Sunni militants in Iraq urged to unite
CAIRO, EGYPT – In a new video posted Thursday on the Internet, an al-Qaida militant who escaped from a U.S. prison in Afghanistan urged Sunni militants in Iraq to join the terror group and claimed the U.S. military’s security plan for Baghdad has failed.Abu Yahia al-Libi, who broke out of the U.S. prison at Bagram Air Base north of Kabul in 2005, said it was the sacred duty of all mujahedeen, or holy warriors, to “stand steadfast together.”He called on militant groups known as Ansar al-Sunnah, the Islamic Army in Iraq and the Army of the Mujahedeen to “hurry up and respond to the call of the Quran to become one and … join the Islamic State in Iraq,” an al-Qaida affiliate in the country.”This is the legitimate duty and urgent need imposed by the circumstances of this stage of the jihad in Iraq,” the black-turbaned al-Libi said, referring to militants’ holy war.The 28-minute video, posted on a Web site commonly used by Islamist militants, shows al-Libi, whose nom de guerre means ‘the Libyan’ in Arabic, with a beard and wearing a camouflage uniform seated next to a Kalashnikov rifle.The videotape’s authenticity could not be independently verified. It carried the logo of al-Qaida’s media production wing, al-Sahab. The video was also released by IntelCenter, a U.S. government contractor that monitors al-Qaida messaging.IntelCenter said the earliest the video could have been made is Feb. 20, based on comments al-Libi makes on the decision by British Prime Minister Tony Blair to withdraw a portion of Britain’s troops from Iraq. Blair’s decision was first reported on Feb. 20.In the video, al-Libi claims the monthlong Baghdad security crackdown by U.S. military and Iraqi troops, meant to curb sectarian violence that has shaken the Iraqi capital and its residents, has failed. “The break and defeat of your enemy is seen in the military arena, especially after the Security Plan failed and its defeat, with God’s will, is very near,” he says.”The enemy knows he is losing in this battle,” al-Libi said, adding the proof of this was in the planned withdrawal of the British troops from Iraq.In addressing the militants, al-Libi said they were the “tip of the spear” in the holy war against the West and that they “must be more strong and more serious, and leave all trivia behind, resist any temptation.”Al-Libi also urged them not to “fall into the trap of enemies reaching out to Sunnis in Iraq” and claimed Saudi Arabia’s calls for the support of Iraq’s beleaguered Sunni minority were a sham.”Your enemies are adding poison to exterminate you and sabotage your jihad. So don’t be drawn in by flashy advertisements of Satan and his followers,” he said.Al-Libi has recorded several tapes since he escaped from Bagram. Afghan police said at the time that his real name is Abulbakar Mohammed Hassan and that he is a Libyan.