July 17, 2014

IRAQ: Leader Of The Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's Message As Caliph, "Terrify The Enemies Of Allah And Seek Death." He Was Released By President Obama From Iraqi Prison In 2009.

Gatestone Institute
written by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi
Wednesday July 2, 2014
"[F]ear Allah as he should be feared and do not die except as Muslims.... Go forth, O mujahidin in the path of Allah. Terrify the enemies of Allah and seek death.... for the dunyā [worldly life] will come to an end, and the hereafter will last forever." — Abu Bakr al-Husayni al-Baghdadi, Caliph, "The Islamic State" [aka ISIS]
Marking the beginning of Ramadan, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of "the Islamic State" (formerly ISIS: the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) and declared Caliph Ibrahim, released a new audio message addressed to the Muslim world.

The new speech is most notable for being forthright about Baghdadi's message on the global nature of the Islamic State's struggle. Baghdadi touched on issues regarding the persecution of Muslims in Burma and the Philippines as well as the French restrictions on the wearing of the veil, and he responded to accusations that the Islamic State engages in 'irhab [terrorism].

Ominously, Baghdadi concluded his speech with aspirations for the Islamic State's conquest of "Rome" and the whole world. Such emphasis on the transnational nature of the Islamic State's project corroborates Baghdadi's projection of himself as the caliph and sole representative of Islamic rule on earth to whom all Muslims must pledge allegiance.

While these explicit proclamations, however, may come across as new in the Islamic State's messaging, the reality is that emphasis on worldwide ambitions has actually been a part of the group's propaganda since at least last summer when it was still known as ISIS. This distinguished ISIS early on from its al-Qa'ida competitor Jabhat al-Nusra, which prefers a more gradualist approach of "hearts and minds" as advocated by jihadist thinker Abu Mus'ab al-Suri. This approach aims to have locals first become accustomed to the norms of Shari'a law, with ambitions for a global Caliphate not expressed openly except in unofficial videos primarily put out by members of Jabhat al-Nusra's foreign contingent.

Only more recently, in response to the dispute with ISIS, has Jabhat al-Nusra in any of its official media outlets explicitly affirmed the Caliphate ambition, specifically in Shari'a official Sheikh Abu Sulayman al-Muhajir's interview featured this year by al-Basira media (an outlet set up by Jabhat al-Nusra to counter ISIS).

In contrast, in a video released by ISIS' media wing al-Furqan Media in August 2013, an elderly native Syrian fighter for ISIS, who had participated in the ISIS-led takeover of Mannagh airbase in Aleppo province, affirmed that jihad is farแธ ul-ayn [an obligation on every individual Muslim] and that it is necessary for an "Islamic state" to be established "over the entire world," beginning with victory in Bilad ash-Sham [Syria]. Also within the realm of official media, one of ISIS' early slogans was "the promised project of the Caliphate," featured on a billboard ISIS erected in the northern Aleppo town of Azaz, bordering Turkey, after seizing control of it from a rival group -- Northern Storm -- in September.

Elsewhere, one could observe long-standing ISIS billboards in Syria carrying statements like "Together we cultivate the tree of the Caliphate" and "a Caliphate pleasing to the Lord is better than democracy pleasing to the West." Besides these explicit affirmations, Baghdadi was projecting himself as a de facto caliph, taking the names of "al-Qurayshi" (indicating descent from Muhammad's tribe) and "al-Husseyni" (to indicate lineage from Muhammad's family), enhancing legitimacy to claims of being a caliph.

The reference to Rome in Baghdadi's latest message might seem odd at first sight too, but that has also been part of Baghdadi's de facto caliph image for months, as was apparent in his imposition of the dhimmi [second-class, "tolerated" non-Muslim residents] pact on Christians in Raqqa in March. Dhimmi status, in traditional theology as expounded in the Umdat al-Salik manual, is to be imposed by a caliph. ISIS' official Raqqa province news feed expressed hope that "tomorrow" (not literally, but at some point in the future) the dhimmi pact would be imposed in Rome.

