American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) Co-Founders and Senior Counsel David Yerushalmi and Robert Muise gave a presentation in Cincinnati to a standing-room-only crowd entitled, “Sharia: Threat to American Freedom.” Yerushalmi explains sharia as “the enemy threat doctrine”. A highlight of Muise’s presentation is his discussion of American Freedom Defense Initiative’s freedom of speech cases. Watch this very informative video.
By Roger Farhat:
Well into the new millennium, radical Islamist propaganda has found a popular platform for terror groups to disseminate their messages with relative ease, while reaching out to a wider audience than they ever could before.
This has been accomplished through access to the Web, initially by establishing networks and platforms designed for purposes that range from propaganda and news to recruiting new operatives, planning, and exchange of ideas, whilst limiting access by password restriction.
In the wake of flourishing jihadi use of the Internet, considerable effort has been invested by security agencies around the world to thwart this trend, only to yield a counter-productive result by prompting the mushrooming of multiple new outlets for every forum blocked.
In recent years, this issue has developed and evolved at a far greater rate, owing to social media platforms that enable any hardline Islamist or extremist to become a virtual activist, irrespective of hierarchy or organization. Nonetheless, jihadists who have realized the great potential of social media as a prominent and rapid means of spreading propaganda for a multitude of sympathizers, supporters, and would-be jihadists are now utilizing these platforms to reach out and target a new audience.
This new target population includes neutrals and Westerners seeking extreme adventures and experiences.
To this end, this article presents an examination of expanded jihadi activism on Twitter, and highlights the tardy U.S. efforts to counter this trend, specifically with regards to addressing Muslims in the West.
Senior Jihadists Join Twitter, Forum Members Follow Suit
Between late 2012 and early 2013, notable jihadi discussions were observed on al-Qaeda (AQ) affiliated password-protected forums regarding the importance of the online media battlefield and the emphasis on the risks inherent in its use.
Additionally, a general abatement in the participation of activists on these forums was discerned, prompting top AQ ideologue Abu Saad al-Amili to pen an essay lamenting the decline and calling upon the “soldiers of the jihadi media” to return to their (virtual) arenas.
In the essay, titled “Appeal to the Media Soldiers of Jihad: Maintain your Positions and Return to your Enclaves,” al-Amili attributed the shrinking activity on jihadi forums to the migration of members into such social media networks as Facebook and Twitter.
Although himself a Twitter activist (@al3aamili), in his article al-Amili attempts to motivate members to remain active on the forums. Yet, the fact that he, together with top AQ brass, has become a prominent Twitter user appears to have encouraged forum members to “migrate” to Twitter en masse instead of “maintaining their position” elsewhere.
Twitter as an Instant Relay for Booming Jihadi Activities
Serious jihadi activism on Twitter floundered for some time before eventually taking off and developing into a full-fledged propaganda arena, massively utilized by senior jihadists, actual fighters on the battlefield, and media jihadists alike.
This trend has also swept the once-wary jihadi platforms that until recently complained about losing members to the open Internet sphere. Nowadays, the majority of jihadi forums and platforms have official and unofficial Twitter accounts, most of which advertise these accounts on their main page.
The intensification of the armed conflict in Syria, where jihadists and AQ-splinter groups have flooded in from around the globe to successfully establish strongholds in various parts of the country, precipitated an expansion of war efforts to social media.
It is in this conflict that Twitter has become the ultimate intersection for jihadi propaganda and activism, where actual fighters and their followers publish first-hand statements and accounts in addition to uploading raw footage from the battlefront. Foreign jihadists who “migrated” from Western countries to Syria greatly contributed to the rise of this phenomenon, as they regularly update their friends, family, and followers on their well-being, as well as on their “holy war adventures.”
Read more at PJ Media
by Soeren Kern:
At least 2,000 European jihadists — many from Spain — have now travelled to Syria in the hopes of replacing the Assad regime with an Islamic state governed by Sharia law.
“Clearly Spain forms part of the strategic objectives of global jihad. We are not the only ones, but we are in their sights.” — Jorge Fernández Díaz, Minister of the Interior, Spain.
Police in Spain and Morocco have dismantled a jihadist network suspected of recruiting Islamic radicals in Europe and dispatching them to “hotbeds of tension” in Syria and other conflict zones.
Spanish officials say the cell, based in southern Spain, was one of the largest of its kind in Europe and responsible for recruiting more jihadists than any other network discovered in Spain so far.
The sting operation—in which seven suspected jihadists were arrested—was conducted on March 14, just three days after Spain marked the 10th anniversary of the 2004 Madrid train bombings that killed 191 people and wounded nearly 2,000.
Officials say the latest arrests demonstrate that Spain continues to be central to the ambitions of the global jihadist movement, which says it is committed to establishing a worldwide Caliphate.
