[QODLink]
Central & South Asia

Al-Qaeda leader issues jihad guidelines

Ayman al-Zawahri deems Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq safe havens and endorses conflicts in Russia, India and China.

Last Modified: 17 Sep 2013 07:10
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Zawahiri urged restraint in countries where jihadists may find safe bases [AFP/Site Intelligence Group]

The leader of al-Qaeda has issued his first specific guidelines to his followers on how to conduct a jihad, or holy war, as he spelled out the countries where the group's proxy war against the US and Israel was inevitable.

According to a report published by the SITE monitoring service on Monday, Ayman al-Zawahri said that those countries included Afganistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Somalia, but he urged restraint in attacking other Muslim sects and non-Muslims and in starting conflicts in countries where jihadists might find a safe base to promote their ideas.

In Pakistan, where intelligence sources believe Zawahri is hiding, he said fighting "aims at creating a safe haven for the mujahideen in Pakistan, which can then be used as a launching pad for the struggle of establishing an Islamic system in Pakistan".

The SITE document provides a rare look at al-Qaeda's strategy 12 years after the September 11 attacks on the US and the nature of its global ambitions from North Africa to the Caucasus to Kashmir.

Zawahri also stressed the importance of "dawa", or missionary work, to spread its ideas.

"As far as targeting the proxies of America is concerned, it differs from place to place," he said.

"The basic principle is to avoid entering into any conflict with them, except in the countries where confronting them becomes inevitable."

New targets

Those comments are particularly relevant for North Africa, where many analysts believe al-Qaeda is using the less restrictive environment which followed the 2011 Arab uprisings to seek new followers, often through local alliances, while avoiding drawing attention to itself by eschewing attacks.

"Our struggle is a long one, and jihad is in need of safe bases," Zawahri said in his "general guidelines for jihad" posted on jihadi forums.

Al-Qaeda has a strong support network inside Pakistan. Its founder Osama bin-Laden lived there until his death in May 2011.

It also has close ties to the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, with which the Pakistan government has said it will hold peace talks.

Zawahri cited the need to weaken Algeria, which crushed fighters in a civil war during the 1990s, and spread jihadi influence throughout the Maghreb and West Africa.

And in an apparent nod to those who say al-Qaeda's focus on the US weakens their battle against governments at home, he endorsed the right of jihadists to fight Russians in the Caucasus, Indians in Kashmir and Chinese in Xinjiang.

376

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
Frustration grows in Kiev as pledges to end corruption and abuse of power stagnate after Maidan Square protest.
Thousands of Houthi supporters have called for the fall of Yemen's government. But what do the Houthis really want?
New ration reductions and movement restrictions have refugees from Myanmar anxious about their future in Thailand.
US lawyers say poor translations of election materials disenfranchise Native voters.
US drones in Pakistan have killed thousands since 2004. How have leaders defended or decried these deadly planes?
join our mailing list