Important information on USS Cole attack

August 3, 2004
“Abu-Jandal is educated and open-minded. He has the power of persuasion. The security and military sense that he trained on while in Al-Qa’ida in Afghanistan still dominates him. He had a key role in the organization and was trusted by Usama Bin Ladin.”

Al-Quds Al-Arabi headline: “Abu-Jandal, Former Personal Bodyguard of Usama Bin Ladin and Leading Al-Qa’ida Element in Yemen Reveals to Al-Quds Al-Arabi his Intercession in Bin Ladin’s Marriage to a Yemeni Girl. He Used to Meet With Al-Zarqawi, but Says he is not a Leader. The United States Moves Toward its Demise. Saudi Bombings Are the Natural Outcome of the Regim’s Policy and They Will Continue”

(FBIS Translated Text)

After a long period of refusal to talk with any of the local and international news media, he was finally persuaded to give a chance to Al-Quds al-Arabi to conduct a detailed interview with him on Al-Qa’ida Organization activities in Yemen and the world. He is the former bodyguard of Al-Qa’ida leader Usama Bin Ladin. He is known by the nickname “Abu-Jandal” but his real name is Nasir Ahmad Nasir al-Bahri.

He said that he was born in Jedda, Saudi Arabia, in 1973. He completed his secondary school education in Saudi Arabia and he then specialized in business administration. He is currently engaged in import-export trade in Yemen. His brother-in-law, Salim Hamdan, is imprisoned at the US Guantanamo Base in Cuba.

Abu-Jandal is educated and open-minded. He has the power of persuasion. The security and military sense that he trained on while in Al-Qa’ida in Afghanistan still dominates him. He had a key role in the organization and was trusted by Usama Bin Ladin. However, he only revealed a little of the information that he has in this interview, in which we tried to literally drag him to a number of issues and managed to come out with a great deal of information. The following is text of the interview with Abu-Jandal:

(Al-Hammadi) When were you imprisoned in Yemen and how long did you stay in prison?

(Abu-Jandal) I was imprisoned in Yemen on 2 Dhu-al-Hijjah 1423 Hegira (2001) in Sanaa. I stayed in prison for one year and 10 months, of which 13 months were spent in solitary confinement.

(Al-Hammadi) What was the charge brought against you when arrested?

(Abu-Jandal) The charge was suspected complicity in the operation to destroy the US destroyer “Cole” in the Port of Aden.

(Al-Hammadi) Was this charge the main reason for your arrest and focus of the investigations in prison?

(Abu-Jandal) It was the maim reason for my arrest, but not the focus of the investigations in prison.

(Al-Hammadi) Were you tortured in prison to obtain confessions?

(Abu-Jandal) No I was not exposed to any torture in prison. And, this is a testimony I make in favor of the Yemeni Government.

(Al-Hammadi) Was it the Americans who carried out the investigation with you in prison, and what was the nature of their investigations?

(Abu-Jandal) Yes, it was the Americans who carried out the investigation with me, but this was a week after the 11 September 2001 incidents. It was a very calm investigation under the supervision of the Yemeni Government. The issue was not left to the Americans.

(Al-Hammadi) How many Americans carried out the investigation with you?

(Abu-Jandal) There were three, and all of them were FBI officers.

(Al-Hammadi) Did they speak in English or Arabic?

(Abu-Jandal) Two of them spoke in Arabic being of Lebanese origin. The third was an American who spoke in English.

[Al-Hammadi) What was your reply to the FBI officers who investigated with you?

(Abu-Jandal) I believe that our reply was very credible. It did not show appeasement to or fear of anyone. There was also truth in it.

(Al-Hammadi) What were the main questions addressed to you and what were your answers?

(Abu-Jandal) The questions by the Americans had nothing to do with the Cole or 11 September incidents but revolved around Al-Qa’ida structure, ideology, entity, and composition. Most of the questions revolved around Al-Qa’ida.

(Al-Hammadi) Didn’t they investigate with you in an attempt to obtain confessions on any role you had in the Cole or 11 September incidents?

(Abu-Jandal) Yes there were attempts to do that by beating round the bush (using twisted methods). But, the truth is I did not have any role in any of these incidents. So they could not obtain anything.

(Al-Hammadi) What were your main answers to them?