Four of the suspects were arrested in Spain and the other three in Morocco. Of the suspects arrested in Spain, one was detained in the southern city of Málaga and the other three in Melilla, a Spanish exclave in North Africa. The three suspects arrested in Morocco had all recently returned from combat in Syria.
The suspected ringleader of the cell is a wheelchair-bound Spanish convert to Islam named Mustafa Maya Amaya. Maya, 51, was born in Brussels after his Spanish parents moved to Belgium in the 1960s to look for work there. After converting to Islam, he changed his given name from Rafael to Mustafa.
From left to right: Mustafa Maya Amaya, Paul Cadic and Farik Cheikh, three of the jihadists arrested by Spanish police. (Image source: Spanish Ministry of the Interior)
Maya eventually married a woman from Morocco, where he lived until December 2012, when he was arrested by Moroccan police for conspiring to overthrow the Moroccan monarchy and replace it with an Islamic government.
After escaping from prison in Morocco, Maya took refuge across the border in Melilla and became a naturalized Spanish citizen. Spanish counter-terrorism officials say Maya is well known for his advocacy of extremist Islam—he once told the Málaga-based newspaper Diario Sur that he supported the way the Taliban in Afghanistan treated women there—but that until now he had not been directly linked to terrorist activities.
Investigators say Maya—who maintained close ties to jihadist cells in Belgium, France, Indonesia, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey and Syria—is suspected of recruiting dozens of volunteer jihadists on the Internet and, after a careful selection process, sending them to join terrorist organizations in the Middle East and North Africa.
Groups benefiting from Maya’s recruitment services include the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), an al-Qaeda splinter group active in Iraq and Syria, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), a Sunni Muslim jihadist group committed to establishing an Islamic government in North Africa and parts of Spain, and the Al-Nusra Front, a branch of Al-Qaeda operating in Lebanon and Syria, where it is fighting against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Read more at Gatestone Institute
WASHINGTON – Terrorism experts warned Congress last week that Islamist terrorist groups are expanding in complex networks across the Middle East, highlighting the evolving nature of the threat these organizations pose to the region.
Seth Jones, a national security analyst with the RAND Corporation, told the House Armed Services Committee that there has been an increase in the number of Salafi jihadist groups, particularly in North Africa and the Levant. Al-Qaeda is the largest one, and all emphasize the importance of returning to a pure Islam and believe that violent jihad is a religious duty.
He said that while about a half-dozen terrorist groups have sworn allegiance to al Qaeda’s core, led by Ayman al-Zawahiri, there now exists various Salafi jihadist groups that have not formally pledged allegiance to the militant group, and yet they share a common goal of establishing an extreme Islamic emirate.
“They are committed to establishing an Islamic emirate, and several of them have plotted attacks against the U.S., against U.S. embassies, against U.S. diplomats, against U.S. targets overseas,” Jones said.
Among these groups are also al-Qaeda-inspired individuals and networks, including the Boston Marathon bombers, who had no direct ties to the terrorist organization but listened to al-Qaeda’s propaganda and used it to plan attacks.
“I think there’s been a tendency among some journalists and pundits to lump all Sunni Islamic groups under the title al-Qaeda, which I think has clouded a proper assessment of the movement,” Jones said.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told a Senate hearing recently there are at least five al-Qaeda franchises in 12 countries that “this movement has morphed into.”
According to data compiled by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, more then 6,800 terrorist attacks killed more than 11,000 people in 2012, making it the most active year of terrorism on record.
Bill Braniff, a terrorism analyst at the University of Maryland, said the six most lethal groups in 2012 – the Taliban, Boko Haram, al-Qaeda in Iraq, Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and al-Shabaab – were responsible for approximately 5,000 deaths.
He noted that these groups are generally considered affiliates of al-Qaeda, and yet al-Qaeda itself has not been directly responsible for an attack since 2012.
Braniff said that a dozen of the 20 most lethal terrorist organizations and half of the 20 most active organizations had connections to al-Qaeda in 2012, suggesting that al-Qaeda remains a “central hub in a network of highly lethal and active terrorist groups.”
“What should we take from these seemingly contradictory developments?” he said. “Did al-Qaeda succeed by inspiring widespread jihadism, or has it lost to a variety of more parochial, albeit popular, actors?”
Braniff warned that it would be wrong to conclude that because al-Qaeda itself is not carrying out violent attacks that the group’s strategy has become ineffective.
“This has been the most active two years in the history of modern terrorism and al-Qaeda remains at the historical, organizational and ideological center of the most lethal terrorist threats of our time,” Braniff said.
Several Republicans have accused the Obama administration of downplaying the threat from al-Qaeda, its affiliates and the groups that it has inspired.
Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) said that while President Obama has declared that al-Qaeda was on a path of defeat, the organization currently controls over 400 miles of territory in the Middle East – the most in its history.
