As with Wednesday’s installment, Sayyid Imam saves the good stuff for last. He obliquely chides Mullah Omar for not turning over Bin Laden to the U.S. Imam also discloses that Bin Laden was plotting with Pakistani intelligence before 9/11 without the permission of Mullah Omar and alleges that he worked with ISI head Gen. Mahmud Ahmed. Finally, Imam reveals that Zawahiri did not know of the 9/11 attacks until after they happened. In all, the picture he paints of Zawahiri is of a man very peripheral to al-Qaeda operations until after 9/11.
At the beginning of today’s installment, Sayyid Imam rebuts several of the principles underpinning the “school of al-Qaeda” and reprises the argument of his last book that even though jihad is a duty, there are conditions that must be met before it can be undertaken. My paraphrastic translation follows:
Muslims are the cause of their own problems, not Americans as Zawahiri and Bin Laden say. The reform of Muslims has to begin with themselves.
UBL and Z. abandoned the umma, leaving it to pay the price by losing two nations, Afghanistan and Iraq, and by coping with the death of hundreds of thousands of people and widespread destruction.
* Zawahiri rejects my argument that jihad is not the only option Muslims can use to confront their enemies. He also rejects the idea that there are conditions and barriers to jihad.
- But there is a difference between the necessity of an Islamic duty and the ability of a Muslim to carry it out [eg you don’t have to pray if you are unable to].
- Z. says, “This corrupt reality…will only change through force” (Exoneration, p. 193). Any other option, he says, is “the poisons of weakness and paralysis” (p. 74). These words are kufr [unbelief] because God clearly mentioned other options in the Qur’an, and the Prophet and his Companions did not always use violence. Z. is like an ignorant doctor who only knows how to treat a patient one way and believes every other way is wrong.
- UBL and Z. exploit the Islamic sentiments of the youth along with their ignorance of the Sharia sciences. Z. hates to speak about conditions and barriers for Islamic duties, even though they are the pillars of Sharia wisdom. He doesn’t want the youth to know this way of reasoning so they will be more receptive to fiery rhetoric. Weighing conditions and barriers is the difference between a scholar and an ignorant person, a jurist and a reckless person.
- My experience with Z. is that he is the most reckless of those who don’t think about consequences. But he is an unusual reckless person. A normal reckless person risks something he owns. But Z. risks what he doesn’t own. In Egypt, he risked the lives of hundreds of his brethren and then he fled and did not die with them in Egypt as he had promised. He then risked the Taliban state, the Afghan people, and then the Iraqi people. He always risks what he doesn’t own, flees, and then leaves others to pay the price. All of this has led to no real achievement on the ground but rather wholesale losses. Thus, he doesn’t want Muslim youth to know there are conditions and barriers for jihad that lead to minimal loses, in contrast to the outcome of recklessness–heavy losses without benefit. Think about why the Islamic movements have failed to establish Islamic states or suffered severe losses; it is because these conditions have been ignored.
* Localization of Leadership
- UBL violated the command of his amir, Mullah Omar, to not attack the U.S. He developed the heretical notion that he only had to obey him in matters internal to Afghanistan.
- Islamic scripture does not limit obedience to one’s amir to a location. You have to obey your amir no matter where you are. Moreover, medieval scholars say there can be no raid beyond the borders your amir controls without his permission.
- UBL betrayed Mullah Omar but this doesn’t excuse Omar’s responsibility for the loss of Afghanistan. He could have prevented it if he had acted wisely at the first sign of trouble without violating Islamic law. But he failed to act.
- During its reign, the Taliban punished women for leaving their homes without covering their faces. Today they kill Afghan soldiers who collaborate with the American occupation. But the Taliban still will not bring UBL and Z. to an accounting, even though they were directly responsible for the loss of the Taliban state.
- UBL never respected the Taliban government. He wanted to use it as a means to attack the U.S. He also cut deals with outsiders as if he were a state within a state. For example, he struck agreements with his old ally, Pakistani intelligence, in particular with Gen. Mahmud Ahmed. UBL also did interviews with the foreign press even though Mullah Omar forbade it.
- Z. also had contempt for the Taliban state, even though he said in his book Knights that the mujahid states of Afghanistan and Chechnya had to have Jihadis’ total support and that the battle had to be transferred to the heart of the Islamic world. He further said that because these states are weak, the Jihadis had to solve the problem [overthrowing Islamic regimes elsewhere] themselves without exposing these states to retaliation. But his subsequent actions contradicted his earlier words.
* The heresy of fighting the far enemy before the near enemy
- Z. invented this principle to support UBL’s plan to attack the U.S. By this, they wanted to focus the disparate actions of the Islamic groups on a single far enemy. This is completely contrary to Islamic scripture and to the classical understanding of scholars [gives quotes].
- For 30 years, Z. preached fighting against the near enemy, the Egyptian government, until he decided in 1998 that it was more important to fight the far enemy. That was after the failure of Egyptian Islamic Jihad in Egypt and its financial bankruptcy. So he joined UBL’s Global Islamic Front for Jihad in 1998, even though the U.S. had done nothing to EIJ before that. That’s when he concocted this principle and put it in UBL’s mind.
- Z.’s agent in Europe, Hani Siba`i, said in a book that Z.’s decision brought great harm to EIJ, even though the change in strategy was not the collective decision of the group.
- Even though Z.’s group incurred heavy losses for the sake of UBL, UBL did not used to trust Z. for reasons I won’t go into here. Thus, he did not inform him of the 9/11 plot before it happened, even though Z. had joined AQ and given allegiance to UBL in June of 2001. UBL then had him justify the attack after the fact.
Document (Arabic): 11-21-08-al-masry-al-youm-denudation-part-3