“Be ready,” the leader of ISIS warned in July 2012, “our war with you only began now.”
Even as President Obama’s campaign was congratulating itself for bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq, the leader of ISIS was declaring war on the U.S. homeland and promising an attack that would be worse than the one orchestrated by Osama bin Laden.
On July 21, 2012 ISI, as ISIS was then called, released a recording of a speech by their commander Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The speech and its contents were widely, if summarily, reported at the time. The speech promised attacks on Iraqi authorities and a freeing of prisoners in Iraqi prisons. AQI began making good on those promises the next day. After a spate of attacks July became the deadliest month Iraq had seen in more than two years.
And al-Baghdadi made clear those attacks were just the beginning of his plans. In the same speech he promised future terror attacks on the U.S. homeland which he said would make 9/11 pale by comparison:
As for America the head of Kufr the protector of the cross, I say to it: your war on the Muslims is a loss and soon Insha’Allah you will collapse and declare defeat, so look what have you reaped and what the Mujahid in reaped in two decades of your heading of the war against them. As for your economy it has become almost on the brink of the abyss, and as for your people and soldiers their morale is shattered and their souls are desperate, and the spirit of defeat runs on them until that it become for who wanted to win in the elections to promise to withdraw the armies and stop the war, and as for your security, your citizens travel to any country while they are scared looking about in a state of fear, then the Mujahid in set off behind your armies that fled and have promised to make you taste worst than that you have tasted by Osama and you will see them in your homeland by Allah willing, since our war with you only began now so be ready.
Back home, while this was happening President Obama was in the midst of a re-election campaign. Two days after al-Baghdadi’s declaration of war on the U.S., the Obama campaign released an upbeat video about the troops returning home. Jake Tapper at ABC News (now at CNN) seems to have been the only reporter to notice the striking contrast at the time.
The NY Times reported that ISIS had another target in mind. “Our big hope is to form a Syrian-Iraqi Islamic state for all Muslims,
and then announce our war against Iran and Israel, and free Palestine,” an Al Qaeda operative told the Times the same week.
ISIS followed through on their promises to regain territory in Iraq and to set up a new Islamic state. Fortunately, they have already told us who they want to strike next.