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Al Nusrah Front issues 'clarification' on the creation of an Islamic emirate


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al_nusrah_front_issu_1.php#Long War Journal:

Thomas Joscelyn

July 13, 2014

 

The Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda's official branch in Syria, has issued a short statement denying that the group has announced the creation of an Islamic emirate (or state). The group has posted the message online in both Arabic and English.

 

The statement is a "clarification" and was released in response to a leaked audio recording that was disseminated online just hours before. The audio is allegedly a recording of a fiery speech by Abu Muhammad al Julani, the Al Nusrah Front's leader. "The time has come ... for us to establish an Islamic emirate in the Levant," Julani says during the speech.

 

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Thus, the Al Nusrah Front says that it will seek to build a consensus among jihadists before establishing an Islamic emirate. This is in contrast to the Al Nusrah Front's rival, the Islamic State, which unilaterally declared in late June that it now rules as a caliphate covering parts of both Iraq and Syria. One of the jihadists' main objections to the Islamic State is that the group refuses to consult with other organizations and share power.

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The Caliphate’s Scholar-in-Arms
9th July 2014 by Cole Bunzel

 

With the Islamic State’s Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, or Caliph Ibrahim, seeking to displace al-Qaeda’s Ayman al-Zawahiri as the leader of the global jihadi movement, a parallel displacement effort is taking place in the more recondite realm of jihadi ideology. The old guard of jihadi intellectuals—Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, Abu Qatada al-Filastini, and Hani al-Siba‘i, among others—has come out unanimously against the Islamic State and its caliphal pretensions, denouncing the “organization” as hopelessly extremist and out of touch with reality. Their reproach has left a younger generation of pro-Islamic State jihadis no choice but to take up their mantle. One in particular, decrying his jihadi elders and their fierce opposition to his beloved caliphate, appears to be peerless in this effort. He is also the Islamic State’s most prominent and prolific resident scholar, based in Syria since at least February 2014.

 

Known previously to Jihadica readers by his pseudonym, Abu Humam al-Athari, this young ideologue from Bahrain now uses his given name, Turki al-Bin‘ali (@turky_albinali), or kunya, Abu Sufyan al-Sulami.

 

The Caliph’s cause

 

While few outside jihadi circles have probably heard of the young Turki al-Bin‘ali, the twenty-nine-year old Bahraini has played the role of ideological lodestar for the Islamic State since at least 2013. In April of last year, for instance, when Baghdadi announced the expansion of his emirate to Syria, it was Bin‘ali who penned the first monograph in support of his move. Entitled “Extend Your Hands to Give Bay‘a [loyalty] to Baghdadi,” it called on all Muslims in the vicinity of the Islamic State to pledge loyalty to its emir. Moreover, the work anticipated Baghdadi’s caliphate in no uncertain terms: “We ask God for the day to come when we will see our shaykh seated upon the throne of the caliphate!” In addition, Bin‘ali’s biography of Baghdadi, included in this tract, is the most frequently cited by jihadis; already in July of last year he had detailed the future caliph’s lineage going back to the Prophet Muhammad, establishing the crucial caliphal qualification of descent from the Prophet’s tribe.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Al-Qaedas Quasi-Caliph: The Recasting of Mullah Umar

Cole Bunzel

23rd July 2014

 

The Islamic States June 29 declaration of a caliphate has yet to win mass support among the global jihadi community but it has succeeded in provoking an embattled al-Qaeda leadership to respondin unforeseen fashion. Rather than immediately denouncing the Islamic States new caliphate as one would have expected, al-Qaeda has responded in kind: that is, with the proposition of a counter-caliph of sorts.

 

The mooted quasi-caliph is none other than Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Umar, head of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan since 1996. Like the Islamic States Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Mullah Umar holds the title amir al-muminin (commander of the believers), the traditional title of caliphs in Islamic history. The Afghan amirs title has rarely seemed more than rhetorical but over the last week al-Qaeda has played up the ambiguity of the title. It has reaffirmed its loyalty to Mullah Umar and distributed a video of Osama bin Laden describing him as essentially caliph. Naturally, Islamic State supporters are up in arms at the suggestion of a challenger to Baghdadi.

 

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