Syria as al-Qaida's terrorist base against Europe
About 100 Islamic militants with European passports are currently in Syria. They fight alongside the rebels and play in al-Qaida's plans for the post-Assad period is crucial. By Florian Flade and Clemens Wergin
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A photo from Syria. It shows a strong man in black riot gear. Wrapped around his head with a black cloth, a bandage on his arm, to the Islamic creed. In his hands he holds an assault rifle. The text next to the image reveals that the man is not a Syrian. "The jihadist Abu Ahmad al-Almani from Germany".
Find the recording on Facebook. There are at the man to be born in Lebanon. Most recently, he lived in Germany. Then he emigrated to oppose the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad to fight. Now, "Abu Ahmad" is a warrior of Allah. And he calls his German brethren to follow him.
"Dear brothers and sisters come to our ranks and fight with your brothers as if we were a wall," according to a Facebook post "Faith is the weapon that our enemies fear most."
Hundreds of foreigners join rebels
The fighter from Germany is to research the "world" is only one of hundreds of foreigners who joined the Syrian rebels in their fight against the Assad regime. Most of them are young men from North Africa, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. But more and more Europeans fill the ranks of the militia.
According to the "world" go Western intelligence agencies believe that about 100 Muslims were also involved with European passports in the war in Syria. Several of these partly radical Islamic mercenaries see it as their duty in the "holy war" against the Syrian ruler to draw.
German security authorities watching trips by radical Muslims to Syria with concern. It is believed that a majority of people want to participate in hostilities against government forces.
So far is the situation of the Syrian opposition from the safety authorities very opaque. The motives of the Syria-travelers are too often only an idea for intelligence agents. "Why would someone traveling to Syria may have many reasons," said an investigator of the "world". "One wants to help his family. Another wants to become a martyr. Sometimes even someone developed only in the course of the conflict to convince Islamists."
Al-Nusra operates training camps in Syria
The biggest problem for the foreign jihadists according to the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) is the chaotic situation of the many warring factions, citizen militias and rebel groups. In rice Islamists from Europe rarely know which group they join, what ideology and the aims of their unit eventually.
The most radical rebel group called "al-Dschabat Nusra" . It is oriented jihadist and wants to establish a theocracy in Syria. Dschabat al-Nusra is an offshoot of al-Qaeda in the region. An official involvement in the terror network has the grouping, should belong to about 1,000 fighters, but so far deliberately avoided. Image reasons as intelligence official suspect. Dschabat Nusra wanted al-Assad in power no template provide the opposition as Al Qaeda mercenaries to brand.
Upon learning of western al-Nusra Services operates several large training camps in Syria. Battleworn Islamists veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, where they form new recruits. Even Western Islamists. Similar to the Afghan al-Qaeda camps in the 1990s, hundreds of Islamists currently learn in the camps of al-Dschabat Nusra the handling of firearms, bombs and combat techniques.
New Al-Qaeda cell in Syria and Egypt
Al Qaeda boss Ayman al-Zawahiri is currently focusing its efforts on particularly Syria and Egypt, and there tried to build new structures. For after the death of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida offshoot many no longer follow his orders. Zawahiri therefore builds on information security in the Western circles in the two countries to new cells that are directly subordinated to his command.
His was governor of Syria, Abu Muhammad al-Dschulani, the leader of al-Dschabat Nusra. In Egypt, Jamal al-Kashef and Sheikh Adel Schahato run the business for him. Al-Qaeda wants to fight the "heretical regime" in both countries, which is now one of Zawahiri, the new administration of the Islamist president Mohammed Mursi. Zawahiri has in one of his last speeches also called for attacks on the Egyptian army to overthrow Mursis government.
Several native of Egypt Al-Qaeda leader to have traveled to Egypt, according to intelligence findings after they have fought for years in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Active and other leading figures were released under the new government out of prison and can now move freely. The Al-Qaeda cell in Egypt is also associated with the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi together.
Egypt as a playground for the global jihad
On 24 October, only Egyptian security forces have a "safe house" in Cairo dug that was used by an al-Qaeda unit, which is commanded by al-Kashef. An Al-Qaeda fighters were killed and others arrested. The security forces found a large weapons caches and explosives. During raids in the following days more than 20 al-Qaida members were arrested. According to the Egyptian investigation cell Zawahiri have been directly subordinated and have had the aim of overthrowing Mursi.
By the political upheaval in Egypt has become a playground for the global jihad. Sun traveled around the German Al-Qaeda fighters Cuspert Denis , who has threatened also with stops in Germany, to Cairo. Many German fighters as well as other Europeans pretend to want to study Islam and Arabic. In fact, they can then be found quickly in Al-Qaida training camps in Egypt itself, in Sinai or in Libya.
Syria terrorists for the most important
The main field of operation for al-Qaeda is present, however Syria. According to the "world" of Western security sources Zawahiri has sent in the past year at least three cadres to Syria to the jihadist groups there to organize according to his specifications. Of particular concern to the West are al-Qaeda's efforts to get chemical and biological weapons in their hands.
Local Al-Qaeda operators should have already received instructions to identify the deposits of these weapons and, according to security sources investigated al-Qaeda in Syria, according to experts that will introduce them to the proper use of weapons. The al-Qaeda's operations are currently focused in the Southwest seem to Dera and Aleppo, where you want to place the command center.
Training of extremists with European passports
What particularly alarmed Western security services, the intention Zawahiri, in Egypt and Syria extremists train with European passports to terrorist cells in Europe, then build. Particularly in Syria now prevails in parts of the country, a power vacuum into which the jihadists push in.
When it comes to Al-Qaeda, then Syria will be a new "Waziristan", the strip of land in Pakistan, where they can move largely undisturbed.
For future attacks in Europe extremists are particularly valuable with European passport. As the Spaniard Rachid Wahbi from Sauta, who died in Syria in June 2012, and was entered on Istanbul and Turkey. He was said to be on his way to a training camp for European fighter.
Another example is Mehdi al-Harati, a Libyan with an Irish passport, he was a founder of the Tripoli Brigade, the first-insurgency unit in Libya. Meanwhile, he is leading the rebels in northern Syria. About 100 fighters or combative radicals with European passport to be yet come to Syria.
Al-Qaeda is planning expansion into Europe
According to the findings of Western intelligence to Al-Nusra commander Abu Mohammad al-Dschulani are already planning to expand his base of operations from Syria via Turkey to Europe. He is preparing for the day after the fall of Assad, Syria to make a center for jihadist activity in other countries.
Some of al-Dschulanis Al Qaeda cells are already operating in other countries in the region and it is according to the findings of Western security circles about to build more cells in Europe. It is striking that al-Dschabat Nusra European fighters have not used for suicide attacks in Syria.
Apparently, these fighters are not "burned" because their European passports in the future will be very important for al-Qaida still. Then, when the fight is over in Syria and the terrorist network wants more oriented towards Europe.