hopperbach


Thursday, September 08, 2005

Jihadists planning a not-so-happy holiday

We in the West offer gifts and goodwill during our religious holidays. As we see in this CNSNews special report, Muslim fanatics are not in such a charitable mood for their holy month of Ramadan:

(CNSNews.com) - Al Qaeda's plans for a series of spectacular terrorist strikes in October, targeting American interests as well as U.S. allies in Europe and the Middle East and said to be coordinated by Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenant in Iraq - Abu Musab al-Zarqawi -- are the subject of a non-public report issued by terrorism experts this week.

The attacks, planned to coincide with the Muslim observance of Ramadan and dubbed the "Great Ramadan Offensive," are designed to create a "fateful confrontation" with the U.S. and Israeli forces in the Middle East, according to a May 30 letter from Zarqawi to bin Laden. The contents of the letter are referenced in the report written by Yossef Bodansky, the former director of the U.S. Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare.

The Sept. 2 report is accessible only to government officials on the Global Information System (GIS) database. Cybercast News Service obtained the report on the same day as its release. It warns of planned attacks in Western Europe, Russia and perhaps the continental U.S. The specific targets are believed to include airports at Schiphol in the Netherlands and Fiumicino in Italy.


I'm not sure how CNS would have been allowed to have a copy of this report unless it was leaked deliberately. Whether it was to give the public an unofficial-official heads-up or whether it was a disgruntled government staffer trying to undermine the administration's counter-terror efforts is unclear at this point.

CNS goes on to explain how the information was compiled:

Details of the planned attacks were pieced together from intercepted communications between top al Qaeda leaders in the latter part of August, analysis of what counter- terrorism experts described as a dramatic increase in the volume of communication among jihad forces and the observation of an unprecedented movement of jihadists and messengers around the world apparently delivering instructions.

Zarqawi, linked to numerous bombings and the beheadings of several Western hostages in Iraq, reportedly titled his letter to bin Laden, "A Message from a Soldier to His Commander." According to the GIS report, Zarqawi's letter to bin Laden alluded to "the forthcoming grand offensive comprised of escalation in the Middle East and a series of spectacular terrorist strikes" meant to overshadow the impact of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist strikes in New York City and Washington, D.C.

The letter also indicated Zarqawi was expecting bin Laden to approve and authorize the escalation: "I think that the plan for the next stage that was drawn up has reached you or is on its way to you. O God. Make the expedition of Osama proceed toward its goal ... We await your orders as to the next stage of the plan," Zarqawi wrote.

An Aug. 8 televised message from bin Laden's overall second-in-command -- Ayman al-Zawahiri - is now viewed as the approval Zarqawi was anticipating. "What you have seen, O Americans, in New York and Washington and the losses you are having in Afghanistan and Iraq, in spite of all the media blackout, are only the losses of the initial clashes ... You will see the horror that will make you forget what you had seen in Vietnam," Zawahiri said.

The al Qaeda official's threat, according to the report, wasn't delivered until the jihad forces were organized and ready to strike.

The GIS report also cites an Aug. 21 message recorded by Zarqawi, which references the next phase of the terrorist jihad. "The [mujahedeen] in Iraq, have, praise be to God, moved the battle from the ground (in Iraq) to the land of the cross."


Why can't these guys just say "We plan on attacking America next"? Such a melodramatic bunch, those jihadists.

Bodansky's report states that "concrete preparations for the consolidation of Islamist-jihadist springboards against the heart and lair of the Great Satan are being completed -- for Western Europe in the Balkans, for Russian and Eastern Europe in Chechnya, and for the United States in the tri-border area in Latin America."


Two words, President Bush: immigration reform. Quickly.

Widespread anticipation throughout the Muslim world of the Great Ramadan Offensive was being picked up by intelligence analysts in August and then was reinforced by a slew of theological statements -- all buttressing what the GIS report calls "a forthcoming, well-coordinated global onslaught."

The marked increase in the volume of communication, both encrypted and open, exceeded that of the months prior to September 2001, the report states.

Bodansky said there is a growing awareness among Western European intelligence services of the "chatter" and activation of jihadist units, led by veterans of Iraq and Chechnya. In early August 2005 Pakistanis arrested a senior operative called Osama bin Yussaf who had detailed maps of Italian, German and British cities stored in his computer.

Germany faces the challenge of second and third generation immigrants inspired by the idea of a global jihad, the GIS report notes. Such young jihadists often hold down a regular job, have European passports and are valued assets due to their low profile, and easy mobility.

Bodansky also points to the Aug. 23 decree by Islamist rebels in Chechnya establishing an "emergency government." Details of the decree, not previously reported, indicate that a "war leadership council" was established and would likely "implement the next cycle of terrorist strikes against Russia" as part of the coordinated global attacks.


What can I say about this that hasn't already been pounded into our stubborn little heads by our President for the last 4 years: We are in a war. People of all political affiliations had better come to terms with that fact and be ready for what is still to come.

Now comes the tough part (for some of you): if we are to win this war, we also need to be ready to stand behind the President as most of us did after Sept. 11. Sorry if the very thought of that makes some of you cringe... but get over it. These are not the sixties and the stakes are too high now for us to be playing around.

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