The Corner

‘So-called Khorasan Group’ Is Actually ‘Wolf Unit’ of al-Qaeda’s Syrian Franchise – Report

Over the weekend, I argued that the terrorist organization the Obama administration chooses to call the ‘Khorasan Group’ does not actually exist – at least not as a standalone terrorist organization. As I elaborated in the column:

The “Khorosan Group” is al-Qaeda. It is simply a faction within the global terror network’s Syrian franchise, “Jabhat al-Nusra.” Its leader, Mushin al-Fadhli (believed to have been killed in this week’s U.S.-led air strikes), was an intimate of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the emir of al-Qaeda who dispatched him to the jihad in Syria.

FDD’s Tom Joscelyn, who is as good as it can get when it comes to analyzing jihadist organizations, has also argued that the “so-called Khorasan Group” is “to put it simply, al Qaeda.” It is not a standalone terrorist organization. It is, at most, a group of trusted advisers within al Qaeda (the Islamic concept is a shura) who were dispatched by al-Qaeda emir Ayman al-Zawahiri to the jihad in Syria. Syria has been an optimal location for plotting attacks against the West because Qaeda has had safe-haven there akin to what it enjoyed in Afghanistan in the years before September 11, 2001. Most analysts and even jihadists themselves have never heard of the “Khorasan Group” because the shura it refers to is an internal organizational arrangement – not a combat unit, much less a terrorist organization. The members sent to Syria were simply al-Nusra, just like other al-Qaeda operatives in Syria.

President Obama and his subordinates take pains not to mention al Qaeda, particularly in the context of continuing plots to mass-murder Americans, because the president repeatedly and falsely claimed during the 2012 campaign to have “decimated” the terror network and put it “on the path to defeat.” The administration miniaturizes the continuing threat by breaking al Qaeda down into its components and speaking about them as if they were independent actors rather than a global jihadist movement unified by virulently anti-American Islamic-supremacist ideology.

Some of the names Obama officials use for these purposes are simply made up – like “core al Qaeda.” (See, e.g., Tom Joscelyn’s Weekly Standard report, “Misunderstanding al Qaeda”, quoting Susan Rice’s rationalization of “what we call al Qaeda core” [my italics] – what are actually just the network tentacles in Afghanistan and Pakistan). Other names may be appropriated from al-Qaeda’s organizational divisions (internal ones like “Khorasan” or external ones like “al-Nusra” or “Ansar al-Sharia”) and then disingenuously used in a similar fashion to make the global terror network seem like a disconnected and trifling gaggle of “jayvee teams.”

Now comes a corroborating report from Jenan Moussa of al-Alan TV, on the ground in Syria. Ms. Moussa got access to a headquarters of al-Nusra – the aforementioned Syrian tentacle of the al-Qaeda network — bombed during the U.S. airstrikes. According to the English translation of the report (scroll down under the Arabic — my italics iin the except below):

The bombing of the so called Khorasan-group in Syria is a mystery to the world. The only thing we know is the location and that at least two main al Qaeda operatives, top sniper Abu Yousef Al Turki and Abu Hajar Al Masri, were killed.

But now Al Aan TV has received exclusive access to the bombed out headquarters of Khorasan group in Reef Al Muhandeseen Aleppo. For the first time, it was possible to check the bombed out buildings and make pictures between the rubble.

The first image is an overview of the place hit by American planes. As you can see, it is fully destroyed.

Then we zoom in: Here, you can see, a military uniform lying between the rubble. A fully destroyed vehicle.  And books: some in Arabic and one in Turkish called: Jurisprudence of Jihad (Fiqh Al Jihad). Also in the dust lays a poster with flags of countries on it.
Somebody has written on the Syrian and Egyptian flag: Tanzeem al Qaeda.

Let’s take a look at some more pictures. Here: very interestingly: 
a tunnel under one of the places which was bombed.

And most interestingly, in the rubble of Reef AlMuhandeseen we found a list with 14 names on it. According to the document, 13 of the fourteen men on the list are members of the “Wolf Unit, Jabhat al Nusra.” According to the document, the Wolf Unit was lead by Abu Yusuf al Turki, the famous Jabhat al Nusra sniper who was killed in the American airstrikes on the compound in Reef Al Muhandaseen.

Judging by the names on the list, Four of the fourteen are Turks, two Egyptians, two Yemeni, two Tunisians, one Palestinian, one Serbian, one from the Caucasus.

Sources say that all of the thirteen members of the Wolf unit lived in the compound in Reef Al Muhandeseen which was hit by US airstrikes. Just like their leader, some of the men in the list might have been killed during the air strikes.

Based on the pictures and documents we can conclude the following:

What the Americans call Khorasan, is in fact the Wolf Unit and other groups of foreign fighters within Jabhat al Nusra.

One video of the Wolves exist online:

Most of them are non Syrian al Qaeda members who have a history in Pakistan and Afghanistan and are now present inside Syria under the banner of Jabhat Al Nusra.

Again, there is no “Khorasan Group” terrorist organization. It is just a small group of high-level al-Qaeda operatives who were sent to Syria where they were fighting and plotting as members of al-Qaeda’s Syrian franchise, al-Nusra.

One last interesting note. Twitchy has linked to Ms. Moussa’s report accompanied by a series of her related tweets. She wonders aloud why the U.S. government put out the name “Khorasan Group” rather than just admit that our armed forces were intentionally bombing al-Nusra/al-Qaeda targets? One explanation, she offers, is that “Nusra fights the Assad regime & has some popular support in [Northern] Syria.” That is, by bombing ostensibly bombing the obscure “Khorasan Group” – rather than acknowledging that it was hitting Nusra/Qaeda targets – the administration “hoped it wouldn’t alienate more Syrians/moderate rebels who work with Nusra [against] Assad.”

She is onto something here. In my column over the weekend, I noted that the five Sunni Arab governments the Obama administration was bragging about recruiting for its “coalition” in prosecuting the aerial bombings had refused to participate in the bombings of “Khorasan” targets – they only joined in the strikes against the rival Islamic State (ISIS).

Keep that in the front of your mind when you hear the administration talk about the “moderate Islamists” and “vetted rebels” who are to be our “allies” on the ground against ISIS. As everybody in Syria knows, and as Washington hopes everybody in America fails to figure out, these “moderates” are confederates of al-Qaeda … the very enemy we have been at war with for 13 years and are now bombing because of its plans to conduct “imminent” attacks against the United States.

How’s that for a strategy?

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