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Al-Qaeda Leader Uses Slur Against Obama in Web Video
"There's a sentiment on the part of al-Qaeda that Obama is very popular, and they are trying to figure out how to attack him," Kohlmann said. "But I'm not sure calling Obama a 'house Negro' is a great way of winning the support of these people."
According to U.S. intelligence officials, Zawahiri, 57, is hiding in Pakistan. He has distributed dozens of video and audio recordings in recent years, despite a $25 million reward for his capture posted by the U.S. government.
U.S. counterterrorism officials did not dispute the authenticity of Zawahiri's recording but declined to respond publicly to his statements.
Zawahiri's video was the first official statement from al-Qaeda since Obama was elected. The recording bore the stamp of as-Sahab -- or, "the clouds" in Arabic -- the longtime propaganda arm of al-Qaeda.
Al-Qaeda has experienced severe difficulty in distributing its video and audio recordings on the Internet since September. Several password-protected Web forums that it relied upon to release the recordings were infiltrated and shut down. The latest major Web forum used by al-Qaeda and other Muslim extremists, al-Hesbah, was closed two days ago.
Kohlmann said Zawahiri's video was released on a lesser-known Web forum that had not been used by al-Qaeda until recently, demonstrating its ability to adapt to hackers and infiltrators.
In the video, Zawahiri also calls Obama's election "an admission of defeat in Iraq" and warns the president-elect against sending additional troops to Afghanistan. "If you still want to be stubborn about America's failure in Afghanistan, then remember the fate of Bush and Pervez Musharraf, and the fate of the Soviets and British before them," Zawahiri says, referring to the former president of Pakistan, who resigned under pressure this year. "And be aware that the dogs of Afghanistan have found the flesh of your soldiers to be delicious, so send thousands after thousands to them."
Staff writer Joby Warrick and staff researcher Julie Tate, both in Washington, contributed to this report.