As Americans celebrate the 4th of July today, Al Qaeda's top deputy Ayman Zawahiri is appearing in a new internet video praising jihadi fighters in Iraq and elsewhere. Dressed in all white and sitting before a news studio background, Zawahiri warns Americans that "Today, the wind - by grace of Allah - is blowing against Washington."
In the hour and half long video, which surfaced today on the website Strategic Translations, a translation and terror analysis firm, Zawahiri urges his followers to hurry to Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, and Somalia.
He also offers a message of confidence to the jihadi fighters in prison saying that victory in Iraq and Afghanistan will come soon.
"You must be patient and steadfast," he says. "Rejoice, for victory is near, with Allah's permission, and the herds of crusaders have begun to split up and their sole concern has become searching for a way out."
Entitled "The Advice of One Concerned," the video has English subtitles and includes clips from other videos and news broadcasts, including one from Al Furqan, the video production arm of the Islamic State of Iraq. There is a brief clip of Thomas Kean, chairman of the 9/11 Commission, speaking about the security challenges facing the United States. Also appearing on the tape is a clip of Abdul al-Bari Atwan, the editor of a London-based Arabic newspaper. In the clip, from an appearance on an Arabic news channel, Atwan declares that al Qaeda has become stronger since the September 11th attacks and that is truly an international organization.
The video does not reference the thwarted in attacks in London and Glasgow, but appears to be more of a 'state of the ummah' style address intended to try and provide advice to the Muslim world in a manner similar to the fireside chat.
Zawahiri offers what he calls his "reflections" on the scene in Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. Sometimes using charts or referring to lengthy excerpts, including one from Bob Woodward's book "Plan of Attack," the video is part-seminar, part-call to jihad.
At one point, Zawahiri even pauses to crack a joke about an article he read in an Egyptian newspaper that refers to a fax allegedly sent from a political prisoner there who renounces his extremist views from prison.
"Do the prison cells of Egypt now have fax machines?" he asks disbelievingly, "and I wonder, are they connected to the same line as the electric shock machine or do they have a separate line?"