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December 30, 2007
New Osama Tape: Empty Blather
A new tape from Osama Bin Laden is directed at Sunnis in Iraq, warnng them that unless they ally with al-Qaeda in Iraq, they will suffer the consequences. The terrorist also speaks of attacking the Israelis, taking his terrorist war directly to Israel:
Most of the 56-minute tape dealt with Iraq, apparently al-Qaida's latest attempt to keep supporters in Iraq unified at a time when the U.S. military claims to have al-Qaida's Iraq branch on the run. Bin Laden discusses the "Awakening Councils" in Iraq, warning Sunnis not to join them, saying ""have betrayed the nation and brought disgrace and shame to their people. They will suffer in life and in the afterlife." Obviously, Bin Laden is flailing about wildly trying to stave off total disaster in Iraq by trying to intimidate his former allies. Given the brutality shown by AQI which turned all of Iraq against them, it is not likely that the Sunnis will pay much attention to Bin Laden's threats.
The tape did not mention Pakistan or the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, though Pakistan's government has blamed al-Qaida and the Taliban for her death on Thursday.
That suggested the tape was made before the assassination. Bin Laden's comments offered an unusually direct attack on Israel, stepping up al-Qaida's attempts to use the Israeli-Arab conflict to rally supporters. Israel has warned of growing al-Qaida activity in Palestinian territory, though terror network is not believed to have taken a strong role there so far.
"We intend to liberate Palestine, the whole of Palestine from the (Jordan) river to the sea," he said, threatening "blood for blood, destruction for destruction." "We will not recognize even one inch for Jews in the land of Palestine as other Muslim leaders have," bin Laden said.
This doesn't mean al-Qaeda is finished. They are gaining strength in Pakistan and are sowing chaos in that country. Their on again off again statements about taking credit for the Bhutto assassination is part of that strategy. Right now, casting doubts about the government plays to their advantage. And in the tense atmosphere, anything can happen.