Islam’s ‘Good Cop/Bad Cop’ Routine

The “other face” of the Muslim Brotherhood

The “other face” of the Muslim Brotherhood

PJ MediaBy Raymond Ibrahim:

Yet one more piece of evidence tying the United States to the Islamic State recently came to light. In a new video interview, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, one of the most authoritative clerics in the Muslim community who has his own program on Al Jazeera and is chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, asserted that the leader of the head-chopping, infidel-crucifying Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was once a member of the Brotherhood, which the U.S. government, especially the Obama administration, has been allied with.

Indicators of a U.S./Brotherhood alliance are too many to list here and have been on open display from people like Hillary Clinton, former U.S. ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson, and Sen. John McCain (who may have taken pictures not only with known Islamic terrorists, but with al-Baghdadi himself).

According to Sheikh Qaradawi, “this youth [al-Baghdadi] was from the start among the top ranks of the Brotherhood, but he was inclined to [positions of] leadership and so forth… Then, after he spent years in prison [for Brotherhood activities] he came out and joined with them [nascent Islamic State],” eventually rising to be its “caliph.”

Egyptian Minister of Religious Endowments (Awqaf), Dr. Muhammad Mukhtar Gom‘a said that “Qaradawi’s confession [concerning al-Baghdadi] confirms that the Brotherhood is the spiritual father to every extremist group.”

Even so, Qaradawi’s revelation was not meant to cast aspersions on the Brotherhood, especially as he is one of its spiritual fathers. More likely he was invoking the idea that imprisoning and suppressing “moderate Islamists,” namely the Muslim Brotherhood—most recently in Egypt’s last revolution—only leads to their “radicalization” and turn to violence.

This is a widely accepted meme, especially in the West. Al-Qaeda’s Ayman Zawahiri is another former Brotherhood member who is regularly portrayed as turning to “radicalism” and jihad after being imprisoned in Egypt in 1981—though any evaluation of the facts of his life demonstrate that he was a “radical” well before he was incarcerated, that he was imprisoned precisely because he was radical.

The idea that it is best to cooperate and ally with the “moderate” and “nonviolent” Muslim Brotherhood lest, aggrieved, it turns to “extremism, radicalism, and terrorism” has been swallowed by many Western academics and politicians hook line and sinker.

To understand this phenomenon, one need only turn to the “good cop, bad cop” routine and see how it captures U.S. behavior towards “moderate/nonviolent Islamists” (“good cops”) on the one hand, and “radical/violent Islamists” (“bad cops”) on the other.

According to the CIA Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual (as cited in the book Social Protest in Contemporary China, 2003-2010),

Good cop/bad cop, also called joint questioning and friend and foe, is a psychological tactic used for interrogation. “Good cop/bad cop” tactics involves a team of two interrogators who take apparently opposing approaches to the subject. The interrogators may interview the subject alternately or may confront the subject at the same time. The “bad cop” takes an aggressive, negative stance toward the subject, making blatant accusations, derogatory comments, threats, and in general creating antipathy between the subject and himself. This sets the stage for the “good cop” to act sympathetically, appearing supportive, understanding, in general showing sympathy for the subject. The good cop will also defend the subject from the bad cop. The subject may feel he can cooperate with the good cop out of trust or fear of the bad cop. He may then seek protection by and trust the good cop and provide the information the interrogators are seeking.

Consider how this definition applies to the U.S. government’s approach to the supposed Islamist dichotomy of “violence” and “nonviolence.”

The violent jihad—whether under the rubric of “al-Qaeda,” “Islamic State,” etc.—like the “bad cop” “takes an aggressive, negative stance towards the subject [U.S./“infidels”], making blatant accusations, derogatory comments, threats, and in general creating antipathy between the subject and himself.”

Thus the violent jihadis become the “feared enemies” who cannot be reasoned with.

This of course sets the stage for the “good cops,” the purportedly nonviolent Islamists, namely, the Muslim Brotherhood, to step in

appearing supportive, understanding, in general showing sympathy for the subject. The good cop [“moderate” Brotherhood] will also defend the subject [U.S. interests] from the bad cop [Islamic jihadis]. The subject [U.S.] may feel he can cooperate with the good cop [“moderates”] out of trust, or fear of the bad cop [terrorists].

This in fact is the idea long spearheaded by Mideast academics and talking heads—that there are “nonviolent” Islamists and “violent” Islamists, and that the best way to weaken the appeal of the latter is to cooperate with the former, which, after all, shouldn’t be too hard, since the “good cop moderates” come in suits, smile, and shake hands over cups of coffee.

For instance, CDR Youssef Aboul-Enein, an Obama advisor, argues in his book, Militant Islamist Ideology: Understanding the Global Threat, published by the Naval Institute Press (2010), that “It is the Militant Islamists who are our adversary. They represent an immediate threat to the national security of the United States. They must not be confused with Islamists.” Aboul-Enein, like many before and after him, argues that U.S. leadership should work with the nonviolent Islamists in order to weaken the appeal of the militants.

And yet, just as the “good cop/bad cop” is a false dichotomy in that the both “cops” are working together and for the same goal, so too is the “nonviolent Islamist/violent Islamist” a false dichotomy in that both groups of Islamists are working together and for the same goal—the resurrection of a Sharia-enforcing caliphate, which the Islamic State (“violent Islamist”), led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a former Muslim Brotherhood member (“nonviolent Islamist”), recently accomplished.

Al Qaeda Targets Oil Tankers, Sea Lanes

967811179

Center For Security Policy, By Bill Gertz:

Al Qaeda is urging jihadists to conduct attacks on U.S. and foreign oil tankers and strategic sea lanes in a new global campaign of economic warfare against the United States, according to the terrorist group’s latest English-language magazine.

“Even if a single supertanker (or even an ordinary westbound cargo-vessel) were to be attacked in one of the chokepoints or hijacked and scuttled in one of these narrow sea lanes, the consequences would be phenomenal,” wrote al Qaeda member Hamza Khalid in the recently published, 117-page al Qaeda magazine “Resurgence.”

The magazine is a key recruiting tool and propaganda organ for English speakers from the group once headed by Osama bin Laden, whose death is lamented in one article by current leader Ayman al Zawahiri. The magazine contains articles on al Qaeda’s new drive in Southwest Asia, and recruiting women into its ranks, and makes vague references to al Qaeda’s current feud with the rival Islamic State, that has seized parts of Syria and Iraq.

The article on economic warfare includes maps showing strategic shipping lanes around the world and key oil chokepoints, like the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, where up to 35 percent of the world’s ship borne oil passes, and Southeast Asia’s Strait of Malacca, the strategic passage for oil from the Middle East to Asia.

“It represents the Achilles heel not just of the energy market, but also of western economies dependent on oil from the Muslim world,” Khalid stated.

“A sustained disruption in this supply system would not only increase insurance costs for international shipping, but also affect the price of oil globally.”

Khalid called for attacks on both U.S. military facilities near oil chokepoints and energy supply lines.

Attacks on oil tankers would cause a spike in oil prices, increases in shipping rates and insurance, and a boost in military spending to assure open sea lanes, he stated.

“Simultaneous attacks on western shipping or western oil tankers (a sea-based version of the cargo plane bomb plot) in more than one chokepoint would bring international shipping to a halt and create a crisis in the energy market.”

Khalid also called for attacks on western oil workers in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, as well as more sophisticated and hard-to-carry-out attacks against U.S. Navy facilities in Diego Garcia, Bahrain, and Djibouti.

“A coordinated effort to disrupt enemy shipping in the future in all of these regions would not only hurt the enemy economically, but also stretch their resources further in this global war,” Khalid stated.

American al Qaeda member Adam Gadahn stated in a second article headlined “besiege them” that “it is time for us to fight fire with fire, and impose our own blockade and embargo on the Jews and crusaders, by hitting them where it hurts and striking the heart and lifeblood of their economy, represented by international trade and finance.”

Gadahn said the global economic system currently is “fragile and vulnerable” as the result of unrest in the Arab and Muslim world and debt and budget crises in Europe and the United States.

Al Qaeda plans to use the current “war of attrition” underway against the United States to force the collapse of the global economic system.

Targets for the economic warfare campaign include cargo ships and merchant vessels in “Islamic waters,” actions aimed at closing off canals and straits, and disrupting shipping routes “wherever and however possible.”

