Sunday, October 31, 2004

Osama, The Return

As the new Osama bin Laden tape appears just in time for the US elections in 2004 and the repercussions of such a tape being spoken primarily in the election context, insurgents in Iraq are growing bolder, and rasher.

The spate of kidnappings is getting worse with every subsequent headline. What is strange, however, that the kidnappings don't make much sense. By kidnapping an Irishwoman that lived and worked in Iraq for so many years as a humanitarian and married an Iraqi, I have no clue what they hope to achieve except enrage their own brothers.

Now, they have kidnapped a man from the world's third most populous Muslim country, Bangladesh. 42-year-old Abul Kashem, along with a Dinesh Rajaratnam of Sri Lanka, were kidnapped last week, though kidnappers are still strangely silent on their demands.

I think the general trend of declining popularity of the terrorists and insurgents should only be accelerated by recent events.

Osama bin Laden has enjoyed popularity, to a limited extent (and, I believe, now waning), in countries like Pakistan and most of the Arab states. The insurgents, however never got as much screentime as Osama, and so never had much of a chance to garner a following among the simpleton Muslims of the world. Whatever caliber of adoration they may have had to start with, it can only be declining considering their lowly tactics and sheer lack of taste.

The popularity of these groups should be severely declining in the Arab and other Muslim states. Moderate Muslims have always condemned the Wahhabi attitute of indiscriminate killing, but now I daresay even the Wahhabis are starting to get a little unnerved.

Bangladesh has a strong Saudi-backed Wahhabi movement. All fundamentalist issues in Bangladesh arise from Al Qaeda, the standard-bearer of Wahhabi fundamentalist activism while the Saudis fund fertile hatching grounds for Al Qaeda in their mosques and numerous madrasahs.

I've seen the kidnappings in a revolting light, always. But I'm wondering what the fundamentalists in Bangladesh, once open backers, now cornered into latent support of Osama bin Laden because of the success of the liberal Bangladeshi media, are thinking now.

There are several ways to look at it, I imagine. Al Qaeda doesn't depend so chiefly on popularity per se on their activities. No doubt, as a lethal activist movement, they're not out to win any popularity contests, but their main source of manpower is from the madrasahs that they fund in and around the Muslim world who are not subject to the opinions of the educated and opinionated middle-class.

With as much open negative publicity they're getting by kidnapping and killing what the normal man would perceive as standard, everyday people, not even sparing Muslims, their recruitment grounds, I would imagine, should be growing thin.

I wouldn't be so brash as to think that the end of Al Qaeda is anywhere on the horizon because of negative Western publicity. The Wahhabis have tremedously powerful machines of propaganda. I do find it difficult to imagine with all that has been happening with car bombs killing Iraqi civilians and tales of grizzly night-time murders of rookie Iraqi policemen splattered in the front news, how they can possibly enjoy any support at all, even from within.

Anybody that still supports Osama bin Laden, after he made the strongest references to his involvement in the September 11th attacks in his recent tape, must be ill in some form or another.

The days of conspiracy theories are over.

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I write essays in my spare time on things that are important to me. The ones that I feel are any good, or make any sense, I put them up here. :)