Al Qaeda leader releases 9/11 statement, just as insane as ever

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Al Qaeda leader releases 9/11 statement, just as insane as ever

If you don't read Long War Journal, you should, they always have breaking news early and with a really good bit of discussion on it.  But the latest press release from AQ leader Ayman al Zawahiri to commemorate the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks is just as insane as ever, but reminds us of the threat they still pose.

Entitled “How to Confront America” which can be read in full HERE, it's a standard rehashing of threats and non-sensical historical inaccuracy:

“We must wage the war – in any part of the Islamic World – as if it is a single war with different fronts against a united enemy,” Zawahiri explains. The wars in “the tribal areas in Pakistan, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Yemen, Mali, Somalia and elsewhere” are not just “between the Muslims and the local governments only,” according to Zawahiri. Instead, these conflicts have “always been between the Muslims and the system of the major international criminals – America being the foremost.”

He then starts to go into his historical revisionism:

Zawahiri begins his 9/11 anniversary message with an odd bit of framing, claiming: “Seventeen years have passed since Bush launched his Crusader war against Muslims – a war linked with the historical enmity directed towards Islam from its dawn to this very day.”

But it was seventeen years ago today that al Qaeda operatives hijacked four planes inside the US. The US-led invasion of Afghanistan would not have occurred had it not been for the 9/11 hijackings — the act that really “launched” a war. 


The al Qaeda honcho argues that America’s supposed “enmity for Islam has touched almost the entire Muslim world” and there is “hardly a Muslim country” that America hasn’t “meddled” in. He blames the US for spoiling the jihadists’ gains in the aftermath of the 2011 Arab uprisings, and warns Muslims that they should avoid elections and other Western ways, as these will only lead to losses. He points to the alleged compromises made by Islamists in Egypt and Tunisia, claiming that only by waging jihad can Muslims avoid their failures.

In his expansive view, Zawahiri ties America to numerous conflicts, including ones that the US isn’t really involved in. He lists wars, events or other actions in: Kashmir, Pakistan, Burma, Afghanistan, the Philippines (from the 20th Century onward), Chechnya, Bosnia (during the 1990s), Iraq, Syria, the Arabian Peninsula, Egypt, Palestine, the Islamic Maghreb, Somalia and East Africa, and the Sudan. 

You should go read the full analysis of the statement at Long War Journal.

Most likely the "threat" aspect of the missive takes a back seat to recruitment, as AQ positions itself to try to take in portions of ISIS that have been decimated in Iraq and Syria, and take back the reins in Afghanistan and in other areas.  Just a year ago Vox was reporting that AQ was rising as ISIS was falling:

Three years ago, ISIS controlled a chunk of Syria and Iraq roughly the size of Great Britain and commanded an army of tens of thousands, a level of strength that made al-Qaeda into an afterthought for most counterterrorism analysts.

But since then, ISIS has lost 78 percent of its territory in Iraq and 58 percent of its territory in Syria. It has lost every major population center save one, its capital of Raqqa, which is currently under attack by the US and its allies. Between 60,000 and 70,000 ISIS fighters have been killed in Iraq and Syria, per a US general’s estimate; a total of between 12,000 and 15,000 remain in the two countries.

Which means that the al-Qaeda-linked group in Syria, called Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), likely outnumbers ISIS in that country. HTS, which commands somewhere in the neighborhood of 20,000 to 30,000 fighters, is the most powerful fighting force in the rebel-held province of Idlib in northwest Syria and has long been one of the most effective fighting forces in the Syrian civil war. 

And while that is true in those areas, with AQ recruiting the routed ISIS members, ISIS is literally actively fighting with AQ and the Taliban in Afghanistan:

More than 200 Islamic State fighters and their two top commanders surrendered to the Afghan government on Wednesday to avoid capture by Taliban insurgents, after a two-day battle that was a decisive victory for the Taliban, participants on all sides confirmed.

One of the Islamic State commanders, Mufti Nemat, was reached by cellphone after his surrender, and he confirmed that he and 200 to 250 of his fighters had turned themselves in to the government after the battle in northern Afghanistan, in which 40 of his insurgents had been killed by the Taliban.

“It was a dark night, a pell-mell situation,” he said. “For two to three nights, we have been unable to sleep; we are very exhausted.”

It's a messy three=way conflict between ISIS, AQ and the US, and this message apparently seeks to rally the evaporating (and specifically targetted) ISIS troops remaining and bring them back into the AQ fold.

Posted in the burner | 2 comments
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I'm sorry but I've lost faith in just about everything I read. There seems to be no truth anymore. What can we believe? God help us all!!

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.