Bin Laden video gone too far with new video

Noble Johns

DUBAI (BNW) –
As you all know by now, Osama bin Laden came out with a new video on the eve of the 911 six-year anniversary, and it was aired all over the world, especially in America. Osama and is main man, Ayman al-Zawahiri, can get TV coverage anytime they want, while the rest of the world have to beg to get on TV.

I ani’t mad because Osama bin Laden's first video in almost three years is getting so much play. I ain’t mad that it has drawn enthusiastic support from al Qaeda supporters and hate from the US. I am mad at all the TV stations around the world that played it at the drop of a hat. He needs to do like everybody else; get a damn agent!

The video could have been a faked! To be honest, I thought all of the accusations that bin Laden made in the video were just so much wishful thinking as anything. I actually thought he was dead!

Perhaps, I may need to rethink my position after seeing the video. But, as much as I and others were hopeful that bin Laden was dead, we all have to now take the position that bin Laden is alive and well.

He has proven the skeptics wrong.

While most Americans wished he were dead, most of the Muslim world is glad that he is alive.

Marking the sixth anniversary of the group's September 11, 2001 attacks on U.S. cities, the Saudi-born militant described the United States as vulnerable, a message some of his followers saw as a sign a new operation might be approaching, Reuters news reported.

Analysts were divided as to whether the appearance was intended to inspire new attacks.

Although bin Laden made no specific threat, many Islamist bloggers echoed a conclusion drawn by a moderator of an al Qaeda-linked Web forum: "The coming strike is inevitable, God willing."

Many repeated the same phrase verbatim, while others expressed happiness at seeing bin Laden, who is widely believed to be hiding out in mountains on the Afghan-Pakistan border.

"Oh, worshippers of the cross ... you will not have time to understand what is happening to you. Your arrogance will not help you, nor will the lies of your media when you see the news with your own eyes," wrote a blogger using the alias al-Yaqoubi.

Another wrote: "I would sacrifice my mother and father for you, my sheikh. Strike, may God guide your aim and that of your soldiers. Strike and bring pleasure to the hearts of Muslims."

In the video called the "the solution" by al Qaeda's media arm, bin Laden urged Americans to ditch capitalist democracy and embrace Islam if they want to end the war in Iraq.

He appeared in Arab robes rather than the military style combat fatigues he has favored in the past.

"I think his call for the West to convert to Islam is a prelude for him to issue new threats against them. He will then say 'I had offered you peace by asking you to convert' to justify the threats."

Several Muslims, while strongly oppose U.S. policies in Muslim countries, said they were against any operation similar to the 9/11 attacks which killed about 3,000 people.

Osama bin Laden appeared for the second time in a week in a new video to mark the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, presenting the last will and testament of one of the suicide hijackers, al-Qaida announced Monday.

Each year, al-Qaida has released videos of last statements by hijackers on the anniversary of the 2001 attacks, using the occasion to rally its sympathizers.

But this year's releases underline how bin Laden is re-emerging to tout his leadership - whether symbolic or effective - of the jihad movement. While past anniversary videos featured old footage of bin Laden, the latest appears likely to include a newly made speech.

Bin Laden had not appeared for nearly three years until a new video was released over the weekend. In that video, he addressed the American people, telling them the war in Iraq is a failure and taking on a new anti-globalization rhetoric. He urged Americans to abandon capitalism and democracy and embrace Islam.

Al-Qaida's media arm, Al-Sahab, announced the impending second video Monday with an advertising banner posted on an Islamic militant Web forum where the group often posts its messages.

The video was released within 24 hours to coincide with Sept. 11, said Ben Venzke, head of IntelCenter, a U.S. group that monitors and analyzes militant messages.

``Coming soon, God willing, from the testaments of the martyrs of the New York and Washington attacks: The testament of the martyr Abu Musab Waleed al-Shehri, presented by Sheik Osama bin Laden, God preserve him,'' the banner read.

Al-Shehri was one of the hijackers on American Airlines Flight 11 that crashed into the World Trade Center's north tower.

The Web banner included a still image of bin Laden from the upcoming video. Shown raising his finger, he wears the same dyed-black beard and the same clothes - white robe and round cap and beige cloak - that he had on in the video posted on the Web on Saturday.

Saturday's video was probably filmed in early August and it is likely ``that the (upcoming video) shows bin Laden in the same setting,'' Venzke said.

Al-Qaida's media operations have become increasingly sophisticated, as have the anniversary videos.

Last year, al-Qaida released a 55-minute documentary talking about the planning of the attacks that hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The video included old but previously unreleased footage showing bin Laden strolling through an Afghan training camp where the attacks were apparently planned and chatting with top al-Qaida lieutenants. Among them were Mohammed Atef, who was later killed in a November 2001 U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan, and Ramzi Binalshibh, who was captured in 2002.

The documentary also included the last testimonies of two Sept. 11 hijackers, Hamza al-Ghamdi and Wail al-Shehri, brother of Waleed al-Shehri. The video was accompanied by another with an address by bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri.

On Sunday, President Bush's homeland security adviser, Frances Fragos Townsend, sought to play down bin Laden's new appearance in a video and questioned his importance, calling the al-Qaida leader ``virtually impotent.''

But terrorism experts say al-Qaida's core leadership is regrouping in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region. The latest National Intelligence Estimate says the network is growing in strength, intensifying its effort to put operatives in the U.S. and plot new attacks.

Bin Laden's video Saturday was his first message in over a year - since a July 1, 2006, audiotape. The images came under close scrutiny from U.S. intelligence agencies, looking for clues to the 50-year-old's health and whereabouts.

In the video, bin Laden tells the American people his fighters are duty bound to ``escalate the fighting and killing against you'' in Iraq. But he adds that there is a solution to the bloodshed: ``I invite you to embrace Islam.''

"Attacks will never solve any problem; they will only make them worse," said Mohammad Hasan, an Egyptian civil engineer. "He attacked before. What was the result? Wars and suffering for Muslims all over the world."

Al Qaeda leaders say their "holy war" against Western powers is chiefly in retaliation for U.S. support for Israel at the expense of Arabs over the past six decades, and more recently over the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Hilal, a Palestinian living in the UAE, commented on bin Laden's video: "It is very difficult to say anything about him. He talks about issues that are very important and true but the way he wants to fix them is not right.

"I hear him and say 'I wish an Arab leader would be so focused on Arab issues', but I disagree with killing innocent people."

Abdel-A'la Nawwara, a lawyer in Egypt, said the appearance of bin Laden "proves that the Americans cannot get him. He has strong fortifications and they are unlikely to reach him."


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