In a new video released by dreaded terrorist outfit Al-Qaeda's media arm As-Sahab, Thursday, September 20, Osama Bin Laden's deputy Ayman al-Zawahri has urged war against Pakistan and said the United States was being defeated in Afghanistan, Iraq and other fronts.
The video, entitled "Power of Truth," came days after Osama Bin Laden released two video messages to mark the 6th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks that killed nearly 3000 people.
The 80-minute video posted on Islamic militant Web sites Thursday was in a documentary style, touting Al-Qaida's activities in various areas, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Chechnya, North Africa and Pakistan.
"Stand, o nation of Islam under the victorious banner of the Prophet ... and campaign against the crusader banner of (U.S. President George W.) Bush," al-Zawahri urged.
"Go forth ... to the mujahideen, bear them arms, back them, defend them and don't be intimidated by the power of America for these two blessed attacks have revealed that it is a power of iron and fire, with no faith or morals or principle," the militant said.
"What they claim to be the strongest power in the history of mankind is today being defeated in front of the Muslim vanguards of jihad six years after the two raids on New York and Washington," al-Zawahri said, speaking in what appeared to be an office, with shelves of religious books and an automatic rifle leaning against them.
"The Crusaders themselves have testified to their defeat in Afghanistan at the hands of the lions of the Taliban," he said. "The Crusaders have testified to their own defeat in Iraq at the hands of the mujahideen, who have taken the battle of Islam to the heart of the Islam world."
The latest video included audiotapes from Bin Laden, but it was not immediately clear if they were new, said IntelCenter, a U.S. counterterrorism group that monitors militant messaging and was the first to uncover the latest video.
Al-Qaeda videos often include audio or video from old speeches that have been previously released. Thursday's video begins with the voice of September 11 hijacker Mohammed Atta in a cockpit audiotape, first released by the 9-11 Commission in 2004.
"Nobody move. Everything will be OK. If you try to make any move you will endanger yourself and the airplane. Just stay quiet," Atta is heard telling people on board American Airlines Flight 11, which crashed into the World Trade Center.
The video has been released amid news that Bin Laden will soon release a new message declaring war on Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.
Musharraf has earned the ire of radical Muslims for soft-peddling to the US and for cracking down on religious fundamentalists.
A banner posted on an Islamic militant website on Thursday advertised that another message would be released, though it did not say whether Bin Laden would appear in video or speak in an audiotape.
Bin Laden appeared in a new video on September 7, after a hiatus of 3 years, in which he said the United States was vulnerable despite its power and said only conversion to Islam would end the conflict.
In an audio tape issued on September 11, Bin Laden praised what he called the "19 champions" who carried out the attacks and eulogized one hijacker, who presented his last testament.
"Soon, God willing: 'Come to Jihad (holy war)', from sheik Osama Bin Laden, God protect him" the new banner read.
"Urgent, Al-Qaeda declares war on the tyrant Pervez Musharraf and his apostate army, in the words of Osama Bin Laden," it read.
According to IntelCenter, such advertisements usually precede the release of the video by one to three days.
The video, released Thursday on the same website, was in the style of a documentary, intersplicing the speech by al-Zawahri with footage from the 9-11 attacks, interviews with experts and officials taken from western and Arab television stations and old footage and audiotapes of Bin Laden.
Al-Zawahri began by condemning the Pakistani military's July assault on Islamic militants who took over the Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) in Islamabad, and he paid tribute to one of the militants' leaders, Abdul Rashid Ghazi, who was killed in the fighting.
The siege "revealed the extent of the despicableness, lowliness and treason of Musharraf and his forces, who don't deserve the honor of defending Pakistan, because Pakistan is a Muslim land, whereas the forces of Musharraf are hunting dogs under (U.S. President George W.) Bush's crucifix," al-Zawahri said.
"Let the Pakistani army know that the killing of Abdul Rashid Ghazi and his students and the demolition of his mosque and two madrasas have soaked the history of the Pakistani army in shame ... which can only be washed away by retaliation against the killers of Abdul Rashid Ghazi and his students," he said.
In July, Ghazi and at least 75 of his followers were killed in an assault on the Lal Masjid, a mosque and school complex. The group is sympathetic to the Taliban, who were removed from power in Afghanistan by U.S.-led forces.
Al-Zawahri also called on Muslims in Sudan to fight a force of African Union and U.N. peacekeepers set to deploy to the volatile Western region of Darfur.
Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir had recently announced his decision to accept a U.N. resolution that lays the ground for a 26,000-strong joint AU-U.N. operation.
"Al-Bashir announced before that he would oppose the deployment of international troops to Darfur ... but this was a lie ... and he backtracked step by step until he had agreed to everything they imposed on him," al-Zawahri said in the tape.
Al-Zawahri accused al-Bashir of abandoning his Muslim brothers to appease the United States and said he did not deserve the protection of Muslims.
"Therefore, I address the nation of Muslim mujahideen in Sudan and remind it that today's is a great test and the free mujahideen sons of Sudan must organize jihad against the forces invading Darfur as their brothers organized the jihadi resistance in Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia," al-Zawahri said.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited Darfur earlier this month, promising to step up pressure for a political solution to the festering conflict.
Sudan, which hosted Al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden in the 1990s, has been on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism since 1993.
Al-Zawahri has also accused moderate Muslims of pandering to Western interests and urged Muslims to unite to fight the West, which he said was weakened by its greed and lack of morals and faith.
He said that Islamists who were jailed and abused by the United States or its allies would only emerge to fight it harder than ever.
"My Muslim nation, today, we must be united and all Islamic movements must gather round the creed of ... jihad, repelling the Zionist-crusader enemy and striving against him and his aides," al-Zawahri said.
On Monday, Al-Qaeda had posted another video calling on Islamists to sow terror in the West to create a climate of fear.
Called "reasons and motives for the attacks on New York and Washington," the video features a montage of images of the burning World Trade Centre towers and scenes from Islamist training camps.
"We must take Islamist terrorism to Western countries so that it becomes a normal part of life like natural disasters," a voiceover said.
"In that way, we will have acts of mass extermination in which people will feel that their affluence also brings death... and we will have created a balance of deterrence between us and them," the unidentified voice said.
Monday's video also included clips from old voice recordings of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his Egyptian deputy Ayman al-Zawahri, as well as a short video clip of Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid, also known as Sheikh Said, the group's commander in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, Pakistan government officials announced on Thursday that U.S.-allied Musharraf would seek re-election on October 6 despite legal challenges in the Supreme Court and slumping popularity.
Musharraf announced earlier this week that he would step down as army chief, but only if he wins the poll. Opposition parties have vowed to quit Parliament over Musharraf's plans to win another five-year term in uniform.
The outcome of the mounting political and constitutional crisis is of keen interest to the United States, which has counted on Musharraf's support to guarantee the success of Western intervention in Afghanistan and the war against Al-Qaeda.
"Nominations must be filed by September 27, the scrutiny of the nominations will be on September 29 and October 6 will be the election," AFP quoted the election commission's secretary Kanwar Dilshad as saying.
The vote is not by Pakistan's 160 million people but by a ballot of the country's national parliament and its four provincial assemblies, which have all been in place since 2002. US-based organization Human Rights Watch branded Musharraf's election plan as a "sham" and said the country's voters should be able to decide who is president.
The government said it was confident Musharraf would be voted back in.
"God willing we will re-elect him, we have got the majority, we have got the strength," the news agency quoted Information Minister Muhammad Ali Durrani as saying. "It's a step towards democracy."