Sulayman Khalid (aka Abu Bakr) is an Australian of Iraqi and Italian decent, aged 20, from Regents Park a suburb in Sydney’s western suburbs. He has just been charged with offences related to an immanent terror attack in Australia.
Like many Wahhabi Salafi’s Mr Khalid, prefers to show his religious piety by calling himself Abu Bakr after father-in-law of Islam’s prophet Mohammed. Also like many Australian born Muslim boys he is drawn to the glory promised by militant Wahhabi Salafi extremist groups like Al Qaeda and its offshoots like Al Nusrah and ISIS. The narrative of the Wahhabi Salafi ideologues paints a picture of the global suffering of Sunni Muslims at the hands of the US and its allies (Israel and the West) and its Muslim ‘puppets’ in the Middle East. The narrative ignores the US-NATO intervention in Kosovo against Christian Serbia and also the antipathy the West has with the Assad regime (and the likely indictment of that regime’s leaders for war crimes absent Al Qaeda and ISIS involvement in the civil war) and its Russian supporter. No matter. Truth cannot get in the way of a good terrorist narrative.
Khalid appears to be a thoroughly brainwashed by the militant Wahhabi Salafi ideology and is a self-professed ISIS supporter. He arms himself with illegal weapons and dreams of creating with his Wahhabi brothers a Caliphate to humble the Zionist Crusader alliance. He appears to be prepared to see Australia and his fellow countrymen who are not Wahhabi Salafi’s as his enemy because they are enemies of his God. It is to be sure a political form of radicalism but one with a religious base. One cannot in the Wahhabi Salafi world separate religion (as they interpret Islam) and politics (which can only be legitimate if expressed religiously through Sharia, Allah’s law). In the Wahhabi Salafi mind there is no separation of Church and State. God is sovereign over all. Accordingly all acts in society must be measured by their version of religion. No acts are barbaric if the means justify the ends of making the world submit to God and His rule though His servants who obey His word as revealed by their prophet as interpreted by the strong men of the Sunni (only true) Muslims. All opposition to God’s laws as so revealed and interpreted are untewrmensch and to be eliminated without mercy just as the Nazi’s who gained control of the German State viewed the peoples they conquered and subjugated. Also like Nazi thugs militant Wahhabi Salafi men in the West like the power of their gangs and are prepared to use intimidation and threats and violence to protect their honour or that of their group or religion.
So it was that during an Australian national television show ‘Insight’ about why Aussie Muslims wanted to abandon their land of milk and honey and go and fight in the deserts of Syria and Iraq (aired on the SBS channel on 12 August 2014) he wore an ISIS flag (of the type fellow Wahhabi Salafi, Man Haron Monis called for during his siege in Martin Place Sydney). Khalid stormed off the set with his Muslim lawyer Zali Burrows. Ms Burrows, treated the TV chat show like a court room and stopped the TV presenter asking her client questions when ISIS brutality was raised and advised Khalid to not answer certain questions about whether he supported ISIS brutal inhuman methods (1)
Apparently Channel 7 (the station that appears to have been the original target for Wahhabi Salafi “Brother’ Monis(2) was going to air a television show in which Australian Sunni’s like Khalid was going to be featured but the show was stopped by an injunction brought by Zali Burrows. It would be interesting to know what was going to be shown in that show.
Khalid was also charged for in August this year for threatening and intimidating 43-year-old Christian Iraqi cleaner Petrus Matlub at Bankstown (Sydney) shopping centre as part of an alleged ‘religious hate crime’. Apparently the cleaner challenged Khalid’s wearing an ISIS motif. Given what ISIS has been doing to Christians in Iraq this is not surprising. Rather than react with dialogue Khalid became aggressive and threatening. Khalid’s lawyer Ms Burrows told Daily Mail Australia that Khalid is simply a ‘young kid who is passionate about injustice’. The Bankstown Court back in September granted bail but ordered that he stay away from the shopping centre and not go out at night unaccompanied by a parent. It is unclear whether those charges have ever been heard as the new terrorism charges (and no doubt soon to be added illegal weapons charges) have overtaken this young Australian man whose heart is set on pursuing the ISIS path.(3)
Culturally in some parts of Sydney dominated by Wahhabi Salafi’s it has become common practice to display radical jihadist motifs such as the black flag associated with militant Jihadism since the 1990’s by groups such as Al Qaeda. This prompted the Australian Prime Minister to say on radio in September that the Muslim community should join ‘Team Australia’ and fight extremism as represented by ISIS and their radical ideology as symbolized by their motifs (including not only the ISIS flag but also the white on black Shahada that represents radical militant Islam), propaganda and brutal methods of political and religious violence.(4) Tragically it’s what Australians saw earlier this month when frightened hostages in Martin Place were forced by another Wahhabi Salafi to hold up the black Jihadist flag.
It may be time for Australia to follow what has happened here in Europe recently when Austria enacted new laws banning ISIS glorification. As a result of the Wahhabi terror grooming, funding and propaganda campaigns by the likes of Misrad Omerovic aka ‘Imam Ebu Tejma’(5), the Austrian Parliament on 10 December 2014 passed wide sweeping Anti-Terror laws(6) that included banning ISIS and AL Qaeda flags as terror symbols and takes away Austrian citizenship from Austrian Muslims who go to Syria to join ISIS. These laws mirror similar laws passed in Germany on 5 September 2014 that were based on the 1960 anti-Fascism laws called Abzeichengesetz (Badge Law)– which outlaws Nazi symbols, flags, uniforms and insignia. Other European countries like Denmark are said to be following suit.(7)
As an aside it is interesting to note that Khalid’s new lawyer Zali Burrows also represents 39 year old Hamid Alqudsi a Sunni Muslim man from St Helens Park SW Sydney who is charged with 7 counts of organizing Australian Sunni Muslims to join ISIS and other Wahhabi Salafi terrorist organizations in Syria like Al Qaeda offshoot Al Nusrah and Dawla Islamieh. He is on a disability pension paid for by the Australian government and allegedly has two wives.
Alqudsi was alleged to have had communications with notorious Australian (now deceased) terrorist Mohammad Ali Baryalei.
Alqudsi’s case is being heard in the Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney. One of his co-accused is Fatima Elomar (wife of notorious ISIS fighter who proudly posed for photos of him holding up decapitated heads of ISIS victims in Syria and Iraq, Mohamed Elomar).
Mrs Elomar She was stopped at Sydney Airport earlier this year as she was boarding a plane with her four children and allegedly found to have terrorist materials on her.(8)
Some of the Australian fighters the late Ali Baryalei allegedly recruited include, Amin Iman Mohamed, Mehmet Biber, Tyler Casey (from Redcliffe and husband of Gold Coast private school girl Amira Karroum, both of whom are now deceased), Khaled Sharrouf (who took a picture of his 9 year old son holding up the severed head of an ISIS victim), Mohammed Elomar, Yusuf Ali, Amira Karroum and the late Caner Temel. (9)
It is also alleged that he was in regular phone contact with Guildford apprentice Omarjan Azari, 22, and he was allegedly intercepted in one phone call telling Azari to behead a random member of the public in Sydney’s CBD sometime before Christmas this year in an act intended to “shock, horrify and terrify the community”. Azari was arrested during counter-terrorism raids in Sydney in September (2014) and charged with conspiring to commit a terrorist act. The pair met through the Street Dawah movement (pictured here with Ali Baryalei), a volunteer initiative in which Muslims proselytise on the streets of Sydney. Many of the men detained during the September counter-terrorism raids knew each other through the group.” (10)
Hamid Alqudsi is no stranger to controversy. In 2010 Alqudsi as husband of Muslim woman Carnita Matthews (one of his two wives) was seen in a melee outside a court-house in Sydney Australia. Carnita was convicted (and sentenced to 6 months jail) for making a false statement that a NSW police officer was a racist and tried to remove her veil during a random breath test (the Magistrate saying the lady was acting maliciously in making the false allegations). (11)
The group of men acted in a most aggressive and violent manner toward media outside the Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney. Notice the cordon of male supporters (who appear to be Wahhabi Salafi) surrounding Carnita Matthews in a militia style and chanting ‘Allahu Akbar” as they scuffled with reporters and police outside the courtroom.(12)
Zali Burrows has received praise even from supporters of (Jabhat Al Nusrah) Al Nusrah Front the Australian extremist political group Hizb ut Tahrir. One of their leadership Ulthman Badar on his Facebook page he and many fellow travellers like Rayan Yaqub Al Bikaadi from Auburn NSW who works for UNSW Global Institute in Kensington and Randwick, Abdur Rehman, Ahmed Annous, Hafiz M Wassem Naeem, several Abu Hamza’s (meaning Muslim ‘lion’) Doureihi, Ibrahim Salih, Razwann Ahmed, Umm Asad, Laelaaha Ellal Laah and Bilal Baydar bemoan the unfairness of the travel bans on Australian Sunni men wishing to fight the Assad regime in Syria (not necessarily joining ISIS to do so but rather groups like Al Nusrah). Presumably they (or the real men behind the Facebook pseudonyms) all wish to do so.
