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January 19, 2006
Osama Bin Trucin'

Osama bin Laden finally came up for air this afternoon with an audio tape that alternately threatened and cajoled the American people to end the war on terror. Bin Laden claimed that attack preparations continue to proceed apace regardless of our efforts to stop them, but offered a "long-term truce" if we promised to withdraw from the Middle East and rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan:

Osama bin Laden warned in an audiotape aired Thursday that his fighters are preparing new attacks in the United States but offered the American people a "long-term truce" without specifying the conditions. ...

The CIA has authenticated the voice on the tape as that of bin Laden, an agency official said. The al-Qaida leader is believed to be hiding in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Beyond confirming that bin Laden remains alive, the tape could be aimed at projecting an image of strength to al-Qaida sympathizers and portray the group as still capable of launching attacks despite blows against it, analysts said. ...

"The delay in similar operations happening in America has not been because of failure to break through your security measures," he said. "The operations are under preparation and you will see them in your homes the minute they are through (with preparations), with God's permission."

He offered a "long-term truce with fair conditions that we adhere to. ... Both sides can enjoy security and stability under this truce so we can build Iraq and Afghanistan, which have been destroyed in this war.

"There is no shame in this solution, which prevents the wasting of billions of dollars that have gone to those with influence and merchants of war in America," he said.

Oddly, Osama has apparently started a book club, perhaps thinking that after his terrorist career winds up, he can remake himself into the next Oprah. He recommended that Americans read The Rogue State, an anti-American polemic by socio-anarchist William Blum. The Amazon entry notes that Gore Vidal recommends this book, which should give anyone an indication of its direction. However, a review from a reader in Mexico seemed particularly apt:

Why does the whole world hate America? I'm not sure the whole world does, actually. How do I know this? Well, every time I fly into LAX, JFK or Miami Intl. I feel like I've arrived in Calcutta. Those airports are so crowded with 3rd Worlders trying to get in to the oppressive, war-criminal America that they'll stand patiently in line for hours waiting to pass Customs and Immigration. Oh, and speaking of exporting your awful culture to other countries, I wouldn't be surprised to see one of these families roasting a goat on the floor on my next trip north. So don't believe it guys, you're doing just fine. For every hysterical old hippie like Blum there are 1000 3rd Worlders voting with their feet. I mean, when's the last time you saw boat people LEAVING America?

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.

This wouldn't be the first time Osama has indicated that he would accept a truce (MEMRI says a correct translation has Osama accepting one if America offers it, not the other way around, h/t CQ reader TW). 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.

He cannot win against the American military; he can only win when he deploys against American civilians. And Osama knows it, even if some of our less-enlightened politicians fail to realize it.

UPDATE: For those like Richard_223 in the comments that doubt my analysis of Muslim truces, CQ readers should familiarize themselves with the history of hudna, a history that the Exempt Media repeatedly ignores:

Hudna has a distinct meaning to Islamic fundamentalists, well-versed in their history: The prophet Mohammad struck a legendary, ten-year hudna with the Quraysh tribe that controlled Mecca in the seventh century. Over the following two years, Mohammad rearmed and took advantage of a minor Quraysh infraction to break the hudna and launch the full conquest of Mecca, the holiest city in Islam.

When Yassir Arafat infamously invoked Mohammad's hudna in 1994 to describe his own Oslo commitments "on the road to Jerusalem," the implication was clear. As Mideast expert Daniel Pipes explained, Arafat was asserting to his Islamic brethren that he will, "when his circumstances change for the better, take advantage of some technicality to tear up existing accords and launch a military assault on Israel." Indeed, this is precisely what occurred in Sept. 2000 when Arafat & Co. launched a terror assault upon Israeli citizens. ...

What Westerners need to do is to read Islamic scripture and learn that in Islam there is no concept of permanent submission to any other power than God's. Treaties mean nothing. Beware the hudna.

Moderate Muslims such as the Turks would likely honor the Western concept of truce, but there is no chance at all that Islamist zealots would ever permanently submit to infidels, even under the most modest of conditions.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 19, 2006 5:49 PM

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