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Al-Shabab Leader Urges Mujahideen To Target U.S. Citizens, Interests Worldwide

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

On November 5, 2019, the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF) posted an audio speech delivered by Abu Ubeydah Ahmad Omar, leader of the Somalia-based Al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadi group Harakat Al-Shabab Al-Mujahideen (HSM) urging all Muslims and the mujahideen to target American citizens and interests worldwide.[1] The video, titled "We Bow To None Other Than Allah," was produced by the Al-Shabab media arm Al-Kataib Foundation and released in English, Arabic, and Somali. It also featured Al-Shabab fighters before they left to carry out their September 30, 2019 suicide attack on the U.S. training base at Baledogle in Somalia.[2]

The video, 52:41 minutes long, began with footage of what it dubbed the "atrocities" carried out by "U.S.-backed Zionists" in Palestine and the "American atrocities against the Muslim Ummah" in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, and Guantanamo.

The video then showed "the American atrocities against the Muslims in Somalia," featuring a man holding a bloodstained Quran saying: "A young child reciting the Qur'an was killed in such a manner." He added, addressing the Muslims: "My urgent message to the Muslims is to rise up, defend the Book of Allah with your lives and wealth." Another man, who identified himself as a farmer, claimed that his son was killed by an airstrike as he worked on his farm. Next appeared images of dead Somali young people and children with text stating: "20-day old infant killed in U.S. drone strike."

A woman said in the video: "We are not better than the Muslims of Iraq and Afghanistan. Seeking assistance from the disbelievers is one of the reasons for our destruction." She then urged the Muslims "to rise up against the disbelievers and repel their aggression" and to "liberate us from the enemies who have invaded our land."

Referencing Quran 22:39-40, the video stated: "Permission to fight has been given to those who are attacked, because they have been wronged. And surely, Allah is Able to give them (the believers) victory. Those who have been expelled from their homes unjustly only because they said: 'Our Lord is Allah.' For had it not been that Allah checks one set of people by means of another, monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques wherein the Name of Allah is mentioned much would surely have been demolished. Verily, Allah will help those who help His (Cause). Truly, Allah is All-Strong, All-Mighty."

A Message From Emir Abu Ubeydah Ahmad Omar

Al-Shabab leader Sheikh Abu Ubeydah Ahmad Omar opened his statements by saying: "All praise is due to Allah who has shown us the defeat of His enemies and bestowed His victory upon the Mujahideen who have risen up so His Word may reign supreme." Describing the American "invasion" of Somalia, Omar said: "The American invasion against the Muslim Ummah has indeed intensified, especially in the lands of East Africa. Consequently, the level of oppression, brazen occupation, and humiliation perpetrated by the American against our Ummah and the Muslims of Somalia has increased."

A Message to the American People

Addressing the American people who, he said, "spend their tax money to oppress our people, wage war against our religion, plunder our resources and support the apostate traitors of the so-called federal government of Somalia," he asked: "Have you ever asked yourselves about the operations your troops are carrying out in Somalia? Have you ever held your government to account and asked them where your tax money is being spent?" He continued: "Have you ever asked yourselves about AFRICOM's role in Somalia and the crimes it has committed against our people? Did you ever re-evaluate your foreign policy toward Muslims and examine the reasons that led to the attacks that dented your pride on 11 September 2001? Why did the Mujahideen target the Pentagon – the symbol of your military might? Why did they destroy the twin towers – the symbol of your economic development; an economy that is based on usury and capitalism. Wasn't it because of your oppression?"

Expressing his doubts that the American people are ignorant of the "atrocities" perpetrated by the U.S. military in Somalia and elsewhere in the world, Sheikh Abu Ubeydah added: "If you are, however, aware of their activities, I do not think that you are too concerned about it, and even if you are concerned, I doubt that you lose any sleep over it." He continued: "The crimes committed by your soldiers in our Muslim land of Somalia and their oppression against our people for the past 30 years are too many to be summarised in a few words."

