A banner posted Sunday on a website often used by al Qaeda to release audios and videos of its leaders announces that the "second open interview" with al Qaeda's Ayman al Zawahri will soon be posted. The logo of al Sahab, al Qaeda's self-described "media production company," and a picture of al Zawahri, al Qaeda's second-in-command, appear on the banner. The interview will likely be posted in the form of a transcript.
Al Zawahri's last statement was an audio tape posted on the same website last Friday. In the tape, al Zawahri called the Iraq war a "failure" which will be passed on to the next U.S. president. The new banner refers to the upcoming Zawahri interview as another surprise, apparently in reference to two statements being released so close to each other.
Yasser Serri, an Egyptian Islamist and an expert on Islamist movements, believes this interview was conducted in early April, at the same time as "part one" of the series entitled "open meeting" with al Zawahri. Serri thinks that by releasing this interview in two parts, al Qaeda is trying to stay in touch with its followers for recruitment and incitement purposes. "Just as a newspaper or a television station, they are trying to capitalize on this interview and use it as much as they can," said Serri.
Al Sahab had invited people to post questions they'd like to ask al Zawahri online. In Part One, which was released as a 46-page question and answer transcript, al Zawahri said he chose 90 questions to answer.
This will be al Zawahri's fifth statement this year. He has been issuing frequent statements, but Serri believes there is no competition or disagreement regarding this between al Zawahri and al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, whose statements are less frequent.
By Hoda Osman