Monday, February 20, 2006

Bin Laden Tape Reposted On Islamic Web Site

A militant Isalmic website has reposted the audiotape originally aired by Al Jazeera on January 19. Although there is no new information in the audiotape, The Associated Press finds the following to be of particular significance:

CAIRO, Egypt -Osama bin Laden vowed never to be captured alive and said the U.S. military had become as "barbaric" as Saddam Hussein in an audiotape reposted on a militant Islamic Web site after first being broadcast last month...

"I have sworn to only live free. Even if I find bitter the taste of death, I don't want to die humiliated or deceived," bin Laden said, in the 11-minute, 26-second tape.

This is probably the only time in history you will hear me say that I agree with Osama Bin Laden. I'd much rather see him dead than alive as well. You have to look no further than the Saddam Hussein trial for an indication of what happens when you let these thugs live. I'm sure Ramsey Clark is probably chomping at the bit for the opportunity to represent him.

Although it is pure speculation on my part, I believe Bin Laden was sending a message to the faithful that the noose is tightening and they need to be prepared to assume leadership of Al Qaeda in short order. We are close and he knows it.

There is also the possibility that Bin Laden may already be dead and the re-release is an effort to to keep the faithful vigilant. If Bin Laden still holds as much significance to the movement as he once did, and his survival or the appearance of his survival, is the glue that holds the operation together, then it would only make sense for the remaining Al Qaeda power structure to keep the ruse going as long as possible.

Additionally, we can't assume that when Bin Laden is captured or killed we will know about it immediately. There are many reasons to maintain secrecy, at least in the short term. It may be valuable to maintain the illusion in order to better follow up on intelligence leads. Information regarding a sudden change at the top could lead to a drastic change in the behavior patterns of those being pursued.

There has also been an assumption by the media and many on the left that the War on Terror ends with the capture of Bin Laden, but that has never been the case. Bin Laden is merely one piece of the puzzle. He is an important piece to be sure, but the threat does not end with him. If news of Bin Laden's death or capture leads to an erosion of American will to finish the job, then we've really not accomplished anything.

Again, this is all speculation on my part, but I think a cursory analysis, even by the untrained, can reveal clues as to the long term prospects of Al Qaeda. From where I'm sitting, the prospects appear just as bleak now as they did in January, if not more so.

Tags: , , , , ,

Technorati talk bubble
Locations of visitors to this page