Al Qaeda will continue to target the United States and other Western countries so long as Muslims are under attack, the militant group’s second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri said in a video tape aired on Wednesday.
“If we are attacked in our land we shall not stop attacking you in your countries, God willing,” Zawahri said in the tape aired by Al Jazeera television.
“The formula for your safety is: You will not dream of security until we live it as a reality in Palestine and all Muslim countries,” he said.
He dismissed US President George W. Bush’s argument that combating terrorism can guarantee security and said Washington was scrambling for an exit from Iraq and Afghanistan, but was approaching the wrong parties.
“Both Democrats and Republicans are scrambling to find an exit from the disasters in Afghanistan and Iraq and are still thinking with the same rash mentality and trying to negotiate with some sides to secure your exit but these sides cannot offer you an escape and your attempts will only bring more failure.
“You are not negotiating with the real powers in the Muslim world and you appear to be heading toward a painful round of negotiations, after which you will forced to talks to the real forces…” he said.
Facing growing pressure to shift course in the unpopular Iraq war, Bush is weighing the recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, which has called for the United States to engage Iran and Syria directly over Iraq.
The panel’s report calls for accelerating the training of Iraqi forces and pulling back US combat troops by early 2008.
Zawahri called on Iraq’s Sunni Muslim insurgents to fall behind the so-called Islamic State in Iraq, announced in October by groups including Iraq’s wing of al Qaeda.
“I urge the whole Muslim nation to support this fledgling state as it is, God willing, the gateway for the liberation of Palestine and the revival of the Islamic caliphate.
“I also urge all my mujahideen brothers in Iraq to join this blessed convoy to save the Iraq caliphate from the shackles of the crusaders and their agents, the traitors who have sold their faith,” he said.
Zawahri took a swing at Iraq’s Shi’ite Muslim leaders who he said opposed jihad against US-led forces in Iraq while they saw Lebanese Shi’ite guerrilla group Hezbollah’s war with Israel in June-July as sanctioned by Islam.
“How is it possible that jihad against the Jews in Lebanon is in line with Islam but jihad against Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan is taboo,” he said.