Thursday, October 21, 2004

Foundation for the Defense of Democracies: GlobalJihadWatch


By Avi Jorisch, Jonathan L. Snow
October 12-19, 2004

GlobalJihadWatch is a weekly publication that tracks developments in the Global War on Terror (GWOT), specifically focusing on militant groups that adhere to the ideology known as radical Islam. Such groups constitute a small minority of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims, but their rhetoric and violence affords them disproportional influence in the Muslim world. Some of these groups are affiliated with al-Qaeda, while others are not. Indeed, such nomenclature is increasingly irrelevant, particularly as al-Qaeda evolves from a structured organization into an amorphous global movement. (This series will not cover the activities of militant Palestinian groups, which are covered at length in other publications.)

The Big Picture

This week, the al-Tawhid wa al-Jihad group lead by terrorist mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi posted an internet statement formally declaring the group's allegiance to Osama bin Laden. This statement, if authentic, leaves no doubt about the links, present and past, between the two groups. This development also further highlights the changing nature of al-Qaeda, from a hierarchical group structure to a loose association of like-minded affiliate organizations.

Europe witnessed several key events this week including British authorities charging Abu Hamza al-Masri, the infamous Finsbury Park preacher, with a 16-count indictment that includes 10 charges of soliciting or encouraging others to murder people who do not believe in the Islamic faith. This indictment sends a strong message to other extremists that such rhetoric is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in the U.K.

Regional Briefs

North America, Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Europe, Asia, Africa

North America
Former Guantanamo Detainees Return to Fighting (Associated Press) - Despite gaining their freedom by signing pledges to renounce violence, at least seven former prisoners of the United States at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have returned to terrorism, at times with deadly consequences.

Report: CIA Holds Top al-Qaeda Suspects in Jordan (Reuters) - The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency is holding top al-Qaeda suspects in a secret Jordanian jail where they are subjected to interrogation methods banned in the United States. Ha'aretz reported on (10/13) that at least 11 men are being held incommunicado in Jordan, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the hijacked airliner attacks on New York and Washington, and Hambali, accused of being al-Qaeda's ally in southeast Asia. U.S. officials did not comment on this story, nor did Jordan, considered a key ally in the U.S.-led war on terror.

FBI: al-Qaeda Operative Posed as Student While Living in N.J. (Associated Press) - A senior al-Qaeda operative lived in New Jersey and posed as a student while conducting surveillance of financial institutions as possible targets for a terror attack. Authorities believe Dhiren Barot, 32 was dispatched by Osama bin Laden to conduct the scouting mission in New Jersey. Barot was arrested by British authorities in August and remains in custody in the U.K.

Canada Pressed Over al-Qaeda Suspect (Reuters) - Canada is facing pressure over the case of an al-Qaeda suspect. Relatives of the suspect say Canadian agents tricked him into going to the United States, where he faces five terrorism-related charges. Mohammed Jabarah, identified as a member of al-Qaeda by police in Singapore, Canada, and the United States, was arrested in Oman in March 2002 and deported to Canada. In April 2002, after four days of interrogation by agents of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Jabarah was transferred to the U.S.

Middle East
Zarqawi Pledges Allegiance to al-Qaeda (al-Jazeera) - An Iraq-based insurgent group linked to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has reportedly pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden in a statement posted on an Islamist website. "We announce that al-Tawhid wa al-Jihad, its leader and soldiers have pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden," read the statement, the first linking Zarqawi to al-Qaeda. The authenticity of the statement could not be verified.

Jordan Indicts Zarqawi, 12 Others, in Foiled Chemical Plot (Reuters) - A group of terrorists was summoned Sunday (10/17) and formally charged for their alleged role in a thwarted chemical attack using suicide bombers. State security prosecutor Mahmoud Obeidat read charges against Jordanian al-Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his alleged Syrian right hand man Abu Al-Ghadia. Four of those charged, including Zarqawi, will be tried in absentia. The trial is scheduled to begin in November.

Suicide Bombs Kill 5 in Baghdad's Green Zone (Reuters) - Two suicide bombers killed five civilians, including three U.S. nationals, on Thursday (10/14) in one of the bloodiest attacks inside Baghdad's fortified Green Zone. The attacks on a souvenir bazaar and a cafe frequented by U.S. troops and civilians were the first suicide bombings inside what is supposed to be the safest place in Iraq. Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's group claimed responsibility.

Al-Qaeda-linked Group Claims Killing of Nine Iraqi Police (Agence France-Presse) - An al-Qaeda-linked group claimed responsibility on Monday (10/18) for the killing of nine Iraqi policemen who it said had been returning from a training course in Jordan. The group, the Army of Ansar al-Sunna, which has posted videos on its website showing the killing of foreign hostages and Iraqi "collaborators" previously, accompanied the statement with photographs of five certificates issued by the Jordan International Police Training Center to policemen, presumably among the group of nine.

Two Sentenced in Lebanon over U.S. Embassy Bomb Plot (Reuters) - A military court sentenced two Lebanese men to seven and three years in jail on Friday (10/15) over what Lebanon has called a foiled plan to bomb the U.S. embassy in Beirut in protest of the U.S. war in Iraq. The verdicts were the latest in a series of blows Lebanon says it has dealt to cells of terrorists, including groups it said last month planned to blow up Italy's embassy in Lebanon and others accused of plotting to kill the U.S. ambassador.

Egypt Probing al-Qaeda Link in Sinai Blasts (Associated Press) - Egyptian authorities are investigating whether 17 suspected al-Qaeda members arrested while illegally entering Libya are connected to the Sinai bombing that killed 34 people last week. Egypt has asked the Libyan government whether the suspected militants were arrested after the Oct. 7 attacks.

Saudi Clash Killed 'Top Militant' (BBC) - A top-ranking militant was among three people killed by Saudi security forces in a shoot-out on Tuesday (10/12). Abdelmajid bin Mohammad Abdallah al-Manaya was on a list of 26 fugitives wanted for alleged links to al-Qaeda. His death means no more than 11 of the men on the list are still at large.

Hezbollah Role Alleged in West Bank (Guardian) - Iranian-backed Hezbollah is increasingly involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with orders and money flowing from its Beirut headquarters into the West Bank, an Israeli intelligence official says. The group has 10 "controllers" in Beirut who are in daily contact with Palestinian groups in the West Bank, mainly the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, the official said. Israel's claim was given some credence this week by Yasir Arafat, who complained about Iran meddling in the West Bank and Gaza. Arafat said that Hezbollah was trying to "infiltrate" Fatah, his own organization.

Afghanistan and Pakistan
China Hostage Dies after Failed Rescue (Reuters) - A Chinese engineer held hostage by al-Qaeda-linked militants in Pakistan has been killed but his colleague was rescued in a commando assault that killed their five kidnappers, officials say. Pakistani officials said the kidnapping was led by an al-Qaeda-linked tribesman named Abdullah Mehsud, a former inmate of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, who gave instructions to the kidnappers by phone from a secret location. Abdullah was freed from Guantanamo in March after the Pentagon said he was no longer a threat to the United States.

Pakistani Police Arrest al-Qaeda Linked Terrorist (Agence France-Presse) - Pakistani police said Friday (10/15) they have arrested an al-Qaeda linked local terrorist suspected of involvement in an attack on a top army general and a foiled attempt to blow up the United States consulate. Police identified the suspect as Syed Adnan Shah, 26, a member of the Jund Allah or Army of God terrorist group, whose members have been trained by al-Qaeda.

Islamist Cleric in Britain Charged (Associated Press) - Radical Islamic cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri appeared in British court Tuesday (10/19) and was charged with urging followers to kill non-Muslims, a move that pre-empted a U.S. extradition bid. British prosecutors read out a 16-count indictment that includes 10 charges of soliciting or encouraging others to murder people who do not believe in the Islamic faith. Al-Masri faces 11 terrorist charges in the United States.

8 Terror Suspects Seized in Spain (CNN) - Spanish police have arrested eight suspected Islamist terrorists over a possible plot to blow up the National Court building in Madrid. The eight suspects had been considering using a truck bomb loaded with 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds) of explosives against the National Court. The National Court, in central Madrid, handles terrorism cases, and the eight suspects will be headed there for arraignment.

Germany Nabs Suspected al-Qaeda Financier (Associated Press) - Authorities on Friday (10/15) arrested a Syrian-German businessman wanted by Spain on charges he helped fund the al-Qaeda terrorist network for years and who is seen in a video at a mosque with some of the Sept. 11 hijackers, German officials said. Mamoun Darkazanli, 46, was taken into custody in Hamburg on a Spanish warrant and is being held for possible extradition. Darkazanli is alleged to have been involved in the purchase of a ship for bin Laden, handling administrative details, and paying bills. He also allegedly traveled to Kosovo in late 2000 on an al-Qaeda mission.

Spanish Panel Resumes Hearings into Madrid Train Bombings (Associated Press) - Lawmakers resumed an inquiry into the Madrid train bombings with testimony on Friday (10/15) from police in the northern Spanish region where the dynamite used in the attacks was stolen from a mine. The parliamentary commission began its hearings in July, and is resuming now after a summer recess and weeks of compiling documents that its members requested from the government. Former Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar is scheduled to testify on Nov. 22, and his successor, Socialist premier Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, is scheduled to do so a week later.

Police Identify Mystery Ringleader of Madrid Bombings (Associated Press) - One of the alleged ringleaders of the March 11 train bombings in Madrid was one of seven suspects who blew themselves up during a police raid on their apartment, Spain's interior ministry said Friday (10/15). Forensic tests confirmed that Allekema Lamari, an Algerian who Spanish authorities described as "the emir of the train bombings," was among the dead, the Interior Ministry said in a statement. Police searching for suspects in the train bombings raided the apartment in the Madrid district of Leganes on April 3.

British Territorial Army Infiltrated by al-Qaeda (Times (London)) - The British Territorial Army (TA) has been infiltrated by al-Qaeda suspects, giving the Islamic terrorist group potential access to military bases, explosives and fuel dumps. Five al-Qaeda suspects are believed to have trained as part-time soldiers with the TA. At least one is now in custody. The Ministry of Defense confirmed that other terror suspects attempted to join the TA, but were rejected after undergoing security checks. The connection with Britain's al-Qaeda network was uncovered in a series of wide-ranging investigations by MI5 and Scotland Yard's Special Branch.

Philippine Troops Arrest 4 Terrorists (Agence France-Presse)- The Philippine military said Thursday (10/14) that it had arrested four members of an al-Qaeda-linked group implicated in the 2000 kidnapping of 21 tourists and workers from Malaysia's Sipadan resort. In the incident, Abu Sayyaf gunmen took 21 people, mostly Western tourists and Malaysian and Filipino workers, holding them in the jungles of Jolo Island for months. The four suspects are also believed to have taken part in the kidnapping of six Jehovah's Witnesses missionaries in Jolo in 2002. Two of the missionaries were later beheaded by their captors.

African Union Agrees to take Tougher Anti-terror Action (Reuters) - African governments agreed on Thursday (10/14) to push for tougher action to root out terrorism. The delegates, who met in Algiers to mark the inauguration of an AU counter-terrorism center based in the city, agreed to push for stronger border controls, extradition agreements, suppression of terror financing and intelligence exchanges. They will also draw up a single African list of terrorist groups and individuals, to help coordinate action against them. Top U.S. and European Union counter-terrorism experts attended the meeting.

This report was compiled by Jonathan L. Snow and edited by Avi Jorisch.

- Mr. Snow is the Manager of Research at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies

- Avi Jorisch is an FDD Senior Fellow

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