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March 28, 2015 / 8 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Osama Bin Laden’

US Air Force Vet Charged with Trying to Help Islamic State

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

A US Air Force vet tried to join ISIS in Syria, but only made it as far As Turkey before he was sent back, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh, 47, flew to Egypt in January and tried to enter Turkey, who didn’t let him in. Egypy then deported him back to the US, where he was then arrested.

Pugh has been on the radar for a decade, the WSJ reports, after converting to Islam and telling a co-worker, in 2001, that he sympathised with Osama bin Laden.

Pugh was an Air Force mechanic from 1986-1990.

The WSJ reports that in the past 18 months, dozens of Americans have had criminal charges filed against them in connection to ISIS.

New York Jury Convicts Saudi Man in 1998 Al Qaeda Attack on US Embassy

Friday, February 27th, 2015

A New York City jury convicted Al Qaeda’s ‘minister of communications’ – Khaled al-Fawwaz – on charges of conspiring to kill Americans and destroy U.S. property. The verdict was handed down in a federal district courtroom on Thursday, Feb. 26.

The Saudi Arabian national was the deputy to the late terror chief Osama Bin Laden for nearly a decade, spreading his message to the West.

But he pleaded not guilty and claimed he was not a member of Al Qaeda, saying he does not condone violence. The prosecution accused Fawwaz of creating a media office in London to disseminate Bin Laden’s messages and faciliate communications between Al Qaeda members.

Fawwaz was convicted Thursday in a U.S. federal court on charges of participating in a conspiracy that led to the 1998 bombing of two U.S. embassies in East Africa.

“The defendant worked for years directly and personally with Osama Bin Laden,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Lewis said during his opening argument, the Wall Street Journal reported last month. The messages he helped disseminate included declarations of war that called for Muslims to kill Americans anywhere in the world.

The evidence presented to the juror included printed copies of an Al Qaeda declaration of war – taken from a search of Fawwaz’s home in London – signed by Bin Laden, and floppy disks of drafts of the same message.

Lewin said the 52-year-old Saudi terrorist also helped lay the groundwork for attacks in Kenya and Tanzania that left 224 people dead and more wounded.

Arguing for the defense, Bobbi Sterheim argued that Fawwaz kept the incriminating evidence in his home in order to stay informed of “both sides of the aisle.”

Bin Laden’s son-in-law, Suleiman Abu Ghaith, and Egyptian-born British cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri were both also convicted on similar terrorism charges in the past year as well. Both were sentenced to life in prison, with juries having deliberated for less than two days before reaching a verdict in each trial.

Wednesday’s verdict was seen as a victory for Washington’s efforts to prosecute suspected terrorists in civilian courts.

Pakistan Library Renamed to Honor bin Laden

Friday, April 18th, 2014

A seminary for women in Pakistan renamed its library to honor the former al Qaeda leader whom they refer to as the “martyr” Osama bin Laden, according to a report in The Express Tribune.

The Jamia Hafsia seminary in which the library is located is headed by Imam Maulana Abdul Aziz, who is the imam of Islamabad’s mosque, Lal Masjid.

“It is true that we have named the library after Osama bin Laden,” a source told AFP on Thursday, speaking on condition of anonymity. “He might be a terrorist for others but we do not consider him as a terrorist. For us he was a hero of Islam.”

Bin Laden was the founder of al Qaeda, which claimed responsibility for the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, as well as other mass casualty attacks in places such as Egypt and Afghanistan.

Amongst other prohibitions and objections against the West, bin Laden called for the destruction of Israel.

Bin Laden was killed by special naval and Central Intelligence Agency forces on May 2, 2011, in Abbottabad, Pakistan. He had been living in a large, walled, private compound in Abbottabad. The United States later confirmed that Pakistani officials knew about bin Laden’s presence in Pakistan.

Obama’s Foreign Fiasco

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Originally published at Daniel Pipes.

It’s a privilege to be an American who works on foreign policy, as I have done since the late 1970s, participating in a small way in the grand project of finding my country’s place in the world. But now, under Barack Obama, decisions made in Washington have dramatically shrunk in importance. It’s unsettling and dismaying. And no longer a privilege.

