DUBAI (Reuters) – Al Qaeda’s deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri said in a videotape broadcast Monday al Qaeda would continue to attack the United States until Washington changed its policies toward the Muslim world.
“We are a nation of patience and we will continue fighting you (United States) until the last hour,” Zawahri said in the excerpts of the tape aired on Arab television Al Jazeera.
“Our final advice to America, although I know they will not heed it: You must choose between two methods in dealing with Muslims. Cooperate with them with respect and based on mutual interests or deal with them as free loot, robbed land and violated sanctity,” he said.
Egyptian-born Zawahri is Osama bin Laden’s right hand man and has been pictured traveling with the al Qaeda leader through Afghanistan. He is on the FBI’s list of its 22 “most wanted terrorists.”
The latest video, in which Zawahri was wearing a white turban and sitting with an automatic rifle next to him, appeared to have been taped before the U.S. presidential polls because he said it did not matter to al Qaeda whether Americans chose President Bush or Democratic challenger John Kerry.
Zawahri mentioned in passing Iraq’s polls which are due to be held in January.
“As for the American elections, the two candidates are competing for Israel’s favor — that is, competing for the crime against the Muslim nation in Palestine which has lasted for 87 years to continue.”
“This proves that there is no solution with America except to force it to submit to what is right through force,” he said.
A U.S. intelligence official said the U.S. intelligence community would conduct a technical analysis of the tape.
Al Jazeera last month aired a videotape from bin Laden warning of possible new Sept. 11-style attacks. He said in a full Internet broadcast of the video that Bush had dragged the United States into a quagmire in Iraq and warned of retaliation for Iraqi deaths.
It appeared to be bin Laden’s first direct threat against the United States over deaths in Iraq.
Fighters loyal to Washington’s top foe in Iraq, Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, recently pledged allegiance to the al Qaeda leader. Zarqawi’s group has claimed the bloodiest attacks in Iraq and hostage beheadings.
Zawahri said Arab and Muslim states would share Baghdad’s fate if they gave up jihad (holy war) and reiterated al Qaeda’s aim to “purify our countries from aggressors and stand up to whoever attacks us, violates our sanctities or robs our riches.”
“Those lands that are not occupied by crusader forces today will be their targets tomorrow,” he said.
Last month al Jazeera aired an audio tape attributed to Zawahri in which he called for organized resistance against “crusader America” and its allies and urged Muslims not to wait for Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen and Algeria to be taken.
In a Sept. 9 video-taped message he ridiculed U.S. forces which he said were “hiding in their trenches” in Afghanistan.
Zawahri and bin Laden, believed to be hiding in the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan, have eluded capture since the Sept. 11 attacks, which were carried out by al Qaeda.