For the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri laid out a strategy for the Muslim community to confront America, including establishing distrust for “hired beards” calling for religious unity or willing to recognize the state of Israel.
“It is essentially a religious enmity, even if the West tries to hide its religious nature with all shades of propaganda and lies,” Zawahiri said in his message “How to Confront America,” released in Arabic and English by al-Qaeda’s as-Sahab Media. “America — the number one enemy of Muslims — has its enmity for Muslims in spite of its professed secularism — rooted in the Judeo-Christian disposition widespread amongst Americans, in addition to their political and economic ambitions.”
He argued that even though “many in the West have abandoned Christianity and become secularists overtly, without adherence to any religion… their souls remain fertile breeding grounds for the Crusader hatred directed towards Muslims.”
He proceeded to list how America had “meddled aggressively” in various Muslim nations or conflicts, and called “Trump’s stupidity of shifting the American Embassy to Tel Aviv” an act of “setting up a heavily armed forward American military base equipped with nuclear weapons in the very heart of the Muslim world.”
Zawahiri said that Iraq and Syria proved how “everyone who sows discord in the ranks of the mujahideen, strives to break their unity and disperse their gathering, and everyone who ignites the fire of internal fighting and strife between the mujahideen, in reality secures American objectives with his own hands.”
“By doing so, he saves the Americans great efforts, enormous expenses, human and financial losses — irrespective of the claims or doubts raised by the propagators of discord and seekers of power,” he added, saying “a broad consensus must be established in all segments” of the Muslim community to stand against America’s “enticement and intimidation” of Muslim powers.
Despite alliances and military power, Zawahiri said, “in the end Americans are weak, humble human beings like the rest of mankind.”
A jihadist strategy, he continued, starts first with, “We must realize the ideological dimension of our enemy’s enmity towards us.”
“Second: 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. Third: We must wage the war as Muslims fulfilling their duty of jihad in the way of Allah for the supremacy of the word of Allah. Fourth: We must not fight the battle on the enemy’s pitch. We must not fight the battle by abiding by constitutions and secular laws, for this implies defeat and will only result in loss in both worlds. Experience — especially recent experience during the Arab revolutions — is testimony to this fact.”
The al-Qaeda leader emphasized that “the way to victory in our battle is knowing our enemy” and accepting that “secular movements are simply not worth compromising for at the cost of the rule of the Shariah.”
“We must realize that the tools of America cannot help Islam and Muslims against America, even if they temporarily facilitate some matters for the sake of their own temporary interests,” he added. “…The battle is massive and the lessons learned from the Arab Revolutions prove that without pressurizing America and bleeding it to death we will not achieve victory, because America will try to nip any Islamic movement in the bud.”
Al-Qaeda has repeatedly called for unity among jihadists, messaging that has intensified since the fall of most of ISIS’ territorial claims.
“Our battle with the leading criminals — foremost being America — demands collaboration among all Islamic forces, specifically the scholars, leaders and Mujahideen,” Zawahiri said. “My Muslim brothers! The battle against America has become inevitable; it leaves us with one of the two choices: honor in confronting the aggression, or humiliation in accepting ignominy. And we shall not — with the help of Allah — accept a life of humiliation.”
He advised jihadists to “wage our jihad with full awareness; hitting hard at America, bleeding it to death economically and militarily.”
Zawahiri said America would be driven from the Muslim world “just as it had departed from Vietnam, Aden, Iraq and Somalia.”
“Bring your people together and shoulder the responsibility,” he added.