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Bin Laden ‘Retains the Capacity to Mobilize Extremists’ Almost 10 Years After Death

The Al-Qaeda founder “retains the capacity to mobilize extremists even in a polarized jihadist scene that has radically changed in the last years”

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Osama bin Laden

As we approach the tenth anniversary of the death of global terrorist, Al-Qaeda founder and 9/11 terror attack mastermind Osama bin Laden, his influence remains. The Associated Foreign Press reports bin Laden “retains the capacity to mobilize extremists even in a polarized jihadist scene that has radically changed in the last years.”

Bin Laden’s body was apparently buried in the Arabian Sea in a respectful Muslim burial directly from the deck of a US aircraft carrier. This burial was also to “avoid the creation of any pilgrimage site on land” reports the AFP. “Above all, Al-Qaeda is now a brand and a franchise rather than a coherent organization with a decision-making hub.”

However, “Bin Laden’s face still gets emblazoned on T-shirts, his name appears painted on the back of cars, and his effigy is often brandished during demonstrations.” While some jihadi circles do not follow bin Laden’s strategy, Al-Qaeda branches are still active in the Sahel, Somalia, Yemen and Syria, “but much less in the West.”

Glenn Robinson, author of “Global Jihad: A Brief History” says bin Laden’s approach in jihadist circles is controversial, most notably his decision to attack the United States. “It is still widely viewed as a significant strategic mistake. Part of the evidence for this is that very few follow this strategy anymore – and most never did.”

In the wake of bin Laden’s death, “Islamic extremism mutated…with Al-Qaeda losing its status as the world’s foremost jihadist network to the Islamic State group, which at its zenith controlled swathes of Iraq and Syria” according to the AFP.

Aaron Zelin, a researcher who runs the Jihadology website that analyzes extremist videos says of bin Laden’s death, “since he was killed before 2014 and the split between IS and AQ, he is still viewed favorably amongst the IS cadre.” Zelin added, “in some ways IS sees itself as the true successors to the Bin Laden way.”

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International

Lawmakers Push Biden Not To Reenter Iran Nuclear Deal

“We write to urge you to immediately withdraw from the fruitless Vienna talks to re-enter the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action”

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Iran

On Wednesday, 110 House Republican lawmakers signed a letter urging President Joe Biden (D) to abandon negotiations with Iran as the Biden administration tries to get Iran to reenter the 2015 Iran nuclear deal – also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“We write to urge you to immediately withdraw from the fruitless Vienna talks to re-enter the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and instead strongly enforce existing sanctions against Iran, particularly with respect to the oil trade between Iran and the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Further delay of action on this only further enables Iran’s malign activities, including their aggressive nuclear pursuits,” the lawmakers, led by House Foreign Affairs Committee Lead Republican Michael McCaul, wrote.

“The letter is a sign that Republicans are united against reentering the 2015 accord,” The Free Beacon reported. “It also comes as negotiations with Tehran drag into a second year, with the Iranian regime demanding further concessions from the Biden administration, including the full reversal of sanctions on the country’s nuclear program and regional terrorism enterprise.”

“As diplomatic talks resume after months of delays, Iran has greatly expanded its nuclear program, including its enrichment of uranium, a main component in an atomic weapon,” the outlet added. “Iran is now enriching and stockpiling highly enriched uranium, which can only [be] used for a bomb. This work has continued in the face of ongoing sanctions and opposition from the international community. Senior Biden administration officials have acknowledged in recent weeks that Iran is stalling negotiations while it advances its nuclear program.”

The 2015 Iran nuclear deal was widely criticized as Iran used the funds acquired from the deal, which was estimated to be between $100 to $150 billion, to fund terrorist organizations in the Middle East. Iran also reportedly violated the deal after it was passed.

In 2019, Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, revealed that JCPOA negotiations had mandated that Iran destroy parts of their nuclear reactors by filling them with cement. However, Iran secretly acquired replacement parts so that the functionality of those reactors would not be ultimately affected. Salehi also said that pictures of reactors filled with cement had been photoshopped.

“A nuclear agreement with Iran is again on the table, but history has taught us that agreements like this with extremist regimes are worth as much as garlic peel,” former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned earlier this year. “To our best friends I say – an agreement with Iran which paves its way to nuclear weapons that threaten us with destruction – an agreement like this will not bind us.”

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Thousands of Afghan Allies And Their Families Still Stranded In Afghanistan

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Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images

Thousands of Afghans who helped the United States government and military are still stranded in the Taliban-controlled country, according to a new report from the New York Post.

“The non-profit volunteer organization No One Left Behind says that it is tracking more than 10,000 Afghans who are either eligible for, applied for, or were approved for a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) and have requested help getting out of Taliban-controlled territory,” the New York Post reported. “No One Left Behind also said that it is tracking another 38,000 family members of SIV holders or applicants who remain in Afghanistan and have asked for aid.”

“This is likely a limited picture with more that have not reached out to us, but it underscores the significant volume of people in dire need as winter approaches and Taliban control result[s] in food shortages and human rights abuses, including directly targeting those that helped US forces,” a director at No One Left Behind told the New York Post.

“We are working tirelessly to make sure these people are not left behind, and we will continue to advocate to the [US Government] that they expand the scope of their evacuations to include these American allies,” the director added.

According to the New York Post, Task Force Argo co-founder Jesse Jensen said that his organization is “dealing with a backlog of more than 4,000 people, including family members, who are looking to leave Afghanistan.”

Jensen, a former Army Ranger, stated that that the number of Afghans who want to leave the country is likely far above 4,000 since Task Force Argo had to stop accepting evacuation requests.

“We have really run out of resources in order to do this,” Jensen said. “We’ve had three flights that are paid for, you know we’ll likely have to claw back those funds to return to investors if we don’t see a path to getting these folks out of the country.”

The report comes just the Biden administration admitted that it left hundreds more Americans stranded in Afghanistan after the withdrawal than it previously claimed.

“[W]e believe that about 100 to 200 Americans remain in Afghanistan with some intention to leave,” President Biden said on August 31. “Most of those who remain are dual citizens, long-time residents who had earlier decided to stay because of their family roots in Afghanistan.”

However, since August 31, “the United States has directly assisted 479 American Citizens and 450 lawful permanent residents [in addition to their immediate families] to depart Afghanistan and relocate to the United States,” the State Department admitted in a press release.

According to the State Department, there are less than a dozen U.S. citizens left in Afghanistan who want to leave the terrorist-controlled country, are ready to depart, and have the necessary travel documents.

Last month, a report found that there were still 14,000 U.S. legal permanent residents stranded in Afghanistan at the time and at least 289 U.S. citizens.
Foreign Policy 
reported, “The State Department believes as many as 14,000 U.S. legal permanent residents remain in Afghanistan, Foreign Policy has learned, as the agency faces increasing scrutiny from Congress about the status of U.S. citizens and green card holders that are still stranded in the Taliban-controlled country.”

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