We need more time and money in Yemen, said Bin Laden, citing KoranMay 6, 2012
In a letter to his senior strategist Abu Abd al-Rahman Atiyya Allah, Osama bin Laden wrote in May of 2010 that Al Qaeda should keep its powder dry in Yemen until such time that it a strong enough ground force and financial base to takeover the country. The letter was published along with 16 others by West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center on the anniversary of bin Laden’s death.
Bin Laden said he was concerned that if Yemeni jihadists struck too soon, they could be beaten back. And even if they were successful in deposing the government, the neighboring Gulf states would swoop in to install a new establishment-style leader friendly to their own interests.
While describing the need for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to continue its ground preparations and fund raising in Yemen, bin Laden cited Sura 8, Verse 40 of the Koran—one of many passages of Islamic law extolling those who wage jihad with their lives and their wealth.
The letter (designated “SOCOM-2012-0000019” by U.S. officials) from Bin Laden to Atiyya shows once again how the Koran can easily be used to support terrorism and its funding, and it offers a window into AQAP’s finances:
…[T]he capabilities of our brothers there [in Yemen] are not yet such that they can enter this sort of struggle, neither in terms of their administration or their financial resources. The finances do not permit them to provide the basic life support services to whomever would take on the burden, whether they want to or not, particularly since Yemen is suffering from a food and health services crisis even before entering into a war, and all that this implies. The issue of providing for basic needs is a matter that must be taken into consideration before taking control of nations or cities. If a controlling force, that enjoys the support of the majority where it has taken control, fails to provide for the basic needs of the people, it will lose their support and will find itself in a difficult position that will grow increasingly difficult with each passing day. People will not bear seeing their children die as a consequence of a lack of food or medicine. This is in addition to providing necessities to fighters and what we call logistical support.
I would add that the initiative is in our hands, and we have the room to look for the appropriate time to begin Jihad in Yemen. In the words of Almighty God, “Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies, of God and your enemies, and others besides, whom ye may not know, but whom God doth know. Whatever ye shall spend in the cause of God, shall be repaid unto you, and ye shall not be treated unjustly.” We still have a large force we are able to gather and prepare, and if we suppose that the suitable conditions for establishing an Islamic state in Yemen that can be preserved are realized in three years, for example, then beginning Jihad before that time is unwise because the forces would be squandered and it would take longer to prepare, all while not achieving their primary goal, which is to establish the religion…
Bin Laden’s reference to providing for “the basic life support services” in Yemen sounds like part of his larger and unrealized strategy to re-brand Al Qaeda as a “humanitarian” organization that could distribute food and aid.