A fresh videotaped communiquÃ© from deputy al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was broadcast on Al Jazeera on Jan. 30. Given that al-Zawahiri mentions the Jan. 13 airstrike carried out by a CIA Predator drone aircraft in northwestern Pakistan that targeted al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda is signaling that its No. 2 man survived the assault. That this tape comes soon after other videos and audios from al Qaeda shows that al Qaeda is demonstrating its continuing operational capability.
Update 1 (1/30): Quotes from the tape, taken from the AP wire story:
“Butcher of Washington, you are not only defeated and a liar, but also a failure. You are a curse on your own nation,” he said, referring to Bush. “Bush, do you know where I am? I am among the Muslim masses.”…
“My second message is to the American people, who are drowning in illusions. I tell you that Bush and his gang are shedding your blood and wasting your money in frustrated adventures,” he said, speaking in a forceful and angry voice.
“The lion of Islam, Sheik Osama bin Laden, may God protect him, offered you a decent exit from your dilemma. But your leaders, who are keen to accumulate wealth, insist on throwing you in battles and killing your souls in Iraq and Afghanistan and God willing on your own land.”
These are fighting words. Combined with bin Laden’s tape two weeks ago, this tells me that we should still be very concerned about the threat from the core, even as al-Qaeda continues to metastasize from a hierarchical organization into a movement.
Update 2 (1/30): See Walid Phares’ analysis of the tape at Counterterrorism Blog.
Update 3 (1/30): CNN has the transcript.