In new videotape Al Qaeda’s No. 2 issues dire threats against two government heads, UK’s Gordon Brown and Lebanon’s Fouad Siniora
July 10, 2007, 8:21 PM (GMT+02:00)
Ayman Zawahiri’s tirade catches Britain in a highly edgy state after three attempted terrorist attacks, and Lebanon in the grip of a Damascus-backed al Qaeda linked offensive ahead of the UN Security Council debate on Lebanon.
Addressing the UK, the al Qaeda leader says “a very precise response is in preparation” to the Salman Rushdie knighthood.
DEBKAfile: The life of Indian-born author of the Satanic Verses is already under threat from Iran.
Turning to British PM Gordon Brown, he says: “The policy of your predecessor has brought tragedy and defeat upon you, not only in Afghanistan and Iraq but also in the center of London. And if you did not understand, listen, we are ready to repeat it for you, with the permission of Allah. We are sure that you have quite understood it.”
He then calls on all Muslims in the Lebanon to rebel against the forces which oppose Islam and have encircled them, and threatens: “Those who conspire against jihad and the mujahideen in Lebanon through American weapons, Zionist corruption, and Saudi money must start to dig their graves with their own hands.”
Zawahiri praises last month’s bombing attack which killed six Spanish members of the international forces in the south of this “precious part of the land of Islam.”
He goes on to castigate Hamas for its participation in the Mecca Treaty and for ceding four-fifths of Palestine, and calls upon its leaders to return to Salafist Jihadi doctrine.
DEBKAfile’s Middle East sources say the reference to Lebanon is the key passage of the tape. It is a reply to a message dated June 30 to al Qaeda leaders which the Fatah al-Islam group fighting Lebanese troops in the northern Nahr al-Bared camp for 51 days relayed through Al Qaeda in Iraq.
Over the signatures of “Syrian bin Laden” and “Abu Dujana al Shami,” the message states: “Those who are fighting the American project in the Middle East, represented by Saad Hariri and Fouad Siniora, have three things to say:
1. We hereby pledge allegiance to al Qaeda.
2. Our continued war effort is troubled by Ayman Zawahiri’s recent public mention of Hamas which omits mention of our group.
3. We appeal to al Qaeda to break its silence on the slaughter we face from American arms.
Al Qaeda’s response came ten days later from headquarters somewhere in Pakistan-Afghan border country in the form of the Zawihiri tape.