Bin Laden: Obama’s Pakistan Support Inflamed Hatred Toward The US

June 7th, 2009 - by admin

Maamoun Youssef / Huffington Post & Reuters – 2009-06-07 22:30:02

Bin Laden: Obama’s Pakistan Support Inflamed Hatred Toward The US
Maamoun Youssef / Huffington Post

CAIRO (June 3, 2009) — Osama bin Laden threatened Americans in a new audio recording aired Wednesday, saying President Barack Obama inflamed hatred toward the US by ordering Pakistan to crack down on militants in Swat Valley and block Islamic law there. Bin Laden claimed US pressure led to a campaign of “killing, fighting, bombing and destruction” that prompted the exodus of a million Muslims from Swat in northwest Pakistan.

The message was broadcast for the first time on pan-Arab Al-Jazeera Television around the same time Obama touched down in Saudi Arabia at the start of a Mideast visit. He is trying repair relations with the Muslim world frayed under the previous Bush administration.

“Elderly people, children and women fled their homes and lived in tents as refugees after they have lived in dignity in their homes,” bin Laden said. “Let the American people be ready to reap what the White House leaders have sown,” he added.

“Obama and his administration have sown new seeds to increase hatred and revenge on America,” bin Laden said. “The number of these seeds is equal to the number of displaced people from Swat Valley.”

Pakistan launched in April a military offensive to expel the Taliban from Swat Valley after the militants abandoned a peace deal with the government that gave them control of the region.

The offensive, strongly backed by Washington, is seen as a test of Pakistan’s resolve against militants in the northwestern border region near Afghanistan. Pakistanis tired of militant attacks in the country that have killed hundreds of civilians have also supported the campaign. But the fighting has uprooted some 3 million people.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, in Saudi Arabia with Obama, said al-Qaida obviously is seeking to shift attention away from what he called the president’s historic efforts to have an open dialogue with the Muslim world.
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He said the White House was not surprised bin Laden released the message threatening America just as Obama was preparing to deliver a major speech on US relations with the Muslim world. Obama advisers have not yet been able to completely review the tape, but found it consistent with past bin Laden messages, he said.

Richard Holbrooke, US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, promptly dismissed suggestions that anyone but al-Qaida and the Taliban are responsible for the refugee crisis in Pakistan. He spoke during a visit to Islamabad.

“This entire problem began with al-Qaida and its associates and everybody in the world knows that. It’s silly indeed to respond to such a ludicrous charge,” Holbrooke said at a joint news conference with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.

Bin Laden focused entirely on Pakistan in his latest message, claiming Zardari was paid by the White House to start the crackdown. Zardari “turned the army from its main task of protecting Islam, Muslims and their land,” bin Laden said. He said Zardari “betrayed the nation” to “implement an American, Jewish and Indian conspiracy” against Pakistan.

Al-Jazeera aired excerpts of the recording and did not say how it was obtained. The authenticity of the recording could not be immediately verified.

A US counterterrorism official said the tape is being analyzed by US intelligence but noted there has never yet been a fake bin Laden tape. He said bin Laden is still presumed to be alive and the release of his messages are timed to coincide with major events. He said this message recycles themes from earlier messages and does not appear to contain any specific or credible threat information.

After the message was broadcast, chatter on militant Web sites speculated that Al-Jazeera had received the tape earlier but aired it to coincide with Obama’s landing in Riyadh. But the station’s Deputy Editor-in-Chief Ayman Gaballah told The Associated Press that suggestion “does not deserve a comment. It is not logical that we comment on anyone who writes something like that on a Web site,” Gaballah said.

Bin Laden, whose last message was released in mid-March, has been sparing in his criticism of Obama in the past. In January, he said only that the US president had received a “heavy inheritance” from his predecessor. However, his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri has repeatedly condemned Obama, even using racial slurs.

Bin Laden’s message followed just hours after al-Zawahri, an Egyptian, criticized Obama’s planned speech in Cairo Thursday to the Islamic world. He said it will not change the “bloody messages” the US military is sending Muslims in American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Double blast against Obama Shows Strain on Qaeda
William Maclean / Reuters

LONDON (June 4, 2009) — A double blast from al Qaeda against Barack Obama shows the group is as worried as ever by the persuasive skills of the U.S. president, who makes a speech to Muslims on Thursday.

Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, in an audio recording aired on Wednesday by Al Jazeera television, said Obama had planted the seeds of “revenge and hatred” towards the United States in the Muslim world and he warned Americans to prepare for the consequences.

A day earlier, the militant network’s second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri urged Egyptians not to be seduced by Obama’s ‘polished words’ when he makes a major address in Cairo seeking to repair ties with the Muslim world.

For some, al Qaeda’s concerted attempt to upstage Obama is a propaganda own goal that shows its normally media-savvy operatives in disarray following the departure of Obama’s predecessor George W. Bush. They found Bush easy to stereotype as a belligerent, Muslim-hating cowboy.

“Zawahri is right to be worried,” said Edwin Bakker, a senior research fellow at the Dutch Clingendael Institute in the Hague. “Al Qaeda partly lives on anti-Americanism and the ‘war on terror’. Now Bush has gone and been replaced by a guy who’s second name is Hussein. And they fear his speech really is going to have a positive effect.”

Obama has chosen Egypt to make an address to the Islamic world that he had promised for early in his presidency. He will seek to dispel resentments inflamed by U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan following the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington by militant Islamists

“Obama and his administration have planted seeds for hatred and revenge against America,” the Saudi-born bin Laden declared, saying Obama was treading in the footsteps of his predecessor. “Let the American people prepare to continue to reap what has been planted by the heads of the White House in the coming years and decades,” bin Laden said.

In an audio recording posted on an al Qaeda-linked Islamist website, Zawahri, an Egyptian, said Obama was not welcome in Egypt and urged Egyptians to “stand united in the face of this criminal”.

Zawahri’s language was somewhat milder than his denunciation of Obama published in November in which he accused Obama of betraying his race and his father’s Muslim heritage. Zawahri then attacked Obama as a “house Negro,” a racially-charged term used by 1960s black American Muslim leader Malcolm X to describe black slaves loyal to white masters.

But Abdel-Bari Atwan, editor of London-based daily al-Quds al-Arabi, said Zawahri’s words showed al Qaeda was panicking. “They know Obama is popular in a huge part of the Arab and Muslim world because the man is actually trying to address America’s record in the region,” he said.

Zawahri “Desperate”
“Zawahri is desperate. There is no substantial argument in his piece: He cannot say like he did with Bush that ‘this is the man who killed a million Iraqis and supports the Israelis’. Everybody knows Obama is at odds with the Israelis.” Others say Zawahri had little choice but to speak out now.

“Zawahri and Obama are competing for votes, if you will, and this can be seen as a ‘publicity steal’ in which he grabs the headlines first,” said Raphael Perl, an official of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. “I wouldn’t characterise al Qaeda’s reaction to Obama as panic, but there is certainly concern.”

Henry Wilkinson of Janusian, a security consultancy, agreed that Zawahri had little choice but to speak now, since Obama’s speech, once made, would dominate media coverage. “I suspect he was addressing his followers rather than those who are undecided about al Qaeda. He is showing the leadership is aware of the importance of the Cairo speech and wants to denounce it head of time.”

The success of Obama’s diplomatic initiatives in the Middle East, such as advancing Israeli-Palestinian peace and halting Iran’s nuclear programme, may depend on how well Obama is able to repair broader U.S. relations with the Islamic world. (Editing by Richard Balmforth)

© Thomson Reuters 2009. All rights reserved.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.