At the Long War Journal, Tom Joscelyn and Oren Adaki report that a high-ranking member of al-Qaeda’s Arabian Peninsula franchise has called on rival jihadist factions in Iraq and Syria to unite for the greater good of confronting the United States and the West.
The AQAP leader, Sheikh Nasser bin Ali al Ansi, also calls for Sunni jihadist unity against the Shiite Islamic Republic of Iran and its proxies – meaning Syria and Hezbollah, among others.
Tom and Oren relate that, in a just-released video, al Ansi states:
What the Islamic ummah [worldwide community of Muslims] is witnessing today by way of developments in Iraq and Sham is the enabling of Iranian agents running parallel to a fierce war waged on the mujahideen as well as aerial, land, and sea bombardment on our brothers, the mujahideen in the Islamic State and [the Al Nusrah Front] and the other jihadi factions.… This is the same plan that is being executed in Yemen by enabling Iranian agents and handing over the capital Sana’a to them without any resistance mentioned from the military.
The LWJ report further explains:
Al Ansi says the jihadists must unite to face the West. “As for the Crusader coalition that has shown its teeth in Iraq and Sham, in the face of this plan and plot the Muslims must forget their differences, unite their efforts, and join their ranks against their Crusader enemy.”
The jihadists “must form a coalition to strike the leader of invalidity and the head of disbelief,” al Ansi says, referring to the US. No “conditions” must be placed on the fight against the US, and “every faction must strike America and its interests everywhere.”
“For we have come to know the main enemy, and America has for decades supported the occupying Jews in Palestine,” al Ansi says. “And American drones bomb Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan, and Yemen. And they have killed mujahideen and their leaders as well as many among the Muslim public, and destroyed houses and terrorized children and women.”
Al Ansi refers to the US in the same terms used by Osama bin Laden, Ayman al Zawahiri, and other al Qaeda leaders. “It must be known that America is the head of the snake,” al Ansi says. “She is the one who mobilizes against the mujahideen and their Islamic project … and if the head falls, its tails fall as well.” …
According to al Ansi, all of the jihadist factions should now form a “coalition” to counter the West and move beyond the vicious infighting of the past.