First Published: 2005-02-11

 
Zawahiri hits out at US in new audiotape
 

Al-Qaeda number two says real freedom depends on rule of sharia, freeing Islam from any aggressor, liberating human being.

 

Middle East Online

Zawahiri following the news

DUBAI - An audiotape purportedly of Al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri hit out at the US concept of freedom Thursday, saying it was a cloak for spreading corruption and injustice in the Islamic world.

Liberty as construed by the Americans was based on "usurious banks, giant companies, misleading media outlets and the destruction of others for material gain," charged the voice in the recording aired by Arabic news channel Al-Jazeera.

Real freedom was "not the liberty of homosexual marriages and the abuse of women as a commodity to gain clients, win deals or attract tourists," said the voice.

"It is not the freedom of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib," it said, referring to US-run prisons in Cuba and Iraq where serious allegations of torture have been levelled.

"Our freedom ... and the reform that we are seeking depends on three concepts - the rule of sharia (Islamic law) ... freeing Islam from any aggressor ... and liberating the human being."

In the Islamic world, the people had the "right to choose its leader, hold him to account, criticise him and isolate him," said the audiotape, in a clear response to US calls for democratic reforms in the Arab and Muslim worlds.

"I do not think that we can achieve reform while we are under American and Jewish occupation."

In his State of the Union address earlier this month, President George W. Bush stepped up US calls for change, urging even traditional US allies Egypt and Saudi Arabia to move towards democracy.

But the new Al-Qaeda tape argued that US allies in the region were the problem not the solution.

"The nation has to confront repression, theft, forgery, corruption and the legacy of the rule which our rulers are exercising with America's blessing and backing," said the tape, whose authenticity could not immediately be verified.

It was the first purported message from Zawahiri since a videotape broadcast by Al-Jazeera on November 29 in which he vowed to pursue the fight against the United States.

The new message made reference to subsequent events, including a December 16 agreement between Egypt and Israel, and historic January 30 elections in Iraq.

"We cannot achieve reform when our leaders are seeking normalisation with Israel and destroying our economies for their own personal gains, like the QIZ (Qualified Industrial Zones) agreement signed by the Egyptian regime with Israel," the voice said.

Reform cannot be achieved "under governments installed by the occupation with forged elections," it said.

 

Turkey reinforces ground forces across border into Syria

Iraq parliament votes to impeach defense minister

Tunisia unity government to remain unchanged

Kerry announces new Yemen peace initiative

Raped teen who took own life finally gets justice in Morocco

Russia says will cooperate in Syria chemical attacks probe

Iraq forces take key town south of Mosul

Hamas to leave name off ballot in Palestinian elections

Kerry in Saudi for talks on regional conflicts

Iranian navy in 'unsafe' intercept of US destroyer

UN Syria envoy says expects 'impact' from Kerry-Lavrov meeting

Three wounded in PKK attack on Turkey opposition chief's convoy

Erdogan to inaugurate Istanbul's third Bosphorus bridge

China to train Syrian troops

Turkey says 'every right' to intervene if Kurds fail to withdraw

UN rights chief urges international probe of Yemen violations

Syria rebels backed by Turkey tanks 'seize' Jarabulus

Libya's presidential council to present new cabinet

Syria regime, Kurds blast Turkish incursion

Biden: Washington told Kurds not to cross Euphrates

Israeli court shuns plea to unchain Palestinian hunger striker

Saudi police foil mosque suicide bombing

Kerry to meet Russia's Lavrov in Geneva on Friday

Kurdish forces in Syria prime target for Turkey

Drone strike kills 2 Qaeda suspects in Yemen

Iran yet to decide on OPEC limits

Iraq forces advance south of Mosul

Muslim women say swimsuit uproar is 'absurd'

Gaza animals leave 'world's worst' zoo

Hasakeh: key flashpoint for Syria regime, Kurds

Kerry heads to Saudi on Yemen peace push

British woman killed in Australian stabbing

Hajj stoning to be shortened after deadly stampede

Turkey launches operation to clear Syria border town from IS

Israel raids West Bank arms factories

Morocco posts fall in foreign tourist arrivals

Turkey cuts interest rates defying inflation jump

Syria regime, Kurds agree Hasakeh truce

Iran says it requested Russian strikes on Aleppo

Turkey shells IS positions in Syria

UN braces for massive flight from Mosul

Sudanese migrant killed in Calais clashes

Palestinian suspect in police killings beaten to death

Iraq forces launch push to retake town south of Mosul

UN aid chief warns of 'unparalleled' catastrophe in Aleppo