“Any of their ships are legitimate targets, but exports are the key to any economy, including the economies of the West,” Gadahn wrote. “The mujahideen must seek to deprive the enemies of the precious oil and mineral resources they are stealing from us and using to fuel their war machine, by sabotaging crusader-run oil wells and mines in Islamic lands and destroying pipelines before the oil reaches the coast and falls into enemy hands, and by sinking their supertankers and sabotaging their oil rigs in enemy waters, and in the process, ruining their lucrative fishing industries.”

Other economic measures include a boycott of U.S. products and retailers including Walmart, McDonald’s, Proctor and Gamble, Microsoft, Nestle, and Unilever. The use of banks also is to be avoided and al Qaeda is advocating reinstating the use of gold and silver as a medium of exchange.

Gadahn stated that al Qaeda wants Muslims to break away from the global financial system.

“The path to victory over our enemies and the establishment of our caliphate isn’t confined to armed action alone, but includes all legitimate ways and means which support, strengthen, and advance the military effort and lead to our success in this battle for the future of the Muslim [world],” Gadahn said. “So don’t delay, and play your part in the jihad today, whether your part be military, financial, economic, educational, motivational, or otherwise.”

Retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, a former Special Forces commando and undersecretary of defense for intelligence during the George W. Bush administration, said Islamic terrorists are keenly aware of American reliance on Mideast oil.

“They know that our economy is fragile and can be devastated by sudden increases in the global oil prices,” Boykin said in an email. “It is obvious that they will try to attack our weaknesses and oil is clearly one of our major vulnerabilities.”

The article is another indication that Islamists “are indeed an enemy and they have in fact declared war on America,” Boykin said.

Kevin Freeman, an expert on economic warfare, said al Qaeda as early as 2005 outlined a timeline for its war against the West that included fomenting an Arab uprising and then launching an economic warfare campaign.

“It has always been an economic war,” Freeman said. “From the first attacks on the World Trade Center until now, al Qaeda has used an economic warfare playbook modeled on the Chinese doctrine of unrestricted warfare.”

Freeman said the al Qaeda magazine articles bolster the findings of a report to the Pentagon in 2009 on economic warfare outlining terrorists’ use of the tactic of attacking oil targets.

“Our enemies know that stopping the flow of oil, crashing our stock market, or collapsing the dollar are the paths to America’s destruction,” he said.

“The al Qaeda timeline has, since at least 2005, planned a new caliphate and Islamic State aimed against the West and Israel,” he added. “To accomplish this, they knew even back then, required an attack on Western economies.”

Freeman said the United States has spent hundreds of billions of dollars on weapons systems but has ignored repeated credible evidence of economic attacks and threats against our financial infrastructure and power grid.

The al Qaeda threat to oil shipments also underscores the need to end America’s reliance on foreign oil supplies with North American oil production, Freeman said.

“We also have to shore up our financial infrastructure, protect the dollar, and guard our power grid,” said Freeman, author of a book on the subject, Game Plan.

“Individuals must prepare their investment portfolios for resilience in an economic war.”2

Al Qaeda’s 6-Year Descent Into Obscurity – Tom Wyld

Editor’s Note –  About the author: A former Navy Commander, Tom Wyld has served since 2008 as director of intelligence for a private security firm specializing in Naval Special Warfare training and operational support.  He continues to provide intelligence and investigative support to former SEALs.  Prior assignments include Communications Coordinator, Swift Boat Veterans & POWs for Truth; lobbyist for State Motorcyclists’ Rights Organizations (e.g., ABATEs); and Chief of Staff and PR Director for the Institute for Legislative Action, the lobbying and political arm of the NRA.

****

“Al-Qaedism” is the threat, “Lone Wolf” the deadly misnomer, but the beginnings of a solution may emerge in next week’s mid-term elections.   

by Tom Wyld – SUA Contributor

After the horrific murders this month of two Canadian soldiers and the hatchet attack on New York City police officers, the press, public and far too many officials were quick to describe them as “lone wolf” attacks.  The term is more than a myth.  It is a dangerous misnomer – made deadly by diverting our attention from Al-Qaeda-inspired cells – be they cyber or in person.  When you come across the phrase, be skeptical.  And give it time.  Ultimately, a “cell” or “network” will emerge.  Plus, the beginnings of a solution November 4th.

Owing to its prevailing political ideology, Washington’s political leadership failed to heed Al Qaeda’s deliberate, methodical transformation that began in theory in 2004 and translated into action beginning in 2009.  Today’s rise in attacks by terrorists who only appear to be acting alone is the legacy of that diabolical make-over and Washington’s willful decisions.  The Ground Truth?  The bad guys have changed, and the good guys are still playing catch-up, thanks to an administration and its landlocked supporters in Congress who consistently refuse to put to sea.

France’s “Lone Wolf” Was Not Alone. Mohammed Merah took such delight in killing Jewish children, he strapped a stolen camera to his chest to capture his unspeakable slaughter of Rabbi Yonatan Sandler and his children: Aryeh (6), Gavriel (3), and Myriam Monsonego (above). Merah attacked the rabbi and his children on the grounds of the Ozar Ha’Torah Jewish school in Toulouse where Rabbi Sandler served as principal. Merah grabbed the horrified Myriam, 8, by the hair and dragged her across the schoolyard. Then, holding her still, he shot her in the head. (Family photo.)

France’s “Lone Wolf” Was Not Alone. Mohammed Merah took such delight in killing Jewish children, he strapped a stolen camera to his chest to capture his unspeakable slaughter of Rabbi Yonatan Sandler and his children: Aryeh (6), Gavriel (3), and Myriam Monsonego (above). Merah attacked the rabbi and his children on the grounds of the Ozar Ha’Torah Jewish school in Toulouse where Rabbi Sandler served as principal. Merah grabbed the horrified Myriam, 8, by the hair and dragged her across the schoolyard. Then, holding her still, he shot her in the head. (Family photo.)

 

Since 2009, there has been a profound, sweeping change in Al Qaeda and the global jihad movement generally.  That metamorphosis is in perfect pitch with a phenomenon I dubbed years ago as the “Terrorists’Coda – strike, melt away, adapt, accommodate, strike again.”[1]  More than a startling conversion, Al Qaeda has been in a six-year descent into obscurity that has been conveniently ignored – never by the Intelligence Community or in-the-know Members of Congress – but consistently by the Obama Administration and its cheerleaders in Congress.

It is time for a change. That change could begin with the mid-term elections.

Very Much a Rabid Wolf. Yet Wolves Hunt in Packs. He was dismissed as a lone wolf. That is until French prosecutor said that Mohammed Merah, the terrorist of Toulouse and Montauban, was trained by AL QAEDA in Pakistan’s tribal belt. He and his brother consulted with “retired” Jihadi cell leader Olivier Corel, the so-called “White Emir” of France. When asked about the terrorist, Corel denied he knew anything about Jihadis, Salafis or Al Qaeda. Mais bien sûr! And if the Merah brothers visited him, how would Corel know? He meets so many people, with so many names…

Very Much a Rabid Wolf. Yet Wolves Hunt in Packs. He was dismissed as a lone wolf. That is until French prosecutor said that Mohammed Merah, the terrorist of Toulouse and Montauban, was trained by AL QAEDA in Pakistan’s tribal belt. He and his brother consulted with “retired” Jihadi cell leader Olivier Corel, the so-called “White Emir” of France. When asked about the terrorist, Corel denied he knew anything about Jihadis, Salafis or Al Qaeda. Mais bien sûr! And if the Merah brothers visited him, how would Corel know? He meets so many people, with so many names…

The legacy of the brutal march to obscurity struck Canada and the U.S. this month.  The brutality was shocking, but it should have come as no surprise.  Initially dismissed as a “lone wolf,” we now learn that Ottawa terrorist Michael Zehaf-Bibeau met with Hasibullah Yusuzfal, a fugitive wanted for violating Canada’s anti-terror laws.   The duo spent hours listening to hate-riddled audio tapes by radical clerics (obtained by hand, not online). We believe Yusuzfal fled Canada en route to Syria to fight for Ad-Dawlah Al-Islamiyya(“Islamic State” or IS), now the world’s leading factory floor for mass-produced terrorists.

We were assured early on that he acted alone, but New York hatchet-wielding attacker Zale Thompson had ties to a radical cleric who advocated violent jihad, and his browsing history shows frequent visits to militant sites – a virtual terror “cell,” if you will.

And before slamming into two uniformed Canadian soldiers, killing one, car-as-weapon terrorist Martin Couture Rouleau was “clearly linked to terrorist ideology,” authorities later said, adding that his passport had been pulled because he too was suspected of heading to Syria to join IS.

These recent horrors, all dismissed initially as “lone wolf” attacks, brought to mind another misuse of the misnomer.  For that lesson, nous allons à la France.

YOU MUST read more at Stand Up America

Ex-CIA Case Officer: ‘The West Is Under Attack’ From Islamic State-Inspired Radicals

The Blaze, by Tom Orr, Oct. 24, 2014:

The United States and Canada have suffered three attacks with apparent ties to terrorism in the span of a week, and a retired CIA case officer told TheBlaze he expects more will follow.

“I think the West is under attack,” said Brian Fairchild, who spent 20 years in the CIA’s clandestine service and has testified before Congress as a terrorism expert.

“I think that they’re responses to the ISIS and Al Qaeda requests for folks to go out and strike Americans any time, anywhere, any place that they can. That’s what this is turning out to be,” Fairchild said, speaking during an interview for an upcoming episode of TheBlaze TV’s For the Record.

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security sent a memo on Oct. 11, warning that Islamic State sympathizers could carry out attacks on police and government personnel.

Canadian police officers stand guard in downtown Ottawa, Oct. 22, 2014. (Mike Carroccetto/Getty Images)

Canadian police officers stand guard in downtown Ottawa, Oct. 22, 2014. (Mike Carroccetto/Getty Images)

On Monday, 25-year-old Martin Couture Rouleau slammed his car into two Canadian soldiers, killing one, before he was fatally shot by police. Investigators said they were “concerned that he had become radicalized” before the attack.

Two days later, police said 32-year-old Michael Zehaf-Bibeau shot and killed a soldier guarding Canada’s national war memorial in Ottawa before storming into the Parliament building, where he was ultimately shot dead.

Then on Thursday, a man attacked a group of New York Police officers with a hatchet, seriously wounding one. New York City police Commissioner William Bratton on Friday called it a “terrorist attack” by a homegrown radical.

Fairchild said the Islamic State has visions of an even bigger wave of terror.

“What they would love is for there to be 50, 100, 1,000 attacks like that. Whether their followers will rise up and do that for them, we don’t know,” he said.

Fairchild said there is a real cause for concern: Groups like Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula have had only limited success pushing American extremists to pull off “lone wolf” attacks, but the rapid expansion of the Islamic State and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, may have created enough momentum to finally push some of those radical individuals into action.

“When Baghdadi and ISIS says, ‘Hey guys, go out and find soldiers, intelligence, and police officers and kill them, don’t ask for anybody’s approval, just go out and do it,’ that seems to have had more resonance among these guys than all of the requests from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and ‘Inspire’ magazine before that,” Fairchild said. ”That’s what the game-changer is.”

 

U.S. leadership has pledged to stop the Islamic State’s advance, and has repeatedly sought to distance it and other radical groups from the Islamic faith.

“Radicalization is something politicians pay lip service to but they’ve never done anything about it,” Fairchild said. “In fact, our senior politicians say Islam has nothing to do with this. And that’s absolutely incorrect.”

Fairchild says that refusal to acknowledge the link to Islam leaves America unable to effectively deal with the threat.

“You have to understand, ‘who is the enemy?’ You can’t defeat the enemy until you understand the enemy. In understanding the enemy, you have to look at it from his point of view. Not what you want him to be. Not what makes you feel good, but what is he?”

Fairchild continued, “From an intelligence analytical point of view, these folks believe they’re fighting for a righteous cause. They’re fighting for their God. They’re fighting according to what God has told them to do in the Koran.”

Al-Qaeda issues call to support Isil in new threat to American strategy

Members of Islamist Syrian rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra pose for a picture at a checkpoint at the Karaj al-Hajez crossing in Syria Photo: MOLHEM BARAKAT/REUTERS

Members of Islamist Syrian rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra pose for a picture at a checkpoint at the Karaj al-Hajez crossing in Syria Photo: MOLHEM BARAKAT/REUTERS

Al-Qaeda branch calls on group to support Isil in blow to American-led coalition, as monitoring group reports that Isil has been able to fly three Russian fighter jets

By Richard Spencer:

Al-Qaeda’s leading terror franchise has presented a new challenge to the American-led coalition in Syria and Iraq by calling on the group to back Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant despite the two groups’ fierce rivalry.

The call by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is doubly significant because its leader is believed to have been appointed as “general manager” or chief operating officer and deputy to Al-Qaeda’s overall head, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

In the past year, Zawahiri and the head of Isil, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, have clashed openly and the two groups have fought each other in Syria. But America’s decision to bomb not only Isil in Iraq and Syria but also a group of Al-Qaeda fighters accused of planning an attack on the United States has drawn the two rival jihadi organisations closer together.

“We urge all Muslims to back their brethren, with their souls, money and tongues, against the crusaders,” a statement released on Friday said. “We call on anyone who can wear down the Americans to strive to do so by military, economic or media means.” The American decision to bomb an outpost of Al-Qaeda’s official faction in the Syrian Civil War, Jabhat Al-Nusra, caused outrage in the rebel cause.

Many rebels were already angry that after refusing to intervene militarily on their side against the Assad regime, the US was nevertheless prepared to bomb Isil positions. The attack on Jabhat Al-Nusra, which had fought closely alongside other rebel factions, including pro-Western ones, was seen as an outright betrayal of the anti-Assad cause.

Now the United States is having difficulty finding rebels to train and arm in accordance with the broader plans outlined by President Barack Obama to support the “moderate” cause in the war.

Read more at The Telegraph

Also see:

Thomas Joscelyn:

No explicit denunciation of the Islamic State

“Resurgence” republishes a statement by Mullah Omar, the Taliban’s leader, from earlier this year. Omar says that all American and Western forces must be withdrawn from Afghanistan, and he calls on the entire Islamic world to denounce Israel for its supposedly “savage aggression” against “oppressed Palestinians.”

In “Resurgence,” as in other al Qaeda messages and statements, Omar is called “Amir ul Mominin,” or the Commander of the Faithful, a title that is usually reserved for the leader of an Islamic caliphate. Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the head of the Islamic State, has attempted to usurp this title for himself.

In its propaganda, al Qaeda has taken a subtle approach to responding to the Islamic State’s claims. The group has pushed its allegiance to Omar, and his presumed role as the rightful caliph.

“Resurgence” does not include any specific denunciations of the Islamic State. But it does reproduce a quote from Zawahiri explaining how a proper jihadist caliphate will be built. After arguing that jihadists are an inseparable part of the ummah, or community of Muslims, Zawahiri writes, “The Islamic State will be established – by the help and will of Allah — at the hands of the free, sincere and honorable Mujahideen. It will be established with their sacrifices, generosity, consent and collective choice.”

This could be read as a thinly-veiled critique of the Islamic State, as one of the pro-al Qaeda jihadists’ chief criticisms of Baghdadi is that he has tried to impose his caliphate on all other Muslims, eschewing the type of consensus that al Qaeda believes is necessary to form first. In the context of their rivalry with the Islamic State, senior al Qaeda leaders have reproduced similar quotes from Zawahiri throughout the year.

Another piece in “Resurgence,” written by Zawahiri’s son-in-law, Muhammad bin Mahmoud Rabie al Bahtiyti (a.k.a. Abu Dujana al Basha), urges Muslims to support the mujahideen in Syria, but also says nothing about the Islamic State. Al Bahtiyti released an audio message warning against the Islamic State in late September. Even though al Bahtiyti clearly sought to undermine Baghdadi’s group, he did not explicitly name the Islamic State in that message either.

The Poison Tree

Arab protesters wave Islamic flags in front of the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel / AP

Arab protesters wave Islamic flags in front of the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel / AP

By Matthew Continetti:

Last month, addressing the U.N. General Assembly, Benjamin Netanyahu made a connection between the Islamic State and Hamas. These terrorist entities, Netanyahu said, have a lot in common. Separated by geography, they nonetheless share ideology and tactics and goals: Islamism, terrorism, the destruction of Israel, and the establishment of a global caliphate.

And yet, Netanyahu observed, the very nations now campaigning against the Islamic State treated Hamas like a legitimate combatant during last summer’s Israel-Gaza war. “They evidently don’t understand,” he said, “that ISIS and Hamas are branches of the same poisonous tree.”

The State Department dismissed Netanyahu’s metaphor. “Obviously, we’ve designated both as terrorist organizations,” said spokesman Jen Psaki. “But ISIL poses a different threat to Western interests and to the United States.”

