CAIRO: Al-Qaeda s No. 2 leader has ridiculed President Barack Obama s plan to increase troop numbers in Afghanistan in a new internet audio recording released Monday.
Ayman Al-Zawahri also criticized Pakistan s US-allied government for its attempts to make deals with Muslim fundamentalists along its border with Afghanistan in hopes of draining support for extremists.
Al-Zawahri s comments were posted on a website Monday and came as the Obama administration plans to increase troop levels in Afghanistan and start withdrawing forces from Iraq.
What Obama is doing by increasing the troops is adding more fuel to the fire that is already burning, he said.
He also accused Obama of encouraging Pakistan s government to make deals meant to quell militancy in the country s north, calling it a delusion.
Obama is cheating you, the problem will not end there. It will escalate, he said.
The US has expressed concern about the Pakistani government s peace efforts in the region.
Osama bin Laden s top lieutenant also urged Al-Qaeda in Iraq to break the borders of neighboring countries and liberate Jerusalem from the Israelis, whom he called crusader invaders.
He also warned the Obama administration against any cooperation with Iran in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
The more you cooperate with Iran, the more hatred you will generate from Muslims, he said.
In the 41-minute recording, Al-Zawahri also criticized Egypt s mediation in talks between rival Palestinian factions. He said those talks are aimed at pressuring Hamas to accept peace with Israel.