Al-Qaeda Media: JNIM’s Leader Celebrates Jihadi Successes in Afghanistan and the Sahel, Calls for Violence Against America, France, Israel, and Russia
Jama'at Nusrat al-Islam wa-l-Muslimin (JNIM), al-Qaeda’s branch in Mali, released a 14-minute-long video through its official media organ az-Zallaqa in which the organization’s leader Iyad Ag Ghaly boasted about the drawdown of French forces from the Sahel, the withdrawal of American soldiers from Afghanistan, and called for attacks on the “French infidels, other Jews, and the Crusaders.”
Ag Ghaly opens by congratulating “the mujahideen who are stationed on all the frontiers and fields of jihad,” celebrating “the expansion of the area of jihad” and how “the number of the mujahideen, immigrants and supporters has increased.” Speaking on broader anti-France sentiments he claims the “flame of Islamic popular discontent … began to expand day after day” with populations “denouncing the continuation of its Crusader invasion, demanding the departure of her and her allies from the lands of Islam.”
He lauds allied jihadis for waging war against France in the Sahel and bringing about the withdrawal of French forces from the region.
Ag Ghaly taunts France for failing to achieve its Operation Barkhane objectives and claims the intervention has only fuelled the geographical spread of jihadism and strengthened the determination of the faithful.
One particularly interesting point in the speech is his discussion of France’s efforts to free foreign hostages in the region — most notable is a line about French national and former JNIM captive Maryam Patronin. Ag Ghaly commends Patronin for publicly announcing her conversion to Islam, stating: “Indeed, her showing of her religion was a blow to the arrogance of the French President and curbed his appeal of our true religion.”
“We are one Ummah fighting a battle against global infidelity as one,” he claims and to the Taliban he says:
Ah! Verily, victory of Allah is always near! We also do not miss, in return, the most beautiful congratulations and best wishes to our Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan on the occasion of the withdrawal of the invading American forces and their allies. That historic withdrawal, which culminated by the grace of Allah, is the outcome of two decades of patience by our brothers there from the Muhajirun and the Ansar, and their vexation in those forces and their guardians from the armies of apostasy and infiltrator, asking Allah for us and them to be steadfast on His true religion and to hold fast to His tight rope.
Ag Ghaly then returns his attention to France:
Our Muslim brothers everywhere, France, by its war against Allah’s law, its mockery of His Messenger, peace be upon him, its conquest of the lands of Islam, its persistence in immorality and decadence, has opened the doors of Allah’s curse, war and torment upon itself.
He rails against instances of blasphemy committed by French citizens, raising the case of Samuel Paty’s beheading and advocating for such punishment of “mockers” and the need to make an “example” of them.
He also assures jihadi prisoners that their “mujahideen brothers will spare no effort in order to break your captivity and return you to your dear brothers and families dearest, Allah willing.”
Ag Ghaly concludes with a direct appeal for violence:
So brothers of faith from different nations, countries, tribes and colours, rise up to fight these French infidels and other Jews and the Crusaders and their apostate guardians … Oh Allah, intensify your trampling against America, France, Israel, Russia and all the tyrants of the Arabs and non-Arabs.
This video comes as part of al-Qaeda’s recently intensified Western-targeted media campaign. JNIM covered similar themes in a more combat-focused production released last month titled “But If They Fight You, Then You Kill Them” which highlighted its attacks against the Malian army, French forces, and other Barkhane personnel. Also in July, al-Qaeda, through its chief propaganda organ as-Sahab, released separate videos aimed at America and France, while al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) recently published its first issue of Inspire magazine since March 2017.
*Images sourced from Jihadology.net*