Given the recent stream of propaganda, al-Qaeda is much too comfortable in its safe haven in the Pakistani frontier regions. Will a direct threat such as this motivate Musharraf to do something about that? “Bin Laden tape to declare war on Musharraf,” by Lee Keath for the Associated Press:
CAIRO, Egypt – Osama bin Laden will release a new message soon declaring war on Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, al-Qaida announced Thursday.
The announcement of the upcoming message came as al-Qaida released a new video in which bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, boasted that the United States was being defeated in Afghanistan, Iraq and other fronts.
Speakers in the video promised more fighting in Afghanistan, North Africa and Sudan’s Darfur region.
A banner posted on an Islamic militant Web site on Thursday advertised that another message would be released, though it did not say whether bin Laden would appear in video or speak in an audiotape.
“Soon, God willing: ‘Come to Jihad (holy war)’, from sheik Osama bin Laden, God protect him” the banner read.
“Urgent, al-Qaida declares war on the tyrant Pervez Musharraf and his apostate army, in the words of Osama bin Laden,” it read.
The sophisticated 80-minute video released Thursday on the same Web site was in the style of a documentary, intersplicing the speech by al-Zawahri with footage from the Sept. 11 attacks, interviews with experts and officials taken from Western and Arab television stations, and old footage and audiotapes of bin Laden.
Al-Zawahri began by condemning the Pakistani military’s July assault on Islamic militants who took over the Red Mosque in Islamabad, and he paid tribute to one of the militants’ leaders, Abdul Rashid Ghazi, who was killed in the fighting.
The siege “revealed the extent of the despicableness, lowliness and treason of Musharraf and his forces, who don’t deserve the honor of defending Pakistan, because Pakistan is a Muslim land, whereas the forces of Musharraf are hunting dogs under (President) Bush’s crucifix,” al-Zawahri said.
“Let the Pakistani army know that the killing of Abdul Rashid Ghazi and his male and female students … has soaked the history of the Pakistan army in shame and despicableness which can only washed away by retaliation,” he said.
Al-Zawahri called for attacks on French and Spanish interests in North Africa and on U.N. and African peacekeepers expected to deploy in Sudan’s wartorn Darfur region.
The video included footage of al-Qaida’s leader in Afghanistan, Mustafa Abu al-Yazeed, meeting with a senior Taliban commander. In contrast to past videos that showed al-Qaida and Taliban fighters in rough desert terrain, Abu al-Yazeed and the commander were shown sitting in a verdant field surrounded by trees as a jihad anthem played, extolling the virgins that will meet martyrs in paradise.
Abu al-Yazeed said al-Qaida’s ties with the Taliban were strengthening. The Taliban commander, Dadullah Mansoor, said: “We shall target the infidels in Afghanistan and outside Afghanistan: inside all the infidel countries oppressing the Muslims. And we shall focus our attacks, Allah willing, on the coalition forces in Afghanistan.”
Another clip in the video showed Abu Musab Abdulwadood, the leader of Algeria’s main Islamic insurgency movement, addressing bin Laden and vowing that “our swords are unsheathed.”
Al-Zawahri called on supporters in North Africa to “cleanse the Maghrib (western region) of Islam of the children of France and Spain … Stand with your sons the mujahideen against the Crusaders and their children.”
The video also included what IntelCenter said appeared to be old, but previously unreleased footage of bin Laden. The images show the terror leader, with a beard streaked with gray and a a white cloth draped over his head, in front of a map showing the Middle East and South and Central Asia. He points to the map with a stick and addresses an unseen audience.
He condemns Arab Gulf governments that have allied themselves with the United States, saying they have “sold the Islamic nation, colluded with the enemies of Islam and backed the infidels. And this is the greater form of being an infidel … But Allah permitting, they shall leave the Gulf under the blows of the mujahideen,” bin Laden said.