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Al Qaeda video taunts Bush, Iran, Shiites

Story Highlights

• No. 2 man says he wants U.S. troops to stay in "trap" of Iraq
• Ayman al-Zawahiri alludes to Iraqi parliament bombing
• Osama bin Laden's deputy also scoffs at Shiite religious doctrine
• Terrorist urges Palestinian Hamas government to stick to its guns
From Octavia Nasr
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(CNN) -- A new video from al Qaeda No. 2 man Ayman al-Zawahiri addresses the issue of setting a timetable for withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

The video introduces an interview with al-Zawahiri, and his words are translated into English, with subtitles superimposed throughout. It runs 1 hour, 7 minutes and 35 seconds and was posted Saturday on the Internet.

Although CNN could not independently confirm its authenticity, it was produced by the As-Sahab production company that has taken credit for other al Qaeda tapes.

In one section of the video, an interviewer asks al-Zawahiri to comment on legislation that ties the funding of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan to a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq.

"This bill reflects American failure and frustration," says al-Zawahiri, second-in-command to Osama bin Laden. "However, this bill will deprive us of the opportunity to destroy the American forces which we have caught in a historic trap.

"We ask Allah that they only get out of it after losing 200 to 300 hundred thousand killed, in order that we give the spillers of blood in Washington and Europe an unforgettable lesson, which will motivate them to review their entire doctrinal and moral system which produced their historic criminal Crusader-Zionist entity," al-Zawahiri says.

Al-Zawahiri makes what appears to be a dig at the Baghdad security crackdown started in February -- Operation Enforcing the Law. He apparently is alluding to the failure of coalition forces to stop the suicide bomber who breached security in the Green Zone last month and detonated a bomb in the parliament cafeteria.

"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!"

A plea for unity

Speaking during a period when rivalries and feuds are reported among Sunni militants, he urged the Sunni world to unite and "combine its efforts to make the purified sharia the highest authority."

Sharia is the system of Islamic law.

He takes a shot at Iran and Shiites, making reference to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's claim to be in contact with the Mahdi, the 12th and "hidden imam" holy to Shiites, and to the Shiites' claim to be descendants of the Prophet Mohammed.

"Those leaderships are intent on establishing certain concepts which nullify the intellects of their followers and prevent them from understanding the Quran and Sunna, except through their interpretations and explanations, and are intent to gather around themselves the biggest possible number of followers through claims of noble lineages and connections with the unseen in order to use them in political conflicts which often clash with the slogans they used to raise.

"Such as the slogan 'America, the Great Satan,' which became the slogan 'America, the Closest Partner,' and such as the movements which used to claim that they were carrying the message of Islam to liberate the Muslims in Iraq from Saddam the Baathist, but are now sending messages of surrender to keep the forces of Bush the Crusader in the Muslims' lands."

Al-Zawahiri told the Hamas leadership in the Palestinian territories to keep the faith with its staunch tenets. Hamas is considered a terrorist movement by Israel, the United States and the European Union.

"I ask the leadership of Hamas, first, not to turn away from the true rule of sharia and to only agree to participate in elections on the basis of an Islamic constitution," he said.

"And I ask it, second, that if it is given the choice between abandoning government and abandoning Palestine, it should abstain from government and hold on to Palestine and choose jihad and resistance."

Earlier messages

There were other Web messages this year said to be from al-Zawahiri.

In a February message, he called on Muslims to unite under Taliban leader Mullah Omar and to drop their attempts to form secular governments and instead follow only the strict Sharia law.

That video contained a still picture of al-Zawahiri, the audio remarks and English subtitles. Mullah Omar is the elusive, shadowy Taliban leader who slipped away in the early days of the war in Afghanistan.

The Taliban ruled Afghanistan with an iron hand and sheltered al Qaeda before it was toppled by the U.S.-led invasion after al Qaeda's attack on the United States in 2001.

Another al-Zawahiri message was released January 22. It also contained harsh words for President Bush and the United States.

Al Qaeda second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri urged Muslims to unite under Taliban leader Mullah Omar in a February message.



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