Australia’s first suicide bomber?

This is a very timely article from the ABC by Middle East correspondent Matt Brown

I have been intending to highlight this very issue.

October 28, 2013 the Herald Sun published this. Link:

“FORMER Army chief Peter Leahy believes dual Australian-Syrian citizens should be prevented from returning here after fighting in Syria’s bloody civil war.

Peter Leahy“How can you be an Australian, go off and fight in Syria, in some cases for al-Nusra who are linked to al-Qaeda, and then come home?” he told Sky News on Monday.

Lieutenant-General Leahy was responding to a call by former foreign minister Bob Carr who revealed he tried to have the previous Labor government change the law.

Mr Carr said about 200 Australians had gone to Syria, some to deliver aid and some to fight.

In government he received advice that nothing could stop them returning to Australia.

Professor Leahy says the law should be examined to see what could be done to stop dual citizens going to Syria in the first place.

“And if they become involved in some of this really nasty work that’s going on, let’s not have them back in the country.”

He questioned whether dual citizenship works.

“Can you be loyal to two countries – I’m not sure you can be.” “

Get tough on youths fighting in Syria: Carr

28 Oct 2013 – 9:41am  SBS.  Link: 

Former foreign minister Bob Carr is urging the federal government to consider ways to ban Australians who go off to fight in the Syrian conflict from returning home.

The outgoing senator admitted that while in government he had lobbied to introduce the punishment to Australians who travel to Syria to participate in the civil war.

Ban Australian Youth Participating in the Syrian Civil War, says Ex-Foreign Minister Bob Carr

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES.

By Sunny Peter | October 28, 2013

Link:

Rocket launcherAustralian With over 200 Australians in Syria, several of them for aid work and some others fighting for the jihadist cause, former Foreign Minister Bob Carr has said the government should look at options to ban the  Australian return of youth, participating in the fighting.

Mr Carr, who recently resigned his Senate seat and quit politics for a life in academics, urged the federal government to consider ways to ban Australians; who have gone to Syria to participate in the fighting, from returning home.

 New video has emerged of the man claimed to be Australia’s first suicide bomber. LINK ABC:

The video appears to be published by the Al Qaeda-linked group, Jabhat al Nusrah, which has previously said the Australian blew himself up in an attack on an army checkpoint in north-eastern Syria in September.

It is the most revealing insight yet into the man’s last hours and shows the group preparing the massive truck bomb used in the attack.

The video shows the jihadist, identified in a previous internet posting as Abu Asma al Australi, standing on the tray of the truck used in the suicide bombing.

Jihadist saying farewll

However, because the face in the video is obscured it is impossible to be sure who it shows, but the bomber is suspected of being a Brisbane man named Ahmed.

In the video, the bomber dedicates his actions with a verse from the Quran:

“To all those who believe it is your destiny to be buried in the way of God and you accept for life on earth, the afterlife, because the joys of life on earth in the afterlife are few. So trust and worship God.”

Since sketchy images of the bombing and a still image of Abu Asma emerged identifying him as an Australian in September, Australia’s intelligence and police agencies have been trying to trace his route from suburban obscurity to jihad.

It is understood they have identified the man they believe carried out the bombing.

However, his family has denied he was involved and insists he is still alive in Turkey.

Because of the difficulty gathering evidence in Syria, the ABC cannot name him fully for legal reasons.

It is understood he travelled to the Middle East in the middle of this year but then sent his young family home. A senior counter-terrorism official has told the ABC that by that time it seemed clear he had no intention of following them.

In the video, Abu Asma stands in front of the truck. Large, apparently metal, panels are fitted to its front in an effort to protect the driver from gunfire.

He bids farewell to fellow jihadists then urges more foreigners to come and join the fight.

“This is a message to all my brothers in the world: Today Jihad is a duty of every Muslim, to carry a weapon and come to the land of Jihad… today Jihad is duty imposed on every Muslim, so rise up Muslims.

“This is a duty imposed on us and the best of people are those who fight for the sake of God. So if you are afraid, why are you afraid? For your wives and your children? Trust in God. In the West or in any country, you think you are men? Or (that) you are living a good life? Today real men are living in the land of Jihad. They are our brothers, they are the Muslims who defend the religion of God.”

Number of Australians fighting in Syria rises

The case offers an insight into a troubling phenomenon.

There are signs that others who have expressed an interest in fighting in Syria have been able to use contacts in Australia to get in touch with armed groups.

The militias are happy to get new recruits, but want them to bring money for weapons and supplies, and there is evidence many would-be jihadists raise money in Australia before heading to Syria.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) says over the past 12 months there has been a substantial increase in the number of Australians going to join hardline groups, including Jabhat al Nusra.

In just a year the number has risen from a few to 20 or 30, possibly more.

That is about the same number as those going from other Western countries with much larger Muslim populations.

It is not clear why there is such an outsized interest from Australia.

AFP working with Turkey, Lebanon to trace jihad recruits

To stop Australians from heeding the call of battle, the Government has been cancelling their passports. The most recent annual report from domestic spy agency ASIO says it issued 18 adverse security assessments – to deny a passport or cancel one – in the past financial year.

ASIO will not detail the reasons but it is believed most of them are related to Syria – and the trend continues this financial year.

Obviously, dozens have slipped the net, but the effort to trace them does not end in Australia.

Turkey is the most important gateway for foreign fighters headed into Syria.

And the ABC can reveal that Turkish authorities are cooperating in the effort to keep track of the Australians. They are doing much more than simply reporting on who arrives in Istanbul. They have actively cooperated in investigations: providing information on the activity of Australians flagged by the AFP.

Lebanon has also been an important gateway for Australians travelling to Syria and the AFP also cooperates with the Lebanese authorities.

The fears about what these men might do in Australia when they head home are well publicised.

A senior counter-terrorism official has told the ABC none of those suspected of taking up arms has returned.

That day of reckoning is yet to come.

I suggest you search Google Images for Jabhat al Nusra to see what they are really about.

However a word of caution there are some very gruesome images.

This video shows what this was in Syria is doing to thsi country.

The video from ‘Today Tonight’ in May 2013,  has been ‘conveniently’ removed from the Channel 7 web site and YouTube. However it was re-posted with a French name.

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4 comments

  1. It’s disgraceful that people can go off and fight for jihadis, and then return to Australia on their Australian passports. I agree with Professor Leahy that the law should be examined to see what could be done to stop dual citizens going to Syria in the first place.

    “And if they become involved in some of this really nasty work that’s going on, let’s not have them back in the country.”

    My only problem is that some people will use this reasoning to target Australian Jews or Israeli Jews living here as citizens, and repeat his question

    “Can you be loyal to two countries – I’m not sure you can be.”

    Throughout the ages, Jews have been accused of having dual loyalty. Of course there’s a world of difference between Jews supporting Israel, which shares the same values as Australia and other democracies, and those who support countries which want to destroy those value. But people who hate Jews could well use it to attack us.

  2. Of course, it’s not just jihadis going to Syria that’s a problem. There’s Somalia, as well as other countries which are not friendly to Australia.

    It’s quite complicated, as unless the country is at war with Australia, it’s hard to prevent Australians with dual nationality going over there, ostensibly for a holiday or to provide aid.
    Once in the foreign country, it’s hard for our government to know what they were doing there.

    Remember Habib, who supposedly went back to Pakistan to look for schools for his kids.