April 15th, 2004
bin Laden Truce info
Any of you all see this yet? http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,117148,00.html
Old binnie's looking for allies apparently.
He must have seen the writing on the wall.
European leaders spurned an offer of "truce" Thursday made by someone on an audiotape purporting to be Al Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden (search), saying firmly that they do not negotiate with terrorists. |
CIA (search) sources said the voice on the tape is "likely" bin Laden, and that the tape is now undergoing the agency's standard technical review to determine its authenticity.
In the recording broadcast Thursday on Arab satellite networks, the man on the audio tape offered an olive branch to European countries that do not attack Muslims (search).
"I announce a truce with the European countries that do not attack Muslim countries," the taped message said as the stations showed an old, still picture of bin Laden.
The message said "the door to a truce is open for three months," but the time frame could be extended. "The truce will begin when the last soldier leaves our countries," the speaker said without elaborating.
Saying the truce would begin when European soldiers leave Islamic nations, the voice also referenced the terror attacks on the United States and Spain, saying, "what happened on September 11 and March 11 was your goods delivered back to you."
Around the world, countries dismissed the tape's offer and message:
— London: A British opposition spokesman said the purported truce offered was a sign that the Al Qaeda (search) network is rattled. "It is obviously an attempt by Al Qaeda or the associates of Al Qaeda, to try and drive a wedge between the coalition," said Michael Ancram, foreign affairs spokesman for the opposition Conservative Party.
The Foreign Office said there would be no negotiations with Al Qaeda: "Their attacks are against the very idea of co-existence ... It is impossible to say with certainty if it is Usama bin Laden or not, but we are taking the message seriously."
— Germany: Government officials said they will not negotiate with "criminals" like bin Laden.
"We will not be coerced, seduced or threatened by anyone," said a spokeswoman for the coalition in Afghanistan, which includes the United States, Spain, Italy and Germany. "We are here to do a job. We are committed to Afghanistan."
— France: President Jacques Chirac rejected negotiating with terrorists and also ruled out military involvement in Iraq, Reuters reported.
"There can be no possible bargaining with terrorists," Chirac said at a news conference during a trip to Algeria. "Nothing can justify terrorism and, on that basis, nothing can allow any discussion with terrorists," he added.
— Italy: It is "completely unthinkable" to start negotiations with bin Laden, Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said. And European Commission President Romano Prodi said there would be no negotiating under a "terrorist threat," Reuters reported.
— Poland: Foreign Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz called the truce offer a "trick" put forward to capitalize on increased fears after the Al Qaeda-linked train bombings in Spain, Reuters reported. "It would be a big, big mistake if people buy that, because it is an offer made by a terrorist," he said Thursday at a news conference in London.
— United States: Sen. Joseph Biden, senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a television interview Thursday that bin Laden was "trying to separate us from the Europeans, and Europeans from the U.S. It's an example of how opportunistic he is."
Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., expressed skepticism about the offer made on the tape. "You cannot negotiate with terrorists, especially someone like Usama bin Laden," he said.
The tape, which ran in full at more than seven minutes, also vowed revenge against America for the Israeli assassination of Hamas founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin (search) and denounced the United States as using the Iraq war for corporate profiteering.
Dia'a Rashwan, a Cairo expert on Islamic militants, said the voice sounded like bin Laden, though it deviated from his old pattern of labeling Europeans as "the Crusader-Jewish alliance."
Several audio and videotapes of Al Qaeda's No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahri (search), have been released in recent months, but Thursday's tape was the first purportedly from bin Laden since September. Then, a videotape showed bin Laden climbing down a craggy mountainside with al-Zawahri.
Ayman Gaballah, editor of Al-Arabiya, said only that the pan-Arab television network received the tape from "our sources." He would not say if the tape was received at its headquarters in the United Arab Emirates or in a bureau elsewhere, such as Pakistan or Afghanistan.
Al-Jazeera, a Qatar-based satellite station, also aired the tape in full. Its chief editor wasn't available for comment.
The voice on the tape defended Al Qaeda's methods.
"They say that we kill for the sake of killing, but reality shows that they lie," the speaker said.
Russians, he said, were only killed after attacking Afghanistan in the 1980s and Chechnya, Europeans after invading Iraq and Afghanistan and the Americans in New York after "supporting the Jews in Palestine and their invasion of the Arabian Peninsula."
"Stop spilling our blood so we can stop spilling your blood," the message added. "This is a difficult but easy equation."
This truce, the message said, was to deny "the warmongers" further opportunities and because polls have shown that "most of the European peoples want reconciliation" with the Islamic world.
At the start of the recording, the voice mentioned "a reconciliation initiative in response to the recent positive developments that have appeared."
It did not give any specifics, but the March 11 attacks in Madrid that killed 191 people and increasing violence in Iraq have prompted debate in Europe and Asia about keeping troops in the war-torn country.
Spain's outgoing Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar's government, which strongly backed the U.S.-led war in Iraq despite popular and political opposition, was ousted in general elections three days after the attacks in Spain.
Incoming Socialist leader Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has pledged to withdraw Spain's 1,300 troops from Iraq by June 30 unless the United Nations takes control.
Rashwan, the expert on Islamic militants, said the speaker appeared to be focusing on persuading the European public to pressure their governments to "isolate the American administration even from its European allies."
Bin Laden, he said, also may want to show he is still alive so he can try to sink President Bush's re-election bid in November.
The message also vowed revenge for Israel's killing of Yassin last month, which provoked international outrage. "We vow before God to take revenge for him from America for this, God willing," it said.
The message said that American policy ignores the "real problem," which is "the occupation of all of Palestine."
No boom, no boom, no boom, Amen.