Should we expect a new September 11 attack?


“Should we expect a new September 11 attack soon after the retreat of US forces from Afghanistan, or even earlier?” The terrible question comes in a letter written by Sheikh Mustafa Hamed, a veteran Arab Jihadi in Afghanistan (where he first arrived in 1979), and father in law of al-Qaida military commander, “Seif al-Adel”, to the man known in US documents as “the treasurer of al Qaida” and later (as of 2007) as “al Qaida military commander in Afghanistan”- Mustafa Abul Yazid, alias “Sheik Saiid”.

The letter of Mustafa Hamed to al Qaida’s military commander in Afghanistan was published, exclusively, in Arabic, by Middle East Transparent (or “Shaffaf”) on Wednesday march 4. It starts by: “From Sheikh Mustafa Hamed to my brother Sheikh Saiid, military commander of al Qaida in Afghanistan: How could you declare three wars in a 30 minutes interview”. The letter, though transmitted only recently, refers to an interview aired by al-Jazeera in June 2009, in which Sheikh Saiid seemed to “declare war” on the US, Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah party.

To put the letter in its proper context, it should be mentioned that the author, Mustafa Hamed, has been living in Iran “under house arrest” for at more than 18 months now- along with his son in law, the famous “Seif el Adel”, credited by US sources (which ignore all of his real name or identity) of being the military commander of al-Qaida. Surprisingly, Hamed’s name in not on the “Most Wanted” US lists, probably because he had always been against the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack or “The Manhattan Raid” as depicted in al-Qaida literature. More surprisingly, the man to whom Hamed’s letter is addressed had been “the treasurer of the September 11, 2001 terror attack” (he had transferred the funds needed by Mohamed Ata and his terrorist associates), though he personally is presumed to have been against that specific terror attack. And that, not for moral or political reasons, but on the basis of his, and bin Laden’s, oath of allegiance to the Mullah Omar, the supreme leader of the Taliban. Sheikh Saiid, says a credible fundamentalist source, had argued that Bin Laden could not order such a massive attack on the US “behind the back of Mullah Omar”! Still, he finally obeyed his master Osama bin Laden and travelled to the United Arab Emirates from which the terror funds were transferred to the US.

The letter confirms in no uncertain terms that Osama bin Laden had moved from Afghanistan to Pakistan in late 2009. Hamed insists that Bin Laden is (and has been, even when hiding in Afghanistan) under the control of Pakistanis (“and you know better than anyone what kind of people are the Pakistani (military)?” says Hamed in his letter).

Criticizing al-Qaida’s military commander for declaring that al Qaida is hoping for a takeover of Pakistan (and its atomic arsenal) by Pakistani Taliban, as a prelude for a nuclear strike on the US itself, Hamed asked his “brother, Sheikh Saiid” what would be the attitude of Pakistan’s people if they knew that a Taliban government would implicate their country in a nuclear war with the first nuclear superpower. And his answer is that “Pakistan’s people would do everything possible to prevent the Taliban from acceding to power and from exposing their country to total destruction.

“Go biological, not nuclear”

While warning against the folly of a nuclear attack against the US, Hamed comes out with a worst nightmare. In view of the fragmentation of the Jihadi world movement into tiny groups (“seeds of resistance”), comprising a single individual in some cases, and to its unprecedented dispersion all over the world, al-Qaida and associates should adopt “the biological weapons”: “cheap, flexible, easy to prepare and easy to transport and use”, says Hamed in his letter.

‘Slack’ in al Qaida operations inside Saudi Arabia!

Hamed, who clearly does not enjoy the forced hospitality of the Mullah’s regime (“it is worse than death to lose your liberty and to be forced away from Jihad”, says Hamed in the last few lines of his letter) defends, opposes al-Qaida’s “declaration of war against Iran and against his Hezbollah”. Do not push Iran, he says, into an open alliance with the US against the Taliban and against al-Qaida. Referring to previous US-Iran contacts under both Mohamed Khatami and Ahmadinejad, he insists that the “Islamic Republic” of Iran should put former president Khatami on trial for “high treason”.

Yet, Hamed reserves his harshest critique to what he suspects Is a developing connivance between Saudi authorities and Bin Laden’s people.
Bin Laden should, first, keep away from the adverse, “religious, political as well as financial influences” of the Saudi official religious establishment! In other words, and contrary to Saudi official proclamations, al-Qaida is still receiving financial support from official Saudi Ulemas and their supporters.

Further, “in answer to a question about your attitude towards the Saudi regime, especially after the slack in your (terrorist) operations inside Saudi Arabia, you said that Saudi Arabia enjoyed a special esteem in the heart of every Muslim”.

Hamed’s conclusion from Sheikh Saiid’s answer is that “the overthrow of the Saudi regime is no longer on al-Qaida’s agenda and, moreover, that al-Qaida shall abstain from all attacks against Saudi security and military forces. If so, “why did al-Qaida encourage (terrorist) operations against the rulers and against the military apparatus of such countries as Algeria, Egypt, Somalia, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan?” says Hamed.

This seems to give credence to reports from Pakistan that contacts had been resumed, in 2009, between Saudi Intelligence operatives on the one hand and the Taliban as well as part of al-Qaida leadership on the other hand. It is certainly plausible that talks have been going on between Saudis and the Taliban- probably with the approval of the US. After all, the US has been openly encouraging the Taliban to engage in a “reconciliation policy” in Afghanistan. (For more on this point, read Amir Mir’s: “Pakistan nets nine of 18 Quetta Shura member“).

As for the “slack” in al-Qaida operations, the last Qaida terror attack in Saudi Arabia was the August 2009 assassination attempt against Saudi deputy minister of interior. From which the letter’s author seems to conclude that some kind of ‘ceasefire” has been concluded between al-Qaida and Saudi authorities, which would allow to gather all forces in the looming confrontation with Shiite Iran.

• Pierre Akel is the editor of Middle East Transparent

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