Tag Archives: al qaeda

The Despicable Boko Haram Threatens the United States with Terrorist Attacks

Calling the United States a “prostitute nation of infidels and liars,” Abubakar Shekau says Boko Haram will strike outside of Nigeria and in America.  However, very little media attention is paid to these thugs and lunatics.–AA

Catch-Shekau.jpg

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau. Image from Vanguard.

A new video has surfaced showing Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau claiming responsibility for the Dec. 2 attack on military installations in Maiduguri, and threatening attacks in the West. The emergence of the video further contradicts reports that he was killed several months ago.

In the 40-minute video obtained by AFP yesterday, Shekau is dressed in military fatigues and vest, and has a Kalashnikov rifle under his arm. He speaks for 19 minutes, then the rest of the video shows footage of the attack. The 46-second clip released by AFP contains excerpts showing Shekau speaking, Boko Haram fighters entering Maiduguri in trucks, and fighters calmly in control of the military air base as aircraft and buildings burn.

In his speech in Arabic, Hausa, and Kanuri, Shekau reportedly claims that the whole world fears him, including US President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and even the late British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

Addressing the United States, Shekau calls it a “prostitute nation of infidels and liars,” and goes on to threaten that Boko Haram plans to attack outside Nigeria and even the US itself: “You are boasting you are going to join forces with Nigeria to crush us. Bloody liars. You couldn’t crush us when we were carrying sticks. By Allah, we will never stop. Don’t think we will stop in Maiduguri. Tomorrow you will see us in America itself. Our operation is not confined to Nigeria. It is for the whole world.”

Shekau’s threat follows the US’ addition of Boko Haram to the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations and Specially Designated Global Terrorist entities on Nov. 13 along with a splinter faction known as Ansaru. Shekau himself was added to the US list of global terrorists on June 21, 2012, along with Khalid al Barnawi and Abubakar Adam Kamba, both of whom “have ties to Boko Haram and have close links to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.”

In the State Department’s official announcement of the Boko Haram designation, the group was described as “a Nigeria-based militant group with links to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) that is responsible for thousands of deaths in northeast and central Nigeria over the last several years including targeted killings of civilians.” Ansaru, on the other hand, was described as focusing “on Nigerian military and Western targets.”

Boko Haram’s tactics have shifted lately, and are becoming more like those of Ansaru. As indicated by the recent attack in Maiduguri, Boko Haram has changed its tactics and grown more sophisticated. The group is now prepared to directly attack military installations, and in large numbers.

This is the second time in the past 30 days that Shekau has appeared in a video to claim responsibility for a Boko Haram attack. On Nov. 3, Shekau featured in a video titled “the Battle of Damaturu,” in which he claimed to have personally commanded the operation that killed 35 people on Oct 24. While the authenticity of the clip could not be independently verified in November, Shekau spoke in Arabic, Hausa, and Kanuri, as he did in the video obtained yesterday. The Damaturu attack was Boko Haram’s first significant raid in a major urban center in some time.

From the Long War Journal

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Long War Journal: Al Qaeda official says force needed to establish sharia law in Egypt

Al-Qaeda, alive and well, is seeking to “help” Egyptian Muslims and to see Sharia enforced in that beleaguered land.

In a message released by al Qaeda’s As Sahab on Dec. 7, Muhammad bin Mahmoud Rabie al Bahtiyti, an al Qaeda official, said the group is following current events in Egypt, even though it is “away from them.”

“[W]e would have liked to be among them [Egyptian Muslims], helping them and supporting them, and blocking off the assaults of the oppressors and the tyrants,” al Bahtiyti said, according to a translation by the SITE Intelligence Group. “Even though we are away from them – and that is imposed on us – this does not prevent us from addressing them and their plight and doing out duty towards them.”

With regard to the ongoing crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters, al Bahtiyti argued that a peaceful approach will not do anything of importance. “Anyone who calls to resist falsehood with peacefulness is swimming in a sea of illusions, and perhaps in a sea of blood, in vain,” he declared.

He also called on Egyptian Muslims to work towards the implementation of sharia-based governance. Egyptian Muslims must “stand in the face of this fierce campaign led by the people of falsehood and the forces of delusion,” al Bahtiyti urged. They must “educate people about their obligation to support the religion and empower the Shariah,” he continued.

