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    Spain Seizes 15 Linked to Al Qaeda in Iraq - New York Times

    MADRID, Dec. 19 - The Spanish police arrested 15 people on Monday on charges that they had formed a recruiting network linked to Al Qaeda that sent Islamic militants to Iraq, the Interior Ministry said.

    The ministry said one man, a 25-year-old Iraqi identified as Abu Sufian, had close ties to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who is the American forces' most-wanted man in Iraq.[snip]

    He said there was no evidence the group was planning to carry out an attack in Spain. But he said the group had materials to make explosives and was clearly capable of an attack.

    Is it me, or does this sound like a serious case of denial considering Spain pulled their troops out of Iraq after just such an attack hoping it would spare them future pain? Don't these folks get it yet? They are "Al-Andalus".

    One of the men, a Belarussian identified as Sergei Malyschew, also known as Amin al-Ansari, is considered an expert in chemical weapons, the ministry said.

    A 36-year-old Ghanaian identified as Muhammad G. appears to have helped Africans travel to the United States under false identities, but it is not clear if they had any ties to terrorist groups, ministry officials said.

    Yeah, right.

    This is why I am a) amazed at all the hoopla about the NSA "spying" on "American citizens" and b) that anyone thinks that people who discuss possible terrorism inside our borders is a "fear mongerer".

    I also should mention Sergei Malyschew the chemical weapons expert. Obviously a Chechen related member of AQ and a reminder of how AQ operates. Since bomb makers and good operations planners are limited resources, these folks usually travel to a location, train the individuals and then disappear to their next location to set up a new cell. Secondly, the bomb and chemical weapons makers often hold "roving classes" since they no longer have a static location in Afghanistan in which to train.

    My guess is that this is the "fly in, set up a group, train and fly out" situation for al-Ansari. Muhammad is a "facilitator". These men don't necessarily "recruit", but people who want to join the jihad, self-identify, ask around for directions to an appropriate person to ask, get vetted by outside members who only know Muhammad and then send the men on their way or recommend contact by Muhammad.

    This is probably all occuring around a few specific mosques and it is highly likely that this is an "open secret" among the attendents. Which may be one of the reasons the Spanish are able to round these folks up, though it's just as likely that the tip came from captured jihadists in Iraq who gave up the information. Or, it could be that we have the "Africans" in the United States under surveillance and we tracked down a call from here to Spain (through that nasty NSA thing, invading our rights, etc), though I len towards the captured jihadist in Iraq.

    It would be too much to hope that somebody has figured out how to infiltrate these groups.
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