Showing posts with label ALQaeda. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ALQaeda. Show all posts

March 15, 2015

U.S.Tax Payers Money Ended Up in Al Qaeda’s Hands


                                                                               

In the spring of 2010, Afghan officials struck a deal to free an Afghan diplomat held hostage by Al Qaeda. But the price was steep — $5 million — and senior security officials were scrambling to come up with the money.

They first turned to a secret fund that the Central Intelligence Agency bankrolled with monthly cash deliveries to the presidential palace in Kabul, according to several Afghan officials involved in the episode. The Afghan government, they said, had already squirreled away about $1 million from that fund.

Within weeks, that money and $4 million more provided from other countries was handed over to Al Qaeda, replenishing its coffers after a relentless C.I.A. campaign of drone strikes in Pakistan had decimated the militant network’s upper ranks.

Off-the-books cash delivered directly to President Karzai’s office shows payments on a vast scale.Afghan Leader Confirms Cash Deliveries by C.I.A.APRIL 29, 2013
The Afghan leader Hamid Karzai told reporters Saturday that money delivered by the C.I.A. was “an easy source of petty cash.”Karzai Said He Was Assured of Cash Deliveries by C.I.A.MAY 4, 2013
“God blessed us with a good amount of money this month,” Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, the group’s general manager, wrote in a letter to Osama bin Laden in June 2010, noting that the cash would be used for weapons and other operational needs.

Abdul Khaliq Farahi, who was kidnapped by Al Qaeda in 2008. Credit Michael Kamber for The New York Times
Bin Laden urged caution, fearing the Americans knew about the payment and had laced the cash with radiation or poison, or were tracking it. “There is a possibility — not a very strong one — that the Americans are aware of the money delivery,” he wrote back, “and that they accepted the arrangement of the payment on the basis that the money will be moving under air surveillance.”

The C.I.A.’s contribution to Qaeda’s bottom line, though, was no well-laid trap. It was just another in a long list of examples of how the United States, largely because of poor oversight and loose financial controls, has sometimes inadvertently financed the very militants it is fighting.

While refusing to pay ransoms for Americans kidnapped by Al Qaeda, the Taliban or, more recently, the Islamic State, the United States has spent hundreds of billions of dollars over the last decade at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, some of which has been siphoned off to enemy fighters.

The letters about the 2010 ransom were included in correspondence between Bin Laden and Mr. Rahman that was submitted as evidence by federal prosecutors at the Brooklyn trial of Abid Naseer, a Pakistani Qaeda operative who was convicted this month of supporting terrorism and conspiring to bomb a British shopping center.

The letters were unearthed from the cache of computers and documents seized by Navy SEALs during the 2011 raid in which Bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and had been classified until introduced as evidence at the trial.

Details of the C.I.A.’s previously unreported contribution to the ransom demanded by Al Qaeda were drawn from the letters and from interviews with Afghan and Western officials speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. The C.I.A. declined to comment.

The diplomat freed in exchange for the cash, Abdul Khaliq Farahi, was serving as the Afghan consul general in Peshawar, Pakistan, when he was kidnapped in September 2008 as he drove to work. He had been weeks away from taking up his new job as Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan.

Afghan and Pakistani insurgents had grabbed Mr. Farahi, but within days they turned him over to Qaeda members. He was held for more than two years.

The Afghan government had no direct contact with Al Qaeda, stymieing negotiations until the Haqqani network, an Afghan insurgent faction with close ties to Al Qaeda, stepped in to mediate.

Qaeda leaders wanted some captive militants released, and from the letters it appeared that they calibrated their offer, asking only for men held by Afghan authorities, not those imprisoned by the Americans, who would refuse the demand as a matter of policy. But the Afghans refused to release any prisoners, “so we decided to proceed with a financial exchange,” Mr. Rahman wrote in the June 2010 letter. “The amount we agreed on in the deal was $5 million.”



A 2009 surveillance video image of Abid Naseer, right, who was convicted this month in a bombing plot. Credit U.S. Attorney's Office, via Associated Press
The first $2 million was delivered shortly before that letter was written. In it, Mr. Rahman asked Bin Laden if he needed money, and said “we have also designated a fair amount to strengthen the organization militarily by stockpiling good weapons.” (The Qaeda leaders named in the letters were identified by aliases. Bin Laden, for instance, signed his letters Zamray; Mr. Rahman, who was killed in a drone strike in Pakistan in August 2011, went by the alias Mahmud.)

