Tags: Al-Qaida | ISIS/Islamic State | Israel | War on Terrorism | Terror | Threat | ISIS

Experts Disagree on Top Terror Threat

By Monday, 22 September 2014 03:50 PM Current | Bio | Archive

A bizarre cacophony of expert voices cannot seem to agree on the principal terrorist threat facing the United States.
“It’s Iran,” says one group of credentialed experts, including Eric Edelman, a former undersecretary of defense for policy.
“It’s still AQAM,” say other Commentariat voices about al-Qaida and its associated movements. Why? Because its principal target is still the United States at home.
“No,” responds a third group, “It’s ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), or ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), which President Obama prefers as it doesn’t mention Syria, or just plain IS, for Islamic state.
And then there are the wealthy secret individual funders of the new Islamist terrorist state from Qatar, UAE, and Saudi Arabia. They are hard to trace as their secret numbered bank accounts are scattered in European and Asian countries, as well as tiny island nations.
They are the descendants of wealthy capitalists who gave generously to Communist parties in Western Europe after World War II — as insurance policies should they win power.
Nauru, the world’s smallest island nation with a population of 10,000 (Australian until 1968), once known as Pleasant Island, half way between Hawaii and Australia, became the favorite destination of the wholesale plunder that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union. Some $70 billion in stolen assets made their way to Nauru in the early 1990s.
Israeli intelligence is always worth listening to on complex Middle Eastern issues. Mossad (“The Institute,” short for Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations) handles foreign intelligence while Shin Bet is focused on internal security. Less well known is Aman, or the IDF’s intelligence unit.
Aman concludes that al-Qaida and its associated movements are by far a greater danger than Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi and the phenomenon of the Islamic State. The former targets the United States — witness 9/11 — and Baghdadi’s terrorist army is entirely focused on carving a separate state out of Iraq and Syria.
The Middle East Media Research Institute — known as MEMRI — is one of Israel’s better informed analysis centers. Its complete coverage of the Arabic media from Marrakesh to Muscat is also unique.
MEMRI’s founder in 1998 and now its president, Yigal Carmon, 67, is a 20-year veteran of IDF intelligence, which included stints as counterterrorism adviser to Prime Ministers Yitzhak Shamir and Yitzhak Rabin.
Carmon’s stock in trade is doing the opposite of pleasing everyone. Conventional wisdom is usually in conflict with hard intelligence. His stock in trade, he says, “is to reflect reality and if knowledge of this reality should benefit one side or another, then so be it.”
To depict the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria as simply a more vicious version of al-Qaida, Carmon and two associates write, is not only dead wrong — but back to front.
For Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah to say the paramount objective of IS “is to attack by means of its foreign militants who hold Western passports and could return to Western countries to carry out terrorist attacks — and hence it is paramount to destroy IS forthwith,” is totally counter to reality, says Carmon.
The Saudi monarch also said he was certain the jihadists “would arrive in Europe within a month and in America within two months.” For Carmon, this flies in the face of reality. Unlike al-Qaida, IS’ “priorities are state-building.”
“Unlike al-Qaida,” Carmon writes, “the IS places priority not on global terrorism, but rather on establishing and consolidating a state, and hence it defers the clash with the West to a much later stage. In this, it is emulating and re-enacting the early Islamic model.”
“Although the IS and global organizations affiliated with al-Qaida have similar beliefs about the necessity to wage jihad for the sake of Allah and establish a caliphate where Islamic Shariah law will be instated,” Carmon’s report continues, “a major distinction exists between them in terms of the order of priorities for implementing these major goals.”
In other words, in al-Qaida emphasis is on worldwide jihad “prior” to the declaration “of the yearned-for Islamic caliphate (see Osama bin Laden’s Feb. 23, 1998, declaration of jihad against the crusaders and the Jews), IS doctrine is characterized by prioritizing the establishment and consolidation of the caliphate state as the immediate and overriding objective.”
Carmon’s paper says this objective is “presented by the IS leaders as a matter of survival that warrants making compromises dictated by reality, the major compromise being deferral of the struggle against the West to a distant future.”
In other words, IS doctrine, under al-Baghdadi, puts off the clash with the West to the indefinite future. The priority is where the caliphate is now being established.
Al-Baghdadi’s vision of the Islamic state, concludes Carmon’s team, “is modeled on ancient Islamic history, and therefore does not descend to the level of wallowing in contemporary Middle Eastern politics and struggles.”
A good argument against the reintroduction of U.S. ground troops in Iraq — for a fourth round since 2003.
Noted editor and journalist Arnaud de Borchgrave is an editor at large for United Press International. He is a founding board member of Newsmax.com who now serves on Newsmax's Advisory Board. Read more reports from Arnaud de Borchgrave — Click Here Now.

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A bizarre cacophony of expert voices cannot seem to agree on the principal terrorist threat facing the United States.
Terror, Threat, ISIS, al-Qaida
Monday, 22 September 2014 03:50 PM
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