On April 19, the jihadi website alfirdaws.org posted an in-depth article on the necessary equipment for the mujahideen in Iraq. The information was in response to a posting by a user who inquired about the most important equipment a fighter must prepare before joining the Iraqi jihad. In response, a user who goes by the alias “Terrorist 11” posted a long document from Sheikh Yusuf al-Uyayri (alternatively known as Yusuf a-Ayyiri), a Saudi-born top al-Qaeda strategist who was killed by Saudi security forces in 2003. The extensive document outlines various guerrilla tactics to be used by a mujahid fighter in a zone of conflict. Al-Uyayri describes a mujahid as a “multi-type combat businessman,” who must be prepared for many different situations.
According to al-Uyayri, in the early stages of guerrilla warfare, it is critical for the mujahid fighter to be capable of fighting independently. He states, “He must not be like a soldier in a regular army who operates in conjunction with others in terms of equipment and combat. He must view himself as the commander, the navigator, the shooter and the communications or reconnaissance man…he must equip himself with everything that he needs and train on all combat tasks and appropriate weapons.” The recommended equipment list for the mujahid is specific and long, including: a pocket Quran, night vision goggles, shackles for use in abductions, a GPS system, video cameras for casing targets and an extensive list of other supplies. Al-Uyayri emphasizes the importance of proper planning before joining the jihad, saying that the mujahid must be adequately prepared before entering the fight: “if he can obtain this equipment and other things that he might need and failed to do so, he violates God’s commandment to do what is within his ability.” Nevertheless, if the mujahid is unable to acquire the extensive list of supplies, he should still join the jihad since God “only asks a person to do what he can.”
The document details the proper fighting techniques of urban warfare. When planning urban operations, “the target should be easy and simple, and the security around it should be weak. The combat action against the target should be quick and not be based on a complex plan.” The idea, according to al-Uyayri, is “for the mujahideen to be like gas or air; present, but not seen.” The section is detailed, outlining how to move in urban areas, methods for clearing rooms and buildings, using hand grenades in cities and rooms, choosing firing positions in urban centers, and the proper use of camouflage, among other instructions. The article explains that a mujahid defending his territory “must take all the following methods into consideration: martyrdom operations and operations involving sniping; mine-planting; laying traps and carrying out detonations by remote control; explosives and sabotage; cutting supply routes; operating behind enemy lines; attacking units that cooperate with the enemy; raiding enemy bases, especially airbases; focusing on all types of ambushes; poisoning food and drink; kidnappings or assassinations; and reconnaissance tasks.”
In addition to information on the necessary equipment for the jihad, the document spends a considerable time outlining the level of cooperation necessary between various jihadi groups inside a theater of operations. While it is important for the guerrilla fighter to be completely independent in the beginning stage of the conflict, once the mujahideen become stronger, “interrelationship is essential” to prevent disagreement between groups and the fracturing of the movement. According to al-Uyayri, “jihad is a collective worship. From the military standpoint, it is a collective action aimed at defeating the enemy and deciding the battle in favor of the mujahideen…A single central command should direct operations to produce the desired results. The worst mistake is for separate groups to work in one sector without interrelationship…We must be weary and eliminate any reason for division and dispute.” The concern over the fracturing of the movement is warranted considering the recent disagreements among jihadi fighters in the Iraq conflict, with various groups splitting from each other over disagreements about tactics and strategies (Terrorism Monitor, April 12).
Finally, al-Uyayri explains the religious duty of Muslims to defend their territory. He warns, “If the enemy invades a Muslim country, no one should say he did not make ready his strength to the utmost of his power and could not resist the enemy until he made the necessary preparations…Such words are unacceptable according to the Sharia. What needs to be done immediately is to resist the invading enemy with whatever resources we have.” Defending the terrorist tactics of the mujahideen, he explains that “it is legitimate to say we will not launch a jihad until we have fighter aircraft, interception missiles, or ballistic missiles to match the enemy. However, this, in our case today, is beyond our ability. God asked us to do what we can.”
The internet is littered with similar training manuals. The depth of these documents, however, once again demonstrates how transnational groups are able to acquire training and information through the internet to conduct jihad in disparate theaters of operation (Terrorism Focus, October 24, 2006). Furthermore, this latest document also shows the staying power of jihadi strategists such as Sheikh Yusuf al-Uyayri. Despite his death in 2003, his writings have lived on to make him a powerful asset in the global Salafi-Jihad.