Bin Laden’s December 2007 Audio

BY Herschel Smith
14 years, 6 months ago

Osama Bin Laden has released an audio that has some interesting content regarding the campaign in Iraq.  From Al Jazeera, here is a partial transcript of his communication.

“I advise myself and all the Muslims, particularly brethren in the al-Qaeda organisation everywhere, to avoid fanaticism.

“The interest of the Islamic nation surpasses that of a group. 

“The strength of faith is in the strength of the bond between Muslims and not that of a tribe or nationalism.

“The strength of faith is not in the affiliation to the tribe, the country or the organisation.

“The interest of the group should be given priority over the interest of the individual, the interest of the Islamic state should be given priority over the interest of the group, and the interest of the Umma [Muslim community] should be given priority over the interest of the state.

“These indications must be practical realities in our life.

“I advise myself and my brethren to be pious and patient as they [these qualities] are the weapon of those who seek victory.

“My brethren, be careful of your enemies, particularly the hypocrites who penetrate into your ranks to spark strife among the mujahidin [Muslim fighters] groups. Those should be referred to trial.”

“[Committing] mistakes is of mankind’s nature. When mistakes occur, disputes emerge among people, and mistakes have occurred.

“But the ill-hearted people pursue the mistakes of the mujahidin, and they may attribute these mistakes to the ritual of jihad, under the name of violence and terrorism.

“The mujahidin are the children of this nation; they do right things and wrong things. Those who are accused of violating of God’s commandments should face trial.

“Scholars, emirs of the mujahidin, and tribal leaders should make efforts to reconcile every two conflicting sects and should rule between them according to the sharia [law] of Allah. And the two conflicting sects should act in response to the scholars.”

“Unite your ranks in one rank.

“My brethren, the emirs of the mujahidin, Muslims wait for you to unite under one banner to enforce that which is right. 

“When you perform this obedience, the nation would soon be blessed by the Jamaa year through your own efforts.

“Honest scholars should make efforts to unify the ranks of the mujahidin, and I hope that they would not feel bored of going along the path that would lead to it [unity].”

What is important here is what al Jazeera didn’t transcribe from his recording.  Al Jazeera has included only the soft words, and these words lack context, so this context will be supplied here – at least in broad strokes.

OBL speaks of “mistakes” and “uniting ranks” for very specific reasons.  He knows that al Qaeda has been guilty of unspeakable atrocities in Anbar and other places in Iraq.  Not too long ago I published Hope and Brutality in Anbar in which I discussed some of the torture tactics and rooms of horror used by AQI.  The same tactics were used in the Diyala province when AQI was run out of the Anbar Province, leading the coalition forces to discover what they termed an al Qaeda torture complex that was recently found and shut down.  OBL also knows that the unintended consequence of this has been loss of the heart and cooperation of the population.  So he wants to soften the message: al Qaeda, says OBL, has made mistakes, like all people, but this shouldn’t reflect poorly on jihad.

But on to the harder words from the audio recording.  OBL takes direct aim at the leader of the Anbar “awakening.”

In the audiotape, bin Laden denounces Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha, the former leader of the Anbar Awakening Council, who was killed in a September bombing claimed by al-Qa’ida.

“The most evil of the traitors are those who trade away their religion for the sake of their mortal life,” he said.

Bin Laden said US and Iraqi officials were trying to set up a “national unity government” joining the Sunnis, Shi’ites and Kurds. “Our duty is to foil these dangerous schemes, which try to prevent the establishment of an Islamic state in Iraq, which would be a wall of resistance against US schemes to divide Iraq,” he said.

OBL warns the Sunnis in Anbar against joining the coalition, and goes further to say just exactly what is in store, according to him, for those who join against AQI:

He also urged Iraqis not to join the Awakening Councils which are predominantly Sunni tribal police funded by the US military to fight al-Qaeda and reduce violence.

“I advise those who follow the path of temptation should wash out this disgrace by repentance,” he said in the 56-minute recording posted on the internet on Saturday.

“This participation [in the Awakening Councils] is a great apostasy and sedition that will lead them to Hell.”

The Multinational Force was quick to trot out a rebuttal to OBL’s claims:

An audio tape released by Osama bin Laden yesterday purports that al Qaeda does not kill innocent civilians, but the terrorist network’s actions contradict this claim, a coalition spokesman said yesterday.

During a news conference in Baghdad yesterday, Navy Rear Adm. Gregory J. Smith, director of communications for Multinational Corps Iraq, told reporters that al Qaeda car bombings, suicide attacks and torture houses are evidence that the network targets innocent civilians, and belie conflicting messages the group avows.

“Al Qaeda’s extreme, Taliban-like ideology and deliberate disregard for human life has led to its rejection by the Iraqi people,” Smith said.

While true, this rebuttal misses the point.  The definition of “innocent” includes almost everyone to the Multinational Force.  But it includes almost no one to OBL and al Qaeda.  Notice again the caveats and qualifiers OBL has given us.  Anyone who participates in the new Iraqi government is guilty of great apostasy and sedition, and Sheikh Risha is a “traitor.”  Thus, while to the U.S. those who are not fighting the U.S. ( and some who are, as shown by payment to “concerned citizens”) are all innocent, to al Qaeda only those who are fighting alongside them are innocent.  All others are guilty.

It is a matter of definitions.  Thus OBL can claim that the innocent are spared, while apologizing for a few “mistakes” here and there, and still preach his sermons about hellfire for those who side with the coalition.  Everyone knows the game.  A more effective Multinational Force rebuttal might have gone something like this:

We have read the worthless screed published by the terrorist OBL, and conclude that he and his outlaw organization are the same duplicitous, murderous liars that they have always been.  Al Qaeda’s message is basically that if you side with them they will refrain from drilling holes in your ribcage with a power drill.  Otherwise, if you help the coaliton at all, or even if you withdraw from the struggle and try to live in peace, you side with the evil attempt to stop a fundamentalist Islamic state in Iraq.  Al Qaeda, they claim, are the ultimate arbiters of all truth, and will decide your fate as their whims dictate.  You will die if they want you to die, and if they want you to live, they will use you and your children for their own ends.  Al Qaeda has shown in actions, and now tries to justify in words, that they do not harm innocents, but then they surreptitiously define the term innocent to meet their own criteria as if the people are too stupid to see their Sophistry and tricks.  Al Qaeda, you are a loser on the field of battle, and now you are losing the war of ideas.  Your end in Iraq is surely near.

At any rate, this kind of communication would couple well with the hard fought gains on the ground in Iraq.  It’s time to take the gloves off of the Multinational Force communications.  Finally, what we learn from OBL’s audio is that nothing has changed.  We should continue to expect that AQI will use torture, brutality and other atrocities as they see fit and are able.

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You are currently reading "Bin Laden’s December 2007 Audio", entry #862 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) al Qaeda,Iraq,Islamists,Jihadists and was published January 1st, 2008 by Herschel Smith.

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