At this distance, Falaha’s first speech contains a number of points of interest that might not have been noticed, or had not yet attained relevance, at the time. For example: the title. After the announcement of the establishment of its caliphate in 2014, IS—often in the person of Falaha—made wide use of the phrase “remaining and expanding” (baqiya wa tatamadad). It is, therefore, interesting to note that Falaha had used a version of this slogan in his very first speech, and to note the context. While later it was a statement of triumphalism, here it is a signal of defiance from the then-Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), to the West and crucially to other jihadists, that the “State” declared in 2006 had persisted despite the apparent defeat by the Surge and Sahwa (Awakening) in 2007-08.
It is also notable as a point of continuity with the first emir of the Islamic State, Hamid al-Zawi (Abu Umar al-Baghdadi), who had first declared that ISI was baqiya (remaining) in the spring of 2007 when it looked very doubtful this was true. Indeed, Falaha quotes the key chunk of that fourth speech from Al-Zawi directly. Al-Zawi’s insistence, even at such a moment, that ISI would survive and thrive so long as it stuck to its ideology has been imbued by later events with a hint of prophecy, and certainly provided the IS movement with a confidence that any setbacks are temporary tribulations, mere tests before God grants final victory.
Falaha’s comments on Al-Qaeda’s leadership, the then-recently deceased Usama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, and even Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Umar, are interesting in light of the later narrative war over the relationship between the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda “central”.
Perhaps the most intriguing is the description of IS’s personnel that Falaha gives, two in particular. First, Falaha notes the “martyrdom” of Numan al-Zaydi, who was still being reported as alive into 2014, and gives a fairly detailed description of his demise. Second, Falaha names “Abu Abdullah al-Hassani al-Qurayshi” as the deputy to Ibrahim al-Badri (Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi), the caliph of the Islamic State between May 2010 and October 2019. This is the second and last time Al-Hassani has ever been officially mentioned by IS. Al-Hassani has become newly relevant after Al-Badri’s elimination since there is speculation the “Al-Hassani” moniker refers to Muhammad al-Mawla (Haji Abdullah or Abdullah Qardash) and that this is the true identity behind Al-Badri’s announced successor, “Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Qurayshi”.
The speech contains a good ration of abuse against Western infidels and even more against the Shi’a, but what is notable is that the message is less designed for or about these external actors; it is largely intended for the Sunni community. As such, the framing is of an internal matter since IS considers the Iraqi Sunni population to be its own, and does indeed draw its membership from among that segment of Iraqi society. Falaha directs considerable venom against the IS movement’s Sunni rivals, namely the Sunni politicians and the Awakening leaders, those who broke with the insurgency and entered democratic politics in a state heavily propped up by the Americans and penetrated by Iran. Such figures are dismissed as corrupt, self-serving dupes at best, and marked for assassination, which as Falaha noted was not an idle threat. Alongside this terror, however, was the inducement. Even the Sunni leaders can repent, provided they do so before IS catches them, and Falaha was offering to protect the Sunnis from abuses by a Shi’a-led government and Iran’s proxies in Iraq. He spoke of breaking not only jihadists out of prison (this a year before the “Breaking the Walls” campaign started) but innocent (Sunni) Muslims, too, a live issue with so many rounded up; and warned of dire consequences for any ISI official that harmed Sunni civilians even by negligence. And Falaha made reference to IS’s early efforts at governing territory, claiming that only in those zones had Sunnis been safe from Iran’s Shi’a militias.
* * * * *
“Have you not seen those who claim to have believed in what was revealed to you, [Prophet Muhammad], and what was revealed before you? They wish to refer legislation to Taghut, while they were commanded to reject it; and Satan wishes to lead them far astray. And when it is said to them, ‘Come to what Allah has revealed and to the Messenger,’ you see the hypocrites turning away from you in aversion. So how [will it be] when disaster strikes them because of what they themselves have done, and then they come to you, swearing by God, ‘We only wanted to do good and achieve harmony.’ God knows well what is in the hearts of these people, so ignore what they say, but admonish them and speak to them a far-reaching word. All the messengers we sent were meant to be obeyed, by God’s permission. If only [the hypocrites] had come to you [Muhammad] when they wronged themselves, and begged God’s forgiveness, and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found God accepting of repentance, and Merciful. But no, by your Lord, they will not be true believers until they let you [Muhammad] decide between them in all matters of dispute, and then find no resistance in their souls to your decisions, and submit in full submission” [An-Nisa (4): 60-65].
All praise be to God, whose assistance and forgiveness we seek. We seek refuge in God from the evils of our souls and deeds. No one can misguide whom God guides, and no one can guide whom God misguides. I bear witness that there is no god but God, who has no rival, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God.
To proceed, God the Almighty says:
“Jihad [warfare in the path of God] is ordained for you [Muslims], though it is hateful unto you; but it may happen that you hate a thing which is good for you, and love a thing which is bad for you. God knows and you do not” [Al-Baqara (2): 216].
Warfare is the destiny of the Believers. God hasn’t ascribed iman [faith] to those who have tried to take permission from Prophet Muhammad to remain behind the battlefields. God says: “Those who believe in God and the Last Day ask no leave of you to be excused striving with their wealth and their lives. God is ever-knowing of those who keep their duty [unto Him]. They alone ask leave of you who believe not in God and the Last Day, and whose hearts feel doubt, so in their doubt they hesitate” [Al-Tawba (9): 44-45]. God hasn’t ascribed iman to those who stayed behind one expedition though trying to seek permission from Prophet Muhammad; what do you think then of those who stayed behind without seeking any permission? What do you think of those who have totally ignored jihad? What do you think of he who tries to discourage all Muslims from performing jihad; he even tries to accuse the mujahideen of being mistaken for their jihad? We seek refuge in God the Almighty!
