Khorasan Group: another al Qaeda affiliate and rising jihadi threat

by 1389 on September 23, 2014

in 1389 (blog admin), al-Qaeda, DHS, Syria

While the Khorasan Group may appear to be a lesser danger than ISIS – though the Obama Administration contends otherwise – every al Qaeda offshoot and every jihadi organization is an enemy to be thoroughly exposed and vigorously combated.

ABC: What Is the Khorasan Group, Targeted By US in Syria?

The U.S. military said today that by striking a little known terror cell called the Khorasan Group in Syria it was able to take out dangerous men who were “plotting and planning imminent attacks against Western targets to include the U.S. homeland.”

In the midst of the well-publicized campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the military’s first official announcement that a different, potentially more deadly terror group existed, that it’s members were planning an “imminent” attack on America and that those planning the attack had been killed in the U.S.-led bombing campaign all came as something of a surprise, considering that for the public, the group was virtually unheard of until a few days ago.

So here’s what we know so far about the mysterious Khorasan Group:

What Is the Khorasan Group?

The Khorasan Group is a relatively small al Qaeda unit – made up of just some 50 hardened fighters with mixing jihadist affiliations, according to a half-dozen officials with knowledge of the group. As the U.S. military’s Central Command put it, they are “seasoned al Qaeda veterans.” A senior administration official told reporters the group grew out of al Qaeda’s old core group in Afghanistan.

“It’s the same cast of characters we have had our eye on for some time,” the official said.

Back in June, ABC News reported that an alliance had been building inside Syria between al Qaeda operatives there and those from al Qaeda’s dangerous Yemen-based branch, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), home to expert bomb makers. Sources told ABC News today some of those allied jihadis, then unidentified, made up the Khorasan Group.

The group is not thought to be affiliated with ISIS, which had a public falling out with al Qaeda earlier this year. In fact, the Khorasan Group’s leader may have been tasked with fighting ISIS in Syria as well as the West, according to government documents and reports in the Long War Journal, as part of the larger, violent conflict between ISIS and al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, al-Nusra Front.
[…]
The word Khorasan denotes greater Afghanistan, parts of central Asia and China’s Xinxiang province. The term has religious significance in the context of jihad and several organizations in the region use the name in various ways.

Who’s Their Leader?

The Khorasan Group is believed to led by Muhsin al-Fadhili, a Kuwaiti native. While there’s scant information about the organization he leads, al-Fadhli has a long international rap sheet.

He’s wanted in the U.S. for his work as an “Iran-based senior al Qaeda facilitator and financier,” according to the State Department, and is suspected of being one of Osama bin Laden’s most trusted operatives – one of the few aware of the 9/11 attacks before they happened.

Al-Fadhli, 33, was designated a terrorist by the U.S. back in 2005 for providing “financial and material support to the al-Zarqawi Network and al Qaeda,” the State Department said. Ironically over the years the al-Zarqawi Network in Iraq would mutate into what is now ISIS.

“…[P]rior to that [al-Fadhli] was involved in several terrorist attacks that took place October 2002, including the attacks on the French ship MV Limburg and against U.S. Marines on Faylaka Island in Kuwait,” the U.S. Treasury said.

The United Nations added al-Fadhli to its al Qaeda Sanctions Committee list in 2005 as well. The same year, President Bush mentioned al-Fadhli, then just 23, by name in a speech, saying that the U.S., working with others, would “bring him to justice.”

The State Department offers a $7 million reward for information leading to his capture. While the U.S. military said Khorasan Group individuals were killed in the recent strikes, they did not identify any specifically.

So If They’re a Big Deal, Why Haven’t I Heard of Them?

Unlike previous terrorist foes, the U.S. government apparently worked to keep a tight lid on the identity of the Khorasan Group despite, as a senior administration official put it, the government watching the threat from the group “for some time.”

Though ABC News reported an air travel scare this summer that sources said today were linked to the group, the name “Khorasan Group” wasn’t used in the Western media until earlier this month when The Associated Press first identified them. Even after that, when Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., brought up the name in an open Congressional hearing last week, Department of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson paused awkwardly before telling King that “discussion of specific organizations, I think, should be left to a classified setting.”

More here.

Nuts to THAT, Jeh Johnson! We US citizens, taxpayers, and voters have the right to know exactly who our enemies are and to decide how we want to go about combating them.

CBS: Khorasan leader Muhsin al-Fadhli a skilled al Qaeda fighter, fundraiser

In the days leading up to September 11, 2001, only a handful of al Qaeda operatives outside of Osama bin Laden knew about the impending attacks on the United States.

One of them was named Muhsin al-Fadhli, a 20-year-old from Kuwait who U.S. officials said was a close confidant of the terror network’s notorious leader.

Now 13 years later, al-Fadhli has emerged as the leader of Khorasan, a group of al Qaeda veterans that was nearing “the execution phase of an attack either in Europe” or the U.S., according to the Pentagon.

That is why, on the same night that U.S. and Arab allies carried out more than 200 airstrikes against ISIS, the U.S. alone launched strikes against eight Khorasan targets in northwestern Syria, Pentagon officials said.

CBS News correspondent Bob Orr reports that on Twitter, jihadis are claiming that al-Fadhli died in the bombings but officials could not confirm who may have been killed. The State Department offered a $7 million bounty for information leading to al-Fadhli, who is on the U.S. list of most wanted terrorists.

Much more here.

Update:

Andrew McCarthy contends that the “Khorosan Group” is a fictitious name – simply an alias – for an actual group of jihadis who are part of the al-Nusra front, which in turn is simply the Syrian branch of al Qaeda.

NRO: The Khorosan Group Does Not Exist: It’s a fictitious name the Obama administration invented to deceive us.

We’re being had. Again.

For six years, President Obama has endeavored to will the country into accepting two pillars of his alternative national-security reality. First, he claims to have dealt decisively with the terrorist threat, rendering it a disparate series of ragtag jayvees. Second, he asserts that the threat is unrelated to Islam, which is innately peaceful, moderate, and opposed to the wanton “violent extremists” who purport to act in its name.

Now, the president has been compelled to act against a jihad that has neither ended nor been “decimated.” The jihad, in fact, has inevitably intensified under his counterfactual worldview, which holds that empowering Islamic supremacists is the path to security and stability. Yet even as war intensifies in Iraq and Syria — even as jihadists continue advancing, continue killing and capturing hapless opposition forces on the ground despite Obama’s futile air raids — the president won’t let go of the charade.

Hence, Obama gives us the Khorosan Group.
The who?

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.

You haven’t heard of the Khorosan Group because there isn’t one. 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.

The “Khorosan Group” is al-Qaeda. It is simply a faction within the global terror network’s Syrian franchise, “Jabhat al-Nusra.” 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, 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,” 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.”

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.

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.

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.

For a product of the radical Left like Obama, terrorism is a regrettable but understandable consequence of American arrogance. 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. For the Left, America has to be the culprit. 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.

More here.

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