Thursday, December 06, 2007

Baghdadi speech

(A website called has posted a very nice summary of the latest speech by Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, with pointers to some of the references from Islamic history, obviously by a native Arabic speaker with a nice clear English style. Thanks to a commenter in the previous post for that link).

As the newspaper summaries said, Baghdadi's speech, posted on the internet on Tuesday, is a call for the mujahideen to carry out a special campaign against the "rebels" the "awakenings" and all who cooperate with the occupation, with a unique quota system: Each fighter is responsible for detonating at least three bombs by the end of the campaign on January 29, or it that isn't possible, then to kill at least three "rebels".

But the greater part of the speech is addressed to the Sunni tribes of Iraq and the purpose is to lay out the stark choice between "apostasy" on the one hand, and loyalty to genuine Islam, which for Iraqis, Baghdadi implies, is tantamount to a requirement of loyalty to the Islamic State of Iraq. Apostasy, in his speech, includes any help for any individuals or groups that are not (1) Sunni Muslim, and (2) loyal to the ISI and its territory. This includes, for instance, a denunciation of the idea of resettling the Yazidis in areas from which they have been driven, given that they are "servants of Satan and the crosses"; and an exhortation not to give up any of the territory currently claimed by the ISI to any of the "apostates", or have any contact at all with tribes not loyal to the ISI. In short, the political gist of this is to reject the compromise approach suggested in the letters of Harith al-Dhari and elsewhere, on the basis that any compromise with any group other than the ISI itself is already a manifestation of apostasy. This is best summarized in the five concluding points. Here are the first four of them:
(1) Preserving what God has conquered for us by way of territory, and not sparing any efforts [in this] or the blood of your brothers...

(2) Prevention of the taassub (joining together in a group sometimes in the sense of being fanatical about it) of the clan (or tribe) or of the glamor and the spurious worldly benefits or rank [connected with this]. (The WorldAnalysis person says this is essentially a warning against tribalism or nationalism).

(3) Keeping the Sunni collective from the malice of the "Awakenings", because they spread vice, and they tear up honor, and they steal assets. And moreover they compel people to fight along with them, and participate in their apostasy.

(4) Cut the cycle of treachery and mercenary dealings of those who believe in the occupation of the land and the rape of honor, returning jihad to its natural course, with the cutting off of the serpent's head of the Americans and of the Majusi (Iranians).
I think his fifth point is important for an understanding of his military strategy (or as he would call it, his religious strategy). In his declaration of the new campaign of bombings and killings, he mentions all of those who cooperate with the occupation, but he doesn't actually mention the Americans. I believe this is explained in his fifth concluding point:
(5) Unifying the ranks of the Sunnis as a whole, after having been disturbed by the sects and split by treachery, restoring respect for the clerics and the tribal sheikhs. Because as the Sheikh of Islam Ibn Taymiyya wrote: "Al-Sadiq [Abu Bakr] and all of the companions began their jihad with the rebels, before launching jihad against the heretics of the people of the Book...
In other words, it is built right into Baghdadi's reading of history that the primary targets of his "campaign" at the present time should be, not the occupier, but other Iraqis. Probably this is something to bear in mind when trying to figure out who he really is.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

OT: I need to find some particular AQ related Arabic texts for someone with no access to the web (or postal service) and believe you maybe be able to help me. Could you drop me a line at charleycarp at gamil dot com?


6:07 AM  

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