Osama bin Laden emerges from his hideout in this undated file photo
Even a dog can walk around in the daylight. But not Osama bin Laden. “Blood for blood, destruction for destruction.” Blah for blah. Talk about a tired act.
“Bin Laden issues warning on Iraq, Israel,” by Salah Nasrawi for Associated Press (thanks to Sr. Soph):
CAIRO, Egypt – 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.
Islamic Tolerance Alert:
“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.”
“We will not recognize even one inch for Jews in the land of Palestine as other Muslim leaders have,” bin Laden said.
In Iraq, a number of Sunni Arab tribes in western Anbar province have formed a coalition fighting al-Qaida-linked insurgents that U.S. officials credit for deeply reducing violence in the province. The U.S. military has been working to form similar “Awakening Councils” in other areas of Iraq.
Bin Laden said Sunni Arabs who have joined the Awakening Councils “have betrayed the nation and brought disgrace and shame to their people. They will suffer in life and in the afterlife.”
White House spokesman Tony Fratto said bin Laden’s tape shows that al-Qaida’s aim is to block democracy and freedom for all Iraqis.
“It also reminds us that the mission to defeat al-Qaida in Iraq is critically important and must succeed,” Fratto said. “The Iraqi people “” every day, and in increasing numbers “” are choosing freedom and standing against the murderous, hateful ideology of AQI. And we stand with them.”
Several hours before the tape was issued, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, said al-Qaida was becoming increasingly fearful of losing the support of Sunni Arabs and had begun targeting the leaders of the Awakening Councils.
Petraeus said al-Qaida attaches “enormous importance” to “these tribes that have turned against them, and to the general sense that Sunni Arab communities have rejected them more and more around Iraq.”
“They are trying to counter this and they have done so by attacking them,” which is increasingly turning Sunnis against al-Qaida, he said.
In the audiotape, bin Laden denounced Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha, the former leader of the Anbar Awakening Council, who was killed in a September bombing claimed by al-Qaida.
“The most evil of the traitors are those who trade away their religion for the sake of their mortal life,” bin Laden said.
Note, yet again, the exclusively religious nature of his appeal to Muslims.