By Abu Hajir Abd al-Aziz al-Muqrin
Translated by Jamestown
Translator’s Introduction: The following translation is taken from Issue 7 of Mu’askar al-Battar published in March 2004, the online military journal attributed to al-Qaeda. The article, accredited to Abd al-Aziz al-Muqrin, provides a number of insights into the tactics and planning of terrorist operations in urban environments. Muqrin claimed to be the leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula before his death three weeks ago at the hands of Saudi security forces. It remains unclear whether Muqrin had been directly connected to Osama bin Laden or had simply been an al-Qaeda offshoot. More than simply rantings of a fanatic, the piece reveals that Muqrin and those sympathetic to his cause seek to advance their radical agenda through sophisticated means and careful planning. The article clearly suggests a coordinated effort to destabilize Western interests in the Islamic world, by attacking their financial, diplomatic and military targets. Despite his dogmatic overtones, the author is surprisingly pragmatic, advising restraint when targeting ideological or religious opponents, as doing so may produce a backlash from the local population. Furthermore, the text details operations against economic targets, with the aim of disrupting the “air of stability” necessary for trade and Western business interests to succeed.
While there is a commonly held belief that extremists wish to destroy our way of life, this text indicates that their primary objective is the removal of “foreign” forces and influence from Muslim lands. They view themselves as defenders rather than aggressors, attempting to right the wrongs done to Muslims by Western powers, and thereby restore power to an Islamic caliphate.
Strikes inside cities are considered one type of military diplomacy, and this type of diplomacy is often written in blood, decorated with the remains of the dead and perfumed with the scent of gunpowder.
And it [this type of diplomacy] carries a political meaning relating to the nature of ideological conflict, for it is considered to send messages to several parties. Therefore one should, with great precision, be aware of their target, as in the bombings of the al-Qaeda. Among the best examples of that point is what took place at the hands of our four brothers (Khalid al-Sa’eed, Riyadh al-Hajiri, Abd al-Aziz al-Mu`thim, Muslih al-Shamrani), certainly it was a bombing [carried out by] heroes, God had mercy on them by meeting them with one of the first shots. Their choice of target was a great success. The building was observed and owned by the CIA. And this was a spark, and the beginning of the awakening which roused the Mujahid youth and informed the Ummah to the reality of the presence of the Zionists and Crusaders in the land of Muhammad.
Also, the operation in east Riyadh in 1424 Hijri  had great significance and directed an important message to the enemy: “Here we are, we struck Vinnell in 1416 H and here we are, striking it in 1424 H, so whatever you have hidden from sight, we will find it, we are right behind you.” The meaning is clear: the enemy cannot dream of stability in the land of Muhammad.
In addition, what took place at the hands of our brothers Ali al-Ma’badi and Nasir al-Sayyari, who targeted and attacked that which was a front for intelligence, is evidence that military operations are diplomatic messages mixed with blood and the remains of the dead, scented with the perfume of gunpowder and bullets.
Types of Targets Inside Cities
Part One: Targets of Ideological Complexion
In the beginning of any jihadi military act, it is not advisable to use force against religious and ideological targets except in some exceptional cases which include:
Cases of Christianization in pure Islamic societies as occurred in Yemen with the killing of the missionaries. [At a hospital in Jibla, December 2002] and as is happening in Iraq in order to purify it from the evangelicals who are attempting to convert the Muslims, evangelizing their religion in the areas of Mesopotamia [i.e. Iraq] and as is happening now in Saudi Arabia. And to a limited extent, in Riyadh where the distribution of bibles door to door was taking place for a time. So in this case, if a hunt [for those missionaries] takes place, this is a good thing, and in reality it is as if those who carry out these acts [are giving] two favors to the Mujahideen. We ask God to facilitate the hunt for them.
Covert intelligence operations under any cover – even if they be religious. However, any Muslims considered to be men of religious learning and faith [should simply] not be interacted with, so that such interaction does not cause a violent reaction from the Muslims who were deceived by these agents. If they were indeed spies (God help us) – then any strike on those associated with religion and faith would [only end up] glorifying them, raising their prestige and making them into symbols – may God’s wrath fall upon them!
Also among the exceptional cases regarding ideological targets are some priests, monks, rabbis or religious personalities who have carried out propaganda attacks against Islam or Muslims, as happened when the cursed American priest recently insulted the messenger of Allah. We ask Allah that he allow our swords to come down on his neck. [Another example] is what Sayed Nosair did with the killing of the Rabbi Kahane, may God curse him for insulting His Prophet.
Likewise, among these exceptional cases are Jewish or Christian ideologues who possess the ability to mobilize financially, militarily or morally against the Muslims, as happened in past Crusader campaigns.
Part Two: Economic Targets
The goal in striking these targets is to upset security and the air of stability necessary for growth in labor and speedy movement in the economy, such as a strike on Iraqi oil wells and their pipelines, leading to the withdrawal of foreign companies and at the least, ending the air of security and stability necessary to plunder the wealth of the Muslims. Another goal of striking these targets is the withdrawal of foreign heads of finance from the local markets. Among the gains in such strikes are the strong economic impact felt by carrying out attacks in the land of conflict as occurred for a brief period after the blessed Madrid strikes which utterly affected the European economy. And in that manner, an economic blow is two-fold to the international Crusader, Jewish or Apostate system.
Among the examples of operations in this vein:
Operations which hit Jewish or Crusader investments in Muslim countries
Striking international companies
Striking international economic experts
Hits against imports from hostile crusade countries whether by military means (as occurred with the explosion and burning of some American restaurants) or by political means such as boycotting
Strikes against the stolen raw materials from Muslim countries, as occurred with the French oil carrier [Limburg], the hitting of the oil pipelines in Iraq
Assassination and elimination of Jews working in the economic field, and punishment for whoever cooperates with them economically but [only] after warning him, and one should not be assassinated except he who has confirmed his apostasy [by being with] the cooperators
Part Three: Human Targets
The goal is to target and kill the Jews and Christians among us. For to everyone hostile towards God and His prophet and the believers, we say to you: we bring you slaughter. Despite our present condition, we should not be limited by geographic borders. For every Muslim land is our land and every Muslim country our country. And there is no escape from the fact that we will make the lands of the unbelievers hell as they have made our lands into hell. Therefore, it is upon international cells all over the world to pay no attention to the geographic borders of the enemies, but instead to be persistent in the pursuit of bringing the unbeliever countries and their agents to that state [of hell], for they turned Muslim countries into fields for testing their weapons and inventions. But there is no escape from the reality that we will turn their lands into a hell of destruction, the sons of the Islamic community will be strong enough for that, God willing.
Priority in these operations should be given to Jews and Christians who have official capacities in Muslim countries, the goal being to prevent stability in Muslim lands. It is advised in the beginning to target easy, unprotected targets, and the priority should be given to those countries which actively provide support or protection to local apostate governments. For example, in Saudi Arabia: the Americans firstly, then the British; in Iraq: the Americans; in Afghanistan: the Americans; in Algeria: the French; in Indonesia, the Australians, and so on.
Ordering Human Targets in Order of Importance:
Jews: They are divided by importance; one should target American and Israeli Jews first, then British Jews, then French and so on.
Christians: They are ranked by importance in the following order:
Then by the following divisions:
Men of finance, labor and economy
Diplomats, policy-makers, analysts, thinkers and political delegations
Scholars and experts
Military leadership and soldiers
Tourists and travel groups, and all those warned by the Mujahideen upon their arrival
Apostates, they are ordered here by importance:
Those who are close to Christian and Jewish governments, thus the best targets would be Husni Mubarak and the rulers of Arabian Peninsula and their advisors.
The modernists and seculars who have legitimized the abominations which they believe in and who have mocked and ridiculed the faith, and those atheists who are regarded as the hypocrites of this century
Spies and secret police, for they are shielding and protecting the Jews and the strong-arm of the collaborators rulers.
The Goals of Striking Human Targets
To clarify the nature of this ideological battle. For by targeting Christians and Jews it makes clear that this is a religious struggle.
To show and make clear who the main enemy is, as is mentioned in the above point.
To cleanse the earth and remove these apostate tyrants from our lands as well as to create examples of deterrence.
To spread fear among the ranks of the enemy; this is set out for us in the Shari`ah and is required of us in the following verse (8:60 Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies, of Allah and your enemies)
To raise the moral of the Islamic Nation.
To undercut esteem for the government being attacked. After the attacks on New York and Washington rubbed America’s nose in the dirt.
To disrupt the plans of the infidels and apostates, as when Italy refused to send troops to Iraq after bombings against Italians in Baghdad. Also when the challenger for prime minister of Spain vowed to pull troops out of Iraq following the attacks in Madrid.
In retaliation for the killing of Muslims, as Allah says in the Holy Qur’an (16:126 And if ye do catch them out [and punish them], punish them no worse than they punished you).
[The author goes on to discuss advantages and disadvantages of special operations in urban environments, and detailed instructions on using dead drops to transfer messages, arms and other materiel.]