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Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Egyptian doctor who is al-Qaeda’s number 2, has released a tape where he blasts President-elect Barack Obama as a “house slave” whose policies will be no different than George W.Bush’s. This may signal either an al-Qaeda call rallying dormant troops or real worry that Obama’s appeal may dry up al-Qaeda’s source of recruitment among young, disenfranchised Muslims. Pepe Escobar argues that Obama has a unique opportunity – in ideological terms – to render al-Qaeda totally irrelevant.

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Pepe Escobar, born in Brazil is the roving correspondent for Asia Times and an analyst for The Real News Network. He's been a foreign correspondent since 1985, based in London, Milan, Los Angeles, Paris, Singapore, and Bangkok. Since the late 1990s, he has specialized in covering the arc from the Middle East to Central Asia, including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He has made frequent visits to Iran and is the author of Globalistan and also Red Zone Blues: A Snapshot of Baghdad During the Surge both published by Nimble Books in 2007.