03 October 2010

Osama bin Ladin Back in the Spotlight

Osama bin Ladin appears to be taking an active role in directing al-Qaeda operations in light of intelligence reports that he personally approved plans to attack Britain, France and Germany.
Western intelligence agencies believe that a plot of the size proposed, originating in Pakistan, would need to have the go-ahead from the al-Qaeda chief.

Agents have made the assumption that bin Laden used couriers to send a message to al-Qaeda followers telling them he would like to see a Mumbai-style attack on the three European targets.

A US official told The Daily Telegraph: "Senior al-Qaeda terrorists have been involved in many recent attack-planning efforts. It wouldn't be surprising in the least if bin Laden were involved in some of that."

If true, it would mean the al-Qaeda chief was once again taking an operational role despite the risks to his life.

And in a recent audio tape a kinder, gentler al-Qaeda chief called for humanitarian aid to flood-devastated Pakistan and warned of the danger of climate change.

Softening his tone, al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden issued a humanitarian appeal on Saturday urging Muslim governments to do more to help Pakistan's flood victims and expressing worry about climate change. It was his second purported audiotape in as many days.

The less aggressive approach contrasted with al-Qaida's previous calls for a violent response in what experts say could be a "good cop, bad cop" ploy to exploit anger over the flooding and rally support for the terror network.

Al-Qaida is under pressure to refurbish support among Pakistanis as it faces a surge in U.S. missile strikes and government crackdowns on insurgents who easily move between Afghanistan and Pakistan's porous border. American officials have asserted for months that the core of the network has been weakened and is struggling to raise money and attract recruits.

Bin Laden, who is believed to be hiding in the lawless border area that separates the two countries, said governments of Muslim nations have not done enough to help Pakistanis hit by devastating floods that killed hundreds and affected about 20 million people this summer.

"The effort should have been bigger from the beginning," he said in a recording posted Saturday on militant websites. It was distributed along with a photograph of a smiling bin Laden superimposed over pictures of flood victims.

He also singled out Arab leaders, accusing them of failing to respond to a calamity in a fellow Muslim nation and asserting that the U.N. secretary-general did more than them to help Pakistan.

Bin Laden has often sought to package himself as a senior statesman. In this recording, he assumed a tone more measured than past videos and recordings in which he and his deputies called for the leaders of Muslim nations like his native Saudi Arabia to be overthrown.
By: Shelldrake

No comments: