Lessons from the U.S. Airstrikes on Aleppo

…they ain’t working. Or read Stratfor’s take.

When the United States began its campaign of airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria on Sept. 22, it also used Tomahawk cruise missiles to attack a series of al Qaeda-related facilities in the Aleppo area. The strikes targeted al Qaeda’s regional franchise in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra, as well as personnel belonging to the al Qaeda core who were in Syria working with Jabhat al-Nusra and other jihadists. The U.S. government has referred to the al Qaeda personnel it attacked in Syria as the “Khorasan Group,” but they are clearly personnel from the al Qaeda core who have been dispatched to Syria and not from some other organization.

 It appears the strikes caught the al Qaeda militants by surprise, and there are reports that al Qaeda operative Muhsin al-Fadhli, reported to be Ayman al-Zawahiri’s senior operative in Syria, was killed in the strikes. The United States also claimed that al-Fadhli and his fellow al Qaeda members were working on plots to strike the United States and Europe from their base in Syria. The group reportedly was the reason for an alert issued on July 2 warning that al Qaeda elements in Syria were working with bombmakers from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in a new plot to smuggle concealed explosive devices onto U.S.-bound aircraft.

 The fact that al-Fadhli and his companions were dispatched to Syria to plot attacks against the United States should not be surprising. The group and other jihadist militants have long operated in lawless areas in countries such as Yemen, Algeria, Somalia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Mali, Libya, Iraq and Syria. The al Qaeda core also has a long history of seeking to attack the United States. We have seen the al Qaeda core dispatch operatives to work with groups of local jihadists to conduct attacks in New York (1993 World Trade Center bombing) and Africa (1998 East Africa embassy bombings.)

 The U.S. strikes against al Qaeda targets in Aleppo are noteworthy because they highlight the need of al Qaeda groups to seek sanctuary in places such as Syria. The strikes also serve as a reminder that while the campaign against al Qaeda has weakened the group since 9/11, the group can revive if it has time and space within which to operate.

  It is important to understand that sanctuary alone is not enough to produce sophisticated transnational terrorist attacks. Indeed, there are many jihadist groups that are operating in lawless areas across a wide arc of the world stretching from West Africa to the Sulu Archipelago. However, only a small number of these groups possess the requisite combination of intent and capability needed to conduct transnational attacks. Many of these groups are nationally or regionally focused and therefore have no aspiration of striking targets beyond their areas of operation. Friction between nationally focused and transnationally focused jihadists has resulted in rifts and infighting among the members of groups such as al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and al Shabaab. But even those jihadist groups that aspire and threaten to commit transnational attacks have been constrained by their limited capabilities. Projecting terrorist power across continents is not as easy as it appears in the movies.

As we have previously discussed, fighting an insurgency and conducting transnational terrorist attacks are two distinct things, and possessing the ability to conduct insurgent warfare does not mean that a militant group can automatically use its insurgent capabilities to carry out terrorist strikes. To project terrorist power transnationally, a militant group needs to develop the capability to employ advanced terrorist tradecraft.

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Terrorist groups like al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula have also sought other ways to extend their reach from places of sanctuary to attack the United States and Europe. One way they have sought to do this is by using concealed bombs to attack aircraft. For example, in the 2009 underwear bomb plot and the 2010 computer printer bomb attempt, the perpetrating group sought to use innovative and imaginative explosive devices created in its Yemeni bases to attack international aviation targets. This is because making explosive devices in areas where there is access to military-grade explosives and bomb components is easier than sending an operative to create a device from improvised components in a hostile environment.

 In response to the group’s failed attacks, security agencies have dramatically increased the scrutiny of people and cargo originating from Yemen. The country was already a fairly isolated place due to its geography, making it difficult to dispatch people and bombs without detection. The area along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, where the al Qaeda core is believed to be hiding, is also quite isolated and under heavy scrutiny by intelligence agencies. Because of this, relocating cells to Syria to plan and execute plots against the West makes sense. There is also an immense amount of traffic going both ways across the Syria-Turkey border, facilitating travel to Turkey as the far more convenient location to get to the United States and Europe than Yemen or Pakistan. Continue reading

American Military Contractor Shot & Killed in Saudi Arabia by US-born Saudi Muslim

Crickets. via American Is Fatally Shot in Saudi Arabia – NYTimes.com.

