Monthly Archives: May 2011

Was Bin Laden in Charge and Will his Death Defeat Jihad?

In the wake of the killing of Osama Bin Laden, there is a debate as to the extent that Bin Laden was operationally in charge of Al Qaeda. There have also been those who have naively speculated that Bin Laden’s death means an end to the war on terror or even Jihad altogether.

It seems apparent that Bin Laden was actively communicating with Al Qaeda elements, but it wasn’t in real time. He used a system of couriers to relay messages via email and the internet, but went to great pains to securely communicate. This means no direct internet connection and no phones, cellular, satellite or landline.

This would preclude any real dialogue with operators and cells. It seems as if Bin Laden was able to communicate in general terms about his “commander’s intent,” but was in no position to take part in detailed planning. Bin Laden wanted his followers to carry out mass casualty attacks, he wanted the attacks to occur on important anniversaries and holidays, and he was especially interested in attacks on trains, which is not hard to believe given that Jihadists have been targeting trains in the UK, Spain, France, Germany and India in recent years.

Unfortunately, what this probably means is that the loss of Bin Laden will not operationally hinder Al Qaeda. It may hurt the group’s morale and it may erode some of the group’s financial and moral support, but it might also energize those who seek to avenge Bin Laden’s death at the hands of US special operations forces.

Al Qaeda doctrinal leader Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri still lives and he has been by far more active in communicating in recent years than Bin Laden was. Anwar Al-Awlaki is still at large in Yemen and he has been the one who has successfully trained and inspired Jihadi attacks on US targets in recent years, such as the Fort Hood Jihadi murderer, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the Underwear Bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, Little Rock Jihadist murderer, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad (aka Carlos Bledsoe) and the unsuccessful plot to send bombs embedded in printer cartridges from Yemen to the US on board cargo and passenger airliners.

Muslim Brotherhood apologist Peter Bergen maintains that Awlaki is a small player and that the war on terror should end with the killing of Bin Laden, but this is hardly surprising that Bergen essentially built a career around Bin Laden, including perpetuating the illusion that Bergen himself was some sort of expert on Jihad because he had managed to spend a few hours with Bin Laden in a tent 13 years ago or so.

On top of all this, there is the additional issue of groups and organizations sympathetic to Al Qaeda and allied with Al Qaeda, but not actually part of Al Qaeda. Two significant organizations fall into this category: the Taliban and Lashkar e Taiba.

The Taliban need no introduction, but many people do not realize two things about the Taliban: Taliban leader Mullah Omar specifically declined to merge with Al Qaeda and refused to take an oath of loyalty to Bin Laden. Because of this, Bin Laden exercised no operational control over the Taliban. Second, the failed Times Square bomb plot appears to have been a Taliban operation, vice an Al Qaeda operation: http://terrortrendsbulletin.wordpress.com/2010/05/02/new-york-times-square-car-bomb-bulletin/

The significance of this is that the Taliban are willing and able to attempt terrorist attacks here in America. Adding to this worry is the recent news that six American Muslims, including Imams at a Florida mosque, appear to have been raising money for the Taliban: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1387185/Imam-Florida-mosque-sons-arrested-charges-financing-Taliban-Pakistan.html  Moreover, there is no ignoring the Taliban’s recent bombing attack against a Pakistani paramilitary training facility in northern Pakistan, which was declared as vengeance for Bin Laden’s death–with the promise of more to come.

Unfortunately, the slaying of Osama Bin Laden will have no operational impact on Taliban operations.

Then there is Lashkar e Taiba, the Pakistani Jihadi terrorist group which carried out the horrific Mumbai attacks. Again, this is a group that is often misidentified as an Al Qaeda affiliate, but, like the Taliban, LeT is a separate, standalone organization that declined to pledge any oath to Osama Bin Laden.

What does LeT have to do with America? Two things:

1. The Jihadist who conducted recon ahead of the Mumbai attacks was an American from Chicago named David Coleman Headley:

http://terrortrendsbulletin.wordpress.com/2010/07/07/18-american-jihadist-terrorists/

In fact, Headley also conducted recon on an Indian nuclear power plant as well:

http://terrortrendsbulletin.wordpress.com/2009/12/21/chicago-jihadi-conducted-recon-on-nuke-plant-for-lashkar-e-taiba/

2. LeT is known to be active in America:

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/015/927uxqry.asp

Members of the group fought against US forces in Iraq back in 2004. The group is known to have a presence in Germany and the UK as well.

These are just two examples of Jihadi organizations that pose a threat to America that will not be impacted at all by the death of Bin Laden.

