Al-Zawahri: America defeated in Arab Spring

Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri appears in a video message released Oct. 12, 2011. CBS

Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri appears in a video message released Oct. 12, 2011.
Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri appears in a video message released Oct. 12, 2011.
CBS

Al Qaeda's newly appointed chief Ayman al-Zawahri hailed what he described "the defeat of America in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Afghanistan" in yet another speech dedicated to the Arab spring. Al-Zawahri devoted a major portion of his speech to Libya, congratulating Libyan people on the fall of the Gaddafi regime and warning against NATO's hidden colonial intentions.

"O' our people in Libya ... O' Mujahideen ... sons of the Mujahideen .. O' supporters of Islam in Libya ... beware of the plots of the West and its allies as you build your new country. Don't let them fool you and steal your sacrifices and your sufferance," Al-Zawahri said, as he urged Libyans to choose a "pure and pious Jihadi leadership" that would adopt Shariah law as the country's new constitution.

The remarks aren't the first time al-Zawahri has sought to capitalize on the string of government-toppling protests known as the Arab Spring. In an audio recording last month, he claimed that the Sept. 11 terror attacks paved the way for the "Arab volcano" that has swept over the region.

Complete Coverage: Anger in the Arab World

Al-Zawahri also praised the Mujahideen who carried out operation Eilat, in reference to the shooting of Israeli troops across the border from Egypt near Eilat, which left 6 Israeli troops killed on August 18. He also denounced Egypt's ruling military council which is embracing the same policies adopted of previous rulers and centered around the protection of Israel.

"The military council did not budge when Qaddafi's forces were crushing our people in Libya ... but it rose up when the Mujahideen reached Eilat or Um al-Rashrash. Only then did the military council feel that it has failed in its mission that the Americans entrusted to it by the Americans."

Commenting on the assault on the Israeli embassy in Cairo, al Qaeda's boss told Egyptians to keep up their "intifada" against the Israeli embassy, and not allow Israeli Ambassador Yitzhak Levanon return to Cairo.

Levanon, and other senior embassy staff and their families were all evacuated and flown home to Israel after Egyptian protesters stormed the building housing the Israeli embassy in Cairo and tore down one of the outer embassy walls on September 10. Levanon has returned to Cairo a few days after the incident.

Al-Zawahri concluded his statement with a message to the Algerian people inciting them to follow the example of their "neighbors" in Tunisia and Libya, and rebel against the regime of president Bouteflika. "O' lions of Algeria ... your brothers in Tunisia and Libya have thrown their tyrants in the bin of history ... so why aren't you revolting against your tyrant?"

Al-Zawahri appeared in the video dressed in a white traditional Islamic dress and turban, sitting before a "Qaddafi" green backdrop. He looked a bit older, thinner, and his beard has gone completely grey. The tape runs a little over 13 minutes and was recorded at the end of August.

  • Khaled Wassef

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