Barcelona- I have written an extensive profile of Said Bahaji, one of the last members of the Hamburg cell still on the run (the other being Zakariya Essabar) in the new issue of Militant Leadership Monitor. Bahaji was a core member of the 9/11 plot and one of it’s least known figures. With the death of Osama bin Laden back in May, Bahaji is one of the few men alive to have operational knowledge of 9/11. Bahaji is still being sheltered by certain Pakistanis, out of reach of everything but a Hellfire missile it seems.
It would be a damn shame if we were to find out he had simply been obliterated in a drone strike rather than somehow captured alive. In fact, his logistical knowledge of the 9/11 operation makes him much more valuable to the historical record than bin Laden (if in a fantasy bin Laden had been captured alive and tried in a court of law rather than assassinated). If it were possible to abduct him from North or South Waziristan and bundle him to the West, I reckon his debriefing could finally shut up the tiresome 9/11 conspiracy theory crowd. But that is another fantasy. The ‘truther’ movement is apparently impervious to reality and updated historical record keeping. You cannot have a serious debate with people who have made up their minds before they have heard the first question.
It is highly unlikely Bahaji will live out a quiet retirement in the bazaars of Mir Ali or Miranshah. It is more probable that he will be collaterally assassinated in a CIA drone strike on some TTP big in a convoy along the border with Khost. In several ways, he is the ideal AQ operative being half Western and half Maghrebi. Adam Gadahn has nothing on Bahaji. The United States has made great strides in nailing AQ men in Pakistan’s cities-Ramzi bin al-Shibh in Karachi in 2002, KSM in Rawalpindi in 2003, and ObL in Abbottabad in 2011. It has had much, much less success in FATA where Pakistan’s writ is barely existent in many swaths of the tribal belt. Instead the US has been going after TTP figures like Baitullah Mehsud and Qari Hussain Mehsud, essentially getting caught up in the sticky web of Pakistan’s varied and sundry internal conflicts rather than sticking to what should be very narrow goal. It seems the White House is “smokin’ ‘em out” more than ever before as the drone programme shows no sign of letting up. But are we smoking out the right men? Should Langley be smoking out Islamabad’s internal enemies in a remote control dirty war? The security of Pakistan’s nuclear programme (from its own people) has become a raison d’être for supporting a hideously corrupt, loathsome Zardari government that has no friends other than the American tax payer and its PPP patrons. It is the perpetuation of a deadly inertia as policy writ large.
Categories: 9/11, Afghanistan, Pakistan 9/11, al-Qaeda, Derek Henry Flood, Jamestown Foundation, Militant Leadership Monitor, North Waziristan, Said Bahaji, South Waziristan, Zakariya Essabar
New York- Got the new issue of MLM out yesterday. In this one we have a profile of Saudi jihadi ideologue Faris al-Zahrani by Murad Batal al-Shishani, sketchy Malaysian JI/AQ operative Marwan by Jacob Zenn, the real Sajid Mir of LeT whose name has been popping up in David Headley’s testimony in Chicago about the Mumbai siege, and finally a portrait of the dreaded Maulvi Qalamuddin, the Tab’s former infamous vice and virtue minister. Have a good 4th!
Proud to see this!
New York- I was pleased to see my publication Militant Leadership Monitor, referenced in the endnotes of Bruce Riedel’s new Brookings book Deadly Embrace: Pakistan, America, and the Future of Global Jihad. This is the first citation of MLM in a mainstream book that I know of, not bad after less than a year and a half after starting from virtual scratch.
In other news, Clare Gillis, James Foley, and Manuel Varela were finally freed from Tripoli today and sent across the border to Djerba. As I figured by this point, Austrian-Afrikaaner Anton Hammerl was not released with them and is assumed long dead. I figured as much when reports said that Clare had been able to make outgoing calls and nothing of Hammerl was mentioned. A Briton, whom I didn’t even know was captive called Nigel Chandler was also let go. Disturbingly, a guy from Georgetown named Matthew Van Dyke vanished without a trace from around Brega in mid-March and his case has received almost no publicity. God help him. Libya is a roll of the dice. There is only one consistency when you break open a tightly sealed police state and that it that you never know what the hell will happen. Look at Iraq for god’s sakes.
The Shining Path's Upper Huallaga Valley leader Comrade Artemio in a video grab I made from Youtube.