(Abu-Jandal) Most of my answers were on Al-Qa’ida ideology and structure and why it deals in this way. The answers were to the point. They used to put forth rather strange questions. One question said: As far as we are concerned, 80 percent of what you said is true, but does Al-Qa’ida have chemical plants and nuclear weapons? I recall that my answer to them was that Usama Bin Ladin has a weapon that is far superior to all the US weapons. What is this weapon, the asked? I told them: “Among the believers are men, who have been true to their covenant to God: of them some have completed their vow (to the extreme), and some (still) wait: But they have never changed (their determination) in the least.” (Koranic verse) The US arsenal is full of weapons, but it does not have the men.

(Al-Hammadi) How were you released from prison?

(Abu-Jandal) I was released from prison through a presidential pardon by President Ali Abdallah Salih. I thank him for pardoning me and the group of youths, although there were no charges against us for participating in any activity in the country. It was a kind presidential gesture that had a very good effect on us and our families and people.

(Al-Hammadi) Was it a general amnesty, or was it because they could not find anything against you?

(Abu-Jandal) It was essentially because they could not find anything against us. Most of the youths belonging to Al-Qa’ida and other organizations in Yemen had no activity inside the country. Many of them did not like to operate in Yemen, being their country that must be protected. They did not think of carrying out operations in Yemen. So they youths were released.

(Al-Hammadi) When did you join Al-Qa’ida?

(Abu-Jandal) I joined it in 1996. After my return from Tajikistan we went on what we called the journey to the north. After our return from Bosnia and Somalia, we moved to Tajikistan, but we could not withstand the conditions; the snow, rough terrain, and bad roads. So we returned. I met with Shaykh Usama Bin Ladin on 27 Sha’ban 1417 (end of 1996), and I joined Al-Qa’ida immediately after this meeting.

(Al-Hammadi) When did you visit Afghanistan the first time and when did you return from it the last time?

(Abu-Jandal) My first visit to Afghanistan was in the middle of 1996. I left Afghanistan three times. I left it the first time to get married. I left it the second time to finalize the arrangements for Shaykh Usama Bin Ladin’s marriage in Yemen. My third and last departure from Afghanistan was before the Cole operation by about two and a half months (the middle of year 2000).

(Al-Hammadi) You said that your second departure was in order to arrange Usama Bin Ladin’s marriage in Yemen. Could you tell us more about that?

(Abu-Jandal) The departure was for the purpose of delivering the dowry, the cost of the wedding, and the price of tickets for Bin Ladin’s fourth wife to Afghanistan. The plans were for the bride to travel to Afghanistan accompanied by her immediate relatives. But, due to some delay in the arrangements I had to return to Afghanistan before them. They then followed after one and a half months.

(Al-Hammadi) How much was the dowry and what was the cost. Do you recall such things?

(Abu-Jandal) I recall that the full sum that I delivered personally was $5,000.

(Al-Hammadi) What were your role and the duties you undertook in Al-Qa’ida?

(Abu-Jandal) Abu-Abdallah (Usama Bin Ladin) used to call me and the youths from the northern group the founders, because since he announced the jihad on the United States he only had a few Egyptians and Algerians left. He did not have any people from Yemen and the Arabian Peninsula. Our group of 17 persons was the first batch to come from the Arabian Peninsula; that is from the people concerned with this cause. This was why they called us founders of the organization. Our duties included preaching for the ideology and the cause, rousing the people, and getting prepared to carry out martyrdom operations.

(Al-Hammadi) Was the preaching and rousing process inside Afghanistan or also outside it?

(Abu-Jandal) Both inside and outside Afghanistan, as it became our cause, which we carried in our hearts wherever we went. Regarding my duties in the organization, I had two duties. I was responsible for guarding Shaykh Usama Bin Ladin. I was his personal bodyguard for a period of time. I then moved to the duty of being in charge of the guesthouse or guesthouses in Kabul and Kandahar.

(Al-Hammadi) Where do Usama Bin Ladin’s last wife of Yemeni origin and the other three wives live?

(Abu-Jandal) From what I know and what is often being said, and also as confirmed by some acquaintances, she is still with her husband Shaykh Usama in Afghanistan, and so are his other three wives, except for his first wife, Umm-Abdallah, who left long before the incidents and did not return.

(Al-Hammadi) The trial of those accused in the bombing of US Destroyer “Cole” is now in progress in Yemen. What do you know about the bombing of this destroyer, and how was it arranged?

