Obama on Not Saying ‘Islamic Terrorism’: Christian Terrorist Wouldn’t be ‘Killing for Christ’

President Obama pauses during a break in taping of a CNN town hall meeting Sept. 28, 2016, in Fort Lee, Va., with members of the military community. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

President Obama pauses during a break in taping of a CNN town hall meeting Sept. 28, 2016, in Fort Lee, Va., with members of the military community. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

PJ Media, by Bridget Johnson, Sept. 29, 2016:

President Obama told a town hall forum of military and family members Wednesday that he wouldn’t use the term Christian terrorism if a Christian committed terrorist acts, so that’s one reason why he eschews using Islamic terrorism.

Obama was asked by a Gold Star mother whose son was killed in Baghdad in 2007 if he believes that terrorism has “Islamic religious motives” and why he won’t say “Islamic terrorist.”

The president called it “an issue that has been sort of manufactured, because there is no doubt — and I’ve said repeatedly — that where we see terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda or ISIL, they have perverted and distorted and tried to claim the mantle of Islam for an excuse for basically barbarism and death.”

“These are people who kill children, kill Muslims, take sex slaves. There’s no religious rationale that would justify in any way any of the things that they do,” he added at the Fort Lee, Va., CNN event.

“But what I have been careful about when I describe these issues is to make sure that we do not lump these murderers into the billion Muslims that exist around the world, including in this country, who are peaceful, who are responsible, who in this country are our fellow troops and police officers and firefighters and teachers and neighbors and friends.”

Obama told the mother that what he “learned from listening to some of these Muslim families both in the United States and overseas is that when you start calling these organizations ‘Islamic terrorists,’ the way it’s heard, the way it’s received by our friends and allies around the world is that somehow Islam is terroristic.”

“And that then makes them feel as if they’re under attack. In some cases, it makes it harder for us to get their cooperation in fighting terrorism,” he continued.

“So do I think that if somebody uses the phrase ‘Islamic terrorism’ that it’s a huge deal? No. There’s no doubt that these folks think that — and claim that they’re speaking for Islam. But I don’t want to validate what they do. I don’t want to — if you had an organization that was going around killing and blowing people up and said, ‘We’re on the vanguard of Christianity,’ well, I’m not — as a Christian, I’m not going to let them claim my religion and say, ‘You’re killing for Christ.’ I would say that’s ridiculous. That’s not what my religion stands for.”

Obama said he’s going to “call these folks what they are, which is killers and terrorists.”

“And that’s what we’ve been trying to do, is to make sure that, A, we don’t validate their claims that somehow they speak for Islam, because they don’t, and, B, making sure that we do not make Muslims who are well-meaning and our natural allies on this fight — because these groups are killing more Muslims than they’re killing anybody else — make sure that they don’t feel as if somehow that this is some contest between the West and Islam,” he said.

“And I think that — I’ll just be honest with you — the dangers where we get loose in this language, particularly when a president or people aspiring to become president get loose with this language, you can see in some of the language that we use — in talking about Muslim-Americans here, and the notion that somehow we’d start having religious tests in who can come in the country, and who’s investigated, and whether the Bill of Rights applies to them in the same way.”

The president called that “a slippery slope.”

“And the way we’re going to win this battle is not by betraying our ideals. It’s by making sure that we hold true to our ideals. And one of our core ideals is that, if you’re an American and you are subscribing to the ideals and the creed and the values that we believe in as a country, then we don’t have a religious test in this country,” Obama said.

He emphasized that his criticism was “not unique to the Republican nominee.”

“And, again, I’m trying to be careful. We’re on a military base. I don’t want to insert partisan politics into this,” he added. “I think that there have been a number of public figures, where you start hearing commentary that is dangerous, because what it starts doing is it starts dividing us up as Americans.”

“When I go to Arlington Cemetery, mostly I see crosses. Sometimes I see stars of David. And sometimes I see Islamic crescents. And those families are just as proud regardless of their religion that a member of their family who they love just as much as anybody sacrificed for this country. And I want to make sure that we as a nation stay unified because that’s how we’re going to achieve our missions.”

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U.S.-Backed Free Syrian Army Allies With Terror Group That State Dept. Designated LAST WEEK

moderate-syrian-rebels-threaten-to-kill-us-special-forces-sized-770x415xtPJ Media, by Patrick Poole, Sept. 29, 2016:

U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups are coordinating with al-Qaeda fronts in defending Aleppo, and other FSA groups — armed with CIA-provided TOW anti-tank missiles — are working together with a terror group designated by the State Department just last week.

That’s from a report filed today by Reuters about the rapidly changing situation in Syria:

In Aleppo, rebels in the Free Syrian Army are sharing operational planning with Jaish al-Fatah, an alliance of Islamist groups that includes the former Syrian wing of al-Qaeda.Meanwhile, in nearby Hama province, FSA groups armed with U.S.-made anti-tank missiles are taking part in a major offensive with the al-Qaeda-inspired Jund al-Aqsa group.

The FSA rebels have deep ideological differences with the jihadists, and have even fought them at times, but say survival is the main consideration.

“At a time when we are dying, it is not logical to first check if a group is classified as terrorist or not before cooperating with it,” said a senior official in one of the Aleppo-based rebel factions. “The only option you have is to go in this direction.”

A top jihadist leader killed in an airstrike on a Jaish al-Fatah meeting earlier this month was Abu Omar Saraqeb, who played an active role in al-Qaeda in Iraq’s campaign against the U.S. in Iraq. Presumably, U.S.-backed FSA leaders were also present at the Jaish al-Fatah meeting.

The alliance between the FSA and Jund al-Aqsa in Hama is particularly noteworthy, since the State Department designated Jund al-Aqsa a terrorist organization just last week.

In its September 20 designation, the State Department identified Jund al-Aqsa as a direct threat to U.S. national security:

The Department of State has designated Jund al-Aqsa (JAA) as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) entity under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which imposes sanctions on foreign persons determined to have committed, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States.As a result of this designation, all property subject to U.S. jurisdiction in which JAA has any interest is blocked and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with JAA.Jund al-Aqsa is a terrorist group in Northern Syria that primarily operates in Idlib and Hama provinces. Formed in 2012 as a subunit of al-Qa’ida’s affiliate in Syria, al-Nusrah Front (ANF) – a State Department designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) group – JAA has since split and now carries out operations independently. However, despite the split it is still openly aligned with ANF. In March 2015, JAA launched two suicide bombings at checkpoints on the outskirts of Idlib. JAA also carried out the February 2014 massacre in the village of Maan in central Hama province, killing 40 civilians.

Two weeks ago I reported here at PJ Media about FSA units threatening to kill U.S. Special Forces operating in northern Syria, eventually chasing them out of the town of Al-Rai near Aleppo.

Interestingly, President Obama said — at least sixteen times — that there would be no U.S. boots on the ground in Syria.

What exactly is the point of supporting “vetted moderates” if they have no problem with working with al-Qaeda — or even, in some cases, the Islamic State — whenever they feel its in their interest to do so?

We provide these “vetted moderate” FSA groups with U.S. heavy weaponry when FSA units themselves are threatening to use those weapons against American troops.

Now there is a very real possibility of those weapons being shared with designated terror groups.

For more than two years I’ve been reporting here at PJ Media on the escalating catastrophe of the Obama administration’s Syria policy:

July 7, 2014: U.S. ‘Vetted Moderate’ Free Syrian Army Brigades Surrender Weapons, Pledge Allegiance to Islamic StateSept. 3, 2014: U.S.-Backed Free Syrian Army Operating Openly with ISIS, Al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra

Sept. 9, 2014: Fighter With ‘Vetted Moderate’ Syrian Rebels Tells L.A. Times They Fight Alongside Al-Qaeda

Sept. 10, 2014: ‘Vetted Moderate’ Free Syrian Army Commander Admits Alliance with ISIS, Confirms PJ Media Reporting

Sept. 13, 2014: Yet Another U.S.-Backed Syrian Rebel Group Makes Peace with ISIS

Sept. 24, 2014: U.S.-Backed Syrian Group Harakat al-Hazm Condemns U.S. Strikes on ISIS as ‘Attack on the Revolution’

Nov. 2, 2014: U.S.-Armed ‘Vetted Moderate’ Syrian Rebel Groups Surrender, Defect to Al-Qaeda

Nov. 3, 2014: How Obama Walked Boehner and GOP Leadership Off the Syrian Rebel Cliff

Nov. 24, 2014: More Defections of ‘Vetted Moderate’ Free Syrian Army Rebels to ISIS

Dec. 2, 2014: US-Backed Syrian Rebels Ally with al-Qaeda in South, Surrender CIA-Supplied Weapons in the North

Dec. 14, 2014: Report: Al-Qaeda Using CIA-Supplied TOW Anti-Tank Missiles in Northern Syria

Dec. 28, 2014: NY Times Admits: U.S.-Backed Free Syrian Army Under Effective al-Qaeda Control

March 3, 2015: U.S.-Backed Syrian Rebel Group Collapses, U.S.-Supplied Weapons End Up in Al-Qaeda Hands

March 24, 2015: Video Shows Al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra Using U.S.-Provided TOW Anti-Tank Missiles in Syria

April 16, 2015: U.S. Analyst Admits ‘Moderate’ Syrian Rebels Have Been Working with Al-Qaeda All Along

May 8, 2015: CIA-Backed, “Vetted Moderate” Rebels Now Working Openly With Al-Qaeda

June 27, 2015: ISIS Using U.S. TOW Antitank Missiles In Latest Syrian Offensive

July 9, 2015: Report: ‘Vetted Moderate’ Free Syrian Army Fighting Alongside Al-Qaeda, Islamic State Against Assad Regime

July 23, 2015: U.S.-Funded Free Syrian Army Unit Shows Off Its Kidnapping Skills in New Training Video

July 27, 2015: #BringBackOurRebels: Obama’s 50-Man ‘Vetted Moderate’ Syrian Rebel Army Vanishes After Training in Turkey

July 29, 2015: #BringBackOurRebels Part 2: Al-Qaeda Arrests 18 U.S.-Trained Rebels On Their First Day in Syria

July 30, 2015: #BringBackOurRebels: Despite Pentagon Denial, Reports Confirm That U.S.-Trained Syrian Rebels Were Kidnapped By Al-Qaeda Almost Immediately

July 31, 2015: Report: Al-Qaeda Kills Five Members of Obama’s 54-Man Syrian Rebel Army

July 31, 2015: Chechen Terrorists In Syria Have Obtained U.S.-Provided TOW Anti-Tank Missiles

Sept. 22, 2015: Report: U.S.-Trained, ‘Vetted Moderate’ Syrian Rebel Leader Defects to Al-Qaeda, Turns Weapons Over to Terror Group

Oct. 27, 2016: New Video Shows Al-Qaeda Using Weapons U.S. Gave to ‘Vetted Moderates’

Nov. 24, 2015: U.S.-Backed Syrian Rebels Destroy Russian Helicopter with CIA-Provided TOW Anti-Tank Missile

July 20, 2016: CIA-Vetted, “Moderate” Syrian Rebels Behead Child Soldier

Sept. 3, 2016: British Journo: Syrian Kidnapper Who Shot Me Twice is Now a CIA-vetted ‘Moderate’

Sept. 6, 2016: New ISIS Commander Was Trained by State Department as Recently as 2014

Sept. 16, 2016: SHOCK VIDEO: U.S.-Backed, “Moderate” Free Syrian Army Threatens to Kill U.S. Special Forces

The ability to affect any positive change in Syria is compromised by the fact that we have no reliable partner in the country — notwithstanding the so-called “vetted moderates” — and a growing likelihood that American troops may be killed without any national strategic purpose.

