Zawahiri calls US talks with Taliban, defence cuts a show of weakness

Published: March 1, 2012

"Egypt is not a free trade zone, nor an agent for America nor a middleman for Israel nor a tourist resort. It is the citadel of Islam. The fortress of pan-Arabism; the land of garrison, jihad, knowledge, and preaching" said Zawahiri, himself an Egyptian. PHOTO: AFP

DUBAI: Al Qaeda’s leader Ayman al-Zawahiri said US decisions to cut its defence budget and engage with the Afghan Taliban were signals of a decline in Washington’s power, in a message posted on the Internet on Wednesday.

Zawahiri, who took up the reins of al Qaeda after the killing
of Osama bin Laden last year
, also said popular uprisings that
have convulsed the Arab world since last year were
overwhelmingly Islamist in motive.

“One of the latest signs of its shrinking (power) is the
reduction in the US Department of Defense’s budget,” said
Zawahiri in the 24-minute audio recording posted on Islamist
websites, adding “military arrogance” had brought it nothing but
losses.

US President Barack Obama in mid-February unveiled a
defence budget for 2013 that proposed cuts in Pentagon spending
for the first time since 1998, slashing military personnel costs
and weapons purchases.

“The biggest factor that forced America to reduce its
defence budget is Allah’s help to the mujahideen to harm the
evil empire of our time,” he said, referring to those who fight
holy war.

Zawahiri said US overtures to the Afghan Taliban, with
which it has made “exploratory” contacts for possible
reconciliation, according to an Afghan diplomat, was further
evidence of its defeat.

“America … is about to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan, and then not only accept, but insist upon requesting negotiations with the Islamic Emirate (Afghan Taliban), which it used to consider as a terrorist group that must be annihilated,” Zawahiri said.

In the recording was the ninth in a series of messages which
have also dealt with political developments in Egypt.

Zawahiri said despite the overthrow of former President Hosni
Mubarak last year, his “corrupt regime” would remain in place
until the country imposed Islamic law, stopped answering to the
United States and cancelled its peace treaty with Israel.

“The popular Arab uprisings have proved they are mainly
Islamic in orientation and have sparked a revolution against the
mercenaries of America,” said Zawahiri in the recording, entitled
“So Why Did We Revolt Against Him?”.

Banned under Mubarak, the Muslim Brotherhood today holds
more than 43 percent of the seats in the Egyptian parliament,
having won more than any other party in the country’s most
democratic election in six decades.

“Egypt is not a free trade zone, nor an agent for America
nor a middleman for Israel nor a tourist resort. It is the
citadel of Islam. The fortress of pan-Arabism; the land of
garrison, jihad, knowledge, and preaching” said Zawahiri, himself
an Egyptian.

Reader Comments (25)

  • Mirza
    Mar 1, 2012 - 3:43AM

    Before all the talk, look around and watch for the Drones!

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  • Bhindian
    Mar 1, 2012 - 4:01AM

    Say what you want but he is absolutely right!

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  • sam
    Mar 1, 2012 - 4:45AM

    Then leave our region and please move to egypt, u egypt born american puppy.

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  • M
    Mar 1, 2012 - 5:11AM

    When is the US taking out this idiot

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  • Mar 1, 2012 - 6:19AM

    Zawahri an agent working for Uncle sam’s Strategic Interests

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  • Malik Rashid
    Mar 1, 2012 - 6:23AM

    Popular Arab uprisings reflect the yearning for democracy and freedom. Islamists have to win votes. It won’t be long that people reject the emotional-religious rhetoric for progress and peace.

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  • MarkH
    Mar 1, 2012 - 6:25AM

    Zawahiri, lets take a look at your success rate as head of Al Qaida… Hm, it doesn’t exist. What exactly is happening that implies there’s weakness when it’s also common sense to cut the unnecessary?

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  • Falcon
    Mar 1, 2012 - 6:57AM

    This guy should have his own comedy show.

