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Zawahiri Hits USA.

In an audio tape posted on the internet on Feb. 13, al-Qaeda's deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahiri described the US plan to send 21,500 more troops to Iraq as a gamble bound to fail. He criticised the US Democratic Party for not changing US policies. He said: "[Bush's] addiction to gambling...motivates him to continue to place losing bets until he goes completely bankrupt. Were the Americans to leave [Bush] alone, he would continue to send their forces to Iraq until the mujahideen kill the last one of their soldiers".

Zawahiri's statement was transcribed on the website of the Site Institute, a US private organisation which tracks Islamists' use of the internet.

Zawahiri said: "The people chose you [Democrats] due to your opposition to Bush's policy in Iraq, but it appears that you are marching with him to the same abyss".

US Democrats, who removed Republicans from power in Congress in the Nov. 7, 2006 mid-term elections amid growing dissatisfaction with policies on Iraq, were criticised by Zawahiri. He said: "The people chose you [Democrats] due to your opposition to Bush's policy in Iraq, but it appears that you are marching with him to the same abyss, and it appears that you will take part with him in the defeat". He said US-allied governments in Iraq and Afghanistan should consider their future, adding: "These traitors in Iraq and Afghanistan must face their inevitable fate, and face up to the inescapable facts. America...is about to depart and abandon them, just as it abandoned their like in Vietnam".

Zawahiri repeated his condemnation of Fatah, saying: "I'm not asking them to join Hamas, the Islamic Jihad or al-Qaeda, but rather, I'm asking them to return to Islam, in order to fight for establishment of an Islamic state over all of Palestine and not for establishment of a secularist state which will please America". He called on Lebanon's Muslims to reject the UNSC resolution which ended the summer 2006 war between Hizbullah and Israel. He said: "I call on the brothers of Islam and of jihad [struggle] in Lebanon not to yield to Resolution 1701 and not to accept...the presence of international and crusader [Western] forces in south Lebanon".

Resolution 1701 led to an Aug. 14 ceasefire in the 34-day war which broke out when Israel retaliated to a July 12 cross-border raid by Hizbullah fighters which resulted in the capture of two soldiers.
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Title Annotation:Ayman al-Zawahiri's views
Publication:APS Diplomat News Service
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 19, 2007
Words:402
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