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December 21, 2014 / 29 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Yemen’

2nd US Rescue Attempt Fails, Al Qaeda Hostage Dead

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

American photojournalist Luke Somers was killed Friday by his Al Qaeda terrorist captors in Yemen.

President Barack Obama offered his “deepest condolences” on Saturday and condemned the “barbaric murder” after Somers died in a second failed rescue attempt by U.S. forces after being held 15 months by Al Qaeda.

“On behalf of the American people, I offer my deepest condolences to Luke’s family and to his loved ones,” he said in a statement. “As this and previous hostage rescue operations demonstrate, the United States will spare no effort to use all of its military, intelligence and diplomatic capabilities to bring Americans home safely, wherever they are located. And terrorists who seek to harm our citizens will feel the long arm of American justice,” he said.

According to a report on ABC News Saturday night, American special forces had already made one failed attempt ten days ago to save Somers.

In the second attempt, the special forces were 100 meters away from the hideout where Somers was being held, when an Al Qaeda guard stepped out from the compound unexpectedly, spotted the troops and raised the alarm.

Somers and a second hostage were both shot and badly wounded; Somers died on the way to the hospital but the second hostage survived the ordeal.

In the Short Run, Biden Might Well Keep his Promise that Iran Won’t Get Nukes

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

{Originally posted at author’s website, Liberty Unyielding}

It’s not just the promise, of course.  It’s the Bidenesque way he makes it:

Monday, Biden had to remind Israeli leaders that the U.S. is not seeking a negotiation with Iran at Israel’s expense.

“I have heard so much malarkey about our position on Iran,” Biden said. “We will not let Iran acquire a nuclear weapon, period. I would not put my 42-year reputation on the line if I were not certain when I say it. We mean it.”

Daniel Greenfield casts a doubt or two on that 42-year reputation, and that’s fair enough.  We would be fools to take seriously such assurances from Joe Biden.

But there are reasons why Iran may well delay that moment of focused provocation when the radical Islamic regime proves itself nuclear armed.  If the Iranians don’t have the means to offer that proof yet, they are very close to it – so close that it is now their choice how fast to move, and in what way.

Where we are

Iran now lacks only the public demonstration of uranium enrichment to a weapons-grade level (above 95%), and a detectable warhead detonation.  To talk of a “breakout” capacity – a bomb-in-waiting – as something we are still looking for is now misleading.  Using such terms suggests that there is something more we need to see from Iran, before we officially set the breakout watch.

But the reality is that there is nothing we have yet to see that we can reliably expect to see.  We’ve reached the point at which it is prudent to assume the breakout watch has already started – and imprudent not to.

Fifteen years ago, Iran did not have a reliable uranium enrichment process; did not have an industrial-scale infrastructure for enrichment; did not have a stockpile of enriched uranium; did not have her own uranium production capacity; did not have a detonator mechanism for a uranium warhead; did not have a missile that could deliver a nuclear warhead; and did not have anything close to an intercontinental missile capability.

As little as six years ago, moreover, the United States had more than enough ready combat power, between our Air Force and Navy, to quickly strike a meaningful blow against an Iranian nuclear infrastructure that was still comparatively rudimentary and geographically concentrated.

Both of those conditions have changed significantly.  Iran now does have all the things she lacked in 1999: enough low-enriched uranium for at least 7-8 warheads; a proven enrichment process, including enrichment to higher purity (19.75%); an industrial-scale infrastructure, with geographic dispersion; an indigenous uranium production capacity (see here and here); a tested detonator mechanism for a nuclear warhead; at least one medium-range ballistic missile series that could deliver a nuclear warhead; and a satellite/rocket program advanced enough to support ICBM testing in as little as 1-3 years.  Iran has acquired almost all of these things since UN sanctions were implemented in 2007, and under the regime of IAEA inspections.

Reminder: Nothing has interrupted the trend of Iran’s uranium enrichment. Red column shows low-enriched UF6 stockpiled (versus total cumulative enrichment in blue), once Iran began enriching some stock to 20% in Jan 2012. Although Iran has “downblended” her 20%-enriched stock, the rate of increase in the total stockpile of 5% LEU has been robust: 17% from 11/13 to 11/14. (Data source: IAEA)

Reminder: Nothing has interrupted the trend of Iran’s uranium enrichment. Red column shows low-enriched UF6 stockpiled (versus total cumulative enrichment in blue), once Iran began enriching some stock to 20% in Jan 2012. Although Iran has “downblended” her 20%-enriched stock, the rate of increase in the total stockpile of 5% LEU has been robust: 17% from 11/13 to 11/14. (Data source: IAEA)

American military power, in the meantime, has declined to such an extent that mounting a quick, comprehensive strike on the Iranian infrastructure is no longer feasible.  We couldn’t do it quickly.  Not only could we not do it quickly; we couldn’t do it without first restoring the readiness of military units we no longer keep at their highest readiness level.  It would take months to prepare for a comprehensive strike campaign – and would require the prior allocation of special funding from Congress.

