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New Al-Qaida Video Commemorates 9/11 Attacks, Urges Muslim Community to Fight US

The official also said that while al-Qaida still poses a threat to the United States, core al-Qaida has been "decimated," with its leaders preoccupied with internal squabbling

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9/11 Terrorist Attack on World Trade Attack in USA. Image source: youtube.com
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  • In the video, Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri also said that the 9/11 attacks returned the balance between Islam and its enemies
  • In Washington, Many US intelligence officials were aware of the video and disregarded it, saying that their key focus is on ISIL and the war in Syria
  • But some officials from the intelligence community feel that Al-Qaida may still be a threat

Al-Qaida is calling on Muslims to join the terror group’s fight against the United States as it marks the 15th anniversary of the deadly September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

In a video released Friday on the internet titled “The Defiers of Injustice,” al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri said the 9/11 attacks “returned the balance” between Islam and what it called its materialistic Crusader enemies, according to a translation by the SITE Intelligence Group.

Zawahiri said the attacks reminded Muslims of their power and their “potential to deter aggression.” He also noted ongoing racial disparities in the U.S. and urged black Americans to convert to Islam.

U.S. intelligence officials said they were aware of the video, though at least one official sought to downplay the significance, calling Zawahiri a “marginal figure” fighting for relevance.

Source:VOA
FILE – This still image from video obtained Oct. 26, 2012, courtesy of the Site Intelligence Group, shows al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri speaking in a video, from an undisclosed location, released by al-Qaida’s media arm, as-Sahab. Image source: VOA

The official also said that while al-Qaida still poses a threat to the United States, core al-Qaida has been “decimated,” with its leaders preoccupied with internal squabbling.

Threat factor

Other members of the U.S. intelligence community have been less inclined to dismiss the threat from al-Qaida, however, even though it has been overshadowed by the Islamic State terror group.

During testimony before Congress, this past July, National Counterterrorism Center Director Nicholas Rasmussen called al-Qaida and its affiliates “a principle counterterrorism priority.”

“We would not tier our priorities in such a way that downgrades al-Qaida in favor of a greater focus on ISIL,” he said in his written testimony, using an acronym for Islamic State. “When we are looking at the terrorism threats that we face as a nation, including to the homeland, al-Qaida still figures prominently.”

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Some U.S. counterterrorism officials also have voiced concern about al-Qaida’s affiliate in Yemen — al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) — which has taken advantage of 16 months of civil war to solidify safe havens in several provinces.

U.S. Homeland Security officials also have warned that al-Qaida still has its sights set on more 9/11-style attacks, again using commercial airplanes to hit symbolic targets.

U.S. National Counterterrorism Center Director Nicholas Rasmussen, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and FBI Director James Comey (L-R) testify before a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 14, 2016. Source: VOA
U.S. National Counterterrorism Center Director Nicholas Rasmussen, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and FBI Director James Comey (L-R) testify before a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 14, 2016.
Source: VOA

“Al-Qaida, in the Arabian Peninsula and ISIL continue to see an attack on aviation as an important part of their strategy,” the undersecretary for intelligence and analysis, Brigadier General Francis Taylor, said last month during a talk in Washington.

“[We] have clear indications that our enemies are trying to perfect ways of introducing explosives and other devices onto aircraft for the purpose of destroying them in midflight,” he added.

Jabhat Fatah al-Sham

Other U.S. intelligence officials also remain concerned about Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, which recently formed out of what used to be known as Jabhat al-Nusra, the key al-Qaida affiliate in Syria.

While the new group has renounced its ties with al-Qaida, some intelligence officials and analysts remain skeptical the move was anything more than a stunt to shift public opinion.

Others point to al-Qaida’s ability to survive the onslaught it faced from Islamic State in Syria and elsewhere as a sign the terror organization is anything but decimated.

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“Al-Qaida has emerged from this having survived the challenge [from IS] definitively,” said Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

Lingering problem

He also said the new video from al-Qaida leader Zawahiri is neither “a sign of a collapsed organization” nor a sign of a group struggling for relevance.

“It’s the kind of thing you would expect,” said Gartenstein-Ross.

“Underestimating these foes can lead to terrible errors in policy,” he warned. (VOA)

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  • Jagpreet Kaur Sandhu

    Such disgust! Its rather painful that some people between us think that causing terror attacks can have religious significance.

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Rate of autism in US reduced in the past three years

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Rate of autism in US reduced in the past three yearsRate of autism in US reduced in the past three years
FILE - Colleen Jankovich works with her 11-year-old autistic son, Matthew, in Omaha, Nebraska, May 23, 2014. VOA

Miami, Jan 2, 2018: After more than a decade of steady increase in the rate of children diagnosed with autism in the United States, the rate has plateaued in the past three years, researchers said Tuesday.

The findings were based on a nationwide study in which more than 30,000 parents reported whether their children had been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

“The estimated ASD prevalence was 2.41 percent among US children and adolescents in 2014-2016, with no statistically significant increase over the three years,” said the research letter by experts at the University of Iowa, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

The first observation of a plateau was made by a separate group in 2012, when the rate flattened out to 1.46 percent, according to the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network.

Federal health authorities say that means about one in 68 children in the United States have the neurodevelopmental disability, whose causes remain poorly understood.

The ADDM had documented a “continuous increase from 0.67 percent in 2000 to 1.47 percent in 2010.”

The 2.4 percent rate described in the JAMA report translates to one in 47 children, but researchers cautioned that the discrepancy may be explained by “differences in study design and participant characteristics.”

The JAMA report, based on the annual National Health Interview Survey, did not delve into “underlying causes for the findings and cannot make conclusions about their medical significance.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also noted a plateau in the autism rate in 2016, but said it was “too soon to know whether ASD prevalence in the United States might be starting to stabilize.” (VOA)