Zali Burrows (also a political aspirant) like many Muslims who oppose the Syrian Regime has challenged the Australian government’s anti-terror laws(13) and especially those that prohibit Sunni men fighting against the Assad regime in Syria. Under the Autonomous Sanctions Act 2011(14) and Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Foreign Fighters) Act 2014(15) and the it’s illegal for any person in Australia or any Australian citizen (including dual citizen), anywhere in the world to provide any kind of material support to any armed group in Syria government or opposition; Syrian or foreign. This includes providing weapons or raising funds to support armed groups active in Syria, offering to fight, or recruiting or training others to do so.
Mr Khalid’s passport was cancelled by the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) in December 2013 because of his likelihood of breaching those Acts. ASIO has had him and 20 other extremists on a watch list.
Following counter terrorism raids around Australian as part of as part of a large Counter Terrorism investigation that has been ongoing since 2013, ‘Operation Appleby’. 11 individuals with a jihadist ideology were charged with terrorism related offences after the September 2014 raids.
‘Operation Appleby’ is the largest counter terrorism probe in Australia. It is investigating the conveyor belt from fanaticism to terrorism. It commenced with ASIO’s surveillance of Alqudsi and revelations that came from them of the ‘terror tourism’ that was happening between Australia and Syria via Turkey. It continued after his arrest as there was a ring of about 17 alleged co-conspirators including 24 year old Marsfield man Milad Bin Ahmad-Shah Al-Ahmadzai(16) and 23 year old Amin Iman Mohammed involved in this terror tourism. “But the group’s recruitment efforts were frustrated by ASIO, which on several occasions cancelled the passports of the person Azari’s group was trying to recruit, preventing them from leaving Australia… Then, early last month, came the game-changer. As Islamic State was conducting its murderous rampage through northwest Iraq, the group received a phone call from Baryalei in which he asked the group to carry out an attack in Australia. Authorities listened in as some of the group discussed packing a vehicle with explosives and detonating it. One of those to visit the group in Sydney was Omar Succarieh, 31, brother of Australia’s first suicide bomber in Syria, Ahmed Succarieh. Succarieh, from Logan, south of Brisbane, was arrested on raids across southeast Queensland (in September this year) authorities monitored a call between Baryalei and Azari in which Baryalei allegedly demanded that Azari go out and kill a random non-Muslim as a demonstration of Islamic State’s intent…. In the intercepted conversation the actual word “behead” was not used but it was allegedly implied by a suggestion that a flag be draped around the victim’s head and that their death be videoed and placed on social media, similar to the recent beheading executions by Islamic State of two US journalists and a British aid worker… They discussed the murder by Islamic extremists of British soldier Lee Rigby on a London street in May last year. It was clear they could not guarantee there would be no repeat of such an attack on the streets of Sydney. There really was no choice; they had to go in immediately. In barely 24 hours, about 870 police officers were mobilised and raids were planned on more than 27 homes in two states with the aim of detaining and questioning 17 men.”(17)
Islamo-Fascism seen as a type of Nazi sickness by European parliaments
Just this month in Austria similar nationwide raids as those that happened in September in Australia netted a huge Wahhabi Salfi terror ring. (18) The Austrian police and national security officers (WEGA) have been conducting mass nationwide raids to weed out Wahhabi extremists who have been funding ISIS and luring hundreds of young Muslims aged between 15 and 30 either as Wahhabi concubines to ISIS fighters or to their death as cannon fodder in Syria and Iraq. There are estimated to be 150 Austrian citizens who have gone to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS fighting or sex brigades. The Austrian anti-terror sweeps were the culmination of a 2 year investigation and involved 900 police and intelligence operatives in which they allegedly monitored phone calls between Misrad and the ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The nationwide raids were the biggest in Austria since WWII. Many centres of Wahhabi extremism were uncovered in mosques, so called ‘prayer rooms’, private homes of Wahhabi’s and Islamic Centres in key Austrian cities like Graz, Linz and Vienna.[xv] The raids found proof of recruitment for ISIS, terrorist propaganda, cash and other terrorist paraphernalia. 13 arrests were made.
Khalid was arrested Tuesday 23rd December 2014 on Terrorism charges after a raid on his house on Thursday 18 December. This was only days after the Lindt chocolate shop siege in the centre of Sydney where it is alleged Ali Baryalei had ordered a kidnapping and beheading should take place for ISIS.
In the process of executing the search warrant, the Australian Federal Police seized:
• a rifle,
• a shortened shotgun and
• a double-barrelled shotgun and
• significant documents that police allege were “designed to facilitate a terrorist attack” (on government buildings).
