Defining Jihad Downward

Screen-Shot-2014-12-12-at-2.44.37-PM-190x142CSP, By Kyle Shideler:

My colleague Adam Savit has already taken the BBC to task for their write up of a recent report on Jihadist violence in the month of November, which neglected to include the murder of Israelis. This led me to drill down deeper into the report by the International Center for the Study of Radicalisation and Political violence. Not only did the report neglect to include Hamas violence in its study of jihadi attacks, but it does so explicitly and intentionally. The report notes:

This definition excludes Shia militant groups such as Hezbollah that justify fighting in the name of jihad but are located outside the Sunni tradition. Indeed, the jihadists of al Qaeda, the Islamic State and like-minded groups regard Hezbollah as ‘apostates’ and have been among the most vociferous opponents of Shia militant groups in places like Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.

The definition also excludes the Palestinian group Hamas which advocates ‘jihad’ and – unlike Hezbollah – is widely recognized as Sunni. Its religious, social and political doctrine, however, is not Salafist.
Jihadist groups such as al Qaeda have repeatedly condemned Hamas for recognizing man-made laws and becoming involved in democratic elections, while Hamas, in turn, has repressed – and fought against – jihadist groups.

This justification is at best ignorant, and at worst mendacious.

While it is true that Hezbollah is fighting Islamic State and Al Qaeda in Syria, Hezbollah also has a long history of cooperation with Al Qaeda. Are the authors of this report unaware that it was Hezbollah which introduced Al Qaeda to the truck bombing techniques used in the Africa Embassy bombings (a role for which they have been held responsible in court) and that relationships between Iran’s terrorist facilitators the IRGC, Hezbollah and AL Qaeda were forged during the Pan Arab and Islamic Conference held by Sudan in the 1990s? Perhaps they are equally unaware that Hezbollah’s patron, Iran, has been held responsible for its role in 9/11 in federal court, due to its role in facilitating the movement of the hijackers, and that the 9/11 Commission notes the role of Hezbollah’s master terrorist Imad Mugniyeh in assisting the 9/11 attacks? One supposes that given its narrow justification the ICSR would not consider the  Embassy bombings or the 9/11 attacks  “jihadist” violence either.

Then there is the ICSR’s statement on Hamas. Hamas is the wing of the Muslim Brotherhood responsible for engaging in jihad terror against Israel. Hamas is completely open about this connection, having documented it in its original founding charter. Hamas was perhaps best described by leading Hamas representative Ismail Haniyeh who remarked that Hamas is the “jihadi movement of the Brotherhood with a Palestinian face.” From its earliest foundation, The Muslim Brotherhood’s own founder Hasan Al-Banna described his movement as consisting of “a Salafiyya message…”  Prior to founding the Brotherhood Al-Banna was himself a member of the Salafi groups, including the Society for the Prevention of the Forbidden.

Further more, Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Sayyid Qutb’s most important work “Milestones”, was a major inspiration for Osama Bin Laden (according to the 9/11 Commission report again) and consists entirely of a discussion regarding how to restore the world to Islam, while using the methods of the early Muslims (i.e. Salaf).  The original founder of the MAK (Afghan Service Bureau) Abdullah Azzam together with Osama Bin Laden, and the author of “In Defense of Muslim Lands” the doctrinal work which best established Jihad as an fard al-ayn (individual obligation), was both a Muslim Brother and a co-founder of Hamas.  Azzam’s picture is still visible in the offices of Hamas today.

Besides Sayyid Qutb and Abdullah Azzam,  other Muslim Brotherhood members have also played a key role in creating the very doctrine of Al Qaeda, such as Abdul Mjid Aziz Al-Zindani, the leading cleric of the Yemeni branch of Muslim Brotherhood, was a close mentor of Osama Bin Laden and a contact of the AQ-linked Ansar al-Islam.  Al-Zindani was also a board member of the specially designated entity the Union of the Good, an organization run by Muslim Brotherhood cleric Yusuf Al Qaradawi, whose primary purpose is to fund Hamas.

The claim by ICSR that Hezbollah and Hamas should be excluded from an accounting of Jihadist violence merely because they (at times) have disagreed with Al Qaeda or other jihadist groups is utterly inane. After all Al Qaeda and ISIS are currently locked in a struggle themselves (see for example this video released today by MEMRI featuring ISIS members interrogating Jabhat al Nusra members and denouncing them as apostates), and Muslim Brotherhood-linked militias in the Syrian civil war fight alongside Al Qaeda, and yet the ICSR can’t quite bring itself to declare that Al Qaeda is not a jihadist group.

Jihad as religiously-obligatory warfare to establish Islamic law remains a concept which extends across both Sunni and Shia sects, and amongst all schools of Islamic law. There is no legitimate justification for excluding these groups, and to do so is to reduce the term “jihad” or “jihadist violence” until it is becomes meaningless. The reality is that Jihadist violence is a threat larger than simply just the “Salafi-jihadi” matrix which some insist on shoving it into.

Obama’s Christmas Gift to ISIS and Al Qaeda

obama-1-419x350Frontpage, by Daniel Greenfield, Dec.9, 2014:

Everyone likes presents; even murderous Muslim terrorists.

That must be why Obama decided to give ISIS, Hamas and Al Qaeda an early Christmas present by freeing their followers from Guantanamo Bay and dispatching them to Uruguay.

Why Uruguay? It’s one of several South American countries run by Marxist terrorists.

Uruguayan President Jose Mujica, a former Marxist terrorist, already offered to take in Syrian refugees and a number of the freed Gitmo Jihadists are Syrians who trained under the future leader of what would become ISIS. If they stay on in Uruguay, they can try to finish the job of killing the Syrian refugees resettled there. If they don’t, they can just join ISIS and kill Christian and Yazidi refugees back in Syria.

It’s a win-win situation for ISIS and Marxist terrorists; less so for their victims.

Most of the Guantanamo detainees freed by Obama were rated as presenting a high risk to America and our allies. They include a bomb maker, a trained suicide bomber, a document forger and a terrorist who had received training in everything up to RPGs and mortars.

The only thing Obama left out was the partridge in the pear tree. It probably wasn’t Halal.

These terrorists aren’t about to settle down in a country best known for its agricultural sector. There is no major demand for bomb makers to herd sheep or suicide bombers to milk cows.

Obama’s Christmas gift to Islamic terrorists includes Mohammed Tahanmatan, a Hamas terrorist who told American personnel at Gitmo that he “hates all enemies of Islam, including Americans, Jews, Christians and Muslims who do not think as he does.”

Uruguay is filled with these enemies of Islam, but so is the rest of the world. There’s no telling where Mohammed Tahanmatan will take his Jihad against Americans, Christians and Jews; he might go back to Israel or head over to Syria. Or he might just go back to Afghanistan and Pakistan to kill the American soldiers still left there.

Either way the blood of his victims will be on Obama’s hands.

And yet Mohammed Tahanmatan is the least dangerous of the terrorists freed by Barack Obama.

Ahmed Adnan Ahjam, Abd al Hadi Omar Mahmoud Faraj, Ali Husain Shaabaan and Jihad Ahmed Diyab were members of the Syrian Group which left an Assad crackdown to join Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. The Syrian Group was headed by Abu Musab al-Suri, a key ideological figure in international Jihadist circles, who was linked to multiple bombings in Europe, including one that wounded American soldiers.

The Damascus Cell of the Syrian Group was run by the uncle of Al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi who also sat on AQIQ’s advisory council. Al Qaeda in Iraq is known today as ISIS.

Even while Obama bombs ISIS in Syria and Iraq, he releases experienced ISIS recruits from Gitmo.

Ahmed Adnan Ahjam was listed as receiving advanced training from Al Qaeda in the use of a wide range of battlefield weapons up to artillery. He will be invaluable to ISIS in its campaign in Kobani.

Obama’s present of Ahjam to ISIS will aid in genocide against the Kurds of Kobani. Ahjam was rated a “high risk” and should never have been released.

Abd al Hadi Omar Mahmoud Faraj received training at a camp run by Zarqawi providing him with an even more direct link to ISIS. He is a trained suicide bomber. ISIS will make use of him to train suicide bombers including its growing army of brainwashed and abused child soldiers.

Faraj was rated “high risk”. He should never have been released.

Ali Husain Shaabaan also trained at a Zarqawi camp. He was listed as “high risk”. Like Farj and Ahjam, there is little doubt that he will be in Syria before too long.

Jihad Ahmed Diyab is a document forger who provided documents to the Jihadist network of Abu Zubaydah linked to the bombing plot against Los Angeles International Airport, he worked with Zarqawi and associated with 9/11 terrorist recruiter Mohammed Zammar.

Jihad Diyab was not only listed as being “high risk”, but also as being of high intelligence value. He has connections to multiple Islamic terrorist groups around the world. That makes Jihad potentially the most valuable member of the Syrian Group to be released by Obama in his Christmas gift to ISIS.

ISIS will find Jihad Diyab useful for providing forged documents to smuggle its fighters into Syria and also to potentially move terrorists into Europe and America.

And yet giving this gift of Jihad to ISIS may pale next to Abdul Bin Mohammed Abis Ourgy, the final Gitmo Jihadist, who not only has many links to Muslim terrorist groups, but is a bomb maker who also trained terrorists in his explosive arts. The United States suspected that he may have even known beforehand about 9/11.

Ourgy is likely to head for North Africa and his ability to move money around will help strengthen the operations of Al Qaeda and Al Qaeda linked groups in the area. His bomb making skills will be used to train the next generation of terrorists. The blood of those they kill will be on Obama’s hands.

It goes without saying that Ourgy was listed as “high risk” and that releasing a bomb maker who will train other terrorists to build bombs is about as irresponsible as it gets.

Obama didn’t just free six more Gitmo detainees. He dumped “high risk” Jihadists with skills that make them extremely useful to ISIS and extremely dangerous to us into a country run by a former terrorist.

These terrorists are not just Al Qaeda, but the majority of them have personal links to Syria and to the network of what has become ISIS.

“We’ve offered our hospitality for human beings who have suffered a terrible kidnapping in Guantanamo,” President Jose Mujica has said, making it clear once again where his sympathies lie.

The former Marxist terrorist predictably sympathizes with the terrorists, not the terrorized. Obama might as well have given the new ISIS recruits a plane ticket directly to Istanbul. The only difference between doing that and doing what he did is plausible deniability.

As soon as the money gets wired to them from Saudi Arabia or Qatar, they’ll be at Carrasco International Airport. After a plane trip from there to Buenos Aires to Istanbul, the rest will be a jaunt across the border with a wink and a nod from friendly Turkish border guards happy that ISIS is committing the genocide that their prospective position in the European Union won’t allow them to openly carry out.

Of the terrorists released from Gitmo, 100 were confirmed as having returned to terrorism. Thanks to Obama’s Christmas present to Hamas, Al Qaeda and ISIS, that number is about to go up.

Also see:

Judge Pirro interviews Emerson on hostage taking, Administration rescue efforts and Al Qaeda-ISIS competition

 

IPT, by Steven Emerson
December 6, 2014

Judge Jeanine: American hostage Luke Somers, a freelance photographer ,was killed late Friday during a rescue attempt by US special forces. Somers was abducted last year and was being held by al Qaeda in Yemen. The murder raises new questions about how the US military will be able to respond to a spike in overseas kidnappings by terrorists. With me now, the founder of the Investigative Project Steve Emerson, and former CIA covert operation officer Mike Baker. All right, Mike. We’ve got two rescues attempts, the American hostage dead. Is there some truth to what the White House says about our intel not being as good as it should be?

Mike Baker: Well, you know, it’s an odd thing to say if they are in fact pushing and saying it wasn’t us. Part of it is they were concerned that they were getting some flack for not approving the initial unsuccessful raid quick enough. You could argue that, look, you control very little in a hostage rescue situation. Intel is never perfect in any of these things. We tend to be conditioned by feature films and beach books to think this is just a pretty simple thing, you find your target, go and rescue them. We have had a very good success rate. But things go wrong and you can never guarantee success when you’re talking about an operation like this.

Judge Jeanine: Alright Steve, same question. Is it good to say that we couldn’t find the guy twice?