Then there is the “lone wolf” threat, the so-called “sudden jihad syndrome” threat in which enraged Muslims commit acts of violence because they were inspired by organizations like Al Qaeda and people like Osama Bin Laden. There have been examples of this, the most recent being the case of a Yemeni-American who tried to storm the cockpit door of an American Airlines flight whilst screaming “AllahuAkbar!” Fortunately, the reinforced door was securely locked and there were a retired Secret Service agent and retired police officer on board who subdued the subject:

http://www.examiner.com/headlines-in-san-francisco/did-yemen-man-yells-allahu-akbar-incident-outside-cockpit-door-video

Officials have issued warnings about such “lone wolf” attacks in the wake of Bin Laden getting his brains blown out:

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/US/05/10/bin.laden.attacks/

What of Al Qaeda itself? At least four Al Qaeda affiliates have either declared their intent to avenge Bin Laden’s death or issued veiled threats to carry on with the Jihad:

Somalia’s Al Shabaab, including Daphne, Alabama-born Jihadist, Abu Mansur Al-Amriki, mourned Bin Laden’s passing in a radio communication, confirming, incidentally, Al Qaeda’s role in fighting US forces in Somalia way back in 1993:

http://www.raxanreeb.com/?p=95817

In Indonesia, Jemmaah Islamiyah leader Abu Bakar Bashir, mourned Bin Laden and issued a veiled threat:

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/jemaah-islamiyahs-abu-bakar-bashir-says-death-of-bin-laden-wont-kill-al-qaeda/story-fn3dxity-1226049072983

And, finally, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (which has been especially active in hostage taking in recent months and years) and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, both vowed to carry on with Jihad after Bin Laden’s death:

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.312069e9fc4253641862a854552f7c85.8b1&show_article=1

http://www.longwarjournal.org/threat-matrix/archives/2011/05/al_qaeda_affiliates_weigh_in_o.php

None of this takes two other significant Jihadi terrorist threats into account: Hezbollah and HAMAS.

Hezbollah has not issued any comments on Bin Laden’s death, but a former Hezbollah leader mourned Bin Laden as a hero who defended Islam:

http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=45936

Hezbollah has not targeted Americans with terrorism in recent years, but they did take an active combat and advisory role against US forces in Iraq and they are believed to have a substantial presence inside the USA. Most recently, reports have once again surfaced of the group’s presence along the American-Mexico border:

http://video.foxnews.com/v/4692389/terror-on-the-border/

What could touch off renewed attacks by Hezbollah? A confrontation with Iran for one.

The same can be said for the Palestinian Jihadist terrorist group HAMAS. Like Hezbollah, HAMAS is greatly dependent on Iran for financing, arms and training. Any confrontation with Iran carries with it the danger of HAMAS terror attacks. Many Americans do not remember that Palestinian terrorists used to target Americans with regularity. They stopped, not out of love for America, but to avoid being targeted by American power. HAMAS has the same basic goals as Al Qaeda and issued a eulogy honoring Bin Laden in which they bestowed upon him the honorific title “Sheikh:”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdDapb1rrvk

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/8488479/Osama-bin-Laden-dead-Hamas-condemns-killing-of-bin-Laden.html

HAMAS is known to have conducted extensive fundraising inside America and, like Hezbollah, is believed to have a major presence inside our country.

So, we have no answers but certainly some educated guesses:

• Bin Laden was unlikely to have played an active operational role in Al Qaeda in recent times; most likely he was limited to expressing “commander’s intent” via intermediaries with little or no direct contact with operatives around the globe.

• The Jihad will of course continue.  Jihad is not limited to a few groups and it didn’t commence on September 11th, 2001. It’s been going on for a millennium and is based on Shariah doctrine, not just the personal philosophy of Osama Bin Laden. Jihad, however, can be made dormant for a period through strong resistance since, according to Shariah, Muslims are specifically not supposed to wage Jihad if they are not strong enough to do so, therefore the situation is far from hopeless.

Al Qaeda and its affiliates have pledged to continue the Jihad and allied Jihadist groups still pose an independent threat above and beyond Al Qaeda. In fact Bin Laden’s death may ironically spur them to action. This says nothing of the threat from Jihadists that were not aligned with Bin Laden, such as Hezbollah and HAMAS, who pose an ongoing, if dormant, threat to Americans.

Now is no time to rest or become complacent. Just the opposite.

Ongoing Osama Bin Laden Slaying Thread

By now all of our readers are aware of the fact that Navy SEALs killed Osama Bin Laden over the weekend in a daring raid in Pakistan.

