al qaida camel 311.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
The latest reports provide an emerging picture of a Yemen-based terror plot
seeking to use cargo flights to penetrate aviation security and to strike
high-profile targets in the West.
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While an international counterterrorism
investigation is in its early stages, the signs appear to suggest that the
Yemenite-American jihadi cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, could well be the mastermind
behind the foiled attacks.
Awlaki is today the center of gravity for al-
Qaida in Yemen, and has been linked to the failed Christmas bombing plot to blow
up an airliner over Detroit and the Fort Hood mass shooting last
But years before he set up a base in the ungoverned badlands of
Yemen to brainwash and train recruits, Awlaki had already set up a base on the
Internet. Online, he acted as a charismatic English-speaking recruiter for the
global jihad movement, before becoming an operational planner as
Between 2002 and 2004, Awlaki lived in Britain and gave talks to
radical pro-jihad groups. One of his lectures was turned by his followers into
Today, it continues to circulate among adherents.
this type of Internet presence that allowed al-Qaida and its affiliates to
survive the loss of Afghanistan as a sovereign base of operations, and to hover
in cyberspace until a new location became available – in this case,
The Internet is where jihadi ideologues and operational
masterminds continue to plan the overthrow of Arab-Muslim and Asian- Muslim
regimes, and it is where they plan to found a caliphate state in their
High-profile strikes at the West, seen by al-Qaida as the puppet
master keeping “phony” Muslim regimes in power and occupying Muslim lands, are
considered to be obligatory missions by the clerics of the virtual
Here is an excerpt from the Awliki e-book that has circulated
in jihadi forums: “If Allah ‘Azza wa Jall [mighty and majestic] wants victory
for this Ummah [Islamic nation] then Allah ‘Azza wa Jall creates the
circumstances for that. So you can sense victory is coming by looking at what is
happening today... they [the unbelievers] are trying to stop the flow of Islam
and Allah ‘Azza wa Jall says they will fail. When we look at the amount of money
they are spending on fighting Islam it is amazing...”
should take great comfort, Awlaki told his followers, in the massive advantage
in resources enjoyed by the “unbelievers,” as this is what has been prophesied
in the Koran, and serves as further proof of al- Qaida’s coming
“It’s not the Muslims who are waging war against them [the
unbelievers], it’s Allah ‘Azza wa Jall! America is in a state of war with Allah
‘Azza wa Jall! Allah has promised, to those among you who believe and work
righteous deeds, that He will, of a surety, grant them in the land, inheritance
of power, as He granted it to those before them,” Awliki said.
mission of the people today could be very great. We are not saying it is equal
to the mission of Muhammad and his companions, but it is going to be very
great,” Awliki added.
Yaakov Lappin is the author of the forthcoming
The Virtual Caliphate (Potomac Books)www.yaakovlappin.com