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Terror Expert: Jihadists May Try to Disrupt November Election

‘Intent on hitting America inside its borders, on its own soil.’
The presidential limousine, known as 'The Beast,' sits on the tarmac as Marine One, with Joe Biden aboard, arrives at Leesburg Executive Airport in Leesburg, Virginia, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024. The White House
The presidential limousine, known as ‘The Beast,’ sits on the tarmac as Marine One, with Joe Biden aboard, arrives at Leesburg Executive Airport in Leesburg, Virginia, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024. The White House

As the number of suspected terrorists reportedly plotting assassinations and deadly attacks in America continues to grow, so does the risk of interfering with this year's presidential election.

Historically, election cycles around the world have often faced disruption by adversaries, whether through election interference, threats of violence or actual violence. For example, the commuter train bombings in Spain on March 11, 2004, carried out by Islamic terrorists, which killed 193 people and injured over 1,800, took place just three days prior to a national election. The coordinated attack is believed by many to have influenced voters to reject a Spanish government that participated in the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

For Middle East expert and terrorism scholar Adrian Calamel, attacks like the one in Madrid have him growing increasingly fearful about similar violence being used to disrupt November's presidential election in the U.S.

Calamel, a senior fellow at the Washington, D.C.-based Arabian Peninsula Institute, tells WND the "specter of something like this happening in America" is related to an active assassination plot against several Trump-era officials. Earlier this month, news began to circulate that an agent of Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security, or MOIS, was "wanted for questioning in connection with the recruitment of individuals for various operations in the United States, to include lethal targeting of current and former United States Government officials as revenge for the killing of IRGC-QF Commander Qasem Soleimani."

In 2020, Soleimani was killed by a U.S. drone strike on the order of then-President Donald Trump. As a result, Iran pledged to retaliate and named multiple American targets, including former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former national security adviser John Bolton, former U.S. special representative for Iran Brian Hook, as well as other current and former officials of the U.S. government.

What this tells Calamel is that "Tehran is intent on hitting America inside its borders, on its own soil." But it's how they'll do it that he questions. According to Calamel, "[Iran] has a lot to lose after gaining so much leverage during the Biden administration." Most recently, the administration has
reapproved a sanctions waiver that would allow as much as $10 billion in frozen assets to be released to the Iranian government.

For this reason, he said, "[Iran] will be looking for plausible deniability." While many believe Hezbollah is the primary terrorist threat to the United States, Calamel points a finger to al Qaeda. Although Iran's MOIS agents and proxies like Hezbollah might secretly help coordinate an attack on U.S. soil, he said, "they're too close to Tehran and have too much to lose from the United States to actually take the blame for it."

To grasp how the next terror attack could unfold on U.S. soil, Calamel said, "the West needs to put aside the whole Sunni and Shia differences of these groups, thinking that they hate each other and don't coordinate their intentions." While it's widely accepted that groups like Hezbollah and al Qaeda do not coordinate their efforts due to their religious differences, Calamel said this kind of thinking was "clearly disproven" by the 9/11 Commission Report.

In the events leading up to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the report revealed (on p. 240), "… senior managers in al Qaeda maintained contacts with Iran and the Iranian-supported worldwide terrorist organization Hezbollah, which is based mainly in southern Lebanon and Beirut. Al Qaeda members received advice and training from Hezbollah."

In 2011, it was also concluded by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District New York that "the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), and Iran's terrorist proxy Hezbollah, all materially aided and supported al Qaeda before and after 9/11."

"I believe al Qaeda is drawing up plans to attack the West, and these attacks could come to fruition as early as this election cycle," Calamel warned. According to him, the terror group is emboldened because "this American administration and their intelligence agencies think they're defeated when they are not."

"I fear Tehran may be using al Qaeda to facilitate an attack on the United States right under the noses of this administration," he said, adding that "the inability to connect the dots between Al Qaeda and the Islamic Republic of Iran will only harm the United States in the end."

In addition, Calamel said "Al Qaeda may very well pin the attack to ISIS as they've often done in the past." By doing so, he argued, "Iran will undoubtedly build a couple layers of plausible deniability, knowing this administration would struggle to connect the dots while Americans deal with the tragic loss of life and the most chaotic election cycle the country has ever seen."

National security agencies must remain vigilant, he asserted.

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