While no one expects the vast majority of Muslims worldwide to migrate to Baghdadi's state, or caliphate, in Iraq and Syria to build up from there to take over the whole world, the question does arise of what implications there are for Baghdadi's project and how it plays out on the ground. The first implication is that these most explicit affirmations yet send a clear message to the other insurgent groups in Iraq in particular that there is no room for power-sharing, significantly increasing the prospect of wider fighting with groups like the Ba'athist Naqshbandi Army and the Islamic Army of Iraq, both of which have previously fought with ISIS' predecessor, the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI).

Optimists, however, who are hoping that the infighting might roll back the Islamic State are likely mistaken: the insurgency is significantly different from the days of the Iraq War, precisely because the insurgency is much more dominated by the Islamic State, which has vastly superior financial and arms resources spanning borders.

The second implication is that, internationally, existing trends will most likely be strengthened: those already sympathetic to ISIS will be the ones most likely to heed Baghdadi's call, including jihadists in Gaza, Sinai, Libya and most notably Tunisia. In contrast, the ever pro-Nusra Maldivian fighters and Hizb-ut-Tahrir, the latter of which has its own affiliated armed contingents in Syria, are predictably in opposition. At the same time, the Islamic State's project, in actually existing on the ground with a network of contiguous strongholds and the workings of an actual state, can have wider ideological appeal, in contrast to an al-Qa'ida in the Afghanistan-Pakistan area that lacks the showings of real strength.

If the "Islamic State" ultimately goes into decline, it looks as if it will happen only in years, not months.

IJ Review
written by Caroline Schaeffer
June 16, 2014

The rise of the terrorist group ISIS in Mosul, Tikrit, and other villages in Iraq has overwhelmed the country’s government and military.

Burning down villages, executing civilians and soldiers, they have created a reign of terror that U.S. Armed Forces fought and died to end. Iraq veterans have begun to question whether their sacrifices were worth the cause.

And new information about the brutal leader of ISIS is not bound to make the U.S. government’s actions regarding Iraq look any better: from 2005 until 2009, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi was in U.S. custody at our now-closed Camp Bucca near Umm Qasr in Iraq, Examiner reports.

In 2003, following the initial invasion into Iraq, some reports suggest Baghdadi was drawn into the emerging al Qaeda forces and, quickly rising through the terrorism network, became known for the atrocities he and his followers committed. Via Examiner:
There, presiding over his own sharia court, he gained a reputation for brutality, publicly executing those suspected of aiding the US-led coalition forces – the same brutality that has become familiar to those living in Syria under his group’s control.

During his rise to power in the leadership of al-Qaida in Iraq in 2010 – and later of Isis – he murdered prominent Sunnis as well as Shia civilians in bombings.
He was released by President Obama from the Iraqi prison in 2009, and since then he’s had time to form a plan and collect and train an army of terrorists – an estimated 7,000 men.

Late last year Baghdadi announced that he was creating a new group to be merged with a rival al Qaeda affiliate, active in Syria.

The President and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in their short-sighted attempts to make good on campaign promises, have unleashed a monster unto the people of Iraq who worked so hard to help the Americans free their nation. Baghdadi is not only a threat to Iraqis, but also to our country and our way of life.


CNS News
written by Terence P. Jeffrey
Sunday June 13, 2014

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), issued a rare audio message back on January 21 in which he flatly stated his group’s intention to march on Baghdad and move into “direct confrontation” with the United States.

“Our last message is to the Americans. Soon we will be in direct confrontation, and the sons of Islam have prepared for such a day,” Baghdadi said. “So watch, for we are with you, watching.”

When the House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing on February 5 on al Qaida’s resurgence in Iraq, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iran and Iraq Brett McGurk presented written testimony explaining the agenda of ISIS (also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL), and discussed Baghdadi’s audio message to Americans.

ISIL, McGurk said, focuses on “an aim to carve out an Islamic caliphate stretching from Baghdad to Lebanon.”

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