Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bin Laden Had History of Jumping on Bandwagon Late

The late Yasser Arafat, after years of work as a peacemaker, was unimpressed when Osama bin Laden began citing the plight of the Palestinians in his recorded rants. Arafat questioned where bin Laden had been during years of fighting for Palestinian freedom? The PLO leader was insulted by bin Laden's opportunistic overtures.

It was a taste of how Arab freedom fighters were not in tune with bin Laden. It was a sign Al Qaeda would not flourish as a movement.

Now, in his first recorded message since his death, bin Laden has embraced the Arab revolts, once again a late-comer to a wave that is bigger than he ever was. Did anyone remember freedom-seeking pro-democracy demonstrators in Tunisia, Egypt or Libya talking about bin Laden? Was his name chanted at Tahrir Square? No.

The 12-minute recorded audio message had obviously been in the works before bin Laden's demise, the BBC reports.

There is more high level speculation, meanwhile, in Washington that bin Laden had help from within the Pakistani military or security forces.

"Somebody knew," said Defense Secretary Robert Gates. “We don’t know whether it was retired people, whether it was low level — pure supposition on our part,” Mr. Gates said. “It’s hard to go to them with an accusation when we have no proof that anybody knew.”

U.S. authorities are combing through the evidence from the Abbottabad raid and are chasing down the leads, ABC News reports.

But spymaster Leon Panetta reminded company staff in Langley that loose lips sink ships, noting the bevy of leaks sprouting in the press, according to CNN.

A U.S. envoy has arrived in Islamabad, as questions remain over the $20.7 billion in U.S. aid to Pakistan over the past decade.

An update from Peter Bergen on the succession of power in Al Qaeda.

Some red meat regarding the aftermath of the Abbottabad raid. "When that day was over and they got up the next morning and said, '(Ayman) al-Zawahiri is No. 2. We have a special forces unit just for you,'" said Rep. Mike Rodgers (R-Mich), according to The Detroit News.

The looming threat from Islamic extremists and bin Laden followers.

The Associated Press appeals for reconsideration of its request for records regarding the bin Laden raid.

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