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Archive for September, 2006

What Extremists are Saying.
(Link no longer available.)

On 11 September 2006, a jihadist website attributed to the Islamic Renewal Organization posted several links to Al-Sahab Media Production’s 76-minute interview with Ayman al-Zawahiri, second-in-command in Al-Qa’ida.

At the beginning of the videotape, the following note appears: “In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate.”

“Warning: We do not allow the airing of this videotape with music; we urge everybody to abide.”

“Greetings of Al-Sahab Media Productions.”

Then, excerpts taken from the interview itself are highlighted.

Then, a screen caption reads in Arabic and English: “Hot Issues interview with Shaykh Ayman Al-Zawahiri 1427 hegira [corresponding to] September 2006.”

Then, Al-Zawahiri, wearing a white robe and turban, appears on the screen while the voice of an unidentified interviewer who does not appear throughout the interview is heard.

The following is the full translation of Al-Zawahiri statement:

[Unidentified interviewer] In the name of God and thanks be to God and prayers and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad, his kinfolk, companions, and followers.
Dear Shaykh Ayman Al-Zawahiri: Peace be upon you.

[Al-Zawahiri] Peace be upon you.

[Interviewer] Al-Sahab Media Productions is pleased to hold its second interview with you almost a year after its first interview. It has been five years since the blessed raids of New York and Washington and many events have happened since our first interview. So, we welcome you, our dear shaykh, as Al-Sahab’s guest. We pray God that this interview would clear facts and include a benefit to the mujahidin, Muslims, and every free person seeking justice.

[Al-Zawahiri] Amen. We pray God that this would happen.

[Interviewer] Dear Shaykh Ayman Al-Zawahiri: The fact is that we have many important and serious issues which we hope to discuss. We have Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Algeria, the United States, and the situation in Arab and Islamic countries and others. So, how about if we start talking about Lebanon and Palestine?

[Al-Zawahiri] Very well; go ahead.

[Interviewer] How do you comment on this clear-cut injustice in Lebanon and Gaza and what is the duty of Muslims in this connection?

[Al-Zawahiri] In the name of God and thanks be to God and prayers and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad, his kinfolk, companions, and followers. This injustice and oppression is a clear feature of the features of the Crusader-Zionist aggression against the Muslim nation. When three Israeli soldiers were captured, all of the Crusaders rushed to support Israel. Whereas the fact that there are 10,000 Palestinians sitting in prisons of the Jewish occupation of Muslim Palestine, including almost 700 women and children, does not make neither the Crusaders nor the United Nations, the international false witness, act.

The Muslim nation should come forward with all that is at its disposal to aid its Muslim brothers in Lebanon and Gaza — all according to their capabilities. The strongest image depicting support for our Muslim brothers in both countries is represented by attacking the interests of the Jews, Crusaders, and those collaborating with them. The Israeli shells and rockets which roast the flesh of our children come from the nations of the Crusader west which have been supporting Israel since its establishment. The materialistic Crusader western civilization knows not the language of ethics and principles but understands the language of punishment and retribution. So, if they taste some of what they are inflicting on our women and children, then they will start giving up their arrogance, stubbornness, and greed and will seek to solve the problem between them and the Muslims.

The concentration should be on their economic interests, patricianly on halting theft of Muslims’ stolen oil. Every Muslim should consider that anything that harms Mu sli ms in Lebanon and Gaza also harms his son, daughter, brother, sister, father, and mother.

The Muslim nation should know that the governments of Arab and Islamic countries are helpless and even colluding with the enemies if the nation. Israel managed to overrun Lebanon and Gaza only because Egypt completely abandoned the battlefield with Israel. In fact, it acknowledged that it would not help any Arab country, which Israel attacks. This is enshrined in Article 6 of the peace treaty with Israel which asserts the priority and precedence of the peace treaty over any other agreement. Thus, Egypt has officially washed its hands of the long-defunct joint Arab defense pact which obligates the Arab states to cooperate in order to confront any aggression on any one of them. Arab states, one after the other, have followed Egypt to this failure and evasiveness. This collusion was clearly reflected in the stands of the rulers of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan on the Israeli aggression against Gaza and Lebanon. All governments of the Arab and Muslim countries are members of the UN the charter of which obligates them to preserve the security, safety, and unity of Israel’s lands because it is a member just like them in the UN. This is a fact clearer than the sun. The governments of all Arab and Muslim countries have recognized the legitimacy of the United Nations which is trying to burry Palestine, erase it from existence, and replace it with Israel. The United Nations is trying to impose around Israel a cordon of capitulation agreements and international forces to prevent Muslims from liberating Palestine and to isolate the mujahidin in Palestine from the mujahidin outside Palestine. This is why the Muslim nation should reject all these agreements and al these international forces and to establish their jihadist bases on the borders of Palestine against the will of the enemies of Muslims who seek to turn Israel into a permanent reality. This is why Muslims everywhere should do their utmost to break these barriers which have been and continue to be established around Palestine. We should not despair no matter how much it takes us to reach Palestine and joine up with its mujahidin to liberate the first of the two Qiblahs and the third of Al-Haramin [the two Holy Mosques in Mecca and Madina].

[Interviewer] But the Israeli bombing of Lebanon was very violent. What do you demand of Muslims in Lebanon and their supporters in the Islamic world?

[Al-Zawahiri] I call on them not TO surrender to the pressure applied by the Crusader west and to mount a popular jihadist war against the Crusader invasion and against everyone trying to prevent the mujahidin from liberating Palestine. It is not acceptable to surrender whenever the enemies of Islam bomb us and to accept what they want. The Crusader enemy bombed our sons and women in Chechnya, Afghanistan, and Iraq. In spite of this, the mujahidin did not surrender nor accepted the plans of the Crusader enemy. They continued the popular jihadist resistance which exhausted the enemy because of its ongoing bleeding. Muslims in Lebanon should free themselves from the restrains of political affiliations and the confines of the Sykes Picot agreement, and to wage a jihad for the sake of sake of God away from the interests of countries and their ambitions, in a battle that would become one with the jihad of the entire nation against the contemporary Crusader campaign; and wage a popular war of jihad that does not stop until the religion in its entirety is for Allah. The popular jihadsit war is the thing most feared by the Zionist-Crusader enemy. This war has rubbed his nose in dirt in Chechnya, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

[Interviewer] But some might argue that this could exceed the ability of Lebanese people?

[Al-Zawahiri] God, the exalted, says:” Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war.” [Koranic verse] If Muslims are unable to repel the enemy, then Muslims should prepare for that. But the im p ort a nt and seriou s matter is for Muslims in Lebanon to reject international resolutions, particularly the recent Security Council Resolution 1701. These resolutions which seek to surround the mujahidin and protect the Jews in Palestine. We must not accept these resolutions and not help entrench the presence of Israel and protect it with international resolutions.

My dear brother: The biggest disaster in Resolution 1701 and other similar resolutions intended to humiliate Muslim is that it recognizes the existence of the Hebrew state, and calls for isolating the mujahidin in Palestine and separating them from the Muslims in Lebanon. This separation is entrenched through international forces holding enmity to Islam. It also underscores the criminalization of jihad against the Jewish state and its right to strike the mujahidin. Regretfully, everyone who approves of this resolution would be recognizing all these disasters.

[Interviewer] Can we conclude from your talk that you consider Palestine the central cause of the Muslim nation and that the Lebanese problem is a branch of it, or supplementary to it, or secondary in importance?

[Al-Zawahiri] There is no doubt about that. Before anything else, the problem of Lebanon and all of our other problems are subject to Islamic law and we cannot solve them in any way that contradicts the Islamic law. This is the basis. As for implementation, it is not acceptable to deal with the Lebanese problem in a manner that would do injustice to the Palestinian cause. Moreover, we are a one nation waging a one war on multiple fronts. All the causes of Muslims in Chechnya, Kashmir, Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, and Algeria are our causes and battles.

[Interviewer] but some say that what you call for is madness and ignores the realities of international policies?

[Al-Zawahiri] This kind of thinking is what got us where we are now. Every time we violate the principles of Islam and give in to the law of infidel countries and bow to their decisions in order to exchange our religion and rights for a small gain. We would lose the religion and life together. The facts of international politics are facts of the humiliation and repression of Muslims at the hands of dictators controlling this world. This is why only those to whom religion, honor, and dignity are an easy matter. As for the mind they claim to have, Al-Mutnabi [famous Arab poet] spoke of by saying:

The cowards consider impotence to be smart And that is the deception of lowly nature [poetry]

My dear brother: The facts of international politics which they talk about stem from what they term as international legitimacy, the United Nations, and secular states which are the fruits of the malicious Sykes Picot Agreement. All these systems have been imposed on Muslims and the Muslim nation following the fall of the Caliphate state to force it to submit to systems and organizations that violate the Islamic law and to ensure the fragmentation of the Islamic nation. This will ultimately leave the Islamic nation subordinate, humiliated, and pillaged. The time has come for us to destroy these idols and false gods that they forced us to worship instead of Allah.

[Interviewer] But who will carry the burden of mobilizing the nation to the field of confrontation with its enemies?

[Al-Zawahiri] The mujahid vanguards of the Muslim nation, because the organizations that affiliate themselves with Islam that have abandoned jihad and recognized the legitimacy of the tyrants are too weak to confront the attacking enemy. The Muslim nation with its mujahid vanguard stands alone in the confrontation field, defending the nation’s creed, sanctities, homelands, and resources.

[Interviewer] But a number of renowned individuals and long-established organizations are leading the nation astray in the labyrinths of politics to divert it from confrontation.

[Al-Zawahiri] Anyone who tries to divert the nation from that i s either deceiving i t, working against it, or both. What happened in Qana and the daily non-stop massacres in Gaza mean that our enemies see us as a worthless nation, and that we will only establish the rule of our religion and regain our dignity by fighting the crusaders, Zionists, and their agents.

[Interviewer] Your response actually raises a number of questions: What targets should the mujahidin strike, should they strike only the military targets of the crusaders and the Jews, or should they also strike their civilian targets, and if so, why? Second, is the jihad against Israel limited to killing the Jews in Palestine only? Third, are the crusaders and Zionists weakening under the violent strikes, or are the mujahidin banging their heads against rocks.

