Perhaps it is time for Iran to tweak its foreign policy and address the "root causes" that so inflame the passions of Dr. Ayman al-Zawahri and his comrades in the al-Qaeda leadership. Seems as if Dr. Z thinks that Iran's Islamic Revolution has gone a bit soft on the Crusaders. Reuters has details:
In a segment on the video aired by al Jazeera, Zawahri attacked Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, questioning the Islamic Republic's anti-Western stand.
"The (leader of Iran) collaborates with the Americans in occupying Iraq and Afghanistan and recognises the puppet regimes in both countries, while he warns of death and destruction to anyone who touches an inch of Iranian soil," Zawahri said.
Al Qaeda, a militant Sunni Islamist group, often criticises predominantly Shi'ite Iran, which has good relations with Afghanistan's anti-Taliban leaders and Iraq's Shi'ite-led government.
In a fundamentalist version of an East Coast-West Coast beef, al-Zawahiri also took some swipes at Hezbollah for not retaking the Golan Heights from Israel. From Al-Jazeera:
"The most bizarre and astounding thing is that Hassan Nasrallah [Hezbollah's leader] celebrates a victory every year.
"What victory?" he said. "Retreating 30 miles backwards?" he said.
It's hard to know what to make of this, though with al-Zawahiri's Iraqi surrogates in retreat, and Tehran engaging with the Maliki government, it doesn't come as a huge surprise. It's easy to see a parallel between the factionalism inherent in radical Islam—exacerbated by six years of battlefield combat with American and Nato forces in Afghanistan and Iraq—and the dissolution of the Republican cause in Spain, which spent the an inordinate amount of time fighting amongst itself instead of trying to defeat Franco. Let's hope for a repeat.
Lawrence Wright's excellent 2002 New Yorker backgrounder on Zawahiri can be read here.