In two previous articles in this series, I wrote that newly released intelligence, including a highly placed, eye-witness Iranian defector, revealed that the Mullahs running Iran provided planning, training and logistical support for the Sept. 11 hijackers. Today, the Iranian government’s role in those attacks has finally become common knowledge within the U.S. intelligence community.
Additionally, when the attacks were imminent, evidence is now seeping out that emissaries from the Saudi Royal family met with the hijackers (15 were Saudi nationals) once they arrived inside the U.S. In fact, Bob Graham, former Florida senator and co-chair of the September 11 Commission, is aiding the families who lost loved ones to sue the Saudi government for its role in the attacks. Graham is also heading up the effort to get the Obama administration to declassify Sept. 11 documents that point directly to Riyadh.
Given that both houses of Islam, Shiite and Sunni, actively supported Osama bin Laden’s terrorists in the Sept. 11 attacks, we need to explore the reasons behind this and what are the policy implications relative to our national security.
Why Would the Leaders of both Branches of Islam Work Together on 9/11?
The leadership at the CIA had long been wedded to their belief that the distrust between Shiite and Sunni would have prevented the Iranian Mullahs from supporting the Sunni jihadists. And it’s only been recently and with near secrecy that senior members of the Agency now concede the Iranians did support the Sept. 11 terrorists and still do provide safe haven and support for al Qaeda.
The Iranian leadership’s motives for wanting to cause harm to the U.S., which they still refer to as the “Great Satan,” are numerous. But their motives can all be boiled down to their knowledge that only the U.S. has the power to stand in the theocracy’s way of achieving its long-held dream of becoming nuclearly armed and establishing a dominant Shiite super state from the Indus River through Iraq, Syria, Lebanon to the Mediterranean Sea.
Bob Graham, in various media interviews, has hypothesized why the Saudi’s, or at least some of the royals close to King Abdullah, aided in the attacks against the U.S., the kingdom’s largest customer.
In bin Laden’s fatwa he names the Saudi Royal Family as the illegitimate steward of Islam’s holiest sites in Mecca and Medina. Its crime, among others, was allowing the U.S. and other infidel forces to be stationed on the sands of the Arabian Peninsula in the first Gulf War. Graham theorizes that, at least some in the house of Saud, feared bin Laden’s threat to start an insurrection similar to that which swept the Shah from power in Iran and therefore secretly lent the hijackers support out of a desire for self-preservation.
For the U.S. and our Allies, What are the Implications?
The website, Religion of Peace, which catalogues Muslim violence around the world, has exhaustively documented over 22,500 attacks by Muslims worldwide since Sept. 11. Other than blowing up a barracks, this number does not count combat operations in war zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
S.T.A.R.T (Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism) recently published a 2012 terrorism dataset map which shows where militant Islamists are not only operating freely and openly but collectively hold thousands of square miles of territory.
Unlike 2001, when there was one al Qaeda headquarters domiciled in Afghanistan, now there are many. Beyond Waziristan on the Paki/Afghan border where remnants of the bin Laden’s Al Qaeda are based, there is Al-Shabab of Somalia; and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), operating out of Algeria, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger; and Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), operating in Yemen and Saudi Arabia; and the largest and most powerful, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Islam’s New Warrior Prince
In his role, very reminiscent of the prophet, Mohammad, ISIS is run by the shadowy enigmatic warrior prince, Abu Baker al-Baghdadi (his nom de guerre). Jihadist websites are filled with his battlefield exploits. Born to a religious family in Samara, Iraq in 1971, he earned a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from the Islamic University of Baghdad. He joined al Qaeda with the U.S. invasion of Iraq and began reporting to the infamous Lebanese terrorist, Abu Mousab al-Zarqawi, who went on to found Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). The 42 year-old terrorist has moved into the top post (renaming it ISIS) after Zarqawi and two of his successors were killed.
Last July, he led 50 ISIS fighters armed with machine guns and stormed Iraq’s most fortified Abu Ghraib prison, breaching its huge walls, freeing 500 al Qaeda militants. On January 4, his army defeated Iraqi regulars in a battle for Fallujah, the town which saw an angry mob pull four Blackwater USA employees out of their cars, drag them through the streets and hang their bodies from a bridge over the Euphrates.
The U.S. State Department has placed a $10 million dollar bounty on his head.
Baghdadi doesn’t only fight. He holds territory. He has taken several frontier outposts on the Syrian side of the border next to Turkey.
In the north of Iraq, in the oil rich city of Mosul of two million, ISIS is so strong that it collects taxes which allow it to arm and equip 6,000 to 10,000 fighters with sophisticated weaponry. He and his followers long to recreate the 8th century Abbasid caliphate, the first Islamic empire.