Khalid, appeared in Parramatta Local Court Wednesday 24 December with another (un-named 21 year old man who had allegedly breached a control order) and (given what ‘Brother’ Man Haron Monis (pictured) did whilst he was out on bail), Khalid was unsurprisingly refused bail.(19)
- See December, 11, 2014 http://www.thelocal.at/20141211/austria-passes-anti-terror-law
- See December, 11, 2014 http://www.thelocal.at/20141211/austria-passes-anti-terror-law
- Ironically, the Magistrate could not identify the woman as the same woman who made the complaint because she would not unveil and so the conviction had to be ultimately overturned on a technicality. What should have been a victory dance however turned to ugly violence due to the extreme nature of the groups reactions to reporters.
- Zali Burrows, lawyer for Hamid Alqudsi is trying to challenge the constitutional validity of the legislation but International law expert Ben Saul said there were no obvious avenues to challenge the legislation because it is covered by the “external affairs power”, a robust and broadly applied power to legislate matters involving governments outside Australia or to implement international obligations. http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/alleged-jihadist-recruiter-alqudsi-to-mount-high-court-challenge-against-foreign-incursion-laws-20141014-115pb5.html
- Ahmadzai, who has been under ASIO surveillance for four years, has also been convicted of stealing $100,000 during an ATM ram raid. Senior police sources have expressed concern money stolen from ATM raids has ended up being transferred to Syria to fund terrorism. Born and bred in Sydney, Ahmadzai is associated with Bukhari House, a bookstore and prayer hall in Auburn and is believed to be passing on directives to the group from inside jail. http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/terror-raids-target-family-homes-of-convicted-criminals-20140919-10jhw9.html
Can the Taliban tame ETIM?
The Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP) is also known as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) is a Uyghur Islamic extremist organization founded in the Xinjiang province of China. TIP is the new name, although China still calls it by the name ETIM and refuses to acknowledge it as TIP. The ETIM was founded in 1997 by Hasan Mahsum before being killed by a Pakistani army in 2003. Its stated aim is to establish an independent state called ‘East Turkestan’ replacing Xinjiang. The United States removed it from its list of terrorist Organizations in 2020. The group and its ties to Muslim fundamentalism have compounded Chinese concerns about the rising threat of terrorism within the country.
In Tianjin, the Taliban’s political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar again pledged to “never allow any force” to engage in acts detrimental to China. Suhail Shaheen, the Afghan Taliban’s spokesperson, said in an exclusive interview with the Global Times that many ETIM members had left Afghanistan because Taliban had categorically told them that Afghanistan can’t be used to launch attacks against other countries. The Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had also asked the Taliban to crack down on the ETIM, which is based out of the Xinjiang province. In view of the Taliban’s pro-China stance on the ETIM, the article will assess the feasibility of the Taliban’s promises of not providing sanctuaries to the groups which are direct threat to the national security of China.
First, this statement surprises the experts in view of the Taliban’s historic relationship with the ETIM. According to a recent United Nations Security Council report, ETIM has approximately 500 fighters in northern Afghanistan, mostly located in Badakhshan province, which adjoins Xinjiang in China via the narrow Wakhan Corridor. Most of Badakhshan is now under Taliban control, but according to some reports, Tajik, Uzbek, Uighur and Chechen fighters comprise the bulk of the local Taliban rank and file, rather than Pashtun fighters. This scenario appears very challenging for the top leadership of the Taliban to deny sanctuaries to such loyalists.
Second, ETIM is operating in Afghanistan since 1990. It has strong links with the local Taliban commanders. The local Taliban commanders may put pressure on the top leadership or hinder the extradition of ETIM members from Afghanistan. Zhu Yongbiao, director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at Lanzhou University, thinks that ETIM members in Afghanistan still have some influence. It may not be easy for the Taliban to fully cut ties with all ETIM members in Afghanistan as it may hurt other military militants that used to support it.
Third, the Taliban’s capacity to tame the ETIM is limited because its all members and leadership have scattered across Afghanistan, Syria and Turkey. Zhang Jiadong, a professor with the Center for American Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, told the Global Times, “In recent years, the ETIM also changed its living areas overseas. The exact number of ETIM members is hard to know but “its core members are living in countries including Pakistan, Syria, and Turkey. More of them stay in Syria than in Afghanistan and have been keeping a low profile in recent years”.
Fourth, the ETIM has developed close ties with international militant organizations, including Al Qaeda. Moreover, Al Qaeda has significant influence over the Taliban. Al Qaeda has ability and resources to sabotage the extradition of ETIM members from Afghanistan. Some militant organizations including IS-K have developed the ideological differences with the Afghan Taliban. IS-K recently used a Uyghur fighter for suicide campaign in Afghanistan just to show fissure between the Taliban and ETIM. So, this trend can be a challenge for the Afghan Taliban.
