Al-Qaida Leader Urges Muslims to Unite in Struggle

CAIRO (AP) -

Al-Qaida’s leader has urged Muslims in Arab Spring countries to unite to institute an Islamic state, while warning France that its intervention in Mali will be bogged down.

“I warn France that it will meet in Mali, with G-d’s permission, the same fate America met in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Ayman Al-Zawahri said in a 103-minute audio message posted on terrorist websites late Saturday.

In the recording, al-Zawahri urged Muslims to “liberate” their lands from oppressive regimes and foreign troops, apply Islamic law, “halt the plundering of Muslim wealth,” support rebellious Muslims and oppressed people worldwide, and establish the Islamic Caliphate, or religious state.

The audio was produced by al-Qaida’s media arm, As-Sahab, and was presented alongside video footage showing Iranian revolutionary guards captured in Syria, and other events in the Middle East.

The al-Qaida leader praised the mujahedeen, or “holy warriors,” in Syria, urging them to step up their fight against the regime of President Bashar Assad. But he also warned them against letting the country fall under the influence of the United States, the Arab League, the United Nations and Israel should they gain control of it.

Al-Zawahri also lashed out against terrorist group Hizbullah and Iran for their support of Assad, saying that “the true faces of Iran and Hizbullah have been exposed, and their ugly reality has appeared in the field of holy war in Syria.” He called the Syrian government a “criminal secular” regime.

Al-Zawahri, an Egyptian, criticized the country’s ruling Muslim Brotherhood for a weak response to the country’s poverty, saying “the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Have the Islamic movements provided better education, health or transportation?”

He also attacked the country’s new constitution, drawn up by the Brotherhood and other Islamic movements, for not being religious enough.

Al-Zawahri’s previous message, in which he urged Muslims to join Somali terrorists, was in November.