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Obama Wrong On Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's "Rationale"

11:12 AM, Jan 6, 2010 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
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The tape then moves on by continuing to discuss al Shihri’s and al Awfi’s return to terrorism and provides an explicit reason for their jihadist commitment (emphasis added):

“They came out [of Gitmo] even more determined to continue their path of Hijrah and Jihad, the path of honor and resilience, so that all of the religion be for Allah alone. They arrived from the heart of the Arabian Peninsula, setting out for Yemen, the land of Faith and Wisdom, to bring victory to the religion of Allah, that land about which the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) said: ‘There will be 12,000 who set out from Aden-Abyan to bring victory to [the religion of] Allah and His messenger. They are the best of people from my time until theirs.’ It is the land from which will come aid, it is the land of Faith, and the land of the helpers of the religion of Allah against this Crusade, which has come and filled the Arabian Sea, the Arabian Gulf, and the Red Sea with its battleships and aircraft carriers to take control over the Muslim world, its seas to its lands, to support the Jews, the thieves who have occupied the Noble Aqsa and to encircle our brothers in Somalia. For this reason, they united and pledged allegiance to Abu Baseer Nasir al Wuhayshi, may Allah protect him, to combine the efforts of the Mujahideen, in defense of the Muslim world, and to liberate the Noble Aqsa Mosque.

Note that the narrator does give an “explicit rationale” for the two Gitmo alumni joining up with AQAP. And what is that reason? It is to provide “aid…against this Crusade, which has come…to take over the Muslim world.” It is not “Guantanamo.”

The president’s words make it sound as if AQAP rationalizes its existence in its propaganda as a response to Guantanamo. But it is not even clear how the existence of a detention facility (not a “prison,” as the president called it) could be used as a “rationale” in the first place unless the terrorists claimed they were fighting for Gitmo’s detainees, or to close the facility, or some other similar excuse for their terror. While AQAP’s leaders mention their brethren at Gitmo, they make no such claims that Gitmo was the rationale for AQAP's formation. It is all about the Zionist-Crusader conspiracy. In reality, Gitmo is just one of many items on a long laundry list of imaginary grievances that al Qaeda uses to demonize the West.

A simple word comparison reveals just how off-base the president’s claim is. The aforementioned NEFA translation includes the words of each of the four AQAP leaders shown in the video. In the text of their diatribes, there is one (1) direct mention of Guantanamo. And this occurs in Said al Shihri’s salutation: “To my honorable nation, nation of good and honor, nation of jihad and martyrdom, may Allah reward you handsomely for me and for my brothers, the prisoners in Guantanamo -- for the time when you were a blessing to us… when you stood with us and shared our pains, and prayed for us.” Note that this isn’t even a rationale. Al Shirhi is simply asking Allah to reward the jihadist world on behalf of his fellow detainees at Gitmo.

There are also three (3) mentions of Cuba and these are of course references to Gitmo as well. Two of them occur in the following sentences, spoken by al Shihri:

 

“We speak to our beloved Islamic nation in order to explain the true nature of what these treacherous leaders have done with regards to the matter of Cuba—when they cooperated with the Americans in dispatching investigators to Cuba in order to investigate us and extract confessions from us and raise accusations against us. That was the reason for the increase in our torture, and Allah suffices for us and he is the best protector.”

 

Here, al Shihri is again using Gitmo not as a rationale so much as he is tying it to his condemnation of rulers in the Muslim world, which again is a common al Qaeda theme. Al Shihri explains to the “Islamic nation” that their “treacherous leaders” have “cooperated with the Americans” by “dispatching investigators to Cuba.” This should sound familiar, as al Qaeda regularly lambasts Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the Saudi royal family, and other Muslim rulers. Al Qaeda tries to stir up the population against their governments because al Qaeda claims they do not represent true Muslim interests, but instead are a de facto part of the Zionist-Crusader conspiracy.