However, God refuses but to perfect His light, as jihad will remain until the Day of Resurrection. Imam Muslim cited that Uqba ibn Amr said: “I heard Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) saying: ‘A group of people from my umma [Muslim community] will continue to fight in obedience to the Command of God, remaining dominant over their enemies. Those who oppose them shall not do them any harm. They will remain in this condition until the Hour [apocalypse] overtakes them.”
For God, Blessed and Exalted is He, preserves His religion and His slaves [/servants/worshippers (ibadi)]. If any people ignored jihad, God will replace them with other people, whom He loves, and who love Him. God says: “O you who believe! Whoso of you becomes a renegade from his religion, [know that in his stead] God will bring a people whom He loves and who love Him, humble toward believers, stern toward disbelievers, striving in the way of God, and fearing not the blame of any blamer. Such is the grace of God, which He gives unto whom He will. God is All-Embracing, All-Knowing” [Al-Ma’ida (5): 54].
I say to the group fighting in obedience to the Command of God; to those who fear no blamer for their obedience to God; to all the mujahideen on earth; to the honourable leader, mountain-like in his grandeur, great-sea-like in generosity, Shaykh Mullah Muhammad Umar and his tribe, the Pashtun, and all the Taliban, the rock-like resistance, and our steadfast, castle-like mujahideen:
You, who have been oppressed, you need to migrate to Mullah Umar, as his stances are of unique justice and prudence. The Pashtun, his tribe, and the Taliban, are our protectors; they have pledged to God never to betray [the jihadists’ cause]. Islam will never be defeated as long as their souls and blood are there to be shed in the cause of God.
I also send sincere greetings to the honourable shaykh, the reputable instructor, the experienced leader, the wise man of the umma, Abu Muhammad, Shaykh-Doctor Ayman al-Zawahiri. We beseech God to bless him and his recent position of leadership. We ask God to help him with the charge entrusted to him, and to guide him to what pleases Him.
O, my mujahideen brethren everywhere! I don’t console you over the death of the gallant knight, the knowledgeable mujahideen who used to put God’s Word into actions, Shaykh Abu Abdullah, Usama bin Laden (may God have mercy upon him), because condolences are for the dead. But I congratulate you on the noble, blessed end of his life and martyrdom in the cause of God, which he used to long for. We believe he attained it, and God knows best about him. Truly, he was the honour [fakhar] of our umma and the Imam of his time; the most blessed to have walked on earth in our time. We expect him to be as blessed, and it is God Who knows best about him. We praise only those whom God does praise.
Know that jihad is not affected with the death of its leaders; it renews itself and keeps burning. Dozens of leaders have been killed in Mesopotamia. They were brought up and taught under his [Bin Ladin’s] expert guidance, and directed by the illumination he used to provide. Among the martyrs are: his companion, Abu Raghd, the founder of Al-Rawa Camp, where he was killed; Shaykh Abu Anas al-Shami [real name: Umar Yusef al-Juma]; Abu Muhammad al-Lubnani (Abu al-Shaheed) [real name: Mustafa Ramadan Darwish]; Abu Khattab al-Ansari (Umar Hadid); Abu Azzam al-Ansari (Shaykh Abdullah Najem [al-Jawari]); Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the lion of all forests and the decapitator of infidels; Abu Qaswara al-Maghribi [Mohamed Moumou]; the emir of the Islamic State of Iraq, Abu Umar al-Baghdadi [Hamid al-Zawi], along with his minister of war, Abu Hamza al-Muhajir [Abdul Munim al-Badawi], who both fulfilled the wish of the martyr Abu Musab in establishing the Islamic State of Iraq and used to look after it, even amid the most difficult quakes of life and despite all afflictions, until God bestowed martyrdom upon them; Abu Suhayb al-Ansari (Ahmad al-Ubaydi), the chief military commander of the northern province; the knowledgeable Shaykh Abu Ibrahim al-Ansari (Numan Salman al-Zaydi), the governor of al-Anbar Province and member of Majlis al-Shura [the executive Consultation Council] of the Islamic State of Iraq; the knowledgeable Dr. Hudayfa al-Batawi, the governor of Baghdad; and many others akin to the sun, moon, mountains, and seas of Islam.
This is a remembrance of those emirs with whom we mixed, though it never harms those who have not been remembered. This is a remembrance of the icons among them; never harmed are those [martyrs] who have not been remembered, since God knows about them. He is All-Knowing and All-Seeing. This is a remembrance of just some of them, to give examples, and not to enumerate [them all], since [the martyrs] are more in number than can be counted. These people left their homes and lands, with death as their supreme hope. They consider it as a blessed victory, with God’s assistance, a sublime means of nearness to God, and an incomparable benefit.
Their practices speak for them, saying [in effect]: “Undoubtedly, we are banners that cannot weaken, we are lofty and mountain-like; we do not retreat. We defend our honour and our sanctities; we will not bow, and we will gain victory. Our armies will remain, taking their positions up at all stations, destroying the forts of evil infidelity. We will twist the necks of the idols of infidelity. No one will escape it, not even the one-eyed antichrist. In defending the religion of God and His people, we were pleased to find sweet and noble death, we were looking forward to death, so that we may give generously our hearts for God. How marvellous to do! Do you think we can give it up? We abstain from slapping our faces at times of sadness.”
However, after sacrificing our souls, our lineaments would be covered with dust. Being killed in the cause of God is our aspired end; it is a signal of faithfulness that only cowards do not long for.
Not a noble one among us dies in bed, nor does he delay in the fields of battles. If a leader among us falls down after sacrificing his soul, he raises immediately thereafter, a gallant, noble, lion-like knight. Sacrificing souls is never censured among noble knights. The Prophet himself wished he could die many times in the cause of God. Death in the cause of God is a necessary quality for gallant knights, as martyrdom expiates all sins—completely wipes them out! Death is better than a life of humiliation, where the ignoble give orders to lower our pride. Please God: support us with your Divine support, until you see our body organs scattered, sacrificed so your religion can be victorious.
