Al Qaida tries to exploit unrest
Al Qaida has attempted to exploit the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia with a recorded message urging people to create Islamic states.
Osama bin Laden's deputy Ayman al-Zawahri appeared to have made the audio tape between the January 14 fall of Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and before the February 11 overthrow of Egypt's Hosni Mubarak.
Al-Zawahri urged Egyptians and Tunisians to keep up their protests and push out the interim governments that continue in place in both nations.
The wave of popular protests in both countries was led by mainly secular youths calling for greater democracy and their success appears to have caught Osama bin Laden's terror network off guard.
Al-Zawahri tried to depict the uprisings as aiming to set up Islamic governments.
"Greetings to every free, honourable individual who was exposed to the bullets of the security herds to keep Islam as the master in his own country, preserve the headscarf of the Muslim sisters, stop normalisation with Israel ... and protect his society from immorality, corruption and spoilage," al-Zawahri said in the 15-minute tape placed on an Islamic militant website.
It was the third in a three-part message al-Zawahri has released about the uprisings in the two countries. Al Qaida has long called for the removal of Mubarak and Zawahri, an Egyptian, was part of an Islamic militant insurgency that Mubarak's regime crushed in the 1990s.
Al-Zawahri called on the Tunisians, Egyptians and all Muslims to "beware lest your sacrifices are being stolen, your suffering is being manipulated and that faces will change, but the injustice remains."
He said Mubarak and Ben Ali's regimes were "an inseparable part of the global system that is fighting Islam and Muslims, and America is at its head".
Al-Zawahri urged Tunisians to continue their "sacrifices and efforts until Tunisia returns as a fortress of Islam and jihad ... and to work to liberate Muslims lands off the armies of the contemporary Crusader campaign in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, the Arab peninsula, Somalia and the Islamic Maghreb."