AQAP rejects Islamic State’s ‘caliphate,’ blasts group for sowing dissent among jihadists

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Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), an official branch of al Qaeda, has released a video rejecting the Islamic State’s announced caliphate and chastising the group for sowing discord among jihadists.

The newly-released video stars Harith bin Ghazi al Nadhari, a senior AQAP sharia official, who responds directly to a Nov. 13 speech made by Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the head of the Islamic State. The video is titled, “A Statement about What was Contained in the Speech of Sheikh Abu Bakr al Baghdadi ‘Even If the Disbelievers Despise Such’,” and was first translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.

In addition to rebuking Baghdadi and the Islamic State, Nadhari also renews AQAP’s bayat (oath of allegiance) to al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri, and affirms Zawahiri’s oath to Taliban chieftain Mullah Omar. Nadhari says “it is known” that al Qaeda “has had a pledge of allegiance to Mullah Omar…for nearly twenty years.”

Al Qaeda has previously countered Baghdadi’s claim to rule as “Caliph Ibrahim I” by implying that Omar is the rightful caliph and, unlike Baghdadi, has the broad support of recognized jihadist authorities.

Nadhari begins by saying that AQAP “did not want to talk about the current dispute and the fitna [sedition]” in Syria given that the jihadists are in a “sensitive stage in which the enemies of Islam” have “gathered together to fight” the entire Islamic ummah [worldwide community of Muslims].

“This war was and still is a Crusader war against all the honest mujahideen,” Nadhari says, according to SITE’s translation. “We took the position incumbent upon us to support our brothers with what we can, and we still hold to that position, as we believe in the necessity to support our mujahideen brothers, including all of their groups and entities, regardless of their inclinations.”

However, according to Nadhari, the Islamic State has made it impossible to remain silent.

Read more at Long War Journal

Discussions of Broad ISIS- al-Qaeda Merger Overblown

Baghdadizawahiri (1)CSP, By Matt Bauer:

Al- Qaida disavowed ISIS (formerly known as al-Qaida in Iraq or AQI) officially back in February 2014 after months of infighting due to ideological disagreements and a dwindling influence over ISIS leadership. Since the split between the organizations, the regional influence, recruitment, and military capabilities of ISIS have increased exponentially in a very small time frame. ISIS became a household name overnight and began to challenge al-Qaida’s long standing supremacy over the global jihadi movement, attracting a new and more radical youth generation to its ranks.

Sporadic clashes between ISIS and the Syrian al-Qaida group Jabhat al-Nusra have been occurring within Syria since the split but there’s some indication that this has changed. Recently, US intelligence and military officials have been closely monitoring the interactions between ISIS and al-Qaida groups within Syria and have noticed a change in posture. There is increasing concern that the formerly feuding groups are beginning to cooperate with one another as a result of the U.S. bombing campaign that began in September. For example, Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Qaida) fighters were just supported by ISIS militants in an effort that has effectively destroyed the U.S. backed SRF (Syrian Revolutionary Front).

So far the truces have been occurring sporadically in Syria and initiated only by local group leaders from both sides. The decreasing violence between ISIS and al-Qaida has been facilitated by calls to reconcile their differences and join forces to attack the West in response to the coalition airstrikes. Although this trend is concerning, there has been no indication that larger plans for any broad cooperation has been or is being discussed by the leadership of either organization.

The reluctance of ISIS and al-Qaida leadership to reconcile is important to note before jumping to any nightmare conclusions of the two groups merging back together. One of the reasons why an officially sanctioned merger between ISIS and al-Qaida is unlikely at this point is because the leaders of these organizations, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (ISIS) and Ayman al-Zawahiri (al-Qaida) remain completely at odds with one another.

These two leaders are unlikely to ever agree to a merger because they would not be able to share a leadership role. One group would have to be absorbed into another yet both ISIS and al-Qaida have established a recognizable brand name and would not be willing to give that up. The major reason why an official merger is unlikely is due to the fact that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has declared himself caliph, leader of the newly established IslamicCaliphate. In his mind and in the minds of his followers, this makes him the leader of all Muslims around the world and requires them to pledge their allegiance to him, including Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Zawahiri nor other high-ranking al-Qaida leaders accept this declaration and would never subordinate themselves under Baghdadi who essentially used to be one of  Zawahiri’s employees. Zawahiri is a highly respected figure within global jihad and before the rise of ISIS and Baghdadi, he was the de facto leader of the movement. Approaching  Baghdadi for reconciliation would greatly damage his reputation and add to Baghdadi’s legitimacy. Baghdadi approaching Zawahiri for cooperation would make him seem weak and make his followers question his supremacy as the leader of the Muslim world.

Baghdadi also openly defied Zawahiri during the months of infighting that inevitably lead to ISIS being disavowed by al-Qaida. Baghdadi’s actions demonstrated tremendous disrespect to Zawahiri and al-Qaida leadership and will not likely be forgotten any time soon. The only circumstance in which it becomes possible for the two groups to join forces against the West would be if one of these leaders is killed. The death of Zawahiri anytime soon is a longshot since he is well hidden in the tribal regions of Pakistan. However, due to Baghdadi’s location and current popularity with the U.S. and coalition militaries, it is much more likely that he will be killed first.

The death of Baghdadi would give al-Qaida a chance reconcile and possibly re-establish control over ISIS as one of their regional players. Yet even in the event of Baghdadi’s death, it is still unlikely that the remaining ISIS leadership would agree to a merger. They have already established a brand name on their own and no longer need the al-Qaida stamp. ISIS already has its own established networks and funding, essentially limiting the benefits of re-joining al-Qaida.

No matter how the situation develops, I cannot see these groups sharing control in a merger. One group will have to be under the other and neither group would be willing to make that compromise. As long as Baghdadi still breathes, the cooperation between ISIS and al-Qaida will remain localized within certain areas of Syria only as a temporary agreement of convenience.

Also see:

Abu Bakr al Baghdadi: From Terrorist Commander to Religious Icon

abu-bakr-al-baghdadiBlind Eagle, By Brian Fairchild:

Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s power to motivate and attract tens of thousands of radicalized Muslims is largely based on the fact that he has transcended the role of a terrorist commander and has become an Islamic religious and political icon – the new “Caliph” of the re-established “Caliphate”. 

He doesn’t claim to be a prophet, but he claims nothing less than to be the rightful political and religious heir to the Prophet Muhammad, and he often draws parallels between himself and Muhammad and other prophets, to support these claims and to legitimize his strict religious ideology.

