Al-Qaeda Leader Releases New Message Urging Muslims in ‘Arab Spring’ Nations to Form a Caliphate

Erica Ritz
Al Qaeda Leader Zawahiri Audio Urges Arab Spring Countries to Form Caliphate

This photo provided by IntelCenter, an American private terrorist threat analysis company, purports to show Al-Qaida's new leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in a still image from a web posting by al-Qaida's media arm, as-Sahab, Wednesday July 27, 2011. (Photo: AP)

CAIRO (TheBlaze/AP) -- Al-Qaeda's leader has urged Muslims in "Arab Spring" nations to unite and institute an Islamic state, or caliphate, while warning France that its intervention in Mali will be bogged down.

"I warn France that it will meet in Mali, with God's permission, the same fate America met in Iraq and Afghanistan," Ayman Al-Zawahri said in the 103-minute audio message.

In the recording, al-Zawahri urged Muslims to liberate their lands from oppressive regimes and foreign troops, apply Islamic law, halt the plundering of Muslim wealth, support rebellious Muslims and oppressed people worldwide, and establish the Islamic Caliphate, or religious state.

The audio was produced by al-Qaeda's media arm, As-Sahab, and was posted on militant websites late Saturday.

"The enemy has begun to reel and collapse," he said, encouraging his followers.

Al Qaeda Leader Zawahiri Audio Urges Arab Spring Countries to Form Caliphate

An Egyptian protester shouts slogans during a demonstration organized by Egyptian Islamists against the French intervention in Mali on January 18, 2013 in Cairo. The brother of Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri joined the protests. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

The al-Qaeda leader also praised the rebels, or "holy warriors," in Syria, urging them to step up their fight against the regime of President Bashar Assad. But he also warned them against letting the country fall under the influence of the United States, the Arab League, the United Nations and Israel should they gain control of it.

"(They) want to steal your sacrifices and your jihad to give them to their supporters in Washington, Moscow and Tel Aviv."

Al-Zawahri also lashed out against Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and Iran for their support of Assad, saying that "the true faces of Iran and Hezbollah have been exposed, and their ugly reality has appeared in the field of holy war in Syria." He called The Syrian government a "criminal secular" regime.

Al Qaeda Leader Zawahiri Audio Urges Arab Spring Countries to Form Caliphate

In this television image from Arab satellite station Al-Jazeera, Osama bin Laden, right, listens to his top deputy Ayman al-Zawahri speaking at an undisclosed location. (Photo: AP)

Al-Zawahri, an Egyptian and former top deputy of Osama bin Laden, further criticized the ruling Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt for its weak response to the country's poverty, saying "the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Have the Islamic movements provided better education, health or transportation?"

He also attacked the country's new constitution, drawn up by the Brotherhood and other Islamic movements, for not being religious enough.

But recent reports indicate Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and al-Zawahiri may be working together on a plan to bring the terrorist back to his native country.  Al-Zawahiri traces his roots back to the Brotherhood, and his return would undoubtedly alter the goals and tactics of some of its members.

The al-Qaeda leader has not released a similar message since November.