CAIRO, Egypt - Al-Qaida sympathizers have unleashed a torrent of anger against Al-Jazeera television, accusing it of misrepresenting Osama bin Laden's latest audiotape by airing excerpts in which he criticizes mistakes by insurgents in Iraq.
Where is the popcorn?
Remember the bin Laden video that was released on Oct. 22, 2007? Well, bin Laden admitted that al-Qaeda had made some mistakes and al-Jazeera dared to actually report it and now al-Qaeda supporters are mighty peeved at al-Jazeera.
10/25/07]: Al-Qaida's official online distribution network responsible for disseminating messages from Usama Bin Laden--known as the "Al-Fajr Media Center"--has issued a new statement strongly criticizing the Arabic-language Al-Jazeera satellite television network, (PDF file) which it has accused of "deceitfully manipulating" the latest audio recording from Bin Laden regarding the growing infighting within the Sunni insurgency in Iraq. According to the Al-Fajr Center, "Aljazeera editors in chief have counterfeited the facts by making the speech appear as exclusively targeting the brothers and sons inside Al-Qaeda organization. It looked as if it was an acknowledgment of their mistakes, a renunciation of their jihad and their loyalty to it."
According to Al Jazeera, the tape was entitled "a message to the people of Iraq"."Some of you have been lax in one duty, which is to unite your ranks," bin Laden said. "Beware of division ... The Muslim world is waiting for you to gather under one banner."
In the audio recording, entitled "a message to the people of Iraq", bin Laden called on tribal leaders and the leaders of armed groups to initiate an agreement between the different groups.
"The interest of the Islamic nation surpasses that of a group," he said.
"The strength of faith is in the strength of the bond between Muslims and not that of a tribe or that of nationalism."
Bin Laden said fighters in Iraq should admit "mistakes" and try to correct them in the interest of unity.
I guess the al-Qaeda supporters and sympathizers can't handle being criticized by bin Laden, so they blame the messenger, al-Jazeera.
"It's not about Al-Jazeera, it's about their shock from bin Laden," said Diaa Rashwan, an Egyptian expert on Islamic militant groups. "For the first time, bin Laden, who used to be the spiritual leader who gives guidance, became a critic of al-Qaida and is confessing mistakes. This is unusual."
"God fight Al-Jazeera," railed one militant Web poster, calling the station a "collaborator with the Crusaders" for suggesting the tape showed weakness in al-Qaida and featuring discussions of how the tape reflected weaknesses and divisions among insurgents in Iraq.
The recording aired Monday contained unusually strong criticism of insurgents in Iraq from bin Laden, who urges them to admit mistakes and unify. Bin Laden even aknowledges that he advises himself not to be "fanatical" in his stances.
"Some of you have been lax in one duty, which is to unite your ranks," bin Laden said. "Beware of division ... Muslims are waiting for you to gather under a single banner to champion righteousness. Be keen to oblige with this duty."
More popcorn anyone? Soda? Sprees?
"Al-Jazeera directors have shamefully chosen to back the Crusaders' side, and the defenders of hypocrites and the thugs and traitors of Iraq," Al-Fajr said in a statement posted on several Islamic Web sites.
Another Web contributor even rattled off a five-stanza poem of rhymed couplets, comparing the station to a "miserable fly in the garbage" and concluding, "Your day will come, vile one. As long as we live, you won't be safe, Jazeera."
Few of the thousands of messages posted by contributors on the Web sites — who are only identified by usernames — called for direct violence against Al-Jazeera. Most instead urged that the full bin Laden tape be distributed as widely as possible on the Web to show its true message.
Looks like the good news coming out of Iraq is becoming increasingly frustrating to al-Qaeda and their supporters.
From the U.S. Department of Defense:
The surge continues to create time and space for the government of Iraq to expand their capacity to provide services and security to their people. The trends are encouraging. And as Lieutenant General Odierno said earlier this week, overall violence is down to pre-Golden Mosque bombing levels. Iraqi security forces and coalition forces have been able to respond effectively to the violence during this Ramadan season. And al Qaeda and other extremists groups are losing support because of their indiscriminate targeting of civilians.
While those trends are encouraging, we still have a long way to go in order to reduce civilian deaths, continue to improve the capacity of the Iraqi government to provide basic security and services to their people, and to advance on the improving capacity of the Iraqi security forces.
As Brigadier General Gurganus told you on Sunday, about 2,200 U.S. Marines from the 13th MEU have left Anbar province. That unit, a part of the original surge force, represented about half the surge forces in Al Anbar. They've left as part of their normal timeline and won't be replaced in Iraq.
While the surge in Iraq has recognized significant successes in terms of security and reduction of casualties, the United States and its allies around the world have also realized successes on other fronts. In support of Operation Enduring Freedom in the Philippines over the last five years, the U.S. has supported the Philippine armed forces in a successful campaign to reestablish the legitimacy of the Philippine government in some of their outer islands and to establish a safer and more secure environment in the Sulu Archipelago.
That has been a multi-agency U.S. government effort from the outset, and the Department of Defense has made both security assistance and humanitarian contributions. U.S. forces have provided essential training to improve the capacity of the Philippine armed forces by training and equipping the country's first counterterrorist force, training three infantry brigades and assisting in establishing staff that can conduct joint and combined brigade-level operations, the results of which have enabled the Philippine armed forces to neutralize some key terrorist leaders.
U.S. forces have contributed humanitarian services in support of multiple projects, improving the quality of life for the local citizens. And for example, this government has built 16 schools, 7 medical facilities over 80 kilometers of roadways and 25 water improvement projects.
"We are anxious for them to take over full responsibility as they are anxious to take full responsibility," Odierno said.
"You will see steady progress over the next 12 months of us turning large portions of Baghdad (over) to Iraqi security forces as we continue to have success. I think it will be somewhere between 40 and 50 percent by the end of the year," he said.
He added he "doesn't have a crystal ball" but this is the plan.
"The terrorist operations have decreased to their lowest levels," Qanbar said.
al-Jazeera has been the beloved shill for al-Qaeda for so long it must be unnerving for them to now have al-Qaeda members and supporters threatening their lives for repeating bin Laden's words.
Can you say imploding from within?