American jihadist Adam Yahiye Gadahn appears in a new al Qaeda video urging Syrian rebels to reject Western help and turn their insurgency into a global jihad, like the one in Iraq against the U.S. occupation.
The Oregon-born 34-year-old speaks in Arabic, with English subtitles, in the hourlong video that was released by al Qaeda’s multimedia arm, as-Sahab, on Tuesday.
“I call on all of the armed brigades, local coordination committees, revolutionary councils and noble individuals in the [Syrian] political opposition to make it a sweeping revolution against the … interferences of America and its international community,” Mr. Gadahn says, according to excerpts of a transcript provided by IntelCenter, a private firm that tracks extremist messaging for U.S. agencies and other clients.
Mr. Gadahn urges the Syrian opposition “to make their movement an Islamic jihad whose goal is to defend the weak and oppressed, set up the genuine Muslim state, and build the just and righteous society in which both Muslim and non-Muslim enjoys the justice of Islam.”
Mr. Gadahn, who goes by the nom de guerre Azzam al-Amriki (“Azzam the American”), has been wanted by U.S. authorities since 2004. Two years later, he was placed on the Bureau of Diplomatic Security’s list of wanted criminals.
The video, titled “To My Brothers in the Levant,” is al Qaeda’s 27th release this year, according to IntelCenter’s figures, which go back to 2001.
“The group is currently running at its lowest release rate since 2005,” CEO Ben Venzke said. The rate last year was one video every four days — about twice the rate that the group has managed this year.
Mr. Gadahn hails what he calls the unity of extremists in the Syrian insurgency in rejecting aid from Western and Gulf Arab states.
“I salute the brigades, groupings and personalities which have declared their rejection of Western and Gulf conspiracies, their alignment with Islam and their coming together on the noble objective and long-sought-after hope, which is the setting up of the Islamic state in the country of the Levant,” he says in the video, which is dated March 2013.
It is his first appearance on video this year, according to IntelCenter. He has appeared in at least 42 different as-Sahab videos since 2004.
Mr. Gadahn, who converted to Islam in the 1990s, is the first U.S. citizen in more than half a century to be charged with treason. As a senior al Qaeda operative, he functions as spokesman and media adviser for the terrorist group. He also tells American Muslims to commit acts of terrorism inside the United States.