Posts Tagged ‘Al Qaida’
The family of captive U.S. government contractor Warren Weinstein called for ”date-specific confirmation” that he is still alive.
In a statement released Thursday, the Weinstein family said a video distributed last week by al-Qaida in Pakistan does not prove that Weinstein is alive because there is no indication of when it was made.
Weinstein, 72, who has been held in Pakistan by al-Qaida for more than two years, in the video calls on President Obama to release al-Qaida terrorists in exchange for his release.
The video message featuring Weinstein, a former Peace Corps and USAID official, was sent to journalists and news services in Pakistan along with a link to a photo of a handwritten note. The testimonial letter is dated Oct. 3, 2013; it is not known when the video was filmed.
Weinstein, of Rockville, Md., was kidnapped in August 2011 outside Pakistan while he was working for J.E. Austin Associates, a private company that advises Pakistani businesses.
The United States has said it will not negotiate with al-Qaida, which the U.S. considers a terrorist organization.
“Warren Weinstein is a scholar and a humanitarian who has spent his entire career working to improve the lives of men, women and children around the world,” his family said in the statement. “Prior to his abduction, he spent seven years in Pakistan working to improve local communities through projects related to dairy production, farming and health care. To be captured and held against his will after a life spent helping others, especially in the sunset of his proud career, is unacceptable. We urge the global community to help us bring him home.”
The family praised U.S. Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) for his efforts on behalf of Weinstein.
“We must be relentless in our efforts to bring him home and we must maintain a sense of outrage and determination,” Delaney said in a statement issued Thursday.
Originally published at Rubin Reports.
“I had always thought wishful thinking a motive frequently underrated in political analysis and prediction.” –WALTER LAQUEUR
If you have never understood U.S. Middle East policy here it is: The (wrong) response to September 11.
What do I mean? Simple.
There are two ways to respond to September 11:
A. There is a struggle on with revolutionary Islamists which is a huge battle that is parallel to the Cold War or the Allied-Axis conflict. America must organize a united front to fight this battle against the Islamists:
Sunnis or Shia; Turkish, Iranian, or Arab; the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafist, and al-Qaida. Hamas, Hizballah. And the Taliban.
B. Or, what appears easier, having a lot more allies and fewer enemies (I said seems) only to focus on al-Qaida. That’s the problem! After all, who else attacked the United States, Great Britain, Spain, and Kenya? Etc.? And anyway, the conflict is probably America’s fault or a lack of communication.
That’s it. Honest. And guess what? The Washington insiders, “experts” (anything but), officials, lots of intelligence (people and also John Brennan, the head of the CIA), a lot of military officers, and lots of sectors of the Republican party (especially Senator John McCain) believe this.
It is not healthy in Washington for one’s career not to believe it.
But after all, it is understandable (albeit also inaccurate and stupid).
Look at this point:
Who do you believe is an enemy who wants to fight and hurt America and the West?
A. The Syrian and Egyptian Muslim Brotherhoods, the Salafists, al-Qaida. Hamas, Hizballah, the Taliban, Iran, and Turkey.
B. Just al-Qaida?
See what I mean?
Think some more:
Suppose we could get all these non-al-Qaida Islamists as allies?
Suppose we could get all these non-al-Qaida Islamists to repress al-Qaida and so stop terrorist attacks?
Wouldn’t that be an easier task? One that would theoretically involve costing fewer American lives, less money, and be more popular with voters?
And finally, of course, that’s what the president and mass media believe.
The problem is, though, that gets the Islamist ideology wrong. Al-Qaida and the other revolutionary Islamist have different tactics but not different goals. Learning that lesson will take years and be very painful. The wrong ideas are deeply embedded in large parts of the arrogant, ignorant, and financially interested establishment.
You should understand that: It is not acceptable in official Washington or its peripheral sectors to say that the Muslim Brotherhood (Egypt, Syria, Hamas) is a terrorist group.
It is not acceptable in official Washington or its peripheral sectors to say that the Muslim Brotherhood (Egypt, Syria, Hamas) is an anti-American group.
BUT IT IS PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE TO CLAIM THAT THE REPUBLICANS ARE TERRORISTS, HOSTAGE-TAKERS, AND ANTI-AMERICANS.
Well, consider this from my mentor Walter Laqueur who is now in his 92nd year and still writing brilliantly:
“Another factor frequently overlooked is the reluctance to admit mistakes which also seems hardwired to the human brain. Perhaps most important of all is the crucial factor of moving with the right crowd. As Jean Daniel put it: Better to be wrong with Sartre than right with Raymond Aron (originally it was Camus). Sartre might have been consistently wrong in his political judgment and Aron almost always right. But did it really matter very much? Aron and Isaiah Berlin might have been right but during the cold war they were pro-American and this was not good at all– even if their American connections were mainly with liberals. This is how reputations quite often develop and how they endure. It is an interesting issue certainly in need of further investigation.”
