View Full Version : On the run: Osama bin Laden stays silent while Saddam prefers verbal barrages

08-06-03, 10:48 AM
On the run: Osama bin Laden stays silent while Saddam prefers verbal barrages

By PAUL HAVEN ~ Associated Press Writer
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) -- The Bush administration's public enemies No. 1 and 2 -- Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden -- have taken a night-and-day approach to life on the lam.

The ousted Iraqi dictator has kept up a near-weekly verbal barrage, issuing taped warnings from hiding that have grown more frequent as the U.S. search for him expands. But messages from bin Laden, the elusive terrorist mastermind, have all but stopped.

Bin Laden, the mastermind of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, was last heard from on April 7, exhorting Muslims in a tape obtained by The Associated Press to rise up against Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other governments he claimed were "agents of America."

The tape, which CIA analysts said appeared to be authentic, made a vague reference to the Iraq conflict, although it was not specific enough to determine whether it had been recorded before or after the war began on March 20.

Fresh television images of the bearded leader of the al-Qaida terrorist organization have not been seen for more than a year and a half, since just after U.S. troops ousted his Taliban hosts from power in Afghanistan in late 2001.

In contrast, Saddam has made at least a half dozen audio broadcasts since the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, fell to American troops on April 9. In the latest audiotape, aired Friday, the deposed Iraqi leader urges followers not to lose faith.

"One day the occupation army will falter ... victory is possible at any moment," the speaker said on the tape that the CIA said was most likely authentic.

Last Tuesday, the al-Arabiya television network played a tape in which Saddam said his sons, Odai and Qusai, died "for the sake of God, the nation, the people" when U.S. forces killed them in a shootout on July 22 in the northern Iraqi town of Mosul.

"Even if Saddam Hussein has 100 sons other than Odai and Qusai, Saddam Hussein would offer them the same path," said the voice identified as Saddam.

Another Saddam tape was aired by al-Arabiya on July 23. Yet another recording attributed to the former Iraqi president was purportedly made on July 14. U.S. intelligence officials have said that all the recent recordings probably were authentic.

Talat Massood, a retired Pakistani general and security analyst, said bin Laden's relative silence is more ominous than promising.

"Saddam knows the game is up and everything he does now is an attempt to secure his place in history. He wants to go down as someone who stood up to the Americans and sacrificed his two sons for the cause of Iraqi freedom," said Massood.

"Bin Laden, on the other hand, thinks he is in it for the long haul. He's trying to stay alive to continue his mission," the analyst added.

Bin Laden's restraint has served him well. Shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush vowed to capture the Saudi millionaire "dead or alive."

But nearly two years later bin Laden is still out there, and his terrorist group, while tattered, has managed to allegedly carry out several devastating attacks -- including the October 2002 bombing that killed 202 people in Bali, Indonesia, and the May 12 bombings in Saudi Arabia that killed 34 people, including eight Americans.

Intelligence officials believe bin Laden is hiding in a mountain region that straddles the Pakistan-Afghan border, protected by loyal followers. It is an immense and forbidding area, with countless caves and hidden passes -- an ideal place to hide.

Saddam, meanwhile, is believed to be desperately hopping from house to house, perhaps sticking to a patch of Iraq known as the Sunni Triangle where he still has support. U.S. forces are expanding their search, however. Military sources in Mosul said the Americans may be shifting the focus from his home region to a swath of northwestern Iraqi desert stretching to the Syrian border.

Florida Sen. Bob Graham, a Democratic presidential hopeful and former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said recently that Washington had "lost focus" on al-Qaida and bin Laden when it turned its attention to war with Iraq.

In a jab at the man he hopes to take on in next year's general election, Graham said the Bush administration had turned the al-Qaida leader into "Osama bin Forgotten."




Sgt Sostand
08-06-03, 07:53 PM
Osama bin Laden i think he might be dead with his health