Osama bin Laden’s call for boycotts of the Iraqi and Palestinian elections may be very revealing, according to even Juan Cole this shows that bin Laden is desperate. He has shot himself in the foot.
In declaring "infidels" all who vote under the "infidel" interim constitution negotiated by Iraqi politicians with US civil administrator Paul Bremer last winter, Bin Laden is seeking to counter the decree of grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani that Iraqis must vote in the upcoming elections or they will be consigned to hell. Bin Laden is arguing, according to the Aljazeera.net in Arabic, that the interim constitution that is the framework for elections is artificial and pagan ("jahili", pertaining to the Age of Ignorance before Islam) because it does not recognize Islam as the sole source of law.
Bin Laden’s intervention in Iraq was hamfisted and clumsy, and will benefit the United States and the Shiites enormously. Most Iraqi Muslims, Sunni or Shiite, dislike the Wahhabi branch of Islam prevalent in Saudi Arabia, and with which Bin Laden is associated. Nationalistic Iraqis will object to a foreigner interfering in their national affairs.
Bin Laden as much as declared Grand Ayatollah Sistani an infidel. But Sistani is almost universally loved by the 65% of Iraqis who are Shiites, and is widely respected among many Sunni Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen, as well. Bin Laden, the Saudi engineer, makes himself look ridiculous trying to give a fatwa against the Grand Ayatollah of Najaf. If anything, to have al-Qaeda menacing the Shiites in this way would tend to strengthen the American-Shiite alliance
If Bin Laden had been politically clever, he would have phrased his message in the terms of Iraqi nationalism. By siding with the narrowest sliver of Sunni extremists, he denied himself any real impact. By adopting Zarqawi, who has killed many more Iraqis (especially Shiites) than he has Americans, he simply tarnishes his own image inside Iraq.
It appears that Bin Laden is so weak now that he is forced to play to his own base, of Saudi and Salafi jihadists, some of whom are volunteer guerrillas in Iraq. They are the only ones in Iraq who would be happy to see this particular videotape
Terrorists are powerless? Yes, Absolutely. They are so powerless that they need others to advance their agenda. They need Spanish people to vote a certain way, and Americans to vote a certain way. They must manipulate people to do their will because they don’t have enough support or power to achieve their goals on their own. They can not convince people by using reason because they are unreasonable. Instead they instill fear (thus “terrorism”).They need to make people afraid enough to advance the agenda of terrorism because there are not enough terrorists to kill enough people or to vote in a majority, or direct a government without the help of the fearful.
While they work to make one segment afraid to oppose them, they use propaganda to make another segment angry enough to join them. Terrorism is the ultimate hate machine; the most effective hate machine since Hitler. Divide and conquer with hate and fear, just as Hitler did. These are the primary weapons in their arsenal. They are so powerless that the decision allowing them to win or lose will be made by their enemy.
This is the first reference I have ever seen to an American-Shiite alliance, an alliance that surely would be a major mistake for the Americans who must be seen as allied with none of the factions in the upcoming elections. To be sure, the Shiites are working towards a large turn-out in the elections and they are creating few problems for the coalition but this does not indicate a special alliance with the Americans but rather a recognition by them that participation in the process is in their best interest.
In fact participation in the process is in the best interest of all the Iraqui factions with the exception of the murderers who work their crimes primarily in the Sunni areas of the country. And that participation is also in the best interest of the coalition. To say that there is an American-Shiite alliance is incorrect. There is an alliance of the Americans and all Iraquis who want to be free.