Saturday, September 23, 2006

Wither Osama?

Gateway Pundit cites multiple reports claiming Osama bin Laden died in August of typhoid complications:

Saudi intelligence services have determined that terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden died of typhoid in August, the French regional daily L’Est Republicain reported on its website on Saturday. The newspaper said it based its information on a document classified ‘defence secret’ originating in the French DGSE intelligence services. According to the story, the DGSE informed President Jacques Chirac of the Saudi report on Thursday.
The DGSE document, printed with the report, reads in part, ‘According to a usually reliable source, the Saudi intelligence services are said to have acquired the information that Osama bin Laden is dead. The information gleaned by the Saudis indicates that the head of Al Qaeda was a victim of a very strong attack of thyphoid... in Pakistan on August 23, 2006.’

If you can read French, No Parasan! links to the L'est Republicain report here.

I have my doubts; alas, we have heard this type of report before. The fact that Pakistan claims to know nothing about Osama's death increases my skepticism; somehow I think they would have pretty good information on all of this:

Pakistan has received no information from any foreign government that would corroborate a French newspaper report on Saturday that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden died of typhoid in Pakistan, a senior government official said.
"No government has shared any such information with us so far, which is the normal thing to do under such circumstances," the official, who has close knowledge of intelligence matters, said on condition of anonymity.
A senior official in Pakistan's Interior Ministry also said: "We have no information about Osama's death."

Even the feckless French seem to have their doubts:

France said it could not confirm a report on Saturday that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had died in Pakistan last month...
French President Jacques Chirac told reporters after a summit with leaders of Germany and Russia that bin Laden's death "has not been confirmed in any way whatsoever, and so I have no comment to make."

One would expect Chirac to be rushing to Osama's gravesite, the way he hung about Arafat's deathbed...after all, he has a Islamist population he must prostrate himself before...

"If anyone was in the picture, I doubt it would be Saudi intelligence," said a Western diplomat in Riyadh.
"Even if Saudi Arabia had information, they'd pass it on to the United States, not France. It doesn't ring true."


The Washington-based IntelCenter, which monitors terrorism communications, said it was not aware of any similar reports on the Internet.
"We've seen nothing from any al-Qaida messaging or other indicators that would point to the death of Osama bin Laden," IntelCenter director Ben N. Venzke told The Associated Press.

Al-Qaida would likely release information of his death fairly quickly if it were true, said Venzke, whose organization also provides counterterrorism intelligence services for the American government.
"They would want to release that to sort of control the way that it unfolds. If they wait too long, they could lose the initiative on it," he said.

Sorry...maybe we'll have better luck next time. Doesn't it seem sometimes as if the meanest and most miserable get to walk the earth forever?


Vigilante said...

Do you really think al Qaeda would want to get the early credits on this story?

Osama bin Laden - the Islamic Robin Hood - would seem to me to be more valuable to al Qaeda secretly dead: as such he could never be captured or killed by his enemies.

The myth of a living OBL entitles al Qaeda with an aura of leadership among "terrorist of global reach".

What am I missing?

The JerseyNut said...

It is unlikely the death of "Public Enemy #1" could be kept a secret for long; for al-qaeda to deny the truth would make them seem weaker; as if their denial constituted an admission that without Osama, the organization would be weakened.

Better for them to get the truth out, claim him as their martyr, and delcare the jihad must continue in his name.

Not that the death of Osama by natural causes would be any great victory for the U.S.; Islamic fascism is larger than any one man at this point...