“While the president seeks an end to war on terrorism and is not providing the leadership necessary for our efforts in Afghanistan, al-Qaeda seeks a continued war against the United States and the west. This is the reality and this is what our policy and strategy must address,” McKeon said.
Read more at PJ Media
The Army of Muhammad (Tanzim Jaysh Muhammad), one of the Sunni jihadi organizations operating in Syria and which is named after the prophet of Islam, has just called for the creation of an Islamic, jihadi army of at least 800,000 fighters, composed of all Muslim nationalities, from Europe, Africa, and Asia. Its stated purpose would be to depose the military regimes of the Middle East and herald the way to resurrecting the Islamic caliphate, or the creation of one unified Islamic state in the Middle East.
According to Arabic media, the Army of Muhammad declared in a recent statement that “It is incumbent on all Islamic jihadi organizations around the world to work under one banner to depose the military regimes, which were created by the Sykes-Picot Agreement to divide the Islamic world, and at the head of these military regimes are the armies of Egypt, Syria, Yemen, and Algeria.”
The statement complains that all these armies have tried to halt the spread of “the Arab Spring, and for their own benefit.”
Later in the statement, the Army of Muhammad’s goals become even more ambitious, as it elaborates, saying that “It is time for the followers of the [Islamic/jihadi] Black Flag—the mujahidin—to announce the armed jihad against the regimes and arm the Arab peoples in order to overthrow the regimes in Egypt, North Africa, Syria, the Gulf monarchies, and Iran.”
- The Simple Wisdom of Arab Dictators (raymondibrahim.com)
Al-Qaeda itself “remains a cohesive organization” and its core ”leadership continues to be important to the global movement,” according to the National Counterterrorism Center.
by Matthew Vadum:
Israeli security forces have shut down a massive al-Qaeda plot coordinated by terrorist mastermind Ayman al-Zawahiri that involved attacking the Jerusalem Convention Center and the American embassy in the diplomatic center of Tel Aviv.
This is believed to be the first time that al-Qaeda chief al-Zawahiri has gotten personally involved in engineering strikes within Israel.
The foiled plot is a sobering reminder that al-Qaeda has been experiencing a comeback in the Obama era.
Weeks before the November 2012 election Obama bragged, “al-Qaeda is on the path to defeat and Osama bin Laden is dead.” It is true that al-Qaeda is “on the run,” but not in the sense that President Obama uses the term. The stock of the international Muslim terrorist network is experiencing a bull run in many corners of the world, lifted higher by the profuse pro-Islamist promises of appeasement offered by Secretary of State John Kerry.
Meanwhile, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) told the Jerusalem Post Wednesday that it arrested three Palestinians from east Jerusalem recruited online by a Gaza-based al-Qaeda operative. The three men were preparing to launch a wave of terror attacks involving bombs and firearms that would have targeted the Jerusalem Convention Center, a bus route, the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, and the emergency responders who would have attended to the wounded at the attack sites.
A U.S. State Department official suggested that the plot against the diplomatic facility had been a matter of discussion between the American and Israeli governments for some time. “The U.S. embassy was not just the target, but obviously other targets were involved as well in the threat,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Wednesday.
The U.S. won’t be evacuating the embassy, Harf said. “We obviously don’t discuss all of our security measures.”
The Shin Bet said al-Qaeda operative Ariv Al-Sham used the Internet to sign up Iyad Khalil Abu-Sara, Rubin Abu-Nagma, and Ala Anam for the violent campaign. At press time it was unclear if Al-Sham was in Israeli custody. The Shin Bet said he received orders directly from Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s successor as head of al-Qaeda.
Abu-Sara confessed he volunteered to carry out a “sacrifice attack” on an Israeli bus traveling between Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim. The plan was to shoot out the vehicle’s wheels, causing it to turn over, and then to gun down passengers and first responders. The suspect also confessed he planned to participate in simultaneous suicide bombings at the U.S. Embassy and the Jerusalem Convention Center. Abu-Sara would have killed responders at the convention center by detonating a suicide truck bomb at the scene.
“Al-Sham and Abu-Sara plotted to bring a group of foreign terrorists to Israel using fake Russian passports, who would have entered the country by posing as tourists,” the newspaper reported. ”Abu-Sara was meant to receive the terrorists, and prepare their suicide bomb vests and a truck bomb. Abu-Sara was also supposed to travel to Syria for training in combat and explosives manufacturing, and had purchased a flight ticket to Turkey, a gateway to Syria.”
Abu-Nagma admitted he intended to kidnap a soldier and bomb a building housing Israeli Jews in east Jerusalem. Ala Anam admitted planning to establish a Salafi-Jihadi cell in Samaria for the purpose of launching terror attacks.
The Jerusalem Post quoted an unnamed source saying the new arrests are proof that al-Qaeda-affiliated elements — as well as operatives from Hamas and Islamic Jihad — are using the Gaza Strip as a terrorism base. “Hundreds of Salafi-jihadis in Gaza have access to rockets and arms, and travel to Sinai to attack both Egypt and Israel,” the source said.
