by Robert Windrem and Richard Engel from NBC News
When asked if the war in Iraq created a recruiting tool for al-Qaida, making the pool of jihadists deeper, Adm. Scott Redd who heads the National Counterterrorism Center, responded: "In the short term, that is ... that is probably true. But the question is — you’ve got to look at this, I believe, in the long-term strategic deal. And that’s — that remains to be seen." Not all U.S. officials agree with the president’s top counterterrorism advisors, Fran Townsend and Redd. Asked if the war in Iraq made his job harder, New York police commissioner Ray Kelly expressed no doubt whatsoever. "I think there is no question about it that the war in Iraq has been a catalyst, has brought together people who perhaps otherwise be bent on attracting U.S. interest, not only overseas but over here as well," he said. Bruce Riedel, a former Middle East expert with the CIA, says the administration cannot admit its mistake and agrees that Iraq has made things much worse.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
by Robert Windrem and Richard Engel from NBC News
by Karen Kissane from The Age
Most Saudi Arabian terrorists are middle-class or rich and show no signs of psychological problems, according to Bahraini researcher Hadyah Mohammed Fathalla, who studied 45 "mujahideen" arrested or wanted by Saudi authorities for terrorist activity. Ms Fathalla used al-Qaeda documents and videos, as well as interviews, to build a profile of its members in Saudi. The men were not recruited but sought out the organisation. Their overriding motivation was to defend the Islamic community of believers, she said ... Victoria Police deputy commander Kieran Walshe told the conference that the first method of counter-terrorism should be primary prevention: stopping the radicalism and extremism from developing. "This requires intensive and good community policing," he said.
Manufacturers and suppliers of a wide range of maritime defence systems and equipments will showcase their products at the Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference (DIMDEX 2008). They include maritime patrol aircraft, helicopters missile and control system, mines and counter measurers, submarines & submersibles, torpedoes and underwater weapons and systems ... The official website of the DIMDEX quoted global Naval Analysts and Advisors that 18 countries in the region, including Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, are projected to buy 249 Patrol Vessels, 30 Fast Attack Craft (FACs), 22 Submarines, 16 Frigates and 21 Corvettes. AMI International has projected an estimated market size of $17b in the region.
by Yaniv Berman from The Media Line
The Mauritanian security forces arrested seven people in the last two days, all suspected of affiliation with the Algerian-based Al-Qa'ida Organization in the Islamic Maghreb (QOIM - previously known as GSPC), the Saudi daily Al-Watan reported. Local security sources say that information received from the Moroccan and Spanish intelligence agencies as well as their own investigations into the seven suspects indicate that QOIM agents have been infiltrating Mauritania through the Algerian border, aiming at executing terror attacks against Western interests in the country. In the past few months the Mauritanian regime has been threatened by Al-Qa'ida second-in-command, Ayman A-Zawahiri. Mauritania is among three Muslim countries that have signed peace treaties with Israel ... The recent arrests, however, are the first detentions of local Mauritanians, who are accused of affiliation with QOIM, a diplomatic source in Nouakchott told The Media Line.
by Meir Javedanfar and Alex Vatanka from The Jerusalem Post
Hojjatoleslam Hesham Seimori, the resident mid-ranking Shi'ite cleric at the Fateme Zahra mosque in the Iranian city of Ahvaz near the Iraqi border, was known for his anti-Saudi and anti-Wahabi preaching and as a staunch defender of policies propagated by the Shi'ite theocratic regime in Teheran. In June 24, 2007, unidentified gunmen shot him dead outside his house. Three days later, as Seimori's family and friends gathered in his mosque to mourn his passing, they found CDs scattered around the building. The CDs contained a stark warning from al-Qaida stating that Iran should stop its support of Iraq's Shi'ites, and that it would otherwise be considered as a legitimate target for Sunni jihadists ... there is no evidence to suggest that Iraq-based Sunni militants perpetrated Seimori's killing. It is also very possible that the CDs were produced by a homegrown activist cell which has deliberately set out to antagonize the Iranian regime. Nevertheless, Teheran cannot entirely dismiss the threat of Sunni jihadists to its national security.
by Ariel Cohen from Policy Review
"Western democracies and their political and military leaders do not fully comprehend the multifaceted threats represented by radical Muslim nonstate actors. In this, they violate the most famous dictum of Sun Tzu, the Chinese strategic genius of 2,500 years ago: 'If you know yourself and understand your opponent, you will never put your victory in jeopardy in any conflict.' ... "The Bush administration lost valuable time before it finally defined radical Islam as the premier national security threat in October 2005. Initially in the post-9/11 period, the president targeted 'evildoers' and "terrorism' as the enemy. Moreover, Islam was declared a 'religion of peace' and Saudi Arabia, which has spent the last 30 years spreading its Wahhabi/Salafi gospel, was labeled as 'our friend.' Unsurprisingly, the nation and the military were somewhat disoriented."
from Al-Baqee.org via PRNewswire
Al-Baqee is organizing American Muslims to march against a fatwa (creed) issued by Wahhabi Mufties (religious figures) calling for the destruction of Holy Shrines in Iraq and Syria. The protest will be in front of The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington D.C. from 1-4 p.m. on Monday October 22, 2007 ... Similar calls for destruction are responsible for the bombings of the Al-Askariyya Shrine in Samarra, Iraq twice last year, in which hundreds of civilians were killed. Such radicalism is present in Saudi Arabia and is also responsible for the destruction of the Jannat-ul-Baqee cemetery in Madina, Saudi Arabia on April 21, 1925, where several companions and family members of the Prophet are buried ... Al-Baqee calls upon the Saudi Govt. for the restoration and preservation of Islamic Holy Sites (i.e. Jannat-ul-Baqee) and encourages Saudi government to use its influence to restrain Wahhabi rhetoric that is fueling much destruction around the world.
by Tim Roemer from The Times Union
As a prominent businessman in Sudan and Saudi Arabia, bin Laden has a keen sense of the role economics plays in the strength of nations. In a videotaped appearance in October 2004, he emphasized the successful "scissor" strategy of asymmetric war and costly Soviet expenditures in Afghanistan that "bled Russia for 10 years until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat." Expanding on this line of thought, he indicated that by goading America in Iraq, al-Qaida is "continuing this policy in bleeding America." The United States is spending about $12 billion each month in Iraq. Total spending on the war over the past few years is about half a trillion dollars. Then there are the direct economic costs of the Sept. 11 attacks. Bin Laden meticulously enumerated these costs in a message delivered in December 2001. He measured the job losses, the effect on the federal budget deficit and the devastation to the stock market.