Bin Laden Addresses Americans in Tape
Two days after the eighth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington, Osama bin Laden apparently released a new audiotape, entitled “An Address to the American People,” news agencies reported Monday.
The tape appeared on As-Sahab, the Arabic-language Web site used by Al Qaeda to deliver its messages. The recording was reported and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group and IntelCenter, two groups in the United States that monitor jihadist Web sites.
SITE said the message, which was released on Sept. 13 and lasted 11 minutes, 20 seconds, offered reasons for Al Qaeda’s attacks in New York and Washington on Sept. 11, 2001, and advised how the conflict between Al Qaeda and the United States might come to a close.
The group said the recording spoke of injustices against the Muslim world, mentioning American support for Israel.
IntelCenter said the message consisted of a still image of Bin Laden with a voice track underneath, news agencies reported. An employee of IntelCenter could not immediately be reached for comment about its translation of the tape, and it was not possible to verify that the recording was actually made by Mr. Bin Laden.
The last tape attributed to Mr. Bin Laden, the Qaeda leader who is widely thought to be hiding in the mountainous region along the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan, was issued June 3. That message, which came as President Obama was embarking on a tour of Muslim countries, warned the United States about its policies in Pakistan.
It said the new American administration had sowed new seeds of hatred among Muslims.
“I think the reports we’ve seen are consistent with messages we’ve seen in the past from Al Qaeda threatening the U.S. and other countries that are involved in counterterrorism efforts,” the White House spokesman, Robert Gibbs, said at the time. “But I don’t think it’s surprising that Al Qaeda would want to shift attention away from the president’s historic efforts and continued efforts to reach out and have an open dialogue with the Muslim world.”
Bin Laden’s Reading List for Americans
Bin Laden reportedly calls Obama ‘powerless’
CAIRO – Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden described President Barack Obama as “powerless” to stop the war in Afghanistan, and Americans’ inability to grasp why the Sept. 11 attacks occurred has “cost you a lot without any result whatsoever.”
The remarks by the terrorist leader were released two days after the eighth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that he ordered. Bin Laden typically addresses the American people in a message timed around the Sept. 11 anniversary.
Bin Laden, who is believed to be hiding in the mountainous region along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, said current White House officials are merely following the strategy of former President George W. Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney to “promote the previous policies of fear to market the interest of big companies.”
“Rather than fighting to liberate Iraq — as Bush claimed — it (the White House) should have been liberated,” he said.
When Barack Obama became president and retained many of the Bush administration’s military leaders, such as Defense Secretary Robert Gates, “reasonable people knew that Obama is a powerless man who will not be able to end the war as he promised,” bin Laden said.
“If you end the war, so to it,” bin Laden said. “But if it is otherwise, all we will do is continue the war of attrition against you on all possible axes.”
SITE Intelligence Group, a terrorist-monitoring firm, provided a translation of the tape, which was also translated by The Associated Press.
The al-Qaida leader sought to drive home key grievances often voiced in the Arab and Muslim world, where Washington’s policies are seen as blatantly favoring Israel at the expense of the rights of Palestinians and other Arabs.
“We have demonstrated and stated many times, for more than two-and-a-half-decades, that the cause of our disagreement with you is your support to your Israeli allies who occupy our land of Palestine,” bin Laden said.
“The delay in your knowing those causes has cost you a lot without any result whatsoever,” he said in the tape released by al-Qaida’s media wing, as-Sahab.
“This position of yours, combined with some other injustices, pushed us to undertake the events of (Sept. 11),” bin Laden said. He said that if Americans realized the extent of the “suffering from the injustice of the Jews …you will realize that both our nations are victims of the policies of the White House,” which he described as “a hostage” to interest groups and companies.
Dozens of releases
IntelCenter, another company that monitors terrorist propaganda, said the 11-minute video, which shows a still picture of bin Laden while audio of the address plays, is the 49th release from as-Sahab, in 2009. As-Sahab is averaging one release every five days so far in 2009, IntelCenter said.
The terror leader, who is believed to be hiding in the remote mountainous region along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, argued against the claims that the wars spearheaded by the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan are necessary for U.S. security.