[Al-Zawahiri] Regarding the targets that the mujahidin should strike, they should strike any target that would weaken the aggressive crusader-Zionist campaign on the land of Islam. Shari’ah does not recognize people as civilian or military, but classifies them into fighters and non-fighters, with fighters being all those who fight in person or assist the fighting with their money or opinion. Durayd Bin-al-Summah was killed on the day of the battle of Hunayn for advising the Hawazin [a tribe that was planning to attack Muslims] even though he was an old man.

The West’s crusader people are, in the eyes of Shari’ah, a fighting people who are at war with the Muslims because they chose their leaders and parliaments by their own free will, meaning they chose the executive authority that commits aggression against Islam and Muslims, and chose the legislative authority that monitors the executive authority, holds it accountable, and approves or rejects any of this authority’s policies as it pleases. These people also pay the taxes that fund the campaigns of aggression against the Muslims; it is they who provide the armies invading the lands of Islam with men, money, opinion, and expertise; and it is they who secure the manpower for the crusader security services that strive to conquer and subdue Muslims. Even those among these people who oppose the policies of the crusader governments view these governments as legitimate governments that have the right to order them to participate in the fighting against us, and believe it is their duty to obey these governments. Furthermore, all the political parties in the crusader West supported the establishment of Israel and its usurpation of Palestine, and to this day continue to support its existence and presence, even supporting it with money, arms, expertise, and manpower.

[Interviewer] What about [calls for] limiting anti-Jew operations meant to liberate Palestine to the Palestinian territories?

[Al-Zawahiri] If those who advocate this opinion believe it conforms to Shari’ah, they are mistaken, because Allah, the Truth and Exalted, says: “And fight the Pagans all together as they fight you all together.” [Koranic verse] If, on the other hand, they do so with the intention of serving the greater interest, then they are also mistaken, because they would be protecting the crusader-Zionist enemy outside Palestine, and would be providing the neglectful clerics of the sultans and their like with justifications for their failure to champion the Muslims in Palestine. We cannot watch our brothers in Lebanon and Palestine getting killed at the hands of the Jews with the support of the crusader West and stand silent and motionless. Championing our Muslim brethren in Lebanon and Palestine and the Muslims being attacked throughout the land of Islam is the Islamic duty of every Muslim. The Jews and crusaders every where must pay for the murder of our Muslim brothers in Lebanon, Palestine, and throughout the Land of Islam.

There is a crucial point that I would like to bring to the attention of Muslims: Fighting the invaders in Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, Kashmir, Chechnya, and everywhere else should be based on the Isl am ic creed and not a ny other principles. Our fighting must not be dictated by respect for the United Nations Charter, its resolutions, or the territorial integrity of its members, one of whom is Israel. Nor should it seek to implement the armistice treaty and cease-fire agreement or observe the Sykes-Picot boundaries or international legitimacy — our fighting should be a jihad for the sake of Allah so that only He may be worshipped, a jihad that strives to liberate Palestine, all of Palestine, and any land that was ever a land of Islam, from Al-Andalus [Spain] to Iraq.

[Interviewer] Regarding Lebanon in particular, do you have any advice for Muslims on how to deter Israel from attacking it?

[Al-Zawahiri] I call on every sincere Muslim who can reach southern Lebanon to do so in order to defeat the invading Zionist forces in Lebanon. We must inflict losses on these forces with the help of Allah, and we must strive with everything we have to establish a base for jihad along the borders of Palestine that remains in contact with the mujahidin on the inside in order to liberate Jerusalem and return every grain of sand in Palestine to the Muslims.

[Interviewer] What about those who doubt the feasibility of jihadist operations against the Jews and Crusaders?

[Al-Zawahiri] These people constitute a pathological phenomenon and have been so in the history of all nations. Their slackness and disparagement of the mujahidin have been noted in the Koran, in which Allah, the Truth and Exalted, says “Lo! The hypocrites say, and those in whose hearts is a disease: ‘These people,- their religion has misled them.’ But if any trust in Allah, behold! Allah is Exalted in might, Wise,” and says “Lo! The hypocrites say, and those in whose hearts is a disease: Allah and His Messenger promised us nothing but delusions.” These people pretend not to see the disaster that befell America following the New York and Washington raids, and pretend not to see the historic dilemma that America got itself into in Iraq and Afghanistan. They also feign ignorance of the major defeat suffered by Russia — the superpower — in Afghanistan.

[Interviewer] Let us turn to Iraq if you may.

[Al-Zawahiri] Sure, go ahead.

[Interviewer] Today in Iraq, a certain trend is leading the jihad against the US-led crusader alliance — a trend that plainly and clearly declares the creed of our pious forefathers and champions it with its hands, words, blood, and money. It is the trend of jihad and mujahidin. Allah has blessed their sacrifices, for, as you have said, America is embroiled in a historic mess in Iraq. There is also a trend that calls for a truce with the Americans and for an end to the jihadist resistance against them, claiming that the Americans will remain so long as there is a resistance, and will only leave once satisfied that the resistance has ended. Would you care to comment?

[Al-Zawahiri] Allow me to go into some detail here given the gravity of this issue.

[Interviewer] Please go ahead.

[Al-Zawahiri] America, in a bid to pull the rug from under the jihadist-Islamic resistance against it in the Muslim world, tried to cooperate and coordinate with three parties. One of these parties is a group of people who trade in religion, spread fables and superstitions, and control their followers with claims of being guided by a connection with the Divine’s secrets. This group cooperated with the American occupier before, during, and after the invasion, and under the supervision and direction of the Americans, it formed the basic military formations that support the occupier and assault the mujahidin and Muslim masses in Iraq. This group and its fraudulent leaders pretended to forget the slogans ‘death to America,’ slogans that withered away and were replaced by the slogan ‘cooperation with the occupier to preserve security.” This group abandoned the rule of Shari’ah and tu rne d into the primary talon with which the crusader occupier claws at the body of the Muslim nation in Iraq. This is why this group of charlatans who trade in religion insists on the myth that the occupation will remain so long as there is a resistance.

The Muslim nation must therefore take note and be ware of these people who daub themselves with Islam, and it must speak the truth to their face and tell them that the occupation will leave either under the blows of the mujahidin, or if all the free people of Iraq and its mujahidin turn into traitors and charlatans who, like yourselves, trade in religion in pursuit of some worldly gains, and turn into agents for American intelligence and protectors of crusader-Zionist interests — the occupation will then leave because it would be satisfied that its anti-Muslim interests are being served by the traitors who trade in religion like yourselves. But so long as there remain in the Iraq of the Caliphate and Islam free men who make sacrifices for their religion and seek the pleasure of their lord, the occupation will leave due to the hemorrhaging it will sustain from the strikes of these free men whether the charlatans and crusaders like it or not. These charlatans were exposed in a historic scandal that all the waters of the seas cannot wash away. History will testify that when the crusaders invaded Iraq, the free mujahidin confronted them, but the charlatans who trade in religion colluded with it. They colluded with them deliberately while fully aware of their goals and the sheer ugliness of the treason they commit in pursuit of power, position, and gain. They are criminals who committed a full-fledged crime.

Ibn-al-Jawzi [a 12th century cleric], may God have mercy on his soul, says in his book, Al-Muntadhim, that Sinan Bin-Anas al-Nakh’i attacked Al-Husayn [son of Imam Ali], may God be pleased with him, and stabbed him with a spear, and when Husayn fell, Sinan knelt down to him, cutting his throat and decapitating him. Sinan then went to the house of Amr Ibn-Sa’d and stood at his door calling: Load my steed with silver and gold, for I have killed the veiled master, the best of people in parentage, and the best of them in lineage, to which Amr replied: Are you insane, how dare you say such a thing? Sinan Ibn-Anas al-Nakh’i killed Husayn Bin-Ali, may God be pleased with him, intentionally and premeditatedly knowing all too well who Husayn was and why he was being fought by his enemies. His motives for killing Husayn, may God be pleased with him, were financial, and this brought him the wrath of Allah and His curse and punishment. He stabbed Husayn, may God be pleased with him, with the intent of killing him, and he got what he wanted, and the purpose of his action was fulfilled. So it was a full-fledged crime in which was found criminal intent born out of a criminal motive, which was followed by a criminal act and a criminal result. So it was a full-fledged crime according to all judges of the mankind.

Exactly the same are those charlatans and religion-traders. They intentionally and eagerly cooperated with the Crusader occupation before it reached Iraq in search of the spoils and power while they knew who this Crusader occupation is, what it wants, what its goal is, and what its plans are for enslaving, humiliating, and dividing the Muslim nation and for consolidating Israel and widening its occupation. Then they took part in the occupation’s crimes, supported them in their battles, fought the mujahidin, and cursed them publicly to make the occupation happy.

The result of their intent and act was achieved with the killing and torturing of thousands of Muslims and defending the Crusader forces. So this is also a full-fledged crime like Sinan Bin-Anas al-Nafi’i’s crime of killing Al-Husayn Bin-Ali, may God be pleased with him. It was a full-fledged crime which if shown to any fair judge, would be condemned and punished. And just as Sinan Bin-Anas was not ashamed as he called out to Amr Bin-Sa’d: Load my steed with silver and gold for I killed the mantled chief. I have killed the best of people in parentage and the best of them in lineage.

These charlatans also were not ashamed as they addressed Paul Bremer, Bush, and Zalmay Khalilzad saying: Load our steeds with silver and gold for we have warred against the Muslims in your ranks and under your crucifix. We cursed the mujahidin and incited the people to stop cooperation with them, to inform on them, and fight them instead. So where is our share of the spoils and plunder?

[Interviewer] So this is a historic disgrace which will be related by generation after generation.

[Al-Zawahiri] Yes, without a doubt. It is a historic disgrace which will be passed down from generation to generation just as we know about the treachery of Abu-Righal, the betrayal of Al-Husayn, may God be pleased with him, by the people of Al-Kufah, the betrayal of the Muslims in Iraq by Bin-al-Alqami, the treachery of Khedive Tawfiq in his alliance with the English for the occupation of Egypt, the treachery of Sharif Husayn Bin-Ali and Abd-al-Aziz Al Sa’ud when they colluded with the English against the Ottoman State, the treachery of Al-Sadat in his going to the Knesset and signing the accords of surrender to Israel, the treachery of those affiliated with the previous jihad who are with the Crusader coalition forces led by America in Kabul, and the betrayal of the Muslims in Pakistan and Afghanistan by Musharraf. All of these betrayals are documented and recorded and their perpetrators cannot separate themselves from them nor escape.

