Pew poll offers insights into Egyptians

Pew poll offers insights into Egyptians

K.E.
Campbell

 

The population of Egypt is approximately 80.5 million,
90% of which is Muslim (mostly Sunni). A poll released by Pew
Research Center
in December 2010 provides some interesting insights into
Egyptians. The poll of Muslims only was taken in Spring 2010.

30% have a favorable view of Hezb’allah
49% have a positive view of Hamas
20% have a positive view of al Qaeda (72% have a negative view)
19% have a positive view of Osama bin Laden
48% say Islam plays a large role in their country’s political
life
85% consider Islamic influence over political life to be a positive thing
for their country
61% see no struggle between those who want to modernize their country and
Islamic fundamentalists
54% support making gender segregation in the workplace the law in their
country
82% endorse the stoning of people who commit adultery
77% support whippings and cutting off of hands for crimes like theft and
robbery
84% support the death penalty for those who leave the Muslim
religion
59% say democracy is preferable to any other kind of government
20% support suicide bombing in defense of Islam
46% say suicide bombings are never justified
61% express concern about Islamic extremism in their
country

 

The “Humanitarian Relief” Wing of Hamas and Al-Qaeda

The “Humanitarian Relief” Wing of Hamas and Al-Qaeda

Posted By John Perazzo On June 2, 2010 @ 12:29 am In FrontPage | 11 Comments

The Foundation for Human Rights and Freedom and Humanitarian Relief (better known by its Turkish acronym, IHH) is the group that organized the six-ship flotilla which recently tried, without success, to sail all the way to Gaza. Established [1] in Turkey in 1992, the Foundation sends aid [2] to distressed areas throughout the Middle East – in the form of food, medicine, vocational education, and building supplies. A prime destination for this aid is Gaza, where – according to IHH – Palestinians are being oppressed by an unjustified Israeli naval blockade. (For the record, that blockade was put in place to prevent Hamas [3], which controls Gaza politically and has fired thousands of rockets into southern Israeli towns in recent years, from importing additional weaponry from Iran and other allies abroad.)

For several days last week, as the flotilla approached Gaza, Israel issued warnings that the ships would not be permitted to reach their destination without first submitting to an inspection of their cargoes – to ensure that no weaponry was being transported. But when the respective crews of the vessels refused to comply, Israeli commandos took action and intercepted the flotilla in the early morning hours of May 31. The IHH-affiliated activists responded with violence, instantly attacking the commandos with knives and clubs, and throwing one of them overboard. In the melee that ensued, ten activists were killed and seven Israeli soldiers were wounded. How could this be? How can we be expected to believe that a well-meaning “humanitarian relief” group would ever behave in a manner that might provoke violent reprisals from Israeli troops? A more thorough examination of IHH’s history and affiliations explains everything.

While IHH is indeed involved [4] in the aforementioned humanitarian endeavors, its overall objectives are much broader. Belying the dove of peace [2] whose image appears on its logo, IHH overtly supports Hamas [5], is sympathetic [4] to al Qaeda [6], and maintained regular contact with al Qaeda cells and the Sunni insurgency during the bloodiest stretches of the Iraq War. Moreover, IHH has supported jihadist terror networks [2]not only in Iraq, but also in Bosnia, Syria, Afghanistan, and Chechnya. According to [4] Carnegie Endowment analyst Henri Barkey, IHH is “an Islamist organization” that “has been deeply involved with Hamas for some time.” A 2006 report [7] by the Danish Institute for International Studies characterized IHH as one of many “charitable front groups that provide support to Al-Qaida” and the global jihad.

Is the IHH beginning to sound less and less like a “humanitarian relief” group? Let’s look a little deeper still.

According to a French intelligence report, in the mid-1990s [2] IHH leader Bülent Yildirim was directly involved in recruiting “veteran soldiers” to organize jihad activities, and in dispatching IHH operatives to war zones in Islamic countries to gain combat experience. The report also stated that IHH had transferred money as well as “caches of firearms, knives and pre-fabricated explosives” to Muslim fighters in those countries. Given this track record, can Israel’s concern about the contents of the IHH flotilla cargoes really be considered excessive or unwarranted?

In 1996, IHH continued to burnish its credentials as a “humanitarian relief” organization when an examination of its telephone records [2] showed that repeated calls had been made to an al Qaeda guest house in Milan and to Algerian terrorists operating in Europe. That same year, the U.S. government formally identified [1] IHH as having connections to extremist groups in Iran and Algeria.

In December 1997, Turkish authorities, acting on a tip from sources claiming that IHH leaders had purchased automatic weapons from other regional Islamic militant groups, initiated a domestic criminal investigation [8] of IHH. A thorough search of the organization’s Istanbul bureau uncovered a large assortment of firearms, explosives, bomb-making instructions, and a “jihad flag.” In addition, Turkish authorities seized a host of IHH documents whose contents ultimately led investigators to conclude that the group’s members “were going to fight in Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Chechnya.”

Near the end of 2000, IHH organized protests [2] against proposals to overthrow that humanitarian icon, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein [9]; American and Israeli flags were burned at these rallies.

