Mr Irrelevant Speaks Again
Another Bin Laden tape surfaced today, and the BBC offers a translation. Yes, OK, I'm guilty of it myself, but it's amazing how much interest the old duffer can still provoke, even three-and-a-half years after 9/11.
Osama Bin Laden is no longer a relevant figure. Whatever 'al-Qaeda' actually is, and whether or not he is still the nominal head of it, international Islamic terrorism has transcended his influence. Terrorists act more or less alone these days. They attack independently and with minimal supervision from the FBI's most-wanted. But for the need for finance and supplies, they would be outside the jurisdiction of all but the most local of groups.
And there have been few significant attacks since Madrid. Of course I wouldn't be saying this were I in Baghdad, but killing other Muslims isn't part of the strategy, I reckon.
Parts of Bin Laden's speech itself are notable for their twisting of logic, but that's propaganda for you. On Sudan:
One of the areas of gravest strife was western Sudan, where some differences among the tribesmen were used to trigger a ferocious war among them that consumes everything in its way, in preparation for sending Crusader forces to occupy the region and steal its oil under the cover of maintaining security there. It is a continuous Zionist-Crusader war against the Muslims.
Wrong. In fact Chinese and Malaysian companies hold the majority of the equity in Sudan's oil production.
The next paragraph also makes me wonder:
...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.
Well done Osama for flicking through Huntingdon's book (I wonder if The Clash of Civilizations is available in Arabic?), but despite appearances the West is not really bent on destroying Islam. It would be more than happy to co-exist with Muslims, so long as it can buy their oil under favourable terms. That's the real point.
Go back to your cave, Osama (though I suspect that you're actually hiding in Pervez Musharraf's spare room) and leave us in peace. Leave the jihad to those who are actually out there fighting.
There again, there's always going to be someone who buys this stuff and goes out and acts upon it...