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Jan. 5 2010 - 8:52 am | 8,038 views | 1 recommendation | 10 comments

CIA suicide bomber was… a blogger

Al-Balawi's blog, showing the Arabic version of a 404 error

Al-Balawi's blog, showing the Arabic version of a 404 error

In a bizarre twist, the suicide bomber who killed eight people at a CIA base in Afghanistan may have been… a blogger and internet bulletin board admin.

Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, a 36-year-old doctor from Jordan, was also apparently a triple agent who “duped Western intelligence services for months before turning on his handlers.”

But first, the blogging and computer nerdery.

It appears al-Balawi, writing under the nom-de-plume Abu Dujanah al-Khurasani, ran the extremely popular jihdaist bulletin board al-Hesbah. Among al-Hesbah’s many users, some were people connected to the London tube bombers and others high-ranking al-Qaeda members.

Al-Balawi/al-Khurasani was also a prolific blogger — URL abudujanakharasani.maktoobblog.com — who, apparently, liked to daydream about a future caliphate:

n November 2007, Mr. Khurasani posted a mini-play of several acts; the opening scene takes us to the year 2025 to show Baghdadi surveying the capital of his empire, the city of Baghdad. After reminiscing about Zarqawi’s last dying moments, Baghdadi receives a call on his cell phone from the “Chief of Staff of the Army of the Caliphate.” Another scene is set in a classroom where a teacher asks his pupils “What was the Arabian Peninsula called before it was liberated by the Commander of the Faithful Abu Omar al-Baghdadi in 2010?” The students grapple with the answer before one of them blurts out that it used to be called Saudi Arabia.

Yet another scene showcases an Al-Jazeera TV-like program where the topic of discussion is the dictatorship of Edward the Third in Britain — remember the year is 2025 — and the leader of the British opposition movement, who has adopted Mr. Baghdadi’s Baghdad as his city of refuge, is identified as “Peter,” the fictitious son of Tony Blair.

The face of Islamist terrorism apparently is this: A 36-year-old doctor posting about future dystopias on internet forums in his free time. He could just as easily have been a Trekkie.

But, sadly, the CIA seems to have believed that this jihadist net geek would help them track down al-Zawahiri. The suicide bomber was a CIA asset who was not searched before he entered Forward Operating Base Chapman.

Al-Balawi also came from previously resided in al-Zarqawi’s hometown of Zarqa, Jordan, and was born in Kuwait.

His handler from Jordanian intelligence, Ali bin Zaid, was a distant relative of the Jordanian royal family and was killed in the blast. King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan attended his funeral.


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  1. collapse expand

    Mr. Ungerleider,

    Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi’s dreams of a resurrected caliphate clearly resonant with many people in the middle east. For decades the majority of people in south-west Asia have felt western interests have dominated and exploited them. The fantasy of a new heroic Saladin driving out the Franaji and their minions from south-west Asia and restoring the caliphate is in response those feelings. All the predator drones in world cannot change those feelings or kill those fantasies.

  2. collapse expand

    “King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan attended his funeral.”

    I guess I’m missing something Neal. Who’s funeral did the royal family attend?

  3. collapse expand

    Great article!

    A couple factual errors: the bomber was not a member of royal family, and the the King and Queen did not attend his funeral (which wasn’t permitted to public). I think you are confusing the bomber with his handler.

    Also, the was born in Kuwait, and only moved to Jordan after the Iraqi invasion of that country. His family may have moved to Zarqa, but he is not from there.

    Anyways, great blog. Come check out mine at othermeanspolitics.com

  4. collapse expand

    I am trying to access the play or mini-play that you mention in your blog. I used the URL you provided but I don’t see any link to the play. Can you explain how to access the play. Thanks

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    A New York-based journalist and blogger who has spent extensive time in the Middle East and is currently working on an MA thesis in Middle Eastern Studies. My thesis focuses on the 2009 Iranian election demonstrations and their coverage in the international media.

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