But alright, we have a threat. It's tempting to question it because there's certainly plenty to question.
First of all, John Kerry just told the Pakistanis only days ago that the drone program in their territories will end 'very very soon' because AQ is only a shadow of its former self. Everyone remembers Joe Biden telling America that UBL was dead and GM was alive. So c'mon, it's gotta be political theater designed to diminish Snowden's (and Putin's) PR victory or divert from the phony scandals©, one of which seems to have popped back up again. Or in liberal-speak, Bush throwing up the yellow light warning before an election.
Apparently sensing this, terrorism expert Peter Bergen rushed to the rescue of his favorite administration by pointing out the symbolism of the day to Muslims and why it might be a more advantageous day to commit suicide for the cause than say Christmas. But hold on, that doesn't square with the 'all is well' narrative coming from the White House. Politicians talk out of both sides of their mouths all the time--which side is the least untruthful here?
Because after all, threats still exist. The administration likes to parse AQ into sections, referring to 'core AQ' in making pronouncements about how many they've sent to Allah as opposed to the relatively untouched AQIM. But it hardly matters. UBL was taken out but as Hasan Turabi predicted a long time ago, killing bin Laden will just create thousands more. Just look at Rewards for Justice site and notice the length of the list.
In doing so you'll see there are still some blue chip players on the field for team AQ Core, including Zawahiri, his old EIJ mate Saif al-Adel, Adnan Shukrijumah (Jafar the pilot), Abderraouf Jdey, Anas al-Liby, Yasin al-Suri (AQ's man in Tehran) and the "red-headed terrorist", Abu Musab al-Suri (allegedly released by Bashar Assad in retaliation for our taking sides). Al-Suri is credited with the idea of small cells operating on their own much like what was seen with the Tsarnaev brothers in Boston.
Aside from the core folks there are many offshoots and sympathizers. Abu Du'a is the leader of ISIS, the combination of AQ in Iraq + Al Nusra Front (remember, we were supposed to be fighting AQ wherever they exist--except Iraq, which apparently remains dumb). Of course there is Mullah Omar of the Afghan Taliban, whose Pakistani brothers recently sent several squadrons to fight in Syria, the Haqqanis in AfPak, and AQ's man in North Africa, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, another zombie warrior wanted in the attack on the BP gas plant earlier this year in his home country of Algeria that killed three Americans.
There is also al-Shabbab in Somalia. Few Americans realize we were involved in a hot war in Somalia a few years ago using Ethiopian ground forces, who basically fought to a draw with the terrorists (while doing nothing for their reputation in the region, leading some to suspect the crash of one of their passenger planes leaving Beirut shortly thereafter was something more than an accident).
Another terrorist operating from Iraq was legacy bomb-maker Abu Ibrahim, leader of the 1980s "15 May Organization" terror group who planted a bomb on Pan Am flight 830 killing a Japanese teenager. He's on the RFJ list. His bomb might have killed everyone on board had the device been more potent--it did blow a hole through the floor and create a bulge in the fuselage but cockpit crewmembers Roy Hawk and James O'Halloran landed the plane safely. The guy who planted the bomb, Mohammed Rashed, was recently released from US lockup after apparently cooperating over something (presumably we still want Ibrahim despite his advanced age, 70s).
Side note, Rashed was married to Christine Pinter. She was connected to the German Marxist revolutionary group Badaar-Meinhof Gang and the two met while Rashed was at one of their compounds for training. They later became the "Red Army Faction" but quickly disappeared after the fall of the Berlin wall. Feel free to connect the dots.
There are even a few Shia terrorists still wanted for attacks on aviation in the 80s, such as for TWA 847, one of whom was released by Germany several years ago. Perhaps Mohammed Ali Hammadi was instrumental in providing information to nail one of the most dangerous terrorists in the world few had ever heard of, Imad Mughniyah, Hammadi's partner in crime in the 847 hijacking, in return for his early release. Or perhaps not--he's still on the RFJ list (unless that was part of the bargain to maintain street cred). Hard to know.
