Al-Qaida Celebrates Middle East Revolutions

by Florian Flade


In many ways it is an answer to the question raised by mainstream media and a significant indication of how a terrorist network can only survive by adapting to new developments in world politics – Al-Qaida in Arabian Peninsula´s (AQAP) new, 5th issue of “Inspire”, their English Online-Magazine. Today, AQAP released the newest issue even though the magazine seems to have been finally edited and finished nearly two weeks ago.

“Tsunami of Change” reads the title of this special-issue of “Inspire”. The magazine contains numerous interesting articles written by Jihadi prominence like Dr.Ayman az-Zawahiri, US-Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, American Jihadi Samir Khan (“The Egyptian”) and Al-Qaida ideologue Abu Musab as-Suri (“Individual Terrorism Jihad”).

Main topic of the new “Inspire” are the recent Middle East Revolts, political developments in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and other regions. AQAP is refutes the Western media opinion that Al-Qaida was surprised by these events and therefore was not able to take advantage of them, also because most of these revolts were peaceful protests far from a Jihad-driven regime change.

Main article and frontline news of “Inspire # 5″ is an commentary written by the wanted US-Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. In “Tsunami of Change”, Awlaki writes, Al-Qaida will in the long-term benefits enormously from the overthrow of the Arab regimes. The dictators like Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, are loosing their seat of power, before they could achieve their goal of defeating Jihadi groups, Awlaki claims. Mubarak spread the Jihadi ideology all around the world by driving the Jihadis out of Egypt – now is the time for them to return.

“Our Mujahidin brothers in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and the rest of the Muslim world will get a chance to breathe again after three decades of suffocation”, Awlaki writes, “For the scholars and activists of Egypt to be able to speak again freely, it would represent a great leap forward for the Mujahidin.”

Commenting on CNN´s Peter Bergen´s analysis Al-Qaida could only benefit from the North African revolutions if it is able to implement a Taliban-style Sharia-State, Awlaki says this thinking is false because it is “short-term.”

“Peter Bergen believes that al Qaeda is viewing the events with glee and despair. Glee yes, but not despair”, the wanted Jihadi preacher writes, “The Mujahidin around the world are going through a moment of elation and I wonder whether the West is aware of the upsurge of Mujahidin activity in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Arabia, Algeria, and Morocco? Is the West aware of what is happening or are they asleep with drapes covering their eyes?”

Nobody, not even Al-Qaida knows what outcome the political turmoil in the various Arab states will have, Awlaki admits. “We do not know yet what the outcome would be and we do not have to. The outcome doesn’t have to be an Islamic government for us to consider what is occurring to be a step in the right direction.”

Anwar al-Awlaki then says, the US is the one that should be concerned about what the people of North Africa are doing right now. The “barriers of fear” are broken, Awlaki warns.

“America, since 9-11, has been focused on the fight with the Mujahidin in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and now Yemen. It has devoted its resources and intelligence for the “fight on terror”. But with what is happening now in the Arab world, America would no doubt have to divert some of its attention to the unexpected avalanche that is burying its dear friends. America has depended on these men for the dirty work of protecting the American imperial interests. They acted as point men that saved America the effort of doing it themselves but now with their fall, America would have to divert huge amounts of effort and money to cultivate a new breed of collaborators. This would force America, which is already an exhausted empire, to spread itself thin, which in turn would be a great benefit for the Mujahidin.”

The firebrand cleric then closed by writing – “Even without this wave of change in the Muslim world, the jihad movement was on the rise. With the new developments in the area, one can only expect that the great doors of opportunity would open up for the Mujahidin all over the world.”

The “Inspire”- Magazine editor named Yahya Ibrahim, presents a letter in the very beginning of the new document, in which he claims Al-Qaida supports the revolutions in North Africa and is not at all opposed to the people´s protest on the streets overthrowing the dictators.

“Another line that is being pushed by Western leaders is that because the protests in Egypt and Tunisia were peaceful, they proved al Qaeda – which calls for armed struggle – to be wrong”, Ibrahim writes, “That is another fallacy. Al Qaeda is not against regime changes through protests but it is against the idea that the change should be only through peaceful means to the exclusion of the use of force.”

Ibrahim then brings in the Libyan example of a violent revolution which is necessary to get rid of a regime – “The accuracy of this view is proven by the turn of events in Libya. If the protesters in Libya did not have the flexibility to use force when needed, the uprising would have been crushed.”

The West, Yahya Ibrahim claims, falsly interprets the North African uprisings as a blow to Al-Qaida and the Jihadi movement because the freedom people are demanding and fighting for is allegedly opposed by Al-Qaida. Ibrahim argues, this analysis is wrong.

“Why would the freedoms being granted to the people be bad for al Qaeda? If freedom is so bad for al Qaeda, how come the West has been practicing a restriction on the freedoms of expression when it comes to the message of the mujahidin? Why does the West ban the spread of books and talks of the al Qaeda leadership and in some countries consider it to be a crime to be in possession of such material? Why did the U.S. request from a site such as YouTube to take off lectures by Shaykh Anwar al-Awlaki?”

Freedom in the Arab countries means having the freedom to access Jihadi ideology and to act accordingly, Yahya Ibrahim states.

In the new AQAP Online Magazine there are several more interesting articles, including English-translations of texts by Dr.Ayman az-Zawahiri and Libyan Al-Qaida Commander Abu Yahya al-Libi.

Apart from a instruction guide on how to use a AK-47 Kalashnikov, a article titled “Why Did I Choose Al-Qaida?”, an interview with AQAP commander Abu Hurairah and the announcement of a new Q&A video featuring Sheikh Anwar al-Awlaki, “Inspire # 5″ also contains a short mention of Arid U., the Kosovan shooter who killed two US soldiers at Frankfurt Airport on March 5.

It should not be a surprise to see AQAP celebrating U.´s attack. He is, according to Al-Qaida standards, one of their “Lone Wolves” – just like Major Nidal Hassan or Roshonara Choudhry – a Western Jihadi radicalized via the Internet with no affiliation to any official terrorist organization.

“A 21-year old courageous Kosovan Mujahed opened fire on two American servicemen in a bus at an airport in Frankfurt, Germany, killing them”, the AQAP magazine reads, “It was said that he was inspired by the internet works of the Mujahidin. President Obama was saddened and outraged by the attack, praise be to Allah.”

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