March 7, 2009

Al-Qa'idah leader on September 11, 2001

Dr. Sayid Imam al-Sharif, now 59 years of age, was one of the founders - with Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri - of Egyptian Islamic Jihad. The group was reponsible for the 1981 assassination of President Anwar Sadat, and later joined the Afghan mujahidin in the fight against Soviet occupation forces.

It was this latter association that led to the formation of al-Qa'idah with Usamah bin Ladin. Al-Sharif, known also as Dr. Fadl, wrote the guidebook for fundamentalist groups, Foundations of Preparation for Jihad (holy war).

Now we come to a CIA success story, the type of operation that I hope the Obama administration will still allow. After the attacks of September 11, the CIA found al-Sharif in Yemen. He was "rendered" to a secret CIA facility for interrogation, and later extradited to Egypt where is serving a life sentence. Good operation.

In prison, al-Sharif has re-thought his earlier writings on jihad. His analysis - granted, a bit late - of the September 11 attacks is telling. It has received minimal coverage in the American media.

"Every drop of blood that was shed or is being shed in Afghanistan and Iraq is the responsibility of bin Ladin and al-Zawahiri and their followers.

“The attacks on September 11 were both immoral and counterproductive. Ramming America has become the shortest road to fame and leadership among the Arabs and Muslims. But what good is it if you destroy one of your enemy's buildings, and he destroys one of your countries? What good is it if you kill one of his people, and he kills a thousand of yours? That, in short, is my evaluation of 9/11."

This should be the centerpiece of an information campaign aimed at the trouble spots of the Muslim world.