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September 24, 2009

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Al-Qaida tips Obama's fall via Muslim world

AL-QAIDA predicted United States President Barack Obama's downfall at the hands of the Muslim world in a new video released on Tuesday.

The 106-minute video in Arabic, entitled "The West and the Dark Tunnel," is part of series of messages by the group marking the eighth anniversary of the September 11 attacks in the US. Osama bin Laden released a short message of his own on September 14.

Like similar long messages on previous anniversaries, it featured testimony from several leading al-Qaida figures, including No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri, intercut with news footage from the past year.

As in the past, al-Qaida attempted to conflate Obama with his predecessor, George W. Bush, who was widely disliked by Muslims for his invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Many analysts say al-Qaida has been alarmed by Obama's comparative popularity in the Middle East, especially following his landmark speech to the Muslim world in Cairo in June.

"America has come in a new, hypocritical face. Smiling at us, but stabbing us with the same dagger that Bush used," al-Zawahri said in the message.

"God willing, your end will be at the hands of the Muslim nation, so that the world and history will be free of your crimes and lies," he said addressing Obama at the end of the video.

The message also featured Adam Gadahn, also known as Azzam al-Amriki, an American who grew up in southern California, converted to Islam and joined al-Qaida.

He was charged with treason in 2006 and there is a US$1 million reward for information leading to his arrest or conviction.

"The important question is will Obama and his Democrats learn from his predecessor's mistakes or will they go on repeating them until they too leave office in humiliation and disgrace," said the heavily bearded American, dressed in a white robe.

"Unfortunately for the Democrats, and judging by their first 7 1/2 months at the helm of the sinking American ship, the prognosis doesn't look good."

The message included a long section on US prisons and alleged torture facilities and showed footage of what appeared to be an American torturing an Afghan for information by dunking his head into a bucket of water.

The SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors extremist Websites, identified the person conducting the torture as Jonathan Keith Idema, who also appeared in last year's al-Qaida video.

The message discussed the progress of jihadi movements globally, in particular Taliban "victories" against US forces in Afghanistan.


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