Video: Zawahiri’s 9/11 message a measure of desperation?

posted at 12:01 pm on September 13, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Consider this analysis from CBS’ John Miller a good news/bad news update on al-Qaeda’s efforts twelve years after the 9/11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 Americans. On one hand, the new leadership lacks the charisma of Osama bin Laden and the network lacks the capability for large-scale strikes, although Ayman al-Zawahiri’s anniversary screed certainly hopes to generate them. However, the reactions to “lone wolf” attacks like the Boston Marathon fit nicely into AQ’s strategy even if they can’t generate the kind of massive body counts Zawahiri desires:

Unlike previous messages released by al Qaeda to mark the anniversary of 9/11, Zawahri’s message was relatively modest, including none of the usual file video of the actual attacks, no pictures of the Twin Towers in smoke in the background, and no recycled clips of the Sept. 11 plane hijackers.

It was instead limited to audio of Zawahri, who, just 17 minutes into the hour-and-12-minute recording, shifted topics entirely to issues surrounding the setbacks suffered by Islamist movements in the Middle East — particularly countries where Arab Spring-inspired uprisings brought Islamist-friendly regimes to power. …

CBS News senior correspondent John Miller, who worked previously at a senior level in the FBI and the office of the National Intelligence Director and once met Zawahri at a camp in Afghanistan, said Friday on “CBS This Morning” that Osama bin Laden’s replacement and former deputy lacks his predecessor’s communications skills, and his message may reveal a tinge of desperation.

“He’s looking at the Boston Marathon bombing, which was a terrorist attack but rather small. He’s seen the profound effect it’s had on Boston and he wants more,” said Miller. “To me, the tacit admission is that al Qaeda does not feel it’s in the position, organizationally, do what it used to do, which is organize and launch it themselves.”

“I think he lacks the charisma of bin Laden,” added Miller. “He’s an Egyptian pediatrician and he’s a smart guy, but his message hasn’t resonated.”

The lockdown in Boston during the manhunt after the marathon bombing attracted a lot of criticism for this very point.  It provided an outsized reaction to the danger of what in the end were two murderers, one of whom died in the chase and the other wounded.  In fact, it was arguably counter-productive; only after the curfew got lifted did a man notice that someone had tampered with the tarp on his boat and called police, who then captured Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.  A more phlegmatic approach might provide less encouragement for wanna-be lone wolves later.  That’s easy to postulate, though, from a thousand miles or more from Boston and a few months after the fact.

The other case mentioned by CBS in this report is the rumor that an American traitor, Omar Shafik Hammami, has been killed off by rivals in his own al-Shabaab network in Somalia.  It’s not the first time Hammami’s assassination has been rumored, but this looks a little more solid:

An American-born jihadist fighting for an al Qaeda affiliate in Somalia has allegedly been killed by the terror group, months after a public spat between the Alabama-raised man and the group’s leadership.

Omar Hammami, known in the terrorist organization of al-Shabaab as Abu Mansoor al-Amriki and featured in a recent ABC News report, was gunned down in an al-Shabaab ambush in Somalia’s southern Bay region, according to another member of the terror group cited in a report by The Associated Press. Agence France Presse reported similar circumstances for Hammami’s alleged death, based on sources in the region.

Hammami has been reported dead several times before, but an African diplomat in the region and an American terrorism expert who has been in contact with Hammami told ABC News the reports are very likely true this time. Two senior U.S. officials said the American intelligence community is “cautiously optimistic” the reports are accurate, but they have not been confirmed.

I doubt his father’s reaction will win him any friends in Florida:

“Of course I hope not, I hope it’s not true,” Shafik Hammami told ABC News in a telephone interview from his Alabama home. “Our lives have been on a roller coaster for a long time, and we’ve been there before… we just hope that it’s not true this time.”

If the reports are accurate, however, Shafik said his son died “fighting for his principles.”

“He did what he wanted to do and he fulfilled his principles,” Shafik said. “If he indeed died, he died fighting for his principles, whatever they are.”

Well, those principles were to murder innocent civilians to score political and theological points, which is why the rest of us aren’t really all that impressed.


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The most dangerous terrorists to us now are the “lone wolf” type terrorists who are not members of Al Qaeda and other affiliated terrorist groups but just work on their own and inspired by Al Qaeda terrorist ideology…

mnjg on September 13, 2013 at 12:07 PM

This

Schadenfreude on September 13, 2013 at 12:07 PM

Gadahn s/b next.

Schadenfreude on September 13, 2013 at 12:08 PM

And look at what is happening to that little turd in Boston — groupies galore and the effin cover of the Rolling Stone. He should be on death row.

Blake on September 13, 2013 at 12:15 PM

“network lacks the capability for large-scale strikes”

bwahahahahahahahahahahah

the towel heads don’t need to bring another strike.

for the cost of some Florida flight lessons. and some other incidentals, about $100,000 total. AQ brought the american people to it’s knees. And our government has spent TRILLIONS of our dollars and will continue to spend ad infinitum. Chasing a boogeyman that they never really want to catch. To do so would end their fairy tale war and shut off the cash/power spicket that has enriched them and their pals.

roflmmfao

donabernathy on September 13, 2013 at 12:18 PM

Twelve years. Long arm of the law my kerfanny.

Limerick on September 13, 2013 at 12:19 PM

A more phlegmatic approach might provide less encouragement for wanna-be lone wolves later. That’s easy to postulate, though, from a thousand miles or more from Boston and a few months after the fact.

I can’t help but think of the chaos caused by the DC snipers who were not hampered by lock-downs or curfews. Had the Tsarnaev brothers been able to follow through on the original plan, they would have placed a bomb in Times Square. I wonder how that would have changed the narrative.

That being said, where I fault Boston officials is that they took too long enlisting the public in the search for the Tsarnaev brothers. Any progress in that case came from the public.

Happy Nomad on September 13, 2013 at 12:20 PM

Desperation or deception? You decide.

platypus on September 13, 2013 at 12:23 PM

I doubt his father’s reaction will win him any friends in Florida:

“Of course I hope not, I hope it’s not true,” Shafik Hammami told ABC News in a telephone interview from his Alabama home.

Was ist los?

Midas on September 13, 2013 at 12:24 PM

“Keeping America on its guards only requires from us scattered strikes here and there.”

‘We have to be lucky all of the time. They only have to be lucky once.’

- Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on the IRA terrorists (which 2016 presidential candidate, Peter King, supported)

Resist We Much on September 13, 2013 at 12:25 PM

OT or On…makes no diff any more

Sanity meet Delusions…aka what obama-shit does to your brain.

Schadenfreude on September 13, 2013 at 12:30 PM

Resist We Much on September 13, 2013 at 12:25 PM

Peter King is becoming a disappointment. I suspect a direct correlation between my growing disappointment and his growing presidential desire.

platypus on September 13, 2013 at 12:32 PM

Schadenfreude on September 13, 2013 at 12:30 PM

You pay attention to what one of the rainbow crowd has to say from a brain damaged by repeated perverted behaviors? I thought you were more discerning than that.

platypus on September 13, 2013 at 12:34 PM

The biggest terrorist of all resides in the White house…

sandee on September 13, 2013 at 12:35 PM

platypus on September 13, 2013 at 12:34 PM

You must be kidding. I read more of the enemies’ materials. I already know how stupid our side is.

Their lies and propaganda brought all we’ve got. It must be exposed and destroyed…else…more of the same.

Schadenfreude on September 13, 2013 at 12:38 PM

Uh oh. You’re not supposed to reveal classified information.

platypus on September 13, 2013 at 12:39 PM

Plus, platypus, I’m completely indolent to ribbing/ripping, from both sides. My nom doesn’t care. I’m in a fight to destroy propaganda, whatever its source.

Schadenfreude on September 13, 2013 at 12:39 PM

Schadenfreude on September 13, 2013 at 12:38 PM

OK, my bad for not seeing it that way. But why give the clown mouse clicks? Just cut & paste his crap if it’s really important.

Yes, I find myself getting really cranky as I get older. Sorry for my outburst.

platypus on September 13, 2013 at 12:42 PM

No worries platypus.

We all fight… best we can.

Schadenfreude on September 13, 2013 at 12:43 PM

He’s pissed that he’s not going to get to rent out the US Air Force, so there’s that.

slickwillie2001 on September 13, 2013 at 12:48 PM

Too ‘funny’…considering the source…

Schadenfreude on September 13, 2013 at 12:51 PM

I wish Team 6 could find this clown – and chop his head off !!!

jake-the-goose on September 13, 2013 at 1:00 PM

The towel heads don’t need to bring another strike.

donabernathy, I’m shocked at your use of the bigoted term “towel heads”. May I suggest you refrain from such language and use the proper term “Towelish”?

Mason on September 13, 2013 at 1:17 PM

I’ll bet the leaders of al Qaeda keep an accurate schedule of King Putt and his t-times. As was the case with Clinton when he’s involved sniffing for some cuties he doesn’t wish to be disturbed with making decisions like approving SLAM attacks on terrorists.
Sad to think all of this ‘trouble in the world’ could have been avoided if the Boy President Billy Bly Jefferson Clinton had just said ‘Go’ and Bin Laden would have been in the bottom of a smoking crater long before he funded 9/11/2001.
Now it would be nice if Ayman al-Zawahiri and Adam Gadahn got together for a little tea and someone got that address. And that address was forwarded to someone on a DDG bobbing in the vicinity of the Middle East. And King Putt wasn’t a eunuch. Who knows what future might bring?
Two numbers: Longitude and Latitude. It is astounding what half a ton of RDX can do when it is detonated at the right location.

Missilengr on September 13, 2013 at 1:17 PM

Al Qaeda is more of a “state of mind” than a viable organization with all the trappings one would find in one. Osama Bin Laden was a cheerleader in the end, encouraging his minions to greater heights. I don’t think he had any real say in specific plots, etc., but he did serve an important role as the “face of the franchise.”

Exit Osama, enter al-Zawahiri. I’ve heard that Ayman is quite the SOB, but that does not come across in his propaganda and that’s what he needs to do to really influence the cause’s future.

So, since al-Zawahiri comes across as so milquetoast, what’s a dedicated terrorist to do?

All this means is that this will cause the real leaders to emerge and float to the top of the heap. We saw that a bit with Anwar al-Aulaqi. To me, he was emerging as the new bin Laden. Charismatic, influential. It was defintely a good thing that we slicked his behind.

There are other bin Ladens and al-Aulaqis out there. There’s a power struggle going on already within the “group’s” ranks and whoever emerges from smoke of that battle will be a very bad hombre. We will be making a mistake if we step back because we think that al Qaeda is now an impotent organization.

NavyMustang on September 13, 2013 at 2:15 PM