A Qaeda’s No. 2 Threatens More Attacks

Ayman al-Zawahri, Osama bin Laden’s deputy, threatened massive attacks in London and against U.S. troops in Iraq if we don’t change our wicked ways.

al-Qaida’s No. 2 Threatens London, U.S. (AP)

Photo: This image made from an undated video broadcast Thursday, Aug. 4, 2005 on pan-Arab satellite channel Al-Jazeera, shows al-Qaida's Ayman al-Zawahri speaking Kalashnikov rifle propped up behind him at an undisclosed location. In the video, al-Zawahri threatened more destruction in London, saying British Prime Minister Tony Blair would be to blame. (AP Photo /Al-Jazeera via APTN)Al-Qaida’s No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahri, threatened more destruction in London, saying in a videotape broadcast Thursday that British Prime Minister Tony Blair would be to blame. Al-Zawahri also threatened the United States with tens of thousands of military dead if it does not withdraw its troops from Iraq immediately.

In Crawford, Texas, President Bush dismissed the threat, saying, “We will stay on the offense against these people. They’re terrorists and they’re killers and they will kill innocent people … so they can impose their dark vision on the world.”

The tape, aired on the pan-Arab satellite channel Al-Jazeera, was delivered exactly one month after the July 7 bombings in London that killed 56 people, including four suicide attackers. In the excerpts aired by Al-Jazeera, al-Zawahri did not directly claim that al-Qaida carried out the July 7 or July 21 attacks. But he brought the July 7 attacks under al-Qaida’s wing and depicted the terror network as still capable of delivering strikes around the world despite arrests in Europe and blows against its leadership in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

He presented the attacks as a result of Blair’s decision to deploy troops in Iraq. “Blair has brought to you destruction in central London, and he will bring more of that, God willing,” al-Zawahri said in the broadcast excerpts.

It’s unclear how the 4th of August is exactly one month after the 7th of July, but then I’ve always found the International Date Line a bit confusing.

Regardless, it’s not as if al Qaeda was refraining from attacks before the Iraq War. Claims that they are going to step up attacks if we do not change our policy are therefore absurd. Indeed, one presumes that they would take great confidence from achieving their policy objectives with violence and become emboldened to attack more in hopes of being further rewarded.

FILED UNDER: General, Terrorism
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. bryan says:

    Personally, I’m curious as to how they are going to get the “tens of thousands” of military dead. Even if you count all the dead so far, they’re only at 1,800.

  2. Chrees says:

    I would bet they meant exactly 4 weeks after…

  3. anjin-san says:

    Gee, whatever happend to “Bin Laden dead or alive”?

  4. Further Proof Bin Laden is dead?

    Would we really be getting contemporaneous reports from al-Qaeda’s #2 if OBL was still stealing oxygen from the rest of us? (via James Joyner) Others blogging: Dan Darling…

  5. ALS says:

    Gee, whatever happend to “Bin Laden dead or alive”?

    Our troops in Afghanistan are doing their very best to find him, I assure you. They don’t need constant reminders that they haven’t yet succeeded in that endeavor.

  6. Peaktalk says:


    French writer and arabist Gilles Kepel wrote an interesting piece in the Figaro last week where he argues that the failure of al-Qaeda to mobilize the Muslim masses should have ended at least some of the appeal of bin-Laden’s group….

  7. RA says:

    While Bin Laden is still at large he has been marginalized. Before Afghanistan he was training 10,000 terrorists in open camps. Now he is living in stink holes, moving daily or weekly and always in fear of some of his buddies turning him in for $25 million.

    I guess the sabotaging left has to complain about something. How about our great economy or those wonderful deals we get at Walmart. LOL

  8. Darth Vader threatens London & Washington again

    Al Qaeda’s number two man, Ayman Al-Zawahiri issued a new videotape today, which (of course) was aired by Al Jazeera.In the tape, Zawahiri promised more attacks on the UK and the US.Tensions in London were already high, two weeks to…

  9. sgtfluffy says:

    How can you hate this guy? He looks like the Gorten Fisherman….with a turban

  10. Anderson says:

    Our troops in Afghanistan are doing their very best to find him, I assure you.

    Since he’s in Pakistan by most accounts, I doubt their best will be quite good enough.

  11. ALS says:

    Since he’s in Pakistan by most accounts, I doubt their best will be quite good enough.

    And you honestly think we have no troops in Pakistan, eh?

    Not only do we have support bases there, but you know damn well we also have “other” forces in Pakistan.

    As an OEF veteran, I just get tired of the constant criticism of our troops, thinly veiled as criticism of the President. I take it personally. And it gets old.