American Jihad and the Seattle Times

The following information is summarized from the STRATFOR GLOBAL INTELLIGENCE REPORT. Entitled “FANNING THE FLAMES OF JIHAD” by Scott Stewart, the report discusses al Qaeda’s attempt to galvanize lone wolf terrorism or leaderless resistance by reaching out to English speaking individuals already located within the U.S. and other English speaking countries.

Information that is presented in an article such as this one always seems to be about New York City or somewhere other than Seattle. Everything discussed herein is happening right now in Seattle. You will not read about it until arrests take place or terrorists kill innocent people because of the legal and political repurcussions that occur when the media starts naming people or identifying radical mosques. The threat is more than just the threats that CAIR or some other “civil liberties” group will take legal action, however.

Al Qaeda’s goal is to radicalize Muslims and to provide English speaking Muslims information that will motivate and equip individuals and groups that operate without top-down communications to conduct low-technology attacks using guns, knives and vehicles such as automobiles. Training for such attacks does not require travel abroad or a great deal of coordination.

On July 11, 2010, al-Malahim Media, the media arm of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), published the first edition of its new English-language online magazine “Inspire”. INSPIRE’S editor is probably a U.S citizen who was born in Saudi Arabia. Samir Khan reportedly went to Yemen in 2009.

The magazine is geared towards making the Muslim a mujahid,” according to the editor. INSPIRE was released by al-Malahim and AQAP, AL QAEDA IN THE ARABIAN PENINSULA, the organization that has assumed the vanguard position on the physical battlefield over the past year. AQAP is frequently mentioned in Western media because of several attacks or attempted attacks in the West. Al-Malahim is exploiting media attention in order to reach English-speaking Muslims, including other members of the U.S. military with profiles similar to that of Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter.

Inspire praises Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan and failed Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab as examples for all jihadists to follow:

“We call on every Muslim who feels any jealousy for their religious beliefs to expel the polytheists from the Arabian Peninsula, by killing all of the crusaders working in embassies or otherwise, and to declare war against the crusaders in the land of the Prophet Muhammad — peace be upon him — on the ground, sea and air. And we call on every soldier working in the crusader armies and puppet governments to repent to Allah and follow the example of the heroic mujahid brother Nidal Hassan [sic]; to stand up and kill all the crusaders by all means available to him.…”

Thus, be prepared for more attacks such as the Christmas Day Bomber’s attempt to bring down a jetliner in 2009.

Inspire carried a reproduction of a statement purportedly authored by Osama bin Laden earlier this year titled “The Way to Save the Earth” that criticizes U.S. policy regarding climate change and calls for economic jihad against the United States.

An interview with AQAP leader Nasir al-Wahayshi provided al-Wahayshi the opportunity to reinforce several points he has been making for months now regarding his call for jihadists to conduct simple attacks using readily available weapons:

“My advice to my Muslim brothers in the West is to acquire weapons and learn methods of war. They are living in a place where they can cause great harm to the enemy and where they can support the Messenger of Allah.” Al-Wahayshi continued “…a man with his knife, a man with his gun, a man with his rifle, a man with his bomb, by learning how to design explosive devices, by burning down forests and buildings, or by running over them with your cars and trucks. The means of harming them are many so seek assistance from Allah and do not be weak and you will find a way.”

In March 2010, American-born spokesman for al Qaeda, Adam Gadahn, advised jihadists to strike targets to them with simple assaults and urged his audience to not “wait for tomorrow to do what can be done today, and don’t wait for others to do what you can do yourself.”

These calls are part of a move toward a leaderless resistance model of jihadism. The devolution of the jihadist threat from one based on al Qaeda the group to a broader threat based primarily on al Qaeda franchises and the wider jihadist movement this shift will involve more attacks such as the Times Square bombing attempt, the Fort Hood shooting and the June 1, 2009, Little Rock shootings.

