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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Tape Played on Al Jazeera Network

Aired May 21, 2003 - 10:13   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Let's bring in Peter Bergen here as our terrorism analyst. Peter Bergen's joining us a telephone. He's actually in Mexico. He's in Oaxaca, Mexico right now.
Peter, thank you for checking in with us right now in the wake of this remarkable delivery of this tape and broadcast of it by Al- Jazeera.

What do you make of what we have heard so far this morning?

PETER BERGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: First of all, if it is in fact Al Zawahiri, it demonstrates that he is in fact alive. The last time we heard from him was in October. He of course is the number two of Al Qaeda, and in fact, in a way if chief ideologue.

I think the news on the tape clearly calling for talks on English, British, U.S. and Australian embassies around the world, saying there is news to come, which is quite chilling. That has been a formula they used in the past when indeed there would be other attacks. Al Qaeda has had a long track record of making public statements prefacing attacks. This may be part of that pattern. I think we can anticipate other attacks unfortunately in the coming weeks. Al Qaeda has pulled off attacks now in Riyadh, Morocco. Affiliates of Al Qaeda have attacked gas stations in Karachi. I believe that this will not be necessarily the end of it, and clearly with the news out of Saudi Arabia today, that would seem to be part of a pattern of a whole wave of attacks, similar to the wave of attacks we had last October and last November, following statements by Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden.

HARRIS: But, Peter, does any of this mean what the experts like yourself have been telling us about the breakdown of the nexus between these different Al Qaeda cells, because of the crackdown on these terror activity in last year and a half or so, and because of that crackdown, these cells had not been able to communicate with each other, perhaps that situation has changed?

BERGEN: Well, you know, I think two points could be made here. One, when the bomb goes off, it doesn't really matter if it was Al Qaeda or a group that was inspired by Al Qaeda. And I think in Riyadh you're seeing attacks of really Al Qaeda itself. In Morocco, I think that's much less clear, the attack in Casablanca last weeks. And I think these attacks in Karachi directed at Western gas stations may just be Al Qaeda wannabes. So I think you're seeing a range of different kinds of attacks, some directed by Al Qaeda, the organization, but other attacks are simply by groups that are inspired by Al Qaeda. HARRIS: All right. Peter Bergen, we thank you very much for the insight.

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