Hello !
Recent Appearances... Rantburg

Terror Networks
The Khorosan Group Does Not Exist
By Andrew C. McCarthy
Excerpt of an opinion piece illustrating the danger of letting your political orientation influence your foreign affairs vision.
[NATIONALREVIEW] Obama gives us the Khorosan Group.
The who?
Khorasan. Afghanistan, Iran, Turkmenistan and Pakistan, approximately. Kinda deemphasizes the overweening Arabness of things.
There is a reason that no one had heard of such a group until a nanosecond ago, when the "Khorosan Group" suddenly went from anonymity to the "imminent threat" that became the rationale for an emergency air war there was supposedly no time to ask Congress to authorize.
I've been sitting here doing this stuff for the past thirteen years, day in and day out. I read about a new group about once every two weeks. Think of al-Qaeda as the army and al-Qaeda in wherever as the divisions: the Arabian Peninsula, the Islamic Maghreb, Iraq, that sort of thing. Within each of the divisions there are umpty brigades. Each is concerned with its own internal rivalries, which is why we see Mokhtar breaking off from AQIM and becoming his own "Mourabitounes" (Signers in Blood) group.
You haven't heard of the Khorosan Group because there isn't one.
Yet just today or yesterday there were condolence messages on the departure from the gene pool of its head, who was on the FBI most wanted list with a $7 million bounty on his head.
It is a name the administration came up with, calculating that Khorosan -- the --Iranian--​Afghan border region -- had sufficient connection to jihadist lore that no one would call the president on it.
Khorasan appears to be (have been?) a group within al-Nusra, which could also be called al-Qaeda in the Levant.
The "Khorosan Group" is al-Qaeda.
That's a correct statement.
It is simply a faction within the global terror network's Syrian franchise, "Jabhat al-Nusra."
I just said that.
Its leader, Mushin al-Fadhli (believed to have been killed in this week's U.S.-led air strikes), was an intimate of Ayman al-Zawahiri
... Formerly second in command of al-Qaeda, now the head cheese, occasionally described as the real brains of the outfit. Formerly the Mister Big of Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Bumped off Abdullah Azzam with a car boom in the course of one of their little disputes. Is thought to have composed bin Laden's fatwa entitled World Islamic Front Against Jews and Crusaders. Currently residing in the North Wazoo area. That is not a horn growing from the middle of his forehead, but a prayer bump, attesting to how devout he is...
, the emir of al-Qaeda who dispatched him to the jihad in Syria. Except that if you listen to administration officials long enough, you come away thinking that Zawahiri is not really al-Qaeda, either. Instead, he's something the administration is at pains to call "core al-Qaeda."
"Core" al-Qaeda is the "army" staff, located in the Pak-Afghan border area. My guess would be in Miranshah, though I could be wrong. I thought bin Laden lived the life of a gentleman farmer in Chitral.
"Core al-Qaeda," you are to understand, is different from "Jabhat al-Nusra," which in turn is distinct from "al-Qaeda in Iraq" (formerly "al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia," now the "Islamic State" al-Qaeda spin-off that is, itself, formerly "al-Qaeda in Iraq and al-Sham" or "al-Qaeda in Iraq and the Levant"). That al-Qaeda, don't you know, is a different outfit from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula . . . which, of course, should never be mistaken for "al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb," "Boko Haram," "Ansar al-Sharia," or the latest entry, "al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent."
Nor with AQ in Britain, nor with AQ in Europe. They're not the same thing. You cant' confuse the whole with the part. In 2002 Jemaah Islamiyah was a significant threat in Indonesia. After the Bali bombing the Indons rounded them up and exploited the group like they were supposed to: beat hell out of the guys you have until they tell you more guys to get. Jug the cannon fodder and hang the mean ones. The only mistake they made was letting the holy man off. There were a couple lessons there: First, JI was patently a family operation. They were all married to each other's sisters or daughters or aunts or something. Second, all those Islamic arrows are expendable; we occasionally hear about JI in the news, but what we're really hearing about is JI remnants. When AQ or IS rises again it will likely be in Poso with a new cast of characters.
