The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

New Zawahiri Video

Al-Jazeera has broadcasted a minute ago a new video by Dr. Ayman el-Zawahiri, the deputy chief of Al-Qa3da network, where he commented on latest developments in Palestine, Sudan, and Egypt.
Dr. Ayman criticized the proposed Fateh referendum that recognizes Israel and that is rejected by the HAMAS-led government. He also criticized the "Crusaders" plan to "starve the Palestinians," calling upon Muslims to rush to the Palestinians' aid. Dr. Ayman was specific though--The "Mujaheddin" should have the priority when it comes to the aid, followed by the families of prisoners and martyrs, and finally the "social issues."

Dr. Ayman also criticized the recent Darfur deal, accusing the "traitorous Sudanese government" of opening the door to foreign intervention in Muslim lands. "I call up on Muslims in Sudan to stand up to this Crusaders' plan," he said.

The most interesting excerpt from the video is when he touched on the subject of the judges in Egypt. He told the Egyptian judges they could not get their independence from the executive authorities, because this contradicted with the US vision of reform in the region that, according to him, wants to the Mubarak regime to continue as it it. He also exclaimed how could the judges campaign for their independence, when "their country itself is occupied." But then he blamed the judges too, saying they were "part of the problem themselves" as they were the ones who sanctioned the current constitution, "and embraced secularism instead of Shari3a."

The video had the usual logo of As-Sahab, the Al-Qa3da-affiliated media production company. Al-Jazeera did not mention the source. The channel also did not have a date of release, but it was clear it was filmed sometime before Zarqawi's killing, as Dr. Ayman appeared clueless his fellow militant in Iraq was killed.

He kept on extending praise to Zarqawi, "the prophet of Islam in Iraq, the persistent hero of Islam, the Holy Warriors Abu Musab al-Zarqawi." He sent his regards also to the Shura Council of Mujahedeen in Iraq and anti-US fighters, "who are confronting Crusaders and their apostate aids and the merchants of religion".

Dr. Ayman is still at large, probably hiding somewhere on the Pakistani-Afghani borders, as the continuous stream of reports since the US-led onslaught on Afghanistan in 2001. His two brothers, Hussein and Mohammed, were kidnapped in a CIA-supervised operation in 1999 from Malaysia and the UAE respectively. They were rendered to Egypt where they were brutally tortured by the Mukhabarrat (Egyptian Intelligence) and Amn el-Dawla, (State Security police).