Strategic Operations and the Jihadi Enemy

By John Guandolo As we look at recent events, it becomes clear that the evidence points to the fact that these were not just acts of jihad linked by Islamic doctrine. They were also operations which drew on most or all of the key elements that we see in overseas operations, and which have we previously seen prior to or during operations here in the States. Here is what we might call their five-part planning matrix, along with a look at how it maps out for two homeland incidents this year as well as the strike in India last year.

Al Qaeda / Jihadi Op Planning:

1) A good target is a target until mission completion (World Trade Center 1993 = WTC 2001)

2) A good penetration location once is a good penetration location again (White House: Alamoudi)

3) The key operational guy always leaves before the Op (Ramzi Yousef: WTC 1)

4) Target preference is communicated via some medium (AQ discussing targeting US economic center)

5) Religious/Legal Approval for Op must be given (Blind Sheikh in US)

Hasan: FT HOOD

1) Military personnel are always a target (Sgt Akbar, et al)

2) Hasan was on DHS Taskforce ( see page 29 - odd.

3) The prior Muslim Chaplain at Ft Bragg left and put Hasan in charge as the lay Muslim Chaplain. Why did the Chaplain leave and when?

4) Target Preference Texas =

5) Email approval from Awlaki (see attached UNCLAS DHS reports)

Lashkar-e-Toiba: MUMBAI

1) NA

2) Recce Team of David Headley and Tahawwur Hassan Rana (Lashkar-e-Toiba) arrested in US by FBI last month

3) Both lived and traveled extensively to locations attacked in Mumbai and left prior to attacks.

4) Individuals in Pakistan and UK provided leadership for operation - and Headley met with several LET guys in India and went to Pakistan afterwards. Team apparently (evidence still being collected) went and reconned all locations. Headley was at Nariman House (Jewish) where he posed as a Jew.

5) Approval from Pakistan for operational team.

Boyd et al: North Carolina

1) Targets were numerous overseas, no specific targets in US

2) Unknown

3) Op didn't happen so unknown - also, this was a traveling jihadi roadshow...different from a singular attack

4) Bad guys traveled extensively and likely chose wide variety of targets (statements indicate they were to fight in Algeria, and conduct attacks elsewhere as well)

5) Unsure if approval was given in US or Pakistan. Group had direct ties to Gulbuddin Heckmatyar which means Pakistani ISI was giving guidance as well.

The author was a top counter-terrorism expert for the FBI before leaving the Bureau in 2008. He now works in the Washington area as a consultant and trainer, and is a fellow of the Centennial Institute in Denver.