The cash would also be used to aid the families of Qaeda fighters held prisoner in Afghanistan, and some was given to Ayman al-Zawahri, who would succeed Bin Laden as the Qaeda leader and was identified in the letters under the alias Abu-Muhammad, Mr. Rahman said.

Other militant groups had already heard about the ransom payment and had their hands out, Mr. Rahman reported. “As you know, you cannot control the news,” he wrote. “They are asking us to give them money, may God help us.”

But Bin Laden was clearly worried that the payout was an American ruse intended to reveal the locations of senior Qaeda leaders. “It seems a bit strange somewhat because in a country like Afghanistan, usually they would not pay this kind of money to free one of their men,” he wrote.

“Is any of his relatives a big official?” he continued, referring to Mr. Farahi, the diplomat. It was a prescient question: Mr. Farahi was the son-in-law of a man who had served as a mentor to then-President Hamid Karzai.

Advocating caution, Bin Laden advised Mr. Rahman to change the money into a different currency at one bank, and then go to another and exchange the money again into whatever currency was preferred. “The reason for doing that is to be on the safe side in case harmful substances or radiation is put on paper money,” Bin Laden wrote.

Neither of the two men appeared to have known where the money actually came from. Aside from the C.I.A. money, Afghan officials said that Pakistan contributed nearly half the ransom in an effort to end what it viewed as a disruptive sideshow in its relations with Afghanistan. The remainder came from Iran and Persian Gulf states, which had also contributed to the Afghan president’s secret fund.

Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main storyContinue reading the main story
In a letter dated Nov. 23, 2010, Mr. Rahman reported to Bin Laden that the remaining $3 million had been received and that Mr. Farahi had been released.

The C.I.A., meanwhile, continued dropping off bags of cash — ranging each time from a few hundred thousand dollars to more than $1 million — at the presidential palace every month until last year, when Mr. Karzai stepped down.

The money was used to buy the loyalty of warlords, legislators and other prominent — and potentially troublesome — Afghans, helping the palace finance a vast patronage network that secured Mr. Karzai’s power base. It was also used to cover expenses that needed to be kept off the books, such as clandestine diplomatic trips, and for more mundane costs, including rent payments for the guesthouses where some senior officials lived.

The cash flow has slowed since a new president, Ashraf Ghani, assumed office in September, Afghan officials said, refusing to elaborate. But they added that cash was still coming in, and that it was not clear how robust any current American constraints on it are.

“It’s cash,” said a former Afghan security official. “Once it’s at the palace, they can’t do a thing about how it gets spent.”

February 5, 2015

Moussaoui Testified Saudi Princes is Backer of Al Qaeda and Planned to Shoot Down AF1


                                                                           

In highly unusual testimony inside the federal supermax prison, a former operative for Al Qaeda has described prominent members of Saudi Arabia’s royal family as major donors to the terrorist network in the late 1990s and claimed that he discussed a plan to shoot down Air Force One with a Stinger missile with a staff member at the Saudi Embassy in Washington.

The Qaeda member, Zacarias Moussaoui, wrote last year to Judge George B. Daniels of United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, who is presiding over a lawsuit filed against Saudi Arabia by relatives of those killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He said he wanted to testify in the case, and after lengthy negotiations with Justice Department officials and the federal Bureau of Prisons, a team of lawyers was permitted to enter the prison and question him for two days last October. 

In a statement Monday night, the Saudi Embassy said that the national Sept. 11 commission had rejected allegations that the Saudi government or Saudi officials had funded Al Qaeda.
“Moussaoui is a deranged criminal whose own lawyers presented evidence that he was mentally incompetent,” the statement said. “His words have no credibility.”

Mr. Moussaoui received a diagnosis of mental illness by a psychologist who testified on his behalf, but he was found competent to stand trial on terrorism charges. He was sentenced to life in prison in 2006 and is held in the most secure prison in the federal system, in Florence, Colo. Mr. Moussaoui’s accusations could not be verified.

The allegations from Mr. Moussaoui come at a sensitive time in Saudi-American relations, less than two weeks after the death of the country’s longtime monarch, King Abdullah, and the succession of a half-brother, King Salman.

There has often been tension between Saudi leaders and the Obama administration since the Arab uprisings of 2011 and the efforts to manage the region’s resulting turmoil. Mr. Moussaoui describes meeting in Saudi Arabia with Salman, then a prince, and other Saudi royals while delivering them letters from Osama bin Laden.

