Many find Osama bin Laden's most recent audiotape too dense. It covers myriad areas in, at least, 21 minutes. Western media usually expect the head of al-Qaida to threaten the U.S. and praise past attacks. But in this tape, he enunciates a whole doctrine.
Ever since 1998's fatwa and declaration of War against "Jews and Crusaders," the man who ordered 9/11 has revealed his international agenda. He has been clear and specific on every ground. This last tape is an advanced "State of the Jihad Address," as well as another slap in the face of the doubters. Indeed, the tape has proven, once again, that the Jihadists are not the product of some U.S. foreign policy. Far from this stereotype, the men of this Holy war have their own world policy. And this is what the al-Jazeera aired audiotape is all about.
On the Nature of Jihad
Against the attempts by a sea of intellectuals who have, and still attempt to read "social injustice" into the roots of the 9/11, the sultan of al-Qaida reaffirmed that this "Jihad is against the Kuffars (infidels), those who have assembled today under the banner of the Cross."
Evidently, this is not a Marxist discourse. His war is, among others, specifically directed at Christians and Jews. It is also against the "munafiqeen," those Muslims who strayed away from the right path. Time has not changed in the mind of bin Laden.The world is divided between his cohorts of Mujahideen, and as he called them in the audiotape: the "Byzantines." The man perceives himself, at least, as a Saladin. He still views Baghdad as the second capital of Islam and his fighters in Iraq as the emulators of those 7th-century "knights who stretched Islam from Mesopotamia to China" with their swords.
Evidently, this logic will force bin Laden to see the international campaign against terrorism as a "new Crusading campaign." In this tape again, Osama states, clearer than ever, that the goal of his terror is to "establish an Islamic Government ruled by the Sharia."
On Peace and Stability
Maybe the one stunning statement bin Laden made was his resounding "No" to peaceful and democratic solutions. That is probably the most significant sentence in the whole speech. I have several times drawn conclusions about his ultimate methods but those words seal his doctrine. The man is the enemy of peace.
Furthermore, the terrorist leader rejects all "parliamentary practices," calling them "religion of Jahiliya," referring to the times preceding Islam. Subsequently, "Muslim Governments such as Hamid Karzai are traitors. And the Mahmoud Abbas of the world must be eliminated." In sum, and in the audio appeal, "road maps" to peaceful solutions, are to be blocked.
As a "Caliph" of the Jihad movement worldwide, bin Laden designates the enemy: in addition to the traditional U.S., U.K., he upgrades Spain, Poland, Australia and others to the level of states to be punished. Kuwait is singled out as an outrageous country that allowed infidel troops to pass through.
In the eyes of Osama, America "is sinking in the two rivers" (Tigris and Euphrates). While the U.S. Congress is hesitant to grant $87 billion to the Administration, Osama advances the ballistic number of a trillion dollars in losses. He unleashes his particular hatred on the man who dared wage a war on terror out of the White House, and he promises suicide attacks on all Americans. One can see why al-Qaida's leaders desperately "need" a strike in the U.S. Homeland. None has been accomplished since 9/11.
On Battle Guidelines
The marching orders are distributed to the Mujahideen. All the Muslim "youth" must march from Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Arabia and Yemen into the battlefield of Iraq. Women must mobilize as well -- female suicide bombers are needed. In Iraq: Ansar al Islam, Kurds and Arabs, are to unite and fight the Coalition and the Iraqi "traitors."
In Palestine, the Philippines, Afghanistan, Cashemir, Chechniya, the Jihad must go forward. Osama declares: "We reserve the right to retaliate at the proper time and place against all countries that take part in this unjust war, namely Britain, Spain, Australia, Poland, Japan and Italy."
The Gulf states, he added, "chiefly Kuwait, were some launching pads for the crusader forces." They are an open field as well.
What is especially noticeable in this last "fuhrer message," is the messenger, i.e., Al-Jazeera. The audio material was two months old, but the Qatar-based TV channel aired it only now. Logically, al-Qaida's public relations department would like to air its statements as fast as they do on their web sites; that is instant. But al-Jazeera aired it when President Bush was touring South Asia, just before he visits the remnants of the Bali attack. This is, certainly, a symbolic gesture on behalf of the messenger, who had the alleged control over the timing. Better, the "experts" who commented on the tape amplified its effects better.
An al-quds al-Arabi weekly editor, Abdel Bari Atwan, emphasized the "strategic dimension" of the message. Out of London, he said: "how ironic that this statement came a day after U.S. Army Lieutenant General William Boykin was attacking the religion." Not surprisingly, the amplifiers of al-Jazeera made it to capture the attention of all potential Jihadists in the region and beyond. The messenger was as good as the message.
Osama may be in some cave, but his words are out in the open. Now let's see if the some politicians in the West will finally leave their psychological caves and address the real root causes of today's terrorism.
Walid Phares is a Professor of Middle East Studies and Religious Conflict and a Terrorism expert with MSNBC.