We, your brethren in the Islamic State of Iraq, bring you the good news that we are following a course supported by the Will of God. We are in good condition, and we thank God for that. We inform you that since the death of the two shaykhs, Abu Umar al-Baghdadi and his minister of war [Abu Hamza al-Muhajir], we have improved our condition and become more consolidated on our path. We have strengthened our life structure, though their death has violently shocked the Islamic State. Such a shock that many big countries would not be able to cope. Amid such incidents, many conflicts and hostilities do always take place. Such quakes and turmoil could crash the pillars of any country. However, the Islamic State is different, showing patience, steadfastness, pride, challenge, and unity on all sides while confronting such an ordeal. There has been no conflict regarding assigning a new emir for the Islamic State, an attitude that reflects the solid structure of this blessed state.
Although we miss our emir, Abu Umar al-Baghdadi, God has bestowed upon us a better successor for him; we expect him to be so, and God always knows best. The emir is Abu Bakr al-Husayni al-Qurayshi al-Baghdadi, may God preserve his soul and guide his steps. In addition, there is his vice-emir Abu Abdullah al-Hassani al-Qurayshi, may God preserve his soul. Although we lost the lion-like minister of war, Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, he had been grooming valorous, lion-like men, whom he left behind. We can see one of them distinctly in the battlefields. This is Abu Sulayman al-Nasser Ledeen Allah [Numan al-Zaydi].
So, rejoice at this good news and feel peace of mind, as the Islamic State baqiya [will remain safe], inshallah [God willing], in defiance of all the malignant, hateful ones. In the words of our deceased emir, Abu Umar al-Baghdadi, it [“the State”] is:
“Baqiya because it was built from the limbs of the martyrs and irrigated from their blood, and with it the doors of janna [paradise] were opened. Baqiya, because the success granted by God upon this jihad is more obvious than the sun in the sky. Baqiya, because it has not been contaminated with haram [illegal] income, nor distorted manhaj [methodology]. Baqiya, by the truthfulness of its leaders, who sacrificed their blood, and the faithfulness of its soldiers who built it with their arms. We consider them such and God is their judge. Baqiya, because it is the unity of the mujahideen and the refuge of the poor and the oppressed. Baqiya, because Islam began to rise high, and the fog began to fade, and infidelity is being exposed and defeated. Baqiya, because it is the call of the oppressed, the tear of the bereaved women, the cry of the captives [prisoners], and the hope of the orphans. Baqiya, because disbelief in all its forms and sects have gathered against us, and because all deviant thinkers and innovators, cowards and traitors began to slander and defame it; because of this we became certain of the sincerity of the aim and the validity of the path. Baqiya, because we are confident God will not break the hearts of the oppressed muwahideen [monotheists] and will not let the transgressors rejoice at our misery. Baqiya, because God Almighty promised [it would be so] in His Perfect Book [the Qur’an], saying: ‘God has promised those among you who believe, and do righteous deeds, that He will certainly grant them succession [to the present rulers] upon the earth, as He granted it to those before them, and that He will grant them the authority to practice their religion, which He has chosen for them. And He will surely substitute for them, after their fear, security’ [Al-Nur (24):55].”
We are here to direct our speech and call upon the Islamic preachers and scholars of our umma, those who are regarded as the candles of guidance and the heirs of prophets. We direct our speech to the righteous Islamic scholars, not those perverted official ones who support idols, nor those clown-like satellite preachers of evil. O, Sunni Islamic scholars! We remind you of some Words of God: “And [remember] when God took a covenant from those who were given the Scripture [i.e. the Jews and Christians. He said]: ‘You are to expound it [the coming of Muhammad as the final Messenger] to mankind and not conceal it’. But they threw the pledge over their shoulders [/behind their backs] and bartered it for a miserable gain. What a bad bargain they made” [Ali Imran (3): 187].
O, our Islamic preachers! You have realized that we are following the Truth; how will you keep this knowledge hidden? Have you not comprehended God’s Words: “Jihad is ordained for you” [Al-Baqara (2): 216]? By God, when will time be due for warfare, then? Is time not due for you to raise the banner of jihad and support it? How long will you continue flattering the idols and keeping the Truth hidden? How long will you fear to be chased and dread [being sent to] prisons? How long will you keep handing people and lands over to the Jews and Crusaders? How long will you refrain from, and prevent the people, from marching forth to the battlefields of jihad? Has God commanded you to act as such? Please, bear in mind that we are calling upon you, and we have prepared soldiers and ammunition for you! So hurry up, as there is no excuse for you to fall behind the battlefields! Hurry up to hold the keys of control! If you refuse, we will complain to God about you. God is sufficient for us and most excellent is He, the Protector. We will meet you one day in the presence of God, and God says: “If you turn away [from Islam], He will substitute [/exchange] you for some other people, and then they will not be like you” [Muhammad (47): 38].
We also have a message for all of our endeared umma who have sent their offspring to the fields of jihad, we congratulate them on the advent of the blessed month of Ramadan. We say to them: O, our endeared umma! Bear in mind that the project of the Islamic State is your coming project, and while your offspring have not established its foundations it will raise your position, honour you, and relieve you from aspects of the transgressions befalling you. They have established it with their blood and body parts, and on piles of skulls. Therefore, you need not to be miser about supporting this project with whatever is precious and valuable. Our Islamic State baqiya. We have resumed these days the receipt of the muhajirun [lit. “emigrants”; the foreign fighters]; we train them and provide them with lodgings. We are still, in Mesopotamia, the main frontline in confrontations with the enemies, despite all [the false information] that has been circulating about us, and despite all the accusations. The proof that we still occupy the main front line is the focus of the national and international military institutions on our media bodies in Iraq.
Keep in mind, our dear umma, that we are advancing with the help of God, no matter how few we are, or how unfaithful were our friends [i.e. the other Sunni insurgents who became the Awakening militias]. Our hearts have been free of the embellishments of life and its vain joys. We have deserted all of its worldly ambitions and goals, and we have taken the glowing embers as a bed and the burning fire as garments. We have been used to affliction and tribulations, troubles and tribulations until troubles turned to be our vehicles and hardships turned out to be our goals.
We have taken on tribulations as a sign of our passionate love for them. So, if we won, it would demonstrate that hardships yield to those seeking them; and if we died, it would only show that cups of death are offered to those demanding them.
We need, then, to go on striving against the enemies of Islam, while we care not whether we are killed or arrested, or our bodies and organs are broken or cut off. We will remain as a spear placed in the hearts of infidels and apostates. We will fight their big numbers with our small force. We will render their lives bitter with our endurance, as God is our supporter and they have none, and blessed is death for those mindful of their duty to God.
We then direct our speech to our people and families in Mesopotamia. We deliver our speech in firm, steadfast resolution, and with fearful injury and sadness in our hearts. Firm, steadfast resolution, inspired by the support of many of them to the Islamic State and by their help to the mujahideen, and hearts injured by the attitude of some of them against the project of the Islamic State, their defiance of a ruling according to what God has revealed, especially those who used to support the project and have given it up. We talk with sad hearts regarding the miseries and hardships you suffer; the deprivation, the abandonment, and the marginal position you are assigned. We talk to you with fearful hearts for your oppressed, belittled, defamed, and humiliated conditions. O, our Sunni people! O, our zealous tribes, the tribes of good and gallantry! O, you who used to support us, provide patronage, give shelter, and sacrifice! You may rejoice, as the Islamic State baqiya. So, remain steadfast and persevere; be certain that God is with us and He will render us victorious with His Will. This is a fact to be accepted and not something to be doubted.
As for you who have slackened and betrayed us; and you who have turned out to be cowards, throwing down your weapons and ignoring your obligation to jihad; and you who have been neutral, who kept silent and accepted attacks on the jihad and the mujahideen—these days are bearing witness [to the strength of the Islamic State], can you not hear? These incidents [the assassinations of the Awakening leaders] are the proof, can you not see? This is the Book of God judging among us—do you not accept this?!
The assumed political solution that you have accepted and joined is but a false American pretext, a malignant Zionist conspiracy, a dirty Magi Rafida trick, a cover under which the Crusaders advance their false delusions of victory regarding the extinguishing of jihad and the spreading of democracy. It is a conspiracy to establish a secularist Kurdish state aligned with the Jews; it is a dagger in their hands to stab the Muslims in their backs. This assumed political process is a filthy Magi Rafida pretext to orchestrate their Safawi [Iranian] plots to weaken the Sunnis and lead them to be an oppressed minority that is easily controlled, suppressed and humiliated [by the Iraqi state].
O, God! May my people become able to know; may my people become able to see; may my people may become able to hear! O, you, the Sunni tribes! The [political] parties in which you put your hopes and the institutions you are pursuing, hoping they will be fair and implement reforms, are solely a wall built up against the mujahideen to rescue the Crusaders and defend them. They are merely a guilty tool in the hands of the Magi Rafida effort to defeat the Sunnis. Their chiefs, leaders, and representatives are holders of personal greed and interests, and no more. There is no disgrace from which they will refrain and no evil they are fearful of [participating in]. In such circumstances, the chiefs of my people are asked to drink cups of humiliation and love it; they have been sailing across seas of lowliness.
They purchased villainy with chivalry; and became contented with the life of lowliness and the garments of shame. They turned away from jihad and the paths of guidance, and followed the fatwas of ulema al-su’ [the evil or malicious scholars], by whom they have been bought. They betrayed the jihad and defended the Jews; they handed their lands over to the enemy and supported the Cross of unfaithfulness. They have been recruited into the armies and parties of criminality; and stationed their convoys under the command of the Cross. Other than riding animals, I can give them no name; they are the backs of animals, exploited to carry their idol-worshipping masters.
Yes, O, the Sunnis! Your leaders whom you have elected, those who claim that they represent you, are but riding animals for the Crusaders and the malicious Rafida, for democracy to be the dream of people, and for the aspired religion to be that of Iran, which can choose or reject whom it likes. You are contented with the inferior positions and the crumbs of any profits and gains. You have thus become the dummies of the era, those at whom children laugh. You are invited to look at matters and judge them.
What’s truly unbelievable is that they accuse the mujahideen of being agents for Iran! We can recall the proverb: “She accused me of her defects and sneaked away”. Pay attention, O Sunnis, and judge who the agents of Iran are [by what they do]. Who is combating the Iranians and their agents and killing them? And who is looking for them and so they can throw themselves into their arms?! Is it not the Islamic State that stands against them and kills them? And isn’t it those who claim to represent who you look for the Iranians to throw themselves into their arms? Have not Mahmud al-Mashadani, Tareq al-Hashimi, and Ahmed Abdul-Ghafur al-Samira’i go to them?! Hasn’t Hamid al-Hayes gone to them with his group [the Anbar Salvation Council], even though he does not represent any official party? Have Ayad al-Samira’i and Usama al-Nujayfi not gone to them? These great traitors, who recently went to America on the pretext of recovering money stolen from the IDF [Iraqi Development Fund], which reaches seventeen million dollars. This is what has been exposed and admitted; what is veiled is far greater. But this treacherous man, Al-Nujayfi, signed an agreement with his American paymasters for four-hundred million dollars, instead of demanding the return of the money stolen from the poor Iraqi people. This was the visible later of the visit; the truth is he was meeting the leaders of al-bayt al-aswad [“The Black House”, i.e. the White House] and the extremist Jew, Senator John McCain, to look for a new justification and lawful cover for the Crusaders to remain in Iraq. Are they not the ones who went to Tehran to seek its approval for their appointment to state positions? Has the treacherous Abdul-Karim al-Samira’i not signed an agreement to hand the riches of Iraq over to Tehran? Is Ayad al-Samira’i, the head of the [Muslim Brotherhood affiliate Iraqi] Islamic Party, not the source of villainy and meanness, and the junction of graft and treachery? Is he not an Islamic representative in name and a criminal secularist in nature? Is he not directly related to the Magi [Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps] Quds Force to plot against the Sunnis and the mujahideen? Is this not a treason on a scale that means this criminal party deserves to be uprooted?