News of the foiled plot runs counter to the Obama administration’s fanciful insistence that al-Qaeda no longer matters and its denial, on display in a recent interview with the New Yorker, that al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorism is spreading rapidly around the globe.
After some major setbacks in recent years, al-Qaeda’s influence is growing as it establishes and fortifies terrorism beachheads throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Al-Qaeda’s affiliate al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) now controls large chunks of Iraq.
The group “is trying to take over two countries at once; Iraq and Syria,” as Daniel Greenfield notes. ”It’s a big goal, but it knows that in Syria, Obama will help them and that in Iraq, he won’t do anything to stop them.”
Read more at Front Page
Also see: Israel busts ‘global jihad’ terror cell planning attacks, including against US Embassy (longwarjournal.com)
National Review, January 8, 2014
There’s a lot to be said about the matters covered in Patrick’s excellent post, which continues to plumb the depths of farce in the New York Times’ Hillary-free revisionist history of Benghazi. For now, though, just one observation: Far too much is made of the taxonomy of these multiple, expanding, cross-pollinating jihadist groups. (Judean People’s Front … or is it People’s Front of Judea?)
In the jihadist plots of 1992-93 that we proved in the Blind Sheikh case, there was a New York-New Jersey-based cell comprised of a number of Sheikh AbdelRahman’s subordinates from Gama’at al-Islamia (the Egypt-based “Islamic Group”); Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s nephew; a group of Sudanese loyal to the Sheikh’s pal, Hassan al-Turabi; a Hamas guy; some other Palestinian and Iraqijihadists; a couple of Americans who’d made their bones fighting in the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan; an American from Puerto Rico (who today would be pigeon-holed into the misleading category of “home-grown” terrorist); and probably a few others who’ve slipped my mind. Al Qaeda existed at the time, but not in the same form it would have a few years later, much less the form it has now.
I do not mean for a moment to suggest that membership in a specific terrorist organization is unimportant. I am simply pointing out that it is a lot more important to the terrorists than it is to us. To us, the targets, what matters is the overall jihad.
In my Benghazi column over the weekend, I reiterated the point I’ve been striving to make for over a decade (with diminishing returns, I often fear):
What knits together the global jihad is Islamic-supremacist ideology — mainstream Middle Eastern Islam, directly traceable to Koranic scripture. The organizational niceties and shifting loyalties of jihadist groups are a sideshow — including what it has become fashionable to call “core al-Qaeda” and its expanding array of franchises, tentacles, and wannabes.
In fact, even the resurgent Sunni-Shiite divide that is currently tearing the Middle East apart is less important when it comes to the United States, the Anglosphere, Europe, and Israel. As much as they despise each other, they hate us more. That’s why they put their significant differences aside to collaborate against us. To take the best and most important example, Shiite Iran and Hezbollah have been arming, training and harboring Sunni jihadists (including but by no means limited to al Qaeda and Hamas) for over 20 years.
It is critical that we grasp this reality because hyper-focus on which organization is which can lead us to miss the big picture. It is how the Obama administration minimizes the terrorist threat – what’s the point of obsessing over “core al Qaeda” when we well know that (a) even before 9/11, al Qaeda colluded with other jihadist groups and regimes, and (b) after 9/11, al Qaeda of necessity evolved into a more atomized, less centralized network whose cells and franchises had varying degrees of interaction with the “core”?
Too much focus on the known organizations is also how the Bush administration underrated the ideological threat. The formal groups and the emerging cells are not merely “violent extremists”; they are Islamic-supremacists who adhere to an ideology globally propagated by, most notoriously, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Saudi regime, and the Iranian regime. Not everyone who shares the ideology is a terrorist. In fact, the vast majority are not. But huge numbers sympathize with the terrorists and abhor us. A good example: Polling during our military operations in Iraq indicated that a sizable majority of Iraqis believed Americans were legitimate targets of violent jihad, even though comparatively few Iraqis were terrorists. (This is because their sharia-based ideology teaches that non-Muslim “occupiers” must be driven out of Muslim lands – even if the said occupiers are actually trying to make life better for Muslims.)
We should be thankful that we have experts like Tom Joscelyn who understand the evolution, inter-connections, and infighting of jihadist groups and their members. You could never otherwise comprehend the threat and its global nature. But we also need to understand, first and foremost, that jihadists from different organizations – even ones like al Qaeda and Hezbollah, who are fighting each other in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq – will work together against us. When it comes to the jihad against America and our allies, shared ideology is key, organizational membership is secondary, and terrorist plots will often be joint ventures in which the perceived opportunity to attack an American target will be more relevant than which jihadist is in which group … at least for this week.
