To mark the eighteenth anniversary of the 9/11 massacre, Al-Qaeda’s Al-Sahab media department released a video, “And They Shall Continue to Fight You”. The video, which ran over a half-hour, featured a speech by the group’s emir, Ayman al-Zawahiri, interspersed with other leadership figures.
Much attention has been given to Dr. Al-Zawahiri encouraging attacks on America, his contention that the U.S. has enabled the spread of Iranian power by providing its vicious sectarian militias in Iraq, Syria, and beyond with direct support as part of the war against the Islamic State (ISIS), and his use of the issue of Palestine. There are some indications Al-Qaeda is looking abroad again with its terrorism campaign, but the primary purpose of re-emphasising the justice of attacks on the West seems to be to meet the ideological challenge from ISIS. Behind the veneer of the “far enemy” rhetoric in this speech, Al-Zawahiri was in fact very defensive—particularly about 9/11, Al-Qaeda’s greatest “success”, where he seems stung by the accusation Al-Qaeda murdered innocents—and “near enemy” (regionally) focused. Even the call to attack America suggested attacks on military installations in the Middle East, rather than in America itself. Such attacks would also avoid the issue of civilian casualties, Al-Zawahiri noted.
An English translation was put out of the video of Al-Zawahiri’s speech and a transcript is reproduced below.
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[Voiceover] To our brothers in Palestine, we say, Verily, the blood of your sons is the blood of our sons, and your blood is our blood. The revenge for blood is blood and the revenge for destruction is destruction. We hold God as our witness that we shall not let you down, until victory is achieved or we taste what Hamza bin Abd al-Mutalib tasted.
[The screen displays the logos of the media divisions of various Al-Qaeda affiliates: Al-Zallaqa (Jama’t Nasr al-Islam wal-Muslimeen (JNIM)), Al-Andalus (Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)), Al-Malahem Media (Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)), and Al-Kataib (Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahideen (HSM).)
A clip from the forthcoming video is then played, with Dr. Al-Zawahiri complaining about President Donald Trump moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognising the Israeli annexation of the Golan Heights. Trump’s announcement of his Golan decision on 25 March 2019, stood by the side of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who says Israel has never had a better friend than Trump.
This is followed by footage of Khalid Batarfi, a senior AQAP official, who says Palestine is “the cause of every Muslim”, and Abd al-Aziz al-Rantisi, one of the founders of HAMAS who was killed in 2004, vowing to destroy Israel and hunt its citizens down. Next, Muhammad Kofa (a.k.a. Amadu Kofa), a Malian jihadist affiliated with Ansar Dine whose real name is Amadu Diallo, is shown declaring the need for the flag of Islam to be raised worldwide. HSM official Abu Abdurrahman Mahad Warsame and Sami al-Uraydi, an operative with Al-Qaeda’s Syrian wing, Tanzim Hurras al-Deen, follow with similar themes. Abd al-Haq al–Turkistani, the reported leader of al-Hizb al-Islami al-Turkistani (The Turkistan Islamic Party or TIP) whose real name is apparently Memetiming Memeti, is the last figure featured in this segment and likewise calls for global Islamist revolution.]
In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
May peace and blessings of Allah be upon the Messenger of Allah, his family and Companions, and those who are loyal to him.
Dear Muslim brothers the world over, as-salamu alaykum wa-rahmatullahi wa-barakatu!
Eighteen years have passed since the blessed raids in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. With each passing day, America exposes more of its Zionist-Crusader materialistic enmity towards Islam and Muslims. Trump followed his announcement of shifting the American Embassy to Jerusalem with his recognition of the occupied Golan Heights as part of Israel, revealing thereby America’s true face and its deeply inimical disposition vis-à-vis the Muslim World.
[Video of President Trump’s press conference with Netanyahu from 25 March 2019 recognising Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights]
It is a historical reality that the majority of Zionists, throughout history, have been non-Jews. Napoleon, the atheist; Balfour, the man behind the Balfour Declaration; Mark Sykes, the architect of the Sykes-Picot agreement targeting the Ottoman State; Lawrence, the British spy who led the Arab Revolt; the American preachers who godfathered the ideologues of Arab Nationalism in the Syrian Biblical Academy; several American Presidents, the last of whom is Trump; and thousands of others—all were non-Jewish Zionists. These Zionists plot against Muslims everywhere, and immigrate to Israel from the world over. Therefore, it is necessary to take the battle to them everywhere.
[Clip of Abd al-Aziz al-Rantisi elaborating on this theme of global struggle against non-Muslims]
My Muslim mujahid brothers in Palestine and the world over! Consider the plight of Palestine today: much of it is under Israeli occupation, while the remaining part has been divided into the West Bank and Gaza. The West Bank is directly ruled over by the Israeli intelligence, while Gaza has been besieged and choked from all directions, to the point that the very most the mujahideen in Gaza—may God reward them—can do is launch a few missiles at Israel, something which is generally met by a ruthless Israeli military response.
