The latest edition of the online periodical Mu’askar al-Battar (‘The Al-Battar Training Camp’) appeared on the web this week. Issue no 19, entitled ‘To arms, to arms! To the armies of Islam! The battle cry: No Surrender!’ features essays on military training, the care and use of the revolver, and instruction in map-reading and orientation. There is a biography of Abu Dhar al-Ta’ifi, an Arab mujahid in Chechnya, and advice on survival techniques in the wild.
An extended treatment by al-Qaeda’s military commander, Sayf al-Adl, details steps on how to improve operational security, with the focus on secure travel (particularly to and from Pakistan), and how to answer questions from security personnel in such a way as to conceal one’s true purpose. There follow appropriate security measures for the convening of meetings, questions to be prepared for if one of the group is arrested, and finally measures to be taken to ensure successful escape from a raid by the security authorities.
However, the tone of the publication and its purpose is best illustrated by the Foreword. Authored by Al-Faruq al-Amiri, and entitled ‘Three Years On’ [from September 11 2001], it speaks of the imminent collapse of the United States, assailed as it is by constant news of its defeats across the globe at the hands of mujahideen. This, Al-Amiri maintains, is particularly so in Afghanistan where troops “are bunkered down in the bases not daring to leave them,” and that “if the mujahideen wanted to take Kabul now they could do it … but they wish to wear down the enemy to the point of extinction”. The same theme is taken up at length in the news pages.
These show much interest in the figures quoted by the US administration on the estimated 70,000 members of al-Qaeda that remain on the loose throughout the globe. Following this is an article on the results of a poll carried out by Jazeera.net on visitors to its site, who were asked to answer the question “Do the operations by al-Qaeda serve the interests of the Muslims and the Arabs, or not?” “The result,” the text declares, “was that the majority said ‘Yes!’ By the grace of God” it continues, “this indicates clearly the success and the spread of jihadist thought among the general populace, and that the policy of inciting the Nation and directing it toward the right path of repelling attacks upon it and upon its sanctities, has borne fruit.”
The news commentator then expressed outrage at the proposal, announced by the Saudi authorities in the semi-official Okaz newspaper (20 September), to institute female sections in the civil administration, and to permit women to have their own identity cards. Finally, the commentator gloats over the news of hurricanes in America, praising God for the ordeal He is imposing upon them, and for the storms also afflicting Americans abroad.
Interestingly, the latest issue (no. 25) of Voice of Jihad, which appeared online in the third week of September, is notable for its inclusion of the first of an anonymous two-part analysis (pp. 30-35) of the implications and effects of the 9/11 attacks and entitled “Is there anything left to say on September 11?” Terrorism Focus will summarize the completed series when the second installment is published.