February 20, 2006

The Bin Ladin Tape - Much Ado About Nothing

On February 20, an Islamist website re-posted an audiotape from Al-Qa'idah leader Usamah Bin Ladin. This is the same audiotape that was excerpted on Al-Jazeera in January - the full transcript was made available on their web site. (Read my comments on that tape.)

Is there something special in this tape? Not really. It contains the same threats we have seen before. Specifically, the tape offers a truce to the United States, threatens an attack on American soil, states that he will not be captured alive, and compares American actions in Iraq to those of Saddam Husayn.

So why was the tape re-posted almost exactly one month later? It is not uncommon for Islamist websites to repeat previously aired tapes. One could make the case that the release was timed to coincide with the recent publication of additional photos of the Abu Ghurayb prisoner abuse by an Australian network and the recent spate of violence over the Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad in an unfavorable light.

All in all, nothing to get excited about.