Bin Laden deputy calls for Sudan jihad (Update 10)
Report from UK's ITN Tuesday, March 24 2009:
Bin Laden deputy calls for Sudan jihad
Al-Qaeda's second-in-command has urged the Sudanese to prepare for guerrilla war against the West.- - -
It follows the war crimes indictment for Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court.
According to a message posted on the internet, Ayman al-Zawahri says: "Make preparations by training, equipping, storing and organising for a long guerrilla war, because the modern-day Crusade has bared its fangs at you."
The 57-year-old Egyptian, who has a master's degree in surgery, is supposedly hiding in a remote location along the Afghan-Pakistani border near his boss Osama bin Laden.
In 1992, al-Zawahri joined bin Laden in Sudan, where both were under the protection of Sudanese opposition leader Hassan Abdallah al-Turabi. The pair were expelled from the country four years later and both headed to Afghanistan.
Mr Turabi was one of President al-Bashir's closest advisors after a coup in 1989 which brought him to power.
The pair fell out in 1999 when a state of emergency was declared after Mr al-Bashir refused to agree to the introduction of a bill which would have limited his powers.
Report from Bloomberg by Heba Aly Tuesday, 24 March 2009 13:41 EDT:
Al-Qaeda’s Al-Zawahiri Calls for Sudan Guerrilla War (Update1)
Al-Qaeda’s second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, urged the Sudanese people to prepare for a “long guerrilla war” following the International Criminal Court’s decision to charge President Umar al-Bashir with war crimes.- - -
In a video released today, al-Zawahiri urged the Sudanese to defend their country against attempts to eliminate Islam, the Alexandria, Virginia-based IntelCenter said in an e-mailed statement. The new video, featuring a still photograph of al- Zawahiri and an audio message with English subtitles, was the fourth released by al-Zawahiri this year, IntelCenter said.
“The Sudanese regime is too weak to defend the Sudan, so you must do what was done by your brothers in Iraq and Somalia,” IntelCenter, an intelligence group that monitors terrorist Web sites, cited al-Zawahiri as saying. “So make preparations -- by training, equipping, storing and organizing for a long guerrilla war, for the contemporary Crusade has bared its fangs at you,” he added.
Al-Zawahiri used the tape to criticize Sudan for forcing al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden out of the country in 1996 following a period of safe haven. “The Bashir regime is reaping what it sowed,” al-Zawahiri said, referring to the ICC’s move to charge the Sudanese leader with seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity on March 4 for allegedly masterminding atrocities in the western region of Darfur.
The government in Khartoum had tried to appease Western powers by ejecting bin Laden, al-Zawahiri said, and now al- Bashir’s “former trail-mates” had “revolted against him.”
Al-Zawahiri said the ICC’s decision was merely a justification for Western military intervention in Sudan.
“You are being targeted so Islam can be eliminated from the Sudan,” he said.
Fighting in Darfur intensified in 2003, when rebels attacked the government after complaining of marginalization and seeking a greater share of wealth and power.
The UN estimates as many as 300,000 people have died in the conflict, mainly of disease and starvation, and almost 3 million others have fled their homes. The government says the figures are exaggerated and puts the death toll at around 10,000.
To contact the reporter on this story: Heba Aly in Cairo, via the Johannesburg newsroom at email@example.com.
Report from The Memri Blog, Tuesday, March 24, 2009:
New Al-Zawahiri Tape: The ICC Warrant against Al-Bashir Is a Plot to Destroy Islam in Sudan
On March 24, 2009, the Al-Qaeda media company Al-Sahab distributed to jihadi websites a 17-minute audio recording from Al-Qaeda deputy Ayman Al-Zawahiri on the topic of the ICC's arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir.- - -
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Report from ennahar online, Tuesday, 24 March, 2009:
Zawahiri calls Bachir to repentance
- - -
The number two of Al Qaeda, Ayman El-Zawahiri, called on the Sudanese people to prepare for guerrilla and the Sudanese President Omar El-Bachir to repent, in a video aired Tuesday on the Internet.
In this message, reproduced by the Islamist sites monitoring centre SITE, Zawahiri believed that the Sudanese regime is reaping what it sowed, in reference to the international arrest warrant of the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Mr. Bachir for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.
So will the regime of Bachir take the path of Islam and jihad and give up his political manoeuvres, his diplomatic wiles, which will bring nothing but disaster and tragedy?, asked the right arm of Osama Ben Laden in his message of 17 minutes, according to SITE, a US-based. Having hosted the head of El Qaeda in 1990, Sudan expelled Osama Ben Laden who had sought refuge in Afghanistan.
He also calls on the Sudanese people to prepare for a long guerrilla because the contemporary crusade (the West) has released its fangs.
The Sudanese regime is too weak to defend the Sudan, so you have to do what was done by your brothers in Iraq and Somalia who defended their countries when the regimes in place were too weak, he continues.
Darfur is the scene of a civil war since 2003, which caused 300,000 deaths according to the UN, 10,000 according to Khartoum, and 2.7 million displaced.
After the decision of the ICC, Khartoum ordered the expulsion of 13 of the largest international humanitarian organizations operating in Darfur, accusing them of collaboration with the ICC and espionage.
Report from AFP, Tuesday, 24 March 2009:
Al-Qaeda deputy tells Sudan's Beshir to 'repent': SITE
DUBAI (AFP) — Al-Qaeda number two Ayman Zawahiri urged the people of Sudan to prepare for guerrilla war and for President Omar al-Beshir to "repent," in an Internet video message released on Tuesday.- - -
Zawahiri said Beshir's regime is "reaping what it sowed," in reference to the International Criminal Court arrest warrant against the veteran Sudanese president this month on charges of war crimes over the conflict in Darfur.
"So will the Beshir regime take the path of Islam and jihad and abandon the political maneouvres, diplomatic ruses and international smooth-talking, which has not -- and will not -- bring anything other than disasters and tragedies?" Zawahiri said in the message, according to the US-based SITE Intelligence Group.
Beshir, the first sitting president to be hit with an ICC warrant, faces five counts of crimes against humanity and two of war crimes over the six-year conflict in Darfur.
The Egyptian-born Zawahiri called on the Sudanese people to "make preparations... for a long guerrilla war, for the contemporary crusade has bared its fangs at you."
"The Sudanese regime is too weak to defend the Sudan, so you must do what was done by your brothers in Iraq and Somalia, who defended their countries when the official regimes were powerless to do that."
The United Nations says 300,000 people have died and an estimated 2.7 million have fled their homes during the war between Darfur's ethnic minority rebels and the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum.
Sudan puts the death toll at 10,000.
Report from The Associated Press, Tuesday, 24 March 2009:
Al-Qaida says Sudan leader deserves arrest warrant
CAIRO (AP) — The Sudanese president's problems with the West are retribution for his expulsion of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden more then ten years ago, al-Qaida's No. 2 said in a message issued Tuesday.- - -
Ayman al-Zawahri said even though President Omar al-Bashir tried to appease Western powers by expelling al-Qaida from Sudan in 1996, the West was still after him. The Hague-based International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for al-Bashir on March 4 on charges of war crimes in the Darfur region.
"The Bashir regime is reaping what it sowed. For many long years, it continued to back down and backtrack in front of American Crusader pressure," al-Zawahri said according to a transcript provided by the SITE Intelligence Group which monitors extremist Web sites.
"It expelled the mujahideen, who had taken refuge in the Sudan, foremost among them Sheik Osama bin Laden," he added in the message posted on militant Web sites.
Al-Zawahri said that no matter how much the regime "continued to pant for the American approval" it was never enough and had culminated in the international demand for al-Bashir's arrest.
Bin Laden and al-Qaida loyalists were given haven in Sudan from 1991-1996 until al-Bashir expelled them under U.S. pressure.
Al-Zawahri contrasted Sudan's behavior back then with Afghanistan's after 9/11, when the Taliban refused to turn over bin Laden despite U.S. demands.
The Egyptian-born al-Zawahri also addressed the Sudanese people, urging them to prepare for guerrilla war and the imminent invasion of the U.S. and its allies.
"You are being targeted so Islam can be eliminated from the Sudan," he said. "This is the fact which you must comprehend. And in order for Islam to be eliminated from the Sudan, a justification must be found for Western military intervention," he added, describing Darfur as that justification.
The only way for al-Bashir's regime to save itself is for it to abandon its "smooth-talking" and engage in jihad against the West.
Al-Bashir came to power in Sudan in 1989 together with Islamist ideologue Hassan al-Turabi. Before a falling out, the two in the 1990s turned the country into a headquarters for Islamist movements from around the world, including al-Qaida.
The ICC charged al-Bashir on March 4 of leading a counterinsurgency against Darfur rebels that involved rapes, killings and other atrocities against civilians. His government has been accused of unleashing Arab militiamen against Darfur civilians in a drive to put down a revolt by ethnic Africans in the region.
Up to 300,000 people have died and 2.7 million have been driven from their homes in the conflict since 2003, according to the U.N.
Report from Voice of America News, Tuesday, 24 March 2009:
Al-Qaida's Zawahiri Urges Sudanese to Prepare for War
Al-Qaida's second-in-command, Ayman Zawahiri, is urging the people of Sudan to prepare for a guerrilla war against the West.- - -
Photo: This video frame grab image of Ayman al-Zawahiri provided by IntelCenter, and taken from a video released, 28 Nov 2008
In an Internet video message released Tuesday, Zawahiri said Sudanese should get ready for a long war because "the modern-day crusade has bared its fangs at you."
That is a likely reference to Western countries who have denounced Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for his actions in Darfur, and support the warrant for his arrest issued by the International Criminal Court.
The court has indicted Mr. Bashir for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity against Darfur's civilians.
This is the second time in a week al-Qaida has released a message directed at Africa.
Last week, an audio recording attributed to al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden denounced Somalia's new president, and urged Somalis to topple him.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.
Report from Al Jazeera, Tuesday, 24 March 2009:
Zawahri 'seeks Sudan guerrilla war'
An audio statement purportedly by al-Qaeda's deputy leader has called on the Sudanese to lead a guerrilla war against Western states in response to the indictment of the country's president for alleged war crimes.- - -
The apparent statement by Ayman al-Zawahri on Tuesday comes days after Omar al-Bashir was charged by the International Criminal Court for abuses committed in his country's Darfur region.
"Make preparations by training, equipping, storing and organising for a long guerrilla war, because the modern-day Crusade [Westerners] has bared its fangs at you," the statement, posted on several websites, said.
"I tell our Muslim brothers in the Sudan: We are with you, and all mujahidin [fighters] and Muslims are with you, and we shall - with Allah's help - do all that is in our power to help you, despite our knowledge that the Sudanese regime lies in wait for any mujahid it might discover in the Sudan," he said.
While the 17-minute recording has not been fully authenticated as featuring the voice of al-Zawahri, it was posted by as-Sahab, al-Qaeda's media wing.
The voice is similar to that featured on previous authenticated statements.
The United Nations has estimated that at least 200,000 people have died in Darfur since 2003, when Arab fighters alleged to have links to the government in Khartoum began a series of attacks against black civilians.
Zawahri dismissed the ICC's decision to issue war crimes and crimes against humanity charges against al-Bashir, calling the move a Western plan to interfere in Sudan.
"I am not defending Omar al-Bashir or his regime, nor am I defending what it has done in Darfur and elsewhere," he said.
"The issue isn't one of Darfur and solving its problems. It is about finding an excuse for more foreign interference in the Muslim countries in the framework of the contemporary crusader-Zionist campaign," Zawahri said on the audio recording.
Al-Zawahri also criticised the United Nations for what he called its failure to protect Palestinians during Israel's recent 22-day war on Gaza, drawing comparisons with the world body's response to the situation in Darfur.
"Why hasn't the United Nations moved to protect the Palestinians in Gaza from Israeli barbarity and criminality, while it pretends to cry over the suffering of the people of Darfur?" he said.
"Why hasn't the United Nations and the international community intervened to lift the siege from Gaza, while it pretends to cry over the people of Darfur being deprived of relief and aid?"
The al-Qaeda deputy also demanded that Western leaders including George Bush, a former US president, and Vladimir Putin, Russia's prime minister, be put on trial.
Report from CNN Tuesday, 24 March 2009:
Al Qaeda No. 2: Sudan's president pandered to West
Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, facing an international arrest warrant, is paying the price for pandering to the West, al Qaeda's second-in-command said in an audio statement released Tuesday.- - -
"I am not defending Omar al-Bashir or his regime, nor am I defending what it has done in Darfur and elsewhere," Ayman al-Zawahiri said in the statement released by al Qaeda's production company, as-Sahab Media.
But, he said, "the issue isn't one of Darfur and solving its problems; the issue is one of making excuses for more foreign interference in the Muslims' countries in the framework of the contemporary Zionist Crusade."
The warrant issued by the International Criminal Court earlier this month accuses al-Bashir of war crimes and crimes against humanity, charges he denies. In response, Sudan ordered 13 international aid groups to leave the country, groups that the United Nations says provide roughly half the assistance delivered in Darfur.
"The Bashir regime is reaping what it sowed," al-Zawahiri said. "For many long years, it continued to back down and backtrack in front of American Crusader pressure."
He further accused Sudan of expelling members of the mujahedeen who had sought refuge there, particularly Osama bin Laden, and declaring "in an audacious lie that they had left voluntarily, then attempting to beg payment for that from the Saudi regime and the Americans."
Al-Zawahiri asked, "Why hasn't the United Nations moved to protect the Palestinians in Gaza from Israeli barbarity and criminality, while it pretends to cry over the suffering of the people of Darfur? Why hasn't the United Nations and the international community intervened to lift the siege from Gaza, while it pretends to cry over the people of Darfur being deprived of relief and aid?"
"The Sudanese regime continued to pant for American approval, and it agreed to the division of the Sudan, paved the way for the imminent secession of the south, provided all the information it had on the emigrants and mujahedeen to the American government, and handed over some of them to the regimes of treason and criminality in their countries," al-Zawahiri said.
"But despite all that, the senior criminals weren't satisfied with it and continued to besiege it with demands and interference, even going so far as to demand the arrest of its leaders and prominent figures."
He said he wants to send a message to Muslims in Sudan, telling them they are being targeted so that Islam can be eliminated from the country. "And in order for Islam to be eliminated from the Sudan, a justification must be found for Western military intervention," he said.
The audio message is the fifth released this year by al-Zawahiri and the fourth in English, according to Virginia-based IntelCenter.
The center said on its Web site it focuses "on studying terrorist groups and other threat actors ... and disseminating that information in a timely manner to those who can act on it."
Photo: Ayman al-Zawahiri, seen here in 2007, said Tuesday the Sudanese president pandered to the West. (CNN)
See previous news report at Sudan Watch, Tuesday, 24 March 2009 - Al Qaeda's Ayman al-Zawahri urges Sudanese to prepare for war against the West