DUBAI - Al Qaeda's number two Ayman al-Zawahri appeared on Wednesday in a new video marking the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, attacking Arab leaders and Barack Obama for their policies on Israel.
The video, which was posted on an Islamist website used by al Qaeda supporters, was the second message from al Qaeda this month after leader Osama bin Laden issued an audiotape on September 14 warning Americans over their government's ties with Israel.
The video appeared almost two weeks after the September 11 events it was intended to mark.
Zawahri, who like bin Laden is thought to be in the mountainous territory along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, attacked Arab leaders for kowtowing to Washington over the Arab-Israeli conflict and said U.S. President Barack Obama is no different from George W. Bush before him.
America has come with a new deceptive face ... It plants the same dagger as Bush and his predecessors did. Obama has resorted to the policies of his predecessors in lying and selling illusions, said Zawahri, clad in white robe and turban.
America has got involved in many wars and lost them ... But this one isn't like others. You have become embroiled with the Islamic nation and its mujahideen, and the nation has begun to wake up, he said in his concluding remarks.
American Muslim convert Adam Gadahn appeared as well as Abu Yahya al-Libi, Mustafa Abul-Yazid and other al Qaeda figures in a production by al Qaeda media arm As-Sahab where they discussed events of the past year such as the financial crisis, fighting in Afghanistan and the election of U.S. President Barack Obama.
A major theme of the 106-minute production, titled The West and the Dark Tunnel, is that al Qaeda's September 11 attack on U.S. cities and the subsequent U.S. war on terror were behind U.S. and world financial troubles.
The video, in which a narrator speaks over clips of the al Qaeda figures and Western analysts taken from documentaries, discusses allegations of financial corruption inside the Saudi royal family and torture used by U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
Zawahri attacks last month's congress by the Fatah party of U.S.-backed Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, the main group in the Palestine Liberation Organization that has been at the center of the secular Arab nationalist politics since the 1960s.
Abbas favors negotiations with Israel in the hope of returning territories occupied by Israel in 1967. He is opposed by Islamist group Hamas, which is backed by Iran and Syria, believes in armed struggle and refuses to recognize Israel.
The Arab nationalists have been exposed and most of all in Palestine, their most important cause, he said. The choice of Mahmoud Abbas as head of the Fatah group is a shameless declaration that nationalists have reneged on the rights of their people.
The comments came as U.S. President Barack Obama brought together Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for talks in New York on Tuesday in an attempt to start a new round of negotiations that would lead to a Palestinian state in parts of the land taken by Israel in 1967.
Arab countries have been under pressure to give ground on normalization of ties with Israel as an incentive for Netanyahu to halt settlement building in those territories, a key Abbas demand before he enters new talks.
(Writing by Andrew Hammond; Editing by Dominic Evans)