According to al Bahtiyti, force is necessary to ensure sharia-based governance is brought about. “The reality about which there is no doubt, is that falsehood will not be removed and will not go away except with force and with power,” al Bahtiyti’s message said.

Al Bahtiyti described the current government in Egypt as a “small band of secularists that imposed themselves … over the necks of the people.” He further denounced the current regime for allegedly trying to fight Islam, “extirpate its people, and prevent its empowerment, and to serve the enemy the Jews and Crusaders and to be their follower.”

 

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Peter Bergen: Rapping for al Qaeda in Syria

CNN) — In August, al Qaeda’s propaganda arm released a video starring the German rapper Deso Dogg.

Wearing combat fatigues and standing next to a waterfall in Syria, Deso Dogg raps in German calling on others to join the jihad and “to make an effort for Paradise.”

Deso Dogg, whose real name is Denis Cuspert, is one of several dozen German citizens who have fought in Syria.

Their move to Syria marks an important shift in the focus of global jihadists. Videos by German militants training with groups associated with al Qaeda during 2009 and 2010 were invariably taped in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region.

Peter Bergen
Peter Bergen

That region now is largely shunned by foreign militants partly because of effective CIA drones strikes and partly because Syria is now the destination choice for jihadists from around the world.

Deso Dogg is one of the many thousands of foreign fighters who have been drawn to the jihad in Syria against the regime of Bashar al-Assad over the past three years.

This group includes an estimated 800 to 900 from Europe, mostly from Germany, the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands and Belgium. A handful of Americans have also fought in Syria.

The concern, of course, is that these militants will swap business cards and will acquire arms training and bomb-making skills and will return to Western countries and carry out acts of terrorism.

This is what happened after the war in Afghanistan during the 1980s. Arab veterans of those wars formed the heart of al Qaeda and affiliated groups. Osama bin Laden fought in the Afghan War against the Soviets and then founded al Qaeda, which subsequently, of course, launched the 9/11 attacks. The failure to pay adequate attention to the so-called “Afghan Arabs” such as bin Laden proved an expensive one for the United Sates and her allies.

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More on al-Suri, from the National Journal

By Michael Hirsh

“I think al-Qaida’s capabilities for a strike into the United States are more dangerous and more numerous than before 9/11.” Congressman Mike Rogers

Ever since the death of Osama bin Laden, President Obama and his senior lieutenants have been telling war-weary Americans that the end of the nation’s longest conflict is within sight. “Core al-Qaida is a shell of its former self,” Obama said in a speech in May. “This war, like all wars, must end.” That was the triumphal tone of last year’s reelection campaign, too.

The truth is much grimmer. Intelligence officials and terrorism experts today believe that the death of bin Laden and the decimation of the Qaida “core” in Pakistan only set the stage for a rebirth of al-Qaida as a global threat. Its tactics have morphed into something more insidious and increasingly dangerous as safe havens multiply in war-torn or failed states—at exactly the moment we are talking about curtailing the National Security Agency’s monitoring capability. And the jihadist who many terrorism experts believe is al-Qaida’s new strategic mastermind, Abu Musab al-Suri (a nom de guerre that means “the Syrian”), has a diametrically different approach that emphasizes quantity over quality. The red-haired, blue-eyed former mechanical engineer was born in Aleppo in 1958 as Mustafa Setmariam Nasar; he has lived in France and Spain. Al-Suri is believed to have helped plan the 2004 train bombings in Madrid and the 2005 bombings in London—and has been called the “Clausewitz” of the new al-Qaida.

Whereas bin Laden preached big dramatic acts directed by him and senior Qaida leaders, al-Suri urges the creation of self-generating cells of lone terrorists or small groups in his 1,600-page Internet manifesto. They are to keep up attacks, like multiplying fleas on a dog that finds itself endlessly distracted—and ultimately dysfunctional. (A classic Western book on guerrilla warfare called The War of the Flea reportedly influenced al-Suri.) The attacks are to culminate, he hopes, in acts using weapons of mass destruction.

READ MORE HERE

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CNN: The Next Bin Laden?

Interesting piece with Cong. Rogers and Peter Bergen on the Syrian terrorist who might be the next bin Laden.

