As US relocates embassy to Jerusalem, al Qaeda leader condemns international system

Long War Journal, by Thomas Joscelyn, May 14, 2018:

On the eve of the opening of the US government’s embassy in Jerusalem today, al Qaeda released a new message from its leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. The al Qaeda emir noted at the outset of his speech that there has been a “big uproar” over the Trump administration’s decision to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. President Trump has been “clear and frank,” revealing “the true face of the modern Crusade, which does not deal with retreat and reconciliation,” according to Zawahiri.

However, Zawahiri quickly pivoted away from the controversy over the embassy relocation, reiterating al Qaeda’s longstanding conspiracy theory: The entire international system is hostile to Muslims. Just being part of the United Nations makes one complicit in this alleged scheme, according to bin Laden’s successor.

Indeed, the title of Zawahiri’s speech, “Tel Aviv Is Also the Land of Muslims,” underscores his point. The embassy relocation is a small issue relative to the vast “Zionist-Crusader” conspiracy al Qaeda claims to oppose.

Zawahiri reminds his “Muslim and mujahidin brothers and the sincere scholars” that “all of the countries of the Islamic world which are members in the United Nations have recognized Israel by signing the United Nations Charter, which confirms the unity and territorial integrity of each of its states, including Israel.” From al Qaeda’s perspective, this is the original sin of the United Nations.

The al Qaeda leader claims that, by signing the UN charter, nations have agreed to leave “ruling by Sharia.” That is, they have agreed that they will not abide by the draconian laws Zawahiri and his ilk prefer. Instead, these nations are “satisfied” with governing and “ruling” according to the “decisions of the [UN] Security Council and the General Assembly,” including the decision in 1947 to partition the land.

Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are both “Islamic land,” in Zawahiri’s telling. True believers need “to liberate Palestine” and “all the other abodes of Muslims” after declaring the entire “criminal international tyrannical system” to be illegitimate. Zawahiri again calls for Muslim unity, a frequent al Qaeda motif, such that the ummah (worldwide community of Muslims) engages in “battle…on multiple fronts, not as separate groups that retreat before the imperatives of the greatest criminals.”

Zawahiri reminds listeners that Osama bin Laden identified America as the leader of this supposedly corrupt international system and, therefore, as the “first enemy of the Muslims.” Bin Laden first declared that Americans “would not dream of security until we actually live it in Palestine, and until all the disbelieving armies depart from the land of Muhammad.”

The goal is establish “the caliphate,” Zawahiri says, after uniting “around the word of tawhid.” This will require both dawa (proselytization) and jihad. And Muslims must not confuse their enemies for their friends, fighting “the battle of consciousness before the battle of weapons,” remaining “free of illusions.”

In the past, al Qaeda leaders have called on Muslims to use Syrian soil to “liberate” Jerusalem. The group uses this theme as a rallying cry for jihadists in Syria.

Zawahiri’s message is the 9th episode in his “Brief Messages To A Victorious Ummah” series, during which he has covered a variety of topics. Although Zawahiri can be long-winded, the lectures in this program are mercifully short.

Although the lecture series has been running since Aug. 2016, Zawahiri and his propagandists in As Sahab clearly timed the release of this episode to coincide with the US embassy relocation to Jerusalem. It demonstrates that, at times, al Qaeda is still able to time its media to current events. Zawahiri also remains a somewhat prolific commentator, regularly releasing messages from his hideout.

An English translation of the message was distributed via Telegram by Al-Tamkin Media, a propaganda outfit that regularly translates messages from al Qaeda’s senior leadership. The quotes in this article were adapted from Al-Tamkin’s rough translation.

Tehran TV documentary tells how to attack Israel

download (27)By Cheryl K. Chumley:

Note to Iran: If you’re trying to assure world leaders that the new president brings messages of peace and compromise, you might not want to broadcast a lengthy documentary about attacking Israel with missiles.

But that’s what Tehran television just did. The media outlet broadcast an hourlong documentary about Iran’s missile capabilities and how its security force would use them against foreign threats, Ynet News reported.

Notable in the video was a simulated attack on Israel to take out its nuclear plants. The video went into great detail, showing computer-generated images of launches of Iran’s long-range Sejjil ballistic missiles, Ynet News reported. In the broadcast, Israel was only able to intercept some of the missiles — while others were direct hits.

Among the targets shown in the documentary, Ynet News said: Azrieli Towers, the Kirya in Tel Aviv, Israel Defense Force’s base in Tzfirin, Ben Gurion Airport and the nuclear facility at Dimona.

The video used pictures of those who were killed or injured in the Second Lebanon War.

