Al-Zawahiri's Syria statement seen as failed attempt to garner support

Still image from video shows al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri speaking from an unknown location. [Reuters TV/Reuters]

Still image from video shows al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri speaking from an unknown location. [Reuters TV/Reuters]

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A few days after al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri announced his support for the uprising in Syria, activists in the Syrian opposition described his statements as a failed attempt to bolster his organisation.

Al-Zawahiri announced his support for "the uprising in Syria" in a video message posted Saturday (February 11th) on several jihadist websites. In the message, he called on the "lions of al-Sham" to invoke the "will of jihad "in their fight.

Al-Zawahiri's latest message is his second statement on the Syrian revolution. He posted an earlier video message on July 27, 2011 titled, "The glory of the East starts in Damascus".

In the first video message, al-Zawahiri expressed regret that he and other al-Qaeda fighters were unable to join Syrians who are demonstrating against President Bashar Assad. Syrian opposition activists quickly rejected the message.

Syrian political activists have been demanding an end to Assad's regime since March 2011.

Syrian revolution 'will not be tarnished' by al-Qaeda

Omar Idlibi, a political activist and a spokesman for the local Co-ordination Committees in Syria, condemned al-Zawahiri's statements in an interview with Al-Shorfa.

"We condemn the timing of such statements and believe they represent a new thread in the regime's narrative about it being a victim of terrorism at a time when the revolution has proven itself to be a champion of the principles of justice," he said.

"The battle the Syrian people are waging is against an enemy who is committing crimes against humanity, much like the dark forces that al-Qaeda represents."

Idlibi dismissed al-Zawahiri's statement as an "attempt to fool the world into believing al-Qaeda has a presence in Syria. That is false. Al-Zawahiri is trying to bolster the organisation, which has been dealt severe blows in the recent past".

Idlibi said the position adopted by the local Co-ordination Committees on al-Zawahiri's message reflects the position of political opposition forces.

"The Syrian revolution will continue its culture of tolerance, and any attempt by al-Qaeda or others to tarnish the image of the revolution will certainly fail," he said.

Al-Zawahiri message 'smoke screen to obscure own problems'

Rajeh Khoury, a political analyst for an-Nahar newspaper, said al-Zawahiri's recent announcement does not benefit the Syrian political opposition, but harms it instead.

"Al-Zawahiri's statement portrays the Syrian revolution as one that is led by a band of terrorists and the al-Qaeda organisation. Everyone has rejected that portrayal, especially after the regime's claim that it was waging a campaign against terrorism was proven to be false. We saw only civilians protesting and being killed by the military," Khoury told Al-Shorfa.

Khoury said al-Zawahiri and al-Qaeda have been "bankrupt since the death of their leader Osama bin Laden. They are in a state of decline. Consequently, al-Qaeda tries to associate itself with every conflict that arises in the Arab world".

Al-Qaeda's attempt to link itself to popular movements in the Arab world confirms that it is in decline, he said, adding that such attempts are merely "smoke screens to obscure its own problems", including its poor relationship with the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Kassem Kassir, a journalist and analyst who specialises in Islamist movements, said, "Al-Qaeda's role has diminished after the Arab revolutions despite the fact that it has a presence in Yemen and Libya."

Kassir said al-Zawahiri's statement is an attempt to reorganise al-Qaeda and reassert its influence after the setbacks it suffered in the wake of bin Laden's death.

"Al-Qaeda no longer has a clear agenda or a plan to execute as it did during bin Laden's era," Kassir said. "It merely tries to exploit opportunities presented by the changes occurring in the Arab world to reaffirm its existence. It is trying to take an active role in any part of the region where a security and political vacuum exists. But that does not mean it will succeed."

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    عبدالله

    2012-3-21

    Zawahiri is a person the criminality and extent of whose ugly work no one can deny, which caused a lot of crimes that targeted civilians and shed their blood for no reason. Ayman al-Zawahiri is one of the heads of terrorism, which we ask God to dispose of similar to the disposal of the criminal Osama bin Laden as well as a lot of murderers, criminals and fools who fall along the lines of the criminal Ayman al-Zawahiri and his ilk. In my opinion, Ayman al-Zawahiri is one of the reasons for the danger that surrounds the whole world because he is currently leading al-Qaeda and he is the mastermind of many terrorist attacks that beset many countries that suffer from terrorism and its cowardly and dirty actions that claimed the lives of many innocent people, targeted and destroyed countries. This is one of the criminals who stained his sinful hands with the blood of many innocent people. The offender should be punished as well as all the heads that are still leading the al-Qaeda who are also funding and working to provide all kinds of support to it in order to dismantle this organization. After weakening it, al-Zawahiri is one of the most important leaders of this organization and the main masterminds of terrorist operations that target the entire world. I think that this criminal is one of the most dangerous criminals on the face of the earth and he is the reason for the continuation of terrorism and bloodshed suffered by the civilians in all parts of the world. The head of terrorism today is the criminal Ayman al-Zawahiri. May Allah curse him and anyone who is like him such as the murderers, criminals and deviants. Those who fight Allah and His Messenger God will come down, his anger and wrath will be on them because of their work. Shame on Ayman al-Zawahiri and the terrorist organization al-Qaeda.