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November 16, 2013 · 11:01 am

Massachusetts Terrorist Mehanna Verdict Upheld

Good news from the Federal Courts, and more vindication for the great work done by the FBI agents who investigated Mehanna for years.  It’s also not a good day to be a client of JW Carney, as today his other client–Whitey Bulger–was given two life sentences plus five years from Federal Judge Denise Casper.–AA

The U.S. Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction and 17-year prison sentence imposed on Islamic extremist Tarek Mehanna, calling terrorism “the modern-day equivalent of the bubonic plague: It is an existential threat.”

The 31-year-old former Sudbury pharmacist was found guilty last year of conspiring with al-Qaeda to kill U.S. troops in Iraq, and traveling to Yemen in a failed attempt to enlist in a terrorist training camp. Prosecutors said Mehanna was also making plans to shoot up a local shopping mall.

Mehanna argued unsuccessfully that his convictions weren’t supported by the evidence and that many of his statements interpreted as anti-American jihadist rants were protected political speech.

Appellate Justices Jeffrey R. Howard, Bruce M. Selya and O. Rogeriee Thompson found Mehanna “was fairly tried, justly convicted and lawfully sentenced.”

“We do not pretend to understand why the defendant chose to go down such a treacherous path,” they wrote. “Nevertheless, the jury found that he knowingly and intentionally made that choice, and that finding is both supported by the clear weight of the evidence and untainted by legal error.”

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CNN Exlusive: Inside Syrian town living under al Qaeda reign of fear

By Nick Paton Walsh, Raja Razek and Gul Tuysuz, CNN

Gaziantep, Turkey (CNN) — Raqqa was, a matter of months ago, one of Syria’s most liberal cities. Now locals call it Tora Bora. They say it’s as if the Taliban of Afghanistan have taken over.

After months of bombardment by the regime and a chaotic lack of control by weak and divided moderate rebels, al Qaeda have found a broken society, made it their home, and imposed on it hardline Islamist law.

Each morning, activists told us, they seem to awake to a more conservative city. The “Bayanaat” or rulings sometimes appear on town walls. Many limit women’s rights — to walk alone, to style or show their hair. Other edicts come by word of mouth — no smoking, no cameras. Behind them are often foreign jihadists from the al Qaeda linked militant group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.

The fear that now grips the city can be felt in the shocking bruises on Adnan’s body. Adnan, whose name has been changed out of fears for his safety, was behind some graffiti in Raqqa that told ISIS to get out. They caught him filming too, and dragged him into the burned-out ruins of a church they had torched and labeled as a new ISIS base.

Read the rest here

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Long War Journal: Al Qaeda in Iraq, Syria a ‘transnational threat’

Could it be that President Obama’s decision to pull out of Iraq years ago was premature?  Today, as the Long War Journal (www.longwarjournal.org) points out, al-Qaeda has a strong and growing presence in Western Iraq. When Obama took office, al-Qaeda in Iraq was on the run.  We’ve let the situation there slip, and Syria is headed in that same direction with the prospect of it degenerating into a quasi-Afghanistan now a reality. –AA

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During a press briefing on Wednesday, Oct. 30, a “senior administration official” updated reporters on recent meetings between an Iraqi delegation, headed by Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, and their American counterparts, including Vice President Joe Biden. The official’s main focus was the “reemergence” of al Qaeda in the region, especially under the banner of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham, or Levant (ISIS).

 

ISIS is now “really a transnational threat network,” the official warned. “This is really a major and increasing threat to Iraq’s stability, it’s [an] increasing threat to our regional partners, and it’s an increasing threat to us,” the official continued.

 

Earlier this month, a senior Republican congressman offered a similar assessment. Al Qaeda’s affiliates inside Syria are “talking about conducting external operations, which is exactly what happened in Afghanistan, which led to 9/11,” Rep. Mike Rogers, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, said.

 

“The only thing we think is stopping it now is the fact that there is this struggle between al Qaeda core leadership saying, ‘hold off, don’t do it yet’,” Rogers said at the 2013 Foreign Policy Initiative Forum in Washington. Rogers also said that there are more than 10,000 “committed” al Qaeda fighters in eastern Syria alone.

 

Rogers’ comments indicated that al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliates, the Al Nusrah Front and ISIS, are anxious to lash out at the West, while al Qaeda’s senior leadership has been more focused on consolidating the terror network’s territorial gains.

 

European counterterrorism officials have repeatedly worried out loud about the possibility of jihadist recruits fighting for al Qaeda or affiliated groups in Syria and then returning to their home countries to commit terrorist attacks.

