“U.N. experts say the predominant view among member nations is that the leadership of al-Qaida has passed to Sayf al-’Adl, who was responsible for Osama bin Laden’s security and trained some of the hijackers involved in the 9/11 attack on the U.S.

The panel of experts said in a report to the U.N. Security Council circulated Monday [2/13/2023] that no announcement has been made of Sayf al-’Adl replacing Ayman al-Zawahri, who was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Kabul last August.

‘But in discussions in November and December many U.N. member states took the view that Sayf al-’Adl is already operating as the de facto and uncontested leader of the group,’ the report says.”

– UN Report: Sayf al-’Adl Widely Seen as New al-Qaeda Leader,” abcnews.go.com, February 13, 2023


“Victims of the 9/11 attacks are not entitled to seize $3.5bn (£2.9bn) in assets belonging to Afghanistan’s central bank, a US judge has ruled.

Lawyers pursuing the compensation argued these funds could satisfy court judgments they had obtained against Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban.

At the time of the attacks in 2001, the Taliban had allowed al-Qaeda militants to operate from Afghanistan.

The suicide plane attacks on America claimed 2,977 lives.

Judge George Daniels said he was ‘constitutionally restrained’ from approving access to the funds, which are frozen in the US, as this would amount to a ruling that the Taliban were Afghanistan’s legitimate government.

He noted that the Biden administration did not recognise the Taliban, which meant US courts did not have the power to do so either. …

‘The judgment creditors are entitled to collect on their default judgments and be made whole for the worst terrorist attack in our nation’s history, but they cannot do so with the funds of the central bank of Afghanistan,’ Judge Daniels wrote in his 30-page judgement.

‘The Taliban, not the former Islamic Republic of Afghanistan or the Afghan people, must pay for the Taliban’s liability in the 9/11 attacks,’ he added. …

The judge’s ruling is a defeat for those who had claimed some of the $7bn of Afghanistan’s central bank funds frozen at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York.

‘This decision deprives over 10,000 members of the 9/11 community of their right to collect compensation from the Taliban,’ said Lee Wolosky, a lawyer who argued for victims’ compensation. ‘We believe it is wrongly decided and will appeal.'”

– Mattea Bubalo, “Judge Blocks 9/11 Victims’ Claim to Afghan Assets,” bbc.com, February 22, 2023


“United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Muhammed Momtaz Al-Azhari (26, Tampa) has pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization, namely, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (‘ISIS’). Pursuant to the terms of his plea agreement, Al-Azhari and the United States have agreed to the imposition of a stipulated sentence of 18 years in federal prison. …

According to the plea agreement, Al-Azhari is a United States citizen who spent most of his life abroad and came to embrace dogmatic, Islamist/Salafist beliefs. In or around 2015, Al-Azhari was convicted of advocating for Jaysh al-Islam, an armed Islamist group then participating in the Syrian conflict, in Saudi Arabia. Al-Azhari spent approximately three years in Saudi Arabian custody, after which he was removed to the United States. …

In or around April 2020, Al-Azhari began planning to carry out an attack in support of ISIS.  …

Between late April and May 2020, Al-Azhari also had multiple interactions with an FBI undercover employee (‘UC-1’) and a confidential human source (‘CHS-1’), during which Al-Azhari tried to buy guns from the UC-1, including a fully automatic rifle,… Al-Azhari … asked CHS-1 to obtain a Glock pistol and an unregistered silencer for him. Agents arrested Al-Azhari when he took possession of the gun and silencer on May 24, 2020.”

– U.S. Attorney’s Office, Middle District of Florida, “Tampa Man Pleads Guilty to Attempting to Provide Material Support to ISIS,” justice.gov, February 24, 2023

Editor’s Note: Al-Azhari was sentenced to 18 years in federal prison, followed by a lifetime of supervised release, in July 2023. See: Office of Public Affairs, US Department of Justice, “Judge Sentences Florida Man to 18 Years in Prison for Attempting to Provide Material Support to ISIS,” justice.gov, July 13, 2023

According to most historians of the Islamic State (also referred to as ISIS, ISIL, and Daesh), “the group emerged out of al-Qaeda in Iraq as a response to the U.S. invasion in 2003.” See Hassan Hassan, “The True Origins of ISIS,” theatlantic.com, November 30, 2018, for more information.


