February 19, 2003


Al Qaeda's Nightmare Scenario Emerges: Does Osama bin Laden plan to become the ultimate suicide bomber? (Mansoor Ijaz, 02/19/2003, Weekly Standard)
OSAMA BIN LADEN, or some good likeness of him, spoke from the ether again on two occasions last week, releasing two undated audiotapes as Muslims completed their pilgrimages to Mecca. His call to Jihad did not stop at tying himself to Iraq's people, by which he had clearly hoped to provoke Washington into immediate unilateral military action against Saddam Hussein. Nor did it end with his messianic recitation of verses in the Koran that clearly demonstrated he knows the end game is near. Predicting his martyrdom this year, he vowed to die in "the belly of the Eagle," an Islamist reference to ending his life in a final act of terror against the United States on our soil. The man, put simply, is on the run.

Bin Laden's cowardice shines through his rhetoric. For the first time since the September 11 attacks against the United States, bin Laden demonstrated fear through his choice of words. In setting forth plans for his suicide, he probably came to the conclusion that al Qaeda's retaliation infrastructure around the world had been so effectively and systematically dismantled by western intelligence that his terrorists may not be able to mount a credible response to any planned U.S. military action in Iraq in the near future. Like many Mafia bosses before him, he appears to have decided that when the going looks tough--the poison network in Europe, for example, has been decimated by defections and confessions--it's better to exit stage left.

While bin Laden's vision of dividing the West and driving a wedge between the United States and her allies, whether Arab or European, has become a political reality, his terrorist acts have not yet reached their intended crescendo--to use a weapon of mass destruction against civilians. That is why bin Laden spoke and why we need to quickly and effectively decipher what he is really trying to tell us.

A plethora of available but seemingly unconnected evidence provides important clues for what may be bin Laden's final act.

Slim Pickens is dead, and Osama's as good as. Posted by Orrin Judd at February 19, 2003 8:09 AM

That assumes he's not dead already. I don't speak Arabic, but I trust H.D. Miller when he says that "Osama"'s recent pronouncements lack the grace and poetry of the vintage stuff; put differently, someone's doing a really bad impression.

Posted by: Christopher Badeaux at February 19, 2003 9:12 AM

Wizard of Oz-ama.

But deadly.

Posted by: Barry Meislin at February 19, 2003 10:20 AM

CB has a good point. I infer from this last message that OBL is already dead, but that Rich Little has been hired to make him sound alive until he can "martyr" himself. They'll set off a bomb somewhere and throw jawbone (complete with teeth for easy dental identification) into the mess. So much more glorious than admitting we actually did kill him last year, or that he died of kidney failure in a cave somewhere.

Posted by: Harry Tolen at February 19, 2003 11:07 AM

OK. I admit it. I am, in fact, dead.


Posted by: at February 19, 2003 11:29 AM