Bin Laden's audio message appears online

Audo message purportedly recorded by Osama bin Laden warns Barack Obama he is 'powerless' to stop war in Afghanistan

An audo message purportedly recorded by the al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, warning Barack Obama that he is "powerless" to stop the war in Afghanistan, has been released on an Islamist website.

The message, entitled "A statement to the American people", is approximately 10 minutes long and appeared on a website often used by supporters of al-Qaida. It comes two days after the eighth anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

Site Intelligence Group, a monitoring firm that translated the address, said Bin Laden blamed the war on the "pro-Israel lobby" and corporate interests. IntelCenter, another company that monitors terrorist propaganda, said the video shows a still picture of Bin Laden while audio of the address plays.

According to the Site translation, the stated purpose of the address was "to remind you of the causes" of September 11, chiefly "your support to your Israeli allies who occupy our land of Palestine".

Bin Laden argued against claims that the war was necessary for US security, saying White House officials were merely following the strategy of the former president George Bush and his vice-president, Dick Cheney, to "promote the previous policies of fear to market the interests of big companies".

When Obama became president and retained many of the Bush administration's military leaders, such as the defence secretary, Robert Gates, "reasonable people knew that Obama is a powerless man who will not be able to end the war as he promised", the speaker said.

"If you end the war, so to it. But if it is otherwise, all we will do is continue the war of attrition against you on all possible axes."

In his last previous known message in June, Bin Laden said Obama had planted the seeds of "revenge and hatred" towards the US in the Muslim world. Those remarks were issued just before a speech by Obama in which the president said he sought a "new beginning" between the US and the Muslim community.