America: The ‘Kill List’ – International Assassination Campaign

The terror state emerging in the West has come to be symbolized by the unfaltering tyranny of the American government, authorizing the infringement of state’s sovereignty for the purpose of slaughter and barbarism through drone strikes on the ambiguous premise of national security.

Obama Launches Unrestricted Drone Warfare for Assassination Campaign

The American system has pledged itself to the protection of free peoples, the security of democracy in lands abroad, and the liberation of those under repressive regimes.  This pro-democracy image has been evinced throughout history by their support of former tyrannies such as Qaddafi in Libya, Pinochet in Chile, Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, the Shah in Iran, and Mobutu in the Congo, among a list of countless others.   So saying, support for state leaders that avidly exploited their people and violated basic human rights is to be expected from a country based on global hegemony through militarism.  Through its imperialist nature of diplomacy, the American government has secured its hold on international domination through the implementation of repressive puppet-regimes and thus serving the purpose of the profiting corporations that funded the policies.  The iron fist of blood and empire that is the American government has proliferated its ideals of patriotism and security, subduing its public base through mass media, whilst launching military strikes on foreign lands.  Nevertheless, this foreign imposition has evolved into new form of authoritarianism, as demonstrated by the assassination campaign  launched by the Obama administration.  The executive branch, the leader of the free people of the world, has become the judge, jury and executioner of any he deems a threat.  This so-called ‘kill list’ illustrates the new democracy of the American system, allowing one man to determine whether people live or die and thus assume an omnipotent and omniscient power over the global arena.  The American powers seek out and destroy their enemies in foreign lands, no matter the civilian casualties and evident violation of sovereignty.  High in the clouds, lightning bolts ready to cast, the gods of the American government stand resolute in their practices of ‘democracy’, ‘liberation’, ‘diplomacy’ and ‘peace’.  The security presented by internationally accepted borders, UN resolutions on sovereignty and UN resolutions on human rights, have now been made redundant by the American use of drones, an unmanned aircraft to rain down death from the skies without any fear of American casualty. Coincidentally enough, many of the supposed ‘terrorists’ on Obama’s picture book are American born and some are teenagers, once again symbolizing the utter lack of morality that is governing the actions of the terror state in the West.

“So where is the real terrorist?  In the Middle East or in the US?  So who is the real terrorist?  Is it Saddam Hussein or your own President?” – Anti-Flag, “Outbreak”

The accountability of the government to the people has been diluted by the alienation of society from its political system, giving the Washington politicians free reign over the implementation of policies.  The consequences of this unrestricted power are clear, internment camps built around the country to aid in the ultimate disappearing act of those brave enough to stand against the United States of Oppression.  Parallel to the Stalin era camps built-in Siberia that ultimately led to the death of any political prisoners of the USSR, the American government is now aspiring to its own Orwellian era of government.  The singing of the Patriot Act under Bush II was the first clear government authorized infringement of American civil liberties and constitutional rights.  Thereafter, Obama signed the NDAA allowing for the detention of American citizens indefinitely.  One such unfortunate case was Daniel Chong, a college student, who was left in a cell without food or water for 5 days by the DEA.  The insurmountable power of the government has now surpassed imagination, with the President given the final word to authorize drone airstrikes to kill US citizens abroad.  When this program was challenged in a New York city court, the judge refused to rule, stating that there are circumstances in which the executive’s decision to kill US citizens overseas is constitutionally committed to the political branches and judicially unreviewable.  Thus, the ‘death list’ is not only permissible but also acceptable by the ‘justice’ system in America, allowing the President to act as recklessly and inhumanely as possible.  President Obama has placed himself at the helm of this ‘top secret nominations’ process to designate terrorists for kill or capture and yet this book of macabre ‘baseball cards’  of an unconventional war targets dozens of American citizens as well.  Obama’s ferocious campaign into counter-terrorism has resulted in an unrestricted  database of viable targets of his choosing, the authorization of careless targeting and has also led in countless civilian death to be later counted as terrorist associated for having been in close quarters with such a national security threat.  Evidently, Obama’s role in the ‘kill list’ is unprecedented and allows for the executive branch to bypass the checks-and-balances so important to democracy, evolving his role into that of assassin-in-chief.

“You want to save the world?  I can tell you what to do!  This solution is for you!  Answer the call up, join the proud, the few.  Pull on the trigger with your heart and soul.  Cause was is peace, now we know.” – Anti-Flag, “Sold as Freedom”

Obama’s top terrorism adviser John Brennan has stated that the ‘kill list’ targets dozens of US citizens who present a threat to the US on the ‘battlefield in Afghanistan or Iraq’ and those in ‘Yemen or in Pakistan or in Somalia’.  So saying, there is an international acceptance of war casualties and the right for a country to kill targeted enemies on a battlefield during a conventional war.  Nevertheless, the ‘kill list’ is not remotely about that, it represents an unconventional warfare that has been declared by the US upon the world and as a consequence has made any person in any state an appropriate target for US slaughter.  The theocracy being built on executive fear, a perpetual state of terror waged domestically and abroad to ensure hegemony and mass complicit behavior, represents the nightmare the founding fathers warned the people about and are now being manifested by the nation-security apparatus that continues to be built-up and institutionalized around the presidency.  The rising powers of the warrior president has left communities around the world in fear and those already targeted, are left without fathers and mothers.  Early last month, Tausug villagers on the Southern Philippine island of Jolo were targeted by a drone strike.  The attack targeted one individual and yet it left 15 people dead a community was left plunged into despair, fear and mourning.  The US, targeting state labeled terrorists, is only sponsoring further US-targeted animosity and given credence to the US-hatred propagated by terrorist organizations around the world.  So instead of combating terrorism and sparking fear in the hearts of ‘America’s enemies’, the US government has sponsored a perpetual costly counter-terrorism war that will only infinitely increase the number of terrorists and American enemies.  Eisenhower was in term during CIA-MI6 operations to oust Mossadegh and distill popular protests in Iran.  The list of America’s sponsored terrorism in lands abroad is boundless and spans into the Americas, Africa and the Middle East.  Evidently, the ‘kill list’ and the use of drones in just another example of unchecked presidential authority, yet the most recent illustration of intensity and expansion of the power demonstrates the boundless ambition of those in power for complete hegemony and control.

“‘Equal Rights.’ ‘Justice’. ‘Democratic Role’. ‘Freedom’. ‘Equality’. All just a total, “Fuck You!’ Empty words in the president slurs in every speech, while scheming behind closed doors with the CIA to undermine Democracy! To undermine Autonomy! To undermine the stability of any leftist populous regime.  Making the president a terrorist!  Making the USA a terrorist!” – Anti-Flag, “America Got It Right” 

In retrospect, the people of the American nation have stood silently by as the president wields unchecked power and instead of standing in defiance, the people seem to permit the President to target fellow citizens for assassination.  The American populous stood by as Bush II signed the Patriot Act allowing for government-run agencies to infiltrate their homes and computers, clearly violating any notion of privacy and freedom.  The American people are complicit in the selling off of the core of values and principles that once symbolized democracy as fought for by the founding fathers.  The 5th Amendment, promising Americans that they will not be ‘deprived of life, liberty, or property, without the due process of law” has been forsaken by the American government.

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Obama: War in Afghanistan Coming to an End

The anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death was marked with President Obama’s secret flight to Afghanistan to sign a strategic pact with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, declaring a slow but gradual withdrawal of American troops and a promised long-term US role in Afghanistan through aid and advisers.

Obama Marks the Death of bin Laden with a Surprise Trip to Afghanistan

Beginning on October 7, 2001, a new phase of the War in Afghanistan began through Bush’s commitment of US troops under his National Security Strategy.  The strategy justified the use of US armed forces abroad to ensure US global hegemony, which was to be permanent.  Through this militaristic approach emerged Operation Enduring Freedom, a response to the 9/11 attacks, in which the US entered a decade long war in search of the al-Qaeda terrorist organisation and to remove the Taliban regime from power, a regime that came into power mainly from US arms support and aid during its years of guerrilla warfare against the incursion of the Soviet Union from 1978 to 1989.  Nearly 3,000 US and NATO soldiers have died during the Afghanistan war since the Taliban were ousted in 2001.  More than 130,000 troops from 50 countries serve in Afghanistan, according to the NATO-led International Security and Assistance Force. The US is the largest contributor, providing about 90,000 troops, followed by the UK (9,500), Germany (4,800) and France (3,600). Now, after the successful assassination of Osama bin Laden and the installation of a democratic regime under President Karzai, Obama has signed a pact discussing how the way will end and promised a steady drawdown of US troops.  The Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) may provide Afghans with reassurances that they will not be abandoned when most NATO combat troops leave as planned in 2014.  For Obama, the plan serves as an opportunity to conclude a war started by his predecessor, George W. Bush, which has become widely unpopular domestically, a move many political ambition theorists suggest will help consolidate his re-election campaign.

“My fellow Americans, we have traveled through more than a decade under the dark cloud of war.  Yet here, in the pre-dawn darkness of Afghanistan, we can see the light of a new day on the horizon.” – Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States

During his speech at Bagram airbase outside of Kabul, Obama committed to pulling 23,000 troops out of the country by the end of the summer and sticking to the 2014 deadline to turn security fully over to the Afghan government.  Some US forces will remain in a post-war Afghanistan as military advisers, but both US and Afghan officials have yet to decide how many troops will continue supporting the Afghan military, and for how long.  The SPA provides a framework for the US-Afghanistan partnership for the decade after the US and allied troop withdrawal.  Specific levels of US forces and funding are not set in the agreement and will be determined by the US in consultation with allies.  With much in store for the future negotiations, the stability of Afghanistan still hangs on a precipice, clearly exemplified by the suicide bombing in Kabul during President Obama’s speech.  The blast killed 7 people outside a compound known as Green Village, illustrating the fragile state of the country.  Some of the more troubling challenges ahead include corruption in Karzai’s weak government, the unsteadiness of Afghan forces in the face of a resilient Taliban insurgency, and Washington’s strained ties with Pakistan where US officials see selective cooperation in cracking down on militants fueling cross-border violence.

“There will be difficult days ahead, but as we move forward in our transitions, I’m confident that Afghan forces will grow stronger; the Afghan people will take control of their future.” – Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States

President Obama’s speech carries different messages for different audiences, one at home and one away.  The more important audience is American voters fed up with a war that will be in its 12th year on Election Day this fall.  Obama is seeking to portray his foreign policy as record as a success.  His campaign team has made bin Laden’s death a key part of that argument, and the President’s visit to the country where militants hatched the September 11 attacks on the United States reinforces that message.   Nevertheless, the message portrayed to the American people is undermined by the hard evidence coming out of Afghanistan.  Politics aside, Afghanistan will remain the third poorest country in the world.  Skepticism is shared by the European Union who have stated that Western aid that has been poured into Afghanistan will have limited impact as long as governance remained poor and corruption widespread.  Moreover, the truth of the troop withdrawal is that even after the US combat mission is concluded in 2014, thousands of US troops will remain for some years to conduct strikes and otherwise train and advise Afghan forces, and help the Afghans collect and exploit intelligence on insurgents and other military targets.  A new Pentagon report describes the capability of the insurgency to replace battlefield losses and launch high-profile attacks, even as it has lost territory to the Us and Afghan forces.  Evidently, the optimistic message given by Obama is largely campaign-drive but the plan behind the message is what is important, a gradual drawdown process through which the US will hopefully avoid another Iraqesque failure.

“As we emerge from a decade of conflict abroad and economic crisis at home, it’s time to renew America.  This time of war began in Afghanistan, and this is where it will end.” – Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States

In retrospect, the message here is that the US is trying to reassure the American populace of an ending war, as well as reassure Afghan leaders the US would not repeat its mistake from the 1980s.  Then, Washington withdrew support for anti-Soviet militia forces in Afghanistan and set the stage for Taliban rule.  The US has been able to decimate the ranks of the terrorist organization al-Qaeda that had taken root in Afghanistan and now the US has the duty to end the war in Afghanistan responsibly, ensuring the security and stability of the country for years to come.

Religion: Islam and Violence

After the events of September 11th, the issue of Islam and violence once again came into intense discussion and debate because of its historic correlation to jihad, intolerance and terrorism.