Psaki was wrong, of course. She’s always wrong. And, after the events of the last 48 hours, there ought not to be any doubt as to just how wrong she was. As news broke that a convert to Islam had murdered a soldier and stormed the Canadian parliament, one read of another attack in Jerusalem, where a Palestinian terrorist ran his car over passengers disembarking from light rail, injuring seven, and killing 3-month-old Chaya Zissel Braun, who held a U.S. passport.

Islamic State, al Qaeda, Hamas—these awful people are literally baby killers. And yet they produce a remarkable amount of dissension, confusion, willful ignorance, and moral equivalence on the part of the men and women who conduct U.S. foreign policy. “ISIL is not ‘Islamic,’” President Obama said of the terrorist army imposing sharia law across Syria and Iraq. “Obviously, we’re shaken by it,” President Obama said of the attack in Canada. “We urge all sides to maintain calm and avoid escalating tensions in the wake of this incident,” the State Department said of the murder of a Jewish child.

“Not Islamic,” despite the fact that the Caliphate grounds its barbarous activities in Islamic law. “Shaken,” not stirred to action. “All sides,” not the side that targets civilians again and again and again. The evasions continue. They create space for the poison tree to grow.

The persistent denial of the ideological unity of Islamic terrorism—the studied avoidance of politically incorrect facts that has characterized our response to the Ft. Hood shooting, the Benghazi attack, the Boston Marathon bombing, the march of the caliphate across Syria and Iraq, and the crimes of Hamas—is not random. Behind it is a set of ideas with a long history, and with great purchase among the holders of graduate degrees who staff the Department of Justice, the National Security Council, Foggy Bottom, and the diplomatic corps. These ideas are why, in the words of John McCain, the terrorists “are winning, and we’re not.”

A report by Katherine Gorka of the Council on Global Security, “The Bad Science Behind America’s Counter-Terrorism Strategy,” analyzes the soil from which the poison tree draws strength. Since the Iranian revolution of 1979, Gorka writes, U.S. policymakers have faced a dilemma: “how to talk about Islam in a way that is instructive in dealing with Muslims who are enemies but not destructive to those who are friends.” For decades, the preferred solution has been to declare America’s friendship with Islam, and to distinguish between jihadists and everyday Muslims.

One of Gorka’s earliest examples of this policy comes from former Assistant Secretary of State Edward Djerejian, who said in 1992, “The U.S. government does not view Islam as the next ‘ism’ confronting the West or threatening world peace.” Similar assurances were uttered by officials in the Clinton administration, by Clinton himself, and by President George W. Bush. The policy was meant to delegitimize terrorism by denying the terrorists’ claim that they are acting according to religious precepts. “Policymakers believed that by tempering their language with regard to Islam, they might forestall further radicalization of moderate Muslims and indeed even potentially win moderates into the American circle of friendship.”

George W. Bush, Gorka notes, combined his rhetorical appeals to moderate Muslims with denunciations of the immorality of terrorism and illiberalism. And yet, for the government at large, downplaying the religious and ideological component to terrorist activities became an end in itself.

The Global War on Terror was renamed the “global struggle against violent extremism.” In 2008 the Department of Homeland Security published a lexicon of terrorism that said, “Our terminology must be properly calibrated to diminish the recruitment efforts of extremists who argue that the West is at war with Islam.” State Department guidelines issued in 2008 said, “Never use the terms jihadist or mujahedeen to describe a terrorist.”

Then came Obama. As a candidate, he stressed his experiences in Indonesia and Pakistan. He told Nick Kristof of the New York Times that the call of the muezzin is “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.” In one of his first major addresses as president, he traveled to Cairo to inaugurate a new beginning with the Muslim world. His counterterrorism adviser, now director of the CIA, called jihad a “legitimate tenet of Islam,” and referred to Jerusalem as “Al Quds.”

The change in the manner in which the government treated Islamism was profound. “Whereas the 9/11 Commission report, published under the presidency of George W. Bush in July 2004 as a bipartisan product, had used the word Islam 322 times, Muslim 145 times, jihad 126 times, and jihadist 32 times,” Gorka writes, “the National Intelligence Strategy of the United States, issued by the Obama administration in August 2009, used the term Islam 0 times, Muslim 0 times, jihad 0 times.” The omission is stunning.

Read more at Washington Free Beacon

Reshuffling the Deck in the Middle East

A man shuffling a deck of cardsCSP, By Kyle Shideler:

The New York Times wrote on Friday offering a brief glimpse at an underreported front in inter-Islam civil war currently spreading across the Middle East:

Yemen’s Shiite rebels on Friday overran an al-Qaida stronghold after days of battling the militants for the city in the country’s central heartland, a Yemeni official and a tribal leader said. The capture of the city of Radda, in the in the province of Bayda, came with the help of a Yemeni army commander, the two said. The Shiite rebels known as Houthis have been fighting both al-Qaida militants and Sunni tribes over the past few days. The rebels, who in September gained control of the capital, Sanaa, earlier this week overran a key Yemeni port city on the Red Sea.

The action, mirrored similar instances in the past when units in Yemen’s army suspected of links with former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a Houthi ally, facilitated stunning rebel advances from their home base in northern Saada province. The army commander who helped the Houthis in Radda is said to be a loyalist of the ousted Saleh, who was deposed after the country’s 2011 uprising. Saleh and his party have joined ranks with the Houthis against a common enemy — the Islamist Islah party and its allied tribe of Al-Ahmar, traditional power brokers in Yemen.

Also Friday, fierce clashes erupted in Ibb province, nearly 200 kilometers (125 miles) south of Sanaa between the Houthis and tribesmen allied with the Islah party, leaving eight dead, according to other security officials in the province.

The Islah Party is Yemen’s branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. It’s co-founder is Abdul_Majeed al-Zindani, who is a specially designated global terrorist, and an original spiritual mentor of Osama Bin Laden.

President Obama referred to Yemen and Somalia as models of success to be emulated in Syria. And while my CSP colleague Nik Hanlon handedly covered the problems with the Somalia comparison, Yemen is indeed an apt model for comparison, although not in the way meant by the President. In Yemen the struggle is between Shia militia fighters- backed by Iran and on behalf of a President who was ousted in Western -championed Arab Spring- are advancing against the joint forces of Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. The same is true in Syria, where Muslim Brotherhood-linked fighters, such as the Islamic Front, fight side by side with Al Qaeda-linked Ahrar Al-Sham and AQ’s Syrian affiliate Jabhat al Nusra against Iranian IRGC and Shia Militias on behalf of Bashar Assad.

As in Yemen and Syria, so too in Libya, although instead of Iranian-linked Shia, the “counterrevolution” in Libya is led by a former general of Qaddafi’s, Khalifa Haftar, sponsored by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Egypt in a fight against Al Qaeda’s affiliate Ansar al-Sharia-Libya, and the Muslim Brotherhood-backed militias. The same U.A.E air force that was trumpeted as a partner in the air strikes against ISIS,  conducted air strikes against the Libyan rebels with whom the U.S. had partnered against Qaddafi. But then, in this conflict ironies abound, as when Saudi Arabia bombs the “barbaric” ISIS in airstrikes launched in part following the beheading of Americans, while engaging in a rash of beheadings of their own.

Analysts who examine the current situation as a series of national struggles in separate countries have missed the boat entirely. Everywhere across the region, scores are being settled, and battle lines being drawn and redrawn. What is at stake is not just who will be the next leader of Syria, or Libya, or Yemen. It’s who will be represented as the leader(s) of Islam. Will they be Sunni or Shia? Does ISIS represent a Kharijite deviation as the Muslim Brotherhood accuses, or are the Ikhwan a Murji’ah deviation as ISIS concludes? Do they both represent a takfiri deviation, as the governments Saudi, Egypt and U.A.E and their state-sponsored clerics declare or are these same governments the apostate regimes that ISIS/AQ/MB claim them to be?

These are deeply profound doctrinal questions which are being hashed and rehashed in online screeds over the intricacies of Shariah law, but which will ultimately be settled with violence, just as they have been historically settled for hundreds of years.

For our purposes,  we should realize that the internecine conflict currently being waged does not mean that any of these forces are ultimately pro-Western or allies to be trusted. The same governments which are fighting ISIS paid for the mosques, staffed by Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated imams, at which the current group of ISIS fighters with Western passports were educated and indoctrinated. The Syrian rebels- including Muslim Brothers, that are fighting Assad and ISIS were also providing security for an Al Qaeda cell- The so-called Khorasan Group- whose purpose was a mass casualty attack on U.S. or allied soil. The Shia militias fighting ISIS on the outskirts of Baghdad were the ones using Iranian-manufactured Explosively Formed Penetrators (EFPs) to kill hundreds of Americans. The Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps leading the defense of Baghdad against ISIS also taught Al Qaeda how to use truck bombs to carry out the U.S. embassy attacks.

