US condemns Aljazeera for tape

The United States has denounced Aljazeera’s airing of a new al-Qaeda audiotape, which calls for attacks on Western interests in the Middle East.

    Al-Qaeda still very much in the
    news

    Aljazeera carried the exclusive Wednesday in which Osama bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, urges new attacks, focusing on the US, UK, Australia and Norway.

    Later, the US State Department called the tape a "hateful diatribe" and questioned its news value, suggesting other television networks in the United States and elsewhere should think twice about rebroadcasting it.

    "We have to question why a network would air this kind of inflammatory rhetoric," US State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher said.

    Boucher said the US complaint had been registered with the government of Qatar, where Aljazeera is based.

    "We certainly think that people ... would want to question whether it's in their interest and part of their responsibility to air the full tape to allow the forum for this kind of diatribe," he said.

    Tape rebroadcast

    Boucher declined to say whether other networks had been similarly approached, but the BBC has  broadcast the speech with English subtitles and published the entire text on its website.

    Al-Zawahiri: Kick criminals out
    of your homelands

    On the tape which was recorded shortly into the war on Iraq, Al-Zawahiri, number two in the al-Qaeda network, urges Muslims to force westerners out of their lands by attacking them.

    "O Muslims, muster your resolve and hit the embassies of America, England, Australia and Norway, their interests, their companies and their employees ... Set the ground ablaze under their feet ... Kick these criminals out of your homelands," Al-Zawahiri says.

    Other targets

    Alzawahiri also attacked Arab countries he said had helped the US-led military campaign.

    Muslim rulers had been "unmasked" by granting the United States facilities to attack Iraq and hosting troops of the US-led coalition, he said, naming Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen and Jordan.

    The US, UK and Australia were all involved in the invasion and occupation of Iraq, but Norway’s singling out is less obvious. 

    Norway has some troops in Afghanistan, but analysts say it is small and other countries have larger numbers. Some observers have suggested that Oslo’s involvement in the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians may have led to its inclusion.


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