The economics and politics writer Tim Fernholz, on the ‘digitally native news outlet’ that is Quartz, established in 2012 by Atlantic for ‘business people in the new global economy’, confides that “US intelligence officials have spent the last week dropping hints about another al Qaeda off-shoot that does aim to attack Western countries at home, and it operates in ISIL’s backyard. The organization is known as ‘the Khorasan group’, a reference to a historic territory encompassing modern Afghanistan and Iran. Like ISIL, it has has roots in al Qaeda, but unlike the militants attempting to seize territory in Iraq and Syria, the Khorasan group is still within al Qaeda’s hierarchy and focused on terror attacks in the West”. Now that the Islamic State (or ISIL or ISIS, if you will) has finally emerged as the West’s new bogeyman, it turns out that America is not content and feels the need to come up with yet another one for good measure . . . Fernholz continues that the “US director of national intelligence, James Clapper, said this group [. that would be the Khorasan group] could be a more direct threat than ISIL and mentioned the leader’s name publicly for the first time: Muhsin al-Fadhli, a Kuwaiti who was a 20-year-old member of Osama bin Laden’s inner circle at the time of the 9/11 attacks. By 2012, he was al Qaeda’s top man in Iran, financing terror operations in Iraq as a go-between for Gulf state donors, and earning a $7-million price on his head from the US. According to [a] CIA source who spoke with the New York Times following Clapper’s revelation, the now-33-year-old al-Fadhli is working with a cell of Afghan and Pakistani fighters in Syria to recruit Muslim extremists with US and European passports for attacks in their home countries. His organization is collaborating with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemeni offshoot of the extremist movement that has a reputation for attempts at sophisticated bomb-making designed to slip explosives past airport security procedures. Three have made it onto airplanes, but none of the plots have succeeded. It’s not clear why intelligence officials chose to reveal their concerns about the Khorasan group now. Some in the US government have been accused of exaggerating the threat of ISIL to the United States, but these revelations are a reminder that some of its ideological siblings are still focused on attacks in the West”.
Does this mean that the U.S. does not see the Islamic State as a direct enough threat to America??? According to Thomas Joscelyn, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (a neoconservative Washington-based think tank) and writing about five months ago, “Muhsin al Fadhli, a senior al Qaeda leader who once headed the organization’s network in Iran, relocated to Syria in mid-2013, according to a report in The Arab Times on March 21 [, 2014]. Citing anonymous sources, the publication reports that al Fadhli has joined the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria. He was apparently sent to the country after a dispute broke out between Al Nusrah and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (ISIS). Al Fadhli was one of the trusted operatives who reported back to Ayman al Zawahiri on the dispute, according to the Arab Times, and he influenced al Qaeda’s decision to eventually disown ISIS. Today, al Fadhli reportedly recruits European Muslims to join the jihad in Syria and ‘trains them on how to execute terror operations in the western countries, focusing mostly on means of public transportation such as trains and airplanes’. The Arab Times account does not identify its sources and parts of it do not ring true. For example, al Fadhli’s ‘four main targets’ inside Syria are supposedly Bashar al Assad’s forces, the Free Syrian Army, the Islamic Front, and ISIS. However, only two of these targets make sense in the current operational environment”. So, it seems the man at the head of the group was an already well-known terrorist, but the name Khorasan Group had not been coined till recently. Joscelyn continues that “Al Fadhli became the leader of al Qaeda’s network inside Iran after a senior al Qaeda leader known as Yasin al Suri was detained by Iranian authorities”. As the good folks of Wikipedia remind us: “Khorasan in its proper sense comprised principally the cities of Balkh, Herat, and Taloqan (now in Afghanistan), Mashhad, Nishapur, and Sabzevar (now in northeastern Iran), Merv and Nisa (now in southern Turkmenistan), and Samarqand and Bukhara (now in Uzbekistan)”. And so it came about that Muhsin al Fadhli suddenly emerged on the scene as the leader of the Khorasan Group, a shadowy, even possibly non-extant organisation, with ‘clear’ links to the bogeyman of yesteryear, Al Qaeda . . . or to employ that nifty Escobarian phrase once more, the name that is a “catch-all ghost entity” . . . And now Obama has once again released genie from the bottle that Junior handled or even prepared in the aftermath of 9/11.
 Tim Fernholz, “Meet the terror group in Syria that could actually threaten the US” Quartz (22 September 2014). http://qz.com/269198/meet-the-terror-group-in-syria-that-could-actually-threaten-the-us/.
 Tim Fernholz, “Meet the terror group in Syria that could actually threaten the US”.
 Thomas Joscelyn, “Report: Former head of al Qaeda’s network in Iran now operates in Syria” The Long War Journal (28 March 2014). http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2014/03/report_former_head_o.php#ixzz3E9n7jGQn
 Thomas Joscelyn, “Report: Former head of al Qaeda’s network in Iran now operates in Syria”.