Dr. Walid Phares
Bin Laden to US: 'Drop Israel, Let's Talk'
September 17, 2009
In a 12 minutes address on audio tape, Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden,
spoke to the American people on the eighth anniversary of 9/11. The tape
was produced by the as-Sahab propaganda arm of the terror group and
posted on various Jihadists forums last night. His address, directed "to
the American People," asserted that the main reason for the Al Qaeda
attacks on New York and Washington on September 11, 2001, was US support
for Israel as well as "some other injustices.” Interestingly Osama
claimed the war between the two "nations" i.e. the American nation and
the Islamic "Umma," can stop if the White House eliminated what he
called the "Israel lobby." He accused the latter of pushing for the wars
in Iraq and Afghanistan. Note that in this speech he doesn't mention the
battlefields of Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Chechnya, he only
targets US-Israeli relations.
He begins by insisting that Americans needs to know the real causes for
this war "which is costing you dearly in blood and wealth. The [past
Bush-led] White House convinced you that this war [the War on Terror] is
necessary for your security." The sentence used by Bin Laden can also
mean that what the Obama administration called the "war of necessity,"
in the past few weeks. Bin Laden asked Americans to hear "both sides" (a
concept taken from American political discourse and rarely referred to
in Jihadist literature).
While over-emphasizing the Israel factor, something unusual for him,
actually, Bin Laden reminded his audience that for two decades he had
claimed that the main cause for his attacks is "America's support to its
allies the Israelis". He added that there were also other injustices
caused by the U.S., as well, but strangely refrained from citing them.
Such an over-assertion is new in the Al Qaeda narrative, for in most of
Bin Laden's previous speeches, including his declarations of war of 1996
and 1998, Israel was only one and not the main root cause for the terror
he has unleashed since. His speeches during the fall of 2001 (all
available online and in print) focused on the "evil nature" of American
policies rather than only on the country's specific support for Israel.
Hence, one can see a shift in Al Qaeda's strategic communications. We'll
come back to this point.
Bin Laden then went on to say that "our two Umma (meaning America and
the Muslim world) are both victims" of one aggressor, that is in his
words, those "who control the White House, particularly the Israel lobby
and the multinational corporations." He endorsed two books for Americans
to understand how these lobbies control the White House. "A book by a
former CIA agent who apologized for his crimes as a hit man," which most
likely is John Perkins's "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man;" and
another book called "The Israel Lobby," by professors John Mearsheimer
and Stephen Walt. He claimed that these two books "will give you the
truth." Mearsheimer and Walt are thus becoming Al Qaeda's main
Bin Laden also praised President Obama for having "admitted at last in
his speech in Cairo, the existence of our people's miseries." He also
praised "former President Carter's statements about the Palestinians
during his last visit in Gaza, and particularly his statements on
"Those who are stating from the White House that the war in Afghanistan
is one of necessity are like Bush; they represent the interests of the
corporations." He declared that the authors of statements are the ones
responsible for the war not the Mujahidin. "The White House is occupied
by pressure groups," he said. "You Americans should liberate the White
House from these groups instead of liberating Iraq." Pushing the drama,
Bin Laden added that "any leader [i.e., the president] of the White
House is set on tracks he can't leave. This president has become like a
train set to move in a particular direction. He must accept these
pressures otherwise his fate (as president) could be like President
Kennedy's or his brother (Robert)."
He called on Americans "to free themselves from the intellectual terror
of the neo-cons and the Israel lobby." He asked them to review their
alliance with Israel. "Is your security and well-being worth sacrificing
for Israel's security?" He added that polls shows that Americans are
opposed to wars and thus they must act against those "who threaten our
security," meaning Israel.
Then the Al Qaeda leader makes an offer: "We are ready to accept talking
about ending this war." However, he believes that President Obama won't
be able to meet that challenge. "Obama is a Mustad'aaf." In some of the
media analysis in English the term was translated automatically as
"Obama is weak." In fact such that translation is not accurate. "Istidaaf"
means he has been rendered weaker. In other word he has been
weakened -- by forces around him-- "Mustdaa'f" here means "victimized"
or forced to act against his original intentions.
Bin Laden then goes on to explain how the weakening of Obama has been
taking place. "He maintained the men of Bush and Cheney in power:
Secretary Gates, Admiral Mullen and General Petraeus." Bin Laden says
"Obama can't stop the war with these men in charge.”He should have
appointed generals who were against the war like General Sanchez and
He tells Americans that if they can stop the war, "that is fine, if not
the jihadists will continue this war of attrition as they did with the
USSR for ten years leading to its collapse." This war you are waging,
"is already lost."
Then Bin Laden goes on to claim that his war against the United States
led to a major economic crisis and debts which in turn led to a
financial meltdown. He thus claims the economic collapse of the U.S. as
an act of war by the jihadists
At first read, the speech aims to creating confusion among Americans by
announcing that the war can be really come to an end by accepting Al
Qaeda's conditions. But among the many messages Bin Laden is sending, is
also an attempt to create a division within the Obama administration by
stimulating those he believes are anti-Israel to pressure the American
president in order to curtail the influence of the so-called "Israel
lobby" inside the White House and within the administration.
There is, without a doubt, a shift in Al Qaeda's strategic
communications. Bin Laden's advisers, some of whom we appear to be are
operating from within the U.S. political culture, have convinced him
(assuming it is voice on the tape) that it would be strategically
preferable to single out one issue, the U.S.-Israel relationship and try
to break it. That would putting the American public -- and perhaps some
inside the administration -- under pressure. The offer from Al Qaeda is
that the entire War on Terror, as waged from Al Qaeda's side, would come
to an end if Washington would just let go of its alliance with Israel.
That is why I stated that this tape from Al Qaeda, unlike any previous
one, takes a non-traditional approach. Finally, this approach could even
suggest that a possible re-alignment has been taking place between
various forces of jihadism in the greater Middle East.
deserves more attention than the previous ones and more analysis will be
added in the near future.