During the April 2001 trial [10] of would-be “millennium bomber” Ahmed Ressam, it was revealed that IHH had played an “important role” in the plot to blow up Los Angeles International Airport on December 31, 1999. Some reasonable observers might contend that to classify such a pursuit under the heading of “humanitarian relief” would require an unduly broad definition of that term.

In 2002, investigators found [8] correspondences from IHH in the offices of the Success Foundation [11], a Muslim Brotherhood [12]-affiliated organization whose Secretary was Abdul Rahman Alamoudi [13]. For the record: The Brotherhood was the ideological forebear of Hamas and al Qaeda; it supports jihad; and it seeks to impose shari’a law on the entire civilized world. Mr. Alamoudi, for his part, is currently serving a prison term of nearly a quarter-century for his role as a funder of international terrorism. He is best known for having proudly declared himself to be a passionate supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah [14]. The connections to “humanitarian relief” seem rather tenuous here.

According to [8] a report [15] issued by a website close to Israeli military intelligence: “[S]ince Hamas took over the Gaza Strip, IHH has supported Hamas’ propaganda campaigns by organizing public support conferences in Turkey.” The report also states that IHH continues to operate widely throughout Gaza and to funnel large sums of money to support the Hamas infrastructure.

In January 2008, an IHH delegation [2] met with Ahmed Bahar, chairman of Hamas’ council in the Gaza Strip. At the meeting, the delegation not only boasted about the large amount of financial support it had given Hamas during the preceding year, but also declared its intent to double that sum in the future. Once again, we are left to wonder how any of this falls under the rubric of “humanitarian relief.”

In 2008 Israel banned [16] IHH from the country because of the organization’s membership in the “Union of Good” (UOG), a Hamas-founded umbrella coalition [17] comprised of more than 50 Islamic charities (most of which are associated with the global Muslim Brotherhood) that channel money and goods to Hamas-affiliated institutions. In December 2008, the U.S. government designated [18] UOG as a terrorist entity [8] that was guilty of “diverting” donations that were intended for “social welfare and other charitable services,” and using those funds “to strengthen Hamas’ political and military position.”

In January 2009, IHH head Bülent Yildirim met [2] with Khaled Mash’al [19], chairman of Hamas’ political bureau in Damascus, and Mash’al thanked Yildirim for the support of his organization.

In November 2009 [2] IHH activist Izzat Shahin transferred tens of thousands of American dollars from IHH to the Islamic Charitable Society (in Hebron) and Al-Tadhamun (in Nablus), two of Hamas’ most important front groups posing as “charitable societies.”

This, then, is the IHH: a pack of anti-Semitic supporters of terrorism, cloaking themselves in the vestments of victimhood, and bleating to the world about how unfairly they have been treated by the very nation whose extermination they have worked long and hard to bring about. It’s actually a story that has become quite familiar.

Morning Bell: Is USA Today Serving the Goals of Al-Qaeda?

Morning Bell: Is USA Today Serving the Goals of Al-Qaeda?

Posted By Conn Carroll On February 10, 2010 @ 9:46 am In Protect America | No Comments

Yesterday, USA Today [1] ran an editorial on the Obama administration’s handling of terrorism, writing: “Officials’ handling of Christmas Day attack looks like amateur hour.” Graciously given the space to respond to this charge, Obama administration Deputy National Security Adviser for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan replied [2]: “Politically motivated criticism and unfounded fear-mongering only serve the goals of al-Qaeda.”

Got that? The Obama administration considers any criticism of its national security policies, even from as benign a source as USA Today, as serving “the goals of al-Qaeda.” And the problems with Brennan’s letter don’t end there:

Interrogation Contradictions: First Brennan asserts that “Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was thoroughly interrogated and provided important information.” But just one sentence later Brennan admits: “The most important breakthrough occurred after Abdulmutallab was read his rights.” So which is it? Was the first interrogation so thorough that no active and useful intelligence was lost, or did “the most important breakthrough” come over a month later [3], giving al-Qaeda a month’s head start?

Coordination Contradictions: Brennan asserts “Senior counterterrorism officials from the White House, the intelligence community and the military were all actively discussing this case before he was Mirandized and supported the decision to charge him in criminal court.” But this has been directly contradicted by the sworn testimony of National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair [4] and FBI Director Robert Mueller [1]. Someone is not telling the truth about a vital national security matter. Congress must investigate.

False Miranda History: Brennan writes: “Would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid was read his Miranda rights five minutes after being taken off a plane he tried to blow up. The same people who criticize the president today were silent back then.” But Brennan leaves out the fact that Reid was arrested in December 2001, before the military detention system [5] was in place. This is like accusing George Washington of treason for not using machine guns against the British. He didn’t use them because they didn’t exist yet!

Military vs. Civilian Custody: Brennan writes: “There is little difference between military and civilian custody, other than an interrogator with a uniform. The suspect gets access to a lawyer, and interrogation rules are nearly identical.” That is perhaps the most fatuous sentence in Brennan’s op-ed. The roles of lawyers in the civilian and military system are completely different. In military custody, detainees are not read their Miranda rights and their lawyer’s purpose is to challenge his detention as an enemy combatant [5]. Under civilian custody, the suspect is read his Miranda rights and his lawyer is there to make sure he does not say anything that will incriminate himself. [6] The situations are completely different, not “nearly identical.”

