By NWV Senior Political News Writer, Jim Kouri

Despite the violence committed against American citizens and legal residents by foreign criminals and criminal gangs during the last three presidential administrations, the current occupant of the White House is the first to take direct action, according to law enforcement officials with the National Association of Chiefs of Police (NACOP).

Although President Donald Trump and his national security team have noticeably intensified federal law enforcement, border security and immigration enforcement, he also has shown his deeply felt sympathy for the nameless victims of jihadists and criminal aliens.

In fact, this week before he acknowledged his achievements during his first 100 days in office, President Trump’s administration unveiled a special section at the Department of Homeland Security to assist the victims of criminal immigrants.

In a speech recorded by al-Qaeda’s longtime leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the terrorist leader delivered a message of encouragement and strategy in a video released on April 23, according to the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center in Israel.

The video is titled, “Al-Sham [greater Syria] will not surrender [to anyone] but Allah.” It was produced by al-Sahab (al-Qaeda’s “Foundation for Islamic Media Publication”) and posted on the phenomenal web site YouTube. In the speech Ayman al-Zawahiri presented his world view, addressed his followers in Syria and formulated the principles and strategy for their continued fighting, officials at Meir Amit stated.

In Meir Amit’s assessment, the background to the speech included the growing difficulties faced by the jihadist organizations in Syria and Iraq; the campaign to liberate Mosul from ISIS, which is approaching its final stages; the preparations for the attack on ISIS’s Syrian stronghold in al-Raqqa; the loss of Aleppo and the pushing of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Fateh al-Sham Front and other rebel organizations into the area in and around Idlib. All that created a genuine need to learn from experience, formulate a strategy for the future and raise the fighters’ morale.

Ayman al-Zawahiri’s strategy centers around operative suggestions/instructions, including the following: lessons have to be learned from previous experience to improve future fighting capabilities; the concept of territorial control [the ISIS concept] has to be abandoned, and the problem in al-Sham should not be viewed as a national problem; the strategy of guerilla warfare, which is the weapon on the weak, should be adhered to;the campaign in al-Sham should not be regarded as local but rather global part of the comprehensive struggle Muslims are waging against the West and their other enemies; collaboration among the Muslims in al-Sham should be increased; Muslims all over the world should participate in the jihad in al-Sham through deploying operatives and sending money, insofar as the Muslim nation is able.

Ayman al-Zawahiri did not specifically name the Fateh al-Sham Front(formerly al-Nusra Front, the branch of al-Qaeda in Syria). That was because he wanted to blur the connections between al-Qaeda and the Fateh al-Sham Frontand their common ideology, to obviate the Front’s difficulties in collaborating with other radical Islamic organizations (within the headquarters for the liberation of al-Sham). ISIS and the Islamic State were not specifically named, apparently not to worsen the rift between them and al-Qaeda, and to stress the call for unity against common enemies. Thus Ayman al-Zawahiri appealed to “our followers in al-Sham” and to the Islamic nation as a whole.

Ayman al-Zawahiri’s strategy, at whose core is abandoning the concept of territorial control and adhering to guerilla warfare tactics, is particularly relevant for ISIS. The strategy challenges the establishment of the Islamic State/Caliphate established by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in 2014, to which Ayman al-Zawahiri and al-Qaeda objected from the outset. Moreover, it is entirely possible that the realization that it is difficult to defend territory and that it would be better to return to the familiar tactics of guerilla warfare has begun to become apparent to ISIS’s leadership, in view of the imminent possibility that Mosul will fall (which was mentioned in the video published by ISIS’s Nineveh Province.

Main Points of Ayman al-Zawahiri’s Speech

The following were the main points of Ayman al-Zawahiri’s speech

  1. Al-Qaeda cannot support Muslims all over the world, especially its followers in al-Sham, because it is fighting the “Crusader enemy” [i.e., the Western countries] on other fronts: “I want to remind our followers in al-Sham, your wounds and pain are the most painful wounds and pain of the entire [Islamic] nation…We hope to compensate you with our souls, but what distracts us is the fact that we are toying with the Crusader enemy on a different front.”
  1. The war in al-Sham is part of a comprehensive campaign against Islam: “[The Muslims in al-Sham and especially followers of al-Qaeda] should know that they are a target [for their enemies] because [the Muslims] want Islam to rule the land.” He added “The coalition of Satans [the American-led international coalition] does not accept [the control of Islam over al-Sham] and is doing its utmost to turn the tide of Islam.”
  1. The followers of al-Qaeda in al-Sham must wage a long-term struggle against various enemies, not break down and continue waging jihad: followers in al-Sham must stand firm and prepare themselves for a long war against the Crusaders and their allies [i.e., the West], the Shi’ites and the Alawites. Ayman al-Zawahiri also called on his followers in al-Sham to be patient and not surrender, because it was better for them to live with honor than humiliation.
  2. The struggle in al-Sham has to be global, and Muslims in al-Sham have to collaborate with Muslims around the world. It should not be a local national struggle separate from Islam: Ayman al-Zawahiri called for the unification and bringing together of hearts of Muslims in al-Sham and around the globe,against what he called the “Crusade” against Muslims being fought everywhere. He called on his followers in al-Sham to be wary of traitors who suggest that they wage a national Syrian struggle divorced from Islam. Such a struggle, he claimed, would lead to reconciliation with the worst criminals [that is, Bashar Assad’s regime].

Once he had established the principles for continuing the fighting, Ayman al-Zawahiri made three suggestions/instructions to his followers in al-Sham.

  1. Lessons have to be learned to improve fighting in the future: Learning those lessons will advance victory. Ayman al-Zawahiri’s followers in Syria should be critical of the military operations they carry out to be able to correct their mistakes, following the example of the Prophet Muhammad.
  2. The concept of territorial control should be abandoned and exchanged for the strategy of guerilla warfare: Fighters should focus on guerilla activities and on exhausting the enemy. According to Ayman al-Zawahiri, such warfare has always been the weapon of the weak against the “arrogant.” The fighters should not concentrate on the control of territory but rather on operations to destroy the enemy’s morale and plunge him into despair. That can be done by repeated blows that will cause him many casualties.
  3. Al-Sham should not be regarded as a local problem but rather as a problem for the entire Muslim nation: Enemies are trying to turn the problem in al-Sham into a national problem. That will turn it into a local problem of towns, cities and neighborhoods, shrinking the problem and eventually making it disappear. Ayman al-Zawahiri called on the entire Islamic nation to join the jihad in al-Sham by sending its sons, money, resources and capabilities.


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