Congress to Obama Admin: U.S. Billions Are ‘Enabling’ Terror Regimes in Qatar

Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani / AP

Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, Feb. 23, 2015:

Congress is warning that billions of dollars in U.S. arms sales to Qatar could be enabling the Arab country’s support for leading terrorist organizations and allies, according to a letter to the administration being circulated on Capitol Hill.

Qatar, long one of America’s top Arab military allies in the Middle East, has been funding and providing refuge to an increasing number of terrorist groups and allies in recent years, including most recently the Islamic State (IS).

The United States sends billions of dollars and arms to Qatar to keep it as a strategic regional ally.

Congress’ concern about Qatar’s support for the terror group comes ahead of a high-profile meeting between the country’s ruling emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, and President Barack Obama at the White House on Tuesday.

The letter, which is being circulated Rep. Doug Lamborn (R., Colo.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, calls out Qatar for being “the world’s safe haven for terrorist groups and militia leaders.” It urges U.S. officials to “reassess and reevaluate” America’s multi-billion dollar military alliance with the country.

The sharp focus on Qatar, a key military ally that receives billions in arms from the United States, come as the country faces increased scrutiny over an uptick in support for radical jihadist groups plotting against the West.

The lawmakers say the billions in U.S. assistance to Qatar could be enabling terror regimes there to thrive.

“America’s military footprint in Qatar may be enabling the Al Thani regime to offer up its territory as a fundraising center for terrorists around the region,” states the letter addressed to newly installed Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, according to an advance copy obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. “The past few years have seen Qatar grow into a major hub for terrorist operatives and terrorism finance.”

Qatar claims to support America’s campaign against Islamic State (IS) terrorists, yet does little to help the cause, the lawmakers say.

“The Qatari government turns a blind eye to terrorist fundraising for al Qaeda and the Islamic State by U.S.-designated persons within its borders,” the letter states.

“The Qatari government has also actively financed, advocated for, and—at least until recently—hosted the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, a relationship that Doha is only being compelled to reconsider after increased pressure from other Gulf States, not the United States.”

“Further evidence suggests that Qatar has directly armed or financed multiple Islamist groups in the region, undermining U.S. objectives in pivotal countries such as Libya, Egypt, and Syria by pushing those places toward violent extremism,” the letter states.

Key leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood and Taliban also have “found a safe haven in Qatar,” where they have free rein to “safely coordinate radical activities and in some cases even terrorism in the region without interruption,” according to the letter.

As Qatar accommodates and funds terror groups such as Hamas, IS, and al Qaeda, it simultaneously cashes in on massive U.S. arms deals. The lawmakers maintain that this U.S. money only emboldens the Qatari government.

“U.S. reliance on Qatar’s support such as the Al Udeid base in Qatar has emboldened the Qataris to believe they can undermine and damage American interests and efforts in the region without consequence,” they write. “America’s strategic interests should not be undercut or held captive.”

“Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, and the [United Arab Emirates] all have advanced bases which can support the same U.S. aircraft and facilities, possibly making the need for such an extensive installation in Qatar redundant,” they propose.

The lawmakers urge Carter and the Defense Department to begin developing “a strategy to hold Qatar accountable for their support of terrorism, including a serious exploration of positioning some of our military assets with other allies in the region.”

On Tuesday, Obama will host Qatari Emir al Thani at the White House.

“The president looks forward to discussing with Sheikh Tamim political, economic, and security issues of mutual concern to our two countries,” it said in a statement. “The United States and Qatar have a long-standing partnership and this meeting is an opportunity to further that relationship along with our shared interest in supporting stability and prosperity in the Middle East.”

ISIS Eyes Iran in AF/PAK Expansion Effort, Targets Mullah Omar in IO Campaign

February 22, 2015 / /

Reporting over the last couple of weeks suggests that the Islamic State’s (IS) Khorasan Regional Command or “Khorasan Shura” has stepped up their efforts to further inflame internal divisions within the Taliban (TB) in the hopes it would lead to more defections. The IO campaign they’ve been waging in the AF/PAK region has called into question Mullah Omar’s fitness to be a leader in the global jihadist movement and whether he’s even alive. In early-JAN 15 TB Shura Chief Akhtar Muhammad Mansur and other Shura members are reported to have met with two IS representatives who threatened to increase their operations in two months if the TB couldn’t prove that Mullah Omar was still alive. Our sources have also informed us that Pakistani Taliban (TTP) Emir Maulawi Fazlullah remains loyal to Omar, but may defect to IS if his death is confirmed. Apparently the question of whether or not Omar is alive has been a big subject of debate, with other TTP commanders wondering if Fazlullah has even been in contact with him. As it stands right now, Omar’s current status remains a mystery. Having said that, IS directly challenging Omar’s legitimacy and suggesting that he’s dead appears to be having an effect in at least planting the seeds of further internal unrest among the ranks.

ISIS Reportedly Begins Targeting Taliban Commanders Loyal to al-Qaida
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4593

ISIS Formally Establishes an Affiliate for the AF/PAK Region
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4578

The terrifying rise of ISIS: Map that shows how terror group’s tentacles now reach from Algeria to Afghanistan
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2960463/The-terrifying-rise-ISIS-Map-shows-terror-group-s-tentacles-reach-Algeria-Afghanistan.html

How ISIS Has Expanded Beyond Its Syrian Stronghold
http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2015/02/18/387149112/how-isis-has-expanded-beyond-its-syrian-stronghold

ISIS vs. the Taliban: The Battle for Hearts and Minds
http://www.vocativ.com/world/afghanistan-world/isis-vs-taliban/

The Coming Fight for Khorasan: IS Gearing up Against the Taliban
https://news.siteintelgroup.com/blog/index.php/entry/362-the-coming-fight-for-khorasan-is-gearing-up-against-the-taliban

US Afghan commander: Reports of ISIS recruiting
http://thehill.com/policy/defense/229783-us-afghan-commander-reports-of-isis-recruiting

ISIS trying to expand its influence in Pakistan, distributes pamphlets
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/ISIS-trying-to-expand-its-influence-in-Pakistan-distributes-pamphlets/articleshow/41618755.cms

Taliban Supreme leader Mullah Omar has possibly died
http://www.khaama.com/taliban-supreme-leader-mullah-omar-has-possibly-died-8778

Mullah Omar’s whereabouts – and very existence – shrouded in mystery
http://centralasiaonline.com/en_GB/pakistan-articles/caii/features/pakistan/main/2014/09/30/feature-01

mullah Fazlullah

Mullah Fazlullah
Source: SITE Intelligence Group

mullah omar

Mullah Omar: Dead or Alive?
Source: tribune.com.pk

One of the figures who played a key role in establishing the IS foothold in the region is a former TB commander Mullah Abdul Rauf Khadim, who served as the Shadow Governor of Uruzgan Province from 2007 – 2009 and did a stint in Guantanamo Bay (GITMO). After his release from GITMO, he had a falling out with TB leadership that led to his marginalization within the terror organization and subsequent defection to IS. He was a key player in the IS expansion efforts currently underway in Helmand Province and led the charge in the red-on-red fight against the TB’s Helmand Shadow Governor Mullah Ahmed Shah. The US government claims to have killed Khadim in a drone strike earlier this month, but we have not yet seen confirmation either way. However, whether he’s dead or not is irrelevant as he wasn’t a member of the Khorasan Shura – which remains largely intact.

