When the Islamic State controlled substantial territory in Iraq and Syria at the height of its power, the group's messaging very much focused on this aspect of its success and the resulting implementation of Islamic law on the ground. Today, the messaging focuses on the global reach of its affiliates, highlighting in particular the newer affiliates across Africa and their operations against the armies and security forces of various countries in that continent (including Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique). This week's editorial in the group's newsletter al-Naba' epitomises this messaging shift. The affiliates of the Islamic State around the world are portrayed as a unified front ideologically speaking, bound by a single creed and goal despite the different ethnicities and languages. That goal is to establish Islamic law and remove idolatry. Certainly also, in cultivating affiliates through interaction from its central hub in Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State has sought to instruct in its ideology those who have pledged allegiance to it, and that ideological aspect should be taken seriously, rather than merely dismissed as a banner.
The reach of the Islamic State in Africa today, combined with the recent bombings in Baghdad, is portrayed not merely as a fulfilment of the words of Abu Muhammad al-Adnani (the spokesman who was killed in 2016 and vowed many years ago that bombings would strike the Shi'a from Diyala to Beirut), but an expansion upon them. Now the Islamic State transcends not only the borders of Iraq and Syria but also the continent of Asia, and not only does it strike the 'Rafidites' (Shi'a) but also the disbelievers in general. Previous setbacks for the Islamic State's fighters are portrayed as mere tribulations that are the result of divine will. The article concludes with congratulations and appeal to the Islamic State-affiliated fighters in Africa, urging them to remain steadfast and continue their jihad.
Below is the editorial translated in full.
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
Thursday 10 Ramadan 1442 AH
From Baghdad to Africa!
'We swear, we swear, we will certainly destroy the barrier and we will fill up the trench with dirt and we will destroy the wires and we will wipe out the borders from the map and they will be wiped out from the hearts, and the car bombs will strike the Rafidites from Diyala to Beirut.' Those were the words of the mujahid Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Adnani (may God accept hum), around seven years ago from now, the day that the Islamic State expanded setting out from Iraq towards al-Sham and on which day the Satans of men and Jinn gathered to stop this blessed expansion.
And in the meantime the Islamic State- in its leaders and soldiers- was certain of the promise of the God Almighty. Those who disbelieved from the People of the Book and the idolaters in that time did not imagine that this expansion would reach the farthest borders of al-Sham, let alone overstep the borders of the Arab region and indeed the continent in its entirety. And all these people did not expect that the bombs would strike today from Baghdad to Africa? And not only the Rafidites but also the rest of the disbelievers and the idolaters.
The Islamic State has inserted the statelets of west and central Africa into the furnace of the flame of war whose spark was lit from Iraq, and the soldiers of the Caliphate have been waging fierce battles in Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Mali, just as if they were in Diyala, Kirkuk and Salah al-Din. For the media of the Islamic State hardly stop publishing reports and photos of the widespread attacks and great victories that the mujahideen are realising by the grace of God Almighty in the regions of Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Mali, Congo, Mozambique and other places. And they are assaulting the localities and camps, and burning the bases and barracks, and managing the wheel of war and lighting the fire of the raids on all the idolaters from the disbelieving and apostate armies, police forces and forces, as well as the militias loyal to them.
In addition the soldiers of the Islamic State have not forgotten- and how could they forget?- the revenge for the oppressed Muslims against the disbelieving Christians of Africa as they taste today the might of the mujahideen after their villages, complexes and churches in Nigeria, Congo and other places have become a constant target for their attacks. And they are determined by the permission of God Almighty to continue their war against the Christians and increase the fire upon them, for the Christians in Africa have only tasted some of the revenge and remnants for the revenge have not vanished! And they have only paid some of the receipt of a long heavy account that awaits them for what they have committed against our Muslim brothers there.
Yes, the continual attacks in West and Central Africa have cooled [/delighted] the chests of the monotheists and have enraged and terrified the hearts of the apostates and Crusaders, and the black continent has entered into the circle of global attention and the news of Mozambique- for example- has begun to be covered on the news of Crusader America!
