The latest issue (no. 20) of the online al-Qaeda periodical Mu’askar al-Battar dismisses at the outset any reservations about fighting in the holy month of Ramadan. The Foreword written by Al-Faruq al-‘Amiri emphasizes the precedent set not only by their mujahid ancestors from the time of the Prophet, but also more recently by the modern mujahideen fighting in Afghanistan, Chechnya and Bosnia, and the bombing of the housing complex in Riyadh last year.
The news commentator underlined the fears in the U.S. of a major attack during Ramadan, and that contrary to U.S. plans, Iraq has now ‘become a model for Jihad in modern times.’ He pays particular attention to statements suggesting weakness in the coalition forces in Iraq, highlighting comments by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld expressing surprise at the level of resistance being faced and quoting the head of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Unit, Jerry Durrant, that the Anbar province remains wholly under the control of the mujahideen. The commentator quotes the figure of 90 violent incidents per day over the first week of October, and lays emphasis on the ‘200 Crusader soldiers killed’ while attempting to gain control of the town of Samarra. The commentator underlines the false figures being circulated of coalition casualties, citing the demand for a considerable call-up of reservists as evidence. He concludes that the coalition now sees little hope of finding ways to combat the insurrection, given the comments of former president Jimmy Carter to the effect that the situation in Iraq is fast approaching that of Vietnam.
Noting the Israelis’ surprise at the “daring heroic operation lead by four Muslim youths” at Taba, the commentator then hails the “blessed raid on the Jews in the land of Egypt” as “a victory for our oppressed brothers in Palestine, and a serious endeavor to expel Jews and Christians from all Muslim lands”. He also gives space to Ayman al-Zawahiri’s call for the formation of a resistance leadership against the Crusade campaign before time runs out for the Muslims.
Finally, an announcement follows of a daily publication which is to specialize in news of the jihad in Iraq, and which is named Nashra Basha’ir (‘The Publication of Glad Tidings’) — “in reference to the good news of victories and heroic mujahid deeds in the land of Mesopotamia.” The publication, according to the commentator, “should be seen as a break in the media stranglehold which Arab and world states maintain in order to drown out the voice of the mujahideen there and spread despair in the hearts of Muslims.”
The magazine features its standard fare of military training — the use of revolvers, a course in map-reading, communications security and outdoor survival — and features a commentary by Yahya Ali al-Ghamdi on how, since September 11 2001 and “the death of over 4000 western thugs in one hour”, the value of Muslim blood, hitherto considered cheap, had now risen with respect to that of Americans, Christians and Westerners, and that therefore the balance is restored. “Fear of Islam”, he states, “has now gratifyingly settled upon Westerners, so that the term Muslim is now equated with terrorism, for which Praise God … The time has now come when Westerners see the real Muslims who are intent on fulfilling the words of the Almighty: “that thereby ye may cause terror in the enemy of Allah and your enemy” (Qur’an, VIII, 60).
Issue 20 of al-Battar announces the re-publication, following a poll of readers, of all the military training passages collected together thematically and issued by installments to form a complete ‘Mu’askar al-Battar’ book.