Haftar – Sisi Alliance: The Road Block to ISIS bridge Into The Maghreb

February 21, 2015 / /

Our sources have reported that the Egyptian Special Forces Unit 999 executed a joint-raid with the forces of Libyan GEN Khalifah Haftar after the start of airstrikes against Islamic State (IS) positions inside Libya. Unit 999 and GEN Haftar’s forces conducted a raid on a camp located in the Dernah-area (variant: Darna) resulting in the total destruction of the camp. This particular camp is said to have a heavy-foreign fighter presence consisting of Tunisian, Egyptian and Algerian fighters. This particular camp appears to be part of the facilitation ratlines sending weapons and fighters to Syria through Egypt and Gaza, which is probably why the Sisi regime chose to target this location. IS responded by targeting the GEN Haftar stronghold of Quba in a series of bombings.

Libya: Egyptian troops launch ground attack in Isis-held Derna ‘capturing 55 militants’
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/libya-egyptian-troops-launch-ground-attack-isis-held-derna-capturing-55-militants-1488522

ISIL claims responsibility for deadly Libya blasts
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/02/isil-claims-responsibility-deadly-libya-blasts-150220235037650.html

Egypt Strikes ISIS Positions in Libya: Moderate Muslims Rise Up Against Terror
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4889

Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 10.03.48 AM

Unit 999 conducting training
Source: The ISIS Study Group

The ratlines coming out of Libya are also fueling IS-affiliate Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM) to continue moving forward in their campaign to secure the Sinai Peninsula to use as the gateway to Gaza, Jordan and Syria. If you suspect there’s a great sense of urgency on the part of Egypt to eradicate the IS presence in Libya and the Sinai, you would be correct. The reason for the increased operations in both areas has everything to do with ABM attempting to reach out to other jihadist groups in the country to bolster their ranks and create a “unified” command. Unconfirmed reporting has come out over the past few weeks about ABM allegedly reaching out to the Cairo-based group Ajnad Masr for the purpose of conducting joint-operations against the regime. This is significant since Ajnad Masr splintered from ABM in 2013 over their pro-IS leanings and regional agenda as opposed to just targeting the Egyptian government. If confirmed, then ABM will have an effective action-arm for conducting operations inside Cairo itself (ABM’s Cairo operations had been disrupted over the last 4 months due to security sweeps). Adding weight to this possibility are the reports that Ajnad Masr may be looking to target western embassies in the capital.

Jordan Steps Up Airstrikes Against ISIS, Egypt Launches New Sinai Offensive
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4669

Egypt and UAE Launch Airstrikes in Libya – US Kept in the Dark
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=1302

Is Egypt Planning Military Intervention in Libya?
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=584

ABM video

ABM in their 2014 video pledging allegiance to IS
Source: Breitbart

The Libyan-affiliate of IS has been expanding rather quickly in the country and initiated the targeting of westerners, as demonstrated in the late-JAN attack on the Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli and early-FEB attack on an oil field near Sirt. Regarding the oil field attack, IS was looking for westerners but ended up killing one US citizen, a French citizen and three Filipino overseas foreign workers (OFWs) taken hostage. As we’ve seen in Syria and Iraq, a key part of increasing the group’s capabilities revolves around seizing critical infrastructure such as power plants, oil fields and refineries, and its no different here in Libya. We fully expect IS will continue to target Libyan oil infrastructure in order to target western workers, generate revenue and pressure the governments of other target countries – to include EU members.

Eight killed, including five foreigners, in ISIS-linked attack on Libya hotel
http://www.haaretz.com/news/world/1.639305

