10 Years After 9/11: A Degraded Yet Dangerous Al Qaeda Adapts & Inspires
The news of a particular, credible, but uncorroborated terrorist risk to coincide with the tenth anniversary period of the 9/eleven assaults highlights the amorphous nature of the contemporary danger landscape. This alert involving possible unnamed Pakistani U.S. residents armed with vehicular bombs targeting metropolitan New York or Washington, DC highlights one among two varieties of potential threats. Around the time of the 9/11 assaults the primary terror risk involved a extra centralized and offensively oriented al Qaeda organization that had a cadre of trained and foreign directed assailants. While al Qaeda would still like to dispatch their own operatives and may still have a dangerous capability to do so, al Qaeda impressed plotters, reasonably than al Qaeda directed plotters have actually become extra quite a few over the last several years.
Though far less potent as we speak, Al Qaeda, even in a diminished kind, or some of its regional affiliates like al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) or Somalia’s al Shabaab could have the capacity to direct and dispatch a small number of terrorists to the American homeland to efficiently undertake fatal mass attacks. This is despite the organization’s significant degradation and the United States authorities’s noteworthy, though incomplete improvements. Many have noted that al Qaeda belongings and leadership have been degraded to some extent that its management is in a fierce battle for its personal survival. Amy Zegart acknowledged this point, but correctly maintained in a Los Angeles Occasions OpEd that to describe Al Qaeda as defeated is misleadingly harmful:
Yes, the United States has made great strides in the last decade to harden targets, improve intelligence and degrade the capabilities of violent Islamist extremists. Osama bin Laden’s loss of life was a significant accomplishment. But the fight is nowhere close to being gained, and America’s most perilous times might lie ahead.
Whereas al Qaeda has not been capable of replicate the 9/eleven attacks and even smaller mass casualty events such as the 2004 Madrid prepare bombings or the 2005 London terror attacks, it can be foolhardy to recommend that a diminished group translates right into a concomitant eradication of the Salafist mass terror risk to the West, both by the organization itself, or alternatively by those that it conjures up.
Al Qaeda’s most acute ongoing risk to America, could not simply be in it’s persevering with want or capability to orchestrate its personal to commit attacks right here, but somewhat in its capability to get its supporters to recruit and assault for them. Ten years ago a way more potent al Qaeda group nonetheless had a just about full inability to harness the Web to succeed in disaffected youth in the United States in English in a compelling method that truly introduced a tangible risk. That has now modified, and has made extra autonomous small cells and loners extra of a threat than they’ve beforehand been.
UK Seeds of Hate Take Root In America
One in all the important thing pioneers in harnessing a dangerous, however very small sliver of American youth to religious extremism is a notorious English speaking hate cleric named Omar Bakri Mohammed, 52. Bakri has constantly praised Osama bin Laden, as properly because the “Magnificent 19” 9/11 terrorists, blamed the 2005 London tube bombings on the British government and other people and has stated Tony Blair and George Bush ought to be condemned fairly than Bin Laden. He has additionally preached: “The jihad is halal [permissible] for the Muslims wherever they’re, the entire ummah [Muslim group] wherever they’re. Okay brothers – wherever you’re, do it.”
In August 2010, Paul Cruickshank wrote in West Point’s Counter Terrorism Sentinel:
An rising community of radical preachers, demagogues, bloggers, and activists are trying to disseminate extremist ideas amongst Muslim youth within the grey stone island jacket United States. Largely excluded from the nation’s mosques, they unfold their message on the streets, outdoors the mosque, in small gatherings in private residences, on campuses and above all on-line, taking full benefit of latest social media platforms to maximize their attain. They are a free constellation of people, however have a transparent heart of gravity in two extremist teams that operate freely and overtly in New York Metropolis.
The groups in query–the Islamic Thinkers Society (ITS) and Revolution Muslim (RM), each affiliated with the British extremist group al-Muhajiroun–are more and more appearing in counterterrorism investigations.
Bakri’s banned British group al Muhajiroun’s tiny American affiliate was a precursor to a few small New York extremist teams, the Islamic Thinker’s Society, the now-defunct Revolution Muslim, and its successor Islampolicy. Two members of the unique New York affiliate of al Muhajiroun, Syed Hashimi and Mohammed Junaid Babar, whose mother was practically killed within the 9/11 assaults, had been sentenced to federal prison in the United States for his or her position in traveling overseas to aid al Qaeda. Along with quite a few postings, Bakri has appeared as a principal speaker over in 2010 and 2011in no less than two major dwell world extremist American directed Web net conferences.