“The United States has repatriated two brothers to their native Pakistan after holding them for almost two decades without charges at the controversial Guantanamo Bay military prison.

Abdul Rabbani, 55, and Mohammed Rabbani, 53, were arrested by Pakistani authorities in their home city of Karachi in 2002 before swiftly being transferred to U.S. custody for allegedly operating al-Qaida safe houses.

The U.S. Defense Department on Thursday announced the repatriation of the brothers, who were never charged with a crime, to Pakistan, saying their detention was ‘no longer necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States.’ …

Another Pakistani detainee, Majid Khan, who confessed to his role as an al-Qaida courier, was transferred from Guantanamo and resettled in Belize earlier this month after completing his sentence.

Khan, 42, was held in the detention facility for about 15 years. He was sentenced in 2021 to 10 years, with credit for the years he spent cooperating with his American interrogators.

Last October, the United States released the oldest prisoner at Guantanamo, identified as Pakistani national Saifullah Paracha, and transferred him to his home country.

Paracha, 75, had been held at the detention center since 2003 on suspicion of being tied to al-Qaida but he was never charged with a crime. …

The Pentagon on Thursday noted there are 32 detainees remaining at Guantanamo Bay, 18 of whom are eligible for transfer, nine defendants in military-run tribunals, and two others convicted.”

– Ayaz Gul, “US Returns Pakistani Brothers Held for Almost 20 Years at Guantanamo Bay,” voanews.com, February 24, 2023


A bipartisan plan to fill a funding gap for people sickened by toxins released in the 2001 terror attacks was rolled out Tuesday [2/28/20/23]  by lawmakers hoping to deal with the money shortfall before it becomes a crisis.

The bill — meant to cover shortfalls the World Trade Center Health Program is expected to face starting around 2027 — aims to fix a funding formula that has not kept up as higher enrollment and costs surged more than lawmakers expected when the program was made permanent in 2015. …

The laws enacting the program failed to adequately estimate the numbers of people who would apply, the increasing severity of cancer afflicting tens of thousands, and spiking inflation, its proponents say. There are more than 125,000 people in the program, including more than 25,000 diagnosed with cancer.

Democrats who controlled both houses of Congress last year failed to advance a bill to fix the problem, forcing Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) to scramble to add $1 billion to a year-end funding bill at the last minute. That money covers the program’s shortfall until about 2027.

The new bill unveiled Tuesday aims to cure the problem permanently.”

– Michael McAuliff, “NY Lawmakers – Republicans and Democrats – Unveil Bill to Close Funding Shortfall in 9/11 Health Program,” nydailynews.com, February 28, 2023


“Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr., and New York City Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell today [3/23/2023] announced the sentencing of TREVOR WILLIAM FORREST, a/k/a ‘SHAIKH ABDULLAH FAISAL,’ a/k/a ‘SHAIKH FAISAL,’ 59, for recruiting, soliciting, and inspiring students and followers to pledge allegiance to, travel to, join and commit acts of terrorism on behalf of the Islamic State, a/k/a ‘ISIS’ or ‘ISIL.’ Faisal is sentenced to 18 years in state prison. …

Following a two-month long trial in New York State Supreme Court, FAISAL was convicted on all counts on January 26, 2023, after two hours of deliberation. …

As proven in the first-ever New York State terrorism trial, FAISAL used his public profile and personal network as the top English-speaking recruiter for ISIS to solicit and provide material support for the Islamic State’s acts of violence and terrorism against others through:

– violent jihadist advocacy and ISIS recruitment through different writings, speeches and recordings

– tradecraft instructions to others on how best to travel to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS and how best to avoid suspicion or arrest

– providing contact information of foreign fighters to facilitate entry into and support in ISIS regions and acceptance by ISIS partners

– strategizing with Islamic State fighters on battlefield tactics

– creating opportunities for women jihadi aspirants to meet and marry ISIS adherents

– inspiring others to commit their own violent acts in allegiance to ISIS.”

