New Bin Laden Video: “Elegizing the martyr of the nation and the Emir of the martyrs, Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi (God bless his soul)”
Image via SITE Institute
I think the title might be a tad long:
A 19-minute videotaped message purportedly by Osama bin Laden paying tribute to slain al-Qaida in Iraq chief Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was posted on a Web site Thursday.
The video, released by al-Qaida’s as-Sahab Institute for Media Production, is entitled “Elegizing the martyr of the nation and the Emir of the martyrs, Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi (God bless his soul).”
The taping shows an old still image of bin Laden next to video of al-Zarqawi while the audio of bin Laden’s statement is played. The video did not contain any English subtitles, but an Arabic transcript of bin Laden’s statement was released.
The al-Qaida leader has issued three previous audiotapes this year but has not appeared in a video since one issued on October 2004. The U.S. government has not yet verified if the tape is authentic.
A similar al-Zarqawi tribute was put out last week by bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri.
The videos appear to be part of an attempt by al-Qaida’s central leadership to tout their connection to al-Zarqawi, who emerged as a hero among Islamic extremists with his dramatic attacks against Shiites and Westerners in Iraq.
Allah Pundit has comments from former Moroccan ambassador Marc Ginsberg who has actually seen the video.
UPDATE: More on the new video via SITE Institute:
In the message, bin Laden talks of the Muslim Nation’s regret at the loss of its “brave knight” and “lion of jihad,” Abu Musab al-Zarqawi Ahmad al-Khalayleh, after he was killed in a “sinful American raid”. Words of praise towards Zarqawi and his role in the Iraq jihad are proffered by the Emir; Zarqawi implicitly being referred to as a paragon for Mujahideen and Muslims, and stalwart against the “Pharaoh,” U.S. President George W. Bush. He states: “Yes, he is the knight of Islam that we are talking about, and who stood up in the face of American imperialism to the Pharaoh of our time after the international organizations failed and regional gatherings failed and after the whole world failed to stop this oppressive aggression [in Iraq]”.
Usama bin Laden also defends Zarqawi against those who accuse him and al-Qaeda in Iraq of killing the Iraqi people, explaining that he had “clear instructions” to target only the “occupying invaders,” on top of them the Americans, and keep “neutral” those who wished to remain so. In addition, bin Laden addresses Bush and commands that Zarqawi’s body must be delivered to his family in Zarqa, and questions why King Abdullah of Jordan should fear Zarqawi’s return, musing that this is because he knows the Muslims will turn out en masse in support of the Mujahideen at the funeral.
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s legacy and “good reputation,” according to bin Laden, should continue in poetry and prose, and be studied by the world to instill belief in Allah and opposition to aggression. He states: “Abu Musab – Allah bless his soul – does not only honor his tribe and country, and nation, but honors all of humanity. He presented to it the meaning of glory, pride, sacrifice, and his legacy is a valuable symbol of this time.” (my emphasis)
Nick Berg could not be reached for comment.
UPDATE: Ryan James has the video (or, technically, the audio with a still picture).
UPDATE (James Joyner): AP has the video: “Bin Laden Praises the ‘Lion of Holy War’.”