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Something tells me that this will turn out to be a fake, but the Arab television network Al-Arabiya aired a new audio tape reportedly by Osama bin Laden himself offering European nations a "truce" if they leave Muslims alone:
In a recording broadcast on Arab satellite networks Thursday, a man who identified himself as Osama bin Laden offered a "truce" to European countries that do not attack Muslims, saying it would begin when their soldiers leave Islamic nations. ...
"I announce a truce with the European countries that do not attack Muslim countries," the taped message said as the stations showed an old, still picture of al-Qaida leader. ... This truce, the message said, was to deny "the war mongers" further opportunities and because polls have shown that "most of the European peoples want reconciliation" with the Islamic world.
As a Tory leader in Britain remarked, the tape (if authentic) offers a sign that what's left of al-Qaeda has been shaken by the campaign to wipe it out. Playing to European citizens whom they just bombed in Madrid and mentioning polling data -- such stalwarts of democracy! -- amounts to nothing more than a poor attempt to split the Coalition by pandering to the defeatists in Europe. Along those lines, Osama excluded America from the offer of truce, claiming that US support for "the Jew in Palestine" and its "invasion of the Arabian peninsula," presumably begun when we ejected Saddam from Kuwait. Osama doesn't seem to care too much that the 1990-1 Gulf War had UN backing and was, in John Kerry's words, a "true coalition" because it included France and Germany.
If authentic, Osama is playing a strategic game with the West. Four weeks after killing 200 Spaniards and changing the course of their election, he's now attempting a PR campaign to maintain that political momentum on the Continent. A serious split in the Western front against Islamofascism will result in serious political blowback in the US, where the unforeseen Socialist victory in Spain has already caused George Bush some damage. Osama knows that the key to rolling back the Anglo-American offensive against his organization and the various terrorist-supporting governments in the area isn't forcing Spain to leave Iraq and Afghanistan -- it's defeating George Bush. The Madrid bombing and the release of this tape comprises the opening volley in al-Qaeda's 2004 political campaign.
UPDATE: Europe channels General Anthony McAuliffe at Bastogne in its response, to their credit:
European Commission President Romano Prodi said there could be no negotiating under a "terrorist threat."
In Britain the Foreign Office said there was no proof the voice on the tape was bin Laden. However, the message was being taken seriously.
"We can't negotiate with al Qaeda," a spokesman said. "Their attacks are against the very idea of co-existence and conflict is their raison d'etre.
The Germans were equally adamant. CNN did not report on any reaction from France ...
UPDATE: Yeah, it's real.Sphere It View blog reactions
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"Something tells me that this will turn out to be a fake, but the Arab television network Al-Arabiya aired a new audio tape reportedly by Osama bin Laden himself offering European nations a "truce" if they leave Muslims alone," writes [Read More]
Tracked on April 15, 2004 6:05 AM
» Western European Ulema from The Politburo Diktat
The governments of France and Spain responded enthusiastically to proposals advanced by Saint Osama bin Laden. In a joint statement, President Chirac and PM Zapatero announced the formation of the WEU (Western European Ulema) to "more effectively coope... [Read More]
Tracked on April 15, 2004 2:10 PM
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