Saturday, December 06, 2014

Shukrijumah Nailed?

Most people are probably saying "Shukra who?" For that reason this story won't produce much positive PR for the administration--not as much as it should.  But the US intelligence people know all about Adnan Gulshair el-Shukrijumah and if the story is confirmed they were high-fiving each other this morning...
An Al-Qaeda leader accused of planning to bomb the London Underground and New York Metro has been killed during a raid in Pakistan, the country's military said. Adnan el Shukrijumah, chief of global operations for the terrorist group, was killed along with two other suspected militants in Shinwarsak, South Waziristan, early this morning.
The 'most wanted' terrorist was found hiding in a compound after fleeing from a North Waziristan tribal district where the army launched a major operation against militant bases in June.
This guy was alternately called "Jafar the Pilot" among others, but whatever name he was called they always considered him one of the most dangerous "Core-AQ" guys still on the loose.   Ashcroft once called him "a clear and present danger".  He was alleged to have been behind a plot to bomb subways here in the U.S. in 2009.  Before that he was linked with fellow Floridian Jose Padilla in a the dirty bomb plot.  He's been linked with the Saudi conspiracy.  And in the so-called far right lunatic orbits he was even alleged to have been involved in the anthrax letter attacks of 2001.  That's the kind of Carmen Sandiego figure he was.

Long War Journal once called him an AQ subject-matter-expert on North America before the bin Laden raid, where after he was reported to have been elevated to a senior AQ position.  He's definitely a number three or four man in that outfit.

He's also been mentioned lately on the web, one just a week ago via Judicial Watch involving a 2010 plan to attack Oprah Winfrey's studio and the Sears Willis Tower in Chicago. El-Shukrijumah allegedly met with terrorist operators in a planning meeting near El Paso prior to the event and perhaps again about another plot in March of this year.  Guess it's not wise to be caught messing with Oprah.

Weirdly, the administration has not confirmed or commented on this yet.  Pakistan is reporting it and most of the major networks have picked up their press release, so it's hard to believe this is a ruse.  The NY Times has an interesting factoid:
It comes just over a week after a trip to Washington by the Pakistani Army chief, Gen. Raheel Sharif, who met with Secretary of State John Kerry and American military leaders in a visit intended to repair a strategic relationship that has long been scarred by acrimony and mistrust.
Hey, that's the same John Kerry who recently begged Diane Feinstein not to release the Bush terror report--at least not yet--to protect some sensitive relations overseas. Hmm, the Democrats desperately need that report out before Christmas or the GOP congress coming in next year will likely mothball it forever. What did that Pakistani general talk about with Kerry?  Does this help clear the path?   And if so, was it really that easy to take this sucker out all along?

If you're still not convinced this relatively unknown terrorist was a big fish try reading this. Also, the first time Shukrijumah was mentioned in a post here about 4 years ago there were visits from about every alphabet agency in the United States, the first and last time that has happened.  Obviously they were trolling the depths of the web looking for anything they could find on the guy.

At any rate, if there's any doubt about this it will probably be shortly erased. His brother and mother still live in Florida, and somebody will surely be asking for comments. According to them he's been out on a pilgrimage for Allah, selling Korans, etc.   So we'll see.

MORE  12/6/14

Normally I don't post WND stories due to their less-than-spectacular reputation, but that doesn't mean they are always wrong.  They've been on the Shukrijumah story for a long time, so let's cut to some quotes. First, regards the recent visit by the Pakistani general:
It comes days after Pakistani army Chief Gen. Raheel Sharif returned from a week-long visit of the U.S., the first by an army chief in four years. On Thursday, the U.S. Congress extended $1 billion in operational support to the Pakistani army despite recent tensions and mistrust. 
So on Thursday the Congress ponys up a billion to Paki, then on Friday night the Pakistani military suddenly finds and kills one of the top AQ terrorists in the world, after all these years. Amazing.
In April 2001, Shukrijumah spent 10 days in Panama, where he reportedly met with al-Qaida officials to assist in the planning of 9/11.
That's a new one on me.  But one of his advantages was said to be his ability to blend in with Central/South Americans.  More..
Following 9/11, el-Shukrijumah was reportedly singled out by bin Laden and al-Zawahiri to spearhead the next great attack on America.
The fact this story isn't A1 number one shows how far away terrorism is slipping from the minds of Americans.  Not a bad thing, but it can be.  The odd thing is the lack of response from the White House--they may be waiting for absolute confirmation but this news, more than anything else, supports the idea that "core" AQ is actually on the run and decimated. AQ isn't dead by a long-shot, but the Afghanistan franchise just took a body blow.

