Zawahiri wants to broker a peace agreement between al Qaeda and the West. In a three-page proposal that has not previously been published, the veteran jihadi laid out the terms for a potential treaty: If the United States and other Western powers release all Muslim prisoners, withdraw from Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Persian Gulf, and allow Muslims to establish governments based on sharia law, al Qaeda and its affiliated terrorist organizations will halt its attacks against the West and against what he described as "legitimate" Western interests in the Muslim world.
Zawahiri's Proposal: "Suggestion for Mediation Between the Islamic Movements and the West"
Zawahiri believes the proposal would benefit Muslims and is consistent with the principles of sharia, which he says counsel peace before war when it serves the interests of spreading God's word. "This proposal comes at a victorious time," he said in an interview at his home in an upper-class Cairo suburb. "We are reaching out for peace, but I understand there are parties out there that make billions of dollars from war and may obstruct this proposal at any cost."
Zawahiri is not used to being a free man. In March, an Egyptian court overturned a death sentence for terrorism-related activities, and turned him loose for the first time since 1999. Much has changed in the intervening years, however, and Zawahiri sometimes feels lost in Egypt's sprawling capital city. But as someone who is still committed to the idea of establishing an Islamic state governed by Islamic law, walking out of prison into a nascent democracy has been even more disorienting. "Islam has its own regulations and standards that have been successfully implemented for hundreds of years before .Western democracy and capitalism" emerged, he writes in his peace proposal. A true Islamic state would not leave matters of governance up to the masses.