War on Terrorism

Monday, June 12, 2006

Jihadist of Mass Destruction

“‘Dirty bombs for a dirty nation.’ The slogan appeared on a jihadist Web site in December 2004, its author lamenting that the planes that struck the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, did not also carry weapons of mass destruction. He pressed for a WMD attack against the United States, and proposed that deadly new dirty-bomb catchphrase to rally his followers. No al-Qaeda figure, not even Osama bin Laden, has dedicated more effort to thinking through how to destroy the United States than the author of that Web posting, Mustafa Setmariam Nasar, the veteran Syrian jihadi whom Pakistani police arrested last fall. He is arguably al-Qaeda's most influential strategist since 9/11, and has been at the center of al-Qaeda's efforts to develop WMD capabilities since the late 1990s. Setmariam's little-noticed capture, along with the much more heralded killing last week of Iraq insurgency leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, represents one of the most significant U.S. victories against terrorism in the past few years. But this is a rapidly changing war in which the arrest or death of any one leader may not matter. The new al-Qaeda promoted by Setmariam and Zarqawi is an al-Qaeda that lives on the Internet and in the swelling ranks of jihadists worldwide. Setmariam's large Internet following has been of particular concern to U.S. authorities because of his repeated exhortations since 9/11 for al-Qaeda to strike the United States with WMD.”


(Washington Post, 11Jun06, Paul Cruickshank and Mohanad Hage Ali)

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