29 January 2010

UBL says US to blame for Climate Change!

Al-Jazeera aired an audio tape today in which (allegedly) Usama bin Laden blames the US for climate change. He blamed the US and other industrialized nations for causing climate change, and blamed their reckless capitalism for the current financial crisis. He advocated a global boycott of American goods as a means of hurting the US, saying that it wasn't right for the mujahedeen to carry the entire burden of the war against the United States.

This is amazing on so many levels... its not the first time that al-Qaeda has used current events to fuel discontent against the US, but this is the first time he didn't frame his argument in a religious context. A boycott is a way for people who don't like the US, but also don't like the extremism and violence of al-Qaeda to participate in the jihad. Notably, he also said that Americans could participate... he said that the perpetrators of the financial crisis are concentrated in New York, DC, and Texas and that those affected by Hurricane Katrina and economic downturn should have no problem holding them accountable.

Holy crap! Such blatantly populist language? Never mentioning America's affronts to Islam or even justifying the jihad with passages from the Koran? Suggesting that American's can take part in the war against the Great Satan??? Maybe al-Qaeda is finally running out of momentum, or maybe they just want to generate more support from John Q. Public. In either case, this marks a very significant alteration of al-Qaeda's communication strategy. I'm not certain it is indicative of some change of circumstance, but it definitely means that they are trying to appeal to a more moderate population.

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