Abu Abdullah Al-Maqdis, a leader in Gaza’s Jihadi Salafist movement, affiliated with Al Qaeda, told the Asharq Al-Awsat website that Hamas and the Salafist have been working towards a reconciliation in Gaza.
Al-Maqdis said the two will begin implementing their agreement over the next few months.
According to the site:
“The 8-point agreement reportedly includes clauses granting the Salafists freedom to operate in politics, the military, religious advocacy, and civil and social organizations. It also includes an explicit end to the phenomenon of political assassinations and the formulation of a joint committee to deal with any disputes that could lead to new crisis between the two groups.
In return for this, the jihadist Salafist factions will commit to the ceasefire and other decisions made by the ruling Hamas movement.”
Foreign intermediaries who helped arrange for the agreement include Islamic clerics from Kuwait and Qatar, as well as the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, a popular Al Jazeera Islamic televangelist who has been barred entry from the UK and France.
Al-Qaradawi, who openly supports suicide bombings against Israel, is known for his quote stating that Muslims will continue Hitler’s work:
“Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the Jews people who would punish them for their corruption…The last punishment was carried out by [Adolf] Hitler. By means of all the things he did to them – even though they exaggerated this issue – he managed to put them in their place. This was divine punishment for them…Allah Willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers.”
With the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Hamas has been reaching out to other Islamic regimes for support, including Turkey and Iran.
Originally published at Rubin Reports.
Turkish Reader: Haven’t you understood yet that the US does not care about whether a Muslim country is ruled by Sharia [dictatorship] or by secular [democracy] law as long as that regime is pro-American? Isn’t this U.S. interests “über alles”?
Me: Yes I do care. First, no Islamist government is really going to be pro-American or pro-Western. Second, it won’t be good for that country’s people. Why should I feel differently to handing over Czechoslovakia to Nazi rule or Hungary to Communist rule than Turkey to Islamist rule?
Already there are starting to appear evaluations of what President Barack Obama’s second term will be like. I think that even though the Obama Administration doesn’t know or have a blueprint it is clear and consistent what the Middle East policy would be. It is a coherent program though as I say it is not necessarily fully or consciously thought out. The plan would be for a comprehensive solution which will leave the Middle East situation as a successful legacy of the Obama Administration.
There are three main themes of this plan, though as I say I’m not sure it has really taken shape. By 2016 they will all fail, and leave the West weaker.
The first is with Iran policy. The goal would be to “solve” the nuclear weapons’ issue by making a deal with Iran. One thing that is possible is that the Iranians just deceitfully build nuclear arms. The other that the will go up to the point when they can get nuclear weapons very quickly and then stop for a while. Probably either result will be hailed as a brilliant diplomatic victory for Obama.
This is how the nuclear deal is interpreted by Iran, in a dispatch from Fars new agency: “It seems that the Americans have understood this fact that Iran is a powerful and stable country in the region which uses logical and wise methods in confrontation with its enemies.” In other words America is an enemy of Iran that has backed down.
One thing Iran might get in a deal for “giving up””its nuclear ambitions would be something in Syria perhaps. It would probably look like this. It is possible that this deal would be in the shape of an unofficial partition of Syria, with the Bashar Assad regime surviving in 40 percent of the country including Aleppo and Damascus; another 40 percent would be controlled by a U.S.-backed rebels, mainly Muslim Brotherhood; and 20 percent would be a Kurdish autonomous area. I want to stress that I don’t believe that this would work and would in fact be the object of another Iranian stalling technique.and effort to gain total victory..
Iran wants primacy at least in the Shia world – meaning Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. It would just require Iranian patience if Iran is willing to devote extensive resources to this enterprise until it could seize the whole country. The U.S. probably won’t provide ground troops, which is understandable. And would the U.S. provide military and economic aid to an al-Qaida-Salafi-Muslim Brotherhood regime? At any rate the Iranians would either develop nuclear weapons or simply get to the point where they could if they wanted to and then stop, knowing that they could so at any time. Of course, this would relatively ignore Israel’s security needs.
And if a nuclear deal with Iran doesn’t materialize you can tell who will be blamed by an article named, “A Nuclear Deal With Iran Is Within Reach, If Congress Plays Its Part,”” in the prestigious magazine, Roll Call.
The second theme would be an illusion that it would be possible to resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict as a two-state solution but actually moving toward the Palestinian real goal which is an Arab Palestine. Period. Regarding this issue it is probably that both sides would stall. Only Secretary of State John Kerry believes otherwise.
The Israeli side would mount a strategic retreat by gradual concessions hoping that the Obama Administration would end before too much damage was done. It is clear, for example, that prisoner releases, the granting of economic benefits and the entry of more laborers would be among the concessions given.Of course, this would also relatively ignore Israel’s security needs.
Al Qaida, despite an offensive by the regime of President Bashar Assad, has been expanding throughout Syria, a report said.
