|Saddam's Unwanted Helper|
Osama bin (hiding-for-a-while-now) Laden has made a celebrity appearance on
Al Jazeera. Strictly speaking it was a hearing - just a recording of his
voice. Or at least someone who sounds like him, and says the kinds of things
which people thing that Osama might say if it were him. Choosing to use tapes
instead of may be because he doesn't want people seeing how sick he is. On the
other hand, maybe he doesn't want people to realize he's shaved off his beard,
and living it up in the South of France, or Las Vegas. Or maybe he doesn't want
people to see that he is dead.
Regardless, he calls on Muslims everywhere to join celebrity dictator
Saddam Hussein in a holy Jihad against the crusading US infidels. This doesn't
seem to be based on affection for Saddam so much as hatred of the US - he even
distances himself from Saddam on the tape. True to form, Al Qaeda is driven not
by friendship, but by hatred - My enemy's enemy is my friend as the
Middle Eastern saying goes.
Hardly surprisingly, the broadcast has been leaped on by the coalition of
the willing - Bush, Blair and Howard - as evidence of a connection between
Saddam and Al Qaeda. If mutual hatred of the US can be considered a connection,
then this is quite logical, but it isn't strong evidence of cooperation between
It does however indicate that Osama would be willing to cooperate with
Saddam for the destruction of the US - like, say, buying some WMDs if the price
were right. What it does not demonstrate is Saddam's willingness to supply them.
But the coalition of the willing may have been given another way to demonstrate
Saddam's belligerence. UN weapons inspectors seem to have had
their first real win with the claimed discovery of long range missiles - a
violation of the UN rulings. But nothing is clear cut in the Middle East -
while George and Tony are screaming 'smoking gun, smoking gun', UN veto-powers
France, Russia and China are saying there's not enough smoke to prove there's a
Indeed Gerhardt Schroeder has said that even if Iraq is in material breach,
then war is still not justified.
Things have heated up for the US, Germany and France though - they
have been sniping at each other for the last few days. Perhaps the US, France,
Russia and China couldn't come to an agreement on administration of
post-Hussein Iraqi oil.
And there's no cooling off period - the heavyweights are going into the
ring tomorrow at the UN at the next weapons report, and it's a little hard to
see how they could find a compromise in which everyone can claim victory. But
then - that's what war is about.