On the occasion of being proclaimed caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi made an audio recording rather than a video message, as has been his habit for the past four years, since he assumed the title of the “Emir of the Islamic State of Iraq.” It seemed that being proclaimed caliph is not worth breaking the routine of not appearing in video messages. This suggests that security considerations are a top priority of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). Thus, ISIS militants ought to get used to the idea of the invisible caliph, who does not dare to make a public appearance, and will have to put up with all the mockery and derision from their opponents.
Yesterday afternoon, July 1, Al-Furqan Foundation posted an audio recording of Baghdadi titled, “A message to the mujahedeen and the Islamic Nation in the month of Ramadan,” without any mention of the declaration of the caliphate and the proclamation of Baghdadi as a caliph to the Muslims by the Islamic State Shura Council, which deprived the speech of its anticipated importance.
The audio message, which lasted nearly 20 minutes, avoided addressing the issue of the caliphate, which was only mentioned occasionally. Baghdadi did not speak of the circumstances that led to his proclamation as caliph and the necessities of this choice. He did not even react to the declaration, either positively or negatively, and did not provide clarification as to whether the regional and international circumstances have played a role in the decision, or if it was merely an organizational decision.
Baghdadi’s message did not include any implications as to whether he has a plan or policy to follow during his reign. He did not mention the formation of any policy, economy, management or way of life of the citizens who will be living in the areas under his control. He abandoned all these issues and focused on two things: immigration and fighting.
Baghdadi vowed to avenge Muslims all over the world for the tragedies that have been inflicted upon them, demanding the “soldiers of the state” to take up arms because “the Islamic nation awaits your jihad with hope. You have brothers in all the corners of the earth who are suffering: in China, India, Palestine, Somalia, Arabian Peninsula, Caucasus, the Levant, Egypt, Iraq, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Philippines, Ahwaz, Iran, Pakistan, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria and Morocco.” He added that Muslims in these countries “await the rescue of the soldiers of the state and anticipate their brigades.”
Baghdadi pledged, “By God, we will take revenge. Even if it takes a while, we will take revenge and we will retaliate doubly and more,” stressing that “the day will come when Muslims will be walking everywhere as noble masters. Those who dare to stand up against them will be disciplined and all hands that reach out to them will be cut off.”
He warned, “This is a new era, where Muslims have loud and clear words so the world can understand the meaning of terrorism. Their heavy feet will trample on the idols and fetishes of nationalism and reveal their falseness.” Baghdadi did not fail to reiterate his favorite words that the world was divided in two camps: the camp of Islam and the faithful, and the camp of heresy and hypocrisy.
In a rare mention of the caliphate, Baghdadi urged Muslims to preach and hold their heads high, because now they have a state and a caliphate that will restore their rights and sovereignty and will defend them. He named several nationalities that have become part of this state including, “Caucasians, Indians, Levantines, Iraqis, Yemenis, Egyptians, Moroccans, Americans, French, Germans, and Australians,” who have become "our brothers," as he said.
Baghdadi urged Muslims to immigrate to their “state.” “Rush, O Muslims, to your state. Yes, it is your state. Rush, because Syria is not for Syrians, and Iraq is not for Iraqis. The land is bestowed by God upon whomever he wishes. The state is the state of Muslims and the land is the land of Muslims,” he said.
“Those who can immigrate to the Islamic State should immigrate, as immigration to the house of Islam is a duty,” he added.
Baghdadi made a “special call” for “scientists, scholars, preachers, judges, doctors, engineers and people with military and administrative expertise of all domains.” He urged them [to immigrate] and considered their mobilization a duty because the Muslims in the Islamic state are in dire need of them.
Although the speech was filled with commandments and tips about getting ready to fight and not to take pride in victory, it did not mention the fierce battles ISIS is leading against its opponents of other jihadist factions in the eastern areas of Syria in the city of Deir El-Zor. Baghdadi did not address the developments or prospects of this conflict, and did not allude to the consequences that may result from the declaration of the caliphate and its repercussions on the relations between the Islamic State and the jihadist factions of the world, especially al-Qaeda. Baghdadi did not call upon al-Qaeda to pledge allegiance to ISIS nor did he warn or criticize it.
Some observers believe that this is the role of Baghdadi’s spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, who is usually the one to use strongly worded speech by threatening and intimidating other factions and organizations. Baghdadi, on the other hand, tries to preserve a pacifist appearance, and has not tempted to engage in conversations about fights and bloodshed, especially when it comes to other jihadist factions.