MideastWeb Middle East Web Log

log  archives  middle east  maps  history   documents   countries   books   encyclopedia   culture   dialogue   links    timeline   donations 


Osama Bin Laden Is Dead, Again


This time it's for real, almost. On December 17, 2006, officials announced that "Laden," as he was known, was killed by sharpshooters in the northeastern state of Assam, India. "Laden," a 10-foot tall killer bull elephant named after Osama bin Laden by fearful villagers, was responsible for 14 deaths in the area and had evaded two previous assassination attempts. Surprisingly, neither conspiracy theorists nor the Bush administration attempted to use the event to sell books/videos or for political gain. It would have been a hard sell: "Laden" was in India, not Afghanistan; and 10-foot tall pachyderms are not prone to suicide bombings and crashing planes into buildings. Nevertheless, the real Bin Laden has been sold before to the U.S. public, either as the commander-in-chief of a worldwide army of terrorists or as an impotent terrorist hiding in his cave.

Over the past five years, Bin Laden has been killed and resurrected on numerous occasions. In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, American politicians, mistaking cowboy movies for reality, proclaimed Bin Laden wanted "Dead or Alive" and depicted him as the commander-in-chief of a highly lethal worldwide army of terrorists. Subsequently, after the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan succeeded in toppling the Taliban and destroying Al Qaeda’s infrastructure, this contradictory image -- commander-in-chief/impotent cave dwelling fugitive – has swung back and forth, according to the release of his communiques, Al Qaeda attacks, political agendas, or media ratings.

Not only has Bin Laden's image varied, but he has been reported dead, then alive, and then dead again. For those who speculated on his demise, his communiques had obviously been faked. For those who posited that he was still alive, he was, again, hiding out impotently in his cave, far removed from the real "War on Terror" in Iraq, or the real mastermind behind it all.

So, what is to be made of this image pendulum? Is Bin Laden a harmless fugitive or the commander-in-chief? Is he a real threat or merely a political pawn used by nefarious politicians? Is he alive or dead, and does it matter?

True, Bin Laden still personally participates in directing Al Qaeda operations, but Al Qaeda is not an army. It is a clandestine organization, now numbering around 50,000 devout adherents according to the latest U.S. intelligence estimates, but most operations are conducted independently, without direct orders from Bin Laden. This is hardly an army that threatens to destroy Western civilization all by itself.

No matter how politically manipulated Bin Laden's image, the threat is real, but it does not center around one man. It comes from both the devout adherents and the many like-minded organizations that have developed over the years from Southeast Asia to Europe. All of this is linked together by one thing -- ideology. While not agreeing with every point Bin Laden has made in his speeches, the organizations/adherents are anti-Western, anti-Israel, and anti any Muslim who doesn’t agree with their agenda. They favor driving the Western foreign presence/influence from their regions and establishing an Islamic government.

Within this reality, Bin Laden is neither commander-in-chief nor fugitive. He is a symbol -- a hero in the eyes of a growing jihadist movement. When he dies, his followers will most assuredly announce his death, for in their eyes he will have become a martyr to their cause.

One thing is predictable in our contemporary, unpredictable world. The next Bin Laden communique will produce another politically expedient rollercoaster ride. He will be elevated, deprecated, and relegated back to his cave. If the communique coincides with a major Al Qaeda attack, he will be the commander-in-chief, again. Few will bother to ask the key question, why has the ideology he espouses become popular? Here in the United States, the answers to this question do not fit the worldview of our political/media elites, so the pendulum will continue to produce a worldview that is dangerously removed from reality.

Brad K. Berner

Brad K. Berner teaches at Arizona State University and Estrella Mountain Community College. He is the author of The World according to Al Qaeda (2006), Jihad: Bin Laden in His Own Words (2006), and Quotations from Osama Bin Laden (2006). Available from Atlantic Publishers and Distributors, New Delhi, India, www.atlanticbooks.com or http://bradberner.com

If you like this post - click to Reddit!
add to del.icio.usAdd to digg - digg it

Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000550.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

by Moderator @ 12:47 AM CST [Link]


Middle East e-Zine

Midde East News

Opinion Digest

Late Updates


Middle East Glossary

Middle East Maps

Middle East Books

Middle East Documents

Israel-Palestine History

Israel-Palestine Timeline

Middle East Countries

Middle East Economy

Middle East Population

Middle East Health

Zionism History

Palestinian Parties

Palestinian Refugees

Peace Plans


Middle East


Blog Links

OneVoice - Israeli-Palestinian Peace Blog

Bravo411 -Info Freedom

Israel News


Michael Brenner

Dutchblog Israel

Dutch - IMO (Israel & Midden-Oosten) Blog (NL)



