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Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden's latest audio message has targeted Jordan for the first time, calling on his supporters to infiltrate the country in order to "liberate al-Aksa," according to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
Bin Laden released a 33-minute message on Islamist forums Saturday, outlining his plan, which also included "a mujahadeen victory in Iraq."
He declares it "a mandatory religious duty" for Muslims "to cut off [the] heads" of the leaders of nations bordering Israel, including Jordan, who have suppressed the mujahadeen.
Bin Laden added that a victory in Iraq would be the impetus for the Islamists to infiltrate Jordan, enter the West Bank, and from there "the rest of Palestine," according to a transcript of the message from the Washington-based MEMRI.
"This is the first time [al-Qaida] really pinpoints Jordan as the weak link to break through to Palestine," MEMRI's director of the Jihad and Terrorism Studies Project, Eli Alshech, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
"In the past few months, something has been going on in Jordan," Alshech said. "There have been indications of an increase in al-Qaida activities there; they are comfortable there. A strong country would not allow this."
Between the lines, said Alshech, "they're feeling pressure in Iraq. They're on the defensive and want to increase the mujahadeen presence to finish the fight."
Bin Laden called on Muslims to support the mujahadeen in Iraq, because he claimed "the West and its Arab allies are preventing the mujahadeen from coming to the aid of the Palestinians."
He included Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah in this avowal, charging that his agreement to UN Resolution 1701, which permitted international forces into south Lebanon, made him guilty of thwarting the mujahadeen duty of aiding Palestinians.
Bin Laden widened the charge of "religious duty" not only to heads of state, but to their "second circle" of support, including "evil scholars, intellectuals and media employees that they have hired."
This crucial second circle, he claimed, conferred legitimacy on those heads of state by the misrepresentation and falsification of Islamic law and terminology.
To impede the efforts of those parties, bin Laden advocated instituting an advisory body spanning the Islamic world in hopes of educating Muslims and "[liberating] their minds from . . submission to the rulers, [who are, in turn,] subjugated to our enemies."
Elaborating on this plan, bin Laden called for the compilation of an official list of reliable Islamic scholars, or ulama, whose writings should be circulated widely throughout the Islamic world.
In his message he cited the book Clarification of the Unbelief of He Who Aids the Americans, penned by al-Qaida ideologue Nasir bin Hamad al-Fahd, and its accessibility on the Minbar al-Tawhid Wal-Jihad Web site, which is supervised by prominent Salafi-jihadi scholar Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, according to MEMRI statements.
Bin Laden also advocated composing a list of "our hypocrite enemies and their media [outlets], especially newspapers, books, magazines, radio stations and satellite channelsâ€¦ such as the BBC and its sisters, the Al-Hurrah and Al-Arabiya channels."
"As always, bin Laden's messages have to be taken seriously," said Alshech. "He poses an ideological threat, which has grown stronger. He focuses the energies of the most uncoordinated jihadists, and they internalize his message."
He cited that when Ayman al-Zawahri, bin Laden's second-in-command, had called for a crusade in recent years on Western interests in Arab oil, there had been a surge in attacks on oil facilities in Yemen and Saudi Arabia.
Already, "there is buzz on Islamic Web sites to accumulate lists of hypocrite scholars and pious ulama, creating quite a frenzy," he said.