There has long been evidence that wealthy Saudis provided support for bin Laden, the son of a Saudi construction magnate, and Al Qaeda before the 2001 attacks. Saudi Arabia had worked closely with the United States to finance Islamic militants fighting the Soviet Army in Afghanistan in the 1980s, and Al Qaeda drew its members from those militant fighters.

But the extent and nature of Saudi involvement in Al Qaeda, and whether it extended to the planning and financing of the Sept. 11 attacks, has long been a subject of dispute.
                                                                            
Mr. Moussaoui’s testimony, if judged credible, provides new details of the extent and nature of that support in the pre-9/11 period. In more than 100 pages of testimony, filed in federal court in New York on Monday, he comes across as calm and largely coherent, though the plaintiffs’ lawyers questioning him do not challenge his statements.
“My impression was that he was of completely sound mind — focused and thoughtful,” said Sean P. Carter, a Philadelphia lawyer with Cozen O’Connor who participated in the deposition on behalf of the plaintiffs. He said that the lawyers needed to get a special exemption from the “special administrative measures” that keep many convicted terrorists in federal prisons from communicating with outsiders.

The French-born Mr. Moussaoui was detained weeks before Sept. 11 on immigration charges in Minnesota, so he was incarcerated at the time of the attacks. Earlier in 2001, he had taken flying lessons and was wired $14,000 by a Qaeda cell in Germany, evidence that he might have been preparing to become one of the hijackers.

He said in the prison deposition that he was directed in 1998 or 1999 by Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan to create a digital database of donors to the group. Among those he said he recalled listing in the database were Prince Turki al-Faisal, then the Saudi intelligence chief; Prince Bandar Bin Sultan, the longtime Saudi ambassador to the United States; Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, a prominent billionaire investor; and many of the country’s leading clerics.

“Sheikh Osama wanted to keep a record who give money,” he said in imperfect English — “who is to be listened to or who contributed to the jihad.”

Mr. Moussaoui said he acted as a courier for Bin Laden, carrying personal messages to prominent Saudi princes and clerics. And he described his training in Qaeda camps in Afghanistan.

He helped conduct a trial explosion of a 750-kilogram bomb as a trial run for a planned truck-bomb attack on the American Embassy in London, he said, using the same weapon used in the Qaeda attacks in 1998 on the American Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. He also studied the possibility of staging attacks with crop-dusting aircraft.

In addition, Mr. Moussaoui said, “We talk about the feasibility of shooting Air Force One.”
                                                                        

Specifically, he said, he had met an official of the Islamic Affairs Department of the Saudi Embassy in Washington when the Saudi official visited Kandahar. “I was supposed to go to Washington and go with him” to “find a location where it may be suitable to launch a Stinger attack and then, after, be able to escape,” he said. 

Mr. Moussaoui’s behavior at his trial in 2006 was sometimes erratic. He tried to fire his own lawyers, who presented evidence that he suffered from serious mental illness. But Judge Leonie M. Brinkema, who presided, declared that she was “fully satisfied that Mr. Moussaoui is completely competent” and called him “an extremely intelligent man.”

“He has actually a better understanding of the legal system than some lawyers I’ve seen in court,” she said.

Also filed on Monday in the survivors’ lawsuit were affidavits from former Senators Bob Graham of Florida and Bob Kerrey of Nebraska and the former Navy secretary John Lehman, arguing that more investigation was needed into Saudi ties to the 9/11 plot. Mr. Graham was co-chairman of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into the attacks, and Mr. Kerrey and Mr. Lehman served on the 9/11 Commission.

Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main storyContinue reading the main story
“I am convinced that there was a direct line between at least some of the terrorists who carried out the Sept. 11 attacks and the government of Saudi Arabia,” wrote Mr. Graham, who has long demanded the release of 28 pages of the congressional report on the attacks that explore Saudi connections and remain classified.

Mr. Kerrey said in the affidavit that it was “fundamentally inaccurate and misleading” to argue, as lawyers for Saudi Arabia have, that the 9/11 Commission exonerated the Saudi government.

The three former officials’ statements did not address Mr. Moussaoui’s testimony.
The 9/11 lawsuit was initially filed in 2002 but has faced years of legal obstacles. It was dismissed in 2005 on the grounds that Saudi Arabia enjoyed “sovereign immunity,” and the dismissal was upheld on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

But the same appellate court later reversed itself, ordering that the lawsuit be reinstated. The Saudi government appealed to the Supreme Court, but it declined to hear the case, so it was sent back to Federal District Court in Manhattan. The filing on Monday was in opposition to the latest motion by Saudi Arabia to have the case dismissed.

Mr. Carter, the plaintiffs’ lawyer, said that he and his colleagues hoped to return to the Colorado prison to conduct additional questioning of Mr. Moussaoui and that they had been told by prison officials that they would be allowed to do so. “We are confident he has more to say,” Mr. Carter said.


A version of this article appears in print on February 4, 2015, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Terrorist Calls Saudi Princes Qaeda Patrons. Order Reprints

January 9, 2015

Evidence points to Al Qaeda Training the Paris Suspects {French Police in Search}


 Members of the French police special forces on a search for two terrorism suspects in Corcy, in northern France, on Thursday. CreditFrancois Lo Presti/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

  One of the two brothers suspected of killing 12 people at a satirical newspaper in Paris traveled to Yemen in 2011 and received terrorist training from Al Qaeda’s affiliate there before returning to France, a senior American official said on Thursday.
The suspect, Saïd Kouachi, 34, spent “a few months” training in small arms combat, marksmanship and other skills that appeared to be on display in videos of the military-style attack on Wednesday carried out by at least two gunmen on the offices of the Charlie Hebdo newspaper. 
Both French and American officials were aware that Mr. Kouachi trained in Yemen. He went there at a time when many other young Muslim men in the West headed to Yemen, inspired by Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born cleric who by 2011 had become a senior operational figure for the terrorist group there, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Before he was killed in an American drone strike in September 2011, Mr. Awlaki repeatedly called for the killing of cartoonists who insulted the Prophet Muhammad.


Photo

Said Kouachi, left, 34, and his brother, Cherif Kouachi, 32, who are suspected in a deadly attack on a satirical newspaper in Paris. CreditFrench Police 

Mr. Kouachi as well as his younger brother Chérif, 32, have been under scrutiny for years by officials in France and the United States, and according to an American intelligence official both were in the American database of known or suspected terrorists and on the no-fly lists maintained by the government.
Chérif Kouachi first came to the attention of the French authorities as a possible terrorist a decade ago, when he was in his early 20s. He was arrested in France in 2005 as he prepared to leave for Syria, the first leg of a trip he hoped would take him to Iraq, and convicted three years later. He was released in 2008 for time served.
American intelligence and counterterrorism officials on Thursday were still trying to determine whether the Qaeda affiliate in Yemen had explicitly ordered Wednesday’s attack. There was no indication that the masked men who carried it out were acting under orders from the group or were part of a larger militant cell in France. But as they launched their attack at Charlie Hebdo, according to witnesses, the pair proudly declared allegiance to the group.
“Tell the media that it is Al Qaeda in Yemen,” the men shouted, referring to a terrorist outfit also known as Al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula.
The Yemen branch of Al Qaeda had already declared its own interest in targeting the newspaper. A 2013 edition of the group’s English-language propaganda magazine, Inspire, placed Charlie Hebdo’s editor, Stéphane Charbonnier, on a hit list along with other prominent journalists, writers and public figures. “Wanted dead or alive for crimes against Islam,” the jihadist magazine stated.


Photo

French police officers patrolling in Longpont, north of Paris, on Thursday. Scattered gunfire and explosions shook France on a day of mourning for 12 people slain.CreditThibault Camus/Associated Press 

While familiar to the French authorities, the two Kouachi brothers appear to have lived low-key lifestyles in Paris. Orphaned as children after the deaths of their parents, immigrants from Algeria, Chérif and Saïd were raised in foster care in Rennes, in western France. Chérif trained as a fitness instructor before moving to Paris, where he lived with his brother in the home of a convert to Islam.
And he was so well known for his extremist links that he appeared in a 2005 documentary shown on France 3, a state television channel, about France’s jihadist underworld. He was presented as an ordinary immigrant youngster who enjoyed rap music and clubbing before tumbling into a subterranean world of fanatical faith and calls for vengeance against United States troops in Iraq and other forces perceived as enemies of Islam.
After his arrest that year, Chérif Kouchi was held in a detention center at Fleury-Mérogis, a southern suburb of Paris, and got to know Djamel Beghal, a champion of jihad who was jailed in 2001 for a planned attack on the American Embassy in Paris.
After his release, Chérif got a steady girlfriend and found a job selling fish at a Leclerc supermarket, and had seemingly put his past behind him. But, according to Le Monde newspaper, he quietly renewed contacts with his old jihadist comrades and again popped onto the radar of intelligence officers in connection with a plot to free a jailed Islamist militant serving a life sentence for a 1995 attack on a rail station at the Musée d’Orsay.


