al Reuters, yesterday:
Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri said a film made in the United States mocking the Prophet Mohammad showed Washington was waging a "crusader Zionist war" against Muslims and he called for more protests outside American embassies.
What's interesting about this is that Zawahiri issued such a call to jihad right before the 9/11-Benghazi attack last month, in a 42-minute video that was ignored by most of the news media and thus by the majority of Americans. You would think, after the original 9/11, that we would be more interested in what the leader of al Qaeda has to say, especially given the proximity and significance of the date.
Here's the timeline as I see it.
In June of this year, one of al Qaeda's "most senior figures," known by the nom de guerre Abu Yahya al-Libi, was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan in June (Obama must have chosen his "baseball card" from the available "kill list").
al-Libi's departure into hell was marked by this praise at the Atlantic Wire:
According to his press over the years, if ever there was a Renaissance man among al Qaeda's senior leadership, it was Abu Yahya al-Libi, the terror network's deputy leader who was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan on Monday.... Believed to be in his late 40s, al-Libi ascended to deputy leadership under Ayman al-Zawahri after Osama bin Laden was killed last year.
“I call him a man for all seasons for A.Q.,” former CIA official Jarret Brachman told The New York Times in a 2008 profile. “He’s a warrior. He’s a poet. He’s a scholar. He’s a pundit. He’s a military commander."
Al-Libi, as you may have gathered, means "the Libyan." This terrorist began his jihadist career in the early 1990's with the founding of the 'Libyan Islamic Fighting Group,' the goal of which was to overthrow Gaddafi. I don't know if it's ironic or simply bizarre that two decades later, the same American president who would have al-Libi killed also shared this goal.
In 2005, al Libi escaped from a high security U.S. prison at Bagram Air Force Base, and according to the New York Times, "rocketed to fame" thereafter "in the world of jihadists." At the time of the escape, the American media emphasized how embarrassing it was to the United States (read, President Bush):
The prisoners were considered some of the most dangerous men among the hundreds of terror suspects locked behind the walls of a secretive and secure American military detention center in Bagram, Afghanistan.
Their escape, however, might as well have been a breakout from the county jail.
According to military officials familiar with the episode, the suspects are believed to have picked the lock on their cell, changed out of their bright orange uniforms and made their way through a heavily guarded military base under the cover of night. They then crawled over a faulty wall where a getaway vehicle was apparently waiting for them, the officials said.
"It is embarrassing and amazing at the same time," an American defense official said. "It was a disaster."
The fact of the escape was disclosed by the American authorities shortly after it set off an intense manhunt... But internal military documents and interviews with military and intelligence officials indicate it was a far more serious breach than the Defense Department has acknowledged.
One of the four suspects was identified as Al Qaeda's highest-ranking operative in Southeast Asia when he was captured in 2002, a fact that emerged only during an unrelated military trial last month. Another, a Saudi, was also described by intelligence officials as an important Qaeda operative in Afghanistan.
The detainees planned their breakout meticulously, United States officials said, apparently studying the guards' routines, getting themselves moved into a cell that was less visible to the guards and taking advantage of construction work that was intended to expand and improve security at the prison.
"Based upon the findings of the investigation, it appears that the detainees had a clear understanding of the operating procedures of the guards inside the facility," said the chief spokesman for United States military forces in Afghanistan, Col. James R. Yonts.
One American intelligence official said the prisoners also took advantage of "a perfect storm" of mistakes by the military guards.... "There were three or four points where they could have been caught" ... "The escapees got very lucky."
.... In a videotape delivered to the Pakistan bureau of the Arab-language satellite television station Al Arabiya, Mr. Kahtani boasted...."We decided to escape on Sunday because that is the day off for the nonbelievers."
Now back to our timeline. The drone strike that killed al-Libi was in June. Ramadan was then observed from mid-July to mid-August. It was during Ramadan that Zawahiri recorded his 42-minute video, celebrating his 'martyrdom' and calling for revenge.
In the first week of September (3-6) Obama's Democrat party held their convention in Charlotte NC and when they weren't screeching demands for free birth control, they were bragging that Obama killed Osama (bin Laden).
September 10th. Zawahiri released the video.
"I proudly announce to the Muslim umma and to the Mujahideen (holy fighters)... the news of the martyrdom of the lion of Libya Sheikh Hassan Mohammed Qaed," Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri said in a video released on Islamist websites, referring to Libi by his birth name.
"His blood urges you and incites you to fight and kill the crusaders."
* * *
This liar [Obama] is trying to deceive the Americans that he will achieve victory against al-Qaeda through killing this person or that person, and escapes from the truth that he was defeated in Iraq, he is being defeated in Afghanistan, he was defeated in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. He is running from the fact that al-Qaeda has achieved its real mission, which is to incite the Ummah, and this is the warning for America's defeat, Allah willing.
Bill Roggio summarized:
... Zawahiri is telling us that we do not have a coherent strategy to defeat al Qaeda's ideological message.
While I am loath to agree with Zawahiri on the US's lack of strategy for dealing with jihadist ideology and to quote myself, I am going to point you back to this interview on the death of Abu Yahya with The New York Times, from June:... "Killing the top leadership harms Al Qaeda, but it won't defeat them," said Bill Roggio of the Web site Long War Journal, which tracks drone strikes in the tribal belt, among other topics. "There are people who will step up to fill the void. Al Qaeda has a far deeper bench than the administration gives it credit for."
Mr. Roggio said that while drone strikes offered an attractive short-term tactic against Qaeda militants, they did not present a complete strategy. "Until we tackle Al Qaeda's ideology, state support and ability to exploit ungoverned space in countries like Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, you're not going to defeat the organization," he said.
That was September 11th, and as we all now know, that evening saw attacks on our embassies across the "Muslim World," culminating in four fatalities at the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Details were slow to emerge.
“Obama, Obama, we are all Osama” the crowd chanted outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo on Sept. 11. The slogan also found its way to Tunis, where a mob attacked the embassy as well, and the chant was taken up in Qatar and other Muslim countries. (New York Times, September 18)
This may not have surprised Bill Roggio, but who among the rest of us could have realized that this chant was nothing new? Four months earlier, it had been recorded in Tunisia. MEMRI posted this video on YouTube May 24, 2012:
One would think that the president (and vice president) were told about all this but it's hard to say, given that Obama skipped most of his presidential daily briefings. Ironically, we only became aware of that fact - thanks to Marc Thiessen - on September 10th, the same day that Zawahiri released his video.
.... During his first 1,225 days in office, Obama attended his PDB just 536 times — or 43.8 percent of the time. During 2011 and the first half of 2012, his attendance became even less frequent — falling to just over 38 percent. By contrast, Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush almost never missed his daily intelligence meeting.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney "barely restrained himself in commenting on the report."
“I believe the article written about it is, um, amusing,” he said.
Carney is not the only White House official to find amusement in the presentation of facts. It's actually become quite the trend.
The rest of our timeline is, as they say, history. On September 12th, less than 24 hours after the Benghazi attack, Obama said in an interview that the U.S. no longer considered Egypt an ally ("but we don't consider them an enemy"). Luckily for the president, his media operatives were otherwise engaged at the time, deflecting the public's attention to Mitt Romney.
Then came September 14th, the day the caskets of four fallen Americans were ceremoniously received by President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton. With the Muslim "protests" ongoing overseas, the Executive Branch remained wed to its propagandistic assertion that all such "unrest" in the Middle East, including attacks on American installations, were in reaction to a YouTube video which had offended Muslims.
Carney identified the inflammatory video, which denigrated the prophet Mohammed, as the spark that incited the violence and led to the Americans’ deaths.
“These protests were in reaction to a video that had spread to the region,” he said. “The cause of the unrest was a video, and that continues today, as you know, as we anticipated. And it may continue for some time.”
Challenged by reporters to explain how the government affirmed that a video was the catalyst in Benghazi, the president’s spokesman said, “It's not an assumption. . . . What I'm telling you is this is under investigation. The unrest around the region has been in response to this video. We do not, at this moment, have information to suggest or to tell you that would indicate that any of this unrest was pre-planned.”
Carney’s assertions were contradicted, however, by Libyan authorities and by senators who participated Friday in a closed briefing by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Capitol Hill. Senators later told reporters the government had information that well-armed, organized attackers may have killed the Americans under the guise of a hostile street mob....
What sickens me so when I see this image is that Hillary Clinton stood there, in front of the remains of our fallen diplomatic staff, and again blamed that "awful" YouTube video produced by a Coptic Christian in America.
"This has been a difficult week for the State Department and for our country. We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful internet video that we had nothing to do with."
A difficult week indeed, but not so difficult that Obama cancelled any of his campaign appearances. Later that very day he attended a fundraiser.
I shudder to think what we will learn in the days and weeks ahead. Just a couple of hours ago, in fact, Rick Richman pointed out in a post at Commentary that acording to a State Department spokesperson, Hillary Clinton was at the State Department "very late" on the night of September 11th, "getting regular updates" and "making phone calls to senior people."
It was already three days after that when she stood in front of Gd and the families of the fallen, in front of the lifeless remains of her own staff, blaming a YouTube video. Wow.
It's hard to imagine that this week upcoming won't also be "difficult" -- for her, and for the president ... and for us all.