Skip to comments.Al Qaeda in Iraq, Al Nusrah Front ( Syria) emerge as rebranded single entity
Posted on 04/10/2013 6:05:19 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
The emir of al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), Abu Bakr al Baghdadi (also known as Abu Dua), has announced a new brand for his organization's efforts: the "Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant." The new name replaces all previous brands used by al Qaeda's affiliates in Iraq and Syria, including the Al Nusrah Front.
Al Baghdadi's announcement came in an audio message which was released online on April 8. The message was first obtained and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.
Al Baghdadi confirms that the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda's chief fighting force inside Syria, has always been a creation of his terrorist organization.
"It's now time to declare in front of the people of the Levant and world that the al Nusrah Front is but an extension of the Islamic State of Iraq and part of it," al Baghdadi says.
The Al Nusrah Front's leader, Abu Muhammad al Julani, is one of al Baghdadi's subordinates. "We deputized al Julani, and he is one of our soldiers, and with him a group of our sons, and we pushed them from Iraq to the Levant so as to meet our cells in the Levant," al Baghdadi explains, according to SITE's translation.
"We laid for them plans, and drew up for them the policy of work, and gave them what financial support we could every month, and supplied them with men who had known the battlefields of jihad, from the emigrants and the natives," al Baghdadi continues.
Al Baghdadi says that al Qaeda did not announce the Al Nusrah Front's al Qaeda origins in the past "due to security reasons."
Message confirms State Department designation
Al Baghdadi's new message confirms the details set forth in a designation released by the US State Department on Dec. 11, 2012. The State Dept. announced at the time that the Al Nusrah Front was simply "a new alias for AQI" and that the group "has sought to portray itself as part of the legitimate Syrian opposition while it is, in fact, an attempt by AQI to hijack the struggles of the Syrian people for its own malign purposes."
The State Dept. explained the relationship between the Al Nusrah Front and AQI in much the same way that al Baghdadi does. Al Baghdadi "is in control of both AQI and al Nusrah," State said, and he "issues strategic guidance to al Nusrah's emir, Abu Muhammad al-Jawlani, and tasked him to begin operations in Syria."
Al Qaeda's use of brands
Al Qaeda has long used multiple brands to mask its operations, as AQI did in Syria with respect to the Al Nusrah Front.
Al Qaeda's choice of brand name can also reflect how the organization views allied organizations, as well as its current prospects in a specific geographic venue. In that vein, al Baghdadi explains that AQI's evolution began with its first emir Abu Musab al Zarqawi, who established his group, "Tawhid Wal Jihad," inside Iraq. Al Baghdadi points out that Zarqawi's organization used the same name inside Afghanistan.
Contrary to some accounts, Zarqawi already had substantial links to al Qaeda at this time. For instance, Saif al Adel, a top al Qaeda leader, has confirmed in his writings that he managed al Qaeda's relationship with Zarqawi. Al Qaeda supported Zarqawi's camps in western Afghanistan prior to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, al Adel has written.
When Zarqawi formally swore bayat (an oath of allegiance) to al Qaeda, al Baghdadi continues, Zarqawi changed his organization's name to al Qaeda in Iraq, thereby "tying" it "to the global circle of jihad." Interestingly, al Baghdadi says, Zarqawi "knew how much this pledge [to al Qaeda] would cost the Sunni people in Iraq, and how much it would cost his mujahideen sons and brothers."
The calculation Zarqawi and al Qaeda made with respect to Iraq is similar to the one made by al Qaeda-affiliated groups elsewhere. A document recovered in Osama bin Laden's Pakistani compound shows, for example, that al Qaeda's CEO told Shabaab to hide its al Qaeda ties in order to avoid additional international scrutiny. The document confirmed previous reporting by The Long War Journal. Only months later, in February 2012, did Shabaab and al Qaeda announce their formal merger. Similarly, a document authored by the emir of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, and recovered in Mali, revealed that his wing of al Qaeda sought to hide its global jihadist aims.
Even after adopting al Qaeda's brand, however, affiliate organizations may adopt new names reflecting their on-the-ground objectives. To this end, al Baghdadi says AQI united with other jihadist groups inside Iraq under the "Mujahideen Shura Council" (MSC) umbrella. The same name has been adopted by al Qaeda-linked groups elsewhere.
Zarqawi "extended his hands to those who were in the field from the working groups...and made it [a] condition of unity not to lay down their arms, no matter what was the nature of the tyrannical government that would be formed," al Baghdadi says. AQI then "gave up the name of al Qaeda that frightened the enemies of Allah, which had global weight and was tied to the Sheikh of the Mujahideen Osama bin Laden...and also the other groups gave up their names" to fight as part of the MSC.
But AQI's evolution did not end there. Zarqawi's successors relaunched al Qaeda's effort once again, under the banner of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI). Al Baghdadi says that the ISI "created cells" in the Levant "that are limited to preparation and supply, waiting for the chance to continue the path of highness that must continue." These cells joined with Abu Muhammad al Julani and his men to create the Al Nusrah Front.
But today, al Baghdadi says, all of the previous brands used by al Qaeda in the region, including the Al Nusrah Front, "disappear from our use, and become part of our blessed jihadi history like their predecessors."
They now fight under a unifying name, the "Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant."
