When Bush has it tough,Bring out Al-Qaida tapes [Archives:2006/943/Opinion]

May 4 2006

Hassan Al-Haifi
One cannot help in noticing that even in this crazy unpredictable world that we are facing, there are patterns that the observer cannot help but notice, which may have many implications. In the latest polls, the Bush Administration is facing what appears to be mounting criticism at the performance of the Bush White House and the concerns about the possibility of a new misguided adventure against Iran. Whatever the case, what concerns us here is that one cannot fail to observe that the increased appearance of “Al-Qaida” videos and tapes have turned out to be a useful instrument for the Bush Administration to show that, “Hey people, we really have an enemy out there, so don't' think this Administration isn't on the ball!” In other words, with the mounting criticism and all the difficulties faced by the Bush White House, the latest influx of Al-Qaida tapes seem to be a sort of bail out for the Bush Administration. On the other hand the number of Al-Qaida “video clips” seems to increase with the intensity of the pressure faced by the Bush Administration. This week, we had a special feature presentation of a tape by no other than Abu Mus'ab Al- Zirqawi, a heretofore convict who has now become a leading member of the notorious “Al-Qaida” establishment. Of course, this new entry may have backfired to work against the notorious group, because quite frankly most Moslems are appalled by the daily bloodletting of innocent Iraqis by “Zirqawi” and therefore only added strength to the assertion that Zirqawi was “appearing” only to give credence to the neo-con contention that there is a real terrorist danger out there and the world should not look down upon their efforts to contain this villainous threat. Even Moslems who support or lean towards comprehension of the right of the Iraqis to resist American occupation really have no stomach for the type of resistance that the Al-Qaida of Mesopotamia is adopting. Thus, for many Moslems the latest Al-Qaida tapes of Bin Laden, Al-Zawahiri and Al-Zirqawi are reinforcing the contention that the role that these icons of terror are playing on behalf of the self-declared guardians of the world against terror. With the mounting vigilance against Iran, many Moslems are wondering why Al-Qaida would be interested in making a case for the United States in its unilaterally declared war on the Moslem World, as they see it. Is Al-Qaida pursuing the interests of the American neo-cons or simply looking for a way out of their poorly conducted campaign to distort Islam's image as a religion of tolerance and guardian of human rights, none of which have entered the Al-Qaida dictionary and which have exited from the White House dictionary ever since AIPAC got its strong foothold in Washington?

One cannot help in noticing that most Moslems were not impressed with the “Zirqawi” attempts to project himself at the vanguard of militant Islamism and his efforts to give himself prominence as someone to be reckoned with in the Iraqi political equation. Neither was his anti-Shiite diatribes, which some thought to give strength to the fomenting of a feud between Shiites and Sunni. The latter is viewed by a majority of Moslems as being more in service to the interests of the occupier than the defense of Islam.

For non-Moslems, however, the tapes might have a different perception, as most non-Moslems are unfamiliar with the intricacies of Islamic political thinking and thus will view the tapes as strengthening of the Bush Administration's image among the American public.

To add strength to the contention of an apparent pattern as described above, Ayman Al-Zawahari appears on the eve of the UN Security Council Resolution for giving Iran a deadline to halt its research and development work on nuclear energy.

Of course, it is difficult to assert for sure that there is a direct relationship between Al-Qaida's public relations efforts and the US “War on Terror”, but the observer cannot help but wonder at the dubious circumstances of the increase in the Al-Qaida's efforts just when the White House needs them the most.

To give weight to this, there is the increase in violence as well, in more than one location, including the Sinai explosions. Judging from the Egyptian TV stations, the Egyptians seem to suggest that the explosions do have a dubious nature and may be traced to Israel's own clandestine nature in this intertwined complex web of events. Egypt's former strong stances against the Zionist state, such as the October War victories and the tic for tat that proceeded the 1973 Arab Israeli War can easily be revived is what the Egyptians were saying. Such tapes are usually reserved for the Anniversary of the October War, but this time we are getting an early show presentation that coincided with the attacks on Sinai. Perhaps, as the Egyptians seem to say, the Israelis are not happy with the Egyptian's efforts to bring the Palestinians together or even with the appearance of Hamas leaders coming and going to Cairo on a frequent basis.

Hassan Al-Haifi has been a Yemeni political economist and journalist for more than 20 years.