There are two important things about the latest communiqué from Osama bin Laden: (1.) you don’t sue for a truce if you are winning, and (2.) Osama draws his impressions of the United States from the mainstream media, to which he is quite close in viewpoint.
The headline on today’s report in the Washington Post emphasizes what I think is the less important aspect of what he said on the tape: “Attacks on U.S. Being Prepared.” This is not news-Bin Laden is always preparing attacks on America.
The news is that the guy is hollering uncle: He’s losing. He wants a time out (which, no doubt, would give him a better atmosphere in which to prepare attacks on America). He’s clearly embarrassed that he hasn’t managed to mount an attack on U.S. soil since Sept. 11 (“The delay in similar operations happening in America has not been because of failure to break through your security measures. The operations are under preparation and you will see them in your homes….”), and the dispatch to virgin land of several of his top lieutenants couldn’t have helped.
In “Osama bin Trucin’,” Captain’s Quarters speculates on the timing of this new tape:
“So why did the audio tape just surface now? An audio-only presentation isn’t exactly unprecedented, but usually only occurs when OBL and his number-two Ayman al-Zawahiri get separated. The latest on the attack in Damadola has Zawahiri escaping the bomb blast, but his media-relations expert dying in his place. It may have been a quickly-made effort to assure AQ operatives around the world that the entire command structure of the terrorist organization did not dissipate in the light of a Hellfire missile.”
Captain’s Quarters links to a MEMRI translation of the tape. If you speak Arabic, Bluffin’ Bin is (technically) not offering a truce–he’s begging us to offer one. But here is the Captain’s Quarters on the key thing about a truce, regardless of who goes first:
“It’s important to remember that a strict Muslim would only honor a truce until he gains the upper hand over an infidel, at which point he would be obligated to renew his jihad. Any offer of truce, either to give one or to accept one, shows that the Muslim believes himself to be at serious disadvantage. That Osama takes the time to discuss a truce in both countries where America has hit his network hard shows that AQ has taken huge body blows. Unlike in 2004, when he used the offer of truce to split the coalition, this time he’s aimed the offer at Americans to try to stop the annihilation of his forces.”