherwise avoid a harsh reality: While perhaps hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world – including it seems the majority of those in America – practice their faith without regard for shariah (they don’t want to live under it themselves and they do not seek to impose it on others), the authorities of Islam regard shariah as the true faith and consider these co-religionists to be apostates.

At the moment, fortunately, only a relatively small number are actively engaged in violent jihad. Many more, though, are doing what shariah demands of those unable or unwilling to wield the sword in holy war: underwriting those who do, through the practice of zakat (Islam’s obligatory contributions to approved charitable causes, one of which is jihad).

Unless and until we understand that shariah-adherent Muslims are inherently dangerous, we will be unable to define our enemy correctly. Unless and until we hold such Muslims accountable, we will not only restrict unduly the focus and effectiveness of our countervailing efforts.

Worse yet, we will actually encourage Muslims – whether states like Qatar and Saudi Arabia, organizations or individuals – to associate with, underwrite, or in other ways enable deadly foes of freedom.

Some will respond that an AUMF focused on shariah is a formula for a “clash of civilizations.” The truth is that enemies of civilization – namely, those who adhere to and seek to impose, whether through violence or by stealth, brutally repressive, totalitarian, misogynistic, homophobic, intolerant and anti-constitutional shariah on others – have made no secret of their determination to conquer and destroy us and the rest of the civilized world.

Only by making clear that we are determined to fight back in defense of freedom will we have a chance of protecting our civilization against these enemies. By identifying the political-military-legal ideology of shariah as the defining ideology of those with whom we are at war – much as we did in the past against Nazism, Fascism, Japanese imperialism, and communism – we have a chance of prevailing. And that chance will be greatly enhanced if we bring to bear now, as in the past, not only military but all other instruments of national power.

We will also incentivize Muslims who do not conform to this doctrine to join us in fighting those who accuse them of apostasy, a capital offense under shariah. If they do so, the likelihood of our early success improves still further.

So, by all means, let’s have a new authorization for the use of military force. Or better yet, a proper declaration of war approved by the Congress, authorizing the use of the full array of our economic, political, intelligence, strategic and military means of waging war. But for the sake of our civilization and freedoms, we must ensure that it correctly defines the object of our defensive war: those who adhere to and are trying compel us to submit to shariah.