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An Al Qaeda terrorist tells a reporter, “The Americans are on our side.”

Libya’s Terrorist Descent: Causes and Solutions

Fighters from al Qaeda-backed Ansar al Sharia Libya operate a training camp in Benghazi.

Fighters from al Qaeda-backed Ansar al Sharia Libya operate a training camp in Benghazi.

Long War Journal, by Thomas Joscelyn, Sept. 27, 2016:

Editor’s note: Below is Thomas Joscelyn’s testimony to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade on jihadist groups operating inside Libya, including the Islamic State and al Qaeda. If you wish to view the testimony with footnotes included,download the PDF by clicking here.

Chairman Poe, Ranking Member Keating and members of the subcommittee, thank you for inviting me here today to discuss the turmoil in Libya. Obviously, the multi-sided conflict in Libya is complex, with various forces pulling the country in multiple directions. My testimony today focuses on the jihadist groups operating inside Libya, especially the Islamic State’s arm and groups belonging to al Qaeda’s network. I am going to emphasize five key points:

1. The Islamic State is on the verge of losing its safe haven in Sirte, Libya. The loss of Sirte would be a major blow to the so-called caliphate, as Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s organization has invested significant resources in this state-building project. From the Islamic State’s perspective, Sirte was one of the most important cities under its control. This was true even though most of the city’s citizens had fled the jihadists’ occupation. By controlling Sirte, the Islamic State was able to portray its “caliphate” as having significant territory outside of Iraq and Syria. If Baghdadi’s loyalists are cleared from Sirte in the coming weeks, then the U.S. and its allies should trumpet the group’s loss. During its rise to power, the Islamic State’s motto was “remaining and expanding.” This was a key part of the organization’s marketing message. But in Libya, as in Iraq and Syria, it is no longer true.

2. Despite losing its grip on Sirte and the surrounding towns and villages, however, the Islamic State will retain a presence inside Libya. The group has cadres in Benghazi and elsewhere. The Islamic State’s leaders likely evacuated some of their men from Sirte as the offensive on the city progressed. It is important to note that even though the Islamic State is on the verge of a significant defeat, the effort required a robust commitment by local Libyan ground forces, as well as more than 170 “precision” American airstrikes to date. As the Islamic State’s men have been cleared block by block from Sirte, they have demonstrated that they continue to maintain a strong operational capacity, launching suicide bombings in neighborhoods they’ve lost and killing dozens of their Libyan enemies. The U.S. and its partners will have to make sure that they hold Sirte once it is cleared, as well as prevent the Islamic State from seizing significant terrain elsewhere. 

3. The Islamic State’s loss of Sirte will be viewed in jihadist circles as a vindication of al Qaeda’s strategy. Al Qaeda’s senior leaders, including Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri, repeatedly warned that the premature declaration of an Islamic state harms the jihadists’ cause. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb’s (AQIM) emir, Abdulmalek Droukdel, has made the same argument. Al Qaeda has consistently argued that a jihadist state cannot survive if the U.S. and its allies decide to intervene. This is exactly what happened in Sirte.

4. Some assume that, unlike the Islamic State, al Qaeda does not seek to control territory and build Islamic emirates (states). But this is an erroneous assumption. A wealth of evidence shows that this is, in fact, al Qaeda’s primary goal. However, al Qaeda and the Islamic State have very different strategies for achieving this same end. AQIM and its allies briefly controlled much of Mali beginning in 2012. Documents recovered in Mali show that AQIM was laying the groundwork for an Islamic state. But Droukdel and his advisors concluded that their effort needed to be firmly rooted in the host society, so AQIM was willing to partner with tribes and organizations that did not share its ideology. AQIM is following a version of this same strategy inside Libya today and has been working to embed itself in various local groups and communities. The Islamic State’s model for state-building is top-down authoritarian. In the view of Baghdadi and his key advisors, all Muslims must submit to the so-called caliphate’s authority. Al Qaeda’s follows a bottom-up plan, which means that the organization is seeking to spread the jihadist ideology, win popular support and embed itself within local societies. Al Qaeda and AQIM, which is openly loyal to Ayman al Zawahiri, are not close to achieving their goals in many areas. But the al Qaeda network remains deeper than many assume.

5. In addition to the assistance the U.S. military provides local forces, the U.S. government should work to expose al Qaeda’s network inside Libya. Sun light is a key part of any plan to combat al Qaeda’s clandestine strategy. Al Qaeda’s senior leadership has dispatched operatives to Libya in the past. AQIM doesn’t typically advertise its presence in Libya, but has clearly backed groups such as Ansar al Sharia in Libya and the Mujahideen Shura Council in Derna. Indeed, al Qaeda has worked under multiple brand names in Libya.

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Special Ops Command to Pentagon: Stop Ignoring Jihad

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But the Pentagon’s orders are to ignore the jihad come from on high.

CounterJihad, Sept. 26, 2016:

Staff officers of United States Marine Corps General Joseph F. Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are stonewalling demands by the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) to add Salafi Jihad to the description of our enemies.  The Washington Times reports:

U.S. Special Operations Command has privately pressed the staff of the nation’s highest-ranking military officer to include in his upcoming National Military Strategy a discussion of the Sunni Muslim ideology underpinning the brutality of the Islamic State group and al Qaeda…  The 2015 public version does not mention Islamic ideology. It lists terrorists under the ambiguous category of “violent extremist organizations” and singles out al Qaeda and the Islamic State group.

…Special Operations Command wants the National Military Strategy to specifically name Salafi jihadism as the doctrine that inspires violent Muslim extremists. Salafi jihadism is a branch within Sunni Islam. It is embraced by the Islamic State and used to justify its mass killings of nonbelievers, including Shiite Muslims, Sunnis and Kurds, as well as Christians.  People knowledgeable about the discussion toldThe Washington Times that SoCom has not been able to persuade Gen. Dunford’s staff to include Salafi jihadism in any strategy draft.

The National Military Strategy (NMS) will be a classified document that will spell out the nation’s strategic goals and means of attaining those goals.  It occupies a middle position in a cycle of obtaining the right means to the nation’s strategic ends.  The NMS follows the production of the National Security Strategy (NSS), which is issued by the President of the United States.  The NSS is more general, as the President occupies the higher position of Commander in Chief, and lays out what the President takes to be the important goals of the nation globally.  The NMS is then prepared by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and lays out in much greater specificity military means to supporting the ends identified by the President in the NSS.  The NMS then serves both as guidance for combatant commanders, such as the commander of USSOCOM, and also for helping Congress to identify military budget priorities.

It is a crucial document, in other words, but one over which the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs has only limited control.  The NSS sets limits on what the NMS can say.  Combatant commands like USSOCOM are deeply interested in the content of the document, as the NMS will set similar limits on what they are allowed to direct subordinate units to say and do.  SOCOM is encountering resistance at the Pentagon because they are asking the NMS to push out into territory that the author of the NSS does not want to enter.  The Pentagon’s orders come from the highest levels on this matter, indeed from the President of the United States himself.

For that reason it is no surprise that SOCOM’s pushback has not yet created any effect on the forthcoming strategy.  Nevertheless, they are manifestly correct about the importance of recognizing that the Islamic State (ISIS) is in fact Islamic.  As the classic text on war by Sun Tzu counsels, a nation can only be confident at war if its leaders understand not only themselves but also their enemy.  Refusing to understand your enemy is a crippling defect.

However, the identification of the problem as Salafi theology is only a partial fix.  Certainly within the context of the question of ISIS and al Qaeda, whom SOCOM have been instructed to treat as enemies, Salafi and Wahhabi Islam are the correct subsets of Islam to consider.  Yet there is another “brand” of Islamic theology that is just as radical, which is the velayat-e faqih model of Shia Islam pushed by the Islamic Republic of Iran.  SOCOM has not been ordered to treat Iran as an enemy.  Rather, the US military has been ordered to avoid conflict with Iran, and to operate alongside Iranian-backed irregulars in Iraq as if they were allies instead.  The result has been that our fighting forces on the ground in Iraq and Syria, as well as our naval forces in the Persian Gulf, have been exposed to huge risks that they are forbidden to combat.

Meanwhile Iran continues to develop long-range nuclear-capable missiles for warheads it currently swears it will never produce.  Iran installs advanced new anti-aircraft missiles to help fortify its Fordow nuclear site, which President Obama’s deal supposedly put beyond use.  Why fortify it against air attack, then?  Why develop missiles if you never intend to have a payload that would make them a useful option?

It is clear that our military is being forbidden from even thinking clearly, or speaking clearly, about the threats we face and where they originate.  The next President will need to reverse course, and quickly, if we are to avoid a disaster that costs American lives, America’s position in the world, and America’s national strategic goals.

John Bolton on Obama’s Internet Handover: ‘Within Ten Years, the Internet as We Know It Will End’

icann-tim-halesassociated-press-640x480Breitbart, by John Hayward, Sept 22, 2016:

On Thursday’s Breitbart News Daily on SiriusXM, former U.N. ambassador John Bolton predicted that the impending transfer of Internet domain control from American supervision to an international body will mean the end of the Internet “as we know it.”

Speaking to Breitbart Editor-in-Chief and SiriusXM host Alex Marlow, Bolton explained that we should be “very concerned” about the transfer from “a national-security perspective.”

“What we’ve gotten out of the Internet, under the shelter of a private American organization that contracts with the Commerce Department, [is] one of the few cases that I can think of in our history where we’ve had that kind of government involvement without regulation and interference,” said Bolton.

He continued:

But because it’s entirely a U.S. government proposition with U.S. people involved, the Internet has been free and open. If, as the Administration wants to do, it’s transferred to an international body, I will predict right here: within 10 years it will come under the control of the United Nations, and the Internet as we know it will end because there are governments around the world that are already doing everything they can to prevent a free and open Internet in their countries, and it will extend to ours in due course.

Bolton called the Internet handover “a mistake of such colossal proportions that you would have thought we’d have a huge debate about it in this country.”

LISTEN:

“Ted Cruz has been leading the charge in the Senate to prevent this from happening,” he said. “There may be legislation passed in these last days of this Congress, as they try and wrap the budget up. But really, people need to wake up to this. This is something from Obama I have feared for eight years, his tendencies toward global governance. I’ve been surprised to have to say he hasn’t done more, but in his last days in office, we may see the full flowering of it, and this transfer of control of the Internet is perhaps the worst example right at the moment.”

Bolton elaborated on what he meant by the Internet as we know it dying within 10 years:

What they’re talking about is succumbing to the demands of foreign governments and foreign interests who say, in what is effectively a global means of communication, it’s just wrong to have the United States in charge of it.

But the fact is, under American control, it’s had remarkable growth. It’s been kept free. It’s been able to withstand a lot of pressure to try and set rules that favor one side or another. And in an international environment, I can tell you from my own experience, when you get all kinds of governments from all over the world setting standards and making decisions, it will be far less free than it is now.

And I don’t think the particular kind of transfer we’re talking about now is the end of the game. This is a black-and-white, binary choice: it’s either under American control, or it’s not. And once we let go of it, we are never getting it back.

Marlow turned the conversation to Barack Obama’s final speech to the U.N. General Assembly, describing it as a “toned-down Obama” with a few condescending lines, but not as much “fiery rhetoric” as he anticipated.

“I think he wanted this to be his swan song,” said Bolton. “It was a very pedestrian speech, so I think he certainly failed in that effort. A lot of was just domestic American politics, which personally I think is unseemly in a speech to the U.N. or an international forum. I think the President, especially a lame duck President, should be above that.”

“I think it shows that, really, Barack Obama is not a statesman. He is a political hack, when it comes right down to it,” Bolton judged. “He was unsparing in his criticism of many countries — criticism I agree with, in the case of Russia, North Korea, and so on — but he couldn’t withstand the temptation to criticize America. Thank God he’s the smartest man in the country, and he can tell us what we’re doing wrong.”

Bolton said he was “utterly struck” by “the reaction in the hall — which was essentially no reaction.” He noted there was “very perfunctory applause by the international community, after years where they’ve repeatedly interrupted him.”

“My sense was, they understand he’s a lame duck now. Maybe they’re just as tired as many Americans of being lectured by this morally superior being, and they’re happy to see the back of him.”

Marlow asked for Bolton’s take on the state of the United Nations and if there was still anything productive emerging from its meetings. Bolton replied that “things are happening, but not because it’s the U.N.”

He explained:

This week in September is just a very convenient point, where a lot of leaders come to New York. You can do a lot of business in a short period of time without having to travel all over the world, although traffic in New York makes it feel like it takes forever to get from one place to another. But it’s less about the U.N. than it is about other forms of diplomatic business.

That said, I believe that if Hillary Clinton wins, she will do what I expected Obama to do, which is try to transfer more and more American sovereignty into international organizations across the range of issues — whether it’s climate change or the conduct of international affairs. I think Obama didn’t do as much as I expected in that vein because he really just doesn’t care about international affairs as much as he cares about ‘fundamentally transforming’ our country.

I think Hillary does have even grander ambitions, and so that’s why what we started off, the end of ICANN or the effective control of ICANN over the Internet, is an excellent example of global governance replacing American sovereignty in effect. And I think she’ll be much more on that. I hope that’s something Trump emphasizes in the upcoming debate.

Turning to last weekend’s terrorist attacks, Bolton said they were “evidence that the terrorist threat continues to increase, as senior intelligence officials of the Obama Administration itself have testified in an open session of Congress.”

“It’s a demonstration of the diversity of the sources of terrorism and the kinds of terrorism that we see,” he continued, referencing the Chelsea bomber’s evident affinity for al-Qaeda, rather than ISIS, and the Somali origins of the Minnesota mall stabber. “It doesn’t all come from Syria or Iraq in the Middle East. It comes from as far away as Somali or Afghanistan.”

“And I think it’s also a measure of the kind of terrorism, that some people want to call it ‘lone wolf’ terrorism because they’re trying to downplay its significance. But it’s not lone wolf terrorism,” Bolton argued. “We’re seeing increasingly the networks, the connections of these two terrorists. ISIS has claimed credit for the one in Minnesota. We see how the terrorist arrested in New Jersey was in communication with terrorists in Afghanistan.”

“Terrorism doesn’t look like a corporate organization chart. That doesn’t make it any easier to deal with, or any easier to prevent,” he warned. “I think it’s one reason what that issue is so important in the 2016 campaign, and it should be.”

Marlow brought up the nuclear threat from North Korea, saying that “half the time, I feel like this is a joke, and half the time I feel like this is one of the scariest things happening on Planet Earth.”

“Unfortunately, it’s the latter,” Bolton said, explaining that the Communist dictatorship in Pyongyang presents a real danger to the United States and its allies:

The regime has always struck most Americans as a joke. Who can believe these people who talk and look the way the Kim family dictatorship has over the years?

But serious military officials, both American and South Korea, have repeatedly ramped up their judgment of what the North is capable of, and they’ve been saying for some time now that it’s only a very short period of time before North Korea is able to take their nuclear devices — and they’ve now tested five — and miniaturize them, and put them under the nose cone of their increasingly sophisticated ballistic missiles, and hit targets on the U.S. West Coast.

So the need for missile defense, at an absolute minimum — national missile defense for the United States, a program the Obama Administration gutted when they came into office, with the full support of Hillary Clinton. Dealing more effectively with North Korea, and I think trying to get more intelligence on whether and to what extent there is a connection between the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea — because these may seem like very different threats, but we know that for 20 years, if not more, they’ve cooperated on their missile programs, and I personally think there’s every reason to believe they’re cooperating on the nuclear programs as well.

We just don’t have enough information, and people don’t take this threat of the ‘Axis of Evil’ seriously enough. But if either or both of them get the capability to deliver nuclear by ballistic missile, we’ll take it seriously then.

Bolton concluded with his thoughts on the situation in Syria, where he sees the Russians and Iranians as having a “very distinct interest,” namely keeping Bashar Assad in power, while Obama’s goals and strategies remain vague and ineffective:

The ISIS threat is something that could have been dealt with a year, year and a half ago, if the Obama Administration had had a coherent foreign policy, but it doesn’t. And I think now we’re seeing continued chaos in Syria. ISIS may have lost some territory, but it’s still there, still recruiting terrorists. The Assad regime is still in place. Russian influence has increased, Iranian has increased, American influence has decreased. Really, how could it get much worse?

EXCLUSIVE: Federal complaint against bombing suspect omits journal’s ISIS references

Fox News, by Catherine Herridge, Pamela K. Browne, September 21, 2016

Pages from the bloody journal of the New York and New Jersey bombing suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami show he was a follower of Al Qaeda as well as the Islamic State terror group, yet federal investigators made no reference to ISIS in their complaint charging him on Tuesday.

At least two pages include references to Anwar al-Awlaki — the American-born Muslim cleric who was killed in a 2011 drone strike and whose preaching has inspired acts of terror linked to ISIS and Al Qaeda. Federal investigators mentioned Awlaki in the complaints.

However, the journal also appears to reference Abu Muhammad al Adnani — the ISIS spokesman killed by coalition forces in August after he called his followers to attack non-believers in their homelands.

“I looked for guidance came Sheikh Anwar, Brother Adnani, Dawla. Said it clearly – Attack the kuffar (non-believer) in the back yard,” one section read. Page 12 of the indictment references this section without naming Adnani.

Rahami’s screed also praised 9/11 mastermind Usama bin Laden and Nidal Hasan, the former Army officer who went on a deadly shooting rampage in 2009 at Fort Hood, Texas.  Hasan was also a follower of Awlaki. The Counter Extremism Project’s research counted 77 extremists — 43 U.S. extremists and 34 European extremists — with ties to Anwar al-Awlaki. They include the Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen in June, as well as Syed Farook, one of the shooters in the San Bernardino massacre in December 2015.

In addition, the journal included rantings plotting revenge against the U.S. government for slaughtering Muslim holy warriors. In one section, the Afghan-born Rahami suggested he was worried police or the feds would capture him before he could carry out a suicide attack, becoming a martyr. “The sounds of bombs will be heard in the streets,” the journal declared.

Another section included a reference to “pipe bombs” and a “pressure cooker bomb” and declared: “In the streets they plan to run a mile,” an apparent reference to one of the blast sites, a charity run in Seaside Park. The feds said the journal ended with the words: “Death to your oppression.”

The pages appeared to be pierced by a bullet from the shootout that ended with Rahami in handcuffs on Monday. He’s suspected of planting bombs in Seaside Park and Elizabeth, New Jersey, as well as New York City, where the feds said at least 31 people were wounded after an explosion Saturday night.

Fox News has asked the U.S. Attorney’s office and the Department of Justice to explain why Rahami wrote about ISIS in his journal, but unlike the other terrorists he cited, there was no reference to ISIS in the charging documents.

Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.

Also see:

Bomb suspect praised Osama bin Laden, Anwar al Awlaki in notebook

Long War Journal, by Thomas Joscelyn,  September 21, 2016

The Department of Justice has charged Ahmad Khan Rahami with the bombings in New York and New Jersey on Sept. 17, as well as other planned attacks. The charges include Rahami’s use of “weapons of mass destruction,” meaning the pipe bombs and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) he planted in Seaside Park, NJ, the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City, and in Elizabeth, NJ.

ahmad-khan-rahami-captured-768x981The most damaging bomb was detonated near 135 West 23rd Street (the “Chelsea bomb”). According to the Complaint filed in Rahami’s case, 31 people were wounded in the blast, which also caused millions of dollars in property damage. The bomb, which used a pressure cooker, was “comprised of a high-explosive main charge” and “packed with ball bearings and steel nuts, hundreds of which were recovered from the blast site.”

The Chelsea bomb was placed in a dumpster, which likely limited the efficacy of the shrapnel packed in it. But the impact on the dumpster and the surrounding area demonstrates that it could have been deadly. The dumpster, which was more than 100 pounds, was “propelled…more than 120 feet.” Windows 400 feet away from the detonation site and up to three stories high were shattered.

A second bomb recovered on 27th street was apparently constructed in a similar fashion.

Rahami allegedly acquired many of the bomb components via eBay in the months leading up to the attacks. And he apparently didn’t do much to cover his tracks. Not only were Rahami’s fingerprints found on some of the unexploded bombs, according to the Complaint, he also reused cell phones that were previously subscribed to members of his family. The cell phones served as triggering devices for the bombs. In addition, Rahami’s face was clearly visible on surveillance video near where the bombs were placed.

Still another cell phone belonging to one of Rahami’s family members was recovered by officials. It allegedly included a video, recorded on Sept. 15, of Rahami detonating a “small, black cylindrical object” in a backyard near his residence in Elizabeth.

Jihadi references found in notebook and on social media account

During the course of the arrest, authorities recovered a handwritten journal from Rahami. The notebook was damaged during Rahami’s shootout with the police. It included a number of jihadi-related thoughts and comments, including praise for Osama bin Laden and Anwar al Awlaki.

One passage reads: “You (USA Government) continue your [unintelligible] slaught[er] against the mujahidean [sic] be it Afghanistan, Iraq, Sham [Syria], Palestine…”

Another entry, according to the Complaint, expressed concern that the author (presumably Rahami) may be caught before he was able “to carry out a suicide attack.” The handwritten note references the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security “looking for me,” and then includes what appears to be a prayer to Allah “[t]o not take Jihad away from [me].” The comment continues: “I beg [unintelligible] shahadat [martyrdom] & Inshallah [God willing] this call will be” answered.

The Complaint cites a passage in the notebook that contains a “reference to the instructions of terrorist leaders that, if travel is infeasible, to attack nonbelievers where they live.” This has been a consistent theme in the Islamic State’s messaging over the past several months. Sheikh Abu Muhammad al Adnani, the deceased Islamic State spokesman who also oversaw the organization’s anti-Western plotting, told followers to attack in their home countries if they couldn’t travel to the lands of the so-called caliphate. The Complaint doesn’t cite Adnani, however, and instead focuses on Anwar al Awlaki, who helped pioneer the idea of individual jihadist attacks in the West. Awlaki, who was killed in a drone strike in 2011, was an al Qaeda ideologue and his teachings have been marketed by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). He is frequently referenced by both al Qaeda and the Islamic State to this day.

The passage is written in broken English but includes the phrase “back to sham [Syria].” The Complaint continues with additional lines from the notebook: “But [unintelligible] this incident show the risk are [unintelligible] of getting caught under [unintelligible] I looked for guidance and…Guidance came from Sheikh Anwar…Said it clearly attack the Kuffar [non-believers] in their backyard.”

A footnote says that “Sheikh Anwar” is a reference to Awlaki.

Indeed, according to the Complaint, the notebook includes praise for Awlaki, Nidal Hasan (an Awlaki follower who killed 13 people during a shooting spree at Fort Hood, Texas in Nov. 2009) and “Brother Osama bin Laden.”

Awlaki has inspired multiple plots in the West. In December 2015, Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife killed 14 people in a mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. Farook had studied Awlaki’s teachings years beforehand. Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people at a nightclub in Orlando, Fla. in June, also listened Awlaki’s lectures. Both the San Bernardino shooters and Mateen pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. The Islamic State claimed that they acted on its behalf.

On the same day that Rahami allegedly detonated bombs in NY and NJ, a Somali man stabbed nine people at the Crossroads Mall in St. Cloud, Minn. The Islamic State quickly claimed responsibility for the attack via its Amaq News Agency, which is one of the group’s main propaganda arms.

But the Islamic State has not claimed the bombings Rahami is charged with carrying out. Thus far, no group has claimed Rahami as its own.

Regardless, the Complaint makes it clear that Rahami was drawn to the jihadist ideology. A social media account with the user name Yaafghankid78, which is connected to Rahami, favorited jihadi anthems.

And one part of the recovered notebook reads: “Inshallah [God willing] the sounds of the bombs will be heard in the streets. Gun shots to your police. Death To Your OPPRESSION.”

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for The Long War Journal.

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NY Suspect’s Mosque Linked to Subversive Islamist Group

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Just to clarify: Rahami’s parents were asylum seekers from Afghanistan, not refugees. Ann Corcoran explains the difference here.

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Ignore what Maajid Nawaz says about Trump helping jihadist recruitment – hogwash. But he certainly knows a lot about the jihadist scene in Quetta:

Also see:

Dr. Sebastian Gorka: Anyone Surprised by Weekend’s Islamic Terror Attack ‘Has Been Asleep for the Last Two Years’

Justin Lane-Pool/Getty Images

Justin Lane-Pool/Getty Images

Breitbart, by John  Hayward, Sept. 19, 2016:

On Monday’s Breitbart News Daily with SiriusXM host Alex Marlow, Dr. Sebastian Gorka said, “All of the attacks over the weekend, all three of them, and the detonation of a backpack that we had just now, is part and parcel of the new jihadi tactic that we’ve seen in the last two years.”

Gorka added:

ISIS has encouraged, since it declared the Caliphate, the use of classic guerilla warfare. It’s not like al-Qaeda. It’s not about giant spectacle. It’s not 9/11-style attacks. It’s cheap, low-investment, high-yield return.

We have seen, literally, scores of knife attacks in Israel since September. They’ve taken a leaf out of the Palestinian playbook. We’ve seen the attack, the murder of the French priest. We’ve seen the lorry attack, the truck attack in Nice, France.

These are all very, very simple to do, and the ISIS mantra, from their magazine Dabiq, has been clear: look for high concentrations of unarmed civilians. What did we see? We see a food court in St. Cloud. We see in New Jersey a Marine Corps five-mile run. If those pipe bombs had detonated when the runners were going past – by the grace of God, the runners had been delayed at the registration desk – it would have made the weekend’s events much worse.

Another bit of “connective tissue” between these terror attacks highlighted by Gorka was the use of pressure-cooker bombs, similar to those favored by the Tsarnaev brothers in Boston. “A lot of people miss the fact that when they were being chased by the police, after the marathon attack, they also used pipe bombs,” he added. “They threw pipe bombs at the police officers that were trying to neutralize them.”

“Anybody who says they’re surprised by what happened over the weekend has been asleep for the last two years,” he declared.

Marlow trenchantly noted that Hillary Clinton seemed to have literally been asleep during the latest round of terror attacks: “sleepwalking through it, she can barely keep her eyes open as she first declares it a bombing and then condemns Donald Trump for using the word ‘bomb.’”

Gorka addressed Marlow’s point about the danger of Americans growing accustomed to terrorist atrocities:

Let’s just look at the numbers. Three attacks, okay? Eleven devices. There were five that were found in a backpack just last night. There were four; only one detonated in New Jersey. Then we have the two pressure-cooker bombs, and on top of that, we have the knife attack. This is the kind of density of attack and devices that we recall from the Cold War. This is like the IRA period.

The war is real, and the war has arrived at America’s shores, and I think it makes the November decision all the more a decision about which candidate you think is going to be the more effective commander-in-chief, who takes this war seriously, and who doesn’t have just incredible gaffes, like Johnson, or just complete non-sequitur oxymoronic statements, such as Secretary Clinton?

Gorka said there are two big reasons the Left is more obsessed with policing language than stopping terrorism:

Number one, if they admit this is a jihadi threat coming from Arab or Muslim communities or Egypt, then the whole multicultural narrative is proven to be bankrupt. Number one is this huge failure, for the last 30 years, of politically correct multicultural narratives.

And secondly, the other reason the administration, and people like Secretary Clinton,have to deny the reality of the escalating threat is the natural conclusion everybody will draw. So what does that mean about the last seven-and-a-half years of your counterterrorism policy? It means it is an utter, abject failure.

Dr. Sebastian Gorka is the National Security Editor for Breitbart News, and the author of the best-selling book Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War.

Breitbart News Daily airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern.

LISTEN:

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The Connection between Al-Qaeda and Black Lives Matter

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Front Page Magazine, by Raymond Ibrahim, Sept. 15, 2016:

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri made a new video that appeared on September 9.  It offers little that is new:  9/11 is again praised and portrayed as a product of Muslim grievances and payback for Western crimes; he vows a “thousand more” 9/11s; and warns against apostates being more dangerous than original infidels.

Only one angle stands out—again, not because it is new, but because it sheds light on a growing phenomenon: black violence against police in general, in the context of Black Lives Matter in particular.   In last week’s video, Zawahiri called on American blacks to convert to Islam, asserting that they will never receive justice and will always live in “humiliation” until they convert to Islam and rebel against the “white majority.”  He even showed footage of the Nation of Islam’s Malcolm X preaching.

While many conclude that al-Qaeda is opportunistically trying to exploit groups like BLM, the reality may be that BLM has from the start long been influenced by al-Qaeda’s rhetoric and propaganda (which, as usual, is quietly disseminated on the ground, not by al-Qaeda, but by its many Muslim sympathizers in America).  For Zawahiri has in fact for years been calling on American blacks to turn against whites and quoting Malcolm X.

Nearly a decade ago, Zawahiri issued a similar message:

That’s why I want blacks in America, people of color, American Indians, Hispanics, and all the weak and oppressed in North and South America, in Africa and Asia, and all over the world, to know that when we wage jihad in Allah’s path, we aren’t waging jihad to lift oppression from Muslims only; we are waging jihad to lift oppression from all mankind, because Allah has ordered us never to accept oppression, whatever it may be…This is why I want every oppressed one on the face of the earth to know that our victory over America and the Crusading West — with Allah’s permission — is a victory for them, because they shall be freed from the most powerful tyrannical force in the history of mankind.

American blacks, however, were Zawahiri’s primary targets. He again praised and quoted from Malcolm X: “Anytime you beg another man to set you free, you will never be free. Freedom is something you have to do for yourself. The price of freedom is death.”

Surely it’s not a coincidence that, a decade after this theme started to be hammered out by al-Qaeda and America’s Nation of Islam—who are ever telling blacks that Christianity is the “white man’s religion,” made to keep blacks passive, whereas Islam is the religion of equality, strength and dignity—that blacks, many associated or even converted to Islam, have begun to engage in violence and murder, including in the context of Black Lives Matter, that is, in the so-called name of “social justice”?

Sounding like Malcolm X, just last year Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan spoke words that would make Zawahiri proud:

I’m looking for 10,000 in the midst of a million. Ten thousand fearless men who say death is sweeter than continued life under tyranny. Death is sweeter than continuing to live and bury our children while the white folks give our killers hamburgers. Death is sweeter than watching us slaughter each other to the joy of a 400-year-old enemy. Death is sweeter. The Quran teaches persecution is worse than slaughter. Then it says retaliation is prescribed in matters of the slain. Retaliation is a prescription from God to calm the breasts of those whose children have been slain. So if the federal government won’t intercede in our affairs, then we must rise up and kill those who kill us; stalk them and kill them and let them feel the pain of death that we are feeling!

Apparently police are meant by “those who kill us.”  Unsurprisingly, then, Muslims and the Nation of Islam—even ISIS apparently—were “on the Ground [in Ferguson] and Active Since Day One.”  Likewise, Gavin Eugene Long, a self-styled “social justice warrior,” who murdered three Baton Rouge police officers last July, was a member of the Nation of Islam.  Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley, the original Black Lives Matter cop killer, who gunned down two NYPD officers while eating lunch in their patrol car in December 2014 posted on his Facebook an image of Koran verse 8:60, where Allah calls on Muslims to “strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of Allah.” Edward Archer, another black convert to Islam, shot a Philadelphia police officer and later cited “following Allah” as his motive.

The aftereffects of al-Qaeda’s propaganda—which, right after September 11, 2001, was regularly disseminated by Western media far and wide—are still with us.  Such propaganda always had several faces: if it was meant to make liberal Americans feel guilty and try to appease “aggrieved” Muslims, it was simultaneously always inciting blacks to violence against whites.  And it worked, even if its rationale is often hidden beneath the surface.

Islamic State Adapting & Improving Its Escape/Evasion Tactics/Tradecraft

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Image source: http://www.wsj.com/articles/new-tricks-make-isis-once-easily-tracked-a-sophisticated-opponent-1473613106

Fortuna’s Corner, by R. C. Porter, Sept. 12, 2016:

Sam Schechner and Benoit Faucon had a September 11, 2016 article in the Wall Street Journal with an all too familiar theme — that the adversary is evading our attempts to surveil them — by adapting and enhancing their escape and evasion tradecraft.  Our lack of critical human intelligence (HUMINT) can be blamed on a clever adversary who has learned from their past mistakes, our inability to deeply penetrate their inner sanctum, and self-inflicted/unforced errors like closing Guantanamo Bay Prison without identifying a viable alternative.

     Getting a reliable, and highly successful human spy ensconced deep within the adversary’s lair has always been one of the most difficult intelligence collection challenges since time immemorial.  Napoleon Bonaparte once said that “one well placed spy was worth two battalions.”  Now, one well-placed spy could be worth an entire city.

     Our success in the targeted killing of the ISIS leadership no doubt sowed a heavy dose of mistrust and paranoia within the group’s ranks; and, ultimately forced those remaining to change and adapt their techniques, tactics, and procedures (TTPs) with respect to  how they communicate, plan operations, and travel — both locally and abroad.  The adversary gets a vote; and, it is to be expected that ISIS would adapt, change, and enhance its operational security (OPSEC) — especially as the targeted killing campaign eliminated their top leadership.  But, leaks by Edward Snowden, which revealed sensitive and highly lucrative NSA sources and methods, seemed to instill ISIS with a renewed sense of OPSEC, resulting in their use of enhanced encryption software, and other techniques to avoid our attempts to surveil them.

      As Mr. Schechner and Mr. Faucon note, “the extremists group’s communications, once commonly conducted on phones and social media accounts easily tracked by authorities [and intelligence agencies], have evolved into a mix of encrypted chat-app messages over What‘sApp and Telegram, face-to-face meetings, written notes, stretches of silence, and misdirection.”  The use of couriers, and disposable cell phones also remain a staple of their tradecraft.  The group’s move to enhanced encryption occurred within three months after the Edward Snowden leasks.  Additionally, as expressed on the group’s social media websites, ISIS members and followers were warned about Western surveillance techniques — as revealed by the Snowden leaks, and what to do to avoid them.

     The POTUS’s insistence on closing Guantanamo Bay Prison, means the United States lacks a dedicated interrogation facility where high-value targets can be taken and interrogated over a prolonged period of time.  As a result, the U.S. is forced to conduct tactical/limited interrogations overseas; and/or, depend on an ally or foreign partner to conduct these investigations — and never really being sure that such interrogations were adequate.  The next POTUS needs to reinstate Guantanamo as a dedicated interrogation facility, or settle on a useful alternative that does not unduly deprive our, and our intelligence agency partners of the opportunity to thoroughly question those who wish to kill as many Americans and Westerners as they can.

     As former CIA officer Philip Giraldi wrote in the July 23, 2014 edition of The American Conservative, “terrorists now know that using a cell phone is dangerous, that transferring money using commercial accounts can be detected [thus the increased use of Bitcoins], that moving around when a drone is overhead can be fatal [thus the increased use/employment of human shields — women/children, etc.]; and, that communicating by computer is likely to be intercepted or exposed unless it is encrypted.

     And, as Mr. Giraldi correctly observes, “technical intelligence has its limitations:  while it is excellent on picking up bits and pieces, and using sophisticated computers to work through the bulk collection of chatter, it is largely unable to learn the intentions of terrorist groups and leaders.  To do that,” he argues, “you need spies, ideally someone who is placed in the inner circle of an organization; and who is therefore — privy to decision-making.”

     But, the Intelligence Community has a very poor record when it comes to deeply penetrating a terrorist group with a well-placed human spy.  To be fair, these groups are typically close-knit, very suspicious of new-comers, and vet new members through family and tribal connections — thus making a successful HUMINT penetration challenging to say the least.

     At the end of the day, intelligence collection against a low-tech adversary, who learns our sources and methods from leaks such as Edward Snowden’s, and adapts their TTPas in clever and unexpected ways, makes them a ‘hard target’ for a reason.  All the more important that we avoid self-inflicted wounds like shuttering Guantanamo  Bay Prison — without a viable alternative — and, consider establishing a leading-edge, deep penetration center of excellence, designed to try new means and methods to collect against low-tech, hard to penetrate adversarial entities.  V/R, RCP

Also see:

Islamic Movement in U.S. Preparing for Battle

Understanding the Threat, by John Guandolo, Sept. 13, 2016:

For UTT followers who are accustomed to brief articles, this is a longer article because it needs to be.  This is an important topic and needs a little more attention.  Please read this carefully because the implications are significant.  JG

As UTT has continually reported, there exists in the United States a significant jihadi movement led primarily by the Muslim Brotherhood whose organizations include the most prominent and influential Islamic groups in America.

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The Islamic Movement in the U.S. continues their daily work of preparing for the coming battle at all levels of the society.  From a military standpoint, the leaders of the American Muslim community are coalescing their forces and preparing strategically, operationally, and logistically for war.

Strategic Overlay

Going back to the early 1980’s, the jihadis set up an elaborate network of jihadi centers known in the U.S. as the Al Kifah Refugee Centers to recruit jihadis for the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan.  Some of these over three dozen offices were operated by only a couple jihadis with a phone or fax machine, and some had a more sizable presence in the community.  Nevertheless, they created nodes across the United States for jihadis in many American cities, and became centers for possible Al Qaeda recruitment in the future.

For the last few decades the Pakistani terrorist organization known as Jamaat al Fuqra has been establishing jihadi training camps in the United States primarily among black Muslims, many of whom were recruited in prison.  Known in the U.S. as “Muslims of America” or “MOA,” approximately two dozen of the three dozen known camps appear to be operational today.

In the early 1990’s the Chief Investigator for the state of Colorado, with support from the Governor and Attorney General, launched a multi-jurisdictional raid of an MOA compound near Buena Vista (CO) and discovered weapons, explosives, lists of people to be assassinated, evidence that military/national guard bases had been under surveillance, and the like.

In one of the gems discovered in the 2004 FBI raid of the Annandale, Virginia home of a senior Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas leader, a recording of a senior Muslim Brotherhood leader speaking to a group of Muslim Brothers in Missouri revealed the MB has numerous training camps inside America and conducted regular firearms training.

To be clear, they are not planning on conducting violent actions in the immediate future, but are planning for “Zero Hour” – their term for when the violent jihad will begin when the time is right.  They may wait until an outside influence from a foreign power or a major event initiates conflict, and then the Islamic Movement can begin the jihad and act independently or as an ally for a hostile foreign power such as Iran or China.

In the MB’s 5-Phase “World Underground Movement Plan” – discovered at the 2004 FBI raid in Annandale, Virginia – the Brotherhood states (Phase 2) they must “Establish a government (secret) within the government.”  The purpose of this is to have jihadis on the inside of our government who will serve as the leadership for the Islamic Movement when they seize power in the United States.  Until then, their role is to (1) gather intelligence and (2) conduct influence operations at all levels of the society, especially within the decision-making process.

As has previously been discussed, this is much more a counterintelligence and espionage issue than it is a “terrorism” matter.  The enemy is preparing the battlefield now for the eventual battle to come.

The U.S. Network

The evidence in the largest terrorism financing and Hamas trial ever successfully prosecuted in American history (US v Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, Dallas 2008) reveals the most prominent Islamic organizations in the U.S. are a part of a massive jihadi network whose stated objective is to wage “Civilization Jihad” to destroy our system of government and establish an Islamic State (caliphate) under sharia here.  The evidence also reveals the Muslim Brotherhood Islamic Centers/Mosques are the places at which jihadi train for battle and from which the jihad will be launched.

All of the mosques our military entered during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and mosques that European authorities have raided in the last two years have had weapons in them.  The mosque is what Mohammad used a mosque for, and the launch point for jihad is one of those purposes.

There are over 2400 Islamic Centers/Mosques in America, most of which are a part of the MB’s jihadi network.

In the United States the “nucleus” for the Islamic Movement is the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) whose subsidiary Islamic Societies number approximately 170.  The Muslim Students Associations (MSA) serve as a recruiting arm for jihadis, and there are over 700 chapters on nearly every major college campus in America.

Reports from around the country from civilian and law enforcement sources reveal:  Mosques and Islamic organizations are being built in strategic locations – near key infrastructure facilities, military bases, or some other key position in the community; taxi cab drivers at the largest airports in the U.S. are Muslim; and there is a noticeable increase in sharia-compliant Muslim TSA officers, baggage handlers and airline/airport employees at U.S. airports.

Additionally:  Muslims are purchasing hotels, quick marts, and 7-11 type stores with gas stations, and  a majority of major hotels in cities across the U.S. have a manager or assistant manager who is a Muslim, which is statistically impossible unless this activity is intentional.

Quick marts and gas stations provide their Movement with a logistics train that will be needed in a battle. Having people in leadership positions at major hotels in major cities, where law enforcement and intelligence groups and others hold conferences, serve as excellent intelligence gathering nodes.

Jihadis have penetrated U.S. federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies giving them access to sensitive intelligence systems, while simultaneously they have shut down real threat-based training inside these same agencies under the guise factual/truth-based training is “offensive to Muslims.”

Jihadis have themselves penetrated senior levels of the government (eg Suhail Khan working for two successive Secretaries of Transportation with access to classified critical infrastructure details), and have recruited senior U.S. government officials to promote and protect their interests which are hostile to the U.S. (most recent example – Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson promoting and defending leading MB organization ISNA and speaking at their annual convention expressly to open the door to more Cabinet officials to do the same).

Key jihadi organizations, like Hamas (doing business as the Council on American Islamic Relations/CAIR) work on Capitol Hill and inside government agencies to keep truthful discussions about the Islamic threat from ever happening, while plotting to work with Al Qaeda (as evidenced by UTT’s Chris Gaubatz discovery of a CAIR document dated 3/08/04 at their headquarters in Washington, D.C. stating, “Attempt to understand Islamic movements in the area, and start supporting Islamic groups including Mr. bin Laden and his associates”).

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Now, the U.S. government is bringing tens of thousands of sharia adherent Muslims into our nation.  From the Islamic perspective, these people are Muhajaroun – those who make the hijra into the non-Muslim lands in preparation for the “Final Stage,” which is armed conflict with the host country.  This is all a part of their strategy, and is consistent with core Islamic doctrine.

Finally, we are currently observing the Marxist/Socialist Movement in the U.S. working directly with the Islamic Movement at the ground and strategic levels.  Both have publicly declared their support for one another, they are both receiving funding from hard-left Marxists/socialists (eg George Soros) and foreign powers, and both are openly pushing for confrontation with and the overthrow of the U.S. government.

The Islamic Movement in the United States is deeply embedded in the U.S. decision-making process, has thousands of organizations and allies, possesses a logistics train of fuel and supplies, conducts weapons training programs, has access to U.S. intelligence systems, is well funded (primarily by Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, etc), has strategic plans for North America (An Explanatory Memorandum) and has a plan to implement the strategy (Implementation Manual) which they are following.

The U.S. response is to say “Islam is a religion of peace” and work with the very Muslim leaders who are driving this hostile network.

Victory is not possible with this recipe.

Each year there are between 70 and 120 new Islamic non-profits being created in America, most of which appear to be working directly in line with the Muslim Brotherhood’s plan to wage civilization jihad until “Zero Hour” when the war goes hot.

Until then, they continue to prep the battlefield because they are really at war with us because they are following sharia – core Islamic doctrine – as their blueprint for what they are doing.

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Fifteen years after the 9/11 attacks, al Qaeda fights on

Long War Journal, by Thomas Joscelyn Sept. 11, 2016:

All appeared lost for Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda in December 2001. In the years leading up to the 9/11 hijackings, bin Laden believed that the US was a “paper tiger” and would retreat from the Muslim majority world if al Qaeda struck hard enough. The al Qaeda founder had good reasons to think this. American forces withdrew from Lebanon after a series of attacks in the early 1980s and from Somalia after the “Black Hawk Down” episode in 1993. The US also did not respond forcefully to al Qaeda’s August 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, or the USS Cole bombing in October 2000.

But bin Laden’s strategy looked like a gross miscalculation in late 2001. An American-led invasion quickly overthrew the Taliban’s regime just weeks after 19 of bin Laden’s men hijacked four airliners and crashed them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania. Some of al Qaeda’s most senior figures were killed in American airstrikes. With al Qaeda’s foes closing in, bin Laden ordered his men to retreat to the remote Tora Bora Mountains. Here, bin Laden must have thought, al Qaeda would make its last stand. The end was nigh.

Except it wasn’t.

Bin Laden slithered away, eventually making his way to Abbottabad, Pakistan. When Navy SEALs came calling more than nine years later, in early May 2011, the world looked very different.

Documents recovered in bin Laden’s compound reveal that he and his lieutenants were managing a cohesive global network, with subordinates everywhere from West Africa to South Asia. Some US intelligence officials assumed that bin Laden was no longer really active. But Bin Laden’s files demonstrated that this view was wrong.

Writing in The Great War of Our Time: The CIA’s Fight Against Terrorism – From al Qa’ida to ISIS, former CIA official Mike Morell explains how the Abbottabad cache upended the US intelligence community’s assumptions regarding al Qaeda. “The one thing that surprised me was that the analysts made clear that our pre-raid understanding of Bin Laden’s role in the organization had been wrong,” Morell writes. “Before the raid we’d thought that Bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman al Zawahiri, was running the organization on a day-to-day basis, essentially the CEO of al Qaeda, while Bin Laden was the group’s ideological leader, its chairman of the board. But the DOCEX showed something quite different. It showed that Bin Laden himself had not only been managing the organization from Abbottabad, he had been micromanaging it.”*

Consider some examples from the small set of documents released already.

During the last year and a half of his life, Osama bin Laden: oversaw al Qaeda’s “external work,” that is, its operations targeting the West; directed negotiations with the Pakistani state over a proposed ceasefire between the jihadists and parts of the government; ordered his men to evacuate northern Pakistan for safe havens in Afghanistan; instructed Shabaab to keep its role as an al Qaeda branch secret and offered advice concerning how its nascent emirate in East Africa should be run; received status reports on his fighters’ operations in at least eight different Afghan provinces; discussed al Qaeda’s war strategy in Yemen with the head of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and other subordinates; received updates from Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, including details on a proposed truce with the government of Mauritania; authorized the relocation of veteran jihadists to Libya, where they could take advantage of the uprising against Muammar al Qaddafi’s regime; corresponded with the Taliban’s leadership; and generally made decisions that impacted al Qaeda’s operations everywhere around the globe.

Again, these are just a handful of examples culled from the publicly-available files recovered in bin Laden’s compound. The overwhelming majority of these documents remain classified and, therefore, unavailable to the American public.

Al Qaeda has grown under Zawahiri’s tenure

The story of how bin Laden’s role was missed should raise a large red flag. Al Qaeda is still not well-understood and has been consistently misjudged. Not long after bin Laden was killed, a meme spread about his successor: Ayman al Zawahiri. Many ran with the idea that Zawahiri is an ineffectual and unpopular leader who lacked bin Laden’s charisma and was, therefore, incapable of guiding al Qaeda’s global network. This, too, was wrong.

There is no question that the Islamic State, which disobeyed Zawahiri’s orders and was disowned by al Qaeda’s “general command” in 2014, has cut into al Qaeda’s share of the jihadist market and undermined the group’s leadership position. But close observers will notice something interesting about al Qaeda’s response to the Islamic State’s challenge. Under Zawahiri’s stewardship, al Qaeda grew its largest paramilitary force ever.

Brett McGurk, the Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, warned about the rise of Al Nusrah Front during testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on June 28. “With direct ties to Ayman al Zawahiri, Osama Bin Laden’s successor, Nusra[h] is now al [Qaeda’s] largest formal affiliate in history,” McGurk said. US officials previously contacted by The Long War Journal said Nusrah could easily have 10,000 or more fighters in its ranks.

It is worth repeating that Nusrah grew in size and stature, while being openly loyal to Zawahiri, after the Islamic State became its own jihadist menace. Far from being irrelevant, Zawahiri ensured al Qaeda’s survival in the Levant and oversaw its growth.

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On July 28, Al Nusrah Front emir Abu Muhammad al Julani announced that his organization would henceforth be known as Jabhat Fath al Sham (JFS, or the “Conquest of the Levant Front”) and would have no “no affiliation to any external [foreign] entity.” This was widely interpreted as Al Nusrah’s “break” from al Qaeda. But Julani never actually said that and al Qaeda itself isn’t an “external entity” with respect to Syria as the group moved much of its leadership to the country long ago. Al Nusrah’s rebranding was explicitly approved by Abu Khayr al Masri, one of Zawahiri’s top deputies, in an audio message released just hours prior to Julani’s announcement. Masri was likely inside Syria at the time.

Julani, who was dressed like Osama bin Laden during his appearance (as pictured above), heaped praise on bin Laden, Zawahiri and Masri. “Their blessed leadership has, and shall continue to be, an exemplar of putting the needs of the community and their higher interests before the interest of any individual group,” Julani said of Zawahiri and Masri.

Most importantly, Al Nusrah’s relaunch as JFS is entirely consistent with al Qaeda’s longstanding strategy in Syria and elsewhere. Al Qaeda never wanted to formally announce its role in the rebellion against Bashar al Assad’s regime, correctly calculating that clandestine influence is preferable to an overt presence for many reasons. This helps explain why Nusrah was never officially renamed as “Al Qaeda in the Levant” in the first place. However, fifteen years after the 9/11 attacks, there is such widespread ignorance of al Qaeda’s goals and strategy that Nusrah’s name change is enough to fool many.

Al Qaeda has grown in South Asia as well. In Sept. 2014, Zawahiri announced the formation of Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), which brought together elements of several existing jihadist organizations. AQIS quickly got to work, attempting to execute an audacious plan that would have used Pakistani arms against American and Indian ships. The plot failed, but revealed that al Qaeda had infiltrated Pakistan’s military.

Pakistani officials recently told the Washington Post that they suspect AQIS has a few thousand members in the city of Karachi alone. And al Qaeda remains closely allied with the Taliban while maintaining a significant presence inside Afghanistan. In October 2015, for instance, Afghan and American forces conducted a massive operation against two large al Qaeda training camps in the southern part of the country. One of the camps was approximately 30 square miles in size. Gen. John F. Campbell, who oversaw the war effort in Afghanistan, explained that the camp was run by AQIS and is “probably the largest training camp-type facility that we have seen in 14 years of war.”

With Zawahiri as its emir, al Qaeda raised its “largest formal affiliate in history” in Syria and operated its “largest training” camp ever in Afghanistan. These two facts alone undermine the widely-held assumption that al Qaeda is on death’s door.

Elsewhere, al Qaeda’s other regional branches remain openly loyal to Zawahiri.

From April 2015 to April 2016, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) controlled a large swath of territory along Yemen’s southern coast, including the key port city of Mukalla. An Arab-led coalition helped reclaim some of this turf earlier this year, but AQAP’s forces simply melted away, living to fight another day. AQAP continues to wage a prolific insurgency in the country, as does Shabaab across the Gulf of Aden in Somalia. Shabaab’s leaders announced their fealty to Zawahiri in February 2012 and remain faithful to him. They have taken a number of steps to stymie the growth of the Islamic State in Somalia and neighboring countries. Shabaab also exports terrorism throughout East Africa, executing a number of high-profile terrorist attacks in recent years.

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) continues to operate in West and North Africa, often working in conjunction with front groups. Like al Qaeda’s branches elsewhere, AQIM prefers to mask the extent of its influence, working through organizations such as Ansar al Sharia and Ansar Dine to achieve its goals. Late last year, Al Murabitoon rejoined AQIM’s ranks. Al Murabitoon is led by Mohktar Belmokhtar, who has been reportedly killed on several occasions. Al Qaeda claims that Belmokhtar is still alive and has praised him for rejoining AQIM after his contentious relations with AQIM’s hierarchy in the past. While Belmokhtar’s status cannot be confirmed, several statements have been released in his name in recent months. And Al Murabitoon’s merger with AQIM has led to an increase in high-profile attacks in West Africa.

In sum, AQAP, AQIM, AQIS and Shabaab are formal branches of al Qaeda and have made their allegiance to Zawahiri clear. Jabhat Fath al Sham, formerly known as Al Nusrah, is an obvious al Qaeda project in Syria. Other organizations continue to serve al Qaeda’s agenda as well.

Al Qaeda’s veterans and a “new generation” of jihadist leadership

As the brief summary above shows, Al Qaeda’s geographic footprint has expanded greatly since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Some US officials argue that al Qaeda has been “decimated” because of the drone campaign and counterterrorism raids. They narrowly focus on the leadership layer of al Qaeda, while ignoring the bigger picture. But even their analysis of al Qaeda’s managers is misleading.

Al Qaeda has lost dozens of key men, but there is no telling how many veterans remain active to this day. Experienced operatives continue to serve in key positions, often returning to the fight after being detained or only revealing their hidden hand when it becomes necessary. Moreover, al Qaeda knew it was going to lose personnel and took steps to groom a new generation of jihadists capable of filling in.

From left to right: Saif al Adel, Abu Mohammed al Masri and Abu Khayr al Masri. These photos, first published by the FBI and US intelligence officials, show the al Qaeda leaders when they were younger.

From left to right: Saif al Adel, Abu Mohammed al Masri and Abu Khayr al Masri. These photos, first published by the FBI and US intelligence officials, show the al Qaeda leaders when they were younger.

Last year, several veterans were reportedly released from Iran, where they were held under murky circumstances. One of them was Abu Khayr al Masri, who paved the way for Al Nusrah’s rebranding in July. Another is Saif al Adel, who has long been wanted for his role in the 1998 US Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. At least two others freed by Iran, Abu Mohammed al Masri and Khalid al Aruri, returned to al Qaeda as well.

Masri, Al Adel, and Aruri may all be based inside Syria, or move back and forth to the country from Turkey, where other senior members are based. Mohammed Islambouli is an important leader within al Qaeda. After leaving Iran several years ago, Islambouli returned to Egypt and eventually made his way to Turkey, where he lives today.

Sitting to Julani’s right during his much ballyhooed announcement was one of Islambouli’s longtime compatriots, Ahmed Salama Mabrouk. The diminutive Mabrouk is another Zawahiri subordinate. He was freed from an Egyptian prison in the wake of the 2011 uprisings.

Al Qaeda moved some of its senior leadership to Syria and several others from this cadre are easy to identify. But al Qaeda has also relied on personnel in Yemen to guide its global network. One of Zawahiri’s lieutenants, Hossam Abdul Raouf, confirmed this in an audio message last October. Raouf explained that the “weight” of al Qaeda has been shifted to Syria and Yemen, because that is where its efforts are most needed.

The American drone campaign took out several key AQAP leaders in 2015, but they were quickly replaced. Qasim al Raymi, who was trained by al Qaeda in Afghanistan in the 1990s, succeeded Nasir al Wuhayshi as AQAP’s emir last summer. Raymi quickly renewed his allegiance to Zawahiri, whom Raymi described as the “the eminent sheikh” and “the beloved father.” Another al Qaeda lifer, Ibrahim Abu Salih, emerged from the shadows last year. Salih was not public figure beforehand, but he has been working towards al Qaeda’s goals in Yemen since the early 1990s. Ibrahim al Qosi (an ex-Guantanamo detainee) and Khalid al Batarfi have stepped forward to lead AQAP and are probably also part of al Qaeda’s management team.

This old school talent has helped buttress al Qaeda’s leadership cadre. They’ve been joined by men who signed up for al Qaeda’s cause after the 9/11 attacks as well. In July, the US Treasury Department designated three jihadists who are based in Iran. One of them, known as Abu Hamza al Khalidi, was listed in bin Laden’s files as part of a “new generation” of al Qaeda leaders. Today, he plays a crucial role as the head of al Qaeda’s military commission, meaning he is the equivalent of al Qaeda’s defense minister. Treasury has repeatedly identified other al Qaeda members based in Iran, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Some members of the “new generation” are more famous than others. Such is the case with Osama’s son,Hamzah bin Laden, who is now regularly featured in propaganda.

This brief survey of al Qaeda is not intended to be exhaustive, yet it is still sufficient to demonstrate that the organization’s bench is far from empty. Moreover, many of the men who lead al Qaeda today are probably unknown to the public.

The threat to the West

Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee in February, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper warned that al Qaeda “nodes in Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Turkey” are “dedicating resources to planning attacks.” His statement underscored how the threats have become more geographically dispersed over time. With great success, the US worked for years to limit al Qaeda’s ability to strike the West from northern Pakistan. But today, al Qaeda’s “external operations” work is carried out across several countries.

During the past fifteen years, Al Qaeda has failed to execute another mass casualty attack in the US on the scale of the 9/11 hijackings. Its most recent attack in Europe came in January 2015, when a pair of brothers backed by AQAP conducted a military-style assault on the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris. AQAP made it clear that the Charlie Hebdo massacre was carried out according to Zawahiri’s orders.

Thanks to vigilance and luck, al Qaeda hasn’t been able to replicate a 9/11-style assault inside the US. Part of the reason is that America’s defenses, as well as those of its partner nations, have improved. Operations such as the 9/11 hijackings are also difficult to carry out in the first place. Even the 9/11 plan experienced interruptions despite a relatively lax security environment. (Most famously, for example, the would-be 20th hijacker was denied entry into the US at an Orlando airport in the summer of 2001.)

But there is another aspect to evaluating the al Qaeda threat that is seldom appreciated. It is widely assumed that al Qaeda is only interested in attacking the West. This is flat false. Most of the organization’s resources are devoted to waging insurgencies in Muslim majority countries.

The story in Syria has been telling. Although al Qaeda may have more resources in Syria than anywhere else, Zawahiri did not order his men to carry out a strike in the West. Al Qaeda’s so-called “Khorasan Group” laid the groundwork for such operations, but Zawahiri did not give this cadre the green light to actually carry them out. Zawahiri’s stand down order is well known. In an interview that aired in May 2015, for instance, Julani explained that the “directives that come to us from Dr. Ayman [al Zawahiri], may Allah protect him, are that Al Nusrah Front’s mission in Syria is to topple [Bashar al Assad’s] regime” and defeat its allies. “We have received guidance to not use Syria as a base for attacks against the West or Europe so that the real battle is not confused,” Julani said. However, he conceded that “maybe” the mother al Qaeda organization is plotting against the West, just “not from Syria.” Julani emphasized that this “directive” came from Zawahiri himself.

To date, al Qaeda has not lashed out at the West from inside Syria, even though it is certainly capable of doing so. Al Qaeda’s calculation has been that such an attack would be too costly for its strategic interests. It might get in the way of al Qaeda’s top priority in Syria, which is toppling the Assad regime. This calculation could easily change overnight and al Qaeda could use Syria as a launching pad against the West soon. But they haven’t thus far. It helps explain why there hasn’t been another 9/11-style plot by al Qaeda against the US in recent years. It also partially explains why al Qaeda hasn’t launched another large-scale operation in Europe for some time. Al Qaeda has more resources at its disposal today than ever, so the group doesn’t lack the capability. If Zawahiri and his advisors decided to make anti-Western attack planning more of a priority, then the probability of another 9/11-style event would go up. Even in that scenario, al Qaeda would have to successfully evade the West’s defenses. But the point is that al Qaeda hasn’t been attempting to hit the West nearly as much as some in the West assume.

In the meantime, it is easy to see how the al Qaeda threat has become more diverse, just as Clapper testified. AQAP has launched several thwarted plots aimed at the US, including the failed Christmas Day 2009 bombing. In 2009, al Qaeda also plotted to strike trains in the New York City area. In 2010, a Mumbai-style assault in Europe was unraveled by security services. It is not hard to imagine al Qaeda trying something along those lines once again. Other organizations tied to al Qaeda, such as the Pakistani Taliban, have plotted against the US as well.

Fifteen years after the 9/11 attacks, al Qaeda lives. Fortunately, Zawahiri’s men have not replicated the hijackings that killed nearly 3,000 Americans. But the al Qaeda threat looms. It would be a mistake to assume that al Qaeda won’t try a large-scale operation again.

*The spellings of al Qaeda and bin Laden are changed in this quote from Morell to make them consistent with the rest of the text.

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for The Long War Journal.

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Listen to John Batchelor interview Thomas Joscelyn:

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Fifteen Years Later, Al Qaeda Grows

15 Years Since 9/11, Is Al-Qaeda’s 20 Yr Plan Coming To Fruition?

9/11 from Brooklyn Bridge. (Photo: © Reuters)

9/11 from Brooklyn Bridge. (Photo: © Reuters)

How does the “War on Terror” look 15 years after the worst terrorist attack in American history? Al-Qaeda’s 20 year plan is scarily close to reality.

Clarion Project, by Elliot Friedland, Sept. 11, 2016:

Today marks 15 years since Al-Qaeda attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, murdering 2, 977 people. Since that day, in 2001, at least another 1,000 people have died from illnesses caused by exposure to debris from the failing towers.

Warning: This short clip shows the World Trade Center after it was hit:

A US-led NATO taskforce invaded Afghanistan shortly afterwards to remove the Taliban, and to find and capture Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden is now dead, but Afghanistan is still at war. Al-Qaeda’s successor organization, the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL), has established a state of sorts across swathes of Syria and Iraq. Al-Qaeda itself is an active participant in Syria’s increasingly-complicated civil war.

Since the attack, efforts to defeat terrorism have been successful. Here are three things to bear in mind:

1-3With the collapse of the USSR, Islamism is the only ideological alternative to Western hegemony

Islamism is a comprehensive political system that offers a total ideological alternative to the mainstream Western consensus of democracies enforcing liberal values, backed by American hard power. Since international communism collapsed, those opposed to this system have been left without an ideological home.

This fact puts into perspective the close relationship between sections of the hard left, such as the UK’s Jeremy Corbyn or Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin, with totalitarian Islamists such as Hamas or insurgents fighting American forces in Iraq. Both Corbyn and Benjamin transitioned seamlessly from traditional left-wing and socialist/communist alignment to apologism for terrorist groups who were deemed to be oppressed, as part of a broader strategy of defiance against American and Western power.

In 2009, Corbyn called Hamas a force for “social good” and his “friends”, while Benjamin collected $600,000 in medical supplies and cash in 2004, to deliver to the families of terrorist insurgents fighting the US in Iraq.

Opposed to what they term “neo-liberalism” in principle, activists like these will seek out any allies opposed to it which, in the current era, means Islamist extremists, who have pretty much the only viable (if horrific) alternative ideology to Western neo-liberalism.

2-2Al-Qaeda Wanted to Provoke an Overreaction

As early as 2005, a book entitled This is How We See and Want Jihad was circulating showing Al-Qaeda’s twenty-year long game plan to defeat the West and establish an Islamic Caliphate. This was further illuminated by the groundbreaking work of Jordanian journalist Fouad Hussain. The plan has seven phases. The first phase, between 2000 and 2003, aimed to draw America into an intractable war against Muslims and thus “crown al-Qaeda as the leader of the nation.”

Later phases aimed to make the war intractable and thus gain support for Al-Qaeda while demoralizing the West, and toppling Arab regimes allied to America and Israel. The plan includes creating a jihadi army in Syria and Iraq, and drawing in funding and recruits from outside.

Once US power began to wane, after a decade of an expensive war of attrition, a Caliphate was to be declared at some point from 2013 to 2016. After 2016, the phase of “total war” would begin, waging attacks against Western targets around the world; the “beginning of the confrontation between faith and disbelief, which would begin in earnest after the establishment of the Islamic caliphate.”

Al-Qaeda and its successor the Islamic State seem remarkably on track with this plan, especially considering the turmoil engulfing the region. It is also very important to note that they see terrorism as a means of destabilizing the West to further the establishment of a Caliphate, rather than as an end in itself.

3-1Ideology is the Key to Victory

Bearing in mind the first two points, we see that Al-Qaeda and other jihadi groups see terrorism as a means to an end. To prevent another 9/11 from taking place, therefore, we have to tackle their end goal and show the world precisely how and why an Islamist caliphate is a bad idea.

When we can do that, young jihadis will not be motivated to sacrifice their lives in an attempt to establish this Caliphate, and idealistic activists will not make excuses for people fighting for these goals.

Such clarity is needed now more than ever because, 15 years after the tragic September 11th attacks, there is still no end in sight for the “War on Terror.”

Also see:

On 15th Anniversary Of 9/11, Al-Qaeda Leader Al-Zawahiri Urges Mujahideen To Focus On Targeting U.S., Incites Black Christians Against U.S. And Calls Them To Islam

MEMRI, Sept. 9, 2016:

On September 9, 2016, Al-Qaeda’s media wing Al-Sahab released a video message by the group’s leader, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, marking the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Al-Zawahiri reiterates the reasons behind the attacks and their impact on the U.S., and urges the mujahideen to focus on targeting the U.S. and its allies, and to bring the battle onto their own soil as well. Appealing to non-Muslim African-Americans, he blames their woes on the U.S. and calls to them to convert to Islam.

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Most of the 20-minute video consists of Al-Zawahiri’s message, and the final several minutes feature an archival address by Osama bin Laden. Additionally, archival footage of a Malcolm X address is played as Al-Zawahiri appeals to African-Americans.

Below are the main points of the message:

Al-Zawahiri praises the “blessed raids” of 9/11, noting that they managed to strike deep within the U.S. and to attack its economic symbols, i.e. the Twin Towers. He also notes that the final and fourth hijacked airplane, United Flight 93, was heading towards “the biggest criminals in the White House or the Congress.” Al-Zawahiri boasts that 9/11 was a wakeup call to the U.S., reminding it that its crimes against Muslims won’t go unnoticed. The attacks’ impact, according to Al-Zawahiri, continues to be felt today, and its memory will forever be remembered by the Americans.

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Addressing the U.S., Al-Zawahiri reminds it: “The events of 9/11 were a direct result of your crimes against us, your crimes in Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Mali, Somalia, Yemen, Islamic Maghreb, and Egypt [and] the result of your occupation of Muslim lands, theft of their resources, and support for the murderous corrupt criminals, who rule over them.” He further threatens the U.S.: “As long as your crimes continue, the events of 9/11 will be repeated thousands of times, by the will of Allah. And we will follow you – if you don’t cease your aggression [against us] – until the Day of Judgment…”

Moving on to the subject of the mujahideen, Al-Zawahiri informs the U.S. that their strength is increasing by the day: “There it is, the jihadi awakening [movement] increasing – thanks to Allah – many times over what it used to be before the blessed raids,” he says.

Addressing the mujahideen, Al-Zawahiri urges them to focus on attacking the U.S. and its allies, and on trying as much as possible to shift the battle onto these countries’ own soil. In that regard, he notes that the defeat of the U.S. will lead to the defeat of its lackeys. He also urges the mujahideen to unite, pledge allegiance to the Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan (the Taliban), support the revolutions across the Muslim world, and urge prominent Islamic leaders to form the nucleus of a future council that will be tasked with appointing an imam (leader) for all Muslims.

Speaking to the Muslims in general, Al-Zawahiri implores them to rise up against their rulers: “It has become clear to you that your rulers are tools in the hands of the secular Safavid Crusader alliance, the alliance of the devils, headed by American and the West,” he says. He also urges them to disavow these rulers, and to adopt the path of da’wa and jihad: “Your true soldiers are your mujahideen sons… who wish for you to live free and honored in the shade of the righteous caliphate, in which the ummah chooses, holds accountable, and ousts its imam.”

Al-Zawahiri also lashes out at the various Islamic movements that have emerged in the awake of the Arab Spring, calling them “sheep” and agents of the U.S. who have hijacked the sacrifices of the Muslims. He also calls on the Muslims to be the real lions – like the mujahideen – who refuse to live under these corrupt and apostate regimes.

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Finally, Al-Zawahiri appeals to non-Muslims, particularly African Americans, blaming their woes on the U.S. and calling them to Islam. His message is augmented with an address by Malcolm X. Al-Zawahiri says: “We inform every weakened [person] in the world: America is the source of calamity and the head of evil in this world, and it is the thief of nations’ aliment, and it is the one who humiliate the Africans [i.e. African Americans] until this day, and no matter how much they try to reform and obtain their rights according to the law and the [U.S.] constitution, they will not attain it, for the law is in the hands of the white majority, [who] control it as they wish. And they [i.e. African Americans] will not be saved but by Islam.”

What’s Next For Al-Qaida After The Defeat Of ISIS?

Supporters of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden shout anti-American slogans, after the news of his death, during a rally in Quetta May 2, 2011. Bin Laden was killed in a U.S. helicopter raid on a mansion near the Pakistani capital Islamabad early on Monday, officials said, ending a nearly 10-year worldwide hunt for the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks.REUTERS/Naseer Ahmed ∨

Supporters of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden shout anti-American slogans, after the news of his death, during a rally in Quetta May 2, 2011. Bin Laden was killed in a U.S. helicopter raid on a mansion near the Pakistani capital Islamabad early on Monday, officials said, ending a nearly 10-year worldwide hunt for the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks.REUTERS/Naseer Ahmed ∨

Daily Caller, by Saagar Enjeti, Sept. 4, 2016:

Al-Qaida’s long-term strategy to outlast the Islamic State poses a major threat to the U.S. in the years to come, experts told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Al Qaeda is intentionally operating below a threshold that would force Washington into a decision-making position,” Katherine Zimmerman, a Research Fellow and Al-Qaida expert at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) wrote in an email to TheDCNF. “Al Qaeda leadership most probably directed groups not to conduct directed, mass-casualty attacks against Western targets in order to prevent Washington from having to decide whether to act against al Qaeda.”

The U.S. has conducted only a few strikes against Al Qaida in recent months, and President Barack Obama has galvanized the entire U.S. government’s resources toward fighting ISIS. U.S. officials responsible for the fight in Syria hardly mention Al Qaida. The coalition the U.S. has assembled is even called the “Anti-ISIS” coalition.

“Al-Qaida has been pursuing a subversive strategy of trying to integrate itself with local groups,” Bill Roggio, a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told TheDCNF. Al-Qaida’s operations in Syria exemplify the strategy Roggio discusses. The group has focused on integrating itself with existing Syrian opposition groups and building popular support among local communities.

When Al-Qaida’s Syrian affiliate began to draw the attention of the U.S. and Russia, it ostensibly severed its connections with the global terrorist group and rebranded itself. “The unprecedented move was formally sanctioned by al Qaeda’s senior leadership,” Charles Lister, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute, noted in an op-ed for Foreign Policy after the separation was announced.

The move was likely an attempt to “create the image of being more moderate in an attempt to unify and galvanize and appeal to other oppositionist groups in Syria,” Director of National Intelligence Eric Clapper told an audience at the Aspen Forum in the days after the break was announced. Al-Qaida’s leadership sanctioned the break, because opposition groups inside Syria can now partner with Al-Qaida, without also taking on all the baggage an alliance with a terrorist group brings.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) noted that Al-Qaida’s ties to its group in Syria were the “primary source of the opposition’s resistance” to a grand merger. This grand merger has led a coalition of jihadi groups leading a massive battlefield offensive against the Assad regime in the city of Aleppo. The jihadi-led coalition achieved a major victory when it broke the siege of Aleppo city on August 7.

The U.S. has played no role in the current battle for Aleppo, and its strategy is geared to taking territory away from ISIS.

“Al Qaeda has filled the breach left by the absence of the United States,” a group of analysts from ISW, AEI, and the Center for New American Security wrote in an op-ed Thursday for Foreign Policy. The analysts warn that “the United States risks losing the war against extremism in Syria if it continues to allow Ahrar al-Sham and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham to be seen by the Syrian people as the victors in Aleppo.” Ahrar Al-Sham and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham maintain deep ties to Al-Qaida.

Syria is the most fertile battleground for al-Qaida’s vision of a truly Islamic state. Roggio explained that Al-Qaida believes ISIS declared the caliphate too early. He continued that al-Qaida’s subversive strategy is geared towards creating the preconditions necessary for the caliphates declaration.

While Syria is the most active battlefront for Al-Qaida, Zimmerman highlighted that the group is pursuing the same strategy on other battlegrounds. Army Gen. Joseph Votel, commanding general of the U.S. effort against ISIS, has been trumpeting the impending defeat of ISIS in Iraq. Votel told reporters Tuesday, “We’ve got good momentum going,” elaborating “We are really into the heart of the caliphate.”

The U.S. has however made no indication of its plans to deal with al-Qaida on the Iraqi battlefield. Zimmerman cautioned “Al Qaeda is prepared for the day after ISIS in Iraq,” elaborating “Al Qaeda just called for Iraqi fighters to answer its call and for Syrians to support Iraqis to reorganize their fight.” She also pointed to continued low profile Al-Qaida insurgencies in Africa, Yemen, and Somalia.

“Al Qaeda is a greater long-term threat than ISIS because of its resiliency,” Zimmerman closed.

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