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By Micah Halpern

Wednesday April 23, 2008


It's a case of the kettle calling the pot black - Muslim style.

Al Qaeda is on the defensive - not against the United States, not against Israel, not against any Western country. Al Qaeda is taking to task one of the only countries that really counts in their Muslim world, al Qaeda is taking Iran to task.

For the past several months the Iranians have been spreading a conspiracy theory that diminishes al Qaeda. The theory has it that together, in collaboration, the United States and Israel masterminded 9-11, that it was not al Qaeda, that it was not Osama bin Laden and his henchmen that it was a home grown Western job.

And al Qaeda, in the person of Ayman Zawahiri is setting the record straight.

In a contest that ran from December 2007 through January 16, 2008 Muslim Arabs were invited to submit questions for Zawahiri, the al Qaeda number two man behind bin Ladin, to answer. Zawahiri chose the questions he deemed most interesting and important and has begun responding to those questions via the internet. It is all part of an al Qaeda sponsored public relations campaign. Al Qaeda needs a new and improved reputation in the Arab world.

The first installment of Zawahiri responses came out a few days ago, the second is out now and is a two - hour long monologue available on several Islamist websites.

The message in this installment is clear: when it comes to 9 -11 it was al Qaeda, it was all al Qaeda and it was only al Qaeda.

Why has Iran been spreading this awful anti-al Qaeda conspiracy theory? According to Zawahiri, there are several reasons why.
Reason # 1: "The purpose of this lie is clear - (to suggest) that there are no heroes among the Sunnis who can hurt America as no else did in history. Iranian media snapped up this lie and repeated it."

In other words, for Zawahiri, al Qaeda and Iran it is all about the inner Muslim conflict between Sunnis and Shiites.

But Zawahiri could not let it end there. Rather than presenting his argument - which many Muslims could find cogent and convincing, Zawahiri continues on with his own conspiracy theory i.e., his own lie.
Reason # 2:
":Iran's aim here is also clear - to cover up its involvement with America in invading the homes of Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq."

If it was obvious before, it is all the more obvious now. Al Qaeda and Iran hate one another. Zawahiri has spoken time and again about the intentions of Iran to hijack the Muslim agenda and take charge of the Muslim world. He has repeated over and over again his assertion that Iran is dangerous.

Through his audio preachings Zawahiri is promoting the good that Sunni al Qaeda brings to the Muslim word. It is al Qaeda, says Zawahiri, who is fighting against Western evil. Al Qaeda, he says, is "the primary force opposing the Crusaders and challenging Iranian ambitions" in Iraq. He continues by throwing out the terms ? "Iranian collaborators complicity" and "Iranian agents."

Those are fighting words.

"Crusaders" is an obvious reference to the United States. "Agents" and "Collaborators" are very strong words in Arabic with serious historical connotations that can justify targeting and killing.

The diatribes of Ayman Zawahiri have become familiar litany to all who listen. And the success of Iran in minimizing the role of al Qaeda can be directly linked to the frequency and intensity of those diatribes.

Sunnis are running scared. Iran is posing a direct threat. Iranian policies, politics and activities are presenting a real challenge to al Qaeda. Iran’s involvement in destabilizing Iraq and their sprint to become a significant nuclear power minimizes the allure and grandeur of al Qaeda in the Muslim world.

Muslim competition for guts and glory is heating up.

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4 June 2017 12:14 PM in Columns

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