And in the midst of the events and their quick succession, the mujahideen have renewed the striking of the Rafidites in Baghdad with a new explosion that came despite the continual security operations to secure the towns and areas of the Baghdad belt, and especially after the previous explosion that scattered their bodies in al-Tayran square, and despite that the new explosion occurred again inside the belt! And the mujahideen have succeeded in targeting the heart of the enemy and overcoming their fortifications and mastered the art of conveying the vehicles of death to its idolatrous followers.
And from the explosion of Baghdad that will not be the last by the permission of God Almighty, to the continual operations in the areas of Iraq and al-Sham and the rest of the wilayas, to the attacks of West and Central Africa: the soldiers of the Islamic State are continuing to escalate their jihad and fulfil their promises and the piety of their faith by breaking the borders and demolishing the barriers and setting off the explosions. Crusader America (and with it its mighty coalition) entered the war against the mujahideen and it thinks that it can isolate them in Iraq or al-Sham and then be safe in other lands, but the gathering and clinging that the Islamic State realised by announcing the Caliphate has corrupted the Crusaders' plans and foiled their schemes, and Iraq, al-Sham, Africa and other wilayas have become one body. For the Islamic State has thus transferred the concept of the unity of the Muslims from theories and slogans to practical implementation on the land of reality, and it has made a strong believing rank like the structured edifice.
This edifice that the Islamic State established from the first day on piety, Tawheed, faith, and wala' and bara', and on complete separation of ways with the disbelievers entirely: it is the secret of its force and continuation, and the secret of its expansion and spread and it is the secret of its steadfastness in the face of these global coalitions.
For by the grace of God Almighty it has transcended all the boundaries and ethnicities and nationalisms that men have imposed on men, and it has rejected all their constitutions and laws and it has believed only in the Shari'a that God has imposed on men, and it has contracted loyalty to God Almighty and His Messenger and the believers. Therefore it is no longer strange today that we see this complete harmony and concord between the wilayas and fronts affiliated with the Islamic State despite the extent of the distances and the difference in language, for their religion is one, their aqeeda is one, and their aim is one: it is the establishment of the religion, removal of idolatry from the land, and making people worship their exalted Lord, and it is the objective for which God sent the prophets as conveyers of tidings and warners.
God Almighty has ennobled His mujahideen servants and fulfilled upon them His bounty in that He has preserved their jihad and conveyed it to the east and west of the Earth in the time that the Crusaders thought that they had destroyed it in Iraq and al-Sham, and if the Crusaders and apostates were previously involved in the war of Iraq, they have today become involved in many wars, the last of which is not in Africa, and the lions of Africa today have become by the grace of Almighty a difficult number in the field of conflict between truth and falsehood, and armies, thrones and governments have begun to shake at the beat of their attacks.
And this is a call to the Muslims in every place, that they should ponder how God Almighty granted conquest at the hands of that small believing group that started out in Iraq? And He has made it expand, supported it, and blessed it, such that its call has reached the farthest ends of the Earth and the one who does not speak its language has joined its convoy, despite that it has been exposed to from tribulations and convulsions on account of which the mountains collapse. And the mujahideen who today are living the circumstances of the first group of Iraq must know that these things are merely Sunan and tribulations, then they will reap the fruits of their patience and steadfastness from where they do not expect and the furthest of what they seek, by the permission of God Almighty.
And to the soldiers of the Caliphate in Africa we say: may God make white your faces for you have healed the hearts of the monotheists by your operations and infliction of damage on the armies of the disbelievers and the attempt to make you abstain from supporting your mujahideen brothers. So continue on what you are upon and ask God Almighty for steadfastness on it and convey thanks to Him for this great bounty, and remember that the your footsteps today in those distant regions have what comes after it by the permission of God Almighty, and that today is near for the one who beholds it.