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Al Qaeda Leader Calls For the Overthrow of Musharraf

11:56 AM, Aug 1, 2007 • By BILL ROGGIO
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Al Qaeda has weighed in on the Pakistani government's military assault on the Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, in Islamabad last month. Sahab productions, the media outlet for al Qaeda's central leadership, released a 21 minute tape by Abu Yahya al Libi, a senior al Qaeda leader who has served as a spokesman and released numerous propaganda videos. In the video, titled "Of the Masters of Martyrs," al Libi praised the followers of the Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa as "martyrs." He forcefully called on Pakistanis to take up arms against Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who he called the "dirty tyrant" and a pawn of the West.

The tape was released in both Arabic and Urdu, a clear indication the message is targeted at both Pakistanis and Arab al Qaeda. Al Libi began the video by insulting the men of Pakistan for their timidity against the Pakistani government and their failure to fight. "It is the time for men to wear the burkas of the women and stay at home in the darkness after they abandoned attacking the sites where nobody can attack but the heroes and leave the way to the women," al Libi said. "Maybe they could do something the men refuse to do."

Abu Yahya al Libi.

He then praised the students and leadership of the Lal Masjid for "engraving a page of history, a story of fighting which seldom will be repeated." The Islamabad mosque "graduated students and scholars who promoted virtue and prevented vice," in the past, but after the showdown against Pakistani security forces "graduated a new generation ... decorated on the same level of the masters of martyrs."

Al Libi singled out Abdul Rashid Ghazi, who he referred to as "the Imam, the brave scholar, and martyr" who "spoke the truth in the time of submissiveness." Ghazi was killed by Pakistani forces during the assault on the Red Mosque.

After listing the virtues of the "martyrs" of the Red Mosque, al Libi openly called for the overthrow of the secular Musharraf regime and for attacks on "his fragile army."

O people of jihad in Pakistan, lions of sacrifice! O those asking for martyrdom, husbands of the [72] virgins. Man may die only once, so take charge at the gardens of martyrdom. It has opened its doors in your country. Rise as one, and see if Allah will be pleased. Go to battle together in order to be rid of this infidel tyrant and remove his heretic secular rule. May you pound away at his fragile army, at his swarms of intelligence miscreants and the fortresses of his unbelieving control. Take example from your neighbors, the brave people of Afghanistan. Their determination, power, will and strong belief have turned their land into a graveyard for the haughty and overbearing empires. These, in turn, are leaving in defeat and disappointment, with their tails between their legs and their collaborators [local ones, traitors] with them. This is how you must act.

Know this: The tax paid for lowliness - which the Pakistani people will pay after surrendering and succumbing to this infidel government - is many times greater than the tax paid for glory. The latter will be paid kindly and fondly in order to fortify our religion, set the law, process doctrine, gain freedom from serving the servants and find joy in serving the Lord of Servants.

Last month, Newsweek reported on a purported split between the Libyan faction of al Qaeda central command, which is led by al Libi, and Ayman al Zawahiri, al Qaeda's second in command. According to Newsweek, the Libyan faction opposed Zawahiri's "personal crusade to assassinate or overthrow the Pakistani leader." The purported anti-Zawahiri faction fears "Zawahiri is inviting the Pakistani leader's wrath, prematurely opening up another battlefront before the jihadists have properly consolidated their position" inside Pakistan's tribal areas."

Al Libi's latest tape calls into question this analysis, as he is openly calling for the overthrow of Musharraf. While there are certainly internal divisions within al Qaeda's senior leadership over their policy on Pakistan and other theaters, the divisions are not as deep as the Newsweek article makes them appear. Al Libi is on message with al Qaeda's senior leadership, as the tape was released through As Sahab, al Qaeda senior command's official propaganda arm.