Continue reading the main storyVideo


PLAY VIDEO|2:10

Paris Terror Suspect Shown in 2005 Film

Paris Terror Suspect Shown in 2005 Film


Chérif Kouachi, one of the suspects in the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris, appeared in a 2005 investigative documentary about jihadism that aired on French television.
 Video by France3, via INA on Publish Date January 8, 2015. Photo by Pièces à Conviction, France3.

Prosecutors, worried about making charges stick, decided in the end not to prosecute. Their written ruling, according to Le Monde, stated that Mr. Kouachi would not face charges “despite his proven roots in radical Islam and his demonstrated interest in theses defending the legitimacy of armed jihad.”
Fresh out of prison and already deeply involved in France’s violent Islamist underground, Chérif Kouachi worked hard to present an unthreatening face to the world when he got a job in August 2009 at the fish counter in a suburban supermarket northwest of Paris.
The manager of the Leclerc store in Conflans Sainte Honorine, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because she wanted to avoid attracting unwelcome attention, said Mr. Chérif made an excellent fishmonger. He was even-tempered, conscientious and never distracted by idle chitchat with colleagues, his former boss said, adding that the only thing he ever talked about was the price of fish.
Another foreign associate of Chérif Kouachi and his brother is believed to be the Tunisian-French jihadist Boubaker Hakim, a member of the Islamic State who has been actively recruiting and building a network of fighters across Northern Africa and in European immigrant communities since 2011.
Mr. Hakim helped found a network of young jihadists based in the 19th Arrondisement of Paris that Chérif Kouachi fell in with a decade ago. It mixed classes on jihad, led by a 26-year old janitor-turned-preacher, with physical training sessions in Buttes-Chaumon, a public park on a hill in northeastern Paris, and the recruitment of local young Muslims to fight in Iraq.


Continue reading the main story

Graphic: Tracking the Manhunt for the Charlie Hebdo Killers 


The radical mosque where they gathered, near the Stalingrad subway station, was torn down eight years ago and is now a building site. The manager of a nearby Islamic book shop, the House of Light, like many other local residents, declined to discuss the Kouachi brothers, who lived in the heavily immigrant area before Chérif’s 2005 arrest in connection with the group’s recruitment of fighters for Iraq.
Mr. Hakim, who also spent time in the grimy neighborhood, is now wanted for the assassination of the Tunisian left-wing politician Mohamed Brahmi, killed in Tunis in 2013. He is thought to be in Iraq or Syria and appeared in a video produced by the Islamic State in December with two other Tunisian fighters exhorting North Africans to join the Islamic State and conduct more assassinations at home.
Mathieu Guidére, a French expert on terrorism, described the brothers as representative of a common and powerful phenomenon — the emotional appeal of global jihad, particularly after the battlefield successes in Iraq and Syria last year of the Islamic State, to segments of Europe’s young Muslim population.
“The profile of the brothers is simple: They’re typical French terrorists, well trained and determined, connected to Al Qaeda network,” Mr. Guidére said. “They haven’t been motivated by personal grievance against the French intelligence and security service. They have had contacts with the Islamic State via Internet, but they’ve never been there.”
With more than five million Muslims, Europe’s largest Muslim population, France has struggled for years to keep track of genuine extremists while avoiding measures that would only alienate ordinary Muslims and increase the risk of a violent response.
Jonathan Laurence, the author of “The Emancipation of Europe’s Muslims,” said in a telephone interview that intelligence services in European countries had so many residents with jihadi sympathies that it was very hard to monitor them all so as to separate those who merely offer verbal support for groups claiming to fight for Islam from those who are prepared to take up arms or plant bombs.
“Mass surveillance of an entire community is not an option because civil liberties also need to be balanced with the potential benefit it will gain,” Mr. Laurence said.


August 19, 2013

IN Egypt Giving Islamist The Vote They Oppose Put Them in Control to Destroy it, So They Have


A Morsy supporter takes part in a protest near Ennour mosque in Cairo on August 16.

Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Egyptian-born leader of al Qaeda, has seen this movie before: An Islamist party does well at the polling booth only to be overthrown by a military coup that then plunges the country into chaos.
This is what happened in Algeria in 1991. Tens of thousands died in the subsequent Algerian civil war that ripped the nation apart during the 1990s.

