The CIA bomber —Tammy Swofford - Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Source :\03\20\story_20-3-2012_pg3_6

Evil is persistently present on the time continuum of man’s history. It cannot be eradicated by a solitary act. Al-Khorasani lost focus. He imagined his defiant act would rid the world of injustice. He “burned with the desire for martyrdom”

Writer’s note: when entering the mind of a suicide bomber, it is necessary to imagine how the world seems through his eyes. Look with me. But then wash your eyes carefully. Return quickly to clarity of vision.

“Insha’Allah, we will get you, CIA team. Insha’Allah, we will bring you down. Don’t think that just by pressing a button and killing Mujahideen, you are safe. Insha’Allah, we’ll come for you in an unexpected way. Look, this is for you. It’s not a watch, it’s a detonator, to kill as many as I can, Insha’Allah. This is my goal: to kill you, and to kill your Jordanian partner, and Insha’Allah, I will to al Firdous –Allah — Paradise — and you will be sent to Hell, and on Yawm al-Qiyaamah (the Day of Resurrection), we will Insha’Allah see you again. Honour is for Allah, and Allah is the Greatest.”

(Translated from Arabic: “An Interview with the Shaheed Abu Dujaanah al-Khorasani”.)

The testament of a life is written. It begins in formal manner with a title page. It is followed by a page containing only these words: “Shaykh Usama bin Muhammad bin Ladin (May Allah preserve him).” The third page has two paragraphs. I have included the second one, above. Eight more pages follow. It is the interview given to as-Sahab media before the single-mission combatant sallied forth on his journey. This particular combatant left sufficient information to build a preliminary psychological profile. Travel with me today into the mind of a killer.

His name at birth was Humam Khalil Abu Mulal al-Balawi. He was born in Kuwait on what is Christmas Day on the Gregorian calendar. His genealogical roots are with a nomadic clan from Tabuk. 

Islamic scholars recognise the historic significance of this region. The best writing on my shelf for the Battle of Tabuk is by al-Imam Ibn al Qayyem al Jawziya. According to his work, Zad-al-Ma’ad, the town of Tabuk was situated about halfway between Madinah and Damascus. The amassing of Roman troops along Syria’s border set the stage for conflict. Muslim warriors setting out in an adverse climate became known as Jaish al-Usrah (the distressed army). Approximate only 80 men sought to be excused from the ranks due to extreme heat (Qur’an 9:80). One scholarly tool that Ibn al Qayyem al Jawziya used in presenting the battles of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was to discuss manners and moralities learned from the battle. It is the equivalent to after-action debriefings. He has this to say regarding this particular military venture: “Places of disobedience to Allah and hotbeds of intrigue against Islam must be set to fire or pulled down in order to invalidate them and change them....” On December 30, 2009, a man now more commonly known by his primary jihad forum pen name of Abu Dujaanah al-Khorasani entered Forward Operating Base Chapman and detonated a “martyrdom belt”. Seven CIA operatives and one officer from Jordan’s General Intelligence Directorate were killed. Al-Khorasani also received his wish: “To have my have my teeth be turned into shrapnel.”

Al-Bawali was not born into the role. He chose it. In reading his statement, it appears a journey toward martyrdom began after the US entered Iraq. The trip that was initially taken in his mind accelerated when he began to write on jihad forums. Al-Bawali created two alter egos. One was named Malik al Ashja’ee. The other, Abu Dujaanah al-Khorasani. An educated man entered a shadowy world of presumed moral vigour, embracing a destiny achieved through passionate acts of defiance.

Al-Khorasani lost his focus. He speaks of the plight of the Palestinians in Gaza, of the murder of Abdullah Azzam in Peshawar twenty years prior, of the assassination of Imad Mughniyah, and the death of Abu Mus’ab al Zarqawi. His laundry list is long and he identifies with men he considers legendary. He imagines himself within their ranks. His last article written for jihad sites was titled, “When will my words drink from my blood?” From a pen dipped in an inkwell of blood came the plan to spill his lifeblood for an individual reality that was not an absolute truth.

He forgets that he is a physician, a vehicle of God’s grace. He forgets that he is a husband, a shield for his wife. She seems like a cardboard cutout to him. Not once are his children mentioned in his final interview. He will detonate his explosives and leave a widow and orphans to fend for themselves.

Al-Khorasani postures his journey to jihad as an ultimate act of worship for Allah. He allows two primary companions to migrate freely within his mind. But there is to be no hunting when embarking on the Hajj in worship of your Lord. His journey was all about a devoted hunt. And there were men who were hunting alongside him. Partial truths were taken and presented as a greater reality. And a simple truth was ignored. Evil is persistently present on the time continuum of man’s history. It cannot be eradicated by a solitary act. Ultimately, evil can only be denied a free-for-all in our lives. Al-Khorasani lost focus. He imagined his defiant act would rid the world of injustice. He “burned with the desire for martyrdom”. 

His concluding remarks mentioned a mother in Iraq whose son had carried out a martyrdom operation. He said, “I will take to him your salaam, and I will take to him your love....”

Jordanian intelligence believed they had flipped a man. Unfortunately, once a mind flips with alter egos whispering their suggestions in the background, it is hard to regain normalcy. Once a man solidifies a warped worldview, it is practically impossible to retrofit the human illusion. Precautions were lacking on both sides. Anticipation and lack of anticipation caused the death of intelligence operatives.

A man who spoke of the “opportunity to kill” used a simple detonator to relinquish his burden of hatred. He did not adjudicate injustice. God takes no pleasure in burnt human flesh. Wash out your eyes now.

The writer is a freelance columnist. She can be reached at

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