Audio recording purportedly is from the group's second-in-command
16-minute message posted Thursday on militant Islamist Web sites
Tape references Gen. David Petraeus' recent testimony before Congress
Speaker says U.S. presidential candidates "trying to deceive their people"
(CNN) -- Marking the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, al Qaeda's media arm released an audio recording, purportedly from the group's second-in-command, saying U.S. troops there have failed.
The audiotape allegedly is from Ayman al-Zawahiri, shown here in an image taken from a videotape.
"Where the American invasion stands now, after five years, is failure and defeat," the voice on the tape -- supposedly that of Ayman al-Zawahiri -- said in the roughly 16-minute recording, which was posted Thursday on several militant Islamist Web sites.
The tape referenced testimony by David Petraeus, the top U.S. general in Iraq, before Congress this month, when he said that further troop withdrawals in Iraq will have to wait at least another 45 days.
"It is all a silly episode to disguise failure in Iraq and so Bush would avoid making a decision on withdrawing troops -- which is considered to be a declaration of crusaders' defeat in Iraq -- and move forward the problem to be the next president's issue," he said.
CNN could not immediately confirm that the speaker was al-Zawahiri.
Al-Zawahiri's last public statement came April 3, when he said in an audio message that al Qaeda does not kill innocents and that Osama bin Laden is healthy.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Posted by Bill Corcoran at 2:01 AM