ARAB-US RELATIONS - Oct 29 - Bin Laden Shocks US.
In a video surfacing more than a year, Al Qaeda leader Bin Laden makes a dramatic intervention in the US presidential race, by releasing a videotape warning of possible new terror attacks against the US. Addressed to the American people, the tape jolted the campaign by drawing attention to Pres Bush's failure to capture the world's most-wanted terrorist but also the security threat the country still faces. The Al Qaeda leader Bin Laden's decision to release a video-taped message before the US election follows two previous attempts by the terrorist group or its adherents to influence political events. The video, disrupted both camps' plans of campaigning and injected an element of uncertainty into the deadlocked contest. The tape's release just four days before polling day revived memories of the attack by Al Qaeda sympathisers in Madrid in March, which led to the defeat of the government led by Jose Mar[acute accent]a Aznar and the withdrawal of Spanish troops from Iraq. Derision for Bush with hints of a deal Bin Laden's last- minute "October surprise" for the US presidential campaign raised the spectre of another Al Qaeda attack on America while deriding the leadership of Pres Bush. Bin Laden said: "Your security is not in the hands of Kerry or Bush or Al Qaeda. Your security is in your own hands". He says the "best way to avoid another Manhattan" was to stop threatening the security of Muslims. He admits direct responsibility for the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, saying: "We decided to destroy towers in America". But he added "Despite entering the fourth year after September 11, Bush is still deceiving you and hiding the truth from you and therefore the reasons are still there to repeat what happened". The reappearance of America's most wanted man little over three days before the election has the potential to cut both ways with voters. On the one hand, the vivid evidence that Bin Laden is still at large could boost Kerry's argument that the president has failed to follow through on his rhetoric in the war on terror.
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|Publication:||APS Diplomat Recorder|
|Date:||Oct 30, 2004|
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