O, our families and tribes [/clans (ashayer)]! Please come back to your senses and support abnayakum al-mujahideen [your sons the mujahideen] against this [expansionist] tide of Safavid Rafidis. Keep in mind the situation when we were in control of the area from Baghdad to Al-Qa’im; from Baghdad to the Northern Province; from Baghdad to Diyala; and from Baghdad to Al-Kut and Babel. Keep in mind that no Rafidi army was able to step into them, but after we had left the entire world could see the violations the Rafidi army was exercising in the Sunni districts. They were not satisfied with filling the prisons there with your men, but they arrested and raped some of your women and detained them in Abu Ghraib, Mosul, and Diyala. All this happened while the chiefs of the Sahwat [Awakening militias], who claimed they rebelled against the mujahideen to defend the Sunnis sat idle and did not dare to take any action. To the contrary, they were revealed to be the protectors of the Crusaders and the Rafida.
O, our Sunni people! O, you, the tribes of good! You have tried all kinds of regimes, and you have witnessed the treachery of all these parties and those failing, perverted groups. You have experienced the bitterness of the laws and constitutions. Please, bear in mind that you have no way of rescue except by the Book of God and the sunna of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. We are inviting you to disavow all the human-made laws and constitutions; to renounce their supporters, followers, and representatives; to foster the Divine Islamic shari’a revealed to Muhammad; and to announce your support for its supporters, followers, and representatives. You are invited to unite hands with your sons, the mujahideen, to form a solid front against the Crusader Rafidi plots and the Magi Iranian expansion in Mesopotamia and all Muslim lands, so as to be able to restore your Islamic caliphate and your sanctities and resources, to be able to restore your honour, dignity, and sovereignty that you have missed since the fall of the Islamic caliphate. It will never come back to you until you hold tight to your religion and work to restore the Islamic caliphate. If you don’t do, you will be avoiding righteousness and truth, and you will be insisting on continuing with enticement and perversion. You need to know that without the mujahideen, you would be easily swallowed by the Rafida snakes. What they have done in Samarra, with the expulsion of its people and the plundering its resources and looting people’s possessions, would soon be upon you.
All this has been taking place while the chiefs of your parties and the leaders among your blocs keep chanting: “There is no difference between Sunnis and Shiites”, while the Rafida—whom your leadership does not differentiate you from—are still refuting all the hadiths of Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. They reject them in full and in detail on the pretext that they have reached us through his Companions, and they believe that the Companions of Prophet Muhammad are renegade apostates. They replace his hadiths with some novels and hearsay and insane, unreasonable stories that they ascribe to Ja’far ibn Muhammad, may God have mercy upon him, while he is innocent of them. Can you see no difference between you and them?
Your leaders [z’amawukum] do not differentiate between you and the Rafidis, although they attack the honour of Prophet Muhammad’s wives, peace and blessings be upon them, and they throw them with infidelity, adultery, and other outrageous false accusations. Are you like them? Do you not feel ashamed before your Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, to say that there is no difference between you and the Rafida? Your leaders do not differentiate between you and the Rafida, who consider the Companions of the Prophet to be infidels and claim that they have no concerns except for food, sex, and leading state positions.
Your leaders consider you equal to the Rafida who attribute Divinity to the Family of Prophet Muhammad and they do worship them. They do not consider you different from the Rafida who claim that Abu Bakr and Umar, may God be pleased with them, the ministers of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, have unlawfully acquired their positions, and that Ali ibn Abi Talib has approved falsehood; do you regard yourselves as equal?! Your leaders do not consider any difference between you and the Rafida who claim that Umar ibn al-Khattab, Al-Faruq [the discerner about Truth and falsehood], may God be pleased with him, who conquered Cyrus [the Great of Iran] and defied his pride, had been a catamite [boy kept by older man for homosexual purposes], may God save us from such falsehood! They claim that his mother was Sahhak, a prostitute. They claim that Ali ibn Abi Talib, may God be pleased with him, committed adultery with his sister when he spent the night over in his house enjoying nekah al-mut’a [a pleasure marriage], so Umar disavowed her. Are you of these likes? Is there no difference between you and them?
The Rafida claim that Sa’d, the uncle of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, the conqueror of the people of Cyrus and the Magi, was a malicious bastard. They even claim that the bani-Zahra [kinsfolk of Zahra], the kinsfolk of Prophet Muhammad’s uncles [on the side of his mother], were all bastards. They claim that Amr ibn al-A’as, may God be pleased with him, the subjugator of the Romans and who opened Egypt, was a bastard as well. Do you then consider yourselves like them?!
The Rafida do not consider themselves related to the great Arab umma, chosen by God to carry His religion and deliver it to the world. They announce themselves as an Iranian community wherever they go, associated with Qom ideology, behavior, feelings, and the signs they bear. They do not fast, breakfast, celebrate feasts, or go on pilgrimage except according to them. They do not pray except according to their timing. They do not pay loyalty but to them. Are they Sunnis? Is there no difference between you and the Rafida as your leaders claim?
As for us, the children of the Islamic State, we pledge God first and the Muslim umma second that the Safawi Rafidi Iranians will not pass except over our dead and broken bodies. But what excuses will you present to the Lord later on?! I think I have delivered my message. Please God, bear witness.
As for you, al-sahwat al-shaytaniya [the satanic/diabolical Awakening], we are keen to guide you to the correct path, even more keen than you are to kill us. Here is the Book of God assigned to judge between us; we thus invite you to answer but one single question: Have you satisfied America and its allies or not? Are they satisfied with the Iraqi government, the parliament and its members? The answer, of course, is, “Yes”. Have you come across these words of God Almighty: “Never will the Jews nor the Christians be pleased with you until you follow their religion” [Al-Baqara (2): 120]. What, then, are you doing with them?
