Hamza bin Ladin, son of Usama and one of al-Qaeda’s rising media stars, released an audio speech on 31 March, labelled as the sixth edition of his “Sovereignty of the Best of Nations Is In the Uprising of the People of the Haram” series. Oddly, the last speech in the series, released on 18 January, was labelled as the fourth instalment. This speech also focused on delegitimising the Saudi government, in this case by laying out the history of its close relations with the United States and the work the Saudis have done to suppress jihadism. An English-language transcript was released by al-Qaeda’s As-Sahab Media and is reproduced below with some editions in transliteration. Continue reading →
The new book by the investigative journalists Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark, The Exile: The Flight of Osama bin Laden, charts the career of al-Qaeda’s founder, Osama bin Laden, up to the day he became a household name—11 September 2001—through his downfall in 2011, to the end of 2016, when al-Qaeda was more powerful than ever. It is a thoroughly absorbing account, bringing to light vast tranches of new facts, including many intricate details of how al-Qaeda operated on a human, day-to-day level, and of those states and para-states that shielded the terror network, collaborated with it, and enabled it—and still do.
The gathering of the Bin Laden network in Sudan and then in the Taliban-held areas of Afghanistan in the 1990s is a familiar story, but the splits and debates among the Arab jihadists around Bin Laden, including the opposition of significant numbers of them to the 9/11 massacre, is perhaps less well known. The authors trace out how Bin Laden manipulated his own quasi-institutions to get his way. First, Bin Laden took on the plan of a man, Khalid Shaykh Muhammad (KSM), who was not even a member of al-Qaeda, and then, ahead of the crucial vote, packed the shura (consultation) council with ultra-zealous Egyptians by engineering a merger between al-Qaeda and Islamic Jihad, led by Ayman al-Zawahiri. Continue reading →
The son of al-Qaeda’s founder, Hamza Usama bin Ladin, released a short, twelve-minute speech earlier today, the fourth episode of “Sovereignty of the Best of Nations Is In the Uprising of the People of the Haram”. Hamza root-and-branch condemns the legitimacy of the Saudi monarchy as founded on a pact with a disbelieving state, Britain. An English translation of the speech was released by al-Qaeda’s as-Sahab Media and is reproduced below. Continue reading →
Earlier today, Hamza bin Ladin, the son of al-Qaeda’s founder, Usama bin Ladin, released a letter, “To His Honourable Family on the Occasion of the Martyrdom of His Son Usama, May Allah Accept Him”. An English translation was released on a pro-al-Qaeda Telegram channel and is reproduced below. Continue reading →
Iyad al-Tubaysi (Abu Julaybib), Sami al-Uraydi (Abu Mahmud al-Shami)
Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a powerful jihadi group in northern Syria, formally broke from al-Qaeda’s command over the last year. In the morning of 27 November, HTS arrested the leaders of a splinter group from HTS that remained loyal to al-Qaeda. The arrests were first reported by pro-al-Qaeda media, and HTS has since released a statement explaining that, having found this al-Qaeda group unwilling to even engage in reconciliation talks, it placed “the heads of turmoil” before a “just shari’a court” to answer for spreading demoralizing lies about HTS. Continue reading →
Hamza bin Ladin on his wedding day in Tehran, under the protection of the Quds Force, the expeditionary unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps that attempts to spread the Iranian revolution through subversion and terrorism
Hamza bin Ladin, whose profile is being deliberately raised within al-Qaeda, released a speech on 7 November 2017, “The Fighter Against Invaders And The Inciter of Rebellion Against Tyrants”, an English transcript of which was produced by As-Sahab Media, and is reproduced below. Continue reading →
Hamza bin Ladin, son of the late Usama, released an audio message today on behalf of al-Qaeda that placed Syria at the centre of the jihadists’ cause. An English transcript of Hamza’s message, entitled, “The Cause of al-Sham is the Cause of Islam” (or “The Cause of Syria is the Cause of Islam”)—echoing a statement in April by al-Qaeda’s leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, that “The cause of Syria is the cause of the entire umma (Muslim community”—was produced by As-Sahab Media, and is reproduced below, with some important sections highlighted in bold. Continue reading →
The son of al-Qaeda’s founder, Hamza Usama bin Ladin, released a speech on 13 May 2017, “Advice for Martyrdom-Seekers in the West”. The speech took the form of a ten-minute video released by As-Sahab, which was noticeably better in quality than al-Qaeda’s recent produce. The video opened by praising Sayyid Nusayr, and then included picture tributes in the background as Hamza spoke to some past jihadist attackers: Nidal Malik Hasan, Ramzi Yusef, Arid Uka, Ayman Hasan, Sulayman Khater, Mohammed Bouyeri. Michael Adebolajo, Michael Adebowale, and Mevlut Mert Altintas. An English translation of the speech is posted below, with some explanatory notes added and key sections highlighted in bold. Continue reading →
Last night it was reported that al-Qaeda’s overall deputy, Abu Khayr al-Masri, had been killed by the U.S.-led Coalition in Syria with a drone strike. This was soon seemingly confirmed by pro-Qaeda channels, and Abu al-Khayr was said to have been buried this morning. Though the emphasis on targeting jihadist leaders can be overdone, the demise of Abu al-Khayr is an important development, and one with significance beyond itself.
Abu al-Khayr’s career is demonstrative of a few interesting trends within the Jihadi-Salafist movement, primary among them the willingness of the Iranian revolution to work with the Sunni jihadists, al-Qaeda very much included, when it suits its purposes, particularly in undermining Western interests. Abu al-Khayr also elucidates the changed nature of al-Qaeda, where the “centre” (AQC) could now be said to be more in Syria than the Afghanistan-Pakistan, and where al-Qaeda operates both an overt and covert presence to try to secure a durable foothold in the Levant, which might in time be a base for attacks against the West, currently suspended only for tactical reasons. Continue reading →