On July 5, 2014, al-Baghdadi made his video debut at the Great Mosque of al-Nouri in Mosul, Iraq wearing Islamic garb and sporting a long beard, and he made a speech that was carefully crafted to draw parallels between himself and Muhammad.  The speech occurred during the Muslim month of Ramadan, and so he began his comments by stating that “Ramadan is a month to wage jihad”, noting that the Prophet Muhammad fought many battles against the “polytheists” during this month.

The implications of this reference sent a particularly potent message to radical Muslims because they know that Muhammad led Islam’s two most important battles during Ramadan – the very first battle, called the Battle of Badr, and the Battle of Mecca.  According to Islamic history, Muhammad faced overwhelming odds in his battle with the powerful Quraysh tribe at the desert oasis of Badr, but was victorious because of Allah’s divine intervention.  At the subsequent Battle of Mecca, he defeated the Quraysh with an Army of 10,000.  The city fell with almost no resistance.  The victory at Mecca consolidated Muhammad’s power and caused the surrounding tribes to join him.  The few remaining opposing tribes were quickly subdued.

The parallels to al-Baghdadi are unmistakable.  As he spoke at the Great Mosque of al-Nouri his total force was estimated to be around 10,000, the same number Muhammad fielded in the Battle of Mecca.  Like Muhammad, he emerged out of the desert and, against all odds, defeated a much larger and better equipped enemy, causing many to flee without firing a shot.  He consolidated his power by creating the “caliphate”, and the surrounding tribes joined him.  Finally, he proclaimed that these victories were only possible because he and his troops “have been bestowed upon by Allah to achieve victory” – divine intervention. 

The comparisons continue.  In the Islamic State’s September 21, 2014 statement, al Baghdadi calls Muslims to emulate the Prophet Muhammad’s historic hijrah (emigration) from Mecca to Medina by emigrating from their homes to defend the new Islamic State.  He proclaims that the coming fight with America is a decisive moment in Islamic history (just as Muhammad’s fight was) – a moment in which the fate of all Muslims hang in the balance, and he exhorts Muslims to rise to their brothers’ defense because:

  • “They are facing a battle which is of the decisive, critical battles in the history of Islam. If the Muslims are defeated, they will be humiliated in such a manner that no humiliation compares to. And if the Muslims are victorious – and this will be the case by Allah’s permission – they will be honored with all honor by which the Muslims will return to being the masters of the world and kings of the earth…”[1]

These comparisons resonate deeply in Salafi-jihadis who believe that there is no higher religious calling than to emulate the Prophet Muhammad’s methodology to establish Allah’s religion on earth, and this is precisely what al Baghdadi calls them to do.  He emphasizes their piousness by stating that he sees “the Quran walking alive amongst” them, and then unambiguously tells them that they are directly following in Muhammad’s footsteps:

  • “O soldiers of the Islamic State and its sons everywhere, listen and comprehend. If the people belie you, reject your state and your call, and mock your caliphate, then know that your Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) was belied. His call was rejected. He was mocked. If your people fight you, accuse you with the worst of accusations, and describe you with the worst of all traits, then know that the people of the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) fought him, expelled him, and accused him with matters worse than those you have been accused with.  If the parties have gathered against you, then know they gathered against your Prophet before (blessings and peace be upon him).”[2]

Muslim traditions tell how the pious Muhammad was able to overcome vastly superior military forces because of Allah’s divine intervention on his behalf, and thus, in the September 21, 2014 statement, al Baghdadi tells his followers that, because of their piousness and strict religious observance, Allah is on their side and that victory against America is assured because Allah wills it:

  • “Allah has given you might and honor after your humiliation. He has made you rich after your poverty. And He has aided you despite your weakness and small numbers. He showed you that victory is from Him, the Glorified.He grants it to whomever He wills and whenever He wills…Therefore Allah will give you victory. Indeed, Allah will give you victory. By Allah, Allah will give you victory…So know that – by Allah – we fear not the swarms of planes, nor ballistic missiles, nor drones, nor satellites, nor battleships, nor weapons of mass destruction. How could we fear them, while Allah the Exalted has said: ‘If Allah should aid you, no one can overcome you; but if He should forsake you, who is there that can aid you after Him? And upon Allah let the believers rely” – Qur’an Chapter 3: Verse 160.

In addition to drawing parallels between himself and the Prophet Muhammad, al Baghdadi also uses the Prophet Noah to legitimize his particularly severe religious rule.  In the second issue of his official publication Dabiq magazine titled The Flood , al Baghdadi uses the story of Noah and the Ark to legitimize his demand that Muslims live according to a strict literal interpretation of Sharia law.  In the article, the Prophet Noah is described as an uncompromising prophet who gave his people a single, but profound, choice:

  • “He didn’t say to them, for example: “I have come to you with the truth, and your leaders are calling you to falsehood, so you are free to choose whether to follow me or to follow your leaders.” In fact, he didn’t even say anything to the effect of: “If you follow me then you would be correct, and if you follow your leaders then you would be mistaken.” Nor did he say anything to the effect of: “If you follow me you will be saved, and if you oppose me and follow your leaders then your reckoning is with Allah, and I have done what is required of me and you are free to choose.” Rather, he told them with full clarity:  “It’s either me or the flood.”[3]  The parallel between Noah and al Baghdadi couldn’t be more obvious, especially given the fact that the Dabiq article was titled:  It’s Either the Islamic State or the Flood.

It is al Baghdadi’s uncompromising religious belief that is the very crux of the jihadi civil war between al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri’s Jahbat al Nusra (also called the Nusra Front), and al Baghdadi’s Islamic State.

Al Baghdadi is much more religiously zealous and demanding than Zawahiri.  Zawahiri is flexible and pragmatic in matters of ideology, preferring to slowly and carefully educate the Muslim community to accept Sharia law, and he is willing to form pragmatic alliances with non-jihadi organizations to further al Qaeda’s interests.

Al Baghdadi, on the other hand, has no such tolerance for coddling the Muslim masses or working with infidels, believing rather that it is his mission to confront Muslims, including Zawahiri and the Nusra Front, on matters of religion:

  • “it’s upon us…to eradicate the principle of “free choice,” and to not deceive the people in an attempt to seek their pleasure…Rather, we must confront them with the fact that they’ve turned away from the religion…and that we’re completely ready to stand in the face of anyone who attempts to divert us from our commitmentto making the religion of Allah triumphant over all other religions, and that we will continue to fight the people of deviation and misguidance until we die trying to make the religion triumphant.”[4]

That al Baghdadi and his followers have drawn this religious line in the sand against al Qaeda is documented by the following developments:

In late April 2014, a group of nine al Qaeda emirs from Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Iran defected from al Qaeda to the Islamic State.  They justified their defection by indirectly accusing Zawahiri and the al-Nusra Front of infidelity and apostasy:

  • “the forces of infidelity and apostasy quickly sowed the seeds of hypocrisy, using new groups under Islamic sounding names to be a rival and an obstacle to the Islamic state…the group did not have any courage to enforce judgments over those who disobey sharia, under the pretext of avoiding a clash with the people or due to their inability and incapacity…”

A few days later, al Baghdadi’s spokesman, Sheikh Muhammad al-Adnani, echoed these sentiments stating:

  • “Al Qaeda, including Jabhat al-Nusra and Khorasan, deviated from the rightful course…It is not a dispute about who to kill or who to give your allegiance. It is a question of religious practices being distorted and an approach veering off the right path.”