Two American employees of a United States military contractor were shot on Tuesday, one fatally, by a recently dismissed Saudi-American colleague at a gas station in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, the Interior Ministry reported.

The shooting, which appeared to be workplace-related, came amid heightened concern about possible reprisal attacks by Islamic militants against the United States and Saudi Arabia, which are collaborating in a military coalition against the Islamic State, the extremist group that has seized parts of Syria and Iraq.

Saudi security forces rushed to the scene of the shooting, where they exchanged fire with the gunman before wounding him and taking him into custody, American and Saudi officials said.

The Saudi Embassy in Washington released a statement from the Interior Ministry that identified the assailant as Abdulaziz Fahad Abdulaziz Alrashid, 24, a dual Saudi-American citizen who had been “recently dismissed from his job due to drug-related issues.”

The statement said Mr. Alrashid, born in Washington State, had traveled to Bahrain, France, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, the United States and most recently to Bahrain, this month.

“The investigation is ongoing, and the relevant authorities will reveal details as they emerge,” the statement concluded.

Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman, said in a statement that the Americans were employees of Vinnell Arabia, an American military contractor supporting Saudi National Guard military programs in Riyadh.

Ms. Psaki said the gas station was about half a mile from the Vinnell Arabia base in Riyadh and about 20 miles from the United States Embassy.

“We are in close contact with the Saudi government as we continue to gather details about the shooting


More:

Alrashid was booked in Boise, Idaho, in 2011 for driving while “under the influence,” according to Mugshotsonline.com. It appears that Alrashid left to Saudi Arabia following the incident, possibly fearing the repercussions in the United States. The words “failure to appear” appears beside Alrashid’s image.

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Image from the murder scene. (Al Arabiya)

Image from the murder scene. (Al Arabiya)

US-backed jihadists working with US-banned al Qaeda jihadists in Syria

All funded and armed by Barrack Hussein Obama – who, with the help of Democrats and Republicans, continue to plunder America. via US-backed Hazm Movement, Muhajireen Army working together in Aleppo – Threat Matrix. h/t NER

The US-backed Harakat Hazm, or Hazm Movement, has joined several groups, including Jaish al Muhajireen wal Ansar, a Chechen-led jihadist group, and the Islamist Jaish Mujahideen (Army of Mujahideen) in fighting the Assad regime in the Handarat District of Aleppo. In the video posted above, one can clearly see Hazm fighters use a US-supplied BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missile to destroy a regime tank. Hazm has also posted a video on its YouTube account showing the destruction of a regime BMP in Handarat.

Jaish al Muhajireen wal Ansar (the Army of the Emigrants and Helpers), also known as the Muhajireen Army, is an al Qaeda-allied jihadist group that is populated by commanders and fighters from the Islamic Caucasus Emirate as well as a large number of Syrians. The group is considered to be the Caucasus Emirate’s branch in Syria. After the death of Islamic Caucasus Emirate leader Doku Umarov, the Muhajireen Army swore allegiance to his replacement, Ali Abu Mukhammad. The jihadist group often fights alongside the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria. The Muhajireen Army was just recently added to the US State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations. [See LWJ report, State Department adds Chechen, Moroccan-led jihadist groups to terrorist list.]

The Hazm Movement is also known to fight alongside the Al Nusrah Front. A Los Angeles Timesarticle in early September quotes a Hazm fighter as saying, “Inside Syria we became labeled as secularists and feared Nusrah Front was going to battle us. But Nusrah doesn’t fight us, we actually fight alongside them. We like Nusrah.”


Al Nusrah was also designated by the U.S. as a terrorist group.

So why is Obama still training, funding and arming jihadists with American tax dollars?

More evidence:

This video shows excerpts from videos belonging to Harakat Hazm (Hazzm Movement or Steadfastness Movement), which operates with US-backing

Video: Islamic Conquest of Christian Egypt, 639-646

via Islam Watch.