Right now our government seems to consider the AQ in the Arabian Peninsula gang to be the most dangerous faction operating. Their players on the RFJ list are led by...wait, there appear to be no AQAP players on the list. Weird. Their leader is one Nasser al Wahayshi, a former secretary to UBL and lately reported to have been promoted to AQ Number Two, which means he's about to die. One of the main players was Said al Shihri, who we've already sent to Allah although his brothers have only recently admitted it. Another local leader was removed a few days ago during a recently heightened level of drone activity. Of course Anwar al-Awlaqi and his teenage son were involved with these guys.
Speaking of Yemen, the above-mentioned Baathist thug Izzat al-Duri was rumored to have been staying there several times over the years...
Considering I’ve been saying that al Douri was in Yemen since 2006, I’m not surprised. The Iraqi Baathists in Yemen are a significant factor in both the Sa’ada Wars and the insurgency in Iraq. Their presence also underpins the Yemeni regime’s relationship with Syria. Further, the Baathists and al Qaeda were colluding in Yemen to transit fighters to Iraq, with the support of the Yemeni state. Saddam and Saleh were very close as were their top leaderships.Bold to indicate yet another inconvenient link if true, but who really knows the truth? The story was written when Saleh was still in power so if he had any dealings with Syria it would have likely been with Assad, which doesn't make sense considering the loyalties. Saleh counted Uncle Saddam as his mentor and invited a lot of former Baath IIS personnel to Yemen in the aftermath of the war, some of which might have been working with the CIA in the war against jihad, which means it's possible to believe ole Izzat could actually be a US asset (explaining why he hasn't been captured).
Then again the Iranians say some spectacular things about al-Duri and his possible Syrian connections related to WMDs (which would also explain why he's never been caught), even throwing in a mention of the ex-KGB president of Russia. Problem is their statements tend to be riddled with BS. Or just complete and total BS. The Yemeni connection to al-Duri may also be BS. Actually, about the only thing that is known for sure about the GWoT is that there's a fog of BS surrounding it.
Meanwhile the most famous AQAP member remains master bombmaker Ibrahim al Asiri, responsible for the underwear and package bombs along with an anal cavity version and maybe others. He was the guy the Yemeni spy was targeting last year when the AP revealed the busted bomb plot. This led US officials to admit the activity while possibly blowing the cover of the agent, which resulted in a leak investigation that eventually resulted in a phony scandal© of 40 AP phone lines being logged by the FBI out of the Capitol, for which no one has yet been indicted. Some think Asiri may be the de facto leader of AQAP right now but whatever the case it appears his group is vowing to take down commercial aircraft, making them pretty dangerous considering the Detroit flight and the cargo package bombs.
But wait, all the above is known. How does it relate to now?
Recall the last time a prominent AQ leader was taken out. In 2012, not too long before the 9/11 anniversary, Abu Yaha al-Liby was droned, which triggered a call-to-arms pronouncement by Zawahiri only days before 9/11 along with a similar call from AQAP. What followed was the attack on Benghazi by
Fast forward to now. Ramadan is ending with some kind of special Night of the Long Knives or something; Zawahiri is again hitting the airwaves with his explanation of the removal of Morsi (ours and the Joos' fault); and AQAP is making threats over the loss of Al Shihri. So somehow we've managed to piss off Zawahiri and the Brotherhood, AQAP, and even General al-Sissi (who is anything but--he led the military in taking out both Mubarak and Morsi). Anyway, we all know how peaceful the Islamists are when they get their robes in a bunch. Rumors say the epicenter of the threat is somewhere near Cairo. Our ambassador is probably number one on some of the "AQ hit lists".
Among other reasons for concern are the mass jailbreaks over the past month in Libya, Iraq and Pakistan. Interpol is involved, which seems fruitless, but it shows the urgency. Meanwhile everything is happening just as someone other than Fox News has reported about Benghazi. The last time this happened Jay Carney called a special double-secret background briefing with the suddenly hostile White House press corpse and within hours the IRS released their phony scandal©, giving the press and Issa something else to chew on.
