Putin Kinda Showing Bravado

Putin’s Russia is financially feeble for sure, and he is well aware of 2015-2016 being a rebuilding era as he works to restructure economic and banking stability. In the meantime, he has dispatched air assets around the globe challenging the West while ordnance is clearly visible on his aircraft. What is Putin’s objective? While Russia is financially wounded, he will never stop showing his muscle and might.

Yes, Russia’s Military Is Getting More Aggressive

by James T. Quinlivan 

On Dec. 12, a Russian military jet came dangerously close to a Scandinavian Airlines passenger plane in international airspace near southern Sweden. Reportedly, the Russian aircraft was flying without its transponder active when the Swedish military detected it. The Swedes notified civilian air traffic control, which then diverted the civilian jet. A collision was avoided.

Immediately after the December incident, the Russians denied that their aircraft was anywhere near the passenger jet. But the near miss in the skies over Scandinavia was only the latest incident in a consistent pattern of Russian provocations and “who-me?” denials. In March 2014, a Russian reconnaissance aircraft came close enough to an SAS airliner departing from Copenhagen to require the airliner—carrying more than 100 passengers—to maneuver to avoid a collision.

For years, Russian aircraft have been doing fly-bys of European neighbors, largely without much public notice. But as Russia’s relations with the United States and Europe have deteriorated in recent months following Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and support for the rebels in eastern Ukraine, these incidents in the skies seem to have taken on a new urgency—they may even herald a revival of Cold War-era tactics.

Moscow’s aggressive behavior is intended as an intimidating display of the Kremlin’s strength, and perhaps even a reminder of Russian nuclear capability. But overreaction is the wrong response: These are annoying provocations, not serious dangers to Western Europe. As such, they should remind the United States and Europe that Russia’s credible nuclear threats still spring from relative weakness—not strength. A new military doctrine issued by the Kremlin last week may look aggressive toward NATO and the West, but Putin is still more bark than bite.

After a hiatus that began in 1991, Russian aircraft returned to long-distance operations in 2007 with venerable Tupolev Tu-95 “Bear” bombers flying long-distance legs toward the United States coastline, near island bases in the Pacific, even intercepting American carrier task forces at sea. Over the last year, tactical aircraft have gradually been integrated into these flights, progressing in the last few months to short-range provocations of Russia’s neighbors with fighter jets and intelligence aircraft.

Over the last year, tactical aircraft have gradually been integrated into these flights, progressing in the last few months to short-range provocations of Russia’s neighbors with fighter jets and intelligence aircraft.

The recent spate of incidents with Russian aircraft over the Baltic have made headlines and prompted comments from Western officials. A recent report (PDF) by the European Leadership Network documented almost 40 incidents involving Russian aircraft or ships between March and November 2014 and pointed out that they were both more frequent and involved more risk than in previous years.

These provocations show no sign of abating. In November, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that Russia would send bombers to the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. This sounds dramatic, but it merely extends the practice of sending Bear bombers on long-range flights toward Canada and the United States. In June, for example, Russian bombers with tanker and fighter escorts appeared off Alaska, where Canadian and American fighters intercepted and escorted them. The bombers continued as far south as northern California and produced a few “nuclear-capable bombers buzz California” stories in the media. During the September NATO summit in Wales, two Bear bombers ostentatiously flew up past Iceland to Greenland toward points from which Russia would have launched cruise missiles against American targets if the Cold War ever turned hot.

That some of Russia’s most provocative flights came during the NATO summit might not be a coincidence. NATO’s own use of airpower demonstrated its utility as a threat and helped put Moscow on the policy course it is pursuing today. Now largely forgotten in the West, the Kosovo War in 1999, when the United States and its NATO allies bombed Serbian targets to protect ethnic Kosovars, is remembered in Russia for two things, both of which are directly relevant to understanding why Moscow is provoking its neighbors.

First, after President Boris Yeltsin warned the West not to push Russia, the United States and NATO never sought permission from the United Nations to begin bombing. The NATO campaign humiliated Moscow and contributed to Yeltsin’s resignation at the end of 1999. Second, U.S. and NATO airpower waged what the Russians subsequently described as a “contactless war” in which airpower savaged Serbian military, paramilitary, and regime targets with opposing ground troops never coming into contact.

