This video-grab provided by the Site Intelligence Group shows a picture of al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri as he delivers an audio message released by al-Qaeda media arm as-Shahab on February 18, 2011 about the Egyptian uprising to oust President Hosni Mubarak. The speech is titled “A Message of Hope and Glad Tidings to the People of Egypt” and is indicated to be the first part of a series. The audio came in at 34 minute, 42 seconds and posted on jihadist forums. The video contains only a still picture of Zawahiri, who is Egyptian. — AFP Photo

WASHINGTON: Al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri attacked the former Egyptian regime of Hosni Mubarak in a message released Friday, which was recorded before the veteran leader was toppled.

“It’s a secular and tyrannical regime which is kept in place by oppression and election rigging,” Zawahiri said in an audio tape, played over a video of Arabic writing and his picture.

He accused Mubarak’s regime of being totally in the pocket of the United States, saying “the true leader is in the American embassy.”

And Zawahiri — an Egyptian by birth — denounced Mubarak “as the leader of all the Arab Zionists.”

But the 34-minute speech entitled, “A Message of Hope and Glad Tidings to the People of Egypt,” did not address the people’s revolt in Egypt which toppled Mubarak from power.

Friday’s video appeared to have been recorded before the demonstrations erupted on January 25, and was a kind of retrospective examining the role of occupying forces in putting in place a secular constitution in Egypt, instead of one based on Sharia law.

Al-Qaeda, which has long advocated that violence is the only way to overthrow regimes, has yet to respond to the demonstrations which caused Mubarak to step down last week after some three decades in power.

US President Barack Obama last week welcomed Mubarak’s departure and made the wider point apparently seeking to connect with Muslims elsewhere who felt marginalized and may be easy prey for extremists.

“Egyptians have inspired us and they’ve done so by putting the lie to the idea that justice is best gained through violence,” Obama said.

“For Egypt, it was the moral force of non-violence, not terrorism, not mindless killing, but non-violence, moral force, that bent the arc of history towards justice once more.”

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