Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahiri, who became the top leader of Al-Qaeda following the killing of Osama bin Laden, released a new audio-taped message to several Islamist websites and gave his opinion on a number events occurring in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Egypt, according to a report on Wednesday from the Meir Amit Information Center in Israel.
Zawahiri is heard counseling the Islamist fighters in Syria to unite in a common struggle against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad regime. He also warned them to end their collaboration with non-Islamist forces that oppose setting up a Caliphate once Assad is defeated and ousted from office, said the report.
"In our assessment, he was referring to the dispute between the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda in Iraq) and the Al-Nusra Front (Jabhat al-Nusra, the branch of Al-Qaeda in Syria directly subordinate to Ayman al-Zawahiri). Thereby he urged the two rival organizations to end their dispute and unite," stated the Meir Amit analysts in their report.
Al-Zawahiri stated in his audio message, according to the Meir Amit translators, that all Muslims should join forces to overthrow the Syrian regime and establish a jihadist Islamic country in Syria. That, he said, would open the way to the restoration of the Islamic Caliphate and the eventual "liberation of Jerusalem."
He said, among other things, the following:
* "I urge the brothers, the jihad fighters in blessed Syria [Al-Sham], to unite and come together and agree that soon, in Greater Syria [Al-Sham], if Allah so wishes, an Islamic state will arise that will be governed by the Sharia [Islamic religious law]."
* "Lions of Al-Sham [Syria], unite for the sake of this noble cause, rise above the divisions between the various organizations and splintered groups and with mutual agreement, good will and desire in your souls, establish a strong Islamic state."
* "Our brothers in Syria of the jihad and the ribat [frontier], keep yourselves from entering into an agreement with those [factions which] are secular, with those who want to be like the Americans and atheists at the expense of the sovereignty of the Sharia and the laws of Islam."