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Bin Laden Offers Truce, Threatens New Attacks

By now you’ve probably heard the joyous news. Someone purported to be Bin Laden has made an audiotape in which he offers peace while threatening more attacks.

Of course this is nothing new. Bin Laden offered a similar if somewhat more limited deal back in April 2004. But it keeps his name in the papers.

Here is one version of the thirty second tape from Saudi-owned Reuters:

Bin Laden says new U.S. attacks prepared, offers truce

Thu Jan 19, 2006
By Yara Bayoumy

DUBAI (Reuters) – Osama bin Laden warned that al Qaeda was preparing new attacks inside the United States, but said the group was open to a conditional truce with Americans, according to an audio tape attributed to him on Thursday.

It was the first purported tape by bin Laden since 2004. Al Jazeera television, which aired the tape, said it was recorded in December.

"The operations are under preparation and you will see them in your houses as soon as they are complete, God willing," said the speaker on the audio tape, who sounded like bin Laden.

In the tape, bin Laden said al Qaeda was willing to "respond" to U.S. public opinion in favour of withdrawing troops from Iraq. He did not specify conditions for the truce, but indicated that it was linked to U.S. troops quitting Iraq.

"Based on the substance of the polls, which indicate 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 stand by," he said.

"There is nothing wrong with this solution except that it deprives the influential people and warlords in America from hundreds of billions of dollars, — those who supported Bush’s election campaign with billions of dollars."

Bin Laden also offered a truce to Europe in a tape in April 2004 but not to the United States.

Jazeera declined to give any details about how it had obtained the tape and an editor said there was a reference in the recording that indicated it had been made in December.

In the brief segments aired, bin Laden ridiculed U.S. President George W. Bush for misreading public opinion which he said showed the American people wanted U.S. forces to quit Iraq.

He also said Iraq had become a recruiting ground for militants. Al Qaeda in Iraq, led by close bin Laden ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, is one of several insurgent groups fighting U.S. and foreign forces in Iraq. U.S. and Iraqi officials say many of their members are non-Iraqis.

"Your President is misinterpreting public opinion polls which show that the vast majority of you support the withdrawal of your forces from Iraq," bin Laden said.

"He (Bush) disagreed with this desire and said the withdrawal of troops will give the wrong message to the enemy and that it is better to fight them on their ground than on our ground."

"Reality shows that the war against the U.S. and its allies is not just restricted to Iraq as he claims, but Iraq has become a gravitational point and a recruiting ground for qualified (mujahideen)," he added.


A U.S. counterterrorism official said U.S. intelligence was assessing the tape to determine its authenticity.

Abdel-Bari Atwan, editor of the London-based Al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper and an al Qaeda expert, said bin Laden was trying to turn the American people against Bush.

"He (bin Laden) would like to create more trouble for President Bush. He knows that his popularity is going down and he is not responding to the pressure to pull out his troops from Iraq," Atwan said.

Analyst Mustafa Alani also said bin Laden’s message was part of his psychological warfare against Washington.

"If there is any plan, I don’t think he will announce it in advance," he said. "I don’t believe they have the capacity now to carry out a major operation, especially in the United States… The value is not what he (bin Laden) is saying, the value is that he is still alive."

Bin Laden’s last audio tape was in December 2004. The interval between then and now is his longest public silence since al Qaeda’s Sept. 11 attacks on the United States in 2001.

Saudi-born Bin Laden and his right-hand man, Ayman al-Zawahri, are believed to be hiding in a mountainous area on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

On Thursday, Pakistani intelligence sources said four top al Qaeda militants were believed to be killed in a U.S. air strike last week which U.S. officials say was aimed at Zawahri.

Daniel Benjamin, a U.S. terrorism expert, said bin Laden had offered truces before.

"I would interpret this as bin Laden saying, one way in which you can bow your knee to us, either before or after these attacks, is with some kind of truce," he said.

Whoever the speaker is, he sure sounds like Mother Sheehan. Which is no surprise, since they are both on the same side.

The DNC’s Associated Press article on the tape makes the parallels even more clear:

"If I were president, I would stop the attacks on the United States: First I would apologize to all the widows and orphans and those who were tortured. Then I would announce that American interference in the nations of the world has ended," [Bin Laden] said.

This is right out of Mother Sheehan’s (and the DNC’s) playbook. In fact it seems Bin Laden is demanding that Bush speak with Cindy. ®

The DNC/AP also mentions this risible quote:

"We do not mind offering you a long-term truce with fair conditions that we adhere to," [Bin Laden] said. "We are a nation that God has forbidden to lie and cheat. So both sides can enjoy security and stability under this truce so we can build Iraq and Afghanistan, which have been destroyed in this war."

Pull the other one, Mr. Bin Laden.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, January 19th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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