Military vs. Civilian Trials: “Cries to try terrorists only in military courts lack foundation.” The false choice of all civilian or all military trials is what lacks foundation. There are hundreds of witnesses who stand ready to testify and send Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to jail. We do not need his testimony to be admissible. There is nothing stopping the administration from questioning Abdulmutallab as an enemy combatant without reading him Miranda rights and then trying him in civilian court later.

Last month, The Washington Post editorial board [7], who has endorsed every single Democratic Presidential candidate since 1988, wrote:

UMAR FAROUK Abdulmutallab was nabbed in Detroit on board Northwest Flight 253 after trying unsuccessfully to ignite explosives sewn into his underwear. The Obama administration had three options: It could charge him in federal court. It could detain him as an enemy belligerent. Or it could hold him for prolonged questioning and later indict him, ensuring that nothing Mr. Abdulmutallab said during questioning was used against him in court.

It is now clear that the administration did not give serious thought to anything but Door No. 1. This was myopic, irresponsible and potentially dangerous.

Myopic. Irresponsible. Potentially dangerous. That is a spot-on assessment of the Obama administration’s knee-jerk Miranda-rights-for-everyone counterterrorism policy. And admitting as much would be the first step to defeating, not supporting, al-Qaeda.

Quick Hits:


Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.: http://blog.heritage.org

URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2010/02/10/morning-bell-is-usa-today-serving-the-goals-of-al-qaeda/

URLs in this post:

[1] USA Today: http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2010/02/debate-on-war-on-terror-our-view-national-security-team-fails-to-inspire-confidence.html

[2] replied: http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2010/02/opposing-view-we-need-no-lectures.html?csp=34

[3] over a month later: http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/what-we-lost-while-abdulmutallab-clammed

[4] National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair: http://blog.newsweek.com/blogs/declassified/archive/2010/01/20/intel-chief-s-comments-infuriate-obama-officials.aspx

[5] military detention system: http://www.heritage.org/research/nationalsecurity/enemydetention/

[6] the suspect is read his Miranda rights and his lawyer is there to make sure he does not say anything that will incriminate himself.: http://volokh.com/2010/02/03/eric-holder-letter-to-senators-on-abdulmutallab/

[7] The Washington Post editorial board: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/22/AR2010012204349.html

[8] both Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) expressed opposition: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0210/32757.html

[9] ABC News: http://abcnews.go.com/WN/wind-power-equal-job-power/story?id=9759949

[10] China could possibly sell some U.S. bonds: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6183KG20100209

[11] Iran now has more journalists in prison than any other country in the world: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/10/world/middleeast/10arrests.html?ref=todayspaper

[12] new Washington Post poll: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/10/AR2010021000010.html

Al Qaeda and the Election

Al Qaeda and the Election

By Raymond Ibrahim

Is al Qaeda trying to influence the American presidential election?

Former counterterrorism coordinator Richard Clarke recently suggested that al Qaeda may be trying to do so.  After describing al Qaeda’s recent attacks in the Middle East (Yemen, Pakistan), Clarke stated that these strikes may have been primarily geared at aggrandizing al-Qaeda’s capabilities via the media. 

 

He then concluded that “Even more likely is the possibility that al Qaeda would hope the ["media-amplified"] attack would benefit John McCain. Opinion polls, which, as noted above, al Qaeda reads closely, suggest that an attack would help McCain. Polls in Europe and the Middle East also suggest an overwhelming popular support there for Barack Obama. Al Qaeda would not like it if there were a popular American president again.”

 

Clarke does not, however, explain why it is that al-Qaeda eschews a “popular president”or what that even means.  Nor does he explain why al-Qaeda would want McCain, of the two candidates, the one who has been more forthright about associating Islamic ideology with al-Qaeda.

 

Moreover, the recent attacks in Yemen and Pakistan reveal very little: Islamist organizations have been attacking “apostate” governments from the beginning, well before 9/11; there is no reason to tie these events to American elections and certainly not see them as benefiting McCain.

 

That said, there is plenty of evidence that al-Qaeda has long been interested in influencing the outcome of American elections.  Their primary method is propaganda — those many chastising al-Jazeera communiqués by Osama bin Laden and his Second Ayman Zawahiri that have become mainstays over the years.  The most obvious example is when a long bin Laden video surfaced days before the 2004 presidential election (Bush and Kerry).

 

Then, bin Laden repeatedly portrayed Bush as a war-mongering racist (Bin Laden once even managed to sneak in a remark about the treatment of the American natives at the hands of the white man, and Malcolm X-quoting Zawahiri the treatment of his “black brothers” in America). Bin Laden further depicted Bush Sr as a wanna-be “monarch,” who established his sons on “thrones,” and was responsible for “the mass slaughter of [Muslim] children.”

 

Bush Jr was portrayed as being “blinded by the black-gold [oil],” which he killed “millions of children in Iraq” for.  Bin Laden even managed to mock Bush for the now infamous anecdote — thanks to Michael Moore — concerning the president reading a goat-story to children when the strikes of 9/11 commenced.  

