On August 15, 2015, Al-Qaeda’s media wing Al-Sahab released the seventh part of the “Days with the Imam” video series, in which the organization’s leader, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, reminisces about Osama bin Laden. Similar to previous installments in the series, Al-Zawahiri speaks spontaneously and informally while occasionally glancing at his notes. The previous part in the series came out over a year ago, in July 2014. Unlike previous installments, where Al-Zawahiri recorded his message indoors, the current video appears to have been recorded outdoors at an undisclosed location. Al-Zawahiri is seen sitting with large piece of beige fabric behind him. Strong winds can be heard occasionally during the recording, with direct sunlight shining on his face.
The bulk of Al-Zawahiri’s message deals with the 2001 Tora Bora battle, in which Al-Qaeda fighters faced the U.S. and its allies in Afghanistan. In that regard, Al-Zawahiri recounts the mujahideen’s encounter with their foes, and notes various incidents that demonstrated bin Laden’s leadership skills. Al-Zawahiri also touches on the role of the jihadi media since 9/11. And while praising it for “exposing” the Western media since that time, he harshly criticizes its recent overall declined state. Specifically, Al-Zawahiri expresses discontent with how the jihadi media has turned into a “grazing ground” where mujahideen attack one another. In that regard he notes: “O knights of jihadi media, you used to terrify America, and you have defeated America on the media front… but now, brothers, after being able to puzzle and terrify the American media… it responded to us by moving the battle among our midst. The jihadi media has now turned into one of the tools of the destruction of the jihadi state….”
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