US asks UN to Declare Hamid Gul a Terrorist

The US is asking the UN to declare Hamid Gul and three other ex-ISI terrorists, this according to the International Times. Since Hamid Gul himself is a known liar, (see this interview two weeks after 9/11,) I wouldn’t put it beyond him to float this finely crafted newsbit on his own. So the 24 hour rule is in effect on this one, we will wait and see what the other papers say. The US Embassy is denying Hamid’s Tale:

The US has given four names of former ISI officials, including Lt-Gen (retd) Hameed Gul, to the UN Security Council to put them on the list of international terrorists.

Government of Pakistan is aware of this move, which is considered here by some as part of an international conspiracy to target the ISI, whose reformation has already been sought by Washington.

The US embassy in Islamabad claims to be completely unaware of this move while the foreign office spokesman also did not come up with any explanation on the matter despite being approached on Tuesday.

However, Lt-Gen (retd) Hameed Gul confirmed to this correspondent that he was included in the list of those four or five former ISI officials whose names had been provided to the UN secretary-general by the US government to be included in the list of international terrorists.

Gul admitted that he had already met the foreign affairs secretary to discuss the issue. A Foreign Office source also told this correspondent that the issue had already been referred to the prime minister’s office but despite the lapse of a few weeks, no decision had been taken by the government so far. It is not clear whether or not Islamabad wants to pursue intense lobbying to stop this thing to happen.

A diplomatic source in Washington, however, told this correspondent that it would not be easy for the United States to get all these names enlisted in the list of terrorists because it would require the consent of the all the five permanent members of the Security Council.

Foreign Office spokesman Muhammad Sadiq was contacted on Tuesday to give its response on the matter but The News has not heard anything from his side till the filing of this report on Wednesday night. Off the cuff, Sadiq said he had heard or read about this but was not sure about the case.

The Pakistan embassy in Washington is not in the know of this move. Pak envoy to US Hussain Haqqani, when contacted, said he had no comment to offer as no such thing was routed through the Pakistani embassy.

This is coming from a behind the scenes puppet master who’s bridged terror groups and politics in Pakistan for decades. An old-guard ISI Lt General who some would also say was tied to Lal Masjid, the murders and kidnappings of Chinese nationals, and some of the targetted assassinations of Pakistan and US Government officials. Who knows, perhaps in the wake of the terror murders in Mumbai he’s feeling a bit vulnerable as old friends are on the run and of little aid at the moment.

Senior Al Qaeda Leader Targetted in Bannu Missile Strike

Reports from Bill Roggio and AFP both say we might have gotten another member of Al Qaeda’s Shura council, Abdullah Azam al-Saudi. A good way to go into the Thanksgiving holidays.

UPDATE From The News:

BANNU/PESHAWAR: Four people were killed and five others sustained injuries when the US drones targeted a house in Janikhel area of Bannu district in the wee hours of Wednesday. The attack marked the first-ever US missile strike in the settled areas of the country.

Of those killed in the attack on the house of a local, Paran, in Zindi Alikhel area of Janikhel Union Council, is stated to be Abdullah Azam al-Saudi, a senior member of the al-Qaeda network. The report, however, could not be confirmed from official sources.

If the reports of the death of Abdullah Azam al-Saudi in the missile attack prove to be correct, he would be the second high-profile al-Qaeda operative killed in the US missile strikes inside the Pakistani territory.

Bannu District Police Officer (DPO) Muhammad Alam Shinwari told The News from his office in the southern district that the missile hit the house of a local in Janikhel around 3:45 am, killing four persons and injuring five others.

The owner of the house, he added, was among those wounded in the attack. Janikhel had become a de facto tribal area for the past several months after militants spilled over there from the North and South Waziristan agencies as well as from the Bannu Frontier Region. The area had almost become a ‘no-go area’ for the police.

According to some reports, three among those killed in the attack were foreigners, including two Uzbeks and a Saudi national. Some of those wounded were also said to be foreigners but their names could not be ascertained.

