|Ayman al-Zawahiri appointed as al-Qaeda leader - 16 June 2011|
Al-Qaeda has appointed Ayman al-Zawahiri as leader following the death of Osama Bin Laden, the organisation's general command says in a statement.
Bin Laden was killed by US forces in Pakistan in early May.
In the statement, al-Qaeda "announces that Sheikh Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri, may God guide him, assumed responsibility as the group's amir [leader]".
It warned it would continue to fight a jihad or holy war against the US and Israel under his direction.
The statement posted on a militant website was attributed to al-Qaeda's General Command and was disseminated by the al-Fajr Media Centre, the media wing of al-Qaeda Central.
Egyptian-born Zawahiri was for years Bin Laden's deputy and had been widely anticipated to replace him at the helm.
Thought to be in his late 50s, Zawahiri is believed by some experts to have been the "operational brains" behind the 9/11 attacks on the US.
Zawahiri warned just over a week ago that Bin Laden would continue to "terrify" the US from beyond the grave.
In a video message posted on the internet on 8 June, Zawahiri said al-Qaeda would continue to fight.
"The sheikh has departed, may God have mercy on him, to his God as a martyr and we must continue on his path of jihad to expel the invaders from the land of Muslims and to purify it from injustice," Zawahiri said.
"Today, and thanks be to God, America is not facing an individual or a group, but a rebelling nation, which has awoken from its sleep in a jihadist renaissance."
For years, security analysts have suggested Zawahiri is most likely to be hiding in the Afghan-Pakistan border region.
However, Bin Laden and other key militant leaders who were also believed to be concealed there have instead been discovered in Pakistani towns and cities.
Bin Laden's killing by US special forces in a covert operation in the garrison town of Abbottabad on 2 May strained Washington's relations with Islamabad.
US President Barack Obama said "someone" was protecting Bin Laden, but Pakistan has denied any knowledge of Bin Laden's whereabouts and has arrested alleged CIA informants.
|Zawahiri statement: Selected quotes -16 June 2011|
These are selected quotations from the statement, attributed to the al-Qaeda general command and posted on a jihadist website, to announce the appointment of Ayman al-Zawahiri as head of al-Qaeda following the death of Osama Bin Laden:
In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate,
The General Command of the al-Qaeda Organisation Statement on the Succession of Sheikh Osama Bin Laden in the al-Qaeda Organisation's Command
With hearts that are satisfied with God's ordainment, and assured of Almighty God's promise and His good reward, the Islamic umma, the mujahideen in the al-Qaeda Organisation, and in other groups received the news of the martyrdom of the reviver imam, the jihadist immigrant Sheikh Osama Bin-Muhammad Bin Laden, may God rest his soul in peace. We pray to the Almighty God to raise his rank and to reward him, on behalf of us and the Muslim umma, with the best of rewards.
Since jihad is continuing until the Day of Resurrection ... the General Command of the al-Qaeda Organisation announces, after completion of consultations, that Sheikh Dr Abu-Muhammad Ayman al-Zawahiri, may God guide him to success, has taken over command of the group...
US and Israel
We seek, with God's help and guidance, to call upon the people to follow the righteous religion and to urge our umma to be mobilised and prepared to fight.
We will do this while practically performing the duty of jihad against the infidel aggressors, who attacked the countries of Islam, on top of them the Crusader United States, its protege Israel, and the rulers, who helped them and did not rule according to the Sharia of Islam. We will perform jihad against them as much as we can ... until all the occupation armies are expelled from the lands of Islam and God's Sharia becomes dominant.
We reassure our people in beloved Palestine ... We assure them that we will not accept to give up any part of Palestine, the land of encampment and Jihad, by any party whatsoever...
We confirm to our brothers in Afghanistan that we support them with our souls and our belongings…
We back and support the revolutions of our oppressed and repressed Muslim people, who revolted against the corrupting and oppressing tyrants after these tyrants had inflicted the severest of tortures in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, the Levant and Morocco. We incite them along with the entire Muslim people to revolt and to continue their struggle, sacrifices and resolution until the entire corrupt and oppressive regimes, which were imposed by the West on our countries and were taken as a bridge to apply its policies and to achieve its objectives, are uprooted.
This is our message to the Muslim umma and to those who seek righteousness and justice. God knows the true intention and shows us the right path. Our last supplication is: Praise be to God, the Lord of all creation. God's prayers and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his household and his companions.
General Command, al-Qaeda Organisation,
Rajab 1432 [corresponding to June 2011].
|QUOTE (nmollo @ Jun 16 2011, 11:35 AM)|
|It appears that the BBC will not name this so-called "jihadist website".|
Could this Zawahiri information be coming via the SITE website, which receives considerable financial support from the U.S. government?
|Almost every statement by Osama bin Laden published on the Internet, to name only one example, is first made public by SITE and IntelCenter. They find the statements in the confusion of Web sites associated with al-Qaida, and within seconds they have sent the first screen shots to their subscribers. It takes the companies only minutes to summarize bin Laden's speeches and within hours, they will have provided full translations, analysis included.|
|QUOTE (nmollo @ Jun 16 2011, 12:31 PM)|
| Dear Bridget|
So it can be reasonably understood that these latest Zawahiri reports by the BBC are yet another example of establishment corporate propaganda in the name of perpetuating the so called "war on terror"?
|QUOTE (Bridget @ Jun 16 2011, 12:48 PM)|
The threat level must stay high and the war of terror must never be won!
|US Treasury lists three senior al Qaeda leaders as terrorists|
By Bill Roggio September 7, 2011
Today, the US Treasury Department targeted three senior al Qaeda leaders based in Pakistan by designating them as global terrorists. The al Qaeda leaders were identified as Younis al Mauritani, a senior member of the external operations council; Hassan Ghul, a key facilitator; and and Abu Yahya al Libi, a top ideologue.
