Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al Qaeda since Osama bin Laden's assassination, called for a holy war against the United States and Israel Saturday over the anti-Muslim video that triggered protests throughout the Middle East last month.
According to Agence France Presse and other sources, Zawahiri released a seven minute audio hailing "the honourable people.. who stormed the US embassy in Benghazi and those who protested outside the US mission in Cairo where they replaced the US flag with that of Islam and jihad."
In the audio released by media arm As-Sahab and posted on militant websites Saturday, the al Qaeda leader called on protesters "to continue to counter the US-Crusader-Zionist attack on Islam and Muslims and urge other Muslims to follow suit."
Zawahiri condemned the U.S. "whose laws allow attacks on the Muslim prophet and their holy book (the Koran), in the name of freedom of expression, while charging those who attack Jews with anti-Semitism."
He also said, "This freedom did not prevent them from torturing Muslim prisoners."
With less than one month to go before Election Day, it will be interesting to see how this impacts presidential politics here as well as the growing controversy over how the White House reported the storming of our consulate in Benghazi, and the deaths of four Americans there last month.
This seems especially true given President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden's frequent boasts about al Qaeda having been decimated.
That certainly doesn't appear the case.