Reacting strongly to the US attack in Bannu, the MPA hailing from Janikhel, Adnan Wazir, announced to submit an adjournment motion in the legislature against the air strike. “No one among those killed in the attack was a foreigner nor were they terrorists. Innocent locals were killed in the attack, which is a violation of the borders of the country,” Adnan Wazir said

JaniKhel is about 12-15 miles S by SW of Bannu proper as a crow flies, the google earth pics are low res for that area, not much to see. Click on the thumbnail to enlarge. The strike likely occurred in the vicinty of the three markers A, B, C, and the white line designates the direction to Bannu.

Sayyid Imam Calls Zawahiri a Liar and Cursed Before God

In a book being published serially, Sayyid Imam points out the lies and double-dealing of Ayman Al Zawhari, and challenges him to a cursing before God. See here at Jihadica, partial list below:

  • Zawahiri repeatedly says I wrote the Document [the Tarshid] under the supervision of the U.S. and the Jews. He is a liar and I call him to a mubahala. I swear to God that I wrote the Document to help Islam and if Zawahiri has lied about this, may God curse him.
  • What Zawahiri says about the Document he also said about Bin Laden. Zawahiri accused UBL of being an agent of Saudi intelligence working among the Islamic movements when UBL didn’t support them with money in 1995. Zawahiri thinks everyone is a traitor like him.
  • Zawahiri accused me of being an agent of Sudanese intelligence. I swear that I heard Zawahiri say to me in Sudan at the end of 1993 that he had to carry out 10 operations for the Sudanese in Egypt and that he received $100,000 from them to that end. If he denies it, I call him to a second mubahala: I swear Zawahiri said this and if he denies it, may God send his curse down upon him.
  • He began working for the Sudanese a year after I cut off my ties with Islamic Jihad. He paid the Islamic Jihad group in Egypt to carry out operations there. I sat with them and warned them that it was futile and not required by Islamic law, but Zawahiri persisted. He and his brother swore they would go fight in Egypt until they died, but they did not; they let others die there instead.
  • For those not knowing who this person is, he wrote the book on Jihad originally used to train Al Qaeda, and is one of Ayman Al Zawahiri’s oldest associates.
    [ Editor: note that underlying this is not just fear of Allah, and it’s not just personal. A mubahala involves Zawahiri’s family as well, and who is to say how Allah’s will in the curse would be wrought? See this section from Wiki:

    Muhammad called them to Mubahala(Cursing), where each party should ask God to destroy the lying party and their families. Muhammad, to prove to them that he is a prophet, brought his daughter Fatimah and his surviving grandchildren, Hasan and Hussein, and Ali ibn Abi Talib and came back to the Christians and said this is my family (Ahl al-Bayt) and covered himself and his family with a cloak

    ]

    h/t Internet Hagganah

    Another Haqqani Madrassah Hit

    Another predator missile attack occurred at the main Haqqani madrassa in Pakistan today, the previous is detailed here.

    This appears to be a new strategy, with strikes coming non stop and that should keep the leaders moving. Since Pakistan suspended the FRC’s perhaps Nato intends to apply them as needed in the frontiers. The old code made sure that leaders in the frontiers took sometimes draconian responsibility for crimes committed in their tribal lands. Sometimes they called for houses to be destroyed. In this case Haqqani is waging war against fellow Pashtun muslims at the bidding of Arab interlopers. Many thousands of innocents have died at Taliban hands this year both North in Afghanistan, and right in Pakistan.

    There have been statements in the Pakistan press that Ayman al Zawahiri and Osama Bin Laden, as well as the Haqqanis are all in Afghanistan, however those statements come quite frequently. My money says they are still in or near Quetta, Peshawar, and/or Lahore. They always seem to gravitate back there.

    More on Today’s strike at The Long War Journal

    Pakistan Reopens Torkham Border Crossing to NATO Supplies

    Pakistan shut down the border crossing at Torkham to NATO fuel supplies after a series of raids by the US in Pakistan aimed at taking out the leadership of the Taliban and Al Qaeda. They reoppened the crossing today, and it demonstrates the power Pakistan has over Nato supply lines at the moment. The only other options to supply are by air, or overland and sea via Georgia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, or through Russia. Either presents problems at the moment, as does negotiatng new supply routes from China via the silk road.

