[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
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.