 

Bin Laden concluded by saying that peace and security do not revolve around presidential candidates, but are rather in the hands of the people. But he also knew that the people’s will is made manifest in the president they elect.  In other words, by mercilessly bashing Bush, his father, and his party, with nary a word about Kerry, he simultaneously implied that, if anyone, only the latter has a chance of ushering in peace and security.

 

More interestingly, in this same pre-2004 election harangue, bin Laden voiced no complaints or grievances concerning the eight year interval separating the father from the son — the “Clinton era” — further fueling the notion that the liberal Clintonesque Democrats, ever celebrating diversity, tolerance, and equality, will set the world to right. 

 

At any rate, it is important to note that bin Laden’s pre-2004 election message offered nothing new, simply that long list of endless, ever-morphing grievances, with the usual assertion that if only Americans would vote for someone who ameliorates these grievances — not another “war monger” — the war would end. 

 

It should be clear by now (see the AQ documents in The Al Qaeda Reader) that the “grievance-mantra” is simply a smokescreen for a much more existential animus that has little to do with America’s temporal actions.  In other words, all foreign policy aside, bin Laden has made it perfectly clear that nothing less than submission to Islam, what Islamic law demands, will ever guarantee peace between the West and al-Qaedist radicals.  Al-Qaeda has repeatedly stated this in their clandestine writings to Muslims.

 

Even so, being utterly incapable of understanding theological doctrines and motivations, let alone apparently even appreciating textual evidence, the Left seems to still be convinced that the root problem is foreign policy, and that the solution is appeasement and concessions. Ex-Cia analyst Michael Scheuer, for instance, not only willfully chooses to ignore the blatant evidence contained in The Al Qaeda Reader concerning that organization’s ultimate motivations, but he dismisses it, that is, their own words, as a “neo-con” ploy — perpetrated by yours truly — while continuing to characterize bin Laden as, at once, Robin Hood, St. Francis of Assisi, and Thomas Jefferson.

 

Al-Qaeda and Islamists in general know and rely on such unbridled Western liberal guilt.  Indeed, it is not implausible to say that, based on history — from Jimmy Carter to Bill Clinton — al-Qaeda has reasoned that  it is always best to have a Democrat in office, someone who, while not taking radical Islam seriously, that is, not appreciating its metaphysical components, will try to appease by making “physical” concessions.  And above all, someone who will not wage an offensive war against the terrorists, thereby giving al-Qaeda types worldwide that one thing they desperately need: Time.  Time to regroup; time for the Western economy to falter (“We will bleed you like we did Russia”); time for Muslim nations to grow stronger, possibly acquiring nukes. Time to resurrect the caliphate.

 

Based on all this, what can one expect from al-Qaeda in regard to the upcoming presidential elections? 

 

For starters, it must be understood that al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attack, followed by their many grievance-filled communiqués — which have only received more credence by the liberal Left’s assent — have already taken a toll on American society, mostly by making widespread the notion that “more of the same,” that is, another Republican WASP president, will only lead to more of the same strife and terrorism.  Hence that profound Democrat slogan: “Change.”

 

This may be precisely what al-Qaeda hoped for with the 9/11 strikes — to convince Americans that Muslims are really angry, and to reinforce this fact with a barrage of indoctrinating communiqués insisting that this anger is entirely related to US foreign policy.  Thus the need for “change,” the need to break away from Bush and his party, a popular if unconscious position that an increasing number of Americans from across the political divide seem to be taking.  And while al-Qaeda may have planted this seed, the Left has run with it.

 

Enter Barack Hussein Obama, the ultimate representation of change, literally and figuratively: not only is he a liberal Democrat (i.e., “tolerant,” “peace-minded,” even “enlightened”); he is black (i.e., understands what it means to be a minority, to be the “other”); and his name is Barack Hussein Obama (i.e., as opposed to yet another George or John — very Christian names — he has a decidedly Arab/Muslim name that will surely endear Muslims to America). Who better to make peace with the rest of the, especially Muslim, world? Who better to make them like us?

 

This notion was most recently articulated by Jesse Jackson who “promised ‘fundamental changes’ in US foreign policy [if Obama wins], saying America must ‘heal wounds’ it has caused to other nations, revive its alliances and apologize for the ‘arrogance of the Bush administration.”’  Concluded Jackson: “Barack is determined to repair our relations with the world of Islam and Muslims. Thanks to his background and ecumenical approach, he knows how Muslims feel while remaining committed to his own faith.”

 

Lest anyone assume that al-Qaeda is not sophisticated enough to connive such a feat of reverse psychology to their benefit, the Madrid bombings of 2004 should be recalled: three days before Spain’s general elections, explosions in Madrid commuter trains planted by al-Qaeda operatives killed 191 people and injured approximately 1,460.Three days later, Jose Zapatero and his ultra-liberal Socialist party — which also went on to legitimize gay-marriage in Spain — won the election.  There is good reason to believe that the Socialist party received a big boost in votes precisely because of the Madrid bombings, as many people were convinced the attack came in response to their involvement in Iraq.

