View Full Version : Abu Aardvark - Analysis of Zawahiri's latest

03-15-2007, 10:11 AM
Interesting analysis here from al-Zawahiri's latest audiotape (http://abuaardvark.typepad.com/abuaardvark/2007/03/zawahiris_lates.html).

I just had the chance to listen to Ayman al-Zawahiri's latest audio. When I listen to Zawahiri's tapes and videos over the last year, I don't hear the confused, struggling, flailing has-been who seems to populate much of the commentary about his tapes. I hear a confident, even cocky speaker who senses events going his way - whether or not those successes are of his own making. He is extremely up to date in his references, making a point of mentioning Cheney's trip to Pakistan and the attempted bombing there. Most accounts of this tape have focused on his blunt intervention in Palestinian affairs. That's appropriate: Palestine takes up a good two-thirds of the tape, and the entire presentation features a slogan, alternately in Arabic and English, declaring that "Palestine is our affair and a concern of all Muslims." But there are three other major themes that might get lost in the commentary that I thought were worth bringing out.

First: he argues that with America in retreat, as "the Muslims move from one victory to another just as the Crusaders stumble backward from one failure to another", why would any Muslim want to strike a bad deal now? This refers to Palestine directly, but also indirectly to Iraq. Why all this "backtracking before the American project when America is being defeated in America and Iraq, groaning under the blows from the mujahideen and searching for a way out?" The "Zionist Crusade" is "reeling... under your blows", he says. In Iraq, he argues, the Baghdad conference aims "to strike a deal which will ease the departure of the Crusaders," who are in a "confused and deteriorating condition." All bluff and bluster, perhaps, but in line with all other recent al-Qaeda statements he projects confidence about where things are going and describes Iraq and Afghanistan as battles already won.

Second: he takes developments in Palestine and Egypt as evidence supporting his long-standing argument against participating in elections: "my Muslim Ummah, these are the fruits of secular democracy and the fruit of elections in the shadow of occupation." He savages Hamas for selling out Palestine in exchange for a few cabinet seats in a government which can't even control its own border crossing. He mocks Ismail Haniya for being stuck out in the cold at the Rafah border crossing waiting for Israeli permission to enter. For this, he says, Hamas gave up sharia law and most of Palestine? On Egypt, he mocks the Muslim Brotherhood relentlessly: despite agreeing to obey the laws of the regime, to denounce the jihad, and to participate in the elections now they are hounded ruthlessly by that regime. The regime "pounces on them despite all their concessions." He calls on "my Muslim Brothers" (Ikhwan Muslimeen) to "free themselves from the bonds of the organization" (the Muslim Brothers). He defends the al-Azhar students, whose martial arts demonstration provided the justification for the current crackdown - which suggests that his real target here are young Muslim Brothers who have grown restless and frustrated with the organization's cautious approach. There may be takers. (Note - this doesn't represent a surprising "split" between al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood, as I've seen suggested by people who should know better. That would be absurd, since they have long been mortal enemies and Zawahiri himself penned one of the best known attacks on the MB; nor is Zawahiri's attack on Hamas unprecedented, since he attacked them prominently for participating in the Palestinian elections in the first place.)

Third: he looks to score some points off of the Srebrenica verdict at the Hague, juxtaposing an international court which lets off the hook the Christian murderers of hundreds of thousands of Bosnian Muslims with the recent indictments over Darfur. He asks: "How can America refer the case of Darfur to an international court when it does not place itself under that court's jurisdiction or submit to its rulings?" He doesn't endorse the Sudanese government, saying that all guilty of crimes should be charged, but focuses his ire on the double-standards and hypocrisy of existing international law: "What sort of tyranny is this world run by?"

By the way, want to know the only place where Zawahiri seems to indicate any vulnerability? It's the prospect of an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement: "America has decided it must settle the Palestinian issue in a nominal way in order to remove one of the biggest reasons for the Muslims' hatred of it."

