Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi "Caliph Ibrahim"

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
“Caliph Ibrahim”

Al-Monitor reports Matthew Olsen, Director of US National Counterterrrorism Center, describes two issues — the threat of an attack on US soil on 9/11/14, and the Islamic State becoming the dominant voice in the global jihadist movement (outpacing al-Qaeda):

By Barbara Slavin, Sept 3, 2014. Matthew Olsen, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said Sept. 3 that the Islamic State (IS) “poses a multifaceted threat” to the United States but there was no “credible information” at present that the group was planning to attack in the United States or had a cell of fighters here capable of doing so. … However, in rare, wide-ranging public comments that followed the beheading of a second American journalist in Syria by IS, Olsen told a packed audience at the Brookings Institution in Washington that the terrorist group was “an extremely dangerous organization” that was “threatening to outpace al-Qaeda as the dominant voice of influence in the global jihadist movement” because of its territorial advances, financial resources and sophisticated propaganda. …IS “has proven to be an effective fighting force,” Olsen said, which “employs a battlefield strategy that is both complex and adaptive” and mixes terrorism with paramilitary assaults. … Even though al-Qaeda expelled IS earlier this year because of the latter’s extreme brutality toward other Muslims and religious minorities, members of al-Qaeda have traveled from Pakistan to Syria recently and IS pamphlets have been spotted in the Pakistani border city of Peshawar. Asked if IS might not assist in a revival of al-Qaeda and the Taliban in South Asia, especially as the US withdraws from Afghanistan, Olsen said the United States was aware of the possibility and would work to prevent that…. “Since the fall of Mosul, [al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri] has said nothing about IS, Caliph Ibrahim or the American war in Iraq,” Riedel told Al-Monitor in an email. “That is very unusual for him and very intriguing. AQAP has called IS ‘brothers’ and offered advice on fighting drones. My guess is that AQ/[Zawahri] and AQAP want to avoid further public disagreements with what is a winning organization at least now.” Read more.

Ayman al-Zawahri Al-Qaeda Leader

Ayman al-Zawahri
Al-Qaeda Leader

In another update to the global jihadist movement, Reuters recently reported a video of Ayman al-Zawahri, leader of al-Qaeda core group in Pakistan, announcing the creation of a South Asian wing of al-Qaeda in India. Read more. Al-Qaeda has long had roots in Afghanistan and Pakistan Taliban but this will be the first encroachment into India, the home of 175 million Muslims. The new leader is Maulana Asim Umar, titled “Emir” by al-Zawahri, and considered an “Islamist ideologue rather than a fighter, and is known in South and Central Asian Islamist circles as an intellectual and excellent orator.” In a recent Reuters report, here is what is being reported about him:

Sources familiar with Umar speak of a man with deep Islamist convictions who has written at least four books promoting jihad. One of the books, about U.S. private security firm Blackwater, is titled “The Army of Anti-Christ.” … He has strong connections with Islamic seminaries in Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan. … and “has had his eyes on the Indian subcontinent for many years, issuing a number of video appeals to Kashmiri Muslims to join militant battlefields and fight “infidels”. Read more.

Think about it. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and now India (not to mention Africa, Yemen, etc.). Iran sandwiched between the two massive Sunni Muslim populations. Caliph Ibrahim versus Ayman al-Zawahri. Does this sound like a race to you? The upstart versus the aging veteran? Can you imagine how Iran will be pressed between the two? What happens when a bear is cornered? What happens if instead of running against one another, the Islamic State and al-Qaeda join one another? Lots of alternatives to think about. Jesus come quickly. Blessings. Jack

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