Whether during the structured Cold War or the chaotic two decades that followed, America’s economic size, technological edge, military prowess, and basic decency meant that even in its inactivity, the U.S. government counted as much or more in world developments than any other state. Sniffles in Washington translated into influenza elsewhere.

Weak and largely indifferent presidents like Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton mattered despite themselves, for example in the Iranian revolution of 1978-79 or the Arab-Israeli conflict in the 1990s. Strong and active presidents like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush had greater impact yet, speeding up the Soviet collapse or invading Afghanistan and Iraq.

But now, with Barack Obama, the United States has slid into shocking irrelevance in the Middle East, the world’s most turbulent region. Inconstancy, incompetence, and inaction have rendered the Obama administration impotent. In the foreign policy arena, Obama acts as though he would rather be the prime minister of Belgium, a small country that usually copies the decisions of its larger neighbors when casting votes at the United Nations or preening morally about distant troubles. Belgians naturally “lead from behind,” to use the famed phrase emanating from Obama’s White House.

Obama's 2009 speech in Cairo was a very long time ago.

Obama’s 2009 speech in Cairo was a very long time ago.

Qatar (with a national population of 225,000) has an arguably greater impact on current events than the 1,400-times-larger United States (population: 314 million). Note how Obama these days takes a back seat to the emirs of Doha: They take the lead supplying arms to the Libyan rebels, he follows. They actively help the rebels in Syria, he dithers. They provide billions to the new leadership in Egypt, he stumbles over himself. They unreservedly back Hamas in Gaza, he pursues delusions of an Israeli-Palestinian “peace process.” Toward this end, the U.S. secretary of state made six trips in four months to Israel and the Palestinian territories in pursuit of a diplomatic initiative that almost no one believes will end the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Doha, now more influential than Washington in the Middle East.

Doha, now more influential than Washington in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, the U.S. secretary of defense called Egyptian leader Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi 17 times in conversations lasting 60-90 minutes, yet failed in his pleas that Sisi desist from using force against the Muslim Brotherhood. More striking yet, Sisi apparently refused to take a phone call from Obama. The $1.5 billion in annual U.S. aid to Egypt suddenly looks paltry in comparison to the $12 billion from three Persian Gulf countries, with promises to make up for any Western cuts in aid. Both sides in Egypt’s deep political divide accuse Obama of favoring the other and execrate his name. As dozens of Coptic churches burned, he played six rounds of golf. Ironically, Egypt is where, four long years ago, Obama delivered a major speech repudiating George W. Bush policies with seeming triumph.

Obama’s ambitions lie elsewhere – in augmenting the role of government within the United States, as epitomized by Obamacare. Accordingly, he treats foreign policy as an afterthought, an unwelcome burden, and something to dispatch before returning to juicier matters. He oversees withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan with little concern for what follows. His unique foreign policy accomplishment, trumpeted ad nauseam, was the execution of Osama bin Laden.

So far, the price to American interests for Obama’s ineptitude has not been high. But that could change quickly. Most worrisome, Iran could soon achieve nuclear breakout and start to throw its newfound weight around, if not to deploy its brand-new weapons. The new regime in Egypt could revert to its earlier anti-Americanism and anti-Zionism; already, important elements in Egypt are calling for rejection of U.S. aid and termination of the peace treaty with Israel.

As an American who sees his country as a force for good, these developments are painful and scary. The world needs an active, thoughtful, and assertive United States. The historian Walter A. McDougall rightly states that “The creation of the United States of America is the central event of the past four hundred years” and its civilization “perturbs the trajectories of all other civilizations just by existing.” Well not so much perturbation these days; may the dismal present be brief in duration.

Why They Hate Us

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Boy, do they hate America.

I’m on a flight in Tanzania, having left Rwanda where we made a second tour of the genocide sites with the impending twentieth anniversary of the slaughter, when I meet a very fine Pakistani family going on safari.