In The Flood, al Baghdadi specifically criticized the Nusra Front and Zawahiri for regularly breaking Sharia law in matters of religion and by forging alliances with organizations the Islamic State considers to be infidel, such as the Syrian National Coalition and the Islamic Front, and for justifying this religious laxity as a pragmatic and temporary necessity for “the sake of Jihad”.[5]

Also in The Flood, al Baghdadi quotes Salafi scholar Ibnul Qayyim who said:  “The pillars of kufr (religious infidelity) are four:  arrogance, envy, anger, and desire”, and then al Baghdadi goes on to accuse al Qaeda of all four:

  • “Whoever wants to know how a mujāhid (jihad) group fī sabīlillah (for Allah) becomes a militant group fighting fī sabīlit-tāghūt (for corrupt regimes) then let him review history, and let him know that a man’s love for leadership,wealth, and personal opinion becomes pride. Pride becomes envy. Envy becomes arrogance. Arrogance becomes hatred. Hatred becomes enmity. Enmity becomes contradiction of the rival.[6]

So confident is he in his religious superiority that in March 2014, al Baghdadi challenged the Nusra Front, to Mubahala – an Islamic ritual that implores Allah to choose between two rival factions by showing his favor for one while cursing the other.  In Muslim tradition, the repeated military success of one of the parties can only occur if Allah wills it, and al Baghdadi believes that his series of successes proves that Allah has chosen the Islamic State over the Nusra Front as the winner.

Analysts frequently try to explain why so many radicalized Muslims flock to Iraq and Syria.  The reasons they stipulate often include that these misguided Muslims are simply alienated youth, thrill seekers, or are attracted by “jihad cool”.  In actual fact, Salafi-jihadi fighters are religious zealots, and they are attracted to al Baghdadi as their religious and political leader precisely because he is seen by them to be the active defender of what they consider to be “true” Islam.  Tens of thousands have already performed hijrah to embrace his religious and political leadership, and this number can be expected to grow exponentially as al Baghdadi continues to “defend” Islam.

Brian Fairchild bio.

Indications Al Qaeda is Planning an Attack Against the US

Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri

Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri

Blind Eagle, Brian Fairchild:

On September 4, 2014, al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri announced the creation of a new al Qaeda organization called – Qaedat al Jihad in the Indian Subcontinent (QJIS).  The mission of the new affiliate is to consolidate the jihad movement in Kashmir, Bangladesh, Myanmar (formerly Burma), and India, an area that has heretofore been an operational backwater for al Qaeda.  This new al Qaeda organization is headed by Asim Umar, a former Pakistani Taliban commander, which may be the key to understanding this new development, and an indicator that Zawahiri is planning to attack the United States, and has the capability to do so.

The announcement comes at a time when Zawahiri’s ideological and operational leadership over the international jihad movement is being fundamentally challenged in an actual jihadi civil war between his Syrian affiliate, the Nusra Front, and Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).  Clashes between the Nusra Front and ISIS began in early 2013, but increased when al Baghdadi publicly claimed that the Nusra Front was part of ISIS and would be merged with it.  Al Nusra’s commander Abu Muhammad al Jawlani, however, refused to merge, and the dispute became increasingly violent.  Jawlani subsequently appealed to Zawahiri to arbitrate the conflict.  Zawahiri sided with al Nusra, and ordered al Baghdadi to dissolve ISIS and return to Iraq.

Al Baghdadi, however, dismissed Zawahiri’s ruling, routed al Nusra from the Syrian city of ar-Raqqa and took control of 80 percent of its foreign fighters.  ISIS then swept through Syria and Iraq taking control of the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi in the first few days of January 2014.  In February 2014, as a direct result of his insubordination and the brutality of his campaign, Zawahiri officially and publicly disowned ISIS.  In response, al Baghdadi disdainfully stated “I have to choose between the rule of God and the rule of Zawahiri, and I choose the rule of God”, and he continued his conquest.  He took Mosul in early June, and then, on June 29, 2014, he announced the creation of the Islamic “caliphate” naming himself as the new leader of all Muslims and calling for all jihad groups to obey him and gather under his banner, and he changed the name of his organization from ISIS to the Islamic State.

Al Baghdadi’s creation of the “caliphate” is central to understanding the degree to which he has undermined Zawahiri’s prestige and authority because it brings to fruition the goal that Zawahiri himself explicitly defined as vital for the success of the jihad movement, as illustrated in the following quote from his book Knights under the Prophet’s Banner, published in 2001:

  • “Armies achieve victory only when the infantry takes hold of land…the mujahid Islamic movement will not triumph against the world coalition unless it possesses an Islamist base in the heart of the Islamic world.  All the means and plans that we have reviewed for mobilizing the nation will remain up in the air without a tangible gain or benefit unless they lead to the establishment of the state of caliphate in the heart of the Islamic world.”[1]

That the prized “caliphate” was established by the very man he disowned is a tremendous loss of face to Zawahiri, and illustrates that this internecine war is not just a spat between jihad groups.  It is, fundamentally, a battle for the ideological leadership and operational direction of the entire international jihad movement.  In addition to the vital requirement to create a “caliphate”, Zawahiri believes that maintaining Muslim public support is paramount to the survival of the jihad movement, and thus, he rejects any actions that he believes would lose this support, such as rigidly forcing Sharia law on Muslims, conducting sectarian war against the Shia, and the public slaughter of prisoners.  Al Baghdadi, on the other hand, doesn’t care about Muslim public opinion, believes Muslims have no choice but to live under strict Sharia law, he actively foments sectarian war between the Sunni and Shia, and he frequently uses the slaughter of prisoners as a tactical and strategic weapon.

At present, al Baghdadi’s Islamic State, flush with money, manned by a flood of foreign fighters, bolstered by a string of military successes, and having realized the dream that Zawahiri has always called for – the establishment of the “caliphate”, is winning the civil war.

But Zawahiri’s problems do not stop there.  Not only is the Nusra Front losing, but there is also growing factionalism within the group that limits Zawahiri’s influence over it – one faction wants to rapidly increase the number of foreign fighters into the ranks without preconditions (i.e. accepting Zawahiri’s beliefs), while the other wants to limit such an expansion in order to ensure that all within the Nusra Front comply with Zawahiri’s policies; it also plans to establish an Islamic emirate in Syria to compete with al Baghdadi.

It gets worse for Zawahiri.  Nothing succeeds like success, and al Baghdadi’s string of successes has caused dissention and desertions in the ranks of Zawahiri’s heretofore loyal and key affiliates – al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).  After the August 2014 American airstrikes against the Islamic State, AQAP pledged solidarity with it and vowed to conduct mass casualty attacks against the US in retaliation.  Since July 2014, the loyalty of AQIM’s leadership is reportedly split between Zawahiri and al Baghdadi.

Every success by the Islamic State, every pledge of allegiance by a jihad group to al Baghdadi, and every defection of a fighter from an al Qaeda affiliate to the IS, pushes Zawahiri further and further into irrelevancy within the jihad movement and on the world stage.  With all these challenges against him, it is surprising that the best response he could muster is the anemic announcement of a new affiliate that will work the backwaters of the jihad.  The timing of the announcement, too, is interesting.  Why now?  In the context of all his tribulations, neither the announcement nor its timing make much sense, unless there is another reason for the announcement, and another role for the new affiliate to play.

Certainly, as he contemplates ways to regain his leadership, it is not lost on Zawahiri that another successful attack on the American homeland, especially if that attack coincided with the anniversary of the historical 9/11 attacks perpetrated by him and Osama bin Laden, would restore his reputation and leadership.  For such a gambit to work, however, he would have to be able to claim credit for the attacks, and thus they would have to be conducted according to his direction and by an al Qaeda organization that he controls, which may be precisely why he announced the creation of QJIS at this particular moment.

The other al Qaeda organizations don’t meet this standard:

  • The leadership and operational capability of “core” al Qaeda has been significantly degraded over the years by incessant US drone attacks.
  • AQAP’s recent declaration of solidarity for Zawahiri’s Islamic State nemesis, and its independent threat to launch mass casualty attacks against the US, demonstrates his lack of control over this jihad group.
  • The major split in AQIM’s leadership over whether to support him or the Islamic State, removes AQIM as an operational platform for a Zawahiri attack scenario.
  • Al Nusra is factionalized and is out-gunned and out-manned by ISIS, and is fighting on three fronts: against the Assad regime, the Islamic State, and other opposition groups.

The only group Zawahiri has unquestioned control over at the present time is the one he just created – Qaedat al Jihad in the Indian Subcontinent (QJIS).  But, does this new affiliate have the capability to conduct such an attack?  The intelligence indicates that it is likely that QJIS has the capability because it was created from numerous jihad groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan, but, most significantly, from elements of the Tehrik-e Taliban (also known as TTP or Pakistani Taliban), a professional and experienced jihad group that Zawahiri is close to and has worked with for years.  Significantly, the man he installed as the new leader of QJIS is a former Pakistani Taliban commander named Asim Umar, who Zawahiri has groomed for the position over the past couple of years.  In 2013, Umar went on the record supporting Zawahiri’s desire to attack the US by proclaiming to his Muslim audience:

“Rise! Awaken! Participate in this global jihad to give a final push to the collapsing edifice of America.”

The Pakistani Taliban is experienced and operationally competent, and has an especially close relationship with Zawahiri and “core” al Qaeda.  On September 1, 2010, the State Department described the close relationship when it declared the Pakistani Taliban and two of its senior leaders as Specially Designated Global Terrorists:

  • TTP and al-Qa’ida have a symbiotic relationship; TTP draws ideological guidance from al-Qa’ida, while al-Qa’ida relies on TTP for safe haven in the Pashtun areas along the Afghan-Pakistani border. This mutual cooperation gives TTP access to both al-Qa’ida’s global terrorist network and the operational experience of its members. Given the proximity of the two groups and the nature of their relationship, TTP is a force multiplier for al-Qa’ida.

Most significantly, the Pakistani Taliban, in cooperation with Zawahiri, has already conducted operations against the US.  It controlled and trained the double-agent that conducted the 2009 suicide bombing of the CIA base in Khost, Afghanistan, and it trained and directed Faisal Shahzad to conduct the Times Square bombing on May 1, 2010.

Zawahiri certainly has the intent to attack the United States as documented in the Summer 2014 issue of his official jihad magazine, Azan, which stated:

  • The reestablishment of the Khilafah (Caliphate) in the Muslim world is only achievable once America has been degraded to the point when it can no longer meddle in the affairs of Muslims.[2]…Due to the attacks by the Mujahideen…and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the US is now on a slippery slope to collapse…The strategy of attacking US interests has worked and needs to continue for the foreseeable future until its strength has been reduced to a state in which it will be unable to support the Tawagheet (corrupt Muslim regimes) that rule the Muslim lands.[3] 

Absent specific actionable intelligence, it is impossible to state with certainty when any terrorist attack will occur.  The above analysis, however, documents Zawahiri’s increasingly poor strategic situation and his humiliation by Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, and reveals that an attack on the United States, on or near the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, would likely counter al Baghdadi’s challenge to Zawahiri and reverse the degradation of his leadership and relevancy.  It also reveals that it is likely Zawahiri has the capability to conduct and take credit for such an attack via the creation of QJIS and its absorption of Pakistani Taliban elements.  Another factor not included in the above analysis that likely motivates Zawahiri to attack, is the likelihood that al Baghdadi is planning such attacks (see the detailed report on this topic).  If al Baghdadi successfully conducts attacks in the United States while Zawahiri sits on the sidelines, Zawahiri’s demise as the leader of the international jihad movement will be assured.

[1] Zawahiri, Ayman, Knights under the Prophet’s Banner, London al Sharq al Awsat, 2001, p. 63

[2] Azan Magazine, The Rise and Fall of America, Summer 2014, p. 13

[3] Azan Magazine, p. 15

Brian Fairchild bio.

Al Qaeda Announces New Branch and Bid for Own Caliphate

Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri

Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri

BY RYAN MAURO:

Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri has announced the opening of a new branch targeting India, Bangladesh and Burma in a videotape release. He did not mention the Islamic State (formerly ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), but his announcement could be interpreted as an attempt to demonstrate Al Qaeda’s viability as it is being eclipsed by the Islamic State.

Zawahiri, who is thought to be hiding in Pakistan, said that it took Al Qaeda two years to merge its associated forces into this new branch. Tellingly, he said that the new branch, named Qaedat al-Jihad in the Indian Subcontinent (QJIS), would be loyal to Taliban chief Mullah Omar.