Rather than rehash what is already being reported, TTB will establish an ongoing thread on this monumental event, with links to news articles and analysis from around the world:

Philip Klein at the Washington Examiner points out the years of work, hunting, training and rehearsals that went into accomplishing the mission of taking out Bin Laden. It is also important to point out that if not for the detention center at Guantanomo Bay, Cuba and enhanced interrogation techniques, both of which President Obama has opposed, we’d have never gotten close to finding Bin Laden:

Some time after Sept. 11, detainees held by the U.S. told interrogators about a man believed to work as a courier for bin Laden, senior administration officials said. The man was described by detainees as a protégé of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and “one of the few Al Qaeda couriers trusted by bin laden.”

Two years ago, intelligence officials began to identify areas of Pakistan where the courier and his brother operated, and the great security precautions the two men took aroused U.S. suspicions. 

While the two brothers, the couriers, had no known source of income, the compound was built in 2005 and valued at $1 million.

After exploring every angle for months, they concluded that all signs pointed to this being bin Laden’s residence.

http://washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/2011/05/raid-got-bin-laden-was-culmination-years-work-sr-admin-official-s?utm_source=feedburner+BeltwayConfidential&utm_medium=feed+Beltway+Confidential&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+BeltwayConfidential+%28Beltway+Confidential%29feed&utm_content=feed&utm_term=feed

Here are some articles with brief introductions to SEAL Team 6, also known as DEVGROUP, the unit that carried out the mission that killed Bin Laden:

http://nationaljournal.com/whitehouse/the-secret-team-that-killed-bin-laden-20110502

http://www.businessinsider.com/the-team-that-killed-bin-laden-seal-team-6-2011-5

From the same source, here is a Timeline for the operation to kill Bin Laden:

http://www.businessinsider.com/timeline-of-bin-laden-discovery-2011-5

Here is an article with some thoughts on how Al Qaeda may retaliate against the US for killing Bin Laden. It lists possible categories of targets. We think some of the targets are certainly likely, but that this list may not go far enough, given what we know of Al Qaeda’s prior plans. There is reason to be worried about shopping malls for instance. Security breaches at chemical and bio facilities seem remote, but attacks on petrochemical refineries and similar facilities would certainly be a concern. The article also assumes that airports and airliners are off the target list, though Al Qaeda’s history suggests they will keep trying in this sector, especially after the successful attack in an airport terminal in Moscow not long ago. We have airliners bottled up tight, but there is no security to speak of in airport terminals, where large numbers of passengers have to stand in line and are vulnerable. Then there are sporting events and music concerts. Jihadists attacked a group in Africa watching the World Cup on TV last year. Not a great article, but not a total waste of time either…

http://www.businessinsider.com/how-will-al-qaeda-militants-get-their-revenge-2011-5

Here is a similar article from ABC News, including a report that a US Marine NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) Warfare unit has been urgently recalled from Japan. This indicates that there is at least some concern that Al Qaeda or its allies could have a WMD capability of some sort…

http://abcnews.go.com/US/osama-bin-laden-triggers-security-alert-recall-marine/story?id=13505844

The US Department of Homeland Security has issued an advisory about potential retaliation, though it includes scant few details:

http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2011/05/02/general-us-bin-laden-warnings_8444923.html

One of the most promising aspects of the Bin Laden raid is the potential treasure trove of intelligence captured. No doubt, Al Qaeda operatives and supporters around the globe are holding their breath and scrambling because they can’t be certain if the next knock on the door, or the next helicopter that passes by, could be some of America’s finest come to bring down death and destruction on them…

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503543_162-20058885-503543.html

CBS News has also published a story on one intriguing aspect of this event, namely that waterboarding at Gitmo produced the initial intelligence that made it possible to track down Bin Laden. It is entirely possible–in fact LIKELY–that had Khalid Sheikh Mohammed not been waterboarded, we’d still be guessing where Bin Laden is today. And had he, and other Al Qaeda terrorists, not been classified as enemy combatants and housed in detention at Gitmo, they would never have undergone the waterboarding in the first place. It is worth noting that President Obama is now taking credit for an operation that could never have occurred had he had his way with regard to Gitmo and “enhanced interrogation” techniques…techniques which we no longer employ by the way…

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20058921-503544.html?tag=cbsnewsMainColumnArea

Another article that credits “enhanced interrogation techniques” for uncovering the intelligence that enabled US forces to find and kill Bin Laden–Obama has ended the use of those techniques…

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=13512344

Now we have an article from The Telegraph in Great Britain that alerts us to the reality that Al Qaeda will not be stopped by Bin Laden’s death. The organization has been franchising itself globally for some time. It even suggests that Bin Laden was never fully in control of the global Jihadist movement, something that TTB definitely agrees with:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/8488662/Al-Qaeda-The-next-generation.html

In fact, Al Qaeda has affiliates around the world now and tomorrow’s Al Qaeda leaders may comes from several affiliated terrorist organizations:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/following_bin_ladens_death_al_qaeda_affiliates_in_africa_middle_east_poised_to_produce_new_leaders/2011/05/02/AFaJIwYF_story.html

The next two articles are sad reminders of the tens of thousands of lives Osama Bin Laden’s evil touched through violent Jihad. Back in August of 1998, hundreds of people were killed in East Africa in what was, up to that point, Al Qaeda’s bloodiest attack. Then in 2002, Al Qaeda struck in Bali, Indonesia, killing hundreds of mostly Australian tourists…

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/tears-kenyas-1998-us-embassy-bombing-somalias-al-114638162.html

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/relief-for-bali-bombing-victims-following-osama-bin-ladens-death/story-e6frf7jo-1226048732274

We find the whole emphasis on handling the monster Bin Laden’s remains according to “Islamic tradition” to be troubling as hell. It was almost as if we were showing respect for a mass murderer. Had he been any religion other than Islam there would have been no thought or mention of the religious aspects of how his remains were to be treated. The SEALs do the heavy lifting while the geeks continue to insist that we chase our tails.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/05/02/bin-laden-given-religious-funeral-prior-sea-burial/

National Journal has aerial photos of Bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan. Hard to believe the Pakistani military didn’t know he was there…

http://www.nationaljournal.com/nationalsecurity/pictures-u-s-photos-of-the-bin-laden-compound-20110502#photo_0

It’s almost impossible to believe that the Pakistani military didn’t know where Bin Laden was. The available evidence suggests that they were harboring him…

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AS_PAKISTAN_BIN_LADEN?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2011-05-02-18-25-32

Now that Bin Laden is dead, his sympathizers and allies are making threats. In Great Britain, a guy who really needs to be in prison, Anjem Choudary, has predicted another “7/7″ attack as a result of Bin Laden’s death…

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/8487822/Osama-bin-Laden-dead-followers-warn-of-another-77.html

As a result of veiled and overt threats, we are seeing examples of increased security and warnings from terrorism experts.

There are very visible signs of increased security in New York and Washington, the two targets of the September 11th attacks:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-05-02/security-heightened-in-new-york-washington-following-killing-of-bin-laden.html

Logan Airport in Boston was one of the airports transited by the September 11th hijackers a decade ago. Today, that airport has instituted tighter security precautions:

http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/east_boston/2011/05/at_logan_airport_and_around_bo_1.html

There is understandably widespread euphoria across America about Bin Laden’s demise, unfortunately, the Jihadist’s death may not make us any safer. This analysis comes from Steve Emerson’s Investigative Project on Terrorism:

That threat could come from “lone wolf” terrorists as much as from al-Qaida followers. In recent years, bin Laden has been viewed more as an iconic figure for al-Qaida rather than the controlling hand he enjoyed before the 9/11 attacks. The group has split into smaller, autonomous cells and networks, and its ubiquitous Internet presence reaches

In February, U.S. intelligence officials identified Yemen-based American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki as a bigger threat than bin Laden. Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan and attempted Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad are among those Awlaki communicated with or inspired. During his sentencing, Shahzad defiantly told the court he tried to wage war against America because he believed the country was at war with Islam.

Meanwhile, a series of plots by homegrown radical Islamists were prevented only because of pro-active sting operations initiated by the FBI.

To close out this posting for 2 May, Jihadists around the world are making threats to avenge Bin Laden:

Jihadists in the Philippines have declared Bin Laden a martyr:

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/regions/05/02/11/moro-rebels-call-bin-laden-martyr

Hamas has condemned the killing of Bin Laden:

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/05/02/hamas-leader-condemns-killing-usama-bin-laden/

The Taliban have vowed to avenge Bin Laden’s death:

http://www.vanguardngr.com/2011/05/osama-how-he-died/

Less well-known Jihadis have chimed in on Bin Laden’s death too:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/02/us-binladen-militants-idUSTRE74147320110502

Heh

BE ADVISED THAT THIS PHOTOGRAPH IS NOT IN FACT OF OSAMA BIN LADEN AFTER HE WAS KILLED. THIS IS A PHOTOSHOPPED IMAGE THAT HAS BEEN GOING AROUND THE INTERNET.

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