New York- I haven’t been posting nearly often enough in the hectic preparation for this year’s Jamestown Foundation annual terrorism conference at the National Press Club this Thursday, December 9th. This past week we released our eleventh issue of Militant Leadership Monitor with biographies of South Sudanese leader Salva Kiir by Andrew McGregor (an especially timely report before the January 9th independence referendum), the Shining Path’s Comrade Artemio by me, Lashkar-e-Taiba’s Azam Cheema by Animesh Roul, and Saudi AQAP explosives fabricator Ibrahim Asiri by Murad Batal al-Shishani.
Additionally, if anyone would be interested in helping me financially in traveling to South Sudan for the independence referendum in January, please contact me.-Derek
Categories: Africa, Saudi Arabia, South America, South Sudan Andrew McGregor, Animesh Roul, Comrade Artemio, Derek Henry Flood, Jamestown conference, Jamestown Foundation, Militant Leadership Monitor, Murad Batal al-Shishani, Salva Kiir, Shining Path, South Sudan referendum
New York- The new issue of MLM is out on the Jamestown site for subscribers (and those wanting to join). I have an article about the civil war in Colombia and the death of Mono Jojoy and the search for FARC supremo Alfonso Cano and brief articles on the doings of All Parties Hurriyat Conference leaders in Kashmir and the extradition of Mas Selamat Kastari back to Singapore from Malaysia. Colleague and friend Syed Adnan Shah Ali Bukhari has an in-depth biography of the nefarious Qari Hussain of the TTP. The RAND corporation’s Peter Chalk has a profile of Yazid Sufaat and Toronto’s Andrew McGregor has a fascinating piece on Puntland’s Shaykh Atam and his militia movement in northern Somalia’s autonomous region.
Categories: Africa, Latin America, Pakistan, South America, Southeast Asia Alfonso Cano, All Parties Hurriyat, Andrew McGregor, Colombia, Jamestown Foundation, Mas Selamat, Mas Selamat Kastari, Militant Leadership Monitor, Mono Jojoy, Peter Chalk, Puntland, Qari Hussain, Qari Hussein, RAND, Shaykh Atam, Somalia, Yazid Sufaat
Kuala Lumpur- The new issue of MLM is out and online at Jamestown for subscribers. I have an article about the life and connections of Hamburg’s slippery Mamoun Darkazanli and briefs on the IMU finally confirming the death of Tahir Yuldashev and naming a new emir as well as one on the return of Adnan el-Shukrijumah to the AQ scene. Here is the line up for our August issue:
Categories: 9/11, Central Asia, Southeast Asia 9/11, Abu Usman, Adnan el-Shukrijumah, Darkazanli al-Qaeda, death of Tahir Yuldashev confirmed, Hamburg cell, IMU, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Jamestown Foundation, Mamoun Darkazanli, Militant Leadership Monitor, Said Bahaji, Tahir Yuldeshev, Tohir Yoldoshev, Usman Adil, Usmon Odil
Los Angeles- The May issue of MLM is out. Worked hard on this one. Enjoy! If you’re not already enjoying, subscribe!
Categories: Africa, FATA, Insurgency, Iran, NWFP, Pashtunistan, South Asia, Taleban Abdelmalek Rigi, Abderrazzak el-Para, Abdolhamid Rigi, Fuad Khalaf, Jamestown Foundation, Khalid Khawaja, Maulana Abdul Aziz, Militant Leadership Monitor, Ogaden insurgency, ONLF, Rigi
MLM's third issue.
New York- The new issue of Militant Leadership Monitor is online. In this issue we have two pieces from two of Yemen’s three fronts. A profile of Adel al-Abbab of AQAP by Murad Batal al-Shishani and a bio of Abdulmalik al-Houthi leading the Zaidi rebellion in the country’s north by Michael Horton. Moving across the Arabian Sea up to Pakistan, Syed Adnan Shah Ali Bukhari tells us of the brutality of Ibn-e-Amin in the strife-torn Swat Valley. Heading west, we have a profile of Ibrahim Ag Bahanga, a hard bitten Tuareg rebel leader hailing from the Mali-Algeria border. Additionally, I have briefs on the arrest in Karachi of Mullah Omar’s son-in-law and the death of JI’s Bali bomber, Dulmatin, in a suburb of Jakarta last month.
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Categories: Insurgency, Pakistan, Pashtunistan, Sahel, Yemen Abdulmalik Houthi, Adel al-Abbab, Agha Jan, Andrew McGregor, AQAP, Dulmatin, Houthi, Houthi rebellion, Ibn e Amin, Ibrahim Ag Bahanga, Jamestown Foundation, Michael Horton, Militant Leadership Monitor, Murad Batal al-Shishani, Syed Adnan Shah Ali Bukhari, Taureg rebellion