    These raids have increased in tempo since the beginning of the year, but have not to our knowledge taken out anyone higher than mid level in either organization. Osama Bin Laden, Mullah Omar, Ayman Al Zawahiri, Baitullah Mehsud, Haqqani, and Abu Yazid Al Masri are still all out there to the best of my knowledge.

    While many Taliban and AQ were killed, the identities are largely unknown until we get confirmations from other sources.

    More on the interdiction of supplies from Bill Roggio:

    The US has recently stepped up attacks against Taliban and al Qaeda safe houses and training camps inside Pakistan’s tribal areas of North and South Waziristan over the last week. The US has conducts five strikes in the Waziristans in the past week, including a controversial helicopter assault in a village along the border.

    But other Pakistani officials are maintaining that the border crossing was closed due to a deteriorating security situation. Rahmin Malik, the advisor to Prime Minister Gilani on internal security, said the road was closed after members of the security forces protecting the road to Afghanistan were kidnapped.

    This is a political move, demonstrating the new President’s independence from US control, but ultimately the Pakistan economy could not withstand the shock of stopping the supplies permanently, as well as the other likely reprecussions. It is significant that Pakistan also made this move as the India nuclear deal took place, allowing open trade with India and bringing them back into the nuclear arms treaties. Similar deals were in the works with Pakistan, but those fell through, more from the chaos of the elections and the aftermath of forming a new coalition after the initial one collapsed.

    Pakistan’s future could be bright: They sit on the best path for energy and food supplies to most of the subcontinent, but as long as their frontiers remain out of control they will never be able to leverage that geopolitial advantage very well.

    Yazid Al Masri Update: Army Spokesman Partially Confirms Death of AQ #3

    From the Pakistan Daily Times we have a named source saying that they think Abu Yazid “Saeed” Al Masri is dead. He refuses to confirm until secondary verification from ground sources however.

    From the Daily Times:

    Strikes by Pakistani fighter jets have killed a senior Al Qaeda commander in the Bajaur Agency, according to unofficial reports on Tuesday. Military spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas said the security agencies had intelligence on presence of top Al Qaeda operative Abu Mustafa Al Yazid but his death could not be confirmed as yet by “contacts on the ground”. “I can only speak when we have 100 percent confirmation that he was killed,” Abbas told Daily Times. However, he confirmed air raids in the area by security forces.

    UPDATE II: In the International Times they have both Taliban and “Arab” sources denying the death of Abu Yazid “Saeed” Al Masri. This looks like another false report from Pakistan’s Military at the moment, but note that the military also states that intercepted insurgent radio chatter is where they first heard of the death, we’ll give this another 48 hours since Al Qaeda ususally does confirm when we kill a leader.

    Update: Apparently after the strike the bodies where taken away, and then sent to separate villages, see this article.

    Militants’ positions were also targeted by artillery and mortars from the paramilitary Bajaur Scouts headquarters in Khar, they added. The officials said 21 militants were killed and several were injured in the daylong bombing and artillery shelling on their hideouts.

    Officials said the militants later took bodies of the slain and injured colleagues to their headquarters in Seway village of Mamond subdivision. “After their funeral prayers offered in Seway, the bodies of the militants were dispatched to their respective villages for burial,” sources close to militants told The News from Seway.

    Sources said the militants from other tribal regions, including South Waziristan, Khyber, Mohmand and settled districts of Mardan, Peshawar, Nowshera, Dir and Swabi also reached the area to fight alongside their fellow fighters in the Bajaur Agency against the security forces.

    [also note that the village mentioned has a history. You also see that the Mullah Faqir mentioned in the article and released in 2006 is leading the Taliban here.]

    Today’s Earlier Post:
    Pakistan has announced the death of Abu Yazid “Saeed” al-Masri in the Bajaur region as a result of their ongoing offensive there. (The Reuters story specifies an “Unamed Official, but that’s normally how these reports come from Pakistan.) Originally billed as Al Qaida’s leader in Afghanistan way back in May 2007 in an As Sahab video, he later seemed to have been replaced in subseqent announcements by other AQ leaders in Afghanistan as they tried Emir after Emir. I think this was by design after Dadullah’s death, their second tier now leads from the rear. He was the replacement after we killed Mullah Dadullah, and from what I can see he was in the second tier of leadership of Al Qaeda, managing both in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Here is the video announcing him as leader in Afghanistan from Memri.

