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Osama bin Laden recording released on al-Jazeera network

The latest tape from Osama bin Laden, aired by al-Jazeera Sunday, is a call upon all Muslims to take part in a new jihad against the United States, Israel and Europe that will include the killing of more civilians.

The al-Qaida leader said the American people, including women and children, have become fair targets because they continue to support the decisions of the Bush administration.

“The war is a responsibility between the people and the governments,” bin Laden said. “The war goes on and the [American] people are renewing their allegiance to its rulers and masters. They send their sons to armies to fight us and they continue their financial and moral support while our countries are burned, our houses are bombed and our people are killed.”

In an exclusive interview with G2 Bulletin, Hamid Mir, the only journalist to interview bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri in the wake of 9-11, said the issuance of the tape was necessitated by Europe’s rejection of al-Qaida’s offer of a truce two years ago, and the subsequent rejection of a similar truce that was offered to the United States.

Mir had predicted bin Laden’s imminent release of a message on al-Jazeera in a report published by G2 Bulletin and WND just days before.

“There was only one positive response from America,” according to Mir. “Douglas A. Borer wrote an article in The Christian Science Monitor on January 24, 2006, [in which] he argued that the British had made peace with the IRA and the U.S. had come to terms with Libya’s terror-sponsoring leader [Moammar] Gadhafi. Then why not al-Qaida? The American government said that talking to terrorists is not their policy.”

Mir contends this rejection has served to give rise to increased support for bin Laden throughout the Muslim world and widespread belief that the only recourse against alleged Western aggression is total war, including attacks on civilian populations.

Asked about the current opinion of bin Laden in the Muslim world, Mir said: “Osama bin Laden has become more popular only after 9-11. Incidents like the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib jail, the desecration of the holy Quran in Guantanamo Bay prisons, and then the publication of the blasphemous caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in Denmark spread a lot of hatred against the West in the Muslim world. This hatred is the real strength of Osama bin Laden.”

Mir believes that bin Laden has become the hero of anti-American Muslim youth by default.

“Many Muslims,” he says, “are of the view that America played a role in implementing the U.N. resolutions on East Timor. This Christian majority province of Indonesia got independence through the U.N., but the Muslim majority Kashmir area of India is denied the same right because the West is biased against the Muslims. Now, the Muslim youth is getting allergic [to] Islamic clerics who oppose al-Qaida. More than 1,500 tribal elders and Islamic clerics have been assassinated by pro-al-Qaida militants in the South Waziristan area of Pakistan in the past two years. These 1,500 elders and clerics cooperated with the Pakistan army and opposed the presence of foreign fighters in their area.”

He believes the issuance of the tape will result in a new wave of violence, particularly in Egypt and the Darfur province of Sudan.

“Bin Laden wants the West to send more troops into Darfur,” he claims, “and then the al-Qaida fighters in Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania and other African countries will have an opportunity to test their jihadi spirits against the ‘enemies of Islam.'”

The Pakistani journalist claims bin Laden needs another Iraq in Africa to serve as a breeding ground for al-Qaida and a bleeding ground for American troops.

Mir further maintains that bin Laden remains in control of all aspects of al-Qaida and that al-Zawahiri, who has been called “the real brains” of the terrorist organization, only serves in a subservient role.

“Dr. Zawahiri was not aware about the 9-11 planning,” he says. “He was not present in the meeting of Osama and Mullah Omar, which took place in southern Afghanistan in August 2005. Suicide bombings in Afghanistan were approved by Mullah Omar in that meeting. How can Zawahiri be the brain of Osama? The real brain was Muhammad Atef who was killed in November 2001 in Ghazni by American predators. Osama himself has a very sharp mind. America has failed to nab him. The failure of America proves that Osama is clever.”

Concerning the present whereabouts of the elusive emir, Mir maintains that bin Laden found shelter in the frontier regions of Pakistan in the wake of the bombing of his mountain fortress at Tora Bora. Among the Pashtun tribes, bin Laden remained protected by the Islamic code of milmastia, which demands protection for fellow Muslims who seek shelter in their country – even if such shelter means risking their lives.

From 2002 to 2004, bin Laden spent most of his time in the valley of Dir, about 50 miles from the Afghan border on the Kunar Province. Dir remains within the Malakand Pass, the site of some of the fiercest skirmishes under the British Raj. A Pakistani fort still stands where the young Winston Churchill shot down rebels and received a citation for heroism. The fort is presently occupied by Maulvi Sufi Mohamad, an old and revered Muslim scholar, who maintains a Taliban-style rule of the area with public executions of adulterers, homosexuals, apostates and Christian infidels. It was an area in which bin Laden felt quite at home.

Despite the $25 million bounty the U.S. government placed on his head – a bounty that is proclaimed by thousands of Pashtu-language leaflets that are dropped by U.S. aircraft on a regular basis – bin Laden felt secure enough to travel to other parts of Pakistan, including periodic trips to Peshawar and the smuggler-infested bazaar town of Rabate J’ali, north of Zahedan, within the center of “the Devil’s Triangle,” the conjunction of the borders of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran.

In 2004, according to Mir, bin Laden resettled in the Kunar province of eastern Afghanistan, only to return to the tribal regions of Pakistan in 2005.

Mir maintains that bin Laden now regularly moves from both locations with little fear of capture. The Pakistani journalist says that his beliefs in this regard have been confirmed by Gen. Richard Myers and other leading American military officials.

Mir’s account of the present whereabouts of the elusive emir confirms an Aug. 6 report WND.

For the complete report on bin Laden’s whereabouts, more details on the situation on the ground in Afghanistan and all the latest news on the intelligence front, subscribe to Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

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