 

The very day after winning the elections, Zapatero promised to withdraw Spain’s 1,300 troops from Iraq, saying, “The war [in Iraq] has been a disaster [and] the occupation continues to be a disaster. It has only generated violence.” One month later the last of Spain’s troops left Iraq. Bin laden must have been delighted, evinced by the fact that he often indicated this Spanish response as a step in the right direction. More telling is the fact that the first question Jamal Zougam (one of the arrested suspects of the Madrid bombings) asked upon arriving at the Courthouse on 15 March 2004: “Who won the election?’ He must’ve been pleased to know that the terrorist attack achieved the desired result.

 

Yet while bin Laden’s 2004 “political campaigning” worked in Spain, it failed in the US.  (After all, Kerry — not to mention Obama’s running mates — were all white.) Will al-Qaeda try again to influence this year’s elections?  It may well have reasoned that it’s not necessary; the leftist media has already done the job.

 

Bottom line: without 9/11, the meteoric rise of Senator Obama would have been inconceivable.  In this sense, then, Osama paved the way for Obama.

Raymond Ibrahim is the translator and editor of The Al Qaeda Reader.

Bush Threatens Pakistan With Retaliation For “Even Just One More Attack”

Al Qaeda Supporters’ Tape to Call for Use of WMDs

Al Qaeda Supporters’ Tape to Call for Use of WMDs

Authorities: New Tape to Urge Use of Weapons of Mass Destruction on Civilians

By PIERRE THOMAS and THERESA COOK

May 27, 2008—

 

Intelligence and law enforcement sources tell ABC News they are expecting al Qaeda supporters will post a new video on the Internet in the next 24 hours, calling for what one source said is “jihadists to use biological, chemical and nuclear weapons to attack the West.”

“There have been several reports that al Qaeda will release a new message calling for the use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) against civilians,” FBI spokesman Richard Kolko told ABC News in an e-mail.

“Although there have been similar messages in the past, the FBI and [Department of Homeland Security] have no intelligence of any specific plot or indication of a threat to the U.S.,” the e-mail said. “The FBI and U.S. intelligence community will review the message for any intelligence value.”

While there is no evidence of any direct threat, the FBI sent a bulletin to 18,000 law enforcement agencies across the country, out of an abundance of caution.

Some independent analysts don’t think the public should worry much.

Ben Venzke, the CEO of IntelCenter, a group that monitors terrorist communications on the Web, said the video, entitled “Nuclear Jihad, The Ultimate Terror,” is a jihadi supporter video compilation and not from an official group.

“Supporter videos are made by fans or supporters who may not have ever had any contact with a real terrorist,” Venzke said. “These videos almost always are comprised of old video footage that is edited together to make a new video.”

He said the material in these types of videos does not qualify as an official message from al Qaeda or any other group.

“Considering them so would be the equivalent of considering a 10-year-old’s homemade fan video of his favorite sports team to be an official team message,” Venzke said. “IntelCenter is not aware of any new imminent message by al-Qaeda or any other leading jihadist group in audio or video form that will call for the use of WMD against civilians.”

Word of the new tape comes on the heels of a spate of messages from Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda’s second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Earlier this month, al Qaeda released an audio message from bin Laden, excoriating the media and countries that are supportive of Israel. The release was timed to coincide with the nation’s 60th anniversary and President Bush’s trip to the region.

So far this year, four bin Laden tapes have surfaced.

In April, the terror group released audio recordings in which al-Zawahiri answered questions submitted to an online forum several months earlier.

The increasing volume of tapes seems to signal to the law enforcement and intelligence communities that top al Qaeda leadership is comfortable monitoring current events and communicating messages frequently.

Officials have tracked the trend, but FBI director Robert Mueller downplayed the surge of messages during an appearance earlier this month, noting that “there is a difference between al Qaeda’s ability to communicate internally and al Qaeda’s ability to post a message on the Internet. As we all know, the Internet is so broad. The access is absolutely open that just about anybody can post material on the Internet.”

 

Iraqi Documents Show al Qaeda Ties

Iraqi Documents Show al Qaeda Ties

By Kenneth R. Timmerman
NewsMax.com | 3/21/2008

A much-publicized report released by the Pentagon last week details the extensive ties between the regime of Saddam Hussein and a wide variety of international terrorist organizations, including Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida.

“Despite their incompatible long-term goals, many terrorist movements and Saddam found a common enemy in the United States,” the report’s authors at the Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA) state.

But instead of reporting on this conclusion, most of the media accounts have focused on a single sentence that appears in the executive summary, stating that the report’s authors found “no smoking gun” or “direct connection” between Saddam’s Iraq and al-Qaida.

The United States Joint Forces Command, which commissioned the report from IDA, provided reporters late last week with a CD containing nearly 2,000 pages of supporting documents that purportedly formed the basis of the conclusions authored by Lt. Col. Kevin Woods and James Lacey in the 94-page redacted summary that initially was leaked to the press.

Intriguing Analysis

An analysis by Newsmax identified several documents with critical evidence of Saddam’s close ties to al-Qaida that were overlooked or ignored by the report’s authors, however.

These documents, published previously by the Foreign Military Studies Office of the Joint Reserve Intelligence Center, Fort Leavenworth, have since been taken down from U.S. government Web sites. Newsmax downloaded copies when they were still available.

“This is not a comprehensive, end-all, all-in-one study,” a source familiar with the drafting of the report told Newsmax. He spoke on background because his comments had not been cleared in advance by the U.S. military.

