Monday, November 08, 2010

New Video Message from Anwar al-'Awlaqi Released, But Not by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula

"Anwar al-'Awlaqi: Destroyer of the Americans"

A new video message from Anwar al-'Awlaqi (al-Awlaki, al-Aulaqi) the wanted American-Yemeni radical Muslim preacher believed to be connected to Al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP; Qaeda, Qaida), was released online about eight hours ago. The video, in Arabic, was not released by AQAP's media outlet, the Al-Malahem (Epics) Media Foundation and was not attributed, from posts I've seen, to a specific jihadi-takfiri media outlet. The title of the video message translates approximately to, "Make it Known and Clear to Mankind and Not to Hide It" (Yusuf Ali translation) or, "Ye Are to Expound It to Mankind and Not to Hide It" (Marmaduke Pickthall translation). As German scholar N. Prucha notes, it is taken from chapter 3 (Al-'Imran), verse 187 of the Qur'an.

Al-'Awlaqi's decision to speak in Arabic suggests that he is trying to insert himself into the Arabic-speaking jihadi-takfiri milieu, where his presence is much weaker than in English-speaking circles. That said, it should also be remembered that his first interview with Al-Malahem was also released in Arabic only in late May and was only later translated and released a month later with English subtitles by the Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF), a shadowy transnational jihadi-takfiri media outlet that produces many English translations.

Gregory Johnsen, a Princeton doctoral candidate and Yemen/AQAP expert, has consistently and convincingly argued that al-'Awlaqi's importance to AQAP pales in comparison to others, such as the group's senior leadership headed by Nasir al-Wihayshi (al-Wuhayshi, al-Wahayshi).

Al-'Awlaqi's importance, however, seems to be steadily growing as some (still a fraction of the total) of his work has been translated from English to French, Russian, German, Arabic, and Indonesian.

In his new video message, al-'Awlaqi spends a bit of time discussing the "Rafidah/Rawafid" or Shi'i Muslims. The Arabic terms mean "rejectionist/s" and are a derogatory term used by some Sunnis for Shi'is. He asks Sunni religious scholars ('ulama) what program they have developed to counter the "Rafidi" expansion in Iraq, Yemen, and the Middle East.

The video (345 MB) may be downloaded via these non-jihadi URLs:

The password to unpack the file is: aDg4Nmh4Gbd9L3gk4I5Ngr4

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