AP Photo/via InterCenter
In this image made from video provided by IntelCenter, Al-Qaida's No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahri, appears in a new video tape calling on Muslims to unite in jihad, or holy war, and support the Islamist movement in Iraq.
In this image made from video provided by IntelCenter, Al-Qaida's No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahri, appears in a new video tape calling on Muslims to unite in jihad, or holy war, and support the Islamist movement in Iraq. AP Photo/via InterCenter
Al-Qaida's No. 2 leader has issued a new video calling on Muslims to unite in jihad, or holy war, and support the Islamist movement in Iraq.
Ayman al-Zawahri is seen in the tape, which lasts an hour and 35 minutes, dressed in white and addressing an array of Middle Eastern topics from Iraq to Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian territories and Egypt, a U.S.-based intelligence monitoring group said Wednesday.
On each issue, he called for a more radical stance against the U.S. and its regional allies, according to SITE, the intelligence group that monitors al-Qaida messages.
SITE said it had obtained the tape ahead of its release on the Internet by militant Web sites, and issued a transcript of al-Zawahri's remarks. The authenticity of the transcript could not be immediately verified.
Al-Qaida's deputy chief called on all Muslims to join the holy war against the West.
"May Allah pluck out your eye if you haven't yet seen that jihad is an individual duty," the transcript quoted al-Zawahri as saying.
It was not clear whether the message was recorded before last week's attempted bombings in Britain, and al-Zawahri did not mention them.
He also encouraged Iraqis and Muslims in general to show greater support for the Islamic State of Iraq, an al-Qaida insurgent front in the country; even though detractors say it lacks the "necessary qualifications."
He did not name these detractors, but implicitly acknowledged some problems.
"The first thing which our beloved brothers in Iraq must realize is the critical nature of unity," he said. He also called on Kurds from northern Iraq to join forces with insurgents.
It was not clear what problems al-Zawahri was alluding to. But a number of major Sunni Arab tribes have turned against the Islamic State in recent months and have cooperated with U.S. forces.
Some Sunnis have complained that the Islamic State tried to impose harsh rules on the population, alienating many who had backed the resistance.
Later, he further alluded to the insurgents' possible shortcomings in governing the zones they control in Iraq and to interior tensions among militants.
"The mujahideen (insurgents) are not innocent of deficiency, error and slips because they are humans who are sometimes right and sometimes wrong, as humans are," he said. "The mujahideen must solve their problems among themselves," he added, calling on the insurgents not to make public their internal disputes.
Al-Zawahri lashed out at Egypt and Saudi Arabia for supporting the United States in the Middle East and warned against the rise of Saudi influence in Iraq.
"If the agents of the Saudi state were to take control of government in Iraq the Iraqis would then suffer the same repression and humiliation which the people suffer under Saudi rule under the pretext of combating terrorism," al-Zawahri warned.
He cautioned the Saudis against backing the "Zionist Crusade led by America" in the Middle East.
From The Associated Press