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Congress Warned About Evolution of Jihadist Networks

More then 6,800 terrorist attacks killed more than 11,000 people in 2012, making it the most active year of terrorism on record.

by
Rodrigo Sermeño

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February 12, 2014 - 10:59 pm
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WASHINGTON – Terrorism experts warned Congress last week that Islamist terrorist groups are expanding in complex networks across the Middle East, highlighting the evolving nature of the threat these organizations pose to the region.

Seth Jones, a national security analyst with the RAND Corporation, told the House Armed Services Committee that there has been an increase in the number of Salafi jihadist groups, particularly in North Africa and the Levant. Al-Qaeda is the largest one, and all emphasize the importance of returning to a pure Islam and believe that violent jihad is a religious duty.

He said that while about a half-dozen terrorist groups have sworn allegiance to al Qaeda’s core, led by Ayman al-Zawahiri, there now exists various Salafi jihadist groups that have not formally pledged allegiance to the militant group, and yet they share a common goal of establishing an extreme Islamic emirate.

“They are committed to establishing an Islamic emirate, and several of them have plotted attacks against the U.S., against U.S. embassies, against U.S. diplomats, against U.S. targets overseas,” Jones said.

Among these groups are also al-Qaeda-inspired individuals and networks, including the Boston Marathon bombers, who had no direct ties to the terrorist organization but listened to al-Qaeda’s propaganda and used it to plan attacks.

“I think there’s been a tendency among some journalists and pundits to lump all Sunni Islamic groups under the title al-Qaeda, which I think has clouded a proper assessment of the movement,” Jones said.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told a Senate hearing recently there are at least five al-Qaeda franchises in 12 countries that “this movement has morphed into.”

According to data compiled by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, more then 6,800 terrorist attacks killed more than 11,000 people in 2012, making it the most active year of terrorism on record.

Bill Braniff, a terrorism analyst at the University of Maryland, said the six most lethal groups in 2012 – the Taliban, Boko Haram, al-Qaeda in Iraq, Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and al-Shabaab – were responsible for approximately 5,000 deaths.

He noted that these groups are generally considered affiliates of al-Qaeda, and yet al-Qaeda itself has not been directly responsible for an attack since 2012.

Braniff said that a dozen of the 20 most lethal terrorist organizations and half of the 20 most active organizations had connections to al-Qaeda in 2012, suggesting that al-Qaeda remains a “central hub in a network of highly lethal and active terrorist groups.”

“What should we take from these seemingly contradictory developments?” he said. “Did al-Qaeda succeed by inspiring widespread jihadism, or has it lost to a variety of more parochial, albeit popular, actors?”

Braniff warned that it would be wrong to conclude that because al-Qaeda itself is not carrying out violent attacks that the group’s strategy has become ineffective.

“This has been the most active two years in the history of modern terrorism and al-Qaeda remains at the historical, organizational and ideological center of the most lethal terrorist threats of our time,” Braniff said.

Several Republicans have accused the Obama administration of downplaying the threat from al-Qaeda, its affiliates and the groups that it has inspired.

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Top Rated Comments   
This is an opportunity to agree with the President. It's not al Qaeda. Jihadi don't need a formal tie to an organization. They are inspired by their religion. We should use this as an opportunity to talk about Islam and its role in jihadi activity.

During the Cold War, conservatives tried to say it was all card-carrying Communists with ties to the USSR. With the rise of the New Left it became clear that it was an ideology, not organization, that was the problem. The USSR is gone but the ideology is firmly implanted in our universities.

You have to expose and condemn the ideology. Once that is done the rest is easy. If you don't expose the ideology, you lose.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Jones is exactly right that it's a major mistake to label all our Islamic foes "al-Qa`idah" and then focus on that organization (certain Republicans, not just BHO and his minions, do that). There are 57 groups on the State Dept. FTO list; 38 are Islamic in ideology, goals and motivation, and only four of those are AQ "franchises." The problem is literalist Islam.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is encouraging and sickening at the same time. Encouraging because congress is hearing, "this is the reality and this is what our policy and strategy must address." And very sickening because there is NO startegy, but rather, an appeasement and mealy mouthed pontification about the "differences" between each faction that wants to kill us. Yes; they all want to kill us!!
"“While the president seeks an end to war on terrorism and is not providing the leadership necessary for our efforts in Afghanistan, al-Qaeda seeks a continued war against the United States and the west. This is the reality and this is what our policy and strategy must address,” McKeon said."

Political BS so as to give the POTUS cover when the SHTF.
Obama seeks an end to terrorism?? That's funny right there!

Who spawned Al Qaeda? The Muslim Brotherhood.
Who operates freely in the Pentagon, the WH and in our entire security apparatus and even NASA? The Muslim Brotherhood.
All this hand-wringing about different "affiliates" is BS; they ALL have the same EXACT core mandate and they're ALL brothers in arms - Syria anybody? STOP the stupidity of the political talking about affiliates as if we need to find a REASON for what they're doing ... we've known that for centuries; yet here we are having our congress briefed by morons that are just now finding out?????? Somali Pirates and Al Qaeda are exactly the same except for one thing: Everyone can tie A lQaeda directly to Saudi Arabia. This entire debacle stinks of betrayal that began in the WH .... ... and we're the ones who bear the brunt of the consequences for that. The time for talking is over ... and I believe we will be forced to "address" our Islam problem very soon; whether we like it or not.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (14)
All Comments   (14)
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Well Buck Mckeon's and Obama's answer to this is to increase refugee and asylee numbers from....drum roll please....the Middle East.

