[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/02/03/al.qaeda.audio.message/art.al.zawahiri.jpg caption="Ayman al-Zawahiri criticized President Obama for failing to mention the Gaza conflict at his inauguration."]
CNN Arab Affairs Editor
Ayman al-Zawahiri, the number 2 man of al Qaeda, allegedly released an audio message today titled, “Gaza Sacrifices and The Conspiracies.” The voice on the audio sounds very much like Zawahiri; the intonation and accent are consistent with earlier messages by the Egyptian doctor. Two references indicate that the message was recorded on or after January 20th. This is significant as it gives an idea of how quickly these messages are turned around and released online. Zawahiri references Israeli forces pulling out of Gaza and he indicates his knowledge that President Obama didn't mention Gaza in his inauguration speech.
The audio message is part of a production by As-Sahab the video production and mouthpiece of al Qaeda. As-Sahab (The Clouds in Arabic) has been producing propaganda videos for al Qaeda since 2001, shortly after the terror attacks on New York and DC. Today’s release plays over a graphic showing a photo collage which compliment the message in their symbolism. Mirroring Zawahiri’s opinion that some Arab leaders are involved in a conspiracy against the Palestinian people, the collage shows King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia drinking coffee with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak; and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas posing with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. The rest of the collage shows three dead Palestinian children on one side and Zawahiri’s photo on the other.
A graphic video plays before and after the message showing images of various militant attacks in various regions of the world with jihadist songs playing in the background.
The subject today is very much the same his message of January 6, 2009 - Gaza. He calls for jihad – holy war. He asks people to donate money, weapons or themselves to “support your brethren in Gaza.” He claims that peaceful demonstrations are not enough and calls for everyone to help “in any way they can.”
Half way through his message he says, “Even [President] Obama declared that he was very concerned about the civilians who are being killed in Gaza.” He then mocks the US president by saying “concerned.” Then he continues, ”We are very grateful for your concern Mr. Obama. We received your ‘concern’ along with thousands of bombs and tons of the white phosphorus mixed with the scattered bodies, blood and tears of the Muslims in Gaza.” Then he concludes, “But apparently, [President] Obama’s “concern” didn’t last too long because in his inauguration speech, he didn’t mention one word about what took place in Gaza as if nothing happened there.”
While Zawahiri tells his listeners not to wait for permission to perform jihad and assist Gaza, one must note that his messages don’t seem to ring true with the people of Gaza. Despite the multitude of messages aimed at Gaza and in support of Gaza, we have yet to hear a serious Palestinian response to or acknowledgement of these messages from the Palestinian side - Hamas, Fatah or ordinary Palestinians.
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