From the SITE Institute:
An audio message attributed to Usama bin Laden, the Emir of al-Qaeda, in which he speaks of the martyrdom of the Emir of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was issued today, June 29 2006, by as-Sahab. The 19:16 minute speech features two panels atop Arabic subtitles; one panel featuring a static image of bin Laden and the other of footage from Zarqawi’s video speech, “A Message to the People,” from April 2006.
The voice does seem to be that of Usama bin Laden. In the message, bin Laden talks of the Muslim Nation’s regret at the loss of its “brave knight” and “lion of jihad,” Abu Musab al-Zarqawi Ahmad al-Khalayleh, after he was killed in a “sinful American raid.” Words of praise towards Zarqawi and his role in the Iraq jihad are proffered by the Emir; Zarqawi implicitly being referred to as a paragon for Mujahideen and Muslims, and stalwart against the “Pharaoh,” U.S. President George W. Bush. He states: “Yes, he is the knight of Islam that we are talking about, and who stood up in the face of American imperialism to the Pharaoh of our time after the
international organizations failed and regional gatherings failed and after the whole world failed to stop this oppressive aggression [in Iraq]”.
Note the subtle slap at Judaism in bin Laden’s comparing the mujahedin in Iraq to the Hebrews in the Book of Exodus, recasting that story as a matter of Islamic heritage.
Usama bin Laden also defends Zarqawi against those who accuse him and al-Qaeda in Iraq of killing the Iraqi people, explaining that he had “clear instructions” to target only the “occupying invaders,” on top of them the Americans, and keep “neutral” those who wished to remain so. In addition, bin Laden addresses Bush and commands that Zarqawi’s body must be delivered to his family in Zarqa, and questions why King Abdullah of Jordan should fear Zarqawi’s return, musing that this is because he knows the Muslims will turn out en masse in support of the Mujahideen at the funeral.
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s legacy and “good reputation,” according to bin Laden, should continue in poetry and prose, and be studied by the world to instill belief in Allah and opposition to aggression. He states: “Abu Musab – Allah bless his soul –
does not only honor his tribe and country, and nation, but honors all of humanity. He presented to it the meaning of glory, pride, sacrifice, and his legacy is a valuable symbol of this time.”