And on and on.

The reshuffling of the deck will continue in the Middle East for the time being, and it’s important to track the players, and understand their doctrinal differences and the basis for their conflict. But that is not the same as imagining that one of them represents a trump card for the West to play.

Egyptian Gov’t Says ISIS Came from Muslim Brotherhood

Islamic-State-10-IPEgyptian President El-Sisi is forcefully arguing that the U.S. is erring in focusing only on the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda

BY RYAN MAURO:

The Egyptian Minister of Religious Endowments says that the Islamic State terrorist group (also known as ISIS or ISIL) was birthed from the Muslim Brotherhood movement, according to an October 13 report  in an Egyptian newspaper called the Seventh Day.

Other Egyptian leaders have made the case in recent days that the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist terrorist groups belong in the same category as the Islamic State. The Egyptian government has banned the Muslim Brotherhood and its Palestinian branch, Hamas, as terrorist groups.

According to the report, Dr. Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa said that the Muslim Brotherhood is the progenitor of the Islamic State and similar terrorist groups. He accused the Brotherhood of disrupting education at Egyptian universities and said the group is harmful to Islam.

The Islamic State used to be Al-Qaeda’s branch in Iraq. Al-Qaeda’s leaders are known to have been influenced by the Brotherhood, but the two groups sparred over the latter’s relative restraint and involvement in elections.

The Islamic State is publicly hostile to the Brotherhood, though the two have nearly identical goals. In a new Islamic State video, the group pledges to overthrow the Turkish government and derided it as the “Caliph of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

In May, Gomaa told a reporter that Egypt’s Al-Azhar University should promote a “centrist form of Islam” that is different from Political Islam, otherwise known as Islamism.

“Islam should not be part of politics because the role of religion should only be about preaching a moral public life and for the betterment of society,” he was quoted as saying.

Last month, Gomaa warned that released Muslim Brotherhood leaders would instigate violence and instability and collaborate with terrorist groups.

“[Muslim Brotherhood will] incite from Qatar, conspire from Libya, mobilize the international organization in Turkey and ally with the Islamic State,” he said.

Read more at Clarion Project

Also see:

Obama Throws the Free Syrian Army Under the Bus

Smoke rises following an airstrike by US-led coalition aircraft in Kobani, Syria, during fighting between Syrian Kurds and the militants of Islamic State group, Oct. 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis) LEFTERIS PITARAKIS — AP

Smoke rises following an airstrike by US-led coalition aircraft in Kobani, Syria, during fighting between Syrian Kurds and the militants of Islamic State group, Oct. 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
LEFTERIS PITARAKIS — AP

PJ Media, By Patrick Poole, October 16, 2014

For the past three years, the Obama administration has hailed the Free Syrian Army (FSA) as the saviors of Syria — the “vetted moderate” force that was going to topple the butcher Assad. Because of that, the administration provided training, money and weapons to prop up the FSA (the word is they sent lawyers too).

But according to a report last night by Hannah Allam at McClatchy, Obama is now throwing the FSA under bus:

John Allen, the retired Marine general in charge of coordinating the U.S.-led coalition’s response to the Islamic State, confirmed Wednesday what Syrian rebel commanders have complained about for months – that the United States is ditching the old Free Syrian Army and building its own local ground force to use primarily in the fight against the Islamist extremists.

“At this point, there is not formal coordination with the FSA,” Allen told reporters at the State Department.

That was perhaps the bluntest answer yet to the question of how existing Syrian rebel forces might fit into the U.S. strategy to fight the Islamic State. Allen said the United States’ intent is to start from scratch in creating a home-grown, moderate counterweight to the Islamic State.

For most of the three years of the Syrian conflict, the U.S. ground game hinged on rebel militias that are loosely affiliated under the banner of the Free Syrian Army, or FSA. Their problems were no secret: a lack of cohesion, uneven fighting skills and frequent battlefield coordination with the al Qaida loyalists of the Nusra Front.

Last month I reported here at PJ Media about the coordination of the “vetted moderate” FSA with Jabhat al-Nusra and even ISIS. That coordination was later confirmed by a senior FSA commander.

Those reports came just as Congress was considering a vote to spend another $500 million to train their administration’s “vetted moderate” partners. That funding wasapproved by both the House and the Senate before Congress left town for the election break. With Obama cutting the FSA loose less than a month later, those who voted against the funding are going to look like geniuses.

Now that the FSA is safely under the bus it remains to be seen exactly who Obama is going to enlist to train and fight. Most of those who can fight are already in the fight. What are they going to do now, put out an ad on Craig’s List?

As one observer noted last night, Syria watchers should keep an eye out for the following ad showing up in the help wanted section of Middle East newspapers:

Wanted, Multicultural, non-sectarian, Jeffersonian democrats interested in military careers. English a plus. Drug test required.

Under Obama’s bus must be getting crowded…

al Qaeda, al Shabaab, and ISIS: Recruiting and Taking Ground

1284084732

By Nicholas Hanlon:

The recent interplay between al Shabaab and the African Union military mission in Somalia offers new data on the role of ground troops, the holding of territory, and Islamist recruiting.   After conventional ground forces deprived the al Qaeda linked group of its last stronghold in Baraawe, al Shabaab retaliated with a failed assassination attempt on the Somali president in Baraawe.  To a more tragic effect, they succeeded in killing thirteen innocent civilians in Mogadishu with a car bomb yesterday.  The loss of Baraawe was a big loss for al Shabaab.  They once enjoyed control of two major port cities where they could earn money in exports and bring in weapons and new recruits unchecked.

It is important to keep in mind that as far back as 2007, the FBI was mobilizing to counter al Shabaab’s successful recruiting of Americans among the Somali refugee community.  In 2010, fourteen people were indicted for trying to support al Shabaab.  Individuals among them came from California, Alabama, and Minnesota.  One of the attackers at Westgate Mall in Kenya last year was believed to be from Kansas City, Missouri.

It also helps to keep in mind that al Shabaab was started by lieutenants of Osama Bin Laden.  Now, ISIS internet recruiting strategies are being compared to Al Qaeda’s as next-generation in technical innovation.   Why? The giant terrorist recruiting boon has long since begun.  That fact overshadows the differences between the groups and highlights their overarching unity of purpose.

Harken back to when the pillar of our now president’s foreign policy debate was that Gitmo caused terrorist recruiting.  If only we could close down Gitmo, we could stem terrorist recruiting world wide.  Another re-hashing of counter recruiting strategy also emerges.  Namely, did invading Iraq serve the cause of terrorist recruitment on a grand scale?  Would another boots on the ground campaign amplify recruiting once again in Syria?

Consider the basic elements at work: 1. Globalized social media with a propaganda capability 2. Freedom and ease of individual travel  3. Porous borders and poorly governed territory

Now apply those elements to each case regarding Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and al Shabaab in Somalia.  These categories clearly do not represent the complexity or all of the scenarios involved in the current threat matrix but do serve for an acceptable base line comparison.

In Afghanistan al Qaeda has good propaganda instincts but it is first generation stuff and there is physical distance between terrorist strongholds and a communications infrastructure.  Freedom and ease of individual travel is made difficult by remoteness and lack of transportation infrastructure.  The low level of governance, however, falls in the plus column.

In Iraq and Syria, ISIS is not only the benefactor of al Qaeda and former al Qaeda, they have more travel infrastructure and communications infrastructure.  It is much easier for Americans and Europeans to travel in and out, gain battle experience, and receive training before they return home.  Add to their globalized propaganda capability a free microphone from HBO’s Vice.  Their ability to take territory and govern speaks for itself.  But here is the twist.  Upon return, their media capability extrapolates as it already had been doing among the Somali jihadists.

Al Shabaab in Somalia had success early on with recruiting and importing foreign fighters due to the absence of an opposing force on the ground and control of vital seaports.  The freedom of individual travel beget effective globalized social media even without great communications infrastructure.   The FBI remains deeply concerned about those who have joined the jihad in Somalia carrying out attacks in the U.S. after returning.

What does all of this say to the debate about putting boots on the ground?  Does military intervention not play right in to Islamist strategy?  To be fair, let us quickly paraphrase the Iraq invasion strategy.  The idea was that it is better to fight terrorists with voluntary soldiers on foreign soil than to leave them unchecked and able to mobilize over seas to then launch attacks on U.S. soil.

