It is puzzling, if one is operating on the assumption that those uprisings, given a moniker that alludes to the Prague Spring, will lead to modern, pluralistic, tolerant democracies. Indeed, from the Balkan wars onward, U.S. foreign policy toward the Islamic world has been damaged by the tendency to see every popular uprising, and every separatist movement through the lens of the struggle for freedom from behind the Iron Curtain and the eventual liberation of now-former components of the Soviet Union and neighboring subject states.
Bringing down a dictator anywhere is now hoped and somewhat expected to bring the same results. And the resulting policy based on wishful thinking continues to be disastrous.
Meanwhile, bin Laden recognized that the uprisings in the Arab world have presented a golden opportunity to launch a wave of renewed Islamic states governing by Sharia, and that groups like the Muslim Brotherhood are poised and ready to seize upon the chance. It is only natural that he would be in favor of the uprisings, because whatever rivalries may exist with the Ikhwan and other groups, Sharia states will ultimately be friendlier to al-Qaeda, its members, and its agenda, and more openly hostile to the United States, Israel, and the rest of the West. “Unreleased bin Laden audio message called ‘puzzling’,” from CNN, May 13:
Washington (CNN) — An unreleased audio message from Osama bin Laden, produced in late April, days before his death, in which he talks in support of the so-called “Arab Spring,” was seized at the compound during the U.S. raid, according to a U.S. official.
The message refers to the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia but doesn’t mention the uprisings in Libya, Yemen, Syria or elsewhere.
The official spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the classified nature of the information.
The official said it is “puzzling” that bin Laden would “suddenly join the bandwagon on the uprisings,” months after they started and not mention all of the Arab nations in turmoil. For instance, the official said it was a “head scratcher” why bin Laden would not indicate his support for the uprising against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, a man bin Laden detested.
“Why not try to inspire AQIM,” said the official, referring to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, a regional affiliate.
The popular uprisings carry an air of legitimacy internationally that AQIM most certainly does not. And they have a better chance at the moment of successfully instituting more Islamic governments. They have great potential, in that regard, to do al-Qaeda’s job for it, because the aim of all jihad is to impose Islamic law.
Since protests began across the Middle East, U.S. officials have said the movement undermined al Qaeda and offered an alternative to dissatisfied youth.
“The revolutions in Tunisia and in Egypt and the protests elsewhere that are leading to reforms in a number of governments I think are an extraordinary setback for al Qaeda,” Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said on March 1. “It basically gives the lie to al Qaeda’s claim that the only way to get rid of authoritarian governments is through extremist violence.”
The U.S. official also said that among the seized materials were written communications from bin Laden expressing his desire to see U.S. President Barack Obama assassinated.
The United States expects to have further interrogations of the three wives of bin Laden who were taken into custody by Pakistani authorities after the U.S. raid on the compound. The U.S. official concurred with a description of the meeting on Friday with all three wives as hostile.