Al-Baghdadi’s Sixteenth Speech
Al-Furqan Media Productions, the propaganda arm of the self-styled 'Islamic State of Iraq', released a 12 minute speech attributed to Abu Omar al-Baghdadi today, refuting Iraqi government statements that he had been captured last month. The speech is titled 'Lying Agents'.
To my ears, it is the same voice that we’ve heard all along since December 2006, and which is presented as that of al-Baghdadi’s.
-Al-Baghdadi says that he thought that the Iraqi government’s claim of his capture was only a ruse to hold them over for a few hours until they had absorbed “the blows of the mujahidin” but was surprised when they took it further and released a photo claiming that it was of him. Al-Baghdadi claims that the jihadists do not know who the man in the photo is supposed to be, and add that he must have been tortured into confessing.
-The speech for the most part is a sermon about the honesty of the Sunnis versus the perfidy of the Shias. Al-Baghdadi asks the Sunnis, “How is it that you have acquiesced to being ruled by those who take lying as a religion? ...Oh Sunnis, the [Shias] are your enemies, and their past and present is full of their betrayals and conspiracies against you. Do not trust them…”
-Al-Baghdadi sees that the pinnacle so far of the ‘Harvest of Blessings’ Offensive that the jihadists have launched was to force the Iranian government to shut its borders with Iraq after dozens of Iranian pilgrims were killed by suicide bombers.
-Al-Baghdadi promises his fighters that “within a few months” they will witness tangible aspects of their victory.
The speech doesn’t have much meat on it, as it was meant to show the jihadists that al-Baghdadi is still around, and that he can be recognized by his voice and his style of delivery. Apparently that is all jihadists need to know, as they trust their leadership blindly.
One needs to note again that the person of al-Baghdadi is not a random security decoy or a publicity stunt intended for show towards non-jihadists; for jihadists, he’s the candidate caliph—the Qurayshite ‘Prince of the Faithful—who is tasked with resurrecting the Muslim empire.