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Al-Qaeda demands rise of 'Islamic' states in Middle East

Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden’s second-in-command, wants Islamic law to become the foundation of Egypt and Tunisia.

Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda's deputy leader, has appealed for Islamic revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia.
Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda's deputy leader, has appealed for Islamic revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia.
Image: PA / al-Jazeera

AL-QAEDA HAS CALLED for the complete reform of the political structures in both Egypt and Tunisia, following the resignations of both their presidents in recent weeks, and for the creation of new Islamic states.

In a recorded audio tape, apparently made after the overthrow of Tunisia’s Ben Ali and before Egypt’s Mubarak resigned, Osama bin Laden’s second in command Ayman al-Zawahiri urged the collapse of the interim governments in both countries.

In the 15 minute recording, posted to a website frequently used by Islamic militants and cited by FT.com, Zawahiri said the wave of popular uprisings across the Arab world in north Africa and the Middle East were the result of the people looking to reform their states into Islamic republics.

Zawahiri is the former emir of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad group, which was formally rolled into al-Qaeda in 1998.

“Beware lest your sacrifices are being stolen, your suffering is being manipulated and that faces will change, but the injustice remains,” he advised, recommending that Egyptians resist the emergence of secular Mohamed ElBaradei, a UN diplomat, as a new leader.

In Yemen, meanwhile, Al-Jazeera reports that the president Ali Abdullah Saleh is on the verge of announcing a government “of national unity”, in attempts to ease ongoing protests in that country.

It is thought that opposition parties will resist such moves, however, with Reuters quoting an opposition spokesman as saying the various opposing parties “stand with the people’s demand for the fall of the regime.”

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Gavan Reilly

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