“I Am a Kenyan From the Savannah and This is My Story with the Islamic State of Iraq”

That’s the opening line from a letter by Kenyan named `Uthman Turawari.   `Uthman relates that he had high hopes for the jihad in Iraq.  But the more he read about it, the more he saw that the Jihadis were willing to compromise the principle of bara’ (shunning anyone who differs from them ideologically).  Rather than fighting together, they are willing to work with the Baathists and with the tyrannical rulers of neighboring countries.

`Uthman was very depressed until he met a certain Abu `Abd Allah (also Bin Laden’s kunya).  Abu `Abd Allah asked `Uthman if he had ever heard of `Umar al-Baghdadi, the amir of the Islamic State of Iraq.  “No” replied `Uthman.  Abu `Abd Allah reassured `Uthman that Baghdadi is fighting for all Muslims, not just the Muslims of Iraq, and that the Islamic State of Iraq is the hope of the Muslim community.  `Uthman ends his letter by saying is now feels confident that the ISI is fighting for him, even though he is far away in Kenyan.

This letter is probably pure propaganda, but it’s the sort of propaganda that Jihadis are exceptionally good at: treating serious subjects in a casual way through stories.  In this case, they accomplish several things.  First, they take a shot at their main Jihadi rivals in Iraq, the Islamic Army in Iraq, which has been willing to work with more secular insurgents and has a good relationship with Syria and Saudi.  Second, they diffuse a common complaint against AQ, which is that it is narrowly focused on the Arab world.  Third, the storyteller is from Kenya, an old stomping ground of al-Qaeda and a place that its operatives are likely to return (particularly along the coast).

Document (Arabic): 5-18-08-ekhlaas-kenyans-story-of-isi

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