The ramifications of the Kosovo War are still being felt. When Yeltsin resigned in December 1999, he turned over power to his prime minister, Vladimir Putin. And Putin, who is famous for holding grudges, remembers both the pain and the possibilities shown in the Kosovo War as he has attempted to rebuild Russian power and its sphere of influence.

Putin, who is famous for holding grudges, remembers both the pain and the possibilities shown in the Kosovo War as he has attempted to rebuild Russian power and its sphere of influence.

In the wake of the Kosovo War, the Russian military viewed NATO as aggressive and believed the alliance could intervene in another regional conflict and wage “contactless war” against a weakened Russian military. Under the catchphrase “de-escalation of military action,” Russian military theorists developed the concept of using nuclear weapons to bring a stop to conventional fighting before complete defeat. A series of large exercises beginning with Zapad-99 in 1999 were designed around scenarios of NATO intervening with advanced military forces into local conflicts in Russia’s “near abroad,” such as Belarus and Kaliningrad, the Russian enclave between Lithuania and Poland. In the exercises, the conflicts escalated into major regional wars with Russian conventional forces losing to mass air attacks with precision weapons, as had the Serbs in Kosovo.

These exercises involved long-range aircraft including the Tupolev Tu-22 “Backfire” theater-range system and the Bear simulating attacks at depth—as well as concurrent launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched ballistic missiles, which flew to the Kamchatka test range. At the time of the Zapad-99 exercise, then-Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev stated that the exercise involved nuclear weapons when conventional weapons had failed. These exercises demonstrated to the West that “de-escalation of military action” by nuclear use was more than a theoretical concept.

By 2000, nuclear weapons took a greater prominence in Russia’s formal military doctrine, which stated (PDF) nuclear weapons could be used in situations “critical to the national security of the Russian Federation.” New doctrine also opened the possibility of nuclear first-use. Most outside observers agreed that the many weaknesses of Russia’s military, the West’s conventional ability and U.S. willingness to execute “contactless war,” and the Russian regime’s fragility all gave credibility to the Kremlin’s threat of a nuclear response in the case of a conventional defeat.

Russia’s 2008 border war with Georgia demonstrated two important new considerations for Moscow. First, reorganized Russian ground forces built around contract soldiers rather than conscripts demonstrated greater skills and overall military capability than the forces that had failed in Chechnya in the late 1990s. These units are manned at higher levels as “permanently ready forces” than the rest of Russia’s military and do not depend on the mobilization of reservists or additional conscripts to deploy to operations. The experience of defeating the Georgians gave the Russian military greater confidence that they could fight and win a local war. Second, NATO showed no interest in involving itself in the Georgian war as it had in Kosovo, which signaled to the Russians that the West is not always itching for a fight.

Russia issued a new military doctrine (PDF) in 2010 that seemed to reduce the role for nuclear weapons. The doctrine retained the possibility of nuclear first-use but said Russia would consider nuclear use only in situations in which “the very existence of the state” is under threat—a higher bar than “critical for national security,” the language used in the 2000 doctrine. Nuclear deterrence only works when both sides have a clear understanding of what is being deterred. The formal change in Russia’s doctrine communicated that Moscow recognized less need for rapid recourse to nuclear measures.

The new military doctrine that President Putin signed on Dec. 26 is based on a four-month effort that began in September to revise the 2010 military doctrine. The tone of the latest document is much more defensive than the previous doctrine, with a heightened concern about NATO buildups on territories contiguous to Russia, as well as evolving forms of warfare such as information warfare and ballistic missile defenses. At the same time, the doctrine shows increased Russian interest in improving its own ability to use precision conventional weapons. But the central question of when Moscow might feel compelled to use nuclear weapons seems unchanged from the position laid out in the 2010 doctrine.

