Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 20, 2009

AL QAEDA CONTINUES TO APPEAR NERVOUS.... A couple of months ago, President Obama noted that terrorist leaders "seem nervous" with the change in U.S. administrations. It seems al Qaeda leaders are intent on proving the president right.

In the latest example, Ayman al-Zawahri has begged Muslims not to like Obama, and tried to convince his audience that Obama is practically identical to George W. Bush.

"America came to us with a new face, with which it is trying to fool us. He is calling for change, but (he aims) to change us so that we abandon our religion and rights," Ayman al-Zawahri said in an audio recording on the website.

Zawahri said Obama's election was an acknowledgement that Bush's policy had failed.

"Obama did not change the image of America among Muslims...America is still killing Muslims," said the Egyptian militant leader.

Zawahri's public-relations panic fits in nicely with the larger trend (indeed, Zawahri was similarly defensive about Obama in early February). Al Qaeda leaders were able to exploit George W. Bush's policies to recruit, expand, and raise money. The terrorist network is now in a much tougher position, not only in light of Bush's departure, but also with Barack Obama's international popularity. The very last thing al Qaeda wanted was a U.S. president who enjoys global admiration -- and that's exactly what they're responding to.

The result is a terrorist network with panicky pleas, urging followers and potential sympathetic ears to think of Bush and Obama as one and the same -- reality notwithstanding.

Rita Katz, who created the Site Intelligence Group, a private company that monitors jihadist communications, recently said the terrorist's hysterical rants against the president show "just how much al Qaeda is intimidated by Obama."

Good. The White House has already made a series of moves -- on torture, Guantanamo, outreach -- that reinforce American values and make al Qaeda's job that much more difficult.

To emphasize the obvious, the more the terrorist network feels intimidated, the better it is for our national security interests.

Steve Benen 11:15 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (24)

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Comments

Maybe the party of no and their right-wing friends will be forced to join with Al-Qaeda in a common cause. The enemy of my enemy is ... Remember Saddam & Osama?

Posted by: Ray Waldren on April 20, 2009 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

Trivia question: Who said He is calling for change, but (he aims) to change us so that we abandon our religion and rights?

1) Ayman al-Zawahri
2) Sarah Palin
3) James Dobson
4) All of the above

If you're not sure, you didn't read Steve's post, but at least you have been paying attention these last few years.

Posted by: Danp on April 20, 2009 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

Further proof that al Qaeda prefers Republican presidents.

Posted by: Ross Best on April 20, 2009 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

I'm laughing at AQ considering how much the Repubs tried to paint Obama with the "pals of AQ" brush during the election. Posts like this will go unnoticed in the mess of the brains of the Teabagger Party.

Unlike the Repubs, it seems to me that AQ has really spent a lot of time thinking about the consequences of Obama's actions.

Posted by: Former Dan on April 20, 2009 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

will this stop right-wing outrage about Obama reaching out to those thought to be hostile to us? of course not!

effectiveness be damned, they'd much rather be feared than respected. helps compensate for the emascualting effects of their, um, shortcomings.

Posted by: zeitgeist on April 20, 2009 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

(and apparently one of my shortcomings is an inability to correctly type long-ish words)

Posted by: zeitgeist on April 20, 2009 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

Ross beat me to it. . .

Posted by: eadie on April 20, 2009 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

Saw what you will about Obama, but he has a unique ability to make his opponents self destruct.

Posted by: Mike from Detroit on April 20, 2009 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

AQ reacted similarly when Keith Ellison was elected to Congress in 2006. It undercuts their point that the US is anti-Moslem when a Moslem man can get elected from a Congressional district that is maybe 5% Moslem. I suspect the fact that Ellison's a Moslem didn't *help* him much, probably the opposite, but it clearly didn't stop him from winning a primary, then easily winning 2 general elections.

if moderate Moslems can be successful in the US, it undercuts one of AQ's rhetorical points, which is all to the good. Their reaction to Obama is similar to how they reacted to Ellison.

