Thursday, July 16, 2009

A frantic Al Qaeda appeal?

Al Jazeera reports that Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda's second-in-command, has called upon the Pakistani people to rise up against the Americans who, he claims, have taken over the country.

The statement seems so farcical that one wonders how many Pakistanis will take it seriously.

He says, “the American crusader” is manipulating Pakistan’s destiny. Such language, "Crusader" and the like, will probably have less salience in Pakistan than in the Arab world from which Zawahiri comes, and to which he has addressed most of his public statements. There is no Crusader history in Pakistan.

"The Americans are today occupying Afghanistan and Pakistan,” he says. He is reaching here. True, the Americans are not popular in Pakistan, but how many Pakistani’s will believe that the Americans have occupied their country?

It is tempting to wonder if this is the voice of desperation. I don’t think we should underrate the Al Qaeda leadership, but this seems so fantastic as to seem frantic, even to Pakistanis who have their own grudges against the United States.

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