BIN LADIN FAMILY MEMBER: DA’ISH’S ‘BIN LADIN’ NOT A SON OF BIN LADIN
By Michael S. Smith II
On 23 March 2015, DA’ISH propagandists distributed links to a video featuring commentary from a jihadi identified as “Bin Ladin.” As noted here at DOWNRANGE, at the time, it was “unclear if this is an actual member of Usama bin Ladin’s immediate family.” Today, we received word concerning this matter from a member of the bin Ladin family: The individual identified as “Bin Ladin” in DA’ISH’s video titled “A Message to the People of Kurdistan” is not one of Usama bin Ladin’s sons.
DA’ISH claims it — not al-Qa’ida — is now fighting the jihad charted by Usama bin Ladin. According to the group, al-Qa’ida’s current emir, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has steered al-Qa’ida off course. Meanwhile, in the first edition of its English-language magazine Dabiq, the group also claimed it leverages the strategy adopted by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
However, the problem with these claims is that al-Zarqawi’s strategy that DA’ISH claims to be utilizing today was not advocated by bin Ladin. Among documents used as evidence in the trial of Abid Naseer is a letter by Usama bin Ladin, in which bin Ladin referred to that strategy as an example of what not to do.
Indeed, while DA’ISH and al-Qa’ida are proponents of the same ideology, variance in perceptions of what constitutes an appropriate strategy for achieving their shared goals of restoring a caliphal model of governance, and asserting its primacy on a global scale, is what distinguishes these groups.
Nevertheless, DA’ISH propagandists have persisted with their efforts to convert affinity for al-Qa’ida into affinity for their group. For example, featured prominently in a video titled “We Will Burn America Again” that was released by the group in April 2015 are scenes from al-Qa’ida’s 9/11 attacks of 2001 (examples below).