On 11th Anniversary Of Bin Laden Assassination, Al-Qaeda Leader Al-Zawahiri States: 'Bin Laden's Path Triumphs,' 'U.S. Is Weak And In Retreat' And Muslims Should Unite Against It, Ukraine War Is Proof That U.S. Abandons Its Allies

May 9, 2022

The following report is now a complimentary offering from MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM). For JTTM subscription information, click here. 

On May 6, 2022, As-Sahab Media Foundation, the media arm of Al-Qaeda Central Command, released a 28-minute video clip featuring the group's top leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri titled, "The Call of the Imam to the Islamic Ummah."[1] During the speech, which marks the commemoration of the 11th anniversary of the death of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, Al-Zawahiri states that, "America is defeated while bin Laden's call for jihad had triumphed." He asserts that the U.S. is "in retreat" and calls for Islamic unity against it. He also mentions the war in Ukraine as proof that the U.S. abandons its allies.

At the start of his speech Al-Zawahiri states that he is speaking to mark the 11th anniversary of the death of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who was assassinated by the U.S. on May 2, 2011, and asserts that, "His call lives on, expands and spreads, becomes more acceptable and the number of its supporters grows. This is so despite the diligence of the enemies of Islam to eliminate it, by war, deception and by lies."

Al-Zawahiri summarizes the main points of bin Laden's message, declaring that it comprises: a call to apply the laws of shari'a and "abandon all laws, constitutions, agreements and treaties which contradict them; a call to liberate all the occupied Muslim lands; halt the theft of their resources; liberate the ummah [Islamic nation] from tyranny and dictatorships; a call [to the Islamic nation] to choose its leaders and to come to terms with them or to oust them, if they so desire; a call to all the Muslims to unite and stand together against their enemies; and a call to support the oppressed wherever they are, whether they are Muslims or unbelievers." Moreover, according to Al-Zawahiri, bin Laden transformed the call of slain Al-Qaeda ideologue 'Abdallah 'Azzam – to relate to jihad as a personal obligation incumbent on every Muslim – into an organized plan of action.

He lists bin Laden's achievements and "his tremendous deeds which are deserving of praise," among them, "his striving for the unification of the Islamic movements around one pragmatic plan; his striving for the exposure of the disgrace of the rulers who are collaborators and the exposure of their treachery, for they are the knife and the fingernail by means of which our enemies gnaw at our flesh; the exposure of the history of the Saudi royal dynasty and its humiliating dependence on the British and later the Americans; and the exposure of the disgraceful history of the rulers of the Gulf – how the British planning shaped their 'sheikhs' states' and later the Americans were the inheritors [who followed the British and perpetrated] the theft of natural resources from the Muslims…"

Additional achievements of bin Laden's listed by Al-Zawahiri include, "the exposure of the pro-Zionist policy and the collaborators with Zionism who today are headed by: the leaders of 'the sheikhs' states' of oil, the secular Ataturk [Turkish] regime and most of the collaborators who have taken control of the Muslim countries; his call to the Islamic movements in Palestine to mend their ways, to abandon the secular constitutions and to beware of national unity with the secular peddlers of Palestine. Bin Laden indicated the practical path to the liberation of Palestine and all the occupied Muslim land by attacking the head [i.e. the U.S.] so as to compel it to withdraw [from the lands of Islam] and to conduct negotiations."

In his speech, Al-Zawahiri admits that bin Laden "wasn't immune to errors," but declares that "he was a paragon of contributing and sacrificing and his character was noble, humble and innocent… [he] was successful with many of his projects and it was sufficient that he became a threat to the U.S. and other enemies of Islam." He quotes from the American, The 9/11 Commission Report Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States of the investigation into the attack on the Twin Towers which was published on July 22, 2004, which, inter alia, reads, "terrorists like bin Laden have nothing to offer their children but visions of violence and death" and that the U.S. can grant the Muslim parents, "a vision that might give their children a better future." Al-Zawahiri refers to these words as "a collection of ludicrous lies," and claims that bin Laden "refuted this distortion and gave a slap in the face to the American propaganda in his noble stand regarding the peoples' revolutions and his support for them… and also urged the ummah to establish an advisory body that would sponsor the uprisings of the peoples of Islam."

In conclusion, Al-Zawahiri addresses, "My Muslim brothers wherever they are," and exhorts them to remember that 11 years after the death of bin Laden, "America is defeated while the call to jihad – which bin Laden encouraged – is winning success… America is weak in the face of our Islamic ummah, if it will [only] unite. America is caught up in weakness and retreat, thank Allah. After its defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan, after the economic disasters caused by the 9/11 attacks, and after the Corona pandemic – it is abandoning its ally Ukraine and leaving it prey to the Russians."

He also prays to Allah to have mercy on [the soul] of bin Laden, to increase his retribution, to forgive his sins and to compensate the ummah for his death "with stab wounds and attacks and not by means of prose and speeches, with epic battles and not through poetry and literature."

It is noteworthy that Al-Zawahiri appears in the video with a gun placed in front of him and his speech is interspersed with various quotes and archival footage which reinforce his words. He quotes 'Abdallah 'Azzam, while the archival material includes footage from speeches by bin Laden and from interviews with the former Qatari foreign minister, Hammad bin Jassim, in which he apparently admits that, "Qatar conspired with the global unbelief against the Syrian revolution." There is also footage which documents bin Laden's martyred son, Saad (who was apparently assassinated by the Americans in Afghanistan in 2009) when he was "cooperating with the mujahideen in preparing mines for the fighting against the U.S."


[1] May 6, 2022.

The full text of this post is available to subscribers.

Please login or register to request subscription information from MEMRI


The Cyber & Jihad Lab

The Cyber & Jihad Lab monitors, tracks, translates, researches, and analyzes cyber jihad originating from the Middle East, Iran, South Asia, and North and West Africa. It innovates and experiments with possible solutions for stopping cyber jihad, advancing legislation and initiatives federally – including with Capitol Hill and attorneys-general – and on the state level, to draft and enforce measures that will serve as precedents for further action. It works with leaders in business, law enforcement, academia, and families of terror victims to craft and support efforts and solutions to combat cyber jihad, and recruits, and works with technology industry leaders to craft and support efforts and solutions.

Read More