ISIS recruiter, once freed from Gitmo by U.S., killed in drone strike in Afghanistan
http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/09/world/afghanistan-violence/

Capture the Flag in Afghanistan
http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/01/22/capture-the-flag-in-afghanistan/

Islamic State Appoints Leaders of “Khorasan Province,” Issues Veiled Threat to Afghan Taliban
http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2015/01/islamic_state_appoin.php

khorasan shura

Breakdown of the Khorasan Shura
Source: The Long War Journal

In our Inside Iran’s Middle East Series piece titled, “Inside Iran’s Middle East: The Southeast Insurgency,” we stated that either al-Qaida (AQ) or IS may attempt to use the Afghanistan and Pakistan as support nodes for a new front opened up in Southeast Iran to force the regime into diverting resources from the Syrian war effort back to home. IS’ expansion efforts in Afghanistan’s Southern provinces adds weight to this assessment as those locations all fall within known routes used to smuggle opium and weapons between Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Keep in mind that AQ’s Khorasan Group (KG) has a great deal of experience in fighting the IRGC inside Iran that resulted in forging relationships with Baloch groups such as Jundallah. More importantly, some of KG’s personnel that deployed to Syria are reported to have defected to IS.

We assess some of those personnel are part of the training support package that was sent to Afghanistan in the DEC 14/JAN 15 time frame or possibly earlier. The training cadre sent to the country are likely still in the assess-mode taking note of each loyal faction’s strength’s and weaknesses to draw up the training plan that will probably take effect by the end of this month. During this year’s fighting season Afghanistan’s Hazara Shia population may begin to experience the same level of targeting that they received prior to 9-11 as a means of getting Iran’s attention and building notoriety. Red on red violence will also pick up. By AUG the IS affiliates will be fully trained with recruits gaining much-needed experience. We could very well well see former KG members who defected to IS leading the engagement efforts reaching out to Jundallah (and other Baloch groups in Iran) by the end of the year. Jundallah – like everybody else in that part of the world – will likely flip to IS’ side after being offered money, weapons and manpower to accelerate their regenerative process. The leadership of the various Baloch groups may not approve of IS’ ideology or even the legitimacy of Baghdadi’s “Caliphate” – to them it would be a marriage of convenience. However, this will be a project that will take at least another year to fully manifest itself. If you think this will be easier for US troops stationed in Afghanistan, think again, because both IS and TB factions loyal to AQ will be competing for the title of who can launch the more high-profile attacks. Needless to say, this year’s fighting season looks to be one of the worst. Keep an eye on this one…

Inside Iran’s Middle East: The Southeast Insurgency
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=2689

ISIS (Daesh) start operations in Helmand, residents claim
http://www.khaama.com/isis-daesh-start-operations-in-helmand-residents-claim

ISIS expansion map

The graphic above depicts IS’ expansion from the Maghreb to Afghanistan and Pakistan
Source: UK Daily Mail

Links to Other Related Articles:

Afghanistan Update – Yes, Things Are Getting Worse Contrary To US Government Claims

Afghanistan: A Case Against a Residual US Military Presence

The History and Capabilities of the Khorasan Group

The Khorasan Group: Threat to US Homeland?

US Government: Syria-Based al-Qaida Cell Bigger Threat Than ISIS

US reportedly increases secret raids against Afghanistan insurgents

Feb. 12, 2015: Afghanistan National Army officers march during a graduation ceremony at a training center in Herat, west of Kabul. Around 1, 200 national army officers graduated after receiving a 3 month training program in Herat. (AP Photo/Hoshang Hashimi)

Feb. 12, 2015: Afghanistan National Army officers march during a graduation ceremony at a training center in Herat, west of Kabul. Around 1, 200 national army officers graduated after receiving a 3 month training program in Herat. (AP Photo/Hoshang Hashimi)

Fox News, Feb. 13, 2015:

U.S. Special Forces soldiers and their Afghan allies have undertaken an increasing number of night raids targeting Taliban and Al Qaeda militants, despite Washington formally declaring an end to combat operations late last year, according to a published report.

The New York Times reports that the increased raids are partially the result of intelligence seized in October of last year, when U.S. and Afghan commandos came upon a laptop computer with files detailing terror operations in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan. Military officials tell the paper that the information in the files could be as significant as what was found on a computer in Usama bin Laden’s Pakistan compound after the terror leader was killed by Navy SEALs in 2011.

The officials also said that another factor playing the role in the increased raids were loosened restrictions on nighttime operations put in place by the new Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani. Ghani has previously called for a slower withdrawal of U.S. troops from his country. Current plans call for the U.S. to go from about 10,800 troops there now to 5,500 by the end of this year.

The U.S. and its NATO allies formally announced the end of their combat mission in Afghanistan in December and trumpeted the withdrawal of most combat troops. However, under the terms of a security agreement with the Afghan government, just over 13,000 troops, most of them American, were to stay on in an advisory role.

However, American and Afghan officials tell The Times that U.S. troops are taking a lead role in the latest counterterror raids, and not merely going along as advisers. The raids are also unusual in that they are coming during the winter, which is traditionally the season where the fighting is lightest.

“It’s all in the shadows now,” said a former Afghan security official told the paper. “The official war for the Americans — the part of the war that you could go see — that’s over. It’s only the secret war that’s still going. But it’s going hard.”

News of the increased raids comes one day after the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he wants greater flexibility in in how quickly he pulls troops out of Afghanistan and where he can position them around the country in the coming months.

Gen. John Campbell said that by keeping more than 5,500 troops in Afghanistan through the end of the year, Campbell would be able to maintain forces in other locations around the country, both training the Afghan forces and providing support for more counterterrorism missions.

“I’m particularly concerned about the summer of 2015,” Campbell said. “The Afghans — this is the very first fighting season completely on their own.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Click for more from The New York Times. 

‘Religion of the Sword': ISIS Magazine Heavy on Crusades Propaganda

REUTERS/Paul Hackett

REUTERS/Paul Hackett

—–> Islamic State’s “Dabiq” magazine Issue 7

Breitbart, by JOHN HAYWARD, 12 Feb 2015:

The new issue of Dabiq, the Islamic State English-language magazine, is officially out. Its headlining story boasts the capture of a Mossad informant, but the magazine serves less to bring news than to reframe the war between the Islamic State and civilization as a revisiting of the Crusades.

This is a hot topic in the West as well, thanks to comments by President Obama comparing the atrocities of the Middle Ages with the Islamic State.

The issue contains a great deal of ranting about the Crusades and modern-day “crusaders,” which sounds quite a bit like the sort of thing American Christians are now treated to at National Prayer Breakfast speeches by their president. It is a spirited attempt to argue that Islam is “The Religion of the Sword,” and anyone who claims otherwise is a “deviant”—a mash note to the former Muslim Brotherhood president of Egypt. Triumphant reports of the latest beheadings prominently include immolated Jordanian pilot Mu’ath al-Kaseasbeh and beheaded Japanese captives Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto, and a women’s page features an interview with Umm Basir al-Muhajirah, wife of the deceased terrorist who “randomly” shot some “folks” in a kosher supermarket in Paris, as President Obama put it.

It is topped off with a back-page editorial, ostensibly from captive British journalist John Cantlie, who has appeared in a number of ISIS propaganda videos, and who some suspect is a willing supporter of the Islamic State, rather than a hostage.

The “crusader” language is ubiquitous throughout the issue—pictures of Western political leaders and military forces are given captions like “The Crusader David Cameron,” “The Japanese Crusader Kenji Goto Jogo,” and so forth. The foreword begins with a quote from Osama bin Laden in 2001, in which he warned nations such as Japan, Australia, and Germany from joining “yet another Crusade, just like the former Crusades led by Richard the Lionheart, Barbarossa of Germany, and Louis of France. Likewise today, when Bush raised the cross, the crusader countries immediately scrambled.”

Alas, bin Laden’s warnings fell upon deaf ears in Japan in Dabiq’s view, because Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s offer of $200 million in humanitarian relief for war refugees bought him a seat on the “Crusader coalition against the Muslims,” assembled by “‘Nobel Peace Prize’ winner Obama.” This might have been written before Obama took the latest opportunity to make it clear that he hates the Crusades and holds modern-day Christians morally responsible for them (thus depriving them of a seat on the “high horse” from which they like to criticize Islamist violence), so maybe Dabiq will feel bad about going so hard on him.

