Al Qaeda's No. 2 mocked both U.S. President George W. Bush and the U.S. Congress bill setting a pullout timetable for U.S. troops from Iraq, in a new insurgent video obtained Saturday by a U.S.-based group.
Al-Zawahiri speaks sarcastically of the U.S. troop pullout tying war funding to a withdrawal timetable, said SITE, which tracks terror messaging. The one hour seven minutes long video was dated May and had English subtitles.
"This bill will deprive us of the opportunity to destroy the American forces which we have caught in a historic trap," al-Zawahiri says, adding that the bill is evidence of American "failure and frustration."
"We ask Allah that they (U.S. troops) only get out of it after losing 200,000 to 300,000 killed, in order that we give the spillers of blood in Washington and Europe an unforgettable lesson," al-Zawahiri added.
He made no mention of Bush vetoing the bill last Thursday — an indication the video may have been made after Congress passed the legislation but before the veto.
Al-Zawahiri also smirked at the U.S. troops' ongoing Baghdad security plan, recounting the Apr. 12 suicide bombing at the Iraqi Parliament cafeteria in the heavily protected Green Zone in Baghdad, when a bomber slipped through security and blew himself up amid lunching lawmakers, killing one Sunni legislator.
The attack cast heavy doubt about progress in the latest U.S.-Iraqi bid to clamp off violence in the capital. An Al Qaeda-led amalgam of Sunni insurgents in Iraq claimed one of its "knights" had carried out the attack.
"And lest Bush worry, I congratulate him on the success of his security plan, and I invite him on the occasion for a glass of juice, but in the cafeteria of the Iraqi parliament in the middle of the Green Zone," al-Zawahiri says.
The Associated Press was not able to independently access the video on Islamic Web sites commonly used as clearing house for Al Qaeda's production wing as-Sahab, purportedly behind Saturday's al-Zawahiri interview.
The Web sites carried only an earlier announcement by as-Sahab, saying the interview was expected to be aired soon.
SITE said al-Zawahiri also claimed Al Qaeda fighters in Iraq were "nearing closer to victory over their enemy, despite this sectarian fighting" that has convulsed the country.
Al-Zawahiri ranted on a score of other topics in the video, including fighting in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Algeria, and Somalia. He also made references to Saudi Arabia, Egyptian constitutional reforms meant to cement the regime's hold on power, and the U.S. Pentagon release of the confessions of Al Qaeda No. 3, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed — the alleged Sept. 11 mastermind who was captured in Pakistan in March 2003.
With staple belligerence, al-Zawahiri courted minorities to join the Holy War, or jihad.
"Al Qaeda is not merely for the benefit of Muslims," he says. "That's why I want blacks in America, people of color, American Indians, Hispanics, and all the weak and oppressed in North and South America, in Africa and Asia, and all over the world, to know that when we wage Jihad in Allah's path, we aren't waging Jihad to lift oppression from the Muslims only, we are waging Jihad to lift oppression from all of mankind, because Allah has ordered us never to accept oppression, whatever it may be."
In a previous, March 11 video, al-Zawahiri had accused the Palestinian militant Hamas of selling out by agreeing to respect past peace deals with Israel.
On Saturday, he further derided the Palestinian government for its refusal to maintain a militaristic approach, SITE said.
"I thank Allah for the bounty of extremism, militancy and terrorism and everything else we are labeled with," al-Zawahiri said.
Saturday's video was the fifth message — including posted video and audio tapes — by al-Zawahiri this year. Bin Laden has not surfaced in any Web communications since mid-2006.