Aug 11 2008

When Was Zawahiri Audio Tape Made?

One key question I have regarding the latest Zawahiri audio tape – his first ever in English – is when was it made and is it authentic. It is clear Pakistan is in a fight for its soul, and there are forces inside the Pakistan Government which want to destabilize the democratic government and replace it with an Islamists caliphate. And these forces are aligned with al-Qaeda and the Taliban taking refuge in the Pakistan Tribal lands.

The date of the tape’s creation is important in understanding whether this latest message was created before the July 28th predator strike in South Waziristan Agency, where it has been rumored Zawahiri may have been seriously injured. It has been speculated these messages take weeks to move from production to distribution because of the precautions necessary to go from recording the statements, secretly moving those recordings to a production center, and then secretly moving them to a news media outlet.

With this time delay in mind I also find the timing of this tape’s debut too coincidental to the impeachment proceedings against President Musharraf kicking off today. Given the uncertainties in moving this propaganda piece through the pipeline, I find it interesting it was able to make its debut right before the proceedings. In fact, I get the feeling the proceedings, only recently announced, where being held off until this propaganda piece made it to a certain point in the process in order to ensure the proper orchestration of the audio tape and the beginning of impeachment.

So let”s assess some of the reporting to see how this all plays out. First from the French news media outlet AFP:

Zawahiri “calls for the people to support jihad in Pakistan and lists a litany of grievances against the Pakistani government and US involvement there,” said IntelCenter, which monitors extremist websites and communications.

In particular, Zawahiri accuses Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf of corruption, arguing that he is only working to support US and Western interests and that he has committed crimes against Muslims all over the world.

Zawahiri also describes Abdul Qadeer Khan — the father of Pakistan’s atomic bomb under house arrest for transferring nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea — as a “scapegoat to appease the Americans.”

“Let there be no doubt in your minds that the dominant political forces at work in Pakistan today are competing to appease and please the modern day Crusaders in the White House, and are working to destabilize this nuclear capable nation under the aegis of America,” Zawahiri was quoted as saying by IntelCenter.

And from Gulf News/Reuters:

An audio tape purportedly made by Al Qaida second-in-command Ayman Al Zawahiri has accused Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and other politicians of trying to destablise Pakistan at the behest of the United States.

Pakistan’s lower house of Parliament convenes on Monday as the ruling coalition gears up to impeach Musharraf, while provincial legislatures are to begin tabling resolutions calling on him to step down.

The English-language tape was dropped off by an unidentified man at an office of Pakistan’s ARY One television channel on Saturday, the station’s news director said, but its authenticity could not be immediately verified.

And from the Guardian/UK:

Pakistan’s embattled president, Pervez Musharraf, faced a direct challenge from al-Qaida today, with the terror group lambasting his record in a new video.

A person said to be the al-Qaida deputy leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, spoke in English on the tape, calling for an uprising not only against Musharraf but the Pakistani state, which he said was “virtually ruled from the American embassy”.

Pakistan’s parliament meets today at the start of a special session for impeachment proceedings against Musharraf. The government has not yet released its charge sheet against the president but al-Qaida spelled out its grievances in the tape.

“Pervez has insulted and compromised Pakistan’s sovereignty by allowing the CIA and FBI to operate freely in Pakistan and arrest, interrogate, torture, deport and detain any person, whether Pakistani or not, for as long as they like, thus turning the Pakistani army and security agencies into hunting dogs in the contemporary crusade,” said Zawahiri.

The first English message ever released by Zawahiri (supposedly because he cannot speak Urdu)? Why would Zawahiri sully himself with the tongue of the Great Satan? And how can we miss how it pits AQ Khan against Musharraf as if these two oppose each other (it is Musharraf who has been able to protect AQ Khan over the years).

This is a blatant media PR piece for Western consumption, and is meant to erode support from the leader of those forces in Pakistan opposing the Talibanization of Pakistan. My guess is there will be some interesting details to arise from this tape. I would wager it predates the 7/28/08 predator strike, and I am wondering if the NSA has some interesting communication intercepts that point to some coordination between the anti-Musharraf forces and the publication of this audio tape.

14 responses so far

14 Responses to “When Was Zawahiri Audio Tape Made?”

  1. gwood says:

    The shift in focus to Pakistan is also an indication of al-Qaida’s capitulation in Iraq.

    Perhaps the switch to English is just an admission that al-Qaida believes the American left and its supplicant media still represent the jihad’s best hope to make a comeback.

  2. WWS says:

    I don’t think it’s possible at this time to authenticate this, and this is why: If a tape of Zawhiri comes out in Arabic, it can be compared to other known recordings of him speaking Arabic. But if you or I were to read an arabic script, we certainly wouldn’t sound like we normally do. How could it be possible to tell the difference between Zawahiri speaking english and an imitator of him speaking english, if there is no standard to compare to?

    point being – there’s no way, for now, to know whose voice is on that tape.

