Al Qaeda's leader says Iraqi branch in Syria must return to fight at home

RIYADH Sat May 3, 2014 4:41am EDT

A photo of Al Qaeda's new leader, Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahiri, is seen in this still image taken from a video released on September 12, 2011. REUTERS/SITE Monitoring Service via Reuters TV

A photo of Al Qaeda's new leader, Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahiri, is seen in this still image taken from a video released on September 12, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/SITE Monitoring Service via Reuters TV

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RIYADH (Reuters) - Iraqi al Qaeda's entry into Syria's civil war caused "a political disaster" for Islamist militants there, the movement's global leader Ayman al-Zawahri said in a video message, urging the faction to redouble its efforts in Iraq instead.

Zawahri has repeatedly tried to end infighting between the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and another al Qaeda-aligned group, the Nusra Front.

He said on Friday in a message translated by SITE Monitoring that if ISIL had accepted his decision not to get involved in Syria and had instead worked to "busy itself with Iraq, which needs double its efforts" then it could have avoided the "waterfall of blood" caused by militant infighting.

ISIL militants joined the conflict in Syria last year and unilaterally declared they were taking over the Nusra Front, which had won the admiration of many rebels fighting Syria's President Bashar al-Assad for its battlefield prowess.

Zawahri, who has run al Qaeda since Osama bin Laden was killed in April 2011, accused ISIL's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, of "sedition" and said rebel disunity had been handed "on a plate of gold" to Assad, the ultimate target of all Sunni Islamist groups in Syria.

Zawahri said Baghdadi should instead redouble his efforts against the Iraqi government, led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki who is a Shi'ite - an Islamic sect regarded by al Qaeda as heretical. Shi'ism is the dominant sect in Iran.

He said that toppling Assad would "cause the elimination of more than half of the Iranian power alliance that seeks to establish a Shi'ite state from Afghanistan to south Lebanon".

On Wednesday the United States said al Qaeda's core organization in Pakistan, led by Zawahri, had been severely degraded, but that the movement's affiliates in Africa and the Middle East were becoming more autonomous and aggressive.

(Reporting by Angus McDowall; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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Comments (3)
mildot wrote:
Yeah, Zawahiri said “There is still plenty of Iraqis to kill”. He also said, “The daily car bombings really don’t terrorize much any more”, and “Iraqis have become become desensitized to the random explosions in public venues, we really need to up our game here”. He spoke at length about how car bombs are not loud enough, and pedestrians escaping with their families from Allah’s will. He also described a new strategy of terrorizing elusive citizens by following them into their homes with explosive laden scooters, and sneaking suicide bombers into girl’s schools through the toilet drains pipes. All together, Zawahiri’s predicted an especially bloody year in Iraq and had been tempted to start plastering human body parts across Bagdad in the shape of a giant camel to keep spirits high among the suicide bombers in his organization, which he described as “oddly disinterested in my favorite pastime of just wasting my days watching TV”.

May 03, 2014 9:07am EDT  --  Report as abuse
mildot wrote:
Yeah, Zawahiri said “There is still plenty of Iraqis to kill”. He also said, “The daily car bombings really don’t terrorize much any more”, and “Iraqis have become become desensitized to the random explosions in public venues, we really need to up our game here”. He spoke at length about how car bombs are not loud enough, and pedestrians escaping with their families from Allah’s will. He also described a new strategy of terrorizing elusive citizens by following them into their homes with explosive laden scooters, and sneaking suicide bombers into girl’s schools through the toilet drains pipes. All together, Zawahiri’s predicted an especially bloody year in Iraq and had been tempted to start plastering human body parts across Bagdad in the shape of a giant camel to keep spirits high among the suicide bombers in his organization, which he described as “oddly disinterested in my favorite pastime of just wasting my days watching TV”.

May 03, 2014 9:07am EDT  --  Report as abuse
carlmartel wrote:
Ayman al Zawahiri wants to attack the oil and gas infrastructure of the Middle East in addition to north Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Syria’s pipeline has been cut and can be disrupted by the forces inside Syria. Moving into Iraq allows strikes against Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. Iran may be more difficult, but some attacks may be possible.

US and NATO economies and militaries depend on transportation that requires oil and gas. Pipeline attacks are best because they don’t destroy too much oil and gas, but they make impressive fireballs to drive up the terror premium to keep oil around $100 per barrel. This damages western economies and militaries, raises profits for Arab oil states, raises donations from citizens of Arab oil states for al Qaeda and other groups, and lets the US and NATO pay for both sides in the war. It is an effective strategy.

As a 34 year US Army Special Forces combat veteran, I understand unconventional warfare and try to warn the US and NATO of threats, but it appears that al Qaeda has infiltrated Reuters editors and commenters to prevent or remove comments that warn the US and NATO about the threats that they face. Some people may not like the tactical skills of the enemy, but they must be fought with effective counter tactics and not hidden from view because hiding the enemy’s abilities increase the likelihood of enemy victories.

May 04, 2014 3:04pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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