Along with the direct threats, bin Laden also follows an approach he has embraced repeatedly, reaching out to Americans in a gesture of conciliation — or at least readiness to entertain one if the United States moves to re-evaluate its support for Israel.
“Ask yourselves to determine your position: is your security, your blood, your children, your money, your jobs, your homes, your economy, and your reputation dearer to you than the security of the Israelis, their children and their economy?” he said.
“If you choose your security and cessation of war, and this is what the polls have shown, this requires you to work to punish those on your side who play with our security. We are ready to respond to this choice on aforementioned sound and just bases.”
CAIRO – Osama bin Laden said in a new audiotape that President Barack Obama‘s strategy in Afghanistan is “hopeless” and called on Americans to resolve the conflict with al-Qaida by ending the war there and breaking the U.S. alliance with Israel.
In the message marking the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the al-Qaida leader avoided his usual rhetoric of jihad and instead took a more analytical tone, claiming its differences with the U.S. stemmed from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
But analysts said Monday that the message’s tone and its unusually short length — only 11 minutes, far shorter than others released by al-Qaida to mark the anniversary — was an indication that al-Qaida was struggling to maintain interest eight years after its most shattering terror attacks.
“You might interpret this as a sign of weakness, the suggestion being that they don’t really want to fight the U.S.,” Jeremy Binnie, an analyst with Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Center, said of bin Laden’s tone.
Arabs and Muslims’ more positive feelings toward the new U.S. president are believed to have helped deflate al-Qaida’s anti-American rhetoric, which found a receptive audience during the administration of former President George W. Bush, who was widely resented in the region. Also, the Iraq war — once a main front for al-Qaida’s militants — has become less prominent as violence eased over the past two years and the presence of U.S. troops was reduced.
The main front now is Afghanistan, where the Obama administration is contemplating sending more troops to battle al-Qaida’s ally, the Taliban. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of U.S. and NATO forces said Friday he sees no signs of a major al-Qaida presence in the country.
In the audiotape, posted late Thursday on Islamic militant Web sites, bin Laden sought to depict Obama as merely continuing the policies of Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney.
“If you end the (Afghan) war, so be it, but otherwise we will continue the war of attrition against you,” he said, addressing the American people. “You are waging a hopeless and losing war, a war in which the end is not visible on the horizon.”
But bin Laden used most of the message to detail the reason for al-Qaida’s campaign against the United States.
“The cause of our disagreement with you is your support to your Israeli allies who occupy our land of Palestine,” he said, adding that this support “pushed us to undertake “the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
He argued that Washington — even under Obama — was under the thrall of “neoconservatives and the Israeli lobby.” He said Obama and White House officials “act like Cheney and Bush and promote the previous policies of fear to market the interests of big companies” and pull Americans into wars that he said have bankrupted the United States.
If America reconsiders its alliance with Israel, he said, al-Qaida will respond on “sound and just bases.”
The Saudi construction magnate’s son-turned “holy warrior” has frequently sought to wrap al-Qaida in the Palestinian cause, seeking to draw support in the Arab world, where the issue is one of the public’s top concerns.
However the Palestinians themselves — even the militant Hamas organization — have distanced themselves from al-Qaida and cracked down on those espousing a similar extremist ideology inside the Gaza Strip.
The short message was in sharp contrast to others issued around the Sept. 11 anniversary. In 2007, al-Qaida marked the anniversary with multiple videos by several of its leaders, including bin Laden’s deputy Ayman al-Zawahri. Just last year, it issued a massive 90-minute opus summing up seven years of struggle around the world.
Evan Kohlman, a terrorism expert at globalterroralert.com, said al-Qaida appears to have been unable to come up with a way to confront the popularity of the new U.S. president. Obama has pursued a policy of seeking better ties with Arabs and Muslims, giving a landmark speech in Cairo in June, moving to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq and taking a somewhat harder stance on Israel in the peace process.
“I would have thought for Sept. 11 he could have said something more ground breaking and significant,” said Kohlman.
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1996 Fatwa summary and full text
1998 Fatwa summary and full text