Steve Emerson: Well it’s not good to say it, but on the other hand I will give them credit for actually trying to carry out the operations, especially for a president that has eschewed extra judicial operations. I’m glad they’re doing it but the reality is, as Mike pointed out, you’re relying on local intelligence initially, and that local intelligence is going to shift and it’s not going to stay stagnant. It’s going to shift and you’re not going to be able to rely on it when you’re on the ground immediately. However, the reality is it does put us in a position where we’re seen as a paper tiger now. Number two, they’re going to take precautions now to make it almost impossible now to rescue other hostages.

Judge Jeanine: That was my point, Steve and Mike. I’m sure you would agree with me. There’s in point in saying we tried but didn’t get them other than to tell the enemy, you know what we’re coming after our guys. But Steve I want to ask you a question, then Mike I’m gonna go back to you. The group behind this, Steve, is al Qaeda. We’re not talking ISIS now. We’re not talking Syria and Iraq. How were these guys different from ISIS?

Steve Emerson: Well they’re not different from ISIS. Actually they’re in competition and what they realized is that ISIS enriched itself by the tune of tens of millions of dollars by taking hostages and getting them to be paid by ransom money. This is exactly what was going on with this set of hostages. They were going to get paid ransom money, had a set of demands. And al Qaeda realized ISIS was getting a lot of fame and recruitment. So now they [are] in competition [with ISIS….and its] now it’s open season on Americans around the world. So al Qaeda now is in rivalry with ISIS in the same type of tactics, and you can be sure that al Qaeda is going to be killing Americans no matter where they are. Not necessarily directed by al Qaeda core but by al Qaeda- inspired people like in Abu Dhabi as we saw just last week, a woman who was killed. And Americans killed in the Sinai like the Israelis have been killed around the world.

Judge Jeanine: And Mike it seems as Steve is saying that Americans are going to be more at risk of being taken hostage. What can we do about this?

Mike Baker: Well, Americans and our allies, Westerners all over. But we do what we continue to do. It’s a little unusual to say, also, that, you know, well, this unsuccessful raid makes us a paper tiger. It doesn’t make us a paper tiger. It’s just the reality of it. Again, every operation, every hostage rescue attempt presents its own difficulties. And we have the best trained personnel in the world in trying to conduct these operations. But I think we’ve gotten to this place in our lives where the administration and everyone else wants a zero risk world. But it doesn’t work that way.

Judge Jeanine: I understand, Mike, that you want to take that side. But I think when you tell the world that we tried and we lost twice, there’s no point in it. (crosstalk). Hillary Clinton thinks we need to empathize with our enemies. What do you think, Steve? Real fast, we’re coming up against a hard break.

Steve Emerson: I think we should empathize with our friends first.

Judge Jeanine: Mike?

Mike Baker: It’s ridiculous. It’s absolutely ridiculous.

Judge Jeanine: I couldn’t agree more. Steve and Mike, thanks for being with us.

Also see:

FAULTY INTELLIGENCE?

The raid was the third failed rescue attempt of an American hostage in five months and followed a Nov. 25 mission that was unsuccessful because Somers had been moved before U.S. commandos arrived.

In that raid, U.S. commandos and Yemeni troops swooped before dawn into a cave in the eastern province of Hadramout and freed eight people.

Seven of the eight turned out to be al Qaeda members who had been held captive by the militants on suspicion of being government spies, two senior Yemeni officials told Reuters. The eighth was a Yemeni computer specialist, they said.

Al-Ahmadi, Chief of Yemen National Security Bureau, said after the seven were freed they told Yemen authorities they were members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the militant network’s arm in the country, and that they had been accused by their own organization of spying for the government.

Thet were detained by AQAP “not as hostages but as suspects,” a senior Yemini security official said.

Reuters could not independently confirm his description of those being detained. American officials declined to address the question. Officials at the White House and Pentagon did not respond to requests by Reuters for comment.

The seven — five Yemenis, a Saudi and an Ethiopian – are now being held by Yemen’s government, the officials said. It is unclear if the United States was aware that al Qaeda members suspected of being government informants were among the people rescued in that raid.

The raid, along with Saturday’s mission and a failed attempt to rescue American journalist James Foley in July, have raised questions over the quality of intelligence used by Washington in attempts to free American hostages.

 

What is hiding behind Islamic State?

Photo: Press Association

Photo: Press Association

Chatham House, December 2014, Volume 70, Number 6, by Nadim Shehadi – h/t Fortuna’s Corner

In early 18th-century Aleppo there was a schism in the Greek Orthodox Church, and a new sect emerged called the Melkite Church, in communion with Rome. The Melkites, also called Greek Catholics, needed their own church, but it was illegal to build a new church in the lands of the Ottoman Empire; however, if a Christian church already existed, it was protected and it was forbidden to tear it down.

To build their church, the Melkites resorted to a trick that is practised to this day and that may help explain the complex phenomenon that we call Islamic State. The illegal new church was built in hiding, inside a hangar or a large barn, away from the eyes of the law and of rival sects. After a while the Melkites were betrayed and the barn had to be torn down, revealing a fully built church. Once it was out in the open, the church acquired legitimacy and permanency.

This practice is still followed in some slums and refugee camps where only temporary structures with tin or corrugated iron roofs are allowed. To get round this law, homes with solid roofs are built underneath the canopy of a temporary roof; after a while, the tin roof is removed. Once these solid homes are in the open, they are subject to different laws and are de facto recognized.

Islamic State is in fact such a barn or tin roof under which are hiding a complex set of forces; they would be illegal if they tried to consolidate their power over a territory but they will have to be recognized once the roof is removed.

One element is the General Military Council for Iraqi Revolutionaries, former Ba’ath Party officers from Saddam Hussein’s disbanded army with over thirty years of experience ruling the land. Many have been in hiding or in exile, given sanctuary and support by the Syrian regime.

Another important element is the Army of the Men of the Naqshbandi Order, a Sufi order which is powerful in the region and with connections that are not well understood. They include senior members of the AK party of the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Muslim clergy in Syria and Lebanon.

The third element are Sunni tribes in the western provinces of Iraq who are disaffected with the policies of Shia hegemony of the former prime minister, Nouri al Maliki, and bitter at being abandoned by the Americans with whom they collaborated to get rid of Al-Qaeda in Iraq during the ‘Surge’ in 2007-08. Some of the reported massacres in western Iraq, brutal as they are, may have more to do with Ba’ath-style re-establishment of control in these provinces than with what we think of as the jihadism of Islamic State.

