Shortly before Hammami posted his video, someone leaked an audio recording of the American jihadi titled "In Defense of the Khilafah [Caliphate]" on jihadist forums.
The recording was incomplete and swiftly removed from the forums, but not before users began to speculate, based on similarities in the content, that Hammami was in fact Abu Jihad.
Abu Muhammad posted the full lecture today, including unreleased portions that he said had "a lot to do with Omar's current situation."
"The bonds between the local mujahideen and the mujahideen who have a more global vision of the jihad are still noticeably lacking in certain parts of the world today, even despite the great gains witnessed in the last decade," Hammami says in the audio. "I dare to inquire from my brothers, if we choose to continue to neglect this glaring fact for the sake of what some people would like to call unity during our time of hardship, who can assure us that the times of strength and ease of tomorrow will bring about the environment of cohesion we desire?"
Hammami goes on to relate a story from the early days of Islam concerning internal "clashes and conflict" among Muslims. He argues that modern mujahideen have become too specialized, working either locally or globally and not attacking both fronts at the same time. The current "conglomerate of local jihadi fronts" is a failure, he says, because local concerns tend to take precedence over global leadership.
The answer to this, Hammami says, is to unite all the jihadists of the world under a single name, not al Qaeda, but declaring the global caliphate and naming a singular leader as caliph, bringing all local groups under that umbrella. From a religious perspective, this is a wildly controversial proposal. Hammami concedes that his listeners probably think he's a "raving lunatic."
With the audio now public, Hammami's controversial ideas will be sounded out by the online jihadi community over the next days and weeks. In the meantime, his peers on the ground continue to pose an imminent threat to Hammami's life.
Abu Muhammad said al Shabaab had not yet killed Hammami because it was "too messy politically," he said. "Things can't be done in the open, and he hasn't given them any opportunities to create an ‘accident.'"
Abu Muhammad declined to answer questions about Hammami's current location except to confirm he is still in Somalia. He compared Hammami's current situation to Osama bin Laden's setbacks after being forced to leave the Sudan in 1996. "We know what happened with bin Laden after that," said Abu Muhammad.
When asked if he saw that kind of leadership role in Hammami's future, the response was simultaneously pensive and grandiose:
Omar doesn't seek leadership roles. They normally just fall in his lap against his wishes.
Anyway, right now he's got to focus on surviving because the world is his enemy. I get the feeling the endgame is probably death this time...but you never know.
It would probably be in your country's interests to make sure that he DOES die this time.
Hammami's hope for survival seems to be pinned on the prospect that al Shabaab could crumble in the near future, giving way to a new jihadi organization. "Courts fell, Shabaab came," wrote Abu Muhammad, pointing out that Hammami's former allies have been on the defensive in recent days. "It's part of the heritage in Somalia."