Al-Malahim Media Institute, the affiliated media outlet for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), released a statement on 13 September 2017, “The March of Victory and the Defeat of America”, as part of al-Qaeda’s “In Remembrance of the Blessed September 11 Raids” series. The statement, attributed to Ibrahim Hassan bin Tali al-Asiri, the infamous AQAP bomb-maker, is reproduced below with some editions for syntax and spelling.
Al-Asiri was responsible for creating the bombs used in several plots, including the 27 August 2009 attempt to assassinate the then-Deputy Interior Minister of Saudi Arabia, Muhammad bin Nayef, carried out by al-Asiri’s own brother, Abdullah al-Asiri, who got close to Nayef by pretending he wished to turn himself in and then detonated explosives hidden in his rectum; the 25 December 2009 attempt to bring down Northwest Airlines Flight 253 over Detroit by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab; the alleged bombing of UPS Flight 6 as it departed Dubai on 3 September 2010; the 29 October 2010 planting of the cartridge bombs aboard two planes from Yemen to the United States; and the April 2012 effort to get a suicide bomber aboard an American flight.
Al-Asiri attempted to travel to Iraq to join the predecessor organization of the Islamic State shortly after Saddam Husayn’s regime came down. Al-Asiri was prevented from doing so by the Saudi government. After a brief imprisonment, al-Asiri was likely a participant in the jihadist insurrection that rocked the Saudi Kingdom between 2003 and 2006. The remnants of the Saudi insurgency retreated to Yemen, joining al-Qaeda’s forces in that country in a merger that became AQAP. In April 2014, there were reports that al-Asiri had been killed. But al-Asiri has since released an audio message, in January 2016, which threatened the Saudi monarchy—as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State so often do—and al-Asiri also had the lead article in the seventeenth issue of Inspire, released on 13 August 2017, entitled, “Targeting [the] Means of Transportation”.
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In the name of God the Most Merciful and Compassionate
Praise be to God the Lord of the Worlds and prayer and peace be upon the noblest of prophets and messengers, thereafter:
God the Exalted says: “How often, by God’s will, has a small force vanquished a big one? God is with those who steadfastly persevere” [al-Baqarah (2): 249].
And God the Exalted says: “And what is wrong with you that you fight not in the Cause of God, and for those weak, ill-treated and oppressed among men, women, and children, whose cry is: ‘Our Lord! Rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from You a protector, and raise for us from You a helper” [al-Nisa (4): 75].
Oh Muslim brothers everywhere, I speak to you today sixteen years on from the blessed raids, which targeted “Washington” and “New York”. Those raids changed the equation of the conflict in the world and flipped the scales, striking the nose of the cursed and unjust aggressor, America.
At a time when America, the leader of disbelief and crime, thought that it had placed its fist on the world and that humankind had to be compliant to it, nineteen knights of Islam left for it—for a place they did not know—and they broke the misconceptions and drew for humankind a plan for victory and liberation. They proved that the Islamic umma (community), even if it sleeps for one day, is not dying, and that the victorious companions and their descendants are still unbroken. There are a thousand people willing to risk their lives for His religion and His umma and His sanctities.
It is a famous day, whose remembrance the world anticipates every year, and it is a great event. Its consequences remain even in the present moment, years after it happening.
The mujahideen, and chief among them the Shaykh Usama bin Ladin—may God have mercy on him—chose to confront that large monster, “America”, and they chose to fight the head instead of being preoccupied with the tails. With great bravery and a startling challenge based on the power of faith in God, with the rights of the oppressed umma in mind, the mujahideen raised the banner and lined up under it as a courageous legion under the religion of the umma and its sanctities. God blessed their plans and helped them change the equation of the conflict in the world and built for their umma glory, pride, and a great and noble victory.
The message of the operations was clear: we are not aggressors, but rather it was America, and it remains the aggressor on our umma. It occupies our lands, it supports the occupying Jewish state in Palestine, it practices global arrogance with brazenness and boldness and no concern for punishment, nor realization for the consequences.
Those mujahideen from Tandheem al-Qaeda, and those from elsewhere who supported them, launched from a solid base of: “Victory is from God and God is the greatest and most powerful of all things and do not put your trust in any other than God and do not desire anything but Him and do seek help from any but Him and do not be afraid except of Him”. Those mujahideen were freed from the chains of submission and the knot of fear and subservience. And that is what happened.
The mujahideen put behind them all the myths of “the superpower” and put behind their backs all those disadvantages on the path of glory, and they overcame all those obstacles, which tried to stop them from demanding the true rights of Muslims and deterring the enemies of Islam. They left on their path of steadfastness, their hearts filled with certainty in what was from God—victory and mercy and pleasure. They got what they wanted. Verily, God is with His good servants, as what was recorded in the authentic hadith.
Today, by the grace of God, after the passing of more than a decade-and-a-half, after the launch of the true war between the Islamic umma and the Crusader nation headed by America, all the facts testify to the breaking of the Crusader campaign and the failure of America in finishing the battle. Every day [America] is bleeding and it will bleed until it dies, God willing.
Yes, the biggest problem for America and those Crusader countries behind it is that they do not realize the truth of this umma. And this umma is of jihad and martyrdom and an umma of sacrifice and an umma of victory.
America thought that it was able to silence the voice of truth or get rid of the forefront of the Islamic umma or kill the call for jihad in the hearts of the Muslims. But it failed and failed, and it will fail in every coming futile step.
The glad tidings of the victory for the Afghan people today against the American occupation is clear evidence of the failure of the brutal Crusader campaign. This comes after a huge bleeding in Iraq at the hands of the mujahideen, chief among them the emir of the martyrs, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi—may God have mercy on him. America saw that entering a war directly with the Muslim umma achieved nothing but failure and losses and bleeding. So it relied upon another plan, to withdraw and lessen the losses, and the legend of the “Marines” which do not get defeated faded away, and the lie of the “swift war” evaporated. The slaves of the cross and material things came to understand the weakness of their tools and their technology and their industry before the Muslim individual who carries his soul on his shoulder and presents himself as a sacrifice for Islam.
The current American administration is trying to find a solution to the Afghanistan dilemma and can’t find one. They are not able to withdraw, and they are determined not to reinforce their forces. Between this and that, the bleeding of their forces continues at the hands of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan [the formal name for the Taliban regime].
May God protect the heroes of the mujahideen in Afghanistan, and protect the sacrifices of those dear people, who smashed on a stone—with steadfastness and sacrifice—the disbelieving and arrogant Empires. Praise be to God, who made Afghanistan a punishment for the tyrants and a swamp for the evil ones.
Greetings on this good occasion to al-emir al-mu’mineen (the commander of the faithful) in Afghanistan, Hibatullah Akhundzada—may God protect him—and we say to him: there remains only a short distance to victory, and we, God permitting, promise to continue until Afghanistan and other Muslim countries are returned to Islamic rule and the final occupying soldier is removed. We, God permitting, promise to support Islam and are concerned with its issues. God knows, every one of us hopes that God honours the mujahideen’s position in Afghanistan and grants victory over America and its dirty soldiers and breaks the heart of those aggressors. It is kill and be killed on the land of that good country.
America thought in a futile way that with the launch of its Crusader campaign more than a decade-and-a-half ago the issue wouldn’t exceed an easy round of war to defeat a bunch of “extremist terrorist rebels”. But God disappointed them and foiled their plan, and opened for them the gates of hell and destruction.
Verily, God is who you do not know, oh Americans, and it is the Islamic umma which you do not understand. God is still scheming upon you and luring you to your death.
The jihad is extending throughout the Islamic world, a jihadi extension getting larger and springing up, and the Muslim people are boiling and waiting for their role in the jihad. It is a fertile umma which produces the leadership and heroes, and the mujahideen who vowed themselves for Islam. Oh America, make the war longer if you wish and we—with the help of God—will be more patient. We pain just as you pain, but we seek from God what you do not seek.
It is now more urgent than at any previous time that we say to the Islamic umma: Do not be afraid of jihad from your enemy; we have seen the tidings of looming victory. The march does not stop, and we have reached the final step.
Fear is only from ourselves, oh carriers of the religion and the defenders of it—the fear that the enticements of this world will overpower us or that nonsense will attract us or that we are exerting and sacrificing. Their greatest fear is that we are firm in our power and strength and that we seek the blessing of God upon us, and that He protects us and He is the Ruler and the Supporter and the Protector and the Appointed.
Yes, verily the battle is in need of more sacrifice and more endurance from the wounds, and needs more closing of the ranks and coordination between all believers from the Muslim umma and in all the fields—the scholar with his fatwas and the fighter with his weapon; the learned one with his knowledge, and the merchant with his wealth; the possessor of experience with his experience—each in his field exerting for the umma of Islam what he is able to and integrating into this wide and extensive battle. One should not make light of any good deed, no matter how small. The important thing is that we come together and not fight amongst one another and we coordinate and do not divide, that we are united on the goal and do not become disparate. It is upon us to avoid all secondary battles or marginal battles, so we can throw our arrows at the important target.
If we do not seek to gather under one unified banner then the least we can achieve is a meaningful gathering to help and unify and discuss and coordinate. God the Exalted says: “Verily, Allah loves those who fight in His Cause in ranks as if they were a solid structure” [al-Saf (61): 4].
Yes, Oh Muslim brothers everywhere. Verily, we face Crusader campaigns of different forms, where the Crusaders ally with the new Safavids [Iran] and the Buddhists and the Hindus and the Jews—a battle of multiple fronts from Burma to Mali, and from the Caucasus to Somalia. The burden is large and the duty is incumbent. How is it that so many Muslims have put their hopes in the leadership of jihad and people of knowledge if we are incapable of responsibility and taking up the matters and waging the true jihad for God?
Al-Aqsa is seeking help, and its people have not answered this plea except with knives in their hands. The enemy dared to close Masjid al-Aqsa in the previous days and we saw the perseverance and the steadfastness of the people in al-Quds. It would not be correct for us to let them down or retreat or delay. Palestine is a central issue among issues of the umma, which we cannot leave or forget about or ignore. Rather, our war with America began with its support for the Jewish state and its support for Israel against Muslims.
The land of Syria and Iraq is facing a Crusader-Safavid grouping that is together destroying our heritage. The people are seeking help from God during the difficult stages of jihad, which the enemy has spent all of its energy on suppressing.
Our advice to you, oh dear mujahideen in Syria, is to stay strong and muster the energy to fight your enemy. Know that victory is only by steadfastness and bravery, so scatter the enemy however you can and frustrate him with as much as you are able, and move the battle to secure locations, targeting its forces and its weak points as much as you can, continuing the jihad even in the darkest of circumstances.
Oh dear mujahideen in the Islamic Maghreb and our hero brothers in Somalia and in the Caucasus and in the Indian Sub-Continent and everywhere: we are from you and with you, even if the bodies are separated and the regions are spaced out. Our battle is one and it is a battle of Islam, and our goal is one and it is to return glory to the Muslims and return the rule of God to the land. We need more uniting of the ranks and more steadfastness and more seeking help from God and considering the reasons.
To all who sacrifice their lives for the sake of Islam and to battle against the enemies of the religion: be glad for the day of joy and victory; be glad for the day of conquest. Sacrifices for God are not for nothing.
To the prisoner in his prison, and to the mother of the martyr and his wife and to the orphans, and the homeless, and all who have suffered sorrow in this struggle for God and for His religion: be glad in the great reward from God. “Verily, the patient ones will be given reward without measure” [al-Zumar (39): 10]. It is all of our duty to bear this pain on our path to restoring the glory of the umma and its dignity.
As for you America: get ready for the war, however you can. Verily—with God’s help and His power—we are preparing. And make the war longer, if you wish, for, verily, we are steadfast.
The equation is simple if you are logical. It is not logical for you to insult us and insult our religion and occupy our holy places and our homes, and then we leave you without punishment. We must pledge to make your life troublesome and to target your security as long as you support the petty Jewish state in Palestine and as long as you kill Muslims throughout the Islamic world.
Your only escape is to leave the Muslims and their issues aside and retreat behind the ocean.
Glory be to God and His messenger, and to the believers.