Attempting to capitalize on the international outrage, particularly in the Muslim world, over the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip, Osama bin Laden’s newest audio tape calls for all Muslims to launch a jihad against Israel. His speech also targeted the leaders of most of the Arab governments, accusing them of “stand[ing] in the barracks of the Crusader-Zionist alliance.”
Bin Laden also spoke of President-elect Barack Obama, though he never mentioned him by name and referred to him only as Bush’s successor. “If he withdraws from the war, it is a military defeat. If he continues, he drowns in economic crisis,” he declared, adding that while America was unlikely to be able to continue the war for decades al-Qaeda is prepared to fight “for seven more years, and seven more after that, then seven more.”
According to the elusive al-Qaeda leader, “the great and swift decline in America’s influence is one of the most important motivations for Israelis to wage such a barbaric attack on Gaza, in a bid to try and make use of the last days of Bush’s mandate and the neo-conservatives.” In that last respect bin Laden’s comments somewhat resembled an article from popular neo-conservative website Newsmax.com, which predicted Israel would attack Iran “possibly in just days” before President Bush leaves office.
Perhaps the most ominous message in the recorded message, however, was to declare “we are on the way to opening new fronts.” He urged Muslims to “continue the jihad against the enemy, to continue bleeding them on these two fronts and on the others that are open to you.” Exactly what new fronts these will be remains to be seen.
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