This is what I meant when I said Obama’s rhetoric is “very close to reciting enemy propaganda.” The similarities go deeper than the superficial use of words. Obama treated the Crusades as an event very relevant to modern Christendom, emphatically rejecting the notion that it is ancient history unworthy of dredging up in a conversation about Islamist atrocities in 2015. ISIS feels the same way, and when they get a taste of Obama nattering about the Crusades, they will present it to their followers as confirmation that even the new crusaders agree with them.

One area where ISIS profoundly disagrees with Obama is his characterization of them as 100 percent non-Islamic, would-be extremist hijackers of a pastoral faith. “Islam is the Religion of the Sword, Not Pacifism,” one Dabiq article declares, helpfully including a picture of a sword, just in case anyone does not get the point. The article is dedicated to denouncing Western politicians and peaceful Muslims (who ISIS regards as apostates and traitors) for pushing the “Religion of Peace” slogan. They are also pretty hot under the collar about those who portray “jihad” as anything other than the violent conquest and murder of infidels and apostates. One picture of such Muslims is captioned, “Deviants Claiming That Islam Equals Peace.” They are quite picky about the proper definition of “Islam” as meaning “submission,” not “peace.” A great deal of Islamic writings are quoted to support these arguments, and runs on for four pages, including dense clusters of small-font footnotes.

There are numerous close-up photos of the hideously burned corpse of Jordanian captive al-Kaseasbeh, in case anyone needs a reminder of how insanely evil ISIS is. The article on his death justifies murdering the “apostate” pilot by immolation, normally proscribed in Islam, by saying air strikes tend to kill ISIS targets by fire. They cite religious rulings that justify burning under “eye for an eye” principles of Islamic justice: “So whoever has assaulted you, then assault him in the same way that he has assaulted you.”

This issue of Dabiq also discusses what has become a matter of much concern for the Pentagon: the expansion of ISIS operations into Afghanistan, which they refer to as “Khurasan.” The article discusses the decision of some Taliban to “declare their bay’ah” to the “Khalifah” (i.e. swear allegiance to the Islamic State), sealing the deal by executing a captured Pakistani soldier. A Taliban spokesman is quoted declaring, “In spite of the ongoing crusade, the gathering of those near and far against the Islamic State, and the war waged against it by those both close and distant, we bring the mujahadeen the good news of the Islamic State’s expansion to Khurasan.”

The bulk of the article is essentially devoted to jeering at the Taliban who consider making peace with the U.S.-backed government of Afghanistan as a bunch of “deviant and feeble” lightweights who don’t understand the true meaning of jihad.

***

ISIS Upset with Obama, Kerry, ‘Heretics’ for ‘Slogan’ That Islam Is Religion of Peace

By Bridget Johnson On February 12, 2015:

The new issue of ISIS’ magazine released today takes issue with Western leaders who assert that Islam is a religion of peace.

In the Dabiq magazine article, the writer said the wrongful “slogan” is also being used by “apologetic ‘du’āt’ [beggars] when flirting with the West.”

“They have repeated this slogan so much to the extent that some of them alleged that Islam calls to permanent peace with kufr and the kāfirīn. How far is their claim from the truth, for Allah has revealed Islam to be the religion of the sword, and the evidence for this is so profuse that only a zindīq (heretic) would argue otherwise,” the magazine states.

The article features a photo of two men at a protest holding a sign that says “Islam = Paz,” with the caption, “Deviants claiming that Islam equals peace.”

After a page worth of quotes from the Quran that “revealed the sword against the apostates,” the article asks, “So how can the zanādiqah (heretics) or even those who blindly follow them – Bush, Obama, and Kerry – obstinately claim that ‘Islam is a religion of peace,’ meaning pacifism?”

“One of the biggest shubuhāt propagated by the heretics is the linguistic root for the word Islam. They claim it comes from the word salām (peace), when in actuality it comes from words meaning submission and sincerity sharing the same consonant root.”

It quotes more of the Quran, concluding “it is clear then that salām (peace) is not the basis of the word Islam, although it shares the same consonant root (s-l-m) and is one of the outcomes of the religion’s sword, as the sword will continue to be drawn, raised, and swung until ‘Īsā (Jesus – ‘alayhis-salām) kills the Dajjāl (the Antichrist) and abolishes the jizyah. Thereafter, kufr and its tyranny will be destroyed; Islam and its justice will prevail on the entire Earth.”

“…There will always be a party of Muslims fighting parties of kāfirīn until there is no more fitnah and the religion is completely for Allah alone.”

***

ISIS’s English-Language Magazine ‘Dabiq’ Celebrates Attacks in France, Features Interview with Leader of Belgian ISIS Cell

DabiqBy The Tatler On February 12, 2015:

Reprinted with permission from MEMRI.

On February 12, 2015, the Islamic State (ISIS) released the seventh issue of its English-language magazine Dabiq. The 83-page issue celebrates the recent attacks in Paris, justifies the burning of the Jordanian pilot, and calls for Muslims in the West to join ISIS, among other topics discussed. It also includes interviews with Hayat Boumeddiene, the wife of Paris kosher supermarket attacker Amedy Coulibaly, and with Belgian ISIS fighter Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the leader of the Verviers cell that planned major attacks in Belgium.

The following is a review of the main items in the issue:

‘Dabiq’: Japan Responsible For Death Of Japanese Hostages

The issue opens with a foreword that addresses the recent killing of the two Japanese hostages. It asserts that the Japanese government and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are responsible for their deaths because they took sides in the war against ISIS instead of staying out of it, and therefore ISIS punished Japan for its intervention.

 

Burning Of Jordanian Pilot – Retribution

Another article justifies and glorifies the burning of the Jordanian pilot. It states that “the Islamic State resolved to burn him alive as retribution for his crimes against Islam and the Muslims, including his active involvement  in  crusader  airstrikes against Muslim lands.” It adds that, “in burning the crusader pilot alive and burying him  under  a  pile  of  debris,  the  Islamic  State carried  out  a  just  form  of  retaliation  for  his involvement in the crusader bombing campaign.” Referring to Jordan’s execution of two jihadis, Sajida Al-Rishawi and Ziad Al-Karbuli, in retaliation for this act, the article explains that ISIS attempted to secure their release but “Allah had decreed that they would return to him as shuhada [martyrs].”

baljikiInterview With Leader Of Verviers Cell That Planned Major Attacks In Belgium

The issue also features an interview with Abdelhamid Abaaoud, aka Abu Umar Al-Baljiki, the leader of the ISIS cell which had planned attacks in Belgium and was the target of the Belgian authority’s January 15, 2015 raid in Verviers. In the interview Abaaoud tells how he traveled from Syria to Belgium with the intent of carrying out terrorism there, and how he avoided being caught in the raid and managed to return to Syria despite being wanted by security and intelligence apparatuses, and despite the fact that his name and photo had appeared in the media. He also discusses his co-conspirators, Belgian ISIS members Khalid Ben Larbi (aka Abu Zubair Al-Baljiki) and Sufian Amghar (aka Abu Khalid Al-Baljiki), who traveled with him to Belgium and were killed in the shootout with the security forces.[i]

ifriqiPraise For Paris Attacks

The issue deals at length with the January 2015 attacks in Paris. As part of this, it features an interview with Hayat Boumeddiene, the wife of kosher supermarket attacker Amedy Coulibaly (aka Abu Basir Al-Ifriqi), who fled to Syria prior to the attack. Boumeddiene, referred to as Umm Basir Al-Muhajirah, discusses her successful escape to the Islamic State and her late husband’s devotion to ISIS’s ideology. Another piece, titled “The Good Example of Abu Basir Al-Ifriqi,” stresses Coulibaly’s piety and devotion to Islam. The piece includes an interview with one of Coulibaly’s associates, who praises his generosity and the good deeds he did during his life, such as preaching Islam and financially assisting the Kouachi brothers, perpetrators of the Charie Hebdo attack.

The issue’s feature article, titled “The Extinction of the Grayzone,” states that the world is now clearly divided into two camps – the camp of Islam, represented by ISIS, and the camp of unbelief – and Muslims in the West must therefore choose whether to join ISIS or side with its enemies. The article, which is accompanied by photos of Muslim leaders in the West, exhorts the West’s Muslims to renounce “apostate” and “traitor” Muslim leaders and institutions, such as clerics who spoke out against the Paris attacks. It also urges them to attack those who mock Islam’s prophet, and even insinuates that moderate Muslims should be killed. While glorifying various attacks carried out in Europe, such as the Madrid and London bombings, it also stresses that, after the establishment of the Islamic State’s caliphate, Muslims in the West no longer have an excuse to stay in the West. Rather, they must leave their countries and come to the territories controlled by ISIS.

The article also denounces rival groups for not recognizing ISIS’s caliphate and joining it. It especially bashes Al-Qaeda and Syrian rebel groups that refuse to recognize ISIS as the only legitimate authority. The article accuses them of being partisans for their group and of being lax in their faith and ideology, and claims that, by maintaining a neutral position between ISIS and the West, they are actually accomplices of the latter.

An article written by British captive John Cantlie rails against the Western media, and in particular the British and French media, for their campaign against ISIS, and also lashes out at British Prime Minister David Cameron and Western governments for their military attack on the organization, while claiming that the airstrikes actually increases ISIS’s appeal to new recruits.

ISIS Claims To Capture “Mossad Spy”

In an item titled “An Interview with a Mossad Spy” presents the alleged confession of a 19-year-old from Jerusalem who, the magazine claims, was recruited by Israeli intelligence to infiltrate the organization. He speaks of his recruitment and training and tells how he was caught.

Operations In Libya

In this issue ISIS also discusses two recent operations in Libya. First, it claims responsibility for the kidnapping of 21 Egyptian Copts in that country in early January 2015, and explains this was revenge for the kidnapping by Copts of Egyptian women Camilia Shehate and Wafa Constantine in 2010. Second, it celebrates its January 27 attack on the Corinthia hotel in Tripoli, in which nine were killed, including five foreigners, one of them an American.[ii]

Another topic discussed is ISIS’s expansion in the Caucasus, where several jihadi groups have pledged their loyalty to the organization, and in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, which ISIS now refers to as ‘the Khurasan province,’ after some groups there also declared their loyalty to Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.[iii]

[i] For more on this item, see MEMRI JTTM report, “Dabiq VII Features Interview With Runaway Belgian ISIS Fighter Abdelhamid Abaaoud,” February 12, 2015.

[iii] For more on this see MEMRI JTTM report Commanders Of Ten Pakistani And Afghan Jihadist Organizations Swear Fealty To ISIS Leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, Hafiz Saeed Khan Chosen As First ISIS Emir For Khorasan Region, January 16, 2015.

Lying Liars Lying Yet Again About the Taliban

xin_5020206100803500325412Terror Trends Bulletin, by Christopher Holton, Feb. 1, 2015:

Obama and his Obamanistas have told so many outright lies about the Taliban over the years that we can now devote a lengthy article to it.

It started way back in 2008 when Obama was campaigning for the presidency. Back in those days he was saying that Iraq was a sideshow and that President Bush had “taken his eye off the ball.” According to Obama, the good war was in Afghanistan and he was going to concentrate on Afghanistan, where the Taliban were fighting US forces, when he got to be president.

That turned out to be campaign rhetoric. Sure, he pulled out of Iraq first, but, let’s face it: Obama never really went hard in Afghanistan and now he’s abandoning that fight, just as he abandoned the fight in Iraq.

Pretty soon into his administration, the Obamanistas started the meme that the Taliban weren’t actually our enemy. This predates the latest supposition that the Taliban aren’t terrorists by several years.

Two lies there. The Taliban are America’s enemy and they are also terrorists.

A few months ago, the Taliban published the autumn edition of their magazine,Azan.

This is the fourth issue of the magazine and is significant in that it calls for Muslims in the West to launch attacks at home or fight in foreign battlefields, urging recruits to even leave behind their children or elderly parents:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/al-qaeda/10503925/Taliban-magazine-urges-jihad-and-profiles-the-Honda-125.html

If calling on Jihadis to launch attacks in the West doesn’t amount to terrorism, nothing does.

Such calls to Jihad and propaganda are nothing new, so why was this particular publication worth mentioning here?

Because it has been released just a few days after the Obama administration was quoted saying that “the Taliban are not our enemies and we don’t want to fight them.”

http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2013/11/27/karzai-will-sign-agreement-with-u-s-says-obama-administration-claimed-taliban-not-our-enemy/

Such statements about the Taliban were nothing new from the Obama administration. Vice President Joe Biden told Newsweek magazine the same thing almost exactly two years before:

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/12/vp-biden-says-that-the-taliban-per-se-is-not-our-enemy/

Not only are these statements from the Obama administration disheartening because our troops have been fighting Taliban Jihadis for a decade, they also demonstrate a profound ignorance about Jihadist doctrine.

Jihadist doctrine does not regard nationalities or international borders as significant. Under their doctrine, Jihad is to be waged to make Allah’s law and religion supreme around the entire world. With their fall Azan magazine, the Taliban clearly demonstrate adherence to that doctrine with their call for Muslims in the West to launch attacks at home.

What’s more this is not something new from the Taliban. When they seized power in Afghanistan in 1996, they announced that Afghanistan was to be a launching pad for global Jihad and invited Jihadi fighters to come to their country. Jihadis from all over the Islamic world and even parts of the West and the Pacific Rim heeded that call and gravitated to the new Shariah-ruled outpost established by the Taliban regime.

Among those who relocated to Afghanistan was Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda. We know the rest: Al Qaeda launched its attack on America from Afghanistan and the Taliban harbored Al Qaeda from the US when America sought to bring justice down on them.

How anyone can look at these facts and conclude that the Taliban are not our enemy is mind-boggling. The idea that the Taliban want to strictly limit their evil designs to Afghanistan is absurd. Yet that has been the policy of the Obama administration for years. It is a policy of lies.

And, yes, despite what the Obamanistas might claim, the Taliban are in fact terrorists.

Actually, we don’t believe that it makes sense to get too wrapped up in labeling them “terrorists.” Terrorism is a tactic, a method of warfare. The warfare that the Taliban–and the Islamic State, Al Qaeda, Lashkar e Taiba, HAMAS, Al Shabaab, Boko Haram and a host of other groups–are waging is called Jihad. In Islamic law, Jihad is defined as warfare to establish the religion:

http://terrortrendsbulletin.com/2013/01/13/cairs-new-disinformation-campaign-on-jihad/

All of the groups mentioned above, including the Taliban, are Jihadis.

But it is still NOT true that the Taliban haven’t engaged in terrorism and they are not just “armed insurgents” like the bodyguards of lies in the Obama administration maintain.

Just 6 weeks ago, on December 16, the Taliban slaughtered 153 people–mostly young school children–in a terrorist attack on a school in Pakistan.

Taliban have also been involved in terrorist plots and activity on US soil:

• In May of 2011, six people, including two Imams at a Florida mosque, were indicted for providing material support to none other than the Taliban:

Irfan Khan of Florida, indicted for providing material support to the Taliban

Irfan Khan of Florida, indicted for providing material support to the Taliban

http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/six-individuals-charged-providing-material-support-pakistani-taliban

• Faisal Shahzad, the Jihadist who attempted to detonate a Vehicle-Born Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) in New York’s Time Square in May 2010, was trained at a Taliban camp and, according to Attorney General Eric Holder himself, “the Pakistani Taliban was behind the attack…We know they helped facilitate it. We know they probably helped finance it and that he was working at their direction.”

Faisal Shahzad. This Connecticut resident/Pakistani immigrant attempted to bomb Times Square in New York City

Faisal Shahzad. This Connecticut resident/Pakistani immigrant attempted to bomb Times Square in New York City

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/LE12Df01.html

• Najibullah Zazi, an Afghan-American who pled guilty in a plot to bomb the New York City subway in 2009, traveled to Afghanistan to join the Taliban when he was recruited by Al Qaeda to go back to America to attack targets in the US homeland. This shows the continued, close cooperation and collaboration between the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

Najibullah Zazi. This Denver resident travelled to Afghanistan where he received terrorist training. Upon his return, he plotted to bomb New York subways.

Najibullah Zazi. This Denver resident travelled to Afghanistan where he received terrorist training. Upon his return, he plotted to bomb New York subways.

http://www.investigativeproject.org/case/345

Most recently, there are new reports from Leftist NBC News that hundreds of Taliban fighters have joined the Islamic State, which is becoming a greater factor in the southwest Asia region.

The Obamanistas try to make a distinction between the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Taliban in Pakistan. But not even NBC is subscribing to that nonsense. No one in the world outside the Obama administration believes that the Taliban in Pakistan and the Taliban in Afghanistan have nothing to do with each other.

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/isis-pakistan-afghanistan-taliban-fighters-sign-commanders-say-n296707

The Taliban are committed Jihadists. As such, they are undoubtedly an enemy of America. They have killed and wounded thousands of US GIs in combat over the past decade and they have, from the time they originally seized power in Afghanistan to today, involved themselves with other Jihadist organizations from around the world, all of which are classified as “terrorist” organizations. Jihadis do not limit their scope based on political borders; their stated goals are global. To say that the Taliban are not the enemy of the United States or are not terrorists is to demonstrate a profound ignorance of the doctrinal basis for the threat from Jihad. When that ignorance comes from the executive branch of the US government, it can only be described as frightening.

Why Obama Needs to Pretend the Taliban Aren’t Terrorists

pic_giant_013115_SM_TalibanNational Review, By Andrew C. McCarthy, Jan. 31, 2015:

No doubt because of my background investigating, prosecuting, and studying terrorism, the cynical claim by White House spokesmen that the Taliban is not a terrorist organization has annoyed me even more than the Obama administration’s nonstop lying usually does. No surprise then that I could be found railing about it on The Kelly File Thursday night.

In that spirit, ten thoughts for the weekend:

1. Under federal law, there are only three requirements for a group to qualify as a “foreign terrorist organization”: It has to be (a) foreign, (b) engaged in “terrorist activity” (bombings, assassinations, etc., carried out to intimidate people and change policy), and (c) a national-security threat to the United States. The law that covers this is Sec. 1189(a) of Title 8, U.S. Code, from the federal Immigration and Nationality Act. It’s here, and it’s just the first few lines — even a president who routinely ignores the laws he is sworn to execute faithfully should be able to make some time for it, maybe on the plane ride between the golf course and the Saudi palace.

2. Obviously, even if it were true, as posited by Messrs. Schultz and Earnest (speaking for President Obama), that the Taliban is concerned only with Afghanistan, not with the global jihad, that would be irrelevant. They easily fit the definition of a foreign terrorist organization.

3. Of course, it is not true that the Taliban is concerned only with Afghanistan. The administration’s risible claim to the contrary is part of its campaign to bleach the Islam out of radical Islam. Islamic supremacism, the ideology that fuels jihadist terror, is a global conquest ideology. Obama wants you to believe that there is just a dizzying array of small, disconnected, strange-sounding, indigenous “insurgent” groups that are not joined by any unifying ideology — the Afghan Taliban (not to be confused with the Pakistani Taliban), Hamas, Hezbollah, the Haqqani Network, Boko Haram, al-Nusra, Ansar al-Sharia, the sundry jihadist franchises that invoke al-Qaeda’s name (in the Arabian Peninsula, in the Islamic Maghreb, in the Indian subcontinent . . . ), and so on. You are not to see them as a united front against the West, but instead as animated by strictly parochial political and territorial disputes. The strategy, a disingenuous elevation of semantics over substance, is designed to minimize the global jihadist threat to the West that has intensified on Obama’s watch and has undeniable roots in a supremacist interpretation of Islam.

4. You need not take my word for it when it comes to the Taliban’s ideological connection to the global jihad. Instead, just look at what they do. What did the Taliban do when they ruled Afghanistan? They willfully allowed their territory to be used as a launch pad for attacks against the United States (the 1998 embassy bombings in eastern Africa, the 2000 bombing of the Cole, and the 9/11 atrocities). And after 9/11, when, by simply handing bin Laden & Co. over to the United States, they could have stayed in power and avoided an invasion of the Afghanistan they are said to be preoccupied with, what did they do? At enormous cost to themselves, they tried to shelter al-Qaeda. In the 14 years since, they have continued to abet the global jihadist campaign, and have reveled in making war against the United States — a war they now understandably think they will win.

5. The Taliban’s continued alliance with al-Qaeda’s global jihad is of a piece with Hamas’s self-proclaimed incorporation in the Muslim Brotherhood’s global ambitions, and with the forward-militia role Hezbollah plays for Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s revolutionary state that exports its Shiite version of jihad. All of these actors perceive themselves as enmeshed in a civilizational struggle against the West. We can’t erase that by pretending there is no animating ideology, pretending that they can be pacified if we satisfy their local grievances.

6. This business of distinguishing “insurgents” from “terrorists” is nonsense. An insurgency is just a domestic uprising (in the sense that the insurgent is from the country in which he is rebelling). When insurgents use terrorist tactics they are domestic terrorists. It may make Obama feel better to say that his pal Bill Ayers was an “insurgent,” but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t a terrorist.

7. The most disturbing facet of the “insurgent” canard is that Obama is buying the logic of such Islamic supremacists as the Muslim Brotherhood and Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. They claim that Hamas and Hezbollah are not terrorist organizations (as American law designates them to be) but domestic political organizations that engage not in terrorism but in “resistance” — a righteous fight against “injustice” and “occupation” in their homelands.

8. Obama, of course, is not approving of the Taliban’s tactics and goals. But he wants you to see them as domestic insurgents because progressives believe insurgents should be negotiated with and brought into a political settlement — and to the extent insurgents go overboard in their aggression, progressives believe they should be prosecuted in the civilian justice system, not fought militarily like wartime enemies.

9. In the United States, Obama is operating in a political environment where the public — based on longstanding prudential American policy — believes we should not negotiate with terrorists because that encourages and legitimizes their savage methods. Similarly, the public strongly believes international terrorists are enemies who must be defeated, not defendants who must be indicted. Obama knows he is negotiating with, intends to settle with, and eventually will leave Afghanistan to the tender mercies of, the Taliban. Therefore, the administration is desperate that you not look at the Taliban as terrorists.

10. But they are terrorists.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.

Judge Jeanine Pirro: “They Kill Americans? They’re Terrorists!”

Published on Jan 31, 2015 by Steven Laboe

Judge Jeanine Pirro’s Blistering Opening Statement on Barack Obama’s continued denial to refer to the Taliban as Terrorists

***

State Dept Won’t Label Taliban Attack that Killed Three American Civilians as Terrorism

 

BY:
January 30, 2015 

The White House has already doubled down this week saying that the Taliban is an armed insurgency and not a terrorist group. The State Department is now joining the White House in not saying whether the Taliban is a terrorist group.

The Taliban has taken credit for killing three American soldiers at the Kabul airport Thursday. At the State Department press briefing Friday, State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki danced around a the question if the attack on the American soldiers was an act of terrorism.

Psaki repeated the story back to the reporter who asked the question and mentioned that the Justice Department has already spoken on the subject and that there is an investigation into the situation.

“I’m not going to put new labels on the situation today,” Psaki said.

US Intel: Taliban Man Released From Gitmo in Bergdahl Deal is Back to Militant Activity

 

BY: Washington Free Beacon Staff
January 29, 2015 

American fears may be realized. One of the five Taliban members released from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is believed to have returned to militant activity in Qatar.

CNN’s Barbara Starr reported Thursday that one of the Taliban Five may have reverted back to terrorism. Over the last few months, one of the men released has reached out to militants. The administration now suspects that he may again be a threat.

The White House was already facing renewed criticism for the deal made this summer. Many experts criticized the plan, saying it set a precedent to negotiate and exchange prisoners with terrorist groups.

The government of Jordan has indicated that it is willing to trade attempted suicide bomber Sajida al-Rishawi for Jordanian fighter pilot Lt. Muath al-Kasaesbeh.

This week, NBC reported that the Pentagon will charge Bergdahl with desertion although no charges have been made yet.

Obama brought Bergdahl and his mother on June 1, 2014, to the Rose Garden to promote the deal that brought the soldier home. The slew of news surrounding the transfer vindicates those skeptical of the deal that the White House made without notifying Congress, as required by law.

At every turn, this decision has proven to be a bad deal for America’s security.

Also see:

Taliban claim insider attack at Kabul Airport that killed 3 US contractors

afghan_insider_attacks_mediumLWJ, by Bill Roggio, Jan. 30, 2015:

The Taliban claimed last evening’s attack at Kabul International Airport that killed three American contractors. The insider or green-on-blue attack, where a member of the Afghan security forces kills Coalition personnel, is the first of its kind recorded this year.

The attacker, who was dressed in an Afghan military uniform, killed the three contractors and wounded one, Major General Haq Nawaz Haqyar, the commander of Afghan police at the airport, told Pajhwok Afghan News. An Afghan was also killed in the shooting, Haqyar said. It is unclear if the Afghan who was killed was the shooter.

The US Department of Defense confirmed that three Americans and an Afghan were killed in the shooting.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Muhajid claimed the attack in two statements on his Twitter account, and said it was executed by Ihsanullah, an “infiltrator … from Laghman province working inside Kabul airport.”

“The attack killed 3 American terrorists and wounded 4 others before the infiltrator was martyred by return fire,” Muhajid claimed. The tweet included the hashtag “Khaibar,” a reference to the Taliban’s offensive that was announced in May 2014. The Taliban said it will continue to launch insider attacks, as well as encourage Afghan soldiers to execute such operations.

The Taliban have devoted significant effort into attempts to kill NATO troops and foreigners by infiltrating the ranks of Afghan security forces. Mullah Omar affirmed this in a statement released on Aug. 16, 2012, when he claimed that the group had “cleverly infiltrated in the ranks of the enemy according to the plan given to them last year [2011],” and he urged government officials and security personnel to defect to the Taliban as a matter of religious duty. Omar also noted that the Taliban had created the “Call and Guidance, Luring and Integration” department, “with branches … now operational all over the country,” to encourage defections. [See Threat Matrix report, Mullah Omar addresses green-on-blue attacks.]

Overall number of insider attacks still unknown

The last known insider attack took place on Sept. 16, 2014 in the western province of Farah. In that attack, an Afghan soldier gunned down a Coalition trainer inside a military base.

The previous attack occurred on Aug. 5 at a training center in Kabul. An Afghan soldier killed a US major general and wounded 16 more military personnel, including a US brigadier general, a German general, five British troops, and at least one Afghan officer. The Taliban did not claim credit for the attack, but praised the Afghan soldier who executed it.

There were four insider attacks recorded in Afghanistan in 2014, according to The Long War Journal’s statistics. The number of reported green-on-blue attacks on Coalition personnel in Afghanistan has dropped steeply since a peak of 44 in 2012. In 2013, there were 13 such attacks. [For in-depth information, see LWJ special report, Green-on-blue attacks in Afghanistan: the data.]

The decline in attacks may be due to several factors, including the continuing drawdown of Coalition personnel, reduced partnering with Afghan forces, and the adoption of heightened security measures in interactions between Coalition and Afghan forces.

However, many insider attacks remain unreported. If an attack by Afghan personnel does not result in a death or injury, and it is not reported in the press, the Coalition will not release a statement on the incident.

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which was disbanded at the end of 2014, told The Long War Journal in March 2012 that “these statistics,” the number of attacks that did not result in a casualty, are “classified.”

“[A]ttacks by ANSF on Coalition Forces … either resulting in non-injury, injury or death … these stats as a whole (the total # attacks) are what is classified and not releasable,” Lieutenant Colonel Jimmie Cummings, ISAF’s former Press Desk Chief, told The Long War Journal. Cummings said that ISAF is “looking to declassify this number.” The number was never declassified.

When a terrorist organization becomes an ‘armed insurgency’

American Thinker, by Rick Moran, Jan. 29, 2015

An organization that regularly uses suicide attacks against innocent civilians has been designated an “armed insurgency” by the White House.

The Afghanistan Taliban has sent dozens of suicide bombers and attackers to hit soft targets in Afghanistan, but the administration says it’s OK to negotiate with them because they’re not terrorists.

This pretzel logic was dispensed by deputy press secretary Eric Schultz, who was responding to a question about the proposed exchange of a Japanese civilian prisoner and a Jordanian pilot for an Iraqi woman convicted of terrorism in Jordan.  Isn’t that the same as us exchanging five Taliban commanders for deserter Bowe Bergdahl?

Not at all, said Schultz.

Wall Street Journal:

“Our policy is that we don’t pay ransom, that we don’t give concessions to terrorist organizations,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said Wednesday. “This is a longstanding policy that predates this administration and it’s also one that we communicated to our friends and allies across the world,” he added.

But the U.S. engaged in a similar prisoner swap with Afghanistan’s Taliban last year, releasing several Guantanamo Bay prisoners in exchange for the freedom of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. Mr. Bergdahl had been held by the Taliban as a prisoner since 2009 until his release last year as part of a prisoner swap.

The White House said the situation was different because Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, is a terrorist group operating in Syria and Iraq while the Taliban is not, in the administration’s thinking.

“The Taliban is an armed insurgency, ISIL is a terrorist group. We don’t make concessions to terrorist groups,” Mr. Schultz said.

Asked directly if the White House considered the Taliban a terrorist group, Mr. Schultz repeated the line that they are an armed insurgency and said that the swap for Mr. Bergdahl was part of the “winding down of the war in Afghanistan.”

The Taliban was the ruling government of Afghanistan before being ousted by U.S. forces in late 2001 over the government’s refusal to hand over members of al Qaeda who were believed to be complicit in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.

Since then, the Taliban has emerged as an insurgent force with bases of power in parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan that continues to attack U.S. forces, Afghan government forces and civilians in both countries. In December, Taliban militants staged an attack on a school in Peshawar, Pakistan, where 145 people were killed, mostly children.

The United States does not list the Taliban on the Foreign Terrorist Organization list run by the State Department, but it has listed the group on a separate Specially Designated Global Terrorist list since 2002. And the National Counterterrorism Center lists the “Taliban Presence in Afghanistan” on a map of global terrorism presences.

 

The administration is scrambling to differentiate the Taliban from IS because the army is apparently ready to charge Bergdahl with desertion, and giving away five terrorist commanders for a deserter is “bad optics” for the White House.  Besides, the administration would still like to cut a deal with the “good” Taliban to bring them into the Afghan government in a power-sharing arrangement.  If they were to refer to the Taliban as “terrorists,” it would look like an even worse idea than it already is.

There’s no doubt that in diplomacy, exactitude in language is an absolute necessity.  But this constant parsing of words from the White House about the terrorism issue is bizarre and unprecedented and not done to further our understanding of the threat, but rather to obscure it.  It is motivated not by diplomacy, but by domestic politics.

The next bunch of Taliban terrorists who shoot up a school can relax.  Your cause has been legitimized by the White House when they refer to you as an “armed insurgency.”

Islamic State appoints leaders of ‘Khorasan province,’ issues veiled threat to Afghan Taliban

Khorassan Shura_Org-thumb-560x420-5469

An organizational overview of the Khorasan Shura. The Islamic State has appointed Hafez Saeed Khan as the Governor of Khorasan province.

By

Abu Muhammad al Adnani, a spokesman for the Islamic State, announced the group’s “expansion” into the lands of “Khorasan” — modern day Afghanistan, Pakistan and parts of the surrounding countries — and declared former Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan (Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan or TTP) commander Hafez Saeed Khan as the “governor” of Khorasan province. Khan had previously served as the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan’s emir for the tribal agency of Arakzai.

Adnani made his announcement in a nearly seven minute audio taped speech titled, “Say, Die in Your Rage!” which was published on Jan. 26 2015 by the Islamic State’s Al Furqan media outlet. [For a translation of the speech, by Pieter Van Ostaeyen, see ‘Audio Statement by IS Spokesman Abu Muhammad al-‘Adnani as-Shami.’]

The declaration comes only a few weeks after a conglomeration of former TTP officials formed the Khorasan Shura and pledged bayat, or allegiance, to the Islamic State. [See Long War Journal report, Pakistani Taliban splinter group again pledges allegiance to Islamic State.]

The Islamic State spokesman acknowledged Khan’s pledge of allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi as Commander of the Faithful and the Caliph of Muslims, and claimed that Baghdadi had accepted the pledge and appointed Khan as the province’s governor and Mullah Abdul Rauf Khadim as the deputy governor. Khadim, a former Guantanamo detainee and former senior Taliban commander in southern Afghanistan, has reportedly been operating in Helmand province on behalf of the Islamic State. [See Long War Journal report, Ex-Gitmo detainee leads contingent of Islamic State fighters in Afghanistan.]

Adnani further urged the “mujahideen in Khorasan” to come forth and obey the commands of Khan and Khadim. Notably, Adnani also urged caution in his call to arms, noting that “the factions will assemble against you and the rifles and bayonets fixed against you will multiply.” He encouraged the mujahideen to stand firm against “factionalism and disunity” and to meet these challenges by “unsheathing your swords and spears.” Although not clearly stated, Adnani was issuing a veiled threat to the Taliban factions, both Afghan and Pakistani, that opposed the creation of the Khorasan Shura and who were opposed to the Islamic State.

The Afghan Taliban movement has been consistent in avoiding recognizing the Islamic State and its Caliph Abu Bakr al Baghdadi since the reclusive leader of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Mohammad Omar, has previously held the title of Commander of the Faithful position since 1996.

Adnani’s declaration and Baghdadi’s reported approval for the Islamic State to expand into Afghanistan and Pakistan could incite divisions within the various Taliban factions operating in both countries. The cohesion of many Taliban factions has been compromised over the past few years, mostly due to attrition and leadership decapitations, as well as ideological differences and personal feuds.

Islamic State Now Opening…In Afghanistan

Recently several Taliban leader were seen swearing their allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi in a video.

Recently several Taliban leader were seen swearing their allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi in a video.

CSP, by Sean MacCormac, Jan. 15, 2015:

Afghani officials claim that the Islamic State is operating in Afghanistan less than a month after the cessation of US combat operations in the area. Several sources, including General Mahmood Khan of the Afghan National Army and an unnamed provincial governor, have reported that a man known as Mullah Abdul Rauf was active and recruiting people for ISIS in the southern province of Helmand. General Khan, the deputy commander of the 215th Corps, stated that “(A) number of tribal leaders, jihadi commanders and some ulema and other people have contacted me to tell me that Mullah Rauf had contacted them and invited them to join him.”

The Taliban apparently see ISIS as a threat and have warned people in Helmand not to trust the newcomers. Amir Mohammad Akundzada, the governor of Nimroz province and a distant relative of Rauf, has stated that Mullah Rauf is a former Taliban leader. Mullah Rauf was captured by US forces in 2001 and was imprisoned in Guantanamo for six yearsbefore being released, and had a falling out with the Taliban leader Mullah Omar. Both Khan and Akundzada believe that Rauf may have had his disagreements with the Afghan Taliban after spending time in Quetta, Pakistan.

A video showing members of the estranged Pakistani Taliban swearing fealty to ISIS has emerged, though there is no independent verification of Taliban leaders allying themselves to ISIS. The Pakistani Taliban officials in the video do state that they have shifted their alliance from Mullah Omar to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. This appears to be the first serious challenge to the Taliban’s authority in some time. Further reports state that an Islamic State-affiliated group known as Khorasan is attempting to recruit fighters in Wardak province. Akundzada believes that the ISIS affiliated fighters and Taliban are really one in the same; “…one day they are wearing white clothes (of the Taliban) and the next day they have black clothes and call themselves Daesh, but they are the same people.” Reports state that around twenty people have been killed so far in skirmishes between Taliban and pro-ISIS fighters. However, the Afghani Ministry of the Interior denies that there are any ISIS operatives active in the country.

The fact that ISIS, if it actually is making a serious attempt to expand into Afghanistan, and is operating in Helmand province should be cause for concern. Helmand is infamous for being Afghanistan’s most dangerous province, and has been a traditional stronghold for the Taliban. Given the Afghani government’s track record with securing the country, ISIS could prove to be an even greater threat to the Afghan government than the Taliban ever was.

Also see:

The Islamic State’s curious cover story

 

In the recently released edition of Dabiq, the Islamic State’s online English magazine, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s followers make their bitter rivalry with al Qaeda the centerpiece of their presentation to the public.

The cover story, entitled “Al-Qaidah of Waziristan,” is written by an alleged al Qaeda defector known as Abu Jarir ash-Shamali.

His story begins before the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, when he joined Abu Musab al Zarqawi’s organization, Jamaat al Tawhid wal Jihad, in Jordan. Shamali is keen to emphasize the differences between Zarqawi and al Qaeda from the first. It is easy to see why, as the Islamic State is attempting to portray Zarqawi’s legacy as entirely its own. Zarqawi, who formally pledged allegiance to al Qaeda in 2004, had been working closely with senior al Qaeda leaders years before he officially became al Qaeda’s man in Iraq. Zarqawi is still featured in both al Qaeda’s and the Islamic State’s propaganda.

But in their retelling of Zarqawi’s and al Qaeda’s story, Shamali and the Islamic State made an odd editorial decision — odd, that is, from the perspective of a jihadist group that is trying to poach from al Qaeda’s and the Taliban’s supporters.

Shamali portrays Osama bin Laden during the 1990s in a somewhat negative light. The gist of Shamali’s argument is that bin Laden pulled his punches with respect to the Saudi monarchy and other apostate regimes. Shamali criticizes what he sees as al Qaeda’s pre-9/11 “hesitance” to declare the “apostasy” of “rulers and their armies” throughout the Muslim majority world. In Shamali’s telling, this was the main point of tension between Zarqawi and al Qaeda’s leaders prior to their formal alliance.

According to Shamali, it was not until sometime after 9/11 that bin Laden “declared the apostasy of the rulers of [Saudi Arabia] and their soldiers and the obligation to fight them in some of his addresses.” Only then did Shamali and his brethren change their view of al Qaeda “from what it was before” to a more positive opinion.

Screen Shot 2015-01-03 at 8.16.33 AM.png

Throughout much of their propaganda, the Islamic State’s jihadists have portrayed themselves as the true heirs of Osama bin Laden. For example, the group produced a series of videos entitled “The Establishment of the Islamic State.” In the videos, which were published in English and other languages, Baghdadi’s group attempted to undermine al Qaeda’s current leadership by revisiting the words of Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders, all of whom praised the Islamic State of Iraq before its expansion into Syria and rebranding as a “caliphate.” [See LWJ report, Analysis: Al Qaeda attempts to undermine new Islamic State with old video of Osama bin Laden.]

By publishing Shamali’s piece, the Islamic State risks undermining its previous anti-al Qaeda propaganda efforts, which were misleading, but still had a cogent story to tell. The group also risks giving credence to its critics within the jihadist world. Citing Shamali’s piece, some of the Islamic State’s critics on Twitter have been quick to point out that Baghdadi’s followers are so extreme that they even attack the legacy of bin Laden, who remains wildly popular among the jihadists. Therefore, Shamali’s piece is not a smart attempt to win over al Qaeda’s followers.

The Islamic State takes its criticism of other jihadists a step further, as Shamali also disparages the Taliban and Deobandis in South Asia. “We also considered the Taliban in Afghanistan to have shortcomings with regards to teaching tawhid [monotheism] to their individual members,” Shamali writes of the pre-9/11 world. “This deficiency caused many of their individuals to fall into shirkī matters [polytheism, or idolatry] such as circumambulating graves and wearing amulets. And sadly, these matters exist until now.”

Shamali sees Deobandis as so deviant that he uses the word “Deobandis” as a pejorative to describe the two principal leaders of al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), Asim Umar and Ustad Ahmad Faruq. Al Qaeda “handed” them “the nerve center of the organization…corrupting all that was left,” Shamali writes.

The Islamic State has been trying to cut into al Qaeda’s dominant market share within the jihadist community in South Asia. But Shamali’s piece will not help the Islamic State accomplish this goal. The Deobandi ideology shares many points in common with the Salafi jihadist traditions of the Islamic State and al Qaeda, but also has some differences. Instead of emphasizing their points of commonality, or ignoring any areas of disagreement, Shamali portrays Deobandis in a wholly negative manner.

Shamali argues that al Qaeda’s efforts to “alienate” the many jihadist groups in South Asia “from the Islamic State and [to] incite them” against Baghdadi’s group “failed,” because “many” of these groups have either given their bayat (oath of allegiance) to Baghdadi “or are on their way to doing so.” However, at this juncture, there is little evidence to support Shamali’s claim. Only a select handful of jihadist commanders in South Asia have announced their allegiance to Baghdadi. The Islamic State’s blatant disrespect for the Taliban will not help it grow in the South Asian jihadist market.

Shamali also concedes that he had a bayat to both Mullah Omar and Ayman al Zawahiri before swearing his allegiance to Baghdadi, thereby breaking his previous oaths of allegiance. It is likely that many jihadists will not look upon his admission in a positive light, as Shamali will be perceived as an oath breaker.

Shamali’s revelations about al Qaeda’s structure

Shamali spent most of the period after 9/11 in Iranian custody. Shamali says he first left Jordan to wage jihad abroad sometime in 2002 or 2003, but he was detained in Iran while attempting to make his way to Afghanistan. He was released in 2010.

Shamali’s story contains multiple indications that al Qaeda’s bureaucracy continues to function despite setbacks caused by its jihadist rivals and other enemies. For instance, Shamali says that upon arriving in Miranshah, Pakistan he “wrote a message to Lajnat Bukhārā,” or “the Committee of Bukhārā – an administrative committee belonging to the leadership of” al Qaeda. Shamali says the committee was set up after al Qaeda lost two senior officials, Atiyyah Abd al Rahman and Abu Yahya al Libi, in drone strikes.

A senior al Qaeda official named Muhammad bin Mahmoud Rabie al Bahtiyti, also known as Abu Dujana al Basha, is identified as a member of the committee in Shamali’s article. The al Qaeda defector says that he met with both Bahtiyti, who has been highly critical of the Islamic State, and the unnamed leader of the Lajnat Bukhārā.

The Lajnat Bukhārā has received little to no attention in the West’s public discussions of how al Qaeda is structured, but Shamali’s story is an indication that al Qaeda still operates committees as part of its hierarchy. Shamali explains that another committee, the “Security Committee,” was “expelled from” al Qaeda, “removed from the field, and forced to remain in their homes” after it was decided that members of the committee had mishandled a controversial situation. Of course, al Qaeda must have had enough of a bureaucracy in place to hold members of the committee accountable in this fashion. And it is likely that the “Security Committee” was replaced in some capacity.

Al Qaeda decided to evacuate many jihadists from the areas of northern Pakistan where they had been holed up for years, Shamali notes, adding that they had been asked to swear allegiance to the Al Nusrah Front even before they relocated to Syria. The Al Nusrah Front, an official branch of al Qaeda, was still part of the Islamic State when al Qaeda began moving its personnel to Syria, Shamali says. He introduces this anecdote in an attempt to portray al Qaeda as scheming against the Islamic State before the two sides had their falling out. But it is further confirmation of something that we know from other sources: Al Qaeda moved personnel out of the American drones’ strike zone in northern Pakistan to safer areas.

Shamali also reveals that those al Qaeda commanders who broke their allegiance to Zawahiri were immediately cut off from al Qaeda’s payroll. Only a functioning accounting department could make such move.

Shamali confirms one of al Qaeda’s anti-Islamic State moves in Iraq. Pro-al Qaeda Twitter feeds circulated rumors earlier this year that al Qaeda was attempting to work with Ansar al Islam, a jihadist group that had long been opposed to the Islamic State and its predecessors in Iraq. Shamali purports to offer new details about this nascent alliance, saying that al Qaeda “received a representative of Ansar al Islam…for the purpose of a joint operation in Iraq with [al Qaeda] against the Islamic State.” Al Qaeda’s leaders “began facilitating for the representative to meet with Kurdish members” of al Qaeda in the Pakistani city of Miranshah “for counsel and planning.”

Shamali says this “counsel and planning was in order to gather Kurdish personnel — both military and [sharia officials] — from [al Qaeda] to assist them in training inside Afghanistan so as to operate in Iraq after passing through Iran.” Shamali points out that Ansar al Islam published a video highlighting its Sheikh Rashid Ghazi Camp, which was named after an infamous Pakistani jihadist. The video, which was posted online in early March 2014, included a clip of bin Laden praising Sheikh Ghazi.

Shamali argues that even though Ansar al Islam was marketing its adherence to al Qaeda’s ways, and meeting with al Qaeda’s senior leadership, the anti-Islamic State gambit failed. “Allah made their plot futile,” Shamali writes, “for Ansar al Islam declared their [bayat, or oath of allegiance] to the Islamic State.” At least part of Ansar al Islam issued a statement swearing allegiance to the Islamic State in the summer of 2014, while another faction remains active in Syria. There continue to be rumors suggesting that al Qaeda will be relaunching its official presence in Iraq in the near future, but that has not been confirmed.

In sum, assuming he is accurately recounting his experience in northern Pakistan, Shamali’s anti-al Qaeda diatribe actually tells us something about how Ayman al Zawahiri’s organization continues to function. We learn that al Qaeda: has set up an administrative committee known as the Lajnat Bukhārā; had a security committee in place that has been disbanded (it is natural to assume its members have been replaced); is still paying its commanders in Afghanistan and can punish wayward leaders by cutting off their stipends; ordered personnel to evacuate northern Pakistan for Syria and other areas, which we know is true from Osama bin Laden’s files and other sources; and had brought Kurdish jihadists to Pakistan for “counsel and planning.”

Thus, Shamali’s portrayal of al Qaeda is not consistent with Western claims that the group can barely function in South Asia. [emphasis added]