Of course, redirecting our focus to ideology instead of group membership would require overcoming our political correctness – namely, our willful blindness to the fact that the ideology in question is a mainstream interpretation of Islam – the “moderate” adherents of which are committedly anti-American even if they do not practice and may not support terrorist methods. Until we get that part right, we’ll never be able to develop an effective global counterterrorism strategy.
January 6, 2014
The past year has been the most violent since the beginning of the current wave of terrorism. Al Qaeda, though truncated, has become more influential globally via the web, guiding its associates to strike official and civilian targets. With the western withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014 the Taliban-led terrorist sanctuary is likely to be revived to threaten stability and security worldwide.
By Rohan Gunaratna
SINCE September 11, 2001 the global terrorist threat has been growing exponentially. According to START, the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, there were 5,100 terrorist attacks in the first six months of 2013, following the 8,400 attacks in 2012, which killed nearly 15,400 people. “The wave of violence shows few signs of ebbing,” reported the US-based START.
The western kinetic operations have failed to reduce the global threat. Indeed, the threat of international and national terrorism is projected to grow in 2014. With half of the countries in the world suffering from political violence and ideological extremism, terrorism will remain the Tier-One national security threat to the stability of most countries.
Hubs of global terrorism
Afghanistan and Syria are emerging as the two most important hubs of global terrorism that threaten the security of South Asia, West Asia and North Africa. Just as the anti-Soviet multi-national Afghan mujahidin campaign formed the foundation of contemporary terrorism, the blowback from the civil war in Syria is likely to produce the next generation of fighters – both guerrillas who attack government forces and terrorists who attack civilians.
The conflicts in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as India, are the most violent in South Asia. Next are the Middle East: Syria and Iraq; and Africa: Nigeria and Somalia. Since 9/11 over a million people, combatants and non-combatants, have been killed or injured, mostly Muslims, by terrorists and US-led coalition forces fighting insurgents and terrorists. According to START, Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan suffered more than half of the 2012 attacks (54%) and fatalities (58%). The next five most targeted countries were India, Nigeria, Somalia, Yemen and Thailand. The threat is projected to escalate in 2014 and grow even further following the US-led coalition’s withdrawal from Afghanistan at year end.
Counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism efforts since 9/11 have had mixed results. Al Qaeda has weakened but the Al Qaeda family has grown in strength, size and influence. About 30-40 threat groups in Asia, Africa, Middle East and the Caucasus are emulating the Al Qaeda ideology of global violence and methodology of suicide attacks.
While the core Al Qaeda led by Dr Ayman al Zawahiri has transformed from an operational to an ideological and training organisation, the associate groups carry out the bulk of the attacks. Although the death of Osama bin Laden demonstrated that any terrorist can be hunted down, the death of the Al Qaeda leader did not reduce the growing threat.
The deadliest terrorist groups in the world belong to the Al Qaeda family with the Taliban (both Afghan and Pakistan) heading the list. Others are Al Nusra Front in Syria, Boko Haram in Nigeria, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Al Shabaab in Somalia. The Al Qaeda ability to influence associate groups was brought to international attention by the brutal attack on the Westgate Mall in Kenya by Al Shabaab. With the decentralisation of the threat Northern Africa is emerging as a new epicentre of terrorism and extremism.
The “Arab Spring” has become a nightmare with multiple Al Qaeda-linked groups emerging throughout North Africa and the Middle East, including Al Nusra in Syria. With 12,000 Sunni and a comparable number of Shia foreign fighters in Syria the threat to the West and the rest of the world will grow.
Stemming from the developments in Syria, the Shia-Sunni conflict is threatening to break out into a regional conflict, involving Bahrain and Lebanon. Further afield in the Caucasus terrorists mounted year-end attacks in Volgograd, Southern Russia, hitting a railway station and a trolley bus. Shumukh al-Islam, the top forum for Al Qaeda-affiliated propaganda, praised the timing of the attacks. The SITE Monitoring Service reported the terrorists as saying Russians are not safe “since their country continues to supply arms to the malicious combatant regime of the doomed apostate Bashar”. From the Caucasus the terrorists are travelling through Turkey to Syria to fight against the Bashar al Assad regime.
Read more at Eurasia Review
Rohan Gunaratna is Head of RSIS’ International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR), Singapore. He is author of “Inside Al Qaeda” published by Columbia University Press.
by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi
December 11, 2013
This article examines the rise of the al-Qa’ida-aligned group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) since its announcement in April 2013 until September 2013. It focuses in particular on its military operations and its relations with other rebel groups. The article concludes by examining what the future holds for ISIS on the whole.
INTRODUCTION: THE IDEOLOGY
The group under consideration in this paper–like al-Qa’ida central under Usama bin Ladin and subsequently Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Tehrik-e-Taliban of Waziristan, and others–is part of what one might term the “global jihad” movement. This movement is not a coherent whole organized by a strict central hierarchy, but rather one defined by a shared ideology. This ideology aims firstly to reestablish a system of governance known as the Caliphate–an Islamic form of government that first came into being after Muhammad’s death under Abu Bakr and saw its last manifestation in the Ottoman Empire–across the entire Muslim world. From there, the intention is to spread the Caliphate across the entire world.