With the Qur'an as Justification, Islam has Massacred Millions

Not aimed at presenting an ‘Islamphobia’ post, this post aims at presenting the religious dimension of violence that goes back to the heart and origin of Islam.  Despite various political, socio-economic and cultural factors contributing to the rise of violence and terrorism in fundamental Islam (as with all religions), Muslims who commit acts of violence and terror in the name of Allah can find ample justification for their actions based on the open-ended verses and teachings of the Qur’an and the saying of Muhammad (Hadith).  Islam’s doctrines and texts are associated with violence, with laws requiring the eradication of what is considered evil by Islamic standard and law, sometimes using violent means.  Throughout history, Islam’s religious texts or precepts have been used to promote violence.  Classically, and in the modern era, Muslims and their leaders, including a large number of jurists, have upheld Islamic ideas, concepts, texts and themes to justify warfare against non-Muslims.  Some suggest that the Qur’an contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war with non believers for the sake of Islamic rule, verses that are mostly open-ended and therefore are not restrained by historical context of the surrounding text.  To offer a general illustration of the inherent relationship, it would do to point out that the root word for Islam is al-Slim which means submission or  surrender.  The Qur’an not only calls Muslim to submit to Allah, it also commands them to subdue people of other religions until they are in a full state of submission to Islamic rule.  Evidently, this has inspired the aggressive history of Islam and its success in conquering other cultures.

“And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the place whence they drove you out, for persecution of Muslims is worse than slaughter of non-believers, but they desist, then lo!  Allah is forgiving and merciful!  And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah.” – Qur’an 2:191-193

Many claim that the verses in support of fighting in the Qur’an were for a special historical situation concerning the beginning of Islam.  They argue that since prophet Muhammad was persecuted in Mecca for the first 13 years of his ministry, he was justified in his military actions in the last 10 years of his life in Medina and for the support of the budding Islamic movement.  The problem arises however in that nowhere in the Qur’an are the commands to fight restricted to a special time period of against a special group of people.  Far from being mere history or theological construct, the violent verses of the Qur’an have played a key role in very real massacres and genocide.  This includes the brutal slaughter of tens of millions of Hindus for 5 Centuries beginning around 1000 AD with the Mahmud of Ghazni’s blood conquest.  Both he and the later Tamerlane (Islam’s Genghis Khan) slaughtered an untold number of men, women and children.  Muhammad was a military leader, laying siege to towns, massacring the men, raping their women and enslaving their children.  On several occasions he rejected offers of surrender from the besieged inhabitants and even butchered captives.  One prominent example is of the Qurayza Jews, who were completely obliterated only 5 years Muhammad arrived in Medina.  Their leader opted to stay neutral when their town was besieged by a Meccan army.  The tribe had killed no one from either side and even surrendered peacefully to Muhammad after the Meccans had been turned back.  Yet the prophet of Islam had every member of the Qurazya tribe beheaded, and every woman and child enslaved.  He actually inspired his followers to battle when they did not feel it was right to fight, promising them slaves and loot if they did and threatening them with Hell if they did not.  Evidently, Muslim armies waged aggressive campaigns and the religion’s most dramatic military conquests were made by the actual companions of Muhammad in the decades that followed his death.

“In the Jihad which you are seeking, you look for an enemy and invade him.  This type of Jihad takes place only when the Islamic state is invading other countries in order to spread the word of Islam and remove the obstacles in its way.” – Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Egyptian Islamic theologian

Aiming to avoid a concentrated view on the historic study of Islam’s birth through blood and genocide, Islam as an ideology brings contempt and violence as well.  That Islam sees itself as a theocracy has enormous ramifications for how it regards itself and for the behavior of Muslims.  First it means that Islam is not only a religion but also a political ideology, as Muhammad was a political, military and religious leader.  If the government of the Muslim community is simply God’s community, then no other governments can be legitimate.  Thus, they are all at war with God and as a result, Muslims have divided the world into two spheres known as Dar al-Islam – “the house of Islam” – and Dar al-Harb – those who are at war with God.  Second, it means that Muslims have believed themselves to have manifest destiny.  Since God must win in the end, the Dar al-Harb must be brought under the control of the Muslim government and made part of the Dar al-Islam.  Third, since the Dar al-Harb by its nature is at war with God, it is unlikely that it will submit to God without a fight.  Individual groups might be convinced to lay down their arms and join the Muslim community by various forms of pressure – economic or military.  Because of the need to expand God’s domain by wars of conquest, Islam’s ideology imposes on Muslim the duty to fight for God’s community.  This duty is known as Jihad.  The concept of holy fight or struggle has been particularly incumbent on those on the edges of the Muslim world, where there was room for expansion.  Though highly radical, 9/11 still serves as an example of the intrinsic violence involved in fundamentalism, as the terrorists believed their sacrifices as a just part of Jihad.