These disaffected Sunnis are the real forces hiding inside the barn. They have local support and connections that may explain the speed with which they took over territory; they may be led by Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, second in command in Saddam’s regime and the King of Spades in the US’s deck of cards. He is described as the hidden sheikh of the Naqshbandi order.

The fourth element – the one everyone can see – is composed of the remnants of Al Qaeda in Iraq most of whom have been released or escaped from Syrian and Iraqi jails. These had played an important role in destabilizing Iraq in 2006/7, a role facilitated by the Syrian regime.

This element, joined by foreign fighters, is the barn inside which the rest of that toxic mixture of disaffected groups is hidden. The purported Salafi Islamist creed of Islamic State is incompatible with the other elements within it: the secular nationalism of the Ba’athists is anathema to the so-called caliphate proclaimed by Islamic State; Sufis such as the Naqshbandis are considered heretics and apostates; and tribal leaders are always wary of losing followers to cults.

Islamic State has been described as a virtual entity, its visibility a product of a sophisticated media strategy designed to make it seem like the fount of all evil. This propaganda campaign created the barn and at the same time created the urge to destroy it.

There is much confusion about Islamic State in international policy circles and better understanding of the phenomenon is crucial. All the opposing forces in the region have suddenly found themselves on the same side against Islamic State. In this new alignment, some voices are calling for western re-engagement with the Assad regime in Syria and a shift away from America’s traditional allies among the Gulf states in favour of Iran. The US Vice-President Joe Biden expressed this confusion publicly when he said that US allies were part of the problem.

If some of the forces incorporated in Islamic State represent legitimate elements of Sunni grievance, then focusing on the ‘caliphate’ as the ultimate enemy is diverting attention from two important causes of Sunni radicalization: one is the revolt in Syria, where the regime is now free to barrel bomb its cities and the rebels feel abandoned by the West. The second is the Iranian-sponsored militias such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and many more in Iraq which are now tacitly accepted by the US as part of the fight against Islamic State and have a free hand in their offensives against the Sunni population.

These militias in Iraq, clones of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, have undermined the US-trained Iraqi army. With the army now barely operational, these militias are at the forefront of the fight against Islamic State. Like an arsonist posing as a firefighter, Iran and Syria are now proposing themselves as part of the solution to a problem they helped to create.

The Americans are not blameless. The increase in radical elements in Iraq is also to a large extent a consequence of three decisions taken by the Americans after the invasion of Iraq: The disbanding of the Iraqi army which left its officers outside the system; the crippling of state institutions through the wholesale de-Ba’athification process; and the timing and manner of US withdrawal, which left a vacuum to be filled by Iran.

The moral of the story is that fighting Islamic State in alliance with Iran and Assad is futile: it will increase grievances and exacerbate the problem. What is required is to address these grievances by protecting the Syrian population from the regime and curbing the power of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Iraq and the rest of the region.

The US, instead of defusing Sunni-Shia tension, is sending an inflammatory message: that it is ready to work with Assad and Iran to fight Islamic State and, while engaging with Iran on the nuclear issue, it will disregard Tehran’s power plays in the region.

Engagement should be with the real forces which operate under the cover of Islamic State; these include some unpalatable elements but evidence suggests that they have gained ground for a reason, and if that reason is not addressed they will gain even more.

Representative of Ayman al Zawahiri reportedly captured in Turkey as US Investigates Benghazi Link

This undated photo reportedly shows Abd El Basset Azzouz. (Photo: Milliyet)

This undated photo reportedly shows Abd El Basset Azzouz. (Photo: Milliyet)

LWJ, By

An operative who was dispatched to Libya by al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri was reportedly captured in Turkey and is now being held in Jordan.

A Turkish daily, the Milliyet, first reported Azzouz’s capture earlier this month. The Milliyet’s reporting was subsequently picked up by other Turkish press outlets.

Azzouz was handpicked by Zawahiri to oversee al Qaeda’s efforts in post-revolution Libya. According to the Turkish reports, Azzouz was detained in mid-November after the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Turkish authorities located him in the “summer resort” area of Yalova, which is south of Istanbul. Two laptops and a fake passport were captured along with Azzouz.

According to an account by the Washington Post, Azzouz was soon deported to Jordan, where he is currently being held.

US intelligence officials are investigating Azzouz’s potential ties to the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. If he did have a role in the assault, during which four Americans were killed, then his involvement would be yet another strong piece of evidence pointing to the culpability of al Qaeda’s international network.

Fighters from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), two formal branches of al Qaeda, are known to have taken part in the Benghazi attack. Both AQAP and AQIM are openly loyal to Zawahiri.

Members of the so-called Mohammad Jamal Network (MJN) were present among the attackers. The MJN, as it is known by Western counterterrorism officials, was founded by Mohammad Jamal, an Egyptian who was first trained by al Qaeda in the 1980s. Like the leaders of AQAP and AQIM, Jamal swore a bayat (oath of allegiance) to Zawahiri.

Fighters from Ansar al Sharia, an al Qaeda-linked group based in Libya, were also among the jihadists who stormed the embassy. There is abundant evidence tying Ansar al Sharia to al Qaeda’s network and these ties have been formally recognized by the United Nations. [For more on the various al Qaeda groups responsible for the Benghazi attack, see LWJ reports, Senate report: Terrorists ‘affiliated’ with multiple al Qaeda groups involved in Benghazi attack and UN recognizes ties between Ansar al Sharia in Libya, al Qaeda.]

Zawahiri’s man in Libya

In September, the State Department added Azzouz to the US government’s list of specially designated global terrorists. Azzouz “has had a presence in Afghanistan, the United Kingdom, and Libya.”

State noted that Azzouz “was sent to Libya in 2011 by al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri to build a fighting force there, and mobilized approximately 200 fighters.” Azzouz “is considered a key operative capable of training al Qaeda recruits in a variety of skills,” such as building improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

The designation of Azzouz confirmed some of the details previously reported by CNN, as well as by an analysis shop in the Defense Department.

An unclassified report published in August 2012 highlights al Qaeda’s strategy for building a fully operational network in Libya, and it identified Azzouz as playing a key role in these plans. The report (“Al Qaeda in Libya: A Profile”) was prepared by the federal research division of the Library of Congress under an agreement with the Defense Department’s Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO).

