AL QAEDA'S MOST EPIC FAIL EVER.

Al Qaeda plays a little identity politics:

In al-Qaida's first response to Obama's victory, al-Zawahri also called the president-elect, along with secretaries of state Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, "house negroes."

Speaking in Arabic, al-Zawahri uses the term "abeed al-beit," which literally translates as "house slaves." But al-Qaida supplied English subtitles of his speech that included the translation as "house negroes."

The message also includes old footage of speeches by Malcolm X in which he explains the term, saying black slaves who worked in their white masters' house were more servile than those who worked in the fields. Malcolm X used the term to criticize black leaders he accused of not standing up to whites.

The best part about this is that a knee-jerk patriotic response implicitly rejects the notion of black American culture as oppositional by definition. And doing so is an act of solidarity with the future President of the United States!

There's been a lot of skepticism about an Obama victory shifting the Muslim world's view of the United States, but judging by this statement at the very least it's made Al Qaeda's efforts to develop a compelling rhetorical indictment of America visibly more difficult.

--A. Serwer

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