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OSAMA claims Jerusalems Dome of the Rock blown up soon

Janes Intelligence Digest. Jan 15, 2004

Following the recent release of an audio cassette tape believed to have been recorded by Osama bin Laden, JID’s experts have reviewed the transcripts and have prepared an analysis that highlights the Al-Qaeda leader’s future strategy to destabilize the Middle East.

Although similar in many respects to previous tapes released by Bin Laden and his associates, the latest tape – broadcast on 4 January 2003 by the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera channel – appears specifically designed to fuel a range of conspiracy theories …… that are already prevalent across the Islamic world. Using the US-led occupation of Iraq as ‘evidence’ that the Western powers are plotting to occupy other Muslim countries, the speaker warns that future targets are likely to include Islam’s holy cities, Mecca and Medina (both in Saudi Arabia), as well as the destruction of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. (Editor: Dome of the Rock where Solomon’s Temple once stood)

These dire warnings are calculated to warn Muslims that the USA and its allies will defeat Islam unless there is a widespread uprising across the Muslim world against the West and those Arab rulers who are perceived as supporting Western aims and objectives. According to the latest tape, the next stage will be the “full occupation of the rest of the Gulf states” – and the oil reserves. By fueling fears that are already widely held throughout much of the Islamic world, the taped speech aims not merely to confirm what many believe, but to encourage a grassroots jihad (holy war) against the USA and its allies, as well as the current leadership of the Arab states.

Although incorporating some ideas that have been presented in earlier tapes, the significance of the latest recording is that it attempts to set out a blue-print for a radically different vision of the Islamic world: a single, theocratic Muslim nation, rather than a confederation of separate Islamic states. There are significant parallels with the writings and speeches of Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in the years before the 1979 Islamic revolution, although the speaker on this tape advocates a more radical shake up for the whole Middle East than even the late Iranian leader had proposed.

Of course, it remains to be seen what influence this particular blueprint for revolution will have. It will not come as a great surprise if the speaker’s calls for a universal jihad will be welcomed by existing Islamic militants. What is more difficult to assess is whether his warnings that Islam itself is in grave danger from both the USA and its regional allies will strike a chord in the wider Islamic world where there is already deep suspicion over Western aims and Washington’s motives in the invasion of Iraq. If so, then Bin Laden’s dreams of destabilizing the entire Middle East may have the potential to become the West’s worst nightmare.


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