Bin Laden Allegedly Calls for Jihad Over Gaza

As bin Laden castigates Arab leaders for failing to defend Palestinians, Iran says Hamas is winning.

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By Larry Derfner, Mideast Watch

A speech attributed to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and titled, "A Call for Jihad to Stop the Aggression Against Gaza," was distributed on the Internet Wednesday, Al Jazeera reports. The speech castigates Arab leaders for failing to defend the Palestinians.

"Our brothers in Palestine, you have suffered a lot . . . the Muslims sympathize with you in what they see and hear. We, the mujahideen, sympathize with you also," the voice in the recording said.

He called on Muslims to rise in support of Gazans and not to rely on Arab leaders, "the great majority of whom are allied with the Crusader-Zionist coalition".

Ahmadinejad says Hamas is beating Israel

Iran is spreading the word that Israel is actually losing the war in Gaza on the ground. The official Iran Daily reports President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's analysis:

Asked why the Zionist regime has not managed to achieve its declared goals in Gaza despite its army reportedly being the world's fourth strongest army, the president said either the Israelis lie or the first three armies are not real armies."The reason why they are defeated is clear. Faith is always more powerful that military might," President Ahmadinejad said.

Arab protesters aim anger at America

America is catching considerable fallout from the anger in the Arab world over Israel's pounding of Gaza. Egyptians opposed to the U.S.-allied government are condemning President-elect Barack Obama's refusal to speak out on the war until he takes office. An Inter Press Service story from Cairo reports:

With the Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip now in its second week—and as the Palestinian death toll approaches 600—U.S. president-elect Barack Obama has continued to remain silent. Obama's reticence, say Egyptian commentators, indicates that he will be no more even-handed on the issue of Palestine than preceding U.S. administrations.

"Obama's silence shows that he is just as biased towards Israel as (outgoing U.S. President George) Bush," Ibrahim Mansour, political analyst and managing editor-in-chief of independent daily Al-Dustour told IPS. "Like Bush, Obama's only role in the region will be to implement Israeli directives."

Even Starbucks has become a target for demonstrators in Lebanon, reports Al Arabiya:

Dozens of Lebanese protestors angry at Israel's onslaught of the Gaza Strip forced the closure Tuesday of a Starbucks coffee shop in Beirut, calling for a boycott of the U.S.-based chain. "We want to revive the boycott campaign in Lebanon and the Arab countries," demonstration organizer Yara Harakeh, 23, told AFP, adding: "We have begun with Starbucks."