Bin Laden's Audio Focused on Pakistan, Not Obama

Al Qaeda's leader Osama bin Laden's latest audio statement, parts of which were aired by the Arab news network al Jazeera on Wednesday, focused on the situation in Pakistan and criticizing the government of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.

The timing of the release of the statement, a day before U.S. President Barack Obama's much-anticipated speech to Muslims out of Cairo, and Bin Laden's attacks on Obama in the audio seemed to suggest al Qaeda's leader's statement was intended as a pre-reaction to the speech.

However, the release of the full 25-minute statement on the Internet on Thursday confirms that bin Laden doesn't mention Obama's speech and only criticizes the U.S. President in reference to his policies in Pakistan, which was the focus of his statement.

Al Qaeda's second-in-command Ayman al Zawahri had issued an audio about Obama's trip to Egypt on Tuesday. Al Zawahri said Obama was not welcomed in the country.

In Bin Laden's audio, he lashes out his anger at Zardari's government over the recent military operations carried out against the militants in Swat valley and Waziristan. He urged Muslims in general and Pakistanis in particular to fight the Pakistani army, which he said was made of apostates.

"The Pakistani Army and America are both at war with Islam, and true Muslims have a duty to fight them," al Qaeda's leader decreed.

He called on Pakistani soldiers to "repent" and "rebel" against their commanders. "What would you say to God tomorrow, if you aligned yourself with those who fight in order to prevent God's faith from prevailing… just like the masters of the White House, you accuse the mujaheddin of being terrorists and saboteurs." Bin Laden continued arguing that armed forces in Muslim capitals all over the world have become "tools in the hands of the nations enemies."

Bin Laden also addressed the tense relations between India and Pakistan, arguing that Zardari's actions would bolster India's influence over Pakistan's districts. "This would eclipse the American concerns over the Pakistani nuclear weapons, and would allow India to join its fight against the mujahideen," he added.

In the parts that were aired by al Jazeera, Bin Laden had voiced his anger with the U.S. for inciting the Pakistani government to launch its military operation against the militants. "Obama and his administration have planted new seeds of hatred and vengeance towards America. The number of these seeds equates that of those who have suffered and been made homeless in the Swat valley and the tribal areas in northern and southern Waziristan, as well as those who sympathize with them."

He concluded his speech by accusing the U.S. president of following the same path taken by his predecessor, and warning Americans that they should prepare themselves "to harvest what their White House leaders have sown, in the years and decades to come."

Bin Laden's speech was 25:32 minute long. Excerpts from the tape were released yesterday on Doha based Aljazeera TV network.
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