    While I’m calling Abu Yazid as a “tier II” leader, some refer to him as Al Qaeda’s number three, he also served time in the same cell alongside Ayman Al Zawahiri in Egypt. Regardless of where you place his position, he is part of the critical strategic leadership for AQ, and this is a tremendous blow to them if the initial reports pan out.

    He was the one who declared Jihad against Turkey, and later he pops up in the news claiming credit for the Benazir Bhutto assassination for Al Qaeda. ( Rememeber that many think Baitullah Mehsud did it as well, I would still wager that AQ ordered the killing and that Baitullah managed the logistics.)
    You can also see in this dispatch at Memri that he doesn’t distinguish between civilians and government for purposes of Jihad.

    Here’s the story from Fox News:

    Senior Al Qaeda commander Abu Saeed al-Masri has been killed in recent clashes with Pakistani forces in a Pakistani region near the Afghan border, a security official told Reuters on Tuesday.

    “He was believed to be among the top leadership of Al Qaeda,” the senior security official told the news agency on condition of anonymity.

    Al-Masri, which means Egyptian, was the senior most Al Qaeda operative to have been killed in Pakistan’s tribal belt since the death of his compatriot, Abu Khabab al-Masri, an Al Qaeda chemical and biological weapons expert, last month

    You can also see that Abu Yazid Al Masri, like all Al Qaeda leadership, interprets Jihad the way he wants to at the moment. Here he specifically states that blowing up mosques is forbidden, but later you saw Al Qaeda suicide bomb the mosque at Charsadda in an attempt to get Aftab Ahmed Sherpao:

    In the interview, Abu Al-Yazid stated that Al-Qaeda was responsible for the attack on the Danish Embassy in Islamabad last June. He said that the bomber was a Saudi, and added: “We are proud to have carried out [this operation], and we congratulated our brothers for completing this task. We timed the attack in such a way that no Muslims were in the vicinity.” Abu Al-Yazid also stated that Al-Qaeda had been responsible for the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. On a previous occasion, he claimed that the organization had carried out the December 27, 2007 assassination of former Pakistani prime-minister Benazir Bhutto.

    Referring to the permissibility of suicide bombings, Abu Al-Yazid said that eminent Islamic scholars around the world had issued fatwas sanctioning them. He added: “Suicide attacks are justified by Islamic shari’a. [However, Islamic] scholars [who are affiliated with] governments issue whatever fatwas they are told to issue… However, suicide attacks inside mosques are forbidden.”

    Meanwhile the offensive in Bajaur is continuing, I think the ruling coalition in Pakistan has realized that they must get AQ and Baitullah before the terrorists get them. ( Baitullah circulated a list of 300 PPP and PML-N stalwarts up for assassination last month.)

    More at Jawa Report

    More at The Long War Journal

    Al Zawahiri Injured or Dead? UPDATE: False Report From CBS Based on Flimsy Doc.


    FINAL UPDATE:

     Pakistan Taliban Deny Zawahiri’s death. Maulvi Omar is the spokesworm for Baitullah Mehsud, and while he might be lying, it’s not likely. The Taliban are quick to promote the death of leaders on the internet when there are deaths (as they did this week with the real death from the missile strike) as this gains them more recruits at times. Once again CBS news has run with a weak story based on probably fraudulent documents. From Maulvi Omar, Spokesworm:

    “Ayman al Zawahri was not present there. Ayman al Zawahri is neither present in Waziristan nor in Bajaur,” Omar said, referring to another Pakistani tribal region known as a sanctuary for al Qaeda militants.

    A senior Pakistani intelligence officer also rejected suggestions that Zawahri was present when al-Masri was killed. “It’s absurd,” he told Reuters, adding that the only notable casualty had been al-Masri.

    Once again I will mention that if Zawahiri and Bin Laden are in Pakistan it’s more likely that they are in a large walled compound in the exurbs of Peshwar, Lahore, or Islamad. (Remember where they found Kardazic?)

    Previous Report:

    CBS has an unconfirmed report up that Ayman Al Zawahiri, Al Qaeda’s number two but also their strongest master of strategy, might be injured. Judge for yourselves, I’ve seen no mention of this in Pakistani papers, but I’m on my way out to dig now:

    CBS News has obtained a copy of an intercepted letter from sources in Pakistan, which urgently requests a doctor to treat al-Zawahiri. He’s believed to be somewhere in Pakistan’s remote tribal areas of Pakistan.

    The letter refers to Sheikh Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri by name – and says that he is in “severe pain” and his “injuries are infected.”

    It is reportedly written by local Taliban leader, Baitullah Mehsud, whose signature and seal are visible on the letter.

    The Taliban logo and the Mehsud’s seal have been confirmed by experts as legitimate.

    However, CBS News has not been able to confirm the authenticity of Baitullah Mehsud’s signature and seal.

    Stepping back and looking at the bigger picture, the TTP and AQ have shown that they want nothing less than a separate state for themselves carved out of the frontiers of Pakistan. Failing that they will attack Pakistan, and have throughout the negotiations. Baitullah Mehsud’s previously mentioned assassination list of 300 PPP and ANP politicos also sends clear message that Pakistan needs to get the leaders of AQ before AQ gets them. Against that background I could see this happening…

    Update: more at the Jawa Report

    UPDATE: Bill Roggio is reporting that the information CBS is basing the story on comes from a suspect source. Unfortunately there’s a conflict out there that seems to be between IE and Sitemeter.com, which Bill uses. You can’t get to the site with IE, so use firefox if you want to read.

    Update: More from Hot Air and from Lawhawk

    Four days later, two reports emerged that stated Zawahiri was either killed or seriously injured in the strike. The first news on Zawahiri’s involvement in the strike came from STRATFOR, which repeated the claim from a Pashtu television station that Zawahiri was killed. The Pakistani station broadcast the report of Zawahiri’s demise on July 29, yet the report was not repeated in Pakistan’s robust, independent media outlets.

    Update: AFP writes that there is not yet confirmation.

    [Editor: I will back up what Bill is saying – surfing all of the Pakistani major newspapers, blogs, and forums reveals zero stories on this. The factor that’s different about this story is the letter that CBS in theory has. As we know however, they’ve been suckered by fraudulent documents in the past.]

    Interesting, but probably unrelated.

    Factors for Doubt:

    • Zawahiri has been referenced in missives to the Doctors in Jundullah in the past, along with Bin Laden however they have always been referenced by code names, and vagueness – like “the good doctor in Quetta”.
    • There are active raids, like the one against the Haqqani compound Monday, but so far they seem to have come up dry.
    • So far no secondary confirmation in the Pakistani press, I’m still looking for news that does not circularly reference the CBS article.

    In other news from Pakistan the TTP insurection in Swat continues, with the Army using convential tactics to fight against the Taliban. Also note that security forces are swinging into place on the borders of Swat, possible to bottle up the Taliban. NWFP will continue operations in Swat.
    The order transferring the sometimes renegade ISI of Pakistan under the Interior Ministry is still standing. [editor: I seem to have lost the four links in the bottom section during my updates, you can see the stories confirming the “other news” section in Saturday editions of The Frontier Post, The International News, The Pakistan Observer, and The Daily Times.]

    Baitullah Mehsud Calls on Pakistan to Use Nuclear Arsenal “to Defend Against the Enemies”.

    In this brief interview you will see Baitullah Mehsud, leader of TTP, or Pakistan’s Taliban, deny the assasination of Benazir Bhutto (methinks he doth protest too oft and too much…) as well as praise Bin Laden. He states that Bin Laden is not “in this region”, but they would do whatever he asks.

    Then he goes on to exhort the Pakistan government to use their Nuclear power against the enemies, later he identifies the enemies of their Jihad as Christians and Jews.

    Watch here at Memri.

    Keep in mind that Baitullah is a well practiced liar and manipulator — way back during the putsch of Uzbeks in his region he had me hoping that he was actually anti-AQ. That hope was false, and like the rest of the Neo-Takfirist Pashtun Jihadis in Pakistan, he is their lapdog.