The Taliban’s new stance of not providing sanctuaries to the ETIM contradicts with some of its founding principles. The Taliban’s new version on ETIM is not easy to follow. Time will be the true judge of the feasibility of Taliban’s new stance.
The heartwarming story of Uighur jihadists
In the wake of 9/11, the US government scooped up all the terrorist networks and made an assessment of which ones were a threat to America. The prisoners held in Guantanamo were of the jihadist Islamic militant type. It’s not like the US government, in order to help other governments, filled Guantanamo with random, latent secessionist movements from around the world – Quebec, Catalonia, the IRA in Ireland, or the Tigray in Ethiopia. You wouldn’t find any of them in Guantanamo. The Guantanamo profile was clearly that of the Islamic militant jihadist that poses a threat to America.
Guantanamo was not a charity project where governments from around the world could dump and keep their separatists. There was a shared counter-terrorism interest between the United States and China, specifically in the area of combating Uighur jihadists, and that’s not a story that can be erased.
There were 22 Uighur jihadists held in Guantanamo, in total. Uighur jihadists were and still are the China-oriented spinoff of Al-Qaeda. Their organization, the East Turkestan Independence Movement (ETIM) was formally listed as a terrorist organization by the US Treasury Department and the US State Department during the war on terror. ETIM is still on the UN Security Council’s list of sanctioned for terrorism entities. The Uighur jihadists stayed on the Security Council’s list after a recent review of their status was completed in November, 2020. ETIM is also a part of the UN report on the status of Al-Qaeda and ISIS. Very recently, in July 2021, the UN said that the Uighur jihadists group ETIM has several hundred fighters in Afghanistan on the border with China, and that they are affiliated with Al-Qaeda, even though the US government de-listed them from its terrorist organizations list in 2020 and has argued that they no longer exist. This was a purely political move by the US government that does not reflect the reality on the ground, and signifies a shift that the American public is expected to follow.
Just after 9/11, in 2002, Uighur jihadists plotted a terrorist attack on the US Embassy in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. At the time, the Washington Post said: “The U.S. Embassy in Beijing said today there is evidence that an obscure Muslim organization fighting Chinese rule in the western province of Xinjiang has been planning a terrorist strike against the U.S. Embassy in Kyrgyzstan”. That marked the first time China and the US shared a common terrorist enemy. That same year, the same terrorist group (ETIM) shot dead a Chinese diplomat in the same city.
The Uighur jihadists threatened the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing; they are responsible for political assassinations, bombings and wide-spread, clear-cut terrorism of substantial scale. Uighur jihadists perpetrated a terrorist attack in Thailand in 2015, killing 20 people in a tourist resort. The same group of Uighur jihadists successfully carried out a suicide car-bomb attack on the Chinese Embassy in Kyrgyzstan in 2016, 14 years after the US Embassy there shared the same risk. You didn’t hear about more plots against America by the Uighur jihadists because the US government went after them right away: some went to Guantanamo; others were scattered.
The US State Department reported in 2002 that ETIM was a terrorist organization with over 200 acts of terrorism committed in the 1990s. China did not start making things up only after 9/11, just to fit in the US counter-terrorism narratives and priorities in order to get rid of uncomfortable critics of the regime. China was already experiencing a big, very real terrorism threat of the same kind the US faced in the 2000s. It was the same enemy.
Something as big as a terrorism plot against a US Embassy would have definitely counted in a time when even borrowing the Quran from a library was followed. If put through the ordinary legal system, a foiled plot on a US embassy could give you 15-20 years in jail or less, and then you’d be out, or maybe you would just walk if the judge didn’t like the source of the evidence. If you were “only” training with Al Qaeda and Bin Laden without an actual plot, that would also give you only several years in jail, or no jail time at all, if the judge didn’t like the source of the evidence. That’s the kind of things Guantanamo was created to prevent: a place to keep “the worst of the worst” where the US government didn’t have to think about the regular legal system. Current Attorney General, Merrick Garland, in fact, was one of those judges back in the days of the Guantanamo court wars, who ruled to release Uighur jihadists on the basis of over-reliance on evidence from the Chinese government. If the Chinese are saying it, they can’t be terrorists, was the argument there, so they had to be released. With the parents-as-terrorists DOJ memo by Garland and the recent confirmation that the FBI’s counter-terrorism unit indeed puts red flags on parents as potential terrorists in 2021, one has to be reminded that Garland rarely gets it right in the area of terrorism. More often than not, it’s exactly the other way around. Jihadists can leave, parents can come in.
