The Obama administration thought al Qaeda would not attack U.S. interests on the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, but recent reports indicate that al Qaeda was directly involved in at least four attacks on U.S. embassies on or around September 11.
According to Thomas Joscelyn, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, al Qaeda was directly involved in attacks on U.S. interests in Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Yemem and may have also been involved in attacks on U.S. interests in Sudan and Pakistan.
On September 10, al Qaeda’s leader, Ayman al Zawahiri, released a video that served as a global call to arms to al Qaeda members to exact revenge for the death of Abu Yahya al Libi, one of al Qaeda’s top officials.
The day after, al Qaeda members and sympathizers unleashed chaos across North Africa and the Middle East in sophisticated attacks that had nothing to do with an anti-Islam video and were coordinated and planned months in advance.
Egypt (September 11) — According to Joscelyn, Mohammed al Zawahiri, the younger brother of al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri and an Egyptian Islamic Jihad operative, said he organized protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. The group, along with Gamaa Islamiya (IG), another ally of al Qaeda, planned these attacks before the anti-Muhammed video.
Joscelyn notes that al Zawahiri’s video cut to a clip of Zawahiri saying al Qaeda’s strength is “not in its leaders but in its ideology.” He notes that the “demonstrators at U.S. embassy protest in Cairo chanted, “Obama! Obama! We are all Osama!”
Libya (September 11) – Despite the Obama administration lying to the American public about knowing of al Qaeda’s involvement — even after its intelligence officials knew within hours that terrorists were involved in Ambassador Chris Stevens’ murder — there have been even more al Qaeda-affiliated groups found to be involved than initially known. Joscelyn notes these groups include al “Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and the Ansar al Sharia militia, which is headed by an ex-Guantanamo detainee and known al Qaeda operative named Sufyan Ben Qumu.” The Daily Beast, Joscelyn notes, reported these two groups were in contact immediately after the attacks. Egyptian Islamic Jihad, another al-Qaeda affiliated group, may have also been involved in the attacks.
A member of this group, Muhammad Jamal Abu Ahmad, according to the Wall Street Journal, “has petitioned” al Qaeda’s leaders to build a terror group called the Jamal Network and his group’s members are “suspected of funneling Egyptian militants to training camps in Libya.”
Congressional leaders and other U.S. foreign policy leaders had been warned months before the attacks that al Qaeda was building a fully operational network in Libya.
Yemen (September 13) – Sheikh Abdul Majeed, a known al Qaeda ally, called for protests on the U.S. embassy in Sanna, according to Joscelyn. He notes that in 2004, the U.S. Treasury Department listed Zindani as an Osama bin Laden “loyalist” who “has a long history of working with bin Laden, notably serving as one of his spiritual leaders, is “able to influence and support many terrorist causes, including actively recruiting for al Qaeda training cams.” and plays “a key role in the purchase of weapons on behalf of al Qaeda and other terrorists.”
Joscelyn notes “Zindani oversees a network of radical schools, including Al Iman University in Sanaa” and the school’s graduates “have included terrorists and extremists, including John Walker Lindh (the “American Taliban”) and al Qaeda operatives.” His son had also previously called for attacks against the U.S. embassy and urged Yemenis to “raise the flag of Islam and wage war on the American infidels, starting with US ambassador to Yemen, Gerard Feierstein.”
According to Joscelyn, “Ansar al Sharia in Yemen is, in fact, the sister organization of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Both are headed by Nasir al Wuhayshi, bin Laden’s former aide de camp in Afghanistan.”
Tunisia (September 14) – According to Joscelyn, Seifallah ben Hassine, a notorious al Qaeda terrorist who leads Ansar al Sharia Tunisia, orchestrated the attacks on the Tunisian embassy. This group has also attacked U.S. interests in Libya and Yemen.
Joscelyn notes Hassan reportedly met with Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri prior to the September 11, 2001 attacks. Two days before the 9/11/01 attacks, two Tunisians were involved in the murder of Northern Alliance leader Ahmed Shah Massoud, eliminating a key American ally and enemy of the Taliban and al Qaeda, from Afghanistan. Hassan’s terrorists group had also plotted terrorist attacks in Europe, including on the U.S. embassy in Rome, as early as 2001.
Al Qaeda may have also attacked U.S. interests in Sudan, Pakistan, where Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chieftain Hafiz Muhammad Saeed led a protest of “at least 8,000 people.” As Joscelyn notes, the U.S. government has offered a $10 million bounty for Saeed and he has been implicated in the terrorists attacks in Mumbai in 2008.
Saeed has reportedly said “Obama’s statements have caused a religious war,” and “this is not going to be resolved soon” because “Obama’s statement has started a cultural war.”
“From the perspective of al Qaeda and affiliated groups, Saeed’s comments are likely what this was all about,” Joscelyn write. “They want to show that al Qaeda’s ideology has not been defeated, that the terror network still has street muscle, and that they can kill American diplomats.”
Obama has campaigned that he has damaged al Qaeda after his administration killed bin Laden. Far from what Obama wants Americans to believe, these incidents and comments indicate al Qaeda has not been weakened and undercut one of Obama’s central campaign themes. This might be why the Obama administration may have panicked and lied in the aftermath of these attacks, hoping Americans would not find out what the Obama administration knew were inconvenient truths.