As-Sahab, al-Qaeda’s multimedia production arm, issued today, Friday, September 29, 2006, a 17:51 minute video speech featuring Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri and titled: “Bush, the Pope of the Vatican, Darfur, and the Crusader Wars”?. He appears in two scenes: one, subtitled in English, with an office-setup background with a lamp, flag bearing “No God, but Allah”?, and a cannon; the other is without a background, and depicts Zawahiri dressed entirely in white, without subtitles.
To U.S. President George W. Bush, Zawahiri brands him a “deceitful charlation” and liar, and questions: “why don’t you tell them how many million citizens of America and it’s allies you intend to kill in search of the imaginary victory and in breathless pursuit of the mirage towards which you are driving your people’s sons in order to increase your profits?”? He questions his motives for initating the War in Iraq, ridiculing the false prexets under which it was conducted. To this end he cites the purported links of Saddam Hussein to al-Qaeda, and the presence of weapons of mass destruction. He also addresses the capture of Khalid Shaikh Muhammad and questions that if it helped in the “war on terror” then “why are your troops retreating in secrete from the south and east of Afghanistan?… Bush…be aware that the liberation of our captives is a debt on our shoulders which we must fulfill”?. Other individuals who have been captured, such as Ramzi Yusef, Omar Abdul Rahman (the “Blind Sheikh”) and Abu al-Faraj al-Libi are also cited.
In the Arabic portion, Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri discusses the issue of the Pope Benedict XVI’s slanderous comments to Islam and the Prophet Muhammad, by prefacing such attacks as beginning with the Satanic Verses of Salmon Rushdie, followed by desecration of the Qur’an at Guantanamo Bay, and banning of the hijab in French schools. He states that the current pope is reminiscent of Pope Urban II, who “provoked the people of Europe to fight the Muslims” in the Crusades. Zawahiri disregards Christinaity due to its “supersitions” and alleged irrationality, but avers that Muslims are not enemies of Jesus as Pope Urban II claimed. On the pope’s comments directly, Zawahiri adds: “if Benedict attacked us, we will respond to his insults with good things. We will call upon him, and all of the Christians to become Muslims who do not recognize the Trinity or the crucifixion, and say that Allah united with the human.”