zawahri 298 88.
(photo credit: AP)
Al-Qaida's No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahri, called for Muslim unity in a new audiotape released Tuesday by a US group that tracks extremist messages.
The Washington-based SITE Institute released a transcript of the audio, which it said it had intercepted from Islamic militant Web sites where his messages are usually posted. The original al-Zawahri tape was expected to be aired shortly.
On the tape, al-Zawahri said recent congressional elections in the United States that elected a majority of Democrats would change nothing. "The people chose you due to your opposition to Bush's policy in Iraq, but it appears that you are marching with him to the same abyss," al-Zawahri said of the Democrats according to the transcript.
He also warned of an escalating threat from the Taliban in Afghanistan and called on all Muslims to strive for unity, "even if they are Afghans, Persians, Turks or Kurds."
Al-Zawahri called on all Muslims to unite and not to "make alliances and hold animosities on the basis of tribalism and nationalism, nor to help the Arabs against the Persians, or the Kurds against the Arabs .... We ally ourselves to the helpers of Islam, even if be they Afghans, Persians, Turks or Kurds."
It was the forth message by Osama bin Laden's deputy since the beginning of the year. The last was on January 22, when he mocked President George W. Bush's plan to send an additional 21,000 troops to Iraq.
Al-Zawahri called what he described as Bush' failure in Iraq and the growing Taliban resistance in Afghanistan the "most important events" of the past year. He also said that "the people cooperating with the United States in Afghanistan and in Iraq would be abandoned by the Americans once they fail, the same way they did in Vietnam."
The al-Qaida leader also threatened that countries allied to the United states in the region "must reap their bitter harvest," and specifically named Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
SITE said the multimedia arm of al-Qaida, as-Sahab, claimed to have produced the 41-minute audiotape.