3 Filipino Oil Workers Kidnapped in Libya
http://manilastandardtoday.com/2015/02/06/3-filipino-oil-workers-kidnapped-in-libya/

corinthia hotel

The Corinthia Hotel Attack
Source: Harretz

We assess that GEN Haftar’s faction and the Sisi regime will continue planning for additional joint-operations similar to the Dernah camp raid. The UAE has been sending additional military equipment and weapons/ammo in support of these operations and has apparently signaled that they intend to increase their air campaign on IS targets in the country. Libya is of great importance as it gives IS a main hub from which to support expansion efforts throughout North Africa while providing additional logistical support to the war effort in Syria. The effort is deemed so important by IS leadership that they sent a “support package” consisting of cadre who fought US forces in Iraq to the country to assist in setting up the official affiliate. Furthermore, we assess that six months after IS sends such a group to an area that an affiliate is able to become fully operational. These personnel are a combination of structural IS fighters and personalities native to the target area. Regarding Libya, such personnel aren’t in short supply as the country was a major contributor of foreign fighters for the IS forerunner AQI during the OIF-era (its worth noting many of these personnel came from Benghazi). As such, what we’re seeing in Libya will likely be what we’ll see in the AF/PAK region six months from now. We also see indications that these same type of cadre were sent to Nigeria to assist Boko Haram 12 to 18 months ago. They have also sent similar cadre packages to other Maghreb states in North Africa, particularly those with active insurgencies.

The Strategic Importance of Egypt to ISIS
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=1392

The ISIS Expansion into North Africa
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=3257

Its also worth noting that both GENs Haftar and Sisi have not been receiving adequate US military support. More damning is that the Obama administration has even supported “moderate elements” of the Arab Spring that were not hardly at all moderate – such as the Muslim Brotherhood (MB -which is the father of the modern Sunni terrorist) for instance. The result was a MB-dominated Egyptian government that became increasingly pro-jihadist and a Libya that became far less stable than it ever was when the Qaddafi regime was in power. The result was our Cairo Embassy being overrun, Libya mission being closed and our ambassador to that country being killed by the very same “moderates” that the Obama administration supported. Once GEN Sisi seized power he took note of what happened to his mentor Hosni Mubarak and has grown closer to Russia. In fact, US influence throughout the Middle East – and globally – has been on significant decline for the past 6 yrs, which began to accelerate at the start of the Arab Spring. If you were wondering why we’re seeing Jordan, Egypt, the UAE and France are now “in the lead” in the fight against ISIS, that’s why – and that isn’t a good thing. The United States is not “more respected” as the Obama administration claimed we would be nor are we feared. The decisions of the American voter in the last two presidential elections won’t fully manifest itself for another 1-2 yrs – but when it does, there will be a lot of blood spilled.

Egypt Atmospherics
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=614

Links to Other Related Articles:

Egyptian Army and IDF Take on ISIS Supporters in Sinai

Egyptian Army Hits Back at ISIS in Sinai

US Embassy in Tripoli “Secured” by Islamist by Islamist Militias of the Dawn of Libya

Violence In Tripoli and Benghazi Continues to Rise

Libyan Violence Causes US Embassy to Close in Tripoli, Also Attack on Egyptian Border Control Point

Tunisia, After Igniting Arab Spring, Sends the Most Fighters to Islamic State in Syria – The Washington Post

Tunisia Closes Border With Libya as Thousands Have Been Fleeing the Violence in Libya

ISIS in Gaza Update

Islamic State’s Presence in Gaza

Algerian Mosque Terror Financing Draws Scrutiny

Tarawih___Hamza_324936347by IPT News:

 

Joint Subcommittee Hearing: The Terrorist Threat in North Africa: Before and After Benghazi

getproxy_oms1Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa | 2172 House Rayburn Office Building Washington, DC 20515 | Jul 10, 2013 10:00am

Full hearing:

 

Opening Statements:

 

 

 

 

Witnesses

Mr. Daveed Gartenstein-Ross
Director
Center for the Study of Terrorist Radicalization
Foundation for Defense of Democracies
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]

Mr. Aaron Zelin
Richard Borow Fellow
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]

Daniel L. Byman, Ph.D.
Professor
Security Studies Program
Georgetown University
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]

Mr. Mike Lovelady
Brother of Algerian gas plant terrorist attack victim, Victor Lovelady
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]

In Timbuktu, al-Qaida left behind a manifesto

By RUKMINI CALLIMACHI
Associated Press

TIMBUKTU, Mali     (AP) — In their hurry to flee last month, al-Qaida fighters left behind a crucial document: Tucked under a pile of papers and trash is a confidential letter, spelling out the terror network’s strategy for conquering northern Mali and reflecting internal discord over how to rule the region.

