The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
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al-Qaeda

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It was 12 years ago today. Historians will register that, according to the official narrative, 19 Arabs armed with box cutters and minimal flying skills pledged to a transnational Terror Inc turned jets into missiles to attack the US homeland, fooling the most elaborate defense system on Earth. Fast forward to 2013. Here's a 15-second... Read More
When the going gets tough, count on the Ministry of Truth to get going. The end of Ramadan was imminent. The jihadi chattering classes of that fuzzy entity, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), went on overdrive. It was jailbreak galore from Libya to Pakistan via Iraq. And all this in perfect synch with two... Read More
Hi, my name is Mostafa and I'll be your moderate insurgent today. I'm addressing you all because we badly need your help. We could have started a Facebook page, like We Need Your Weapons or something, or ask the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights to make a YouTube video, but I prefer to speak straight... Read More
PARIS - And now some breaking news coming from the Islamic Emirate of Syriastan. This program is brought to you by the NATOGCC corporation. Please also tune in for a word from our individual sponsors, the United States government, Britain, France, Turkey, the House of Saud and the Emir of Qatar. It all started early... Read More
And the winner of the Oscar for Best Sequel of 2013 goes to... The Global War on Terror (GWOT), a Pentagon production. Abandon all hope those who thought the whole thing was over with the cinematographic snuffing out of "Geronimo", aka Osama bin Laden, further reduced to a fleeting cameo in the torture-enabling flick Zero... Read More
NEW YORK - In David Cronenberg's awesome Cosmopolis (France/Canada, 2012), based on the homonymous novel by Don DeLillo, young billionaire Eric Packer (Robert Pattison) slowly cruises New York in his white limo, installed in a cushy leather throne with incrusted screens. He feels … nothing; he essentially sucks up the world into his own inertia.... Read More
Once upon a time, early in the previous century, a line in the sand was drawn, from Acre to Kirkuk. Two colonial powers - Britain and France - nonchalantly divided the Middle East between themselves; everything north of the line in the sand was France's; south, it was Britain's. Many blowbacks - and concentric tragedies... Read More
His name is Abdelhakim Belhaj. Some in the Middle East might have, but few in the West and across the world would have heard of him. Time to catch up. Because the story of how an al-Qaeda asset turned out to be the top Libyan military commander in still war-torn Tripoli is bound to shatter... Read More
It may be comforting to learn - once again thanks to WikiLeaks - that the United States State Department knows as much as any AfPak informed observer has known for years; that private donors, non-governmental organizations, madrassas and businesses from Saudi Arabia are ATMs for al-Qaeda, the Taliban and the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba. But... Read More
Anyone aware enough to think that Washington's goal is not to "win" the unwinnable AfPak quagmire but to keep playing its bloody infinite war game forever is now eligible for a personal stimulus package (in gold). Let's review the recent evidence. All of a sudden, the White House, the Pentagon and the United States House... Read More
If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it … For the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the state. - Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels On the same day that United States... Read More
One may be tempted to evaluate American foreign policy as concocted by some deviant disciple of cinema exploitation genius Russ Meyer - of Faster Pussycat, Kill, Kill! fame - minus the profusion of breasts, of course. And so as that self-appointed court stenographer Bob Woodward reveals in his latest court opus Obama's Wars - conveniently... Read More
Intricate shadowplay surrounds the (failed) smoking sports utility vehicle Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad. Earlier in 2010, the Central Intelligence Agency warned al-Qaeda might try an attack inside the US "within the next six months". It did happen - like clockwork - with the added bonus that the alleged perpetrators are even more convenient than... Read More
They were two Chechen “Black Widows” with dark hair, Caucasus features, not older than 25. They were trained by al-Qaeda Arabs, led by Abu Hanifah, in the Pakistani tribal area of South Waziristan, alongside a bunch of Chechens and Uzbeks who came from Turkey - all part of a long-range al-Qaeda plan to wreak permanent... Read More
Like an ever-profitable horror B-movie franchise, the al-Qaeda myth simply refuses to die. United States intelligence has now focused its lasers on the alleged 300 al-Qaeda jihadis concealed in Yemen's craggy, rural Maarib province - as much as the Pentagon has deployed infinite might to find those maximum 100 prowling the Hindu Kush in Afghanistan.... Read More
HONG KONG - One's got to hand it to failed underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab. He is the real Man of the Year. With a single twitch of his lower parts, the now iconic young Nigerian single-handedly not only forced the Barack Obama administration to unleash tight airport security measures, a new virtual striptease craze... Read More
The United States is in the midst of the most serious unemployment crisis since the Great Depression, and US President Barack Obama is following George W Bush in lavishing trillions of dollars on a few big banks. American taxpayers got nothing. Now, they get the cherry in the cheesecake; Obama escalating his war in Afghanistan.... Read More
