Unfortunately, the good doctor al-Zawahiri, who is Number Two in al-Qaeda and presumed heir-apparent to bin Laden (if he is still alive), was reportedly NOT killed in a drone attack on a house in Pakistan last night. About 30 of his colleagues and associates were sent to meet Allah, however, and that's a step in the right direction.
If the following January 11 article
by CNSNews.com Staff Writer Sherrie Gossett is on the mark, we should all be on the lookout for the troublemakers to do more of what they do best, and that's to create mayhem and murder.
Boy! Nobody has ever accused these people of lacking energy or being IQ-challenged; if only they were free of the intellectually hobbling effects of Islam's paralyzing philosophy (their philosophy would be positively FUNNY if Muslims weren't so damned busy lobbing their "issues" at people who would otherwise care less), they could be among the planet's happier, more productive people. But given Islam's straightjacket approach to life, killing is about the only way they can get anyone to pay attention to them.
Oh, well. Anyway, here's what Gossett has to say, and if she's right, we may get some sort of nastygram in about two to three weeks:
AL-QAEDA VIDEO IS GREEN LIGHT FOR ATTACK
The recently released video message from al Qaeda's number two leader is part of a pattern that signals a countdown to a major terrorist attack within the next 30 days, warns a Washington D.C.-based analyst.
The new video was aired by the Qatar-based al-Jazeera satellite network on Jan. 6. In it Ayman al-Zawahiri portrays U.S. government discussion of troop withdrawal from Iraq as a victory for Islam.
"If your forces with all its aircraft, missiles, tanks and fleets are moaning, bleeding and looking for an escape from Iraq, then will the hypocrites, conspirators, infidels (the Iraqi government) resist what the 'greatest power in the world' has failed to resist?" al-Zawahiri asked.
But it is not the content of the video that is a sign of a possible imminent strike, said terrorism expert Christopher L. Brown. Instead, it is the timing of the video that is consistent with previous patterns. Brown, a researcher with a Washington think tank, has briefed members of Congress and senior administration officials on key threats, and he has prepared testimony and briefing materials for officials at the Department of Defense, State Department, CIA, National Security Council and the White House.
The pattern Brown observed is that each Zawahiri video appears to be part of a pair, with the second video followed by a significant attack within 30 days, outside of the major combat zones of Iraq and Afghanistan.
The videos released on Sept. 9 and Nov. 9, 2004, were the first "set" and were followed by the Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, bombings on Dec. 6, 2004. The second "set" of videos was released Feb. 20 and June 26, 2005, followed by the July 7 London bombings. A third set of videos was released Aug. 4 and Sept 1, 2005, followed by the bombings in Bali, Indonesia, on Oct. 1, 2005.
A Cybercast News Service exclusive report on Sept. 8 of last year detailed Brown's warning regarding an impending October attack.
The fourth set of videos, according to Brown's theory was released on Oct. 23, 2005 and last week -- Jan. 6.
"This pattern has held for at least three of al Qaeda's last large-scale attacks," said Brown, "This most recent video is likely a signal that a large-scale operation is about to be launched within the next 30 days. The question is where."
A clue may be found in the Internet postings of the enigmatic Abu-Hafs al-Masri Brigades, said Brown. The brigades appear to be 'green-lighting' coming attacks prior to the release of the second video of each pair, Brown said.
The video that preceded the London bombings was itself preceded by a post by the "European division" of the brigades under the title, "Letter to mujahedeen in Europe." The posting stated in part, "We now call on the mujahedeen around the world to launch the expected attack." The message appeared on an al Qaeda-linked Internet forum.
Brown believes the larger pattern of two videos sandwiching an Internet posting by the Abu-Hafs al-Masri Brigades was repeated when a November web message declared that the upcoming attack would occur in the "land of the Romans," widely seen as a reference to Italy.
The Internet posting, under the name of al Qaeda's reputed military commander Saif al-Adel, mentioned future attacks involving unidentified poisonous substances and surface-to-air missiles procured from Chechnya. Brown notes that the Abu-Hafs Al-Masri Brigades are overseen by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the top al Qaeda terrorist in Iraq who is also known to have ties to Chechnya.
"It is even more interesting to note that Western intelligence officials believe that al Qaeda has had some of the most advanced Russian man-portable surface-to-air missile systems (the SA-18) within Europe for at least one year."