Many masks have fallen down. At the same time the Israeli bombers were demolishing villages and houses in Gaza and Lebanon, the traitors in our countries were shaking the hands of the Crusaders, embracing them, currying favor with them, and conspiring with them. Among the most prominent of these conspirators are the rulers of Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula, and Jordan and the traitors in Iraq who shade themselves with the cross of America, the great Satan. You traitors, why do you embrace in Iraq those who kill your brothers in Lebanon? Why do you not fight in Iraq those who tear apart the bodies of those whom you claim are your brothers in Lebanon? Why do you serve and defend in Iraq those who kill those whom you consider to be your brothers in Lebanon? The slogan “Death to America, death to Israel” has gone to be replaced by “Rule from America and peace with Israel.”

Nuri al-Maliki went to beg Washington to keep its troops in Iraq at the same time its missiles were ripping apart the bodies of women and children in Qana and Gaza. It concerns me here to make three serious conclusions which I ask every Muslim to reflect upon, take a stance on, and prepare an answer for his stance on them on the Day of Judgme nt. The first conclusion is that what is being done by the traitors, religion-trading charlatans in Iraq serves the interests of America and moreover directly serves the interests of the Zionist entity and its protection, suppo rt, and expansion by turning Iraq into a stable American base which preserves the safety of Israel’s eastern front. There is no greater service which can be presented to Israel than transforming Iraq into a stable base for America. The second conclusion is that the treachery commented by the religion-trading charlatans in Iraq might be repeated by them in any other country which falls on the Crusaders and Zionists’ list of aggression. The third conclusion is that the religion-selling movement which cooperates with the nation’s enemy cannot be entrusted with the leadership of the nation because it sells the nation to the enemies of Islam in the name of Islam.

[Interviewer] So what is the path to salvation from these pitfalls for those who have fallen into them in – for example – Iraq and Afghanistan?

[Al-Zawahiri] The path is to repent to God and substitute bad deeds with good deeds by returning to the path of Islam and jihad, breaking up with the Americans, helping the mujahidin, and standing in their ranks.

[Interviewer] Do you expect, honorable shaykh, that they will do this?

[Al-Zawahiri] By God, we are only asked to proclaim the message. The Truth Exalted is He says: “So remind, for you are one who reminds.”

[Interviewer] Ok. We move on to the condition of Al-Qa’ida of Jihad Organization in the Land of the Two Rivers [Tanzim Qa’idat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn] after the martyrdom of martyr – as we see him – and commander Abu-Mus’ab al-Zarqawi. How do you see it now?

[Al-Zawahiri] Without a doubt the martyrdom of Abu-Mus’ab al-Zarqawi, God’s mercy be upon him, is a loss to jihad and mujahidin. But Al-Qa’ida of Jihad Organization, praise be to God, is just one of the factions of jihad which is awakening and flourishing in the Muslim nation and spreading in it the concepts of monotheism, jiahd, enjoining good and forbidding evil, honor, and dignity. Abu-Mus’ab is only one of the soldiers of Islam defending the banner of the Prophet, peace be upon him, from the forces of disbelief, treason, and treachery. Zalmay Khalilzad spared us from having to explain when he decided that the activities of Al-Qa’ida in Iraq have not been affected by the killing of Abu-Mus’ab, God’s mercy be upon him. The truth is what the enemies testify to. We are very happy about the transfer of the banner of jihad and resistance to Abu-Hamzah al-Muhajir, may God guide him to every good thing, unite through him the ranks of mujahidin, and aid him and his mujahidin brothers against their enemies from the Crusaders and traitors.

[Interviewer] There is a lot that has been said about the stance of Al-Qa’ida in Iraq on some sectors of the Iraqi people. What is the truth about that, clearly put?

[Al-Zawahiri] Yes, let me be frank and explicit on this very point. The instructions of Shaykh Usama, may God protect him, to the brothers in Iraq, chief amongst them Abu-Mus’ab, may God’s mercy be upon him, were that they focus their efforts on the Americans and neutralize the rest of the powers as best as they could. However, he gave them some freedom of movement, telling them that the witness sees what the absent does not see. He told them that for two reasons. The first was to give them freedom of movement in confronting any current which might ally itself with the Americans against the Muslims in Iraq, whatever its race or sect was. The second reason was to give them freedom of movement against any current causing strife and waging a war of annihilation against the Muslims in Iraq. It has become clear to all that there is a war of annihilation being waged against the Muslims in Iraq and that this war is being carried out by forces under the command of the Iraqi Government. These forces exploit their official status in executing their crimes and massacres and that the Inte r ior Ministry and the security institutions have their own secret prisons in which the Muslims are tortured and where they are killed and their bodies mutilated. This is a matter recognized by all. Even the Americans themselv e s made it public to deny any responsibility for the ugliness.

[Interviewer] But there are groups who accuse you of being the initiators of this conflict and that you are the ones who fanned its flames.

[Al-Zawahiri] This cannot possibly be the case and no intelligent person believes it to be so. It goes without saying that someone busy with fighting the Americans will be most eager than anyone to lessen his enemies and increase his friends. How could he not when he is facing the strongest power in the world. That is the first point. The second point is that in Iraq there are many non-Muslim sects like the Christians, Jews, and Satan’s worshippers, and yet Al-Qa’ida has not done anything to them because Al-Qa’ida in Iraq is busy with jihad against Crusader occupation. So we are against anyone who helps the Americans with actions or words against the Muslims in Iraq. The Truth Exalted is He says: “O you who believe. Take not the Jews and the Christians for you for friends and protectors. They are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that runs to them (for friendship) is of them. Verily Allah guides not a people unjust. You see how those to whose hearts is a disease run about among them, saying we fear lest a change of fortune bring us disaster. But it may be that Allah will give you victory or a decision from Him, then they will regret the thoughts which they secretly harbored in their hearts.”

As for those who agreed with the Americans before the invasion to rule Iraq in exchange for winking at the Crusader presence in Iraq and encouraging and supporting it and fighting those who resist it, they have the greatest interest in opening new fronts for the mujahidin to lighten the pressure on the Americans. This is a division of roles which has taken place between the Americans and these factions.

[Interviewer] But these forces which you describe as cooperating with the Americans and causing strife are backed by the Americans who are the strongest power in the world, while you are a collection of rebellious groups, and the Americans reassure them of their continued support, so how will you confront them?

[Al-Zawahiri] There are two things which any intelligent person recognizes. The first is that the Americans have often fled and abandoned their allies. And the second is that the mujahidin, by God’s grace, have demolished the borders of Sykes-Picot. The intelligent is he who learns from others.

[Interviewer] Ok, if I were to ask you to sum up your opinion about this complex issue in a few words, what would you say?

[Al-Zawahiri] I say, asking God’s help, that anyone who participates with the Americans in their occupation of Iraq and aggression against the Muslims will be fought by us, with God’s help. As far as anyone who resists the Americans and seeks to establish the rule of Islam in Iraq we are prepared to talk to and come to an understanding with him.

[Interviewer] But in Iraq, America has not depended on the religion-traders only. It has depended on stirring up nationalist feuds and portraying itself as the protector – for example – of the Kurds against the Arab nationalists.

[Al-Zawahiri] Yes, it is regrettable that America has backed with money and weapons some of the secular Kurdish currents which sold the Kurds to the Americans and Jews in the name of defending the Kurds’ rights.

The Kurds have recorded their names in the history of Islam with shining letters. They were the protectors of Islam and the defenders of Jerusalem. They were the stone on which the Crusades broke. It is regrettable that a secular government that is agent of the United States and Israel has come to dominate these Muslim, Mujahidin, strong, and proud people.

[Interviewer] But we should not forget that these parties exploit the crimes of the Iraqi Ba’th Party against the Kurds and portray to them at all Arabs are hostile to the Kurds and that the Jihadist movements and Al-Qa’ida Organization are ally of the Iraqi Ba’th Party and the like of such nonsense.

[Al-Zawahiri] Praise be to God, all the Jihadist movements are ideological enemies not only to the Iraqi Ba’th Party but to all the nationalist and secular trends whose principles conflict with the fundamentals of Islam, which is based on equality between Muslims and the bonds of faith and not on the nationalist spirit. Almighty God says: “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you.” This is the point as far as the faith is concerned. As for the practice, the mujahidin everywhere — from the Philippines to Iraq — have in their ranks Muslims from all countries and races without discrimination between an Arab and non-Arab, white or black. The brother mujahidin Kurds had played heroic roles in confronting the enemies of Islam in Chechenya, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and of course in Iraq.

We in Al-Qa’ida organization have pledged allegiance to the commander of the faithful, Mulla Muhammad Omar, who is not an Arab. So by the grace of God, we are the farthest people from the fanatical nationalist trend. Therefore, I appeal to my brothers in Islam, the Kurds, to renounce these calls which are pro the United States and Israel, and to record an honorable page in the contemporary Islamic history as their predecessors did in the past when they recorded honorable pages in the history of Islam.

[Interviewer] What is Al-Qa’ida’s general concept of jihad in Iraq and Afghanistan?

[Al-Zawahiri] The general concept of the mujahidin in Iraq and Afghanistan is the establishment of an Islamic emirate in each of the two countries, which will be the launching pad for defense of Islam and Muslims and a step toward the revival of caliphate. We should not forget that Jerusalem is a stone’s throw from Baghdad, so if an Islamic emirate is established in Iraq, with the help of God, and become able to penetrate through the treacherous Jordanian entity to stand on the border of Palestine, and God willing if the mujahidin inside and outside Palestine come together, then the greatest conquest and victory will take place.

[Interviewer] How do you see the situation in Afghanistan now?

[Al-Zawahiri] The situation in Afghanistan is very good, thanks be to God. This summer, thanks be to God, is burning the Crusaders in Afghanistan with its flames as they were previously warned by Commander of the Faithful Mulla Muhammad Omar, may God protect him. The Americans have swiftly withdrawn from south and east Afghanistan and pushed forward second-rate Crusaders such as the English, the Canadians, the Dutch, and others to be killed instead of them. After that, the coalition forces withdrew so as to be replaced by the NATO forces in south and east Afghanistan. Blair and his companions are selling the blood of their citizens in order to appease America. I want to draw the attention of the British people that Dr Brydon will not return this time to India because his body will be thrown out to the dogs in Afghanistan.

[Interviewer] Let us return to the Arab region and the United States calls for spreading democracy, and the protests by the journalists and judges in Egypt who demands providing them with assurances. How do see all this that is taking place?

[Al-Zawahiri] The Islamic nation is boiling as a result of the foreign aggression and the domestic repression. This boiling state must be employed in a right way by the vanguards of the nation to transform the nation’s angry energy into an effective and influential movement of change, which will lead the nation to victory, God willing. Therefore, we must know the nature of the wound so that we can treat it properly. Let me give you an example from the surgery field. If there is patient suffer ing from intesti nal blockage, or an abdominal abscess, or a bursting appendix, some sympathizers who do not have real and comprehensive vision about the problem and its seriousness may make an effort in bringing the patient’s temperature down or easing his pain. However, before all this, we must know the cause of the illness, remove it, or treat it. Then, the patient’s temperature will go down and his pain will be relieved.

The same goes for our social and political problems. We should put our hand on the fundamental problem and move forward bravely to solve it. In this case, it will be easy to solve all the problems branching out from it. Our basic problem is the domination of corrupt and rotten regimes, which do not govern by Shar’iah and open the land for the foreign enemy and rampage in the counties. Thus, the basic treatment requires us to bravely confront the alliance of evil made up of the foreign enemy and the corrupt rulers. It is a waste of time to look for a shari’ah rule or freedom or justice in an occupied country run by treacherous agents. The other important thing is that rights are not given but are snatched and they will not be snatched without jihad and sacrifices. Therefore, he who prefers safety cannot seize his right. Al-Tabara’i [an old Muslim poet] says: “The love for safety keeps the person away from glory and tempts him to be lazy. If you inclined to this, you find a tunnel under the ground or a ladder to rise to the sky and stay isolated.” Shawqi [a famous Egyptian poet] says: “He who water and drink of death if the free ones do not drink or give a drink. And no kingdoms can be built without sacrifices and without these sacrifices the rights cannot be attained. Those killed give life to the generations and those captured give freedom to them. And the red freedom has a door that is knocked at by every bloodstained hand.”

The other important thing is that the mujahid who seeks his right does not wait for assurances nor does expect them. Rather, he confronts oppression and corruption and exposes himself to risks and being killed for aiding the truth. If not, then what were the assurances provided by the unbelievers of Quraysh to the prophet, peace be upon him, when he publicly proclaimed his message in the face of the world of polytheism, oppression, and corruption? What were the assurances provided by Yazid [an Umayyad caliph] when Husayn Bin-Ali and Abdallah Bin-al-Zubayr, may God be pleased with them, rose against him? What were the assurances provided by Al-Hajjaj to Sa’id Bin-Jubayr, may God have mercy on him? What were the assurances given by Abu-Muslim al-Khurasani to Ibrahim al-Sa’igh, may God have mercy on him? And what were the assurances given by Al-Mu’tasim to Ahmad Bin-Hanbal, may God have mercy on him? What were the assurances given by Al-Wathiq to Ahmad Bin-Nasr al-Khuza’i, may God have mercy on him? What were the assurances provided by Al-Salih Isma’il to scholar Al-Izz Bin-Abd-al-Salam, may God have mercy on him, when he criticized him for handing over the Muslims’ castles to the Crusaders? What were the assurances provided by Abd-al-Nasir to Sayyid Qutb, may god have mercy on him when he said that the finger that testifies that there is only one God in every prayer cannot write a petition to an oppressor? What were the assurances given by the military judge Major General Samir Fadil to Khalid al-Islambuli, may God have mercy on him, when he shouted at the military court “Yes, I killed Egypt’s pharos”? What were the assurances given by Judge Abd-al-Ghaffar Muhammad to Shaykh Umar Abd-al-Rahman when he told him: “O you judge, make a verdict in accordance with God’s law otherwise you will be the unbeliever, oppressor, and reckless? The only assurance is to strive to please Almighty God and to have confidence in His promise. Holy Koran has immortalized in an entire surah that will be recited until the Domes Day the story of the people of the di tch. The people who testified to the truth in the face of their tyrannical ruler. They were killed for that. This is our book and this is the tradition of our prophet, peace be upon him, and the biography of his companions and his household, may God be pleased with them. This is the history of our imams and leaders. The prophet, peace be upon him, said: “The chief martyr is Hamzah and a man who rose in the face of an unjust ruler and gave him orders and asked him not to do certain things, then the ruler killed him.” The prophet, peace be upon him said: “The best jihad is a word of truth in front of an unjust ruler.” Therefore, it is obligatory to spread awareness in the ranks of the nation that the corruption is deeply-rooted caused by the domination of the Muslim nation’s enemies and the corruption of their proxies. To change this corruption there must be a vanguard that is ready to sacrifice for the sake of God in order to rule by Shari’ah and liberate the homelands from the occupier and liberate the human being from oppression, corruption, and repression. And so that the nation can snatch its right to rule by Shari’ah and choose its leaders and hold them to account we must spread this awareness in the ranks of the nation as a whole.

[Interviewer] Your talk about the need to spread awareness in nation is confirmed by the US announcement during the recent bombing of Lebanon of the plan for the new Middle East. Therefore, the nation in its march for change should be based on its awareness of the fundamentals of monotheism and its understanding of the conspiracies taking place around it.

[Al-Zawahiri] Without doubt. I will comment on what you said. The definition of the Middle East includes Afghanistan. This reveals the extent of the filthy role played by the agents of the United States in Afghanistan and Iraq through the US reform plans. It also shows the need for the Muslim nation’s support through money, opinion, expertise, and information for the mujahidin in these two important fields.

[Interviewer] Speaking about the United States and the spreading of democracy you mentioned that the United States cooperates with three groups to circumvent the Islamic jihadist resistance against it. You first mentioned one group, which you called the charlatans who trade in religion. What are the two other groups?

[Al-Zawahiri] We mentioned the first group, which is the group of the charlatans who trade in religion. As for the second group, it is the group of defeatists, and the third is the group of beggars.

[Interviewer] Amazing. You chose strong words for describing them: Charlatans, defeatists, and beggars.

[Al-Zawahiri] Yes, this is because of the ugliness of what they commit.

[Interviewer] In your view, what is this group of defeatists?

[Al-Zawahiri] After the fall of Ottoman Caliphate a wave of psychological defeatism and ideological collapse spread. And there crept into the people a tendency — though with good intentions — that we should benefit from the status quo to rescue what can be can be rescued and achieve what can be achieved. This trend — with the continuation of the blows dealt to the Muslims — continued to retreat one step after another until in the end they reached the point of pledging allegiance to Husni Mubarak a president of the republic, Ali Abdallah salih as the leader of the faithful, and Abdallah Bin-al-Husayn, leader of Muslims, and Al-Sabah family as those in charge of the Muslims affairs. They entered Kabul on top of the US tanks and under the protection of its bombers and under the shade of its cross. They took [Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip] Erdogan and his companions as an example of success and excellence. They declared their full commitment to the rule of the majority and abandoned the rule of Shari’ah. They defined their affiliation to their nationalist and regional links that pref ers t he national unbeliever than the foreign Muslim. Thus, they adopted a new creed which conflicts with Islam that is based on the rule of the majority, national affiliation, and respect of the Sykes-Picot borders, and loyalty to the nationalist state as opposed to the creed of Islam, which is based on the rule of the Divine shar’iah, the brotherhood of Islam, the integrity of the Islamic land, and the establishment of the caliphate state. So they in fact are striving for the secularization of Islam. And in fact, the secularists are braver than them, although the secularists are actually more cowardly than the atheists, because the atheist declares clearly that he does not believe in religion because he considers it as a false creed, which must be fought and excluded from public and private matters, whereas the secularist is a coward who knows that to openly profess atheism will attract the scorn of wise people and reveal his worn-out stand toward faith. Consequently, the system which he calls for will collapse. Therefore, he calls for removing religion from life and making it a personal matter, and flees from the frank, serious ideological confrontation; namely, that if religion is a false creed, then it must be removed from all walks of life, whether public or private. If Almighty God exists and is the Creator of universe, then just as He is the Creator and Sustainer, then He also must be the Legislator and Ruler. So, if the secularists are more cowardly than the atheists, then you can imagine the condition of those who strive for secularism under the cover of Islam.

[Interviewer] Well, this is a strong doctrinal presentation, and we may make room for it elsewhere to deal with it in full. However, let us concentrate on those whom you call defeatists to what you have mentioned just now about the US attempt to circumvent the mujahid Islamic resistance against the Crusader aggression.

[Al-Zawahiri] I will put my answer in the form of a question, and then I will answer your question.

[Interviewer] Go ahead, please.