Baghdadi is quoted as saying, “We are the real jihadis and are closer to having a caliphate than any other al-Qaeda group before.”
Al-Qaeda Holds a Convention
News broke on April 15 that the leaders of various al-Qaeda branches held an open-air, highly public convention in Yemen. It included an appearance by terrorism’s putative general manager, Nasir al-Wuhayshi the emir of AQAP (al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula). Several aspects of this jump out…
- The terror masters and their minions, who’ve spent the past decade meeting in caves, are now willing to meet in the daylight, many of whom were even unafraid to show their faces.
- They wanted the U.S. to see the video of their joyful conclave
- They showed that they can draw adoring crowds
The Most Lethal Drone Strike Ever
Over the weekend of April 19 and 20 in partnership with the Yemeni government, the U.S. launched drone strikes which killed approximately 70 al-Qaeda fighters gathered at their conclave in the mountains of Southern Yemen.
On April 22, Catherine Herridge, the Fox News correspondent who is the network’s go-to specialist on Islamic terrorism, gave an interview for the leading West Coast radio talk program, the Armstrong and Getty Show. She stated that, the al-Qaeda leadership made a severe error in judgment by boldly airing their propaganda video seen around the world because it produced a gold mine of intelligence that aided in the U.S. attacks.
For example, from the video American analysts were able to pinpoint the location of the camps through the identification of the vehicles and license plate numbers. She went on to explain that the U.S. objective was not to kill the leadership but to take out as many al Qaeda members as possible.
Nevertheless Yemeni officials reported that al-Qaida’s chief bomb maker, Ibrahim al-Asiri, the man who developed bombs that can be hidden in a printer cartridge or human rectum was also killed in an ambush. They report that U.S. special forces were dropped in by helicopter to lie in wait for al-Asiri before opening fire on his convoy. The terrorists were able to fire back but the ambush killed all inside.
What Are the Policy Implications?
While it is true that the two houses of Islam are at war with each other in Syria for control of the heartland, the fact of the matter is that they each are fielding armies which are multiplying and gaining strength. And if we come to grips with the idea that the leadership of both branches of Islam came together to launch the bloodiest attack on our shores since Pearl Harbor, it means that the size and scope of the threat posed by resurgent militant Islam is far greater than any current spokesperson from our government has been willing to admit publicly. And far greater than at any time in the modern era.
It also means that potential attacks can emanate from any of the 57 Islamic-majority countries. Future presidents need to understand that potential attackers now emanate from every corner of the Islamic world.
Even if members very close to the royal family are proven to be complicit in the Sept. 11 attacks, no senior member at the Pentagon will likely suggest that we go to war with Saudi Arabia. But at the very least, we should add this revelation to the list of reasons why America should move to become energy independent. It must stop subsidizing such a duplicitous regime.
Moreover, some of the guilty Saudi’s need to be named as co-conspirators so that families who lost loved ones Sept. 11 and the American people can know the truth and chose their representatives accordingly.
Since it took over our embassy in 1979, Iran has been relentlessly waging war against the U.S., killing our soldiers and citizens around the world. Additionally, our government has publicly admitted that it was well aware that Iran has been very active in both the Afghan and Iraqi theaters, supplying weapons, materials for improvised explosive devices’s, and training non-uniformed fighters.
Recently, in a Red Sea raid, Israeli commandos captured a Panamanian-flagged freighter carrying a shipment of Syrian-made M-302 rockets bound for Hezbollah in Lebanon. With a 125 mile range, the rockets would allow Hamas to reach every major city in Israel.
Despite official Iranian denials, the 500-ton shipment was buried beneath bags of cement labeled “Made in Iran.”
In the case of Iran, as the only responsible super power, it is long past the time when the U.S. needs to counter attack and remove a regime that continues to kill our citizens and allies and which threatens to start a nuclear World War III.
The fact the leadership of both houses of Islam participated in the Sept. 11 attacks reminds us that, if the U.S. is to survive the modern Islamic threat, we must elect presidents who fully understand that Islam’s war against the West has been a historic pattern, and a religiously inspired act.
Despite the recent success of our raid in Yemen, it is only one victory in a very long war. Today, the emboldened combatants who populate the modern Islamic threat will undoubtedly continue to grow in numbers, strength, and sophistication.
Therefore, it is imperative that the next president heed the warning issued by the late, great Tony Blankley who wrote, “We’ve lost our margin for error.”
My book and on-going writing contain this central theme-why great civilizations fail and what that means to us.
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