(Abu-Jandal) Like all people, I learned about it from what was published in the newspapers, although I was close to many of the youths. This operation was preceded by another one that was supposed to have taken place a year earlier but it failed due to certain natural factors. But, they succeeded in this operation, although not completely. From what I heard, the plan was to attack it in international waters so that no state in the region would assume the consequences of this operation. But, it was God’s wish to happen this way and so it was attacked in Yemeni territorial waters. Thank God, the destroyer did not blow up completely. The destroyer was being watched for some time. The information on it was collected by committees, and the implementers of this operation were two persons only. As to the reports that say that it was carried out by the Mosad, this is a myth and a means to frustrate Muslims by saying that they are incapable of anything. Those who carried out the operation, may God rest their souls in peace, are well known among our brother mujahidin.

(Al-Hammadi) Who were the two persons that carried out the Cole operation?

(Abu-Jandal) The first is our brother Hassan al-Khamiri originally from Shabwah Governorate, but was born at Al-Ta’if in Saudi Arabia. The second is our brother Ibrahim al-Thawr from Sanaa who was also born at Al-Ta’if.

(Al-Hammadi) Was the operation to bomb the US destroyer Cole planned by these two persons only, or by many others inside and outside Yemen?

(Abu-Jandal) Al-Qa’ida pursues a method or principle that calls for “centralization of decision and decentralization of execution.” The decision was made centrally, but the method of attack and execution was the duty of field commanders. For example, the persons who were in Yemen like Abd-al-Rahim al-Nashiri and others took part in this operation. They planned for it and God granted them success in its fulfillment after a long watch. As I said, it was preceded by another operation a year earlier, which was called Cole operation one, but it did not succeed due to natural elements. As for this one, it was Cole operation two. The planning for Cole operation was carried out by the people themselves. The idea was formed and the target was set and then it was referred to a higher military control committee in Al-Qa’ida called Military Affairs Committee, which does not plan, but gives the green light, the support, and the funds for these operations. But, the planning, execution, and method of attack were all undertaken by field commanders in the operations field.

(Al-Hammadi) Do you believe that the detainees or those who are now on trial have nothing to do with the subject?

(Abu-Jandal) Yes I firmly believe that they have nothing to do with the case. They are, so to say, scapegoats, because they really didn’t know anything. They may have known about the existence of an operation, but they did not know its details, type, method, or hour of execution.

(Al-Hammadi) Why exactly was the US destroyer Cole chosen as the target?

(Abu-Jandal) Actually, there are several reasons. The first is to break US prestige in the sea and raise the morale of the Islamic nation by saying that its sons can deal blows to the enemies of the nation wherever they may be on the land, in the sea, or in the air. It is to say that we can face the enemies even with individual capabilities. Take the Islamic World, which consists of about 71 states. It cannot say no to the United States, but we individuals can do so. They proved to the Islamic World Muslim ability to break US prestige and hegemony over Muslim shores and sea. This was the main reason for choosing the US destroyer Cole for bombing in the sea. Otherwise, there were many ocean liners. But, the choice of the best destroyer in the US Navy and the best produced by the US Army was intended to be a slap in the face for the United States. It was to tell the United States that we can deal it a blow whenever and wherever we want.

(Al-Hammadi) If the arch enemy and big target for Al-Qa’ida is the United States, why was the French oil tanker Limbourg targeted off the coast of Al-Mukalla?

(Abu-Jandal) Actually, the attack on the French oil tanker Limbourg was a reaction to a mistake that was committed by both sides in the case of Yahya Mujalli, who was killed by government forces in Sanaa. It was a rash, unstudied, and uncalculated reaction to that incident, and thus it had very bad consequences for both the Yemeni Government and the people.

(Al-Hammadi) Was the execution of the Cole and Limbourg operations according to instructions by Al-Qa’ida central leadership, or was the decision from the field leaderships?

(Abu-Jandal) As far as Cole is concerned, I believe that the decision was central, as the destroyer was under observation for some time. As to the Limbourg incident that took place a year after the 11 September incident when contact with the central leadership was very difficult then, it was a reaction. The decision was made by the field leadership in Yemen.

(Al-Hammadi) It is said that the bombings have calmed down in Yemen and moved to Saudi Arabia. Why have they calmed down in Yemen since the Limbourg incident, and is this an indication of a truce between the government and Al-Qa’ida?