The report’s authors noted that Azzouz had been sent to Libya by Zawahiri and has been close to the al Qaeda leader “since 1980.” Azzouz “first visited Afghanistan in the 1990s to join the mujahedin fight against the Soviet occupation.” In Libya, according to the CTTSO report, Azzouz “has been operating at least one training center” and has hundreds of men under his command. [See LWJ report, Al Qaeda’s plan for Libya highlighted in congressional report.]

It is not clear what Azzouz was specifically doing in Turkey at the time of his capture. Turkey is a known crossroads for al Qaeda operatives, including those dispatched by al Qaeda’s senior leadership and fighters seeking to join the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria.

Emerson on ISIS in Canada, restrictions on RCMP, and the mother of all Islamic terrorist groups; Muslim Brotherhood

American and South African Hostage Killed in Yemen during Rescue Attempt

ISIS Study Group:

Luke Somers

Luke Somers

The United States military conducted a raid using Special Operations Forces to try and free US hostage Luke Sommers from AQAP (Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) affiliates in Yemen. The raid was conducted in conjunction with the Yemeni military. Pierre Korkie a South African was also killed during the raid. It is unclear if the hostages were executed just

Pierre Korkie

Pierre Korkie

prior to the raid or during the raid. However, it is likely that they were killed during the rescue attempt because negotiations had been underway by the Gift of the Givers organization to free Pierre. According to the Gift of the Givers organization Pierre was to be set free on Sunday. Pierre’s wife had earlier been a captive and the organization had negotiated her release. The US had attempted to the rescue due to the recent video released by AQAP that it would kill Sommers on Saturday if the US did not meet AQAP’s demands which were not included in the video released statement.

The US had made a previous attempt to secure the release of Sommers near the Saudi Arabia border in another raid that freed a total of 8 captives which included Yemenis, a Saudi national and one Ethiopian national. Somers and five others were not found at that site. Sommers had been kidnapped in September 2013 while leaving a supermarket in the capital city of Sanaa. Somers had worked as a free lance photographer for the National Yemen news agency since the 2011 uprising in the country.

The US had also conducted a drone strike earlier in the morning in prior to the Special Operations raid to free Luke Somers. It is estimated that the drone strike killed up to 10 militants. The drone strikes in Yemen are disliked because in addition to killing militants there are said to be high casualty rates among civilians. The raid may have taken place in the Shabwa Province in the vicinity of Wadi Abdan where helicopters were said to have been seen flying shortly after the drone strike.

Links to Related Stories:

American hostage ‘murdered’ during failed rescue attempt in Yemen

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/12/06/us-hostage-in-yemen-died-in-failed-rescue-attempt-sister-says/

American Hostage Luke Somers Killed in US Rescue Attempt

http://abcnews.go.com/International/american-hostage-luke-somers-killed-us-rescue-attempt/story?id=27397528

Pakistani army kills senior al Qaeda commander tasked with attacking the West

 Adnan Shukrijumah

Adnan Shukrijumah

LWJ, By

The Pakistani military said it killed Adnan Shukrijumah, a senior al Qaeda leader who was tasked with plotting attacks in North America, during a raid in the Taliban-controlled tribal agency of South Waziristan. Shukrijumah was a member of al Qaeda’s external operations council and was involved with the 2008 plot to bomb subways in New York City and another plot to detonate fuel pipelines at JFK International Airport.

The Inter-Services Public Relations branch of the Pakistani military announced the death of Shukrijumah in a press release, and said he was killed in a raid in the Shin Warsak area of South Waziristan.

“In an intelligence borne operation, top al Qaeda leader Adnan Al Shukrijumah was killed by [the] Pakistan Army in an early morning raid in Shin Warsak, South Waziristan today,” the ISPR statement, which was obtained by The Long War Journal, said. Additionally, “his accomplice and local facilitator were also killed in the raid.” The ISPR also said a soldier was killed during the raid.

The Shin Warsak area is a known haven for al Qaeda, and is controlled by the Mullah Nazir Group, a Taliban faction that is favored by the Pakistani military and government as it does not seek to attack the Pakistani state. The Mullah Nazir Group does wage jihad in Afghanistan and shelter members of al Qaeda and other local and international terrorist groups.

The US has launched four drone strikes against al Qaeda in Shin Warzak since December 2008. In late 2012, the US killed two mid-level al Qaeda commanders – Abdul Rehman al Zaman Yemeni and Sheikh Abdul Bari, in two separate strikes. [SeeLWJ reports, Al Qaeda commander thought killed in South Waziristan drone strike, and US drones kill 3 ‘militants’ in 1st strike in Pakistan in more than a month.]

Shukrijumah was born in Saudi Arabia and lived in the US for years. He attended a mosque in Florida where he mixed with radicals. At some point, Shukrijumah traveled to Afghanistan where he allegedly received training in al Qaeda’s camps and was groomed by senior al Qaeda leaders for future missions. In 2003, FBI and US intelligence officials told the press that Shukrijumah then came back to the US to coordinate terrorist attacks on American soil after Sept. 11, 2001. He was placed on the FBI’s most wanted list. [See LWJ report, Al Qaeda sleeper agent tied to 2009 NYC subway plot.]

Since 2003, Shukrijumah has been one of the most wanted al Qaeda terrorists in the world. On March 20, 2003, the FBI released a “Be on the Lookout” alert for Shukrijumah (aka Jafar al Tayyar, or Jafar “the Pilot”). The US State Department’s Rewards For Justice program offered a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture and prosecution. This made Shukrijumah on of the most wanted al Qaeda leaders in the world.

Shukrijumah has been identified as being a member of al Qaeda’s external operations council and its operations chief for North America.

He is the second member of al Qaeda’s external operations council to have been killed this fall. On Oct. 13, jihadists reported the death of Ahmed Abdulrahman Sihab Ahmed Sihab, who is also known as Abdulrahman al Sharqi. Sihab, a wanted Bahraini citizen who was on the US list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists, is thought to have been killed in a drone strike in Pakistan or Afghanistan. [See LWJ report, Al Qaeda external operations leader reported killed .]

AQAP threatens to execute American hostage

 

LWJ, By

In a new video released by its media wing, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) threatened to kill American hostage Luke Somers if the US government does not meet its demands. The latest video features senior AQAP leader Nasser bin Ali al Ansi, who delineates what he calls American “crimes” throughout the Muslim world, and then includes a clip of Somers giving a statement.

