CAIRO, Egypt (AP) – Al-Qaida marked the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks with an hour and a half video message Monday summarizing the state of jihad, or holy war, around the world and slamming Iran for collaborating with the United States.
Short excerpts of the message were aired on the Arab satellite news channel Al-Jazeera.
In them, al-Qaida Number 2, Ayman al-Zawahri accused Iran of working with U.S. forces.
Al-Zawahri said Tehran was “cooperating with the Americans in occupying Iraq and Afghanistan” and slammed Iran for recognizing the two governments. He also criticized the Shiites for not calling for a jihad in Iraq against the “Crusader occupier.” In militant postings, “crusaders” is shorthand for U.S. troops in Iraq.
“The guardian of Muslims in Tehran is cooperating with the Americans in occupying Iraq and Afghanistan and recognizes the two hireling governments there,” al-Zawahri said.
Zawahri has been increasingly singling out Iran and Shiites in his messages, most recently in April, describing the “Persians” as the enemy of Arabs and complicit in the occupation of Iraq.
Monday’s video featured clips of al-Qaida operations on various fronts, including Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia, with prominent figures from the movement discoursing on their accomplishments over the year, Al-Jazeera said.
The pan-Arab network did not disclose how it obtained the recording. By late Monday, the video had not surfaced on militant Web sites commonly used as clearing houses for the terror networks’ messages.
In contrast to reports that al-Qaida has been weakened in Iraq, Monday’s message claimed that jihad was alive and well. According to Al-Jazeera’s Web site, it showed an Iraqi scholar decrying the U.S.-allied awakening councils that have turned against al-Qaida as “treacherous” and “doomed.”
The tape also celebrated former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf’s resignation, saying he had “swallowed the fruit of his betrayal,” according to Al-Jazeera. The U.S.-allied government in Kabul was also described as weaker.
Al-Zawahri also ridiculed Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group for describing their 2006 summer war with Israel as a victory.
“What victory?” he said, according to Al-Jazeera. “Retreating 30 miles backwards?”
Al-Qaida leader, Abu Yahia al-Libi, the movement’s commander in Afghanistan, also appeared praising the exploits of Islamist insurgents in Somalia, claiming their numbers were growing.