The USG Open Source Center translates a speech by Abu Umar al-Baghdadi, the putative leader of the radical Islamic State of Iraq, which has committed many bombings in the center-north of the country.
FYI — ISI Leader Al-Baghdadi Announces Agreement with Sunni Tribal Leaders
Jihadist Websites — OSC Summary
Tuesday, April 15, 2008 . . .
On 15 April, a jihadist website posts a statement and numerous links to a 30-minute audio speech [by] Abu-Umar al-Baghdadi, amir of the Al-Qa’ida- affiliated Islamic State of Iraq (ISI). The statement is entitled “Solid Cemented Structure.” . . .
Al-Baghdadi starts by saying that “these days mark a painful anniversary; the occupation of Iraq and the fall of Baghdad Al-Rashid in the hands of Christians and Magus.” [Magus or magi refers to Zoroastrians, adherents of the ancient religion of Iran; he is saying that the Iraqi Shiites who have taken Baghdad are actually Iranians and their Shiism is not Islam but a sort of Zoroastrianism.] He adds that after five years, “the enemy” has gained nothing but “disgrace and defeat.” He questions figures by that the United States about its deaths, saying they are way above 4,000. He also speaks of the “defeat” of the US Army and the “collapse” of US economy.
He continues to say: “It has been five years since the blessed jihad started. Praise be to God, we adhere to our religion and continue with the course of jihad.”
He cites examples from the Koran and hadith, which he says prove that “the infidel foreign enemy cannot defeat the people of Islam, no matter how strong it grows or how large the number of its supporters is.”
Al-Baghdadi then speaks of the Basra incidents, which he describes as a Shiite-Shiite conflict over power. He says that Al-Mahdi Army is clearly an affiliate of Iran, which he says is seeking to rule Iraq once again.
Al-Baghdadi criticizes certain Sunni tribes for cooperating with US President George Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki “to kill the people of Sunni tribes.”
He expresses joy over remarks, he says, were made by some tribal leaders who are unhappy about the Sunni infighting, and who call for directing weapons against the “occupier only.” He adds that these leaders agreed with the ISI on a working plan to stop infighting in Sunni areas among the people of tribes. He later gives examples of the infighting among Sunni tribes.
Al-Baghdadi says that the US Army and its allies pushed the Iraqi tribes into “a dark tunnel; namely, joining the national forces and the awakening councils.”
Al-Baghdadi adds that the real problem in the Sunni area is the Iraqi Islamic Party and its aides, including clerics and tribal leaders. He accuses the Islamic Party of lies, adding: “Tariq al-Hashimi, who is the Iraqi vice president, could not even free a single prisoner. He continues to say: “The Islamic Party categorically rejects the withdrawal of the occupier and considers this a crime.”
Al-Baghdadi asks the Iraqi tribesmen to compare the number of prisoners and women held by the ISI with the number of prisoners and women held in US and Iraqi jails. He argues: “I think that if you honestly answer these questions, you will know the real criminal who should be fought and against whom weapons should be carried.”
He denies receiving a ransom in return for freeing any US, British, Russian, or other hostages, noting that the ultimate goal of taking hostages has always been “to free women and minors from jails.”
Al-Baghdadi then accuses the former head of Al-Anbar Awakening Councils, Abd-al-Sattar Abu-Rishah, of “treason,” recalling remarks by Abu-Rishah to US President George Bush in which the former stressed that he was an ally of the United States in Iraq and asked Bush not to abandon him.
He wonders why the “agents of the awakening councils, their allies, and the betrayers of the resistance want to establish alliance with the Christians,” whom he says “raped our women, shed our blood, jailed our sons, humiliated our elderly, scared our children, and demolished our houses.”
Al-Baghdadi adds that the ISI only “killed agents of the Americans, the striking forces that protect the occupation, including the police, the army, and the awakening councils, who are the root cause of the problem,” as he put it.
He adds that most of the Sunni tribes are either among the “mujahidin” or supporting them, noting that they are dissatisfied with protecting the US patrols, military bases, and even its presence.
Al-Baghdadi announces that a number of issues have been agreed on with tribal leaders.
The first item of the agreement Al-Baghdadi mentions is: “The formation of a committee of loyal clerics who have never been on the side of the occupier or the state of Al-Rafidah (a derogatory reference to Shiites); who are known for erudite knowledge and good conduct; and who have no links with any apostate neighboring country, in order to resolve any dispute that occurs in the Sunni areas, among tribes, mujahidin, or others.”
The second point is: “The honorable clerics and tribal leaders shall undertake to urge the people of Sunni tribes to quit the police and the army in the state of Al-Rafidah, as well as the awakening councils, provided that the weapons of all Sunni people are directed against the Christian occupiers and their supporters.”
The third point is: “The ISI, may God protect it, pledges to declare amnesty that will include members of the police, the army, and the awakening councils who abandoned fighting the mujahidin before we get hold of them.” He adds: “Each tribe shall undertake to control the behavior of its people and punish whoever tries to push the Sunni people to the brink and allow the Christian occupier to move freely in our land and violate our honor.”
The fourth point is: “A committee made up of tribal leaders, clerics, and mujahidin shall be formed in each area to run the affairs of their areas in accordance with Islamic shar’iah.”
The fifth point is: “A supreme court shall be formed to resolve all disputes as of the date of this announcement in accordance with Islamic shar’iah.”
The sixth point is: “The ISI and other jihadist groups pledge to hand over anyone religiously proven guilty of illegal killing to the aforementioned committee.”
Al-Baghdadi notes: “This agreement will remain ink on paper unless the clerics and tribal leaders embark on activating and implementing it, at least in any area where the implementation of the agreement is applicable, and without excluding any item from implementing the agreement.”
He criticizes the Iraqi Government’s armed operations against Sunnis in favor of Shiites, noting that the military operations in Basra stopped suddenly although Prime Minister Al-Maliki described Shiite militias as “worse than Al-Qa’ida.” Then, the weapon of the Iraqi Army was directed against the Sunni people in Mosul. He says that the decision to change the direction of military operations from Basra to Mosul was made in Iran.
Al-Baghdadi then urges Sunnis to remain cautious, saying: “You will be humiliated if you abandon your mujahidin people, who are part of you and the source of you proud, honor, and strength.” He also warns Sunnis against joining the Iraqi Islamic Party in engaging the political process because, he says, the party supports “the elimination of Sunnis in Mosul,” and is now inciting “massacres against t he secure people in Mosul.”
He later urges Sunnis to stop “the crimes committed by Christian occupiers and to prevent the ambitions of Magus,” and “fend off attacks by the Jews of Peshmerga.” He also urges them to defend their religion, land, and honor, asking them to join the ISI in fighting “the occupation and its supporters.”
Al-Baghdadi concludes the audio speech by praying that God would defeat the “occupation” and “enemies” in Iraq.