“This was a study very specifically for military lessons learned, to explain an environment. People shouldn’t make this report into something it’s not,” he added.

Another source involved in the report told Newsmax that one reason some documents were not included in the analysis was because of the sheer mass of material available — more than 600,000 documents, in all.

I have written about the Harmony data base of captured Iraqi military and intelligence documents in my recent book, Shadow Warriors: Traitors, Saboteurs, and the Party of Surrender.

One of the most damning documents to emerge from the Harmony data base, I wrote, was a Jan. 18, 1993 order from Saddam Hussein, transmitted to the head of Iraqi intelligence, “to hunt the Americans that are in Arab lands, especially in Somalia, by using Arab elements or Asian (Muslims) or friends.”

In response, the head of the Iraqi Intelligence Service informed Hussein that Iraq already had ties with a large number of international terrorist groups, including “the Islamist Arab elements that were fighting in Afghanistan and [currently] have no place to base and are physically present in Somalia, Sudan, and Egypt.” In other words, al-Qaida.

The authors of the IDA study note that Saddam’s Iraq “was a long-standing supporter of international terrorism,” and that these particular documents provided ‘detailed evidence of that support.’”

The study also points out that the captured documents “reveal that Saddam was training Arab fighters (non-Iraqi) in Iraqi training camps more than a decade prior” to the 2003 war.

But the study shies away from identifying them as al-Qaida terrorists, even though many of them were members of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, whose leader, Dr. Ayman al-Zawahri, became the deputy leader of al-Qaida in 1998.

Preparations for Suicide Operations Against U.S.

While the IDA study includes no information that would show operational ties between Saddam’s regime and the 9/11 hijackers, it reveals that Saddam personally gave orders on Sept. 17, 2001 to his general military intelligence directorate to recruit Iraqi officers for “suicide operations” against the United States.

The 112-page Harmony data file ISGQ-2005-00037352 contains Saddam’s order, as well as personal pledges to carry out suicide operations from more than one hundred “volunteers,” including a brigadier general.

In the order he issued just one week after the 9/11 attacks, Saddam stated that the volunteers should sign pledges “to be written in blood,” presumably their own.

Four years before this order, Saddam announced with great fanfare that he had tasked a prominent Iraqi calligrapher to produce a Quran written with his own blood. Saddam reportedly had doctors draw his blood for the task.

Several other key documents are glaringly absent from the IDA report and provide direct evidence of Saddam Hussein’s deep involvement with al-Qaida and its component organizations.

Among them is a 1999 notebook kept by an unidentified Iraqi intelligence official that detailed meetings between top Iraqi leaders and visiting Islamic terrorists. (Harmony document ISGP-2003-0001412).

One Baghdad visitor was Maulana Fazlur Rahman a signer of Osama bin Laden’s infamous 1998 fatwa calling on Muslims to “murder Americans.” Another was Afghan mujahedin leader Gulbudin Hekmatyar, who was also supported by Iran.

Roy Robison, a former U.S. government contractor who published an analysis of Saddam’s relationship to al-Qaida last year, argues that when Rahman met with Iraqi Vice president Taha Yassin Ramadan in 1999 “he did so as the father of the Taliban and as a leader of the World Islamic Front which declared war on the U.S the year before.”

Another document not included in this latest report was a review by Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) of their ongoing ties with Osama bin Laden and other opponents to the Saudi regime (Harmony document ISGZ-2004-009247).

This document reads like a memorandum for the record, written in early 1997, tracing the beginnings of the Iraqi regime’s relationship to Osama bin Laden.

In a letter dated Jan. 11, 1995, Saddam Hussein personally authorized the General Director of Intelligence to establish direct contact with bin Laden in Sudan, the report states.

The initial meeting with bin Laden took place just one month later, on Feb. 19, 1995, and included an offer by Iraq to provide bin Laden with broadcasting facilities and a discussion of plans “to perform joint operations against foreign forces in the land of Hijaz [ie, Saudi Arabia].

Following bin Laden’s expulsion from Sudan, in July 1996, the memo states that the Iraqi intelligence service is “working to revitalize this relationship through a new channel.”

The IDA report includes in its supporting documentation a detailed report by the Iraqi general director of intelligence in response to an “action directive” issued by Saddam on Jan. 18, 1993, ordering his intelligence service to establish relations with terrorist groups around the world and to develop the “expertise to carry out assignments.”

In addition to a variety of Palestinian groups, the document lists the Hezb Islami of Afghanistan, the Islamic Scholars Group of Pakistan, the Jam’iyat “Ulama Pakistan, all of which subsequently became affiliated with al-Qaida.

The authors of the IDA report note in the abstract accompanying their work that the captured documents provide “evidence that links the regime of Saddam Hussein to regional and global terrorism, including . . . Islamic terrorist organizations.”

While the documents “do not reveal direct coordination and assistance between the Saddam regime and the al-Qaida network, they do indicate that Saddam was willing to use, albeit cautiously, operatives affiliated with al-Qaida,” and to provide financing and training of these outside groups.

“This created both the appearance of and, in some ways, a ‘de facto’ link between the organizations,” the report’s authors stated.

