On August 27, a new video from al-Qa'ida "Central's" (AQC) al-Sahab Media Foundation, "The Path of Doom," was released featuring Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri addressing the status of Pakistan in the ongoing U.S. war on terror was released on the major Salafi jihadi online discussion forums. This is the second major media release this year of al-Zawahiri addressing the people of Pakistan.
Sitting in front of the same bookshelf that he did in his last video release, the August 3 "Realities of Jihad & Fallacy of Hypocrisy (حقائق الجهاد وأباطيل النفاق)," AQC's chief ideologue once again addresses the ongoing campaign by the Pakistani military against "mujahideen" [warriors of faith] from the various Pakistani militant groups, such as the Tareek-e Taliban Pakistan of the reportedly late Baitullah Mehsud. Segments of the 22-minute, 29-second video feature narrated clips and snippets of audio from other individuals, including the late imam of the Lal Masjid (mosque) in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, 'Abd al-Rashid Ghazi, who was killed by the Pakistani military when they stormed the mosque on July 10, 2007.
View "Realities of Jihad & Fallacy of Hypocrisy (حقائق الجهاد وأباطيل النفاق)"
The video begins with al-Zawahiri and the narrator detailing an alleged plan by the Pakistani military to seize control of the three largest cities in Waziristan, which is divided into North and South Waziristan as part of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in northwestern Pakistan, otherwise known as the North West Frontier Provinces. This plan was, they say, supposed to coincide with a major push by the United States and NATO military forces, aided by the "apostate" Afghan army, on the other side of the border.
"The Pakistan‐Afghanistan border regions are witnessing at this time a Crusade led by the Pakistan Army and supervised and participated in by the neo‐Crusaders. The agents of the Crusaders in the Pakistan Army’s high command have called this operation “The Path of Salvation,” but it is in fact the path to their doom, God willing. This operation aims to eliminate Jihadi forces in the tribal regions in Pakistan, at the same time as the forces of the NATO Alliance along with the traitors in the Afghan Army and units from the Pakistan Army dam the Pakistan‐Afghan border."
The narrator then fills in the details of this alleged plan:
"The fundamental concept of this plan was based on a violent preliminary bombing from air and land in collaboration with American spy drones in order to terrorize the inhabitants in a barbaric fashion and destroy the Mujahideen’s morale and weaken their defenses, following which the Pakistani forces would advance on three fronts in order to take over the key cities of Waziristan – Miran Shah, Razmak and Wana – after which they would make contact with each other and secure surrounding areas, then try to make a jump to the west, towards the Afghan border, in order to meet up with the forces of NATO and the treasonous Afghan Army, in an attempt to trap the Mujahideen between a rock and a hard place."
Al-Zawahiri says that although the plan failed, the Pakistani government and military are guilty of being willing participants in the U.S.-led crusade against the "mujahideen" and fellow Muslims:
"However, this plan was born dead, by the Grace of God, as attacks, raids and ambushes against the Army’s convoys, bases and forts came in quick succession, and were accompanied by consecutive losses of supplies and equipment, and consequently the Army was unable to achieve any of its goals, by the Grace of God. This plan was agreed to in Washington, and the commander of the Pakistan Army – Kayani – carried it with him to the headquarters of the NATO Alliance in Brussels for it to be approved, and it aims at its core to help American forces and their allies in Afghanistan and protect them from the expected defeat towards which the forces of the Islamic Emirate are pushing them through resolve, persistence and reliance on Allah. That is, the plan aims to stab the Jihadi resolve in Afghanistan from behind, in order for the Crusader forces in Afghanistan to be safe from losses and be able to continue to impose direct American Crusader military influence on South Asia. That’s why the designers of this plan called it “The Path of Salvation,” because they wanted it to be a way to save the Americans from their anticipated defeat – with God’s permission – in Afghanistan. However, it is turning – through God’s guidance and then the strikes of the Mujahideen – into “The Path of Doom” for the apostates in Pakistan and the Crusaders in Afghanistan. Thus, the Pakistan Army is acting as a fundamental element of the Crusade against Islam and Muslims, and has become a tool in the hands of the global Crusade which is being used against its people and neighbors and the rest of the Muslim Ummah [community]."
