THE man who four years ago replaced Osama bin Laden as leader of Al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri issued an audio message on September 9 whereby he effectively ‘declared war’ on Islamic State and its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
In the message, released online, Egyptian doctor al-Zawahiri said: “We have endured a lot of harm from Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his brothers, and we preferred to respond with as little as possible, out of our concern to extinguish the fire of sedition.
“But Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his brothers did not leave us a choice, for they have demanded that all the mujahideen reject their confirmed pledges of allegiance, and to pledge allegiance to them for what they claim of a caliphate.”
Al-Baghdadi had demanded that the world’s Muslims “obey” him as the caliph Ibrahim in a public speech in Mosul, Iraq last year.
He said: “I am the wali who presides over you, though I am not the best of you, so if you see that I am right, assist me. If you see that I am wrong, advise me and put me on the right track, and obey me as long as I obey God in you.”