December 17, 2004


'Osama' tape tells Saudis: prepare for coup (Michael Theodoulou, 12/17/04, Times of London)

A MAN believed to be Osama bin Laden, speaking on a tape, urged his fighters to focus attacks on oil sites in the Gulf and Iraq and hailed the terrorists who attacked a US consulate in Saudi Arabia.

He also gave warning to Saudi Arabia’s royal rulers that they faced being overthrown by a popular uprising and blamed them for the unrest in the oil-rich kingdom.

“Take jihad [holy war] to stop [the Americans] getting hold of [the oil]. Concentrate your operations on the oil, in particular in Iraq and the Gulf,” said the voice on an audio tape posted on an Islamic website.

The lengthy message was seen in part as an attempt to claw back lost ground in the propaganda war with the Saudi authorities.

If Osama were both alive and still significant he'd distance himself from that consulate botch job.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 17, 2004 8:40 AM

I thought he was dead too, but that pre-election tape seems to argue otherwise.

Posted by: Brandon at December 17, 2004 10:37 AM

But the problem (for the loons) is that Osama was NEVER significant. He and his thugs certainly did pull off a shocking event, but was he personally significant? No. He is (was) a gangster in a cave.

If the Saudis move away from the ranting insanity, and clear-headed Arabs begin to purge the screamers, that will be significant. If, in 5 or 10 years, the radical imams and clerics (both in Europe and the Middle East, along with Pakistan) are mocked and driven away (or killed), that would be significant.

But does Osama himself have significance? No. Zarqawi has more, just because he is still fighting. Of course, when he gets squashed, he goes away, too. But the US Army and the Marines won't.

Posted by: jim hamlen at December 17, 2004 10:47 AM

Osama's main value is as a branded symbol for Islamic radicals, the same way the left carried around all those Mao photos during the Vietnam era and now waxes nostalgic for Che on T-shirts and posters.

As for his "Take jihad [holy war] to stop [the Americans] getting hold of [the oil]," while this might appeal to the radicals, they really didn't need any incentive to go after the Saudi oil infrastructure. But the rest of the nation knows if the pipelines as shut down, their own lifestyles go down the tubes while other nations would see their oil revenues go through the roof.

If I were the Saudis I'd probably tighten security around their oil production and delivery systems in case the message was a code to stage an attack, but unless Osama plans to start his own NASCAR and Formula 1 racinmg teams or something in the future, it doesn't do anyone in the mainstream there any good there to keep the oil in the ground.

Posted by: John at December 17, 2004 10:58 AM



Posted by: oj at December 17, 2004 11:00 AM


If that wasnt OBL, then who?

And if it wasn't done just before the election, then when?

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at December 17, 2004 11:22 AM


Videotape of someone talking about current events is usually good evidence that said person is alive.

Posted by: Brandon at December 17, 2004 1:00 PM


A relative or a look alike. How would any of us know who it was? We couldn't even tell whether Saddam was Saddam from his home movies.

Posted by: oj at December 17, 2004 1:07 PM


Saturday Night Live ran a nearly identical videotape that Saturday night, was it Osama?

Posted by: oj at December 17, 2004 1:18 PM

The Saudis are playing a double-game with the Americans. When they stop requiring American servicewomen to walk around in a bedsheet and when they stop killing Christian workers there, then maybe I'll start believing that the Saudis are anything other than a bunch of bloodthirsty desert bandits the planet would be better off without.

It's very simple. Their pet terrorists stage an attack, the Saudis make it look like they stopped it and their lapdogs in the American media like Tom Friedman and the Congress like Chuck Hagel and elsewhere like Old Bush and James Baker the Turd treat it like the arrival of the Moschiach. It isn't anything one couldn't see the Penguin come up with on the old Batman TV show.

Aren't the Saudis still teaching on their TV and in their schools that it is every Saudi child's duty to kill Christians and Jews wherever they may be found?

Posted by: Bart at December 17, 2004 6:02 PM

It is an error to treat the Sa'uds as if they were a beuracratized western state where functionaries can be sent on missions and they will with some reliability execute those missions.

It is a family, without an organizing idea of primogeniture or legitimacy. There is no Golden Bull. It is riven with factions and rivalries and it may fall apart or blow up at any minute.

It is one very good reason why we need a stable republican Iraq where we can base an American Army.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at December 17, 2004 11:58 PM


Then how have they maintained themselves in power? Control of Saudi oil is a big bankroll and, if the Saudis are as fragmented and disorganized as you indicate, someone would have put together a coup a long time ago, whether a rival clan or a few hundred unemployed mercenaries.

Posted by: Bart at December 18, 2004 6:27 AM


Not if they couldn't maintain power after the coup.

Posted by: oj at December 18, 2004 8:06 AM

500 Spaniards with one-shot arquebuses took over Mexico and they had a coherent Empire. A reasonably intelligent Spec Forces type could cut a deal with the Shia population in Saudi(25% of the total) and the Wahabi bandit chieftains would be reduced to running the camel rides in Central Park. Abdullah runs the real state of Palestine(excuse me, Jordan) with less.

Posted by: Bart at December 18, 2004 9:07 AM


Yes, we could do it. Your point was that someone there could.

Posted by: oj at December 18, 2004 9:24 AM

'Someone there' includes the retired Spec Forces types, and their analogs like Col. Denard, who are professional mercenaries today.

Posted by: Bart at December 18, 2004 10:05 AM

Think the Arabs will let themselves be run by a few mercenary infidels?

Posted by: oj at December 18, 2004 11:43 AM

Osama taking over Saudi Arabia would be the best favor he could do us. Unlike the House of Saud, which acts just friendly enough to make it impossible to attack them, An Osama controlled Saudi would instantly earn the wrath of the US Army and the Anti-American left couldn't run the "It's all about oil" and the "Saddam is a distraction from the real War on Terror" BS as successfully as last time, and we'd be able to set up a democracy in Saudi like the one in Iraq. Two of the largest oil producers in the world will be free of terrorism and of monarchs that fund it. Additionally, as long as there's a clear threat to American security abroad, there'll never be fear of a Democrat sneaking into the White House, or in control of either house of Congress.

Posted by: MarkD at December 18, 2004 3:08 PM

When Col. Denard took over the Comoros, the Muslims didn't say boo. They are a cowardly bunch, capable of great brutality if left to their own devices, but if they are confronted by greater force, they wimp out more than bullies in a typical suburban high school.

If I had enough money to hire a couple of Ghurka brigades, Saudi Arabia would just be a bad memory and the Bedouins would be little more than target practice. NO ARABS=NO TERROR.

Posted by: Bart at December 18, 2004 7:07 PM

A half million non-Arab islanders. A determined kindergarten class could do that.

Posted by: oj at December 18, 2004 9:19 PM

Denard and his 45 mercenaries were French, they had to start small.

Posted by: Bart at December 19, 2004 11:57 AM