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Al-Qaeda 2.0A Critical Reader$
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Donald Holbrook

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190856441

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190856441.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 February 2021

General Guidelines for the Work of Jihad

General Guidelines for the Work of Jihad

September 2013

By Ayman al-Zawahiri

(p.51) General Guidelines for the Work of Jihad
Al-Qaeda 2.0
Donald Holbrook

Cerwyn Moore

Oxford University Press

In addition to the ‘Support for Islam’ document, Zawahiri frequently referred to his ‘General Guidelines’ on subsequent occasions as key texts defining the way in which he sought—via Al-Qaeda—to chart a sustainable and ultimately successful course for Islamist militancy worldwide. In his Guidelines, Zawahiri sets out his strategic and tactical priorities, emphasizing the need to target America as ‘the head of unbelief’. The main focus of the document is to rein in fighters who were seen to have engaged in excessive violence, avoiding the reputational hazards such targeting would incur. The document is thus interesting not only in relation to Al-Qaeda’s immediate prehistory at this point, where allies and affiliates had carried out mass-scale attacks against civilians that ultimately undermined Al-Qaeda, but also of course in relation to what came after: where the sectarian bloodshed inflicted by ISIS/IS became a major theme in Zawahiri’s attempts to delegitimize that group. Zawahiri referred to his Guidelines on many subsequent occasions, pointing out that had it been heeded more widely the turmoil and infighting between groups in Syria and beyond could have been avoided.

Keywords:   Terrorism, Political violence, Jihad, Targeting, Shia, ISIS, Sectarian, Al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri

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