AQAP Releases "New" Posthumous al-Awlaki Video

  • January 9, 2012

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's (AQAP) media arm released a video on December 20, 2011, featuring a eulogy for Anwar al-Awlaki and a never before seen video message from him in an effort to reach al-Awlaki's Western audience and perpetuate his message after his death.

The first half of the video, dated November 2011 and entitled "The Martyr of Daawah [propagating the faith]," features an Arabic-language eulogy by Ibrahim al-Rubeish, a former Guantanamo detainee who is now affiliated with AQAP.

Rubeish details al-Awlaki's life, particularly the development of his positions on jihad and his departure from the United States. Reflecting on al-Awlaki's death, Rubeish notes that "he got what he wished" – martyrdom. Rubeish says that "the mujahid brother Nidal Hasan responded to [the] call" of al-Awlaki's "fatwas that motivate the killing of Americans on their own grounds."

Rubeish holds al-Awlaki up as an example for others to follow, choosing a life of suffering and deprivation to support Muslims, and not merely speaking words but taking action in support of his message. Rubeish also focuses on the scandal that his killing caused in the West, exposing what he calls "the lying claims of the American democracy, and the falseness of its so-called law of freedom, so that people realize that American laws are "out-of-order" if they are applied to protect the Muslim."

Rubeish highlights the perceived wrongs perpetrated against Muslims, including American occupation of Yemen and other Muslim lands, support for corrupt Arab/Muslim regimes, as well as the "Jews" oppression and humiliation of Palestinians and Muslims. Rubeish designates President Obama "the enemy of Allah." Rubeish calls on his listeners not to let al-Awlaki's death pass without revenge.

Another eulogizer, identified only as "Brother Abu Yazid," who had his face obscured, calls the "War on Terror" a war "on Islam and Muslims wherever they might be," and calls for Muslims to "retaliate and confront them [the West] in the same manner." He also eulogizes Samir Khan, saying that his Inspire magazine truly inspired others and served to revive "the worship of jihad."

The portion of the video featuring al-Awlaki was apparently recorded around the time of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's attempt to blow up a passenger plane on Christmas Day, 2009. At the time it was originally recorded and released, the message was only disseminated as an audio tape, though this time the message includes a video recording of al-Awlaki's speech as well as some additional passages that were not included in the March 2010 release.

In what is perhaps al-Awlaki's final message, he says is that America is not safe, and is probably less safe than it was immediately after 9/11. He notes that jihadist groups are expanding globally, to places such as Somalia and North Africa where Al Shabaab and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb are active. Al-Awlaki speaks on a wide range of issues, including a critique of President Obama's policies and transparency, and compares that to the open declarations of the jihadist groups. He predicts that the mujahideen will win because they are fighting for a cause and because their "men… love death just like you love life." He claims that Al Qaeda is not against America for its inherent values or for its support of Israel, but rather for its foreign policies in the Arab/Muslim countries.

In the conclusion of his speech he calls non-Muslims to Islam. Addressing a special message to American Muslims, he questions their ability to live in the United States, where "Muslims serv[e] in the army to kill Muslims [and] join[] the FBI to spy against Muslims." He admits that he "could not reconcile between living in the US and being a Muslim." He warns that "the West will eventually turn against its Muslim citizens, " that America will soon be "a land of religious discrimination and concentration camps" and that Muslims cannot trust American politicians or civic groups to protect them.

His advice to American Muslims is that they "have two choices… You leave and live among Muslims or you stay behind and follow the example of Nidal Hasan and others, who fulfilled their duty of fighting for Allah's cause. He specificially invites young American Muslims to join the groups in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and his own in Yemen.

The video concludes with a message from AQAP's media arm: "O Aqsa [Jerusalem], we are coming."

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