by Florian Flade
Weeks and even months have passed without any video or audio release of al-Qaeda´s prominent Libyan battlefield preacher Abu Yahya al-Libi. Today As-Sahab Media released a new tape by the Jihadi ideologue who has been labeled by terror experts such as Jarret Brachman as „The Next Bin Laden“. The new video is titled „Aafia Siddiqui…captured and where are the Heroes?“ and deals with the case of the Pakistani scientist Aafia Siddiqui („Lady al-Qaeda“) who was sentenced to 86 years in prison for allegedly killing a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan.
Al-Libi´s new tape, released in Arabic language and a version in Urdu, is the latest attempt by al-Qaeda to use the case of the Pakistani female terror suspect to steer up violence and cause Muslims to act aggressively in Pakistan and maybe even the U.S. to protest Siddiqui´s imprisonment. Al Qaeda´s No.2 Ayman az-Zawahiri talked about Aafia Siddiqui in a November tape.
The main message, given by al-Libi in his video sermon is that captivity is not a fixed situation that cannot be changed. Abu Yahya himself was once a prisoner of the United States, an inmate of Bagram Military Prison in southern Afghanistan after he was captured by US forces.
On July 15th 2005, Abu Yahya al-Libi and three other al-Qaeda militants successfully escaped Bagram prison and rejoined Jihadi militants in Afghanistan and later in Pakistani Waziristan. In the newest al-Qaeda tape, old footage is shown of al-Libi and the other Ex-Bagram prisoners – Omar al-Farooq (Iraqi), Muhammad Jaffar al-Qahtani (Saudi) and Abu Abdullah ash-Shami (Syrian) – sitting somewhere in the Afghanistan-Pakistan tribal area and talking about their escape. +
While Abu Yahya al-Libi is still at large in the Pakistani tribal region, his former prison mates are not in the Jihadi-business any longer. Al-Farooq, a Kuwaiti national of Iraqi origin who was captured 2002 in Indonesia, entered Iraq in fall of 2006 and was killed by British troops in Basra on September 26th 2006. The Saudi Muhammad al-Qahtani alias „Abu Nassir al-Qahtani“ was re-captured by US forces in Afghan Khost on November 6th 2006. Before his arrest he appeared in several propaganda times produced by al-Qaeda after the Bagram-escape. In July 2007, a US airstrike in Afghanistan killed the third Bagram-escapee, Syrian militant Abu Abdullah ash-Shami. Al-Qaeda released a statement saying its Commander ash-Shami was „martyred with a group of his companions.“