debkafile: Osama bin Laden’s earlier audio message is of prime importance because he affirms that al Qaeda will continue Zarqawi’s brutal strategy
The same Web site later promised bin Laden would soon issue another tape on Somalia and Iraq.
In the 19-minute long tape released Friday, June 30, bin Laden asserted that the dead Iraq chief Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, to whom he paid lavish tribute in rhymed couplets, went to Iraq and operated there under “clear instructions” which repudiates theories held by many experts in the West representing Zarqawi as an autonomous agent who was not controlled by al Qaeda’s supreme leader. Those instructions were to focus on US-led forces in Iraq but also to kill “those who stood to fight on the side of the crusaders against the Muslims, whoever they are, regardless of sect or tribe.” In other words, the sectarian war Zarqawi declared on Iraq’s Shiites will go on.
The day after bin Laden’s tape was released, a car bomb killed up to 60 people in Baghdad’s Shiite suburb, Sadr City.
Bin Laden also cited widespread criticism in the Muslim world of Zarqawi’s actions for spilling the blood of many Muslims, and assumed full responsibility for those actions. But he stresses that the instructions given Zarqawi’s still stand. “The banner has not fallen; it has only been passed from one lion to another.”
The al Qaeda leader addressed US president George W. Bush directly: “We will continue to fight you and your allies everywhere, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and Sudan,” until “you return defeated to your nation.”
The bin Laden message clearly comes out in support of the brutal Zarqawi strategy in Iraq as against its opponent, his deputy Ayman Zawahri.
It was Osama bin Laden’s fourth audiotape this year, but his face has not appeared on video since October 2004.