Coming soon, "al-Qaeda on Hollywood and Vine." In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if, come 2015, Obama issued an executive order decreeing twelve new jihad jayvees stretching from al-Qaeda in January through al-Qaeda in December.
They're playing area offense. Remember when the Islamic Courts overran Somalia? And the Ethiopians kindly stepped in and killed as many of them as they could lay hands on? When the dust had settled approximately the same group started up again, this time wearing a false nose and mustache, calling itself "al-Shabaab." It doesn't take an Obama decree to bring one of these groups into being. Boko Haram was nothing but background noise until a few years ago. Now it's got its own "Caliphate."
Except you'll hear only about the jayvees, not the jihad. You see, there is a purpose behind this dizzying proliferation of names assigned to what, in reality, is a global network with multiple tentacles and occasional internecine rivalries.
Each of the tentacles has its own name, its own largely autonomous nervous system.
As these columns have long contended, Obama has not quelled our enemies; he has miniaturized them. The jihad and the sharia supremacism that fuels it form the glue that unites the parts into a whole -- a worldwide, ideologically connected movement rooted in Islamic scripture that can project power on the scale of a nation-state and that seeks to conquer the West. The president does not want us to see the threat this way.
So seemingly the writer can understand the actual enemy, but he quibbles over terminology.
For a product of the radical Left like Obama, terrorism is a regrettable but understandable consequence of American arrogance.
That's kind of the weakness on our side, isn't it? With all that boodle lying around earmarked for the military budget, the impulse to grab the dough for donor-friendly contracts is overwhelming. But it's not just Obama. Cameron's not eager to get involved, either. The Brits are reaching the point where they can't afford to. Hollande, much to my surprise, isn't taking a lot of nonsense from people with turbans suffering from delusions of superiority, but Merkel has been trying to maintain her distance out of post-WWII angst.
That it happens to involve Muslims is just the coincidental fallout of Western imperialism in the Middle East, not the doctrinal command of a belief system that perceives itself as engaged in an inter-civilizational conflict.
If you don't train yourself to believe that, the whole concept of multiculturalism suddenly looks as foolish as it is.
For the Left, America has to be the culprit.
This is the gift of the Soviets. They spent a lot of time and money developing a fifth column in this country. It's blooming while they're in the ashcan of history, at least until short attention span syndrome kicks in.
Despite its inbred pathologies, which we had no role in cultivating, Islam must be the victim, not the cause. As you'll hear from Obama's Islamist allies, who often double as Democrat activists, the problem is "Islamophobia," not Muslim terrorism.
...Islamophobia: the irrational fear that Moslems will act the way they usually do...
This is a gross distortion of reality, so the Left has to do some very heavy lifting to pull it off. Since the Islamic-supremacist ideology that unites the jihadists won't disappear, it has to be denied and purged. The "real" jihad becomes the "internal struggle to become a better person."
A "better person" who chops people's heads off.
The scriptural and scholarly underpinnings of Islamic supremacism must be bleached out of the materials used to train our national-security agents, and the instructors who resist going along with the program must be ostracized. The global terror network must be atomized into discrete, disconnected cells moved to violence by parochial political or territorial disputes, with no overarching unity or hegemonic ambition.
"Core al-Qaeda" is kind of a misnomer, since "al-Qaeda" means "the base," which it kinda sorta remains. They were designed as a whole, but with the passage of time they broke down into a confederation. Zawahiri twice told ISIL to shut down and merge with al-Nusra. Instead they farted in his general direction and established their caliphate. Splinters all over the world are scrambling to attach themselves to the board. It's that strong horse-weak horse thing all over again. It's the same kind of power struggle Zawahiri had Abdullah Azzam car boomed over.
That way, they can be limned as a manageable law-enforcement problem fit for the courts to address, not a national-security challenge requiring the armed forces.
The stupidity of using the civilian courts to handle krazed killers where much of the "evidence" is based on intel or intel information is patent. It's also an entirely separate problem.

-1 More