“He (the Messenger of Allah) did that and said ‘There is another act which elevated the position of a man in Paradise to a grade on hundred higher, and the elevation between one grade and another is equal to the height of heaven from the earth’.  He (Abu Sa’id) said: ‘What is that act?’  He replied: ‘Jihad in the way of Allah!  Jihad in the way of Allah'” – Muslim 20:4645

The examples of international directed violence committed in the name of Islam is endless.  The affiliation of violence and this religion is made most evident by the religious organizations associated with Islam; Al-Qaeda, Taliban, Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Hezbollah.  The acquisition of the enormous land that belonged to the caliphates was through military force and the brutal suppression of opposition.  However, the golden age of the Muslim Empire began to dwindle after the death of Muhammad.  Following his death, there lacked a clear line of succession which resulted in perpetual internal war.  Sunni and Shia Islam are two major denominations of Islam and therefore, for the sake of simplicity, this post will focus on their internal violence as an illustration of the evident nature of bloodshed that is inherent to Islam.  Sunnis believe that abu Bakr, the father of Muhammad’s wide Aisha, was Muhammad’s rightful successor and that the method of choosing or electing leading endorsed by the Qur’an was in the consensus of the Ummah, the Muslim community.  Shias believe that Muhammad divinely ordained his cousin and son-in-law Ali (the father of his grandsons Hasan ibn Ali and Hussein ibn Ali) in accordance with the command of God to be the next Caliph making Ali and his direct descendants Muhammad’s successors.  This difference has resulted in a jagged schism that has left Shias and Sunnis at odds to this day.

“They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing: But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (From what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay they wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks.” – Qur’an 4:89

The Battle of Siffin was the first open hostility between the two sects.  It was fought between Ali and Muawiyah I, on the banks of the Euphrates river.  Following the controversial murder of Uthman ibn Affan, Ali became Caliph but struggled to be accepted as such throughout the Muslim Empire.  Muawiyah, the governor of Syria, was a kinsman of the murdered Caliph, and wanted the murderers brought to justice.  For this reason, Muawiyah rebelled against Ali, who attempted to put down the rebellion.  The battle ended in stalemate and in thousands of casualties.  To the Shia, Ali was the first Imman.  To the Sunnis, Ali was the fourth Caliph Rashidun Caliph, and Muawiyah was the First Caliph of the Ummayyad dynasty.  The event surrounding the battle are highly controversial between Sunni and Shia, and serve as part of the split between the two groups.  More modern examples of the violence conflict are seen in Libya, Syria and Iraq.  In Libya, the tribal organization of the region has left the transitional government unable to stabilize the country because the different Islamist sects are raiding each other’s territories.  In Syria, the opposition forces are mainly Sunni Muslim whereas the leading government figures are Alawite, affiliated with Shia Islam.  As a result the opposition is winning support from the Sunni Muslim states and the regime is publicly supported by the Shia dominated Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah.  The division of Sunni and Shia Islam is also demonstrated in post-US Iraq, in which over 1,000 people have died because of a new wave of sectarian violence.  After the election of the Iraqi Transitional Government, a wave of suicide bombers, believed to be mainly disheartened Iraqi Sunni Arabs, Syrians and Saudis tore through Iraq.  Their targets were often Shia gatherings or civilian concentrations of Shias.

“The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement.” – Qur’an 5:33

The intolerance and hypocritical nature of Islam is evident by it Qur’an verses and history. Islam is intolerant towards the notion of gender equality.  Islam is militaristic, considering Muhammad organized 65 military campaigns in the last 10 years of his life and personally led 27 of them.  Islam is intolerant to other religions, as they discouraged such practices by slaughtering them by masses.  Islam also permitted ownership of slaved the freedom to sexually exploit slaves.  Moreover, despite the fact that Islam prohibits the killing of innocent people, the definition of innocent is rather flexible and has been graded down to the fundamental rule that if someone rejects Muhammad, they are no longer innocent.  Lastly, the incompatibility of Islam and Democracy is also noteworthy, as it bespeaks of its intolerance and tendency to favor dictatorships, repressive regimes and widespread inequality.  Under Islamic law, only Muslim males are entitled to full rights.  Islam is a theocratic system with Allah alone at is head.  Allah’s law is interpreted by a ruling body of cleric.  There is not room for a secular political system in which all people are treated as equals.  The price of challenging Islam is seen by various modern examples of its violent practices.  Hashem Aghajari, an Iranian professor, was given a death sentence because of a speech that criticized some of the present Islamic practices.  Theo van Gogh was assassinated by Mohammed Bouyeri for producing the 10-minute film Submission, critical of the abusive treatment of women by Muslims.  Ehsan Jami was nearly beaten to death in The Netherlands by 3 Muslims for his activities in the Central Committee for Ex-Muslims.  Of course, the more resonating example of Islamic terror and suppression is the Ayatollah of Iran.  Along with announcing Jihad against the US, he has also carried out such practices against Kurds in Iran and categorized the Iran-Iraq war as holy war.  The Ayatollah, along with many Wahhabi fundamentalists, have vocalized their belief in world domination through the Islamic faith; thus, the violent nature of Islam becomes rather apparent.


