Monday, October 08, 2012

The Egyptian Connection

The recent speculation about the Blind Shake brings back some of the events that occurred in the mid 90s after his trial, such as this:
Investigators are reviewing an anonymous threat received after the October 1, 1995 conviction of radical sheik Omar Abdel Rahman .... the threat was that a New York airport or jetliner would be attacked in retaliation ........
Not only that, but this:
The sources said the missiles arrived in America seven months ago after being shipped from Karachi via Rotterdam and on to the Canadian port of Halifax. They claimed an Egyptian fundamentalist group backed by Iran was responsible for smuggling the weapons across the Canadian border into the United States. The group, the Gama'a al-Islamiya, comprises followers of Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, a blind Egyptian cleric jailed in the United States over the 1993 New York World Trade Center bombing.
A senior White House official responsible for counter-terrorism told The Sunday Times this weekend that he had seen a report that a Stinger missile had been smuggled into the United States from Pakistan. The official, who is involved in collating intelligence relating to the TWA inquiry for the White House, said investigators were aware of reports that Stingers may have been smuggled into the country.... If a Stinger was the cause of this, our first theory would be that it came from Afghanistan." The official was commenting on reports from Tehran that claimed several groups funded by the religious authorities in Iran are active in the United States. The reports claim one previously unknown underground group called Falakh may have as many as 50 highly trained terrorists in the country.
It's amazing how many threats or rumors of threats during the halcyon days of the 90s were directly related to Abdel-Rahman.  During the time everyone was focused on Monicagate and if terrorism was ever brought up it was mainly in relation to 'wagging the dog', even after our embassies were attacked in 1998.  It was only 9/11 that shook the foundation, but by then all attention had shifted to bin Laden. 

It's easy to blame the Clinton folks for downplaying Rahman and his Egyptian wing while pounding the drum about bin Laden and Saddam--the GOP didn't have a very good track record either.  While they were trying to string up Slick for lying about sex everyone was overlooking the looming threats. And they were real.

Even today most don't seem to understand how the two terror groups merged into one al Qaeda.  Ramzi Yousef, KSM and their cohorts were more loyal to the Blind Sheikh than UBL, which makes sense because US prosecutors didn't even indict UBL for the 1993 WTC attack.  Ayman Zawahiri was more connected to the former through his leadership of Egyptian Islamic Jihad back when they played ball with the Sheikh's Jamaat al-Islamiyya.

Anyway, here we are 15+ years later after 3000 dead on 9/11 and thousands more dead in later attacks and on the battlefield, now hearing rumors about transferring the sickly old Rahman back to Egypt--yes, the very same guy mentioned in almost every jihadist fatwa in the 90s and used as a rationale for murder.  Yet many have no clue about the Blind Shiekh's role in the history of terrorism in America.

Why?  Maybe because telling the full story could implicate the Clintons/Democrats.  Yet this story should not be partisan--one could ask why the Bush 41 folks ever allowed Abdel-Rahman a visa in the first place.  It is what it is.  Enemies of your enemies sometimes become your enemies after your enemy is defeated.        

It's clear Egypt was always closer to center of the jihad than given media credit, partially explained by the peace deal with Israel (the Sunni assassin of Anwar Sadat had a street named him in Tehran, and his brother was working closely with bin Laden) and our subsequent support for Mubarak.  The lead hijacker on 9/11 was an Egyptian, as is Ayman Zawahiri, the current leader of AQ.   Ayman's brother, an extremist captured in Yemen and jailed by Mubarak who was recently pardoned and released by the Muslim Brotherhood-backed government, was on scene of the recent jihad flag-raising at our Cairo embassy.

Matter of fact, the entire riot-attacks on 9/11 were likely started as a message to free the Blind Sheikh with the spontaneous response to a You Tube movie clip as cover.  Is that perhaps why American diplomats in Cairo reacted by tweeting our apologies about the movie clip, to distract from the real issue?

All of this, including our position in Afghanistan, leaves some fairly disparate dots to connect when trying to understand current U.S. foreign policy vis a vis the GWoT, aside from playing whack-a-mole with drones.  Bottom line--it's less clear than it ever was, but one can certainly whiff a level of capitulation strategy in some of our latest moves.  Are we that desperate? 

The third presidential debate will deal with foreign policy.  We'll see how Romney wants to deal with any of this.  We already know how Obama will frame it


His speech on Islamic radicalism was very well delivered and contained a clear vision--peace through strength (where have we seen that before).  One thing the naysayers might point out is that Romney, like Bush 43, has a vision that Islam and democracy can exist in the same government, which seems shaky.   But isn't it really the only hope for humanity in a world full of dangerous weapons?   


Right Truth said...

Very interesting. I am afraid that Obama is considering releasing the Blind Sheik, at least that option is on the negotiating table.

I was just reading about Lara Logan (reporter who was group raped in Egypt). She gave what was described as an "ominous" keynote speech where she ripped the current administration's handling of the war, accused them of lying about the situation, pretty good stuff.

Right Truth

A.C. McCloud said...

Obviously if there's any transfer it will be during the Christmas season. The question is whether he would stoop to do it if he loses--wouldn't take a bet on it.

Other things to watch for after the election: resolution of who in the White House was leaking nat'l security secrets; resolution of what actually happened with agent Ivie; resolution of who attacked us in Libya.

As to Ms Logan (thanks for the link) surprised her speech didn't get saturation coverage. Actually, no I'm not.