- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 27, 2006

Last week, on a tape aired by the Arab news channel Al Jazeera, a voice claiming to be Osama bin Laden declared war on the world. The geographic range of the 21st century caveman’s rambling verbal jihad should impress Rand McNally. Bin Laden’s latest tape promotes attacks in India, Kashmir, East Timor, East Africa and Sudan.

The Sudan rant is particularly interesting. He fingers the proposed U.N. peacekeeping force in Sudan’s tragic Darfur region as an enemy — which suggests bin Laden supports Sudan’s genocide in Darfur. He encourages combat against large swaths of the human race. He condemns his Zionist-Crusader enemies (that usually means Israel and the United States, but now appears to include the United Nations). He dumps threatening bile on Hindus (India).

We know he doesn’t like Buddhists — his Taliban allies proved that when they literally defaced Afghanistan’s Bamiyan buddhas with high explosives. Confucianists seem to get a pass, but after al Qaeda defeats the West and subdues the Subcontinent, no doubt Osama will crush China and the Far East.

Muslims, however, remain bin Laden’s biggest enemy, perhaps not in theory and propaganda, but certainly in the flesh-and-blood world of murder and human massacre. Bin Laden, al Qaeda and its various affiliates have killed more Muslims than any other religious group, and Darfur is an example.

Since early 2003, nearly 200,000 people have died in the Sudan government’s war with Darfur rebels. The Sudan government backs various Islamist militias, many operating on horseback or in wheeled “technical vehicles” armed with light machine guns and rocket launchers. Darfur’s rebels are a mixed bag of farmers, villagers and pastoralists. The rebels are also an ethnic mishmash, though most are black Africans. For the most part, they are Muslims, however, with a leavening of tribal animists.

Here are bin Laden’s purported taped instructions vis-a-vis Darfur: “I call on mujahideen and their supporters, especially in Sudan and the Arab Peninsula, to prepare for long war against the Crusader plunderers in Western Sudan. Our goal is not defending the Khartoum government, but to defend Islam, its land and its people.”

If the tape is authentic — and that is a big if — the call for an anti-U.N. jihad in Darfur is another self-inflicted information warfare wound by al Qaeda.

Bin Laden is upset because the U.N. intends to take control of the Darfur peacekeeping mission. The African Union (AU) is in charge of the current peacekeeping operation, and it has failed to stop the slaughter.

That’s one reason this latest tape is a major propaganda error: Most of the world’s opinion leaders — including the liberal and left-wing “internationalistas” who spend a great deal of airtime, ink and electrons excusing Arab terrorists (particularly Hamas) — have made the Darfur horror a cause celebre (ironically excusing one band of Islamic extremists, while damning another).

Bin Laden has also made a second major political error: The peacekeeping mission is meant to protect Muslims. Once again, al Qaeda promotes the murder of Muslims, a point the United States has been making since Sept. 12, 2001. It’s not a new insight, but it has taken 41/2 years to make the point. Al Qaeda’s bloody trail in Iraq is part of the proof. Al Qaeda’s car bombs and suicide bombs in Iraq were detonated in the heart of the politically dysfunctional Arab Muslim Middle East. They killed a few American “Crusaders,” but most of the dead are Arab Muslims (both Shi’ite and Sunni).

In the Darfur region, the black African Muslims savaged by the Islamist militias aren’t quite “Muslim enough” for the True Believers and the Sudan government. In the 1990s, Sudan served as a haven and a base for bin Laden and key al Qaeda cadres. Perhaps bin Laden thinks he’s paying off a political debt to Sudan’s Islamists. That noted, the Sudan government has rejected bin Laden’s call for a Darfur jihad.

Why? Because bin Laden’s a loser — a dangerous loser still capable of mass murder, but no longer the ideological juggernaut of global Islam.

Austin Bay is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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