Islamic militant websites have posted an audio message apparently recorded by Osama bin Laden a week before Navy SEALs burst into his Pakistan hideout and killed him. In the 12-minute recording, a man that al Qaeda has identified as bin Laden praises the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, and encourages others in neighboring countries to rise up against their rulers. The posthumous message, if authenticated, would mark the first public statement by al Qaeda on this year's Arab Spring revolts. Is the terror group's attempt to coopt the uprisings a smart move?
No, this pathetic recording will backfire: Al Qaeda is only broadcasting to the world "just how out of touch bin Laden was with the current political trends taking root throughout the Arab world," says Con Coughlin in Britain's Telegraph. Nobody thinks these protests are any kind of jihad. Bin Laden's lieutenants would "have been better advised not to release the tape." Instead of serving as a rallying cry to the faithful, "it makes bin Laden sound like yesterday's man. Which, of course, he is."
"Bin Laden's posthumous tape: He was completely out of touch on the Arab Spring"
Extremists could still hijack the Arab Spring: Bin Laden appears to have spent his final days concocting schemes to "extract maximum political leverage for al Qaeda from the Arab Spring uprisings," says Guy Adams in Britain's Independent. Are there holes in his recording? Of course — he praised uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, while remaining "notably silent about those in Syria, Yemen, and Libya." But this tape "will inevitably fuel concerns that radical elements" will capitalize on the Arab Spring to gain political power.
"Bin Laden's posthumous message seeks to hijack Arab Spring"
The protesters know they owe al Qaeda nothing: This "sad" bin Laden tape is nothing but a "limp, desperate attempt to hang on to the coattails" of the brave protesters transforming the Middle East, says Ishaan Tharoor in TIME. But it won't work. The dead man "hoots and hollers about the fall of U.S.-backed tyrants" in Egypt and Tunisia, but neglects to mention that the people who kicked them out want to establish democracy, not "a puritanical Caliphate."
"Bin Laden's posthumous tape: The sad nothings of a dead man"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The real reason conservatives should be outraged that police killed a white youth
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- Your literary playlist: A guide to the music of Haruki Murakami
- After Ferguson, we don't need another dialogue on race
- The world is on fire and neither Democrats or Republicans have a clue
- 11 scientific studies that will restore your faith in humanity
- Russia's new air force is a mystery
Subscribe to the Week