U.S. Crimes in Somalia

He then enumerated the "U.S. crimes in Somalia":

  • "Your military is the one whose aircraft constantly bombard our people indiscriminately.
  • "They have killed thousands of Muslims in the city of Mogadishu in the early 90s.
  • "Your government is the one that orchestrated the Ethiopian invasion of our country in last 2006, while your aircraft were bombing the Mujahideen freedom fighters who were resisting the Ethiopian occupation.
  • "Your government is the one that continually supports, trains and provides aid to the apostate Somali regime.
  • "Your military is the one that bombarded and destroyed the schools our children used to attend and even killed young children studying the Qur'an in the town of Saakow.[3]
  • "Your military is the one that abducted our children from their madrasas [i.e. schools] and institutions, taking them away from their homes and parents.
  • "Your military is the one that massacred innocent civilians, including farmers, businessmen, tribal elders, religious scholars, students, elderly men, women, children and other innocent civilians.
  • "They are the ones who bombed and destroyed hospitals in some towns, while patients were receiving medical treatment inside them.
  • "Your military is the one actively involved in the plundering of our natural resource, theft of our minerals and the exploration of our petroleum reserves.
  • "They are the ones who are occupying out land and our people. They have built military bases in public-owned lands such as Mogadishu and Kismayo Airports and their warships are constantly patrolling our shores.
  • "They are the ones who established black sites and prisons in our country where they torture our Muslim brothers without any oversight or accountability.
  • "They are the ones who carry our illegal surveillance on the Muslims and they have set up networks of spies to work for them and serve their interests.
  • "Your leaders are the ones who propped up an apostate regime that fulfils the hostile political agendas of the enemies, reinforces the culture of colonialism spearheaded by your country and wages war against the Book of Allah.
  • "Your leaders are the ones who set up the so-called Federal Government whose only objective us to appease the disbelievers, implement their pagan laws and submit to their policies. The leaders of the so-called Federal Government brazenly proclaim that they do not implement Islamic Shari'ah, choosing instead to be docile slaves to the West rather than act according to the pure teachings of our religion."

Following that, the video showed Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo saying: "The reason we are here today (in Brussels) is a testimony that the European Union and World Bank have now began to believe in us and that we have gained their trust. They have seen the way in which we have started to embrace their way of life that they were familiar with in their countries, but we have a long way to go. They are now trying to further encourage us to adopt their customs and govern our people the same way they govern theirs. They are good human beings who after properly managing the taxes of their citizens ended up with a surplus of money. So they said to themselves, which people are wretched and hungry so that we can give them financial assistance? Therefore, they are searching across the globe government that they can give aid to, with the condition, however, that they share their same morals so that their money does not go to waste. We were the ones whom they have chosen because we resembled them the most. Yes, we may be Muslims but we do not act according to Islamic traditions."

U.S. Crimes Against the Muslim Ummah

The video then returned to the sheikh, now addressing the American people on the "U.S. crimes against the Muslim Ummah": "The aforementioned atrocities are not merely restricted to the Muslims of Somalia, but rather your military continues to perpetrate heinous atrocities in all Muslim lands and they have killed thousands of Muslims." He enumerated them as follows:

  • "Your government supports the Zionist regime occupying Palestine with arms and money and has recently claimed that the sacred Islamic city of Jerusalem belongs to the Jews.
  • "Your military is the one that invaded Afghanistan, Sham (The Levant), Iraq and Yemen, killing hundreds of thousands of Muslims.
  • "They are the ones securing the thrones of the tyrant rulers and apostate kings in order to repress the Muslim Ummah, suppress their might and prevent them from fulfilling the obligation of jihad.
  • "They have installed military bases all over the Islamic world in order to reinforce their hegemony, instill terror into the Muslims Ummah and undermine any attempt of the Muslims to unite, fully implement their religion and live according to its teachings."

Accusing the Americans of "participant[ing in] such crimes since you are the ones who elected these governments," he added: "It is your tax money that is being used to occupy and kill our people."