It may sound simplistic but the ground force operations in Iraq and Afghanistan gave us an intelligence capability and a special forces capability we would have never had otherwise.  Without it, we would have never gotten Bin Laden and a lot of other bad guys.  That capability is no where near what it was since before the Iraq withdrawal.   Further, the U.S. had the un-articulated strategic advantage of new strike capabilities in a theater where we needed more geo-strategic leverage.  That’s gone too.

For the sake of argument, however, let’s say that the Iraq invasion did bring more terrorists out of the woodwork then would have ever otherwise confronted the U.S. unprovoked.   As Sam Harris has recently highlighted, the same ideas animate the overarching actions of all three groups; al Qaeda, al Shabaab, and ISIS.  It is a strategy for global dominance.  In Somalia, early al Shabaab had an ideological enemy, the Siad Barre military regime, long before U.S. foreign policy provided the foil.   His rise had to do with the Soviets whose foreign policy also provided the foil for Bin Laden’s early propaganda successes.

It will  help Islamist propaganda generally when they can use a Western or secular foreign policy or ideology as a foil.  Letting them determine when and where to fight is to concede that jihadists will name the tune that the West will dance to.  As the list of no-good options grows, there is healthy debate and a lot of good reasons why we should not invade  Iraq for a third time.  But a recruiting coup is not one of them.  The factors listed above can account for a robust propaganda and recruiting capability for ISIS, al Shabaab, and al Qaeda.  Further, thanks to social media, the viral effect is in effect.  That ship has sailed and Western leaders are in more dissarray than ever as to what to do about it.

Baraawe reminds us that taking territory away from Islamist terrorist groups can deprive them of money, weapons, and new recruits in the short term.  Iraq teaches us that if we don’t hold the ground taken from Islamist groups, they will take it back.  Neither case address the blood lust or sense of righteousness for their cause in the long run.  Yet their ideas can draw fighters to their banner with or without a U.S. presence on the ground.  A counter ideology capability for the West will not likely emerge in the American political climate.

Audio: Clare Lopez analysis of the Islamic State

Published on Oct 9, 2014 by The Final Say Radio Show

Clare Lopez, Vice President for Research & Analysis with the Center for Security Policy, joins the show to discuss ISIS and other security threats.

Washington’s VICE: Supporting Islamists

vice newsCSP, By Kyle Shideler:

VICE News recently produced a revealing documentary highlighting the Islamic Front, a coalition of Islamist Syrian rebels. Embedded with Tawhid Brigade fighters in the Syrian city of Aleppo, the documentary maintains a generally unquestioning and supportive tone, but nonetheless is informative. Within the first five minutes, the narrator affirms the Tawhid Brigade’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, and the role of Qatar in supporting and backing the Islamic Front is repeatedly emphasized throughout the hour-long program. In a segment with the Islamic Front Sharia court, the judges vow to implement Islamic law in a manner not much different from the Islamic State (ISIS), although stressing that ISIS should have waited until Syria was fully liberated and Assad beaten. The VICE video does not mention, however, the Islamic Front’s ties to Al Qaeda, through the AQ-linked Ahrar Al-Sham unit of the Front, whose connections have been ably documented by jihadist monitoring website, the Long War Journal.

While perhaps news to the general public watching VICE News, these sorts of facts are well known. They were certainly known even before the push by elements of the foreign policy community in Washington to highlight the Islamic Front as the kind of rebels that should be supported in Syria. One piece for Foreign Affairs in January of 2014 referred to the Front’s Ahrar Al-Sham as “An al Qaeda–Linked Group Worth Befriending.” One of the authors of that piece, William McCants, works for Brookings Institute, a think tank revealed by the New York Times to have received $14 million over four years from the government of Qatar. The Qataris themselves had arranged for Ahrar Al-Sham to meet with Western diplomats in November 2013 just three months prior to the Foreign Affairs piece. Of course, Brookings would have us believe that their support for Qatari-backed rebel groups, and their own backing from Qatar are unrelated. And of course, it is unsurprising that Qatar would back a Muslim Brotherhood-linked rebel group, considering the strong support Qatar has expressed for the Brotherhood in the past.

Not all those who wished to put the U.S. into bed with an Al Qaeda-Muslim Brotherhood alliance in Syria have financial interests as potential motivations. For some, that support is likely ideological- as they have, like the Tawhid brigade, ties to the Muslim Brotherhood themselves.

Consider the repeated calls by the Syrian Emergency Taskforce for U.S. support for the Islamic Front, even after the U.S. was rebuffed by the group. According to the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch, an intelligence digest focusing on the Muslim Brotherhood, four of the seven named board members of the SETF have ties to Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated organizations. The executive director of SETF, Mouaz Mustafa, was responsible for arranging Senator John McCain’s meeting with the Northern Storm rebel group. Northern Storm has been accused of playing a role in the abduction of journalist Steven Sotloff. Sotloff’s fixer for the trip, who was also kidnapped by ISIS but released, was affiliated with the Tawhid brigade, which Northern Storm later joined.

Another group, the Syrian American Council (SAC), has also attempted to position the Islamic Front as appropriate U.S. allies. Mohammed Alaa Ghanem, the group’s director of government relations accused the United States of bombing Islamic Front targets in an article entitled, “In Syria, the United States is bombing friend and foe alike.” Ghanem has publicly praised the Muslim Brotherhood’s chief shariah jurist, Yusuf Al Qaradawi, a man who called for jihad in Syria, and called for the 2004 killing of Americans in Iraq. The Syrian American Council has sponsored a speaking tour of the United States featuring a known radical cleric named Sheik Mohammad Rateb al-Nabulsi who supported Palestinian suicide bombings. Another cleric Sheik Osama al-Rifai, who raised funds for the Syrian Sunrise Foundation (which shares board members with the SAC), has publicly supported the Islamic Front. Among the places where Rifai raised funds was the Mosque Foundation of Bridgeview, Ill., whose two founders have Muslim Brotherhood ties according to documents released by federal prosecutors in the Holy Land Foundation trial.

All of this background is part of what makes the VICE documentary so revealing. What VICE stated openly is an unassuming factoid that can, in fact, be found on Wikipedia. But its unstated significance explains much regarding elements among those who support the Syrian rebels, and their fixation on involving the U.S. with the Islamic Front. The Front’s sharia judges openly, and without slick editing, stating their case for sharia law, including beheadings for “criminals,” is something that people outside of Washington will see and comprehend, even if those who should know better continue to push for relations with the Islamist group.

It seems for many in Washington, support for Islamists is a vice they are unable to quit.

*******

Ghosts of Aleppo (Full Length)

Published on Sep 30, 2014 by VICE News

 

Also see:

The History and Capabilities of The Khorasan Group

AQ-2ISIS Study Group, Sep. 27, 2014:

There’s an article from the National Review written by Andrew McCarthy stating that the al-Qaida (AQ) cell known as the Khorasan Group (KG) “doesn’t exist.” We disagree with that on the grounds that many of our staff have served in Afghanistan’s RC-E battle space and have personally been involved in intelligence operations regarding this organization. Hundreds of other 35-series personnel and 18Fs have deployed to this part of Afghanistan and have been tracking the group since they first started to pop up in reporting in 2010 – not 2013 as Mr. McCarthy alleged.

The Khorasan Group Does Not Exist -

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/388990/khorosan-group-does-not-exist-andrew-c-mccarthy

This group is very much real, although their numbers are small with reporting that suggest their strength is between 50-100 personnel. KG started out as an intelligence apparatus for AQSL (Al Qaeda Senior Leadership) tasked with identifying individuals in the local populace suspected of being an asset for western intelligence services – even individuals within the AQ and Taliban ranks have been targeted if they were deemed “suspect.” This is made possible through the deep ties they’ve cultivated with the local tribes on both the Afghan and Pakistani sides of the border. It’s been implied that they may have a separate HUMINT network in the Middle East from members of the group that are of Arab ethnicity.

They eventually evolved into a special operations entity that refined IED TTPs (Techniques, Tactics and Procedures) for use in complex attacks. In fact, they reportedly trained the Taliban on the construction and implementation of 200-400 lbs explosive devices. That’s one of the reasons the Taliban (and Haqqani Network) became more effective in the P2K region, (Paktiya, Paktika and Khost Provinces) which was one of the primary areas KG operates in. Nangahar and Konar are other areas that have seen reporting of KG activity.

