In a new weekend audio message, the leader of al-Qaeda called for jihadists in Syria to unite against the “blather” of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and ISIS.
Ayman al-Zawahiri said Syria — with nearly half a million people dead after Bashar al-Assad first cracked down on peaceful democracy protesters — is the only one of the Arab Spring countries that “took the right path” toward Sharia law.
“The Muslim Nation gathered around this group in Sham [Syria], realizing the difference between its correct ideology and the false ideology of the new extremist” Baghdadi, he said.
“To my Muslim and Mujahid brothers in Sham, the land of garrisoning and jihad and everywhere, it is our obligation today to defend the jihad in Sham against the conspiracies contrived against it. Those enacted by the state of the al-Saud family and its appendages from the other regional nations, under the command of Britain’s stepdaughter, America.”
Zawahiri warned of their enemies’ goal to support “a false Islam that conforms with the secularists, nationalists and the regime of the great international criminals.”
“The greatest problem for the international criminal regime and our apostate governments and their institutions, is that the Mujahidin of Sham are standing on the borders of Palestine, threatening what is known as ‘Israel’, or the 51st state of the USA, or the largest American military base outside of the USA,” he added. “Thus, it is essential for them to strike this jihad, to bury it and to deviate its course to that of secularism and nationalism and entering into the regime of the great international criminals.”
The al-Qaeda leader called it “our obligation today to support the jihad in Sham with all that we are able, and to march forth, light and heavy.”
“To my brothers the Mujahidin in Sham, the land of garrisoning and jihad from all over the world. The issue of unity today is a matter of life and death for you. Either you unite to live as Muslims in honor, or you will differ and be disunited and be eaten one by one,” he said.
If al-Nusra and associated jihadis formed their own Islamic state and “chose their Imam, then whoever they decide to choose is their choice,” he insisted, adding that al-Qaeda is “not striving for authority, rather we are striving for the rule of the Sharia.”
Zawahiri needled ISIS by stressing al-Qaeda “will never be an obstacle in the face of those great hopes” of an Islamic nation, “nor have we jumped upon it with a pledge of allegiance to people that no one knows, nor a surprise Caliph.”
“Verily, we in al-Qaida do not accept any pledge of allegiance except that which is made willingly, and we do not force anyone to pledge allegiance to us, nor threaten to decapitate them, nor do we excommunicate those who fight against us, like the blather of the modern Khawarij,” he added, using the term for Muslims who kill other Muslims without cause.
He told the Muslims of Syria that “we are with you, fighting a united battle across many fronts against the great international criminals, the Crusaders and their allies the apostates,” and urged them to “not be silenced by the war machines of the Crusaders, because they have been defeated previously in Afghanistan and in Iraq.”
“That very trust in Allah and dependence upon him – without depending on any others – is what destroyed the war machines of the eastern and western Crusaders in Afghanistan. Then they were destroyed in Iraq, and they will be destroyed in Sham, by the will of Allah,” Zawahiri said. “Do not be anxious about the apostate, agent, subservient governments, those who do not wish for you freedom or honor, because the one who does not possess something can never give it.”