10 Years After 9/11: A Degraded Yet Dangerous Al Qaeda Adapts & Inspires
The news of a selected, credible, but uncorroborated terrorist menace to coincide with the tenth anniversary interval of the 9/eleven attacks highlights the amorphous nature of the contemporary risk landscape. This alert involving potential unnamed Pakistani U.S. residents armed with vehicular bombs focusing on metropolitan New York or Washington, DC highlights one in every of two forms of potential threats. Around the time of the 9/eleven attacks the main terror danger involved a extra centralized and offensively oriented al Qaeda group that had a cadre of skilled and international directed assailants. Whereas al Qaeda would still wish to dispatch their own operatives and should still have a harmful capability to do so, al Qaeda inspired plotters, moderately than al Qaeda directed plotters have truly turn into more numerous over the past several years.
Although far much less potent right now, Al Qaeda, even in a diminished type, or some of its regional associates like al Qaeda within the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) or Somalia’s al Shabaab might have the capability to direct and dispatch a small number of terrorists to the American homeland to efficiently undertake fatal mass attacks. That is despite the group’s important degradation and the United States government’s noteworthy, although incomplete enhancements. Many have noted that al Qaeda assets and management have been degraded to a point that its management is in a fierce battle for its own survival. Amy Zegart acknowledged this point, but appropriately maintained in a Los Angeles Occasions OpEd that to describe Al Qaeda as defeated is misleadingly harmful:
Sure, the United States has made nice strides within the final decade to harden targets, enhance intelligence and degrade the capabilities of violent Islamist extremists. Osama bin Laden’s demise was a serious accomplishment. But the fight is nowhere near being gained, and America’s most perilous instances might lie ahead.
Whereas al Qaeda has not been in a position to replicate the 9/eleven attacks or even smaller mass casualty occasions such as the 2004 Madrid practice bombings or the 2005 London terror assaults, it could be foolhardy to recommend that a diminished organization interprets right into a concomitant eradication of the Salafist mass terror menace to the West, both by the organization itself, or alternatively by those that it inspires.
Al Qaeda’s most acute ongoing risk to America, might not simply be in it’s persevering with want or capacity to orchestrate its personal to commit assaults here, however somewhat in its potential to get its supporters to recruit and attack for them. Ten years in the past a way more potent al Qaeda group still had a just about full inability to harness the Internet to reach disaffected youth within the United States in English in a compelling manner that truly introduced a tangible threat. That has now modified, and has made extra autonomous small cells and loners more of a risk than they have beforehand been.
UK Seeds of Hate Take Root In America
One in all the key pioneers in harnessing a dangerous, but very small sliver of American youth to religious extremism is a notorious English speaking hate cleric named Omar Bakri Mohammed, 52. Bakri has consistently praised Osama bin Laden, as properly because the “Magnificent 19” 9/11 terrorists, blamed the 2005 London tube bombings on the British authorities and folks and has stated Tony Blair and George Bush needs to be condemned rather than Bin Laden. He has additionally preached: “The jihad is halal [permissible] for the Muslims wherever they’re, the whole ummah [Muslim neighborhood] wherever they’re. Okay brothers – wherever you are, do it.”
In August 2010, Paul Cruickshank wrote in West Level’s Counter Terrorism Sentinel:
An rising network of radical preachers, demagogues, bloggers, and activists are attempting to disseminate extremist ideas amongst Muslim youth in the United States. Largely excluded from the country’s mosques, they spread their message on the streets, exterior the mosque, in small gatherings in non-public residences, on campuses and above all online, taking full benefit of new social media platforms to maximize their reach. They are a free constellation of individuals, but have a clear heart of gravity in two extremist teams that operate freely and openly in New York City.
The groups in query–the Islamic Thinkers Society (ITS) and Revolution Muslim (RM), both affiliated with the British extremist organization al-Muhajiroun–are increasingly appearing in counterterrorism investigations.