Al Ansi begins his anti-American diatribe by citing alleged American “crimes against the Islamic world.” He notes US support for the “Zionist occupiers,” as well as “massacres and crimes” in a host of Muslim countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Somalia. Al Ansi also mentions the “Crusader campaign … relying on aircraft,” a reference to the covert US drone program that has intensified in Yemen since 2012.

Al Ansi then turns to the US-led raid on a cave in the Hajr as-Say’ar district of Hadramout province that sought to free a number of hostages held by AQAP during the night between Nov. 24 and Nov. 25. Eight hostages were rescued in that operation, which was reportedly carried out by US Special Forces, including members of the Navy’s SEAL Team Six, and Yemeni counterterrorism agents.

Last week Yemeni officials confirmed that an unnamed American, Briton, and South African were said to be among the hostages and were moved prior to the operation. The Yemeni Defense Ministry’s website quoted a Yemeni soldier who clarified that intelligence information indicated that AQAP had been holding 11 hostages. The remaining American hostage in question is apparently Luke Somers, who is featured in the latest AQAP video. Somers, a British-born American photojournalist, has been held by AQAP since his abduction in Sana’a in September 2013.

After condemning the American raid that sought to free Somers as “this latest foolish action” which killed an “elite group of mujahideen,” al Ansi gives the American government an ultimatum: meet AQAP’s demands within a timeframe of three days or Somers will “meet his inevitable fate.” Although al Ansi does not specify AQAP’s demands, he claims that the American officials “are aware” of them.

Al Ansi concludes his statement by personally warning President Barack Obama and the American government “of the consequences of proceeding in any other foolish action.”

Following al Ansi’s preface, Somers is shown providing a brief statement in which he pleads for his life. Somers states: “It’s now been well over a year since I’ve been kidnapped in Sana’a. Basically. I’m looking for any help that can get me out of this situation. I am certain my life is in danger. So as I sit here now, I ask, if anything can be done, please let it be done.”

Although some analysts may interpret the latest AQAP video as a reaction to or imitation of the Islamic State’s hostage execution tactics, such analysis ignores recent developments in Yemen. AQAP’s threat to execute Somers is a clear response to the recent US-led raid in Hadramout that freed eight hostages.

Mindful that the US is currently searching for the remaining hostages, AQAP is trying to use Somers as a negotiating card in an effort to extract concessions from the US administration. The video also is an attempt to show that there is a price to pay for US raids to free hostages held by AQAP.

Also see:

Sisi is not Mubarak

Sisi-300x203By Caroline Glick:

It was due to Mubarak’s refusal to act that the Palestinians in Gaza were able to begin and massively expand their projectile war of mortars, rockets and missiles against Israel. From the first such attacks, carried out 14 years ago, the Palestinian projectile campaigns could never have happened without Egypt’s effective collaboration.

On countless occasions, Palestinian terrorist commanders were able to escape to Sinai and avoid arrest by Israeli forces, only to return to Gaza from Sinai and continue their operations.

Mubarak believed that Israel was his safety valve. By facilitating jihadist operations against Israel from Egyptian territory, he assumed that he was securing Egypt from them. As he saw things, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran would be so satisfied with his cooperation in their jihad against the Jews that they would leave him alone.

It was only in 2009, when Egypt announced the unraveling of a terrorist ring in Sinai comprised of Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Hamas and Hezbollah operatives planning attacks against Israel and Egypt, and seeking the overthrow of the regime, that Mubarak began signaling he may have misjudged the situation. But even then, his actions against those forces were sporadic and half-hearted.

Hamas’s continued assaults against Israel in the years that followed, and the build-up of Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaida forces in Sinai, were a clear sign that Mubarak was unwilling to contend with the unpleasant reality that the very forces attacking Israel were also seeking to overthrow his regime and destroy the Egyptian state.

In stark contrast, Sisi rose to power as those selfsame forces were poised to destroy the Egyptian state. The Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power owed in part to the support it received from Hamas.

During the January 2011 rebellion against Mubarak, Hamas operatives played a key role in storming Egyptian prisons in Sinai and freeing Muslim Brotherhood leaders – including Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi – from prison. In 2012 and 2013, Hamas forces reportedly served as shock troops to quell protests against the Muslim Brotherhood regime. Those protests arose in opposition to Morsi’s moves to seize dictatorial powers Mubarak never dreamed of exercising, and his constitutional machinations aimed at transforming Egypt into an Islamic state and hub of a future global caliphate.

Sisi and his generals overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood with Saudi and UAE support in order to prevent Egypt from dissolving into a Sunni jihadist axis in which Hamas, al-Qaida and other jihadist movements were key players, and Iran and Hezbollah were allied forces.

Due to the events that propelled him to power, Sisi has adopted a strategic posture far different from Mubarak’s. As Sisi sees things, Sunni jihadist forces and their Iranian-led Shi’ite allies are existential threats to the Egyptian state even when their primary target is Israel. Sisi accepts that Israel’s fight against them directly impacts Egypt. He recognizes that when Israel is successful in defeating them, Egypt is more secure. When Israel is weak, the threat to Egypt rises.

Like Israel, Sisi acknowledges that the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is shared by Hamas, al-Qaida and all other significant Sunni jihadist groups renders all of these groups threats to Egypt. And because of this acknowledgment, Sisi has abandoned Mubarak’s policy of enabling their war against Israel.

Not only has he abandoned Mubarak’s policy of enabling them, Sisi has acted in alliance with Israel in combating them. This is nowhere more evident than in his actions against Hamas in Gaza.

After seizing power in July 2013, Sisi immediately ordered the Egyptian military to take action to secure the border between Gaza and Sinai. To this end, for the first time, Egypt took effective, continuous steps to block the smuggling of arms and people between the two areas. These steps had a profound impact on Hamas’s regime. Hamas went to war against Israel this past summer in a bid to force Egypt and Israel to open their borders with Gaza in support of the Hamas regime and its jihadist allies.

Hamas was certain that footage of suffering in Gaza would force Egypt to oppose Israel, and so open its border with Gaza. It would also lead to US-led pressure on Israel that would make Israel succumb to Hamas’s demands.