Born in Syria in 1958 the “Totenham Ayatollah,” was thought-about Al Qaeda’s most distinguished spiritual supporter in the United Kingdom. In 2005 he was banned from returning there after he made a trip to go to his mom in Lebanon. Al Muhajiroun, which was disbanded in 2004 following a government pronouncement of its upcoming prohibition, was relaunched by followers and banned underneath different names, till getting banned once more in 2010. Bakri was crucial within the empowerment of different infamous British radicals, together with Abu Hamza al Masri, the former Imam on 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. Curiously, one in every of his most influential ideological progeny within the United States is a converted Orthodox Jew named Yousef al-Khattab. Al-Khattab, formerly referred to as Joseph Leonard Cohen, is a 43 yr previous who cofounded the influential, but now defunct radical Revolution Muslim webpage with one other convert and Columbia College grad named Younes Abdullah Muhammad in 2008.
Small Revolution Muslim Group Attracted Harmful Sliver of Radicals
He was additionally active in one other New York extremist group, Islamic Thinkers Society, earlier than coming to Revolution Muslim. The Islamic Thinker’s Society began in August 2004 when Omar Bakri Muhammad requested his American followers drop the title Muhajiroun as a result of its British sister group was under hearth there and about to be disbanded. Based on a Could thirteen, 2011 FBI affidavit Revolution Muslim was formed “with the publicly said objectives of establishing Islamic regulation 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 demise of an American serviceman in Iraq whereas holding an American flag or staging a puppet show depicting the beheading of Wall Road Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. He additionally lavished praise Osama bin Laden and on “officer and gentleman” alleged Fort Hood Shooter Nidal Hasan.
Revolution Muslim cofounder Younes Abdullah Muhammad shared a standard history.
Each were converts who had previous affiliations with the Islamic Thinkers Society. Mohammad is a former Brooklyn resident and Grateful Dead fan beforehand known as Jesse Curtis Morton. He reportedly holds a masters diploma from Columbia College’s School of International and Public Affairs. In Mid May 2011 whereas in Morocco, Muhammad was charged in the United States with making threats over the Web in direction of South Park producers Matt Stone and Trey Parker in April of the earlier 12 months. In “By All Means Needed,” a 27 web page mission assertion released on December 7, 2008 he lays out the group’s vision for the establishment of an Islamic state and waging a response to the West’s “Warfare 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 eleven] sacrificed their selves in a preemptive and retaliatory attack on America’s navy, economic and authorities capitals.”
In October 2010, NPR reported, “Of the 2-dozen homegrown plots within the United States in the past year, Revolution Muslim was linked to at least one-third of them.” Harmful Jihadists linked to both al-Khattab or Revolution Muslim embody:
– 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 prison in February for posting threats regarding the cartoon South Park and for his help of and tried 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, converted Catholic and former Boy Scout pleaded responsible to three fees in connection to an al Qaeda plot to bomb the Lengthy Island Rail Road
– Tarek Mehana, 28, an Egyptian Massachusetts pharmacist arrested by federal authorities on October 21, 2009 for plotting jihad attacks towards U.S. purchasing malls and soldiers in Iraq.
American Born Hate Evokes
Anwar al Awalki, forty, is an influential English talking New Mexico born radical Yemeni cleric who additionally has harnessed the web to promote violent Jihad, most recently on behalf of his terrorist organization, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which was formed in January 2009. Due to his command of English, his excellent rhetorical expertise and his ubiquity on-line Al Awalki is arguably an important inspirational determine to a small, but rising new breed of internet savvy disaffected young adults within the North America and Britain. As FBI director Robert Mueller instructed the Senate in September 2010, “The Web has expanded as a platform for spreading extremist propaganda, a instrument for on-line recruiting, and a medium for social networking with like-minded violent extremists, all of which could also 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 available online together with on Youtube movies, on the personal defunct web sites anwar-awlaki.com and Revolution Muslim, the Web essay compilation Jihad Recollections, the web journal Inspire and in essays just like the 2009 forty four Methods to Support Jihad and may Our Souls Be Sacrificed for You. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano told the Senate in Febrauary 2011, “The risk continues to evolve and in some methods the menace at present could also be at its most heightened state for the reason that assaults nearly 10 years in the past.” Now former Nationwide Counter Terrorism Heart director Michael Leiter also told congress throughout those self same hearings that AQAP was the biggest risk and that the its violence embracing Inspire journal “is spiffy.” But harmful. He contended “It is obtained great graphics and in some sense we expect in all probability speaks to people who are wish to be radicalized.”
