Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Al-Qaeda's complaint: How dare those Shiites accuse us of not being mass murderers? (BBC News)

Ever since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US, there have been widespread anti-Zionist (or straightforwardly anti-semitic) conspiracy theories claiming that those attacks were carried out by Israel. The people who really carried out this act of mega-terrorist mass murder, al-Qaeda, are understandably indignant about the suggestion that they were not responsible. Al-Qaeda's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, recently denounced this slander and characterized it (a bit tendentiously) as malicious Shiite propaganda.
Al-Qaeda's deputy leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has blamed Iran for spreading the theory that Israel was behind the 11 September 2001 attacks.

In an audio tape posted on the internet, Zawahiri insisted al-Qaeda had carried out the attacks on the US.

He accused Iran, and its Hezbollah allies, of trying to discredit Osama Bin Laden's network. [....]

In response to a question about persistent rumours in the Middle East that Israel was involved in the 9/11 attacks, Zawahiri said the rumour had begun on the Hezbollah television station, Al-Manar.

[JW: According to reports by Snopes.com and others, Al-Manar does seem to have been the original source for the widely disseminated myth that 4,000 Israelis--or, in other versions of this fantasy, 4,000 Jews--who worked in the World Trade Center were warned to stay away on September 11, 2001.]

"The purpose of this lie is clear - [to suggest] that there are no heroes among the Sunnis who can hurt America as no-one else did in history, he said.
=> Among its various interesting aspects, this statement by al-Zawahiri represents one more step in the evolution of al-Qaeda's public-relations strategy concerning the September 11 attacks.

For a while, bin Laden maintained a studied ambiguity about whether or not he was responsible for those attacks--hinting strongly that he was, but not saying so explicitly. This ambiguity allowed a great many people to argue that there was no real proof that bin Laden or al-Qaeda had anything to do with the 9/11 attacks. And throughout the Middle East and the wider Islamic world, there was a pervasive tendency simultaneously (a) to express admiration for bin Laden for carrying out the 9/11 attacks, and (b) to deny that he (or any other Muslim) had anything to do with them.

Over time, various secondary figures in al-Qaeda gradually acknowledged, directly or indirectly, that al-Qaeda was indeed behind the attacks. And then in a November 2004 video bin Laden himself explicitly admitted (or boasted) that he was responsible. Curiously enough, as I noted at the time, the fact that bin Laden had just made a detailed and explicit confession of having planned and ordered the crime of the century got remarkably little attention.

And in many quarters, it's almost as though he had never confessed. According to international public opinion polls (for example, the 2006 Pew Global Attitudes Survey), solid majorities of Muslims around the world have continued to deny that bin Laden & al-Qaeda had anything to do with the September 11, 2001 attacks--not only Muslims in Muslim-majority countries, but Muslims in most western European countries as well. Those denials might seem a bit bizarre, especially after bin Laden himself has already admitted having done the deed ... but we all know that when the will to believe or disbelieve is strong enough, no amount of evidence can overcome it.

It would appear that, for various reasons about which we can only speculate, bin Laden and al-Zawahiri increasingly view this kind of ambiguity and semi-denial as a problem that needs to be addressed. So now al-Zawahiri is not just insisting on al-Qaeda's responsibility, but complaining that any suggestions to the contrary are malicious slander.

Aside from the fact that al-Qaeda is engaged in a struggle for prestige with Shiite Islamist radicals like Hizbullah (not to mention the fact that they genuinely hate Shiites and regard them as dangerous heretics), one other factor might be a growing realization among Muslims that the great majority of the victims murdered by al-Qaeda and related terrorist groups are ... Muslims. So it's important for al-Zawahiri & Co. to insist on the fact that they have also carried out mass murders of non-Muslims, and specifically of Americans.

(Jews too, naturally. According to other reports, some questioners have tried to needle al-Zawahiri by asking pointedly why al-Qaeda isn't out murdering more Jews. Al-Zawahiri responded, a bit defensively, that al-Qaeda has destroyed "the synagogue in Jerba in Tunisia, attacked a group of Jewish tourists in Mombasa in Kenya, and launched missiles against the Israeli El-Al airline," to mention only some of its anti-Jewish exploits. Furthermore: "We promise our Muslim brothers that we will do our utmost to strike Jews in Israel and abroad with help and guidance from God.")

Of course, despite all the efforts of bin Laden and al-Zawahiri to set the record straight, there are still plenty of people in western countries--and not just Muslims--who continue to deny that al-Qaeda was responsible for 9/11, or who at least pretend that their involvement remains an open question. (What about those 4,000 Jews who didn't turn up at the World Trade Center, for example?) Life is tough all around, and sometimes mass murderers just can't get the recognition & respect they deserve.

--Jeff Weintraub
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BBC News
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Al-Qaeda accuses Iran of 9/11 lie

Al-Qaeda's deputy leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has blamed Iran for spreading the theory that Israel was behind the 11 September 2001 attacks.

In an audio tape posted on the internet, Zawahiri insisted al-Qaeda had carried out the attacks on the US.

He accused Iran, and its Hezbollah allies, of trying to discredit Osama Bin Laden's network.

Correspondents say the comments underline al-Qaeda's increasing public hostility towards Iran.

In a two-hour audiotape posted on an Islamist website, Osama Bin Laden's chief deputy responded to questions posted by al-Qaeda sympathisers.

In response to a question about persistent rumours in the Middle East that Israel was involved in the 9/11 attacks, Zawahiri said the rumour had begun on the Hezbollah television station, Al-Manar.

"The purpose of this lie is clear - [to suggest] that there are no heroes among the Sunnis who can hurt America as no-one else did in history, he said.

"Iranian media snapped up this lie and repeated it."

Sunni fears

Zawahiri went on to criticise Iran for co-operating with the US in its 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, that helped to oust the Taleban.

"Iran's aim here is also clear - to cover up its involvement with America in invading the homes of Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq," he said.

This is the second verbal attack on Iran, a predominantly Shia Muslim country.

Earlier this month, in an audiotape marking the fifth anniversary of the fall of Iraq's leader Saddam Hussein, the al-Qaeda deputy accused Iran of planning to annexe southern Iraq and the eastern part of the Arabian peninsula.

BBC security correspondent Rob Watson says such messages appear designed to play on Sunni fears throughout the region of growing Iranian influence, and to present al-Qaeda as the best bulwark against Tehran.

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