Anorak News | Laden With Fear

Laden With Fear

by | 20th, January 2006

‘“MY message to you is about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and how it can be ended. I did not intend to speak to you about this, because we already know how this war should end …”

No, not the words of George Galloway addressing Big Brother but those of Osama bin Laden, the man we’ve not heard from for 14 months.

But why does Bin Laden speak now? Why should the man who didn’t issue any of his trademark threats to the world for the whole of 2005 think now is the right time to release an audio tape?

Is the media savvy Bin Laden taking advantage of a slow news day? With George Best buried and Elton John married, has Bin Laden seized his chance to hog the limelight?

Or is the broadcast a sign of the enemy’s desperation, as the Telegraph hears the White House insist?

The Guardian’s editorial says Bin Laden exhibits “the timing and panache of a diabolical Scarlet Pimpernel”. But it fails to fully explain why this is so. It goes on: “Like it or not, yesterday’s tape will burnish his legend with his admirers and enemies alike.”

Indeed. Hearing their mater’s voice will surely remind Bin Laden’s followers of their purpose, and that they have a leader. The general is rallying his belegured and depleted troops.

Or has this broadcast been designed to keep the al-Qaeda brand alive? Bin Laden is sticking to what he does best – threatening America. In this tape he claims that “operations are under preparation and you will see them in your homes the minute they are through [with preparations]”. He should be feared.

Granted, it’s more jaw-jaw than war-war – and thank God for that. But if you are losing the physical fight, what else can you do but seek to manipulate the media?

America is “under risk of attack”, says US Vice President Dick Cheney in the Telegraph; but, for now, the enemy’s offensive is restricted to the airwaves.

And then there’s the part of Bin Laden’s invective in which he’s heard offering America an olive branch. Bin Laden speaks of a truce “with fair conditions to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan”.

Bin Laden doesn’t go into much detail. But he won’t need to – the White House has rejected his “truce” out of hand.

In any case, how can anyone be sure it is really is Osama bin Laden’s voice on the tape? There is no video, only audio. “Osama bin Laden: Is it him?” asks Robert Fisk in the Independent.

Might it be that this Osama is not the real thing? Might it be that the voice is that of a Bin Laden impressionist pretending to be the bearded one? Might it be that bin Laden is too ill to talk, or too dead?

This is hardly far fetched thinking. And it’s surely more believable than the idea that the Americans will ever talk peace with the world’s foremost terrorist…’

Posted: 20th, January 2006 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink