Mohammed al Zawahiri has issued statements concerning the Egyptian political crisis on his Facebook page and Twitter feed.
As the political crisis unfolded inside Egypt this week, leading to the military’s ouster of president Mohamed Morsi, Mohammed al Zawahiri issued statements on his social media sites in an attempt to rally the country’s jihadists. On July 2, the younger brother of al Qaeda’s emir posted a defiant message on his Facebook page.
Zawahiri urged Muslims to “forsake fear and hesitation,” promising “we will not be defeated.”
“If the United States and its agents in the state of Egypt” push tensions to the point of “confrontation, it will definitely be in our favor because we do not have anything to lose,” Zawahiri wrote, according to a translation obtained by The Long War Journal.
The younger Zawahiri argued that all will not be lost “even if all of us had been eliminated and the first and second lines perished,” because “we entered this arena not only after we had sold ourselves to God, but also we believe we lived more than we expected.”
The jihadists “will have the upper hand” in the end “and that is what matters.” And should the jihadist “trend be established in Egypt,” it will transform the entire region, leading to an “Islamic revival and victory.”
Egypt’s Al-Masry Al-Youm characterized Zawahiri’s July 2 statement as a vow to wage jihad against the army in the event that Morsi was deposed. The Muslim Brotherhood’s man was in fact removed from the presidency the following day, July 3.
However, one source claiming to speak on Mohammed al Zawahiri’s behalf told Al-Masry Al-Youm that his words should not be construed as a call for jihad against the Egyptian military.
In separate entries on his Facebook page and Twitter, the younger Zawahiri posted a statement from “the Islamic Forces and Movements and the Scholars of the Ummah” calling for the immediate implementation of sharia law. It is not clear who the statement’s other authors are. Mohammed al Zawahiri and his more infamous older brother regularly call for Egyptians to eschew democracy in favor of sharia. [See, for example, LWJ reports, Mohammed al Zawahiri rejects ‘filthy market of democracy’ and Zawahiri calls on Muslims to implement sharia.]
The authors of the statement calling for sharia law posted by Mohammed al Zawahiri do not call for violence against the Egyptian military. Instead, they say that the matter will be escalated through the press, and they will organize “massive rallies” and demonstrations that are “proportionate with the reaction of the authorities in charge.”
It remains to be seen how Egypt’s Salafi jihadists respond to the crisis in the coming days.
Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for FDD’s Long War Journal.