Courtesy of Laura Mansfield, the video below is the audiotape that al Qaeda released yesterday of Zawahiri, with translation in subtitles. If you would like to post it on your web site, just click the “get code” button on the player, or, if it doesn’t show up in your browser,go to Power Line Video and click “get code” for the video.
The audio goes on at considerable length, and much of it is formulaic. But there is also some interesting stuff. As has been noted by others, Zawahiri never mentions Osama bin Laden, and at one point he says that “We have pledged allegiance to the Commander of the Believers, Mulla Muhammad Umar, who is an Afghan.” One could infer that bin Laden may be dead, or incapacitated, or perhaps discredited, e.g. because he has given up the fight and is concentrating solely on staying alive. As one who believed for two years that bin Laden was most likely dead–until he came out with his pre-election video in 2004–I’m not jumping to any conclusions. But the facts are suggestive.
Zawahiri attacks President Bush:
Among the most important of these events is Bush being forced to admit his failure in Iraq…after continuing to be stubborn as usual and repeating the lie which he became addicted to that he is winning in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bush suffers from an addictive personality and was an alcoholic. I don’t know his present condiditon. Americans know best about that as they are experts in alcohol and addiction to it. But the one who examines his personality finds that he is addicted to two other faults, lying and gambling. As regards lying, his record is well known and he has gone down in history as one of the most notorious liars. As for his addiction to gambling, it motivates him to continue to place losing bets until he goes completely bankrupt, which is the obvious psychological motivation behind his Iraq policy out of greed for the Muslims’ treasures and in animosity to them.
Notwithstanding those words about Bush’s “failure in Iraq,” which, like the rest of his attack on the President, is consistent with what Zawahiri sees on liberal web sites, the overall tone of Zawahiri’s tape doesn’t suggest that the fight there, or elsewhere, is going well for al Qaeda. He summons all Muslims to help the “mujahadeen” who are fighting in Iraq, and suggests that they are low on manpower, supplies and morale. And he volunteers this:
[Y]ou are not facing individuals or organizations, but are facing the Jihadi Intifada of the angry, alert Muslim Ummah. THerefore, you are just wasting your time and effort by claiming to seek to eliminate this person or that or such and such group or organization.
These brave words certainly could be consistent with a decimation of the leadership of al Qaeda and, perhaps, the demise of its leader.
Zawahiri addresses the Democrats, and sounds disappointed with their progress so far. (Very likely, he does not realize that they have only been in power in Congress since January.) Still, he looks forward to our withdrawal from Iraq:
These traitors in Iraq and Afghanistan must face their inevitable fate and face up to the inescapable facts. America–which was transformed from the “Great Satan” into the “Closest Ally”–is about to depart and abandon them, just as it abandoned their like in Vietnam. If the Mujahadeen have–by the grace of God–broken the back of America will its agents hold their own against them in the absence of America?
And these countries must know that America doesn’t thank anyone for serving it and there is a lesson for them in the fate of the Shah and final days of Arafat.
In signing off, Zawahiri pays tribute to the “Jihadi media” that have been so crucial to al Qaeda’s efforts in Iraq and elsewhere:
I also thank my brothers working in Islamic Jihadi media for their blessed efforts which have deprived the Crusaders, Zionists and their aides of sleep and I call on them to continue their blessed giving with Allah’s help.
And I ask Allah to protect our brothers in media, take care of them and guide them, and to give victory through them to His religion, Book and believing slaves….
So there is much of interest. But what Zawahiri doesn’t say is, in some respects, as interesting as what he does say.
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