If you read Ekhlaas’ sign-in page that I posted yesterday, you already know that Bin Laden has released a new message. Like his message last week, the new one is inspired by the 60th anniversary of Israel, but this time it is directed to the Muslim community, not the West. Here’s a summary:
Muslims, Bin Laden argues, will only reclaim Palestine from the Jews by fighting, not compromising, since the only law that matters today is “the law of the predator.” To fight a wolf, you have to be a wolf.
Before the twentieth century, the Ottoman empire protected Palestine from the rapacious Crusaders, but then Arab leaders like Sharif Husayn and Abd al-Aziz Al al-Saud worked with the British to destroy the empire, which removed Palestine’s protection. Since then, Western proxies in the region have prevented Muslims from reclaiming Palestine.
To reverse this situation, Muslims need to follow the example of Saladin. He obeyed the Qur’anic command to fight against disbelievers; he consulted with religious scholars on the subject of jihad; he fought against local Muslim rulers who worked with the Crusaders; and finally, he did not get permission from his opponent to fight him.
In contrast, Arab leaders are removing the Qur’anic verses on fighting from academic curricula; they have co-opted the ulama and only allow them access to the media to denounce jihad against the U.S. and its allies; they collaborate with the Crusaders and call those who fight them “excommunicating Kharijites;” and finally, the religious scholars in Saudi, led by a former revivalist leader, have made jihad conditional on the permission of the Saudi government.
To those who object to Bin Laden’s thesis by asserting that Hezbollah is fighting the good fight, Bin Laden hints that Hezbollah’s leader, Nasrallah, is beholden to the Iranians; otherwise, why didn’t Hezbollah liberate Palestine in its war with Israel two years ago? It was merely a war of self-defense. The fact that Nasrallah allows Crusader forces (UN peacekeepers) to protect the Jews indicates that he is not serious.
Others might object that there have been several wars fought against Israel to liberate Palestine. Bin Laden counters that none of the past wars were serious, except for the ’73 war; even then, Sadat only wanted to recapture the Sinai from the Israelis, not liberate Palestine.
Today, Israel is weak and only survives by the support of the West and its surrogates in the region. If Israel had to face what the Soviets faced in Afghanistan against the mujahids, it would completely crumble. But since it is surrounded by surrogates of the West, there is no way to get to Palestine without fighting against them, whether they be governments or parties. This will involve killing people who profess to be Muslims, just as Saladin did in order to liberate Jerusalem.
Several interesting things to note: First, Bin Laden is very bothered by the recent counter-ideology campaign of Arab governments in the Middle East, which consists of curricula reform, criticism by prominent religious scholars, condemnatory religious labels, and former Jihadi clerics in Saudi giving the right to declare jihad to the Saudi government. This last is an allusion to Salman al-Awda, who blasted Bin Laden in an open letter last Ramadan for bringing harm to the Muslim world.
Second, Bin Laden’s complaints about the media giving a platform to his clerical critics are part of a larger beef that Jihadis are having with the Arab media. Bin Laden echoes a popular sentiment in Jihadi circles when he says that the media is deliberately “trying to disfigure (the image of) the mujahids and weaken them.”
Third, the declaration that the Jihadis must fight their way through the surrounding countries to get to the occupied territories tallies with what Zawahiri said in a private letter to Zarqawi: expel the U.S. from Iraq, set up an emirate there, move to the neighboring countries, and then finally attack Israel. This puts Lebanon and Syria high on the list of new Jihadi theaters after the U.S. leaves Iraq.
Fourth, Bin Laden’s dismissal of Nasrallh and Hezbollah plays well to his Jihadi base, which hates the Shia, but it is poor politics given how popular Hezbollah and Nasrallah are in the region.
Document (Arabic): 5-18-08-ekhlaas-bin-laden-message