Where Iran once wanted to be

Iran’s vision for the future has been shaped, as everyone’s has, by the consequences of the Arab Spring.  It has also been shaped by the withdrawal of American power under Obama.

Four or five years ago, Iran took as a given the U.S. posture in the larger Middle East.  That posture included a key strategic presence in both Iraq and Afghanistan; close partnerships with almost all the Gulf Cooperation Council nations; special relationships, including military cooperation, with both Egypt and Israel; and unchallenged supremacy on the regional seas.

Iran’s basic objective was to peel America’s partners away through the pressure of proxy insurgencies (and other underhanded tactics), and thus squeeze us out of the region.  The first-order purpose of having the bomb was to immunize Iran against retaliation in that process, as the USSR had immunized itself with a nuclear “deterrent” force when it worked through proxy conflicts in the Cold War.

Iran also set her sights on chokepoints in the regional waterways, from the Strait of Hormuz through the Red Sea and all the way to Morocco and the Strait of Gibraltar.  No one was close to having a navy that could challenge the U.S. Navy, but even great navies are vulnerable in chokepoints.

At a kind of eschatological-strategic level, meanwhile, just as the Arab Spring was unfolding in early 2011, Iranian TV was running a mullah-approved “documentary” that outlined a scheme of military preparation for the arrival of the “twelfth imam.”  Mahmoud Ahmadinejad figured as a great military commander from Shia prophecy in this fantastical oeuvre, which depicted a dénouement in the armed conquest of Jerusalem.  (“Rescuing” Jerusalem had already figured for years in Iranian policy rhetoric, as well as in the concept of some major military exercises.)

Where Iran now wants to be

In the years since Obama took office, much has changed.  One thing hasn’t, and that’s Iran’s interest in gaining leverage at critical chokepoints in the regional seaways.  But some of the focused urgency has been bled out of the pressure campaign against America’s regional partners, in part because of the Arab Spring, and in part because Barack Obama has been doing an excellent job of peeling them away from us himself.

The momentum of Iran’s efforts has shifted to a new, more geographically focused vector, one that as recently as 2011 appeared to be unthinkable.  Where once Iran was confined to putting general pressure on various American partners in the region, and perhaps maneuvering to leapfrog nearby territory in which we seemed established – Iraq, Jordan, Israel – Iran can now realistically contemplate making an “internal” line of communication (LOC) through that territory.  She might accomplish that by proxy first, and then, eventually, exploit the LOC directly.

In fact, with much of the territory in question now disputed between ISIS and a weak Iraqi government, Iran has all the more reason for being there, with advisors and military equipment.

The bonus?  The U.S., weakened and compromised as our power is, has signed up to do at least some of the fighting against ISIS.  If Iran plays her cards right, American forces will open her strategic LOC through the heart of the Middle East for her.

Control of Yemen Seized by Shiite Rebels

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

The small Arab nation of Yemen is where the “Arab Spring” began, and its citizens have had nothing but political turmoil and warring factions since then. Yemen is located on the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula.

The population of Yemen is 65 percent sunni Muslim and 35 percent Shia. But on Sunday, Sept. 21, there are reports that the capital of Yemen, Sanaa, has been seized by Shiite rebels, and that the Yemini Prime Minister Mohammed Basindawa has resigned.

The Shia rebels have been battling Sunni troops for days. Earlier in the day, a UN envoy, Jamal Benomar, announced that pro-government forces and Shiite rebels were about to sign a deal. Despite that announcement, the shelling and gunfire did not let up, residents have fled, shops are shuttered, flights are grounded and the Al-Iman University has been ordered closed until mid-October.

While Shiite are in the minority in Yemen, they are more populous in the northern highland region, which is where Sanaa, the capital, is located.

Yemen has been wracked with political turmoil since former president Ali Abdullah Saleh was ousted from power in 2012.

New York Man Recruiting for ISIS, Prosecutors Say

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

A U.S. naturalized citizen was indicted Tuesday in New York federal court on charges of recruiting people to join the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror group.

Mufid A. Elfgeeh, a 30-year-old business owner from Yemen, allegedly tried to recruit people to join ISIS and shoot people in the U.S., NBC News reported Tuesday.

Elfgeeh was arrested in May after attempted to buy two handguns with silencers from an informant for the FBI. Although the firearms charges were made public in June, the charges on recruiting for ISIS were gagged until the grand jury indictment held on Tuesday.

According to prosecutors, Elfgeeh tried to persuade two undercovers and a third person in Yemen to travel to Syria and “fight on behalf of ISIS.” He also told the undercovers he wanted the guns to carry out shootings, and suggested he might target Shia Muslims and U.S. veterans returning from the Middle East, in the Rochester area.

The FBI probe began a year ago when he allegedly started posting a series of tweets expressing support for Al Qaeda, ISIS and other international terror groups. In one message, Elfgeeh even suggested people donate a third of their salaries to jihadists.

Monroe County Sheriff’s Office

‘Sec’y of Nonsense’ Kerry: PA-Israel Pact the Key to Mideast Peace

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Secretary of State John Kerry, after meeting with Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas in London, said that “a final status agreement [between the Israelis and the Palestinians] is important in enhancing regional security and stability throughout the Middle East” (‘Kerry pledges to peace talks during Abbas meeting,’ Breitbart, September 9, 2013).

“Secretary Kerry’s statement is utter nonsense. If the history of recent years — and indeed of the entire 65-year long period of the Arab war on Israel — has made one thing clear, it is that the lack of a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians is manifestly not the cause of the Middle East’s conflicts, violence and bloodshed.

In fact, it is totally unrelated and irrelevant to the present violence and conflict in Syria, Egypt, Libya, Iraq and Yemen. If Israel didn’t exist, the same problems between and within Arab countries would still exist.

Consider: The Syrian regime of Bashar Assad has killed approximately one hundred thousand people in a war with Sunni Islamist rebels, who have also slaughtered tens of thousands. Massive instability and brutal violence is afflicting Egypt. Yemen has been wracked by internal conflict and thousands have been killed. Libya has become a jungle of jihadist warriors since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi. In Iraq, over 5,000 people have been slaughtered in virtually daily suicide bombings just this year. Thousands of Christians have been murdered and many dozens of churches destroyed in Egypt, Syria and elsewhere. Not one of these conflicts has anything to do with the Israeli/Palestinian Arab issue.

Historically, the war waged by Arabs on Israel has had little to do with the numerous other conflagrations besetting the region.

In the 1950s, it had no bearing on the Algerian war.

In the 1960s, it had no bearing on the Egyptian invasion of Yemen, or the bloody emergence of the Ba’athist dictatorship in Iraq, or the Aden (now Yemen) Emergency in which hundreds were killed in violence.

In the 1970s, it had nothing to do with the Libyan-Chad war.

In the 1980s, it had nothing to do with the Iran-Iraq war, in which over a million people were killed.

In the 1990s, it had nothing to do with Iraq’s invasion and annexation of Kuwait — though Saddam Hussein absurdly linked them.

(A personal note: I was among heads of American Jewish organizations flown to Qatar in the late 1990s by the Emir of Qatar, who pleaded with us to urge the U.S. Congress to protect Qatar from a feared Saudi Arabia/United Arab Emirates invasion. This feared conflict — in which Arabs appealed to pro-Israel Jews for help — had nothing to do with Israel).

Why is the Obama Administration continuing to repeat false, ridiculous and discredited ideas invented by Israel’s vicious enemies?

It is not in the national interests of the United States for American officials to go around the world falsely stating that the “Arab-Israeli conflict” (which is actually, purely and simply, an Arab war on Israel’s very existence) is the core of the Middle East’s problems and that solving it is the key to regional stability. Not only is it not the core, it isn’t even a factor.

First, it is nonsense.

Second, obtaining an Israeli/Palestinian peace agreement, even if one could, would not solve other regional problems, which are rooted in the region’s ideological and religious pathologies.

Third, the mis-focus on the Israeli/Palestinian divide skews American priorities — as it is doing right now. How can Secretary Kerry make such an absurd statement when Syria is exploding and the region is wracked by violence and instability due to nothing connected to Israel or the Palestinians?

