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    Bin Laden: dead or alive?

    by guest on 11th February, 2010 at 9:20 am    

    contribution by author and analyst Dr Nafeez Ahmed

    Former assistant director of FBI’s counter-terrorism division Dale Watson; former Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf; current Pakistani President Asif Zardari; Afghan President Hamid Karzai; late Benazir Bhutto; Israeli intelligence sources; Pakistani and Afghan sources, including Taliban leaders – all have reported Osama bin Laden to be “probably dead” since December 2001.

    Several independent experts agreed with this assessment, as reported by the Daily Mail last year. One said: “All the evidence suggests Elvis Presley is more alive today than Osama Bin Laden.”

    We cannot know for sure whether bin Laden is dead or alive, although multiple credible sources from the region give strong reason to doubt that he is indeed alive.

    And so the recent bin Laden tape, which emerged on Sunday 24th January, was dismissed by White House advisor David Axelrod by saying they could not “confirm the authenticity of the tape.”

    The statements in the tape that have received most attention include the vague claim of responsibility for the attempted but failed Christmas Day crotch-bombing, as well as the focus on the Israel-Palestine conflict: “Our attacks against you will continue as long as U.S. support for Israel continues… It is not fair that Americans should live in peace as long as our brothers in Gaza live in the worst conditions.”

    Taken at face value, this would indicate a desire to capitalize on what was in fact a spectacular failure by insisting that future attacks are being planned; and a desire to capitalize on the political grievances among Muslims about Israel’s ongoing occupation of Palestine.

    The issue is the continuing centrality of the Middle East conflict to terrorist recruiting strategies. Israel’s siege and subjugation of Gaza, more than ever, is acting as a ‘recruiting sergeant’ for terrorist networks, and whoever is behind the release of this tape knows it and wishes to make the most of it.

    Unfortunately, neither the US nor the UK governments appear to be taking this issue seriously. Judge Richard Goldstone’s UN Human Rights Council report on the Gaza conflict concluded that Israel committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.

    The UN News Centre summarised:

    The mission finds that the conduct of the Israeli armed forces constitute grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention in respect of wilful killings and wilfully causing great suffering to protected persons and as such give rise to individual criminal responsibility,’ the report’s executive summary said. ‘It also finds that the direct targeting and arbitrary killing of Palestinian civilians is a violation of the right to life.

    It went on to criticize the “deliberate and systematic policy on the part of the Israeli armed forces to target industrial sites and water installations,” and the use of Palestinian civilians as human shields.

    Independent human rights groups like Human Rights Watch support the Goldstone report’s findings and call for the establishment of independent investigations by Israel and Hamas into the allegations, but Britain has prevaricated.

    Ongoing US-UK attempts to defend the Israel-Palestine conflict fatally undermine their credibility in the region, and lend fuel to the efforts of terrorists to recruit. The new tape, whatever its origin, only confirms this further.


    Dr Nafeez Ahmed MA DPhil (Sussex) is a bestselling author and political analyst. He is Executive Director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development. He has also advised the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst; and the UK Parliamentary Select Committee for Communities on its Inquiry into ‘Prevent’.

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    Filed in: Current affairs, Middle East, Terrorism

    3 Comments below   |   Add your own

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs
    1. Radical Muslim :: Osama Bin Laden - Dead or Alive? :: February :: 2010

      [...] the last few weeks I’ve read a few articles such as here, here, here, here, here and here discussing whether Bin Laden is dead or alive. To be blunt, Mike Rubin tells us what we already [...]

    2. Radical Muslim :: Osama Bin Laden - Dead or Alive? :: March :: 2010

      [...] the last few weeks I’ve read a few articles such as here, here, here, here, here and here discussing whether Bin Laden is dead or alive. Despite the tape, Mike Rubin tells us what we [...]

    1. Refresh — on 11th February, 2010 at 5:14 pm  

      Nafeez, I would have liked to have seen your piece on Hitchen/Gore appear here. I found it very informative.

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