There is an attempt right now to reverse the narrative of the Uighur jihadists, and the audience is the American public. That push is relatively new and emerged in the US mainstream media only over the past 1-2 years, in parallel with the narrative of the Uighur genocide committed by China. The reason is simple: you can’t have it both ways. Americans can’t feel compassion for the Uighurs and hate China, if they are constantly reminded the uncomfortable facts that the Uighur jihadists were actually together with Bin Laden in Tora Bora, they lived in a village provided by Al Qaeda and trained in weapons and terrorism tactics for Bin Laden. It’s just that their direction was different: mostly against China. They ran away together from the American bombardments of Al Qaeda in Tora Bora. They were sought after by the Americans, the same way the Americans searched for Bin Laden for 10 years. There was bounty on their heads. 22 Uighurs were held in Guantanamo for many years and were released only after a decade. In Guantanamo, Uighurs confessed right away to their activities and their links to Al Qaeda. The ETIM was listed as a terrorist organization by the US government in 2002, after the US government reviewed several organizations proposed for terrorism listing by the Chinese government, and concluded there was evidence only for them, dismissing the other organizations proposed by the Chinese. The US government wasn’t indiscriminately accepting requests by countries to help them with their problematic groups. Just after 9/11, in 2002 the group organized the plot against the US Embassy. The plot was foiled.
When the facts are so damning, the US mainstream media certainly has a problem. These facts show that China was not just making it up, looking for ways to exploit the US counter-terrorism mania of the 2000s when everything was about the war on terror and, in the haste, the US government could have been easily misled. The Uighurs as jihadists presents a very clear challenge to the spin factory of the liberal media right now. The attempt to reverse the narrative of the Uighurs as jihadists over the past 1-2 years takes the nuanced analysis angle to the level of parody. I’ll walk you through some of it.
A recent CNN investigation claims that the Uighurs jihadists held in Guantanamo were mostly economic migrants who left China in a search of a better life and they had nowhere else to go but Bin Laden’s Tora Bora. They have no idea how they found themselves in the Al Qaeda village, they were in the wrong place, at the wrong time. They were not aware of what Bin Laden was doing. Now, years after leaving Guantanamo, they are just men looking for love and family. The CNN story is that the Uighur jihadists were never really terrorists, just “dreamers” with guns. They used weapons only because that was the cultural tradition in the mountains – not as terrorists or something. The terrorist training camps in Tora Bora under the umbrella of Al Qaeda and bin Laden was not actually terrorism training, they were using weapons only casually, not in a determined way. The Uighur jihadists didn’t join Bin Laden as terrorists; it’s just that there was nowhere else to go. When the American bombardments of Tora Bora started, it was very scary for them. They ran around the caves looking for food like refugees. When they were captured by the Americans in Pakistan, they felt “cheated” and tricked. How could they do this to them? That wasn’t nice of the Pakistanis at all. Their dreams were shattered after all the suffering experienced in running away from the Americans bombardments. Actually, going to America and Guantanamo was better than going back to China for them. They were impressed with the level of cultural awareness demonstrated by the Americans in Guantanamo that surprised the Chinese that visited Guantanamo. To you and me, from the point of view of our standards, it could look like the American government was torturing in Guantanamo, but the Uighur jihadists really preferred the American prisons to ordinary life in China, despite “some mistakes” on the part of the Guantanamo management. The narrative is mind-boggling and you wonder how the American public can stomach that at all.
It gets better. At Atlantic story of the same kind claims that the fact that the Uighur jihadists told the US government right away what they were doing, stated their affiliation with Al Qaeda and Bin Laden, and explained their terrorism training activities, meant that they can’t really be terrorists, if they weren’t trying to hide it. If what they themselves confessed was so damning, then they couldn’t have been terrorists, and that had to be excluded from the evidence. It was sad that they were “incriminating” themselves by being so forthcoming. If they confessed to it, that was just a sign that they were honest people and they can’t be terrorists. The Guardian, recently in 2020, also joined The Atlantic line and claimed that if the men incriminated themselves, the interrogations had to be discredited. And anyways, right now it all has to be about the Chinese detainment camps in Xinjiang anyways, so you can’t have actual Uighur jihadists uncomfortably messing up the narrative. The Guardian presses that ETIM is an organization designated as a terrorist organization only by China, skipping that the designation was virtually uniform – the US government, the UN Security Council, the UN report on the status of Al Qaeda and ISIS, the Canadian government, and more. You can really tell that these facts are quite annoying to the liberal media, and it is really messing up their stories.
The CNN rather gullible narrative ends with a criticism of Canada, which is also repeated by The Guardian: Canada won’t let in three Uighur jihadists, former Guantanamo detainees. The liberal media narrative wants you to see them simply as men looking to be reunited with their families, but the Canadian government hypocritically stands in the way of love. Hypocritically – because, as CNN states, Canada is against the Chinese crackdown and detainment of people in Xinjiang but won’t let in Uighur jihadists, former Guantanamo detainees. That, in fact, is the most rational approach to the issue a government can have.
The Guardian pushed the same story with the title “It breaks my heart”, also blaming Canada for not letting them in, after their families moved to Canada.
The Atlantic article pushed the same narrative, claiming that the Chinese government somehow tricked and deceived the American government that these Al-Qaeda affiliated, Tora Bora residing, Guantanamo-held terrorists were terrorists. This was only Chinese propaganda by an authoritarian regime. The article admits that the Chinese experienced over 200 terrorist attacks by that group, but here the nuanced analysis kicks in. These events were separate and isolated, instead of arising from one place of coordination, so this wide-spread terrorism wave can’t be terrorism. That pattern is exactly what terrorism of this kind looks like, in fact: loose, ideologically-driven networks without a direct chain of command. You don’t need one place of coordination to prove that terrorists are terrorists. The article also submits that a lot of terrorist attacks that China experienced were actually falsely branded as terrorism, citing small-scale incidents and attacks that would right away fall under the mainstream terrorism narrative, if the same happened in Western Europe. The Atlantic narrative also pushes the argument that terrorism is used only as an excuse by the Chinese, that’s not the real reason why they are after these networks, as if it could get more serious than that. And most importantly for the American audience, the Atlantic analysis claims that the Uighur jihadists were never anti-American “enemy combatants”, even though the author cites an article by the Council on Foreign Relations that mentions the foiled terrorist plot on the American Embassy in 2002, which was a central event for the US government. But that doesn’t count because it didn’t happen, the plot was foiled. The group was rather local, The Atlantic argues now, and was not a part of the international jihad. They were, however. ETIM’s objective was the creation of a fundamentalist Muslim state called “East Turkistan”, which was supposed to cover many countries in the region – something like ISIS’s idea for a caliphate, but for the Turk ethnicity across the region. In terms of operations, Uighur operations definitely had an international reach – whether across countries in the region, by threatening the international Olympic Games, and even as a terrorist attack on a tourist resort going as far as Thailand.
So, these are the narratives that various liberal corners are trying to push: the version of the warm, fuzzy, innocent terrorists who were just misunderstood. If there is one area where US mainstream media can’t sell their narratives about “demonizing”, “scapegoating” and “dog whistling” to the American public, that’s with Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists. But they will still try. Reading these articles, you have to wonder: what’s the agenda there.
After their release from Guantanamo, Uighur jihadists were dispatched to Albania, Switzerland and Slovakia and some Latin American countries. The question is whether the American government has leverage over these former Guantanamo detainees, and whether they will join the terrorist networks operating against China. We don’t know what the terms of release of these jihadists were and whether they are not sleeping cells that could be unleashed upon China at some point. The radicalization of Xinjiang by the US government with the aim to create trouble for the Chinese government is one of the reasons the US government invaded Afghanistan, as I argued previously.
You have to love the way the US government interprets US support for terrorism around the world: we are not funding and supporting terrorism, we are just creating strategic groups to fight authoritarian regimes. In the 1980s, the US government created and funded the mujahidin, right there, in the same region. Then they pushed ISIS on the world as the good terrorists in Syria, only to have to fight them later, and God knows how many more terrorist groups that we have no idea about.
The fact that over the last 1-2 years the big US mainstream media spends resources on stories to basically white-wash clear-cut terrorists should signal something. These stories appear only now, almost 10 years after most of the Uighur jihadists were released from Guantanamo. These stories about the innocence of Guantanamo detainees scapegoated by the bad Chinese government didn’t appear right away. You’d think that the time for these stories would have been around the time when the Uighur jihadists got released from Guantanamo, not now.
The white-washing efforts by the US mainstream media who have to somehow explain the inconvenient past, show a sad fact about American public discourse right now: you can be vilified as a monster for saying things to women, while US mainstream media will break their backs to explain why actual terrorists are not that bad after all, and are really the victims here. They were not really terrorists, they just became victims of their terrorist activities. Watch this white-washing space. It will become even more pronounced, as we move forward into more hardened narratives of the Cold War against China.
Islamic State Khorasan’s Threat and the Taliban
As the Islamic State loses territory, it has increasingly turned to Afghanistan as a base for its global caliphate. Islamic State Khorasan (IS-K) is the Islamic State’s Central Asian province and remains active in the region since 2015. Khorasan region historically encompasses parts of modern-day Iran, Central Asia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. IS-K mainly consists of some members of TTP, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jamaat-ud- Dawa, Lashkar-e-Islam, Haqqani Network, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Afghan Taliban.
