This is Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri in his younger days. He is rumored to be the ideological brain to Osama Bin Laden.
It is rarely mentioned these days but he was convicted for his involvement in the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat for making peace with Israel.
He recently crawled out of a cave somewhere and went about his normal ranting about zionism, the evils of civilization, the superiority of his lifestyle... that sort of thing. I've been thinking about the generalities of these rants and the context of the times and here's my view.
These guys miscalculated and they are in a corner. They are a mouse that roared and is getting mauled for its efforts. Bin Laden has stated his belief that the American military was a paper tiger. He believed the Americans to be unwilling to take casualties. What he did not count on was boots on the ground in Afghanistan. Then came a massive force in Iraq. We didn't cut and run, what's a terrorist to do?
I found the text of the latest tape, or at least the portion the BBC published, and I have a few observation to cause me to think they are in trouble.
Also note how these guys punctuate sentences with 'God willing'? So far God hasn't been too willing has he Ayman?
Text of al-Zawahri statement:
"As for the British, I tell them that [UK Prime Minister Tony] Blair has brought you destruction in central London, and God willing, will bring more destruction.
O nations of the crusade alliance, we proposed that you at least stop your aggression against the Muslims. The lion of Islam, mujaheed sheikh Osama Bin Laden, may God preserve him, offered you a truce to leave the house of Islam.
Has sheikh Osama Bin Laden not informed you that you will not dream of security until we live it in reality in Palestine and before all infidel armies leave the land of Muhammad, may peace be upon him? You, however, shed rivers of blood in our land so we exploded volcanoes of anger in your land.
Our message to you is crystal clear: Your salvation will only come in your withdrawal from our land, in stopping the robbing of our oil and resources, and in stopping your support for the corrupt and corrupting leaders.
Ayman, have you seen gas prices lately? Who's robbing who? Additionally the reason you have corrupt leaders is that you have corrupt societies. No leader attains and retains power individually. If corrupt leaders is one of your burning issues you should thank us for getting rid of one of the most corrupt. What would you have in its place?
I believe your pal Zarqawi has given us a glimpse of that prospect.
Iraq equated to Vietnam.... seems we've heard that same thing from American liberals.
What you have you seen, O Americans, in New York and Washington and the losses you are having in Afghanistan and Iraq, in spite of all the media blackout, are only the losses of the initial clashes.
If you continue the same policy of aggression against Muslims, God willing, you will see horror that will make you forget what you saw in Vietnam.
The truth which [US President George W] Bush, [US Secretary of State Condoleezza] Rice and [US Defense Secretary Donald] Rumsfeld hide from you is that the only way out from Iraq is immediate withdrawal, and any delay in this decision will only mean more deaths and more losses.
If you don't leave today, then you shall inevitably leave tomorrow but after scores of thousands of fatalities and double that number of disabled and wounded people.
They are repeating with regard to Iraq the same claims and lies they uttered about Vietnam.
Did they not tell you that they would train the Vietnamese people so that they would run their own affairs themselves, and that they were defending freedom in Vietnam?
Now there is this translation of the Doctor's correspondence to Zack the Hacker in Iraq. The good Doctor needs money and suggests to Zack the Hacker that video taped beheadings are not polling well and perhaps not exactly the best way to win the hearts and minds of the Muslim population. The one paragraph that I found interesting was this tidbit:
However, despite all of this, I say to you: that we are in a battle, and that more than half of this battle is taking place in the battlefield of the media. And that we are in a media battle in a race for the hearts and minds of our Umma.
Not to worry Doc... what you've lost in bad publicity over there you've gained over here. You have the Left Coast on your side, Academia, the MSM, Code-Pink, the ACLU, Move-On.org, George Galloway and the like pulling for you. Just give them time and they'll get rid of that evil adversary of yours... George Bush.
Keep Hope Alive.