Bin Laden tries to salvage al Qaeda's Iraq disaster, wants war with Israel

AP/NY Times:

Osama bin Laden warned Iraq's Sunni Arabs against fighting al-Qaida and vowed to expand the terror group's holy war to Israel in a new audiotape Saturday, threatening ''blood for blood, destruction for destruction.''

Most of the 56-minute tape dealt with Iraq, apparently al-Qaida's latest attempt to keep supporters in Iraq unified at a time when the U.S. military claims to have al-Qaida's Iraq branch on the run.

The tape did not mention Pakistan or the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, though Pakistan's government has blamed al-Qaida and the Taliban for her death on Thursday. That suggested the tape was made before the assassination.

Bin Laden's comments offered an unusually direct attack on Israel, stepping up al-Qaida's attempts to use the Israeli-Arab conflict to rally supporters. Israel has warned of growing al-Qaida activity in Palestinian territory, though terror network is not believed to have taken a strong role there so far.

''We intend to liberate Palestine, the whole of Palestine from the (Jordan) river to the sea,'' he said, threatening ''blood for blood, destruction for destruction.''

''We will not recognize even one inch for Jews in the land of Palestine as other Muslim leaders have,'' bin Laden said.

...

Several hours before the tape was issued, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, said al-Qaida was becoming increasingly fearful of losing the support of Sunni Arabs and had begun targeting the leaders of the Awakening Councils.

Petraeus said al-Qaida attaches ''enormous importance'' to ''these tribes that have turned against them, and to the general sense that Sunni Arab communities have rejected them more and more around Iraq.''

''They are trying to counter this and they have done so by attacking them,'' which is increasingly turning Sunnis against al-Qaida, he said.

...

He went on with his religious bigotry, but he is really distressed by the rejection of al Qaeda by Sunnis in Iraq and elsewhere. His attack on Israel was just another attempt to stir others religious bigotry against the Jews. In sending out this message he is walking over the message of his al Qaeda associates who have been responsible for recent violence in Pakistan which has become the central front for al Qaeda after the loss of Iraq by the bigots.

Reuters also reports that among bin Laden's ludicrous assertion is that the US was going to take Iraqi oil. That is a real howler when you consider the current US investment in Iraq. any oil that the US does take from Iraq will be a market prices.

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