FBI Director: Americans Fighting With ISIS ‘Entitled’ to Come Back

via FBI Director: Americans Fighting With ISIS ‘Entitled’ to Come Back | CNS News.

FBI Director James Comey told CBS’s “60 Minutes” that “a dozen or so” Americans are fighting with terrorists in Syria; “yes,” he knows who they are; and they are “entitled to come back” unless their passport is revoked; and if they do come back, they will be tracked.

Asked if he know who “each and every one” of the Americans are, Comey said, “of that dozen or so, I do.”

Comey said he expects some of these Americans to return to the United States: “Ultimately, an American citizen, unless their passport’s revoked, is entitled to come back. So, someone who’s fought with ISIL, with an American passport wants to come back, we will track them very carefully.”

Here’s the exchange between Pelley and Comey:

Pelly: How many Americans are fighting in Syria on the side of the terrorists?

Comey: In the area of a dozen or so.

Pelley: Do you know who they are?

Comey: Yes.

Pelley: Each and every one of them?

Comey: I think of that, dozen or so, I do. I hesitate only because I don’t know what I don’t know.

Pelley: With American passports, how do you keep them from coming home and attacking the homeland?

Comey: Ultimately, an American citizen, unless their passport’s revoked, is entitled to come back. So, someone who’s fought with ISIL, with American passport wants to come back, we will track them very carefully.

On Sept. 2,  State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters, “The United States, including the State Department, has long had the authority to revoke passports.

“Obviously, there are different reasons for that, including fraud but also pending legal charges, which would be more applicable in some of these cases that we’re discussing (foreign fighters). Clearly, we wouldn’t make those decisions on our own. We would make them in coordination with law enforcement authorities.”

Psaki continued: “There are also capabilities that the United States has, including putting individuals on a no-fly list…So I think, obviously, there are a range of steps and ways that we can prevent individuals who pose harm to us from either returning to the United States or being allowed to stay…being allowed to operate as private citizens in the United States. And that’s – we’ve long had those capabilities.”

Asked if “any such maneuvers” were actually underway, Psaki said she would “not going to be able to confirm numbers or any specifics.”

The FBI is not only tracking Americans who are in Syria, but also those who want to go.

Last month, FBI agents arrested a 19-year-old Colorado women, Shannon Conley, as she attempted to board a flight to Turkey. She later pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to provide support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, specifically Al-Qaeda  and its affiliates, including ISIS/ISIL.

The U.S. Justice Department said FBI agents met with Conley “on numerous occasions” to try to “persuade her not to carry out her plans to travel overseas to provide support to a foreign terrorist organization and to engage in violent jihad.”

Conley’s foray into terrorism began when she met a man on the Internet who said he was an active member of ISIS. The two later became engaged.

Asked if “lone wolves” are the biggest threat to the U.S., Comey told “60 Minutes” he doesn’t like that term, “because it conveys a sense of dignity I don’t think they deserve.

“These homegrown violent extremists are troubled souls, who are seeking meaning in some misguided way. And so they come across the propaganda and they become radicalized on their own, independent study, and they’re also able to equip themselves with training again on the Internet, and then engage in jihad after emerging from their basement.”

“The name ‘lone wolf’ offends you?” Pelley asked.

“It does,” Comey said. “I’d prefer ‘lone rat’ to capture the kind of person we’re talking about.”

Despite the threat posed by ISIS/ISIL and lone wolves, Comey said the U.S. is better able to deal with the threat than it was when al Qaeda was at its peak:

“We are better organized as an intelligence community. We’re better organized and equipped at the border. We have relationships with our foreign partners. All of which make us better able to see dots and connect dots. The transformation since before 9/11 is striking.”

He specifically mentioned that the FBI’s Hostage Rescue team has “more than doubled in size since 9/11,” and members of that team have joined U.S. Special Operations Forces in hundreds of missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, even capturing a suspect indicted for his role in the Benghazi terror attack.

“We’re there to make sure that we have a criminal option in our country’s toolbox when we take the fight to the terrorists,” Comey said, referring to the Obama administration’s preference to try terrorists in court.