We exchange pleasantries. They have children studying in the UK, as do many upper-class Pakistani families. My wife and I lived in the UK. We find much to talk about. I relate to them all the Pakistani students I knew at Oxford who were regulars at our events. They tell me of their trip to see the mountain gorillas and how they are enjoying Africa.

Suddenly, the father says to me, “I was in Israel recently. I enjoyed it. But I was disgusted at the treatment of the Palestinians who cannot even go from Bethlehem into Jerusalem.”

I explain to him that the checkpoints are relatively new. “They did not exist when I was a student in Jerusalem. They were set up after a wave of terror bombings killed thousands of Israeli civilians. You can hardly blame Israel from trying to stop the slaughter.”

“The slaughter?” he says, “You mean the way Israel massacres Palestinians every day. And it’s all funded by America, who is the biggest murderer in the world. Just look at the 100 people every day being killed in Iraq.”

I raise my eyebrows, trying to remain calm and provoked. “But that’s being done by Islamic terrorists. What does it have to do with America? We Americans died to liberate the Iraqis. We spent more than a trillion dollars of our national treasure on complete strangers to stop them from being slaughtered by Saddam Hussein.”

He ignores the facts and continues his diatribe. “America is now slaughtering everyone in Afghanistan, just to destabilize the region, and blaming everything on Pakistan.”

“America is trying to save Afghanistan from the Taliban,” I counter, “monsters who brutalize women, fanatics that behead those who don’t conform to their religious extremes.”

“Nonsense,” he says, “the Taliban is infinitely more humane that the Americans and their agents in the Middle East, the Israelis.”

By now I’ve had enough and I go on the offensive.

“Why was Osama bin Laden living in Abbotabad, a mile from Pakistan’s West Point? Who was sheltering a man who killed 3000 innocent Americans?”

And here he makes my jaw drop. “Three thousand Americans dead is nothing, a drop in the ocean, compared to how many Muslims America has killed.”

You may wonder why I am relating this story. It’s an isolated incident, right? But it’s not. It’s a sentiment I encountered in so many parts of Africa where I traveled to Rwanda, to again see the genocide sites and meet with government officials, and then to Arusha in Tanzania, to see the criminal courts where the Rwandan genocidaires were tried.

Readers of my columns will know that I am one of Jewry’s foremost defenders of Islam. I remind Jewish audiences constantly that we dare not de-contexualize the current frictions between Jews and Muslims. Saladin welcomed the Jews back to Jerusalem in 1187 when he captured the holy city from the crusaders who massacred every last Jew. The Ottomans took in large numbers of Jews when we were expelled from Catholic Spain and Portugal. Jews flourished in many Islamic lands where the Koran said they would have to be treated as second-class citizens but should otherwise not suffer persecution. I took Dr. Oz, during our recent visit to Israel together, to see the tomb of Maimonides in Tiberius, explaining that the greatest Muslim ruler that ever lived made the great sage his personal physician. Whenever some of my Jewish colleagues speak of Islam as an inherently violent religion, citing verses in the Koran to prove it, I remind them that there are plenty of verses of our own Torah which can be taken out of context and sound pretty violent. It all comes down to how these passages are interpreted.

But with that being said, there is no question in my mind that Islam is undergoing a modern crisis which perhaps only its clerics and lay leaders can rescue it from. Here in Tanzania there was a terrible story just a week ago when two British female Jewish teenagers were attacked with acid by Islamic assailants.

It’s not that imams and are preaching violence, although many unfortunately do. It’s rather that they preach victimhood. America is to blame for their problems. Israel is to blame for their suffering.

Where are the Islamic leaders and clerics who are prepared to say, “We are responsible for our own problems. We are taking a great world religion and turning it insular and away from secular knowledge rather than finding the balance between the holy and the mundane. We are not empowering women to be the equals of men in all spheres. We Palestinians took the largest per capita foreign aid ever given to a people and we allowed corruption and hatred of Israel to squander the funds on bombs and bullets rather than building universities and schools. We elect leaders democratically who then, like Hamas, or Muhammad Morsi, precede to dismantle democratic institutions. We see the Jews as our enemies rather than using them as an example of what we ourselves should aspire to. They returned to their land after long ago being dispersed by foreign European powers and made the desert bloom. We can surely do the same.”

