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ISIS Spokesman: The Real Battle Will Be In Baghdad

Written by Memri

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On June 11, 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) released an audio message by its spokesman, Abu Muhammad Al-'Adnani, celebrating the organization’s achievements in the Ninawa (Nineveh) governorate. Encouraging his men to continue fighting the Iraqi government, Al-'Adnani states that the true battle has not yet begun, and vows to “settle the score” with the Shi'ites by capturing Baghdad and even the holy Shi'ite sites of Najaf and Karbala.

The following are the main points of the audio message, which was released via Twitter:[1]

 Abu Muhammad Al-AdnaniAbu Muhammad Al-AdnaniAl-'Adnani begins by saying that the world today is surely astounded by ISIS's victories, and states that they are only thanks to Allah and ISIS's devotion to His creed. At the same time, he cautions the ISIS fighters not to be blinded by their recent victories nor by the heavy weapons and aircraft they have managed to seize, since none of those is important if they forget that victory comes from Allah first and foremost.

As for dealing with the local Sunni population, Al-'Adnani instructs his men to be humble and compassionate towards those who choose to repent: "Accept repentance from those seeking to repent and avoid attacking those who stop attacking you. Forgive your people, the Sunnis. Forgive the men of the tribes… Remember, we prefer having one thousand infidels get away than to have one Muslim die wrongly.” 

He urges them to continue their fighting persistently and ruthlessly: "Proceed with your jihad… Proceed to meet your Lord... Show no softness towards your enemies, although Allah has consigned them to you. Continue your forward march, since the true battle hasn't yet begun... It will rage in Baghdad and Karbala, so put on your [explosive] belts, and get ready, get ready." 

Mourning the death of ‘Adnan Isma’il Najam Al-Bilawi, a senior ISIS leader who was killed last week by the Iraqi security forces in Mosul, Al-'Adnani gives a brief description of his career as a founder of the Tawhid and Jihad group, a prominent figure in the battle against the US forces, a founder of the Islamic State of Iraq, and the planner of ISIS's recent operations in Anbar, Ninawa and Salah Al-Din.[2] He avoids mentioning that Al-Bilawi served as a senior officer in Saddam Hussein’s army.

Al-'Adnani urges his men to follow in Al-Bilawi's footsteps, and "not relinquish [even] an inch [of the lands] you have liberated. The Rawafid [i.e., Shi'ites] shall not set foot in those areas again, unless it will be over your [dead] bodies… March towards the Baghdad [of Abbasid Caliph Haroun] Al-Rashid, the Baghdad of the Caliphate, since we still have a score to settle there. Wake [its people] in the morning by [storming] its walls, do not let them catch their breath, and be confident of victory from Allah. The Rawafid are a defeated nation, God forbid that He should grant them victory over you. They are polytheists, worshippers of animals and people.”  

Finally, Al-'Adnani addresses Iraq's Shi'ite Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, who he mockingly calls a "lingerie salesman," and derides him for the fact that he and his people (i.e. the Shi'ites) did not seize their "historic opportunity" to control Iraq. He adds: "We have a score to settle between us, but it will not be settled in Baghdad or Samarra, but in [the Shi'ite holy sites of] Karbala and Al-Najaf.”

Endnotes: 


[1] Twitter.com/wa3tasimu, June 11, 2014.

[2] For more, see MEMRI JTTM report, "ISIS Announces Conquest Of Mosul, Acknowledges Death Of Senior Leader," June 11, 2014.

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