Zawahiri urges follower to commit war crimes

In the second part of a long-ranging interview, al Qaeda's leader urged Muslims to capture Westerners as pawns that might be used to free prisoners aligned with his movement.

Asked what he'd tell "Muslims and the mujahedeen" -- a term used for some Islamist militants -- to do to "fulfill their duty" toward their allies in custody, Ayman al-Zawahiri said, "I advise them to capture Westerners -- and especially the Americans, as much as they can -- to exchange them for our captives."

This was one of many comments on a wide array of topics that al-Zawahiri touched on in a question-and-answer session with al Qaeda's media arm, audio of which was published on the radical Islamist website Hanein. CNN cannot independently verify the authenticity of the recording, though the voice appears very similar to previous messages from al-Zawahiri.

In the first part of the interview, which was posted online a week ago, al-Zawahiri insisted that al Qaeda is holding strong and, in fact, "expanding" 13 years after the United States launched its "war on terror" following the September 11, 2001, attacks.

"The upper hand is for the one who does not withdraw from his land," he said. "Who has withdrawn from Iraq, and who has not? Who has withdrawn from Afghanistan and who has not?"
It does not sound like he thinks he is losing.  Obama's biggest mistake in his retreats from Iraq and Afghanistan is doing so before convincing the enemy that his cause is hopeless.   The retreats have in fact given hope to the enemy.


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