This worldview is one of many answers formulated to answer a question posed in the wider Muslim world: Namely, what has been the cause of decline of the Muslim world–and the Arab world in particular–in contrast to the apparent success of the West since the nineteenth century? The answer formulated by ideologues of the global jihad movement is that the cause of this decline is rooted in the Muslim world’s deviation from the path of Islam by not applying Islamic law to governance in its totality. This is to be contrasted with the “Islamic Golden Age” in Islam’s first five centuries or so–idealized in different ways by others not of this orientation–when the Muslim world was supposedly uncontaminated by foreign influences. Of course, given that era’s exploitation of the classical Greek heritage through the translation movement under the Abbasids- the global jihad movement’s portrayal of this era is blatantly unhistorical. Nonetheless, the perception is what matters.
In light of the ISIS’ ambitious goals, it is imperative to consider the group’s fortunes in Syria, which in turn will allow policymakers to assess what threat, if any, the group poses to the wider international order in the long-term.
Years ago, it is hard to imagine anyone being able to see into the future to today and predict the complete collapse of leadership in America – but it has come.
On 9/11/2001, I was plodding through the wreckage of the Pentagon as an FBI Special Agent, recovering what was left of fellow Americans in what was left in the sections of the building hit by an airplane commanded by jihadis. Furious at our enemy, I was determined to do all I could to seek out this enemy and destroy him. I could have never imagined that, years later, America’s leaders would give such aid and comfort to our enemies.
As we survey the rubble of American foreign policy and the incoherent domestic agenda, specifically as they relate to the security of America, we discover a most incredible thing – the leadership of both political parties in America, through ignorance, cowardice, and outright treason, are aiding and abetting the very enemy who attacked us in our homeland on this day 12 years ago.
In the last several years we have seen the full authority of the U.S. government support: the Muslim Brotherhood in their quest to take power in Egypt; Al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood “rebels” in Libya; the Taliban by holding direct talks with them and trying to appease their “concerns”; and Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood “rebels” seeking to overthrow the regime in Iranian-backed Syria.
At the same time, this Administration continues to give easily identifiable jihadis positions inside our government with access to classified systems within those agencies they work.
Departing FBI Director Robert Mueller III said in a final interview that “jihadis” are a major threat to this country, yet as Director the FBI gave official awards to known jihadis like Mohamed Magid (President of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Islamic Society of North America), Yahya Hendi (a leader on the Muslim Brotherhood’s Fiqh Council of North America), and so many others. In open testimony to Congress, Director Mueller admitted to being ignorant of the significant fact that the Islamic Society of Boston (a subsidiary of ISNA) where one of the Marathon bombers attended was founded by Al Qaeda financier Abdurahman Alamoudi. During his tenure, Mueller hosted many meetings at FBI HQ with known jihadis such as the leaders of Hamas in America (CAIR) and others.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has proven to be either grossly incompetent or a willful agent of our enemies. Over the past several years she has directly changed or created DHS policy based on the complaints or recommendation of the jihadi leadership from the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. From removing words DHS and other government employees can use to describe the jihad threat (you can’t say “jihadi”) to their “Building Bridges” campaign with the Brotherhood’s Muslim Public Affairs Council, to shutting down all fact-based training regarding the jihadi threat, to defending Muslim Brother Mohammed Elibiary in open testimony before Congress, our enemies couldn’t have it better if Mullah Omar was the DHS chief.
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs has proven to be no more competent or faithful to his Oath to the Constitution. General Dempsey has demonstrated his willingness to avoid his duties while ensuring the enemy gets a pass within the military by shutting down all training which honestly and factually assesses the enemy. His decision over a year ago to cease all training In the military and “review it” to ensure it was not “offensive” – a move prompted by complaints to the White House from Hamas (CAIR) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council – makes it impossible for the military to understand the real threat we face. General Dempsey may want to keep in mind that the truth is always offensive to those who don’t have it. He may also want to note that when ordered to violate his Oath, he always has the option to step down.
Where are those men and women of courage in our government?
Read more at Understanding The Threat
John Guandolo’s new book, “Raising a Jihadi Generation” will be out in the next 10 days or so. This book details the threat for the Muslim Brotherhood network in the United States, their thousands of organizations here, and how they support jihadi operations.
IPT: by John Rossomando:
A Pittsburgh man may be the latest American killed as part of the global Muslim jihad against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The man, identified as Amir Farouk Ibrahim, 32, was reportedly killed July 22 in fighting between Syrian Kurdish forces and those linked to the Islamic State of Iraq, an al-Qaida affiliate.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based Syrian opposition group, posted pictures of Ibrahim’s American and Egyptian passports on its Facebook page. Ibrahim’s passport appeared alongside about a dozen others belonging to men from around the Islamic world, underscoring the fact that the Syrian conflict has become a transnational one.