They’re greatest success has come in the form of performing a supporting role in joint operations with other jihadist groups such as the Haqqani Network (HQN) and Taliban (to include Pakistani Taliban or “TTP” [Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan]-not to be confused with Tactics, Techniques and Procedures). Despite the reporting we’ve seen throughout RC-E (Regional Command-East), the group was never very successful in their attempts at launching high-profile attacks themselves. Even with the assassinations, most of the incidents proved to have been the work of others. They’re a great support element, but as the main attraction? Not so much.

Indeed, we’ve been seeing open source reporting for some time on them over the years, although sporadic. It comes down to the American MSM not paying attention until the US government finally started talking about them sending personnel to Syria. Another thing to consider is that this particular AQ cell are supposed to be the “executioners,” so it shouldn’t surprise anybody that they’re not into propaganda videos. Truth is they’ve been sending personnel to Syria since last year for the purpose of assisting al-Nusra in identifying potential defectors to the Islamic State (IS) or western intelligence assets. They’re secondary task was to assist in the training of al-Nusra personnel on the above-mentioned TTPs in IEDs and executing complex attacks. At no time was this cell ever “absorbed” into al-Nusra. They remain to this day a separate entity that reports to the senior leadership in Pakistan.

It’s also important to note that this small cell is currently spread thin throughout Syria and the AF/PAK region. They’re in Syria to help identify the intelligence leaks and potential defectors to IS. In the AF/PAK region, they’re tasked with countering IS efforts at establishing a foothold in South Asia – which is AQSL’s back yard. The fact that the KG contingent sent to Syria is also reported to have experienced some defections themselves to IS has only further degraded their capabilities. The recent AQIS (Al Qaeda in South Asia) hijacking of the Pakistani warship – which in itself was an extremely bold operation – is an indicator of resources and personnel being stretched thin.

AQ remains a viable threat to the American people, but KG is primarily a threat to US military personnel stationed in Iraq or Afghanistan. As stated previously, this group is not an “imminent threat” to the American people living inside the US. All the over hyping of the group that’s coming out of the Obama administration is the result of lazy analysis, failure to listen to the analysts on the ground and for simply being in over their heads. Remember, most of the people placed in DoS (Department of State) and in key positions in the Intelligence Community don’t have much experience outside of academia or whatever politically appointed position they had previously.

Read more

The Khorosan Group Does Not Exist

pic_giant_092714_SM_Barack-Obama-Khorasan-Group-GBy Andrew C. McCarthy:

We’re being had. Again.

For six years, President Obama has endeavored to will the country into accepting two pillars of his alternative national-security reality. First, he claims to have dealt decisively with the terrorist threat, rendering it a disparate series of ragtag jayvees. Second, he asserts that the threat is unrelated to Islam, which is innately peaceful, moderate, and opposed to the wanton “violent extremists” who purport to act in its name.

Now, the president has been compelled to act against a jihad that has neither ended nor been “decimated.” The jihad, in fact, has inevitably intensified under his counterfactual worldview, which holds that empowering Islamic supremacists is the path to security and stability. Yet even as war intensifies in Iraq and Syria — even as jihadists continue advancing, continue killing and capturing hapless opposition forces on the ground despite Obama’s futile air raids — the president won’t let go of the charade.

Hence, Obama gives us theKhorosan Group.The who?

There is a reason that no one had heard of such a group until a nanosecond ago, when the “Khorosan Group” suddenly went from anonymity to the “imminent threat” that became the rationale for an emergency air war there was supposedly no time to ask Congress to authorize.

You haven’t heard of the Khorosan Group because there isn’t one. It is a name the administration came up with, calculating that Khorosan — the –Iranian–​Afghan border region — had sufficient connection to jihadist lore that no one would call the president on it.

The “Khorosan Group” is al-Qaeda. It is simply a faction within the global terror network’s Syrian franchise, “Jabhat al-Nusra.” Its leader, Mushin al-Fadhli (believed to have been killed in this week’s U.S.-led air strikes), was an intimate of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the emir of al-Qaeda who dispatched him to the jihad in Syria. Except that if you listen to administration officials long enough, you come away thinking that Zawahiri is not really al-Qaeda, either. Instead, he’s something the administration is at pains to call “core al-Qaeda.”

“Core al-Qaeda,” you are to understand, is different from “Jabhat al-Nusra,” which in turn is distinct from “al-Qaeda in Iraq” (formerly “al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia,” now the “Islamic State” al-Qaeda spin-off that is, itself, formerly “al-Qaeda in Iraq and al-Sham” or “al-Qaeda in Iraq and the Levant”). That al-Qaeda, don’t you know, is a different outfit from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula . . . which, of course, should never be mistaken for “al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb,” “Boko Haram,” “Ansar al-Sharia,” or the latest entry, “al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent.”

Coming soon, “al-Qaeda on Hollywood and Vine.” In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if, come 2015, Obama issued an executive order decreeing twelve new jihad jayvees stretching from al-Qaeda in January through al-Qaeda in December.

Except you’ll hear only about the jayvees, not the jihad. You see, there is a purpose behind this dizzying proliferation of names assigned to what, in reality, is a global network with multiple tentacles and occasional internecine rivalries.

As these columns have long contended, Obama has not quelled our enemies; he hasminiaturized them. The jihad and the sharia supremacism that fuels it form the glue that unites the parts into a whole — a worldwide, ideologically connected movement rooted in Islamic scripture that can project power on the scale of a nation-state and that seeks to conquer the West. The president does not want us to see the threat this way.

For a product of the radical Left like Obama, terrorism is a regrettable but understandable consequence of American arrogance. That it happens to involve Muslims is just the coincidental fallout of Western imperialism in the Middle East, not the doctrinal command of a belief system that perceives itself as engaged in an inter-civilizational conflict. For the Left, America has to be the culprit. Despite its inbred pathologies, which we had no role in cultivating, Islam must be the victim, not the cause. As you’ll hear from Obama’s Islamist allies, who often double as Democrat activists, the problem is “Islamophobia,” not Muslim terrorism.

This is a gross distortion of reality, so the Left has to do some very heavy lifting to pull it off. Since the Islamic-supremacist ideology that unites the jihadists won’t disappear, it has to be denied and purged. The “real” jihad becomes the “internal struggle to become a better person.” The scriptural and scholarly underpinnings of Islamic supremacism must be bleached out of the materials used to train our national-security agents, and the instructors who resist going along with the program must be ostracized. The global terror network must be atomized into discrete, disconnected cells moved to violence by parochial political or territorial disputes, with no overarching unity or hegemonic ambition. That way, they can be limned as a manageable law-enforcement problem fit for the courts to address, not a national-security challenge requiring the armed forces.

The president has been telling us for years that he handled al-Qaeda by killing bin Laden. He has been telling us for weeks that the Islamic State — an al-Qaeda renegade that will soon reconcile with the mother ship for the greater good of unity in the anti-American jihad — is a regional nuisance that posed no threat to the United States. In recent days, however, reality intruded on this fiction. Suddenly, tens of thousands of terrorists, armed to the teeth, were demolishing American-trained armies, beheading American journalists, and threatening American targets.

Read more at National Review

**********

Cultural Jihad did some fact checking:

 

  •   A Wikipedia check showed entries and sources no older than September 2014
  •  The group is not listed by the Dept of State as a designated terrorist organization
  •  The group’s reported leader, Muhsin al-Fadhli is listed on the National Counter-terrorism website as part of  al-Qaeda but no mention of  a Khorosan/Khurasan Group.

 

Abu Bakr al Baghdadi: From Terrorist Commander to Religious Icon

abu-bakr-al-baghdadiBlind Eagle, By Brian Fairchild:

Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s power to motivate and attract tens of thousands of radicalized Muslims is largely based on the fact that he has transcended the role of a terrorist commander and has become an Islamic religious and political icon – the new “Caliph” of the re-established “Caliphate”. 

He doesn’t claim to be a prophet, but he claims nothing less than to be the rightful political and religious heir to the Prophet Muhammad, and he often draws parallels between himself and Muhammad and other prophets, to support these claims and to legitimize his strict religious ideology.

On July 5, 2014, al-Baghdadi made his video debut at the Great Mosque of al-Nouri in Mosul, Iraq wearing Islamic garb and sporting a long beard, and he made a speech that was carefully crafted to draw parallels between himself and Muhammad.  The speech occurred during the Muslim month of Ramadan, and so he began his comments by stating that “Ramadan is a month to wage jihad”, noting that the Prophet Muhammad fought many battles against the “polytheists” during this month.