(Abu-Jandal) Actually, one can say that there is no Al-Qa’ida presence in Yemen now, but individuals who carry its ideology. The presence ended with the martyrdom of Shaykh Abu-Ali al-Harithi, the commander of the organization in Yemen. Still, I believe the organization is not small in Yemen, as there are large numbers who sympathize with it, although not ideologically, organizationally and administratively, or by recruitment. Many youths in Yemen admire Usama Bin Ladin. They also admire Al-Qa’ida and hate what Bin Ladin hates. It has become a second nature to them. There is no peace with the state. There were attempts by the state to contain and absorb these youths, but God willed something else; for the Limbourg tanker to be attacked and Abu-Ali al-Harithi to be killed afterward. These operations have created a big reshuffle of cards in the interest of both the Yemeni Government and the youths. Thus matters calmed down in the country. The killing of Al-Harithi created a crisis and the youths became individuals without a leadership, and so they weakened very much.

(Al-Hammadi) Was Abu-Ali al-Harithi indeed Al-Qa’ida commander in Yemen?

(Abu-Jandal) I knew Abu-Ali al-Harithi as a tribal leader more than Al-Qa’ida commander. But, he was indeed the first Al-Qa’ida official in Yemen.

(Al-Hammadi) Do you think that the suffering of the detainees in Yemeni prison, as well as the suffering of their families, would reflect on their activities once they are out of prison?

(Abu-Jandal) Certainly, and I speak for myself. When I left prison I did not have a source of livelihood. I lacked many things. There were promises by the Yemeni Government to improve conditions for these youths and absorb them into the society once again. But it seems that the government will take some time before doing anything. I advise the Yemeni Government to take immediate steps to sponsor these youths, ensure their needs, and reorganize their affairs so that they would not take a different direction by carrying out acts harmful to the country. Poverty is akin to non-belief.

[Al-Hammadi) How big is Al-Qa’ida in Yemen, in your opinion?

(Abu-Jandal) I can tell you in figures. Some 95 percent of Al-Qa’ida members are Yemenis. The remaining five percent are Yemeni expatriates. It can be said that the majority members of Al-Qa’ida are Yemenis. This is a fact that no one can deny. The leader of Al-Qa’ida is of Yemeni origin. His bodyguards are Yemenis. The trainers in the camps are Yemenis. The commanders are the fronts are Yemenis. All the operations that were directed against the United States were coordinated with Yemeni members. Yemenis are spread all over Al-Qa’ida.

(Al-Hammadi) Yes, but how big is it in Yemen?

(Abu-Jandal) Let us consider this matter numerically, both in the world and in Yemen. If, for example, there is one Al-Qa’ida member in Yemen, those influenced by his ideas are six to seven at least, although they do not carry his ideology. They love Al-Qa’ida but they do not carry its ideology. Many people think that Al-Qa’ida’s size is gauged by the number of individuals. Al-Qa’ida’s cause is to convey its ideology to the world. And I can assure you that they have managed to a large extent in spreading this ideology. What is taking place in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the activities in Saudi Arabia and many Arab states, show that they have succeeded very much in their strategy.

(Al-Hammadi) Do you believe that what is taking place in Iraq now is planned by Al-Qa’ida and carried out by its members and followers?

(Abu-Jandal) Al-Qa’ida elements had expected this thing. Al-Qa’ida had expected the fall of the Iraqi regime and that the United States could only control the region through Iraq. As the Americans said, the Saudis are an inhospitable people. Many Americans were killed in Saudi Arabia and the recent incidents confirmed that. Therefore, the Americans had no choice but direct occupation. This thing was expected. Indeed what is taking place inside Iraq now confirms that. Many Al-Qa’ida elements entered Iraq and are now fighting with the Iraqi resistance.

(Al-Hammadi) Do you believe that Abu-Mis’ab al-Zarqawi is indeed the Al-Qa’ida representative in Iraq?

(Abu-Jandal) The problem is Al-Qa’ida itself is now longer an entity but an ideology. It has become an ideology now. Many youths now carry Al-Qa’ida ideology against United States. Abu-Mus’ab al-Zarqawi was in Afghanistan. He was also in Kabul and he used to often meet with Shaykh Usama Bin Ladin. But I don’t think that he is Al-Qa’ida’s number one man, because Al-Qa’ida has Iraqi cadres that exist in Iraq. So it can dispense with Abu-Mus’ab al-Zarqawi.