“The documents were found after the ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) retreated from the town after intense clashes last week with the YPG (Yekineyen Parastina Gela Kurdish faction),” the Syrian Observatory wrote on its Facebook page. “We do not know the fate of the owners of these documents, whether they are dead or alive and still active in Syria.”
Ibrahim would be the second American killed fighting in Syria’s civil war. Nicole Lynn Mansfield, 33, a Muslim convert from Flint, Mich., was killed fighting in Syria in May.
Ibrahim’s relatives, who now live in Cairo, Egypt, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Reviewthat he traveled to Turkey in February or March and then crossed into Syria. Turkey has been a major entry point for Islamist fighters looking for a piece of the action.
Ibrahim’s father said his son had told him that he was in Syria helping people evade the fighting.
“He came to me and asked me if he can go to Syria. I told him, ‘Over my dead body,’ ” Ibrahim’s father said. “If you go, I don’t want to hear about you at all.”
About a dozen American citizens reportedly joined the fighting in Syria, the New York Times reported Sunday. Their involvement, along with jihadists from various European countries, has counterterrorism experts concerned they will bring their violent ways home with them.
“Syria has become really the predominant jihadist battlefield in the world,” National Counterterrorism Center Director Matthew G. Olsen said earlier this month. “The concern going forward from a threat perspective is there are individuals traveling to Syria, becoming further radicalized, becoming trained and then returning as part of really a global jihadist movement to Western Europe and, potentially, to the United States.”
Classified and unclassified sources said that 10 percent of the approximately 6,000 foreign fighters who have entered Syria came from North America, Europe or Australia. Many of these fighters have joined al-Qaida’s affiliate in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra.
Eric Harroun, 30, a former U.S. soldier from Phoenix, was indicted in Virginia last month on charges that he was fighting for al-Nusra. He bragged on his Facebook page back in February: “Downed a Syrian Helicopter then Looted all Intel and Weapons!”
Recently, The United West Savannah, GA operation sponsored a National Security Briefing featuring Clare Lopez, former CIA operations Officer and currently a Fellow with Center for Security Policy and the Clarion Project. Clare, one of the world’s top experts on the Muslim Brotherhood hits this one out of the park as she systematically and comprehensively details the origin, growth and current influence capabilities of this cultural terrorist organization. Most shocking is the deep penetration and overwhelming influence the MB have with President Obama and his Administration. Tune in for a first class national security brief!
Editor’s note: Below is Thomas Joscelyn’s testimony to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, on al Qaeda, the nature of the group’s central command and its relationship with its affiliates, and the future challenges the West faces in battling the terror organization.
I provide my answers to each of these questions in the following sections. But first, I will summarize my conclusions:
More than a decade after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks there is no commonly accepted definition of al Qaeda. There is, in fact, widespread disagreement over what exactly al Qaeda is.
In my view, al Qaeda is best defined as a global international terrorist network, with a general command in Afghanistan and Pakistan and affiliates in several countries. Together, they form a robust network that, despite setbacks, contests for territory abroad and still poses a threat to U.S. interests both overseas and at home.
It does not make sense to draw a firm line between al Qaeda’s “core,” which is imprecisely defined, and the affiliates. The affiliates are not populated with automatons, but they are serving al Qaeda’s broader goals. And al Qaeda has dispatched “core” members around the globe. As the 9/11 Commission found, Al Qaeda’s senior leaders have always pursued a policy of geographic expansion. The emergence of formal affiliates, or branches, has been a core al Qaeda objective since the early 1990s. While the affiliates have varying degrees of capabilities, and devote most of their resources to fighting “over there,” history demonstrates that the threat they pose “over here” can manifest itself at any time.
In addition to its affiliates, al Qaeda operates as part of a “syndicate” in Central and South Asia. As former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said in 2010, “A victory for one [member of the syndicate] is a victory for all.” Al Qaeda and its allies control territory inside Afghanistan today. If additional parts of Afghanistan fall to the syndicate in the coming years, it will strengthen both al Qaeda’s ideological messaging and operational capability.
What is al Qaeda?
This should be a straightforward question to answer. But in reality there is no commonly accepted understanding of al Qaeda. Writing in 2003, Bruce Hoffman wrote that there was “[d]isagreement over precisely what al Qaeda is.”1 It is “remarkable,” Hoffman noted, that “al Qaeda remains such a poorly understood phenomenon” even after the 9/11 attacks. Incredibly, any attempt to answer basic questions about al Qaeda’s structure (similar to the ones proposed by this committee), “provokes more disagreement than agreement in government, intelligence, and academic circles.”
