The message appeared chiefly aimed at persuading Muslims and Arabs that Obama does not represent a change in U.S. policies. Ayman al-Zawahri said in the message, which appeared on militant Web sites, that Obama is "the direct opposite of honorable black Americans" like Malcolm X, the 1960s African-American rights leader.The message has multiple purposes. Two come to mind.
In al-Qaida's first response to Obama's victory, al-Zawahri also called the president-elect—along with secretaries of state Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice—"house negroes."
Speaking in Arabic, al-Zawahri uses the term "abeed al-beit," which literally translates as "house slaves." But al-Qaida supplied English subtitles of his speech that included the translation as "house negroes."
Zawahiri is egging Obama on just to see if Obama will hit al Qaeda.
Zawahiri has sprung a trap on Obama. If Obama orders strikes, Zawahiri can claim that (1) it's because Obama's a stooge for others; (2) he's vain and can't take being belittled; (3) combination of 1 and 2.
If Obama doesn't continue to respond to al Qaeda with force, Zawahiri sees just how weak Obama is and how a lack of resolve can be exploited in future attacks against US strategic interests worldwide.
In other words, this is a trial balloon to see how Obama will respond.
The message is also meant to appeal to the far left anti-America fringe to attempt to show that the US will not measurably change its foreign policy now that Obama will be assuming the Presidency. It's meant to undermine Obama's possible foreign policy strategies, especially if any of them are a continuation of the Bush and Clinton years.
The Jawa Report has the video and transcript of Zawahiri's latest outburst. Of particular note is the passage that calls out Obama for claiming that the US lost in Iraq. Obama indeed hoped for failure in Iraq, but circumstances have turned out to be quite different as the US is drawing down troops there because we've won.
Stop the ACLU has reaction from the right, which attacks Zawahiri for making the asinine statement. Zawahiri also insults the likes of Colin Powell and Condi Rice with the same "house slave" nonsense, which is cribbed from none other than Harry Belafonte.