A U.S. think tank asserted that Al Qaida militias were dominating large areas of Syria and providing services to the majority Sunni community. The Bipartisan Policy Center cited the Nusra Front for the Defense of the Levant, deemed the most active rebel militia in the war on the Assad regime.
“This is something of a first for an Al Qaida affiliate; developing a Mao-like population centric approach to implementing a successful insurgency,” the report, titled “Jihadist Terrorism: A Threat Assessment.” said. The report said the Syrian war could revive Al Qaida throughout the Middle East. Nusra, financed by Gulf sheiks, was said to have been providing social services to Sunnis in central and northern Syria.
“It is too soon to predict the long-term threat posed by Al Qaida and allied groups as the movement is undergoing a transition that may end up proving to be its last gasp,” the report, released on Sept. 9, said. “But the right set of circumstances in the unstable Middle East could also revive the network.”
The report warned that any U.S. effort to arm Sunni rebels could help Nusra and other Al Qaida militias in Syria. One scenario was that these militias would seize heavy weapons supplied by U.S. allies.
Another scenario was that Nusra would infiltrate pro-Western rebel militias and establish a presence in the United States. The report said this could facilitate any Al Qaida attack against an American city.
“The continued attempts and successes by foreign militant groups to establish support networks in the United States pose a potential future threat, as individuals sending funds to terrorist groups abroad could conceivably be directed to conduct attacks domestically, while American citizens fighting abroad may return to commit terrorism inside the United States,” the report said.
Visit Behind the News in Israel.
You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality. A is A. And the global jihad is the global jihad.
“Yemen terror boss left blueprint for waging jihad” Times of Israel, August 18, 2013 Document provides assessment of al-Qaeda’s performance in Yemen, indicates it seeks to govern throughout the Muslim world
TIMBUKTU, Mali (AP) — A year before he was caught on an intercept discussing the terror plot that prompted this week’s sweeping closure of US embassies abroad, al-Qaida’s top operative in Yemen laid out his blueprint for how to wage jihad in letters sent to a fellow terrorist.
In what reads like a lesson plan, Nasser al-Wahishi provides a step-by-step assessment of what worked and what didn’t in Yemen. But in the never-before-seen correspondence, the man at the center of the latest terror threat barely mentions the extremist methods that have transformed his organization into al-Qaida’s most dangerous branch.
Instead, he urges his counterpart in Africa whose fighters had recently seized northern Mali to make sure the people in the areas they control have electricity and running water. He also offers tips for making garbage collection more efficient.
“Try to win them over through the conveniences of life,” he writes. “It will make them sympathize with us and make them feel that their fate is tied to ours.”
The perhaps surprising hearts-and-minds approach advocated by the 30-something Wahishi, who spent years as Osama bin Laden’s personal secretary, is a sign of a broader shift within al-Qaida. After its failure in Iraq, say experts who were shown the correspondence, the terror network realized that it is not enough to win territory: They must also learn to govern it if they hope to hold it.
“People in the West view al-Qaida as only a terrorist organization, and it certainly is that … but the group itself is much broader, and it is doing much more,” says Gregory Johnsen, a scholar at Princeton University whose book, “The Last Refuge,” charts the rise of al-Qaida in Yemen. “The group sees itself as an organization that can be a government.”
The correspondence from al-Wahishi to Algerian national Abdelmalek Droukdel is part of a cache of documents found earlier this year by the AP in buildings in Timbuktu, which until January were occupied by al-Qaida’s North African branch. The letters are dated May 21 and Aug. 6, 2012, soon after al-Wahishi’s army in Yemen was forced to retreat from the territory it had seized amid an uprising against long-time Yemeni ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh.
At the time, the terror network as a whole was trying to come to grips with its losses in Iraq, where people rose up against the brutal punishments meted out by al-Qaida’s local affiliate, a revolt which allowed US forces to regain the territory they had occupied. That failure which was front and center in how al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula went about governing the two provinces it held for 16 months on Yemen’s southern coast, including the region where al-Wahishi was born, says Robin Simcox, research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society, author of a study chronicling the group’s attempt at governance.
In the May letter, al-Wahishi warns his counterpart not to crack down too quickly or too harshly.
“You have to be kind,” he writes. “You can’t beat people for drinking alcohol when they don’t even know the basics of how to pray. … Try to avoid enforcing Islamic punishments as much as possible, unless you are forced to do so. … We used this approach with the people and came away with good results.”
Al-Qaida’s foray into governance in Yemen began on the morning of Feb. 28, 2011, when residents of the locality of Jaar woke up to find an ominous black flag flying over their town. Fearing the worst, the population was mystified to discover that their extremist occupiers appeared more interested in public works projects, than in waging war.
“There were around 200 of them. They were wearing Afghan clothes, black robes that go to the knees, with a belt,” said Nabil Al-Amoudi, a lawyer from Jaar. “They started extending water mains. … They installed their own pipes. They succeeded in bringing electricity to areas that had not had power before.”