Is United States President Barack Obama telling it like it is as far as his new strategy for the Afghanistan and Pakistan war theater - AfPak, in Pentagonspeak - is concerned? There are reasons to believe otherwise. Obama's relentless media blitzkrieg stressed the new strategy is refocusing on al-Qaeda. Washington, we got a problem. Why... Read More
Afghanistan is not only the graveyard of empires; it's a graveyard of misconceptions. Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden believed that the mujahideen single-handedly defeated the Soviet empire; so a more compact mujahid band, al-Qaeda, would be the vanguard in defeating the American empire. It was never that simple. In the United States, the myth rules... Read More
WASHINGTON - Seven years after bringing down steel buildings with jet fuel - using planes as missiles - and outwitting the most high-tech air force and the most protected airspace in the world for nearly two hours, the historic al-Qaeda leadership is "celebrating" 9/11 with an hour-and-a-half video special titled "Seven Years of Crusades". Washington,... Read More
WASHINGTON - Seven years after bringing down steel buildings with jet fuel - using planes as missiles - and outwitting the most high-tech air force and the most protected airspace in the world for nearly two hours, the historic al-Qaeda leadership is "celebrating" 9/11 with an hour-and-a-half video special titled "Seven Years of Crusades". Washington,... Read More
WASHINGTON - Al-Qaeda is back - with a vengeance of sorts. Listen to Mustafa Abu al-Yazeed - a senior al-Qaeda commander in Afghanistan, in a very rare interview with Pakistan's Geo TV, shot in Khost, in eastern Afghanistan. "At this stage this is our understanding - that there is no difference between the American people... Read More
WASHINGTON - Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama is the man with the plan for Iraq and Afghanistan. Presidential in tone and delivery, quoting Harry S Truman and Dean Acheson, George Kennan and George Marshall - the greatest generation - Obama, in a major foreign policy speech in Washington on Tuesday, outlined what he calls... Read More
In a make-believe world where the green, green grass of the "surge" is alive with the sound of music, the George W Bush administration and US counterinsurgency ace General David Petraeus - not to mention presidential candidate Senator John McCain - keep assuring American public opinion the "surge" (now reconverted into a "pause") is working.... Read More
"And among the most important items contained in [President George W] Bush's speeches since the events of the 11th [September 11, 2001] is that the Americans have no option but to continue the war. This tone is in fact an echoing of the words of neo-conservatives like [Vice President Dick] Cheney, [former defense secretary Donald]... Read More
In 2002, in the runup to the war against Iraq, the George W Bush administration changed the subject from its failure to destroy al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan to Iraq’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction. In 2007, in the run-up to the coming war against Iran, the administration has changed the subject from its abject... Read More
BAGHDAD - The breaking news came around noon, on state-run Al-Iraqiya TV, and it hit the Shi'ite slum, Sadr City, as well as the rest of Baghdad, as a new "shock and awe": Sheikh Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, popularly known in Baghdad as Abu al-Masri, the Egyptian-born leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, had been killed in... Read More
Waterboarding involves being bound upside down to an inclined board, head wrapped in cellophane. Fear of drowning is inevitable and kicks in after just a few seconds. Waterboarding was widely practiced by US-advised military dictatorships in Latin America during the 1970s. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) customers to waterboarding usually don't last more then 14 seconds... Read More
DUBAI - Welcome to the ultimate sociopolitical model for the 21st century: a Blade Runner-esque melting pot of neo-liberalism and "subterranean" economy, Sunni Arab Islam and low taxes, souks and artificial islands, a giant warehouse and a tourist paradise, life in the fast lane and post-modern slavery. The model spells out an apolitical, consumer-mad, citizenship-free... Read More
TEHRAN - A specter haunts the Middle East - at least in the minds of Sunni Arabs, especially Wahhabis, as well as a collection of conservative American think tanks: a Shi'ite crescent, spreading from Mount Lebanon to Khorasan, across Mesopotamia, the Persian Gulf and the Iranian plateau. But facts on the ground are much more... Read More
"This message is the final warning to European states. We want to give you a one-month deadline to bring your soldiers out from the land of Mesopotamia." - Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades, July 16 BRUSSELS - The European Union will be waiting, breathlessly, for this deadline set by the al-Qaeda-connected Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades -... Read More
BRUSSELS - The battle over the future of global Islam will be fought and decided in Europe. Whether or not it is responsible for the attacks on London, the al-Qaeda nebula is now configured as a relentless jihadi recruitment mechanism, profiting from the fact that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has been added... Read More
BRUSSELS - It's blowback time. There had to be a day when Baghdad, Fallujah, Najafa and Jenin reached London, and the "collateral damage" was on "our side". If one of the concentric circles in the al-Qaeda nebula really did perpetrate the synchronized London bombings, this spells a failure in the "war on terror". But maybe... Read More