The implications of this reference sent a particularly potent message to radical Muslims because they know that Muhammad led Islam’s two most important battles during Ramadan – the very first battle, called the Battle of Badr, and the Battle of Mecca.  According to Islamic history, Muhammad faced overwhelming odds in his battle with the powerful Quraysh tribe at the desert oasis of Badr, but was victorious because of Allah’s divine intervention.  At the subsequent Battle of Mecca, he defeated the Quraysh with an Army of 10,000.  The city fell with almost no resistance.  The victory at Mecca consolidated Muhammad’s power and caused the surrounding tribes to join him.  The few remaining opposing tribes were quickly subdued.

The parallels to al-Baghdadi are unmistakable.  As he spoke at the Great Mosque of al-Nouri his total force was estimated to be around 10,000, the same number Muhammad fielded in the Battle of Mecca.  Like Muhammad, he emerged out of the desert and, against all odds, defeated a much larger and better equipped enemy, causing many to flee without firing a shot.  He consolidated his power by creating the “caliphate”, and the surrounding tribes joined him.  Finally, he proclaimed that these victories were only possible because he and his troops “have been bestowed upon by Allah to achieve victory” – divine intervention. 

The comparisons continue.  In the Islamic State’s September 21, 2014 statement, al Baghdadi calls Muslims to emulate the Prophet Muhammad’s historic hijrah (emigration) from Mecca to Medina by emigrating from their homes to defend the new Islamic State.  He proclaims that the coming fight with America is a decisive moment in Islamic history (just as Muhammad’s fight was) – a moment in which the fate of all Muslims hang in the balance, and he exhorts Muslims to rise to their brothers’ defense because:

  • “They are facing a battle which is of the decisive, critical battles in the history of Islam. If the Muslims are defeated, they will be humiliated in such a manner that no humiliation compares to. And if the Muslims are victorious – and this will be the case by Allah’s permission – they will be honored with all honor by which the Muslims will return to being the masters of the world and kings of the earth…”[1]

These comparisons resonate deeply in Salafi-jihadis who believe that there is no higher religious calling than to emulate the Prophet Muhammad’s methodology to establish Allah’s religion on earth, and this is precisely what al Baghdadi calls them to do.  He emphasizes their piousness by stating that he sees “the Quran walking alive amongst” them, and then unambiguously tells them that they are directly following in Muhammad’s footsteps:

  • “O soldiers of the Islamic State and its sons everywhere, listen and comprehend. If the people belie you, reject your state and your call, and mock your caliphate, then know that your Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) was belied. His call was rejected. He was mocked. If your people fight you, accuse you with the worst of accusations, and describe you with the worst of all traits, then know that the people of the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) fought him, expelled him, and accused him with matters worse than those you have been accused with.  If the parties have gathered against you, then know they gathered against your Prophet before (blessings and peace be upon him).”[2]

Muslim traditions tell how the pious Muhammad was able to overcome vastly superior military forces because of Allah’s divine intervention on his behalf, and thus, in the September 21, 2014 statement, al Baghdadi tells his followers that, because of their piousness and strict religious observance, Allah is on their side and that victory against America is assured because Allah wills it:

  • “Allah has given you might and honor after your humiliation. He has made you rich after your poverty. And He has aided you despite your weakness and small numbers. He showed you that victory is from Him, the Glorified.He grants it to whomever He wills and whenever He wills…Therefore Allah will give you victory. Indeed, Allah will give you victory. By Allah, Allah will give you victory…So know that – by Allah – we fear not the swarms of planes, nor ballistic missiles, nor drones, nor satellites, nor battleships, nor weapons of mass destruction. How could we fear them, while Allah the Exalted has said: ‘If Allah should aid you, no one can overcome you; but if He should forsake you, who is there that can aid you after Him? And upon Allah let the believers rely” – Qur’an Chapter 3: Verse 160.

In addition to drawing parallels between himself and the Prophet Muhammad, al Baghdadi also uses the Prophet Noah to legitimize his particularly severe religious rule.  In the second issue of his official publication Dabiq magazine titled The Flood , al Baghdadi uses the story of Noah and the Ark to legitimize his demand that Muslims live according to a strict literal interpretation of Sharia law.  In the article, the Prophet 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.”[3]  The parallel between Noah and al Baghdadi couldn’t be more obvious, especially given the fact that the Dabiq article was titled:  It’s Either the Islamic State or the Flood.

It is al Baghdadi’s uncompromising religious belief that is the very crux of the jihadi civil war between al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri’s Jahbat al Nusra (also called the Nusra Front), and al Baghdadi’s Islamic State.

Al Baghdadi is much more religiously zealous and demanding than Zawahiri.  Zawahiri is flexible and pragmatic in matters of ideology, preferring to slowly and carefully educate the Muslim community to accept Sharia law, and he is willing to form pragmatic alliances with non-jihadi organizations to further al Qaeda’s interests.

Al Baghdadi, on the other hand, has no such tolerance for coddling the Muslim masses or working with infidels, believing rather that it is his mission to confront Muslims, including Zawahiri and the Nusra Front, on matters of religion:

  • “it’s upon us…to eradicate the principle of “free choice,” and to not deceive the people in an attempt to seek their pleasure…Rather, we must confront them with the fact that they’ve turned away from the religion…and that we’re completely ready to stand in the face of anyone who attempts to divert us from our commitmentto making the religion of Allah triumphant over all other religions, and that we will continue to fight the people of deviation and misguidance until we die trying to make the religion triumphant.”[4]

That al Baghdadi and his followers have drawn this religious line in the sand against al Qaeda is documented by the following developments:

In late April 2014, a group of nine al Qaeda emirs from Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Iran defected from al Qaeda to the Islamic State.  They justified their defection by indirectly accusing Zawahiri and the al-Nusra Front of infidelity and apostasy:

  • “the forces of infidelity and apostasy quickly sowed the seeds of hypocrisy, using new groups under Islamic sounding names to be a rival and an obstacle to the Islamic state…the group did not have any courage to enforce judgments over those who disobey sharia, under the pretext of avoiding a clash with the people or due to their inability and incapacity…”

A few days later, al Baghdadi’s spokesman, Sheikh Muhammad al-Adnani, echoed these sentiments stating:

  • “Al Qaeda, including Jabhat al-Nusra and Khorasan, deviated from the rightful course…It is not a dispute about who to kill or who to give your allegiance. It is a question of religious practices being distorted and an approach veering off the right path.”

In The Flood, al Baghdadi specifically criticized the Nusra Front and Zawahiri for regularly breaking Sharia law in matters of religion and by forging alliances with organizations the Islamic State considers to be infidel, such as the Syrian National Coalition and the Islamic Front, and for justifying this religious laxity as a pragmatic and temporary necessity for “the sake of Jihad”.[5]

Also in The Flood, al Baghdadi quotes Salafi scholar Ibnul Qayyim who said:  “The pillars of kufr (religious infidelity) are four:  arrogance, envy, anger, and desire”, and then al Baghdadi goes on to accuse al Qaeda of all four:

  • “Whoever wants to know how a mujāhid (jihad) group fī sabīlillah (for Allah) becomes a militant group fighting fī sabīlit-tāghūt (for corrupt regimes) then let him review history, and let him know that a man’s love for leadership,wealth, and personal opinion becomes pride. Pride becomes envy. Envy becomes arrogance. Arrogance becomes hatred. Hatred becomes enmity. Enmity becomes contradiction of the rival.[6]

So confident is he in his religious superiority that in March 2014, al Baghdadi challenged the Nusra Front, to Mubahala – an Islamic ritual that implores Allah to choose between two rival factions by showing his favor for one while cursing the other.  In Muslim tradition, the repeated military success of one of the parties can only occur if Allah wills it, and al Baghdadi believes that his series of successes proves that Allah has chosen the Islamic State over the Nusra Front as the winner.

Analysts frequently try to explain why so many radicalized Muslims flock to Iraq and Syria.  The reasons they stipulate often include that these misguided Muslims are simply alienated youth, thrill seekers, or are attracted by “jihad cool”.  In actual fact, Salafi-jihadi fighters are religious zealots, and they are attracted to al Baghdadi as their religious and political leader precisely because he is seen by them to be the active defender of what they consider to be “true” Islam.  Tens of thousands have already performed hijrah to embrace his religious and political leadership, and this number can be expected to grow exponentially as al Baghdadi continues to “defend” Islam.

Brian Fairchild bio.