The AP is reporting:
CAIRO, Egypt - Al-Qaida sympathizers have unleashed a
torrent of anger against Al-Jazeera television, accusing it of misrepresenting
Osama bin Laden's latest audiotape by airing excerpts in which he criticizes
mistakes by insurgents in Iraq.
Users of a leading Islamic militant Web
forum posted thousands of insults against the pan-Arab station for focusing on
excerpts in which bin Laden criticizes insurgents, including his
Analysts said the reaction highlighted militants' surprise at bin
Laden's words, and their dismay at the deep divisions among al-Qaida and other
Iraqi militants that he appeared to be trying to heal.
"It's not about
Al-Jazeera, it's about their shock from bin Laden," said Diaa Rashwan, an
Egyptian expert on Islamic militant groups. "For the first time, bin Laden, who
used to be the spiritual leader who gives guidance, became a critic of al-Qaida
and is confessing mistakes. This is unusual."
"God fight Al-Jazeera," railed
one militant Web poster, calling the station a "collaborator with the Crusaders"
for suggesting the tape showed weakness in al-Qaida and featuring discussions of
how the tape reflected weaknesses and divisions among insurgents in Iraq.
recording aired Monday contained unusually strong criticism of insurgents in
Iraq from bin Laden, who urges them to admit mistakes and unify. Bin Laden even
acknowledges that he advises himself not to be "fanatical" in his
"Some of you have been lax in one duty, which is to unite your
ranks," bin Laden said. "Beware of division ... Muslims are waiting for you to
gather under a single banner to champion righteousness. Be keen to oblige with
"I advise myself, Muslims in general and brothers in al-Qaida
everywhere to avoid extremism among men and groups," he said.
The tape was
met with a cautiously positive response from at least one insurgent coalition
that has been opposed to al-Qaida.
But the Al-Fajr Media Center, which
usually posts al-Qaida video and audio tapes on the Web, accused Al-Jazeera of
"counterfeiting the facts" by making the speech appear as exclusively critical
"Al-Jazeera directors have shamefully chosen to back the
Crusaders' side, and the defenders of hypocrites and the thugs and traitors of
Iraq," Al-Fajr said in a statement posted on several Islamic Web
Another Web contributor even rattled off a five-stanza poem of rhymed
couplets, comparing the station to a "miserable fly in the garbage" and
concluding, "Your day will come, vile one. As long as we live, you won't be
Few of the thousands of messages posted by contributors on
the Web sites — who are only identified by usernames — called for direct
violence against Al-Jazeera. Most instead urged that the full bin Laden tape be
distributed as widely as possible on the Web to show its true message.
full 30-minute audio was posted on Islamic Web sites the day after excerpts were
aired by Al-Jazeera. It features long sections praising insurgents for their
"holy war" against U.S. and Iraqi troops and urging Iraqis to join them.
editor-in-chief of the Qatar-based station, Ahmed Sheik, refused to comment on
the criticism but said the tape had not been misrepresented.
"Every time, we
deal with their tapes same way we did last time," he told The Associated
Bin Laden's message came at a time of deepening splits in the Sunni
Arab insurgency in Iraq. Some insurgent groups have formed a coalition rivaling
one set up by al-Qaida in Iraq. Other factions have broken away and joined U.S.
troops in fighting al-Qaida. A group of Sunni Arab tribes in the western
province of Anbar also have campaigned against al-Qaida.
The splits are
believed to have been caused by anger over al-Qaida attempts to dominate the
insurgency as well as by its killings of Sunni tribal leaders and its attempts
to impose Taliban-like rules.
The spokesman of one coalition of insurgents
opposed to al-Qaida welcomed bin Laden's call and even left open the possibility
of working with al-Qaida if its mistakes were corrected.
"We don't want to
get ahead of ourselves ... but the subject is put forward before the council,"
Khattab Abdul-Rahman al-Jabbouri, spokesman of the Political Council of the
Iraqi Resistance, told Al-Jazeera in an interview.
He said al-Qaida in
Iraq's actions "damaged the social fabric of the Iraqi people." But "if someone
corrects their mistake, no matter who they are, then that is a good thing.
That's what we hope for today, so that we can end the mistakes and unify our
ranks so we can be a single line against the aggressor," he said.
Driggers, Mideast analyst for the Terrorism Research Center, said bin Laden's
criticisms of al-Qaida in Iraq and his rhetoric addressing all Iraqis —
including tribal leaders — "seems to have brought more authority to the request
(for unity) and the groups are taking it more seriously."
Rosenbach, a terror expert and executive director of research at Harvard
University's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, said the
splits will be difficult to mend, pointing out that Sunni tribal leaders in Iraq
view bin Laden as being as foreign as the Americans.
This makes me wonder when the daily kos is going to come out with the thought that Karl Rove captured bin ladin single handedly and had Jack Bauer torture him into making this latest tape.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
The AP is reporting: