Never quite sure why Adam Gadahn decides to release his latest jihad news commentary I still force myself to give his thoughts a whirl. His current political pontificating is divided into four easily-digestible portions. The third of the four - now unavailable - due to copyright infringement for inclusion of footage from a news organization - is not a great loss to civilization. In fact, if YouTube would disappear tomorrow we might stand the chance of being as smart as our forefathers who drew crude depictions on cave walls. I hate YouTube. But as with NeroTimes and other venues, it provides an outlet for totalitarian agitprop mouthpieces. Excuse me for a moment while I go soak my head in a toilet in physical display of what my ears have heard. My own comments will be based on the first two of the four videos. Spending 0.5 hours listening to this trash is about all I can stand.
Feeling the need to regain political purchase after the March 2010 conference of Islamic scholars in Mardin, Turkey, Adam throws down the first gaunlet. He makes an appeal of young versus old and layman versus ulama. In itself, this challenge is unacceptable to the Middle East culture at large. Whether Wahhabi, Sunni, Shi'a or any of the additional sects the preexistent culture of honor and respect for the elder has been violated. It is possible that the appeal of the lay person to rise up against the cleric community who are seeking a conciliatory stance will have the desired effect because for every level-headed cleric there exists the radical counterpart in multiples. To showcase this point, the videos splice in the thoughts of two additional well-known radical imam. So this appeal to jihad is a bit like raffling of arrows for a camel. It make take one hundred tosses instead of the prior standard of ten, for goal accomplishment.
What is not a gamble, is the peppering of the appeal with Qur'anic ayat. Platforming from "The Winds that Scatter" (51:55) Adam nails in his plank. He is about to teach the masses, and who is capable of standing against Al-Basa'ir? Naturally, this lout who has never done an honest days' work in his life is sadly lacking insight.
This particular video series is directed toward a specific geographic locale, the cradle of Islam, Saudi Arabia. Venturing out into the usual harem-scarem tactic of the need to protect their holy soil from marauding infidels it seems necessary to view reality. Non-Muslims cannot enter Makkah and Madinah, two of the three holiest sites of Islam. Any alliance, arms deal, cross-training of Saudi Arabia military components is never an endeavor of coercion rather mutual need to maintain the geopolitical chessboard.
Adam also draws his audience emotionally with the concept of "stationing" - the word given on translation - which would be "Ribaat" in Arabic. The need to maintain the frontier posts against invasion is understood by all.
Moving into the weird zone, Adam declares it is better to be called a "terrorist" than "lustful". Personally, I would rather catch my teenage son with a Playboy magazine than a battery, timer and C4 under his mattress. Both would merit discussion, but one would merit immediate action and notification of the proper civil authorities.
In discussion of the individual duty of jihad, the concept is well-worn with misapplication. Mr. Gadahn's glancing reference to Qur'an 9:39 and a tantalizing hint that the average Muslim will only understand the ayat in a strictly legal sense is an attempt to elevate his status in the eyes of his audience. The man who rails against the ulama at the Mardin Conference now becomes the ulama with clout.
His references including Bilad-a-Shaam draw the gaze to the Hadith Sciences and the importance of a geographic region noted within the cartography of the seventh century. All in all, Adam is like the flea jumping up again and again to hit the lid of the jar. His message is the stuff of boredom. But his message needs to be erased.
The capabilities of the jihad video industry will continue to impact poverty-stricken regions experiencing low-intensity conflicts. Where centralized government within the urban areas has lacked both will and funding to establish the legal and communal net into decentralized regions, jihad will continue to supplant governance.
The secondary impact of the jihad video industry is the ability to attract the Muslim within the Western diaspora. The lone wolf syndrome comes to mind. Adam Gadahn has as much common sense as the ostrich laying her eggs in the sand, running off and forgetting them. Sadly, he will continue to attract a few more ostriches. They are out there. And they will shed their blood by the tens of thousands for minimal political gain.
The Mardin Conference