Top Al Qaeda Operative Left Blueprint to Govern Entire Muslim World

Monday, August 19th, 2013

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.”

Al-Qaeda Leaders Vow to Release all AQ Prisoners, Including at Gitmo

Monday, August 12th, 2013

One of the most wanted men on the planet, Nasser al-Wuhayshi, who heads the feared Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) terrorist organization, released a statement assuring his imprisoned comrades that they would soon be released.

“The imprisonment will not last and the chains will be broken,” wrote al-Wuhayshi, according to a report by Al Jazeera, posted on Sunday, August 12.  “Your brothers are about to bring down the walls and thrones of evil… and victory is within reach,” al-Wuhayshi promised.

And if anyone could make a threat like that sound credible, it is al-Wuhayshi.

In 2006, the former secretary to Osama bin Laden escaped from a maximum security prison by digging his way out.  Al-Wuhayshi also united the Yemini and the Saudi branches of al Qaeda.  This is one of the most ruthless, creative, focused terrorist leaders currently alive – and none of his colleagues are exactly warm and cuddly.

At least in part, it was Al-Wuhayshi’s call to bin Laden’s successor, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri, that triggered the recent closures of U.S. embassies and consulates across much of the Middle East and Africa. In late July, Al-Wuhayshi pledged loyalty to al-Zawahiri.

In the July message, al-Wuhayshi condemned the recent waves of drone strikes launched by the U.S. “Our war with this Zio-Crusader campaign is ongoing, for they are the ones who choose war, and their people clapped for them. We are people of war; we were born from its womb and we grew up in its midst. It is as if we were only created to fight them and bother them.”

The AQAP leader also pledged to ensure that Sharia law become the law of the land everywhere.

“Our project is to institute the Shariah of Allah on Earth and reject the man-made laws and constitutions,” Wuhayshi said. “Nothing will rule the country other than the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger, Allah’s peace and prayer be upon him, [especially] not with words written in a constitution to deceive people: ‘Islamic Shariah is the source of legislation.'”

Although not part of the first wave of closures, the U.S. embassy in Yemen was shut down on Tuesday, August 6.  Unlike the U.S. outposts elsewhere in the Muslim world that were re-opened on Sunday, August 12, there is currently not even a tentative date for the re-opening of the U.S. embassy in Yemen.

There have been nearly a dozen drone strikes in Yemen conducted by the U.S since late July, but terrorism continues unabated.  Five Yemeni soldiers were killed by al-Qaeda terrorists early Sunday morning.

Another trigger for the unprecedented number of U.S. embassy closures was what seemed to have become a pattern of prison breakouts in which large numbers of al-Qaeda prisoners have escaped. There were two prisons in Iraq from which prisoners escaped, and just a few days later, more than 1,000 prisoners escaped from a Benghazi prison in Libya.  And more than 200 prisoners were released by outside agitators in Pakistan.

Naturally the question arises whether the brazen message to imprisoned al-Qaeda prisoners that they would soon be released was also intended to include al-Qaeda prisoners in the U.S. controlled prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and whether officials were concerned about this possibility.

That question may have been addressed in a series of court briefings regarding certain frisk procedures that included “genital searches” for prisoners at the Gitmo facility, and whether descriptions of those procedures could be withheld from the public.

According to a declaration signed in June by Colonel John Bogdan, the prison warden at Guantanamo, certain details about “operational-security and force-protection procedures,” if made public, “would better enable our enemies to attack the detention facilities at Guantanamo or undermine security at the facility.”

Ayman al-Zawahri, al-Qaeda’s leader, identified the [Joint Task Force-Guantanamo] detention facilities as a target during a 22-minute video posted July 31, 2013, stating: ‘The terror network will spare no effort to free prisoners held at the US military-run detention centre in Cuba,” according to Al Jazeera.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/al-qaeda-leaders-vow-to-release-all-aq-prisoners-including-at-gitmo/2013/08/12/

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