[Al-Zawahiri] What can you expect from a group whose mental makeup and disposition allows it to pledge allegiance to [Egyptian President] Husni Mubarak as a president of the republic, [Yemeni President] Ali Abdallah Salih as imam of the Muslims, and [Jordan’s King] Abdallah Bin-al-Husayn, [Kuwaiti rulers] Al al-Sabah, [Algerian President] Bouteflika, and [Afghan President] Hamid Karzai as rulers of the Muslims? Is it possible for a group with such a mentality and demeanor to lead the jihad of the Muslim nation in the face of the fiercest Crusade it has ever faced, and in the face of a clique of the most malevolent proxies of the nation’s enemies? This group circumvents the mujahid vanguards of the nation and tries in vain to divert the Muslim masses from it with a fabricated deception to the effect that the violent confrontation with the ruling regimes, which violates the man-made laws imposed by the agent rulers, is forbidden and prohibited. They also evade jihad against the foreign enemy, and permit it, but on two conditions, that it should only be in the occupied country and after permission is given by their local ruler to travel to the battlefield. And then, in the occupied country, like Iraq and Afghanistan, they seek to cooperate with the Crusader occupation authorities in resisting jihad, which they call terrorism, and entering the fake political process under the supervision of the international false witness, the United Nations. So, by God, tell me, how is it possible for jihad to come into being after this ploy or predicament? And the US crusaders could not be happier about these ploys. Let me put this tragedy in a dramatic form so that its ugly dimensions become clear. Let us assume that a group among the youth in these movements became aware of their legal obligation against the nation’s foreign and domestic enemies and decided to carry out this individual duty, the duty of jihad in the cause of God, and so, these faithful young men went to their leaders to demand jihad against the agent ruler who does not rule with the shari’ah, their leaders will, of course forbid them decisively and tell them that we have recognized them as legitimate rulers, and the change can only take place through the elections, then the young men will tell them but the elections are not based on an Islamic constitution and are eventually rigged, then the leaders will reply, but our doctrine, regardless of your argument, is that we do not fight our fellow citizens, and that jihad is only against the foreign enemy. The youth will say to them: “Fine, then let us go to Iraq or Afghanistan.” The elders then will tell them, but on the condition that the ruler agrees, so submit an application to the passport department in which you request the issuing of a passport for jihad in Iraq and Afghanistan. Let us assume that these young men did that and submitted their application to the ruler, and let us assume, which is very impossible, that the ruler sympathized with the mujahidin and agreed on their travel, and provided them with passports, we will see that when these young men returned to their shaykhs, they said: Fine, but you know that we are an international organization, and that we have a very important principle, which is that we do not overstep the regional organization, and that we respect the specific nature of every country–and I ask you to pay attention to this principle of respecting the specific nature of every country, especially since grave sins have been committed with it–the important thing is that their shaykhs divided them into two groups; a group for Iraq, to which they gave a letter to take to the organization in Iraq, and a group for Afghanistan, to which they gave a letter to the retired mujahidin in Afghanistan. So, when the young men reached the leaders of the organization in Iraq and told them, we have come to you for jihad against the Americans, they told them, but Iraq has its specific nature and we cooperated with Bremer in the Governing Council, and now we have agreed on the constitution in the rigged refere ndum, and participated in the rigged parliamentary elections, and we were in need for your efforts then to take part in jihad by pasting our pictures on walls, but thank God that you have reached us at this important stage because we are now performing jihad and struggling by bargaining and making deals under the supervision of Zalmay Khalilzad to get some of the ministries, including the Defense Ministry, and if we do not get the Defense Ministry, we will try to get some posts at the Defense Ministry, and through our men in these posts, we will try to pull some of our youth in the Defense Ministry, and you might be from among them, and if this happens, then it is possible for you to be part of the Defense Ministry forces, and thus, you will receive weapons and training in an official way and from the Americans. Then, the poor young men asked them, and after all this trouble, will we be able to fight the Americans with these weapons? The shaykhs answered disapprovingly, no and thousand no’s, but you will fight the terrorists. As for the group that arrived in Afghanistan, it reached the retired senior mujahidin, and when they handed them the organization’s letter, they welcomed them and were very generous to them. After the greetings and generosity, the youth asked them, when can we fight the Americans? The retirees answered: Afghanistan has its own specific nature, and we entered Kabul with the Americans and under their protection, and then we joined the Loya Jirga and left the Loya Jirga, then we entered the parliament, but the Americans deprived us of the ministries because we are retired mujahidin, but we sought to take some posts in the interior and defense ministries, and through our men there, we might be able to provide you with some weapons and training. The young men asked them: Where are your old weapons, which were piled like mountains? The retirees replied: We handed them over to the United Nations as part of the disarmament program. The young men the n asked them: Why didn’t you hand them over to the Taliban? The retirees replied with disgust: Because they are agents of Pakistan and Pakistan is an enemy of Islam. The young men replied while their patience had almost run out: And after all these possibilities, if the weapons reach our hands, will we fight the Americans with them? The retirees disapprovingly: No, you will fight Al-Qa’ida and the Taliban, because Al-Qa’ida is an agent of the United States, and the Taliban is an agent of Pakistan.

[Interviewer] But among the arguments of the leaders of these movements is that your method of violent armed confrontation is unsuccessful and has led to disastrous results, and that yours is a start-from-the-top method, which seeks to change the society by changing its leadership, which is a method that, even if it were to succeed, will not survive, whereas their method depends on wisdom and continuous, calm work, and has moved from one success to another, and that they strive to change society from its grassroots by attracting them to Islam, which is a method which guarantees the continuation of any Islamic system that comes to power.

[Al-Zawahiri] This is a clear confusion, which ignores facts and evades the main point of dispute. Without going into details, I would like to clarify that our fundamental point of difference with these movements, the captives of the culture of defeat and brokenness, is not over whether the confrontation is useful or not, rather, our fundamental difference with them is over their backsliding in the faith. We do not have a major dispute with those who call for avoiding confrontation now because its causes and means do not exist in a particular country or region, and if this difference does exist, it will be restricted to looking at the feasibilities and most appropriate methods. They might be right, or we might be right. But, as for he who forbids the jihad of the agent apostate rulers, recognizes the rule of the majority and considers it as his religion, believes in national affiliations, and raises them above the brotherhood of Islam, submits to the divisions of Sykes Picot, abandons the rule of shari’ah and the establishment of the Caliphate, pledges allegiance to the traitors, the enemies of the nation as rulers of the Islamic countries, cooperates with the Crusader invaders, and curses the mujahidin and describes them as criminals, out difference with him is not a dispute about methods, but rather, it is a dispute about the creed of Islam from which he is breaking away.

[Interviewer] But you cannot deny that these movements have wide popular support?

[Al-Zawahiri] The Sufi paths and soccer clubs have even wider popular support.

[Interviewer] But the Sufi paths and soccer clubs do not have sincere members with a high degree of competence, education, and organization?

[Al-Zawahiri] I do not deny that many sincere people, as a result of the vacuum which exists in the Islamic sphere, and as a result of the lack of sacrifices in these methods, have abandoned themselves to these organizations to discharge their energies that reject corruption. But these supporters who possess sincerity and a desire to make sacrifices for Islam must be honest to themselves. And the first thing they must remember is that every human will come alone to his Lord on the Day of Judgment. Almighty God says: “And everyone will come to him solitarily on the Day of Resurrection.” [Koranic verse] And he must know that his leader and organization will be of no help to him on the Day of Resurrection. So he must prepare a reply to that terrible situation. We ask God safety for us and for the Muslims in it. Every one of them should prepare an answer to the question: Are the mujahidin criminals as your leaders depict them? And, are Husni Mubarak, Karzai, Ali Abdallah Salih, and Abdallah Bin-al-Husayn legitimate rulers like your leaders pledged allegiance to them?

[Interviewer] So what do you want from the supporters of these Movements?

[Al-Zawahiri] I want them to be honest with themselves, their organizations, and their leaders and to ask them: Why do you forbid us from perform jihad against the Crusaders? Why do you recognize the legitimacy of the secular and criminal regimes of treachery and corruption? Why have you abandoned the rule of Shari’ah, the brotherhood of Islam, the unity of Islamic lands, and the efforts to establish the Caliphate and have reverted to the majority rule, the national affiliation, the allegiance to the territorial state, and the division of the Muslims? Why have you cooperated with the Crusader occupier in Afghanistan and Iraq? Why are you impressed by Erdogan and praise him while he is the one who recognizes Israel, signs security agreements with it, takes part in its military exercises, and prides himself on his secularism and estrangement from Islam? I do not ask them to take our words for granted, rather what I have said is evidence held against them, for which each of them will be held accountable on the Day of Resurrection since there is no translator interceding between them and God. So, they should mull over our words, reflect on them, and act according to what they deem consistent with Shar’iah.

[Interviewer] Well, this is your point of view regarding those whom you described as defeatist. In your opinion, who is the group of beggars?

[Al-Zawahiri] They are the ones whom Imam Abdullah Bin-Mubarak, may God have mercy on him, exposed when he said: Was the religion corrupted by anyone other than the kings and the scholars of evil and its monks? Those who sell their religion for positions, salaries, visas, and citizenships, like this one who denounces violence but permits Muslims to fight Muslims in the ranks of the American Army; like those who take pride in their British citizenships and gather in front of the Parliament after the blessed London raid to declare their loyalty to Elizabeth, head of the Church of England; like that one who approves the surrender accord with Israel and recognizes Yasir Arafat as a ruler of the Muslims; like the one who insults the mujahidin day and night and receives the Israeli ambassador and chief rabbi in his office and permits France to forbid Muslim women from covering their heads in schools and hands Wafa Qustantin [wife of an Egyptian priest who converted to Islam] over to be tortured in the prisons of the monasteries.

[Interviewer] Do these three groups share any common characteristics?

[Al-Zawahiri] Yes, they have three things in common: Abandoning the rule of Shari’ah, recognizing the legitimacy of the corrupt status quo, and cursing and abusing the muhjahidin.

[Interviewer] But, there is a group that you have not mentioned in your talk tonight, namely the group of the backtracking leaders in the Egyptian Al-Jama’ah al-Islamiyah .

[Al-Zawahiri] Those have condemned themselves by themselves. How can I respond to those who say that [late Egyptian President] Anwar al-Sadat died as a martyr and regrets his killing? How can I respond to those who consider Husni Mubarak as a ruler of the Muslims? What can I say to those who say: We used to give the text [of the Koran] precedence over the interests, but now we give precedence to the interests over the text, and I do not know what they will say tomorrow? What can I say to those who say that Al-Qa’ida is the one that provoked America to strike at the Muslims? What can I say to those who say that Taliban missed the opportunity to avail themselves of the benefits of the US proposal to extradite Bin Ladin? How can I respond to those who say that they will inform the security agencies about their brothers who do not accept to backtrack their positions? Those who say that do not need a response, they need preaching. They need someone to remind them of the Hadith of the Prophet, peace be upon him, who says: “Among what has reached the people from the w ords of the first prophethood: If you are not ashamed, then do as you wish.” Praise is due to God for we have been spared from responding to them by their eminences Shaykh Umar Abd-al-Rahman and Shaykh Rifa’i Taha, may God free them both, Shaykh Abd-al-Akhir Hammad, Shaykh Muahmamd Mustafa al-Muqri, and Shaykh Muhammad al-Islambuli from the notables of Al-Jama’ah al-Islamiyah who are have been adhering to the truth.

[Interviewer] But they claim that Dr Umar Abd-al-Rahman, may God free him, supported them in their positions?

[Al-Zawahiri] No, His Eminence Shaykh Umar Abd-al-Rahman, may God free him, withdrew his support for their initiative after the truth about it [their positions] became clear to him. So, America stepped up its blockade at him. With this despicable treatment of him and the blockade it imposed on him, America is directing an insult to every Muslim. This can only be explained in the framework of the Jewish-Crusader rancor that simmers in their hearts. So, I call on every Muslim to seize every opportunity afforded him to take revenge of America for the imprisonment of Shaykh Umar Abd-al-Rahman. Let them take as their example in that Abu-Mus’ab al-Zarqawi, may God have mercy on him, who dedicated a raid to the name of Shaykh Umar Abd-al-Rahman.

[Interviewer] But, is it possible that the majority of Al-Jama’ah al-Islamiyah with its untainted history of Da’wah [call] and jihad has really realized what these backtracking leaders have realized?

[Al-Zawahiri] Certainly not, thanks to God’s grace. I am honored here to convey to the Muslims all over the Islamic world the good news on that an important group of Al-Jama’ah al-Islamiyah’s brothers have joined Al-Qa’ida of Jihad Organization. I think you in As-Shahab Foundation are helping to release this good news gradually as circumstances permit.

[Interviewer] Yes, with God’s grace. But, we were talking about other good news before the interview?

[Al-Zawahiri] Yes, it is some great news, thanks to the grace of God: Our Amir, mujahid Shaykh and lion of Islam Usama Bin Ladin, may God protect him, has instructed me to give the good news to Muslims in general, and my brothers the mujahidin everywhere that the Salafi Group for Call and Combat has joined Al-Qa’ida of Jihad Organization. So, praise is due to God, praise is due to God, and praise is due to God for this blessed alliance, which we ask God that it will be a bone in the throats of the Americans and French Crusaders and their allies that would bring on them distress, trepidation, and dejection in the hearts of the traitorous apostate sons of France. We beseech Him Almighty to guide our brothers at the Salafi Group for Call and Combat to success in order to crush the pillars of the Crusader alliance, especially their old immoral leader, America. All praise is due to God, first and last. I seize the opportunity provided by this good news to remind myself and all my brothers who work to serve Islam, help the Muslims, and confront the Zionist-Crusader campaign and its agents of the necessity of unity since it is the gateway to victory and it is the legal duty of the Muslims when facing their enemies.

The Truth, Exalted is he, says: “O you who believe when you meet a force, be firm and remember Allah much that you may prosper. And obey Allah and His Messenger and do not dispute among yourselves lest you lose heart and you power depart and persevere for Allah is with those who persevere.”

[Interviewer] The past period has witnessed important developments in Somalia. Moreover, the Islamic orientation of its Islamic people has come to the fore strongly, rejecting the American Crusader’s presence in Somalia. How do you comment on that?

[Al-Zawahiri] This is the result of the response of the Somali people to the call for establishing a rule based on Shari’ah and the blessing of security and suppression of corruption they felt after implementing the rule of Shari’ah. It is a result of the Muslim Somali peoples’ dignity and defiance that reject the presen c e of the American Crusaders and their underlings and that made the Americans taste the bitterness of defeat. That why I call on the Muslim Somali people to reject the American Crusader’s presence in Somalia and to use their strength to strike at America’s underlings in Somalia, to seek help from God, and to confront the Ethiopian forces that are invading Muslim Somalia, and to bury them there. They should realize that it is not only their duty to God to establish the Muslim government in Somalia, but also it is their duty to expel the Zionist Crusader’s presence from the entire Horn of Africa and back their Muslim brothers in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine by delivering crushing blows to the Zionist Crusader presence in the Horn of Africa. May God guide them to success to help Islam and Muslims.

[Interviewer] Well, we move on to the Western peoples. Do you have a message for them?

[Al-Zawahiri] Yes, I tell them your leaders are concealing from you the true size of disaster which will shock you. The days are pregnant and they will give birth to new events with God’s permission and guidance. I tell them: You have provided us with all the legal and rational reasons to fight you and punish you. You have committed ugly crimes, breached treaties that you used to impose on others to abide by. For our part, we have repeatedly warned you and repeatedly offered a truce with you. So, we now have legal and rational justifications to continue fighting you until your power is destroyed or you give in and surrender. I tell them: You should not bother yourselves with defending your forces in Iraq and Afghanistan because they are deemed to be defeated. They are all but defeated in fighting that battles that are hindering the nation. Rather, you should reinforce your defenses in two regions: The first is in the Gulf, from where you will be expelled, God willing, after the defeat in Iraq at which point your economic ruin will be achieved. The second is in Israel, because the jihadist reinforcements are getting closer to it, with God’s help and power. Your defeat there will put an end to the contemporary Zionist-Crusader supremacy. Since the Jews know that it will be their turn after the defeat in Iraq, they are attempting with all the influence, wealth, and propaganda in their power to extend your stay in Iraq as long as possible and regardless of the losses inflicted on you. The Jews know that the main reason for the catastrophes that are befalling you one after another is your backing and support for them. This is why they try to conceal the facts as much as they can. From the ploys they use in concealing facts is their portrayal of the mujahidin as half-mad, bloodthirsty maniacs who will continue to fight you until the last one of you. Whenever the mujahidin address you with the language of reason, they confuse you and divert you from that in order to keep you in the battlefield to be killed for their protection.

[Interviewer] Yes, it has been circulated in the media that you have not made a serious offer to the West, that you want to fight just for the sake of fighting, and that you want war to the very end?

[Al-Zawahiri] This is misleading. We have repeatedly declared our political offer to the West, but the leaders of the West, especially Bush and Blair, are keen on causing confusion about that. Shaykh Usama Bin Ladin, may God protect him, offered a truce to the West and America. I have already told the West that the way to peace is the withdrawal from our countries, stopping the plunder of our resources, and ending its support for the corrupt governments in our lands.

[Interviewer] Speaking of the plunder of resources, grievances, and the oppressed ones in the world, in recent statements by Al-Qa’ida of Jihad calls for supporting the oppressed in the world have been repeated. Is this a new Al-Qa’ida approach?

[Al-Zawahiri] No, this is a confirmed jurisprudence-based law. God, the exalted, said in Hadith Qudsi:”O my servants, I have forbidden oppression for myself, and forbidden it for you, so do not oppress each other.”

And the prophet, peace be upon him, took part in the (alliance of the favors?) in Mecca before his noble mission and praised it after he was sent, peace be upon him, by saying:” I took part in the alliance of Al-Mutayyibin with my uncles when I was a boy, and I would not renege on it for any price.”

I invite all of America’s victims to Islam, the religion which rejects injustice and treachery. If they don’t convert to Islam, then they should at least take advantage of Muslims’ defensive campaign to repel America’s aggression against them and overcome them, each in his own way, under his own banner, and with whatever is at his disposal.

This is their historic chance, because America is reeling from the blows of the mujahidin in Iraq and Afghanistan, thanks to God.

[Interviewer] Very well; If I ask you now five years after the New York and Washington raids to summarize to me your vision of the Al-Qa’ida of Jihad group. What would you say?

[Al-Zawahiri] Depending on God, I say that God has made Al-Qa’ida successful in convening its message to the Muslim nation which responded favorably with it. God has enabled it to expand and spread. Many groups have joined Al-Qa’ida some of which have been announced and others have not. This is all thanks to God’s favor and the blessing of the blood of martyrs, may God accept them as martyrs.

I don’t forget in this regard to pray God to accept the martyrdom of the 19 heroes whom God made a means to break America’s arrogance and change the path of history. This is a favor from God which he confers on whomever he wishes. I also pray God to aid us free imprisoned Muslims who pave the way for granting victory to Islam through their suffering, sacrifices, and suffering. These are spearheaded by the symbol of jihad, preaching, knowledge, and work in age; namely, Shaykh Umar Abd-al-Rahman, may God release him. God made him an authority over the beggar clergymen of the rulers who are relentlessly seeking life. The same applies to Shaykh Sa’id Bin-Sa’ir and all imprisoned Muslims. I pray God to hasten their relief and our relief. I assure them that releasing them is our obligation. We pray God to help us fulfill it.

[Interviewer] In conclusion, do you have a message to the Muslim nation?

[Al-Zawahiri] I say to the Muslim nation: Support your mujahid sons everywhere because they are your solid shield and impregnable fortress. I urge Muslim youths to join jihad battlefields. I also offer my condolences to my mujahid brothers in Chechnya on the martyrdom of hero Shamil Basayev, may God accept him as a martyr.

I also incite Muslims in Pakistan to topple Musharraf and to confront him through all positive and negative means. I also urge them to support their mujahid brothers in Afghanistan. I advise each Muslim to recall God’s words; namely: “O you who believe! Preserve in patience and constancy, vie in such perseverance, strengthen each other, and fear Allah, that you may prosper.” [Koranic verse]

I also advise all those who found justice and benefit in these words to spread them as much as he can. God is our goal, and he guides to the right path. We finally thank God, the lord of mankind, and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad, his kinfolk, and companions.

[Interviewer] At the need, we would like to thank Shaykh Ayman Al-Zawahiri for his contribution and we pray God to grant us, him, and Muslims success in doing what Allah likes and approves of. Peace be upon you.

[Al-Zawahiri] Peace be upon you.

Category: (Military) Press Release.

Cross-posted @ DoD Daily News-2 and Rosemary’s Thoughts.

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Congress’ Final Weeks

Congress is working to complete action on several legislative items before adjourning for mid-term elections. Of importance to the Guard–the fate of the FY07 Defense Authorization and FY07 Defense Appropriations bill. Both the House and Senate are making plans to adjourn on September 29, to allow members of both chambers to return home for the final critical weeks before the November 7th elections.