Yep, straight after the Rolling Chechen brothers blew threw Boston, Buck and Obama want to increase the number of refugees from Syria. There is a fundamental and systemic flaw in the ruling class. At its core is this elite is either non-American in origin like Obama, or could care less of American identity as in Buck McKeon's case.

Consequently, we have contradictory policies like Invade the World and then INVITE THE WORLD!!! And if some camel jockey who got a job at our security control points at an airport helped some jihadi's who were trained with our taxpayer dollars in flying airliners who are we to connect the dots.

When those foreigners fly planes into buildings, blow up marathons, or steal secret technology clearly the answer is to implement anal and vaginal cavity searches at airports, expand STEM and H-1B and Immigration and Amnesty illegal aliens. Even amnesty an illegal alien posthumously as in the case of Muhammad Atta.

Its clear what the McKeon's and Obama's answer is: Committ Suicide faster.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is an opportunity to agree with the President. It's not al Qaeda. Jihadi don't need a formal tie to an organization. They are inspired by their religion. We should use this as an opportunity to talk about Islam and its role in jihadi activity.

During the Cold War, conservatives tried to say it was all card-carrying Communists with ties to the USSR. With the rise of the New Left it became clear that it was an ideology, not organization, that was the problem. The USSR is gone but the ideology is firmly implanted in our universities.

You have to expose and condemn the ideology. Once that is done the rest is easy. If you don't expose the ideology, you lose.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Exactly. But that ideology is being protected and indeed advanced in this administration.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Not to sure Obama's idea has a logical conclusion such as yours. Until the ruling class understands we are engaged in an all out religious war with the Umma of the Mujihudeen there is no hope.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Jones is exactly right that it's a major mistake to label all our Islamic foes "al-Qa`idah" and then focus on that organization (certain Republicans, not just BHO and his minions, do that). There are 57 groups on the State Dept. FTO list; 38 are Islamic in ideology, goals and motivation, and only four of those are AQ "franchises." The problem is literalist Islam.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
about those "designated terror groups"
61 terrorist incidents in 2000-2005.

There are 18 ISLAMIC attacks yielding 2984 fatalities.

Eco-terrorism (mostly property attacks) fatalities 0

Anti-abortion fatalities 0
(what lefties label Christian extremist violence) ZERO !!!!!!! NO DEATHS! NONE ZIP ZILCH NADA BUPKES

Neo-Nazi fatalities 0

This excludes terror attacks since 2005.

This excludes terror attacks outside the US.

It is noteworthy that all of the Islamic attacks were against randomly-chosen innocent civilians.

It is noteworthy that all of the Islamic attacks aimed to kill in large numbers.
Not make a point. Not scare. Not damage property. But kill.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
If you want people to sit up and take notice, you do not send somebody like Clapper to deliver the massage. That man has absolutely zero credibility.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm sure Obama cares. it's only that it's for the wrong side. Is it a coincidence that all this is going on while Obama among other things is going mushy on Iran & Syria?
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Of those 11,000 souls murdered by terrorism, how many were murdered by those who follow Muhammad?

The Z man was Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt before he was kicked out, and went to help Osama in Afghanistan. Now, in Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood won the last election with Morsi, and voiced their hope Israel would be destroyed. Does the Z man, and the others who follow Muhammad work for the Muslim Brotherhood?

Barrack Hussein appears to be cozy with the Muslim Brotherhood as they visited the White House a bit. I smell the CFR.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
CFR??

Corn Fed Ribs? Compelling Financial Reasons? Colorful French Rocks?

Using obscure acronyms just makes your post cryptic, not insightful....
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
What makes it obscure? Because, you wrote so? Stay on topic please.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is encouraging and sickening at the same time. Encouraging because congress is hearing, "this is the reality and this is what our policy and strategy must address." And very sickening because there is NO startegy, but rather, an appeasement and mealy mouthed pontification about the "differences" between each faction that wants to kill us. Yes; they all want to kill us!!
"“While the president seeks an end to war on terrorism and is not providing the leadership necessary for our efforts in Afghanistan, al-Qaeda seeks a continued war against the United States and the west. This is the reality and this is what our policy and strategy must address,” McKeon said."

Political BS so as to give the POTUS cover when the SHTF.
Obama seeks an end to terrorism?? That's funny right there!

Who spawned Al Qaeda? The Muslim Brotherhood.
Who operates freely in the Pentagon, the WH and in our entire security apparatus and even NASA? The Muslim Brotherhood.
All this hand-wringing about different "affiliates" is BS; they ALL have the same EXACT core mandate and they're ALL brothers in arms - Syria anybody? STOP the stupidity of the political talking about affiliates as if we need to find a REASON for what they're doing ... we've known that for centuries; yet here we are having our congress briefed by morons that are just now finding out?????? Somali Pirates and Al Qaeda are exactly the same except for one thing: Everyone can tie A lQaeda directly to Saudi Arabia. This entire debacle stinks of betrayal that began in the WH .... ... and we're the ones who bear the brunt of the consequences for that. The time for talking is over ... and I believe we will be forced to "address" our Islam problem very soon; whether we like it or not.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
While the president seeks an end to war on terrorism....

I hope McKeon is right about that but only if Obama seeks to have America win that war. I'm not convinced of that. A President that actually realized that Islam is fundamentally hostile to the rest of the world would be a great start but all his outreach to the Muslim world and his insults to long-standing allies give me grave reason to doubt that.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
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