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On January 27th, 2020, al-Furqan media outlet, owned by ISIS, posted a recorded speech by al-Muhajir Abu Hamza al-Qurayshi, the organization’s newly appointed spokesman. The length of the recording was 37 minutes and it was titled “Allah Destroyed Them and the Infidels in the Same Manner”. It seemed that the timing of the speech was carefully selected to be proximate to Pres. Trump’s “Plan of the Century” that captured the headlines in the international and regional arenas.
The speech deals with the reshaping and presentation of the new operational policy for ISIS, while highlighting that ISIS will keep moving on the same trail the previous leadership has blazed however with a new focus. The spokesman announced that the organization has embarked on a new stage, distinguishing the new leader, sheikh Abu Ibrahim al-Qurayshi, who switches the organization from a survival mode to an expansion mode.
This document will examine the main messages coming from that speech and the responses it received from ISIS supporters. Additionally, the document will present insights gleaned from that speech compared to previous speeches made by senior ISIS members. That said, a review of the organization’s activity in the four months that have elapsed since the speech was posted no significant change in ISIS’ modus operandi has been observed, not even vis a vis Israel and at this stage it is unclear whether the above is stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic or lack of operational capability.