– District Attorney, New York County, “D.A. Bragg, P.C. Sewell: Radical Cleric Shaikh Faisal Sentenced to 18 Years in Prison for Recruiting Supporters and Facilitating Efforts to Join ISIS,” manhattanda.org, March 23, 2023

Editor’s Note: According to most historians of the Islamic State (also referred to as ISIS, ISIL, and Daesh), “the group emerged out of al-Qaeda in Iraq as a response to the U.S. invasion in 2003.” See Hassan Hassan, “The True Origins of ISIS,” theatlantic.com, November 30, 2018, for more information.


“Abdullah el-Faisal believed every word in a speech by Osama bin Laden … and thought images of the coffins of US service members were laughable, New York prosecutors say.

They also believe the Muslim cleric is ‘one of the most influential English-speaking terrorists of our time,’ Assistant District Attorney Gary Galperin said during opening statements at Faisal’s trial on state terrorism charges.

Now, Faisal has been sentenced to 18 years in prison.

A Manhattan court sentenced him Thursday after a nearly three-month trial in which he was found guilty of five terrorism-related charges. He is the first person to be tried under New York state terror laws passed after the September 11, 2001, attacks, the district attorney’s office said.”

– Brynn Gingras and Yon Pomrenze, “First Person Tried Under New York Terror Laws Passed in Wake of 9/11 Is Sentenced to 18 Years,” cnn.com, March 23, 2023


“A U.S. citizen who moved his family to Syria to join the Islamic State terrorist group has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison.

Emraan Ali, 55, a U.S. citizen born in Trinidad and Tobago, was sentenced Tuesday [3/27/2023] in Miami federal court, according to court records. He pleaded guilty in November to conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

According to court records, Ali moved his family from Trinidad and Tobago to Brazil, and then to Turkey and eventually Syria in March 2015. He falsely told his children that they were going on vacation but actually intended to join IS, prosecutors said.”

– Associated Press, “U.S. Citizen Gets 20 Years for Joining Islamic State Group,” abcnews.go.com, April 2, 2023

Editor’s Note: According to most historians of the Islamic State (also referred to as ISIS, ISIL, and Daesh), “the group emerged out of al-Qaeda in Iraq as a response to the U.S. invasion in 2003.” See Hassan Hassan, “The True Origins of ISIS,” theatlantic.com, November 30, 2018, for more information.


“The Senate voted Wednesday [3/29/2023] to repeal authorizations for the use of military force against Iraq [AUMF],  a significant moment as lawmakers aim to reassert authority in military intervention abroad.

The legislation now goes to the US House of Representatives for a vote. Speaker Kevin McCarthy has signaled support for it and said it would likely be brought to the floor. With bipartisan support for the repeal, the measure appears to have a good chance of passing the chambers, though it’s still unclear if lawmakers will try to amend it.

The vote comes on the heels of the 20th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq.

The White House said it supports the measure to repeal the 1991 and 2002 authorizations for use of force in Iraq. If it passes both chambers, it would mark a formal conclusion to the conflicts and a symbolic reassertion of Congress’ ability to declare war.”

– Ali Zaslav, et al., “Senate Votes to Repeal Iraq War Power Authorizations, 20 Years After Us Invasion,” cnn.com, March 29, 2023


“There are new calls to make Sept. 11 a federal holiday.

Three Hudson Valley congressmen, from both sides of the aisle, have introduced the September 11th Day of Remembrance Act.

Rep. Mike Lawler (R) says he wants to make 9/11 a federal holiday to ensure we never forget the day’s impact and consequences.

Rep. Pat Ryan says he was in his second year at West Point that day when all cadets swore to never forget the heroes lost.

And Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R) says he served as an NYPD detective in the years after 9/11 and continues to see the long term ramifications on first responders and survivors.”

– News 12 Staff, “Lawmakers Introduce Act To Make 9/11 a Federal Holiday,” longisland.news12.com, March 30, 2023