Monday, April 24, 2006

Bin Laden's Back

Osama Bin Laden seems to have released another audiotape, and Reuters has some translated pieces worthy of a look. Throughout, he again shows that regardless of where he is, he's plugged into the latest current events. Topics include the Hamas election and subsequent "Western" hostility to it, the possibility of a humanitarian intervention by western powers in the Sudan, and the Danish cartoon controversy. He also continues his jihadist ideology where Muslims are one nation regardless of territorial boundaries or the forms of governance over their heads. This conception -- which he probably genuinely believes in -- strategically fits his jihadist ideology that wants to force a "clash of civilizations" between the West and "Islam."

And interestingly enough, former head of the CIA's Bin Laden unit, Michael Scheurer, says U.S. foreign policy is making it real easy for Bin Laden to argue a U.S. led war against Islam is underway:
"We cut off Hamas after we had a fair election," he said. "It looks like we are going to intervene in another Muslim country with oil, in Sudan; we followed Israel's lead with Hamas. His most important ally is American foreign policy."
The U.S. needs to find more nuanced ways of achieving certain policy objectives that aim to show it is acting in good faith toward Muslims: specifically that Hamas is the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people as well as ways to further empower the African Union and possibly the EU to intervene in Darfur without the U.S. due to the harm to its international legitimacy in relation to Iraq. Renouncing any future sweetheart oil contracts from the Sudan -- not that I know of any -- would also be beneficial as well, but we saw how well the Bush Administration dealt with a related legitimate concern of Iraqis regarding permanent military bases.