Al-Zawahri Vows to Keep Fighting U.S.
CAIRO, Egypt – Osama bin Laden’s top deputy vowed in a videotape aired Monday to keep fighting the United States until Washington changed its policies.
In a brief excerpt broadcast on Al-Jazeera television, Ayman al-Zawahri offered Americans “one last advice” for dealing with Muslims, adding, “I am sure that they will not heed it.”
“You have to choose between one of two methods to deal with Muslims: either on mutual respect and exchange of interests, or to deal with them as if they are spoils of war,” al-Zawahri said. “This is your problem and you have to choose yourself. You have to realize that we are a nation of patience and endurance. We will stand firm to fight you with God’s help until doomsday.”
The bearded and bespectacled al-Zawahri sat before a brown background, with a gun leaning against the wall. One shoulder was covered by a brown blanket. His voice sounded calm and steady, as in previous tapes.
A U.S. intelligence official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said authorities have “a high degree of confidence” the message was from al-Zawahri.
The intelligence official noted this video resembles one made in September, featuring a similar brown fabric background and weapon. But, the official added, that does not mean it was made at the same time or actually is the same video.
In a reference apparently showing that the latest tape was made before the Nov. 2 presidential election in the United States, al-Zawahri said there was no difference between President Bush and Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts.
“As for elections in America, the two candidates are competing to win the satisfaction of Israel,” saying that fact proved “there will be no solution with America without forcing it to surrender to justice.”
He added: “The results of the elections do not matter for us. Vote whoever you want, Bush, Kerry or the devil himself. This does not concern us. What concerns us is to purge our land from the aggressors.”
Days before the election, bin Laden said in similar video footage that the United States must stop threatening the security of Muslims if it wanted to avoid “another Manhattan” – referring to the Sept. 11 attacks. Addressing the American people, bin Laden also said, “Your security is not in the hands of Kerry, Bush or al-Qaida. Your security is in your own hands …. Any state that does not mess with our security has naturally guaranteed its own security.”
It was unclear if Al-Jazeera planned to show more of the latest al-Zawahri tape.
The United States has offered a $25 million reward for the capture of bin Laden and al-Zawahri, who are believed to be hiding in the border area of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Two al-Zawahri messages were aired in September and October: an audiotape on Oct. 1 that called on young Muslims to attack the United States, and a videotape broadcast on Al-Jazeera on Sept. 9 in which he predicted the United States would ultimately be defeated in Iraq and Afghanistan.