Saturday, September 08, 2007

Osama's Real Message

Osama bin-Laden has surfaced with a new video, released through al-Qaeda's media arm, As Sahab. A copy, with English subtitles can be downloaded here.

(hat tip to

Bin-Laden had a number of things to say, and the transcript of his remarks gives a telling indication of his strategic direction.

Unlike some analysts ( some of whom work for our government) I don't think this is merely Osama's way of thumbing his nose at us on the anniversary of 9/11, nor do I make the mistake of considering him 'impotent', or as presidential candidate Romney called him, `deluded'.

One of the biggest problems we have had in fighting this war is that we refuse take the viewpoint or statements of our enemies with sufficient seriousness. Bin-Laden's mindset and the mindset of the millions who idolize him is connected with their world view, and while this planet may not be big enough for the both of us, to call them `deluded' and `impotent' is a huge mistake because it diminishes the perception of how serious these people are, however well it plays on the campaign trail or in a media soundbite. These people are quite serious, and to Bin Laden and his fans, their views and plans stem from deeply held beliefs. To understand an enemy and his beliefs and motivations is to gain significant advantage over him.

Nor are they `impotent' in the least in their capacity to harm us. Frankly, we've gotten far too complacent because of our good fortune since 9/11 in avoiding a major Islamist strike on our homeland. If I read this message correctly, that good fortune is about to be severely tested, and something major is in the works.

It's notable that this tape was directly addressed directly to the American people...though, as with all of bin-Laden's messages, it was equally addressed to his followers, as we shall see.

Bin-Laden's message had two primary themes, and they are connected.

First off, what bin-Laden is doing in this message is making his most direct and clear appeal yet for support from the Angry Left. Much of it could have appeared on DailyKos or HuffingtonPost with anyone batting an eye. He discusses capitalism, evil corporations, and global warming as products of a degenerate Western civilization and as before, cites radical Leftist Noam Chomsky. He demonizes “neoconservatives like Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Richard Perle.”

He even, at one point comes up with a fractured version of the `no blood for oil' slogan.

This is an extremely clever gambit on the part of bin-Laden. It plays directly into the mindset of the appeasement minded, isolationist and anti-Capitalist Left, and plays into the old strategy that `the enemy of my enemy is my friend'. Bin-Laden knows that there is a substantial fifth column in the West, and he seeks to reassure them that the Islamists and the Angry left have much the same goals.

When bin-Laden says that President Kennedy was killed by corporate America, that capitalism leads to oppression, that the War in Iraq, like Vietnam was based on `blatant lies' and that Bush, Rumsfeld and Cheney are war criminals, I can easily imagine a significant number of Americans nodding their heads in agreement, almost without thinking of the implications.

Bin-Laden likewise uses the anti-capitalist argument to account for the Democrats `not ending the war' because they are in the pocket of America's corporate interests, an argument that will resonate with the likes on MoveOn and similar audiences.

It's my belief that part of the timing of the release of this tape had to do with the date of General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker's report to Congress on Iraq and was designed to increase pressure on the Democrats to legislate a retreat. They are apparently already hearing from the Angry Left in droves, and today's Petraeus 'Betray Us' ad from MoveOn shows how effectively bin-Laden is reading the minds of the Angry Left.

Bin-Laden's idea is to increase the pressure on the home front to hand al-Qaeda a victory they've been unable to win on the battlefield.

One should also not discount Iran's hand in this. As I've written before, Iran and al-Qaeda share many goals, some missions and even some personnel in common, and a withdrawal from Iraq that created a rump Shiite state under Iranian control in the south of Iraq, where our friends the Brits are about to leave Basra and its environs to Iran's Shiite militias would be to Iran's would the distraction away from Iran's nuclear weapons program created by a US withdrawal.

The second, and in fact the major part of Osama's latest message are more ominous, and the heart of everything he had to say.

In the opening part of the tape, Osama quotes what he refers to as Allah's law of "retaliation in kind: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth and the killer is killed. And all praise is due to Allah, who awakened his slaves' desire for the Garden, and all of them will enter it except for those who refuse. And whoever obeys Him alone in all of his affairs will enter the Garden, and whoever disobeys Him will have refused.

As to what comes after: Peace be upon he who follows the guidance."

What Osama bin-Laden is doing is setting up the idea of a `just war', because under Islamic law, the invitation to Islam must precede an attack on non-Muslims,something Mohammed made very clear, as written in Sahih Muslim 4294 as well as in a number of other places:

'When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these, you also accept it and withhold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them....If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya [monetary tribute paid to Muslims from non-Muslims]. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah's help and fight them.'

After bin-Laden's remarks on capitalism, which he calls ` a system harsher than your system in the Middle Ages' and America's corporate interests, he proceeds to enjoin Americans to liberate themselves `from the deception, shackles, and attrition of the capitaist system' - by embracing Islam and sharia.

"I invite you to embrace Islam...for Islam means gain in this first life and the next...and it will also achieve your desire to stop the War..."

Osama bin-Laden is inviting us to forgo the just retaliation he speaks of in his opening remarks by embracing Islam. As we can see, the title of this speech, `The Solution' is no accident. Those who refuse to `enter the garden' in bin-Laden's words have now had their warning.

It is also significant that he has apparently trimmed his beard, a traditional practice in many Muslim societies before entering battle.

Osama bin-Laden has never been quite so plain about issuing an invitation to accept Islam or face the consequences. Moreover, he is quite plain that this is a war to the death, and that there are only two solutions to ending it; the first comes from him and his followers s to `continue to escalate the fighting and killing against you...our brothers are carrying it out and I ask Allah to grant them resolve and victory' and the second involves America embracing Islam..remember the opening, "retaliation in kind: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth and the killer is killed....As to what comes after: Peace be upon he who follows the guidance."

I can't help but see this as a signal that something major is imminent.

No comments: