BAGHDAD – Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, reputed leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, said in an audiotape found on the Internet that the Iraqi army is as great an enemy as the Americans and announced the formation of a new terror command to fight Iraq’s biggest Shiite militia.
The comments appeared aimed at discouraging armed Iraqi groups from entering talks with the Iraqi government. The tape challenged critics who maintain that fighting U.S. troops is legitimate but who oppose attacks on Iraqis.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other officials have said U.S.
representatives have participated in meetings with Sunni insurgents in an effort to help the Iraqi government draw militants into the political process.
“We announce that the Iraqi army is an army of apostates and mercenaries that has allied itself with the Crusaders and came to destroy Islam and fight Muslims. We will fight it,” the speaker said…