QJIS is led by a Pakistani commander of Al Qaeda named Asim Umar. His official position in Al Qaeda is chief of the group’s Sharia Committee in Pakistan. He is also a Pakistani Taliban commander.

Zawahiri named Ustad Usama Mahmoud as the spokesperson for QJIS.

He emphasized that the group’s goal is to “Establish sharia in the land and to free the occupied land of Muslims in the Indian sub-continent.”

The jihad is not fundamentally about territorial disputes. Indian control of Kashmir, the crackdown on Islamists by the Bangladeshi government and the dictatorship of Burma are road blocks standing in the way of this greater objective of sharia governance. Al Qaeda takes up these political causes as a means to this end.

Zawahiri called on Muslims to help QJIS create a caliphate. He describes its mission statement as “to call the ummah [Muslim world] to unite round the word of Tawhid [monotheism], to wage jihad against its enemies, to liberate its land, to restore its sovereignty, and to revive its Caliphate.”

This is an important detail. The Islamic State’s pitch is that it is an established caliphate and the one with the best chance of a success. Zawahiri is showing that Al Qaeda is also pro-caliphate and is suggesting the Indian subcontinent as an alternative starting point.

Read more at Clarion Project

Also see:

Al Qaeda opens branch in the ‘Indian Subcontinent’

 

In the video, Umar called on Indian Muslims to participate in the “global jihad to give a final push to the collapsing edifice of America.”

By Bill Roggio:

Al Qaeda has announced the establishment of a new branch, called “Qaedat al-Jihad in the Indian Subcontinent.” The group reports to Mullah Omar, the head of the Afghan Taliban, and is led by a former commander in the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan who also served as a sharia official in al Qaeda’s branch in Pakistan. The ultimate goal of al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent is the same as al Qaeda’s: to establish a global caliphate and impose sharia, or Islamic law.

As Sahab, al Qaeda’s official media outlet, released a lengthy video promoting the creation of al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent today. The video, which was published on various Internet video sites, including YouTube, features Ayman al Zawahiri as well as Asim Umar, the new emir of al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, and Usama Mahmoud, the group’s spokesman. The video was translated by the SITE Intelligence group.

“A new branch of al-Qaeda was established and is Qaedat al-Jihad in the Indian Subcontinent, seeking to raise the flag of jihad, return the Islamic rule, and empowering the Shariah of Allah across the Indian subcontinent,” Zawahiri says in the opening of the video, according to the translation by SITE.

Zawahiri says the group was years in the making, contains “soldiers of the Islamic Emirate” (a reference to the Afghan Taliban), and ultimately reports to Mullah Omar.

“This entity was not established today, but it is the fruit of a blessed effort for more than two years to gather the mujahideen in the Indian subcontinent into a single entity to be with the main group, Qaedat al-Jihad, from the soldiers of the Islamic Emirate and its triumphant emir, Allah permitting, Emir of the Believers Mullah Muhammad Omar Mujahid,” Zawahiri says. Zawahiri renewed his oath of allegiance to Mullah Omar in a statement that was released in July of this year. [See LWJ report, Al Qaeda renews its oath of allegiance to Taliban leader Mullah Omar.]

“It is an entity that was formed to promulgate the call of the reviving imam Sheikh Usama bin Laden, may Allah have mercy on him, to call the Ummah to unite round the word of Tawhid [monotheism], to wage jihad against its enemies, to liberate its land, to restore its sovereignty, and to revive its Caliphate,” Zawahiri continues in the video.

Zawahiri says the group will defend the “vulnerable in the Indian subcontinent, in Burma, Bangladesh, Assam, Gujurat, Ahmedabad, and Kashmir …” and “your brothers in Qaedat al-Jihad did not forget you and that they are doing what they can to rescue you from injustice, oppression, persecution, and suffering.”

Read more at Long War Journal

Also see:

Analysis: Al Qaeda attempts to undermine new Islamic State with old video of Osama bin Laden

By 

On July 13, Al Qaeda’s As Sahab posted this video of Osama bin Laden from the summer of 2001 on its Twitter feed.

 

On July 13, al Qaeda’s propaganda arm, As Sahab, tweeted a link to an old video of Osama bin Laden. Judging by markers in the video, including bin Laden’s reference to the USS Cole bombing taking place “nine months ago” (al Qaeda attacked the Cole on Oct. 12, 2000), it appears the video was recorded in the middle of 2001.

The first part of bin Laden’s lecture focuses on standard al Qaeda themes, including the war against America. In all likelihood, that is not why al Qaeda posted this particular video of bin Laden now. Instead, al Qaeda is attempting to use the video to counter the Islamic State, which has been disowned by al Qaeda’s senior leadership, and its newly announced caliphate.

“Today, with the grace of Allah, we are redrawing the map of the Islamic world to become one state under the banner of the caliphate,” bin Laden says.

The deceased al Qaeda leader goes on to explain that the Prophet Mohammed found that certain “pillars” were required to build a “strong Islamic State.”

As Sahab is advertising the video of bin Laden with this banner. A similar banner is being featured on a number of jihadist sites, including at the top of the Shumukh al Islam forum.

As Sahab is advertising the video of bin Laden with this banner. A similar banner is being featured on a number of jihadist sites, including at the top of the Shumukh al Islam forum.

“The Prophet spent 13 years in Mecca searching for these pillars: a strong group, obedience and respect, immigration, and jihad,” bin Laden says, according to a translation obtained by The Long War Journal. Mohammed “was on a quest to find these four things,” bin Laden continues. “He wanted to find a strong group that is willing to carry our jihad — those two demands are complementary — and be obedient and respectful. He found these four pillars after 13 years.”

A few sentences later, bin Laden adds: “Those who move from east to west, claiming that they want to establish God’s sharia but do not want to establish the prerequisites and pillars and do not want to tolerate the suffering of finding a group, obeying their leaders, migrating, and carrying out jihad are ignorant and unaware of the Prophet’s doctrine.”

The implied critique of the Islamic State and its announced caliphate, which covers parts of Syria and Iraq, is obvious. When viewed through bin Laden’s testimony, the Islamic State has not built the “pillars” necessary for a caliphate, especially when it comes to “obeying their leaders.”

Indeed, bin Laden’s successor, Ayman al Zawahiri, has covered this issue in his messages addressing the Islamic State’s history. As Sahab released two messages from Zawahiri concerning the Islamic State in May. “Listen to and obey your emir once again,” Zawahiri says when addressing Baghdadi in the first message. “Come back to what your sheikhs, emirs, and those who preceded you on the path and immigration of jihad have worked hard for.” In both of his messages in May, Zawahiri builds a case against Baghdadi, showing that the Islamic State’s self-appointed “caliph” was once Zawahiri’s subordinate. Therefore, by accusing Baghdadi of being disobedient towards his leader, Zawahiri was also accusing him of ignoring one of the “pillars” necessary for building a true Islamic State.

