August 18, 2022

Al Qaida is Alive and Getting Stronger and Obama Downplays the Threat

On August 2, 2013, the United States gave the unprecedented order to close 21 embassies and consulates in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Cautionary travel advisories were also issued for Americans traveling during the month of August to those countries. Four embasy guardeddays later, the State Department ordered non-essential personnel at the United States embassy in Yemen to leave the country. It also advised all Americans to leave Yemen.

A United States Air Force airplane was sent to Sanaa, Yemen´s capital, to pick up around 90 Americans from our embassy and bring them back to our nation. The State Department´s list of extended closings of embassies and consulates included Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Yemen, Libya, Djibouti, Sudan, Madagascar, Burundi, Rwanda, Mauritius, Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Iraq, and Mauritania.

The shutdown of such a great number of consulates and embassies was instigated by an embassies shot downintercepted secret message between Al Qaeda chief Ayman al Zawahri, who lives in Pakistan, and Nasir al Wuhayshi, the leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Yemen, regarding credible plans for a major terrorist attack. In May 2012, AQAP sent a suicide bomber and killed more than 100 military cadets at a rehearsal for a military parade in Sanaa.

The United States has been conducting targeted drone attacks in Yemen for several years. However, AQAP remain strong in the southern part of that nation. Recently, four Al Qaeda members were killed when a drone fired a missile at a car carrying them and another drone attack on August 7 killed seven drones firingterrorists in Yemen. The latest attack was the fifth in Yemen in the last two weeks.

On August 4, 2013, United States Representative Michael McCaul, Republican from Texas and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told CBS News the following regarding the threat posed by Al Qaeda: “I must say this is probably one of the most specific and credible threats I have seen since 9/11 and that´s why everybody´s taking it so seriously. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff called it extremely significant.”

United States Representative Peter King, Republican from New York and previous chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, stated on the same day that intelligence officials believe an attack is most likely to occur in the Arabian Peninsula in the Middle East, but “it could be in Europe, it could be in the United States, it could be a series of combined attacks.” Americans who believed the president´s erroneous and misleading statements downplaying the threat of Al Qaeda must have been shocked by the unprecedented closing of so many embassies and consulates throughout the world.

On August 1, 2013, White House spokesman Jay Carney tried to distance the president from the optimistic language of the recent past. Carney pointed out that the administration had made clear that Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was of particular concern since it had demonstrated a willingness to participate in serious attacks.

Muslim-BrotherhoodJay Carney was covering up for the president and other members of his administration in failing to alert the nation of the immense threat of Al Qaeda. It is known now that Al Qaeda is not only growing in Yemen but is participating in a major way in the Civil War in Syria. Al Qaeda fighters are creating havoc in Iraq. Another affiliate of Al Qaeda almost overran Mali in  Africa. The poor country was saved by troops from France, while President Obama provided logistical support. Al Qaeda is also active in Algeria and other countries in North Africa. Other terrorist groups are active in Nigeria and other African countries.

The associate director of the RAND Corporation International Security and Defense Policy Center, Seth Jones, recently testified in Congress that the United States should view the threat of Al Qaeda as a long term struggle similar to the Cold War. This was the exact opposite of what the president has been saying over the last two years.

YEMEN-UNREST-US-FILM-PROTESTThe government of Yemen was upset at the evacuation of their embassies by the United States and Great Britain. On August 6, the Foreign Ministry of Yemen issued the following statement: “The decision by the United States and Great Britain to evacuate their embassy staff serves the interests of the extremists and undermines the exceptional cooperation between Yemen and international alliance against terrorism… Yemen remains strongly committed to the global effort to counter the threats of Al Qaeda and its affiliates.” Unfortunately, in Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and other Middle Eastern countries Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups have infiltrated the police and the army. Thus, it is very hard to rely on local security forces to protect our diplomats, as it happened in Benghazi when Libyan security forces melted away just before the terrorist attack that killed ambassador and three others.

The Yemeni army currently has surrounded foreign embassies, government offices and the airport with tanks and troops in Sanaa as well as a strategic city at the entrance to the Red Sea. One of our drones has been flying over Sanaa for most of the day, according to a foreign reporter.

