Khorosan: Jihad’s Latest Gang
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It’s not often that the New York Times and JihadWatch scholar Robert Spencer agree about an Islamic threat, but a Sunday front page headline was “U.S. Suspects More Direct Threats Beyond ISIS,” referring to Khorosan a newly coined Allah gang.

Interestingly, Spencer discussed Khorosan a few days ago on Canada’s SunTV:

Khorosan is something of a knockoff from al Qaeda, which may feel upstaged by all the noisy media coverage about ISIS, as well as its success in grabbing territory. Every jihad bunch wants to be recognized as the baddest on the block, which is not good news for western civilization.

Spencer noted the symbology of Khorosan, saying,

“The name comes from a region in central Asia in ancient Iran, that is the subject of the stories that are told in Islamic tradition about Mohammed talking about the end times and saying that the black banners come from Khorosan, and you should go and follow them and you will find the person who is the caliph of Allah, that is the mahdi, the savior figure of Islam who will conquer and Islamize the world at the end of the world in this view.”

“So the idea is that this group is named after this region from which will come the jihadis that will herald the final Islamization of the whole world and the conquest of all the infidels and they are plotting apparently attacks in the United States against westerners high-profile targets, something on the order of 9/11 and they seem to apparently be here now, of course the same can be said for the Islamic State.”

So any group that calls itself Khorosan has big jihadist plans. It must be aware of America’s pathetically undefended southern border that unaccompanied children cross daily.

The Times piece was loaded up with wonkish beltway expertise.

U.S. Suspects More Direct Threats Beyond ISIS, New York Times, September 20, 2014

WASHINGTON — As the United States begins what could be a lengthy military campaign against the Islamic State, intelligence and law enforcement officials said another Syrian group, led by a shadowy figure who was once among Osama bin Laden’s inner circle, posed a more direct threat to America and Europe.

American officials said that the group called Khorasan had emerged in the past year as the cell in Syria that may be the most intent on hitting the United States or its installations overseas with a terror attack. The officials said that the group is led by Muhsin al-Fadhli, a senior Qaeda operative who, according to the State Department, was so close to Bin Laden that he was among a small group of people who knew about the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks before they were launched. [. . .]

The director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., said on Thursday that “in terms of threat to the homeland, Khorasan may pose as much of a danger as the Islamic State.”

The CBS report was a little more straight-forward.
Al Qaeda’s quiet plan to outdo ISIS and hit U.S., CBS News, September 18, 2014,

WASHINGTON — The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) may be dominating the headlines and stealing attention with its prolific propaganda, but CBS News’ Bob Orr reports, another group in Syria — one few have even heard of because information about it has been kept secret — is considered a more urgent concern.

Sources tell CBS News that operatives and explosives experts from Osama bin Laden’s old al Qaeda network may again present an immediate threat to the U.S. homeland.

At two dozen foreign airports, U.S.-bound passengers are undergoing enhanced security screening. Agents are searching for hidden explosives. Laptops and phones with dead batteries have been banned from flights.

Great Britain raised its national terror threat level, and the FBI is tracking American jihadists who may return home.

Sources say it’s due to the emerging threat in Syria, where hardened terrorists loyal to al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri are working on new, hard-to-detect bombs.

In testimony Wednesday, the Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Matt Olsen — who warned that U.S. agencies are unable to effectively trackWestern jihadists inside Syria — seemed to make a vague reference to the threat.

“In Syria, we’ve seen veteran al Qaeda fighters travel from Pakistan to take advantage of the permissive environment there,” said Olsen.

Sources confirm that the al Qaeda cell goes by the name “Khorasan.”

Unlike ISIS, which is believed at present to be largely engulfed in its fight for territory. Khorasan is developing fresh plots to target U.S. aviation, and it’s trying to recruit Westerners who have flocked to the fight in Syria, some of whom have joined the al Qaeda franchise in the country, known as the al-Nusra Front.

The fear is that U.S. and European passport holders could more easily smuggle explosives onto airplanes.

Asked if there was anything about the threat he could reveal to lawmakers during the public testimony on Capitol Hill, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said discussions about “specific organizations… should be left to a classified setting.”

Sources tell CBS News the group includes technicians trained by al Qaeda’s master bomb-builder, Ibrahim al-Asiri. The Yemen-based Asiri built the infamous but ultimately unsuccessfulunderwear bombs and two cargo bombs concealed in printer cartridges.

He is considered one of the most innovative bomb-builders in the jihadist world, and he’s still operating freely — at least for now.

CIA chief John Brennan recently told Orr that U.S. officials were “doing what we can” to track Asiri down, and predicted that his “time will come.”

At the moment, U.S. officials say there is no specific, credible threat to the homeland. But as information about Khorasan becomes available, it’s clear that al Qaeda remains obsessed with bombs, airplanes, and attacking the United States.

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