The New Osama bin Laden Tape
Osama bin Laden’s latest taped statement came hot on the heels of a video from henchman Ayman al Zawahiri denouncing President Obama’s trip to Egypt. But despite the coincidence of timing the Osama tape does not directly address Obama’s Middle East goodwill trip, though it may have been released to take advantage of the Obama trip’s publicity. Osama is focused on Pakistan and Islamabad’s recent offensive against the Swat Valley radicals. This is literally hitting close to home, since bin Laden is hiding somewhere in the frontier area, and the quick collapse of the Taliban forces could not have inspired confidence. Most of his message is an extended discourse on the evil being perpetrated by the Zardari government and the legitimacy of Muslims fighting back. The small section getting media attention in which he says, “Obama and his administration have planted new seeds of hate that will increase hostility and revenge towards America,” refers to the refugees displaced from Swat by the fighting. The more interesting passage comes slightly before, in which bin Laden states almost tauntingly that the people who investigate what motivates people to “combat America and seek revenge against it” are missing the boat if they do not take into account his arguments. “No one from the representatives of the major corporations gives the slightest attention to what we have said to the White House,” he laments. But he explains that the 9/11 hijackers were not of the downtrodden, they were university students motivated by a righteous cause. How much more vengeful will the Swat refugees be having suffered privations caused by U.S. complicity with the Zardari government? He promises to make further comments addressed to America in a future taped dispatch, so perhaps then we will get his readout of the Obama visit, assuming bin Laden hasn’t been caught by then. Perhaps he will also make a comment about the June 1 Arkansas terror attack that the president finally got around to noticing, though the presidential statement does not appear to be posted on the White House web site, for some reason. Lots of Muslim World Tour coverage, though.