Following are excerpts from an interview with Egyptian Salafist Muhammad Al-Zawahiri, the brother of Al-Qaeda Leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri, which aired on the Al-Jazeera network on August 1, 2012.
Muhammad Al-Zawahiri: We in Al-Qaeda are bound by the laws of the shari'a, and we reject and condemn any killing that is prohibited by the shari'a.
Unfortunately, however, the media portrays our operations falsely. For example, they say about operations carried out in the West: "Civilians were killed. Muslims and children were killed." They say that children were killed in 9/11. The head of an FBI division was killed in 9/11, but this is never mentioned.
The success of the Arab revolutions was solely because of the actions of the Jihadist Salafi movement.
Interviewer: In what way?
Muhammad Al-Zawahiri: When pressure was exerted in the US on its own turf... You said that we killed civilians in America. That's not true. Did the brothers who attacked America want to conquer Washington or New York? Does anybody really believe that? Why do you think they went there? To end the injustice, the persecution, and the killing of women and children that takes place in Arab countries.
Did Al-Qaeda even exist when the Amiriya shelter was bombed [in Iraq in the First Gulf War]? When America attacked people in Afghanistan...
Interviewer: But it is said that your actions in 9/11 were the main reason for the occupation of Afghanistan and later of Iraq.
Muhammad Al-Zawahiri: That is not true. Taking control of oil resources and groundwater was planned in the days of Kissinger a long time ago.
Interviewer: Why America? Why not some Arab regimes that you consider infidel? Why not Israel? What is the reason?
Muhammad Al-Zawahiri: We consider anyone hostile towards the Muslims to be an enemy, but all in good time. At present, America is attacking our countries. When we manage to attack Israel... Al-Qaeda has already attacked Israel.
Interviewer: Where? In Nairobi and Dar es Salaam?
Muhammad Al-Zawahiri: No, I meant the plane attacked in Nairobi and the synagogue in Djerba, Tunisia. If Al-Qaeda could reach... If the regimes of the Arab countries bordering Israel did not prevent it... Al-Qaeda wants to carry out attacks against Israel.
Interviewer: So this is possible in the future...
Muhammad Al-Zawahiri: I am talking in terms of ideology. The oppressed have a legitimate right to defend themselves. Someone who kills my children and burns down my home should not be angry if I kill his children and burn down his home. If I had bombed their home first, they could have claimed that I was the attacker.
America has been occupying the oil resources in the region for 40 years, according to their own statements. They declare that they have been in the Dhahran base for over 60 years, and will remain there for more than 60 years. They say that they have to control the oil resources. This is total aggression against the Arab and Muslim peoples. They have killed women and children and desecrated what is holy to us, and some people have responded to that.
If [Al-Qaeda] had merely killed a soldier or two, it would not have had the same effect as a strike on their own turf.
Interviewer: So this was simply an effective means to score points against the US?
Muhammad Al-Zawahiri: Hold on a moment. It wasn't me who carried out 9/11, but at the same time, I don't agree with the West that we should slaughter those who carried it out.
We must understand the background to every action. If America attacks the Arab peoples and their regimes do not defend them, somebody who does defend the Arab and Muslim peoples should not be considered a criminal. We must seek out the original crime, the one who began the aggression. We have done nothing wrong.
Now that America has withdrawn its forces from our region, we will not attack it on its own turf.