Posted by: Norsecats on April 20, 2009 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

I think you meant *Muslim. Try Firefox, it spell checks as you type!

Posted by: eadie on April 20, 2009 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

I saved this from somewhere years ago as a reminder:

"Followers of Islam are called Muslims, but in some texts (especially older ones) you may find the alternate spelling "Moslem." Unfortunately, the pronunciation of this word sounds close to the Arabic term for "oppressor," so it should be avoided.

"In even older texts you may find the term "Mohammedan" and "Mohammedanism." These were used because of the error in thinking that Mulims worshipping Mohammed. Because Islam is a very strict monotheism, most will find it offensive to suggest that they worship a human being."

Posted by: steverino on April 20, 2009 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

Ellison's Muslim faith did make some progressives nervous during his first run for congress, but winning by 70% for his second term indicates we can deal with it just fine, except for our other recently well known representative.

Posted by: the seal on April 20, 2009 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

Wow. Hysterical Republicans and hysterical Al-Qaeda both screeching at poeple not to like Obama. They show they have more in common all the time.

No one could have predicted that.

Posted by: madstork123 on April 20, 2009 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, delusional nonsense. How about the Taliban expanding their reach in Pakistan? Anything the Al Queda leaders say doesn't mean shit anymore.

Posted by: lou on April 20, 2009 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

Bush was the best thing that ever happen to Al Qaeda.

Posted by: Glen on April 20, 2009 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like Al Queda's press releases are written by Wayne LaPierre.

Posted by: nonheroicvet on April 20, 2009 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

What?! You mean after 8 years of GWB's foreign policy all it took was the announcement of a withdrawal timetable for Iraq, a renewed commitment to a no-torture policy, engaging Cuba and a few of our heretofore shunned Latin American neighbors to put al Qaeda back on its heels? An internationally popular US president can do all that in three months?

You mean we didn't do this with torture and imprisonment and kicking down doors in the middle of the night and extraordinary rendition and secret prisons and "bribes to tribes" and troop surges and foreign military sales?

OMG! OMG! Call Dick Cheney! Call Doug Feith! Call John Yoo! We're marching toward peace -- this is Communism and it has to be stopped! There won't be anything to hate and fear! How will the GOP ever regain power, especially if Congress votes for health care . . . and people actually like it?

Posted by: pj in jesusland on April 20, 2009 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Oh the irony, Al Quesadilla channeling the party of not!

Posted by: The Galloping Trollop on April 20, 2009 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Anybody besides me notice how much the Al Qaeda rhetoric resembles that of the "tea party" protests, and also of the ridiculous "Gathering Storm" web video, with its message of how scary, scary scary gay marriage is going to destroy our way of life and beliefs? These guys are cut out of the same cloth.

Posted by: T-Rex on April 20, 2009 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

..."the terrorist's hysterical rants against the president show "just how much al Qaeda is intimidated by Obama."

Hmmmmmmmmm, much like the Republican party...

Posted by: Always Hopeful on April 20, 2009 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Geeze, these al-Quaeda nervous guys remind me a lot of ... ummm... nervous Republican guys... both urging us to be afraid of the black dude.

Posted by: Dejah Thoris on April 20, 2009 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

He is calling for change, but (he aims) to change us so that we abandon our religion and rights

I think I saw this on a tea-bagger poster.

Posted by: Juanita de Talmas on April 20, 2009 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't it bizarre to hear of someone who is 'nervous' that peace might break out?

Posted by: MarkH on April 20, 2009 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't it bizarre to hear of someone who is 'nervous' that peace might break out? Posted by: MarkH

nope. peace makes the military-industrial-Republican-corporatist-antiAmericanTerrorist-beltwaytalkinghead-complex very nervous indeed.

Posted by: zeitgeist on April 20, 2009 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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