The alleged Israeli/Palestinian “peace process” has become an obsessive fetish which squanders American resources, credibility and standing. Why should the U.S. talk up a bogus peace process that is not going to deliver? Why should it accept the blame for the inevitable failure?

President Obama should publicly repudiate Secretary Kerry’s ludicrous statement.

Morton A. Klein is the National President of the Zionist Organization of American (ZOA).

9/11 Spreads in the Middle East

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Al Qaeda was alive and well in the Middle East Wednesday, the 12th  anniversary of the terrorist web’s attacks on the United States.

Two of Al Qaeda-linked terrorists are not so alive and well, but they had the joy of knowing they will be welcomed by 72 virgins for having killed at least 11 Egyptian soldiers and civilians in a double suicide bombing attack at Rafiah, the divided city that straddles the border between Egypt and Gaza.

Bin Laden is long and gone, but he left behind thousands of monsters who are united by a hatred of the West and a burning desire to inflict radical Islam rule on the world.

Al Qaeda is not a monolithic group, but its ideology inspired what are commonly known as “Al Qaeda-linked groups.”

Marc Sagemen, a former CIA officer and now a psychiatrist and counter terrorism consultant, has pointed out, “We like to create a mythical entity called [al-Qaeda] in our minds, but that is not the reality we are dealing with.” He described the terrorist organization as a “loose label for a movement that seems to target the West.”

Al Qaeda and copy-cat groups operate in dozens of countries and in the past three years have helped turn the Middle East into fertile ground to establish a base of power to spread hate and death in the West.

Libya, Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt and Syria are in danger of extinction as countries. President Shimon Peres noted Wednesday that if Syrian President Bassar al-Assad does not play ball and come clean with its stockpile of chemical weapons, it will continue to dissolve into “ a number of countries.”

The Russian RT news agency reported on Wednesday a disgusting example of what goes though the demented minds of Al Qaeda terrorists.

Raouchan Gazakov brought his family to Syria, taught his 5-year-old son to make bombs and bade farewell to his relative, a suicide bomber,” he told RT’s Maria Finoshina in a Damascus prison, where he explained why he came to fight for Al-Qaeda.

“A group called Murad approached me a year ago and convinced me that Muslims in Syria are being oppressed and killed, and that I should go and take up arms against Assad for world jihad.” Raouchan sneaked into Syria last January through Turkey, from where he was accompanied by two men saying they were from Al Qaeda. Once in Syria, he joined an Egyptian-run jihadist group.

Another terrorist in a Syrian prison, Amer El Khadoud, related that he left a normal family life in France to join the Syrian jihad with an Al-Qaeda affiliated group.

The Washington think tank Bipartisan Policy Center recently concluded, “The civil war in Syria may provide Al-Qaeda with an opportunity to regroup, train and plan operations. Foreign fighters hardened in that conflict could eventually destabilize the region or band together to plot attacks against the West.”

Congress heard the same message Tuesday.

“Al Qaeda and its allies dominate a large portion of northern Syria and play a key role in fighting throughout the rest of the country,” Thomas Joscelyn, an analyst with the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the House Homeland Security Committee.

His scary appraisal contradicted that of  John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State and Wishful Thinking. He said Al Qaeda does not play a major role in Syria.

Thomas Joscelyn, an analyst with the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, dumped that idea into the Foggy Bottom sea of illusions. He told the House committee on Tuesday, “These same al Qaeda-affiliated forces have fought alongside Free Syrian Army brigades. Al Qaeda has made the fight for Syria a strategic priority.”

Al Qaeda and similar groups have not forgotten 9/11.

“The Islamic Emirate of Libya,” a terrorist organization that may be an Al Qaeda affiliate first reported in 2011, warned on Tuesday that it will “celebrate” 9/11 with terrorist attacks on certain targets, such as the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

In Somalia, terrorists who work with Al Qaeda have staked out headquarters, according to the country’s Mareeg news website.

One of the terrorists is Taliban spiritual leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, who gave bin Laden and Al Qaeda leaders’ shelter prior to 9/11.

And there is  Sirajuddin Haqqani, a warlord and leader of the Haqqani network that fights American forces in Afghanistan from his base in Pakistan and which hosts Al Qaeda terrorists. He is the leader of the Haqqani network and is a veteran of the Soviet war in Afghanistan.

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.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/atlas-shrugged-blogs/top-al-qaeda-operative-left-blueprint-to-govern-entire-muslim-world/2013/08/19/

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