SEARCH

Entries in Al Queda (3)

Thursday
May032012

Osama Bin Laden Letters: Al Qaeda Leader Frustrated at Impotence

AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- An analysis of newly declassified letters found in Osama bin Laden's Pakistan compound shows that the late terror leader was frustrated at his own inability to control the violent jihadi movement he helped create, especially when it came to regional affiliates of al Qaeda.

Bin Laden was angry at his "seemingly inability to exercise control" over regional actors whose attacks often claimed Muslim lives, which bin Laden believed hurt the reputation of al Qaeda in the Muslim world, according to an analysis conducted by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. The Center recently posted the original Arabic-language notes on its website.

"Rather than a source of strength, bin Laden was burdened by what he viewed as the incompetence of the 'affiliates,' including their lack of political acumen to win public support, their media campaigns and their poorly planned operations which resulted in the unnecessary deaths of thousands of Muslims," the CTC's analysis says. "He was at pains advising them to abort domestic attacks and… instead focus on the United States, 'our desired goal.'"

American officials have repeatedly said that the core of al Qaeda, formerly led by bin Laden and now headed by his old deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, has been considerably weakened in recent years, highlighted by the death of bin Laden himself at the hands of U.S. Navy SEALs last May. But National Intelligence Director James Clapper said as recently as this January that the terror organization's affiliates, most prominently in Yemen and Somalia, have emerged as some of the greatest threats to the American homeland.

According to the CTC, before bin Laden's death, the senior leadership in al Qaeda was split on how to deal with affiliates. Some wanted to distance themselves completely from any group that acted in al Qaeda's name without first consulting them. Another side believed it was important to include the affiliates into al Qaeda's cause regardless of some of their more questionable operational choices. Bin Laden himself, the CTC says, made up a third party: the one who simply wanted to keep the communication lines open so he could urge restraint, "without granting formal unity with al Qaeda."

Zawahiri appears to have ignored bin Laden's concerns once he took the reins of al Qaeda, as he was the one to formally announce an alliance between core al Qaeda and the domestically-violent Somalia-based terrorist organization al-Shabaab.

The documents also show direct communications between bin Laden and several top terror suspects, including American-born Adam Gadahn and the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, the CTC said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May032012

Al Qaeda Cleric's Call From Grave: Attack With Bio Weapons

Tracy A. Woodward/The Washington Post/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- One of al Qaeda's most prominent radical clerics may have been killed in a drone strike last year, but his words appear to have lived on in a new issue of al Qaeda's English-language magazine in which he calls for biological attacks against the U.S.

"The use of chemical and biological weapons against population centers is allowed and is strongly recommended," U.S.-born Anwar al-Awlaki is quoted as saying in one of two new issues of Inspire magazine.

Awlaki, who was taken out in a drone strike in September 2011, was believed to have been connected to several terrorist plots against the American homeland, including the Fort Hood massacre in 2009 and the unsuccessful Christmas Day underwear bombing the same year.

Recently two new issues of al Qaeda's Inspire magazine appeared online after several months without any publication. In the same airstrike that killed Awlaki, U.S. officials said the primary editor of the magazine, U.S.-born member of al Qaeda's Yemen affiliate Samir Khan, was also killed. But it appears the magazine lives on, if with a new editor and without proofreaders.

Both new issues are riddled with typos, including one on the cover of issue nine, where a headline asks whether the West or al Qaeda is "Wining on the Ground."

The new issues feature lengthy tributes to Awlaki and Khan, but also offer chilling advice to would-be jihadists: use firebombs. One of the issues has detailed instructions on how to ignite an "ember bomb" in a U.S. forest.

"In America, there are more houses built in the [countryside] than in the cities," says one writer, who uses the pseudonym The AQ Chef. "It is difficult to choose a better place [than] in the valleys of Montana."

The other issue has an eight-page article on how to construct remote-controlled explosives, with a laundry list of parts and ingredients and photos showing proper assembly. It also gives tips on shooting a handgun.

The articles also claim that Awlaki predicted his own demise.

According to the article, after a drone strike nearly missed his vehicle, Awlaki said, "This time 11 missiles missed [their] target, but the next time the first rocket may hit it."

Awlaki's premonition "proved to be true," says the writer. "I wish I had been with them so I could have attained a great attainment."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan182012

Al Qaeda Magazine Found in Guantanamo Cell, Prosecutor Says

John Moore/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- An issue of a terrorist magazine produced by an al Qaeda affiliate somehow made its way into a cell in Guantanamo Bay, supposedly one of the most secure detention centers in the world, a U.S. military prosecutor revealed Wednesday.

The disclosure was made during a pre-trial hearing for Adb al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the alleged mastermind behind the deadly bombing of the USS Cole in 2000. Seventeen American sailors were killed in the attack. Nashiri was captured in 2002.

Navy prosecutor Cmdr. Andrea Lockhart did not claim the magazine was al-Nashiri's but told a military judge Wednesday about the offending material while arguing over policies concerning mail screening between terror suspects and their attorneys. Lockhart did not say how or where exactly the magazine was discovered, nor did she say which issue of the magazine it was.

The English-language magazine, called Inspire, had been produced by al Qaeda's Yemen-based branch, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and was believed to have been put together by an American-born AQAP member named Samir Khan. The magazine, which spanned several issues, featured lectures from terror leaders as well as instructional guides for everything from how to shoot an AK-47 to "How to Build a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom."

In the magazine's last issue, which surfaced in September, Khan promised an upcoming interview with high-profile al Qeada cleric and recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki called "Targeting the Populations of Countries That Are at War With the Muslims." The promotional ad for the article used New York's Grand Central Station as a background.

But both Awlaki and Khan were killed in a drone strike just days after the announcement. No further issues of Inspire have apparently surfaced online since.

Al-Nashiri, believed to be one of al Qaeda's top commanders, was captured in 2002 but was in CIA custody, reportedly at a secret prison, until he was transferred to Guantanamo in 2006.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio