Nasir al Wuhayshi, the leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Image from the SITE Intel Group.
Nasir al Wuhayshi, the leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), pledged bayat, or an oath of fealty, to Ayman al Zawahiri, the new leader of al Qaeda’s central command. Wuhayshi also vowed to fight until Sharia law is imposed across the globe.
Wuhayshi’s oath was issued in the form of a audiotape that was released today by the Al Malahem Foundation, AQAP’s propaganda outlet. The audiotape was distributed to al Qaeda-linked jihadist forums and has been translated by the SITE Intel Group.
Zawahiri replaced Osama bin Laden after he was killed by US special operations forces during the May 1 raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. In mid-June, al Qaeda officially announced that Zawahiri replaced bin Laden as the terror group’s emir.
Wuhayshi pledged that he and the AQAP fighters under his command would follow Zawahiri’s orders and fight “the enemies without leniency or surrender until Islam rules.” Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is considered by the US to be one of al Qaeda’s most effective affiliates, and it controls large areas in Yemen.
“I give you allegiance of obedience in good and hard times, in ease and difficulty, in following the Book of Allah and the Sunnah [traditions] of Allah’s Messenger, Allah’s peace and prayer be upon him, and in fighting the enemies of Allah as much as I can – myself and the your loyal soldiers who are with me in the front of the Arabian Peninsula,” Wuhayshi said, according to the SITE translation. “You will only see from us honesty and patience in time of afflictions, sympathy with the righteous friends, and toughness with the enemies without leniency or surrender until Islam rules, with help and power from Allah.”
The release of Wuhayshi’s oath to Zawahiri took place just days after AQAP highlighted the succession of Zawahiri in the latest edition of Inspire, the terror group’s English-language magazine. “Now Shaykh Ayman carries the banner,” a jihadist named Yahya Ibrahim wrote. “He has been at the forefront of Islamic work and now will lead the organization he helped found. We ask Allah to assist Shaykh Ayman in this great task.”
Two other al Qaeda affiliates have already pledged allegiance to Zawahiri. On June 19, Shabaab, the al Qaeda-linked organization in Somalia, pledged its allegiance to Zawahiri. “Ayman al Zawahiri is the suitable person to replace [Osama bin Laden] on account of his skills and experience,” Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage said in a statement, according to a translation by Flashpoint Partners. Sheikh Rage added, “We welcome this fitting choice, and we will support [al Zawahiri] according to our oath just as we were with his brothers before.” [See LWJ report, Somalia’s Shabaab vows allegiance to new al Qaeda emir Zawahiri.]
And in an audio message released online on July 7, Abu Obeida Yusuf al ‘Annabi, a spokesman and member of the executive ruling council for al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, pledged his organization’s allegiance to Zawahiri. “As long as you [Zawahiri] lead us on the path of truth and jihad for the Cause of Allah, then we pledge to you to be obedient, and we consider ourselves one of the arrows of Islam and jihad and you, the slave of Allah, as the archer,” ‘Annabi said, according to a translation by SITE . “So, throw us wherever you wish, because you will only see from us what will cool your eyes and make you joyous.”
In today’s statement Wuhayshi said that Yemeni President Ali Saleh, the embattled leader of Yemen, “is about to go.” Saleh “is to be with Ben Ali [the former president of Yunisia] and the family of Saud in exile in the Land of the Two Holy Mosques [Saudi Arabia].”
Wuhayshi condemned the US for conducting airstrikes against AQAP in Yemen, and said that his followers are ” people of war; we were born from its womb….”
“As for the American Crusader enemy, they stood incapacitated towards the situation in Yemen, except by doing some intelligence work and air bombing with unmanned planes, with acceptance from the government and the opposition, and with silence from other institutions towards this intervention and penetration of airspace,” Wuhayshi said. “We will not stand with our hands tied. Our war with this Zio-Crusader campaign is ongoing, for they are the ones who choose war, and their people clapped for them. We are people of war; we were born from its womb and we grew up in its midst. It is as if we were only created to fight them and bother them.”
Wuhayshi also said that al Qaeda seeks to impose its brand of Islam across the globe, through force of arms.
“Our project is to institute the Shariah of Allah on Earth and reject the man-made laws and constitutions,” Wuhayshi said. “Nothing will rule the country other than the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger, Allah’s peace and prayer be upon him, [especially] not with words written in a constitution to deceive people: ‘Islamic
Shariah is the source of legislation.'”