(Al-Hammadi) Since the Cole incident, the names of Abu-Ali al-Harithi and Abu-Asim al-Ahdal had been heading Al-Qa’ida leadership in Yemen. Then Washington assassinated the former in the Ma’rib desert and arrested the latter in Sanaa. What is the truth about their leadership of Al-Qa’ida in Yemen, especially since the arrest of Abu-Asim al-Ahdal we have not heard anything about him or his trial, and he was not include among those on trial in the Cole case?

(Abu-Jandal) Actually, the talk about the two men’s leadership of Al-Qa’ida is not correct. What is more correct is Abu-Ali Al-Harithi’s leadership. As I said, Abu-Ali al-Harithi was considered a tribal leader more than an organizational or military leader. As far as Abu-Asim al-Ahdal is concerned, he has nothing to do with Al-Qa’ida. This is a fact. But, the problem with the US media is that if they want to arrest someone they begin by charging him with membership in Al-Qa’ida. The media say the man is an Al-Qa’ida leader and the charge sticks. Al-Qa’ida has become a boogeyman. But, this is not true at all.

(Al-Hammadi) Are all Al-Qa’ida leaders in Yemen still active and ready to carry out missions against US and Yemeni interests?

(Abu-Jandal) Matters have changed much, especially since there is no leadership leading these youths, or to be more precise there are any influential personalities that can influence these elements as individuals. There is another problem. The issue now is such that it is not essential for Al-Qa’ida member to execute the job. Persons outside Al-Qa’ida could carry out operations, as happened in the killing of US missionaries in Jablah and Jarallah Umar in the Reform Conference. The executors of these two operations had nothing to do with Al-Qa’ida and did not leave Yemen in the first place. No one can control these matters, as they have become rather loose. They are no longer under Al-Qa’ida control. It is now feelings that motivate people everywhere. As to whether they are active, Al-Qa’ida elements are very well trained. However, their comprehension of information differs from one person to another. As to whether they are active, I say yes they are active, but in the interest of their country, especially after the recent statements by Democratic candidate Kerry, who announced that Yemen is one of the sources of terrorism, and that it must be attacked. I believe that many youths would begin to prepare themselves for this new confrontation, as it is very likely for the United States to come to the whole region — and it is coming — in order to control the entire Middle East. I don’t expect Yemeni youths, especially those who trained in Al-Qa’ida and carried al-Qa’ida ideology to stands with their hands tied before US moves in the region.

(Al-Hammadi) US demands recently included Shaykh Abd-al-Majid al-Zandani. They also hinted at Shaykh Abdallah Sa’tar. And before that the United States kidnapped Shaykh Muhammad al-Mu’ayyad. Do you think that these people have any link to Al-Qa’ida extensions to be considered subject to US demands?

(Abu-Jandal) Frankly, we cannot but speak well of these people, especially about these three personalities. But, the truth of the matter is, as I said before, when the United States wants to fabricate a problem with a state, a group, or an organization in the Islamic World it links it to Al-Qa’ida, such as when it shut down the Saudi Al-Haramayn Foundation, although it is a welfare institution that has nothing to do with armed organizations. The same can also be said about many other welfare and relief organizations. Shaykh Mu’ayyad, Shaykh Al-Zandani, Shaykh Al-Sa’tar, and others will remain a target for the United States. God says in the Koran: “Never will the Jews or the Christians be satisfied with thee.” No matter how we tried to improve our image, hold dialogue of civilizations, or call for the unity of religions, Jews and Christians will not be pleased with us. As far as Shaykh Al-Zandani and Shaykh Sa’tar are concerned, it is well known that Shaykh Sa’tar in particular is against Al-Qa’ida and armed action in general. So how can he be a supporter of Al-Qa’ida? Even we the former Al-Qa’ida members had engaged in heated arguments with him on several occasions. The man is completely against us. So how can he be a supporter of Al-Qa’ida?

(Al-Hammadi) And what about the continuous incidents and bombings in Saudi Arabia, do you think that they have been planned and implemented by Al-Qa’ida?

