Islamist Ideologues Struggle to Raise Morale

Publication: Terrorism Focus Volume: 3 Issue: 6

Mujahid propaganda: Iraq is a rehearsal for the coming conflict planned for the United States.

As evidence appears to mount that the jihad in Iraq is not resulting in a glorious victory for the mujahideen, and that the ranks of the insurgency appear to be splitting from internal tensions, mujahid apologists are attempting to raise morale. A recent essay from the Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF), posted at the beginning of February on the forums Minbar al-Sham al-Islami ( and al-Ghorabaa (, illustrates this need.

Entitled “The Fearful Strike—Williams and his brothers are moving against America on the orders of bin Laden,” the essay penned by the GIMF public relations director Sayf al-Din al-Kinani (interviewed on Voice of the Caliphate in November 2005) advances his analysis of the coming conflagration (Terrorism Focus, November 29, 2005). He states, “I wanted to raise the curtain on the stages, after this present moment, leading to the day of the Fearful Strike.” In his analysis, al-Kinani celebrates the role of Rakan ben Williams—”a term that means the Western Muslim recruited into al-Qaeda”—and paints an imaginary picture of Osama bin Laden weeping at the refusal of the truce by Bush. (The offer of a truce is a legal requirement before jihad since the mujahid leader knows that the final arrangements have been made for the coming WMD strike.) To energize the reader in this scenario, al-Kinani poses the question: “Is there a link between this [truce] and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s address when he said ‘God speed the mission of Osama?…Do you not see the sense of a ‘plan’ in his statement?'”

The idea of a plan is the key element underscoring al-Kinani’s imaginary scenarios. To explain events in Iraq, al-Kinani notes the rise of the mujahideen council and the effective removal of the name al-Qaeda from the media spotlight. This is all part of the plan: al-Zarqawi himself has stepped aside from leadership of the jihad in Iraq, knowing that “he had to retain the reins just so long as the [Islamic] Nation needed him.” Now “he must disappear, for the coming days will be full of surprises.” For “Williams”—that is, the new Western Muslim partisans—result in a simple equation: God + Believers + infidel [e.g. South American] states that hate America + nuclear technology = the decisive strike. All this, al-Kinani maintains, is confirmed by the clues of the truce and al-Zarqawi’s cryptic question.

The tale, told in a dramatic, semi-lyrical vein, is an effective morale booster for the mujahideen since it explains away many of their concerns: the infrequent surfacing of bin Laden, the lack of decisive results in Iraq, the seeming self-confidence of the Americans and the appearance of disunity among the jihadi leadership. For al-Kinani, the jihad in Iraq is not failing because it was never anything more than a rehearsal and a training ground for the fight in the U.S., where the FBI “are trembling” at what these mysterious developments portend. Al-Kinani’s analysis importantly maintains the image of a coherent leadership of the heroes of the jihadi elite who are carrying out a consistent plan. These musings are interesting not only for the fact that the statement is put out by GIMF, lending its analysis some internal authority for the web mujahideen, but also as a window into the apocalyptic strain of jihadi commentary and propaganda, which remains doggedly resilient in the face of victory postponed.