Ayman al-Zawahri was selected to succeed slain al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
(CBS NEWS) -- Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahri called has called on Muslims to
continue attacking Americans on their own soil in order to "bleed" the
The terror chief's remarks came in a new hour-plus audio message marking the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, released Friday on jihadi blogs and produced by al Qaeda's media wing, as-Sahab media.
keep up the hemorrhage in America's security and military spending, we
need to keep the Unites States on a constant state of alert about where
and when the next strike will blow," Zawahiri said. "Keeping America on
its guards only requires from us scattered strikes here and there."
Zawahri's message focused primarily on promoting so-called "lone wolf"
attacks, he also urged more strikes on the level of Sept. 11, which he
called a punishment for "the U.S. continuous war on Islam and Muslims."
He also called on Muslims to kidnap westerners to trade for Muslim prisoners detained in the west.
News senior correspondent John Miller, who worked previously at a
senior level in the FBI and the office of the National Intelligence
Director and once met Zawahri at a camp in Afghanistan, said Friday on
"CBS This Morning" that Osama bin Laden's replacement and former deputy
lacks his predecessor's communications skills, and his message may
reveal a tinge of desperation.
"He's looking at the Boston Marathon bombing,
which was a terrorist attack but rather small. He's seen the profound
effect it's had on Boston and he wants more," said Miller. "To me, the
tacit admission is that al Qaeda does not feel it's in the position,
organizationally, do what it used to do, which is organize and launch it
"I think he lacks the charisma of bin
Laden," added Miller. "He's an Egyptian pediatrician and he's a smart
guy, but his message hasn't resonated."
messages released by al Qaeda to mark the anniversary of 9/11, Zawahri's
message was relatively modest, including none of the usual file video
of the actual attacks, no pictures of the Twin Towers in smoke in the
background, and no recycled clips of the Sept. 11 plane hijackers.
was instead limited to audio of Zawahri, who, just 17 minutes into the
hour-and-12-minute recording, shifted topics entirely to issues
surrounding the setbacks suffered by Islamist movements in the Middle
East -- particularly countries where Arab Spring-inspired uprisings
brought Islamist-friendly regimes to power.
Zawahri strongly criticized Egypt's military for toppling Muslim Brotherhood-backed President Mohammed Morsi
in Egypt, but he diverted part of the blame toward the Muslim
Brotherhood itself, for, in his words, failing to "rule in accordance to
the Islamic Sharia" law.
"Mohammed Morsi was not ruling
according to the Sharia and abided by all the security treaties with
America as well as by the peace and normalization treaty with Israel,"
Many Islamists who were either jailed or forced to live in exile under the decades-long rule of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak
regained their freedom during or in the run-up to Morsi's brief tenure,
either via retrials or presidential pardons. One of the men to reemerge
was Zawahri's own brother, Mohammed Zawahri, who had been awaiting the
He was acquitted in a retrial on March
2012 and became the leader of the Salafist Jihadi Movement of Egypt.
After Morsi's ouster, however, and like many of the freed Islamists,
Mohammed Zawahri was re-arrested and put back in prison on terror-related charges.
final part of the al Qaeda chief's message was dedicated to defending
al Qaeda's jihadist ideology, which has been challenged since 2010 by
the popular uprisings which toppled Mubarak in Egypt, the regime of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia, Muammar Qaddafi in Libya, and Ali Saleh in Yemen.
The last message from Zawahri
came on July 31, in the form of another audio statement in which he
slammed U.S. treatment of inmates at Guantanamo Bay and said al Qaeda
would spare no effort to free them.