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Al-Qaida Predicts Obama's Fall by Muslim Nation Print E-mail

By Paul Schemm and Hadeel Al-Shalchi
AP, September 22, 2009

ImageAl-Qaida on Tuesday released a new 106-minute long video predicting President Barack Obama's downfall at the hands of the Muslim world.

The Arabic-language video, entitled "The West and the Dark Tunnel," is part of series of messages by the organization marking the eighth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Bin Laden released a short message of his own on Sept. 14.

Like similar long messages on previous anniversaries, it featured testimony from several leading al-Qaida figures intercut with news footage from the past year.

As in the past, al-Qaida attempted to conflate Obama with his predecessor, George W. Bush, who was widely disliked by Muslims for his invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Many analysts believe that al-Qaida has been alarmed by Obama's comparative popularity in the Middle East, especially following his landmark speech to the Muslim world in Cairo in June.

"America has come in a new, hypocritical face. Smiling at us, but stabbing us with the same dagger that Bush used," said Al-Qaida No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri in the message.

"God willing, your end will be at the hands of the Muslim nation, so that the world and history will be free of your crimes and lies," he said addressing Obama at the end of the two-part video.

The message also featured several appearances of Adam Gadahn, also known as Azzam al-Amriki, an American who grew up in southern California, converted to Islam and joined al-Qaida. He was charged with treason in 2006 and there is a $1 million reward for information leading to his arrest or conviction.

Gadahn's remarks celebrating the defeat of Bush and ridiculing Obama suggest the video was made in late August or early September.

"The important question is will Obama and his Democrats learn from his predecessor's mistakes or will they go on repeating them until they too leave office in humiliation and disgrace," said the heavily bearded American, dressed in a white robe.

"Unfortunately for the Democrats, and judging by their first seven-and-a-half months at the helm of the sinking American ship, the prognosis doesn't look good," he said.

The message included a lengthy section on U.S. prisons and torture facilities and showed footage of what appeared to be an American torturing an Afghan for information by dunking his head into a bucket of water.

The SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors extremist Web sites, identified the person conducting the torture as Jonathan Keith Idema, who also appeared in last year's al-Qaida video.

The message also discussed the progress of the various jihadi movements around the world, in particular Taliban victories against U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

The video's strident anti-American tone and detailed enumeration of what it describes as the U.S. crimes was in sharp contrast to the earlier bin Laden message, which appeared to be an appeal to the American people to sever their ties with Israel and end the war with al-Qaida.

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