Yemen: Operation Troy and Anwar al-Awlaki

About 8 kilometers from the Yemeni town of Khashef, Yemeni al-Qaeda leader al-Awlaki was killed by an US drone strike, along with 3 others involved in the terrorism ring.

Anwar al-Awlaki

Along with Samir Khan, an American of Pakistani origin, the radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was killed by the same elite unit that was responsible for the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound and his assassination.  The airstrike on Awlaki’s convoy was directed by the CIA and carried out with the US Join Special Operations Command’s firepower.  The cleric was known for radical anti-American rhetoric spread on the Internet.  His use of modern media allowed Anwar to reach out and inspire people susceptible to radicalization.  His efforts resulted in the inspiration of Major Nidal Hasan, the man responsible for the mass shooting at the Fort Hood army base in Texas in 2009.  Anwar was also the supposed inspiration for the Pakistani-American man who pleaded guilty to the May 2010 Times Square car bombing attempt.  Besides his use of media outlets, Anwar also took a more direct role in planning the attempted Christmas bombing of a Detroit-bound jetliner and in the plot which sent two bombs in printer cartridges on US-bound cargo planes in 2010.

“With the attempted Detroit bombing and the aeroplane cargo bomb plots he has demonstrated his intent and ability to cause mass terror, whilst his murderous ideology was responsible for inspiring terrorist attacks in the UK and the US.  We must keep up the pressure on al-Qaeda and its allies and remain vigilant to the threat we face.”  – William Hague, US foreign secretary

To the US, Anwar was a key figure to American counter-terrorism, serving as a forefront leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).  Al-Alwaki’s death is the latest in a  run of high-profile kills for Washington under President Barack Obama.  This has been seen as the biggest blow to al-Qaeda since the killing of Osama bin Laden.  Anwar al-Awlaki was possibly the organization’s most inspirational cleric and ideologue in the Middle East.  Al-Awlaki perpetuated Osama bin Laden’s vision for the al-Qaeda movement to become self-sustaining.  He was creating franchises for terror organizations, helping al-Qaeda reach potential followers into the United States and the United Kingdom and also Southeast Asia countries such as Singapore with large English-speaking Muslim populations.  With such unique skills eliminated from the repertoire of al-Aqaeda’s remaining leaders, the losses may be extremely difficult to replace within the weakened terror organization.

Nevertheless, al-Awlaki was a US citizen, born in New Mexico to Yemeni parents who have never been charged with any crime.  Civil liberties groups have questions the government’s authority to kill an American without trial. As a global terrorist, targeting the lives of innocent civilians, the rights and liberties guaranteed to Anwar as an American was forfeit.  As a head figure for al-Qaeda, the cleric was a symbol of what the War on Terror has been combating since 2001.  As with Osama bin Laden, the call and directives for his death could not be questioned for the sanctity and security of the American nation as a whole.

“Why kill him in this brutal, ugly way?  Killing him will not solve their problem with al-Qaeda, it will just increase AQAP’s strength and sympathy in this region.” – Abubakr al-Awlaki, relative of the deceased cleric

US officials are warning that the killing of the American-born cleric, the face of AQAP, could spark retaliatory attacks.  Such symbolic deaths could easily provide the motivation for homeland attacks by “homegrown” violent extremists, which stand true concerning al-Awlaki’s role as an inspirational leader for radicalization.  With Yemen wracked by political and social unrest as protesters call for the end of President Ali Adbullah Saleh’s rule, the dissent has allowed al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to gain a crucial foothold in the southern part of the country.

In retrospect, with Operation Troy responsible for yet another death in the hierarchy of the already weakened global terrorist organization of al-Qaeda, the list of leaders for al-Qaeda has shrunk but still remains extensive and formidable.

  1. Ayman al-Zawahiri
  2. Abu Yahya al-Libi
  3. Khalid al-Habib
  4. Adnan el Shukrijumah
  5. Atiyah Abd al-Rhman
  6. Said al-Adel
  7. Mustafa Hamid
  8. Saad bin Laden
  9. Hamza al-Jawfi
  10. Matiur Rehman
  11. Abu Khalil al-Madani
  12. Midhat Mursi
  13. Fahd Mohammed Ahmed al-Quso
  14. Adam Gadahn
  15. Nassar Abdul Karim al-Wuhayshi
  16. Abou Mossab Abdelwadoud

 

9/11: Credible Terrorist Threat

With the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaching, the American community has come together to remember the loss and grief, as well as the strength and unity, that resulted from that horrific day.

Down at Ground Zero, preparations are being made for the official opening ceremony of the 9/11 Memorial, which is intended to take place on 9/10/2011. The eight-acre site is dominated by two remembrance pools, known as the “Reflecting Absence”.  The pools have been placed where the two World Trade Center Towards once stood, with two deep holes into which two-stage waterfalls pour into one central chasm.  Around the pools, ingrained in bronze panels, are the name of the 2,982 people who died in the towers, the victims on all four hijacked aircrafts and those who died in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.  Around the memorial are 400 white oak trees planted there from the other locations near where the other attacks occurred.  The most symbolic tree amongst them all is the callery pear tree that stand in the middle of the memorial.  Called the “Survivor’s Tree”, the tree was at the site of the WTC during the attack and was recovered and nursed back to health.  The tree is symbolic of America’s ability to heal and renew. 

“If most people’s memory of 9/11 is defined by the burning towers, mine is defined by those hardened firefighters sitting at Yaffa’s long bar with tears rolling down their cheeks, talking, arguing, shouting about nothing at all so they could block out their gruesome day’s work.” – Graham Boynton, reporter for The Telegraph

As the plans are being made, the ceremonies planned and the people in mourning, the government has been put on high alert because of credible threats to the US from al-Qaeda.  Starting within the last 24 hours, US authorities are trying to scramble through credible information from the CIA that three individuals have entered the US and are planning to launch a vehicle-borne attack against Washington DC or New York at some point close to the anniversary.  The news complements the previously raided information from Bin Laden’s compound, in which information was found revealing his persistent interest in attacking the US around the anniversary of the 2001 attacks. With Aymana al-Zawahiri ascending to power and pledging to avenge Bin Laden’s death, the Department for Homeland Security believes it could be possible that al-Qaeda plans on enforcing those threats. 

“Nevertheless,the President directed the counterterrorism community to redouble its efforts in response to this credible but unconfirmed information.” – White House official

Along with the New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, many US officials believe that the threat will ultimately not check out and that the threat had not been corroborated.  Nonetheless, officials are on heightened alert and are beginning to take precautionary measures.  As always, it is better for the US community and government to go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that any rumoured threat is not carried out.  At this stage, being over prepared is much better than being under prepared.  New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has announced increasing security, including more bag inspections on the subway,more bomb-sniffing dogs on patrol and an increased deployment of radiation monitoring equipment.  The main focus will be on tunnels and bridges and infrastructure in general.  Naturally, much of the security will be surrounding landmark sites, houses of worship and government buildings. 

“Sometime this reporting is credible and warrants intense focus, other time it lacks credibility and is highly unlikely to be reflective of real plots under way.  Regardless, we take all threat reporting seriously, and we have taken, and will continue to take all steps necessary to mitigate any threats that arise.” – Matt Chandler, spokesman for the US Department of Homeland Security

In retrospect, much of the American community remembers the consistent reports by international media assets of the disarray in which al-Qaeda had fallen into after the death of Bin Laden, al-Qaeda’s number 1,and Atiyah abd al-Rahman, al-Qaeda’s second in command.  However, the information illustrates that the potential attacks have been extensively developed and coordinated.  Moreover, the plan does not take that many people or resources to carry out, even for a fractured organization.  No Matter the state of al-Qaeda, or any terrorist organization for that matter the organizations will always remain a threat. 

“We have to not let the terrorists win by intimidation.”– Michael Bloomberg, New York City Mayor