"Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid" - Ronald Reagan

New York

Former Qaeda No 2 mentor in bitter war of words

From Dawn.

Al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri is a plagiarist who worked for Sudanese intelligence before his handlers grew tired of his jokes, his former spiritual mentor has claimed in a newspaper article. The accusations are the latest in an increasingly bitter war of words between Zawahiri and Sayed Imam, the former spiritual guide of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad movement to which Osama bin Laden's deputy once belonged. Imam was highly regarded for his erudition by militants. The feud began in 2007, after Imam penned a book from his Egyptian prison cell denouncing Al-Qaeda for killing innocent people and being responsible for the US-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

The intellectual turbulence within the Muslim community continues.

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Al-Qaida Top militant Held For Marriott Bombing


Pakistani security agencies Tuesday claimed to have arrested a close aide of Al-Qaida's number two Ayman al-Zawahiri, in connection with the Marriott Hotel bombing in the capital Islamabad that killed more than 50 persons and injured more than 250 others.

If truly a close aide to Zawahiri, this capture may prove to be very significant in the coming days, weeks, and months.

For a full read, click here.

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The Rebellion Within - An Al Qaeda mastermind questions terrorism.

From The New Yorker.

In his “The Compendium of the Pursuit of Divine Knowledge,” written about 20 years ago, Dr. Fadl wrote,

Fadl contends that the rulers of Egypt and other Arab countries are apostates of Islam. “The infidel’s rule, his prayers, and the prayers of those who pray behind him are invalid,” Fadl decrees. “His blood is legal.” He declares that Muslims have a duty to wage jihad against such leaders; those who submit to an infidel ruler are themselves infidels, and doomed to damnation. The same punishment awaits those who participate in democratic elections. “I say to Muslims in all candor that secular, nationalist democracy opposes your religion and your doctrine, and in submitting to it you leave God’s book behind,” he writes. Those who labor in government, the police, and the courts are infidels, as is anyone who works for peaceful change; religious war, not political reform, is the sole mandate. Even devout believers walk a tightrope over the abyss. “A man may enter the faith in many ways, yet be expelled from it by just one deed,” Fadl cautions. Anyone who believes otherwise is a heretic and deserves to be slaughtered. [emphasis added]

Now, Dr. Fadl is announcing a new book, according to The New Yorker which gives some background on Dr. Fadl.

Fadl was one of the first members of Al Qaeda’s top council. Twenty years ago, he wrote two of the most important books in modern Islamist discourse; Al Qaeda used them to indoctrinate recruits and justify killing. Now Fadl was announcing a new book, rejecting Al Qaeda’s violence. “We are prohibited from committing aggression, even if the enemies of Islam do that,” Fadl wrote in his fax, which was sent from Tora Prison, in Egypt. [emphasis added]

This new work by Dr. Fadl is part and parcel of the intellectual turbulence that is sweeping extremist Islam and Islam in general. It will be interesting to see if Dr. Fadl not only changes his views on apostates but also democracy. The New Yorker article is an interesting read about the history of Al Qaeda.

For a full read, click here.

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Bad news for al Qaeda. . .and for liberal talking points

From Powerline.

For years now, the American left has been arguing that the war in Iraq is a distraction from the "real" war against al Qaeda and is counter-productive because it's "creating" new terrorists. Apparently, it never occurred to these deep-thinkers that inflicting a defeat on al-Qaeda in Iraq -- a defeat made possible because a previously sympathetic population turned with our help against al Qaeda -- might constitute a devastating blow to al Qaeda's standing in the Arab world.

Powerline goes on to show how Al Qaeda has lost support over the last few years to include a book by Sayyid Imam al-Sharif, who was once Zawahiri's spritual mentor, denouncing Al Qaeda's tactics and a fatwa by Sheikh Abd Al-‘Aziz bin Abdallah Aal Al-Sheikh, the highest religious authority in Saudi Arabia, condemning Bin Laden. In addition, opinion polls in 7 of 8 Arab countries (where trend data is available) has shown a dramatic decline in support for Al Qaeda. Finally, Powerline points to Sunnis in Iraq siding with America against Al Qaeda to show how much support Al Qaeda has lost in the region.

All of these factors taken together show that Al Qaeda's influence in the Middle East is in decline, as is Al Qaeda in Iraq's influence is severely weakened. This fact can be a reason for Bin Laden's latest audiotape in which he is echos the discourse of "political jihadist" instead of leading the discourse as noted by Walid Phares in his recent article for the American Thinker.

In addition, he cannot miss the fact of the four recent strikes in the Pakistan tribal agencies has shown his unassailable base in Pakistan is threatened. Finally, the recent suicide bombing against the jirga of several tribal elders in Pakistan has backfired, pitting tribal elders against Al Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban.

So what does all this mean?

For starters, Bin Laden is echoing the discourse of "political jihadists" to drum up support for his movement. One thing is clear about Al Qaeda. Wherever they decide to call home, they soon alienate their supporters, who eventually turn against them, often violently. This situation occurred in Iraq in the Al Anbar province and is now occurring in the tribal areas of Pakistan. The jirga in Pakistan was called precisely for the very reason of vowing to fight against Islamic militants, namely Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda had no other option but to kill the leaders of the jirga; however, the bombing had the effect of strengthening the tribal leaders resolve against Al Qaeda in the long run.

Secondly, Bin Laden is reacting to his loss of support. There are two key words in the last sentence. First Bin Laden is reacting. Al Qaeda is no longer on the offensive, internationally or in Iraq, his main effort in his terror war. He is on the defensive and seeing his terrority decrease daily. Secondly, as noted above, his is trying to rally his base by echoing their themes and discourse. If his base strikes, most likely in Europe, he is hoping apologist in Europe will counter act the conservative governments which now control Germany, France, and England. However, an attack in Europe will only strengthen the resolve of these conservative government for their NATO mission in Afghanistan. England specifically will pressure its old colony, Pakistan, to step up efforts against Al Qaeda.

Al Qaeda and Bin Laden are on the ropes and only now have the better of bad choices to execute to save their movement. Arab countries and governments are turning their back on Al Qaeda. Europe is doing the same. Al Qaeda is losing support from Muslims in general as "intellectual turbulence" continues to increase.

What a change a year makes. Last year at this time liberals were saying how the war in Iraq (and hence the War on Terror) was lost. One year later, Bin Laden and Al Qaeda have been routed in Iraq, are suffering significant loses in Afghanistan, and are being attacked in their last remaining unassailable base, Pakistan.

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Saudi arrests 28 suspects for links with Zawahiri

From Dawn.

Saudi Arabia said Monday it had rounded up 28 more Al-Qaeda suspects after arresting a similar number in December following an alleged plot to carry out attacks during Hajj. This brings to 56 the total number of people arrested who are linked to the Al-Qaeda leadership abroad and were in contact with Al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri, the interior ministry said in a statement carried by the SPA news agency. The group had been instructed by the Al-Qaeda leadership to launch a “terrorist campaign” inside the kingdom, it said.

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