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Al Qaeda leader mocks Obama in Web posting

  • Story Highlights
  • Terrorist leader calls Obama "direct opposite of honorable black Americans"
  • "A heavy legacy of failure and crimes awaits you," al Qaeda leader allegedly threatens
  • Statement made by Ayman al-Zawahiri appeared Wednesday on Islamist Web sites
  • Al-Zawahiri refers to Obama, other black leaders as "house slaves"
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(CNN) -- Al Qaeda's No. 2 leader is heard in a Web posting Wednesday warning President-elect Barack Obama that "a heavy legacy of failure and crimes awaits" him.

Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri mocked President-elect Barack Obama in an Internet message.

Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri mocked President-elect Barack Obama in an Internet message.

In the message, purportedly from Ayman al-Zawahiri, the speaker criticized Obama's foreign policy positions on Afghanistan and Israel and ridiculed the president-elect's worldview.

The speaker also said Obama was the "direct opposite of honorable black Americans" like Malcolm X, the fiery African-American Muslim activist from the 1950s and 1960s.

The posting, an 11 minute and 23 second audio message in Arabic with subtitles in English, appeared on the Web on Wednesday. Its authenticity cannot yet be confirmed.

It shows a graphic with the words "The departure of Bush and the arrival of Obama." That graphic also contains a still image of Malcolm X on a Muslim prayer rug in a mosque; images of Obama, wearing a Jewish skullcap, at the Western Wall in Jerusalem; and a picture of al-Zawahiri.

There are also archival videos in the message, including clips of speeches from Malcolm X.

"You have reached the position of president, and a heavy legacy of failure and crimes awaits you. A failure in Iraq to which you have admitted and a failure in Afghanistan to which the commanders of your army have admitted," the message said.

The speaker also said Obama's plan to pull troops from Iraq and send them to Afghanistan "is a policy which was destined for failure before it was born."

"If you still want to be stubborn about America's failure in Afghanistan, then remember the fate of Bush and Pervez Musharraf, and the fate of the Soviets and British before them," the message said. "And be aware that the dogs of Afghanistan have found the flesh of your soldiers to be delicious, so send thousands after thousands to them."

The message said Obama appears "to be captive to the same criminal American mentality towards the world and towards the Muslims." The speaker cited Muslims' ire toward Obama's support of Israel.

The speaker also said Obama, former and current Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, and "your likes" fit Malcolm X's description of "house slaves."

An English translation of the message used the term "house Negroes," Malcolm X's term for blacks who were subservient to whites.

Laura Mansfield, a terrorism analyst, said this wouldn't be the first time al-Zawahiri used the Arabic term "abayd al bayt," which literally translates as slaves or servants of the house.

She said that in a May 2007 interview with al Qaeda's media production center, As Sahab, al-Zawahiri included old video footage of Malcolm X saying, "You have to read the history of slavery to understand this. There were two kinds of Negroes: there was that old house Negro, and [there was] the field Negro."

The message also made reference to Obama's Muslim father and his Christian religion.

"You were born to a Muslim father, but you chose to stand in the ranks of the enemies of the Muslims, and pray the prayer of the Jews, although you claim to be Christian, in order to climb the rungs of leadership in America. And so you promised to back Israel, and you threatened to strike the tribal regions in Pakistan, and to send thousands more troops to Afghanistan, in order for the crimes of the American crusade in it to continue," the message said.

The speaker praised Malcolm X for his "fraternity with the Muslims," his condemnation of the West's treatment of oppressed peoples and his backing of resistance movements. Will Obama react?

"That's why it wasn't strange that Malik al-Shabazz (may Allah have mercy on him) was killed, while you have climbed the rungs of the presidency to take over the leadership of the greatest criminal force in the history of mankind and the leadership of the most violent crusade ever against the Muslims," the speaker said.

The speaker was referring to Malcolm X's Muslim name and his assassination in 1965.

The message reiterated the call to fight against Western powers in the Middle East and urged jihadi fighters to be "firm and resolute."

"Your enemy's stagger has begun, so don't stop hitting him," the speaker said.

The speaker also singled out Islamic militants in Somalia and told them to keep fighting pro-Western forces there.

On the subject of Iraq, the message said that although "evidence of America's defeat in Iraq appeared years ago, Bush and his administration continued to be stubborn and deny the brilliant midday sun."

"If Bush has achieved anything, it is in his transfer of America's disaster and predicament to his successor," the speaker said. "But the American people, by electing Obama, declared its anxiety and apprehension about the future towards which the policy of the likes of Bush is leading it, and so it decided to support someone calling for withdrawal from Iraq."

The speaker reminded Americans that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden told them to leave Muslim lands.

Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri are believed to be living in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

"So choose for yourself whatever you like," the speaker warns. "And bear the consequences of your choice, and as you judge, you will be judged."

Reacting to the message, the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations released a statement condemning terrorism and the video's "threatening rhetoric and racial slurs."

The group also said al-Zawahiri "doesn't speak for Muslims in this country or worldwide."


"As Muslims and as Americans, we will never let terrorist groups or terror leaders falsely claim to represent us or our faith," the council said. "The legitimate grievances of Muslims in many areas of the world can never serve as an excuse or a justification for attacks on civilian populations.

"We once again repudiate al Qaeda's actions, rhetoric and worldview and re-state our condemnation of all forms of terrorism and religious extremism."

All About Barack ObamaMalcolm XAl QaedaAyman al-Zawahiri

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