by Florian Flade
“America cannot and will not win. The tables have turned, and there is no rolling back on the worldwide Jihad movement”
– Awlaki in post-mortem video message.
September 30th 2011: A U.S. drone fires several missiles at a car convoy riding through the desert of Yemen. The missiles found their prime target, killing four people – among them what was considered by numerous counter-terrorism officials to be one of the greatest threats to America´s national security: Anwar al-Awlaki.
The US-Yemeni cleric who had immigrated to Yemen in 2004 and joined the ranks of Al-Qaida had become a very powerful influence on Islamists living in the West. Awlaki, a Western-educated ideologue of global Jihad, had used the growing power of the Internet to spread his message of war and terror, calling Muslims in the West to become Allah´s soldiers and attack the U.S. and its allies.
Yesterday Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released a propaganda video celebrating the death of Anwar al-Awlaki whom the organization calls “The Martyr of Dawah”. In the video several Al-Qaida operatives are praising Awlaki´s legacy, vowing revenge for his assassination.
Amongst those talking in the Jihadi documentary is AQAP´s spiritual leader Ibrahim al-Rubaish. “We all have to revenge for our Sheikh who sacrificed himself for the sake of his Ummah”, al-Rubaish says, highlighting Awlaki´s role as a role model of a Mujahid.
Besides Awlaki himself – who is seen in a video message that looks like a draft video released in 2010 – there is another English-speaking Jihadi featured in the new video. This person named “Brother Abu Yazeed” for sure is of interest for Western intelligence agencies as he had not appeared in previous releases. The mysterious Al-Qaida operative seems to speak with an American accent and is seen sitting in the dark, only revealing that he has a full grown beard and is wearing glasses.
“Abu Yazeed” talks about Awlaki as well as about American Samir Khan who died alongside the cleric and about Awlaki´s 16 year-old son Abdul Rahman who was killed in a different U.S. drone strike in Yemen recently.