Bakri’s banned British group al Muhajiroun’s tiny American affiliate was a precursor to 3 small New York extremist groups, the Islamic Thinker’s Society, the now-defunct Revolution Muslim, and its successor Islampolicy. Two members of the original New York affiliate of al Muhajiroun, Syed Hashimi and Mohammed Junaid Babar, whose mother was almost killed in the 9/eleven assaults, had been sentenced to federal prison within the United States for his or her function in touring overseas to assist al Qaeda. In addition to numerous postings, Bakri has appeared as a foremost speaker over in 2010 and 2011in at least two major stay world extremist American directed Web internet conferences.
Born in Syria in 1958 the “Totenham Ayatollah,” was considered Al Qaeda’s most distinguished spiritual supporter within the United Kingdom. In 2005 he was banned from returning there after he made a visit to visit his mother in Lebanon. Al Muhajiroun, which was disbanded in 2004 following a authorities pronouncement of its upcoming prohibition, was relaunched by followers and banned beneath different names, until getting banned once more in 2010. Bakri was crucial within the empowerment of different infamous British radicals, including Abu Hamza al Masri, the former Imam at the Finsbury Park Mosque and vigorous bin Laden supporter who held 9/eleven commemorative celebrations and preached that killings of non believers “kafirs” is justifiable.
While Bakri has been confined to Lebanon, his seeds of radicalism sprouted without him
on both sides of the Atlantic. Interestingly, one among his most influential ideological progeny in the United States is a converted Orthodox Jew named Yousef al-Khattab. Al-Khattab, formerly known as Joseph Leonard Cohen, is a 43 year outdated who cofounded the influential, but now defunct radical Revolution Muslim webpage with another convert and Columbia College grad named Younes Abdullah Muhammad in 2008.
Small Revolution Muslim Group Attracted Dangerous Sliver of Radicals
He was additionally active in one other New York extremist group, Islamic Thinkers Society, before coming to Revolution Muslim. The Islamic Thinker’s Society started in August 2004 when Omar Bakri Muhammad requested his American followers drop the name Muhajiroun because its British sister organization was under fireplace there and about to be disbanded. In accordance with a May thirteen, 2011 FBI affidavit Revolution Muslim was formed “with the publicly acknowledged goals of establishing Islamic law in the U.S.destroying Israel, and taking al-Qaida’s message to the lots.” Al-Khattab’s website “humor” included tasteless skits with him laughing over the violent loss of life of an American serviceman in Iraq whereas holding an American flag or staging a puppet present depicting the beheading of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. He also lavished reward Osama bin Laden and on “officer and gentleman” alleged Fort Hood Shooter Nidal Hasan.
Revolution Muslim cofounder Younes Abdullah Muhammad shared a common history.
Each had been converts who had previous affiliations with the Islamic Thinkers Society. Mohammad is a former Brooklyn resident and Grateful Dead fan previously often called Jesse Curtis Morton. He reportedly holds a masters diploma from Columbia College’s Faculty of International and Public Affairs. In Mid May 2011 whereas in Morocco, Muhammad was charged within the United States with making threats over the Web in direction of South Park producers Matt Stone and Trey Parker in April of the previous yr. In “By All Means Vital,” a 27 page mission assertion launched on December 7, 2008 he lays out the group’s imaginative and prescient for the establishment of an Islamic state and waging a response to the West’s “Struggle on Islam.” In it he not solely praises deceased Muslim Brotherhood icon Egyptian Sayyid Qutb and al Qaeda’s Osama bin Laden, but also the “19 blessed souls [who on September 11] sacrificed their selves in a preemptive and retaliatory attack on America’s military, economic and government capitals.”
In October 2010, NPR reported, “Of the 2-dozen homegrown plots within the United States up to now yr, Revolution Muslim was linked to at least one-third of them.” Dangerous Jihadists linked to both al-Khattab or Revolution Muslim embrace:
– Pennsylvania convert “Jihad Jane” Colleen LaRose, 48, who plead guilty to the tried murder of Dutch cartoonist Lars Vilks.