On Oct. 29, 2005, the London Telegraph reported that Abu Atiya, an al Qaeda operative close to al-Zawahiri, revealed to French authorities that a group called the "Chechen network" entered France with the missiles and chemical and biological agents such as botulin, ricin and cyanide. The missiles were reportedly purchased in 2002 and eventually smuggled through Georgia and Turkey to be used in a planned attack against French airliners in 2004.
Following the London bombings the brigades posted a communique on the Internet, stating: "We are in Italy, and not one of you is safe as long as you refuse [Osama bin Laden's] offer. Get rid of the incompetent (Prime Minister Silvio) Berlusconi or we will truly burn Italy."
A July 19, 2005, story in Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper indicated that Italian intelligence feared the statement was a coded message activating known cells in Italy, which had previously been providing only logistical support.
Three more messages from the Abu-Hafs al-Masri Brigades were posted in July, promising to "burn Italy down.
"We will raze the cities of Europe to the ground and you will be the first, Berlusconi!" one of the messages declared. On July 31, the brigades claimed to be "calling up all our cells in Rome and other Italian cities for this war ..." Another Internet message followed in August.
However, the November reference to the "land of the Romans" could be misdirection Brown said, since al Qaeda is known to use coded language in many of its communications. The Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF) has indicated that al Qaeda intentionally labeled Italy as its target, prior to the London bombings.
If the "land of the Romans" doesn't refer to Rome, what might it refer to? Dan Darling of the Manhattan Institute believes it could be a reference to the United States. "It could just as easily apply to the U.S. -- America as the new Rome," said Darling.
Brown also believes the al Qaeda threat could apply to the U.S. and that America is the likelier target.
The "land of the Romans" could be a symbolic reference to the "countless examples of Romanesque architecture in Washington, D.C.," said Brown.
The missiles reportedly obtained from Chechnya have not been located and Brown believes it is possible that some of the weapons have been smuggled into North America since individuals involved in the "Chechen network" who procured the missiles were allegedly involved in the 1999 conspiracy to bomb Los Angeles International Airport.
About Brown's theory of a timing pattern and imminent strike, Dan Darling said "I definitely think there's something behind this theory. One of my earliest observations about al Qaeda is that when people look for patterns they tend to forget to include events in places like Kashmir, Chechnya, Iraq. "
Darling also noted that analysts often fail to take into account thwarted attacks. "Italy has arrested several members of GSPC cells intent on attacking Italy or U.S.-related installations," said Darling. The GSPC is also known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, an Algerian group linked to al Qaeda. Italian officials announced on Dec. 23 that the suspected terrorists had plans to carry out attacks against the U.S. that would have surpassed 9/11.
Terrorism expert B. Raman told Cybercast News Service that Brown's theory is "fascinating" but that he was not in a position to agree or disagree with it.
"I personally feel that while the London explosions were externally inspired from Pakistan, the timing and the modus operandi used were decided locally. I would have difficulty in connecting it to Zawahiri's second message," said Raman. He also believes that Zawahiri's importance as an operational head tends to be over-estimated by many Western analysts.
"I also feel on the basis of my reading of the situation that there is a very high probability of a terrorist strike against Italian lives and interests this year," said Raman.
"In Europe, Al Qaeda's next targets in the order of probability are Italy (its Prime Minister is closely identified with Bush), France (ban on head scarves, its interior minister is hated in the Islamic world) and Germany (its role in Afghanistan)."
Raman is the former head of the counter-terrorism division of the Research & Analysis Wing in India's external intelligence agency and director or the Institute of Topical Studies, Chennai, India.
Italy has been bracing for possible attacks targeting the February Winter Olympics in Turin or the April 9 general elections. Italian Interior Minister Giuseppe Pisanu told media last month, "The global resonance of the Games, and the coincidence with the election campaign could be of great interest to terrorist organizations, which carry out major attacks in order to rock public opinion and influence political stances."
The CIA has declined to comment on Brown's theory. "We don't comment on our own analysis. And we can't comment on Mr. Brown's theory either," said the spokesman.
Regarding the video release pattern, "once can be an interesting anomaly, twice could be a coincidence, but three times is a pattern," Brown said, indicating "that in all likelihood al Qaeda will launch a major attack sometime in the next month."