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Zarqawi Reportedly Assails Arab Countries' Iraq Efforts

January 09, 2006|From Reuters

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab Zarqawi, denounced Arab countries working for political reconciliation in Iraq as U.S. agents, according to a recording posted online Sunday.

"The countries that met in Cairo ... were involved in destroying Iraq and cooperated with America by opening their land, airspace and waters and offering intelligence to it," said the speaker, who officials said sounded like Zarqawi.

He was referring to an Arab League conference in November called to allow Iraqi political factions to search for common ground.

The tape, posted on an Islamist website often used by insurgent groups in Iraq, could not be authenticated.

The speaker denounced the Iraqi Islamic Party, viewed as the largest Sunni Muslim Arab party, for endorsing a new constitution, thereby boosting the Shiite- and Kurdish-led government.

"We call on the Islamic Party to leave this path ... which leads to the destruction of the Sunnis," the speaker said.

The U.S. has put a $25-million bounty on Zarqawi's head.

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