Who are these two Al Qaeda principal leaders who were responsible for the closing of embassies and consulates from northern and eastern Africa to south Asia?

Ayman al Zawahiri

ayman al zawahiriAyman al Zawahiri, current leader of Al Qaeda was born on June 19, 1951, in Maadi, Egypt. His family was from the upper class and many were doctors and scholars. At the age of 14, al Zawahiri became part of an Islamist group. He graduated from Cairo University in 1974 as a medical doctor and four years later he received his masters in surgery.

In 1979, al Zawahiri joined the radical Islamic jihadists who were fighting in Afghanistan to resist the Soviet Union’s occupation of that country. He became  second-in-command to Osama bin Laden. In 1998, al Zawahiri was indicted in the United States for his role in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Africa. During that same year, he formerly merged his terrorist organization, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, into Al Qaeda, and issued a joint statement with Osama bin Laden. The following year he was sentenced to death in absentia in Egypt for killing 62 tourists.

Al Zawahiri was believed to have been the operational brain behind the September 11, 2001 attacks against the United States. One of his wives and two older children were killed in a U.S. airstrike in 2001. Al Zawahiri went into hiding after the United States forces overthrew the Taliban. In 2001, he published a book explaining the ideology of Al Qaeda entitled Knights under the Prophet´s Banner. In 2006, a U.S. airstrike in a Pakistani village near the Afghan border, where it was believed that al Zawahiri was hiding, killed 18 villagers.

After the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011, al Zawahiri became the head of Al Qaeda. Al Zawahiri has a very close collaboration with Nasir al Wuhayshi, the chief of Al Qaeda in the Arabic Peninsula (AQAP). As explained earlier, an intercepted message between the chief of Al Qaeda to the leader of Al Qaeda´s affiliate in Yemen, in which al Zawahiri issued the order for al Wuhayshi to launch an attack against the United States, led to the closing of many embassies and consulates around the world.

Nasir al Wuhayshi

nasir al wuhayshiNasir al Wuhayshi was the private secretary for several years of Osama bin Laden. On September 11, 2001, al Wuhayshi was still working as private secretary for Osama bin Laden and working closely with his second-in-command Ayman al Zawahiri. In 2009, in a merger between two offshoots of Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, Al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was born. U.S. intelligence officials believe that al Wuhayshi has now become second-in-command to al Zawahiri. Al Qaeda is expanding from the Afghanistan-Pakistan region to the Arab world and Africa.

Al Wuhayshi went to fight in Afghanistan in the late 1990s. He fought at the battle of Tora Bora in December 2001 before he was able to escape across the border into Iran. The Iranian authorities arrested him and he was extradited to Yemen in 2003. Al Wuhayshi and 22 other Al Qaeda terrorists were able to escape through a tunnel from a high-security prison in Sanaa in 2006. Among the terrorists who escaped the high-security prison were Jamal al Badawi, the main suspect in the bombing of the USS Cole and Qasim al Raymi, the military commander of AQAP. Recently, Al Qaeda terrorists have been very successful in planning many prison escapes throughout the world.

Nasir al Wuhayshi and his terrorist fighters were able to revive Al Qaeda in Yemen. The group began to publish a magazine, The Echo of Battle, which assisted them in spreading its jihadist message. AQAP planned to destroy an airplane over the city of Detroit. The group enlisted Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian who had studied in Yemen. The Nigerian terrorist tried unsuccessfully to detonate a bomb hidden in his underwear while on board of a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit in December 2009. President Obama was criticized at the time because he did not interrupt his Christmas vacation in Hawaii and returned quickly to the White House to handle the situation. The would-be terrorist confessed to the terrorist plot and he was given a trial and sentenced to four life terms by a federal court in Detroit.

Another terrorist plot planned by AQAP was discovered in October 2010. The group was hiding bombs in printer cartridges and shipping them to the United States aboard cargo planes. Fortunately, the bombs were found when the planes were making stopovers, one in Great Britain and the other in Dubai. The terrorist who created the bombs was Ibrahim al Asiri, a most dangerous member of AQAP since his expertise in making bombs could bring down a Western airline or conduct a major attack upon the United States or our allies.

