By Tom Wyld – SUA Contributer
In light of the looming threat posed by Ad-Dawla Al-Islamiyya (“Islamic State”) and the likely existence of sleeper cells in the U.S. homeland, I submit this appraisal, first penned in August 2013, with revisions and updates to reflect today’s threat.
ISIS is already here.
On Sunday night, 21 July 2013 –– dozens of Jihadis stormed the Baghdad Central Prison, previously known as Abu Ghraib. About 9 suicide bombers and as many as 12 car bombs punched through the hardened perimeter like artillery.
The explosions were followed by streams of Jihadi gunmen. A simultaneous strike was mounted on a jail in nearby Taji, likely a diversion, a terror trademark.
The massive July 2013 raids were the work of Al Qaeda in Iraq, precursor to today’s Ad-Dawla Al-Islamiyya (“Islamic State” or IS).
The White House refers to IS as ISIL or ISIS, names the group abandoned earlier this year. The older terms conjure a group whose designs are limited, regional – Iraq, Syria, the Levant.
Their use by the Administration is likely intentional to minimize a threat that is increasingly global.
Significantly, last year’s 21 July raids occurred one year to the day after Al Qaeda in Iraq announced its “Demolition of the Walls” campaign designed to free imprisoned Jihadis.
Then as now, terrorists keep their word and pursue their uppermost goals with diligence and “long-breathing” (patience).
Flying the banner of the Islamic State of Iraq and Ash-Sham (ISIS), the terror army handily replenished its ranks by freeing at least 600 Al Qaeda fighters that night, but these were no mere foot soldiers.
An Iraqi MP said most were senior, combat-hardened terror leaders who faced execution.
Virtually all were captured during the 2007 Iraq surge under President George W. Bush.
Al Qaeda not only overwhelmed and totally controlled the battle space; it transformed the prison break into a celebration: A source told me ISIS/AQI broadcast by megaphone the names of inmates before springing them from their cells.
The July 2013 jailbreaks and a wave of others swelled militant ranks by the hundreds if not thousands. They prompted the Obama administration to shutter consular offices in 19 countries, from militant-riddled Mauritania in West Africa to the relatively placid and prosperous Mauritius in the Indian Ocean.
I believe the footfalls of soldiers can be foretold by profiling their generals. Militants’ public rhetoric reveals aspirations that suggest threats beyond American icons and aircraft. All we need do is pay attention.
December 2010. In a video titled “Aafia Siddiqui: Captivity & Subjugation: Where are the Heroes?” – Al Qaeda Central warrior-theologian Abu Yahya Al-Libi urged young Muslim men to rescue the “Grey Lady of Baghram.” Convicted in 2010 for shooting soldiers and FBI agents, Siddiqui is serving an 86-year sentence at Federal Medical Center Fort Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas.
June 2012. Ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi campaigned on freeing Blind Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman. So did every other Islamist candidate for president. Abdel-Rahman was convicted of seditious conspiracy and imprisoned for life at Federal Medical Center Butner in North Carolina.
Summer 2012. TheObama administration welcomed an Egyptian delegation that lobbied high-ranking officials at State, the White House and Congress to demand the Blind Sheikh’s release. In that delegation was Hani Nour Al-Din, a member of Jama’at Al-Islamiya, the designated terrorist group Abdel-Rahman led and helped found. The administration bent over backwards to allow the terrorist to lobby by issuing him a visa without advising Congress – a violation of federal law that kept Congress in the dark.
October 2012. Al Qaeda Central Emir Ayman Al-Zawahiri urged Jihadis to kidnap Westerners to trigger the release of Abdel-Rahman and Siddiqui.
January 2013. Mokhtar Belmokhtar, mastermind of the raid on the Algerian gas plant, offered to release all American hostages in exchange for Abdel-Rahman and Siddiqui.
August 2014. IS proposed the release of hostages, including slain journalist James Foley, for millions of dollars and the release of “Muslims currently in your detention like our sister Dr. Afia Sidiqqi (sic)…”
The Take-Away. From Islamist political candidates to Al Qaeda, its affiliates and today’s Islamic State, the release of Blind Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman and “Lady Qaeda” Aafia Siddiqui has been an uppermost priority for years.
The jailbreaks in Iraq proved that the Islamic State was devilishly good at them. In the past year, the Jihadis have only gotten better.
(MAP URL: http://bit.ly/18h0NiP)
About the author – A former Navy Commander, Tom Wyld served since 2008 as director of intelligence for a private security firm specializing in Naval Special Warfare training and operational support. Prior assignments include Communications Coordinator, Swift Boat Veterans & POWs for Truth; lobbyist for State Motorcyclists’ Rights Organizations (e.g., ABATEs); and Chief of Staff and PR Director for the Institute for Legislative Action, the lobbying and political arm of the NRA.