Read more at Washington Times

 

 

 

Israel Hopes to Avoid Third Intifada Despite Palestinian Rhetoric, Violence

by Yaakov Lappin
Special to IPT News

Israeli Security Service Arrests Iranian Spy

Ali Mansouri, an alleged Iranian spy / AP

Ali Mansouri, an alleged Iranian spy / AP

BY: :

JERUSALEM – Israel’s Shin Bet security service yesterday announced the detention in Tel Aviv of an Iranian-born businessman with Belgian citizenship suspected of spying for Teheran.

The suspect, named as Ali Mansouri, was arrested on September 11 at Ben-Gurion Airport as he was preparing to board a flight for Belgium. His detention was announced as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was making his way to New York where he is to address the UN.

Netanyahu is expected to refocus world attention on the Iranian nuclear issue after Iran’s new president, Hassan Rowhani, attempted to defuse the subject. Israeli columnists saw the timing of the announcement of Mansouri’s detention as an attempt to provide Netanyahu with rhetorical ammunition.

Israeli officials said Mansouri was spying on American interests in Israel. He was reportedly seen photographing the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv and “recording activity there.” Officials said that he admitted to being promised $1 million for his activities in Israel by the special operations unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

“At a time when Iran is trying to get closer to the U.S. it sent an agent to try to gather intelligence in order to carry out a terror attack against the American embassy in Israel. This is one further example of Iran’s policy of doublespeak and further proof that Iran’s words do not match its actions,” a member of the prime minister’s delegation to New York told the Times of Israel.

Read more at Free Beacon

 

Syria Round-Up: Tests, Posturing and Politics

syriaForMax-2by IPT News:

Indictment: Jacksonville Man Tried to Join AQAP

 

 Shelton Thomas Bell

Shelton Thomas Bell

IPT, by Abha Shankar:

Elaborate surveillance operation raises concerns about broader Hezbollah attacks

AFP/AFP/GETTY IMAGES -  A truck carries the bus damaged by the suicide bomb blast which targeted a group of Israeli tourists in Bourgas, Bulgaria, on July 19, 2012.

AFP/AFP/GETTY IMAGES – A truck carries the bus damaged by the suicide bomb blast which targeted a group of Israeli tourists in Bourgas, Bulgaria, on July 19, 2012.

By :

The Israeli tourists on Arkia Airlines Flight 161 from Tel Aviv could not have known it, but their arrival in Cyprus July 6 was watched closely. A pair of trained eyes counted each passenger as the group exited the plane and boarded a shuttle, headed for resorts that had also been carefully studied and mapped.

The bearded foreigner who silently tracked the Israelis had done his work well. He knew where the visitors would sleep, shop and eat. He knew how many security guards patrolled their hotel parking lots and how long it would take police to arrive from the station down the street.

But the watcher was being watched. When Cypriot police picked him up, the Hezbollah operative quickly acknowledged what he was doing, although he claimed not to know why.

“I was just collecting information about the Jews,” he told police, according to a sworn deposition. “This is what my organization is doing, everywhere in the world.”

The arrest of Hossam Yaakoub, a Lebanese-born Swedish citizen, on July 7 was all but forgotten 11 days later when a bus containing another group of vacationing Israelis was blown up in the Bulgarianresort city of Burgas . The attack, which killed five Israelis and a Bulgarian bus driver, was quickly blamed on Hezbollah.

Now, seven months after that attack, new details emerging in Yaakoub’s case are providing chilling insights into what investigators describe as a far broader effort by the Lebanon-based militant group to lay the groundwork for killing Israeli citizens and perhaps others in multiple countries.

Some details have come from Yaakoub himself, who made his first public appearance last week during his trial in Cyprus. But a much fuller account comes from legal documents summarizing the Swedish man’s statements to police during weeks of questioning last summer and obtained by The Washington Post.

The evidence echoes discoveries by investigators in Bulgaria and prosecutors in Thailand, India, Azerbaijan, Kenya and other countries hit by a wave of attempted assassinations and bombings linked to Hezbollah or its chief sponsor, Iran. U.S. officials characterize the plots as part of a shadow war directed by Iran in part to retaliate for Western efforts to derail Iran’s nuclear program. Evidence uncovered by investigators portrays a professional, well-funded effort by Hezbollah to recruit, train and position European-based operatives for what U.S. analysts describe as preparations for future terrorist operations.

‘Calculated tradecraft’

While most of the attacks were thwarted or failed, the accumulated intelligence shows that Hezbollah is learning from its mistakes, employing the tactics of professional intelligence operatives to cover its tracks and expanding its threat, according to current and former U.S. officials, most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the ongoing nature of the inquiries.

“In the beginning, they clearly emphasized speed over tradecraft,” said Matthew Levitt, a former counterterrorism official with the FBI and Treasury Department and author of the forthcoming book “Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon’s Party of God.” Ananalysis of the more recent plots shows a shift in tactics, said Levitt, who said the Cyprus case in particular “underscores a very patient, careful and calculated tradecraft.”

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