“ABU USAMA” – “PRINCE” OF FALLUJAH’S COMBATANTS – INTERVIEWED BY AL WASAT MAGAZINE
– “Every Mujahid in Iraq is a member of Al Qaeda”.
– “Al Qaeda is a spiritual organization, not a military one”.
– “We are fighting the Americans because they invaded Iraq, and because they are blasphemers. God’s word should come before everything”.
Al Wasat Magazine, Issue No. 640, May 3, 2004
Interview and report prepared by: Mohammad Abdul Razzaq
In an interview with Al-Wasat magazine published on May 3, 2004, “Abu Usama,” the head of the “Salafist Group” resisting the US forces in Fallujah, “Abu Usama,” said that the foreign hostages and the American soldier held with them are well treated. Their release will be negotiated in the future.
Abu Usama, who gave himself this nickname in honor of bin Laden, affirmed his association with al-Qaeda and also assured that he “speaks for Abu Musab Zarqawi”. He denied Zarqawi’s involvement in the latest bloody attacks that targeted Shi’ite religious centers, assuring that “the Americans’ losses in Fallujah exceeded by far what had been announced. He said that, during the latest battles, 15 US helicopters were taken down, and more than 90 armored cars and tanks were destroyed with weapons developed by the combatants themselves”.
Abu Usama, who calls himself the “Prince” of combatants, added that the “al-Qaeda organization is spiritual not military”, and that “every Mujahid truthful to God is a Qaeda member”. He assured that “they are fighting the Americans because they invaded Iraq, and because they are blasphemers, as God’s word should come before everything”.
Pursuant to a question on the lack of technical and military balance between their traditional weapons and the advanced US munitions, Abu Usama led his interviewer to a room full of US weapons, equipment, and clothing confiscated by “the heroic Mujahideen after having killed the blasphemers who had them in their possession”. He explained that they are getting weapons from everywhere, that “they are capable of fighting the Blasphemers as long as it is God’s wish”, and that “the Believers are bound to triumph”.
To a question if the Salafists viewed Shi’ites and Sufis as their enemies, based on the fact that the Salafist’s ideology considers Shiites and Sufis blasphemers, Abu Usama said: “If they collaborate with the occupation, then they are our enemies. And if they take no action, they are silent devils that must be killed when necessary. That is when they become a danger to Islam and Muslims… Such is the case in Iraq because they are not fighting the Blasphemers and are helping them get established in Muslim territories”.
Repeatedly avoiding to admit if he was a Zarqawi follower, Abu Usama fervently denied any involvement of Zarqawi in the assassination of Assayyed Al Hakim, the Ashoura events, and the explosions that targeted Iraqis, saying: “Those accusations are lies made up by the American-Zionists to portray a bad image of the Jihad. I swear by the Great God that, every targeting in Iraq of the Shiites, the Sunnis, and the Kurds was arranged for by the CIA and the Zionist Mossad”.
He acknowledged that, even though Shi’ites and Sufis are considered Blasphemers, and their killing is recommended in their ideology, they took no part in those operations and were not aware of them. In a reference to Muqtada Al Sadr’s last “khutba” [speech] in which he swore to defend their sanctities, he said: “I would like to tell him [Al Sadr]: ‘your sanctities are Muslim sanctities that we respect. We, in the “Salaf Saleh”, have not taken any military action against them up until this moment’”.
Abu Usama explained that, holding blasphemers as prisoners is an old means used to make the enemy fail politically, and to exchange the hostages with the Mujahideen detained inside and outside Iraq. He disagreed with his interviewer that citizens of countries that did not participate in the war on Iraq should not be held hostages, “for all blaspheming countries are openly or secretly allies of the US”. He considered that “America is in deep trouble in Fallujah. With all its power, it was not capable of defeating this small city. It would if it could”.
When asked about the number of Mujahideen, their nationalities [if they were only Iraqis, or Arabs and foreigners], and who supplies them with weapons ready to use in their confrontations with the Americans, he said: “Thanks to God, we have Brothers bearers of the highest scientific diplomas. They are capable, with the help of God, to manufacture the weapons, not only finance their supply”.
Towards the end of the interview, Abu Usama acknowledged the possibility of joining forces with parties whose ideology differs from theirs. However, their allies share the same beliefs. He then received a message that “the Americans have been destroyed”, as he described it, and that he had to let the interviewer go, only after confiscating the videotape the interviewer was using to tape the interview, as many of the Mujahideen had their faces uncovered.