The lesson that Zawahiri drew from the Algerian war was that participating in democratic elections was strictly for suckers; far better to seize power through violence and then impose Taliban-style sharia law because "the crusaders" and their allies in the Arab world would never allow the emergence of a true Islamist state.
In 1991, the same year that the Algerian civil war began, Zawahiri released his first book, "The Bitter Harvest." The book was a vicious diatribe against the Muslim Brotherhood and other similar Islamist parties for participating in "democracies, elections and parliaments."
Now Zawahiri gets to say "I told you so."  Earlier this month Zawahiri posted a 15-minute recording on militant websites. In the recording Zawahiri explained that the military coup that deposed Egypt's elected president, Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsy, proved that democracy had failed.

Until recently Zawahiri has been largely overshadowed by his charismatic former boss Osama bin Laden who was killed in a U.S. Navy SEAL raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan, two years ago. 
Now the 62-year-old Zawahiri has dramatically stepped into the spotlight as the leader of al Qaeda and its several affiliated groups around the world.  

The message traffic during the past weeks between Zawahiri and the commander of al Qaeda's virulent Yemeni affiliate contained code words suggesting some kind of attack was potentially imminent.
Those messages were intercepted by American intelligence and led to the unprecedented closure last week of some two-dozen U.S. embassies and consulates across the Middle East, South Asia and Africa. Germany, France and Britain also closed their embassies in Yemen because of the threat.
Zawahiri's success or failure as the head of al Qaeda will be crucial to how the terror network moves forward as it marks its first 25 years of existence this weekend.
A recent Harvard Kennedy School study of 131 terrorist groups that have gone out of business found that they averaged 14 years of existence.


Al Qaeda has already shown an ability to survive well beyond the life of an average terrorist group. The big question is whether Zawahiri can successfully lead the al Qaeda network so it can thrive in today's chaotic conditions in the Middle East and can last another 25 years.
Zawahiri is a humorless religious fanatic whose forehead is marked with a prominent black scar known in Arabic as a zabiba or "raisin," the result of the many decades he has spent touching his head repeatedly to the floor as he prostrated himself in prayer. 
Despite his dour personality, Zawahiri has proven to be more capable as the leader of al Qaeda than many analysts -- including myself — had initially thought.
In the past year Zawahiri has brought two new official affiliates into the al Qaeda network: Somalia's militant al-Shabaab group and Syria's Jabhat al-Nusra, which is widely regarded as the most effective force fighting the Assad regime.   
Zawahiri also had no problem transferring already existing al Qaeda affiliates' allegiances from bin Laden to himself. In the three months following bin Laden's death, the leaders of al Qaeda in Iraq, the Yemeni-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the North African al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb all pledged their allegiance to Zawahiri as their new overall commander.
Zawahiri has been preparing for this moment all his life, first setting up a jihadist cell in his native Cairo when he was only 15. Like many revolutionaries before him Zawahiri is the son of privilege -- he's from a prominent Egyptian family of ambassadors, lawyers and clerics.

As a teenager Zawahiri believed that the Egyptian government led by Anwar Sadat had abandoned Islam and therefore had to be overthrown. Sadat signed Egypt's ceasefire agreement with Israel in 1979, effectively signing his own death warrant. 
In 1981, now trained as a surgeon, Zawahiri was arrested along with hundreds of others for his alleged role in Sadat's assassination and was imprisoned and tortured by Egyptian authorities, an experience that further radicalized him. 

Once he was out of jail in the mid-1980s, Zawahiri made his way to Peshawar, Pakistan, where thousands of militant Arabs were then gathering to support the Afghan jihad against the Soviet Union. 
It was there in 1986 that Zawahiri first met bin Laden, at that time the shy, monosyllabic son of a Saudi billionaire. For bin Laden the slightly older, cerebral Zawahiri presented an intriguing figure, someone far more experienced politically than himself. For Zawahiri, bin Laden also presented an interesting opportunity: someone who was on his way to becoming a genuine war hero in the jihad against the Soviets and whose deep pockets were well known. They would go on to embark on a marriage of convenience that would have hellish consequences.

During the late 1980s Zawahiri gradually won over bin Laden to his more expansionist view of jihad. Faraj Ismail, an Egyptian journalist who covered the Afghan war against the Soviets, recalls that it was Zawahiri "who got Osama to focus not only on the Afghan jihad, but regime change in the Arab world." 