How should the West think about these provocative flights over the Baltic in light of understanding Russia’s nuclear threat? Certainly, the long-range flights replicate Moscow’s Cold War behavior, and the sight of a Bear bomber flying over the Arctic—or soon the Gulf of Mexico—sends a message. But it has little to do with how war would be waged or initiated today. The flights by themselves are not plausible nuclear threats, even when they simulate bombing runs or cruise missile releases, nor does the new doctrine show an increased Russian willingness to resort to nuclear weapons.

But with no U.S. or NATO forces present in Ukraine (and rarely in the Black Sea), the flights—particularly the Baltic fly-bys—represent one of the few situations where NATO and Russian forces could come into direct contact and potentially conflict. The integrated flights of bombers and fighter aircraft in the Baltic are visibly more aggressive than the long patrols by larger aircraft. The flights also intend to embarrass and intimidate. The Baltic states—Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia—are the primary targets, but the traditionally neutral and patient Swedes and Finns have also been imposed upon by Russian intrusions. Indeed, Swedish politicians have been provoked to such an extent that they are considering joining NATO.

Indeed, Swedish politicians have been provoked to such an extent that they are considering joining NATO.

And yet with all of these provocations, the military balance in Europe has not appreciably changed since the Kosovo War. The Russian flights show increased confidence in the capabilities of Russia’s air force and its slowly modernizing tactical aircraft inventory. The new Sukhoi Su-34 “Fullback” only appeared in these flights beginning in late October and represents Russia’s latest generation of tactical strike aircraft. But Russia still has relatively few of these planes and—along with the improved accuracies of other air-delivered munitions that can be carried by the older aircraft—they are only a small down payment on the improved precision capabilities envisioned in the new Russian military doctrine.

Meanwhile, the United States and its NATO allies have improved their capabilities to use precision conventional weapons and penetrate defenses against conventionally organized ground forces. And despite all of Moscow’s improvements, including reorganized brigades built around contract rather than conscript soldiers and explorations of “hybrid warfare” involving special forces in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, the core of the Russian military remains conventionally organized. From 1960 to 2000, the NATO supreme commander was always an American Army general, reflecting the centrality of the ground war in a possible NATO-Warsaw Pact confrontation. In the time since the Kosovo War, the supreme command has included American Air Force generals as well as American admirals reflecting a change in the way NATO would use military power in a confrontation with Russia. The current supreme commander, U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, personifies the important role air power in any new NATO-Russian conflict.

Still, there are military dangers to the Russian flights and the incursions. Russian fighters routinely fly armed with air-to-air missiles, as do the aircraft that intercept them. It’s not difficult to imagine a pilot with an itchy trigger finger or an intimidating fly-by that gets too close—at which point many things could go wrong.

Perhaps more concerning is the casual, almost careless display of power in Putin’s Russia. The Russian practice of flying military aircraft in the Baltic without filing flight plans or using transponders—making the aircraft both unexpected by and invisible to civilian air traffic control—shows a reckless disregard for human life. Indeed, these alarming events, such as the incidents with civilian airliners in March 2014 and December 2014, are not simply due to faulty procedures or the actions of rogue or inadequately trained aviators. These kinds of near-misses will continue as long as President Putin wants them to.

In a news conference in early November, Gen. Breedlove said of the provocative Russian flights that they “do not add to or contribute to a secure and stable situation, these kinds of demonstrations, and so they are problematic.” That’s a rhetorical start. But NATO will have to continue to craft a response to the new Russian aggression.

In the meantime, NATO can only be responsible for its own side. Russian flights will continue to be intercepted to demonstrate that they are not likely to achieve much if they were hostile. They will also have to be intercepted to show that Russia’s neighbors are not willing to be intimidated, and to demonstrate that NATO will share the burden of their defense and air sovereignty. Over the last year, the British, Canadian, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Polish, Portuguese, and Spanish air forces have contributed to the Baltic Air Policing mission. As Gen. Breedlove emphasized in November, the intercepts have been carried out “in a professional manner with professional intercepts by fully capable NATO defenders to escort the Russians while they were in the airspace.”

Perhaps, by increasing communication and cooperation with Finland and Sweden, NATO can demonstrate to Russia that these air incidents are only increasing the number of opposing states rather than driving a wedge between NATO allies.