Comey says he knows them all, a dozen or so, even though previous reports stated at least 300 Muslims from the U.S. were waging jihad overseas. And then there is this Wanted by the FBI page. If they know them all, why are they asking citizens for help indentifying ISIS jihadists?

fbi-isis

If you join the caliphate that has declared America an enemy, the only thing you’re entitled to is a drone strike. And if come back cowardly without martyring yourself – fearing 72 virgins – then you should be charged with treason.

It’s nonsensical talk like this from the FBI and staged propaganda like this that makes one wonder if Naomi Wolf is on to something.

Why are we fighting them over there if we’re going to allow them back in the U.S. to continue their jihad?

 

Missouri: Terror-linked Muslim Groups Plan ‘Weekend of Resistance’ in Ferguson

Jihad recruiting in Fergustan? via Palestinian Groups Plan ‘Weekend of Resistance’ in Ferguson.

Eye witnesses have told Breitbart News that pro-Palestinian and other Muslim activist groups are a growing presence in the protests. On October 10th, a number of these groups, named “The Palestine Contingent,” are planning to join a “Weekend of Resistance” in Ferguson to highlight the connection between the midwest community and Gaza.

From its call to action:

Local groups including the Organization for Black Struggle and the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee, joined by national groups listed below, are inviting those who support the Palestinian struggle for liberation to stand in solidarity with the people of Ferguson as part of a Palestine contingent in response to the call. We recognize that none of us is free until all of us are free.

The effort is part of a broader protest and direct actions planned over the holiday weekend. On Monday, organizers hope to engage in “direct actions” of civil disobedience throughout the St. Louis areas. The “Palestine Contingent is planning “[a]ction focused on a target highlighting intersections of militarized policing in Ferguson and Palestine.”

The “Palestine Contingent” includes: St. Louis Palestine Solidarity CommitteeOrganization for Black StruggleU.S. Palestinian Community NetworkMuslims for FergusonUS Campaign to End the Israeli OccupationCouncil on American Islamic Relations – St. LouisPalestinian BDS National Committee,
National Students for Justice in PalestinePalestinian Youth MovementAmerican Muslims for Palestine and African Americans for Justice in the Middle East and North Africa.

The details of what happened this summer in Ferguson remain unclear. As the facts of the situation became more complicated, the national media largely left town. Radical leftists, however, seem to have poured into Ferguson in their wake.


We’ve seen ISIS support in Ferguson: Ferguson protesters hoist ISIS sign, jihad group urges sharia for town

Hamas Palestinian flags:

Palestinian flag in Ferguson Missouri

And we know at least one jihadi agitator was arrested there a few weeks ago: Missouri: Muslim Who Once Threatened to Behead Critics Like “Bitch” Daniel Pearl is Arrested

Agitator Umar Lee was arrested last night during the Ferguson protests.

Lee, who is a Muslim radical, wrote the following to a critic in 2010: “i could cut your neck with the sword of islam, and watch you squeal like a bitch like daniel pearl.”

Lee, who is also a supporter of Bashar Assad, is raising money to go to Syria.

There’s a very high probability these pro-Hamas Muslim groups are recruiting vulnerable black youth to the jihad.

24,000 deadly attacks by Muslim terrorists since 9/11

The Religion Of Peace. Disturbing the peace. We believe this number to be significantly higher as ISIS, Boko Haram, al Shabaab, Hamas and other Islamic groups continue murdering en masse to spread sharia law.

TROP24k

mthljhad

The pace is quickening.

May 2014: 23,000 deadly attacks by Muslim terrorists since 9/11

December 2013: 22,000 deadly attacks by Muslim terrorists since 9/11

June 2013:  21,000 deadly attacks by Islamic terrorists since 9/11 | Creeping Sharia.

December 2012: 20,000+ deadly terror attacks by the ‘Religion of Peace’ since 9/11

June 2012: 19,000+ deadly attacks by Islamic terrorists since 9/11

November 2011: 18,000 deadly terror attacks committed by the ‘Religion of Peace’ since 9/11

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