A Study of "Martyrs in a Time of Alienation"
Part III -- Note this is a brief posting, because I will be out and about all day today.
In January 2008, Al-Fajr Media Center, an al-Qaida affiliated media group, released an extensive issue in its series, "Biographies of the Martyrs in the Land of Khorasan." The book -- in the summary translation used here -- consists of 120 brief biographies of men who died in the insurgency against Coalition forces and regional governments. The following is a brief analysis (in green) of the book's content based on a summary translation available through WNC (Dialog), see the "Introduction" post for record information.
Part I included the first four of the 120 names and pseudonyms. The remaining posts will explore the list of names and pseudonyms continues. This is Part III.
Abu−Usamah al−Dagestani (nickname): He is Abd−al−Rahman Bin−Muhammad from Dagestan. He joined jihad in 1995 alongside Chechen fighters and then went to Afghanistan where he received more military training. He went back to Dagestan where he engaged in kidnapping for ransom until he was assigned second in command for a Chechnya based group of fighters who staged attacks against Dagestan. Unable to return to his homeland Dagestan, he went to Turkey then Afghanistan where he was killed in a battle with Pakistani forces.
Abu-Usamah's bio shows us the nature of global jihad. The bio tells us that he came from "Dagestan," but this doesn't necessarily mean the Republic of Dagestan. Rather it is a traditional term to describe the entire region of the North Caucuses. However, he was radicalized in the 1990s during Russia's war in Chechnya. It's interesting to note that the author here sees nothing morally wrong with Abu-Usamah's line of work after returning from Al Qaida training in Afghanistan to his homeland. "Kidnapping for ransom," is apparently a legitimate method of fund raising for jihadi operations, and a key one when times get tough. Also note, too, that Al Qaida trained jihadis were clearly in leadership positions within the North Caucuses. No doubt, 90s-era Al Qaida training and networking built strong lines of communication among the various regional jihads. Ties that the group is exploiting right now in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Last week in the Washington Post, the former chief of warning at the CIA (one of the key bureaucrats who saw nothing to warn us about on September 10, 2001) confidently wrote that there is no global jihad. Apparently, when he sees a Caucasian confidently traversing five countries, five unique cultures -- fighting in Chechnya, living in Turkey, training in Afghanistan with Arabs and dying in Pakistan -- he see a bunch of regional conflicts.
Usayd al−Ta'zi al−Yamani (nickname): He is A'id Qasim Muhammad from Yemen. He traveled to Afghanistan where he received military training in Al−Faruq camp and was assigned as an administrator. He moved between Afghanistan and Pakistan until he was killed in a raid by Pakistani forces.
Not much to note here, only that "Usayd," too, was part of Al Qaida's leadership complex. He may have been part of the group's "deep bench" that I've discussed before, particularly related to Abu Yahya al-Libbi and his constant efforts to teach new recruits. However, the term "administrator" could mean any number of jobs, including raising funds, doling out money for recruits and their families. Something in his work for AQ made him responsible for moving constantly between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Was he possibly a courier? Perhaps not a military leader, but a trusted member with access to the inner circle? As a man trusted with access to the inner circle he would have known others within that circle even if he never met the group's main leaders. These are the members we would want to capture alive, if possible. Compromising AQ at its core could finally do it in.