Feb 13, 2003

New OBL audiotape April 15, special to Ste

He's Back More than two and a half years after the attacks on Manhattan and Washington Osama bin Laden continues to influence the scope and targeting of the global jihad that al Qaeda put into motion with the 9/11 attacks. In October 2003 bin Laden released an audiotape calling for attacks on the Spain, Britain and Italy, all countries that are part of the coalition in Iraq. After that tape was released an al Qaeda affiliated group attacked an Italian police barracks in southern Iraq killing seventeen, Islamist militants in Istanbul carried out suicide attacks against a British bank and consulate killing some sixty people, seven Spanish intelligence agents were ambushed and killed in Iraq, and last month multiple bombs in Madrid killed 191. Now comes the most recent big Laden audiotape released Thursday. Despite the fact that American and Pakistani troops have mounted a much ballyhooed offensive this spring to hunt down al Qaeda?s leaders both in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the tape shows that bin laden remains able to communicate with his followers around the world. Indeed, the audiotape is an almost contemporaneous ?proof of life? for bin Laden because on the tape the Saudi exile vows revenge for the March 22 assassination of Hamas leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yasin, by Israeli forces. Most importantly the tape seeks to try and create a wedge between Europe and the Unites States about the Iraq war showing that al Qaeda wants to build on the strategic ?success? that it enjoyed foillowing the Madrid attacks when the new Spanish government announced that it was planning to withcdraw its troops from Iraq.. . The hunt for OBL is basically backed at square one, while bin Laden continues to influence the scope and scale of the global jihad that his group first put in motion. In October 2003 OBL called for attacks against coalition forces in Iraq such as Spain. Following that tape 7 Spanish intelligence officers were killed in Iraq and the Madrid attacks killed 191. Bin Laden's words have consequences and not capturing/killing him is the gravest failure in the war on terrorism. And now even if we do get OBL, al Qaeda the organization has morphed into al Qaeda the ideological movement so unfortunately it's already too late to stop the spread of al Qaedaism/bin Ladenism, although it would still remain a useful exercise to find bin Laden. And hopefully when we do find him we will capture him and humiliate him like we did with Saddam Hussein, rather than killing him and making him a martyr on a global scale. The 9/11 commission is looking into the question of abet could or should have Benn done to avert the attacks. Its mandate does not exit past investigating what happened after 9/11. One day another commission will examine the questions: Why did we late bin laden slip theist our hands at the battle of Tora Bora? Why Sid we divert resources from fight thing the war on terrorism toy fight a counterproductive war on Iraq? And what is our plan to bring Soma bin laden to justice other than rhetorical statements made recently by the US general in Afghanistan that e are going to get bin laden by the end of this year/