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  • Dave Burnstorm
    Mar 1, 2012 - 6:59AM

    a CIA mole who would be found dead near a military establishment in a peaceful city of pakistan and the world would curse pakistan again for harbouring terrorists, what a shame. Any bearded guy can claim to be any one and the media and people would blindly believe it, just need a muslim name and a white turban.

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  • K Mian
    Mar 1, 2012 - 7:16AM

    What crap!

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  • Arijit Sharma
    Mar 1, 2012 - 7:17AM

    Arabs always bring trouble along.

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  • Mar 1, 2012 - 8:11AM

    I am sure the Pakistanis authorities will say he could be anywhere but not in Pakistan, just like they did with OBL.

    I cant wait for another operation to take out this Terrorist.

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  • RRS
    Mar 1, 2012 - 8:14AM

    Watch out for the drone. Objects are nearer than you expect.

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  • AnisAqeel
    Mar 1, 2012 - 8:16AM

    O’ya, is this why you are hiding like a rat under ground. Have mercy on Islam and come out to listen some music but do inform your children to migrate to USA and Europe and get educated as your friend Osama advised.

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  • Seal Team 6
    Mar 1, 2012 - 8:48AM

    Can someone guess where this guy will be found?

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  • Mar 1, 2012 - 9:13AM

    why he is uncomfortable on defense cuts in US, reduction in defense budget means reduction of funds in war of terror so all beneficiaries of that war r confused. no matter they were fighting or supporting any one, yet reduction of funds will reduce their interests too. display of OBL death was starter while reduction of US defense budget and organize return of US+nato army from Afghanistan will end the 2nd hot point after IRAQ. it means a showdown of US war Industrial Complex. naturally, it will be painful for all who r directly and indirectly beneficiaries of that game plan of Bush administration. resonance of new policy can be observed from Burma till Tajkistan so that all beneficiaries from republicans to fundos r reluctant to accept new policy.

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  • vasan
    Mar 1, 2012 - 9:34AM

    I keep reading that OBL was not killed last year. Where are those posters ?

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  • Mar 1, 2012 - 9:39AM

    @Arijit Sharma:
    He is a US citizen.

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  • Rahul
    Mar 1, 2012 - 10:03AM

    LOL,biggest joke of century.Uncle Sam is hunting them like rats.When was the last time these people hit US back at their own soil?Defence cuts dont mean the drones will go away.

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  • Pragmatist
    Mar 1, 2012 - 10:50AM

    I am sure Zawahiri was watching the skies even as he made the statement.
    If the drones don’t get him, the marines will !

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  • Pragmatist
    Mar 1, 2012 - 10:52AM

    He calls the Afghan Taliban the “Islamic Emirate”. Does that mean what I think it means?

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  • well-wisher
    Mar 1, 2012 - 2:41PM

    The Americans would be boiling with rage over this statement which is factually correct. I hope he is not hiding in Pakistan, US would redouble its efforts to get him at any cost.

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  • j. von hettlingen
    Mar 2, 2012 - 2:00AM

    Zawahiri seeks attention but gains little. If Egypt is a “cidtadel of Islam, citadel of Islam, the fortress of pan-Arabism; the land of garrison, jihad, knowledge, and preaching”, why doesn’t he return, now that Mubarak is gone? He’s Egyptian himself!

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  • Mar 2, 2012 - 7:19AM

    Nice to see Western patsies liberating oil fields all over the world.

    The Guardian has discovered an address in Copenhagen from which al-Zawahiri once edited the Mujahideen newsletter. Subscription information for the newsletter on an academic website declared, however, that it was “temporarily issued from Switzerland”. Al-Zawahiri is likely to have sought sanctuary in Afghanistan in 1997 or 1998. He carries Swiss and French passports under the name Amin Othman, according to the Egyptian government, as well as his original Egyptian passport (number 1084010).

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2001/sep/24/afghanistan.terrorism11

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  • G. Din
    Mar 4, 2012 - 2:28AM

    @Rahul:
    “Defence cuts dont mean the drones will go away.”
    In fact, it means quite the opposite. Defence cuts were found to be absolutely possible because of a sea change in warfare that drone technology brought along. Look at all the major powers, including India, go the whole hog in this area.

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