Jihadister verden over er rasende på Al Jazeera fordi TV-stasjonen valgte å fokusere på Osama bin Ladens kritikk av Al Qaida i Irak i den siste radiomeldingen.
Users of a leading Islamic militant Web forum posted thousands of insults against the pan-Arab station for focusing on excerpts in which bin Laden criticizes insurgents, including his followers.
Analysts said the reaction highlighted militants’ surprise at bin Laden’s words, and their dismay at the deep divisions among al-Qaida and other Iraqi militants that he appeared to be trying to heal.
«It’s not about Al-Jazeera, it’s about their shock from bin Laden,» said Diaa Rashwan, an Egyptian expert on Islamic militant groups. «For the first time, bin Laden, who used to be the spiritual leader who gives guidance, became a critic of al-Qaida and is confessing mistakes. This is unusual.»
«God fight Al-Jazeera,» railed one militant Web poster, calling the station a «collaborator with the Crusaders» for suggesting the tape showed weakness in al-Qaida and featuring discussions of how the tape reflected weaknesses and divisions among insurgents in Iraq.
The recording aired Monday contained unusually strong criticism of insurgents in Iraq from bin Laden, who urges them to admit mistakes and unify. Bin Laden even aknowledges that he advises himself not to be «fanatical» in his stances.
«Some of you have been lax in one duty, which is to unite your ranks,» bin Laden said. «Beware of division … Muslims are waiting for you to gather under a single banner to champion righteousness. Be keen to oblige with this duty.»
«I advise myself, Muslims in general and brothers in al-Qaida everywhere to avoid extremism among men and groups,» he said.
Det er delte meninger om bin Laden kan bedre forholdet til gruppene som har brutt med al Qaida.
Kara Driggers, Mideast analyst for the Terrorism Research Center, said bin Laden’s criticisms of al-Qaida in Iraq and his rhetoric addressing all Iraqis — including tribal leaders — «seems to have brought more authority to the request (for unity) and the groups are taking it more seriously.»
But Eric Rosenbach, a terror expert and executive director of research at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, said the splits will be difficult to mend, pointing out that Sunni tribal leaders in Iraq view bin Laden as being as foreign as the Americans.