03-15-2007, 11:48 AM
-sounds like a guy the Democrats could negotiate with, get a little diplomacy going, maybe some cash to his favorite charity to bring him to the table of diplomacy. Sarcasm intended here as he plays directly to the cut n' run crowd in control of Congress. Our in-the-air-on-the-net counter propoganda is mired in the confines of political correctness and cultural sensitivity. We need to appear that we understand muslim extremists, we wouldn't want the world to think we hate them.

03-15-2007, 11:52 AM
I have no idea what you are talking about. al-Zawahiri is clearly addressing Islamists here, and the tape contains interesting info as to where the Islamists' debate is at.

J Wolfsberger
03-15-2007, 01:17 PM
He's addressing the Islamists, but I don't think he ever says anything without considering how it will resonate in the western media, and especially among leftist politicians.

03-15-2007, 02:14 PM
Zawahiri's 3rd point is aimed directly at the West, rubbing salt in the already guilt-ridden, festering psyches of Western Liberals/Socialists. He should be concerned about the Palis, since the north flank of Israel, hizbullah, does not have carte blanche spending from Iran any more and IDF/Shin Beit can allocate a few more resources to internal threats. Zawahiri's pep talk coincides nicely with KSM's 'confession' too, which of course was known to be forthcoming by jihadis for quite some time. He's good all right. His ' we are winning, you are losing' spiel plays nicely with the likes of Barack Obama who wants us out of Iraq in a year so we can better focus on Afghanistan, where "very real kind of threats" exist.

03-15-2007, 02:31 PM
Zawahiri's 3rd point is aimed directly at the West, rubbing salt in the already guilt-ridden, festering psyches of Western Liberals/Socialists.

Really? The blogger's main point appears to be that Zawahiri was mainly attacking Hamas for participating in Palestinian elections and negotiations with Israel rather than launching a glorious wave of suicide bombers, thus seeking to marginalize Hamas and Egyptian MB's participation in elections. This may be related AQ possibly looking into setting up a franchise (http://www.jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?articleid=2369762)in Palestine.

03-15-2007, 05:11 PM
I concur with the idea that this tape is meant for Zawahiri's fellow islamists - specifically al Qaeda supporters and fans. He's just summarizing current events and putting his own political spin on them.

Old Eagle
03-15-2007, 06:00 PM
Sorry. This is part of a very elaborate information campaign, aimed at the broadest possible Muslim population as well as western audiences. There are both exhortations to the faithful and warnings (veiled and otherwise) to the broader audience. We are in a war of ideas, religious and otherwise, and this is a major part of the campaign plan.

The very contemporary references, as opposed to the dated references in previous tapes, show that Z-man is in close contact with the technological base.

03-16-2007, 04:29 PM
Regarding AQ opening a Palestinian franchise: say hello (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/16/world/middleeast/16jihad.html?hp)!

The men belong to a new militant Islamic organization called Fatah al Islam, whose leader, a fugitive Palestinian named Shakir al-Abssi, has set up operations in a refugee camp here where he trains fighters and spreads the ideology of Al Qaeda.

He has solid terrorist credentials. A former associate of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al Qaeda of Mesopotamia who was killed last summer, Mr. Abssi was sentenced to death in absentia along with Mr. Zarqawi in the 2002 assassination of an American diplomat in Jordan, Laurence Foley. Just four months after arriving here from Syria, Mr. Abssi has a militia that intelligence officials estimate at 150 men and an arsenal of explosives, rockets and even an antiaircraft gun.

03-17-2007, 03:27 AM
Regarding AQ opening a Palestinian franchise: say hello (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/16/world/middleeast/16jihad.html?hp)!

Thank you for the link, tequila. But... AQ in Palestine said "hello" back in July 2006. Some said they heard about it even in 2005. Question is how big and influential are they since Palestinians have such nationalistic feelings (which Dr.Z and AQ don't like at all).

03-17-2007, 12:18 PM
Well this is not really "Palestinian" AQ, as it is based in refugee camps in Lebanon and appears to be mostly made up of Saudis right now. However, it does appear to have a good recruiting base in the camps and the Lebanese are apparently in no hurry to root them out. We'll see how this develops.