Much of the polemic over Saddam’s support for al-Qaida arises from disputed claims, put forward in a Czech government intelligence report, that an Iraqi intelligence official met with 9/11 pilot Mohamed Atta in Prague in the April 2001.

No documents have surfaced that would corroborate that claim, while in press interviews well after the liberation of Iraq, the Iraqi intelligence officer who reportedly met with Atta in Prague told reporters that the meeting never took place.

All Iraqi Roads Lead to Terrorism

Contrary to the accounts that have appeared in mainstream media outlets, the Harmony documents and the IDA report show beyond any doubt that Saddam Hussein was willing to fund, train, and use Islamic terrorists, including groups affiliated with al-Qaida, to carry out his long-standing plans against the United States and U.S. allies in the region.

A 2002 annual report to the Iraq Intelligence Service M8 directorate of liberation movements shows that the IIS hosted 13 terrorist conferences during the year, and that Saddam personally received 37 congratulatory messages from international terrorist groups. The annual report also noted that the IIS had issued 699 passports to terrorists during the year.

“Saddam supported groups that either associated directly with al-Qaida [such as the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, led at one time by bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri], or that generally shared al-Qaida’s stated goals and objectives,” the IDA report states.

But an element of competition also kept Saddam from too much direct involvement with al-Qaida, the IDA report states.

While both Saddam and bin Laden wanted to drive the West out of Muslim lands and to create a single powerful state that would replace America as a global superpower, “bin Laden wanted — and still wants — to restore the Islamic caliphate while Saddam, despite his later Islamic rhetoric, dreamed more narrowly of being the secular ruler of a united Arab nation,” the report’s authors state.

The relationship between Saddam Hussein and bin Laden bore some resemblance to the Cali and Medellin drug cartels.

While the seemingly rival cartels were vying for market share, “neither cartel was reluctant to cooperate with the other when it came to the pursuit of a common objective,” the report’s authors state.

“Recognizing Iraq as a second, or parallel, “terror cartel” that was simultaneously threatened by and somewhat aligned with its rival helps to explain the evidence emerging from the detritus of Saddam’s regime,” the IDA report states.

Link to First World Trade Center Attack

One terror tie apparently put to rest in this latest report are the suspicions that Saddam Hussein was involved in the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center.

Analysts such as Laurie Mylroie have argued for years that Saddam’s regime was behind the 1993 attack, and cited as evidence the fact that a key member of the plot, Abdul Rahman Yasin, fled to Iraq immediately after the bombing.

As I reported in Shadow Warriors, Saddam Hussein recorded all meetings in his presidential office, and the Harmony data base includes tapes from a series of meetings during 1993 that discussed the interrogation of Yasin.

Saddam “discusses the possibility that the attack was part of the ‘dirty games that the American intelligence would play if it had a bigger purpose,’” and expresses concern that Yasin might be an American agent, the IDA report states.

According to Saddam, Yassin was “too organized in what he is saying and [he] is playing games, playing games and influencing the scenario” during his interrogations by Iraqi intelligence. Saddam ordered that the interrogations continue but “actually warns against allowing Yasin to commit suicide or be killed in jail,” the report states.

Saddam believed that “the most important thing is not to let the Arabic public opinion [believe] we are cooperating with the US against the opposition. I mean that is why our announcement [that Yasin is being held] should include doubts . . . [about] who carried out this operation. Because it is possible that in the end we will discover — even if it is a very weak possibility — that a fanatic group who carried it organized the operation.”

Saddam and his advisors were hoping to use the interrogations of Yasin, and whatever information they could gather from him about the organizers of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, to enhance their position in world public opinion.

If handled correctly, Saddam said, Yasin’s confessions “will benefit us greatly; it will benefit us in our issue in the matter of the stance that the U.S. has taken against us.”



Kenneth R. Timmerman was nominated for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize along with John Bolton for his work on Iran. He is Executive Director of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran, and author of Countdown to Crisis: the Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iran (Crown Forum: 2005).

The conundrum of countering terrorism

The conundrum of countering terrorism

  • June 02, 2007

THE US and its allies, bogged down in Iraq, are at a dangerous

crossroads in the war on Islamist terrorists as al-Qa’ida regroups and

re-organises its global operations.

That’s the view of US terrorism expert Bruce Hoffman of Washington’s Georgetown University. “Two years ago we believed we really had them on the run and that their command and control was essentially fractured. But during this period they were actually marshalling their forces to carry on the struggle,” Hoffman tells Inquirer.

The Oxford-educated Hoffman, who has spent 30 years studying terrorism, says he believes the West is in a dangerous situation. He arrived in Australia last month to speak to NSW police at a conference.

“Iraq has not just preoccupied our attention but enervated our militaries,” he says. “While this is occurring, al-Qa’ida and its affiliates have been able to regroup. They are not the same as they were on September 10, 2001. But nonetheless they are stronger now than they were two years ago and present a more serious threat.”

According to Hoffman the most compelling evidence of al-Qa’ida’s resilience is the plot, uncovered by British authorities last year, that involved plans for simultaneous attacks on 10 airliners from Britain en route to the US. Almost all the actual and disrupted attacks in Britain since 2003 have involved al-Qa’ida command elements operating in Pakistan, Hoffman says.