(Abu-Jandal) According to my knowledge of some of the leaderships and the individuals that carried out the martyrdom operations in Saudi Arabia, I assure you that they are elements of Al-Qa’ida. But, there remains the question: Why did they do that? This is the question that we must address to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is dear to my heart. It is my birthplace. I was raised in it and I studied in it. I am one of those who like to breathe the air of the Hejaz. So my question is very normal. I, as one of the Yemenis who were raised in Hejaz and who know it very well, ask: What made the youths take up arms and carry out bombings in the Saudi territories? I believe that it is the Saudi Government’s stupid policy toward these people. Those who bombed Al-Muhayya complex spoke frankly in their audiotapes over the Internet that they went to jihad with the permission of the state and the instigation of Shaykh Sa’d al-Burayk, Shaykh A’id al-Qarni, Shaykh Sulayman al-Awdah, and many others who instigated these youths. But when the confrontation began between the government and these youths, the youths were surprised to find that these shaykhs had abandoned them. In fact, Shaykh Sa’d al-Burayk and Shaykh A’id al-Qarni began attacking these youths, who were the product of their lectures, sermons, lessons, and religious circles. They did not come from vacuum. The operations here are a reaction. For example, Abdallah al-Mu’abbidi, a man well known to me, was against the idea of armed operations in Saudi Arabia and anything harmful to his country. Why did he carry out the bombing in Saudi Arabia? We used to sit down together, eat and drink together with the one who made him think about these things; namely, Abd-al-Aziz al-Muqrin. He was completely against this idea. What made him do such things? What happened to him was the motivation. Saudi criminal intelligence men stormed his house, beat up his mother, broke his brother’s arm, and entered his sister’s bedroom. What do you expect from this person, who was thrown in solitary confinement for one year and five months without any reason, but to go to jihad? Did he do anything as an individual? No, on the contrary, these youths were “against” and have now become “for.” They were against operations inside Saudi Arabia, and now they themselves carry them out in Saudi Arabia. Why did many of them join Al-Qa’ida? This is because they now find in Al-Qa’ida a means through which to avenge for what happened to them. All this must be taken into consideration.

(Al-Hammadi) Do you think that the Saudi authorities have erred in their calculations in dealings with Al-Qa’ida elements on their territory?

(Abu-Jandal) The Saudi authorities do not deal with these persons as Al-Qa’ida elements. They deal with them as jihadist elements, as directed and instigated by the advisers of Interior Minister Nayif Bin-Abd-al-Aziz, and others from the neighboring Arab states, who give advice. The youths reacted on the basis that they were members of the organization, while they were not to begin with. Neither Abdallah al-Mu’abbidi, nor Abd-al-Aziz al-Muqrin or many of the youths who were killed were members of the organization. Neither also was Khalid al-Hajj, Khalid al-Jihni, or others in the list of those killed in Saudi Arabia were members. They had no link whatsoever with Al-Qa’ida. But the Saudi Government’s policy made them join Al-Qa’ida. The Saudi Government knows that they were not members in Al-Qa’ida in the first place. But, later on and as a reaction to what happened to them they became members in Al-Qa’ida. This is the truth of the matter on this subject.

(Al-Hammadi) How long would the armed operations continue in Saudi Arabia?

(Abu-Jandal) They will continue as long as this reckless policy of the sword and bullets continued, as stated by Interior Minister Nayif, who said, we have no dialogue with these people except with the sword and bullets. These operations will continue as long this Saudi Government policy, which is essentially to please the United States, continues.

(Al-Hammadi) Some people say that Al-Qa’ida has been penetrated by US intelligence and is now being used to serve US aims, as is happening in Saudi Arabia. What is your opinion on that?

(Abu-Jandal) This information is not correct, but it is disseminated by Arab intelligence services more than US services. The question of intelligence penetration of Al-Qa’ida does not take place by planting an agent or recruiting another. The question is merely the return of some persons to their country. A well-known figure had returned to Egypt and it was said that he was an intelligence man for 17 years within Al-Qa’ida. They said they penetrated jihadist organizations to the marrow! Now, let me ask them: How could you have penetrated jihadist organizations to the marrow when you could not stop the military operations? Your penetration of these organizations would have meant that you were informed of their operations and where there would take place so that you could stop them. What you say is not true. Still, there were attempts by US, Jordanian, and Saudi intelligence services to penetrate Al-Qa’ida, but they failed for one reason; namely, Usama Bin Ladin chooses his elements from the steel and fire. They are not political elements with official jobs and university diplomas. It is from within the battles that elements are chosen, and hypocrites and agents cannot join battlefronts. It is difficult for them. What they say is not true.

(Al-Hammadi) It is believed that those charged with the 11 September incidents visited Afghanistan in the period you were there. Who do you know among them?

(Abu-Jandal) Actually, among the elements that carried out the September incidents I knew Muhammad Ata, Awad Abd-al-Rahman al-Masri. I knew personally in Afghanistan. But, the period of his stay in Afghanistan was very short. He stayed only for the month of Sha’ban and Ramadan and left in Id Al-Fitr. Among the persons I knew also were Ramzi al-Shaybah, Zakariya al-Musawi, and Khalid al-Muhdar. I fought together with the latter in some battlefronts. I knew these men personally, but I have nothing to do with what they did.

(Al-Hammadi) When you met with them, did you know that they were preparing for the execution of this operation?

(Abu-Jandal) I didn’t know that they were preparing for this operation. But, what I know is that all Al-Qa’ida members are fully qualified and equipped to carry out any operation at any time. Al-Qa’ida elements are qualified, but the assignment of persons depends on capabilities. For example, those who carried out the 11 September were a Lebanese, an Egyptian, one from the UAE, two Saudis, and some who held Yemeni documents. They were a mixture. And whoever enters the United States has entered.

(Al-Hammadi) Was the 11 September incident as planned, or was it smaller or bigger than what was expected?

(Abu-Jandal) Actually, the operation results were not expected to lead to such great damage and collapse. But, God says in His book: “When thou threwest (a handful of dust), it was not thy act, but God’s.” That was a mere cause, and so God supported the Muslims in the United States.

(Al-Hammadi) But, was the plan to carry out the operation in these areas or was it bigger than that?

(Abu-Jandal) From the information that we had and what I knew from personal sources, which was then confirmed by the news media and US intelligence via the investigation committee into the 9/11 incidents, the operation was to use 12 planes. If four planes caused all this uproar, what if 12 planes were used?

(Al-Hammadi) Do you believe that those who carried out the 9/11 incidents came to Afghanistan to receive the final signals to carry out the operation?

(Abu-Jandal) I don’t think so because the youths were prepared and trained and most of them were in the battlefronts. But the selection process was haphazard.

(Al-Hammadi) How about the execution, was it personal or coordinated with the central leadership?

(Abu-Jandal) It was certainly coordinated but it was the field command in the United States that planned the operation. But, the central leadership had a role. It played an important role in preparing and selecting the good elements for it.

(Al-Hammadi) In your opinion, what is the reason for the United States’ inability to capture Usama Bin Ladin, although it captured Saddan Husayn a short period after the war on Iraq?(Abu-Jandal) Many persons claim that Usama Bin Ladin’s agentry delayed his capture up to now. But, we say that the comparison between Usama Bin Ladin and Saddam Husayn is unfair because Saddam was a black past for his people. There was the massacre of Kurds in Halabjah, the killing of Shiites in the south, and the domination and enslavement of the Iraqi people. All those have caused hatred against him, which facilitated his capture even if after a while. But, wherever he went, from the ocean to the ocean and not just from the Gulf to the ocean Usama Bin Ladin is popular. We strongly believe that Usama Bin Ladin would only face what God had ordained for him. But, we are also certain that this man upheld God and that God would preserve him.

(Al-Hammadi) A final question, what is the future of Al-Qa’ida on the Arab and international levels in light of these universal wars against it?

(Abu-Jandal) Al-Qa’ida had sought right from the start to foster confrontation between the United States and the Islamic World. I recall Shaykh Usama Bin Ladin telling us: We as an organization cannot continue with the qualitative operations. So we have to draw the United States into a confrontation with all the Islamic peoples. This was the plan in the Somalia days. Bin Ladin had wished the capture of a single US soldier alive to make the United States withdraw and for the fighting to continue everywhere. Shaykh Usama Bin Ladin and the Al-Qa’ida have pursued this endeavor and succeeded in drawing the United States into an unequal confrontation, not from the military technology aspect, but from the ideology aspect. Muslims have now reached the point where they are fed up with the United States, which lives in prosperity off our nation’s resources. I believe that the United States is heading for its demise. As to the future of Al-Qa’ida, I believe that it has found what it wanted. It can now melt into a new caldron, and a new giant would be reborn, of which Al-Qa’ida would be a part. Many of the Islamic World leaders would join it and the confrontation with the United States would be inevitable. And, Al-Qa’ida would not be the leader but a vanguard army.

(Description of Source: London Al-Quds al-Arabi in Arabic — London-based independent Arab nationalist daily with an anti-US and anti-Saudi editorial line; generally pro-Palestinian, tends to be sympathetic to Bin Ladin)

Translated from the original by WNC.


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