Al Qaeda's second-in-command Ayman al Zawahri criticized the International Criminal Court's arrest warrant of Sudan's President Omar al Bashir, but stressed that he did not support al Bashir. "I am not defending Omar al Bashir or his regime, nor am I defending what it has done in Darfur and elsewhere; rather, I am asking our Muslim nation to look at the matter in a comprehensive way," al Zawahri said in a new audio statement, released today, dedicated to the Sudanese situation.
Al Zawahri argued that the arrest warrant represented more "foreign interference in Muslim countries" and questioned why other world leaders like "Bush, Blair, Olmert, Barak, Musharraf and Putin" were not put on trial. He also criticized the United Nations for not intervening during the Israeli aggression on Gaza.
Al Zawahri urged the Sudanese people to prepare for a "long guerrilla war." "The Sudanese regime is too weak to defend the Sudan, so you must do what was done by your brothers in Iraq and Somalia, who defended their countries when the official regimes were powerless to do that," he said.
He also expressed support for Muslims in Sudan. "We shall – with God's help – do all that is in our power to help you, despite our knowledge that the Sudanese regime lies in wait for any mujahid it might discover in the Sudan."
Finally, al Zawahri said the situation offers an opportunity for al Bashir to repent and to "realize that the Crusade will be satisfied with nothing less than total submission and surrender."