And as this tragedy unfolds, the lowly and treacherous [Egyptian] government of [Abd al-Fattah] Al-Sisi besieges and blackmails the people of Gaza. Thus, Israel and international criminal forces suffocate the jihad in Palestine, leaving thereby a highly constrained and choked environment for the mujahideen to operate from. It is, therefore, incumbent on Muslims and the mujahideen to destroy this siege by taking the battle to Israel and the international criminal forces the world over.
[Video clip of Khalid Batarfi saying that only by jihad can “Masjid al-Aqsa be cleansed of the filth of the Jews” and calling for Muslim unity across borders]
The martyrdom-seeking mujahid who seeks to fight the Israelis will thus be able to fight the Israelis at the place of his choosing. After ensuring that his target is permissible in the light of the shari’a, that no harm shall accrue to Muslims as a result of his actions, and that the benefit of his action outweighs the costs, all he has to do is to put his trust in God, and head for his target—after leaving a message that the aim of his jihadi operation is avenging the crimes in Palestine and all such Muslim lands. This is how we turn the tables on our enemies and force them to reconsider their course of action.
My mujahid brothers in Palestine and in the rest of the Muslim umma [community or nation]! The interests of Israel and its American, British, French, Russian, and European allies are spread all over the world. So just as they conspire and join forces against us everywhere, we must chase them down everywhere, at a time and place of our choosing. Put your trust in God, o’ mujahideen in Palestine and the rest of the Islamic umma!
Seek God’ s help. Surveil the enemy and make your preparations. Do not expect anyone to help you, except very little perhaps. Seek help from God alone, and do not show any weakness. Be inventive and creative in your methods. Shaykh Usama [bin Ladin] and his brothers (may God release them and protect those who are free) turned airplanes into weapons of mass destruction.
When [the late Taliban commander] Ustad Muhammad Yasir met with Shaykh Usama bin Ladin (may God have mercy on him) in Tora Bora, he said to him, “Hijackers would hijack planes and try to land them in airports, only to be turned away or trapped. However, today if someone hijacks a plane, he may use it as a weapon.”
My Muslim brothers in Palestine! We must understand the nature of the battle. It is a global Crusader war against Muslims, and there is no dividing line between the local and the global battle.
[Audio clip of previous Dr. Z speech lauding an article by Al-Rantisi]
The same America that occupies Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, the Gulf states, the Arabian Peninsula, and East Africa is the one that supports Israel, backs bribe-taking generals in Pakistan, possesses military bases in Turkey, and extends support to the likes of Sisi and [Libyan warlord Khalifa] Hiftar.
America is extremely keen to prevent jihad from starting in any part of the world, or spreading to America or the West. Thus, when it was struck on its own soil, it realized the danger of this approach. The same pattern was repeated in Madrid and London, and from thereon America launched its propaganda war against what it portrayed as “terrorism”.
Backtracking “scholars” and the “jurists” of salaries and jobs [i.e. paid clergy] lined up thereafter to answer America’s call. And thus began the campaign of scaremongering under the pretext of “terrorism” and the “designation as terrorist entities”. With it started the secret deals in prisons with those who were ready to compromise. And so everyone started singing along with America in its choir against “terrorism”.
Subhanallah [glory be to God]! How strange is it that most of those who signed up for all of this are today themselves being accused of terrorism! When the mujahideen were fighting the taghuti governments, an array of critics and ideologues emerged to proclaim that this jihad is of no use, and that there must be a jihad on which the umma has a consensus. Yet, when the mujahideen turned their guns towards the top enemy of the umma, the same critics changed their stance to say, “This is global terrorism”.
Even worse, the backtrackers who emerged free from the prisons came up with a theory that requires one to renounce reason before even considering its merits. After offering condolences for Anwar al-Sadat and declaring him the “martyr of the strife”, they proclaimed that it was impossible to confront America without first coordinating with the despotic regimes imposed on us, the very toadies of America.
So what is it that they seek? That we give up jihad?
They tried to hide behind the excuse of “killing innocent civilians”, accusing us of doing so in the World Trade Centre. By the grace of God, we have totally refuted these doubts. However, using their own argument against them, I would like to ask them that if they believed that we had killed innocents in the WTC—and this is a false assumption to begin with—were those killed in the Pentagon also innocents? Or was it the headquarters of the biggest military power in the world that was hit, host to the biggest criminals involved in crimes against Muslims? What about the airplane that was headed for the Congress and White House? Was it also meant to target innocents?
If you want jihad to be focused solely on military targets, the American military has presence all over the world, from the East to the West. Your countries are littered with American bases, with all the infidels therein and the corruption they spread. So, let us see your jihad, free of “defects”.