Furthermore, al-Zawahiri argues, the Indian government, which does not even claim to be a Muslim government, is "more concerned for the safety of their country than the Pakistan army is [for their country]." The claim of successive Pakistani governments that they are "Islamic" are thus revealed to be false, he says:
"The Indian Army hasn’t let American aircraft bomb the Indian people. The Indian Army hasn’t fought its own people on behalf of America. The Indian Army hasn’t cooperated with the Americans to create a regime hostile to India on its borders. And the Indian Army hasn’t permitted America to control and monitor its nuclear installations, nor has it arrested its nuclear scientists like the Pakistan Army did. That’s why the Muslim Ummah in Pakistan must seriously ask itself: what is it that has brought it to this wretched situation? And what is the way out of it? What has brought the Muslims in Pakistan to this wretched situation in which thieves have become rulers and mercenaries taking the Crusaders’ money have become leaders, are numerous factors which have accumulated over the years since the creation of Pakistan. Among these factors is the lie which has been promoted which says that Pakistan is an Islamic government whose constitution and laws are in accordance with Islam. It is a colossal lie with no factual basis, and I have refuted it in a book entitled The Morning and The Candle. The Pakistani government, which falsely claims to be an Islamic government which arose to defend the rights of the Muslims in the subcontinent, has never applied Islam in the more than 60 years since its establishment. And when Shari’ah [Islamic law] was partially applied in the Swat Valley’s district courts, neither the Americans nor their agents in Islamabad could stand it, and they immediately waged a bloody war on Islam and Muslims in Swat to satisfy America, which wants an Islam which sings its praises and seeks its bribes: an Islam without Shari’ah, without enjoining of good and forbidding of evil, and without Jihad [literally, "struggle"] in God’s path."
Interestingly, the video features a brief segment of still photographs of Muslim women as an unidentified female speaker at a gathering of the Jami'ah Hafsa in Islamabad asks rhetorically:
Our country was created in the name of Islam, so why hasn’t Islam been established in it to this very day? When this country was created in the name of Islam, why are Muslims being humiliated in it? Why is its soil being constrained for Muslims? When this country was created for Islam, why are the flag‐bearers of Islam being martyred here day after day? Why is nudity and immorality thriving in the country? When this country was created for Islam, why are the Mujahideen being dishonored here? When this country was created for Islam, why are the strongholds of Islam – the mosques and Madrassas – being demolished here?
Also noteworthy is the visibility of medical books in English at the lower left-hand corner of the video on the bookshelf behind al-Zawahiri. These books were also present in the last video he was featured in, though the books were tilted in a different direction in that video than they are in "The Path of Doom." Al-Zawahiri is a trained medical doctor (a surgeon) and speaks excellent English.
As he also noted in a July 14 (2009) audio address to the people of Pakistan, the underlying cause of the failure of most Pakistani Muslims to come to the aid of the "mujahideen" is because of a love of "this world":
"....because of their love of this world and dislike of death, many Muslims have abandoned the obligation of enjoining good and forbidding evil when it comes to the Crusaders’ agents among Pakistan’s politicians and the mercenary leaders of its army. Consequently, they have been afflicted by the punishment which the Prophet [Muhammad] warned of when he, said, “By Him in Whose Hand is my soul, you must enjoin good and forbid evil or God will soon send upon you a punishment from Him, then you will pray to Him but your prayers will not be answered.” (at‐Tirmidhi; a major Sunni hadith collection) And he, peace and prayers of God be upon him, also said, “When the people see the wrongdoer and don’t [stop him from wrongdoing], God will soon afflict them all with a punishment.” (Abu Dawood; another major Sunni hadith collection)"
Advertising GIF for al-Zawahiri's July 2009 audio message
The U.S.' attempt to convince Pakistanis to abandon their "loyalty to the believers [Muslims] and animosity to the unbelievers" is "the religion which America is seeking to spread among the Muslims, so that their religion turns into rituals with no impact on society which are practiced in the mosque and have no effect outside of it."
