Abu Musab al-Suri

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Abu Musab al-Suri (1958-) A theoretician and financier, of Syrian ancestry, in al-Qaeda and Syrian Jamaat e Jihal al Suri; identified by Jamal al-Fadl. Other names are Mustafa bin Abd al-Qadir Setmariam Nasar, Mustafa Sethmariam Nasar and Abu Musabal Surre Omar Abdel Hakim; he may also be the person known as Abu Rida al Suri, identified as American or Syrian. [1] Mustafa Setmariam Nasar was his birth name; his operational name means "the Syrian". [2]

His status is unclear. The U.S. mentioned him as assisted by Saad al-Faqih when al-Faqih was declared a terrorist in 204. CNN reported he was captured, in Pakistan, in 2005. In 2006, his poster was removed from the State Department's Rewards for Justice Web site. [2] Some reports put him in CIA "ghost" detainment at Diego Garcia. [3] Raffaelo Pantucci, of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, put him in U.S. custody in October 2008.

He is best known as a theoretician, and author of the Global Islamic Resistance Call,[4] creating a “military theory” for the “global Islamic resistance.” His repeated phrase is “system, not organization”.[5] It has been described as an insurgent formula for "fourth generation warfare."[6]

According to CNN's Peter Bergen, who met him in 1997, "He was thinking about what the post-9/11 strategy would look like for al Qaeda and having cells that would be hard to trace -- and cell leaders; making it flatter, an organization harder to penetrate;" the distributed cell model believed in use fits this model. CNN describes this model as fitting such quasi-independent operations as the Madrid bombings of 2004 or the London bombings of 2005.

Spanish authorities indicted him, considering him the #4 in Al Qaeda, and complain that the U.S. gives them no access. [7] He holds a Spanish passport. Reuters has reported him in Syrian custody in June 2009.[8]


  1. Abu Musab al Suri: Jamaat e Jihal al Suri Leader, Globalsecurity
  2. 2.0 2.1 Henry Schuster (March 9, 2006), "The mastermind", CNN
  3. Raffaello Pantucci (01 Oct 2008), "Operation Praline: The Realization of Al-Suri’s Nizam, la Tanzim?", Perspectives on Terrorism -
  4. Abu Musab al-Suri, Global Islamic Resistance Call
  5. counterterrorismblog.org, The Call for a Global Islamic Resistance
  6. Andrew Black (September 21, 2006), "Al-Suri's Adaptation of Fourth Generation Warfare Doctrine", Terrorism Monitor, The Jamestown Foundation 4 (18)
  7. Robert Mackey (April 16, 2009), "Spanish Judge Seeks Al Qaeda’s No. 4", New York Times
  8. "Abu Musab Al Suri in Syrian Detention - Lawyers", Reuters, 10 June 2009