Mauritani is reported to have been arrested by Pakistan this week. Ghul was freed by Pakistan in 2007. And al Libi escaped from the US detention facility at Bagram in Afghanistan in 2005.
The Treasury designation allows the US to freeze the assets of the two leaders, prevent them from using financial institutions, and prosecute them for terrorist activities.
Younis al Mauritani. Photo from the Pakistani military.
Younis al Mauritani
Mauritani, whose real name is 'Abd al Rahman Ould Muhammad al Husayn Ould Muhammad Salim, was born in Saudi Arabia but holds citizenship from Mauritania. Treasury described him as "a Pakistan-based senior al Qaeda leader who was in charge of al Qaeda's external operations as of mid-2010." US intelligence officials have told The Long War Journ that Mauritani is one of three senior leaders of the external operations council.
As a top leader of the external operations council, Mauritani developed a plan to "damage the economy of Europe." Slain al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was aware of the plan and, "as of late 2010," he "devoted most of al Qaeda's funds to a plan developed by [Mauritani]," according to the Treasury press release. "As of mid-2010, [Mauritani] was in Pakistan to speak to individuals regarding their participation in al Qaeda operations in Europe."
The European plot, which was to consist of Mumbai-like attacks in Germany, France, and Britain, was broken up after an Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan operative was captured in Afghanistan during the summer of 2010 and disclosed the details.
Mauritani joined the Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC) in 2001 and served as a linked with al Qaeda's central command. He played a role in the GSPC's official merger with al Qaeda; al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb was formed in January 2007.
"He had served as a communications link between the GSPC and al Qaeda and was sent by GSPC leaders to Pakistan to forge the 2007 merger with al Qaeda that formed AQIM," Treasury stated.
Mauritani also was a weapons and explosives trainer for GSPC and later AQIM recruits. He was spotted in Mail "as of late 2009," and also plotted attacks in Mauritania.
The Pakistani military announced Mauritani's arrest on Monday; he was detained by members of the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate and the Frontier Corps in the city of Quetta. The Taliban retaliated today for his arrested by carrying out a double suicide attack at the home of the deputy inspector of the Baluchistan Frontier Corps in Quetta. The commander's wife was among 24 people killed in the attack.
US intelligence officials told The Long War Journal that they are concerned that Mauritani may not remain in custody. The Pakistani are known to free top terrorist leaders from prison. Among them are Ghul, who was also designated today, and Qari Saifullah Akhtar, the spiritual leader of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami. Rashid Rauf, another senior al Qaeda leader, also escaped from Pakistani custody under mysterious circumstance.
Ghul, whose real name is Mustafa Hajji Muhammad Khan, "has acted as an al Qaeda facilitator, courier and operative since at least 2003," Treasury stated. He "once served as a messenger between al Qaeda and former al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi." He delived a message from bin Laden to Zarqawi in 2003, but was captured in 2004 by Kurdish Peshmerga forces when he attempted to deliver Zarqawi's response.
Ghul held by US forces 2004 and interrogated and held at so-called CIA "black sites" for two years. During the interrogations, disclosed the name of Abu Ahmed al Kuwaiti, a key courier used by bin Laden. The identification of al Kuwaiti ultimately led to bin Laden at his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Ghul was transferred to Pakistani custody sometime in 2006, and was released after nearly a year in custody. "Former CIA officers who targeted Ghul" said they believed he was released because "he had ties to the Lashkar-e-Taiba terror group," the al Qaeda-linked terror group that is supported by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate [see Threat Matrix reports AP: Key source on bin Laden's courier freed by Pakistanis, and Why was key source on bin Laden's courier freed?].
According to Treasury, Ghul returned to work for al Qaeda immediately after his release from Pakistani custody. Ghul helped al Qaeda "reestablish logistic support networks in Pakistan" in 2007. He also "recruited a facilitator who helped him move people and money between Gulf countries and Pakistan." He also has "facilitated activities for senior Pakistan-based al Qaeda operatives" by aiding with their travel and setting up meetings.
Abu Yahya al Libi.
Abu Yahya al Libi, a top leader in the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, served a military commander in Afghanistan until his capture by the US military during 2003. He rose to prominence in al Qaeda after he escaped from Bagram Prison in Afghanistan in the summer of 2005, along with senior al Qaeda operatives Abu Nasir al Qahtani, Abu Abdallah al Shami, and Omar Farouq. Al Libi is the only member of the notorious "Bagram Four" active in al Qaeda. Two of his fellow escapees have been killed and another has been captured since the 2005 escape. Al Libi's escape and subsequent mocking of the US in propaganda tapes has made him a star in al Qaeda.
Treasury reported that, as of 2010, al Libi "commanded a group of al Qaeida fighters and provided financial assistance to al-Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan." He also served as "an instructor at an al Qaeda training camp."
Al Libi has become one of al Qaeda's most prolific propagandists. He has appeared in more al Qaeda propaganda tapes since 2006 than any other member of the terror group, including bin Laden and Zawahiri. He has weighed in on some of the most controversial and important issues on al Qaeda's agenda. He was the first al Qaeda leader to urge the Pakistani people and the Army to turn against then-President Pervez Musharraf's regime after the military stormed the radical Red Mosque in the heart of Islamabad.
Al Libi is also considered to be a combative leader. He has chastised Islamists who have denounced al Qaeda's methods and ideology. He urged clerics to come fight against Americans and NATO and to wage real jihad instead of criticizing al Qaeda.
US Treasury lists three senior al Qaeda leaders as terrorists - The Long War Journal