MORE  12/7/14

Not surprisingly Peter Bergen writing in CNN celebrates the death and all but licks the president's private parts while declaring an already decimated Core AQ decimated.  Michelle Malkin, one of the few writers who've covered the Shukrijumah story over a number of years, is not as convinced.

She's correct about AQ and other terror leaders tending to die and come back as zombies, only to die again and come back.  The most notable might be Iraqi Izzat al-Douri, who has "died" at least twice (maybe more) since the 2003 invasion only to recently be implicated as a cog in the wheels of ISIS.

It is kind of weird that the US has not weighed in yet.  Rewards for Justice and the FBI terror web sites still show Shukrijumah as alive and wanted as of the time of this post.  Maybe the webmasters don't work the weekend. We'll see what happens Monday.

Meanwhile, this story from the Times is interesting:
LONDON — In a fresh spur to warming relations between Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States, the American military has returned to Pakistan a senior militant leader who was captured under murky circumstances last year and whose case symbolized the deep distrust between the three countries.
Pakistani and Western officials said the United States had flown Latif Mehsud, a senior Pakistani Taliban leader being held by the Americans at Bagram Airfield, back to Pakistan on Friday. Mr. Mehsud’s release was ostensibly part of an continuing process to repatriate foreign prisoners from American detention facilities in Afghanistan before the conclusion of the formal combat mission at the end of this month.
So the US repatriated Mehsud, a captured top level Talibani (whom they actually captured from Afghanistan/Karzai govt after they had captured him from the Taliban) while also forking over a billion dollars to the Paks on Friday.  Less than a day later the Pakistanis reportedly take out a top level AQ operator who has eluded capture since 9/11.

Then today the US reportedly used drones in Pakistani territory to allegedly take out another top level AQ figure along with four top tier Taliban guys..
A top al-Qaeda leader was among five militants killed today in a US drone attack in Pakistan’s troubled North Waziristan region, a day after the chief of the terror group’s global operations was also killed in a Pakistani military operation.
Umer Farooq, believed to be in charge of al-Qaeda’s operations in Pakistan and Afghanistan, was killed in the strike that took place in the Khar Tangi area of Datta Khel district in the region, where the Pakistani military has been battling Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked militants since June. A security official said Farooq was among five people killed when two missiles fired from the drone hit a compound.
Farooq is not listed on the AQ most-wanted sites, so if he was a bigshot he wasn't worth much money.  But obviously something changed very recently and this horse-trading is what success looks like now.  It would be nice to see a body or two.

Meanwhile the story about the capture of the AQ operative sent to Libya by Zawahiri to set up an AQ branch after Daffy was taken out (and before Benghazi) remains in a black media hole.  Long War's Tom Joscelyn explains the significance.  Of course, the big story yesterday was the failed hostage rescue in Yemen.

All this activity must mean something.  Again, the Democrats are desperate to get their torture report out before the Senate shuts down for the year, which according to outgoing Senator Udall will 'shock and disgust' the American people.  But it's not going to do much shocking or disgusting if AQ and ISIS terrorists are simultaneously lopping off heads and killing hostages, while WMD-linked terrorists are still running around loose with intentions of blowing up Oprah Winfrey's studios.  So it looks like some loose ends are trying to be tied up quick. 

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