Jihad Wants You: al-Qaeda Seeks Skilled Recruits in Iraq

Publication: Terrorism Focus Volume: 5 Issue: 7

In another example of jihadist media use, internet forum participants posted instructions for Muslims craving a role in the Iraqi insurgency. Iraqi jihadis issued a call for skilled assistance in strengthening their self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) (al-ekhlaas.net, December 11, 2007).

In this al-Qaeda-associated web forum, a participant nicknamed “Abu Dakoon” addressed potential jihadist Islamists who are seeking ways to join the jihad in Iraq by encouraging them to study what jihad requires before attempting infiltration into Iraq. Dakoon’s post is entitled “Do you want to deploy? Read what they want from you.” After a few lines of pep talk, Dakoon categorizes the requirements of jihad in Iraq as follows:

• Preparations

Before explaining the preparations phase, Abu Dakoon gives a briefing on the situation of jihadis in Iraq in the form of an alleged insider’s account of an active duty jihadi. According to Abu Dakoon, the mujahideen are fanned out almost all over Iraq but are especially strong in the Sunni areas. Their activities are not limited to engaging the enemy and setting up ambushes, but also include military, religious, media and intelligence operations requiring military and non-military cadres. The jihadis are in need of experienced preachers and religious judges to issue fatwas (religious decrees). Those trained in Islamic dogma and monotheism are especially needed to refute widespread polytheism and heresy.

• The Military Side

Jihadis are calling upon weapons experts and military engineers to bring their expertise to the conflict. One interesting skill of need is military leadership, which may be due to the death and capture of a significant number of field commanders. Even though jihadi websites are full of training materials, jihadis in Iraq are trying to solicit explosives and electronics experts, as well as chemists and physicists. Perhaps the jihadis’ most daring recruitment effort is the call for nuclear scientists to work for the Islamic State of Iraq.

• Media

Iraq’s jihadis require skills necessary for maintaining and improving their ongoing media campaign in the areas of general computer programming, television montage, sound engineering, radio broadcasting and photography.

• Managerial Skills

The jihadis also need those with military, religious, media, security and financial management skills. They ask political and economic experts as well to join the ISI.

Ending his instructions, Abu Dakoon says: “Islamic young men and shaykhs, you have read what we need. Master at least one of the needed skills so you can serve God’s religion. This is what we need. What have you decided? Islamic youth, this is not like my previous letters. I’m writing to you directly from Mesopotamia hoping to serve the ummah (Islamic community).”

The appeal attracted the attention of readers like al-Iskafi: “I hope the brothers would post some preparation and education links concerning the aforementioned because I don’t know where to go to learn it” (al-ekhlaas, February 3). Another forum contributor, nicknamed “Saad AZ,” comments on Dakoon’s posting by emphasizing the need for jihad, increasing the number of mujahideen and selecting a proper leadership in the Islamic community, one capable of calling everyone to jihad—an implicit call to overthrow the current Muslim regimes that restrain their citizens from joining the jihad in Iraq. “Islam is a religion of ideology and jihad. Our Islam is all about monotheism and jihad even without the presence of occupiers in our land. There is all the more reason [to pursue jihad] when infidel formations are walking all over the Islamic land, westward and eastward. Our relief is the influx of mujahideen from outside, the donations and the channels opening through all means and methods possible.”

In the last few months, jihadi forum postings have concentrated on soliciting volunteers and monetary donations for insurgency operations in Iraq in an apparent effort to recover from heavy losses inflicted on them by U.S. strikes. However, exaggerated and easily exposed claims of victories over U.S. forces have had a negative impact on jihadi fundraising.