AQAP´s spiritual leader, the U.S.-born imam Anwar al-Awlaki, was responsible for radicalizing U.S. Army major Nidal Malik Hasan, who shot and killed 13 U.S. soldiers and injured many other soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas. Al Awlaki was killed by U.S. drone missile attack in Yemen in September 2011. Hasan is presently on trial by a military tribunal in the United States for his cold-blooded assassinations.

Al Wuhayshi´s AQAP is an extremely dangerous terrorist group which presents the greatest direct threat to our national security. AQAP has been able to recruit Arab fighters returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. This terrorist group killed six Western tourists and attacked the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa. During this attack 10 Yemeni guards and four civilians were killed. AQAP has also carried out attacks in Saudi Arabia. It has a very strong presence in southern Yemen.

According to John Brennan, AQAP has more than 1000 members and is growing in strength. The instability in Yemen has helped this terrorist organization to grow and to capture territory in that country.

The Obama administration has been downplaying the immense threat of Al Qaeda to our national security

The global closing of embassies and consulates and the terrorism alert was inconsistent with the Obama administration´s portrayal of the decimated and weakened Al Qaeda. For more than two years, President Barack Obama and members of his administration have been downplaying the great threat presented by Al Qaeda to our national security.

leon panettaSecretary of Defense Leon Panetta stated in July 2001 that he was “convinced that we were within reach of strategically defeating Al Qaeda.” During the 2012 presidential campaign, Barack Obama boasted that “Al Qaeda was on the run” and that “Al Qaeda is on its heels.” Obama also said during the campaign that “the truth is that Al Qaeda is much weaker than when I came into office.” The president knew that his assessment was not true but it helped him win his reelection. Marxists always believe that the end justify the means.

President Obama gave a speech at the National Defense University last May and said that the “core of Al Qaeda is nearly defeated even though Americans are still threaten by terrorists.” The president pointed out that the broad global threat has receded and should demand a “broad drawdown of the war on terrorism, including scaling back drone attacks and revisiting the congressional resolution that said the country of perpetual war footing.” In his State of the Union address in February 2012, President Obama stated that “Al Qaeda is a shadow of its former self.”

During the presidential campaign vice president Joe Biden said again and again “Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive.” Like  President Obama, Vice President Biden was saying that after a Navy Seal team killed Osama bin Laden Pakistan, Al Qaeda had been decimated. Both President Obama and Vice President Biden were knowingly misleading the nation in an effort to be reelected.

Hannah Allam and Lesley Clark of the McClatchy Washington Bureau wrote an article entitled “Alert is a signal Al Qaeda still strong,” which was published in The Miami Herald on August 6, 2013. The reporters pointed out that counterterrorism analysts were dismissive of the president´s optimism regarding the decimation of Al Qaeda. “It’s called politics. They know it’s not true. The movement has grown over the past two years. Its ideology is thriving,” explained Aaron Zellin of the Washington Institute for Near East policy.


President Barack Obama and several members of his administration were irresponsible in giving deliberate erroneous and misleading assessments of the threat of Al Qaeda for political purposes. President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and other members of his administration also lied about what happened in Benghazi, Libya.

benghazi-COVERUPAllowing our ambassador and three others to die in Benghazi was an act of criminal negligence since we had forces in Rota naval base in Spain, airplanes in Sicily and Greece which could have been deployed to save our people. Orders were issued to four-star general Carter Ham, in charge of the African Command, and to an admiral of a carrier task force in the Mediterranean to stand down and do nothing. Later, both were relieved of command. Worse, there have been an enormous cover up which has included intimidating witnesses at the CIA and the Department of State. Congress must investigate fully what happened in Benghazi since our forces resisted for seven hours the more than 120 terrorists that attacked our compound and our president let them die for political reasons.

A responsible president, who is Commander-in-Chief of our Armed Forces, does not mislead the American people with regard to national security issues. A responsible president does not allow terrorists to kill our diplomats in a foreign country when he has a good chance of rescuing them and saving their lives.