 

Iraqi government outgunned in west

 

The senior Obama administration official also warned about the deteriorating environment in western Iraq, once home to the Awakening, which, along with American support, turned back al Qaeda’s advances during the so-called surge.

 

Prime Minister Maliki “recently met with the Governor of Anbar province to discuss some efforts in terms of counterterrorism and trying to isolate the increasingly strengthening al Qaeda networks in Anbar province,” the official explained.

 

It “is a fact now that al Qaeda has a presence in western Iraq, and it has a presence in terms of camps and training facilities and staging areas that the Iraqi forces are unable to target effectively,” the official continued. “Now, that’s just a fact that goes to their capabilities.”

 

The Iraqis are unable to effectively target al Qaeda’s presence in western Iraq. Some of the “al Qaeda networks that are coming in from Syria and that are based in Iraq now really have heavy weapons.” Al Qaeda is targeting “Iraqi unarmored helicopters” with “PKC machine guns.”

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Benghazi suspect al-Kashef added to al Qaeda sanctions list

One day, there will be a price to pay for what happened in Benghazi on 9/11/12.  At least there ought to be.  In any event, this from The Long War Journal:

The United Nations added Muhammad Jamal al Kashef, a longtime subordinate to al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri, to its sanctions list on Oct. 18. The UN’s sanctions web page for Jamal, as he is commonly known in intelligence circles, contains many of the same details included in the US government’s designation earlier this month. [See LWJ report, State Department designates longtime Zawahiri subordinate.]

However, the UN mentions two key aspects of Jamal’s career that were omitted from the announcement of the US government’s designation.

The UN notes that both Jamal and members of his network (the Muhammad Jamal Network, or “MJN”) are “reported to be involved in the attack on the United States Mission in Benghazi, Libya, on 11 Sep. 2012.” The US announcement did not mention Jamal’s connection to the attack in Benghazi, even though it was first reported by The Wall Street Journal and subsequently other outlets, including The Long War Journal.

The UN describes Jamal as the head of the “Nasr City terrorist cell in Egypt in 2012.” The Long War Journal has reported on Jamal’s role in the Nasr City cell, which has multiple ties to al Qaeda.

The Nasr City cell has been tied to terrorist plots inside Egypt, according to Egyptian officials, including a planned attack on a Western embassy.

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US Airline Pilots Warn of Terrorists’ Dry Runs

An internal memo obtained by security experts at the U.S. Airline Pilots Association reportedly details a “dry run” by terrorists just last month during a flight from Washington to Orlando.

Several “Middle Eastern men” caused a commotion and appeared to be conducting a test run to gauge procedure and reaction to an in-flight threat during an incident aboard US Airways Flight 1880 from Reagan National Airport to Orlando International Airport on Sept. 2, according to the U.S. Airline Pilots Association security memo, first obtained by 10 News in Tampa, Fla.

“They are trying to pull out air marshals if they are on board, or law enforcement if they are on board,” an unidentified federal air marshal told the station. “They are looking for how the crew reacts.”

U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., has since called for an investigation into the “suspicious” incident.

“It is government’s obligation and responsibility to remain vigilant,” the statement read. “While the specifics of the US Air incident are not public, federal authorities must review the matter.”

Experts said the incident could be an indication of another attempt to detonate a bomb aboard an airplane while midflight. Ret. Col. Mike Pheneger, former director of intelligence at Special Operations Command, said it’s “impossible” to absolutely prevent terrorist attacks.

“We can only make it more difficult for people to attack an airplane or a facility,” he said. “We can’t make it impossible. We have to be lucky 100 percent of the time and they only have to be lucky once.”

Despite the constant threat, Pheneger said the odds of being on a plane taken over by terrorists are slim.

“But somebody is eventually going to be unlucky, and that will happen,” he said. “And I’m surprised quite frankly it hasn’t.”

Four passengers aboard the flight were detained by local law enforcement authorities upon arrival in Orlando due to suspicious behavior during the flight, according to a statement by Michelle Mohr, a spokeswoman for US Airways.

“TSA performed a full security sweep of the aircraft before it departed for its next scheduled flight,” the statement read. “The aircraft was cleared, and it departed on a slight delay as a result of the additional security precautions taken by US Airways and the TSA.”

Federal authorities also downplayed the incident, saying it required no additional investigation.

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