Ten years later, Hoffman’s words still ring true. In early 2013, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) commissioned a workshop of experts to assess the future of al Qaeda. CSIS was interested in how al Qaeda will adapt to the “death of Osama bin Laden, the popular uprisings spreading across the Middle East and North Africa, and the global recessionary pressures that are causing governments to re-evaluate their [counterterrorism] strategies.” The final report issued at the conclusion of the workshop reads: “Workshop participants recognized that part of the challenge in imagining AQ’s future lies in the very definition of AQ.” Unsurprisingly, there was a “lack of consensus” among the experts. Echoing Hoffman’s assessment a decade earlier, CSIS found: “How AQ adopts to the challenges and opportunities that will shape its next decade is a source of spirited debate amongst government officials, academic experts, think-tank analysts and private consultants.”2
“At its broadest,” the CSIS report’s authors found, “the phenomenon includes a central group of senior leaders commonly referred to as AQ Core, regional affiliates which together with that core make up the AQ network, like-minded groups in the network’s key operating areas (eg, fellow travelers), homegrown Islamist extremists in Western countries, sympathisers across the globe and the AQ ideology itself.” Despite this complex mix, the workshop’s participants concluded that the “AQ Core and its network affiliates” will have “the most profound” impact “on the broader phenomenon’s future prospects.” For the most part, I concur with the CSIS definition of al Qaeda.
Read more at The Long War Journal
President Barack Obama fails to understand that the fight against jihadists is a global war based on a shared international ideology, according to a leading terrorism expert.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV, Dr. Walid Phares, a Congressional advisor and the co-secretary general of the Transatlantic Legislative Group on Counterterrorism, said the president’s counterterrorism speech on Thursday “ignored the fact that the jihadists are connected worldwide.”
“The president said, for example, that there are a bunch of thugs in every country and they call themselves al-Qaida, meaning that they are not connected, and therefore our counterterrorism effort should be country-by-country and not [an] interconnected, international, global effort against the jihadists,” said Phares, the author of several books on terrorism including, “The Confrontation: Winning the War Against Future Jihad.”
He said even though jihadists are diverse and vary by country, they are international, have a global view, and exchange information.
“The mistake in the analysis of the administration is that they don’t see the global dimension while we are in a global war with the jihadists,” he said.
Read more at Newsmax with video of very informative interview
Walid Phares Facebook comment:
Next Talking Point: “Global Paranoia…”
A new notion advanced by the apologist camp in the United States in criticizing the so-called “War on Terror” is to describe global efforts against the Jihadi networks as “Global paranoia.” A sister concept to “Islamophobia,” “Global Paranoia” is the doctrine designed to de-legitimize the “campaign against al Qaeda worldwide” as a global effort, and end the notion of a “Global Jihadist Movement.” It will characterize the shift in doctrine of the Obama Administration in its second term, a shift announced during the Presidential speech at the National Defense University. We have projected the dismantlement of the US War against the global Jihadist movement since 2009. This the next Talking Point in the market of ideas, will be “no to global paranoia.”
- It’s the Ideology, My Friends (counterjihadreport.com)
- Walid Phares: We Are At War With Jihadist Ideology (counterjihadreport.com)
- London Woolwich’s Jihadi Butchers: Their Non-Spontaneous Words Matter (counterjihadreport.com)
- U.S. Administration Wrongly Advocates the Islamist Interpretation of Islamophobia (counterjihadreport.com)
Defense policies are not created in a vacuum. They are designed to meet threats. Over time, threats change in ways that are difficult to predict. In the past, America’s enemies generally wore uniforms and confronted American soldiers on a foreign field of battle. Today, America’s enemies may wear backwards-facing baseball caps and attack marathon runners along with the men, women, and children cheering for them on a sunny April afternoon in New England.
What happened in Boston last week was terrible and terrifying — precisely the outcome terrorists seek to achieve. But it could have been worse. It was worse on September 11, 2001, and it will be worse again if we let down our guard, if we stop taking the fight to those sworn to destroy us, and if we refuse to understand who they are, what they believe, and what they want.
They have told us — over and over — that they are waging what they call a jihad. The policy of the current administration, and to a great extent the previous administration as well, has been to avoid such terminology. One notable exception: Just before she stepped down as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton spoke with rare candor. “We now face a spreading jihadist threat,” she said, adding, “we have to recognize this is a global movement.”
Yet so many people — in government, the media, academia — refuse to believe this, or at least refuse to acknowledge it. I was on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal this week debatingHina Shamsi, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project. She declared, “There is no global war. . . . There is no global jihadist movement.”
About the massacre in Boston there is much we still do not know. But the evidence available so far can only lead to the conclusion that two young men from Chechnya committed an act of terrorism on American soil in support of what they believe is a global jihad.
How do we know the bombs were not a protest — a secular one, with no Islamist roots — against Russia’s occupation of Chechnya and in favor of Chechen independence? Because then the target would have been Moscow, not Boston.
Read more at Town Hall