Defense Authorization Update

Both the House and Senate are in final negotiations trying to find compromises on the differences included within each report. One difference includes language contained in the House report that would allow military chaplains to end their prayers with the phrase “in Jesus’ name.” In an effort to avoid legal entanglements, some military commanders are allowing only non-secular prayers to be used at military functions. Final agreements on the conference report are expected next week. Included within the Defense Authorization bill are provisions important to the National Guard. They include:

National Defense Enhancement and National Guard Empowerment Act of 2006 (Alert #06-21)

Within the Senate version of the Authorization bill, legislation is included that would elevate the Chief of the Guard Bureau to a four-star position, would designate the Deputy Commander at NORTHCOM a Guard member, and establishes Guard service as a “joint.” These provisions were added as an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill, which is currently in conference between the House and Senate. Contact your member of Congress and ask that this legislation be included in the final version of the Authorization Bill.

TRICARE (Alert #06-16)

The House version of the Authorization bill contains a measure that would provide TRICARE access to all members of the National Guard. The provision would set a Guard member’s premium cost-share of 28 percent while the Department of Defense would pay 72 percent of the premium regardless of duty status. Urge your Senator to support this language and keep it in the final bill.

Section 511 of the Defense Authorization Bill (Alert #06-13)

Another item included within H.R. 5122, the House version of the defense authorization bill, is a provision that would allow the President to federalize National Guard members during a “serious natural or man-made disaster, accident or catastrophe that occurs in the United States, its territories and possessions, or Puerto Rico,” without prior consultation with the governor. This would allow the federal government to control National Guard members during times when governors will need those troops the most, thereby negating the inherent line of authority from governor to adjutant general to individual Army and Air National Guard units. The National Guard Association of the United States strongly opposes Section 511 of H.R. 5122. Conference committee members should be made aware of the dangerous precedent set by this proposal.

Joint Cargo Aircraft (Alert #06-19)

The House version of the Authorization bill includes funding for the Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA) program while the Senate does not. NGAUS supports the House language to fund JCA. As you know, the Army National Guard is scheduled to field the JCA to replace aging and lesser performing C-23 and C-26 aircraft. The National Guard Bureau is also promoting the JCA as a follow-on mission for Air National Guard wings that will lose aircraft as a result of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC). When not deployed in support of the Global War on Terror or other contingencies, these aircraft will be available for state missions such as disaster response and homeland security. Write your member of Congress to urge their support for this important issue.

Defense Appropriations Update

Both chambers are in negotiations to finalize the FY07 Defense Appropriations bill before adjourning next Friday. At issue are the differing funding allocations between the two bills. The Senate would reduce the President’s request by $9 billion while the House cuts $4.1 billion. The final measure includes $70 billion in emergency funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and includes funding for equipment lost or damaged while overseas. One issue of particular concern to the future of the Air National Guard was funding for the C-17 Globemaster which is included in the Defense Appropriations conference report. Both the House and Senate supported funds that would continue the aircraft’s production for future procurement, but purchasing 10 more aircraft. NGAUS supports Congress’ efforts to keep the line open in the hopes that additional future C-17s will be assigned to the Air Guard.

NGAUS Conference

The 128th General Conference wrapped up on Monday of this week in Albuquerque, New Mexico. During the conference, a total of 57 resolutions were passed by the membership. These resolutions and their related issues will be prioritized to form our legislative agenda before being presented to Congress as part of NGAUS 2007 lobbying efforts. The NGAUS task forces will be working to prioritize the resolutions; if you are interested in participating–contact the Task Force Chairs listed on the NGAUS website.

“We Serve”

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Both the House and Senate returned to work after the month long August recess.

The Senate reconvened and immediately resumed action on the FY07 Defense Appropriations Act. The chamber is expected to pass the bill before the end of the week. Once complete, both the House and Senate must reconcile the differences between the two bills. With the end of the fiscal year looming, both the House and Senate Defense Appropriations members are hoping to complete the final bill before the end of September. Election year politics might overtake final action on the bill, delaying its final passage, NGAUS will continue to update you as the bill progresses.

Some of the items of importance to NGAUS in the Appropriations bill for the Army Guard include: restoring funding for the Joint Cargo Aircraft, funding for Light Utility Helicopter, recapitalization of tracked vehicles for the Army Guard. On the Air National Guard side, maximum funding for F-15 advanced electronic scanned array radars; maintaining funding for F-16 Engine Upgrades; and funding for C-130 color weather radar. NGAUS is also focusing on requesting increased funding for the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account.

Defense Authorization

The conference between the House and Senate on the Defense Authorization bill continues. Both chambers are expected to wrap up work on the Authorization bill during the next few weeks.

NGAUS top issues in the Authorization conference include:
Reconciling differences between House and Senate language on TRICARE. NGAUS supports the more enhanced House version of TRICARE; encourage your Senators to recede to the House language (see Legislative Alert #06-16).

Addressing Guard Early Access to retirement—the Senate provision would reduce the age in which Guard and Reserve members can access their retirement by 3 months for every 90 days served on active duty since 2001. NGAUS supports the Senate version, as the House does not contain such a provision.

Guard Empowerment—the Senate included language introduced by Senators Bond and Leahy (provisions of the Guard Empowerment Act) that would promote the Chief of the Guard Bureau to a four-star position, and designate that the deputy commander at NORTHCOM be a Guard member. NGAUS supports the Senate language. To take action, check out our legislative alert #06-18 on the NGAUS Web site.

Guard Caucus Leaders Object to Language

On Thursday, Senators Bond (Mo.) and Leahy (Vt.) addressed a letter to the leadership of the House and Senate Armed Services Committee requesting that language in the Defense Authorization bill (H.R. 5122) be removed by the committee conferees. The language, Section 511, would authorize the President to take control of the Guard in “a serious natural or manmade disaster, accident, or catastrophe that occurs in the United States, its territories and possession, or Puerto Rico”, without their consent.

NGAUS is opposed to the language included in Section 511 and is working to get the language removed from the final conference bill. See additional information on the NGAUS homepage, #06-13.

NGAUS Conference

The 128th NGAUS General Conference begins next week in Albuquerque, New Mexico. For the uninitiated, the Conference runs from Saturday, September 16 thru Monday, September 18. The conference, hosted by the New Mexico National Guard, will showcase Guard industry contractors, guest speakers at the Business sessions, professional development breakouts and the annual all states’ dinner. For details on the conference, visit our NGAUS Web site: http://www.ngaus.org.

NGAUS Job Openings

NGAUS has two job openings in its Legislative Affairs department. See the link on the NGAUS homepage for complete details.

“We Serve”

Providing NGAUS members with effective and knowledgeable representation on Capitol Hill.

Published by the NGAUS Legislative Staff:
Brig Gen (ret) Richard M. Green, Legislative Director
Scott Hommel, Deputy Director
Chris DeBatt, Army Programs
Andy Vanlandingham, Air Programs
Bernie Phelps, Senior Legislative Analyst
Emily Breitbach, Legislative Analyst

For more information on NGAUS, check out our Web site: www.ngaus.org/.

Category: (Military) NGAUS.

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Planning Now Set for 128th Conference and Exhibition
With the confirmation of all speakers for the business and professional-development sessions, planning is now complete for the 128th NGAUS General Conference and Exhibition next week in Albuquerque, N.M.

Open conference events begin Friday morning, Sept. 15 with the NGAUS Golf Tournament. Play will be on two championship 18-hole courses: the University of New Mexico Golf Course and the Santa Ana Golf Course. The exhibition opens at 4 p.m. the same day with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and an all-comers reception at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

This year’s trade show features more than 500 companies and organizations that either currently supply products and services to the Guard or are interested in becoming a provider.

The business sessions begin at noon Saturday, Sept. 16 in the convention center’s Kiva Auditorium with a local cultural celebration and the colorful Roll Call of States.

Featured speakers the First Business Session include Gen. Ronald E. Keyes, commander, Air Combat Command, and Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum, National Guard Bureau chief.

Guest speakers the next two days include Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, Secretary of Veterans Affairs R. James Nicholson, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey.

The Albuquerque Zoo will host this year’s Governor’s Reception next Saturday evening, Sept. 16.

For the fourth consecutive year, NGAUS will hold separate professional development sessions the Sunday and Monday of the conference. Topics include transformation leadership, emergency response and developing tomorrow’s adaptive leaders.

A complete conference agenda and list of exhibitors is available at www.ngaus.org.

Equipment Reimbursement Deadline Looms
The Army’s reimbursement claim filing deadline for the protective gear reimbursement program is Oct. 3.

Last year the Army began reimbursing soldiers who purchased body armor and certain other protective, health and safety equipment for Operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom or Iraqi Freedom.

A reimbursable purchase is a qualifying item bought after Sept. 10, 2001, and before April 2, 2006.

The Army reimburses a claimant for the full purchase price plus shipping costs for each item – up to $1,100 for any single item – if proof of purchase is provided. Without it, the Defense Department reimburses at a rate pre-established for the item’s category.

Soldiers are to file claims with the first field grade commander in their current chain of command.

Former soldiers and deceased soldiers’ survivors may file by mail to the U.S. Army Claims Service (USARCS) at the address in block 12 of the claims form, DD Form 2902.

The U.S. Army Claims Service in Fort Meade, Md., has received 138 Army claims, says Maj. Paul Cucuzzella, USARCS project officer. He estimates that 25 percent of those are Guard claims.

A few claims for items such as knives or scopes for M-16 rifles have been declined. Overall, “we’ve been liberal about approving claims,” he said.

The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) will pay claimants after the USARCS processes the claims. Current soldiers receive direct deposits in their regular pay accounts; DFAS sends checks to the others.

To get the list of reimbursable items and download claim forms, visit www.jagcnet.army.mil.

Pentagon to Hold Limited Tours as Before the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks
As the fifth anniversary of 9/11 approaches, Pentagon officials will briefly reprise the pre-Sept. 11 tour program, conducting tours for the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday.

Pentagon tour guides will greet guests near the Memorial Gate, in the Pentagon’s south parking lot, and escort them to the site where American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the building.

Just inside that entrance is the America’s Heroes Memorial. Visitors also will view the site under construction that will contain the Pentagon memorial.

Parking restrictions will remain in effect, however. Those wishing to take the tour and who have a Pentagon parking pass may park in their designated areas. All other visitors should use Metrorail and exit at the Pentagon stop.

The public tours are part of events commemorating the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States. The weekend’s highlight is the America Supports You Freedom Walk on Sept. 10 at 6:30 p.m. The walk starts near the Washington Monument and ends at the Pentagon. More than 120 similar walks in all 50 states are scheduled to commemorate that day.

America Supports You spotlights ways the American people and corporate sector support U.S. service members.

Job Openings in Legislative Department
Deputy Director of Legislative Programs
Candidate will be responsible for assisting legislative director in the daily operations and execution of legislative agenda. Duties will include direct lobbying, strategy development and implementation, conducting and overseeing administrative duties, and assisting in staff management. Successful candidate will have 3-5 years of legislative experience and strong knowledge of the defense community. Those interested must have a bachelor’s degree, preferably in political science or government affairs, strong communication skills, experience in legislative campaign project development and the ability to supervise personnel and lobbying efforts.

Joint Programs Lobbyist
Candidate will be responsible for lobbying for Army and Air National Guard personnel and benefits issues on Capitol Hill. Duties include direct lobbying, strategy formulation and implementation, coalition development and administrative duties relevant to the joint programs issue area. Successful candidate will have 3-5 years of legislative experience and strong knowledge of the defense community. Interested candidates must possess a bachelor’s degree, preferably in political science and/or government affairs, strong advocacy and communication skills. Military experience a plus.

Interested candidates should send cover letter and resume to:

NGAUS
Legislative Director
One Massachusetts Ave, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001
or e-mail Richard Green.

Closing date for both positions is Sept. 22, 2006.

NGAUS History
In January 1957, NGAUS formed two new committees: Army Affairs and retired officers. Those additions brought the number of committees up to 12, including legislation; finance; membership; publication; public relations; constitution and by-laws; building; construction, criteria and technicians; history of the National Guard.

The committee members represented all areas of the Army and all of the numbered Air Forces bracketing the Air National Guard – all grades from one bars to two stars.

A major consideration in their selection was their availability to drop everything and come to Washington, D.C. – sometimes on short notice – to tackle matters affecting the Guard’s and the National Guard Association’s welfare.

This Week in Guard History
Sept. 9, 1943: Salerno, Italy – As part of the Allied invasion of Italy, the Americans land four divisions south of Naples. Three of these were the Guard’s 34th (Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota), 36th (Texas) and 45th (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Oklahoma) infantry divisions.

Little resistance was expected since the Italian government had surrendered just prior to the landings. However, strong German forces contest the invasion and inflict heavy causalities on the Americans. During this operation the 3rd Battalion, 141st Infantry, 36th Infantry Division earns a Presidential Unit Citation for its determined advance in spite of concentrated enemy fire.

The 36th and 45th divisions would later take part in the invasion of southern France and end the war deep inside of Germany, while the 34th Division would continue fighting up the Italian “boot” securing the Po River Valley by war’s end.

Category: (Military) NGAUS.

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Operation Paperback, founded in 1999, provides gently used books to help entertain our troops while they are deployed overseas. Originally serving only Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, the program has expanded to send more than 300,000 paperbacks all over the world, from Iceland to Afghanistan. The organization will also be involved with the second annual Freedom Walk taking place in Washington, D.C. this weekend with a table on-site at the Pentagon along with other America Supports You members. To learn more, visit Operation Paperback.

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By Samantha L. Quigley / American Forces Press Service.

WASHINGTON, Aug. 31, 2006 – Target Corporation, a national retailer, has taken aim at a Washington area troops support group, providing it with a $20,000 donation, the founder and president of Our Military Kids said.

“I actually approached Target to see if they, as a corporation, would be interested in providing us with any financial support for our program,” Linda Davidson said. “They … evaluated the program and came back to us and said they would be very interested in helping to support the fine-arts portion of our grant program.”

Our Military Kids, Inc., works to ensure children of deployed and severely injured Reserve and National Guard members, in kindergarten through the 12th grade, can afford to participate in youth sports, fine-arts and tutoring programs, according to the group’s Web site.

The organization is a member of America Supports You, a Defense Department program highlighting ways the American people and the corporate sector support the nation’s servicemembers.

The Target Foundation donation will provide for about 60 additional grants for children wishing to participate in a fine-arts activity, Davidson said. The grants can be up to $500 per person for six months of an activity, but usually average $320.

“We were hopeful that we could get them to cover the fine-arts portion, because that seemed to fall into the focus of their foundation,” she said. “We’re hoping to develop an ongoing relationship with (Target), that they might help us with at least the fine arts portion of our program.”

Davidson said most requests her group receives center on sports, and especially martial arts.

Initially founded in March 2005, Our Military Kids set out to help the children of deployed or injured reserve-component personnel just in the greater Washington area, she said.

“The military grapevine is very fluid and we were receiving calls from all over the country from families that had heard about our program and were asking us when we were coming to their state,” Davidson said.

Since they had the money and had not had to turn down a grant request to that point, Davidson said, she her two-person staff decided to entertain the widespread requests and see how the program continued to grow.

“Knock on wood, so far, we’ve not had to turn any applicant down, and we’ve awarded grants in … 35 or 36 states now,” she said. “So, in just a little over a year, it has grown tremendously. We’re hoping as the number of applications increase, so do the donations that we receive … from the corporate world and from individuals.”

Original contributors, including Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics and the Freddie Mac Foundation, have stepped up to the plate and either renewed or increased their initial donations.

“(General Dynamics) said that was one of the best investments that they had made in charitable dollars and they were very happy to give us additional funds to expand the program,” Davidson said. The defense contractor increased its initial $25,000 donation to $100,000 this year.

The commonwealth of Virginia has given Our Military Kids one of its biggest assists, Davidson said. Thanks to Virginia’s former and current governors, Mark Warner and Timothy Kaine, respectively, children of Virginia’s reserve-component personnel can apply for a second grant. This is a luxury Our Military Kids can’t afford to offer in other states without federal or state funding, Davidson said.

“Governor Warner, before he left office, became aware of our program, and he had authorized $100,000 in the state budget for the 2006-2007 fiscal year,” she said. “Governor Kane kept that in the budget, and we have received that money to help us fund the program in the state of Virginia.

“It’s a goal of ours to get enough funding so that we can offer second grants to children across the country,” she added.

Throughout its short existence, Our Military Kids has continued to grow and has given nearly 500 grants, Davidson said. And though it’s been a busy year, she said it’s all worth it.

“It’s very rewarding. The stories we hear and the ‘Thank You’ notes and the calls that we get are very touching,” she said. “It’s worked out to be all that we had hoped and more.”

Information on how to apply for an Our Military Kids grant is available on the organization’s Web site

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By Samantha L. Quigley / American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 1, 2006 – Americans can help the nation’s servicemembers by helping Brittany and Robbie Bergquist and their organization, Cell Phones for Soldiers, win one of three $50,000 Volvo for Life Awards.

Cell Phones for Soldiers recycles used cell phones, personal data assistants, iPods and ink printer cartridges, and uses the profits to buy prepaid calling cards for deployed servicemembers. The Bergquists have raised more than $1 million and have distributed more than 100,000 prepaid cards to date.

“Winning the Volvo for Life Award would mean that more of our troops can be helped by our organization,” Brittany said in a telephone interview from her family’s home in Norwell, Mass. “It would be an incredible honor to receive this award and would give Cell Phones for Soldiers the recognition that it needs to let people all across the country know about what we are doing to help our military and their families keep in touch.”

Cell Phones for Soldiers is a member of America Supports You, a Defense Department program that spotlights ways the American people and the corporate sector support the nation’s servicemembers.

The annual Volvo for Life Awards program recognizes and rewards everyday, real-life heroes across America, according to the car company’s Web site.

The teens are among 250 finalists, five per state, competing for one of three top prizes. The state finalists were chosen from among the semi-finalists of Volvo’s past four contests. The Bergquists were chosen as semi-finalists last year after their mother entered them in 2005.

The siblings were encouraged to reapply this year because Volvo, the administrator of the awards, has added a twist to the contest. In a switch from the previous four years, Volvo is asking Americans to weigh in on which of the 250 state finalists should go on to compete for the top prizes.

“A vote for Brittany and Robbie is a vote for the troops!” Brittany Bergquist said.

A panel of celebrity judges will choose the top three winners after Americans narrow down the field of 250. If the Bergquists finish in the top three, it would mean a $50,000 charitable contribution to Cell Phones for Soldiers. That would equal about 10,000 prepaid phone cards with 60 minutes of “talk time” for deployed servicemembers, Brittany said.

If chosen as the grand award recipient, the siblings also would win a lease on a new Volvo every three years for the rest of their lives. Brittany said that one car wouldn’t be a problem, at least for a while.

“I’ll get my license before Robbie, so I guess I’ll have to drive the Volvo,” she said. “When he gets his license, maybe I’ll consider sharing!”

The Bergquists have numerous awards to their credit for their work keeping deployed servicemembers connected to loved ones. In October, they will receive a National Caring Award from the Caring Institute.

But the siblings, who started out to help one deployed soldier who racked up a tremendous cell phone bill, don’t do it for the accolades. Their reasoning today is the same as it was in 2004 when they started their nonprofit organization: to help servicemembers.

“It would be an award that wouldn’t be just for Robbie and me,” Brittany said, of the Volvo for Life Award. “It would be an award for the troops and the thousands of Americans who support them because … there wouldn’t be a Cell Phones for Soldiers without the assistance of Americans who are helping us recycle (cell phones) all across the country.”

The Bergquists’ cousin, Army 1st Lt. Quentin Charmichael of the 182nd Cavalry Regiment, recently deployed to Kosovo on an 18-month peacekeeping mission, Brittany said, and her family attended the deployment ceremony. “We gave him and his unit phone cards to call home,” she said. “I’m going to miss him so much. I can really understand how important it is to hear a loved one’s voice and know that they’re OK.”

To help Brittany and Robbie get the chance to keep an additional 10,000 deployed servicemembers in touch with their families, visit the Volvo for Life Awards Web site. Follow the “Vote for your hero now” link to the map, choose Massachusetts, and follow the voting instructions. Their story also appears on the site.

Voting is under way and will continue through Feb. 4. The top three finalists will attend the 5th Annual Awards Gala in New York on April 4, where the winner of a Volvo for life will be announced.

Category: (Military) ASY.

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