Bin Laden Upsets Three Applecarts

Two hours into the very limited US preliminary assault in Afghanistan, its prime target the ex-Saudi Islamic fundamentalist terrorist, Osama Bin Laden, appeared in a canned videotape broadcast of Arab TV. He was got up in fundamentalist Islamic folk hero gear – an Afghan turban and battle fatigues – and filmed against a stony, rough wilderness background.
By his side were his chief operations deputy, the Egyptian Jihad Islami leader Ayman al-Zuheiri and an aide.
The US-UK offensive in Afghanistan was launched on a very limited scale with no more than 15 B-1 and B-2 bombers and 50 cruise missiles striking at obsolete Afghan radar stations and air defense systems and empty Al Qaeda training facilities. Four towns, Kabul, Kahandar, Jalalabad and Heart were struck. There were few if any casualties because the Taliban leaders like Osama Bin Laden and his men took refuge in the inaccessible Afghan mountains in good time.
The ground operation coming next will have no more military value than the opening shots – even if forces of the Afghan opposition Northern Alliance, with the help of US, British and German commando units, reach Kabul, because the US-led offensive has not begun to tackle the formidable problem posed by the Taliban and Bin Laden’s mountain fortresses in the Jalalabad region, Hindu Kush and Little Pamir. President George W. Bush warned that the war would be long and broadly based – not just in Afghanistan. Bin Laden said he had been preparing for it for many years. Both were saying the same thing in different ways. America made the first move; the fundamentalist terrorist will strike back, promising to make sure that no American feels safe until he is the victor. He makes no bones about treating American and Israel targets the world over as fair game.
Bin Laden began his address with fulsome praise if the attacks in America- without admitting responsibility for them. Then, in a few words, he put to naught the strenuous US diplomatic efforts to leave Israel on the sidelines so as to tempt the Arab world into America’s coalition alliance against terror. Israel played along with these efforts, providing the UnitedState with intelligence, but declaring it was not involved.
But no sooner did President Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres, decree that Israel was firmly outside the anti-terrorist coalition, than
Bin Laden declared that the objectives of his war included Israel disappearing and the Palestinian people and the Aqsa Mosque being saved from the non-believers.
Underscoring the strong US-Israel link, he declared: “America has announced its total support of the Zionist entity… a stupid policy.” He went on to vow: “America will not live in peace before peace reigns in Palestine.”
The objectives Bin Laden set himself were clearly laid out: The war on “the infidels” would go on and no American could dream of security before “we have it in Palestine” and “all the infidel armies leave the land of Muhammad”.
debkafile‘s experts on terror advise Israeli authorities to treat Bin Laden’s threats seriously and prepare for the onset of Al Qaeda terrorist attacks.
The assertion by President George W. Bush minutes into the assault on Afghanistan that the war was not against Islam but the terrorism practiced by Moslem extremists, brought forth this response: “The war against Afghanistan and Osama Bin Laden is a war on Islam.”
In Islamic terms, he disposed neatly of Yasser Arafat’s yearlong attempt to turn his confrontation against Israel into a holy war and to crown himself the defender of Al Aqsa. To this end, Arafat was ready to enlist the Lebanese Shiite Hizballah and the extremists Jihad Islami and Hamas, turning his security organs into the operational arms of these militant groups.
Bin Laden easily cut the Palestinian leader and his intifada down to size as no US president or Israeli prime minister has ever done. He referred to him as “debauched” “a follower of injustice” and deserving the “wrath of God”.
With one hand Bin Laden hallowed Arafat’s Jihad; with the other, he pronounced him unfit to lead it, placing himself at the forefront of the holy war.
debkafile‘s Palestinian sources report that Arafat hurried over to Cairo to confer with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on the embarrassing situation in which the Palestinians and most Arab rulers find themselves. Bin Laden’s contempt for those rulers is manifest and deeply feared as capable of generating popular unrest in their capitals. The meeting of Islamic and Arab foreign ministers opening in Doha, Qater Tuesday, October 9, will be have to take a stand on the conflict and formulate an attitude on the Bin Laden issue.

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