An al-Qaeda manual made a surprise reappearance on October 31st in a new repackaged, reformatted edition on an online jihadi forum associated with the terrorist organization. The manual, A Guide for the Undecided on the Legitimacy of Killing Christians, (Irshad al-Hayara fi Ibahat Dimaa al-Nasara) made its first appearance back in September 2002, published by the al-Qaeda “think tank,” the now defunct Center for Islamic Research and Study, in their bi-weekly magazine, Sawt al-Jihad (The Voice of Jihad). Translated excerpts from the 56-page manual, authored by Hafid Abu-Basir, are available from the Site Institute.
But republication of this manual in a new format has counter-terrorism officials concerned that it’s re-release might be a sign of forthcoming terror attacks directed at Americans. In Chapter 15 of the document, Abu-Basir offers encouragement to dispirited Muslims that fresh attacks against the American infidels are forthcoming:
Beloved ones, I bring you the great, joyful news, which is the coming attack in America, with the permission of Allah, in a new wonderful method. America will be shocked once more, and this time Bush of the infidels will cry again.
The Guide for the Undecided is an extensive theological warrant deeply rooted in Quranic and Hadith sources for the killing of Americans based on what the author alleges are historical wrongs committed by America against Muslims worldwide. An entire section of the work, “Al-Umariyah Conditions,” (Chapter 9) is dedicated to explaining that the only proper role for Christians and Jews are as subjected and submissive dhimmis – legal non-persons. It also provides justification for attacks directed at Muslim allies and Islamic governments working with the U.S. government and thoroughly rejects any coexistence with America.
The republication of this manual follows just weeks after an al-Qaeda-linked website released a manual by Egyptian Mohammed Khalil Al-Hakaymah, How to Fight Alone, a how-to guide for Muslims to conduct their own “Jihad of One” against the “Crusader-Zionists.” A brief analysis of al-Hakaymah’s manual by Geostrategy describes his instructions on how lone Muslims can take the battle to the infidels:
The recommended methods include stabbing, feeding overdoses of cocaine or heroin, injecting air via needles, assassination with guns, burning down homes, putting poisonous snakes in cars, tampering with car brakes, planting explosives in vehicles, running over people, and luring people and then killing them.
The book also highly recommends poisoning targets and includes various methods of preparing and obtaining lethal toxins, including botulism. The book also gives instructions on making improvised explosives.
Al-Hakaymah is playing a more visible role in the global jihad, attested to by none other than al-Qaeda number two man, Ahman al-Zawahiri, who praised his fellow Egyptian by name in a video statement released on August 5th. As counter-terrorism analyst Chris Zambelis explained in the October 10th and October 24th editions of TerrorismFocus, al-Hakaymah is playing a crucial role for al-Qaeda in breaking away from the Egyptian Islamic Group (Gama’a al-Islamiyya), who has criticized al-Qaeda and moderated their stand towards the Mubarak regime, and forging an alliance between his splinter group, Those Who Stand Firm for the Covenant (al-Thabeton ala al-Ahad), to utilize violence against infidels and Muslims rejecting al-Qaeda’s vision of global jihad alike.
Since the public acknowledgement of al-Hakaymah by Zawahiri, a number of instruction manuals and statements by al-Hakaymah have been posted online, including How to Fight Alone. One manual that has drawn considerable interest by intelligence agencies is the 151-page, The Myth of Delusion: Exposing the American Intelligence, which relies on a number of open source analyses to present a picture of U.S. intelligence institutions and methods. A complete translation of the work is available.
“The Myth of Delusion” is a critically important document, in that it expresses a conspiratorial worldview where U.S. intelligence is governed by a cabal of conservative think tanks, South Korean intelligence, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, Texas oil interests, and – of course – the Israeli lobby (oddly, not much unlike anything you can find on several prominent American leftist blogs).
But its importance lies especially in the real-world advice offered to jihadis on evading detection by Western signals intelligence agencies by using disposable cell phones and avoiding the use of certain key-phrases to escape notice by the National Security Agency’s ECHELON system. As Jeff Stein of Congressional Quarterly recently noted, the manual also advises with stunning detail various CIA investigative techniques and the management of operatives.
All of these manuals, Abu Basir’s A Guide for the Undecided, al-Hakaymah’s How to Fight Alone and The Myth of Delusion, form an integral part of the burgeoning global jihad apparatus. Norwegian terrorism researcher Thomas Hegghammer has appropriately dubbed this genre “jihadi strategic studies,” which combines theological explication, military strategy, theory and planning, and practical how-to advice to guide the next generation of the global jihad movement.
This is what adds to the concern of counter-terrorism officials in the U.S. who see manuals, such as A Guide for the Undecided, which justifies violence against American civilians. Not only might this document itself and its recent reappearance anticipate terror attacks inside the U.S. in the near-term; but in the long-term, it serves as a template of terror that is intended to be followed by generations of followers advancing the global Islamic jihad. The growing library of jihadi strategic studies envisions violent confrontation with the West until the submission of the West under the green flag of Islam is made a reality.
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