November 12, 2004

New Zarqawi Audiotape on Internet Reveals Terrorists on the Run

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has posted an audio message to his followers on an Islamist bulletin board. In the taped message, Zarqawi praises those resisting the US offensive in Fallujah, and urges them to fight on. He also claims that victory is near for those fighting the American troops. However, the tape also implies that Zarqawi himself has fled Fallujah, an indication that he does not believe the city can be held. CBS reports that in a written statement introducing the audiotape at the internet site, the poster wrote that the tape was "short and hasty" because of the "grave" circumstances--another indication that Zarqawi and his al Qaeda in Iraq are on the run. For over a month now, internet websites linked to Zarqawi's terrorist group (formerly known as Tawhid and Jihad) have been abandoned. All of Zarqawi's recent communications have been posted to Islamic bulletin boards--perhaps another indication of the increasing pressure the US is putting on him. CBS News:

"As for you heroes of Islam in Fallujah, praise for your Jihad, praise for your nation, praise for your religion. (Have) one hour's patience, and then you will see the results," the speaker said after identifying himself as al-Zarqawi.

"Rejoice my nation. There is no doubt that God's victory is on the horizon," the speaker said, adding a challenge to "the Americans to show the truth of what goes on on the battleground."

The speaker also said Kurds and Shiites serving with the Iraqi forces have "sold their religion" and claimed the U.S.-Iraqi offensive in Fallujah had been blessed by "the infidel's imam," Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

Others: Chad at ITB, DeWaun at ViMH

Continued..

The voice on the tape sounded like that on earlier tapes attributed to al-Zarqawi. The statement was peppered with verses from the Quran and poetry, typical of recordings linked to al-Zarqawi.

The statement appeared as American and Iraqi soldiers pushed deeper into the southern reaches of Fallujah, cornering militants being backed into smaller pockets of the city, on the fourth day of an offensive launched in part to clear out militants linked to the Jordanian-born al-Zarqawi.

His followers have beheaded at least six hostages: three Americans, a Briton, a Japanese and a South Korean. The United States has offered a $25 million reward for al-Zarqawi's capture or killing - the same amount as for Osama bin Laden.

The link to the five-minute tape was posted by an individual who signed himself Abu Maysarah al-Iraqi, known as the media coordinator of al-Zarqawi's group, al Qaeda of Jihad in Iraq.

In an unusual written introduction, al-Iraqi said the recording was "short and hasty" because of the "grave" circumstances. A longer statement would follow in which al Qaeda strategy would be outlined, al-Iraqi said.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 03:17 PM | Comments |