A Tacit Endorsement
It seems that Sen. Obama has received an endorsement – though a very tacit and roundabout one – from a much unwanted quarter. An October 30th, 2008 video received by Reuters in Dubai shows Al-Qaeda giving their tacit endorsement to Senator Obama.
From DUBAI (Reuters):
An al Qaeda leader has called for President George W. Bush and the Republicans to be “humiliated,” without endorsing a party in the upcoming U.S. presidential election, according to an Internet video posting.
“O God, humiliate Bush and his party, O Lord of the Worlds, degrade and defy him,” Abu Yahya al-Libi said at the end of sermon marking the Muslim feast of Eid al-Fitr, in a video posted on the Internet.
Libi, a top al Qaeda commander believed to be living in Afghanistan or Pakistan, called for God’s wrath to be brought against Bush equating him with past tyrants in history.
The remarks were the first from a leading al Qaeda figure referring, albeit indirectly, to the U.S. elections. Muslim clerics often end sermons by calling on God to guide and support Muslims and help defeat their enemies.
Terrorism monitor SITE Intelligence Group said in a report on Wednesday that militants on al Qaeda-linked websites have for months been debating the significance of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama or Republican John McCain.
Some posters have also argued over the merits of trying to attack the United States before the election or waiting until later, the report said.
But SITE said it did not expect al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden or deputy Ayman al-Zawahri to openly favor a candidate.
“To support a particular candidate would debase al-Qaeda’s long-standing argument that the United States government is a corrupt institution no matter who is at the helm,” SITE director Rita Katz said in the group’s November newsletter.
In 2004 bin Laden issued his first video in more than a year just days before the U.S. elections. It derided Bush and warned of possible new September 11-style attacks.
Bin Laden made little mention of Bush’s Democratic challenger, John Kerry, telling Americans: “Your security is not in the hands of Kerry or Bush or al Qaeda. Your security is in your own hands and each state which does not harm our security will remain safe.”
Kerry has attributed his loss in part to the video’s high-profile reminder of the terrorism issue.
In 2006, after Democrats captured Congress, Zawahri issued an audio message saying all Americans remained al Qaeda’s enemies regardless of party, SITE said.
SITE said militant postings on al Qaeda-linked websites typically discuss Obama in terms of his race, or his religion and foreign policy. Some forecast a racial crisis dividing the United States if he wins. Others say his planned phased withdrawal from Iraq would be a boon to al Qaeda’s affiliate and give it a base for Middle East expansion.
Republican presidential nominee John McCain has been portrayed as likely to allow “the continuation of Republican control and aggressive policies toward the Islamic world.”
H/T to Bold Color Conservative
It must be noted that this is at best – or worse – a tacit endorsement. However it does seem that Al-Qaeda views Sen. Obama as “the lesser of evils.” One wonders if the media will bury this story. One also wonders what effect Al-Qaeda’s tacit endorsement will have on Obama’s chances of being elected.
Some Intel Analysis
There’s not a great deal of insight into the mind or workings of Al-Qaeda that can be taken away from this article; it’s too short and too filtered to provide good intelligence for analysis. A few points can be inferred though:
Bush & The War on Terrorism
Al-Qaeda doesn’t like and probably fears President George W. Bush and anyone that they feel will continue to prosecute the war against them in a similar fashion to how it’s been prosecuted so far.
We have hurt them and continue to hurt them. That is something worth knowing, no matter who is elected on November 4th.
Al-Qaeda still has active operations in Iraq, but those operations are currently in disarray. Al-Qaeda needs the US to pull out of Iraq before it can further its agenda within within that region. The Surge has achieved – or come close to achieving – it aims.
Afghanistan & Pakistan
This is is much harder to analyze because I’m forced to analyze the meaning of an absence of rhetoric rather analyzing the content of existent rhetoric. I see a couple of possibilities:
Al-Qaeda isn’t worried about Sen. McCain’s or Sen. Obama’s approach to prosecuting the War on Terror in Afghanistan and Pakistan because they have few if any assets in those areas.
There has always been some debate on how Arab-centric Al-Qaeda was. Osama bin Laden may have – or have had – close ties to the Taliban and to the Afghans and Pashtun Pakistanis, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Al-Qaeda as whole has similar ties.
Al-Qaeda prefers Obama’s more hawkish and unilateral approach to prosecuting the War on Terror in Afghanistan and Pakistan over McCain’s more cooperative approach to that theater.
Al-Qaeda may hope that Obama will will follow through on his promises and that this will embroil the Us in an open war with Pakistan. This would further galvanize the Muslim world against the US and keep the Waziristani region of Pakistan as a relatively safe haven for Muslim extremists such as the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
Please understand that this analysis has a fairly low Confidence Factor. Most of it is nothing but inference substantiated by general analysis of the long running situation as it has been reported over the years.
I think that the important point to take away from this analysis is that Al-Qaeda is hurting and hoping that America will back off on direct military action in the Middle-East and approach that theater in a softer and more diplomatic manner. If they favor Obama – as the video by Abu Yahya al-Libi suggests – it is for that reason.
Tags: 2008 Elections | Afghanistan | Al-Qaeda | Iraq | McCain | Obama | Pakistan | Politics | Terrorism | War On Terror