Al Qaeda’s charge against Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s group could extend further, given that one of the pillars mentioned by bin Laden requires a jihadist group to be “obedient and respectful.” Other jihadist groups and ideologues whose beliefs are not all that different from the Islamic State’s have repeatedly accused Baghdadi’s group of being disrespectful towards anyone who disagrees with its attempted power grab. The disagreements have even led to vicious infighting between jihadists in Syria.

Bin Laden goes on to recount, in brief, the history of al Qaeda’s relations with the Taliban. The Taliban “allowed us to establish training camps on their land, regardless of all the international pressure against them,” bin Laden says. “They are also helping us in our preparations and training although they know that we are preparing to strike the United States of America.” This statement is interesting because there has long been a debate over how the Taliban viewed such attacks. And this is further evidence that bin Laden was loose-lipped prior to the 9/11 attacks, upsetting some of his co-conspirators who wanted to maintain the utmost secrecy.

An audience member asks bin Laden about his bayat (oath of allegiance) to Mullah Omar, the Taliban’s emir. And bin Laden’s response likely has bearing on Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s claim to be the rightful caliph.

“My pledge of allegiance to the Emir of the Believers [Mullah Omar] is the great pledge of allegiance, which is mentioned in the chapters of the Koran and the stories of the Sunnah,” bin Laden says. “Every Muslim should set his mind and heart and pledge allegiance to the Emir of the Believers Mullah Muhammad Omar for this is the great pledge.”

The Islamic State’s announced caliphate attempts to usurp the power and authority of all other jihadist groups, including the Taliban, by demanding that they swear bayat to the new caliph. This has drawn criticism from highly influential jihadist ideologues such as Abu Muhammad al Maqdisi, as well as al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

Bin Laden argues that Mullah Omar was deserving of such a pledge, and the implication of his testimony is that Abu Bakr al Baghdadi is not.

Bin Laden cites Muhammad Bin Abd al Wahhab, the 18th century Islamic leader, as saying: ”When a man is in charge of a country and the scholars in this country accept his ruling, then his ruling as an emir of the believers is legitimate.” Bin Laden says that Mullah Omar has satisfied this requirement, claiming that “more than 1,500 scholars [have] pledged” their allegiance to Omar. Therefore, bin Laden argues, “it is the duty of everyone to pledge allegiance to him.”

Read more at Long War Journal

A Failure of Policy

 

BEN RHODES, NEWSCOM

BEN RHODES, NEWSCOM

BY THOMAS JOSCELYN:

Forty-one recently declassified State Department documents obtained by Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, have reignited the controversy over the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack in Ben-ghazi, Libya. One document in particular, an email authored by Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser and speechwriter for the president, has garnered the most attention.

Shortly after 8 p.m. on Friday, September 14, 2012, Rhodes emailed other administration officials as they prepared for U.N. ambassador Susan Rice’s upcoming appearance on the Sunday morning talk shows. Rhodes’s email set forth four goals, the second of which was “To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.” The video in question was an Internet trailer for Innocence of Muslims. The email from Rhodes also repeated an erroneous talking point: “The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Ben-ghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the US Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the US Consulate and subsequently its annex.”

As officials soon learned, however, there never were any “demonstrations” in Ben-ghazi—only a deadly attack launched by al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists. For this reason, some have viewed the protests elsewhere and the attack in Benghazi as being distinct. That is a mistake.

As the newly established House select committee investigating Ben-ghazi moves forward with its work, it should look carefully at the events that transpired in Cairo, Tunis, Yemen, and elsewhere. In each case, known al Qaeda actors or their allies helped spark the protests. And in each instance they used the anti-Islam video as a pretext for inciting anti-American, pro-al Qaeda rage.

Dissent in the Ranks

ISIL fighters / AP

ISIL fighters / AP

By Bill Gertz:

Al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri issued a public appeal recently urging an ultra-violent splinter faction of the terrorist group to return to Iraq and cease fighting rebels of the al Nusra Front, the official al Qaeda franchise in Syria.

In an audio statement posted to a jihadist online forum May 2, Zawahiri called for ending the “bloodshed among mujahedeen” in Syria, where rebels have been battling each other over who controls the opposition forces battling Syrian forces of the Bashar al Assad government.

The split between the Islamic State of Syria and the Levant (ISIL) and al Qaeda central is viewed by analysts as a result of the central leadership seeking to develop a broader appeal in seeking recruits.

The ISIL, on the other hand, has taken an ultra-fanatical approach to jihad. The group has filmed gruesome executions and beheadings of its opponents in Syria. In some cases, ISIL rebels were shown eating the organs of recently killed Syrian soldiers.

The infighting between the ISIL and the al Nusra Front for the past year appears to have achieved something that more than a decade of U.S. and allied military counterterrorism operations has been unable to do: splitting the al Qaeda terrorist group and weakening its ideological and militant appeal.

In Syria, fierce battles among the al Qaeda rebels have resulted in killings of scores of jihadists and the assassination of several of its leaders.

The Obama administration, by refusing to conduct military operations against al Qaeda in Syria, has made the embattled Middle Eastern state an al Qaeda safe haven, according to observers.

In the statement, Zawahiri called on ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, to stop fighting in Syria and return to Iraq and described Baghdadi as “al Qaeda’s rebellious solider” who has caused bloodshed among the jihadist rebels in Syria.

Zawahiri, in the 24-minute message, also called on the official affiliate, al Nusra Front, to halt fighting against the ISIL rebels.

Referring to the ISIL rebels as engaging in “sedition,” Zawahiri explained that al Qaeda initially sanctioned the ISIL temporarily but sought to keep al Qaeda’s presence in Syria a secret. That was violated when the group went public with its formation in 2013.

Zawahiri, the successor to Osama bin Laden, said the ISIL was set up in 2013 without permission of the central al Qaeda leadership.

Read more at Free Beacon

Islamic State In Iraq And Syria (ISIS) Forces Poll Tax (Jizya) On Christians Of Al-Raqqa/Syria

Fighters from the Al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq & al-Sham (ISIS) march in Raqqa, Syria. AP Photo/militant website, FileFighters from the Al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq & al-Sham (ISIS) march in Raqqa, Syria.

Fighters from the Al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq & al-Sham (ISIS) march in Raqqa, Syria. AP Photo/militant website, FileFighters from the Al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq & al-Sham (ISIS) march in Raqqa, Syria.

