Al Qaeda’s leader in Iraq has called for more suicide attacks on U.S. forces and vowed that President George W. Bush will enjoy no “peace of mind”, according to an Internet audio tape attributed to him on Friday.
The speaker, who made a reference that suggested the tape was recorded in late March, identified himself as Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. He said that the holy war, or jihad, was still being waged vigorously two years after the U.S. invasion.
He also warned fellow insurgents, however, against entering any negotiations with the Americans or their Iraqi allies.
“We promise God that the dog … Bush will not enjoy peace of mind and that his army will not have a good life as long as our hearts are beating,” the speaker said. “We are coming.”
Washington’s top general acknowledged this week that the insurgency, largely among Iraq’s formerly dominant Sunni Muslim minority, appeared as strong as it was a year ago, despite U.S. efforts to train Iraqi forces under a newly elected government.
It was not possible to verify the authenticity of the tape, which was posted on Web sites used by Islamists. At one point, the speaker referred to a newspaper article as being published on March 19 and described that as “the current month”.
“O martyrs’ brigades, set out with God’s blessing. And do not leave a single convoy on course or a checkpoint for them to stand at. And turn their nights into day,” he said.
Zarqawi, who has claimed some of the bloodiest attacks on Americans and Iraqis, was publicly appointed by al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden as his deputy in Iraq last year.
“Two years have passed since Baghdad’s fall into the hands of the crusaders who have gained nothing but defeat and shame,” the speaker said.
“The … worshippers of the cross have achieved none of the goals they came for — to control the Muslim nation and enable the Zionist state to rule from the Nile to the Euphrates.”
He said attacks by mujahideen, or holy warriors, were “the rock upon which the arrogance of American power was shattered” and warned fellow Sunni insurgents against entering into talks with the new U.S.-backed government.
The speaker said recent reported efforts by Iraqi and U.S. officials to talk to insurgents was “Lucifer’s ruse”.
A previous audio tape attributed to Zarqawi appeared on the Internet in January. It declared a “bitter war” on Iraq’s parliamentary election held on January 30.
In fact, voting passed off fairly smoothly outside the Sunni heartlands but the past weeks have seen a resurgence in violence as the new parliament has wrangled over the division of power; a government formed only on Thursday remains incomplete.