IS-K has received support from the Islamic State’s core leadership in Iraq and Syria. Like the Islamic State’s core leadership in Iraq and Syria, IS-K seeks to establish a caliphate beginning in South and Central Asia, governed by sharia law. IS-K disregards international borders and envisions its territory transcending nation-states like Pakistan and Afghanistan. IS-K aims at delegitimizing existing states, degrading trust in democracy, exploiting sectarianism.
IS-K’s relations with the Afghan Taliban are tense due to sectarian and some policy differences. The Taliban follows the Hanfi school of Sunni Islam. While IS-K has derived its teachings from Wahabi or Salfi school of Islam. IS-K propounds the agenda of borderless jihad to establish one political power. IS-K directs the fighters to “have no mercy or compassion” against the Taliban for refusing to “join the caliphate”. The Taliban agenda has been limited to Afghanistan. In 2015, a video by IS-K had denounced the Taliban for having an amir. Both emerged from the same madrassas. Five of the six IS-K leaders were Pakistani. Mullah Abdul Rauf Khadem, a Taliban defector, also pledged allegiance to the ISIL in 2015. Shahab al Muhajir as IS-K new emir following the capture of his predecessor Aslam Farooqi. He was once a mid-level commander in the Haqqani Network.
IS-K condemned the Taliban’s peace negotiations with the United States in its March 2020 newsletter Al Naba, stating that the Taliban and the crusaders are allies. In 2021, IS-K vowed to retaliate against the Taliban for their peace deal with the United States. IS-K blames Taliban as nationalists with parochial interests in Afghanistan.
In an open letter to IS leader Abu Bakar al Baghdadi the Taliban warned they would be compelled to “defend our achievements”. IS-K has been exploiting the internal power struggle within the Taliban. In 2015, then Taliban leader Akhtar Mansour urged IS-K fighters to coalesce “under one banner”, alongside the Taliban. Leaders in the Taliban’s Quetta Shura authorized additional offensives and deployed elite Red Unit to fight IS-K. In Jowzjan province, IS-K surrendered to the Taliban.
The IS-K has launched multiple attacks since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan particularly at Kabul airport. According to the report, the group has strengthened its position in and around Kabul, where it conducts most of its attacks, targeting minorities, activists, government employees and personnel of Afghan security forces. Taliban has taken districts from IS-K in the past and reportedly killed Omar Khorasani, Farooq Bengalzai and Abu Obaidullah Mutawakil—the former leaders of ISKP. The Taliban had also closed more than three dozen Salafist mosques across 16 different provinces.
Zabiullah Mujahid said, “IS-K has no physical presence here, but it is possible some people who may be our own Afghan have adopted Daesh ideology, which is a phenomenon that is neither popular nor is supported by Afghan”.
Taliban has also international support in dealing with IS-K. The Iranian military has also collaborated with the Taliban to secure Iran’s land border with Afghanistan and deny IS-K fighters’ freedom of movement. The Taliban leaders have already opened dialogue with several regional countries, assuming that they would not allow IS-K to gain a foothold in Afghanistan and threaten their stability. States such as Iran, China, and Russia are reviewing their engagement with the Taliban. The chief of US Central Command Gen. Frank Mckenzie also admitted that the US is also providing very limited support to the Taliban to counter the IS-K.
IS-K is an external and weak terrorist outfit, which cannot manage massive inclusion. The IS-K is a potential terrorist threat, but not beyond being controlled. In the present day, however, there is little incentives for groups like the TTP to align with severely weakened IS-K at the expense of the Taliban. The TTP in fact put out a detailed statement saying that they are against ISKP in July 2020. The TTP and the Afghan Taliban both have deep connections with Al Qaeda, which has a deep rivalry with IS. There are few chances that the TTP will join hands with IS-K as it is an ally of Al Qaeda with allegiance to Mullah Haibatulllah, the Taliban supreme leader. There are more chances that East Turkistan Movement ETIM, a long-standing battlefield ally of the Taliban, will manage the Uyghur jihadist network in Afghanistan.
International pressure is also mounting on Taliban to take action against IS-K. According to the Morgan, if Taliban is not able to gain the international recognition it needs to be able to run the country. It will also hinder Taliban access to the global financial institutions, rendering the Taliban incapable of paying for the imports that feed the country. In peace deal, it was with the assurance that the Taliban would severe ties with other armed groups. However, Taliban political spokesman Suhail Shaheen refused to become the part of US-led efforts to counter IS-k.
UN report estimates that there are 1500 to 2200 personnel of IS-K in Afghanistan. Moreover, IS-K has less influence in the militant ecosystem of Afghanistan. So, it is likely less chances that IS-K becomes the threat to the regional stability. Taliban has muscle to effectively eliminate the IS-K threat from Afghanistan.
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