Al-Hakaima Positions Himself for Key Role in the Global Salafi-Jihad

Publication: Terrorism Focus Volume: 3 Issue: 41

As the media spotlight continues to highlight Muhammed Khalil al-Hakaima’s “Myth of Delusion,” it is important to emphasize that al-Hakaima has authored other detailed works dealing with tactical and operational issues related to intelligence and warfare that warrant closer examination. These documents have been circulating for weeks on radical Islamist forums shortly after al-Qaeda’s second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri introduced al-Hakaima as an al-Qaeda partner in a videotaped statement issued on August 5. They are also available on the website of al-Thabeton ala al-Ahad (Those who Stand Firm for the Covenant), al-Hakaima’s organization, in sections located on the website’s title page labeled “Your Guide to Individual Jihad” and “Statements by Sheikh al-Hakaima.” It appears that these documents are part of a collection of publications, including a manual entitled “Towards a Better Strategy to Resist the Occupiers” (http://www.althabeton.co.nr). Similar to “Myth of Delusion,” these works are well researched and contain detailed information on practical aspects of intelligence, conventional warfare, special operations, assassinations, insurgency and related topics. The underlying theme in al-Hakaima’s publications stresses the importance of individual initiative on the part of aspiring extremists who are called on to hone their skills and take up arms against what he labels the “enemy occupiers.”

In a document posted on August 12 entitled “How to Fight Alone,” al-Hakaima provides readers with a list of what he describes as “simple and accessible means” to use against the “enemy occupiers.” Among other statements, he recommends that followers study the human anatomy in order to identify vulnerable areas and to take up martial arts and exercise, presumably to prepare for hand-to-hand combat scenarios. He then mentions utilizing tactics such as stabbings, arson, car bombs and cutting the brake lines on automobiles. Al-Hakaima suggests using lethal doses of narcotics such as cocaine and heroin as weapons, although he does not specify how exactly to employ these agents. He even goes as far as to recommend the use of readily available poisons, such as castor oil seeds, which contain ricin, a potent toxin that can lead to death if consumed, and to devise ways to poison food. In another document posted under the same title published on September 8, previously analyzed in the October 10 issue of Terrorism Focus, al-Hakaima expands on his recommendations for “fighting alone” by advising adherents to heed the example of Japanese ninjas and the ancient art of Ninjitsu.

In “New Methods in Today’s Battle,” an essay posted to his website on August 20, al-Hakaima stresses the futility of confronting vastly superior U.S. forces in open battle so long as they maintained technological superiority and the support of local security forces, in this case allied governments. Instead, resistance should be organized only through small covert cells disconnected from each other that employ guerrilla tactics.

Al-Hakaima issued a document on September 19 entitled “The Special Jihad Movement: The Need for a Security and Intelligence Apparatus,” where he outlines the importance of establishing viable security organizations capable of sustaining a long war. In doing so, he highlights the need for an effective counter-intelligence capability in order to prevent enemy penetration and to create a security arm charged with protecting key leaders. He also discusses the need to conduct thorough background checks on prospective members and their families to assess their trustworthiness, loyalty, skills and vulnerabilities. Likewise, he underlines the need to develop capabilities to infiltrate enemy institutions such as local police and security forces working in concert with the “enemy occupiers,” political parties and other organizations.

Muhammed al-Hakaima’s website released a statement this week calling on Muslims to support the self-proclaimed “Islamic State of Iraq” and its reported leader Amir Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, which was recently declared by an umbrella group of radical Sunni Islamist organizations led by the Mujahideen Shura Council (al-Jazeera, October 19). In addition to his interest in furthering the tactical and operational side of al-Qaeda through his publications, this latest statement shows that al-Hakaima is a keen observer of politics. This may be another indication that al-Hakaima is maneuvering for a key position in the Global Salafi-Jihad.