Osama bin-Laden’s deputy said in a video message released Monday that the al-Qaida leader’s offers of a truce with the U.S. and Europe remained on the table, though he ridiculed President Barack Obama as “the new face of the same old crimes.”
In a video posted on an Islamic militant Web site, al-Qaida’s No. 2 leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, scorned the American president over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the U.S. approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Nonetheless, al-Zawahri said “fair” truces offered by bin-Laden were still valid.
In 2004, bin-laden offered a truce to European countries that do not attack Muslims. Two years later, he offered the American people a “long-term truce” without specifying the conditions, though in that same audio recording he also warned that his fighters were preparing new attacks in the United States.
“These offers were dealt with impolitely but are still valid, and the offer is fair,” al-Zawahri said. “But they (Americans) want a relationship with us based on suppression.”
“Obama is like a wolf whose fangs tear your flesh and whose paws slit your face and then he calls on you to talk about peace,” he said.
In the message released Monday by al-Qaida’s media operation, Al-Sahab, al-Zawahri said Obama is seeking to mislead the Muslim world with calls for better ties and was doing so because wrath from the Muslim world had inflicted catastrophes upon America.
“We are not idiots to accept meaningless flexible words. Obama is the new face with the same old crimes,” he said.
U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters Monday that the United States believes it has “turned a tide” in the struggle against extremists. He spoke of success in Afghanistan, “difficult as it is,” and “meaningful steps” by the Pakistani government against al-Qaida and others.
“This is not a struggle that al-Qaida is destined to win,” Crowley said. “As to a truce, I have no further comment.”