Al Qaeda Leader Calls For the Overthrow of Musharraf
11:56 AM, Aug 1, 2007 • By BILL ROGGIO
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."
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."