Al Qaeda affiliates weigh in on Osama bin Laden’s death

Three al Qaeda affiliates all released statements today on the death of Osama bin Laden. Two statements (one from al Qaeda in Iraq, and one from al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb) were official, while another (from Jemaah Islamiyah’s spiritual leader) was off the cuff.

First, from al Qaeda in Iraq’s leader, Abu Bakr al Baghdad al Qurashi, who said the terror group wasn’t going to “sit idly by crying like women.” From AFP:

“So sleep soundly O Lion of Islam and Sheikh of the Mujahideen (holy warrior), for we are not of those who shed tears and sit idly by crying like women — this was not and will not be our way,” it said according to an English-language translation by SITE.

In a statement on the Honein Islamist forum, Al-Qaeda’s “emir” in Iraq, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi al-Husseini al-Qurashi, described US President Barack Obama as “the rat in the black house”, and warned: “The world will be small for you, after the death of Osama bin Laden because you will live in fear and terror.”

“I tell our brothers in Al-Qaeda, and especially Sheikh Mujahid Ayman al-Zawahiri and the leaders of Al-Qaeda that in the Islamic State of Iraq, there are loyal men who stick to the truth. They will not quit, and we swear to God, blood for blood and destruction for destruction.”

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb was less forceful, and its statement instead focused on the so-called Arab Spring and bin Laden’s influence on it. From The Telegraph:

“Everyone testifies … that these events that are storming through the Arab region are only a fruit among the fruits of jihad in which the sheikh (bin Laden) had a prominent role,” al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) said according to a translation by SITE Intelligence Group.

While it expressed grief that bin Laden was killed by US commandos in Pakistan “as a pursued destitute stranger, far from his homeland and family,” the al-Qaeda’s North Africa branch sought to give the terror mastermind credit for bringing down or threatening Arab regimes from Egypt to Syria that are “drowning in ignorance and agency … and corruption.”

“For he witnessed before his death the escape of the president of Tunisia in panic, and he saw the president of Egypt in jail humiliated, and he left the sham ruler of Libya and the b—— of Syria and the tyrant of Yemen shaking under the fall of the popular uprisings,” SITE quoted AQIM as saying in its statement posted on jihadist websites.

It also apparently alluded to the kingdoms of Saudi Arabia and Jordan and royal rule in Bahrain and elsewhere in the Middle East, by warning that “the kings and presidents are in the worst state as they wait for the disappearance of their blessing and to have hardship fall upon them.”

AQIM, whose fighters have kidnapped dozens of tourists, executed hostages and conducted deadly attacks across the Saharan region since 2003, also encouraged followers to channel their grief over bin Laden’s killing into action by rising up against US and Western “aggression.”

Finally, Jemaah Islamiyah founder and spiritual leader Abu Bakir Bashir said bin Laden would go to “heaven” (Inshallah). But Bashir also denied any links to the terror chief. He made his comments before he went on trial for supporting an al Qaeda cell in Aceh. From AKI:

“I don’t know if it’s true, but if he is dead, God willing he will go to heaven,” Bashir said before a trial hearing on Monday.

Bashir added that Bin Laden had fought in the name of Islam and would be rewarded for it.

When asked whether he was ever acquainted with Bin Laden, Bashir shook his head and quietly said “No”.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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