The document is an unprecedented window into the terrorist operation, indicating that al-Qaida predicted the military intervention that would dislodge it in January and recognized its own vulnerability.

The letter also shows a sharp division within al-Qaida’s Africa chapter over how quickly and how strictly to apply Islamic law, with its senior commander expressing dismay over the whipping of women and the destruction of Timbuktu’s ancient monuments. It moreover leaves no doubt that despite a temporary withdrawal into the desert, al-Qaida plans to operate in the region over the long haul, and is willing to make short-term concessions on ideology to gain the allies it acknowledges it needs.

Abdelmalek Droukdel

Abdelmalek Droukdel

The more than nine-page document, found by the AP in a building occupied by the Islamists for almost a year, is signed by Abu Musab Abdul Wadud, the nom de guerre of Abdelmalek Droukdel, the senior commander appointed by Osama bin Laden to run al-Qaida’s branch in Africa. The clear-headed, point-by-point assessment resembles a memo from a CEO to his top managers and lays out for his jihadists in Mali what they have done wrong in months past, and what they need to do to correct their behavior in the future.

Read more

Al Qaeda on the rise

Aftermath: Firemen remove a coffin with one of 81 bodies found at a gas plant in Algeria where an al Qaeda-linked group launched an attack.

Aftermath: Firemen remove a coffin with one of 81 bodies found at a gas plant in Algeria where an al Qaeda-linked group launched an attack.

By John Bolton

The US and Western response to date has been disjointed and with decidedly mixed results. If President Obama doesn’t soon jettison his ideological blinders about the threat of international terrorism, we could see a series of further attacks — not unlike the 1990s series that culminated in the 9/11 strikes.

Obama has attempted verbally and politically to narrowly define the terrorist threat in order to declare victory. In his acceptance speech, for example, he said: “I promised to refocus on the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11. We have.” By continually restricting and narrowing “terrorism” to al Qaeda in Waziristan (thereby excluding the Taliban, al Qaeda components elsewhere and in fact nearly everyone except bin Laden’s own cadre), the administration hoped to reach the point where it could proclaim the war on terror finished.

Yet events in Libya, Mali and now Algeria have shredded that budding myth, at a tragic cost in human life.

By demanding the release of terrorists imprisoned in America in exchange for their hostages, the Algerian marauders in particular demonstrated that we are still top of mind in the terrorist world.

In Libya, Obama walked away after Moammar Khadafy’s overthrow. Terrorists took root, leading to the Benghazi tragedy. Meanwhile, Khadafy’s mercenaries fled, carving out a sanctuary in Mali that radicals from around the world could use as a safe haven. And in Algeria, where the military fought a bloody civil war 20 years ago against Islamicists, the embers flared again.

One terrorist attack didn’t cause another, but the correlation of forces underlying these mortal threats now stands unambiguously exposed. Khadafy’s overthrow, touted by Obama’s White House as vindication of its Middle East policies, has simply exposed the reality that the terrorist threat had metastasized well beyond bin Laden. Killing him and al Qaeda leaders in Waziristan hasn’t reduced threats that now grow daily: Al Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb; Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Al Qaeda in Iraq — the list of thriving franchises continues to grow.

And when the Taliban recapture power in Afghanistan, as Obama’s policies are almost surely guaranteeing, we can count on al Qaeda re-emerging there as well.

Read more at The New York Post

John R. Bolton is a former US ambassador to the United Nations.

Algeria: Obama’s Chickens Come Home to Roost

OBAMA-articleLarge-450x326By Robert Spencer

Jeremiah Wright was right after all. The Algeria jihad attack proves it.

Not long after the 9/11 jihad attacks, Barack Obama’s mentor and friend, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, preached a sermon in which he uttered the now-notorious words: “America’s chickens are coming home to roost.”

