Shumukh’s Prebuttal Of Sayyid Imam

The Egyptian newspaper, Al-Masri al-Youm, announced last week that Sayyid Imam will publish a rebuttal of Zawahiri’s Tabri’a (Exoneration), which itself was a rebuttal of Sayyid Imam’s Tarshid–a text that caused a great stir last year because the author criticized his former colleague, Zawahiri, for being an unrealistic revolutionary.  Since Rob at Media Shack is probably going to cover the book’s serial publication (the release begins this Tuesday), I’ll focus on Jihadi reaction to the text as it is released.  (Incidentally, Imam’s new book is entitled, Denudation of the Exoneration.)   Today we have a prebuttal of the work posted to the Shumukh forum, followed by comments.  The author of the prebuttal, Ayman, employs several lines of attack:   Sayyid Imam’s earlier books were too extreme in their formulation of laws for jihad. He is a flip-flopper.  Why should we trust what a flip-flopper says? If he really understands Islam,

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Zawahiri the XO

The US military has given CNN letters that Zawahiri wrote in March 2008 to senior al-Qaeda commanders in Iraq (hat tip SK). Much of the content has been filtered through an MNFI spokesman so it’s hard to use CNN’s summary to assess al-Qaeda’s fortunes in Iraq. Nevertheless, since the summary fits with the bleak picture that has been emerging these past few months, it’s worth noting. I’ve rearranged the information for ease of reference: Zawahiri letter to al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Ayyub al-Masri, March 2008. Letter was captured in April during U.S. op that killed AQI Information Minister Abu Nizar. Abu Nizar was an intermediary between Masri and AQ Central. The letter was found on Abu Nizar’s person. Leadership: Masri too isolated to keep watch of his operatives. Zawahiri questions Masri’s ability to lead AQI. Poor Communication with AQ Central: Zawahiri concerned that he is not getting regular updates

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Pakistan Preparing All-Out Confrontation of Militants?

[Chipotle Mystery] Since late July a number of suicide attacks have struck Pakistan, reminiscent of the spate of violence that ringed in the New Year and witnessed the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. The rise in violence comes as the Pakistani military appears to be engaging in a large-scale offensive in Bajaur, one of the seven agencies that make up the semi-autonomous Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), and also follow the visit of Yusuf Raza Gillani to Washington in July (It appears that the U.S. Government gave its approval for the removal of Musharraf during this meeting – but this is just speculation). Quick background: The FATA serves as a sanctuary for various Taliban-affiliated groups, notably the “Pakistani Taliban” led by Baitullah Mehsud who has been blamed for Ms. Bhutto’s assassination. The FATA may also house Al-Qaeda leaders, and Bajaur in particular has often been speculated as serving as a hiding

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Sahab Releases Full Zawahiri Message in English

A few days ago, ARY (a Pakistani network) ran an extremely truncated version of a lengthy audio tape of Zawahiri addressing Pakistanis in English.  Yesterday, Sahab (the media production arm of al-Qaeda) released the full audio recording online (open the .pdf below for links).  Here are the interesting bits: Zawahiri says at the beginning that he wants to address Pakistanis in Urdu, but he can’t speak the language.  He is speaking English to communicate with them, even though it is the language of the enemy. Zawahiri’s attachment to Pakistan began in his childhood.  His grandfather was the first to translate the poetry of Muhammad Iqbal into Arabic. Musharraf is a tool of the U.S. Pakistan made a “strategic blunder’ when it allowed the U.S. to install Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan since Karzai is friendly to India.  Now, Pakistan has no “strategic depth” in the mountains of Afghanistan, which would be

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Saudi Terror Arrests Summary, Government Points Finger at Iran

I’ve been collecting news stories on the terror suspects arrested in Saudi Arabia. Much of the reporting relies on Saudi security personnel and the Interior Ministry’s statement last week, so it should be read with due skepticism. There’s a lot to discuss, but I’ll save my comments for later. For the moment it’s worth noting that, as of today, the Saudis are now injecting a new piece of information into the story: the network was taking orders and receiving money from someone in Iran: The funding for the AQ cells in Saudi came from one of the major countries in the region in the form of Euros. (al-Qabas, “Oil Cell”) Instructions for the cells came from the same major country in the region in which leaders of AQ sought refuge, like the Egyptian Sayf al-Adl who is currently living there. (al-Qabas, “Oil Cell”) Below is my summary of all the

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Zawahiri vs. His Mentor

Lawrence Wright has a new article on the acrimonious debate between Zawahiri and his former mentor, Sayyid Imam. This is the most serious ideological fissure in the Jihadi movement in twenty years (since the death of `Abd Allah `Azzam) and Wright does an excellent job of tying together all the pieces of a complicated story. Document (Arabic): Guiding the Jihad (ترشيد العمل الجهادي في مصر والعالم) Document (Arabic): Exoneration (التبريئة)

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Jihadi Book Club: Kenyon Gibson’s Nest of Evil

This is a good one. Ekhlaas member Taqi al-Din posts a still from a Zawahiri video. He notices (correctly) that one of the books on Zawahiri’s shelf is Kenyon Gibson’s Awkar al-sharr (Nest of Evil), which is an Arabic translation of his book Common Sense: A Study of the Bushes, the CIA, and the Suspicions Regarding 9/11. Gibson is also the coauthor of Hemp for Victory, a noted 9/11 conspiracy buff, and a former naval intel officer. Well, at least the first two are certainly true. It is not uncommon in the Arab world for this type of literature to be carried in mainstream bookstores, along with translations of works by better-known members of the left in the U.S. like Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore. There also seems to be a stream of similar literature coming from Europe. Books like these profoundly shape Arab understanding of U.S. intentions in the

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