Have you ever recited this aya [Qur’anic verse]: “Do they [those who take disbelievers for auliya (protectors, helpers, friends)] seek power through them? Verily, all power is God’s to give” [Al-Nisa (4): 139]. Do you seek honour with them? Have these words of God, “Honour belongs to God, His Messenger, and to the believers, but the hypocrites know not” [Al-Munafiqun (63): 8], not reached you? Have you not heard these words of God: “Muhammad is the Messenger of God, and those with him are harsh against the unbelievers and compassionate [/merciful] among themselves” [Al-Fatah (48): 29]?
Why, then, are you tough [ashed’a] against the Muslims and compassionate towards the Americans and the Rafida? Do you believe in their creed now, so there are no differences between you as there was before? Are you seeking power through them? Or do you have some god other than God? You seem to have acquired associates who prescribe for you a religion that God does not approve of.
“Have they [set up] partners [equivalent] with God [i.e. polytheism], who have sanctioned for them [things] in religion that God does not allow” [Al-Shura . They have prescribed for you: unity among religions; peaceful attitudes toward infidels; equality with them; brotherhood between you and them; and living in harmony with them. They have prescribed for you: the political parties; democracy; parliaments; and to adjudge by some Book other than that revealed by God to judge among you. [By doing] so you have followed their creed, and therefore they became pleased with you.
We are inviting you back to the Book of God and the sunna of His Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. You are invited to faithfully repent to God, and to go back to your religion and disavow any deviation from Islam. Whoever among you decides to come to us peacefully, before we have power over him, we consider his blood unlawful, even if he has killed thousands of Muslims, and we would not ask him for any blood money or substitute for that. By God! We feel gladder with your repentance than with reaping your heads. Why, then, are you holding enmity against us, and turning your bodies into shields and fortresses for the Rafida and the Crusaders, preventing us from reaching them? Please leave us with them and do not interfere! What have you got against us? And what would we have against you if you repented and became righteous? Why do you refuse?
How long are you going to live in terror? Do any of you believe you can step outside your doors or travel or even sleep in your own homes? When will you enjoy peace again? How long are you going to stay on guard night and day? Do you think we will go away? Do you imagine we will finish? Or do you think we will get bored or tired? No! We will remain, inshallah, fighting until the Hour, and the final confrontation with Dajal. Please hasten, as we still hope you will repent to God. That’s why we only kill your leaders and those whom we despair of their repentance. Repent quickly before [it is too late and] you are left with regret; the battlefield outcome is already determined, and it is only a matter of days. So, if you abstain from repentance, insist on throwing yourselves into the arms of the Rafida and Iran, and remain following them and defending them with your souls and blood, then expect us to cut your heads off. We have come to you with men who have divorced themselves from the worldly life and have put it under their shoes. They love death more than you love life. Death for them is the most sublime of aspirations. You can have no power over them. We would begin with you, to purify the earth of your filth and bear witness to the state of things for us. Battlefields are between you and us. However, the people of discernment are those who take lessons. You need to take lessons from those of your leaders and men who were struck down. Bear in mind that one of these days we will conquer you, you are not going to conquer us, inshallah. You used to see us, while we could not see you; you used to know us, while we did not know you. But these days we can see you, while you can see us not. We recognize who has harmed and fought us; we can easily reach you, we will not hold back from killing you now. However, your repentance is more pleasing to us than killing you. Who do you think can protect you from our attacks now? Your masters, the Americans, have turned their backs and left you alone. Meanwhile, the Rafida do not differentiate between you and us. After they took over the lands of the Sunnis from you, they filled their prisons with you. With whom, then, can you seek shelter? Or to where can you flee? By God, you have no shelter or refuge but with God, and after him is the Islamic State!
Now we address the steadfast mujahideen of our brothers and sons and our kinsfolk in the Islamic State of Iraq: Know that of the greatest blessings of God are that He has chosen you, guided you, and given you life until the time at which God is renewing His religion and reviving the banners of Islam and Muslims. It is of the greatest blessings to you that God destined you to remain alive until this day, when patrons are rare, supporters are few, and friends become unfaithful, while blamers and doubters are many. You need to praise God for this great blessing that outwardly appears to be a great affliction. Be grateful to God for this generous gift that outwardly appears to be a painful ordeal. By God, if Caliphs Abu Bakr, Umar, Othman, and Ali, and others of the first to embrace Islam—may God be pleased with them all—were present at our time and place, they would be performing jihad against those criminals of the apostates, Rafida, and Crusaders, and restoring the Islamic caliphate and the Muslim state! No one is expected, therefore, to miss such scenes and situations, except those who have fooled themselves and those perverted away from truth. By God, if we remained prostrating our heads to God for a whole life and kept praising Him for this grace, we would not fulfill even half of our duty to Him! Nothing could be worthy of this grace except to shed our blood, present our souls as cheap for the sake of God the Almighty; and not to resign or ask others to resign until God rewards us with either of the two rewards. So be steadfast, may God have mercy upon you, and bear in mind that there is no success without perseverance in patience and constancy and stationing against the enemies of religion (Islam). As no nation was prosperous without observing such principles; and no nation did miss such prosperity except after it ignored some of these principles. Persevere in patience, as we swear by God that no day does pass by us without increasing our sure faith about this path and this religious set of principles.
Dear brethren: We know that you are eager for our speeches, and worried because of the long absence. Know that the fire from your State has not faded, nor its voice been lowered! It is, however, a fact that balls in playgrounds sometimes do go off side. Therefore, do not allow yourselves to be deceived with the publications of the Green Zone, as you have experienced their lies so many a times. No day for them could pass without announcing the capturing of a leader or the killing of a minister or the arrest of a wali [governor] or the liquidation of an emir, along with dozens of soldiers of the State of Islam and seizing piles of weapons to be displayed before media cameras. This is what happens after every slap and blow [or “slap and punch”; al-saf’at wa-lakamaat] in the face received by the government of the Magi [Iraqi prime minister] Nuri [al-Maliki]. We are used to hearing these false declarations from the liar of Baghdad, [Iraqi government spokesman] Qassem [al-Moussawi], announcing the arrest of the alleged perpetrators of these [terrorist] operations, who turn out to be either agents of the Sahwat, so they help us get rid of them, or poor innocent Muslims, who are forced under duress to make false confessions we then listen to.