  • المصري ا|لأصيل

    2012-3-4

    You are a mean villain and a dirty criminal. Who are you to abuse your honorable masters in Al-Qaeda?! Apparently, you are a mad dog and Al-Qaeda might have killed the agents and traitors in your hateful, stupid and insane family. As for the martyr Osama bin Laden, he is a badge of honor, whether you accept this or not. History will always mention him, while you will remain nothing, like Abu Jahl and Abu Lahab. Al-Qaeda has the right to express its opinions, in spite of you. The dogs always bark, and the caravan never stops. We ask God to save our brothers in Syria and to make Bashar face the same fate as Gadhafi, Bin Ali, Mubarak and Ali Saleh, who were traitors and who will go to the dunghill of history. May God help Syria and its resident and steadfast people. God’s command will prevail.

  • ابو ساري

    2012-3-1

    Ayman Al-Zawahiri directed some of the messages to the people of Egypt offering arrangement of Al-Qaeda to provide assistance in order to invest the Egyptian revolution to his benefit and take hold of the country. Also announced lately was the willingness of Al-Qaeda to stand by the Syrian nation against the current regime, but the Syrian opposition rejected that outright.

  • فريد جلال

    2012-3-1

    Ayman al-Zawahiri is one of the key leaders of the al-Qaeda terrorist organization who was considered the second in command and the right-hand man of Osama bin Laden, as well as the mastermind of the al-Qaeda terrorist organization, being one of the founders of this organization in the world. And after the killing of Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri became the leader of al-Qaeda; it is known that Ayman al-Zawahri is Egyptian. He adopted in his life radical ideas and acts, and left Egypt in order to join his fundamentalist nursery, which is taking the same approach he adopted when he settled down in Afghanistan during the war that took place in the country against the former Soviet Union. He stayed there planning and creating theories that would create confusion and lack of security and stability in various countries around the world. The Arab States were on the receiving end of the largest share of these criminal acts that rely on the opinions of religious extremists and do not represent the reality of the Islamic religion, which has been distorted and manipulated in the service of al-Qaeda terrorist who seeks to take advantage of opportunities for control of the safe countries, where al-Qaeda had a big role in undermining security and stability in Iraq, which led to the killing and displacement of millions of Iraqi people and the violation of their sanctities and stealing their money in order to gain control of Iraq and make it one of the countries that are managed by al-Qaeda in cooperation with other terrorist organizations and armed groups. All this was going on under the pretext of defending the Iraqi people who suffered in reality because of the woes largely because of al-Qaeda that was killing people brutally and collectively. And after his failure in Iraq, he did the same evil acts in Yemen; taking advantage of the abnormal security situation in the country in order to control it, but faced with considerable resistance by some members of the Yemeni people and the armed forces.

  • مخلص أمين

    2012-2-28

    I believe that it is my duty to advise the Syrian opposition, if they truly love their country and people and put the destruction and insecurity that happened in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt in front of their eyes, to fear God as to their country and people, to save their home from the disaster that is waiting for it as a result of the conspiracies of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which are loyal to Israel and the USA.

  • الشريف / هادي محسن العقبي شوك

    2012-2-28

    If Al-Qaeda intervened in the Syrian revolution against the killer and butcher, the son of the Kurdish man, Bashar the mad dog, the revolution would lose the support of the pro-democracy allies, especially given that Al-Qaeda has defamed Islam through its political jihadi behaviors, which depicted Islam as a religion of terrorism rather than the religion of peace and love. I think that the destruction that is going on in the Islamic countries at the hands of Al-Qaeda must stop.

  • هاشم صبحي

    2012-2-28

    Who is this criminal, dirty tramp who wants to lead the world and appoints himself as a successor to the criminal bin Laden after the latter was killed? I hope that al-Zawahiri will have the same destiny as bin Laden as soon as possible. And God willing, he will be killed. He is happy now, because he has become the leader of the organization of failure, shame and ignominy. It is the organization of terrorism, murder and destruction. It works on tarnishing the image of Islam and on killing Muslims. Believe me, this coward will not live long and he will easily be taken out. His arrest and killing will soon be announced, as he is a stupid and cowardly person and cannot change anything. The al-Qaeda organization is currently suffering from failure and does not have any refuge. Wherever al-Zawahiri is hiding, we will get him. He wants to play the same role that bin Laden used to play. He wants to issue Fatwas which allow killing people. He tries to revive al-Qaeda through the threats he makes, as he has vowed to strike back and avenge the death of bin Laden, the criminal leader of the al-Qaeda terrorist organization. However, neither al-Zawahiri nor anyone else will be able to revive al-Qaeda or disseminate its ideology and manipulate young people’s minds again. Al-Zawahri is a low and decadent person, like the other elements of this organization.

  • ابو نور 71

    2012-2-25

    I don't understand. Why doesn't al-Qaeda operate in the countries that are allies of Israel, the USA and the West in a very obvious way? Al-Qaeda is the enemy of those who oppose Israel?!

  • كلمة حق

    2012-2-23

    Guys, it is obvious that this site aims to defame the al-Qaeda organizations with tens of articles. But, the people know now that al-Qaeda are the good guys, and that those who fight against Islam are the evil ones. Stop lying you are a website of lies!

  • محمد العربي

    2012-2-18

    Any human has to support the Syrian Revolution, which pays each day the price of freedom, independence and decent living. Our greetings to our families in the dear Syria and in every place all over the genuine Arab world! Let's go forward to get rid of the remnants of retardation, backwardness and the oppressing practices we have been subject to for a very long time. We don't aim to go under the umbrella of the Islamic political parties; rather we want to gather under the umbrella of Islam as a whole. The future will be greater, O Arabs!

  • تحسين

    2012-2-18

    Damn this opposition and damn this opponent! We have not seen anything but destruction so far!