CAIRO, Egypt – Al Qaeda's No. 2 said President Bush was an alcoholic and a lying gambler who wagered on Iraq and lost, according to a new audiotape released Tuesday by a U.S. group that tracks extremist messages.
The Washington-based SITE Institute released a transcript of the audio by Ayman al-Zawahri, which it said it had intercepted from Islamic militant Web sites where his messages are usually posted.
"Bush suffers from an addictive personality, and was an alcoholic. I don't know his present condition ... but the one who examines his personality finds that he is addicted to two other faults — lying and gambling," al-Zawahri said in the audiotape.
Bush, who is now 60, has acknowledged he had a problem with drinking but gave up alcohol when he was 40 years old.
The Associated Press could not immediately find the audiotape independently on Web sites but found messages on a number of them that said an al-Zawahri tape was expected to be aired shortly.
IntelCenter, a U.S. group that monitors terrorism communications, said it also obtained the audio and that it was accompanied by a video that showed a still picture of al-Zawahri.
SITE said the multimedia arm of Al Qaeda, as-Sahab, claimed to have produced the 41-minute audiotape.
On the tape, al-Zawahri said Bush has gone down in history as one of the world's "most notorious liars."
"So pay attention before it's too late, and beware of Bush's losing gambler's lie which claims that he, with the corpses of your killed and limbs of your wounded, is spreading democracy around the world," said al-Zawahri, apparently addressing the American people.
Al-Zawahri also said recent congressional elections in the United States that elected a majority of Democrats would change nothing.
"The people chose you due to your opposition to Bush's policy in Iraq, but it appears that you are marching with him to the same abyss," al-Zawahri said of the Democrats according to the transcript.
He repeated an earlier condemnation of the Palestinian Fatah movement led by Mahmoud Abbas for seeking to establish a secular state.
"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 the establishment of an Islamic state over all of Palestine and not for the establishment of a secularist state which will please America," al-Zawahri said.
It was the fourth message by Usama bin Laden's deputy since the beginning of the year. The last was on Jan. 22, when he mocked Bush's plan to send an additional 21,000 troops to Iraq.
Al-Zawahri called what he described as Bush' failure in Iraq and the growing Taliban resistance in Afghanistan the "most important events" of the past year. He also said that "the people cooperating with the United States in Afghanistan and in Iraq would be abandoned by the Americans once they fail, the same way they did in Vietnam."
Muslims around the world, he added, should go to "Afghanistan, Iraq, Algeria and Somalia, because your brothers the Mujahedeen are in need of men, money, materiel, opinion, expertise and information."