July 11, 2007 Special Dispatch No. 1647

Video Message by Al-Qaeda Deputy Ayman Al-Zawahiri: Overview of Some of the Main Themes

July 11, 2007
Special Dispatch No. 1647

On July 5, 2007, Al-Sahab, Al-Qaeda's media production company, posted a 95 minute video message by Al-Qaeda Deputy Ayman Al-Zawahiri titled "The Advice of One Concerned." The following is a brief summary of some of the main themes discussed by Al-Zawahiri.[1]

A Desperate Call to Muslims to Support the ISI

The first part of Al-Zawahiri's message is an urgent call for Muslims to support the ISI and a desperate attempt to establish the ISI's legitimacy. In this part, Al-Zawahiri attacks Muslim scholars around the Islamic world for their persistent refusal to issue fatwas that support the ISI and, worse, for the harsh criticism they aim at the ISI and its jihad endeavor. According to him, these same scholars have endorsed with their silence political entities such as the Hamas government despite the fact that it lacks important qualifications which the ISI possesses. He stresses, for example, that while the Hamas government in Gaza "connects to its other half [government] in Ramallah [only] through television circuits and while the head of the government… can move between the two parts [of his government] only after the IDF permits him and searches him," the ISI has a coherent government and its ministers can move freely in the ISI’s self-governed territory. Yet, Muslim scholars who criticized the ISI have never questioned the Hamas government’s legitimacy.

A Call for Unity

The message further reveals Al-Zawahiri's growing distress over the persistent opposition to the ISI among many Iraqi military groups. Al-Zawahiri pleads with these groups not to turn their back on the ISI but to try to work out their differences with the ISI while working together with its mujahideen. He also appeals to the ISI to be more open to criticism leveled at it by other jihad groups and requests mujahideen to "solve their problems [privately] amongst themselves… as [he does] not see the benefit in making public the problems of the mujahideen." He further urges mujahideen "to find from among the people of rationality, wisdom and faithfulness, those who will unite and reconcile [them] and command right and forbid wrong and rule with justice."

The Saudi Conspiracy Against Iraq

Al-Zawahiri dedicates a significant portion of his message to what he labels as "the Saudi conspiracy against Iraq," describing it as "the hidden yet greatest danger facing Iraq today." He warns that neighboring Arab countries, prominent among them is Saudi Arabia, present themselves as guardians of Iraqi Muslims' rights but they are in fact agents of the Americans. He claims that since the Saudi regime is corrupt and looks only after its own interests and the interests of the Crusaders, it cannot be trusted to protect the rights of Muslims in Iraq. He further maintains that since political life in Saudi Arabia "means only submission to the will of the princes of Al-Saud, chanting their praises and keeping silence about their corruption" no healthy political process can evolve in Iraq under the auspices of the Saudi regime. He ends this section by calling upon "Muslims [in Iraq] and Afghanistan [to beware] of the religion-trading traitors who conspired with the crusaders to invade Iraq and Afghanistan and to help the Crusaders to fight the mujahideen in exchange for [being] installed in positions of power."

The [ISI]’s Mujahideen Are Husayn’s Helpers

In what appears to be an attempt to appease the Shi'ites in Iraq, Al-Zawahiri implores Shi'ites not to believe those who accuse the mujahideen affiliated with the ISI of being the enemies of Husayn [Ibn 'Ali][2] and the Ahl Al-Bayt.[3] "[The mujahideen] are Husayn’s helpers, his allies and his soldiers. Had they attended his battle [in Karbala in 680], they would have fought in front of him and under his banner and would have placed their throats before his [to be slaughtered]… [In contrast] the Americans and Crusaders curse [Husayn] and his father [Ali]… and fight Al-Husayn's religion, doctrine and [spiritual] path."

Beware of the Messages of Retractions

Al-Zawahiri appeals to Muslims around the world to beware of messages of retractions by imprisoned mujahideen in Islamic countries saying: "[They] should not be listened to or relied upon in [their] statements and opinions" because these messages are dictated by their jailors. He than explains that imprisoned scholars' statements and writings should be believed and followed only when these scholars do not contradict the monotheist creed which they possessed prior to their imprisonment. He cites the example of Sayyid Qutb who refused to backtrack and renounce his creed in exchange for being pardoned saying: "The finger which testifies to the unity of Allah in every prayer refuses to write a petition of mercy to the oppressor."

[2] Husayn is considered by the Shi'ites as their third imam.

[3] The descendents of the Prophet Muhammad through his daughter Fatima and his cousin Ali.

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