Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from the global War on Terror that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Today's "Winds of War" is brought to you by Dan Darling of Regnum Crucis. TOP TOPICS * Is time running out for Osama bin Laden? It's impossible to know for sure, but recent reports suggest that he has returned to Afghanistan. What is known is that the Pakistani military has deployed forces in southern Waziristan where he is believed to be hiding. US efforts also seem to be stepping up. Among those captured so far in Pakistan may include Khalid al-Zawahiri, the son of al-Qaeda's second-in-command. However, it is worth noting that Khalid was reportedly killed during the Tora Bora bombings along with the rest of al-Zawahiri's family. * Speaking of which, al-Qaeda second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri has issued another audiotape in which he takes issue with both Bush's claim that 2/3 of al-Qaeda has been destroyed as well as the French headscarf ban. * CIA Director George Tenet recently testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on current national security threats in which he noted, amongst other things, that al-Qaeda still possesses the capabilities with which to carry out another attack on par with 9/11. OTHER TOPICS TODAY INCLUDE: Iraq Briefing; Iran Reports, USA Homeland Security Briefing; Taliban boasts; 30 Taliban arrested; al-Qaeda in Bangladesh; Maulana Masood Azhar escapes; Saudi al-Qaeda leader a Yemeni; al-Hurra kicks off; Hanbali sings; 69 al-Qaeda indicted in Turkey; Khamzat's dead; and ScrappleFace on the Iranian elections.
IRAQ BRIEFING * Nidal Arabiyat Agha Hamza, a senior lieutenant to al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab Zarqawi, is now dead as a result of a US operation in Fallujah. Most interesting about Hamza however, is the pro-Baathist reading material that was found in his safehouse. Thank goodness that al-Qaeda despises those secular Baathists ... * US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld is warning Syria and Iran against supporting the Iraqi insurgents as well as claiming that al-Qaeda is active in the country. * Prince Hassan of Jordan may be seeking a kingdom in Iraq according to various media reports. At least one major Iraqi political group, the Constitutional Monarchy Movement, seeks the restoration of the Hashemite dynasty in Iraq. * Former Baathist security chief Khatan al-Anber has been captured by US forces. Al-Anber is a suspected Baathist financier who was working for Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri. * Geostrategy Direct is reporting via Rantburg that 9 Iraqi scientists have been killed over the course of the last 4 months. * US intelligence officials are claiming that Ansar al-Islam is regrouping, this time from strongholds in Iranian Kurdistan. Meanwhile, Ansar al-Sunnah (a subdivision with Ansar made up of foreign fighters from Europe) is claiming credit for the recent suicide bombing in Kirkuk. * In a possibly related story, 3 people have been killed an attack on the KDP office in Mosul. * Which "cards" have we captured so far? The CENTCOM list. And the visual version of "Ba'ath Poker." * The troops are still there. So is the Winds of Change.NET consolidated directory of ways you can support the troops. American, British and Australian. Anyone out there with more information, incl. the Poles and Czechs? [updated April 1, 2003] IRAN REPORTS * As should be no surprise to anyone here, the Iranian hardliners have swept the elections and are poised to take control of the Majlis. RFERL takes a look at what ayatollahs are saying - and what actually happened. From the sounds of things, Bush isn't happy. * "Post-election violence," yet another term not common in parliamentary democracies, has killed 7 in the southwestern city of Izeh. * The IAEA is having a hard time deciding whether or not Iran has disclosed the full extents of its nuclear program. Iran, meanwhile, believes that it has disclosed enough already and has no intention of revealing more. Perjman Yousefzadeh has more. * More ominously, Geostrategy Direct via Rantburg is reporting that the Iran has set up a uranium enrichment plant at Natanz to the point where it can crank out enough weapons-grade uranium for a bomb within a matter of days. If this is the case, Iran's nuclear program has in all probability already crossed the point of no return. USA HOMELAND SECURITY BRIEFING * German authorities gave the US the name and phone number of 9/11 hijacker Marwan al-Shehhi, a key associate of Mohammed Atta, in March 1999 according to US and German authorities. * FBI Director Robert Mueller is telling Congress that al-Qaeda has a network of supporters inside the US that could be used to carry out future terrorist attacks on US soil. * Did the Aryan Republican Army assist Timothy McVeigh in carrying out the Oklahoma City bombing? Some new evidence has come to light suggesting that this may in fact be the case. * Was dead Northern Alliance leader Ahmed Shah Massoud the best hope of the US had to hunt down Osama bin Laden? The Washington Post takes a look and provides plenty of details about the type of problems that plagued counterterrorism operations during the 1990s. THE WIDER WAR * Taliban spokesman Mohammed Saif ul-Adel is also claiming that bin Laden is in Afghanistan plotting against the US. Some 30 of Mr. ul-Adel's suspected associates, however, have been captured in Taloqan. * Is Bangladesh becoming the next al-Qaeda base? The South Asian nation already plays host to a number of anti-Indian groups, but now it appears to be hosting far more sinister organizations. * Pakistani al-Qaeda affiliate Jaish-e-Mohammed leader Maulana Masood Azhar has "escaped" from house arrest. This comes as Pakistan has arrested a man in Islamabad for ties to al-Qaeda. * The Saudi newspaper Asharq al-Awsat is reporting that the real head of the Saudi al-Qaeda is a Yemeni national named Khalid Hajj, which fits with US intelligence reports last October. * The US has established the Arab satellite TV station al-Hurra with the hopes of broadcasting a more balanced coverage of America in the Middle East as well as an alternative to al-Jazeera or al-Arabiyyah. * Detained Jemaah Islamiyyah leader Hanbali is spilling the beans from his cell at the US military base at Diego Garcia. * Turkish prosecutors have indicted 69 al-Qaeda members as conspirators in carrying out last November's Istanbul bombings. * Chechen al-Qaeda leader Khamzat Tazabayev has been killed by Russian forces in Ingushetia. In addition to serving as the leader of the Special Purpose Islamic Regiment, Tazabayev was responsible for masterminding attacks in Moscow and southern Russia throughout 2003. * We try to end on a lighter note if possible. The ever-valuable ScrappleFace offers a satirical note to the otherwise grim reality of the Iranian elections.