  3. crosspatch says:

    Um, hey, AJ …

    The small oil-rich emirate of Kuwait – situated between Iraq, Iran and an un-enviable geographic hard place on the northern end of the Persian Gulf – has reportedly activated its “Emergency War Plan” as a massive U.S. and European armada is reported heading for the region.

    I believe something is getting closer to the fan.

  4. ivehadit says:

    Cross, that’s interesting and makes Putin’s move come into focus, imho.
    Could be a distraction from Iran…could be a way to keep us from moving on Iran…

    Regardelss, we all seem to think that something is definitely up.

  5. crosspatch says:

    “could be a way to keep us from moving on Iran…”

    Or could be a distraction for Russia to keep them out of getting involved in Iran.

    But back on topic … if Zawahiri produces a tape in English it is, of course, designed for US consumption. We are heading toward an election and al Qaida has attempted to inject something into every single one of our elections since 9/11.

  6. WWS says:

    The Iranian connection is a possible explanation for the timing of the attack on Georgia. It’s beginning to look as though Russia isn’t going to settle for just south Ossetia; it looks as though they are going to go for all of Georgia, and the rate at which the Georgian Army is collapsing makes it looks as though Putin will achieve that goal within days.

    If he was aware that major plans were in the works for a confrontation with Iran, he would have known that we were completely incapable of doing anything to oppose his invasion of Georgia at the same time. We no longer have the forces to support action on that many fronts simultaneously. Evil man, but well played.

    Putin’s goal, of course, is to reassemble the USSR piece by piece. The Ukraine and the baltic states are next up on the list.

  7. ivehadit says:

    I agree with Morris: this is like Hitler’s moves on Oct. 3, 1938.

    What are we doing about it? AJ do you know of anything that is not being reported?

  8. ivehadit says:

    And we have beefed up our oil reserves…could that be related to the ME Times article?

  9. crosspatch says:

    Russia has a mutual defense treaty with Iran … if Russia is occupied elsewhere …

  10. gwood says:

    Russia’s attack on Georgia puts a bit of emphasis on how idiotic Obama’s plan to release oil from the strategic reserve is, now doesn’t it? McCain should really harp on this.

  11. crosspatch says:

    Releasing of the strategic reserve was a bribe. Basically he would attempt to pressure Bush into releasing the reserve, he could take credit for reducing gas prices and when elected, he could blame Bush for rising gas prices as the reserve was refilled.

    People tend not to remember things longer than a week or two in this country. They hear the news on their commute to/from work and can hear exactly the opposite a month later and never realize it.

  12. roylofquist says:

    The Khan charade is so utterly transparent that it boggles that so many have bought into it. Cheney to Musharraf: “We’re going to attack Afghanistan. We have enough bombs to clear the way. One has your name on it. We know about the proliferation. We’ll let you off the hook if you cooperate.” Khan said as much in an interview a while back.

    What we have here is an attempt at an ISI coup. Musharraf is the guy who is stifling the crazies in ISI. They enlist the naifs in the new government to impeach him. The tape is part of the plan. If it succeeds be prepared for 100+ nuclear weapons in the hands of some really, really scary people. I have been saying for a number of years that Pakistan is the place where Armageddon will start.

  13. dave m says:

    Roy Writes:
    I have been saying for a number of years that Pakistan is the place where Armageddon will start.
    Me: You cannot invoke Armageddon with only 100 fission nukes.
    They probably only add up to about a megaton or two.
    Still, they could cause hurt.

    My suggestion is that if Musharraf is deposed, we simply disarm Pakistan.
    Make them an offer they cannot refuse. Disarming Pakistan would be
    less bloody than retaliating aginst the entire islamic world.

    India will probably help.

    You can’t allow islamists to have nukes, not in Pakistan, not in Iran,
    not anywhere. Does that upset yer sense of social justice? Tough!

    Meanwhile, Pakistan defends one of their own,

    from Bill Roggio:

    A US district judge refused bail to al Qaeda operative Aafia Siddiqui, who appeared in a Manhattan federal court in a wheelchair. Pakistani diplomats met with Siddiqui and pledged support. “Pakistan will provide all possible assistance to her,” the spokesman for the foreign ministry said.


    Of course you will.

  14. WWS says:

    Don’t forget that the real war in the area is always Pakistan vs. India. If the extremists take over, they will certainly relaunch the attacks on Kashmir which is the original source of the trouble between them. (They’ve been fighting over it since 1948) But India has an army that’s 4 times (at least) the size of Pakistan’s, and they have nukes as well. America up until now has always been Pakistan’s ally and warned off India from attacking them. So we stand back and just let India know that we won’t do a thing now – India could eliminate Pakistan’s military pretty quickly.

    Of course, when people say “just disarm them” with regard to the nukes, they usually don’t think through the consequences of that. This is harsh to say, but the first step of any war against Pakistan needs to be a limited tactical nuclear strike against all their nuclear installations and storage areas.

    I don’t see any other realistic option.