Al Zawahiri Says Obama Did Not Help Palestinians During Gaza War
Al Qaeda's number two Ayman al Zawahiri accused President Barack Obama of not doing enough for Palestinians during the Israeli attacks on Gaza last month and criticized him for not mentioning the conflict during his inauguration speech on Jan. 20th.
"As for Obama, he announced that he was concerned about the killing of civilians in Gaza. Concerned. We are very appreciative of your concern Mr. Obama. Your concern has reached us, accompanied with thousands of rockets and tons of white phosphorus together with the blood, the body parts and the tears of Muslims in Gaza," said al Zawahiri sarcastically in the 14-minute audio statement posted on militant Islamist Internet forums today.
"But it seems Obama's concerns did not last long. In his inauguration speech, he did not mention one word about what happened in Gaza, as if nothing had happened," added al Zawahiri.
Al Qaeda leader's deputy had criticized President Obama in a statement released mid January, accusing him of standing behind the killing of Muslims in Gaza.
In an interview with the Arab news station al Arabiya, President Obama said on Jan. 26th that recent statements made by al Qaeda indicate they did not know how to handle his new approach.
"They seem nervous," President Obama said. "…when you look at the rhetoric that they've been using against me before I even took office …what that tells me is that their ideas are bankrupt," he added.
In the new audio, al Zawahiri called the U.S. an enemy. "I would like to remind my brothers the mujaheddin in Gaza that our enemy in Gaza is not just Israel, but rather the Crusader-Zionist alliance and at the top of it the master of evil and the pagan idol of the era America."
Al Zawahiri's audio included more of the same rhetoric used in his previous statements. He repeatedly spoke about the "Crusader-Zionist campaign" against Muslim and called on the people in Arab countries to overthrow their rulers, who he called traitors. He added that if Muslims did not fight, "the planes, mortars and tanks that struck Gaza, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia will tomorrow strike Riyadh, Cairo, Algiers and Islamabad."
Addressing Palestinians, he said al Qaeda was taking revenge for them by carrying attacks in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Algeria. He claimed that during Israel's attacks on Gaza, the Pakistani government had to stop NATO's supply line from Karachi to Jalalabad because of the militants' increased attacks.
Al Zawahiri dedicated a large segment of his statement to criticizing Arab regimes and their actions during the attacks on Gaza, specifically pointing his finger at the Egyptian government. He said "breaking the siege" on Gaza should be a priority.
He called on people join the battlefronts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and Somalia. Al Zawahiri added that those who can't join the fighting should support the militants through money, arms, information or expertise.
The statement is entitled "Gaza's Sacrifices and the Conspiracies" and was played over a picture of al Zawahiri, along with a collage of pictures that included an image of three kids, apparently injured during the Israeli attacks, as well as pictures of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, French President Nicholas Sarkozy and Israel President Ehud Olmert.
This is al Zawahiri's second statement since the beginning of the year. According to IntelCenter, this is the seventh video to be released by al Qaeda's media wing as Sahab in 2009 and "marks an increase in the speed of releases compared to 2008."
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