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.


Mixed verdict by Israeli court for settlers who burned Palestinian teen alive

Syria regime denies chemical weapons use

Erdogan: Turkey will not apologise to Russia

Iran pilgrims break through Iraq border fence

Tunisia olive production at risk of halving by 2030

UAE says ready to commit ground troops in Syria

3 Saudi soldiers killed on Yemen border

Syrians negotiate rebel exit from Homs

Frustration grows as Tunisia keeps border shut over deadly blast

France says cooperation with Syria not possible under Assad regime

Iran: Saudi plan for Syria ignores Vienna agreements

Iraq PM says country has sufficient forces to fight IS

Kuwait names new acting Oil Minister in cabinet reshuffle

Number of ISIS executions hits more than 3,500 in Syria alone

‘Russia’ air strikes kill at least 18 civilians in Ariha town in Syria

EU offers Turkey cash, closer ties at migration summit

Saudi women begin first-ever campaigns for public office

Bashir takes another step on path of rapprochement with Gulf countries

Iran wants closure of nuclear probe in order to implement deal

Iran General ‘seriously wounded’ in rocket attack in Syria

Turkey seeks to ease tensions with Moscow

Turkey protests against journalist arrests

Corbyn criticised over Syria air strike rejection

Saudi women begin first-ever election campaign

Russia prepares retaliation against Turkey

Tunisia to rethink anti-IS strategy

Cameron pushes for Britain to join Syria air strikes

Erdogan denies buying oil from IS

Lavrov says no war with Turkey after 'planned provocation'

Tunisia under state of emergency

Missing Iranian diplomat found dead in Saudi

Heavy Russia raids at site of Syria plane crash

Tunisia declares state of emergency after terrorist attack in heart of capital

Bahrain calls HRW torture report 'misleading'

Syria, Russia foreign ministers set Moscow talks

Rival Libya tribes sign peace deal to end months of fighting

Turkey reveals new cabinet of Erdogan allies

Turkey downs Russia Su-24 fighter jet on Syria border

Hopes fade away as Sudan peace talks break without deal

At least 6 dead in Libya bomb attack

Somali pirates seize Iran fishing boat with 15 crew

ISIS suicide bombers kill four in assault on Sinai hotel

Kerry visits Israel with scant hopes for major breakthrough

Hollande heads to Washington to seek support for war on ISIS

Brussels extends terror alert as US issues worldwide travel warning