Thursday, January 19, 2006

OBL Calls For a Truce. Or Does He?

Has Osama bin Laden lost his sh*t?

As sure as winter follows fall, a message from OBL or a top lieutenant was all but inevitable in the wake of an airstrike on a remote Pakistani village that apparently took out four or five of his trusted aides.

But what was not expected was the carrot-and-stick approach in an audiotape (*) by OBL being broadcast today on the Arabic satellite news channel Al Jazeera. In it, OBL said that while more attacks were being prepared, he was offering the possibility of a “long-term truce” with the Great Satan, although he did not delineate specific conditions.

“We are preparing new strikes'' against the U.S., OBL said in a voice sounding alternately short-winded and hoarse. “You will see them sooner rather than later, as Iraq isn't the only battleground as you have seen with other recent attacks in European territory.''

OBL had this to say about a truce:

In response to the substance of the polls in the U.S., which indicate that Americans do not want to fight Muslims on Muslim land, nor do they want Muslims to fight them on their land, we do not mind offering a long-term truce based on just conditions that we will stick to.

We are a nation that God banned from lying and stabbing others in the back. Hence, both parties of the truce will enjoy stability and security to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan, which were destroyed by war.

There is no problem in this solution, but it will prevent hundreds of billions from going to influential people and warlords in America -- those who supported Bush's electoral campaign. And from this, we can understand Bush and his gang's insistence on continuing the war.

The CIA said that it believe the audiotape to be authentic, but there was no way to verify whether it was made after or as a result of the airstrike, which had targeted OBL's second in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Al-Zawahiri apparently was not present, but U.S. intelligence sources have stated confidently that missiles fired from a CIA-operated Predator drone aircraft did kill at least four al Qaeda operatives.

The message was the first from OBL since December 2004 when he called for Iraqis to boycott elections the following month.

What to make of the threat to again attack the U.S.?

It's kinda hard to give it too much credence since the national terror threat level has not been raised to "orange."

What to make of the truce offer?

Nothing. Conciliation of any kind would be anathema to OBL and al Qaeda. And the U.S. doesn't negotiate with terrorists, right?

I’m not suggesting a conspiracy here, but it’s also worth noting that OBL tapes seem to emerge at the most opportune times for the Bush administration, which has seen support for the war in Iraq erode steadily.

A case in point is OBL’s December 2004 tape. President Bush had avoided responding to, let alone mentioning OBL as a matter of course, but he took the unusual step of issuing a statement declaring that OBL’s boycott call made the stakes in the Iraqi elections clear.

Glenn Reynolds, blogging at, thinks OBL's entire message is equine excrement. An excerpt:

The truth -- though this is a disappointment to some -- is that we're winning. It's easy to spot the loser in a war: The loser is the one asking for a truce on smuggled audiotapes, recorded in a cave somewhere.

(*) Don't be put off by the Arabic text at the Al Jazeera site. Just use the playback buttons as you would for any audio feed.

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