Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Another tape

The AP runs some details of the latest bin Laden tape under the headline "Bin Laden, Al - Zarqawi Benefit in Alliance."

I'm not sure that this new alliance really makes any difference, but what caught my eye in this piece was the closer - a quotation from Peter Bergen, a fellow at the New American Foundation:

With the release of still another bin Laden tape, Bergen said, "The tapes are coming thick and fast, which means they (the terrorists) are feeling secure.''

It seems to me that tapes coming "thick and fast" is more a sign of terrorists getting desperate than terrorists feeling secure.

Elsewhere in the article are these bits on bin Laden's shift in strategy:

Roger Cressey, who was the deputy to former White House counter-terrorism chief Richard Clarke, said the boycott message indicates bin Laden has been trying to broaden his audience.

Cressey said bin Laden is trying to reach "the part of the Muslim world that is sympathetic to the message, but is not willing to endorse him. These are fence sitters, people who have serious problems with the U.S. policy but have not become activists against us yet.''

An effort to "broaden your audience" seems to indicate that your original audience wasn't as effective as previously thought, or that other factors (ie US response) are not favorable to your cause.

Either way, I don't think bin Laden or al Zarqawi is feeling secure right now.

Update: Reuters has a chronology of al Qaeda tapes.