The Islamic State newsletter, Al-Naba, had an article on page 3 of its 110th edition, released on 15 December, which mocked those who have declared that the Islamic State is finished, pointing out that it has survived such obituaries before. A rough translation of the article is produced below.
The Islamic State shifted the balance of its messaging to triumphalism after the public seizure of Mosul and the declaration of the caliphate in June 2014. This “winner’s” propaganda was instrumental in building the Islamic State’s brand and bringing in foreign fighters. But it was always accompanied by more doctrinal messaging, and it occurred against the background of an organization that had been left for dead in 2007-08, yet always maintained that those who stuck to God’s path would be victorious; that the tribulations were merely part of the journey. With the capture of central Iraq and eastern Syria, the Islamic State appeared vindicated.
In mid-2016, after nearly two years of a military campaign against it led by the United States, the Islamic State began to switch its emphasis, preparing the ideological ground for the collapse of its physical statelet, re-emphasizing the caliphate as a cause rather than a location. The first major statement on this theme was what transpired to be the final speech of Taha Falaha (Abu Muhammad al-Adnani) on 21 May 2016. This was followed-up in Al-Naba 34 on 7 June 2016. And culminated in Al-Naba 101 on 12 October 2017, where the Islamic State announced it was reverting from governance to insurgency.
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Alaykum Bilad al-Sham [Unto You, Syria]
Again, the mushrikun [polytheists, idolaters] claim their victory over the Islamic State, and the tawaghit [tyrants] of the East and the West will come out to announce the end of their war against it. And one of them goes even further in the deceit of his followers, preaching the end of the Islamic State and the elimination of all the mujahideen, while others only declare victory over it, pointing to his willingness to continue to fight until the last soldier of the caliphate has been eliminated.
Throughout the years, we have become accustomed to these reckless statements made by the tawaghit of the East and the West, in every interval they announce the end of the war against the mujahideen, deceiving their peoples and their masters with fantasies of victory by promoting [the idea of] the end of war and the decisive battles.
Not far behind us are the foolish words of the second Bush, “Mission Accomplished”, which is still today used ironically around the world, after they saw that [the statement] was followed by the crusader army of Bush suffering a crushing defeat at the hands of the mujahideen in Iraq, before his successor, the mule the Jews Obama, saved the remnants [of the American army] from extermination by withdrawing them from the battlefield, considering this shameful withdrawal a major victory and one of the greatest achievements of his rule of America.
We have also become accustomed to statements from the leaders of the parties of apostasy and the factions of al-Dirar [hypocrisy and ruin] launch at every turn, telling the news media of their sick fantasies, using this story to comfort them until they think that the arena has been abandoned to them, leaving nothing but for them to pour their ideas into the hearts of Muslims and have their minds follow them in their misguidance, taking them as icons, and setting them up as imams. They should wake up to the fate of their brethren in the Awakening of Iraq. A decade after their claims that the Islamic State had ended, the soldiers of the Islamic State are still safe from the oppression of the Rawafid [lit. “rejectionist”; Shi’a] soldiers and the intelligence services of the tawaghit, alleviating their own disappointment and able to stop harm to Muslims.
The crusaders and their allies, the tawaghit and the apostates of the Awakening, have struggled for a decade, seeking to extinguish the jihad that is still burning in the land of Iraq, fearing that its sparks will spread to the tawaghit governments of the region. The jihad remained fierce, and its strings were stung by chains of men. … God enabled them to ignite his fire in al-Sham [Syria], and inflamed it against the Nusayri army, the factions of apostasy, the masses of al-mulahideen [atheists, unbelievers]. The fire of the Syrian jihad was an extension of what God had kindled against the herds of Rawafid and Awakening forces in the cities of Iraq, which according to the Rawafid they had secured. They believed they had taken the measure [of the Islamic State] in ariyafun [the rural areas] and the saharih [deserts], but they fooled themselves with their military columns, which roamed in fear and anticipation … There is no fear of jihad in Iraq, God willing. Today, the polytheists hope to extinguish the light of Islam in Syria and return this holy land to what it was before the fire of jihad banished the maliciousness of the mushrikun, and implanted monotheism in the land, fashioning a caliphate on the prophetic model, governed by the law of God, and providing shelter for Muslims from everywhere.
We are still convinced that all that has been done is granted to us by God, and the tribulations that we have suffered are nothing more than what was prepared for us in Syria, from sedition and oppression, in which some perished, and God raised them in their faith. They shall ascend to dar al-mu’mineen [the abode/home of the believers], the best of God’s lands, to which he draws His beloved slaves, and face of the Prophet—peace be upon him—who followed Him to the Day of Judgment.
You should be in Syria, upon you is Syria, your Syria, and upon you is Yemen, to secure God in Syria and His people