al-Qaeda's Secret Ties with Iran

New Docs Reveal Osama bin Laden's Secret Ties With Iran

Thomas Joscelyn

This week, prosecutors in New York introduced eight documents recovered in Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan as evidence in the trial of a terrorism suspect. The U.S. government accuses Abid Naseer of taking part in al Qaeda’s scheme to attack targets in Europe and New York City. And prosecutors say the documents are essential for understanding the scope of al Qaeda’s plotting.

More than 1 million documents and files were captured by the Navy Seals who raided bin Laden’s safe house in Abbottabad, Pakistan in May 2011. One year later, in May 2012, the Obama administration released just 17 of them.

While there is some overlap between the files introduced as evidence in Brooklyn and those that were previously made public in 2012, much of what is in the trial exhibits had never been made public before.

The files do not support the view, promoted by some in the Obama administration, that bin Laden was in “comfortable retirement,” “sidelined,” or “a lion in winter” in the months leading up to his death. On the contrary, bin Laden is asked to give his order on a host of issues, ranging from the handling of money to the movement of terrorist operatives.

Some of the key revelations in the newly-released bin Laden files relate to al Qaeda’s dealings with Iran and presence in Afghanistan.

For the rest of this story please click here--

 

Obama’s Failure

Stephen F. Hayes

Barack Obama wants us all to simmer down about Iran. He wants Senator Bob Menendez, a fellow Democrat, and the donors he represents to butt out of the sanctions debate. He wants Republicans to quit crying wolf about Iran’s nuclear weapons program. He wants the media to stop hyping terror threats. He wants the American people in the dark about the secret correspondence he’s had for years with Iran’s supreme leader. He wants John Boehner to be mindful of protocol. And most of all, he wants Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stop questioning his accommodationist approach to Tehran. 

With the breezy confidence that is his trademark, the president has repeatedly delivered a reassuring message on Iran to the country and the world: Trust me.

With respect, Mr. President: No.

From the earliest moments of his first term, Obama sought to convince the country that threats from our erstwhile enemies were overblown. He forged an approach to jihadist attacks and rogue regimes meant to be a stark contrast from that of his predecessor. He ended the war on terror, quietly sought rapprochement with radical Islamist movements like the Muslim Brotherhood and the Taliban, and ostentatiously undertook a more conciliatory approach to terror-sponsoring regimes like Syria and Iran.

Notwithstanding periodic drone strikes on bad guys, Obama has demonstrated repeatedly that his instinct is to ignore, dismiss, or downplay threats to the United States and its interests and allies. The record over six years is a long list of mistaken judgments, awkward euphemisms, and false assurances.

To read the rest of this story please click here--

And you probably read this months ago, but 

Al Qaeda Wasn’t ‘on the Run’
Why haven’t we seen the documents retrieved in the bin Laden raid?

Steve Hayes

The initial scrub took several weeks. It was never meant to be comprehensive. “It was more data-mining than analysis,” says one intelligence official with knowledge of the project. Researchers and analysts searched the documents for key names, phone numbers, and addresses that could be used by U.S. troops to target senior al Qaeda leaders. In subsequent congressional testimony, James Clapper, director of national intelligence, reported that there were “over 400 intelligence reports that were issued in the initial aftermath immediately after the raid.”

Then the document exploitation stopped. According to sources with detailed knowledge of the handling of the documents, the CIA did little to build on the project after the initial burst of intelligence reports. 

Officials at the Defense Intelligence Agency and CENTCOM responsible for providing analysis to U.S. troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan wanted to study the documents. But the CIA had “executive authority” over the collection and blocked any outside access to them. 

The ensuing bureaucratic fight, reminiscent of the intragovernment battles that led to the reorganization of the intelligence community after 9/11, unfolded over the spring and fall of 2011. It was resolved, at least temporarily, when then-CIA director David Petraeus weighed in on behalf of the team from CENTCOM and the DIA, a move that did little to improve his standing with the CIA bureaucracy. Petraeus was angry when he learned that the CIA hadn’t been actively exploiting the documents, and as the former head of CENTCOM, he was sympathetic to the pleas from military intelligence. The dispute made its way to Clapper, who met with representatives of the warring agencies and agreed that DIA and CENTCOM should be allowed to study the documents.

For the rest of this story please click here-- 

 

Turkey, Qatar Complicate Operation Against ISIS

By: David Bastawrous—Special Report College Associate

Turkish and Qatari interests continue to strain the international coalition, while besieged governments in Syria and Iraq depend heavily on Shiite militias on the ground after the deterioration of state forces at the hand of ISIS.

After much delay, US Central Command on Wednesday announced the name of the operation that began with airstrikes in Iraq on August 8th.

“The name Inherent Resolve is intended to reflect the unwavering resolve and deep commitment of the US and partner nations in the region and around the globe to eliminate the terrorist group ISIL and the threat they pose to Iraq, the region and the wider international community . . . It also symbolizes the willingness and dedication of coalition members to work closely with friends in the region . . . to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL,” US Central Command Officials stated.

However, the “willingness and dedication of coalition members to work closely with friends in the region” remains largely in question as fundamental divisions among coalition states linger.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that diplomats from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Jordan, “have been warning the White House that Qatar is playing a double game in the region—publicly supporting U.S. policies while aiding its enemies.” Adding, “the division largely pits Qatar and Turkey, vocal supporters of Islamist movements, against traditional Arab monarchies in Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Amman.”

The clash isn’t a first among these states. Back in March, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain recalled their ambassadors from Qatar following Doha’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood. The three acted after Qatar violated the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council agreement, signed in November of last year, not to support “anyone threatening the security and stability of the GCC.”

The US Treasury Department has long criticized Qatar for funding Hamas, and expressed concern that Qatar may be funneling money to groups such as al Qaeda, Nusra Front, and even ISIS.

Despite this, former officials say that Qatar is a uniquely capable asset in the region. It was Qatar who largely brokered the deal for the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, and recently, along with Turkey, pressured Hamas into talks with Israel at the urging of Sectary of State John Kerry. “American diplomacy has seen utility in having an ally who brokers with the bad guys when necessary,” said Juan Zarate, a senior White House and Treasury official in the Bush administration. 

Still, Israeli, Egyptian, Jordanian and Saudi officials have objected to reliance on Qatar, contending that Doha would be encouraged to further strengthen ties with extremist groups.  

And while Qatar has provided surveillance from the air, it has yet to actually conduct airstrikes on ISIS militants.

After much pressure from the US, a coalition nation that did recently conduct airstrikes is Turkey—but not on whom Washington had anticipated.

On Monday, Turkish warplanes in southeastern Turkey struck strongholds of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or the PKK, a US and Turkey recognized terrorist group. Though recently removed from a three-decade civil war with Turkey, the PKK also comprises part of the Kurdish ground force struggling to defend the Syrian city of Kobani from ISIS militants just 300 yards from the Turkish border.

Additionally, Turkey barred the PKK and other Turkish Kurds from transporting reinforcements across the border to Kobani to aid their embattled comrades. Aaron Stein, a fellow at the Royal United Services Institute and Turkish expert bluntly opined, “I think they are happy to have [ISIS and the PKK] kill each other.”

Turkish officials in Ankara, sympathizers of Islamist movements such as Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, have been reluctant to take a more decisive military role in the effort to defeat ISIS. The hesitance continues to trouble the US, whose strategy could benefit from NATO’s 2nd largest military as well as a border with both Iraq and Syria.

Hope appeared to spring for the coalition on Sunday after US National Security Advisor Susan Rice announced that Turkey had agreed to allow the coalition forces to use Turkish bases for launching airstrikes as well as a training ground for Syrian rebels. But it didn’t take long for Turkish officials to deny that such an agreement had been made.

And while addressing Istanbul’s Marmara University on Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, “The Assad regime should be the target for the real solution in Syria.” The Turks have long called for a broader strategy that would soon topple the Assad regime.

Such strategic disagreements continue to hinder coalition operations.

On Tuesday, military officials from 22 nations met at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland to further discuss the operation. President Obama made an appearance and indicated that it would be a “long term campaign” with “periods of progress and setbacks.” Rear Adm. and Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby declined on Thursday to disclose the details of the discussions. 

Coalition states have yet to offer ground troops for the operation.

And though the conflict largely arose from sectarian strife—states are, for now, relying on more sectarian strife to control the conflict on the ground.

Along with both extremist and moderate Kurdish groups, the AP reports that Shiite militias have stepped up in Iraq and Syria after state forces have collapsed at the hand of Sunni ISIS militants.

In Iraq, Shiite militias, many of whom allied with Iran, have rallied to defend the government. However, Amnesty International suggests that these militias have also been responsible for killing and abducting Sunni civilians.

In Syria, the Lebanese Shiite militant group, Hezbollah, has fought alongside pro-government militias to defend the Assad regime from ISIS overthrow.

Al Qaeda Wasn’t ‘on the Run’

We are learning more tonight about US efforts to mine hundreds of thousands of al Qaeda documents seized in the raid in which Usama Bin Laden was killed.   An effort that abruptly stopped-- only 18 of roughly one million documents have not been made public.
 
Weekly Standard Senior Writer Steve Hayes writes the Obama Administration stopped the comprehensive study of the treasure trove from Abbottabad in order to avoid a conflict with its election-year narrative that Al Qaeda was on the run.
 
Some of the other documents paint a picture of a much more plugged in.. and active Al Qaeda according to senior officials.
 
You can read the whole article over on the Weekly Standard--

Al Qaeda Threat: No less than it was 10 years ago?

U.S. On High Alert

A look at recent Al Qaeda terror threats that are causing embassy closures--

Did former Al Qaeda member lead Libyan attack?

U.S. officials tell the Washington Guardian that the two former Navy SEALs killed in last week's attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi were not part of Ambassador Chris Stevens' official security detail but took up arms in an effort to protect the facility when it was overrun by insurgents.


What do you think of the media coverage of Libya? Let us know what you think...

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