Against all expectations, and previous precedents of Egyptian behavior under both Mubarak and Morsi, Sisi supported Israel against Hamas. Moreover, he brought both Saudi Arabia and the UAE into the unofficial alliance with Israel. The bloc he formed was powerful enough to surmount US pressure to end the war by bowing to Hamas’s demands and opening Gaza’s borders with Egypt and Israel.

Since the cease-fire came into force three months ago, Sisi has continued to seal the border. As a consequence, he has denied Hamas the ability to rebuild Gaza’s terror infrastructure. In its reduced state, Hamas is less able to facilitate the operations of its jihadist brethren in Sinai that are primarily involved in waging an insurgency against the Egyptian state.

To be sure, the most significant strategic development in recent years is the US’s strategic realignment under President Barack Obama. Under Obama the US has switched sides, supporting Iran and its allies, satellites and assets, including the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, against America’s Sunni allies and Israel.

But the alliance that emerged this summer between Israel and Egypt, with the participation of Saudi Arabia and the UAE , is also a highly significant strategic development. For the first time, a major regional power is basing its strategic posture on its understanding that the threats against itself and against Israel stem from the same sources and as a consequence, that the war against Israel is a war against it.

Israelis have argued this case for years to their Arab neighbors as well as to the Americans and other Western states. But for multiple reasons, no one has ever been willing to accept this basic, obvious reality.

As a consequence, everyone from the Americans to the Europeans to the Saudis long supported policies that empower jihadist forces against Israel.

Sisi is the first major leader to break with this consensus, as a result of actions Hamas took before and since his rise to power. He has brought Saudi Arabia and the UAE along on his intellectual journey.

Sisi’s reassessment of the relationship between the war against Israel and the war against Egypt has had a profound impact on regional realities generally and on Israel’s strategic posture specifically.

From Israel’s perspective, this is a watershed event.

The government must take every possible action, in economic and military spheres, to ensure that Sisi benefits from his actions.

US-Backed Syrian Rebels Ally with Al-Qaeda in South, Surrender CIA-Supplied Weapons in the North

Syrian rebels pause for prayers in Dara province, in the country's south, in the spring, in an opposition-provided photo. Rebels in the province are fighting to hold onto a strategic crossroads. (Syrian Revolution Against Bashar Assad) http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-syria-south-violence-20141130-story.html

Syrian rebels pause for prayers in Dara province, in the country’s south, in the spring, in an opposition-provided photo. Rebels in the province are fighting to hold onto a strategic crossroads. (Syrian Revolution Against Bashar Assad)
http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-syria-south-violence-20141130-story.html

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, December 2, 2014:

For months I’ve been reporting here at PJ Media about the ongoing cooperation between US-backed “vetted moderate” Syrian rebel units and designated terrorist groups ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria. This includes U.S.-backed rebel units who have defected wholesale to ISIS and Al-Qaeda.

Despite multiple reports of this cooperation, in September the congressional GOP leadership jumped on board with Obama’s proposal to spend an additional $500 million to arm and train the “vetted moderates” just weeks before the Obama administration abandoned the Free Syrian Army that had been the primary beneficiary of U.S. support for the past three years.

Now reports this weekend indicate growing cooperation between U.S.-backed rebels and Jabhat al-Nusra operating in southern Syria.

According to the LA Times:

Opposition activists reported intensified government bombardment in and around Sheik Maskin and the arrival of battle-tested loyalist reinforcements.

Fighting along with U.S.-backed rebels were elements of Al Nusra Front, the official Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria.

In a Facebook posting, Al Nusra supporters reported “vicious battles” in the Sheik Maskin area. Earlier posts also eulogized a prominent Al Nusra commander, Abu Humam Jazrawi, who was killed in the fighting.

Al Nusra’s participation illustrates how Western-supported rebel groups often cooperate with the Al Qaeda franchise, though both sides try to play down the extent of coordination. Recent clashes between Al Nusra Front and U.S.-backed rebels in northwestern Syria do not appear to have broken the de facto alliance between the Al Qaeda affiliate and West-backed fighters in the south. (emphasis added)

Meanwhile, in northern Syria as “vetted moderate” groups were forming an umbrella with hardcore jihadist groups, such as Ahrar al-Sham, other U.S.-backed units were surrendering to Jabhat al-Nusra (a trend I noted last month) and turning over their CIA-provided arms to Ahrar al-Sham, McClatchy reports:

On Friday, as the groups were meeting here, the Nusra Front stormed the bases of two moderate rebel groups in Syria’s north: the Ansar Brigades in Idlib and the Haqq Front in Hama. The two groups, both of which were receiving U.S. support through a covert CIA program, surrendered to Nusra, delivered their weapons to Ahrar al Sham and returned to their homes. (emphasis added)

And today Syria analyst Aron Lund noted that the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army signed an agreement last week with Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham for the Qalamoun area near the Lebanese border guaranteeing the imposition of sharia and creating a mutual defense pact.

The “vetted moderate” follies continue.

Reporters Mock State Dept for Downplaying Benghazi Terrorists Link to Al Qaeda


November 21, 2014 

Reporters poked fun at State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke on Friday as he tried to elaborate on the Obama administrations stance on the recent UN report linking Ansar al-Sharia to Al Qaeda.

“These groups are associated with Al Qaeda in Maghreb,” Rathke said, “but they are not arms of core Al Qaeda.

Ansar al-Sharia is said to be responsible for the 2012 Benghazi attacks on the U.S. consulate in which four Americans were killed.

Reporters gave Rathke some terms that they deemed more fitting, including, “Al Qaeda light”, “the jayvee team”, and a subsidiary of McDonald’s.

AQAP rejects Islamic State’s ‘caliphate,’ blasts group for sowing dissent among jihadists

Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 9.36.48 AM-thumb-560x312-4579By

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), an official branch of al Qaeda, has released a video rejecting the Islamic State’s announced caliphate and chastising the group for sowing discord among jihadists.

The newly-released video stars Harith bin Ghazi al Nadhari, a senior AQAP sharia official, who responds directly to a Nov. 13 speech made by Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the head of the Islamic State. The video is titled, “A Statement about What was Contained in the Speech of Sheikh Abu Bakr al Baghdadi ‘Even If the Disbelievers Despise Such’,” and was first translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.

