An Al-Qaeda-centered three-stage plan for the encircling and destruction of Israel has been shared and discussed over the course of the past week among global jihadists. On Monday, Al-Qaeda's number two terrorist released a lengthy video that also focused, in part, on destroying Israel.
According to the latest briefing released by the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response (ITRR), credible jihadist
"This is the time for painful strikes aimed at shaking up the Jews in [Israel] and abroad, as well as all their helpers."
sources have detailed the steps involved in launching a successful jihad against Israel, in order to wipe out the Jews and their Western or Christian allies. The three-stage plan, as explained in the jihadist communication, is as follows:
Phase 1: "Promoting and promulgating the idea that only by way of jihad can an enemy whose goal is undermining Islam be defeated."
Phase 2: Inserting jihadist cells into the ring states (i.e., those entities surrounding Israel - Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and the Palestinian Authority) to carry out attacks aimed at shaking up regional stability. Such actions include rocket fire at Israel and terrorist bombings at Sinai resorts, "which drag the enemy into a long war of attrition," the jihadist communications say.
Phase 3: "Spreading great fear in the hearts of the Crusader enemy" and carrying out attacks in nations currently supporting the United States." Examples given in the jihadist communications include China, Russia, Indonesia, North Africa, and states in the heart of Africa, as well. According to ITRR, this last stage includes recruitment for Al-Qaeda in the secondary ring of states around Israel, such as among Kurds, Africans and Turks. Together with the fear instilled in the West, a multinational jihad on Jerusalem will then be ready to commence.
The purpose of the foregoing plan, jihadist communications say, is "to attack and destroy Crusader interests", to "lift the siege on Palestine", to "exterminate and eliminate the Jews", and to "enforce the reign of Islam."
Underway now, according to a source identified as "close" to the Al-Qaeda leadership," is the establishment of jihad cells inside all states of the region, which will unite at the right moment into one body and unify their actions, just like bullets in a magazine: just as one leaves the gun, the next is already in place ready to be fired at the target." The "connected" Al-Qaeda source boasts: "We have achieved infiltration into the highest levels of all the nations," claiming that the global jihadist network has information directly from within the American defense bureaucracy, as well as from individual American soldiers.
"The next stage, before the all-out war, is a war of attrition with painful strikes against the Jews within and outside [Israel]. This is the time for painful strikes aimed at shaking up the Jews in [Israel] and abroad, as well as all their helpers," the jihadist communication says. "The plan Al-Qaeda prepared is... progressing much smoother than was anticipated.... So we can say for certain that al-Qaeda is indeed located on the borders of Palestine, as planned."
Specifically, the Al-Qaeda-affiliated source says that terror cells must next operate in Syria, in order to hit Western interests in such as way as to destabilize the Assad regime, and in order to strike at Israelis by way of Syria. A follow-up jihadist communication declares hope that the Abdullah Azzam Brigades (an al-Qaeda cell) "succeed in beheading Jews, UNIFIL infidels and Maronite Christians [in Lebanon]."
Zawahiri: 'Only Jihad'
In a 90-minute question-and-answer video released to Islamist forums on Monday, al-Qaeda's second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri also emphasized the jihad against the Jewish State.
"There is no liberation of Palestine but by way of jihad," al-Zawahiri said. "I already told the Palestinians in the past that this is the only proper way and that Israel has many vulnerable interests, making it easy to hit."
Al-Zawahiri called Israel a "crime that must disappear" and said, "Palestine belongs to the Muslims." He returned to a theme from previous al-Qaeda recordings and communiques and added: "If the Muslim nation wants to liberate Palestine, then they must assist the mujahideen in Iraq, for only then can they help the mujahideen in Palestine."
In addition to Iraq, Al-Zawahiri calls for violent change in all the current Arab regimes. Decrying corruption in Egypt, al-Zawahiri's home country, he said: "There is no chance for change in Egypt except through Islam. And the regime can only be replaced by force. This is so for all Arab states - only by force and revolution."
What to Expect
In light of the recent jihadist chatter, ITRR analysts expect increased terror activity aimed at Western interests inside Lebanon and Syria as a "Greater Syria" al-Qaeda affiliate asserts itself.
United Nations troops in southern Lebanon and the Lebanese government, and Western organizations and NGOs throughout the fertile crescent are likely to be targeted, ITRR says. There is also an increased likelihood of terror activity aimed at northern Israel, ranging from rockets to kidnapping incursions along the Israeli border.