First of all,my apologies for the light output of the last few days. I have been rather unavailable this weekend.
The BI-IG non-story this week has been speculation on the demise of Osama bin-Laden, caused by a leaked French intel report from the the DGSE (France's foreign intelligence agency) printed by a French regional newspaper L'Est Républicain on Saturday.
The report said: "The information gathered by the Saudis indicates that the head of al-Qaeda fell victim, while he was in Pakistan on August 23 2006, to a very serious case of typhoid that led to a partial paralysis of his lower limbs. They are waiting to get more details, notably the exact place of his burial, before officially announcing the news."
The Saudi embassy in Washington DC said: "The kingdom of Saudi Arabia has no evidence to support recent media reports that Osama bin Laden is dead. Information that has been reported otherwise is purely speculative and cannot be independently verified."
Of course, as we know, rumours of bin-Laden's death have circulated before.
The fixation with Osama bin-Laden and al Qaeda is just another symptom of our refusal to take this war seriously. I'd love somebody to explain to me how his death would change anything. Is the jihad suddenly going to be called off? Will Iran's leaders forego their nuclear weapons program and join with Dubbya in singing `kumbaya' in Farsi at a barbecue in Crawford? Is Hezbollah going to disband its cells in Europe and America? Are the Saudis going to foreswear Wahabism and stop importing jihad through the mosques and madrassahs they control in the west, because Osama is now highfiving with Mo' and Allah?
I don't think so.
Osama was never more than a subcontractor for jihad, and he and al Qaeda could not operate if they weren't being aided and abetted by certain Islamic nations.No Islamic jihadi organizations could. Put 100 Americans in a room and ask them to name some of those nations, and I bet you half of them could come up with a half dozen without even breaking a sweat. What's more, they would pretty much be the same six countries, and the only reason the percentage of Americans guessing correctly would be only 50% is because of most Americans' lamentable unfamiliarity with geography.
Our government, however, knows exactly who's involved and where all of these places are. What they're planning on doing about it is a lot more interesting question to me than Osama's problems with the local tap water in Waziristan.