We can only laugh at the liar of Baghdad while he is relating his story of the arrest process, and stressing the heroic performance of the qut’an [herds, flocks] of the army, the competencies of the fools of the security apparatus, and the quality of the equipment that they look forward to replacing them with trained dogs. Really, the most evil scourge they afflict us with is that we are worn out from laughter.
Arrest are frequent and the statements along with them. Meanwhile, the slaps and blows [against the Iraqi government] are increasing, and the strikes and various other operations are afflicting the enemy. It is a fact that war has its ups and downs; we are also taking fatalities. However, I can swear that this is not due to the enemies’ unprecedented surveillance or plans. Take, for example, the death of Abu Ibrahim [Numan al-Zaydi], the governor of Al-Anbar. His life ended when he was trying to drive a booby-trapped vehicle to Al-Ramadi and came across an inspection point in Heet. They discovered his explosive belt. Not satisfied with killing only two soldiers, he rushed to try to reach the inspection centre nearby, but he was killed before he could get there. May God have mercy upon him. They found some money with him, so they thought him a very important man, and then they discovered that he was one of the most-wanted men in Iraq. They claimed that he was the minister of war. And again, one of the liars came up to relate a scenario of how he was put under watch for days by the fools of the security apparatus before they killed him, and this is what they always do.
We praise God, since we have discovered that any blows we receive only increase our power and steadfastness. When Abu Umar died, we wondered: Where could we get an emir like Abu Umar from? Then we were blessed with Abu Bakr to succeed him. O, Abu Bakr! If you asked about him, you would find that he relates to Husayn ibn Ali, the Quraysh tribe, and the House of the Prophet Muhammad’s blessed Family. He is a knowledgeable Islamic scholar, who implements the teachings of Qur’an and sunna; he is a mujahid and a humble servant of God. He is endowed with the steadfastness, courage, aspirations, and aqeeda [true faith/doctrine/creed] of Abu Musab [al-Zarqawi]; with forbearance, justice, rationality, and humility of Abu Umar [al-Baghdadi]; and with the sharp intelligence, wits, shrewdness, and patience of Abu Hamza [al-Muhajir]. You can see that adversity has trained him and distresses has polished his personality through eight years of jihad from whose sea-like resources he has been taught until he became like a touchstone for gold and a cluster of stakes. Honorable is he for us to try to become nearer to God by washing his feet and kissing them, and defending him with money, soul, and sons. I bear witness to this and God bears witness to my words. If I could, I would mention his name and kinship to you. But I believe God Almighty has been preparing him for these difficult days, and I congratulate you, O sons of the Islamic State, with Abu Bakr.
So rejoice at this news, for Zarqawi-like days are approaching you, followed, inshallah, by Umar-like conquests. Therefore, monitor the targets, make plans, booby-trap vehicles and belts, test silencers, make compact all explosive containers, get ready and tighten your belts, clench your teeth, keep eyes open, show your canine teeth with a no smiling face, and launch deadly strikes. But attention, please! You should be cautious and examine things before attacks.
As Emir al-Mu’mineen [the Commander of the Faithful, or Prince of the Believers], may God preserve his body and soul, reminds you and commands you: keep benevolent attitudes, lenience, and kind-heartedness, and try to draw nearer to people’s hearts. Support them; forgive and cease any anger, even against those who abused you; extend a helping hand and open your doors for the repenting ones; be patient with what they did; accept them with their defects; embrace them despite their faults; drink their water no matter how muddy it is; meet their offenses with forgiveness; pass over their flaws and their guilt as if it has been erased; fulfil all pledges you make; and never betray or be treacherous by any means.
He reminds you of the imperative to preserve the blood of the Muslims, as you are fighting to defend them. He declares that the Islamic State repudiates any person who is proven to have intentionally shed any unlawful blood. You are expected to hit the right thing and make up for deficiencies. You need to consider carefully when making any plan; examine things before executing these plans; and concentrate on holding operations at night so as to avoid killing civilian and commoners. If we learn of any negligence or complacency by any of you that causes even a small number of civilian causalities, we will hold a trial at Majlis al-Qada [The Judicial Council] and mete out the most severe punishment.
O, you lions of Baghdad! With you and for you is planting and harvesting crops, as you are the mirrors that reflect battlefields and confrontations. You are at locations of combat and struggle; you are the frontlines and spears of the Islamic State. How righteous you are! You are not subdued by fear. You abstain from lowliness and the ones watering the thirst of death. Please, never lean towards safety away from the battlefields! Never allow regret or blame to turn you away from God! Break into floods, increase the number of attacks, and make the days full of blood.
O, you, al-suqur [the falcons or hawks] of the Province of Al-Anbar! You are the striking arms of the Islamic State and its sharp cutting sword. You are holders of minds and souls that can bring up elite cadres. You have resources for generating leaders, and plans for killing transgressors and their lead generals. You represent the heart of the battlefields, as you are the racehorses. The starting point of jihad was on your lands that, and at your doors resolutions are generated. You are the western gate of the Islamic caliphate through which we could reach Al-Quds [Jerusalem], inshallah. So, prepare yourselves for actions, lift your shoulders in dignity, and make black the days and nights of apostates, as you are the patrons of the creed of al-wala wal-bara [loyalty to Muslims and renunciation of infidels].
O, you, the knights of Diyala, ard al-malahem wa-butulat [the land of epic battles and heroism]! You are the essence of the Islamic State and its army. You are its stronghold at times of crisis. You led the way with tamkin [empowerment, Islamist governance] and conquests. How blessed are these manly men, O God! So, get ready; be on the alert; get to work; be wise; fill up your shelters with weapons; straighten your arrows; and restore the past years of honour and glory.