Recall the sickness that befell Hillary when she had to testify about it. Hope she's feeling better.
All of which could lead to the suspicion they are doing it again, throwing a net over Benghazi with another more dramatic story. But while that scenario fits rather nicely into a desperate political cover-up it also fits nicely into an effort to salvage a darker issue involving weapons we don't want the head-choppers to have and the protection of names and sources of those doing the work of the Sheepdog.
Those still reading to this point are probably begging for a point. OK, the takeaway is that while it's tempting to believe the president is just throwing up a yellow terror alert to divert from phony scandals© or Snowden or the limp economy or the train wreck known as Obamacare there are still a lot of people who want to kill us in spectacular fashion. In other words, the world still hates us despite Bush being retired.
But we are not reminded of this fact very often. The administration has been trying to take a page out of Clinton's 90s playbook by pretending such threats are being reduced or something far away. They know we crave more important stories like George Zimmerman getting a speeding ticket, A-Rod's suspension or any variety of 50 Shades of Gray salaciousness. The real enemy combatants are known as Creepy Ass Tea Party Crackers, who are trying to derail hopenchange and send America back to Jim Crow days, a fight that only Eric Holder is courageous enough to fight.
[A quick sidebar---the Snowden revelations, along with Rosen and the AP, have put a dagger in the notion the left (aside from Glenn Greenwald) really ever cared about Bush trashing civil liberties. Call it a teachable moment of sorts.]
But ok, ok, the point. The point is don't pass the terror alert off as total BS. There might be some opportunism thrown in as to the timing but by overtly coming out with these warnings has forced the administration to risk blowing the AQ fairy tales they've carefully crafted, which go into downgrading the military and bringing troops home from Afghanistan (nation-building at home, etc). They simply cannot afford to have anymore black flags flying over our embassies or anymore murdered ambassadors.
Since the world still seems to be intact the questions are now rolling in, followed by helpful government experts providing answers. Here's CBS News:
Al Qaeda chief Ayman al Zawahiri and Nasir al-Wuhayshi, the leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), were discussing "something big," sources say. It's rare for veteran al Qaeda leaders to break operational security by openly discussing possible plots, and the interception stunned U.S. officials.
Sources confirm for CBS News that the intercepted electronic conversation occurred between the top leadership of core Al Qaeda in the tribal areas of Pakistan and the head of Yemen based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula Nassir al-Wuhayshi. One source said that the tone of the conversation was serious and had a sense of urgency, reports CBS News senior investigative producer Pat Milton.
The source said the sense of the directive from al Qaeda leadership was pushing for AQAP to move forward with an attack. The source said that the urging was to have the attack coincide with the conclusion of Ramadan and to ensure that it was a "big" attack.Of course we couldn't tell if they were winking or had their fingers crossed. Surely they knew we were listening. The question anyone with a brain has to ask is why would Zawahiri give up his own location by using a traceable phone? Are we on the verge of snagging him--this being the prelude, or is he suicidal?
If that's all there is it just ain't James Bond enough to pass the smell test. On the other hand, this scary scenario seems a little more reasonable. Now, if time passes and the only thing that happens is a push for more NSA spying and a deeper trashing of our Fourth Amendment rights at the airport then maybe the conspiracy theories will get some legs.
FINAL THOUGHT 8/5/13
I can't get past the revelation that they actually admitted to pinpointing Zawahiri's call location when grabbing this intel. Obviously they've burned the line they spoke on so both players have to be wondering whether they should be running or not. Which brings to mind a thought--are we about to open a can on Yemen? As the AP reporter mentioned at the State Dept briefing today, the threat can't be very 'specific' if it includes 19 countries. Maybe they are being closed before something happens--something we do.
OK, ONE MORE 8/5/13
Apparently it's not too unsafe for McCain and Graham to travel to the epicenter of the threat--they arrive in Egypt tonight.
Meanwhile, it was noticeable today that most questions to the White House were about the massive terror threat and not how Putey Poot stuck his finger in our eye last week. Again, the further this goes on without anything happening the more it's going to look like a political op.