December 16, 2004

New bin Laden Tape Released

A new audio tape of Osama bin Laden has been posted at an Islamic bulletin board. The tape is over 70 minutes long, but several news agencies are already in the process of translating it. Here are some of the highlights, gathered from various press sources. Interestingly, the official english language newspaper of Saudi Arabia does not report the tape.

The main theme picked up by Al Jazeera is that regimes in the Middle East are corrupt. Why? Because they cooperate with the United States. Saudi Arabia is used as the example of an apostate regime. Terrorism is a direct result of that apostasy:

The responsibility for the current situation in Saudi Arabia rests with the regime," said the voice on the tape, broadcast on one of the principle Islamist Internet sites and subsequently on Aljazeera.

In Saudi Arabia, it is the king and not Allah who commands sovereignty and complete obedience," the voice on the tape said. "I advised the government two decades ago to remedy the situation ... but it has not changed at all."

"We pray to Allah to welcome the souls of the mujahidin (Islamic fighters) who attacked the American consulate in Jeddah," he said, referring to the 6 December attack in the Saudi city in which four of the attackers, together with five non-American embassy staff members, were killed...

We are not talking about a corrupt, impious leader, but about the apostasy and collaboration of leaders with the infidels. Since there is no difference between [Paul] Bremer, the former governor in Baghdad, and [Iyad] Allawi, the current leader, in applying US policies in Iraq, there is no difference between Bremer and the rest of the region's leaders in applying US policies," bin Ladin said....

Addressing "Muslims in Saudi Arabia in particular and in other countries in general", bin Ladin said: "This is a message about the conflict between the leaders of Riyadh and people of the country and the way to solve it."

"The necessity of security and safety, the sanctity of Muslims' blood, the necessity of harmony and union and the dangers of conflicts and separation (division) have been discussed a great deal in Saudi Arabia," he said.

"They have claimed that the mujahidin are responsible for the continuing incidents in Saudi Arabia. But it is very clear that it is the government's responsibility as it has ignored all conditions required to ensure safety and prevent bloodshed."

Bin Ladin added: "If we want to correctly, practically and scientifically solve the conflict, we should know its reality, roots and directions. Part of this conflict is internal, but in other dimensions it is a conflict between international non-believers supported by the US-led apostates on the one side, and the Muslim nation and the mujahidin brigades on the other side."

Reuters seems to emphasize the grand conspiracy that bin Laden sees around the world. The corrupt governments of the Middle East are called "Zionists" and the war in Iraq an extension of Zionist Crusader armies:
The speaker on the tape blasted Saudi rulers as "corrupt Zionists" who were stooges of the United States and whose rule was "an extension of the crusader wars against Muslims"....

"Some people say that yes it (reform) is possible because they started holding national dialogues and they started with municipal elections, but I say that this will not change anything," the speaker said. "The only way to reform is the toppling of the regime through armed struggle."....

Much of the American press, such as CNN and Fox News, emphasize the likelihood of the tape being authentic. Fox throws in a couple of pieces of information that are interesting. A common justification that jihadis use when murdering Muslim civillians is that they are not 'real Muslims' because no 'real Muslim' would have anything to do with the infidels. Those who collaborate with the US or apostate regimes in any way are thus infidels themselves:
While calling for change, the speaker scoffed at overtures such as promised municipal elections and a national dialogue Saudi rulers recently initiated to open public debate on democratization and other issues.

"This hasn't changed anything ... the best they can do is that they will go into the elections game as happened before in Yemen and Jordan or Egypt and move in a vicious circle for dozens of years, this is regardless of the fact that it is prohibited to enter the infidel legislative councils," the speaker said.

Update: Northeast Intelligence Network has been reporting for several days that mass demonstrations were planned in Saudi Arabia for today. Could the timing of the bin Laden tape's release coincided with the demonstrations? Bin Laden seems to emphasize over and over that the people of Saudi Arabia opposed the regime.

Here is some news about the nation wide protests. Al Jazeera:

Hundreds of Saudi security forces kept an iron grip over central Riyadh on Thursday to thwart protest marches planned by an exiled dissident against the kingdom's absolute monarchy.

Riot police with helmets, batons and shields lined a main street in the Saudi capital while a helicopter hovered above the area where London-based opposition figure Saad al-Fagih had called for tens of thousands of people to assemble.

Saudi police arrested two men who fired a pistol in the air near a spot where anti-monarchists had planned an illegal demonstration Thursday, a security official said.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said police in the Red Sea port of Jiddah chased down the men and arrested them. The two are likely linked to the exiled dissident who had called for the protests in Jiddah and Riyadh, the Saudi capital, the official said.

More to come....

Blog reaction

I'm surfing the blogosphere just as fast as I can to see if others have seen crucial bits of information that I have missed. As usual, Jeff Quinton keeps tabs on those blogging on the subject.

James Joyner simply notes that bin Laden has a point about the Saudi Regime. True, but we are in a difficult situation in the Middle East. As bin Laden notes, the people of Saudi Arabia are even more virulently anti-American than the regime. A democratic Saudi Arabi could be much worse than a totalitarian one. But the totalitarianism of the regime only reinforces anti-Americanism. Catch 22.

The MUSC Tiger notes that bin Laden praises terrorist acts in Saudi Arabia.

Chris Short asks if bin Laden is turning to the Middle East for targets? The answer seems to be yes. Possible good news that bin Laden is unable to bring the fight to us.

John at Crossroads of Arabia makes the excellent observation that bin Laden is opposed to democracy and views the municipal elections in Saudi Arabia as un-Islamic.

Blogs without commentary: John Little, Jeff Quinton, Michele Catalano

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 11:02 AM | Comments |