So al-Qaeda’a bin Laden and al-Zawahri have both released videos essentially taunting Bush and the U.S. just prior to the State of the Union address. Coincidence? Doubtful. As most of the press is saying, al-Qaeda is pretty savvy about the timing of their messages, and these two are no exception. But to what end? What does al-Qaeda hope to accomplish with their messages? To my knowledge, the press hasn’t provided much analysis of that.
My take is that these messages are nothing short of an endorsement for the Bush administration. After all, it’s no secret that al-Qaeda has been the unabashed raison d’etre for Bush. His entire rationale for nearly every action taken is 9-11 and terrorism. al-Qaeda is “lurking”, and he is the minister of fear. The recent videos will doubtless play prominently in the upcoming State of the Union. Bush will use the videos to remind us all that we are still at war and in danger, and that his way is the only way to safety.
But why would al-Qaeda wish to endorse Bush? Let’s face it. He’s been the best thing that ever happened to them. He put al-Qaeda on the map and made bin Laden and al-Zawahri household names. He created the greatest recruiting environment and low-investment target practice range the terrorists ever could have asked for in Iraq. His push for democracy in the Middle East has ushered in the rise to power of religious sects in Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and the rise of Hamas in Palestine.
Muslim extremism has flourished under Bush. And Bush has flourished with their rise as well. This is nothing short of a symbiotic relationship. And I think they both realize that while they are mortal enemies, that cannot survive without each other.
It is more than a little ironic that al-Qaeda is coming to Bush’s rescue and trying to prop up popular support for his policies to wipe them out.