Al-Masry al-Youm has begun its serial publication of Sayyid Imam’s new book, The Denudation of the Exoneration. Since Media Shack won’t be covering it in depth, I’ll be posting summaries of it here as it comes out. I’ll also .pdf the webpage so readers of Arabic won’t have to go scratching around for it later.
The first installment begins with “The Lies of Zawahiri,” so you know it’s going to be good. Highlights are the revelation that Zawahiri was a Sudanese agent in the early ’90s and Sayyid Imam’s call to a mubahala. As you’ll see, it’s hard not to believe that Sayyid Imam relishes the chance he’s been given to put his finger in Zawahiri’s eye. Here is a summary:
- Zawahiri repeatedly says I wrote the Document [the Tarshid] under the supervision of the U.S. and the Jews. He is a liar and I call him to a mubahala. I swear to God that I wrote the Document to help Islam and if Zawahiri has lied about this, may God curse him.
- What Zawahiri says about the Document he also said about Bin Laden. Zawahiri accused UBL of being an agent of Saudi intelligence working among the Islamic movements when UBL didn’t support them with money in 1995. Zawahiri thinks everyone is a traitor like him.
- Zawahiri accused me of being an agent of Sudanese intelligence. I swear that I heard Zawahiri say to me in Sudan at the end of 1993 that he had to carry out 10 operations for the Sudanese in Egypt and that he received $100,000 from them to that end. If he denies it, I call him to a second mubahala: I swear Zawahiri said this and if he denies it, may God send his curse down upon him.
- He began working for the Sudanese a year after I cut off my ties with Islamic Jihad. He paid the Islamic Jihad group in Egypt to carry out operations there. I sat with them and warned them that it was futile and not required by Islamic law, but Zawahiri persisted. He and his brother swore they would go fight in Egypt until they died, but they did not; they let others die there instead.
- Zawahiri told me in 1991 that my relationship with him gave the Islamic Jihad group more stature in the eyes of the Islamic Group because I am a scholar on par with `Umar `Abd al-Rahman [the Blind Shaykh]. In 1994, when I was making final revisions to The Compendium [al-Jami`, Sayyid Imam’s famous reference book on all things jihad], Zawahiri said the book is “a victory from God.” When they announced the publication of the book in their journal, al-Mujahidun, they said that I am “the mufti of the mujihads in the world” and that I am “the fighting scholar and the mujahid mufti.”
- Zawahiri contradicts himself in his Exoneration. He says I wrote the Document under U.S. direction, but elsewhere he says I had opposed Islamic Jihad’s struggle in Egypt for 14 years. He also knows that in The Comendium I criticized attacking a country when it gives you a visa–this was in a book he called a “victory from God.” [Zawahiri hammered Imam on the visa issue in the Exoneration.]
- I did not write The Compendium in 1993 under duress. When Pakistan exiled me in 1993, I could have gone into political asylum in Europe, but I didn’t. I chose to remain among Muslims despite the risk.
- Zawahiri also lied when he said I gave the full name of one of the operatives in the two assassination attempts in Egypt and says I could have only know this from an intelligence service. Therefore, he says, I was working with the intel services when writing my book. But intel services aren’t always accurate because brothers lie in interrogation, with Zawahiri first among them. I found that when I was arrested by Egypt in 2004, Zawahiri had attributed many false things to me in his interrogation of 1981 to secure his release.
- Zawahiri says I was being supported by the Yemeni authorities who arrested me and gave me to Egypt at America’s instructions for the purpose of writing the Document. That is a lie. I had no connection with the Yemenis. They arrested me after 9/11 for their own interest and to settle scores with Egypt. I wasn’t the only one they arrested for these reasons. The head of Yemeni intel told me that they had given my name to the U.S. and that the U.S. wasn’t interested in me.
- Later, the same intel director said at the beginning of 2002 that I should gather my Egyptian brothers and form an external opposition party against Egypt. I refused. They held us for 2 1/2 years until the Yemeni speaker of parliament disparaged us in 2003, so the Yemeni authorities transferred us to Egypt in 2004. We were transferred as a group, so others in the group can testify to the truth of what I say.
- Zawahiri lies when he says that the Document serves the interests of the U.S. It is he and UBL that serve its interests.
- Zawahiri lies when he says that he and al-Qaeda are the symbol of popular resistance against the Zio-American campaign against Muslims. They were the first to flee the U.S. in Afghanistan. They offered a truce to America; how can this be when they reject everything except fighting? Moreover, Zawahiri worked as an agent for Sudanese intel to settle its political scores with Egypt in 1993. The first time Zawahiri met with `Ali `Uthman Muhammad Taha, he told him that he had 10,000 trained fighters in Egypt when he had a few dozen. There are people in prison with us now who still believe this lie.
- When the first assassination attempt against Sidqi failed in 1993, the Egyptian state infiltrated the Islamic Jihad and operations halted. As the six men involved in the operation were led to the execution chamber, Zawahiri was busy telling jokes to the Sudanese, who grew frustrated with his lack of seriousness.
- Zawahiri says they decided to carry out operations in Egypt so that the idea and flame of jihad remained alive. That’s a lie; he did it for fame. He did it at the bidding of the Sudanese.
- In 1992, when they asked my advice about the operations in Egypt [which had yet to transpire], I refused them. Zawahiri said, people are condemning us because the Islamic Group is doing something and we are doing nothing.
- At the end of 1993, when I repudiated what they had done in Egypt, he said, “The youth pressured me (to do it).” I said, “That’s no excuse.” That’s when he told me about the Sudanese paying for the operations.
- Some people pay money to increase their fame. Zawahiri pays with the blood of others.
- In Islam, the hadiths transmitted by a liar or the testimony of a liar in court is invalid. Why would anyone listen to the religious pronouncements of this known liar?
- Is someone who makes decisions for the sake of “the idea and the flame” capable, militarily or in terms of Sharia law, to talk about jihad?
Document (Arabic): 11-18-08-al-masry-al-youm-denudation-part-1
Care to speculate on whether this new Sayyid Imam text will, as a practical matter, make a difference as his previous book did? Or, do you think that Sayyid Imam’s previous work did the damage and this new “Denudation” document is just descending into inside baseball that won’t really additionally affect the views of jihadists and the potentially sympathetic people around them?
Although the media may not be as interested in round two of the exchange between Imam and Zawahiri, it will have a much greater impact on the Jihadis. Why? Because Imam has issued a mubahala, putting his eternal soul in jeopardy. If Zawahiri does not respond in kind, he will look like a coward and Imam will be vindicated. If Zawahiri denies the mubahala accusations and is later proven wrong, he’ll lose a lot of support. Of course you’ll still have people who defend him no matter what–in the text, Imam says there are people in prison with him today who believe that Zawahiri will rescue them with tanks–but many more will start to sour on Zawahiri. Of course they will still have heroes (UBL and Abu Yahya al-Libi), but this is going to really damage Zawahiri in a way that Imam’s earlier theoretical treatise didn’t.
I agree with the effects that Imam’s mubahala will have. I’m looking forward to what Zawahiri will have to say in response. As you say, this is going to be good. My only concern is that it has become a little personal. I have read part 2 and Imam seems to be ignoring many of the substantive questions that Zawahiri posed. During a discussion on Al-Arabiya a few days ago, Abdel-Rahim Ali, the Egyptian expert on militant groups, pointed to this.
You are right that it’s a little personal. I’m sure there will be a more substantive discussion of Zawahiri’s points later. To be fair, Zawahiri also ignored many of the strongest arguments that Sayyid Imam made in the Document. That’s how polemics go, right?