Bin Laden then took the next step, urging Zawahiri to see that the root of the problem was not simply the Arab "near enemy" regimes, but the "far enemy," the United States, which propped up the status quo in the Middle East, a shift in strategy that took place when al Qaeda was based in Sudan in the early 1990s. Bin Laden lectured to his followers there about the necessity of attacking the United States without which the "near enemy" regimes could not survive. Noman Benotman, a Libyan militant who was then close to bin Laden and Zawahiri, recalled that, "Osama influenced Zawahiri with his idea: Forget about the 'near enemy;' the main enemy is the Americans."
When Zawahiri first arrived in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan in 1997, following a six-month spell in a Russian jail, his relations with bin Laden were on a quite different footing than they had been a decade earlier. Bin Laden was now the head of a fast-expanding terrorist organization while Zawahiri was the penniless leader of an obscure Egyptian terrorist group.

It was now bin Laden who took Zawahiri under his wing. And even then bin Laden kept Zawahiri at some distance. It was only in the summer of 2001 that al Qaeda's leader told Zawahiri the details of the coming attacks on New York and Washington, and that was only after Zawahiri's Egyptian Jihad Group had formally merged with al Qaeda in June.

Bin Laden exercised near-total control over al Qaeda, whose members had to swear a religious oath personally to bin Laden, so ensuring blind loyalty to him. Bin Laden's son Omar recalls that the men who worked for al Qaeda had a habit of requesting permission before they spoke with their leader, saying, "Dear prince: May I speak?" Even Zawahiri would ask bin Laden to be permitted to speak.
But now that he is the new boss of al Qaeda, Zawahiri has shown that he no longer feels bound by bin Laden's previous decisions. In 2010 bin Laden instructed the Somali militant group al-Shabaab to keep its association with al Qaeda a secret, fearing that openly linking the two organizations would hinder Shabaab's fundraising efforts. Zawahiri, who had petitioned bin Laden to reconsider his views about the proposed merger between al-Shabaab and al Qaeda, announced formal ties between the two groups in early 2012.
A military helicopter flies above demonstrators in Cairo on August 16.
 No Democracy seeking people in this Group. No Gays, No Christians No Jews only Islamists and AL_Qaeda and Reporters


Zawahiri, however, has also had some problems keeping control over the far-flung al Qaeda network. During the spring of 2013 Zawahiri personally intervened to settle a dispute between the Syrian militant group Jabhat al-Nusra and al Qaeda in Iraq. Zawahiri rejected al Qaeda in Iraq's assertion of control over al-Nusra and declared the Syrian group to be under his direction.
However, in June 2013, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), posted an audio recording online rejecting the order from Zawahiri. This shows that AQI is willing to go public to dismiss the directives of al Qaeda's leader, something that would have been unimaginable when bin Laden was in charge.

After 9/11, Zawahiri acknowledged in his autobiography "Knights Under the Banner of the Prophet" that the most important strategic goal of al Qaeda was to seize control of a state, or part of a state, somewhere in the Muslim world, explaining that, "without achieving this goal our actions will mean nothing."  
Indeed, the yardstick by which Zawahiri will be judged as an effective leader of al Qaeda by his fellow militants is the extent to which he can take advantage of the chaotic post-Arab spring conditions in countries such as Egypt, Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Libya to establish safe havens for al Qaeda and its affiliated groups and use those havens to then launch effective attacks against Western targets.  

In Pakistan where Zawahiri is generally believed to be hiding and also in Yemen, CIA drone shrikes have eliminated dozens of al Qaeda's leaders over the past three years and establishing a viable safe haven in either country seems quite unlikely. However, a long-term safe haven for Jabhat al-Nusra, al Qaeda's affiliate in Syria, in the heart of the Arab world could create an organization with the intent and capacity to attack the West. 

Jabhat al-Nusra  ("the Victory Front") has been able to garner considerable support from Syria's Sunni population, because it is the premier fighting force in the campaign to topple Assad, and because it is providing critical services, such as food, hospitals and sharia courts to the embattled population. For the moment, however, Jabhat al-Nusra is entirely focused on overthrowing the Assad regime, a project that may take years to achieve.
Al Qaeda was founded 25 years ago between August 18 and August 20, 1988 during the course of a series of meetings that took place over the course of three days in the sweltering heat of Pakistan's summer in bin Laden's house in the city of Peshawar.

According to the minutes of those meetings, bin Laden presided over discussions involving eight other men who deliberated about how best to establish a new organization that would take holy war to other countries. The minutes noted that "al Qaeda is basically an organized Islamic faction; its goal will be to lift the word of God, to make His religion victorious.”

Zawahiri was not at that founding meeting of al Qaeda and for much of the early history of the group he was not a central player in the organization. Today Zawahiri is al Qaeda's overall boss, and he now has the difficult task of turning around an organization whose last successful attacks in the West were the multiple suicide bombings on London's transportation system on July 7, 2005.  
If he is to succeed, Zawahiri will have to come up with something more significant than just getting U.S. embassies and consulates to close for a week. 

Wherever Zawahiri is right now he is surely watching the unrest unfolding in Egypt with considerable relish and as a real opportunity to exploit. Al Qaeda aligned groups already have footholds in the remote desert regions of Sinai in eastern Egypt and organizations such as Zawahiri's own Jihad Group, which formally merged with al Qaeda in the summer of 2001, have a long history in Egypt.

Written(Except tittle and editing) by Peter Bergen is CNN's national security analyst, a director at the New America Foundation and the author of"Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for bin Laden -- From 9/11 to Abbottabad.”

Why would Rape be Part of the protests?:


Egyptian women are the primary victims of sexual violence, and ultimately they are the intended recipients of the message: Stay home, your input in government and politics is not wanted.

Raping foreign journalists -- guaranteed to attract global attention -- is merely a more efficient way of getting that message across.

When Egyptians overthrew the dictator, the Muslim Brotherhood took advantage of public hatred of the dictator to ally him with Western progressive ideals, including gender equality. Out went the nongovernmental organizations that worked to make divorce easier and inheritance laws fairer. In came the thugs who stripped and beat women in the streets.
Granted, some of these crimes against women were committed by the military and the police themselves, as women like Mona Eltahawy (a journalist whose arms were broken by soldiers) and Samira Ibrahim (a young protester who sued the government, accusing an army doctor of submitting her to a forced "virginity test") have reported.
Dina Zakaria, an Egyptian journalist, reported that the men who raped the Dutch journalist last week called themselves "revolutionists." That label should surprise no one.

If one fervently believes women should stay inside their homes and out of the business of public life, what better way to accomplish that than rampant sexual harassment and sexual assault in a country in which women's virginity and honor is the sine qua non of female participation in society?
Egyptian Salafist preacher Ahmad Mahmoud Abdullah said that women protesting in Tahrir Square 'have no shame and want to be raped.' 
Nina Burleigh
Not long ago, Egyptian Salafist preacher Ahmad Mahmoud Abdullah said that women protesting in Tahrir Square "have no shame and want to be raped." The public face of the Muslim Brotherhood would never espouse such a statement. But its founding intellectual lights never hid the fact that a pillar of their planned theocracy was keeping women powerless. And their record in office is one of sexist exclusion. Women held only eight seats out of 498 (four of the eight women were from the Brotherhood party) in the disbanded Parliament.
Women made up 7% of the constitutional assembly that drafted the Egyptian constitution. No wonder then that the document (approved by referendum in December 2012) refers to women only as sisters and mothers, and only within the framework of family -- not employment or public life, even though a majority of Egyptian women work.
Egypt has always been a place where life for women is nasty and brutish, if not short. Last year, a UNICEF survey showed 91% of Egyptian women between the ages of 15-49 said they had to undergo female genital mutilation. The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality in May reported that 99.3% of Egyptian women interviewed said they had been subjected to some form of sexual violence. Rape victims almost never go to the hospital and certainly not the police. There are no medical protocols for rape, and police treat female victims as prostitutes.

Whether or not that violence is political is worthy of discussion. I believe it is. At the moment, no one even debates it. It is the elephant in the room.
As the Egyptian revolution enters another chapter, and more women get stripped and sexually assaulted in the streets while being systematically excluded from the halls of power in Cairo, it is high time for American progressives and other Arab Spring commentators to stop separating anti-female violence from the politics of the Muslim Brotherhood's revolutionaries.

In the broadest sense, the West's response to the treatment of women in post-Arab Spring countries, from Egypt to Syria, says a lot about the status of women here.

We might not be able to do anything to stop violent, organized misogyny in far-off lands, but we can certainly stand up for our own principles and call it what it is.

Amazon SearchBox Use it for All Meerchandise

The Forest Needs help

Summer Athlete

Adamfoxie Blog Int.

Adamfoxie Blog Int.
Amazon

ONE

ONE
Relief World Hunger

Taylor Made 2016 Family Clubs

Click Here To Get Anything by Amazon- That will keep US Going

Amazon EcHo

Blog Archive/White No# Stories per Month/year

Popular Posts

Everyday at the Movies

Orangutans ARE Part of the Forest

The Gay Man in You♥ or Him