Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

A voice from the grave? Osama issues new tape, people yawn in response

This isn't exactly newsworthy to note as it's an audio recording again, not a video showing him alive, but what's striking is what's stated by the guy I believe is pushing up poppies in Tora Bora:

Osama bin Laden warned Iraq's Sunni Arabs against fighting al-Qaida and vowed to expand the terror group's holy war to Israel in a new audiotape Saturday, threatening "blood for blood, destruction for destruction."

Most of the 56-minute tape dealt with Iraq, apparently al-Qaida's latest attempt to keep supporters in Iraq unified at a time when the U.S. military claims to have al-Qaida's Iraq branch on the run.

The tape did not mention Pakistan or the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, though Pakistan's government has blamed al-Qaida and the Taliban for her death on Thursday. That suggested the tape was made before the assassination.

Bin Laden's comments offered an unusually direct attack on Israel, stepping up al-Qaida's attempts to use the Israeli-Arab conflict to rally supporters. Israel has warned of growing al-Qaida activity in Palestinian territory, though terror network is not believed to have taken a strong role there so far.

"We intend to liberate Palestine, the whole of Palestine from the (Jordan) river to the sea," he said, threatening "blood for blood, destruction for destruction."

And how is he going to pull this off? I only ask because of the Iraqi Interior Ministry's announcement regarding al Qaeda's situation in Iraq:

Iraq's interior ministry spokesman said Saturday that 75 percent of Al Qaeda in Iraq's terrorist network had been destroyed this year, but the top American commander in the country said the terror group remained his chief concern.

Maj. Gen. Abdul Kareem Khalaf said the disruption of the terrorist network was due to improvements in the Iraqi security forces — which he said had made strides in weeding out commanders and officers with ties to militias or who were involved in criminal activities.

He also credited the rise of anti-Al Qaeda in Iraq groups, mostly made up of Sunni fighters the Shiite-dominated government has cautiously begun to embrace. Additionally, an increase in American troops since June has been credited with pushing many militants out of Baghdad.

Khalaf's assertion that three-fourths of al-Qaida in Iraq had been destroyed could not be independently verified and he did not elaborate on how the percentage was determined.

But violence in Iraq has dropped significantly since June — the U.S. military says it is down 60 percent nationwide — demonstrating success in fighting the terrorist network.

"Their activity is now limited to certain places north of Baghdad," Khalaf said at a news conference. "We're working on pursuing those groups, that is the coming fight."

So, Osama warns Sunnis not to oppose AQ, and "orders" them to give up on a unity government on the same day that the Iraqi government announces that the fight taken to AQ has been devastating for the terrorist group. I don't know about you folks but it seems like Osama and AQ are sounding increasingly desperate. Yes, they may have succeeded in killing Benazir Bhutto (a point which has yet to be fully corroborated), but that wasn't the end of the line. The news today is that the Bhutto dynasty will live on in her husband and her son:

Pakistan's largest political party on Sunday chose to continue its dynastic traditions, anointing 19-year-old Bilawal Bhutto Zardari as his mother's ultimate successor but picking husband Asif Zardari to lead in the short-term following Benazir Bhutto's assassination on Thursday.

The selections mean that the Pakistan People's Party, which casts itself as the voice of democracy in Pakistan, will stay in family hands for a third generation.
Asif Zardari quickly announced that the party will compete in the upcoming parliamentary elections, although he suggested that another party leader would probably be the candidate for prime minister. ...

Bhutto's son and husband spoke to reporters from the family's ancestral home following a closed meeting of party leaders. Bilawal Zardari, who had largely been shielded from the spotlight by his mother and has not lived in Pakistan since he was a young boy, will lead the party when he finishes his studies at Oxford.

Asif Zardari will run the party in the interim. He said Sunday that the selections reflected the wishes of his wife, a former two-term prime minister who died in a gun-and-bomb attack at a rally Thursday afternoon. Her death sparked protests that disrupted the election campaign and have brought life in large parts of Pakistan to a standstill.

So, AQ claims they can do whatever they want, including jumping into the Arab/Israeli conflict, and still maintains that it's a force to be reckoned with in Iraq. Iraqi officials claim that despite the AQ presence in Iraq that Osama's boast is bunk. And despite their reported hand in the Bhutto assassination, her husband and son will continue her work.

You know, this is awfully reminiscent of AQ's birth, and the ineptitude which they carried out their first operations. It's obvious that, yes, they're still a threat to the West, but their desperation is starting to show. Propaganda aside, the tale of the tape shows that AQ is severely weakened in Iraq, and as long as the surge efforts and the anti-al Qaeda element survives, AQ is pretty much done for there.

Publius II


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