Via The Long War Journal -
Failed Times Square car bomber Faisal Shahzad is seen embracing and shaking hands with Pakistani Taliban leader Hakeemullah Mehsud in a short videoclip.
In the previously unseen video, published by Flashpoint Partners yesterday, Shahzad and Hakeemullah are shown in front of a banner of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan [view video at Flashpoint Partners]. They rise, embrace , and shake hands, while Shahzad's voice is overlaid on the tape saying he executed the attack under the command of Hakeemullah, who answers to Mullah Omar.
"Today, along with the leader of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan Hakeemullah Mehsud and under the command of Amir al-Mumineen Mullah Mohammed Omar Mujahid (may Allah protect him), we are planning to wage an attack on your side, inshallah (god willing)," Shahzad said.
"Amir al-Mumineen" means "the leader of the faithful." Mullah Omar is recognized as the Amir al-Mumineen by Taliban commanders on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistani border.
Shahzad had previously told the FBI that he had met Hakeemullah in the Waziristan region in Pakistan's lawless tribal areas.
Some US intelligence officials were dismissive of Shahzad's claims that he met Hakeemullah, and initially doubted that the Pakistani Taliban were even involved in the Times Square bomb plot.
It is unclear if the videoclip released by Flashpoint Partners is part of the 40-minute martyrdom tape that emerged on July 14. Al Arabiya released clips of the Shahzad martyrdom tape, but the full version has yet to be published. In that video segment, Shahzad said that waging jihad was a pillar of Islam and that Muslims had a duty to take up arms against the West and Muslim governments.
In the last year, videos by AQ (AQAP and AQ Core) have increasingly pushed for jihadists to strike targets that were close to them with simple assaults - advising them not to wait.
According to STRATFOR, these calls are part of a move toward a leaderless resistance model of jihadism that has accompanied the devolution of the jihadist threat from one based on al Qaeda the group to a broader threat based primarily on al Qaeda franchises and the wider jihadist movement.
The AQAP called this leaderless resistance, the 'Open Source Jihad'. They even devoted a entire section of the in the online 'Inspire' magazine.
Even with this devolution taking place, several recent attacks against the West have been found to contain connections with overseas groups, related to AQ.
We should not expect al Qaeda-linked attacks against the West to occur independently of one another. Instead, the network of violent Islamist movements led by al Qaeda produces and manages attacks against the West through a three-phase terror attack assembly line: recruiting, pre-deployment and training, and coordination with deployed operatives prior to attacks.
Evidence from the subway and Manchester plots reveals that al Qaeda coordinators play a guiding role in preparing attacks against the West as part of what appears to be the third phase of an al Qaeda terror attack assembly line. First, al Qaeda and its affiliates try to recruit English-speaking individuals with visas, residency permits, or citizenship in Western countries. This entails encouraging extremism among targeted recruits and providing individuals who have already become radicalized with the tools to act upon their militant beliefs. Second, the network trains and deploys potential recruits in safe havens around the world. Third, the network coordinates, supports, and directs operations while the recently trained al Qaeda-linked operatives are on the ground in targeted countries.
This may not apply to all cases of Islamist terrorism. Nidal Hasan, for example, despite expressing grievances common to Islamist terrorists and communicating with al Qaeda-linked cleric Anwar al Awlaki, does not appear to have received direct coordination for the assault he launched upon soldiers at Fort Hood. These three phases do provide, however, a rough rubric to help one understand how the al Qaeda network appears to launch most attacks against the West.