Al Qaeda No. 2 insults Obama with racial slur in new video
In what terrorism analysts say is an attempt to show that the president-elect may not meet Muslims' expectations for change in the Middle East, Ayman al-Zawahiri called Obama 'dishonorable.'
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The historic vote on November 4 was largely greeted with joy and relief in the Middle East, where the Bush administration's foreign policies are widely disliked. Many also praised the American electorate for moving away from the racial discrimination that has marred its professed ideals.Skip to next paragraph
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"By returning to American values the world admires, Obama sets Al Qaeda back enormously in the battle of ideas," said Richard Clarke, former director of counterterrorism at the National Security Council.
Khalid al-Hubayshi, a former jihadi fighter in Afghanistan who spent three years at Guantánamo, said Zawahiri no doubt felt compelled to comment on Obama's election because it was such an important event in the US.
"Who's his enemy? America. So he has to say something," says Mr. Hubayshi, who now lives in Jeddah. "Many Muslims around the world think Obama will be good for Muslims," because he wants to close Guantánamo and get out of Iraq, says Hubayshi.
So Zawahiri "wants to say that he will do the same things that the white guy is doing. He wants to convince Muslims that [Obama] will not be good for them," says Hubayshi.
In what he called his "message," Zawahiri, who is believed to be in hiding somewhere in the tribal hinterlands of Pakistan, compared Obama unfavorably to Malcolm X.
"You represent the direct opposite of honorable black Americans like ... Malcolm X," Zawahiri said. "And in you and in Colin Powell, [Condoleezza] Rice and your likes, the words of Malcolm X (may Allah have mercy on him) concerning 'house negroes' are confirmed."
Zawahiri has mentioned Malcolm X in past speeches, says Mr. McCants, adding that this reference appears to be an effort to impress African-American Muslims "who he may feel are more susceptible to his message."
Obama has taken a hard line against Al Qaeda, saying that the capture of Osama bin Laden is "critical" for US security. He also has said that he wants to increase US combat forces in Afghanistan to defeat the Taliban insurgency there.
To this, Zawahiri replied with his own version of President George Bush's "Bring 'em on!" remark that referred to Iraqi insurgents.
"It appears that you don't know anything about ... the history of Afghanistan and its free and defiant Muslim people," he 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."