The Coming Major Terrorist Attack On The U.S.

I read a disturbing piece on TheBlaze.com yesterday morning about the coming anniversary of 9/11. Sara Carter reported:

U.S. intelligence has picked up increased chatter among Islamist terror networks approaching the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and amid the continuing battle for supremacy between Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, current and former U.S. officials told TheBlaze.

“We’ve noticed a significant increase in chatter among Islamic terrorist organizations overseas both on the Internet and phone lines,” said a U.S. government official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter. “This is certainly concerning, but as of yet we can’t pinpoint what or if they are planning a particular attack. We did see this kind of increase in chatter before the September 11 attacks. We just hope the public continues to remain vigilant.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“We just hope the public continues to remain vigilant.”

As do I. Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity may recall that prior to the last few anniversaries of 9/11 , I blogged about the need for continued vigilance in the face of possible major terrorist attacks on the U.S. by an enemy who I think is not as impotent as this White House would like you to believe.

Thankfully, that vigilance hasn’t been called into play. Yet.

Personally, I believe the threat of a significant terrorist operation launched against America not only still remains, but has grown, due to a tussle between Al-Qaeda and the newly-minted Islamic State.

Once Osama bin Laden was killed, a new leader took the helm of the terrorist group. I wrote back on June 28, 2011:

Recent suggestions that Al-Qaeda is on the run and that their new leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, is “a bit of a loser,” as a source close to the Obama administration has called him (source: The Telegraph)- in conjunction with those recent setbacks suffered by Al-Qaeda- may motivate the Egyptian surgeon to push for a major attack against the United States and/or its allies as soon as possible. With all its symbolism and accompanying celebrations, the Fourth of July weekend could have significant appeal for Al-Qaeda and al-Zawahiri to not only strike a blow against the United States, but dispel doubts over the operational capabilities of the terrorist organization and the leadership abilities of al-Zawahiri right from the get-go.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

That July 4 came and went. As did other major U.S. holidays and “desirable” occasions ripe for an Al-Qaeda strike. When it comes to putting on a visible display of leadership, it’s pretty much been an epic fail for al-Zawahiri to date.

In the meantime, concern about such an attack has waned significantly. I blogged back on September 10, 2012:

Al-Qaeda is like the Rodney Dangerfield of terrorist organizations these days- can’t get no respect. Look at these recent headlines on some mainstream media websites:

“Terror takes back seat; Americans safer now”
-From the Associated Press on Yahoo! News, September 8, 2012

“Never have so few been able to frighten so many”
-Philly.com (joint project of The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Philadelphia Daily News, September 9, 2012)

“On anniversary of 9/11, fear is present but not all-consuming”
The Boston Globe, September 10, 2012

There’s even this out of Hong Kong:

“Americans stop fretting about the threat of terrorism”
South China Morning Post, September 10, 2012

I added:

I loathe Al-Qaeda as much as any other American. But let’s not call the outcome of the game (Al-Qaeda is now kaput) while it’s still in the early innings, as the next generation of terrorists- inspired by the American response and presence in the Middle East after 9/11- start to replace their predecessors who have been captured, incapacitated, and killed.

That “next generation” is still being molded. However, a different group of Muslim extremists have rapidly emerged on the jihadist scene and pose a serious threat to the United States and its allies. Terry Atlas and A.R. Lakshmanan reported on Bloomberg.com on August 14:

The radical Islamic State’s advances in Iraq are strengthening its challenge to al-Qaeda in a contest for the leadership of the global jihadi movement, according to five U.S. intelligence officials.

Its territorial gains and declaration of a caliphate spanning parts of Syria and Iraq, reinforced by its use of social media to broadcast its accomplishments in many languages, are attracting recruits and even drawing defections from the leadership of the core al-Qaeda group and some affiliates, the officials told reporters at a briefing yesterday. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence assessments.

The U.S. intelligence community thinks the Islamic State has an incentive to conduct a major terrorist strike against U.S. or European targets, in part to further assert itself as the true leader of radical Islam , the officials said…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Much of the mainstream media is playing up the threat to the U.S. from the Islamic State. Personally, I’m more concerned about Al-Qaeda beating them to the punch. I’ve already talked about Ayman al-Zawahiri needing to establish his “street cred.” But the emergence of the other band of terrorists formerly known as ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) or ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) puts even more pressure, I suspect, for bin Laden’s standard bearers to carry out a successful major operation against the U.S. homeland, and with haste. Going back to that piece on TheBlaze.com, Carter added:

“The threat is two-fold because ISIS is in war with core Al Qaeda,” former CIA case officer Brian Fairchild said. “ISIS was kicked out of Al Qaeda in February and they’ve been fighting each other internally for leadership. ISIS is winning right now. They have captured the imagination of young Muslims from around the world and depriving Al Qaeda of its own fighters. Al Qaeda is split down the middle and now you have 9/11 [anniversary approaching]. It would be beneficial to both camps that on 9/11, some great attack in the United States takes place. It’s certainly a serious consideration because they are both vying for primacy.”

(Editor: Bold added for emphasis)

Who knows if either group is planning a 9/11/14 attack. But the motivation looks to be there. From what I know about the Islamic State, they’re more “shoot from the hip.” For Al-Qaeda, it’s all about patience and careful planning/preparation. I suspect the caliphate will eventually get around to attacking the U.S. homeland, if operationally-capable. But if bin Laden’s followers had anything already in the works, should they have the ability to carry it out, I fear they’ll speed things up to land the next major blow to the homeland. It seems to me they have more at stake here by letting the upstarts beat them to the punch. It would be disastrous for al-Zawahiri’s already-precarious leadership and the movement’s ability to attract and retain jihadists.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Carter, Sara. “U.S. Officials Say ‘Significant Increase’ in Jihadi Chatter Ahead of 9/11 Anniversary.” TheBlaze.com. 27 Aug. 2014. (http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/08/27/u-s-officials-say-significant-increase-in-jihadi-chatter-ahead-of-911-anniversary/). 28 Aug. 2014.

Atlas, Terry and Lakshmanan, A.R. “ Islamic State Militants Said to Challenge Al-Qaeda for Jihadi Leadership.” Bloomberg.com. 14 Aug. 2014. (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-08-15/islamic-state-militants-said-to-challenge-al-qaeda-for-jihadi-leadership.html). 28 Aug. 2014.

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