tampabay.com

Al-Qaida No. 2 urges unity

In video, he alludes to a fractured insurgency.

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published July 5, 2007


CAIRO - Al-Qaida's No. 2 has issued a new video calling on Muslims to unite in jihad, or holy war, and support the Islamist movement in Iraq, a U.S.-based intelligence monitoring group said Wednesday.

Ayman al-Zawahri is seen in the one-hour and 35-minute tape dressed in white and addressing an array of Middle Eastern topics from Iraq to Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian territories and Egypt, said the SITE intelligence group, which monitors al-Qaida messages. On each issue, he called for a more radical stance against the United States and its regional allies.

SITE said it had obtained the tape ahead of its release on the Internet by militant Web sites and issued a transcript of Zawahri's remarks. The authenticity of the transcript could not be immediately verified.

Al-Qaida's deputy chief called on all Muslims to join the holy war against the West.

"May Allah pluck out your eye if you haven't yet seen that jihad is an individual duty, " the transcript quoted Zawahri.

It was not clear whether the message was recorded before last week's attempted bombings in Britain, and Zawahri did not mention them.

He also encouraged Iraqis and Muslims in general to show more support for the Islamic State of Iraq, an al-Qaida insurgent front, even though detractors say it lacks "necessary qualifications."

He did not name these detractors but implicitly acknowledged some problems.

"The first thing which our beloved brothers in Iraq must realize is the critical nature of unity, " he said. He also called on Kurds from northern Iraq to join forces with insurgents.

It was not clear what problems Zawahri was alluding to. But a number of major Sunni Arab tribes have turned against the Islamic State recently and have cooperated with U.S. forces.

Some Sunnis have complained that the Islamic State tried to impose harsh rules.

Later, he further alluded to the insurgents' possible shortcomings in governing zones in Iraq and to tensions among militants.

"The mujahedeen must solve their problems among themselves, " he said, calling on the insurgents not to make public their internal disputes.