The journal appears to be the work of Al Awalki and Samir Khan, an American techno whiz who wrote on the Revolution Muslim and other radical websites before allegedly fleeing North Carolina for Yemen to assist AQAP within the Fall of 2009. Authorities imagine Khan is behind al Qaeda’s new slick on-line English journal, Inspire that debuted in the summer of 2010. The magazine’s skilled production values and youth oriented focus make it a trigger for concern for federal authorities. There have been six editions that embrace such content material as an interview with Anwar Awalki and an article entitled “Tips on how to make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom,” in addition to other articles encouraging readers to “mow down” folks with cars and easy methods to destroy buildings. The bomb making directions have been allegedly hacked just lately by British spies who replaced it with a recipe for cupcakes. It’s believed that a federal grand jury is meeting in North Carolina to research whether or not there may be enough evidence to indict Khan for aiding al Qaeda. One other Texas Fort Hood space plotter from earlier this summer time is reported to have had Inspire Magazine materials in his possession.
Al Awalki, who referred to as the alleged 2009 Fort Hood shooter a “hero” has additionally denounced his start country:
I, for one, was born in the U.S. I lived in the U.S. for 21 years. America was my house. I was a preacher of Islam involved in nonviolent Islamic activism. Nevertheless, with the American invasion of Iraq and continued U.S. aggression towards Muslims, I couldn’t reconcile between residing within the U.S. and being a Muslim, and that i finally came to the conclusion that jihad towards America is binding upon myself, just as it’s binding on every different ready Muslim.
The U.S. is leading the war against terrorism, which in actuality is a battle towards Islam.
Al Awlaki has been tied to at the least fifteen terrorist plots together with the May 2010 tried car bombing of latest York’s Instances Square by Pakistani American Faisal Shahzad, the December 2009 tried airplane “underwear” bombing over Detroit by Umar Abdul-Mutallab, and November 2009 Fort Hood, Texas capturing by Nidal Hassan that left 13 lifeless and 30 injured. The London Each day Telegraph stated, “Alwaki’s lectures have been present in possession of virtually every radical Islamist who has executed, or attempted to execute, assaults on Western targets.” Al Alwaki’s contacts additionally include no less than two of the 9/11 hijackers who crashed a 757 into the Pentagon on September eleven killing 184 folks. Saudi Arabians Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaq Alhazmi, have been followers of Awlaki in both California, where they took flying lessons, and Virginia previous to 9/eleven.
As new FBI Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Mark F. Giuliano instructed an viewers at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in April:
AQAP leaders similar to Anwar Awlaki and Samir Khan have revealed articles on the internet detailing their intent to strike the United States. A number of key AQAP figures were born or educated within the United States and understand our culture, our limitations, our security protocols, and our vulnerabilities. They use this understanding to develop and refine new tactics and techniques to defeat our security measures and attack us. AQAP also understands and expertly exploits social media to share their information with others of related mindsets. They understand the importance and value of reaching English speaking audiences and are utilizing the group’s advertising and marketing expertise to inspire people to attack throughout the homeland. In many circumstances they’re making an attempt to provide them with the information to take action, with out having to travel or train abroad….I do not suppose this nation has ever confronted a more fluid, more dynamic, or extra complicated terrorism menace.
Worst Terrorist Incidents Directed In the direction of Individuals 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
3. Pan Am Fl. 103, Aircraft Bombing, Lockerbie, Scotland, 270 killed (189 US), 12/21/ 1988
4. Murrah Fed. Bldg.Truck Bombing, Oklahoma City, Okay, 168 killed four/19/1995
Anti-authorities extremists Timothy McVeigh/Terry Nichols
5. Wall Road Bombing, Horse cart Bomb, NY, 35 killed, 9/16/1920
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 Assault, Grenades/Guns, Tel Aviv, Israel, 26 killed (16 US est.), 5/30/1972
Japanese Crimson Army/Fashionable Entrance for the Liberation of Palestine
10. Fort Hood Massacre, Gun, Texas, thirteen Killed, 29 wounded, eleven/5/2009 Nidal Hasan(alleged)
11.TIE U.S. Embassies, Truck Bombing, Kenya/Tanzania, 224 killed (12 US), eight/07/ 1998
11. TWA Fl.