Echoing Zawahiri's call for unity, creation of Islamic state in the Levant
Just two days before al Baghdadi's audio message was released on jihadist forums, As Sahab, al Qaeda's official propaganda arm, released a lengthy speech by Ayman al Zawahiri. Al Qaeda's emir called for jihadists in the Levant to forge an Islamic state.
"Do your best to make the fruit of your jihad, Allah permitting, a jihadi Islamic State that spreads justice and consultation, and protects the rights and has conscience," Zawahiri advised, according to a translation prepared by SITE. Such a state should become "a brick in the structure of the return of the rightly-guided Caliphate on the methodology of the Prophet," Zawahiri said.
Zawahiri also heaped praise on the Islamic State of Iraq, saying it was a bulwark against the West's designs.
AQI's announced creation of a new brand, the "Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant," is entirely consistent with Zawahi
By Thomas JoscelynApril 10, 2013
Banner of the Al Nusrah Front. Image from the SITE Intelligence Group.
The head of the Al Nusrah Front in Syria, Abu Muhammad al Julani, has released an audio recording renewing his organization's allegiance to al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri.
Al Julani confirms many of the details set forth in a message from the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, just two days ago. Namely, al Julani verifies parts of al Baghdadi's explanation of how al Qaeda in Iraq spawned the terror network's Syrian arm. [See LWJ report, Al Qaeda in Iraq, Al Nusrah Front emerge as rebranded single entity.]
But in an interesting twist, al Julani rejects al Baghdadi's call for al Qaeda's affiliates in Iraq and Syria to operate under a common name, the "Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant."
In his response to al Baghdadi, al Julani swears allegiance directly to Ayman al Zawahiri.
"This is a pledge of allegiance from the sons of the al Nusrah Front and their supervisor general that we renew to the Sheikh of Jihad, Sheikh Ayman al Zawahiri, may Allah preserve him," Julani says, according to a translation provided by the SITE Intelligence Group. "We give a pledge of allegiance for obedience in good and bad in emigration and jihad and not to dispute with our superiors unless we see clear disbelief about which we have proof from Allah."
Al Julani is eager to "let people know" that the Al Nusrah Front's leadership "had no knowledge" of al Baghdadi's announcement "other than what they heard in the media." Al Julani continues: "If the attributed speech is true, then we weren't consulted or issued requests."
Al Julani clearly thinks that al Baghdadi's announcement was premature. "The [Al Nusrah] Front's banner will remain as-is, without changing anything, despite our pride in the [Islamic State of Iraq's] banner and those who carried it and sacrificed their blood for it from among their brothers," SITE's translation reads.
The head of the Al Nusrah Front explains that "postponing" an announcement of the relationship with al Qaeda's Islamic State of Iraq was not "due to weakness," but instead owed to his group's cautious approach to implementing sharia law.
Al Julani is keen to avoid the mistakes al Qaeda made in the past and his organization is pursuing "sharia-compliant policies that suit the reality of the Levant and upon which the decision-making people in the Levant agreed from among the Front's leaders and its students," as well as other "factions" and "honorable sheikhs."
Al Qaeda's affiliate in Iraq lost much of its support from the populace after it was too zealous in its implementation of harsh laws. Al Julani wants to avoid the same mistakes in Syria.
Allegiance to al Qaeda "central"
Al Julani's decision to "renew" his organization's allegiance to Zawahiri is an interesting one. It suggests that he previously swore fealty directly to Zawahiri, and wasn't solely receiving orders from al Qaeda in Iraq. This is consistent with some press reporting based on Western intelligence officials' understanding of how the Al Nusrah Front operates
Yeah. They are gonna last long. Probably explains why Obama and Hillary wanted them to have Chemical and Biological WMD.
And 20,000 M16s go missing over there too... How convenient.
Hopefully one of these days soon, earlier the better Abu Bakr al ASSHOLE Baghdadi, will meet the same fate as say the Zarc Man, when a drone finds him and releases a few hell fire missiles upon his head.
April 6, 2013 : (Emir of AQ Zawahiri releases message)
April 8, 2013 : (Emir of AQ in Iraq releases message)
April 15, 2013 : (Boston Marathon bombings)
Maybe no connection but it would be a good idea to review these releases in full to see what else they may have been communicating besides name changes.
Bumping this thread and thank you for the ping, Piasa.
Could be a message to our new sec of state since it is John Kerry’s home turf, as in an alpha dog peeing on an inferior dog’s scent mark to put him in his place.
APRIL 1, 2013 : ().....One forum member noted that over a week ago, a jihadist announced his desire to plan bombings in the United States, but was chastised by others for revealing such a plot publicly. He is referring to a posting on the Ansar al-Mujahideen forum on April 1 in which a jihadist tried to recruit members for an attack similar in impact to al-Qaedas 9/11 strikes, but seemed focused on the attack being a suicide bombing......——
Allahu Akbar! Online Jihadists Hope Boston Bombings Are Act of Islamic Terrorism, http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/3008765/posts
Gateway Pundit ^ | April 16, 2013 | Jim Hoft
Thanks for that link and summary, Piasa.
Could be, but you know...if it’s jihadis — anything sets them off.
Terrorism to a crowd is their tendency... no reason necessary.
Note: this topic was posted 4/10/2013. Thanks Ernest_at_the_Beach.