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What Happened To Bin Laden?

So the global Jihadi Intifada, Zawahiri tells us, will be led by Mullah Mohammad Omar, the Amir of the Taliban. Curiously, there is not even a mention of Osama...

What Happened To Bin Laden?
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The global jihad hitherto waged by Al Qaeda has metamorphosed into a Jihadi Intifada, in which individual Muslims will fight for the cause of Islam. The role of jihadi organisations has become secondary. Destruction of such organisations will not have any impact on the Jihadi Intifada being waged by individual Muslims. Mullah Mohammad Omar, the Amir of the Taliban, will lead this global Jihadi Intifada. The Muslims of the world should unite under his leadership. 

That is the substance of the message conveyed by Ayman al-Zawahiri, the No. 2 to Osama bin Laden, to the Muslims of the world on February 12, 2007. This message has come in the wake of his earlier message of January 22, 2007, disseminated coinciding with President George Bush's State of the Union address to the newly-elected Congress. 

In the portion of the message of February 12, 2007, addressed to the American people, Zawahiri says: 

"You are not facing individuals or organizations, but are facing the Jihadi Intifada of the angry, alert Muslim Ummah. Therefore, you are just wasting your time and effort by claiming to seek to eliminate this person or that or such-and-such group or organization." 

After pledging his personal allegiance to Mullah Omar, Zawahiri calls upon the Muslims of the world to unite under his leadership. He asks all his followers to reject animosity and differences and come together under Mullahh Omar's banner. He says: 

"We—by the grace of Allah and His guidance—have pledged allegiance to the Commander of the Believers, Mullah Muhammad Umar, who is an Afghan. I ask my Muslim brothers in general and the callers and Mujahideen and their media organizations in particular to highlight the concept of Islamic brotherhood and disown all partisanship, loyalties and animosities based on nationalism, and I ask them not to allow the wrongdoing of a faction or entity motivate them to speak evil of that party's entire people or race." 

This theme of Al Qaeda fighting under the leadership of Mullah Omar had earlier figured in Zawahiri's year-end review of the state of the global jihad in which he had said: 

"Your Mujahid brothers, especially in Qaida al-Jihad, are—by the grace of Allah—the farthest people from ethnic fanaticism. They have pledged allegiance to the Commander of the Believers, Mullah Muhammad Umar (the Amir of the Taliban), as their commander, and he isn’t an Arab."  (The Global Jihad In 2006)

Whereas in his year-end review he was talking specifically in the context of the jihad in Afghanistan in which all jihadi elements—Afghans as well as the foreigners—will fight under the command of Mullah Omar, in his latest message of February 12, 2007, Zawahiri has been talking of the global jihad and not specifically the jihad in Afghanistan. It tries to project Mullah Omar as the commander of the global Jihadi Intifada. If that is so, what about Osama bin Laden? What happened to his leadership? Zawahiri's message is silent on this point. 

Reference is also invited to the following from an earlier article of mine : 

"With the onset of winter, the NATO forces and the Neo Taliban are expected to bunker down till next spring, but the Neo Taliban will continue with its suicide missions and hit and run guerilla activities. The Neo Taliban militia is planning to take refuge in the mountains that traverse the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and plan the next stage of their struggle, which will be a countrywide Islamic Intifada campaign in Afghanistan. All former Mujahideen commanders will be urged to join it to throw out the foreign troops from the Afghan soil. 

"The forthcoming Islamic Intifada will be both national and international. While organising a national uprising, it will seek to make Afghanistan once again the base for the global jihad as it was before 9/11. Dr.Ayman al-Zawahiri, the No.2 to Osama bin Laden in Al Qaeda, has assembled a special team to implement this idea. A key role will be played by Mullah Mehmood Allah Haq Yar, who was sent to Northern Iraq by Mullah Mohammad Omar, the Amir of the Taliban, before 9/11 to undergo training in a training camp of the Iraqi Ansar-ul-Islam. Mullah Yar returned to Afghanistan from Iraq in 2004 and was inducted by Mullah Omar into a special council of commanders. The council was given the special task of mobilising all foreign jihadis in Pakistani territory for participating in the jihad in Afghanistan. 

"A major step towards the launching of the Islamic Intifada was the establishment in September, 2006, of an Islamic Emirate of Waziristan to bring under one umbrella the various jihadi groups operating in the border areas. Many Neo Taliban supporters in Pakistan's military and intelligence establishment believe that the Intifada to be launched in April, 2007, would bring about the downfall of the Hamid Karzai Government and the return of the Neo Taliban to power."


B. Raman is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai.

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