British, French and NATO forces are present the world over, especially in the Muslim World. So attack them as reprisal for their crimes in Palestine and their support to Israel. The French forces are occupying Mali and attacking Muslims in the Sahel and the Sahara. Why do you ignore them and abandon your Muslim brothers as sacrificial lambs to be slaughtered by them? Is this not a battle against a Crusader invading enemy that violates the sanctities of Muslims? Where is your role in it?
[Audio clip of Abu Ubayda Yusuf al-Anabi, an Algerian AQIM official, who speaks about spreading American influence in the Maghreb. Kofa then Abu Abdurrahman Mahad Warsame speak about the need for widening jihad. Al-Shabab spokesman Ali Mahmud Raji then speaks in a similar way, specifically about expelling the disbelievers from Somalia.]
American forces and their allies are aggressing against Somalia and East Africa right in front of you. Where is your contribution in terms of jihad, repelling the enemy, and supporting Muslims against the invaders? Is this not a Crusader invasion targeting a Muslim land and a Muslim nation? What is your contribution in this scenario? Russian criminals have Muslim Caucuses and Central Asia under their occupation. They are openly spilling Muslim blood in Syria, our bleeding wound. They support and protect Israel. What have you done against its military forces spread all over the world? Instead of supporting the criminal gangster, [Chechen “president” Ramzan] Kadyrov, go fight Russian forces.
[Video of Sami al-Uraydi urging the onward march of the faith by any means]
Indian forces are occupying Muslim Kashmir. What have you done to attack them and support the Kashmiri mujahideen?
[Video clip of prior Al-Zawahiri speech about India and Kashmir]
Chinese forces are occupying Eastern Turkistan? What have you contributed in waging jihad against them and supporting the Turkistani mujahideen?
[Video clip of Abd al-Haq al-Turkistani encouraging all Muslims to wage jihad against the oppressive Chinese government for its treatment of the Uyghurs]
Israeli Embassies and interests are spread all over the world. So come on, strike them, instead of wasting your time on arguing about the World Trade Centre.
In addition to the American war against what it calls “terrorism”, Safavid Iran participated in this campaign in its own unique way. It raised much hue and cry that this was an Israeli-American conspiracy. This is their approach vis à vis anyone who opposes or disagrees with them.
And even if they quarrel amongst themselves in elections, this tends to be the first accusation that they throw at each other. Whereas in reality Iran was a participant in America’s wars against Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as its campaign in Syria. The Americans have given Shi’a militias the green light to operate in Syria, and there is a clear division and allocation of roles overseen by the Americans.
It is ironic that Shi’a militias were fighting in Iraq against the self-proclaimed Caliph, [Islamic State leader] Ibrahim al-Badri, with American air and artillery cover, and under the leadership and planning of American advisors. From the battlefield, with American aircrafts hovering overhead, these militias would boast in the media that they had overcome the terrorists on their own.
The point is that Iran has an understanding with the Americans in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. It only differs with them on the returns of this arrangement. At times it signs accords with them; when it is unsuitable for them, it continues its policy of blackmail.
Iran has a deep interest in making sure that the Sunni people’s victory over America and their deep-rooted enmity for her does not become prominent in public perception. It is equally keen to prevent the projection of the Sunni mujahideen as the spearhead of the jihad against the Crusader—as they have always been since the times of the Companions (may God be pleased with them), from the conquests of Persia and Rome to this day, with God’s blessing.
Had it not been for the jihad of the Companions—may God be pleased with them—the people of Persia would have remained Zoroastrian fire-worshippers to this day. It was the Companions who brought to them the light of Islam, and helped them emerge from darkness to light, as articulated by our master, Rab’i bin Aamir, who addressed Rustam with the following words, “God has sent us to rescue those whom He wills from the worship of man and bring them to the worship of Allah … from the narrowness of the World to its vastness, and from the oppression of the religions to the justice of Islam.”
The reward they got from the rafida [derogatory term of Shi’is] was that they excommunicated them. How evil is their judgment!
My Muslim brothers the world over! America does not understand anything except the language of force. Those who inflict damage on America, America tries to negotiate and arrive at an understanding with them. Those who retreat in the face of its power, America does not spare them until it has completely overcome them.
The Islamic Emirate [Taliban] dealt severe blows to America. This is why the Americans showed keenness to negotiate a withdrawal from Afghanistan with them. While those who retreated in the face of American power, America unleashed against them killers, butchers, and flayers. Eventually, they were hunted down and imprisoned. It is the same old story of Sharif Husayn with the British. So pay heed, O’ people of reason!
Our last prayer is that all praise belongs to God, the Lord of the Worlds. May peace and blessings be upon our master, Muhammad, his family, and Companions.
Wa-salamu alaykum wa-rahmatullahi wa-barakatu.