In addition to rebuking Baghdadi and the Islamic State, Nadhari also renews AQAP’s bayat (oath of allegiance) to al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri, and affirms Zawahiri’s oath to Taliban chieftain Mullah Omar. Nadhari says “it is known” that al Qaeda “has had a pledge of allegiance to Mullah Omar…for nearly twenty years.”

Al Qaeda has previously countered Baghdadi’s claim to rule as “Caliph Ibrahim I” by implying that Omar is the rightful caliph and, unlike Baghdadi, has the broad support of recognized jihadist authorities.

Nadhari begins by saying that AQAP “did not want to talk about the current dispute and the fitna [sedition]” in Syria given that the jihadists are in a “sensitive stage in which the enemies of Islam” have “gathered together to fight” the entire Islamic ummah [worldwide community of Muslims].

“This war was and still is a Crusader war against all the honest mujahideen,” Nadhari says, according to SITE’s translation. “We took the position incumbent upon us to support our brothers with what we can, and we still hold to that position, as we believe in the necessity to support our mujahideen brothers, including all of their groups and entities, regardless of their inclinations.”

However, according to Nadhari, the Islamic State has made it impossible to remain silent.

Read more at Long War Journal

UN recognizes ties between Ansar al Sharia in Libya, al Qaeda

Ansar al-Sharia in Libya (ASL)

Ansar al-Sharia in Libya (ASL)

Long War Journal, By

The United Nations Security Council today added Ansar al Sharia in Libya to its al Qaeda sanctions list. “As a result of the new listings,” the UN announced, “any individual or entity that provides financial or material support to” Ansar al Sharia Libya, “including the provision of arms or recruits, is eligible to be added to the Al Qaeda Sanctions List and subject to the sanctions measures.”

The UN notes that the Ansar al Sharia chapters in Benghazi and Derna are associated with one another, but lists them separately under a heading that reads, “Entities and other groups associated with Al Qaeda.”

Despite their separate listings, the two Ansar al Sharia groups operate together and have published their propaganda under a shared brand. Ansar al Sharia fighters from both Benghazi and Derna participated in the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the US Mission and Annex in Benghazi. Four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed during the assault.

According to the UN, both Ansar al Sharia groups in Libya are “associated” with al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), an official branch of al Qaeda that remains loyal to Ayman al Zawahiri. They are both also tied to Ansar al Sharia in Tunisia, which orchestrated the assault on the US Embassy in Tunis on Sept. 14, 2012.

The UN added Ansar al Sharia Tunisia to its al Qaeda sanctions list in September. The UN found that, like its sister organizations in Libya, Ansar al Sharia Tunisia has “links to” AQIM.

There are well-established ties between Ansar al Sharia in Libya and Tunisia. The UN notes in its designation that Ansar al Sharia in Libya has a “support network in Tunisia.”

In addition, the Benghazi chapter is tied to Al Mourabitoun, which is led by Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a former AQIM commander who established his own jihadist group. Belmokhtar is openly loyal to Zawahiri and, according to a previous designation by the UN, still works with AQIM despite his differences with the group’s leadership.

Earlier this month, Agence France Presse obtained a copy of a dossier that was submitted to the UN to justify today’s action. The documents provided to the UN show that 12 of the 24 jihadists who participated in the January 2013 siege of the In Amenas gas facility in Algeria were trained in Ansar al Sharia camps in Benghazi.

Belmokhtar commanded the terrorists responsible for the In Amenas siege and claimed responsibility for the raid on behalf of al Qaeda.

Britain, France, and the US moved to have Ansar al Sharia Libya added to the UN sanctions list earlier this month, and all 15 members of the UN Security Council had until today to agree to the sanctions. A consensus was reached and the sanctions were approved.

UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond praised the UN’s decision in a statement. Hammond said that the Ansar al Sharia groups in Benghazi and Derna both “have links with Al Qaeda and are responsible for acts of terror in Libya, including bomb attacks, kidnappings, and murder.”

Ansar al Sharia camps in Derna and Benghazi have been used to funnel foreign fighters to Syria, according to the UN. The camps in Benghazi have also shipped jihadists off to Mali.

Today’s action by the UN confirms The Long War Journal’s reporting and analysis. Numerous pieces of evidence tie the Ansar al Sharia organizations in Libya and Tunisia to al Qaeda’s international network. See, for example, LWJ reports:

State Department designates 3 Ansar al Sharia organizations, leaders
Senate report: Terrorists ‘affiliated’ with multiple al Qaeda groups involved in Benghazi attack
Ex-Guantanamo detainee remains suspect in Benghazi attack
Al Qaeda and the threat in North Africa
From al Qaeda in Italy to Ansar al Sharia Tunisia
Al Qaeda ally orchestrated assault on US Embassy in Tunisia
Al Qaeda’s plan for Libya highlighted in congressional report

Jabhat al-Nusra Spokesman Rejects IS Alliance Rumors

syria-jabhat-al-nusra-natosource-28-3-2013IPT, by John Rossomando:

A Jabhat al-Nusra spokesman tells the blog Syria Direct that rumors of an alliance between his al-Qaida affiliate and the Islamic State are false.

Western media sources published reports last week that both jihadist factions reached an agreement at a Nov. 2 meeting to stop fighting each other and destroy the U.S.-aligned Syrian Revolutionaries Front.

The spokesman from Jabhat al-Nusra’s media office in northwestern Syria’s Idlib province, identified as Abu Azzam al-Ansari, confirmed that the group sent representatives to meet with those from the Islamic State.

But the Islamic State’s representatives rejected their offer of reconciliation, al-Ansari said.

He showed suspicion of the Islamic State in the interview, saying it has been “penetrated by American [spies]” to give the West an excuse for bombing everyone who “subscribes to the Salafi-jihadi strain of thought.”

Al-Ansari also dismissed the Obama administration’s use of the term “Khorasan Group” to describe a cell of al-Qaida fighters, saying that it really is his own group, Jabhat al-Nusra. The term was used to “mislead” people to hide the fact they were actually fighting al-Qaida in Syria.

Mentioning the recent fighting between Jabhat al-Nusra and the Western-backed Syrian Revolutionaries Front that led to the rout of the latter, al-Ansari said his group opposed the “implementation of any foreign agendas” in Syria.

“We’re Muslims, and Allah – blessed be Allah exalted – ordered us to rule with Islam, and we won’t be satisfied to anything else,” al-Ansari said.

Also see: