Syrian ‘Moderate’ Rebels Flocking to Al-Qaeda After CIA Halts Weapons Pipeline

jihadists-cheer-pentagon-counter-narrative-failure-1-sized-770x415xtPJ MEDIA, BY PATRICK POOLE, FEBRUARY 23, 2017:

A few of us have been predicting for several years now that the so-called “moderate” rebels in Syria backed by the CIA would inevitably collapse into the surging camp of Sunni extremists.

And now that is exactly what has happened, thus signaling the beginning of the end of any pretension of a “moderate opposition” to back in Syria.

In September 2013, the belief that the “moderates” vastly outnumbered the extremists of the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra was taken as gospel by the Obama administration, both Democrats and Republicans in Congress, and the D.C. foreign policy establishment. Those of us challenging that conventional wisdom were a pretty small circle.

Now, the so-called “vetted moderates” are flocking to the banner of the rebranded al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, as the CIA halts their weapons pipeline while the smaller “moderate” groups fall willingly or unwillingly into the extremist camp.

So much for all that “vetting” by the CIA.

Reuters reported earlier this week:

CIA-coordinated military aid for rebels in northwest Syria has been frozen since they came under major Islamist attack last month, rebel sources said, raising doubts about foreign support key to their war against President Bashar al-Assad.

Rebel officials said that no official explanation had been given for the move this month following the jihadist assault, though several said they believed the main objective was to prevent arms and cash falling into Islamist militant hands. But they said they expected the aid freeze to be temporary.

The halt in assistance, which has included salaries, training, ammunition and in some cases guided anti-tank missiles, is a response to jihadist attacks and has nothing to do with U.S. President Donald Trump replacing Barack Obama in January, two U.S. officials familiar with the CIA-led program said.

As I have reported extensively here at PJ Media for several years, the “vetted moderates” have always played a double-game with jihadists groups. And now the Washington Post reports today that it has finally caught up with them.

The biggest surviving rebel stronghold in northern Syria is falling under the control of al-Qaeda-linked extremists amid a surge of rebel infighting that threatens to vanquish what is left of the moderate rebellion.

The ascent of the extremists in the northwestern province of Idlib coincides with a suspension of aid to moderate rebel groups by their international allies.

The commanders of five of the groups say they were told earlier this month by representatives of the United States, Saudi Arabia and Turkey that they would receive no further arms or ammunition until they unite to form a coherent front against the jihadists, a goal that has eluded the fractious rebels throughout the six years of fighting.

The freeze on supplies is unrelated to the change of power in Washington, where the Trump administration is engaged in a review of U.S. policy on Syria, U.S. officials say. It also does not signal a complete rupture of support for the rebels, who are continuing to receive salaries, say diplomats and rebel commanders.

Rather, the goal is to ensure supplies do not fall into extremist hands, by putting pressure on the rebels to form a more efficient force, the rebel commanders say they have been told.

Instead it is the extremists who have closed ranks and turned against the U.S.-backed rebels, putting the al-Qaeda-linked groups with whom the moderates once uneasily coexisted effectively in charge of key swaths of territory in Idlib, the most important stronghold from which the rebels could have hoped to sustain a challenge to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Concerns about U.S.-supplied weapons falling into the hands of jihadist groups are grounded in a long history of defections of U.S.-backed “moderates,” longstanding cooperation between “moderates” and extremists, and losses to extremist groups on the battlefield.

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Al-Qaeda Claims U.S. Killed ‘Blind Sheikh’ in Prison, Calls for ‘Violent Revenge’

Relatives and friends of "Blind Sheikh" Omar Abdel-Rahman, who was convicted of plotting terror attacks in New York City in the decade before 9/11, carry his coffin after funeral prayers at the Grand Mosque in the Nile Delta town of Gamalia, Egypt, on Feb. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Mostafa Albasuni)

Relatives and friends of “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel-Rahman, who was convicted of plotting terror attacks in New York City in the decade before 9/11, carry his coffin after funeral prayers at the Grand Mosque in the Nile Delta town of Gamalia, Egypt, on Feb. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Mostafa Albasuni)

PJ MEDIA, BY BRIDGET JOHNSON, FEBRUARY 22, 2017:

Al-Qaeda accused the United States of withholding necessary medication from “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel-Rahman, the mastermind of the deadly 1993 World Trade Center bombing who died behind bars Saturday.

They also released a final statement from the sheikh complaining of strip searches that explored his private parts “front and back,” claiming that he could be poisoned behind bars and calling for “the most powerful and violent revenge” in the event of his demise.

Abdel-Rahman, 78, was serving a life sentence at the Federal Medical Center, Butner, in North Carolina. He had been blinded at a young age by diabetes, and reportedly passed away from complications of coronary heart disease and diabetes.

In a statement issued by their As-Sahab media, al-Qaeda’s central command grieved the sheikh “after a battle with the tyrants of the earth lasted almost six decades of his life” and winding up “in the grip of the people of the Cross.”

The terror group also noted operations that had been conducted over the years in an effort to win Abdel-Rahman’s release, including the kidnapping of westerners by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb as well as al-Qaeda in Pakistan and its Yemen branch.

Citing Abdel-Rahman’s family, who first released the news of his death, al-Qaeda alleged “the Americans decided to kill him in prison” by withholding drugs.

Al-Qaeda encouraged followers to “slay” in the sheikh’s name as “Americans enjoy security and safety,” targeting U.S. interests everywhere.

Al-Qaeda also released a parting statement from Abdel-Rahman in their Al-Nafir Bulletin, in which he said the Americans were using his imprisonment to “rub the pride of the Muslims in the dirt.”

He complained of being filmed while bathing or using the toilet in solitary confinement, being strip-searched “until I am as naked as when my mother delivered me” before “they look into my private parts, from the front and the back — what are they looking for?” and of not having any fellow Arabic speakers visit. “If it were not for reciting the Quran I would have been afflicted with many psychological and mental illnesses,” he said.

The statement attributed to Abdel-Rahman also said he was prevented from Friday prayers and from celebrating Islamic holidays, or having “any contact with Muslims.”

“They are undoubtedly killing me, especially while I am isolated from the world. No one sees what they do to me in my food and drink. They may employ the method of slow killing with me, where they put poison in the food or a medicine or an injection, and may give me dangerous, bad medicine, or they may give me a quantity of lethal drugs or a madness-inducing drug,” he said. “This is in particular, while I smell strange and awful scents from the floor above me, constantly accompanied by a ‘whoosh,’ like the sound of an old air conditioner, with knocks, noise, and hammering, like the sound of grenades, which continues for hours, day and night.”

After offering several verses from the Quran, Abdel-Rahman continued, “If they kill me — and they inevitably will — publicize my funeral, and send my corpse to my family, and do not forget my blood and do not waste it.”

“Instead, avenge me with the most powerful and violent revenge,” he concluded. “Remember a brother who told you a word of truth and was killed in the way of Allah.”

Abdel-Rahman’s body was returned to his family in Egypt today via the Cairo airport. Thousands gathered in his hometown, Al-Gamaliya, for his funeral.

In an earlier issue of Al-Nafir released by their Global Islamic Media Front at the beginning of the month, al-Qaeda directly addressed President Trump, something official ISIS materials haven’t even done since Inauguration Day. Responding to the raid on an al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula camp, in which CENTCOM admitted civilian casualties, the terror group claimed “Americans in this massacre intentionally killed women and children, and even an infant in the womb was not spared.”

“And on this occasion we say to the stupid President Trump: The presidency of your country has had several presidents in years past, whom all have promised the American people to kill the mujahideen and excise them. However, they all ended up leaving the White House before fulfilling their promise, despite some of them having a second term. This is undoubtedly your fate, for the flame of jihad has ignited and reached all over the world.”

Al Qaeda often agitated for Omar Abdel Rahman’s release from US prison

blind-sheikhLONG WAR JOURNAL, BY THOMAS JOSCELYN, | February 19, 2017:

News broke yesterday that Omar Abdel Rahman, an Egyptian jihadi ideologue, died in a US prison. Within hours of the reports, al Qaeda re-released a copy of Rahman’s last “will,” in which Rahman asked his “brothers” to exact “revenge” for his death.

The US District Court for the Southern District of New York convicted Rahman (seen on the right) on terror-related charges in 1995 and he was subsequently sentenced to life in prison. Rahman was convicted for his role in a conspiracy to launch terror attacks against several New York City landmarks, including the George Washington Bridge, the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels, the FBI’s main office in Manhattan, and the United Nations building. Investigators also found that he was involved with the jihadists responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

The ninth issue of al Qaeda’s Al-Nafir newsletter, which was released online after news of Rahman’s death spread, carried a version of Rahman’s “Will to the Islamic Ummah.” In the text, Rahman complained of the treatment he was allegedly subjected to in an American prison, writing that the US is purposefully “eliminating the scholars who speak the truth.” (This is a common al Qaeda talking point, as the jihadis frequently accuse the Americans of targeting their “scholars.”)

Rahman claimed that the Americans will “eventually kill me,” either through poisoning, or by giving him spoiled medicine, or with an overdose of drugs. Rahman warned that the Americans will lie about the causes of his death, so the jihadis shouldn’t believe them.

Rahman, who was 78, died of natural causes, according to American officials.

His “will” has been a piece of jihadi propaganda since the 1990s.

“My brothers, if they [the Americans] kill me, and they eventually will do so, then perform my funeral and give my corpse to my family,” Rahman wrote, according to a translation of Al-Nafir obtained by FDD’s Long War Journal. “Do not forget my blood and do not squander it, but exact a severe and fierce revenge on them for me.” Rahman called on others to remember that he was their “brother” and that he “spoke the truth” in the cause of Allah.

Al-Nafir’s version is similar to the text that was distributed in 1998. In The Osama bin Laden I Know, Peter Bergen wrote that copies of Rahman’s “will” were distributed at a press conference hosted by Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri on May 26, 1998.

Rahman’s sons handed out a laminated card with their father’s will, as well as a fatwa authorizing attacks against the US, written on it. The text of Rahman’s last will described by Bergen appears to be the same as Al-Nafir’s, meaning Rahman first warned that the Americans were slowly killing him almost twenty years ago. He eventually died — and now al Qaeda is using his death to call for retribution.

According to the translation obtained by Bergen, Rahman’s fatwa read: “Cut all relations with [the Americans, Christians, and Jews], tear them to pieces, destroy their economies, burn their corporations, destroy their peace, sink their ships, shoot down their planes and kill them on air, sea, and land. And kill them wherever you may find them, ambush them, take them hostage, and destroy their observatories. Kill these infidels.”

Rahman’s fatwa has been credited with providing theological justifications for al Qaeda’s attacks, as not many sheikhs endorsed bin Laden’s early vision of global terror. At the May 1998 conference where Rahman’s fatwa and will were handed out by his sons, bin Laden announced that he had formed the “World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders.” It was this front, which Rahman’s sons supported, that brought the war to American targets in Aug. 1998, when the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed.

Al Qaeda frequently took up Rahman’s cause through the years. Bin Laden often cited Rahman’s case as an example of America’s supposed injustice towards Muslims.

In his 1996 declaration of war against America, Bin Laden portrayed Rahman’s imprisonment as part of an alleged campaign against Islamic scholars. In 1997, according to the Washington Post, bin Laden accused the US of fabricating “a baseless case against [Rahman] even though he is a blind old man.”

A Presidential Daily Brief delivered to President Bill Clinton on Dec. 4, 1998 warned that bin Laden and his men were working with Rahman’s group, Gama’at al-Islamiyya (IG), to orchestrate an “aircraft hijacking.” The intent behind the putative plot was to force the US to free Rahman and others. The plot didn’t progress, but it was later seen as an early harbinger of the 9/11 hijackings.

In Sept. 2000, Al Jazeera’s satellite channel aired footage of a meeting of several jihadi leaders in Afghanistan. All of them, including bin Laden and Zawahiri, pledged to free Rahman from jail. “We promise to work with all our power to free our brother [Rahman],” bin Laden said, with one of Rahman’s sons by his side.

Zawahiri also spoke, asking: “Which one of us today would not sacrifice himself for this man who has supported every righteous stand and has been an unshakable leader?” Zawahiri continued: “We have a duty towards Dr. Omar Abdel Rahman, who has never abandoned a righteous stand. Do we now abandon giving him support and rewarding him?”

Al Qaeda and other actors continued to seek Rahman’s release in the years since.

After the revolution in Egypt swept Hosni Mubarak from power in 2011, Rahman’s cause became even more popular. Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood figure who briefly served as Egypt’s president, promised his supporters that he would try to free the blind ideologue.

Members of Gama’at al-Islamiyya who were closely allied with al Qaeda also helped stage a protest outside the US Embassy in Cairo on Sept. 11, 2012. The protest was pro-al Qaeda, with the group’s black flag flying high and chants of “Obama! Obama! We are all Osama [bin Laden]!” ringing out. Some of the protesters cited Rahman in their rallying cries.

In Jan. 2013, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a notorious Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) commander, orchestrated a major raid on a natural gas field in Algeria. His men took dozens of foreign nationals hostage and demanded the release of Rahman in exchange for some of them. Authorities did not comply with the demand.

Al Qaeda still uses images and clips of Rahman in its propaganda.

On Feb. 18, the same day that Rahman’s death was announced, al Qaeda released Ayman al Zawahiri’s lengthy eulogy for one of Rahman’s longtime comrades, Rifai Ahmed Taha Musa, who was killed in an American airstrike in Apr. 2016. Taha and Rahman were both Gama’at al-Islamiyya leaders. Zawahiri praised Taha for taking part in the aforementioned Sept. 2000 conference in Kandahar, during which the jihadis called for Rahman’s release.

“Sheikh Rifai Taha, may God have mercy on him, took interest in the release of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman in deed, and not by merely begging America” to free him, Zawahiri said. Taha agreed with bin Laden that Rahman should be freed and said so during the conference, Zawahiri remarked.

Zawahiri’s video eulogy for Taha includes footage from the Sept. 2000 gathering, during which they praised Rahman. As Sahab, al Qaeda’s propaganda arm, used images of Rahman alongside Zawahiri and Taha to promote the video. (One such image can be seen above.) It may be the case that al Qaeda waited to release Zawahiri’s commemoration of Taha until Rahman died, as the timing of the video’s online distribution is especially conspicuous.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), both of which are openly loyal to Zawahiri, released a joint eulogy for Rahman earlier today. The statement was translated by the SITE Intelligence Group. The al Qaeda branches specifically mentioned Rahman’s will.

“We call upon the sons of Islam and its honorable knights, who were not successful in liberating the sheikh from his imprisonment, to earnestly and honestly work hard to execute his will, and to build from his blood a lighthouse that inspires the generations…to viciously avenge the sheikh against his oppressors and his wardens,” the statement from AQAP and AQIM reads, according to SITE’s translation. “This would be the least of what his brothers in Islam and pride should do,” the statement continues, as Muslims should “rescue…our scholars and our leaders who were faithful to Allah and never deviated from his path.”

Rahman’s teachings had a significant influence on the development of al Qaeda and modern jihadism. For more than 20 years, al Qaeda’s leaders made him a central part of their cause. The jihadis will almost certainly continue to use him in their productions in the years to come.

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

Blind Sheikh Dead But His Network Lives On in America

Inset: the Blind Sheikh (Photo: Video screenshot)

Inset: the Blind Sheikh (Photo: Video screenshot)

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, February 20, 2017:

The “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel-Rahman, best known for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, has just died in prison, but his “work” lives on. He was not only a U.S.-based leader of the Gamaa Islamiyya terrorist group, but part of the connective tissue of an interconnected jihadist network that still operates today.

The “Blind Sheikh” and his U.S.-based network were like a cornucopia of jihadist offerings. His Gamaa Islamiyya, Al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas, Jamaat ul-Fuqra (now known as Muslims of America) and other jihadist entities all overlapped “in a sort of terrorist ‘Internet,’” as one congressional testimony explained. It is through this “Internet” that the Blind Sheikh’s work lives on.

The best example is Jamaat ul-Fuqra, now known as Muslims of America, which is best known for its “Islamberg” headquarters in New York and its claim to having 22 such “Islamic villages” across the country. The Clarion Project has launched a comprehensive website about the organization at FuqraFiles.com.

A section of the Fuqra Files website documents the close ties between Fuqra and the Blind Sheikh. It is an odd match considering Fuqra’s ideology as a Sufi cult but was useful to the Blind Sheikh due to the group’s criminal experience and robust infrastructure including remote enclaves and jihadist training sites.

The Blind Sheikh was one of the very few Islamic preachers that Fuqra’s Pakistan-based leader, Sheikh Gilani, openly preached in support of. Despite being a cult dedicated to Gilani, authorities found posters of the Blind Sheikh when they raided Fuqra’s 101-acre terrorist training camp in Colorado in 1992.

Various law enforcement sources have told the Clarion Project that Fuqra had concrete links to the Blind Sheikh’s bombing of the World Trade Center and planned follow-up attacks. Some of the Blind Sheikh’s top operatives belonged to Fuqra’s network.

In fact, the links between Fuqra and Blind Sheikh were so strong that a 1993 intelligence report by the U.S. Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare said that Fuqra’s militant operations in the U.S. were essentially under the control of the Blind Sheikh, with Sheikh Gilani acting mostly as a spiritual leader.

Fuqra still operates in the U.S. today. The Clarion Project recently published a FBI report from 2003 warning that Fuqra has links to Al-Qaeda and members go to Pakistan for guerilla warfare training and possible involvement in other jihadist groups.

The Blind Sheikh essentially contracted some of his dirty work to other groups, such as Islamist criminal gangs. For example, Marcus Robertson, who led “Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves,” served as a bodyguard for the Blind Sheikh, as did jihadists associated with Hamas. Today, Robertson leads a radical Islamic seminary in Florida.

The Blind Sheikh’s jihadist collaborators continue to be active enough for the NYPD to gather intelligence on some of them. One such example was Mohammed El-Shinawy, the son of a close associate of the Blind Sheikh’s. Elshinawy preached at two major Islamist mosques in New York, Masjid at-Taqwa (whose imam was also very close to the Blind Sheikh) and Masjid al-Ansar.

Another close associate of the Blind Sheikh’s, Hesham El-Ashry, also spoke at the mosque frequently and preached that the U.S. would suffer from violent jihad if the Blind Sheikh was not released. Notably, the Blind Sheikh’s release was a top demand of the Muslim Brotherhood after it took over Egypt, again reflecting the interconnectedness of the Islamist web.

The NYPD had a wealth of information justifying its intelligence gathering on these subjects. Predictably, the Islamists sued the NYPD, accused the police of anti-Muslim discrimination, elevated the radicals as persecuted victims and won favorable media coverage.

The Blind Sheikh is dead, but his network lives on.

House Report: ‘Unprecedented Spike’ in Homegrown Terror Threat

Homeland Security Committee

Homeland Security Committee

Breitbart, by  Edwin Mora, February 9, 2017:

The 2017 terrorism forecast for the United States and the rate at which Americans are being radicalized at home is “alarming,” according to a monthly assessment by the House Homeland Security Committee.

Citing an “unprecedented spike in the homegrown terror threat, primarily driven by the rise of” the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), the House panel’s Terror Threat Snapshot for February warns that, “at this rate, the forecast for 2017 looks alarming.”

“Authorities continue to track a high number of homegrown terror plots in the United States, and the number of cases since 9/11 is nearing a historic milestone: There have been nearly 200 total homegrown jihadist cases in the United States since 9/11 (the figure currently stands at 193), a majority having taken place in just the past few years,” points out the House report.

The monthly assessment attributes the alarming rise in the terror threat to the pressure ISIS is facing “in its key safe havens,” noting that the jihadist organization’s “external operations plotting appears undiminished.”

According to the report, there have been at least 39 homegrown jihadist plots or attacks across 19 U.S. states since the beginning of 2016.

In July 2016, FBI Director James Comey predicted that, as ISIS came close to defeat in its home turf of Iraq and Syria, the number of terrorist attacks against the U.S. and other Western countries would increase.

Echoing Comey, Michael McCaul (R-TX), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said in a statement:

I am very encouraged that the Trump Administration is preparing to put greater pressure on jihadists in their safe havens throughout the world. But as they do, we can expect to see militants returning to the West to build new networks and to plot more deadly operations. I look forward to working with the new Administration on shutting down terror pathways in America. We must also remain vigilant here at home, because Americans are being radicalized at an alarming rate.

The Terror Threat Snapshot notes that the jihadist threat against Europe has also increased dramatically.

“European nations are moving forward with counterterrorism reforms designed to cope with the surging terror threat,” points out the assessment. “Yet despite improvements, the continent still suffers from major security weaknesses that make European countries more vulnerable to attack and put U.S. interests overseas at risk.”

Since 2014, there have been at least 166 ISIS-linked plots or attacks against Western targets, including 69 in Europe, 36 in the U.S., and 61 targeting Westerners outside those two regions.

The U.S.-led war against ISIS began in 2014, soon after the group announced the establishment of its now shrinking caliphate.

In the assessment, the House panel also notes that al-Qaeda and its ally the Taliban remain dangerous after more than 15 years of U.S.-led war against the terrorist groups.

“The Taliban threat has proven resilient and powerful in Afghanistan. According to an Afghan Defense Ministry official, the group is responsible for nearly 19,000 attacks throughout the country in just the past 10 months,” states the assessment. “Throughout that time, however, Afghan National Security Forces only carried out approximately 700 counter-insurgency operations.”

U.S. Gen. John Nicholson, the top commander of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday that a few thousand more U.S. troops would help break the current “stalemate” with the Taliban.

“We remain very focused on the defeat of al-Qaeda and its associates, as well as the defeat of Islamic State Khorasan Province, which is the ISIL affiliate in Afghanistan,” he added. The U.S. declared war against al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan in October 2001.

Al-Qaeda Guide: ‘Large and Violent Demonstrations’ Can Distract from Terror Operations

Police deploy a chemical irritant as a crowd marches through the streets of Portland, Ore., following Donald Trump's presidential inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017. (Dave Killen/The Oregonian via AP)

Police deploy a chemical irritant as a crowd marches through the streets of Portland, Ore., following Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017. (Dave Killen/The Oregonian via AP)

PJ Media, by Bridget Johnson, Feb. 7, 2017:

A new al-Qaeda guide from one of the group’s most wanted leaders pitches the value of kidnappings to jihadists, including seizing scientists working in “sensitive” areas and politicians, and details how terrorists should map out these operations.

The 39-page guide, released by al-Qaeda’s As-Sahab media, is authored by Saif al-Adel, a senior al-Qaeda member on the FBI’s Most Wanted list in connection with the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. There’s a $5 million reward for information leading to the capture of the Egyptian through the State Department’s Rewards for Justice program.

Al-Adel, in his mid-50s, drew from a lecture on kidnapping he originally delivered in 2000. He’s been al-Qaeda’s planner in Iran, and is rumored to have recently spent time in Syria.

He dedicates the guide to, among others, “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel-Rahman, who is serving a life sentence on federal conspiracy charges in North Carolina, “and his associates in America.”

Kidnapping is described as more than a ransom-generating operation, but “one of the methods …to break the will of the enemy and force him to submit to the wishes of the attackers under pressure,” as well as “one of the most serious intelligence operations and the most controversial and most difficult” in terms of the length of the many stages of the operation including negotiations.

Funding jihad is listed as the last goal for kidnappers, but the list includes angling for prisoner swaps and stoking debate in the media “to gain international sympathy.”

Jihadists are encouraged to intricately plan kidnapping operations down to a “full rehearsal” before the deed at a similar site. Al-Adel tells them to plans ops with surprise attacks, speed and stealthy withdrawal as well as concealment of the kidnapping victim.

He ranks kidnapping targets into three tiers: “money men, and senior politicians and senior military” are considered the top targets, with the second-most desirable targets being “leading scientists in sensitive sciences” as well as celebrities, media and government officials. The lowest priority is tourists and “the citizenry at large,” though al-Qaeda has been seizing tourists, particularly in North Africa, for years.

The planning tips are similar to those detailed in the assassination issue of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s Inspire magazine last May: finding a target, becoming familiar with their residence and routines, and formulating escape routes in advance. Al-Adel encourages gathering as much information about targets as possible from open sources such as the internet as well as human intelligence, wiretaps, surveillance and “imaging.” Jihadists are told to get to know the target’s “habits” and “weaknesses,” as well as relatives and any protective detail or home security system.

For targeting tour groups, terrorists are told to observe and learn how different tour companies handle security — “Does the guard at the bus remain after the descent of tourists? Is there a time unguarded for tourists?” — along with what language the tourists on board speak and what routes they take.

Ideal locations for kidnappings are described as accessible sites that pose the “lowest possible risk” to terrorists and allow for “speed and flexibility.” Terrorists are told to budget time wisely to include the operation itself, transferring hostages and conducting negotiations, and to ask themselves questions including, “Is there a dangerous, unpredictable effect on a cell? What is the practical impact on the community?”

Distraction techniques — “a huge fire in a warehouse timber port, car explosion on a bridge, large and violent demonstrations, etc.” — are emphasized to lure security away from potential targets as well as having three plans for one kidnapping: the master plan, the Plan B, and the contingency plan. “Develop a security plan for each individual if arrested,” Al-Adel says of terrorists involved in the op.

He even includes recommendations for people kidnapped by al-Qaeda, including “remain calm and in control” of oneself “and therefore the kidnappers will be the same,” and “you must be polite with the terrorists” while speaking naturally and building “a good human relationship with the terrorists.”

“Do not refuse any service” offered by the terrorists, such as food or drink, he adds, “exercise whenever possible and keep a clean body… try to take advantage of your time so that your mind remains intact.” And, he adds, “avoid the discussion of religion and politics.”

Al-Adel gives an example of how a plan would be put into place and executed with a target of “a money man of the Jews kidnapped while attending a celebration.” The December 1999 hijacking of Indian Airlines Flight 814 is also discussed.

The guide concludes with instruction for jihadists to operate in “the spirit of brotherhood and love of self-sacrifice” with “deep and intelligent thinking,” with “a good understanding of the nature of human beings” being critical to a successful terror kidnapping.

Al Qaeda back in the crosshairs–and with good reason

map-al-qaeda-2015Terror Trends Bulletin, by Christopher W. Holton, February 5, 2017:

There is growing evidence that, not only did Barack Obama allow the Islamic State caliphate to become established and metastasize on his watch, but he also looked the other way while Al Qaeda became resurgent.

Sean Durns over at the Washington Examiner has an article that summarizes how Al Qaeda has spread in recent years…

Al Qaeda, the group responsible for the worst terrorist attack in United States history, never really left. Instead, while news media coverage inordinately focused on the Islamic State, al Qaeda re-tooled and re-established itself for a new age.

To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of al Qaida’s death were greatly exaggerated. Anticipatory obituaries appeared after the death of al Qaida founder Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011. Then-President Barack Obama, for instance, said on Sept. 10, 2011 that al Qaeda was “on a path to defeat.” Similarly, then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said in July 2011 that the U.S. was “within reach of strategically defeating al Qaeda.”

But as terror analysts Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and Bridget Moreng pointed out in an April 2015 op-ed, “The Islamic State’s offensive through Iraq and Syria last year has dominated the headlines, but the jihadist group that has won the most territory in the Arab world over the past six months is Al Qaeda.”

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/al-qaeda-is-back/article/2613929

As a result, not only has Donald Trump inherited the Islamic State caliphate, he has also inherited an Al Qaeda that is rebounding.

As Trump promised in his campaign, he is taking the war to the enemy. U.S. Special Operations Forces carried out a raid on an Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a raid that has been the subject of much partisan bickering.

The Leftist news media is predictably celebrating the raid as “botched,” which is typical of their ignorance of military operations. They have evidently grown used to drone strikes which kept national command authority’s image squeaky clean, but also failed to achieve much of anything, given the growth of both Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. To put it mildly, the media is overeager to see the new administration fail and will report everything as a failure.

Nevertheless, the raid reportedly killed two senior AQAP Jihadists, Sultan al-Dhahab and Abd-al-Ra’uf al-Dhahab. It was sufficiently successful to prompt the leader of AQAP, Qasim Al-Raymi, to issue a call for revenge against the U.S.

The media is also all-too eager to buy into the enemy propaganda that the U.S. raid killed civilian women and children. There is no evidence either way and there is sufficient precedent for women and even children to act as combatants for Jihadist organizations, so if they were killed, they are simply casualties of war.

Bill Roggio at Long War Journal has a good report on the renewed campaign against Al Qaeda…

http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2017/02/us-military-says-aqap-leaders-killed-in-raid.php

Gorka Debunks ‘Muslim Ban’: Most Populous Muslim Countries Left Out of Trump Executive Order

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Breitbart, by John Hayward, January 31, 2017:

Dr. Sebastian Gorka made his final appearance as national security editor for Breitbart News on Tuesday’s Breitbart News Daily–and his first asdeputy assistant to President Donald Trump.

In his new capacity, Dr. Gorka naturally addressed the biggest news of the day, President Trump’s executive order on immigration and refugees. SiriusXM host Alex Marlow pointed to a Rasmussen poll that found 57 percent public support for the supposedly outrageous order.

“It’s quite remarkable, Alex, how the media elite – what we call the ‘chattering classes,’ or what Ben Rhodes, the former deputy national security adviser, called the ‘echo chamber’ or the ‘sounding box’ – they really still don’t understand what happened on November the 8th, and how the backbone of America, the common man, the average voter simply wants to see a return to common sense,” Gorka said.

“We are at war with global jihadism,” he continued. “We’ve arrested or killed more than 125 ISIS terrorists in America since the Caliphate was redeclared two-and-a-half years ago, from Mosul. They want things like the Berlin attack, the Nice attack, the double Paris attacks, not to happen on U.S. soil. So they understand that we need to review all our immigration policies and build a wall. It’s really that simple, Alex.”

“Your critics on the Left would say this is about seizing the moral high ground for the next terror attack. What is your response to that?” Marlow asked.

“I would say playing politics with the safety of American citizens is reprehensible,” Gorka replied. “The fact is, we know that ISIS has declared in English, in its publications, in its videos, ‘We will use the refugee streams and mass migrations to insert our jihadis into your cultures.’ We know at least one of the attacks in Europe involved an individual with refugee status, traveling on a false Syrian passport. These are not matters of opinion. These are the cold, hard facts.”

“What we need to recall is, we’ve had here, even in the United States, the Boston attack,” he said when Marlow asked about terrorist actions carried out by refugees. “I worked on the Boston attack for the Department of Justice as an expert. Remember, these individuals came from the former Soviet Union. They came as refugees or asylum seekers. They went through the system and were approved.”

“Likewise, you look at San Bernardino, another individual who went through the system and was approved. And at the time – just think about this – the federal authorities looking into her visa application couldn’t look at her public Facebook pages! That was deemed an intrusion of privacy. That by itself tells you we have to review the system,” he said.

Gorka strenuously denied allegations that Trump’s immigration policies are rooted in xenophobia.

“There’s just one argument that destroys this accusation of any kind of xenophobic intent behind this executive order,” he said. “If this had anything to do with a specific religion, if this had anything to do with Islam, how is it that the most populous Muslim nation in the world, Indonesia, is not one of the seven nations affected? How is it that the largest Arab Muslim nation in the world, Egypt, is not on the list? Surely they would have been included. No, this is about real threats from nations where groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS are active. It’s about national security, Alex.”

Marlow asked if there was “any potential for more countries to get added to the list.”

“Well, the irony is, we are using the list that was developed by the last administration because the last administration realized that these are the primary nations of concern,” Gorka replied. “Why? Because if you look at Syria, Iraq, Libya, that’s where ISIS was created. If you look at al-Qaeda that people forget is still out there, they are incredibly active in countries like Yemen and Somalia.”

“Strategy is the art of prioritization,” he explained. “We have prioritized. That’s why we started with this seven. And it is the President’s prerogative to add or remove countries from this list because the 1950s act says it is the President who decides who comes into this country, based on which standards. That is his mandate.”

Corruption, Terrorism, and Genocide: The 7 Nations Covered by Trump Executive Order

AP/Various

AP/Various

Breitbart, by John Hayward, January 31, 2017:

The media is misrepresenting President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration and refugee admission as a “Muslim ban” – or, more cleverly, a ban on immigration from “Muslim-majority countries.”

In truth, the ban applies to everyone from seven specific countries. In fact, one of the first families caught at the airport when the executive order went into effect was a Christian family from Syria.

These seven nations were not chosen at random. They were all singled out as exceptional security risks in the Terrorist Prevention Act of 2015 and its 2016 extension. In fact, President Trump’s order does not even name the seven countries. It merely refers to the sections of U.S. Code that were changed by the Terrorist Prevention Act:

I hereby proclaim that the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens from countries referred to in section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12), would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of such persons for 90 days from the date of this order.

A different section of the executive order does refer to Syria specifically, because it calls for the indefinite suspension of Syrian refugee admissions, until such time as the President believes security concerns have been adequately addressed.

The list of seven nations affected by Trump’s executive order was, therefore, compiled by President Barack Obama’s Department of Homeland Security, in a series of judgments that actually goes back to Obama’s first term, circa 2011. Barack Obama made this list, not Donald Trump, and there was very little resistance from congressional Democrats at any step in the process of arriving at the final list of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.

Nor should there have been congressional resistance, because that list is eminently sensible. Several of these countries are disasters because of Obama foreign policy, while others were security nightmares long before he took office. Here is a review of current conditions in those nations:

Iraq: Of course, Iraq is currently fighting the Islamic State for control of Mosul and other captured territories. This is creating a flow of both retreating ISIS fighters and refugees from contested areas.

ABC News notes that while some Iraqi soldiers fighting in Mosul “feel a little bad” about Trump’s exec order, as one of them put it, others understand his reasoning. “We don’t want our doctors and professors to keep going to another country and make it greater than our own,” said one Iraqi soldier, who punctuated his comment by exclaiming, “Honestly, I love Trump!”

Many of the Iraqi refugees have been mistreated by local forces, which could easily make them targets for radicalization. The UK Guardian reported on Sunday that human rights groups are processing complaints about the outright torture of children suspected of connections to the Islamic State, which in turn has an extensive program for radicalizing children and turning them into brainwashed jihadi killers.

Shiite militia groups backed by Iran, some of which were murdering U.S. soldiers just a few years ago, are heavily involved in the fighting. There are concerns these emboldened, battle-tested, heavily armed militias will move into Syria and cause a new sectarian crisis. Many of these groups are units of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, for all intents and purposes, and would become shock troops for Syrian dictator Bashar Assad as he finishes off the last elements of the rebellion against him.

The Iraqi government, it must be said, does not have the most sterling record for honesty and efficiency. Transparency International recently rated Iraq’s government as one of the most corrupt in the entire world. The Iraqi parliament reflexively responded to Trump’s executive order with an ill-considered “reciprocity ban” that will do significant damage to the Iraqi nation if enacted, at the very moment it is fighting a desperate battle to drive out ISIS. That is not the kind of government that can be readily trusted to provide the data needed for “enhanced vetting.”

Iran: Contrary to the fictions peddled by the Obama Administration, Iran is still very much an enemy of the United States. Its government is actively involved in subversive efforts across the Middle East, and around the world.

Even in the last months of the Obama administration, long after Obama’s huge economic concessions and cash payments to Tehran, the State Department continues to classify Iran as the world’s top state sponsor of terrorism. The State Department remains concerned about “a wide range of Iranian activities to destabilize the region.”

The Iranians are still taking hostages, including U.S. citizens. They put their hostages through sham “legal proceedings” involving secret courts and lawyers who are not always permitted to speak with their clients. They store their hostages in hideous prisons that would pass inspection in no civilized country.

On Sunday, Iran continued its defiance of Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with yet another secret test of a banned ballistic missile.

Syria: It is astonishing that anyone thinks “vetting” is possible for many refugees from war-torn Syria, whose sinister central government still does not control many parts of the country.

ISIS, of course, is headquartered in Syria, and al-Qaeda is one of the strongest military forces in the rebellion. Syrian resistance groups are so difficult to screen that the Obama administration could only find tiny handfuls of reliable “moderate” fighters to arm and train; they were promptly kidnapped, killed, or co-opted by terrorist groups after Obama deployed them. The “white hat rebel” program ended as a laughingstock across the Middle East.

Terrorist groups are still hunting down and destroying “moderate” rebel units to this very day, even during the “ceasefire” brokered by Russia, Turkey, and Iran. Worse, Syria has become a pressure-cooker for jihad, with groups once regarded as moderate becoming unmistakably radical over the past five years.

ISIS militants fleeing the battlefields of Iraq have been falling back into Syria, while Syrian ISIS fighters have been fleeing from their own battlefield reversals. The return of Islamic State militants, and other battle-hardened jihadis, from Syria to Western nations has long been seen as a major security concern.

The Syrian civil war is universally regarded as one of the worst humanitarian crises in history. Every party to the conflict has been blamed for causing civilian casualties, while some of them deliberately target civilians. The Assad regime has used indiscriminate conventional weapons, and weapons of mass destruction, against rebel-held districts. Civilians have been deprived of food, power, sanitation, and medicine in besieged areas for months, sometimes for years. This will create a huge population that is susceptible to radicalization by terrorists who blame Western powers for either inflicting horror upon civilians, or failing to prevent it.

Libya: Due to the U.S. media’s poor reporting on the continuing disaster of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s war in Libya, most Americans probably do not realize Libya still lacks a functioning central government. The brief spate of coverage after the rise of Libyan ISIS ended with reports that a “Government of National Accord” had been installed, but in truth it only controls a portion of the country, and some observers believe it is on the verge of collapse. A Qaddafi-era general named Khalifa Haftar is working to seize power, and the Russians have been cozying up to him. The end result of Obama policy in Libya could very well be another Russian client state in the Middle East.

Haftar currently controls the government that used to be recognized by the international community as Libya’s legitimate administration. That government was chased out of the national capital, Tripoli, by a coalition of Islamist militias, widely known as Libya Dawn. They are still a force to be reckoned with, and constitute the third major Libyan government.

ISIS is still a serious problem in Libya, as demonstrated by U.S. air raids against Islamic State positions on President Obama’s very last day in office. “They have been largely marginalized but I am hesitant to say they’ve been completely eliminated in Libya,” a U.S. defense official said at the time.

Somalia: Somalia has been fighting a vicious insurgency from an Islamist terror organization called al-Shabaab, whose name means “The Youth.” It aggressively recruits young Muslims, including young Somalis living in the United States.

The group has links to both al-Qaeda and ISIS. The primary leadership decided not to swear fealty to the Islamic State, leading to something of a schism between different factions of al-Shabaab.

Al-Shabaab is not just a gang of furtive terrorists lurking in the shadows – it effectively controls large portions of rural Somalia, and has been waging war against neighboring Kenya. An attack launched just this weekend killed dozens of Kenyan troops, according to al-Shabaab claims disputed by the Kenyan government.

Al-Shabaab is one of the most savage Islamist terror organizations in the world, responsible for horrific massacres like the slaughter of 150 students at Garissa University College in April 2015, and 67 murdered at the Westgate shopping center in the Kenyan capital. An attack on the Dayah hotel in Mogadishu killed eight people just last week.

Al-Shabaab killers are notorious for asking potential victims to prove they are devout Muslims in order to spare their lives.

Somalia’s government was ranked the most corrupt in the world by Transparency International, in the same study that named Iraq one of the worst. That is not exactly news, because Somalia’s government has been listed as the most corrupt on Earth for ten years straight. For the sake of comparison, the Number Two and Three worst governments on Transparency International’s list are South Sudan and North Korea.

Somalia’s most recent elections were an absurd carnival of bribes and voter intimidation, even with U.N. oversight. The BBC declared the country “has not had a functional national government since the ousting of its former leader Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.”

Sudan: As mentioned above, the Sudanese government is a corrupt disaster. The country actually split in half in 2011. Over 1.5 million people have been killed in the Sudanese civil war, while 2 million refugees have been displaced from the Darfur region.

The president of the Republic of Sudan is an iron-fisted Islamist dictator named Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who has been in power for over 25 years, after seizing power in a 1989 coup that came after two decades of civil war.

Bashir is wanted for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court. Those charges have been pending since 2009. There are actually three counts of genocide against him. He is supposedly under an international travel ban, but he travels anyway, occasionally cutting his trips short when he thinks he might be arrested.

The Sudanese government imposed sharia law on its provinces in the Nineties. Bashir has been linked to Janjaweed militias, which serve as his own personal storm troopers, noted for their scorched-earth tactics and indiscriminate use of mass-casualty weapons against civilians. Some observers fear the Janjaweed will eventually ship Bashir’s leash and overthrow the government in Khartoum.

Sudan is listed as a state sponsor of terrorism and, until recently, it was politically aligned with Iran. Sudan has proven to be friendly terrain for all sorts of gangsters and terrorists, although its political realignment over the past few years reportedly included more cooperation on counter-terrorism, in a bid to get off the American list of terrorist sponsors. Even after that realignment, Hamas terrorists seemed to have little trouble traveling through Sudan, or raising money there.

Yemen: Yemen is a horrifying bloodbath of civil war and terrorist insurrection, which ties many of the other nations on this list together. Sudan, for example, has been part of Saudi Arabia’s coalition in Yemen, ever since it turned away from Iranian patronage.

Iran and Saudi Arabia are fighting a proxy war in Yemen, where there have been over 10,000 civilian casualties. The U.S. has been providing weapons to Saudi Arabia, whose coalition is blamed for many of the civilian deaths, so Yemeni resentment of the United States is a very real factor to consider when estimating the dangers of radicalization.

The U.S. blocked an arms sale to the Saudis in December 2016 after a Saudi coalition airstrike hit a funeral in the capital of Sana’a, leading to 140 deaths. The Saudi coalition has also been criticized for bombing Doctors Without Borders hospitals.

The internationally-recognized government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi was displaced by an Iran-backed Shiite insurgency from the Houthi minority, aided by forces loyal to the previous president, Ali Abdullah Saleh. Describing the state of Yemeni government as “chaotic” would be a vast understatement. Major cities like Sana’a have been subjected to violent takeovers and sieges, while the Yemeni wilderness is largely controlled by al-Qaeda.

On Sunday, a U.S. Navy SEAL was killed, and three others wounded, in a firefight with al-Qaeda forces in central Yemen. Fourteen al-Qaeda fighters were reportedly killed, including the brother-in-law of the late al-Qaeda guru, Anwar al-Awlaki. It was the first counterterrorism operation authorized by President Trump.

In October, the U.S. Navy was obliged to strike ground targets in Yemen, after missiles were fired at American ships stationed off the coast.

Skirt-Wearing Jihadi Sherifa Zuhur Exemplifies the Battle Ahead for America

Understanding the Threat, by John  Guandolo, January 30, 2017:

UTT had an interesting exchange on twitter this weekend with Sherifa Zuhur, an apologist for America’s enemies – specifically, terrorist organizations.

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Amid the social upheaval in response to President Trump’s travel ban from seven Islamic countries, fomented by the hard left Marxist/socialist groups and their anti-American counterparts – jihadi groups like Hamas (doing business as CAIR), ISNA, and others – UTT feels it is important to share this experience publicly because Americans need to know what they are up against and what to expect as this war in America goes forward.

The exchange began in response to UTT’s (@UTT_USA) tweet:  “No surprise – SecState Madeleine Albright sides w/ our enemy & not America…”  Albright publicly stated she is ready to register as a Muslim in response to President Trump’s call to ban Muslim immigration into the United States from certain nations.

UTT’s Vice President Chris Gaubatz received a response from Zuhur (@SherifaZuhur) which read:  “Chris, Muslims aren’t your enemy,” to whit Mr. Gaubatz (@CAIRvGaubatz) responded with: “Agreed; only Muslims that adhere to Quran & Sunnah as embodied in the shariah.”

Zuhur then responded with: “Then that’s all of us.”

Your words not ours Ms. Zuhur, but thanks for making UTT’s point that it is a requirement for all Muslims to adhere to sharia which calls for jihad until the entire world is under Islamic rule.

UTT does not teach all Muslims are the enemy of the United States.  However, 100% of our enemy in the Global Islamic Movement state they are Muslims waging jihad to establish a global Islamic state (caliphate) under sharia.  The delineating factor is sharia.  Not every person who self-identifies as a Muslim wants to live under sharia or follow sharia, but 100% of our enemy in this war does.  100% of authoritative sharia obliges jihad, and defines jihad as “warfare against non-muslims.”  The problem is two-fold: (1) Any Muslim who does not want to follow sharia can decide to follow sharia at any time – especially when threatened with violence from other Muslims;  (2)  Sharia obliges Muslims to lie if the goal is obligatory, and jihad is obligatory.

Therein lies the problem – there is simply no way to determine which Muslims are our friends and which are not.  In fact, the only Muslims who are potential friends of the United States are those who do not follow the Quran and Sunnah, as embodied in the sharia, which makes Ms. Zuhur’s reply all the more telling. 

UTT would not waste your time in sharing this exchange if that were the end of the story.

Dr. Sherifa Zuhur is not just some random Muslim on twitter who defends sharia and designated terrorist groups.  Zuhur is a former professor (2006-2009) at the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute who continues to be accepted in academic circles and was recently at the University of California at Berkley.

In April of 2008, Zuhur published a monograph called, “Precision in the Global War on Terror: Inciting Muslims through the War of Ideas.”  In this publication, Zuhur warns against attacking the ideology of groups like Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Salafists, and the Muslim Brotherhood because that would necessarily be attacking Islamic ideology.

Exactly.  In this regard, UTT agrees because Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Boko Haram, ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood, and all jihadi organizations on the planet draw their doctrine from sharia.  It is the basis for why they act – and they tell us so.  And so does Dr. Zuhur.

Sharia does not exist in a vacuum.  Sharia comes from the Quran and the Sunnah, and last time UTT checked, the Quran and Sunnah are wholly Islamic.  As we say at UTT – it’s all about sharia.

The following are direct quotes (in bold) from Dr. Zuhur’s monograph followed by UTT’s comments:

“To restore justice, Muslims want the shari`ah, Islamic law, to be implemented and that, in turn, must be utilized with justice. This contrasts with radicals who think that violence is the only means to secure real social and political change, even if they also are motivated to implement shari`ah.”

The Global Islamic Movement has many lines of operations including suit/skirt wearing jihadis like ISNA, CAIR, ICNA, MAS, MSA, Dr. Zuhur and others who point to the violent jihadis and say something to the effect of “Well, at least we are not Al Qaeda or ISIS. We’re moderates.”  The violent jihadis use their attacks and threats to drive weak Western leaders/nations into the arms of the suit/skirt-wearing jihadis.

“Bin Ladin and Zawahiri generally refer to bona fide religious concepts. But, my point is that Sayyid Qutb possessed religious and philosophical credentials that should not be ignored. To blame him for global jihad is a convenient way of discounting the impact of other salafists (from the Wahhabist sect), and further implying that the violent radical leaders who followed him read or understood his earlier proposal that an Islamic society could be created through a “social revolution” and education. It is also a significant way of discrediting the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Not much comment needed here.  Dr. Zuhur admits the leaders of Al Qaeda are correctly sighting sharia in furtherance of what they are doing.  In addition, neither Al Qaeda nor ISIS have misquoted sharia in furtherance of their actions.

“To bin Ladin, the Muslim-only policy at Mecca and Medina extends to the entire country of Saudi Arabia, indeed to the entire Arabian peninsula. What policymakers should understand is that quite a number of other Muslims agree with bin Ladin’s views.”

Many muslims do agree with the views and objectives of Osama bin Laden as well as ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic organizations/groups, because these are commands from allah repeated by their prophet Mohammad as “perfect” behavior for all Muslims to follow.  Did we mention Al Qaeda is a terrorist organization?

“U.S. Government agencies, the defense community, and security research centers have made far too much of the Caliphate. By denouncing it, they are trouncing on Muslims’ idealized history and institutions.”

Muslims who want a caliphate here in the United States – which according to Dr. Zuhur is all Muslims – are enemies of the United States.  America is a Constitutional Republic and Americans will keep it using all means necessary.  Muslims who want to live under a caliphate can go to sharia-governed lands in ISIS-held territory.  Working to establish one here is a violation of federal law, and an act that constitutes war against our Constitution and way of life.

“Those media spokespersons most often vilifying terrorists with the label “Islamofascist” often go on to identify this phenomenon with those who wish to follow shari`ah (Islamic law) and live within a Caliphate, as if these two very important Islamic institutions are proof of poisonous terror and fascism. The overwhelming majority of Muslims would disagree with this vilification of their holy law and historic form of government.”

Since ALL jihadi organizations (Al Qaeda, ISIS, the MB, et al) continue to state publicly and in their internal documents their end goal is a global caliphate under sharia law and that it must be achieved via any means possible including political warfare and violence, and since Dr. Zuhur is defending that position, how are rational readers able to discern between Dr. Zuhur’s position and ISIS’s position?

“Apostasy is a crime pertaining only to Muslims. It should not—according to classical interpretations of Islamic law—be prosecuted unless the apostate admits his denial of faith. In other words, accusations of apostasy are not supposed to discourage Muslim opinion and expression.”

Sharia states the punishment for apostasy is death and the former professor at the U.S. Army War College agrees it should be prosecuted as such.

“The actions of the American organization, the Council on American- Islamic Relations, which seeks to protect Muslims from discrimination or violence, have been labeled “a cover for terrorism,” and so on. This allows for conflation of anti-Americanism, and Arab non-salafi groups with Islamist, and violent Islamist groups.”

This is utter nonsense.  CAIR is Hamas.  Hamas is a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization by the United States Government. 

Dr. Zuhur is one of a long line of jihadis and jihadi apologists in the military university system and on U.S. campuses teaching “Middle East Studies” and related topic.

Is it any wonder that, with professors like Dr. Zuhur, the U.S. national security apparatus, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff under the Bush and Obama administration never identified our enemy, or even took the time to study the enemy threat doctrine –  sharia?

Should we be surprised that Dr. Zuhur has sided with the Al Qaeda, ISIS, or the Muslim Brotherhood – specifically Hamas (dba CAIR) – in opposing President Trump’s ban on immigration from seven Islamic countries?

We at UTT are not surprised, and you should not be either.  It is important for Americans to understand that as President Trump, his cabinet, and the U.S. national security apparatus begin to dismantle the jihadi network here in the US, they will be opposed by the hard left Marxist/socialist groups, their allies in the media, and by the jihadis themselves.

There will be more crying Senators on television, hard-left/jihadi marches in the street funded by our enemies, and demonstrations allegedly about equal rights and equal treatment but actually excuses for violence, upheaval and revolution.

DULLES, VA - JANUARY 28: J.D. People protest and welcome arriving passengers at Dulles International Airport in Virginia, January 28, 2017. The protest follows the executive order of President Donald Trump to bar all refugees coming to the US and Muslims from seven countries. (Photo by Astrid Riecken For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

DULLES, VA – JANUARY 28: J.D. People protest and welcome arriving passengers at Dulles International Airport in Virginia, January 28, 2017. The protest follows the executive order of President Donald Trump to bar all refugees coming to the US and Muslims from seven countries. (Photo by Astrid Riecken For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Americans must know this is coming, get educated and get prepared.  Support the bold leaders in the new administration and beware of the establishment types who are already coming to the defense of our enemies.

This war will be won at the local level.  Educate your elected officials and hold them accountable.  Ensure your pastors speak truthfully about this threat and begin educating their flocks.  Encourage your law enforcement leaders to get trained by UTT so they can map out the jihadi networks in their area and dismantle them, proactively find jihadis in your neighborhood, and defeat this enemy from the ground up.

Trump left countries with high terror risk off his banned list

Taliban militants train in a lawless region along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in 2011. EPA

Taliban militants train in a lawless region along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in 2011. EPA

New York Post, by Paul Sperry, January 28, 2017:

Afghanistan is conspicuously absent from the list of terror-prone countries in President Trump’s indefinite immigration ban, even though al-Qaeda has reopened terrorist training camps there and Afghan immigration factors into recent homegrown terrorism, including the Orlando and Chelsea attacks.

Trump signed an executive order on Friday temporarily blocking entry into the US for immigrants and nonimmigrants from seven Muslim countries — Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen — until the government can tighten security procedures to screen out terrorists under Trump’s proposed “extreme vetting” program. It would also completely stop the processing and resettling here of Muslim refugees from ISIS hotspot Syria.

“It’s countries that have tremendous terror,” Trump explained. “And it’s countries that people are going to come in and cause us tremendous problems.”

Leaving Afghanistan — as well as high-risk Pakistan and Saudi Arabia — off the list may prove shortsighted, however.

A new Pentagon report reveals that 20 terrorist groups, including ISIS, are now operating in Afghanistan, mostly along the Pakistan border. It notes that “the Taliban and other insurgents have gained territory over the past two years,” as President Obama withdrew US troops, and now control almost 40 percent of the country.

Al-Qaeda, meanwhile, has built massive new terrorist training camps — including one 30-square miles in size, the largest training facility the Pentagon has seen since 9/11 — signaling the group is gearing up to repeat its pre-9/11 horror of exporting terrorism from Afghanistan.

Lost in the noise over Syrian refugees and the terrorist threat they pose is the growing wave of Afghan refugees hitting our shores, as Afghanistan descends into its own civil war. As the security situation has deteriorated, Afghan immigration has surged.

Afghan refugees have fled the country as it’s descended further into civil war.Getty

Afghan refugees have fled the country as it’s descended further into civil war.Getty

Between 2013 and 2015, the last years reported by the State Department, the total number of Afghan refugees admitted to the US actually outpaced the number of Syrian refugees admitted: 2,324 vs. 1,823. The number of Afghan refugees resettled in US cities — namely, New York, Houston and Sacramento — jumped 21 percent in 2015, after increasing 14 percent in 2014. Afghans reported as admitted in the first three months of 2016 had already exceeded State’s projection for the entire year. Meanwhile, another 10,000-plus Afghans are seeking asylum here.

And these are just the permanent resettlements and do not include the thousands of Afghans that Homeland Security is admitting as “temporary immigrants.” US visas issued annually to Afghans have nearly doubled under the Obama administration, soaring from 2,454 in 2008 to 4,156 in 2015, the latest year for which data are kept.

Few in Washington are raising alarms about the largely uncontrolled influx of these Afghan immigrants, but the security risk is just as great.

Though their numbers are relatively small next to the projected flood of Syrians, “some may cause trouble,” as they have in Germany, which is deporting 12,000 Afghan refugees after some carried out terrorist attacks there, said David North, a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies.

It’s not that there aren’t legitimate refugees among these Afghan nationals. The problem is there’s no vetting procedures in place to reliably sort the “good guys” from the “bad guys.” As a result, the government’s screening system has repeatedly failed to ID jihadists and other turncoats who have betrayed the hospitality extended to them by this country.

Recent examples include: Afghan refugee Hayatulla Dawari, who got as far as naturalization before authorities learned of his involvement with an Afghan terror group and convicted him in 2014; and Afghan refugee Sohiel Omar Kabir, who was sentenced in 2015 to 25 years in federal prison for providing material support to terrorists and conspiring to kill Americans.

Chelsea bomb suspect Ahmad Rahami was radicalized after a 2014 trip to AfghanistanAP

Chelsea bomb suspect Ahmad Rahami was radicalized after a 2014 trip to AfghanistanAP

Nor does the government monitor these immigrants once they arrive. Investigators now believe Afghan-born Ahmad Khan Rahami, the accused New York City bomber, was radicalized after returning from a 2014 trip to Afghanistan, where his father reportedly once fought as a “mujahedeen.” Afghan-American Omar Mateen, the Orlando terrorist, also maintained Afghan connections through his father, an open supporter of the Taliban.

Our military exchange program is another major hole in security involving Afghan immigration that virtually nobody is talking about. The Pentagon can’t even keep track of the Afghans it brings here for military training exercises designed to help them go back and defend their homeland.

Alarmingly, at least 45 Afghan soldiers have disappeared in the US over the past two years while training at military installations. Many of these AWOL immigrants, who came here on special visas, have extensive training in weapons and explosives. Homeland Security has joined the military in the hunt for the missing Afghans.

Further raising security alarms, the Taliban has infiltrated the Afghan security forces supplying these immigrants. Penetration is so deep that, according to the Pentagon report released earlier this month, the Taliban obtain much of their weapons and ammunition, as well as gasoline, from US-supplied Afghan soldiers.

“Taliban commanders give instructions to their forces to buy weapons, ammunition and fuel from the Afghan army and police,” the report reveals.

It also disclosed that from January 2015 through August 2016, there were 101 insider attacks in which Taliban or other insurgents posing as Afghan security personnel turned on fellow Afghan security force members, killing 257.

Saudi nationals also get a pass under Trump’s restrictions. In fact, they may continue to be ushered in as “trusted travelers” and bypass the normal security process under a deal Obama struck with the kingdom that opened the floodgates to more than 709,000 Saudi students and other visa-holders since 2009. It’s as if 9/11 never happened and 15 Saudi terrorists never infiltrated the country on rubber-stamped visas.

Sperry is a former Hoover Institution media fellow and author of “Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington.”

The Final Obama Scandal

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Closing the book on a deceptive narrative about the al Qaeda threat

Weekly Standard, THE MAGAZINE: From the February 6 Issue – by Stephen Hayes and Thomas Joscelyn, January 27, 2017:

Less than 24 hours before the official end of the Obama presidency, while White House staffers were pulling pictures off the walls and cleaning out their desks, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) posted without fanfare another installment of the documents captured in Osama bin Laden’s compound during the May 2011 raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The press statement that accompanied the release made an unexpected declaration: This batch of newly released documents would be the last one. “Closing the Book on Bin Laden: Intelligence Community Releases the Final Abbottabad Documents,” the statement was headlined. According to a tally on the ODNI website, this last batch of 49 documents brings the total number released to 571.

For analysts who have paid attention to the Abbottabad documents, the numbers immediately caused alarm. For years, the Obama administration told the American people that the haul from the bin Laden compound was massive and important. In an interview on Meet the Press just days after the raid, Barack Obama’s national security adviser, Thomas Donilon, said the material could fill “a small college library.” A senior military intelligence official who briefed reporters at the Pentagon on May 7, 2011, said: “As a result of the raid, we’ve acquired the single largest collection of senior terrorist materials ever.” Sources who have described the cache to THE WEEKLY STANDARD over the years have claimed that the number of captured documents, including even extraneous materials and duplicates, totals more than 1 million.

Can it really be the case that this release “closes the book”? The short answer: No, it can’t.

“[Director of National Intelligence James] Clapper and the old administration may want this to be closed, but it’s far from closed,” says Representative Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI). “Now the truth will begin to come out. It’s just the beginning.”

The documents have been at the center of an intense, five-year political battle between Republicans on Capitol Hill and the Obama administration, and an equally pitched bureaucratic battle between the Central Intelligence Agency and ODNI on one side, and U.S. military intelligence agencies on the other. The Obama administration and the intelligence community leaders who have been loyal to the president argue that the document collection provided valuable intelligence in the days after the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, but that what remains is unimportant and, in any case, supports the Obama administration’s approach to al Qaeda and jihadist terror over the past eight years. Republicans and military intelligence officials have a different view: Used properly, the document collection can serve as an important tool in understanding al Qaeda and other Islamic radicals—their history, their ideology, their structure, their operations, and even, five years on, their plans—not only for U.S. intelligence officials, but for lawmakers, historians, and the American public.

Republicans on Capitol Hill have pushed to have the documents declassified and released as part of an effort to hold the Obama administration accountable for its relentless politicization of intelligence on al Qaeda and threats to the United States and its interests. Based on his conversations with analysts who have worked on the documents, Nunes believes that many of those not yet released will contradict Obama administration claims about al Qaeda, its relationships, and its operations.

In 2014, Nunes fought to include language in the Intelligence Authorization Act requiring the declassification and release of the bin Laden documents. The law mandated the release of all documents in the collection that could be disclosed without hurting U.S. national security. The intelligence community was required to specify any documents deemed too sensitive to release publicly and offer an explanation justifying that decision. Nunes says he has not yet received such an explanation for any of the tens of thousands of documents withheld from the public.

Why do the documents still matter? Over the course of eight years, President Obama and his advisers repeatedly downplayed the jihadist threat. The story of how bin Laden’s documents were mischaracterized and mishandled offers important insights into how the administration pushed a deceptive narrative about al Qaeda and its branches around the globe. The jihadist threat grew—not diminished—over the course of the Obama administration. To this day, America and its allies continue to fight al Qaeda everywhere from West Africa to South Asia.

Because of its barbarism, massive land grabs, and multiple attacks in the West, the Islamic State (ISIS) dominates headlines these days. The Islamic State makes itself easy to see. But al Qaeda, the organization that birthed ISIS, is still alive and thriving, often masking the extent of its operations and influence. Since 2011, al Qaeda has grown rapidly in jihadist hotspots such as Syria, where today the group has 10,000 or more fighters, its largest guerrilla army yet.

Al Qaeda’s resiliency was a terribly inconvenient fact for President Obama, who won his first campaign arguing that George W. Bush had exaggerated the threat from jihadist terror and had fought jihadists with means that were both unnecessary and un-American. Obama scaled back such operations across the board—ending the war in Iraq, withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, rewriting U.S. interrogation and detention policies, and releasing high-risk terrorists from the facility at Guantánamo Bay. When he ran for reelection, he told the American people that al Qaeda was “on the run” and had been “decimated.” His advisers sought to downgrade the nature of the threat to one of “violent extremists” and “lone wolf” attacks. Obama sold his efforts against al Qaeda as something close to a total victory.

“Today, by any measure, core al Qaeda—the organization that hit us on 9/11—is a shadow of its former self,” President Obama claimed on December 6, 2016, during his final counterterrorism speech. “Plots directed from within Afghanistan and Pakistan have been consistently disrupted. Its leadership has been decimated. Dozens of terrorist leaders have been killed. Osama bin Laden is dead.”

Some of this is certainly true: Osama bin Laden is dead, dozens of other jihadist leaders have been killed, and plots have been disrupted. But by most measures, al Qaeda is bigger today than ever. The organization and its branches are fighting in insurgencies in Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere. Obama briefly mentioned al Qaeda’s “branches” in some of these countries during his speech, but he left Americans with the impression that al Qaeda has been reduced to a nuisance—if that.

Obama said nothing about al Qaeda’s massive force in Syria. But the U.S. military has reported that U.S. attacks killed upwards of 150 “al Qaeda operatives” in Syria during the first weeks of 2017.

Obama’s public case on his success against al Qaeda centered on what he calls “core al Qaeda,” which neither he nor his advisers ever bothered to define precisely. The phrase seems to refer to the senior al Qaeda leaders based in South Asia, and specifically those who had a hand in the 9/11 hijackings. Most of the 9/11 plotters, as it happens, were killed or captured during the Bush administration. Obama was right that “dozens” of other “core” al Qaeda jihadists have been killed in drone strikes and raids during his tenure. But those leaders have been replaced, in some cases by men who have proven even more effective in building the terror group’s global network and guiding its transnational efforts.

How many senior al Qaeda leaders were there at the beginning of his administration, in January 2009? How many are there today? Obama never answered these rudimentary questions—he never provided basic metrics to measure his own claims. But the fact that U.S. military and CIA officials continued to fire missiles at al Qaeda operatives around the globe on a regular basis, at the direction of a president who claimed to have defeated al Qaeda, suggests that Obama understood his rhetoric didn’t match reality.

Which brings us back to the bin Laden files. There is no better resource for understanding al Qaeda, how it thinks and operates, at least through 2011, than the intelligence recovered in its founder’s compound. For this reason, and others, the Trump administration should ensure that the ODNI doesn’t get to close the book on bin Laden’s files.

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Before Leaving White House Obama Bombs CIA-Vetted Syrian Rebels Embedded with Al-Qaeda

zenki1-sized-770x415xbPJ Media, by Patrick Poole, January 21, 2017:

If one event can symbolize the incoherence of the Obama administration’s support for the so-called “vetted moderate” rebels in Syria, it would be one of Obama’s last acts in his last full day in office.

On Friday the Pentagon reported that they had struck a terror training camp near Idlib, killing more than one hundred Al-Qaeda terrorists.

The wrinkle is that several members of a group that had previously been backed by the CIA and received TOW missiles as part of an Obama administration program—and were at the camp and embedded with Al-Qaeda—were also killed.

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The New Bin Laden Documents

his undated file photo shows al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. (AP Photo, File)

his undated file photo shows al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. (AP Photo, File)

Why the public needs to see most of Osama bin Laden’s files.

Weekly Standard, by Thomas Joscelyn, January 19, 2017:

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) released 98 additional items from Osama bin Laden’s compound today. If the ODNI has its way, then these files will be the last the American people see for some time. The accompanying announcement is titled, “Closing the Book on bin Laden: Intelligence Community Releases Final Abbottabad Documents.” The ODNI says today’s release “marks the end of a two-and-a-half-year effort to declassify several hundred documents recovered” during the Abbottabad raid.

But the total number of files released thus far, including today’s document dump, is just a drop in the bucket compared to what was found in the al Qaeda master’s compound. And if the public and the media care about transparency, then they should push to see more.

As THE WEEKLY STANDARD has reported in the past, more than 1 million documents and files were recovered in Abbottabad. Some of the documents (e.g. blanks, duplicates, scans of publicly available media, etc.) are basically worthless. But many thousands more illuminate how al Qaeda has operated.

On May 8, 2011, Tom Donilon, who was then President Obama’s National Security Adviser, explained that bin Laden’s documents and files would fill a “small college library.” Donilon elaborated further that the recovered intelligence demonstrated Osama bin Laden’s active role. At the time of his death, the al Qaeda founder oversaw a cohesive international network, receiving updates from around the globe on a regular basis.

In 2012, the Washington Post reported that U.S. officials “described the complete collection of bin Laden material as the largest cache of terrorism files ever obtained, with about 100 flash drives and DVDs as well as five computer hard drives, piles of paper and a handwritten journal kept by the al-Qaeda chief.”

To date, the ODNI has released or listed just 620 “items” found in bin Laden’s home. Only 314 of these are “declassified material.”

That is an insignificant fraction of the total collection.

President Obama’s White House also released 17 files via West Point’s Combating Terrorism center in 2012. And a handful of additional documents made their way to the public during a terror-related trial in Brooklyn in 2015. But even including those files, the public has still only seen a small number of documents, as compared to the total cache.

Gen. Michael Flynn, who will serve as the National Security Adviser to President Trump, has read and been briefed on some of the bin Laden files. Gen. Flynn also fought to have the documents fully exploited. Last year, Flynn wrote that only a “tiny fraction” had been released to the public. That was before today’s release. But the 98 new items hardly mark an appreciable increase.

Transparency is important for a number of reasons. Consider the ODNI’s own statement on today’s release, and how it provides a remarkably incomplete picture regarding al Qaeda’s decades-long relationship with Iran.

Why would ODNI attempt to portray bin Laden’s views as fixed and negative—”hatred, suspicion”—when documents written by bin Laden himself tell a more nuanced, yet troubling story?

There’s no question that some of bin Laden’s files document the tensions and problems in al Qaeda’s relationship with Iran. Bin Laden worried that members of his family would be tracked by Iranian intelligence. At one point, al Qaeda even kidnapped an Iranian diplomat in order to force a prisoner exchange. Some senior al Qaeda leaders have been held in Iranian custody for years.

But there is much more to the story, including the documents detailing Iran’s longtime collusion with al Qaeda. The ODNI is essentially asking readers to focus on the bad days in al Qaeda’s marriage with Iran, while ignoring the good days.

One previously released document, apparently authored by bin Laden himself, summarized his views on Iran. In a letter dated Oct. 18, 2007, Bin Laden warned one of his subordinates in Iraq not to openly threaten attacks inside Iran. Bin Laden explained why (emphasis added):

You did not consult with us on that serious issue that affects the general welfare of all of us. We expected you would consult with us for these important matters, for as you are aware, Iran is our main artery for funds, personnel, and communication, as well as the matter of hostages.

Bin Laden was pragmatic when it came to dealing with Iran for reasons that are not hard to understand: Iran was the “main artery” for his organization. Why would ODNI attempt to portray bin Laden’s views as fixed and negative—”hatred, suspicion”—when documents written by bin Laden himself so plainly contradict this?

Since July 2011, President Obama’s Treasury and State Departments have repeatedly made it clear that Iran hosts senior al Qaeda leaders. Echoing bin Laden’s letter, the State Department has even described al Qaeda’s network inside Iran as its “core pipeline.”

The Treasury and State Departments publicly accused the Iranian regime of allowing al Qaeda to operate inside Iran in: July 2011, December 2011, February 2012, July 2012, October 2012, May 2013, January 2014, February 2014, April 2014, August 2014, and July 2016.

In addition, during congressional testimony in February 2012, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper described the relationship as a “marriage of convenience.”

Today’s statement by the ODNI says nothing about this “convenience.”

The bin Laden files are an invaluable resource for checking the U.S. Intelligence Community’s assessments. The CIA’s erroneous assessment of al Qaeda’s strength in Afghanistan is a case in point.

In June 2010, then CIA Director Leon Panetta told ABC’s This Week that al Qaeda’s footprint in Afghanistan was “relatively small,” totaling “50 to 100” members, “maybe less.”

A memo written by Osama bin Laden’s chief manager that same month told a different story. In the memo, bin Laden’s henchman explained that al Qaeda was operating in at least eight of Afghanistan’s provinces as of June 2010. In addition, just one al Qaeda “battalion” based in Kunar and Nuristan had 70 members by itself. In other words, just one al Qaeda “battalion” exceeded the lower bound of the CIA’s figures for all of Afghanistan—all by itself. U.S. officials have been forced to concede in recent months that there are far more al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan than previously estimated. If they had accurately assessed bin Laden’s files, then they would have already known that.

Osama bin Laden’s files are a crucial resource to understanding the 9/11 wars, and al Qaeda’s strengths and weaknesses. The American public should be able to see as many of them as possible.

Guantanamo detainee selected for aborted 9/11 hijacking transferred to Oman

Long War Journal, by Thomas Joscelyn, January 18, 2017:

The Defense Department has released a list of ten now former Guantanamo detainees who were transferred to Oman earlier this week. One of them is Mohammed Al Ansi, a Yemeni who was captured in northern Pakistan in late 2001 and transferred to the detention facility in Cuba in Jan. 2002.

Mohammed Al Ansi

Mohammed Al Ansi

US authorities repeatedly found that Ansi (seen on the right) may have been selected to take part in an aborted part of the 9/11 hijackings.

Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO) concluded in a leaked threat assessment, dated May 17, 2008, that Ansi “swore bayat (oath of allegiance) to” Osama bin Laden “and received specialized close combat training for his role as a suicide operative in an aborted component of the 11 September 2001 al Qaeda attacks.”

Another version of the allegation was included in a summary prepared by the Obama administration for the Periodic Review Board (PRB) process at Guantanamo.

“Judging from other detainee statements and corroborating information,” the Oct. 14, 2015 summary reads, Ansi “participated in advanced combat training and may have met with al Qaeda external operations chief Khalid Shaykh Mohammed … in Karachi and been considered for participation in a suicide attack or deployment in the West.”

Al Qaeda originally considered hijacking US airliners leaving from airports in Southeast Asia as part of the 9/11 plot. But bin Laden reportedly canceled this part of the operation because he thought it would be difficult to coordinate the additional hijackings.

According to the US government’s files, one of the ringleaders for the canceled 9/11 hijackings was Walid Bin Attash, a senior al Qaeda operative who helped plot the Oct. 2000 USS Cole bombing. Bin Attash allegedly performed surveillance on American airliners operating in Southeast Asia. After his part of the plot was called off, Bin Attash turned his attention to other al Qaeda plans.

Bin Attash, who is currently held at Guantanamo, fingered Ansi and three other detainees as would-be participants in the airliner plot. Leaked threat assessments prepared by JTF-GTMO, as well as files prepared for the detainees’ PRB hearings, link all four of them to the initial plan. Two of them were previously transferred by the Obama administration. Abdul Rahman Shalabi, a Saudi, was transferred to his home country on Sept. 22, 2015. Abd al Malik Abd al Wahab, a Yemeni, was transferred to Montenegro on June 22, 2016.

Only the fourth detainee identified by Bin Attash as being part of the plot, a Yemeni named Zuhail Abdo Anam Said al Sharabi, remains in US custody at Guantanamo. A summary prepared for Sharabi’s PRB hearing notes that he traveled to Malaysia, where he stayed with Bin Attash and two of the 9/11 hijackers. Sharabi apparently denied this allegation during questioning, but also described the pair of 9/11 hijackers as “martyrs.” JTF-GTMO’s analysts found that Sharabi’s trip to Malaysia with Bin Attash was ordered by Osama bin Laden himself as “part of the pre-planning for the hijacking plot.” The pair stayed at the home of Hambali, a notorious al Qaeda leader in Southeast Asia who is also still detained at Guantanamo.

Bin Attash told authorities that, just two months prior to 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) took the four (including Ansi), as well as two others, “to Karachi to teach them English language and American culture.”

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Also see:

  • US transferring 4 Gitmo detainees to UAE and Saudi Arabia, officials say (foxnews.com) After the transfers are complete, 41 detainees will remain at the detention camp. It is not immediately known if any more transfers will take place before Obama leaves office Friday, though it is clear the outgoing president will not achieve his 2008 campaign goal of shuttering the camp.