Tag Archives: compound

“Sorry, Anwar!” – Bin Laden Dismissed Awlaki as AQ Leader

by Florian Flade

US-Yemeni Anwar al-Awlaki – Dismissed by Bin Laden

The New York Times´Mark Mazetti is reporting about new details that emerged from the documents and data seized by US Navy SEALs during the Abbottabad raid that killed Osama Bin Laden on May 2.

US intelligence sources claim the Al-Qaida leader was considering seeking a peace agreement with the Pakistani government in exchange for protection. “Messages between Bin Laden and his top operations chief over the past year, provide the first suggestion that Bin Laden considered Pakistan’s government amenable to a bargain that would ensure the safety of top Qaeda leaders”, the NYT´s article reads.

The newspaper further notes: “The officials emphasized that they had found no evidence that such a proposal, which one American official said was in the “discussion phase,” was ever raised with Pakistani military or intelligence operatives.”

The material found inside Bin Laden´s hideout also shows, the NYT claims, that the late al-Qaida leader was in direct contact with the Libyan al-Qaida commander Sheikh Atiyyatullah al-Libi with whom Bin Laden discussed the possibility of a truce with the Pakistani state. Al-Libi who is originally from the Libyan town of Misrata, took over the position of al-Qaida´s Chief of Operations after a US drone strike killed the Egyptian Mustafa Abu al-Yazid last year.

It is not surprising to hear Atiyyatullah, who was highlighted by Al-Qaida in some recent video tapes, was communicating with Osama Bin Laden via couriers. The German Jihadi Rami Makanesi – recently sentenced to 4 years in prison – told investigators he had met with Atiyyatullah whom he described as Al-Qaida´s Head of Afghanistan Operations. Attiyatullah, Makanesi claimed, was the only one in al-Qaida´s North Waziristan network who was in direct contact with Bin Laden.

Now the New York Times states Atiyyatullah was also the one in communicating with al-Qaida affiliates and branches around the world. “Last year (Attiyatullah) notified Bin Laden of a request by the leader of Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen to install Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical American-born cleric, as the leader of the group in Yemen”, the NYT piece reads, “Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, apparently thought Mr. Awlaki’s knowledge of the United States and his status as an Internet celebrity might help the group’s operations and fund-raising efforts.”

American intelligence officials say, Bin Laden declined that request and “decided that the group’s leadership should remain unchanged”.

This information is quite interesting given the fact that numerous media outlets have labeled Awlaki “The Next Bin Laden”. It seems the al-Qaida leader himself did not like the idea of the “Internet-Bin Laden” or “Youtube-Bin Laden” playing a more significant role in the al-Qaida structure. If the information turns out to be true this could also mean, Anwar al-Awlaki might have been willing to finally join al-Qaida officially.

I doubt Bin Laden was afraid of Awlaki´s fame and a possible successor – as Peter Bergen pointed out in a recent hearing on Al-Qaida: We care about Awlaki because he speaks fluent English. If he was only preaching in Arabic…nobody would really care.

Al-Qaida´s main support base still lies within the Arabic speaking Jihadi community – Awlaki´s popularity there is limited. He is not seen as “The Next Bin Laden”.

Al-Qaida Releases Final Osama Bin Laden Audio Message

by Florian Flade


Al-Qaida´s As-Sahab Media has released the final audio message by Osama Bin Laden. The 12-minute audio is titled “Message by Sheikh Osama Bin Laden to the Muslim Ummah” and praises the political events of North Africa, the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt.

Here are some quotes from Bin Laden´s message

“Days of Glory for Islam have come and the leaders disappeared from Arab lands. They lived upon thrones until we received the news with joy.
The Muslim Ummah was always awaiting the victory to be rising from the eastern horizon but surprisingly the sun of the revolution rose from the Maghrib (West). The light of the revolution sparked in Tunisia, and the nation felt the relief, the faces of the people brightened, and the throats of the rulers got coarser and the Jews got terrified because the coming of the promised day”

“The new meanings of freedom, pride, audacity, and courage have risen. The winds of change have come, in a will of liberation. And Tunisia took the first credit fast as like the strike of lightning. The knights took the torch from the free men of Tunisia to Tahrir Square. So a great revolution started, and what a great revolution! A revolution that will change the whole of Egypt and the whole Ummah if it holds onto the rope of Allah.”

“So they brought torches in the Tahrir Square in Cairo to crush the corrupted system. They stood in front of the face of fraud and they raised their fists against it. And they did not fear its army. They made a commitment and fullfilled their promise.”

“You are the knights and leaders and in your hand you have its bridles. The Ummah had saved you to this very gravely missed events. So continue the march and do not fear the hardship”

“Oh children of this Muslim Ummah, there is a serious crossroads before you and a great and rare historic opportunity to rise with the Ummah and to free yourselves from servitude to the desires of the rulers, man-made law, and Western dominance.”

“And also the best of Martys is Hamza Ibn Abdul Muttalib and the one that speaks the truth in the face of the oppressive tyrant, and he is killed because of this. Congratulations to whoever had this great intention, if he dies he is the best of Martyrs and if he lives on he lives with pride and glory. Stand by truth and don not worry. Saying the truth to a tyrant is the pride and good tidings. It is the path in this life and it is path to the hereafter. Whether you want to die as a slave or if you want to die as a freeman.”

Question remains why it took As-Sahab Media almost three weeks to release Osama Bin Laden´s latest audio tape. Why didn´t the Al-Qa´ida leader mention the ongoing conflict in Libya, the anti-regime protests in Yemen and Syria?

The release date might be explained with yesterday´s Obama Middle-East speech. The US-President praised the political changes in the region – and so does the late Al-Qa´ida leader. As-Sahab picked the date of the Bin Laden message release on the Internet with full knowledge of Obama´s plans to talk to the Arab world.

What Is Osama´s Last Tape About?

by Florian Flade

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


They are the first glimpse at what US intelligence officials describe as a “treasure trove”, the largest amount of documents, video and picture material found in a single counter-terrorism raid in years – 2.7 terrabytes of data found inside Osama Bin Laden´s hideout in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, giving a rare insight look into Al-Qaida´s leadership.

Last week, the Pentagon released five videos which were among those found inside the Bin Laden compound, all showing the late Al-Qaida leader prior to  his death, watching TV or preparing for the recording of a video message. All audio data of the videos was erased by the US authorities, so none of the videos given to the media actually has any sound.

While the media focussed primarly on one video – the unusual footage of the elderly, grey-bearded terrorist leader sitting on the ground, a blanket wrapped around his shoulders, surfing through Arabic TV channels, obviously watching news about himself and his terrorist network – the most interesting of the newly released “Bin Laden Home-Videos” is not the raw footage but the apparently ready-for-release video speech by the Al-Qaida founder.

It appears to be a message by Bin Laden that has already underwent the final editing process of As-Sahab Media, Al-Qaida´s propaganda wing, bearing the usual intro and the As-Sahab logo in the lower right corner of the screen. Osama Bin Laden is seen sitting on a table, wearing a golden robe and a white turban. His beard was obviously dyed in a darker color. The whole scene is very similar to the last two officially released Bin Laden tapes in 2004 and 2007.

The 2007 video message titled “The Solution”, was released by Al-Qaida´s As-Sahab Media on the anniversary of the September 11th attacks and featured Bin Laden also with a dark-colored beard, sitting at a table with a golden-lavish robe.


In 2004, only a few days prior the US Presidential Elections, Al-Jazeera aired a blurry Bin Laden video message in which the Al-Qaida leader also wore the same robe and a white turban. Back then, his beard was not dyed but greyish, making Bin Laden look quiet older compared to the following and since then only other video message in 2007.

Question is: What do we know about what appears to be the last recorded video message of the most-wanted man alive? The intro of the now Pentagon-owned tape simply reads “From Osama Bin Laden to the American People” – a title used in earlier messages. Apart from Bin Laden himself talking no other images are seen. In the As-Sahab “closing” of the tape, a date and a statement is given, saying the tape was made in 1431 a.H. – meaning probably in 2010 according to the Gregorian calender. The Arabic closing statement of the 6 minutes and 40 seconds tape reads: “Either we live under Islam or we die a generous death”.

So what could be the topic Bin Laden talks about in this tape? Why was the video if recorded last year, not released since then? Why is the US government not releasing the content of the Bin Laden speech to the American people?

A) -  the video was made in 2010 but Bin Laden himself or the As-Sahab staff decided not to release it – maybe because they thought it could harm the secret life and hideout of the Al-Qaida leader or because they realized actually footage was not necessary to deliver the message and instead they released an audio tape of the speech

B)  – the message is not a specific one dealing with an current event like a hostage taking in North Africa, the US drone campaign, the parcel bomb plot or other developments that happened last year but a very universal statement – that can be released at any time, for example a speech where Bin Laden talks about his own death.

C) – the Bin Laden speech deals with a very specific event and the Al-Qaida founder talks about for example: the parcel bomb plot by Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. The attacks failed in October 2010 but maybe Bin Laden recorded the tape in case the bomb successfully exploded in the United States

D) – the video message could be one recorded as a claim of responsibility for an attack that was not yet carried out  for example: the alleged “Euro-Plot”

Until the Pentagon releases a transcript or the audio of the video, Al-Qaida releases the tape or a US official says in a statement what Bin Laden talks about, we will not find out what his final tape was about.

The fact that it seems to be ready for release until the US Special Forces got hold of it, could very well mean the As-Sahab distributors, those releasing the propaganda to the Internet forums, are already in possession of the tape. A Pentagon statement after the Abbottabad raid said, it is likely a new tape of Bin Laden will appear soon as he recorded one shortly before his death. It contains the usual propaganda, the Pentagon said, so it shouldn´t be a surprise for the public.

Al-Qaida itself highlighted in the eulogy statement to its Amir, that a message of Bin Laden, recorded in the week before he was killed, will be released soon, also dealing with the events in North Africa.

A few weeks ago I interviewed Michael Scheuer, the former head of the CIA´s “Alec-Station” known as the “Bin Laden-Unit”. I asked him why since 2007 there was no new video apprearence of the Al-Qaida leader. Scheuer´s answer was mainly his own opinion but still a very interesting thought:

“The one thing Bin Laden knows that we have long since forgotten: there is power in silence. I suspect we keep getting audios, there won´t be a video till he attacks again in the United States. After that occurs we get a video in which he talks to the American people in sorrow rather than anger, saying: I warned you about this.”