Wright meant, of course, that the U.S. had brought the attack upon itself by its own acts of violence against others: “We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye… and now we are indignant, because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought back into our own front yards.”

In a certain sense Wright was right: the U.S. did bring 9/11 on itself – but not in the way that he thought. The jihadists who destroyed the Twin Towers and damaged the Pentagon had not been brooding about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and no action by the U.S. did or could have justified the mass murder those jihadists perpetrated. If it could be truly said that the U.S. brought 9/11 on itself in any way, it was only by failing to recognize the implications of and to confront the ideology behind the jihad attacks that immediately preceded it.

There was an abundance of indicators of what was coming. In December 1988, an Islamic jihadist murdered 259 people, including 189 Americans, by bringing down Pam Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. In February 1993, Islamic jihadists murdered six people and wounded over a thousand in their first attempt to bring down the World Trade Center towers. In June 1996, Islamic jihadists murdered nineteen people and wounded 515, including 240 Americans, in a bombing at the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. In August 1998, Islamic jihadists bombed the American embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, murdering 291, including 12 Americans, in Nairobi, and murdering ten more and wounding 77 in Dar es Salaam. In October 2000, Islamic jihadists bombed the USS Cole in port at Aden, Yemen, murdering seventeen sailors and wounding 39.

In response to all this, the U.S. lobbed a few cruise missiles into Afghanistan and took out a chemical weapons factory (or aspirin factory, depending on one’s source) in Sudan, and did little more. No serious attempt was made to come to grips with the full nature and magnitude of the ideology that inspired those jihad attacks, and to work to neutralize its violent potential. And so it would have been more surprising if the 9/11 attacks hadn’t happened than that they did.

So it is today. Barack Obama has overseen the installation of Sharia regimes in Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. While paying lip service to the importance of distinguishing jihadists from genuine democratic forces in Syria and elsewhere, the Obama administration has offered no criteria for doing this. And now al-Qaeda jihadists in Algeria have carried out a brazen assault on BP’s natural gas plant in that country, killing at least eighty-one people and demonstrating anew the falsehood of Barack Obama’s recent claim that in Afghanistan “we achieved our central goal … or have come very close to achieving our central goal, which is to de-capacitate al-Qaeda, to dismantle them, to make sure that they can’t attack us again.”

Read more at Front Page

Why terrorists love the blind sheikh

Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman

Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman

By Andrew McCarthy

An ugly and confusing terrorist attack at an Algerian gas facility is getting  even more troubling as the Islamic radicals now demand the release of Sheikh  Omar Abdel Rahman and another prominent terrorist in exchange for the remaining  American hostages.

Abdel Rahman is the blind sheikh now serving a life sentence for  masterminding the 1993 attack against the World Trade Center. Terrorists are  also demanding the release of Aafia Saddiqui, who is imprisoned on her  conviction for attempted murder.

And the captors in Algeria are not the only ones who want to see Abdel Rahman  released. The new leaders in Egypt are also urging the U.S. to free him. But why  is Abdel Rahman so revered?

“He is the most iconic symbol to Islamic supremacists the world over of not  only their struggle against the West but their deep-seeded conviction that they  will win that battle,” said Andrew C. McCarthy, the lead federal prosecutor in  the case that put Rahman and 11 others behind bars.

“He is thought of internationally as somebody who is virtually without equal  in facing down the United States in particular. That’s not just because of the  1993 Trade Center bombing and the plots that occurred right after that to try to  take out New York City landmarks but the fact that Osama bin Laden, someone else  that was thought very highly of as an iconic figure in the international jihad,  attributed to Abdel Rahman the credit for issuing the fatwa that approved the  9/11 attacks. So he’s a singular figure in this global movement and that’s why  really since we imprisoned him in the summer of 1993 they’ve been agitating for  his release.”

Despite the adoration that Islamic radicals have for Abdel Rahman, the  assumption of most is that the Obama administration will obviously reject the  demands. McCarthy told WND he isn’t so sure. He said the odd response from the  administration following Egyptian efforts to free Abdel Rahman leads him to  believe there is some chance this could happen down the road.

Read more at WND with audio