Osama bin Laden’s latest audiotape release is almost funny. Along with the usual swipes at the “Crusader-Zionist” war on Islam, he accuses the UN Security Council of being controlled by the “Crusader movement along with pagan Buddhists”–an apparent reference to China. (What, they aren’t godless communists anymore?). Obviously, this rhetoric closely mirrors that of the Christian fundamentalist right. BBC did note the eerie symmetry of Osama’s call for a long jihad against the West coming weeks after the Pentagon’s new “Quadrennial Defence Review” which stated: “The United States is a nation engaged in what will be a long war.” The most widely quoted line from Osama’s statement is: “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.'” Has it occurred to anyone that the case against Osama on what is called the “Arab street” would be a hell of a lot stronger if these charges didn’t happen to be true!? (Are we allowed to say that?)
Meanwhile, Sudan officially rejected Osama’s call for a jihad against foreign intervention in Darfur (AP, April 25)–mere days after similar thunder had been emitted by the Khartoum regime itself!
The “crusader” rhetoric was also invoked in Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s April 24 video statement. “Your mujahedeen sons were able to confront the most ferocious of crusader campaigns on a Muslim state. They have stood in the face of this onslaught for three years,” he told Iraqis and jihadist supporters of the Iraq insurgency. In January, al-Zarqawi’s group said in a Web statement that it had joined five other Iraqi insurgent groups to form the Mujahedeen Shura Council, or Consultative Council of Holy Warriors. Since then, al-Zarqawi’s group had stopped issuing its own statements, a sharp contrast to its previous frequent postings, and al-Zarqawi has not issued an audiotape since January. In the new video posted, the logo of the Shura Council appeared on the screen as al-Zarqawi spoke, even as the flag of his specific group, al-Qaida in Iraq, appeared in one corner. (NBC, April 25)
See our last posts on al-Qaeda , Iraq, and the anatomy of Iraq’s insurgency.