Next, Sheikh Abu Ubeydah warned the American people, saying: "Know that you will be held accountable for the thousands of Muslims whom your soldiers have killed, the millions who face starvation because of your military's blockade, the vulnerable ones they have slaughtered, the mothers they have made bereaved, the elders they have burnt alive, and the thousands whom are injured and still bleeding and weeping." He added: "These atrocities will one day catch up with you, therefore, be prepared to endure the consequences."

Praising Islam as "the religion of kindness and compassion" and accusing d the U.S. government of seeking to "destroy this great religion" and "its pillars, extinguish its light and oppress its people," he went on to attribute natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, wildfire, heat waves, snowstorms, and earthquakes to the "oppression" of the U.S. government. He also urged the Americans to spend their tax money on combating gun violence and the drug epidemic, and on helping homeless citizens and veterans.

Demands

He presented a list of demands:

  • "Withdraw your troops from our Muslim lands.
  • "Stop the indiscriminate aerial bombardment against our women and children.
  • "Cease all forms of training and support you provide to the apostate Somali regime.
  • "Release all the Muslims who are unjustly being held in your prisons, close down all your military bases and secret prisons that you have established in Somalia in order to humiliate our people.
  • "Stop plundering our resources and fighting against our religion.
  • "Stop supporting the countries that have invaded our lands, foremost among them being Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti and Uganda."

Threatening the U.S., Sheikh Abu Ubeydah said: "If you fail to comply with our demands, then know that the promise of Allah will surely manifest itself. You will be defeated, your wealth will be destroyed, the Muslims will liberate themselves from your occupation and we vow that you will be our primary target …A clear example is the crushing defeat you have suffered in Afghanistan and how you are now disgracefully looking for an exit strategy. The war that you have declared against Islam in 2001 has become the longest and most expensive war that you have ever engaged in."

Somalia: Reap What You Have Sown

Under a title appearing on the screen, "Somalia: Reap What You Have Sown," the sheikh said that the war and airstrikes had caused only "despair, hopelessness, and a distant mirage without anything to show for." America, he said, was attempting to "implement democracy, divide our country, and drive our people towards disbelief" despite repeated warnings. He added: "Therefore, taste the bitter consequences of your actions and reap what you have sown."

Explaining that U.S. government was persisting in concealing its "humiliating defeat" in Somalia, he stated: "Our battle has just begun. Ballidoogle [the Al-Shabab attack on the U.S. military base at Baledogle] was just a message; we hope that you receive it from us. We will continue to fight you, putting our trust in Allah, for He is our Protector whilst you have none to protect you."

Commenting on the Baledogle attack, he said: "Allah, the Almighty, has enabled the Mujahideen to attack the largest U.S. military base inside Somalia. The military base was also home to various Ugandan military contingents and apostate forces. By the grace of Allah, the mujahideen targeted the U.S. military headquarters, successfully breaching the perimeters of the heavily-fortified base and killing the U.S. military personnel inside." He also hoped that the attack against the Baledogle airbase "would serve as a prelude to a blessed victory in the Jihad against the enemies of Allah."

Threatening American interests worldwide, he said: "And I hereby call upon all Muslims and the mujahideen to make the targeting of American interests worldwide their first priority. I call upon them to kill the Americans wherever they find them. Restrict their movement and besiege them, for it is through such acts that you will obtain the lofty levels of paradise. Ask Allah to grant you success and steadfastness."

A Message to the Mujahideen in East Africa

The sheikh then praised the mujahideen who had carried out the Baledogle attack, and he urged the mujahideen in East Africa to follow in their footsteps: "Know that in the sacrifice of these men lies a great example to be emulated." He urged them to be prepared to carry out suicide attacks, saying: "Martyrdom operations are among the greatest weapons that decapitate enemy forces and crush their haughtiness. Through them, Allah has granted us many victories. It is important that everyone among us prepares himself and makes the firm intention to join the ranks of the Martyrdom Brigade. He must be constantly prepared to sacrifice his soul to Allah whenever called upon so that the entire world can be ruled by the Book of Allah."

A Message to the Muslims of Somalia

Addressing the Muslims of Somalia, he praised their sons for sacrificing their lives and wealth in defense of Islam, for making the enemies suffer defeat, for foiling the plots of the disbelievers, for preventing the democratization of their country, for countering the "filthy" policy of federalism, for preventing "AMISOM and the other invading crusaders from sleeping soundly and attaining any sense of tranquility," and for building a military force that "safeguards the welfare of the Muslim Ummah and submits to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger." He continued: "It is military might that belongs to you and that you can count on and that acts as your guard against invaders."

To the Somali tribes, he said: "I, therefore, say to the noble and dignified Somali tribes: come to the aid of your Mujahideen sons and stand by their side. The are your sons. They are your fellow tribesmen. They are fighting for your sake. They are defending your religion and safeguarding your dignity." He urged them to help with killing the disbelievers and protecting the religion, liberating the land, and participating in jihad to obtain true independence and the freedom to fully practice Islam, and to free the country of "the scourge of colonialism." "Indeed, I have conveyed, Oh Allah bear witness," he repeated three times.

In conclusion, he thanked the mujahideen who had carried out the Baledogle attack, saying that the attack would be recorded in "the pages of history with their blood" and asking Allah to accept their "martyrdom."

Raid On U.S. Base Is Part of "Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Will Never Be Judaized" operations

The video then featured the sheikh, at a different time, delivering a "farewell address" to the Baledogle attackers as they set out on their operation, identifying the latter as "part of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Will Never Be Judaized operations." He told them that the U.S. airbase that they were about to attack hosts drones and helicopters used to target Muslims: "It is from where the mercenaries from Bancroft Global launch their night raids against the Muslims. It is where the U.S. forces train their apostate puppets." He also noted that the "greatest target" there was "the American troops."

"The operation you are about to carry out is in retaliation on behalf of every Muslim who has been affected or killed as a result of U.S. drone strikes," he said, adding "whether it is our Muslim brethren in prisons, foremost among them being our sister Aafiya Siddiqui or our martyred brothers, foremost among them being the leaders of the global Jihad, such as Sheikh Osama Bin Laden, Sheikh Abu Daseer, Sheikh Abu Yahya Al-Libi, Sheikh Atiyatullah, Sheikh Abul Khayr, and our Sheikh Abu Zubeyr and Ma'alim Adam, who were leaders as well as the founders of Harakat Al-Shabaab Al-Mujahideen, and many others besides them."

In the video, one of the attackers, Abdurrahman Abdullah Ahmad, threatened to "kill and behead the disbelieving American forces." Addressing the Americans, he said: "Know that you will soon be defeated by the permission of Allah. The only thing we want to get closer to Allah by spilling your blood." Another attacker, Ibrahim Abdullah Jibril, said he would kill U.S. troops on the base and send their bodies home in coffins. Fighter Muhammad Abdullah Sheikh said, addressing the U.S. soldiers at the base, that the Al-Shabab fighters were coming to behead them all, noting that Somalia will not be ruled by a tyrant ruler. Fighter Shareef Mo'alm Hassan, however, urged the mujahideen to continue waging jihad and to attack the disbelievers wherever they are. Yet another attacker, Muhammad Abdi Ahmad, urged the fighters to have no mercy on the disbelievers and to join the "Martyrdom Brigade," saying that "martyrdom operations are the best means of fighting against the disbelievers." Additionally, fighter Abdulraheem Hassan Ibn Hassan said that he was motivated to participate in the attack by the "atrocities" of the U.S. military.

Following that, the Al-Shabab leaders, their faces blurred, embraced the fighters who were about to set out on the attack, with a voiceover of Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri saying: "Oh Muslims of Somalia, America and its servile allies will be defeated in Somalia, by the permission of Allah, the same way they were defeated in Afghanistan and Iraq." Al-Zawahiri also urged them to be patient and steadfast.

The video concluded with a clip featuring the late Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden saying: "I swear by Allah, The Almighty, the One who raised the skies without pillars, that America and anyone living in America will never dream of safety until safety becomes a reality for the Muslims in Palestine. And until all the disbelieving forces withdraw from the Peninsula of Muhammad. Allah is the greatest and glory belongs to Islam."

The video concluded with the following text on the screen: "Oh Aqsa We Are Coming."