By Maamoun Youssef (AP)
CAIROâ€”Osama bin-Ladenâ€™s deputy said in a video message released Monday that the al-Qaida leaderâ€™s offers of a truce with the U.S. and Europe remained on the table, though he ridiculed President Barack Obama as â€œthe new face of the same old crimes.â€
In a video posted on an Islamic militant Web site, al-Qaidaâ€™s No. 2 leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, scorned the American president over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the U.S. approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Nonetheless, al-Zawahri said â€œfairâ€ truces offered by bin-Laden were still valid.
In 2004, bin-laden offered a truce to European countries that do not attack Muslims. Two years later, he offered the American people a â€œlong-term truceâ€ without specifying the conditions, though in that same audio recording he also warned that his fighters were preparing new attacks in the United States.
â€œThese offers were dealt with impolitely but are still valid, and the offer is fair,â€ al-Zawahri said. â€œBut they (Americans) want a relationship with us based on suppression.â€
â€œObama is like a wolf whose fangs tear your flesh and whose paws slit your face and then he calls on you to talk about peace,â€ he said.
Al-Zawahri has been critical of Obama since his election, even releasing a message that referred to him as a â€œhouse negro,â€ a slur for a black subservient to whites.
In the message released Monday by al-Qaidaâ€™s media operation, Al-Sahab, al-Zawahri said Obama is seeking to mislead the Muslim world with calls for better ties and was doing so because wrath from the Muslim world had inflicted catastrophes upon America.
â€œWe are not idiots to accept meaningless flexible words. Obama is the new face with the same old crimes,â€ he said.
U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters Monday that the United States believes it has â€œturned a tideâ€ in the struggle against extremists. He spoke of success in Afghanistan, â€œdifficult as it is,â€ and â€œmeaningful stepsâ€ by the Pakistani government against al-Qaida and others.
â€œThis is not a struggle that al-Qaida is destined to win,â€ Crowley said. â€œAs to a truce, I have no further comment.â€