MEMRI:

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which controls the city of Al-Raqqa, announced that it had signed a “Security” pact with the Christian residents of Al-Raqqa in return for their embracing the laws of dhimma – protection. In a statement dated February 23, 2014, that ISIS published in the city, the organization said that it posed three alternatives to Christians who had fled Al-Raqqa, but now sought to return:

  1. Convert to Islam
  2. Accept the conditions of dhimma
  3. Reject these offers and face war

The statement claimed the agreement to sign the pact was reached at a meeting between representatives of ISIS and the Christian community.

The pact’s wording and clauses follow dhimma pacts made by medieval Islamic states, with a few modifications that take consideration of modern developments, such as the ban on using megaphones to broadcast prayers. The text opens with a polemic against Christianity, quoting Quranic verses claiming Islam’s superiority over Christianity and the veracity of Islamic theological positions.

It then states: “This is the protection that Abdallah Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the commander of the faithful, granted the Christians of Al-Raqqa. He granted security to their lives, their property, their churches and their progeny in Al-Raqqa. Their churches and their surroundings will not be destroyed or harmed, nor will their property. They will not be coerced with regard to their religion [i.e. they will not be forced to convert to Islam], and none of them will be harmed.”

The pact incorporates the following restrictions on the Christians:

  1. They are forbidden to build new churches or rebuild destroyed ones.
  2. They must not showcase crosses or religious books, and they are forbidden to use megaphones to broadcast their prayers.
  3. They must not read their books out loud in front of Muslims or sound their bells.
  4. They must not carry out any hostile actions against ISIS, or provide refuge to spies or persons wanted by ISIS. They must inform ISIS of any “conspiracy” against it.
  5. They must refrain from any display of worship outside their church.
  6. They may not prevent any member of their community from converting to Islam.
  7. They must honor Islam and the Muslims, and not offend their religion in any way.
  8. The Christians committed to pay a poll tax of “4 golden dinars” i.e. 17 grams of gold for the wealthy, 8.5 for middle income owners, and half of that for the poor.
  9. They are forbidden to carry weapons.
  10. They are forbidden to sell pork or wine to the Muslims or publicly consume them.
  11. They must comply with any additional restrictions that ISIS may impose on their dress, trade or other matters.

In conclusion ISIS stated that as long as the Christians comply with these restrictions they will be protected. If they violate them, they will be treated as enemies at war.

See photos of the pact at MEMRI

A report by John Rossomando at IPT states that although Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has disowned ISIS, this dhimma pact bears the al Qaeda stamp.

Zawahiri’s Representative in Syria Assassinated

Pro-al Qaeda Saudi cleric calls on ISIS members to defect

Sheikh Muhaysini praised Ayman al Zawahiri as the Sheikh of the Mujahideen on his popular Twitter feed shortly after al Qaeda's general command disowned ISIS. Muhaysini also praised Osama bin Laden with the same language. Muhaysini called on ISIS members to defect.

Sheikh Muhaysini praised Ayman al Zawahiri as the Sheikh of the Mujahideen on his popular Twitter feed shortly after al Qaeda’s general command disowned ISIS. Muhaysini also praised Osama bin Laden with the same language. Muhaysini called on ISIS members to defect.

By THOMAS JOSCELYN, February 3, 2014:

Not long after al Qaeda’s general command yesterday disowned the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (ISIS), a popular Saudi cleric who has relocated to Syria took to his social media sites to call on ISIS members to defect.

Sheikh Abdallah Muhammad al Muhaysini played a leading role in the mediation efforts between ISIS and other rebel groups, which have been increasingly fighting among themselves. But now that those efforts have failed, Muhaysini says on his popular Twitter feed, ISIS members should defect to the Al Nusrah Front and the Islamic Front.

The Al Nusrah Front is now al Qaeda’s only official branch inside Syria. The al Qaeda-linked Ahrar al Sham is one of the most powerful groups within the Islamic Front, which is a coalition of rebel groups. Abu Khalid al Suri, Zawahiri’s main representative in Syria, is a senior leader in Ahrar al Sham.

Muhaysini’s call for ISIS defectors has quickly become popular on Twitter, with many online jihadists and their supporters retweeting his message. This is not surprising, as the Saudi has a substantial online presence. His Twitter feed currently has almost 280,000 followers.

Now that al Qaeda’s senior leadership has publicly disavowed ISIS, the calls from Muhaysini and other respected jihadists will challenge ISIS to maintain its base of support. ISIS has committed followers, but senior jihadists are now attempting to roll back its influence.

Other influential ideologues have endorsed Zawahiri while rejecting ISIS

Muhaysini cites ideological bigwigs such as Abu Qatada and Abu Muhammad al Maqdisi, both of whom are imprisoned in Jordan, to support his anti-ISIS effort. All three have said that ISIS should have obeyed Ayman al Zawahiri’s orders. In May of last year, Zawahiri ordered ISIS to disband its Islamic state and focus its efforts inside Iraq, while leaving the fight for Syria to the Al Nusrah Front and other groups. ISIS openly defied this order.

Abu Qatada is the well-known al Qaeda cleric who was detained on and off again in the UK for years before finally being deported to his native country in July 2013. He is currently on trial in Jordan on terrorism charges.

Abu Qatada is best known for his ties to a constellation of al Qaeda actors inside Europe, including the terrorists responsible for the March 11, 2004 Madrid train bombings. Since his return to Jordan, Abu Qatada has become an active voice in the jihadists’ online world from his prison cell. He has, for example, written to Ansar al Sharia Tunisia, which is led by one of his former pupils, Seifallah Ben Hassine (a.k.a. Abu Iyad al Tunisi).

Late last month, Abu Qatada issued a harsh rebuke of ISIS during a break in his trial. The cleric said ISIS was “ignoring instructions” from Ayman al Zawahiri and would “disintegrate eventually,” according to the Associated Press.

Abu Qatada also explained that ISIS fighters had been “misled to fight a war that is not holy,” which is likely a reference to the infighting ISIS has sparked.

Baghdadi is the emir of ISIS and has delusions of grandeur, considering himself to be the rightful ruler over a large Islamic state covering Iraq and the Levant. Al Qaeda’s senior leaders never approved of Baghdadi’s decision to declare an Islamic state, and instead focused their efforts on the fight against Bashar al Assad’s forces.

