Osama’s latest Posted by: McQ
on Monday, April 24, 2006
Well, at least for me, the matter of whether Osama bin Laden is alive or not has been settled, given that the most recent tape is authentic. Why?
Osama bin Laden denounced what he called a "Zionist-crusaders war on Islam" in an audiotape broadcast Sunday, pointing to the isolation of the Hamas-led Palestinian government, talk of a Western peacekeeping force in Sudan and Muslim outrage over Danish cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad as new evidence of a clash of civilizations.
The reference to the Danish cartoons finally puts a date to his ramblings.
Other than that, however, not much of interest in the rhetoric or threats except something Dale noted on yesterday's podcast: no time spent discussing Iraq.
There is an oblique mention in which he seems to understand that the people of Iraq have chosen, and they haven't chosen him:
Meanwhile, I can say that war is a shared responsibility between the people and the government. The war is still raging, and people are renewing their allegiance to their rulers and politicians, sending their sons to join armies to fight us, and continuing to provide material and moral support.
Note that this could be a reference to both the people of Iraq and, of course, the west (particularly the US). Both Iraq and the US are "renewing their allegiance to their rulers and politicians and sending their sons", etc.
This, then, helps bin Laden later rationalize killing innoncent civilians. Their involvement in choosing their government justifies, in bin Laden's mind (and warped sense of Islam) their death.
Bin Laden, however, is suddenly interested in the Sudan, an area he's shown little interest in before in terms of direct action:
Apparently bin Laden sees Sudan as the next 'front' having all but conceded Iraq with his silence. He may see Sudan as much easier pickings, given that he essentially aligns himself with the government in Khartoum and sees that alliance as significant in terms of his outlook for some sort of victory (as opposed to Iraq, for instance, where the opposite is true):
In this respect, I urge the mujahidin and their supporters in general, and in Sudan and the surrounding areas, including the Arabian Peninsula, in particular, to prepare all that which is necessary to fight a long-term war against the Crusader thieves in western Sudan. Our aim is clear: that is, defending Islam, its people, and land, and not defending the Khartoum government, although there could be common interests between us. Our differences with it are great. Suffice it to say that it failed to implement sharia law and relinquished the south.
I urge the mujahidin to acquaint themselves with the territory and tribes of the province of Darfur and the areas surrounding it. It has been said that the people who know a certain territory can conquer it, and that those who do not know a certain territory are conquered by it.
Of course the dithering by the UN and world at large has seen Sudan remain the problem area it is today. And, of course, that makes it fertile ground for violent fundamentalists like bin Laden. It points once again to how important it is to identify and solve problems like Sudan before they can become a cause for whack-jobs like bin Laden.
It remains to be seen whether al Qaeda really has the means or organization left to effect events in Sudan, or whether this is empty rhetoric by a man who doesn't yet realize his day is gone.
It was certainly no surprise to hear him talk about Hamas and Palestine:
Their [the West's] opposition to Hamas has confirmed that it is a Crusader-Zionist war against Muslims.
Our countries are burning, our homes are being shelled and our peoples are being killed and nobody cares about us. An example of the blatant attacks on our beliefs, our brothers and our countries is what your ally, Israel, did in terms of storming and demolishing Jericho Prison with the collusion of America and Britain.
Look for an increased AQ presence in the Palestinian areas as Hamas gets more desparate for funds (and bin Laden provides them in a trade for that presence).
Bin Laden continues. In the following quote, Iraq is only mentioned in passing as a part of the compendium of examples in which he charges the West with targeting "Islam". No mention of Bosnia where Western action saved the lives of mulims, but, of course, that's not surprising. The rhetoric is fairly boilerplate, but note that Chechnya is mentioned as well:
An example of ridiculing people and holding them in contempt is that your aircraft and tanks are destroying houses over the heads of our kinfolk and children in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Pakistan. Meanwhile, you smile in our faces, saying: We are not hostile to Islam; we are hostile to terrorists, and we advocate peaceful coexistence and dialogue rather than a clash of civilizations. The reality belies their pronouncements, for the Western diplomats only seek dialogue for the sake of dialogue. They aim to deceive and anaesthetise us in order to buy time. They only want us to observe a truce.
He then spends some time on Chechnya (and then wanders into Somolia):
What is the meaning of the silence over the horrible Russian crimes in Chechnya, and the lynching of Muslims and the tearing apart of their bodies? Despite this, the so-called civilized world blesses all this. In fact, they support this secretly. It is a Crusader-Zionist war. What does the humiliation of Muslims in Somalia and the killing of 13,000 of our brother Muslims there mean? This shows how great their rancour is and how great their civilization is when they grill our brothers on a fire. There is no power and no strength save in God. It is a Crusader-Zionist war.
Is Chechnya in line to become another area of focus for AQ like it appears he'd like to make Sudan? And what will Russia have to say about all of this?
The last thing of interest is his denouncing of what most of us would call "moderate Islam". It is an obvious preemptive strike against those who condemn his twisted brand of the religion:
They are determined to continue with their Crusader campaigns against our nation, to occupy our countries, to plunder our resources, and to enslave us. Do not be duped by their pronouncements, by the pronouncements of the hypocrites and apostates from among the ranks of fellow Arabs and Muslims, or by the pronouncements of the lecherous, those who discourage and frustrate others, or those spreading lies, who have lately been making their voices heard.
You have to wonder, given their apparent failure in Iraq, if in fact AQ might have shot its bolt. Oh I'm sure the organization can still manage to blow up a few things, but is it really the major terrorist network we once considered it to be? Recent evidence has shown that both the British operation and the Madrid operation were independent ops. While terrorism based in fundamentalist Islam remains a threat, I'm inclined to believe that as an operational entity, AQ's star is fading. Where it may remain a threat is rhetorically, with bin Laden popping up from time to time to point to areas of interest and to stir up the "troops".
It appears that may have been the intent of this particular tape. Well, that and letting the world know OBL is still kicking.
Well, at least for me, the matter of whether Osama bin Laden is alive or not has been settled, given that the most recent tape is authentic.
Even if it does come back "verified," how certain can we really be that the tape is authentic? I have some lingering tin-foil-hat skepticism to which I’ll try to give voice.
Perhaps someone with some experience in this field can shed some light. Consider this scenario: Post 9/11, we go into Afghanistan and topple the Taliban. OBL is targeted directly and consider for the sake of argument that he does not survive. Having lost their prime spokesman, suppose surviving al-Qaeda officials concoct to continue creating such messages using a mimic - perhaps one of his inner-circle that does a pretty good inpersonation.
So, this first tape is released and - Allahu Akbar and Jeff - the CIA falls for it! Does this new tape now become part of the catalog of "known recordings by OBL"? And wouldn’t this then prejudice future voice analyses to this impersonator’s version of OBL? In effect, AQ gets lucky with the first tape and from then on it’s easy to continue faking more tapes.
Could that happen?
Has the CIA or whatever federal agency that authenticates these things ever claimed an audio recording by any terrorist inauthentic? Why is everyone so ready to put 100% faith in their analysis? The conclusion that OBL is speaking on these tapes could conceivably be incorrect - whether as misinformation or by incorrect analysis.
Though none of us really know, I don’t think there is any reason for anyone on the left or right to buy into the idea that these tapes are authentic.
Here is a question? How would we know? Are there any people out there that can independently corroborate the tapes?
The only problem I have with eq’a analysis, is that AQ is clearly better off telling the world OBL is dead (unless I’m missing something about the psyche of their followers) because it is just one more reason for the US voter to declare victory and go home.
Conversely, it is in the Administration’s interests to have as many of these bad guys out there. (for the time being anyway)