A new, 4:47-minute audio message from al-Qa'ida "Central" (AQC, also transliterated "al-Qaeda") chief Usama bin Laden (Osama bin Laden) was released two hours ago, entitled "Message to the European People" (also being translated as "Message to the People of Europe," and more literally, "Message to the Peoples of Europe"). It was released in two formats, one with English subtitles and the other with German subtitles, and is the latest AQC media release that has focused on Europe. During the past week, two videos were released, one a two-part video, featuring the German jihadi Bekkay Harrach, who is better known by his nom de guerre, Abu Talha al-Alemani (The German). He spoke in German about the ongoing war in Afghanistan, urging Germany to end its involvement in that country, and warning of consequences if they do not heed his advice.
In his new message, Bin Laden warns the Europeans that their involvement in the United States' war in Afghanistan has made them complicit in atrocities and occupation:
"To the European peoples: Peace be upon he who follows the guidance [of God]. You are aware that oppression topples those who commit it and injustice has unhealthy consequences for the unjust, and that one of the greatest forms of injustice is to kill people without right, yet this is exactly what your governments and soldiers are committing under the umbrella of the NATO alliance in Afghanistan. They are killing women, children, and elderly men whose only crime was that Bush became angry with them, although you know that they didn't perpetrate any aggression against Europe and had no connection to the events in America [the September 11, 2001 attacks].
So, on what basis are you violating what you talk about holding in high esteem, like justice and human rights? Would that you reflect on the matter and ask wise and reasonable people, because it won't be long until the dust of war clears in Afghanistan, at which point you won't find a trace of any American, because they will have gone away far beyond the Atlantic, God permitting, and just us and you will remain, for the oppressed to retaliate from his oppressor."
Bin Laden continues that Europeans should "contemplate deeply" that: "An intelligent man doesn't waste his money and sons for a gang of criminals in Washington, and it is a shameful thing for a person to be in a coalition whose supreme commander has no regard for human life and intentionally bombs villagers from the air...." He then mocks the U.S. reparations for Afghan civilians killed, asking if the amount offered is even enough to buy a ram in Europe. "This," he says, "is the value of the life of our innocent children in the eyes of Washington and its allies, so what do you expect our reaction to be?"
Bin Laden criticizes U.S. abuses of prisoners in Afghanistan that he says followed the fall of the Taliban government in Kabul in late 2001. He finishes by saying to his European audience: "...we are neither asking for something trivial or invalid, nor for something overstepping the bounds. On the contrary, justice demands that you lift your oppression and withdraw your troops, and reason demands that you don't hurt your neighbors."
Seeking to drive a wedge between those European nations who have troops in Afghanistan, while also warning the of the potential consequences of their presence, he continues: "If today Europe is suffering the travails of the economic crisis, and the heart of Europe is no longer number one in world exports, and America is reeling from the hemorrhage caused by the economic war, then how do you think you will fare after America pulls out [of Afghanistan], God permitting, for us to retaliate from the oppressor on behalf of the oppressed?"
In response to the spate of AQC releases, the U.S. Department of State has issued a travel alert for Germany:
"The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens that Al Qaeda has threatened it will conduct terrorist attacks in Germany immediately prior to and following the federal elections on September 27. This Travel Alert expires on November 11, 2009. Al Qaeda recently released a video specifically warning Germany of attacks. German authorities are taking the threat seriously and have taken measures to enhance the level of security throughout the country."
German elections are scheduled for this Sunday, and AQC may be trying to influence them.
Listen to the message.
In his new audio message, Bin Laden masterfully hints at the growing discontent in the U.S. (and Europe) over involvement in Afghanistan, raising the spectre of a U.S. withdrawal, which would leave European countries alone to face AQC's retaliation. Taken together with the recent spate of video messages from Abu Talha, the message to those European countries, such as Germany, with troops in Afghanistan is clear: Leave now, before it's too late.