Iraq remains the greatest single counter-terrorism challenge for the US. Resolving that conflict is the only way to make progress, he contends. “One thing is indisputable: Iraq has become an enormous accelerant in radicalisation worldwide, and it’s being used by our opponents as a rallying cry. No progress is going to be made without resolving Iraq,” Hoffman says.

“Every martyrdom video talks about Iraq. It’s become a very formidable propaganda tool.”

This week, al-Qa’ida in Iraq continued to mount spectacular bombing attacks, with coalition military commanders warning that the next few months could see a surge in the group’s attacks as US and Iraqi forces try desperately to secure Baghdad.

Hoffman doesn’t like the phrase “war on terror”, arguing the notion has been characterised very effectively by the US’s adversaries as a war on Islam.

“Our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere has given them the opportunity to capitalise on the war on terrorism as a rallying cry,” he says.

The Iraq conflict has already had a spillover effect with tactics and weaponry honed in the Sunni Triangle now being routinely employed in Lebanon and Afghanistan.

Hoffman says Afghanistan is poised on a razor’s edge in terms of the counter-terrorism struggle as the lessons of Iraq are absorbed by the Taliban and al-Qa’ida fighters using the internet.

“Two years ago we were far more optimistic about Afghanistan. The fact that it has slipped back so dramatically is enormously worrisome if we take a net assessment of where the war on terrorism is going.”

There are not only Pakistani jihadist bases that are assisting the Taliban in Afghanistan but al-Qa’ida training camps in north Warizistan are also aiding insurgents and planning attacks much further afield. While NATO and its allies, including Australia, are taking the fight to the Taliban, Hoffman says they have to invest more in the fundamental tenet of counter-insurgency warfare: achieving local stability and security.

This involves not just a long-term commitment but building up indigenous security forces as quickly as possible to take the lead role: the same challenge that faces the US-led coalition in Iraq.

Hoffman argues al-Qa’ida’s ability to regenerate its forces is the biggest challenge facing the US and its allies, who are locked into a multi-generational struggle. Although there have been successes in disrupting networks, such as Jemaah Islamiah in Indonesia, new generations of Muslim youth are being radicalised. There are more than 5000 internet sites devoted to terrorism, an exponential increase compared with three years ago.

Hoffman points out there is “a tremendous youth bulge” that presents an enormous demographic challenge across north Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. Many of these societies have a high proportion of their populations under 17 years of age.

“These people that are growing up in these environments are going to be grist for the terrorists’ and insurgents’ mill. We continue to kill and capture but alongside the use of kinetics (conventional military operations), we have to develop means that much more effectively counter the resonance of the terrorists’ message. We do almost nothing to counter that.”

At the same time US government budget cutbacks are affecting the very programs that allow the US to engage the Muslim world. According to Hoffman the Voice of America, the US Government’s main overseas broadcasting arm, devotes only 6 per cent of its budget to internet communications, yet that medium is the main means of radicalisation and recruitment for terrorist groups.

“It is inexplicable that we devote a paltry amount of resources to countering it,” he says.

An emerging threat highlighted by Hoffman and other terrorism experts is the proliferation in other societies of so-called stand-off weapons and improvised explosive devices such as the powerful roadside bombs seen in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“We seem to be now fixated on suicide terrorism spreading from Iraq and I am sure it will. But I think we will see more of these improvised explosive devices and stand-off weapons because it is a low-risk means of attacking your enemies. It’s low-cost and you preserve your assets and your personnel.”

A key change in al-Qa’ida’s strategy during the past two years is its recently adopted penchant for the use of unconventional weapons – chemical, biological and radiological – not necessarily for their killing potential, but for the corrosive psychological impact they can have on society at large. In Iraq this has involved the use of truck-mounted chlorine gas cylinders combined with high explosives.

“Al-Qa’ida is still constantly scanning the horizon to identify new gaps in our defences. I think over a decade ago their identification of their diaspora communities as a source of new recruits was a strategic investment that paid off, given the kind of plots we have seen in the UK,” Hoffman says.

He argues the challenge posed for the US by al-Qa’ida and its affiliates is a new paradigm that demands a far greater focus on long-term political strategies. Conventional military responses not only cannot defeat the enemy but may even be counterproductive.

“We still think of terrorism as something that’s perpetrated by actual organisations or groups,” Hoffman says.

“What we see is that it is something that’s more akin to a mass movement that’s really facilitated by a system ofnetworks. We need a different military approach that’s about winning hearts and minds and building capacity more effectively in countries threatened by terrorism.”

Hoffman says the Western intelligence community is fully aware of the evolving spectrum of threats coming from al-Qa’ida and associated Islamist groups but nevertheless is struggling to keep abreast or in front of a highly adaptive enemy.

Australia, he observes, has a great deal of geographical advantage in confronting the terrorism challenge given that the nation occupies a continent and has arguably the world’s best border control regime.

“Long before many other countries, Australia had very strict visa policies,” Hoffman says.

“It’s a tremendous advantage but no country can think of itself as immune to the heady currents of radicalisation and the clarion calls to violence.”

Al Qaida suspects sue Boeing, with ACLU’s help

American al Qaeda warns of attacks ‘worse than 9/11′…

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