Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Did Someone Say Bin Laden? | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The audience hardly noticed Osama Bin Laden’s latest message that was broadcast by Aljazeera and carried by some other news websites recently.

It is the sixtieth time that the Al Qaeda leader, or one of his aides, has addressed the public since the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

The difference between the impact of the first message eight years ago and the recent message is substantial.

It has been confirmed once again that the influence of Al Qaeda’s spiritual leader has decreased significantly as his image or speech used occupy the media for days.

In a recent audio message that was much shorter than usual, Bin Laden outlined a new political map by accusing Arab leaders of conspiring with the West against Muslims and called for liberating Palestine through Jordan and Iraq.

The political requirements described by Bin Laden do not draw their importance from the realities of which he speaks, especially considering that we have not seen Al Qaeda take on any kind of role in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Since the Amman bombings in 2005, Al Qaeda has not played any part in Jordan and its operations in Iraq have decreased since 2007. Moreover, its infrastructure has been damaged to a large extent.

Therefore, all that is left is Bin Laden’s media role after Al Qaeda lost its role as cohesive network, which it now seeks to replace by playing a part in the media. It is not unusual that Bin Laden called for forming a body of religious figures to make a list of TV channels, especially the specific channels that he considers dangerous to watch, to warn Muslims of hypocrites and their tools.

Bin Laden was not happy that he lost his position as a spiritual leader and a military field commander. He has turned into a media mouthpiece and a theorist in issues that affect public opinion and this was clearly reflected in his recent message. This issue makes us think about whether Bin Laden is newsworthy or at least a source of important news for the media, which still prioritises his messages over other more significant news items.

The importance of Bin Laden lies in the fact that he is a wanted man who needs to be brought to justice; he seems to have no other value. Even the region where he is thought to be in hiding is witnessing battles and wars from time to time between the Americans and the Taliban or between the Taliban and the Pakistani army. Therefore, there is no real role for Al Qaeda anymore as the Taliban entered dialogue with both the Americans and the Pakistani government some time ago, so Al Qaeda is losing the additional value that it gained from its ties with the Taliban.

We wonder why some media are welcoming Osama Bin Laden’s message and question the newsworthiness of a man who has become like thousands of other wanted figures that seek to escape justice.