If you’d never heard of the “Khorasan Group” prior to September 23, 2014 – when the US-led airstrikes on Syria began – you’re not alone. The obscure name had not come up very much at all in terrorism reports or studies, in press reports or much of anywhere else. Most of us who have written about terrorism since shortly after 9-11 had never heard of the group.
Until, that is, President Obama named the Khorasan Group in the letter he sent to Congress justifying bombing Syria. In the same letter, Obama omitted any mention of the Islamic State, ISIS, or ISIL at all.
That curious omission generated some head-scratching. Were we baited and switched into bombing Syria? And just who is this “Khorasan Group” that seems to have materialized out of the Middle East’s desert sands?
Glenn Greenwald has gone through media reports in the days leading up to the bombing of Syria, which began on September 23. The ISIS beheading of American journalist James Foley on September 9 grabbed the world’s attention and forced Obama to step off the golf course and take some action.
There were scant mentions of the Khorasan group at all until an AP story appeared on September 13. That story, in which several US intelligence officials are quoted anonymously, painted the group as more dangerous than ISIS, and planning an “imminent” attack on US soil.