James T. Quinlivan is a senior operations research analyst at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation.

Palestinian Authority is on the Move

The Palestinian Authority leadership has authorized several missions in recent days. They are looking to join the following organizations:

Of particular note is the International Criminal Court of which the United States is not a signatory. The purpose of the PA’s move is to bring charges against Israel.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas signed a request Wednesday to join the International Criminal Court, a move that would establish a new avenue for action against Israel after the UN Security Council rejected a resolution which aimed to establish a timetable for a full Israeli pullout from the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

“We want to complain about the harm caused to us and to our land,” Abbas said before signing the treaties. “But who shall we complain to? The Security Council refused our request. Where will we go? To the international organizations.”

Abbas said the Palestinians seek a fair solution to the conflict based on international principles, and that such a solution would help quell regional unrest. “We do not want anything more, but we will not settle for less,” he said. “Tonight we sign 20 different international treaties, even though we have the right to join any international institutions.”

The Palestinians hope ICC membership will pave the way for war crimes prosecutions against Israeli officials. Abbas did not specify Wednesday when he planned to file complaints against Israel, or the specifics of such intended complaints, which it may be feasible to file within the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, Israel is taking the offense and building their own case such that Abbas may want to rethink this strategy.

An Israeli defense analysis center released on Thursday the names of 50 Gazan terrorists killed in combat with Israel this summer, whose names have been concealed by Hamas from Palestinian casualty lists.

The Tel Aviv-based Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center said all of the combatant casualties were members of Hamas’s military wing, the Izzadin Al-Kassam Brigades.

“The names did not show up in other casualty lists publicized by organizations affiliated with Hamas and the Palestinian Authority,” said the Center, which is a part of the Israeli Intelligence and Heritage Commemoration Center, founded by leading members of the Israeli intelligence community.

According to the study, 52% of Palestinian casualties from the conflict were terrorists and 48% civilians.

A report released on Thursday said  the newly identified combatant casualties belonged one of the following categories: Some were  terrorists left behind in Israel after  being killed in fire fights with IDF units during the summer war, others were of terrorists buried under tunnels or the ruins of buildings bombed by the IDF, and others were terrorists who died of their injuries in hospital and were not identified during hostilities.

“We believe that the 50 names, identified by us, represent a partial list and that there many other terrorists whose names are not included in the various casualty lists,” the Center added.

Prominent names on the list include members of the Al-Kassam Brigade’s naval commando unit, which is a part of Hamas’s Al-Nahba elite forces.

Four naval commandos, killed in Israeli territory during the July 8 Hamas raid on Zikim beach, are missing from Palestinian casualty lists, and appear in the list of 50 casualties.

So do the names of ten members of the Al-Kassam Brigades killed in Israeli territory during a cross-border raid on Kibbutz Nir Am on July 21.

The attempt to censor the names “stem from Hamas’s policy of deliberate concealment, in order to serve the diplomatic, media, and legal campaigns against Israel,” Dr. Reuven Erlich, head of the Terrorism and Intelligence Center, told The Jerusalem Post.

He urged international bodies that cite on Palestinian casualty lists to be wary, calling Palestinian casualty lists “not serious.

On the other hand, the report said, Hamas makes domestic use of the deaths of its operatives, despite their absence from formal casualty lists, by publicizing inside Gaza detailed information on them and the circumstances in which they were killed.

“This is in order to satisfy the families of those killed, to serve the glorification of Hamas’s military capabilities, and strengthen the myth of a ‘victory’ over Israel,” it stated.

The study cited an Israeli security source as saying that out of the 2,140 Palestinian casualties, some died of natural causes and accidents.

The source identified 886 names on the lists as terrorists, most (67%) from Hamas. Islamic Jihad casualties formed 22% of the identified terrorists killed. The remainder – 11% – belong to smaller terror organizations operating in the Gaza Strip.

Out of 712 noncombatant casualties identified by the center, 345 were children and 268 were women.

A third category of 542 casualties cannot be identified at this stage, the Center said.