“Open Source Jihad” is the term that AQAP uses to refer to leaderless resistance. The resource material is intended to allow Muslims to train at home instead of risking travel abroad.

Cartoon Controversy

Jihadists have not allowed the issue of cartoons to die down over the last five years. Jihadist response to the cartoons has resulted in riots, arsons, deaths. The Stratfor article cites the 2008 bombing of the Danish Embassy in Islamabad and an attack in January 2010 by a jihadist armed with an axe and knife who broke into the home of Jyllands-Posten newspaper cartoonist Kurt Westergaard in Denmark and allegedly tried to kill him. The Kashmiri militant group Harkat-ul-Jihad e-Islami (HUJI) also dispatched American operative David Headley to Denmark on two occasions to plan attacks against Jyllands-Posten and Westergaard in what HUJI called “Operation Mickey Mouse.” According to Anwar al-Awlaki:

“This effort, the effort of defending the Messenger of Allah, should not be limited to a particular group of Muslims such as the mujahidin but should be the effort of the ummah, the entire ummah… Assassinations, bombings, and acts of arson are all legitimate forms of revenge against a system that relishes the sacrilege of Islam in the name of freedom.”

Inspire includes a “hit list” that includes people like Westergaard who were involved in the cartoon controversy and other targets such as Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who produced the controversial film Fitna in 2008; Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who wrote the screenplay for the movie Submission (filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, the director of Submission, was murdered by a jihadist in November 2004); and Salman Rushdie, author of the book THE SATANIC VERSES.

Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris was added to INSPIRE’s hit list due to her proposal to have a day where “everybody draws Mohammed”. Norris was responding to threats against an animated television program, South Park. The program angered Muslims because of a brief scene in an episode that lampooned the Prophet.

The al Qaeda magazine aims squarely at Molly Norris, who has been warned by the FBI that she is on al Qaeda’s hit list. Her “anti-Islamic” cartoons appeared in City Arts Magazine. Oddly, the Huffington Post talks about the threat but I must have missed something in the Seattle Times? See also Molly Norris; Huffington Post.

A Seattle Times editorial published July 10, 2010 gives Norris kudos for being satirical and prolific. You would think Norris just draws cartoons in order to call attention to “contemporary social oddities“. I found one editorial in the Seattle Times that scolded Norris for failing to think before she exercised her freedom of speech!

According to the Stratfor report:

One other thing the magazine seeks to accomplish is to help make the jihadist training experience better for English speakers who seek to travel to jihadist training camps abroad. There have been anecdotal reports of Westerners who have traveled to get training and who have not had positive experiences during the process — and of at least one Somali-American who was executed after expressing his desire to leave an al Shabaab training camp and return home. In light of this problem, AQAP includes an article in Inspire titled “What to Expect in Jihad” and designed to reduce the “confusion, shock and depression” that can be experienced by trainees at such camps. The article also provides a list of things to bring to the training camp, including a friend to help ease the loneliness, and recommends that aspiring jihadists learn the local language.

The Stratfor Intelligence report concludes that AQAP intends to support leaderless resistance as a way to attack the West, something AQAP has had some difficulty doing itself. The attacks with automatic rifles in Mumbai, India and the jihad attack by Major Nidal Malik Hasan could have been stopped more quickly with considerable less loss of life if armed personnel had been present to deploy standard active shooter protocols.

An additional problem is the failure to identify lone shooters like Hasan as jihadists. The fact that the lone individuals (sometimes with mental illnesses) or small disconnected groups are not directly communicating with top-down organizational structures (like al Qaeda) results in media reports and official confusion that clouds the issue for a public that is not aware of the leaderless resistance model and how effectively it can work, albeit without the huge potential for destruction that occurred on September 11, 2001. The case of the lone shooter, a Muslim terrorist of Pakistani origins named Naveed Afzal Haq, who killed one and wounded five others at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, is a case in point.

Read more: Fanning the Flames of Jihad | STRATFOR

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