Two days ago, jihadi ideologue Abu Sa’ad al ‘Amili posted a series of tweets to his Twitter account urging Egyptian Muslims to prepare for an “open war.” The tweets were subsequently repackaged into a complete message posted to jihadist forums, which was obtained and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.
Al ‘Amili has recently issued a eulogy for slain al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula leader Said al Shihri, and earlier issued a eulogy for former al Qaeda emir Osama bin Laden following his death in May 2011. Al ‘Amili has also voiced support for Ansar al Sharia in Tunisia, Ansar al Sharia in Yemen, and Jabhat al Nusra (the Al Nusrah Front).
In one of the recent tweets, al ‘Amili said: “What our enemies are afraid of the most is for us to unite.” As a result, al ‘Amili urged Egyptian Muslims to unite. “[U]nity among the brothers is stronger than any time before and the confrontation requires us first to unite the efforts and organize the ranks,” al ‘Amili said.
He went on to warn that if Egyptian Muslims do not unite then “the enemy will pick you out one after the other.” “[O]pen fronts on them [the enemy] everywhere and target their heads,” al ‘Amili exhorted his followers.
Al ‘Amili also compared the situation in Egypt to Syria, as he said that “[s]ome [army] officers may defect and declare a resistance front like the Free Syrian Army to defend the people.” This, he claimed, would be followed shortly thereafter “by jihadi factions that took off from Sinai and expand to cover the rest of the cities, especially Cairo and Alexandria.”
Al ‘Amili, who previously issued a eulogy for Abu Walid al Maqdisi and Ashraf al Sabah, two leaders of the Gaza-based Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem, following their deaths in mid-October 2012, concluded his message by urging his followers to “consider themselves in an open war with the enemies of Allah … and to save themselves for what is coming.” Egyptian Muslims, al ‘Amili said, must “take secret hideouts and bases” because “[t]he coming war will impose that on you and you don’t have a choice.”
The short statement finished by calling on Egyptian Muslims to “[f]ortify yourselves and your bases and supply a lot of food and weapons and the rest of your needs.”
Al ‘Amili’s comments come amid an ongoing crackdown by Egyptian security forces against the Muslim Brotherhood, which has left at least 850 people dead. Other Islamists, such as Mohammed al Zawahiri, the brother of al Qaeda’s emir Ayman al Zawahiri, have also been targeted.
The recent events in Egypt have elicited a number of responses from jihadists [see Threat Matrix report, Jihadists respond to violence in Egypt]. For example, on Aug. 15, Abu Hafs al Maqdisi, the leader of the Gaza-based Jaish al Ummah (Army of the Nation), called on Egyptians to wage “jihad” against Egyptian army commander General Abdul Fattah el Sisi. Similarly, in the jihadist forum Shumukh al Islam, one user claimed, in remarks obtained and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group, that now “is the opportunity for a ‘military’ jihadi armed current to rise to defend Sunnis with the sword and spear.”
Likewise, Abdullah Muhammad Mahmoud of the jihadist Dawa’at al-Haq Foundation for Studies and Research warned Egyptian Muslims in an article posted to jihadist forums on Aug. 14 that “if you don’t do jihad today, then only blame yourselves tomorrow.”
Another prevalent jihadist theme in reaction to events in Egypt, which al Qaeda and its affiliates have pushed repeatedly since Morsi’s ouster, is the argument that the Muslim Brotherhood made a mistake by engaging in the democratic process. In an essay posted to jihadist forums in July, Abu Muhammad al Maqdisi, a global jihadi ideologue and former mentor of Abu Musab al Zarqawi, argued that the Egyptian army’s overthrow of Morsi’s government “demonstrate[d] the soundness of the jihadi project and the choice of the ammunition box over the ballot box.”
In an article released in the fifth issue of “al Balagh,” a jihadist magazine produced by Fursan al Balagh, Abu Sa’ad al ‘Amili similarly argued that recent events in Egypt are “considered a new nail and maybe the last in the coffin of this democracy.” “We hope from our peoples to wake up from their slumber and realize that what they experienced was just a dream and it ended,” al ‘Amili wrote.