The latest epic release from As-Sahab Media shows us an al-Qaeda that:
1) remains committed to changing the world with words as much or more than with deeds
2) maintains the belief that we are our own worst enemies and that all they need do is reflect the mirror upon us in order to indict us.
3) has the ability to issue a major product even when embattled by non-stop drone strikes and a rabid post-Bin Laden manhunt.
I have a few observations after watching the two-part product. I’ll space them out in a series of posts. This first post will be on the AQ figures profiled in the vid. The main characters of this movie’s cast seemed weary in appearance but definitely focused on trying to advance the “individual jihad” theme in substance.
Abu Yahya al-Libi was filmed from an awkward angle, which is not his best side. They also used a kind of crappy green-screen backdrop. I mean, what’s up with that radioactive faux globe?
Speaking of, whenever I see a globe/map, I am reminded of UBL’s ’98 vid featuring him in front of a map of East Africa, potentially signalling the impending embassy bombings. This globe is squarely on Europe and Africa. A signal of a future attack?
According to Abu Yahya:
The individual jihad means that one person or a small group of mujahidin carry out a military operation according to the limits of the Shari’ah to harm the enemy and to encourage the Muslims in accordance with the circumstances. This is not new or an innovated action. On the contrary, individual jihad was performed at the time of the Prophet…
I don’t have any memory of Abu Yahya previously using the “individual jihad” construct as aggressively as this.
Sheikh Attiyatallah looked beat. He’s slouching – squinty eyes. Shrouded in white again and flanked by books, he’s definitely re-upping his man-of-the-cloth creds.
According to Attiyatallah,
The individual jihad in question is one of the forms of penetration because penetration means that one individual attacks a large number of enemies. When this individual attacks them, he penetrates their masses.
Therefore, the dear brother, who lives in one of the infidel countries that are fighting Islam or enters these countries to attack them and fight and kill those who are permissible to be killed of their infidel people, is penetrating the enemies in this context.
Is it me or wasn’t Attiyatallah just lecturing the movement to back off of individualized attacks a couple months ago? And if they did go individual-style, he was saying that the religious onus is on them if they biff it, not AQ. Now we’re seeing him mouthing the same talking points on individual jihad as everyone else.
In part II of this production, he addresses some of his historic concern with the wanton shedding of Muslim blood. He says:
The concern of the mujahidin to avoid [shedding] sanctified blood in all of their steps and operations is not just a reaction to the slandering attacks launched by the Western and mercenary media and those who follow them in propagating those accusations that are fabricated by some deviant, deceptive, ill-meaning scholars, columnists, and others.
What up shout out from Attiyatallah to Abu Yahya on the al-tatarrus (human shield) concept. Talk about squaring a round peg here. These two have been at odds in their statements on this issue but somehow they’ve made it work. That says a lot.
For instance, when it comes to qualitative operations that employ bombings and mass killing, be they martyrdom or other operations, including those involving what is known in jurisprudence as tatarrus [Muslims being used by non-Muslims as human shields], the mujahidin constantly alert others to them and stress the precise regulations and restraints that must be observed in [these attacks]. At the theoretical level, one could, for example, refer to the book by Shaykh Abu-Yahya [al-Libi] Al-Tatarrus Fi al-Jihad al-Mu’asir and other writings.
Well, wait Attiyatallah – are you just telling me that you and Abu Yahya are arbitrarily coming up with all these rules? Al-Qaida has to have something more formal in place, right??
At the practical level, we in Al-Qaida regulate all of this in practice through a committee comprised of officials and cadres with a good level of knowledge and understanding of affairs and who hold the approval of the leaders, praise be to God. They review every operation on a case-by-case basis and deem it permissible or reject it.
Wheww – just when I thought AQ was going all ad hoc on us.
This is the most at ease I think I’ve seen Gadahn. It might be because he feels vindicated. Gadahn’s been pushing this individual jihad theme for awhile now and few on the AQ Senior Leadership bandwagon. Well, here’s him pushing the envelope:
Muslims in the West have to remember that they have to play an important and decisive part in the jihad against the Zionists and Crusaders, and do major damage to the enemies of Islam waging war against the religion, sacred places, things, and brotherhoods. This is a golden opportunity and a blessing from Almighty God and the way to show one’s appreciation and thanks for this blessing is to rush to discharge one’s duty towards the ummah and fight on its behalf with everything at his disposal, and in the West, you have got a lot at your disposal. Let us take America as an example; America is absolutely awash with easily attainable firearms. You can go down to a gun show at the local convention center and come away with a fully automatic assault rifle without any background check and most likely without having to show an identification card. So, what are you waiting for?
The above is some footage featured in the vid highlighting just how pervasive firearms are in this country.
Zawahiri’s cameo comes in the form a still glasses-free pic of him looking young and virile with some recycled audio.
The march of the heroes of the Al-Azhar, who wage resistance against the invaders and their agents using their hands and tongues, has never stopped. These heroes are: Izz-al-Din al-Qassam, Muhammad Farghali, Ahmad Shakir, Muhammad al-Awdan, Umar Abd-al-Rahman, Salah Abu-Isma’il, Abdallah Azzam, and other lions that follow the footsteps of Sulayman al-Halabi.
Remember all my previous blogs about how Zawahiri uses lists to prove his own relevance. Well, here it is again.
Beyond the big boys, As-Sahab memorializes some oldies but goodies, including: