There is more than what meets the eye in the CIA Saudi joint operation exposing al-Qaeda use of undetectable under-pants bomb to blow up an airliner which was prevented by a devout Muslim taking pride in cooperating with non-Muslim Americans to eliminate fellow Muslims he saw as ‘evil’.
News in the past 24 hours that the double agent infiltrated the Qaeda cell in Yemen was in fact a British Muslim of Arabian origins (I understand he comes from Yemeni/Saudi family and speaks native Yemeni Arabic) was recruited by the MI6 cannot be confirmed as British officials usual line is ” no comment on security matter” while they are not very amused that they were linked with this operation. But there is also a deliberate move by the Saudi and CIA to generate thick fog clouds around the story in an attempt to confuse whoever trying to find out more. Whether the MI6 recruited the double agent, or suggested his name, or put hi in touch with the Saudis, it is evident that the credit for detailed work and handling the agent as wells as preparing the ground in Yemen for him, goes to the Saudis.
Regardless of the MI6 role, and whether it is a smoke screen, a start of the road or not, what concerns me for this blog is some facts. The man dispatched by Al Qaeda to blow up a US-bound passenger airliner with a bombs that has no wires or metal parts to be detected, was in fact a Muslim double agent who was handled by the Saudi intelligence during the crucial phase of the operation, mainly infiltrating terrorist Qaeda cells in the formidable tribal mountains of Yemen…The Saudi interior ministry’s counter-intelligence agency used extensive tribal and family ties in Yemen to prepare for his mission, by convincing them he was a genuine radical Islamists sharing their belief .
It was, in the words of a veteran CIA counter-terrorism agent, it was a stunning coup for Saudi intelligence, casting treble blows to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. In addition to saving lives by prevented the attack, the sophisticated previously unknown explosive device is now intact in the hands of experts, providing crucial new insight into AQAP’s latest terror delivery technology and developing detecting technology. In addition the information provided was the greatest success since the elimination of Osama Bin Laden a year ago. The double agent identified the leaders of the AQAP cell who planned the bombing, and pinpointed their hideout in the mountains. A US drone strike on Sunday killed Fahd Mohammed Al Quso, the cell leader who also mastermind the bombing of USS Cole in Yemeni waters in 2000. But there are other aspects of great success too. The operation illustrates to other countries that “collaboration is essential and pays dividends to all in the war against terrorists. The cooperation also involved the highest levels of the Yemeni government, according intelligence sources in the Yemeni capital of Sana.
Most important was the unexpected success of a new Saudi intelligence strategy in the battle for hearts and minds. The culmination was finding a devout Muslim double agent, who not only accept to infiltrate cells run by fellow Muslims, but to also share information with non-Muslim Americans to target those fellow Muslims; a step that goes against the daily message most Muslims in that part of the world receive, since their primary school days.
The Saudis started the first stage of an ambitious programme to win hearts and reshape minds a few years ago in an expensive, but fruitful, rehabilitation of extremists and Qaeda smaller fish prisoners who were influenced by jihadists’ ideology. The plan involved enlightened Islamic scholar (very few and predictably hard to find in Arabia) who spent long months in quite calm conversation using verse from Quran and basic Islamic teaching to re-programme the minds of those young men.
The Islamists in their Jihadists crusade start fiddling with the minds of young Muslims early, often at the age of six or seven (like the Taliban’smadrasa in Pakistan), they used Quran verse (Muslims grow up to believe Quaran to be the words of god) out of context to implant a negative picture of non-Muslims (or even secular Muslims) in the young minds, they describe them as kafer (Infidels) whose blood is cheap and a fair-game.
A case in point is the court case where nine Asian Muslim men found guilty of abusing underage girls, all white and non-Muslims, forcing them into prostitution. What was shocking was the claim on BBC radio 4 Today Wednesday May 9 by spokesman from the Islamic Charity Organisation Ramadan. He criticised Muslim community leaders and scholars for their refusal to condemn the men as they blamed the girls as “brought it upon themselves”. Those in turn had it in their mind that a non-Muslim woman’s body is a fair-game for Muslims.
Hence the coup is the picture of a devout Muslim double agent happily hands over his trophy to Christian CIA operatives- described by his school teachers and mosques Imams as “godless crusaders against Islam and infidels who should be slaughtered as a Muslim’s first duty”. The meeting took place at Sana’a, in another show by Saudis that they had the Yemeni capital under control. Sources also confirmed cooperation with Yemeni officials, illustrating the CIA -Saudi success to in widen the net of cooperation among muslim countries intelligence services. The Muslim agent knew that his information wouldlead to target killing fellow Muslims. This is a major intellectual and psychological coup.
If the Saudis and other Muslim intelligence service continued both international cooperation and manage to win the psychological and intellectual battle for minds and hearts, then winning the war on terror will become easier than it was in the last decade .
© Copyrights Adel Darwish 2012 – not be copied, quoted or reprinted in whole or part without prior permission from the author