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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bin Laden Calls For Holy War Against Israel And Attacking U.S. On “New Fronts”
Posted By JOE GANDELMAN, Editor-In-Chief On January 14, 2009 @ 9:41 am
Al Qaeda terrorist chief Osama bin Laden has surfaced again in an audiotape posted on an Al Qeada-friendly website. His latest: calling for a holy war against Israel due to the bloodshed in Gaza and for attacks against the United States on “new fronts.”
As often happens with bin Laden tapes, initial reports have journalistic hedges on whether the message really comes from him, but most note that it sounds like him and that the message was on a website that Al Qaeda often uses. [1]
The AP reports:
Al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden urged Muslims to launch a jihad against Israel and condemned Arab governments as allies of the Jewish state in a new message aimed at harnessing anger in the Mideast over the Gaza offensive.
Bin Laden spoke in an audiotape posted Wednesday on Islamic militant Web sites where al-Qaida usually issues its messages. It was his first tape since May and came nearly three weeks after Israel started its campaign against Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers.
The al-Qaida leader also vowed that the terror network would open “new fronts” against the United States and its allies beyond Iraq and Afghanistan. He said President-elect Barack Obama has received a “heavy inheritance” from George W. Bush — two wars and “the collapse of the economy,” which he said will render the United States unable to sustain a long fight against the mujahedeen, or holy warriors.
“There is only one strong way to bring the return of Al-Aqsa and Palestine, and that is jihad in the path of God,” bin Laden said in the 22-minute audiotape, referring to the revered Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. “The duty is to urge people to jihad and to enlist the youth into jihad brigades.”
“Islamic nation, you are capable of defeating the Zionist entity with your popular capabilities and your great hidden strength — without the support of (Arab) leaders and despite the fact that most of (the leaders) stand in the barracks of the Crusader-Zionist alliance,” bin Laden said.
CNN notes that this is an important message for incoming President Barack Obama:
The message is important to the incoming U.S. president because it signifies that bin Laden is still “out there,” said Tim Roemer, the former Democratic congressman from Indiana who served on both the congressional and the presidential September 11 commissions.
“It’s a reminder of President-elect (Barack) Obama’s inheritance of some of the difficult problems out there that he has to confront,” said Roemer, who is president of the Center for National Policy.
“Al Qaeda is trying to be relevant with this tape,” Roemer said. “They seek competition with Hamas, Hezbollah, the ongoing battle between Israel and the Palestinians …
“This reminds us of what bin Laden said right after 9/11. He said it wasn’t 19 Arab armies or 19 Arab states that attacked the United States. It was 19 post-graduate students. It reminds us how much the world has changed, and how many different threats are out there today.”
The bottom line: despite stirring assertions about 911, the Bush administration failed to capture the most visible and significant symbol of 911, bin Laden. He is still out there, as a kind of high concept terrorist corporate symbol. But, more than that, by all accounts he is a master strategist. It is just one more of a host of messy loose ends Obama will have to deal with starting on January 20.
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