Al-Qaeda welcomes Middle East 'tsunami of change'

HONG KONG, March 30, 2011 (AFP) - Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has welcomed the wave of revolutions engulfing the Middle East as a "tsunami of change", the SITE monitoring service said Wednesday.

Several articles in the latest issue of the group's English-language e-magazine "Inspire" reflect on the recent upheavals -- which have been driven by popular discontent with poor governance, rather than Islamist militancy.

But the cover story, entitled The "Tsunami of Change" and written by the Yemeni-US cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, argues that the revolutions are good news for Islamic extremists.

"The revolution broke the barriers of fear in the hearts and minds that the tyrants couldn't be removed," he wrote in the e-magazine, which was made available on the SITE website.

"We do not know yet what the outcome would be, and we do not have to. The outcome doesn't have to be an Islamic government for us to consider what is occurring to be a step in the right direction."

Japan, whose northeast coast was devastated by a killer tsunami earlier this month, is not mentioned in the 70-page publication. But the cover shows a graphic of the Earth with a giant eruption of water from North America.

Other articles include a piece urging Egyptians to demand a government based on Islamic Sharia law, translations of speeches by Al-Qaeda leaders, and a manual for a Kalashnikov rifle.

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