Praise for the late Zarqawi and vows for revenge. From Al-Jazeera:
Al-Qaida’s deputy leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has hailed the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, as a soldier, an Islamic cleric and a prince of martyrs.
The videotaped statement, broadcast by Aljazeera on Friday, was the first acknowledgment by al-Qaeda’s central leadership of the death of al-Zarqawi, who was killed in a US air strike northeast of Baghdad on June 7.
The broadcast showed al-Zawahri, wearing a white robe and black turban, with a picture of a smiling al-Zarqawi over his left shoulder.
In the tape, al-Zawahiri said al-Zarqawi was “a soldier, a hero, an iman [sic: Islamic cleric = “imam”] and the prince of martyrs”.
Al-Zawahiri addressed George Bush directly in the broadcast, and vowed to avenge al-Zarqawi’s death.
“Yes O Bush, none of us is killed without us avenging him, with the help of God,” said al-Zawahiri.
“You are not facing individuals but the whole of the Muslim nation.
“America will not dream in security until security has become a reality in Palestine and the other Muslim countries.”
Al-Zawahiri also attacked Nuri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, and Zalmay Khalilzad, the US ambassador to Iraq, saying al-Maliki “trades with Islam” for power and describing Khalilzad as “the Afghan apostate”.
Al-Zawahiri did not mention the new leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, which the group has declared to be Abu Hamza al-Muhajer.
The omission of any reference to the successor might mean the tape was recorded before the successor was chosen, or it might indicate that al-Zawahiri does not endorse the new leader.