First Published: 2013-04-07

 

Zawahiri urges establishment of Islamic state in Syria to help return of Caliphate

 

Al-Qaeda chief calls on rebels to fight to establish Islamic state in Syria, warns France against its military intervention in Mali.

 

Middle East Online

Al-Zawahiri: Caliph-in-waiting?

DUBAI - Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri has urged rebels to fight to establish an Islamic state in Syria, in an online audio message Sunday in which he also warned France against its military intervention in Mali.

"Let your fight be in the name of Allah and with the aim of establishing Allah's sharia (law) as the ruling system," he said in his first message posted on the Internet since last November.

"Do all that you can so that your holy war yields a jihadist Islamic state," said Zawahiri, adding that such a state would help to re-establish the Islamic "caliphate" system of rule.

"The enemy has begun to reel and collapse," he said, referring to forces loyal to Assad.

Islamist rebel groups such as the Al-Nusra Front, which has links to Al-Qaeda, have eschewed the main opposition National Coalition, making it clear their goal is the creation of an Islamic state to replace President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Zawahiri's message will not sit easily with Western powers, who have expressed fears of extremist Islamism playing a growing role in the Syrian conflict and are reluctant to arm the rebels on the ground.

Assad's regime has long dismissed the rebels as "terror" groups backed by Western powers and driven by Al-Qaeda-style ideologies.

The United Nations says more than 70,000 people have been killed in Syria's two-year conflict, which broke out after the army unleashed a brutal crackdown against dissent, turning the uprising into a bloody insurgency.

Zawahiri in his message also warned France over its military involvement against Islamists in Mali, saying it will be defeated in the same way, according to him, the Americans were defeated in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I warn France that it will face, God willing, the same faced by America in Iraq and Afghanistan," said the man who took over the leadership of Al-Qaeda after Osama bin Laden was killed by a US commando in May 2011.

"I call upon our Muslim nation in Mali to hold and be patient, and hopefully, effect a new defeat to the global crusade," he added.

France sent troops to Mali in January to block an advance on Bamako from the north by Islamist fighters. But it is preparing to hand over to a UN-mandated African force of 6,300 in the coming weeks.

 

Saudi Arabia foils suicide bombing against US embassy in Riyadh

Kerry meets Zarif on Iran nuclear deal, Yemen crisis

UN blames Israel for Gaza shelter attacks

New rebel alliance ups the ante on Syria regime

Qatar unveils world’s biggest environment project

Syria defence minister starts official visit to Iran

Morocco arrests four people over 'burning alive' fatwa

Arab Israelis observe general strike over house demolitions

IS Libya killings videos haunts asylum seekers in Israel

Gulf foreign ministers set to meet with focus on Yemen war

Iran leads NAM calls for Israel to give up nuclear weapons

UN: Israeli actions killed 44 Palestinians at UN shelters

Journalists face ‘deadliest period’ in recent history

Leading member of Syria ‘tolerated’ opposition escapes to Spain

Arab coalition adopts two-pronged strategy to resolve Yemen conflict

‘Islamic State’ stones two men to death in Iraq

Syrian rock bands finding safety in Lebanon

Coalition strikes continue as bread, medicine run short in Yemen

Guantanamo ex-inmates demand compensation from US

Novelists withdraw from NY gala in Charlie Hebdo protest

Islamist rebels overrun army base in Syria Idlib province

Iraq forces suffer heavy losses in battle of Ramadi

In new provocation, Iran Guards chief likens Saudi Arabia to Israel

Sudan president reelected with more than 94% of vote

Israel charges soldiers for theft in Gaza war

First Saudi National Guards deployed on Yemen border zone

Israel invites tenders for 77 East Jerusalem settler homes

Sudan to unveil election results

Sudan accuses UNAMID of killing civilians in Darfur

Turkey rounds up 350 migrants en route to Europe

Iraq army announces ‘progress’ in Anbar province

Will Somalia Shebab choose Qaeda or Islamic State?

Abbas condemns Israel killing of two young Palestinians in separate incidents

Civilian massacre in Syria northwestern town of Jisr al-Shughur

New UN envoy looks to revive talks as battles intensify across Yemen

‘Islamic State’ suicide bombers target Iraq-Jordan crossing

Four Egypt Islamists killed while preparing bombs

Extremist groups capture last major regime holdout in northwest Syria

‘Islamic State’ kills Iraq senior officers in Anbar province

Deadly fighting rages in Yemen southern towns

Entrepreneurs encourage people to ‘buy Syrian’

Over 100 children killed in Yemen since March 26

Libya militia alliance 'carries out air raids' against IS

UN 'confident' rebels will sign Mali peace deal

Petraeus gets two years probation for info leak