Al Qaeda's new leader Ayman Al Zawahiri on Tuesday sought to claim credit for this year's Arab uprisings, saying the 2001 attacks on the United States paved the way for the "Arab volcano" that has swept the region a decade later.
Zawahiri and other Al Qaida figures have issued a number of messages seeking to associate themselves with the Arab uprisings that toppled autocratic leaders in his native Egypt, as well as Tunisia and Libya, and which threaten others. In the messages, they urge Arabs to replace toppled regimes with Islamic rule.
The wave of unrest transforming the Middle East, in which organized Islamic movements like the Muslim Brotherhood have played a critical role, have developed organically and involved masses too large and too diverse to be the work of any one organization.
Many Arab political analysts say the mass populist revolutions underscore the failure of Al QaEda's extremist ideology and show just how out of touch the terror group is with Arab youth.
But Zawahiri insists Al Qaeda deserves lionization for the radical storm in the Middle East.
"By striking the head of the world criminal," he said. "Al Qaeda forced America to press its allies in the Middle East to change their policies, which helped the Arab volcano."