Alas, a Blog

Little Green Footballs

Blue Truth

Fresno Zionism

Reut Blog

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Blog

Simply Jews: Judaism and Israel

Jeff Weintraub - Commentaries and Controversies

Vital Perspective


Meretz USA Weblog


MIDEAST observer

On the Contrary

Blogger News Network- BNN

Google Sex Maps

Demediacratic Nation

Realistic Dove

Tulip - Israeli-Palestinian Trade Union Assoc.

On the Face

Israel Palestjnen (Dutch)

Middle East Analysis

Israel: Like This, As If

Middle East Analysis

Mid_East Journal

Z-Word Blog

Dvar Dea

SEO for Everyone

Web Sites & Pages

Israeli-Palestinian Procon

End Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: One Voice


ATFP- American Task Force on Palestine

Americans For Peace Now

Shalom Achshav

Chicago Peace Now


Peacechild Israel

Bridges of Peace


Israeli-Palestinian Conflict



Zionism and Israel

Zionism and Israel on the Web

Israel - Palestina:Midden-Oosten Conflict + Zionisme

Israël in de Media

Euston Manifesto

New Year Peace


Christian Zionism

Jew Hate

Space Shuttle Blog

Israel News Magazine


My Ecosystem Details
International Affairs Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

Link 2 us
We link 2 U.
MidEastWeb- Middle East News & Views
MidEastWeb is not responsible for the content of linked Web sites

Replies: 2 comments

One thing about the whole Bin Laden story always seems to bug me. If he is truely on dialisis the only possible way to power the machinery to administer his treatment would be via gas powered generator. It seems that unless they are hiding out in a large cavern with many ventilation shafts gas powered machinery would not be the way to go. Also the coming and going of people from a cave to obtain medical supplies and food, supplies in general, would attract attention. If in fact they were hiding in caves, unless this is a common dwelling in Afghanistan, they would have been found and terminated. We have drones scouting the area, it is very unlikely they could go undetected for so long. I would have to guess the Bin Laden phantom we chase is a media and D.O.D. driven booga-booga to harness public support for a war that has a little more to do with control of a oil rich area than it does catching a dead man.

Posted by OMFG @ 01/09/2007 06:40 PM CST

"Few will bother to ask the key question, why has the ideology he espouses become popular?"

Easy, everyone hates the playground hero, turned arogant bully. The West (U.S. and France in particular) were once symbols of freedom and anti-imperialists. We once believed colonialism was wrong, though we rarely practiced what we preached. We once were respected and other cultures looked to us as a beacon, guiding all to a better way of living. Though that was far from reality. We had the most toys and we knew it. We used that leverage to begin our slow descent into global opression. We are no longer the icon of peace and prosperity, we have become the haphazard 10 year old with all the toys threatening the world we will pack up and go home unless they do our bidding. That game only lasts so long before they gang up on him and pound him into dirt.

Posted by OMFG @ 01/09/2007 06:59 PM CST

Please do not leave notes for MidEastWeb editors here. Hyperlinks are not displayed. We may delete or abridge comments that are longer than 250 words, or consist entirely of material copied from other sources, and we shall delete comments with obscene or racist content or commercial advertisements. Comments should adhere to Mideastweb Guidelines . IPs of offenders will be banned.

Powered By Greymatter

[Previous entry: "Victims of Holocaust Denial - Jews, Muslims, and Human Dignity"] Main Index [Next entry: "Recalling Teddy Kollek"]


Thank you for visiting MidEastWeb - Middle East.
If you like what you see here, tell others about the MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log - www.mideastweb.org/log/.

Contact Us


Editors' contributions are copyright by the authors and MidEastWeb for Coexistence RA.
Please link to main article pages and tell your friends about MidEastWeb. Do not copy MidEastWeb materials to your Web Site. That is a violation of our copyright. Click for copyright policy.
MidEastWeb and the editors are not responsible for content of visitors' comments.
Please report any comments that are offensive or racist.

Editors can log in by clicking here

Technorati Profile

RSS FeedRSS feed Add to Amphetadesk Add to Amphetadesk

USA Credit Card - Donate to MidEastWeb  On-Line - Help us live and grow