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Bin Laden's Speech…More Danger Ahead - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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What is new about Bin Laden’s rhetoric in his most recent tape? The most interesting aspect of it from my perspective is that the speech involves everybody. The west observed a clear threat to their wellbeing as the leader of Al-Qaeda made no distinction between western governments and their people. Furthermore, the speech placed Hamas in a difficult position as Bin Laden defended it. He also involved himself in the Darfur crisis as Al-Qaeda feeds off any crisis, even if it was created by us with no western involvement.

The examples given in Bin Laden’s speech are further proof that he has a weak understanding of history and is a poor political player. Nevertheless, Bin Laden has proven himself a master of incitement. From this angle, the most dangerous part of his speech was clear as he referred to combating Arab liberal intellects who he described as “the mockers of Islam.” This part of the speech, paradoxically, was not discussed by either media in the west or Middle East.

Since the hiding of Al-Qaeda leaders (except from the media), it appears that they have clearly and directly condemned intellects and writers who are critical of the Al-Qaeda movement. This is not a new phenomenon however; as Saudi authorities confirmed they found lists of wanted writers and journalists with Al-Qaeda members in the kingdom.

What was different about Bin Laden’s recent speech was that it was openly instigative. We have previously seen the killings of intellectuals back at the beginning of the 1990’s in Egypt that claimed the lives of some major figures. There was even an attempt on the life of Naguib Mahfouz.

Bin Laden called out against liberals, the media and those who call for reform. His definition of liberals is simple: those who conflict with his opinion. He seeks to divide the world into two or more parties.

The danger of this incitement by Bin Laden is that it coincides with the daily campaigns that feature on Islamist fundamentalist websites, what I call the kitchens of hatred. The instigators are no longer obscure extremists with nicknames, but also include public employees who hold prominent positions in Saudi Arabia. Ironically, those very employees focus on attacking the same Saudi ministers that Bin Laden referred to in his latest speech.

Betrayal, espionage, and Zionism are part of the list used to describe others who simply hold a conflicting viewpoint and now Bin Laden has stated so openly. It seems to be a launching signal, in which case, security authorities need to take a clear stand against such instigators to be well prepared for what is to come.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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