Read more at Long War Journal

Also see:

State Department spokesperson mischaracterizes al Qaeda

download (59)By THOMAS JOSCELYN & BILL ROGGIO:

Yesterday, State Department Spokesperson Marie Harf made two ridiculous claims about al Qaeda during a briefing with reporters. First, she claimed that there are no “operational” links between al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri and jihadist groups in Syria. And second, she said that Zawahiri is the only remaining member of “core” al Qaeda. From the briefing[emphasis ours]:

QUESTION: Okay. And then, secondly, there were some reports that Ayman Zawahiri has recorded another message – it’s on militant websites – telling militants to unite in Syria. Are you aware of these and do you have any response?MS. HARF: I haven’t seen it. I think – a few points: Obviously, we are concerned about the terrorist threat in Syria. We’re concerned about al-Qaida affiliated elements from taking advantage of the situation there to conduct terrorist attacks. I haven’t, quite frankly, seen the Zawahiri message. Did you say it was an audio message?

QUESTION: Yes.

MS. HARF: Okay. I’ll take a look or a listen to that when I get back.

And look, this is not new rhetoric we’ve heard from Zawahiri. He’s – core al-Qaida in Afghanistan and Pakistan, besides Zawahiri, has essentially the entire leadership been decimated by the U.S. counterterrorism efforts. He’s the only one left. I think he spends, at this point, probably more time worrying about his own personal security than propaganda, but still is interested in putting out this kind of propaganda to remain relevant.

So we’ve seen al-Qaida in the past try to take advantage for propaganda purposes of local – of conflicts in places like Iraq, places like Yemen, and places like Syria, to use that for propaganda purposes. But beyond that, I don’t know of more of an operational link between Zawahiri and folks in Syria.

QUESTION: So you’re not seeing any kind of operational command and control between core al-Qaida and what the militants in Syria –

MS. HARF: I’ll check with our folks. Not to my knowledge. But again, I want to check with our team just to make sure what the exact – on operational. We certainly know that elements in Syria take – al-Qaida elements in Syria take inspiration from folks like Zawahiri and from some of the language that we hear from him, and that, I’m sure, it’s the same kind of language that’s on this audio that I will take a look at when I get off the podium.

But beyond that, again, we’ve been very clear that because of the Assad regime’s climate it’s created in Syria, we are increasingly concerned about the terrorist threat. Certainly.

First, Harf claims that there is no “operational link between Zawahiri and folks in Syria.” There is plenty of evidence demonstrating that this isn’t true.

Zawahiri stepped into the leadership dispute between the Al Nusrah Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (ISIS) last year. He demanded that the leaders of both organizations file a report with him. They each complied. He then issued a ruling in late May that ISIS and its emir, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, disagreed with and openly defied. The dispute with ISIS is more nuanced than most analysts let on, but it is obviously a very serious disagreement. (We have covered this in-depth, and will have more on this in the near future.)

Read more at Long War Journal

 

Al Qaeda head addresses infighting in Syria

download (57)By THOMAS JOSCELYN:

The emir of al Qaeda, Ayman al Zawahiri, has released a new audio message addressing the infighting between jihadist groups in Syria. Zawahiri does not mention any specific groups or individuals by name, but much of his message is clearly aimed at the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (ISIS), a branch of al Qaeda that has been the main source of the internecine conflict.

Zawahiri addresses all of the jihadist factions fighting against Bashar al Assad’s regime, saying they are the best “hope” for establishing an Islamic state in the heart of the Levant, as well as “liberating Jerusalem,” according to a translation obtained by The Long War Journal.

Al Qaeda respects and admires “all of you,” Zawahiri says, addressing all of the factions as “brothers.” According to Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s leaders believe that the jihadists’ “brotherhood in Islam” is stronger than any temporary “organizational bonds.”

Zawahiri implores the jihadists to “let go” of their “partisan fanaticism” if it cuts against the “unity of your ranks.” The infighting distracts them from fighting their true enemies, including Shiite forces, Russia, and China, all of whom are supposedly colluding with the “Crusader campaign.”

Abu Bakr al Baghdadi and other ISIS leaders have claimed to represent the only true Islamic state inside Syria and have tried to make other jihadist groups abide by its rules. However, other jihadist groups, including al Qaeda’s other official branch inside Syria, the Al Nusrah Front, as well as al Qaeda-linked groups such as Ahrar al Sham, have rejected ISIS’ claims of superiority.

Although Zawahiri does not address ISIS directly, at least three parts of the audio message seem to be targeted at the unruly group.

First, Zawahiri says that al Qaeda does not accept “any violation” or “any assault” against the “sanctity of any Muslim or jihadist.” Al Qaeda also does “not accept” the accusations of “infidelity or apostasy” that have been levied against some jihadist groups, because they are all “sacrificing their lives and properties” for the sake of jihad.

ISIS has repeatedly accused other jihadist organizations of being apostates or infidels, especially when they do not accept the group’s unilateral decisions.

Read more at Long War Journal

Egypt’s Trial: True Justice will Reveal Morsi’s Alliances

20130829_MUSLIMBROTHERHOOD_MORSI_EGYPT_LARGEby ASHRAF RAMELAH:

On Monday, November 4th, an Egyptian Triple Seven elite military force helicopter transported former Egyptian president, Mohammed Morsi, out of secret hiding where he has been held in custody by authorities since July 3rd this year.  Morsi was flown to a courtroom inside Toro Police School to begin his trial for high treason and other suspected crimes. On the eve of his political career and presidential candidacy, Morsi sat in prison awaiting trial for spying against Egypt. Now he is accused of continuing these efforts during his presidency.

According to Egyptian news agencies, Morsi recently notified his family that he alone will defend himself before the judge and jury. Meanwhile, Muslim Brotherhood organizations across the world scramble to bring to Egypt lawyers from the West and East who will try to prove that Morsi is blameless and his trial unfair. This will not be easy. Egyptian attorneys are unified against foreign attorneys appearing in the courtroom on Morsi’s behalf.  In any case, proving Morsi’s innocence will be a herculean task.

In a country where no regulation or law exists to govern taping of conversations or, more aptly, where the Attorney General appointed by the President permitted secret recordings by Egyptian intelligence of the President’s meetings and phone conversations, judges dismissed by Morsi and now reinstated will be presented with tape recordings of Morsi’s discussions with Aymen Al Zawahiri of Al Qaeda.

These will show Morsi requesting the terrorist’s support. Morsi’s negotiation with the Al Qaeda leader delays application of the Iran and Taliban models for Egypt until a more receptive time and, in return for Al Zawahiri’s favor, the President agrees to immediately enforce Sharia law and release five thousand jailed terrorist-jihadists, including Aymen’s brother, Mohammed. All jihadists jailed under Mubarak were freed by Morsi within the first month of his installation to prove to Aymen Al Zawahiri that he could be trusted, according to leaked information paraphrasing the contents of the tapes.

Read more: Family Security Matters