Someone bin Ledeen
He was a bit late for Christmas, but Osama bin Laden has offered us another worthless truce. Great, I hate useless presents that I can't return. In his first message
in over a year he claimed that:
"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."
Naturally this so-called "solution" is compromised by two things. Firstly, the government of America is not going to go through with this [and lets face it, bin Laden knows this, that's why he feels he can make it] and secondly, it ommits his long-term desire for the establishment of a Muslim Caliphate, somethig the West would never tolerate. This crazy wish [that's all it is, but try telling him that] wouldn't vanish with withdrawl of troops. It is, of course, propagada aimed at making Al Qaeda seem more than the sum of its parts [something bin Laden has been desperate to do since his small organisation was effectively obliterated in Afghanistan in 2001-2002. He is on the run and is trying hard to stay relevant. These days he makes for a good symbol but little else] and also an attempt to win more hearts and minds in the Muslim world, which, knowing al Qaeda is little more than a small vanguard, he sees as a resevoir to further his overblown and unrealistic ambitions [thankfully, apart from a cerebrally-impaired minority, they don't feel the same way]. When missiles from the US hit innocent people in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Sudan, to name three examples, he pops up, trying to perpetuate his Robin Hood image, either by reassuring the victims that he's in their corner or working on construction projects like the road he funded in Sudan.
This message echoes the sentiments expressed in his previous message when he asked us why he didn't attack countries like Sweden. He wants us to think "because they haven't backed a series of despots in the Middle East or bombed innocent Muslims", whereas the true answer is "you would if you had the resources you evil, evil bastard". Most of us can see by now that this appeal to sections of the Muslim world has been very persuasive and well-orchestrated, exploiting their anger and capitalising on, for want of a better, less loaded word 'empirical' evidence of Western evil. We can also see that this has not exactly been at the forefront of the minds of the planners in the so-called reponse to terror attacks.
Still, it seems bin Laden is still alive and as healthy as one can be when they are advocating mass murder. Hardly a shock for most of us, but over in the extremists paradise that is National Review Online
, self-appointed terrorism and Middle East expert [and a favourite of my dear Melanie Phillips] Michael Ledeen must be feeling at least a little stupid. In one of his numerous excruciating columns he claimed
"according to Iranians I trust, Osama bin Laden finally departed this world in mid-December. The al Qaeda leader died of kidney failure and was buried in Iran, where he had spent most of his time since the destruction of al Qaeda in Afghanistan."
It really makes you wonder what planet this man is on. He isn't some random crank like Phillips. The man is a scholar at the American Enterprise Institue, a well-respected opinion leader and an influence on Bush's War on Terror. And yet he comes out with this garbage.
There are two things to be on the look out for here. Number one, his claim that bin Laden died has been made to look highly fanciful and out-of-step with the real world, since the new broadcast refers to the Daily Mirror
story from late last year about Bush's alleged [and frankly, rather likely] desire to bomb Al Jazeera
Number two is his need to drag Iran into this. Iran has been a constant theme in his writing. Some of us want to swim with the dolphins, some would like to climb Everest. He wants to flatten Iran, and he's prepared to talk shit to get his wish. Just like him and his pals did with Saddam Hussein, Ledeen has attempted the impressive feat of making the Mullahs of Iran look worse than they really are, once again by linking them to al Qaeda. As real terror experts like Lorretta Napoleoni have pointed out, after the bombing and near destruction of al Qaeda in Afghanistan, bin Laden and al Zawahiri migrated east, to Pakistan. Abu Musab al Zarqawi, not connected to those two in any meaningful way at the time and based near Herat, West Afghanistan, did pass through Iran on his way to Iraqi Kurdistan, but that's as good as his tin-pot theory is going to get. Does Ledeen really believe what he is saying when he makes these extravagant claims? Or does he feel that he wont get his attack on Iran solely on the basis of the governments' nuclear duplicity and woeful human rights record?
Incidently, these Iranian friends of his [yeah, right...], how do they 'know' he died? Did they attend the funeral? Did they have his address? Because they certainly could have been useful in tracking down terrorists in what should be an international policing operation, not a series of bombing campaigns. Call me cynical, but this sounds infinitely more dodgy than all those mysterious 'intelligence sources' that led us into the Iraq war. Stick with something we can believe, Ledeen.
Anybody interested in seeing Michael Ledeen being cut down to size might want to drop by here
. This indefatigable man does know what he's talking about.