Bin Laden surfaced again with a new audio tape played on Al Jazeera:
Osama bin Laden issued ominous new threats in an audiotape broadcast Sunday, purportedly saying the West was at war with Islam and calling on his followers to go to Sudan to fight a proposed U.N. force.
In his first new message in three months, bin Laden said the West’s decision to cut off funds to the Palestinians because their Hamas leaders refuse to recognize Israel proved that the United States and Europe were conducting “a Zionist crusader war on Islam.”
“The blockade which the West is imposing on the government of Hamas proves that there is a Zionist crusader war on Islam,” said the speaker on the tape broadcast by the Al-Jazeera network.
“I say that this war is the joint responsibility of the people and the governments. While the war continues, the people renew their allegiance to their rulers and politicians and continue to send their sons to our countries to fight us.”
The authenticity of the tape could not immediately be verified.
Parts of audiotape purportedly from Osama bin Laden aired Sunday on an Arabic-language TV network in which the al Qaeda leader attacks the West for cutting off funds to the Palestinian Hamas-led government and referred to a “crusader-Zionist war” against Islam.
Al-Jazeera, which is based in Qatar, said the new tape is from bin Laden. CNN could not immediately confirm the tape’s authenticity, but analysts said the voice sounds like bin Laden’s.
A U.S. intelligence official said technical analysis of the tape is under way.
Fox News Channel reported that intelligence officials believe the voice on the tape is Bin Laden’s.
Update: Walid Phares of the Counterterrorism Blog summarizes the ten points Bin Laden made in this audio tape.
Update II: Tigerhawk writes that what’s fascinating about bin Laden’s recent tape isn’t what he discussed but what he didn’t:
Apart from the list’s comic aspects, it is fascinating for its omissions. Why didn’t bin Laden talk about Iraq?
Less than 2 1/2 years ago, al Qaeda broke the news to the Taliban that it was diverting resources to Iraq so as to humiliate the American “Crusaders.”
Al Qaeda drew a line in the sands of the Sunni Triangle, and the United States Army and Marines walked right across it. First, al Qaeda tried to kill Americans, per bin Laden’s orders. It largely failed. Then al Qaeda went after America’s allies, and succeeded only in turning public opinion against itself in every Muslim country it attacked. After thirty months of battlefield defeats and political embarrassments, bin Laden won’t even mention Iraq in one of his rare public utterances, and he rallies his troops to fight a war where American soldiers aren’t. How humiliating. How delightful.
Al Qaeda has lost in Iraq, and bin Laden is desperate to change the subject. He and his organization are at grave risk of being discredited, and when that happens it will be much harder for al Qaeda to attract recruits, raise money, or deal with governments.
Let’s flashback to this: Zarqawi and Al Qaeda Leaving Iraq?