Last Saturday, at 11am Baghdad time, the door of an underground cell was opened and "number 5 and number 6" were ordered to go the toilet - the same ritual they had been following since January 5. But only a few seconds later a guard muttered what they must have interpreted as a magic spell:... Read More
Al-Qaeda and all the other components of the Salafi-jihadi (or Islamist) front are on the verge of scoring a major double blow. Unlike September 11, now their fight not only is being recognized by top Islamic scholars as legitimate, but they have also managed to capitalize on major blunders in the "war on terror" to... Read More
The Bush administration's iron-clad spin is that it is winning the "war on terror". Then comes a problem: the recently created (by a George W Bush executive order) National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) states there were more terrorist attacks in 2004 than in any year since 1985. So what does the State Department do? Secretary of... Read More
"In Iraq, no doubt about it, it's tough. It's hard work. It's incredibly hard. It's ... and it's hard work. I understand how hard it is. I get the casualty reports every day. I see on the TV screens how hard it is. But it's necessary work. We're making progress. It is hard work." -... Read More
It's a match made in (virtual) mujahideen paradise: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his group al-Tawhid wal-Jihad (Unity and Holy War), swearing loyalty to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda on the Internet. Now that's a real October surprise. The "Zarqawi" letter, in Arabic, goes straight to the point: "Oath of loyalty of leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi towards... Read More
"Oh Allah, America came with its horses and knights to challenge Allah and his message. Oh Allah, destroy the kingdom of Bush as you destroyed the kingdom of Caesar." - Abu Musab al-Zarqawi audio, February 2004 "You know, I hate to predict violence, but I just understand the nature of the killers. This guy, Zarqawi,... Read More
Three years after September 11, President George W Bush's crusade is a failure. "War on terror" is a meaningless myth: you can't combat a supple attack machine like al-Qaeda with shock and awe. What should have been a long, meticulous police operation was turned by Bush - instigated by his foreign policy adviser, God -... Read More
It featured all the trappings of a glorified video game. Thousands of Pakistani army and paramilitary troops played the hammer. Hundreds of US troops and Special Forces, plus the elite commando 121, were ready to play the anvil across the border in Afghanistan. What was supposed to be smashed in between was "high-value target" Ayman... Read More
"If you don't stop your injustices, more blood will flow and these attacks are very little compared with what may happen with what you call terrorism." - Abu Dujan al-Afghani, purported military spokesman for al-Qaeda in Europe, claiming responsibility on video for the Madrid bombings. The "al-Qaedization" of terrorism in Europe is a political "big... Read More
Spain's 3-11 - 10 coordinated bomb explosions in 4 suburban trains arriving in Madrid at the morning rush hour, leading to almost 200 dead and more than 1,400 injured - was also Europe's 3-11: exactly two and a half years after America's 9-11, this is the largest terrorist attack perpetrated on European soil in modern... Read More
Sheikh Terror are the new underground sensation in ever-swingin' London. Their rap video called "The Dirty Infidels" has been sent by e-mail to the Arab-language newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat. The paper says the video - unlikely to end up on MTV - may have been produced in a London studio by young, radical Muslims, but mosque... Read More
Nearly 100 Iraqis have been killed in less than 24 hours in two suicide bombings in Iskandariya and Baghdad. Most of them were poor and unemployed and were trying to find a job with the new, American-approved Iraqi police and army. They were Shi'ites in Iskandariya, and mostly Sunnis in Baghdad. But for the anti-occupation... Read More
PARIS - Two years after September 11, 2001, the Washington neo-conservative dream of a rainbow of democracy shining from Israel to Afghanistan and traversing Iraq has vanished into thin air. From Kabul to Baghdad, the vision is being wiped out by the truth of hard facts. 1) The American army does not have the resources... Read More
BANGKOK - Pentagon spin, via Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, has it that "Iraq now is the central battle in the war on terrorism." Al-Qaeda's No 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri, aka The Surgeon, has proved Wolfowitz, the Pentagon's No 2, wrong. Al-Zawahiri had warned "the American people" that what they had seen so far were only... Read More
Qui a tue Daniel Pearl?, by Bernard-Henri Levy The subject was not breached when "courageous leader" Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf was received by George W Bush at Camp David this week. They talked of the Hizb-i-Islami leading the anti-American jihad in Afghanistan, they talked of jihadis not crossing the Line of Control in Kashmir,... Read More
BRUSSELS - Is al-Qaeda really back in business? The three simultaneous bombings in three housing compounds for foreigners in Riyadh that left 29 dead, according to the Saudi Interior Ministry, as well as the nine suicide bombers, have at least shattered a sort of consensus that had been emerging among Western intelligence services. Until the... Read More
PastClassics
How America was neoconned into World War IV
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
Our Reigning Political Puppets, Dancing to Invisible Strings