"The Path of Doom," together with his July audio message to the people of Pakistan, marks a new position by al-Zawahiri on the Pakistani military. In a lengthy audio message addressed to the Pakistani military, 'ulama [religious scholars], and people in late April 2006, he maintained a modicum of hope that some members of the military and intelligence services would disobey the orders of their apostate leaders in the government and officer corps. Since this did not happen, al-Zawahiri has adopted a clear-cut position that the military, in aiding the U.S. against "the" Muslims, has crossed over into apostasy, as the civilian government did before it. Senior AQC ideologue and AFPAK leader Abu Yahya al-Libi took a similar position in his monograph, A Spear to Fight the Government and Army of Pakistan.
Thus, the Pakistani military, intelligence services, and security forces are legitimate targets. The country's powerful intelligence services, the Inter-Services Intelligence, which has long flirted with radical Islamist groups at home and abroad in Afghanistan and Kashmir, may, like the Saudi monarchy, very well be reaping what it previously sowed.
The conflicts in the Swat Valley and FATA are not simply domestic issues, al-Zawahiri argues. Rather, they are part of a larger, transnational conflict. This folding of local conflicts into a transnational campaign is, as I argued previously, one of the key differences between Islamist-Nationalist groups, like the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and Palestinian HAMAS movement, and transnational jihadi movements like AQC.
"So the Muslim Ummah in Pakistan must appreciate that America is waging against the Muslims a Crusade the likes of which the Muslim Ummah has never before seen, and that this campaign seeks to take control of Pakistan and divide it and transform it into statelets orbiting around American Crusader influence. The battle under way today in Swat and the tribal areas isn’t an internal Pakistani problem: no, it is one of the battlefields of the contemporary Crusade in which the Pakistan Army is fighting in order to help the Crusade and the Crusaders."
"The war in the tribal areas and Swat is an inseparable part of the Crusaders’ assault on the Muslims the length and breadth of the Islamic world. They want to eliminate the Mujahideen in the tribal areas so they can seek to smother the Jihad in Afghanistan, and they want to smother the Jihad in Afghanistan so that there doesn’t emerge in Central Asia a determined Muslim power which challenges global Crusader will and defends the rights of Muslims. This is the battle, briefly and plainly; and this is why anyone who supports the Americans and Pakistan Army – under any pretext, ploy or lie – is in fact standing with, backing and supporting the Crusaders against Islam and Muslims. This is the fact which every dedicated Muslim eager to see the victory of Islam and Muslims must disseminate."
Al-Zawahiri warns participants in the Pakistani military assaults on Swat and FATA:
"And every soldier and officer participating in the assault on Waziristan must remember the severe threat the Qur'an contains for anyone who helps the unbelievers against the Muslims. The Truth (Blessed and Most High is He) says, “Verily, those whom the angels cause to die while they are wronging their own souls, [the angels] said [to them], ‘Where were you [i.e., with Muslims or Kuffaar; "unbelievers"]?’ They said, ‘We were weak and helpless in the land.’ [The angels] said, ‘Was not God's Earth spacious enough for you to emigrate therein?’ It is these whose abode is Hell, and an evil destination it is.” (4:97) This verse came down concerning the oppressed Muslims of Makkah [Mecca] whom the unbelievers forced to go out with them to fight the Muslims in the Badr expedition [early battle in which the Prophet Muhammad and the Muslims were victorious against a much larger Meccan force sent to destroy them]. As for how to get out of this predicament which Pakistan has gotten itself into, it is through Jihad, and there is no way other than Jihad."
In closing, al-Zawahiri both urges Pakistanis to regain their "honor" by participating in jihad and also warns them of Divine punishments that await those who do not:
"Dear people of Pakistan: there is no honor for us except through Jihad. People of Pakistan: beware of God’s threat to the one who stays behind during obligatory Jihad. The Truth (Blessed and Most High is He) says, “O you who believe! What is the matter with you, that, when you are asked to go forth in the cause of God, you cling heavily to the earth? Do you prefer the life of this world to the hereafter? But little is the comfort of this life as compared with the hereafter. Unless you go forth, He will punish you with a painful punishment, and put others in your place. But Him you would not harm in the least, for God has power over all things.” (Qur'an, chapter 9:38‐39)"
View "The Path of Doom,"
Zawahiri (Path of Doom) طريق الهلاك Aug 27 ARABIC
Read the Arabic Transcript.
Zawahiri (Path of Doom) طريق الهلاك Aug 27 ENGLISH
Read the English Transcript.