ThreatsWatch.Org: Commentary

Reading al-Qaeda's Cue Cards

Reluctanly Amused by al-Qaeda's Artist Formerly Known As Abdullah al-Naima

By Steve Schippert

Counterterrorism and psychological warfare. It's deadly serious business. Yet, it is difficult listen to the latest from al-Qaeda's Iraqi puppet without some amusement.

The Artist Formerly Known As Abdullah al-Naima read his al-Qaeda in Iraq cue cards in an audio message and threatened Israel, laying criticism at the feet of Hamas and other Palestinian groups for having not yet defeated Israel. In the audio message, the Iraqi actor proclaimed, "Israel is a malignant germ in the body of the ummah that must be removed."

He encouraged Hamas' al-Qassam Brigades to break with the rest of Hamas in order to 'liberate' Jerusalem and return it to Muslim rule. After admitting "shortcomings" in al-Qaeda's past material support to Palestinian terrorist groups and the drive to defeat Israel, the al-Qaeda in Iraq message proclaimed, "Every Muslim is responsible for the liberation of the al-Aqsa Mosque as every Palestinian Muslim is responsible for the liberation of Iraq, Chechnya and other Islamic countries."

And from this all-encompassing proclamation of Islamic duty comes the true purpose of the tape: The Obligatory Abu Omar al-Baghdadi Telethon and Emergency Fund Drive.

While foolish and dangerous to proclaim al-Qaeda 'defeated' in Iraq, they are in dire straits in a country once proclaimed by al-Qaeda senior leadership (AQSL) as the primary front in its holy war. And desperate times often inspire desperate measures. In this case, al-Qaeda's return to invoking the populist approach of co-opting the Palestinian cause.

"We propose that every money-earning Muslim should save $2 a month, of which half would be allotted to our folk in Palestine while the rest goes to other fronts. Secret societies with limited sizes in every street should collect theses funds and preserve them or invest them until an opportunity emerges to deliver them to those who deserve them."

As if to say, “Arise, O' Free Masons of Terrorism, and collect funds in the name of Jerusalem and the Palestinians...and don't forget to give us our cut, because it's all the same fight.” What a deal. Tithe now, and al-Qaeda promises to give half of its funds to the Palestinian terrorists. The other half, of course, will go to trying to stave off al-Qaeda's annihilation in Iraq - at the hands of Iraqis, not simply American 'Imperialists' and 'Crusaders.'

It is ironic beyond amusement that even in Western media America is so often characterized as “imperialist” in its quests. Yet, it is al-Qaeda that is seeking – openly – to conquer lands and carve out new ['Islamic'] states where none previously existed. Is this not the very definition of imperialism? And it does so as part of a religious conviction to war in order to carve out a new Caliphate and evict, convert, subjugate or kill non-believers. Is this not a 'crusade'?

Furthermore regarding the usage of language in Western media, "Abu Omar al-Baghdadi" is not even a nom de guerre. The persona is whole-cloth fiction, a thespian role played by a one-time Iraqi actor. Yet the leading role character name accompanies nearly everything released by and written on regarding al-Qaeda in Iraq's 'Islamic State of Iraq.'

Here's the dirty little secret that no one likes to talk about at parties: When the Artist Formerly Known As Abdullah al-Naima was recognized by leaders of Iraqi insurgent groups when his handlers trotted him before them in order to address his 'followers,' they were not amused. He was no inspired jihadist. He was 'that guy' who appeared in several Iraqi movies and various Saddam-umentaries of days gone by.

There is an organized and pervasive al-Qaeda propaganda campaign with a plethora of regularly released video products. Apply just a touch of common logic and one will arrive at the true reason that "Abu Omar al-Baghdadi" speaks only on audio. On a video, he would be even more widely recognized as the Artist Formerly Known As Abdullah al-Naima reading his terror masters' cue cards. The Iraqis get it.

Yet the rest of the Western media continue to affix the name of Abu Omar al-Baghdadi to its coverage, which is a role, not a man.