O, you, the heroes of the ancient cities of Mosul and the northern areas! O, you, the solid rock against the rebellious enemy outside the castle, at whose gates the Zionist-Kurdish project crashes and the Crusader Rafidi dream disperses! They cannot succeed while you are the grandchildren of Mahmud and Saladin. Be careful, so as we may not be attacked through you. Gather all what you may need, fasten your belts, prepare all the equipment you may need, and revive the old fierce battles against enemies.
O, you, the valiant knights of Kirkuk and the city of Saladin! How keen your swords are against the heads of the enemy. How courageous your knights are; each of them is equal to a thousand and more of knights. How powerful you are! Your equipment is solely the Truth and your proof is the sword. You do not approve any injustice. So do not take off your shields, and multiply your attacks against the enemies.
As for you in the mountains of the southern area, you are the protectors of Truth, the lions of actions and battlefields. You are the spears of the Islamic State against the malicious Rafida. You have cured the souls of the monotheists with your attacks on the nests of treachery and the centres of filthiness in Basra, Al-Hilla, Al-Diwaniya, Al-Kut, and the soiled cities of Al-Najaf and Karbala. How brave you are! Even the weakest among you is so courageous. O, make ready the silencers you have; prepare the bombs and explosives; booby-trap everything, even the bodily remains; and raise the banner of tawheed [monotheism] on the lands of polytheism.
As for you, the lions lying down behind prison bars, the mujahideen and oppressed innocent Muslims; we have never and will never forget you. How could we forget? Releasing you from prison is an Islamic obligation and a prophetic command. It is an obligation on all Muslims and not only on the mujahideen. If the umma slackened to release you, then your brethren of the Islamic State of Iraq would consider releasing and freeing you their utmost and supreme priority. By God, we will never rest, nor enjoy any peace of soul or mind, while there is even one Muslim in the prisons of infidels. We pledge to God, then you, to never to spare any effort to set you free, and to spend toward this all money and souls available. We will exert every effort to qutuf ru’ws [reap/pick the heads] of your butchers and interrogators, and the judges who oversee this. We will silence their breath with our silencers, uproot their hearts with booby-traps, and rip off their limbs with sticky explosives.
We have made efforts to implement these plans, delivering weapons to your brethren in the prison of the so-called “anti-terrorism centre” so we became an “anti” against the “anti”. The hero-martyr, Dr. Hudayfa al-Batawi, the memorizer of Qur’an and the late governor of Baghdad, along with some of his brethren, killed the so-called Brigadier General, Iyad Saleh, may God punish him, while he was among a herd of his colleagues. He was the third malicious person on whom the vicious Rafidi, Nuri [al-Maliki], used to depend.
Let your butchers know, from the judges to the interrogators, that we keep files on every one of them and will keep pursuing them until we have killed them one after the other. You can ask about the end of some judges, such as: Adnan al-Baldawi, Najm Abd al-Wahid, Muhammad Abd al- Ghafur, and Al-Tamimi al-Taji.
They need to know that executing any woman or man of the Sunni captives in general and the mujahideen in particular will lead to terrible ends for such judges and interrogators, which you would see with your very eyes. Enemies have learned more even than friends that we implement our words. You can take the incident of our sister in iman, Du’a al-Yazidiya who embraced Islam, as a recent example.
We end by saying to all the sects and types of infidelity—from the malevolent Jews and Crusaders, to the hateful secularists [almaneen], communists [shuyu’een], and atheists [mulahedeen] to the malicious Rafida polytheists [mushrikun] and renegade apostates [murtadeen]—that the Islamic State of Iraq baqiya [will remain (safe)].
Baqiya, despite your united attacks on it.
Baqiya, despite your armies and your multitudes [of factions] and your large numbers.
Baqiya, despite your lethal iron hammers against our souls.
Baqiya, despite your wicked plots and conspiracies.
Baqiya, despite your grudges and malignant envious attitude toward us.
Baqiya, against your will.
Allahu Akbar [God is Greatest].
Dignity and honour are but for God, His Messenger, and the Believers. And the blessed end is that for the righteous pious.
You brother in iman, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the Spokesman of the Islamic State of Iraq.
1 Ramadan 1432 [1 August 2011]
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 Almost certainly a reference to the Muslim Brotherhood cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who had risen to great status among Muslims using his perch at the Qatari state-funded satellite channel, Al-Jazeera.
 Magi is a reference to Zoroastrianism, i.e. Iranians, and Rafidi or Rafida is a bigoted term for Shi’is, often also intended to mean Iranians, and in this context a reference to the Iraqi security forces that the Islamic State contends—not completely untruthfully—are under sectarian and Iranian control.
 The U.S. announced that it would be entirely withdrawing from Iraq on 21 October 2011, after President Barack Obama made the Iraqi government an offer they were meant to refuse in negotiations to extend the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) that expired on 31 December 2011. But it was obvious even at the time Falaha was speaking in the summer of 2011 that the Obama administration was reluctant to keep troops in Iraq for political reasons. The Obama view, which conveyed itself publicly, was expressed by a White House flunky this way: “If our plan works, we’ll take credit. If Iraq fails …, we’ll just blame George Bush.”
 This is a reference to Du’a Khalil Aswad, a 17-year-old Yazidi girl, who converted to Islam to marry a Sunni boy—and was stoned to death by her community in an “honour killing” (lynching) in Basheeqa, north-east of Mosul, on 7 April 2007. ISI took advantage of the uproar over this—the murder was filmed and the video distributed on the internet, stoking hatred against a community that many orthodox Muslims believe are “devil worshippers” at the best of times—to frame a series of subsequent sectarian attacks as reprisals. There was one about two weeks later, killing two-dozen Yazidis and Christians pulled from a bus in Mosul, and another on 14 August 2007, truck bombings against Yazidi villages west of Mosul, near the Syrian border, which massacred well-over 500 people, one of the deadliest Islamic State movement attacks there has ever been.