U.S. Held Afghan Detention Centers Close, But

Getting out of Afghanistan only in words but not especially by the deployments of troops, Barack Obama is gaining in his argument to release yet the balance of Guantanamo detainees.

Only recently, have the U.S. held detention centers in Afghanistan been turned over to the Afghan government, there is little to hold the released any detainees regardless of their high value as combatants and terror history. This is precisely the same when it comes to the Taliban 5 turned over to Qatar.

The lawyers for the Center for Constitutional Rights have represented a large number of the combatants with great success however, to the detriment of national security. If there is any question to the backgrounds of those being released, one of the most recent turned over to Afghanistan has a terrifying history.

As published by FrontPage Magazine: There appears to be no threat that a terrorist can pose and no crime he has committed too severe to prevent him from getting a plane trip out of Gitmo at taxpayer expense.

The last releases saw terrorists rated as high risk freed by Obama. They included fighters with experience on the battlefield and covert operations. Obama set loose a suicide bomber, a document forger and a bomb maker who trained other terrorists to make bombs. Those are exactly the sorts of enemies whose license to Jihad will cost lives.

But that’s nothing compared to Obama’s latest gift to the Jihad.

When Mohammed Zahir was caught, among his possessions was found a small sealed can marked, in Russian, “Heavy Water U235 150 Grams.”

According to the classified report, the uranium had been identified by Zahir “in his memorandum as being intended for the production of an “atom bomb.”

Zahir was not just another captured Jihadist. He was the Secretary General of the Taliban’s Intelligence Directorate and was in contact with top leaders of the Taliban and Al Qaeda. His possessions included a fax with questions intended for Osama bin Laden and he had been arrested on suspicion of possessing Stinger missiles.

But that may not have even been the worst of it.

Among the items was a notebook containing references to large sugar shipments to Washington D.C. Investigators believed that sugar was used as a code word for heroin. The Black Sea stops mentioned in the notebook are major hubs for smuggling heroin and for nuclear smuggling as well.

Not only was Mohammed Zahir a terrorist kingpin, but he was also a drug kingpin and the notebook suggested that his eye was on the United States of America.

It was no wonder that Mohammad Zahir had been rated as posing a high risk, but Obama had already freed a number of other high risk Guantanamo Bay detainees. Yet Zahir was the closest thing to a major nuclear terrorist in United States custody. Freeing him was wildly irresponsible even by the standards of a leader who had sacrificed thousands of Americans in a futile effort to “win” Afghan hearts and minds.

Nor did Obama even bother with the plausible deniability of releasing him to a South American country, the way he had with his previous batch of ISIS recruits, or at least to Qatar. Instead Mohammed Zahir went back directly to the battlefield in Afghanistan.

Obama couldn’t have done more without handing over the blueprints for constructing a nuclear bomb.

And yet it wasn’t surprising that Obama would free Mohammed Zahir. He had already freed Zahir’s old boss, the Taliban’s Deputy Minister of Intelligence, as well as another senior Taliban intel official under whom Zahir had used to work. It just happened to be Zahir’s turn.

If the other Gitmo detainees freed by Obama are deadly, Zahir was part of an effort to engage in the mass murder of Americans using weapons of mass destruction. Considering how many Gitmo detainees returned to terrorism once they were released, it is highly likely that Zahir will go on doing what he used to do and that American soldiers and civilians will end up paying the price for Obama’s license to Jihad.

Zahir wasn’t released on his own. Accompanying him back to the motherland of terror were Khi Ali Gul, who was linked to Al Qaeda’s Haqqani Network, Shawali Khan, the member of group that merged with Al Qaeda and Abdul Ghani, who had frequently bragged about his high rank in the Taliban and had participated in rocket and mine attacks on American soldiers.

These men were assessed as very dangerous. Like the last batch released, they’re almost certain to return to the industry of terror.

Even as a $5 million bounty has been put on the head of Ibrahim al-Rubaysh, a Gitmo terrorist released for rest and rehabilitation in Saudi Arabia, the same mistakes that led to his release continue to be made.

