The leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Muhammad Mahdi Akef, and Al-Qaeda's second-in-command Ayman Al-Zawahiri both recently addressed the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its campaign against Israel. Akef pledged 10,000 fighters. Al-Zawahiri called on Hamas to cut ties with the PA's Mahmoud Abbas and to fight for an international jihad movement.

Brotherhood 'Must Support All the Forces of Resistance'

In a November 30 interview with the United Kingdom's Al-Hiwar television, translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Akef was asked, "During the Israeli

"The [Egyptian] government must arm these people." - M. Akef, Muslim Brotherhood leader

aggression against Lebanon, you said that the Muslim Brotherhood was prepared to arm 10,000 young men, and to send them to Lebanon in order to support the resistance. Does this apply to Palestine too?"

Akef replied, "This applies to any country under occupation. One of the principles of the Muslim Brotherhood is to rid the Arab and Islamic nation of any foreign rule. The Muslim Brotherhood must support all the forces of resistance in the Arab and Islamic world."

As for weapons for the battalion of fighters, Akef said, "The [Egyptian] government must arm these people. When I fought in Palestine, the government knew about it. The government trained and armed us. As you well know, the military commanders worked with the Muslim Brotherhood. When we fought the English in 1951 in the [Suez] Canal, the government knew about it. We would undergo weapons training within [Al-Azhar] University."

Akef also addressed the issue of Al-Qaeda, claiming, "There is no such thing as Al-Qaeda. This is an American invention, so that they will have something to fight for...." Yet, later in the same interview, Akef says that Al-Qaeda "employs methods that do not please Allah. How can I kill a Muslim when this is forbidden?"

Al-Qaeda: 'Liberate Every Inch From Andalusia to Chechnya'

In an audio recording posted to the Internet on December 14, Al-Qaeda's Al-Zawahiri termed the November Annapolis Conference "treason" and called on Hamas to abandon dialogue with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and return to "your pure doctrine." 

According to a MEMRI report, Al-Zawahiri claimed that the "goal of the Annapolis conference... was to make Palestine Jewish." The US Administration, which he dubbed "the Crusader emperor of Washington," wants "to obtain a Security Council resolution which will be imposed on the Islamic ummah [nation] in Palestine...."

Hamas also came in for criticism by the Al-Qaeda leader: "I am amazed... at the [Hamas] politicians who surrendered four-fifths of Palestine.... [referring to] Mahmoud Abbas as 'brother President,' still urging [him] to [resume] talks [with the Hamas leadership], and still continuing to recognize his legitimacy."

Al-Zawahiri called on Hamas to declare, "in the clearest possible manner, that you... aspire to implement shari'a."

Al-Zawahiri called on Hamas to declare, "in the clearest possible manner, that you... aspire to implement shari'a [Islamic law], that you reject the rule of the masses and any other rule except that of the Koran and the Sunnah [teachings],  that you strive to establish the Caliphate, that you will fight until the word of Allah [reigns] supreme... that you aspire to liberate every inch of Islamic land from Andalusia [Spain] to Chechnya, and that you will join efforts with the rest of the mujahideen... [in the struggle against] the Crusader-Zionist enemy...."

Making his intentions explicit, Al-Zawahiri concluded his lecture to Hamas by saying, "I call upon you to announce that you are no longer a national resistance movement, but an Islamic jihad movement, which transcends national solidarity and believes in brotherhood rooted in Islam.... I call upon you to extend your hand in friendship... to all the Muslim mujahideen... [and to declare] that the mujahideen everywhere are closer to you, and more loyal and faithful [in your eyes], than Mahmoud Abbas and Muhammad Dahlan...."