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Sept 11th Video Address - Bin Laden's Final Call To Islam

Politics / Middle East Sep 11, 2007 - 03:52 PM GMT

By: Emil_Bailey

Politics The anniversary address of Osama bin Laden to mark the attacks of September 11th should be raising alarm bells; however, the Department of Homeland Security is not issuing any new warnings, and instead seems focused on ramping up security for airliners as if to prevent the attack of six years ago.

This illustrates the inability or unwillingness to connect the dots after all these years. I can only believe this stems from the persistent unwillingness of this administration to deal with reality, as opposed to attempting to make reality comport to carefully crafted talking points. Perhaps behind closed doors this is not the case, but in its dealing with the American people, the Bush administration continues to distort progress and downplay the many significant setbacks in its war on terror.

Most importantly, there is the stark refusal to accept this basic tenant: Osama bin Laden is a man of his word and basically says what he's going to do and then does it. I can understand how this may seem like a foreign concept to most politicians and bureaucrats in Washington DC . But it is not new to me. From 1998 to 2003, I managed an open-source intelligence advisory service at a boutique risk management firm in the Washington DC area that catered to investment banks and insurance and energy companies.

I found that al-Qaeda and its affiliates are quite open in talking about their plans at the strategic level. The fact that so much is available in open sources adds to my sense of frustration. The fact that some people who “get it,” like Michael Sheuer, have apparently left government after becoming disillusioned with their inability to affect positive change from within in order to deal with the threat adds to my sense of hopelessness.

If you have followed bin Laden's messages, a disturbing trend is apparent, most especially so after September 11 th , 2001. Just months after the attacks, in November 2001, Osama bin Laden said in an interview with Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir that al-Qaeda had nuclear and chemical weapons and would use them against the US as a deterrent. However, bin Laden came under some criticism from Islamic clerics about not giving enough warning before the 9/11 attacks and questioned whether he was justified in carrying out mass casualty attacks.

Not surprisingly, a Saudi cleric shortly afterwards issued a fatwa stating that it is permissible to kill as many as 10 million Americans as a result of the US wars in Muslim countries. In Islam, a Muslim is also obliged to offer an enemy a chance to convert to Islam before waging war and killing him. Accordingly, in the audio and video messages, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri have offered truces, extended chances to convert to Islam, and made specific warnings of the repercussions if the US continued on its same path. More specifically, bin Laden and al-Zawahiri have increasingly made the case of the guilt of the American people for the actions of its government, pointing out that the American people elect its leaders and pay taxes for its operations.

Of even greater concern, is that bin Laden and al-Zawahiri have made specific warnings that the next attack will be greater than what we saw on 9/11. Osama bin Laden has also made clear it is not a matter of if, but when. In a January 2006 audio tape, he said, “The new operations of al-Qaeda has [sic] not happened not because we could not penetrate the security measures. It is being prepared and you'll see it in your homeland very soon.” Add to this reports that al-Qaeda has took advantage of this administration's unwillingness to secure the border with Mexico by smuggling in teams of nuclear armed operatives. Even more ominous are warnings in recent years from al-Qaeda leaders for Muslims living in or near Washington DC and New York to leave those areas.

And so here we are six years later with another video address from Osama bin Laden and he has not deviated from his course. He continues to warn the American people of their culpability for the deaths of Muslims, even though he acknowledges they elected a Democratic Congress to stop the war. By stating that the policies of the US cannot change because the military industrial complex controls the elections and the candidates, the al-Qaeda leader appears to be providing a justification for carrying out a large-scale attack on Americans despite knowing the majority of the public appears to be against the war in Iraq . He adds that the American people's failure to bring current and past leaders to account for “war crimes” against those outside the US equals just as much guilt for those crimes. He says, “Then you claim to be innocent! This innocence of yours is like my innocence of the blood of your sons on the 11 th – were I to claim such a thing.”

His two solutions for solving the conundrum: Continued Mujahideen operations and the conversion of the American people to Islam. The second point is worth elaborating on, because bin Laden takes great effort to describe how Islam can remedy the ills of the capitalist, militaristic system he sees as the US government. But even more importantly, he says that Americans are flawed in their worship of God, so that in the end we are basically unbelievers.

This categorization then conveniently takes Americans out of the “people of the book” category that Muslims of prior centuries conferred on their Christian and Jewish subjects during times of Islamic rule. That means we are now not worthy of such status. Finally, he calls on Americans to embrace Islam. But in his conclusion, he says this is necessary not because Islam will correct whatever errors he sees in the American political system, but because, ultimately, it is “uncorrectable to die while not surrendering to Allah… die outside of Islam”.

And so bin Laden concludes that those who become acquainted with Islam will profit greatly and concludes with a line from the opening of his address: “And peace be upon he who follows the Guidance.” This line is significant in the context of the opening because bin Laden cites the Koran, saying “…His law is retaliation in kind: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth and the killer is killed….whoever obeys Him alone….will enter the Garden.” Then before his direct address to the American people, he adds, “As for what comes after: Peace be upon he who follows the Guidance.” Clearly he is saying those that choose Islam will be saved if they are killed. This is the logic that al-Qaeda first used to justify its strike on the US Embassy in Kenya in 1998, because they knew that some local Muslim civilians were likely to die in that attack.

Finally, it is worth mentioning reports that Hamid Mir, the journalist that first reported bin Laden's confession to possess chemical and nuclear weapons, reportedly believes that al-Qaeda will launch its nuclear attack in retaliation for any US strike on Iran 's nuclear facilities. From bin Laden's address, however, it could be drawn that al-Qaeda may strike first. This would certainly be used to provide the justification for the strike on Iran that the Bush administration has been building the case for. Ironically though, al-Qaeda's goal all along has been to spread the US thin throughout the Muslim world while also hitting the homeland to exacerbate its collapse.

So it is certainly in al-Qaeda's interest to pull the US into yet another war in a Muslim country, as bin Laden himself acknowledges: “…the people discovered the truth about [America's foreign policy], its reputation worsened, its prestige was broken globally and it was bled dry economically, even if our interests overlap with the interests of the major corporations and also with those of the neoconservatives, despite the differing intentions.”

So as another Ramadan approaches, and conflict seems to loom on the horizon, it seems Osama bin Laden has given the American people their final call to Islam.

For further reading see:

By Emil Bailey

Emil Bailey works with a government contractor helping to identify new market opportunities. His prior experience includes counterterrorism consulting for multinational corporations and federal, state, and local agencies. He has a MA from Georgetown University 's School of Foreign Service in International Security and a BA in Political Science from West Virginia University . He may be reached at .

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