Ibrahim al-Rubaysh returned to play a leading role in Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Mohammed Zahir and his pals will have an even shorter trip to get back into the fight. They won’t even have to go through the charade of being rehabilitated before they return to their bloody trade.

With the release of the latest batch of Taliban figures, Obama is helping the Taliban rebuild its organizational structure at the top. Even while he’s declaring victory over the Taliban, he is helping the Taliban win.

And in the process he is sending dangerous men back into the fight. Men like Mohammed Zahir.

Mohammed Zahir may not go back to his old tasks of smuggling heroin to Washington D.C. or trying to assemble materials for an atomic bomb. Or this top Taliban intelligence official may decide to pick up where he left off. It’s bad enough that Obama is empowering Iran’s quest for a nuclear bomb, but now he has also managed to aid the Taliban’s search for weapons of mass destruction.

Americans no longer expect the man in the White House not to release terrorists. We no longer expect him not to release dangerous terrorists who will go on to kill Americans. Now we also know that it’s useless to expect him not to release terrorists caught trying to assemble materials for a nuclear bomb.

We’ve tried to grade Obama on a curve when it comes to national security, but the curve just got nuked.

The very lowest possible expectation we can have of Obama is that he won’t release a nuclear terrorist. And even this lowest of all possible expectations proved too much for him to live up to.

Which terrorists will Obama release next? The answer appears to be all of them.

Obama had sought to take Osama alive so he could receive a trial in civilian court. The SEALS put a stop to that plan and to Osama, but if they hadn’t, then next week we might be seeing Osama bin Laden boarding a plane to Qatar or Afghanistan with a can of uranium tucked under one arm.

Think and Plan Carefully about Flying

Al Qaeda’s Latest ‘Inspire’ Magazine Dedicated to Bombing Airliners, Inspiring Lone Wolf Attacks

By: Anthony Kimery, Editor-in-Chief

“Destination airport, and Guess What’s on the Menu?” is the title to the opening spread of the cover story about how to bomb passenger planes in the slick, professionally designed new issue of Inspire magazine published by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Releasing the digital magazine on Christmas Eve is unlikely a coincidence; it’s the 5th anniversary of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s Christmas Day 2009 bombing attempt on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 as it was on its landing approach to Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport.

The entire issue is devoted to inspiring lone wolf jihadists in the US and the West, and especially urges attacks on commercial passenger planes. A lengthy section provides detailed instructions on how to build a new bomb AQAP purports can be “hidden” not only on aircraft, but also to blow up other targets with the intent of causing ripples throughout US and Western economies.

“Previously,” Ibrahim wrote, “we have presented Muslims with different weapons, including bombs and tactics … Now we are obliged to give our ummah something special. Something unique that can easily be prepared at home — that is the reason we have taken a long period to produce this issue. Here, we give the Muslim ummah a bomb recipe that America fears it might reach the hands of other Mujahideen in other fronts.”

“However, what America didn’t expect is that this recipe is going to be in the reach of all Muslims around the world,” Ibrahim said, noting, “It will circulate in the social media and Muslims will translate it into different languages. Some will be pleased and pass on the message; while others will be inspired and most importantly make the bomb.”

The article, Open Source Jihad (OSJ), was written by “AQ-Chef,” presumably Ibrahim Hassan Tali Al Asiri, AQAP’s premier bomb maker who the Department of State issued a $5 million bounty for on October 14, 2014. At the same time, the State Department announced a total bounty of $45 million for information leading to the locations of the eight key leaders of AQAP. The department authorized rewards of up to $10 million for information leading to the location of Nasir Al Wahishi and up to $5 million each for information leading to the locations of Qasim Al Rimi, Othman Al Ghamdi, Shawki Ali Ahmed Al Badani, Jalal Bala’idi, Ibrahim Al Rubaysh, Ibrahim Al Banna and Al Asiri.

Named targets include American, United, Continental and Delta airlines, as well as British Airways, EasyJet, Air France and Air France KI. Other objectives include “direct economic targets” and high-profile “economic personalities” like former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke (the current issue of Inspire says he’s the current chairman, raising questions about when the current issue was produced – Bernanke stepped down in February) and “wealthy entrepreneurs or company owners” like Bill Gates.

Titled Neurotmesis: Cutting the Nerves and Isolating the Head (Neurotmesis is a Greek word meaning “to sever the nerves”), the latest issue of Inspire is very similar to the previous issue, as it focuses on instigating Muslims to carry out lone wolf attacks against the US. The focus on attacking the US is signaled in a letter by Yahya Ibrahim, the magazine’s editor-in-chief.

The article details ways to “breaching airport security,” “making the hidden bomb,” and various “field tactics” related to selecting targets and executing an attack. AQAP dedicated the OSJ section to individuals who had previously attempted to blow up airlines, including Ramzi Yusuf, Abdulmutallab and Richard Reid (the shoe bomber).

Beginning the 37-pages of instructions for how to build “The Hidden Bomb,” AQAP said, “On the dawn of 2010, media agencies reported that a Nigerian youth boarded an American plane,  Delta, carrying with him a unique bomb. He nearly blew the plane up. His name is ‘Umar Al Fârouq. Prior to that, a Mujahid blew himself in the castle of the Saudi Prince, Muhammad bin Naif.”

“The Mujahid’s name was Abdallâh ‘Asiri. The aim was to assassinate the prince, but the prince survived. Both men used bombs similar in design.”

“Initially, what we faced as a main problem was: How can a lone Mujahid acquire the required explosive materials. For several months, we conducted a number of experiments. As a result we came up with these simple materials that are readily available around the globe, even inside America – and this is our goal.

“We spared no effort in simplifying the idea in such we made it ‘another meal prepared in the kitchen’ so that every determined Muslim can prepare.”

AQAP claims the “hidden bomb is 2.5x as powerful as ‘Umar Fârouq’s bomb, and 3x as powerful as the military-grade F1Russian grenade,” adding, “American security organs do not know what they do not know.”

Following the instructions for building “the hidden bomb,” AQ-Chef provides a missive on “Field Tactics” for how to use the bomb to blow up a jetliner. He said, “I assume you have now prepared your hidden bomb after you have been convinced by the importance of this operation both politically and militarily. What is left is identifying the target that will achieve the greatest success, Biidhnillâh — a success that will crush the enemy’s economy. We have sketched the targets as a part of a complete program we have presented to the Lone Mujahid.”

Continuing, he said, “So as to achieve the greatest success, it is necessary for the person responsible and his motives to be publicized. This is what we call ‘the Message.’ It is obvious that most Martyrdom Operation’s executors are Mujahideen. Some say these operations have become the Mujahideen’s signature. But after the plane has exploded, how can the world know that a martyrdom seeker is behind this explosion?

“To achieve that,” he wrote, “you can write a timing email before departure in such the email is sent a day or two after you have carried out the operation. The timing service is available in the net. Write down who you are and what your motives are.

Continuing, he concluded, “The news of this bomb spread like wildfire. It worried many security personnel. At the time, we did not publish the bomb recipe for many reasons. But now we have decided to release it as part of a complete program for the Lone Mujahid (Neurotmesis). Biidhnillâh, it will achieve its goals as anticipated.”

In a question and answer “interview” with AQ Chef, he said, “Unlike a lab, a kitchen is found in every house. Moreover, if a Mujahid can prepare a bomb from materials used in the kitchen instead of lab materials and use cooking utensils instead of lab apparatus, then we have a double success and we have overcome the security hurdle. Therefore, a larger number of Mujahideen can carry out Jihādi operations.

“You will notice in this issue specifically we have focused on the kitchen,” he noted. “Generally, we are trying as much as possible to move the lone Mujahid from the lab to the pharmacy and from the pharmacy to the kitchen.”

Asked if he believes “airport security can deal with this bomb?” Al Asiri presumably responded, saying, “We said security has imaging devices. They could detect the bomb. But these devices cannot be included in all airports due to cost reasons and the harassment they cause. Then these bombs are not only used in airports, but they are also used in assassinations as the brothers clarified in their program (Neurotmesis). Nevertheless, I say to the heads of the US intelligence in general, by the Help of Allāh, many airplanes will be ‘crashing.’ Hereby, I call the National Transportation Safety Board, ‘Do not weary yourself of investigation, the US Department of Homeland Security will take over the job because of a simple reason: This jihādi work belongs to the ‘Global Lone Jihād Movement.’”

“Hereby, Inspire magazine is committed to arm Muslim individuals — as well as Muslim groups as is in this issue — in their Jihâd on America.”

Islamic State (ISIL, ISIS,Daesh) Known Since 2004

Key members have been known for several years, pointing to the notion that everyone was so blindsided is a fabrication.

The media so hated failed foreign policy and remained in lock step with Barack Obama on Iraq, there was never an effort to dig deeper as to why it was an epic blunder to leave Iraq even as it was well known the hub was Syria and border crossings were easy.

So, a UK reporter was able to gain access to the inner circle of Islamic State. He especially notes: “They are only one percent movement in the Islamic world. But this one percent movement has the power of a nuclear tsunami. It’s incredible,” he said.

“Isis is much stronger than we think here.” He said it now has “dimensions larger than the UK” and is supported by “an almost ecstatic enthusiasm that I have never encountered in any other warzone.”


The full report and citations is here.

The group currently known as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) was originally founded by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Al-Zarqawi’s first connection with al-Qa’ida began in 2000 when he sought out Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan and requested assistance in creating al-Tawhid wal-Jihad, a network focused on overthrowing the Jordanian government.1 Zarqawi initially avoided the post 9/11 North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-led surge in Afghanistan by relocating to Iran and then, in 2002, to Iraq.2 At the request of al-Qa’ida leaders, Zarqawi began facilitating the move of militants into Iraq to combat coalition forces. However, Zarqawi did not formally swear allegiance to and join under the umbrella of al-Qa’ida until 2004.3 This strengthened relationship was reflected in Zarqawi’s network changing their name to Tanzim Qa-idat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn, commonly referred to as al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI).4 The association persisted as AQI continued to develop, forming the Mujahidin Shura Council (MSC) in 2006 and, after Zarqawi’s death later that year, changing their name to the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) under the command of Abu Umar al-Baghdadi in October.5 ISI’s relationship with al-Qa’ida was characterized by ideological schisms, with al-Qa’ida leaders voicing concern that the organization’s indiscriminate and brutal tactics were isolating them from public support in Iraq.6 The relationship continued to deteriorate in 2013 when Abu Umar al-Baghdadi attempted to claim al-Nusrah Front under his command—a claim that was rejected by al-Nusrah Front leader Abu Muhammad al-Jawlani who instead pledged allegiance directly to Al-Qa’ida.7,8 Al-Qa’ida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri attempted to mediate, supporting Jawlani as the official Syrian branch of al-Qa’ida.9 In defiance, ISIL increased operations in Syria including targeting members of al-Nusrah Front. As a result, Ayman al-Zawahiri denounced ISIL on February 2, 2014, officially ending al-Qa’ida’s affiliation with the group.

Al-Nusrah Front was originally founded when Abu Umar al-Baghdadi sent Abu Mohammad al-Jawlani along with militants to Syria to set up a front.11 In April 2013, al-Baghdadi announced the expansion of ISI to Syria, officially rebranding the organization as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIL).12 Al-Nusrah Front leader Abu Muhammad al-Jawlani was not consulted before the announcement and denounced al-Baghdadi’s claims, confirming instead his allegiance directly to al-Qa’ida’s leadership. Subsequently, the groups clashed in Syria, with each targeting militants from the opposing organization and solidifying their break.

On February 16, 2012, the United States Department of Treasury designated the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) as a supporter of terrorism for provided funding and arms to ISIL (then al-Qa’ida in Iraq)—however their report does not provide specific evidence or dates.14 Iran has collaborated with al-Qa’ida based on their common opposition to the United States’ involvement in the region. In 2001 when Zarqawi fled coalition forces in Afghanistan, the MOIS allowed him and others safe haven in Iran.15 However, subsequent to ISIL’s 2014 advancement in Iraq, the Iranian government has voiced their support of military action against the group.