– Virginia convert Zachary Chesser, 21, aka Abu Talhah al-Amrikee, a Samir Khan associate, who was sentenced to 25 years in federal stone island replica wholesale china prison in February for posting threats regarding the cartoon South Park and for his help of and attempted membership in Somalia al Qaeda affiliate al-Shabab. He was arrested as he was leaving on a flight to Africa.
– Convert Antonio Martnez, 21, aka Muhammad Hussain, charged in January for a plot to bomb an Armed Forces recruiting station in Cantonsville, Maryland.
– Bryant Michael Vinas, 28, aka Bashir al-Ameriki, truck driver, transformed Catholic and former Boy Scout pleaded responsible to three charges in connection to an al Qaeda plot to bomb the Lengthy Island Rail Street
– Tarek Mehana, 28, an Egyptian Massachusetts pharmacist arrested by federal authorities on October 21, 2009 for plotting jihad attacks against U.S. buying malls and troopers in Iraq.
American Born Hate Evokes
Anwar al Awalki, 40, is an influential English speaking New Mexico born radical Yemeni cleric who also has harnessed the web to advertise violent Jihad, most lately on behalf of his terrorist group, Al Qaeda within the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which was formed in January 2009. Due to his command of English, his wonderful rhetorical expertise and his ubiquity on-line Al Awalki is arguably a very powerful inspirational determine to a small, but rising new breed of internet savvy disaffected younger adults in the North America and Britain. As FBI director Robert Mueller advised the Senate in September 2010, “The Internet has expanded as a platform for spreading extremist propaganda, a tool for on-line recruiting, and a medium for social networking with like-minded violent extremists, all of which may be contributing to the pronounced state of radicalization inside the United States.”
Along with al Awalki’s uncontroversial earlier lectures on religion, an array of his radical English language jihadist exhortations have been accessible online including on Youtube videos, on the own defunct websites anwar-awlaki.com and Revolution Muslim, the Internet essay compilation Jihad Recollections, the web magazine Inspire and in essays just like the 2009 44 Methods to Support Jihad and will Our Souls Be Sacrificed for You. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano advised the Senate in Febrauary 2011, “The risk continues to evolve and in some ways the menace at this time could also be at its most heightened state since the assaults practically 10 years ago.” Now former Nationwide Counter Terrorism Center director Michael Leiter also informed congress throughout those same hearings that AQAP was the most important threat and that the its violence embracing Inspire magazine “is spiffy.” However dangerous. He contended “It is got great graphics and in some sense we expect most likely speaks to individuals who are prefer to be radicalized.”
The magazine appears to be the work of Al Awalki and Samir Khan, an American techno whiz who wrote on the Revolution Muslim and different radical websites before allegedly fleeing North Carolina for Yemen to help AQAP within the Fall of 2009. Authorities imagine Khan is behind al Qaeda’s new slick online English journal, Inspire that debuted in the summer time of 2010. The journal’s skilled manufacturing values and youth oriented focus make it a trigger for concern for federal authorities. There have been six editions that embody such content material as an interview with Anwar Awalki and an article entitled “Learn how to make a Bomb within the Kitchen of Your Mother,” in addition to other articles encouraging readers to “mow down” individuals with vehicles and how one can destroy buildings. The bomb making instructions have been allegedly hacked just lately by British spies who changed it with a recipe for cupcakes. It is believed that a federal grand jury is meeting in North Carolina to investigate whether there is enough evidence to indict Khan for aiding al Qaeda. Another Texas Fort Hood area plotter from earlier this summer season is reported to have had Inspire Magazine supplies in his possession.
Al Awalki, who known as the alleged 2009 Fort Hood shooter a “hero” has also denounced his start nation:
I, for one, was born in the U.S. I lived within the U.S. for 21 years. America was my home. I was a preacher of Islam concerned in nonviolent Islamic activism. Nonetheless, with the American invasion of Iraq and continued U.S. aggression against Muslims, I could not reconcile between residing within the U.S. and being a Muslim, and that i finally came to the conclusion that jihad in opposition to America is binding upon myself, simply as it’s binding on every different able Muslim.
The U.S. is main the warfare towards terrorism, which in actuality is a warfare in opposition to Islam.
Al Awlaki has been tied to at the least fifteen terrorist plots including the Might 2010 attempted automobile bombing of latest York’s Occasions Sq. by Pakistani American Faisal Shahzad, the December 2009 tried plane “underwear” bombing over Detroit by Umar Abdul-Mutallab, and November 2009 Fort Hood, Texas capturing by Nidal Hassan that left 13 dead and 30 injured. The London Day by day Telegraph acknowledged, “Alwaki’s lectures have been present in possession of virtually every radical Islamist who has executed, or tried to execute, assaults on Western targets.” Al Alwaki’s contacts also embody at the least two of the 9/11 hijackers who crashed a 757 into the Pentagon on September 11 killing 184 individuals. Saudi Arabians Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaq Alhazmi, had been followers of Awlaki in each California, where they took flying lessons, and Virginia prior to 9/eleven.
As new FBI Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Mark F. Giuliano advised an audience at the Washington Institute for Close to East Coverage in April:
AQAP leaders reminiscent of Anwar Awlaki and Samir Khan have printed articles on the internet detailing their intent to strike the United States. A number of key AQAP figures have been born or educated within the United States and perceive our tradition, our limitations, our security protocols, and our vulnerabilities. They use this understanding to develop and refine new tactics and methods to defeat our safety measures and attack us. AQAP also understands and expertly exploits social media to share their knowledge with others of comparable mindsets. They realize the importance and value of reaching English speaking audiences and are utilizing the group’s advertising and marketing skills to inspire people to assault inside the homeland. In lots of instances they are making an attempt to offer them with the data to do so, with out having to journey or practice abroad….I don’t think this nation has ever confronted a more fluid, more dynamic, or more complicated terrorism menace.
Worst Terrorist Incidents Directed In the direction of Americans by U.S. Deaths
1. 9/11 Assaults, Incendiary Bombing by Aircraft, NY, DC, PA 2973 killed, 9/11/ 2001
2. U.S. Marine Barracks, Truck Bombing , Beirut, Leb.241killed (US) 10/23/1983
three. Pan Am Fl. 103, Aircraft Bombing, Lockerbie, Scotland, 270 killed (189 US), 12/21/ 1988
4. Murrah Fed. Bldg.Truck Bombing, Oklahoma Metropolis, Okay, 168 killed 4/19/1995
Anti-government extremists Timothy McVeigh/Terry Nichols
5. Wall Avenue Bombing, Horse cart Bomb, NY, 35 killed, 9/sixteen/1920
Socialists/Anarchists Supsected (unsolved)
6. Los Angeles Instances Bldg.Bombing,Los Angeles, CA, 21killed, 10/01/ 1910
7. Khobar Towers, Truck Bombing, Khobar, Saudi Arabia, 20 Killed (19 US), 6/26/ 1996
8. USS Cole, Boat Bomb, Aden, Yemen, 17 killed, 10/12/ 2000
9. Lod Airport Attack, Grenades/Guns, Tel Aviv, Israel, 26 killed (sixteen US est.), 5/30/1972
Japanese Purple Military/Fashionable Front for the Liberation of Palestine
10. Fort Hood Massacre, Gun, Texas, 13 Killed, 29 wounded, 11/5/2009 Nidal Hasan(alleged)
11.TIE U.S. Embassies, Truck Bombing, Kenya/Tanzania, 224 killed (12 US), eight/07/ 1998
eleven. TWA Fl.