Coming Soon: The ‘Voice of the Caliphate’ Radio

Publication: Terrorism Focus Volume: 2 Issue: 17

A banner from the soon-to-be-released Sawt al-Khlifah radio

A September 11 posting on the jihadi forums further demonstrates the mujahideen’s vulnerability and sensitivity to negative media coverage. Issued by the Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF), the posting detailed the imminent appearance of its latest project, the “first of its kind in the media world”—the Sawt al-Khilafa (Voice of the Caliphate) radio broadcast. The initiative is billed as “a transparent vision with an Islamic view” and a “voice of Truth in a time of Evil.” The GIMF announcement was accompanied by a fanfare of media flashes for forum readers to download and distribute among their colleagues. The stated aim of the new initiative is to confront the “media obfuscation carried out by the collaborationist [i.e. Iraqi government] media channels and the frantic media war directed against our mujahid brothers all over the world, which spares no effort to blacken the image of the mujahideen and conceal their victories.” []

The announcement of the new broadcast service comes at a time of increasing frustration for the mujahideen at their weakening profile in the international media. Symptomatic of this was a report by AFP of a new warning issued on September 8 to the Arabic satellite TV channel al-Arabiya—and intended for all Arabic language channels—from an unknown group calling itself Jama’at Jund al-Islam al-Jihadiyya (Group of the Jihadi Soldiers of Islam) to cease their “slander” and contribution “to the distortion of jihad and the mujahideen all over the world… and their description of it as terrorism.” As an example of the media distortion, it cited the labeling by these channels of martyrdom operations as ‘suicide attacks.’ It reminded the al-Arabiya channel of the earlier car bombing of its offices in Baghdad by the Jihadist Martyrs Brigades in Iraq in October of last year that resulted in seven fatalities. It added that “our arms are long and able to reach all the traitors and collaborators in this nation.”

The present posting dedicates its efforts to Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Emir Mulla Omar and Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi, “and to the Islamic armies in Chechnya, Kashmir and the Land of the Two Shrines [Saudi Arabia], and in every place.” It repeats earlier announcements as to the GIMF’s purpose—”The Front does not belong to anyone. It is the property of all zealous Muslims and knows no geographical boundaries.” On August 22 it signaled an acceleration of activity with an audio “call to zealous Muslims” to add their efforts to the jihad by joining in with the work of the group. The GIMF’s recent productions include a so-called “Top Ten” video production of attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq, carried out by the Islamic Army in Iraq and al-Zarqawi’s al-Qaeda Organization in the Land of Two Rivers, and a film entitled “Bloody Comedy” stitching together more footage of U.S. casualties to a soundtrack of laughter. []

These developments testify to the new emphasis placed by the mujahideen on the media war. Pointedly, the warning against al-Arabiyah noted that “our war with the American tyrant and his collaborators is now not confined to the military war, but extends to the information war which our mujahideen brothers are waging in Iraq with success.”