The new tape is out and the Jawas have Laura Mansfield’s translation. CNN’s playing up this passage, but I don’t think it’s that significant:
The Muslims espoused allegiance to the Ottoman state, which was Turkish, and before that, they espoused allegiance to Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi, who was Kurdish, and before him, Nur ad-Din bin Zanki, who was Turkish. And the Muslims in the Maghreb espoused allegiance to Yusuf ibn Tashfin, who was a Berber.
And we – by the grace of Allah and His guidance – have pledged allegiance to the Commander of the Believers, Mulla Muhammad Umar, who is an Afghan.
That’s why I ask my Muslim brothers in general and the callers and Mujahideen and their media organizations in particular to highlight the concept of Islamic brotherhood and disown all partisanship, loyalties and animosities based on nationalism, and I ask them not to allow the wrongdoing of a faction or entity motivate them to speak evil of that party’s entire people or race.
Has the crown passed from Osama to Omar? Well, here’s what Z said on December 20 for comparison:
[Y]ou know that your Mujahid brothers, especially in Qaida al-Jihad, are – by the grace of Allah – the farthest people from ethnic fanaticism. They have pledged allegiance to the Commander of the Believers, Mulla Muhammad Umar, as their commander, and he isn’t an Arab.
In the course of the same message, he referred to “our commander, Shaykh Usama bin Ladin (may Allah preserve him).” Where Omar and Osama rank vis-a-vis each other in the jihadi chain of command is anyone’s guess; the point is, Zawahiri’s obviously comfortable with concurrent allegiances.
A subsidiary question presents itself: has he referred to Osama in any messages after December 20? As it turns out, no. Here are Mansfield’s translations of the December 29th Eid message and the January 3rd message on monotheism (scroll down to the disembodied head screenshot). There are no references to him in either, nor are there any in the new message. I’m not prepared to sift through all the transcripts going back to 2001 to find out how long he’s gone without mentioning Osama, but if anyone wants to take a crack and report back, I’m all ears.
Anyway. I’m sure the Shiites in Iraq who’ve spent time scraping their relatives off the sides of buildings from AQ suicide bombs will appreciate his call tonight for Muslim unity. I leave you with our quote(s) of the day, guaranteed to leave ’em laughing on DU:
Bush suffers from an addictive personality, and was an alcoholic. I don’t know his present condition (Americans know best about that, as they are experts in alcohol and addiction to it), but the one who examines his personality finds that he is addicted to two other faults: lying and gambling. As regards lying, his record is well known, and he has gone down in history as one of its most notorious liars. As for his addiction to gambling, it motivates him to continue to place losing bets until he goes completely bankrupt, which is the obvious psychological motivation behind his Iraq policy…
These traitors in Iraq and Afghanistan must face their inevitable fate, and face up to the inescapable facts. America – which was transformed from the “Great Satan” into the “Closest Ally” – is about to depart and abandon them, just as it abandoned their like in Vietnam.