New Al Qaeda Tape Expected Soon But Still No Bin Laden

By Hoda Osman

Feb 12, 2007 11:55am

A new statement by al Qaeda’s No. 2 man, Ayman al Zawahri, will be posted on the Internet soon, according to a banner on a militant Islamist Web site. It will be Zawahri’s third statement this year alone, in sharp contrast to the fact that nothing has been heard from al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden since an audiotape released last July. "It raises speculation that bin Laden may be dead or incapacitated," Middle East political analyst Salameh Nematt told ABC News. THE BLOTTER RECOMMENDS Blotter Spain Emerges as Base for AQ-Linked Terror Groups Blotter Bin Laden Alive, Active Says Algerian Group Click Here to Check Out the Latest Brian Ross Slideshows The statement is entitled "Lessons, Examples and Great Events in the Year 1427" (the Islamic year that ended in January). Through frequent appearances and statements, al Zawahri seems to aspire to play the role of a leader who often addresses different events and issues, although he only rarely refers to bin Laden. Click Here for Full Blotter Coverage. Al Zawahri’s frequent tape appearances suggest to U.S. officials he is hiding in a place with the capability to easily produce and distribute videos and audios without fear of being detected. Nematt disagrees with analysts who think frequent messages are a sign of al Qaeda’s strength. "Ultimately the messages that have been coming from al Zawahri lately indicate that al Qaeda feels it is on the defense…that things are not going well for them." Nematt believes al Qaeda is not winning in Iraq, where, he says, most insurgent groups have abandoned it and are working independently.

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