ZAWAHRI CONTINUES TO POP OFF…. Two months ago, the deputy leader of al Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahri, kept up his p.r. campaign against President Obama. He released a message, on the eve of the president’s speech in Cairo, urging Muslims to believe that the United States has launched a “war on Islam,” and asking Egyptians to reject Obama as a “criminal.” (He also hinted that the U.S. president might be a secret Jew, noting Obama’s visit to the Wailing Wall in Israel: “[Obama] put on his head the Jew’s cap and prayed their prayers, though he claims to be Christian.”)

This morning, according to a Reuters report, Zawahri was at it again, this time with a message about a “truce.”

Al Qaeda’s second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri said an offer the militant group made to the previous U.S. administration of a conditional truce is still on the table for President Barack Obama.

“If Obama wants to (reach) an understanding then he should respond to Sheikh Osama (bin Laden’s) two offers,” Zawahri said in an interview with al Qaeda’s media arm As-sahab, posted on an Islamist website on Monday.

“Obama is trying to sell illusions to the … weak,” Zawahri said of Obama’s campaign to ease tension with Muslims increased by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “He is trying to say do not hate us …. but we will continue to kill you…”

There seems to be a pattern with the al Qaeda messages this year: the terrorist network’s leaders seem kind of desperate.

Indeed, all of the recent messages point to a larger public-relations panic. Zawahri seemed anxious to convince Muslims how awful Obama is in April, and before that, in February. Every two months, Zawahri pops up again, and each time, his anti-U.S. message seems slightly more ridiculous.

Rita Katz, who created the Site Intelligence Group, a private company that monitors jihadist communications, said earlier this year the terrorist’s hysterical rants against the president show “just how much al Qaeda is intimidated by Obama.”

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.