* Bin Laden attacks Hizbullah
* The al-Qaeda internet comment board is now open
This dispatch primarily contains items relating to Saudi Arabia, al-Qaeda and militant Islamism.
1. Poll of Saudis: Don’t like Jews and Christians, want Israel destroyed and Saudis to have nuclear weapons
2. Bin Laden attacks Hizbullah
3. The al-Qaeda internet comment board is now open
4. Osama apparently staying in cave, off line
5. Television is sinful and un-Islamic, says new fatwa
6. Kuwaiti paper: Iran exporting AIDS virus to Iraq
[Note by Tom Gross]
At the present time I am giving an intensive round of interviews, lectures, and media workshops (including to the popular Iranian pro-democracy radio, Radio Farda, and to Radio Free Afghanistan). Because of this there are fewer dispatches than normal.
I have, however, continued to regularly publish items on the National Review’s Media Blog, and I attach a selection below, and in four accompanying dispatches. Some of these may be familiar to some of you by now, though I hope that most of them won’t be.
Monday, December 24, 2007
POLL OF SAUDIS: DON’T LIKE JEWS AND CHRISTIANS, WANT ISRAEL DESTROYED AND SAUDIS TO HAVE NUCLEAR WEAPONS
Opinion polls among Saudi citizens are extremely rare. This survey was conducted for Terror Free Tomorrow by D3 Systems of Vienna, Virginia and KA Europe SPRL. Interviews were conducted by phone from a facility in a country neighboring Saudi Arabia.
The survey was conducted in Arabic, among a random national sample of 1,004 Saudi Arabian citizens aged 18 and older. Among the results:
Please tell me your opinion of each group of people. Is your opinion very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable, or very unfavorable?
Very Favorable: 23.4%
Somewhat Favorable: 27.9%
Somewhat Unfavorable: 15.5%
Very Unfavorable: 24.0%
Don’t Know: 6.7%
Very Favorable: 2.1%
Somewhat Favorable: 3.9%
Somewhat Unfavorable: 7.0%
Very Unfavorable 81.7%
Don’t Know: 1.1%
Very Favorable: 13.7%
Somewhat Favorable: 25.5%
Somewhat Unfavorable: 14.0%
Very Unfavorable: 40.3%
Don’t Know: 4.1%
If all diplomatic means fail to stop the Iranian government from developing nuclear weapons, would you favor the United States and other countries accepting a nuclear-armed Iran, or would you favor the United States and other countries taking military action against Iran to try and prevent the Iranians from having nuclear weapons?
Favor US Accepting A Nuclear Armed Iran: 26.6%
Favor US and Other Countries Taking Military Action to Prevent Nuclear Armed Iran: 38.1%
Refused to answer: 19.9%
Don’t Know: 15.4%
Please listen as I read the following statements and tell me which is closest to your own opinion?
I would favor a peace treaty recognizing the State of Israel, if an independent Palestinian state is established: 29.6%
I oppose any peace treaty recognizing the State of Israel, and I favor all Arabs continuing to fight until there is no State of Israel in the Middle East: 51.3%
Refused to answer: 13.2%
Don’t Know: 5.9%
Do you favor or oppose the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia developing nuclear weapons?
Strongly Favor: 34.7%
Somewhat Favor: 17.3%
Somewhat Oppose: 12.1%
Strongly Oppose: 19.1%
Refused to answer: 9.3%
Don’t Know: 7.5%
(Items on these dispatches are regularly linked to elsewhere and I don’t usually mention this, but I would like to thank these and other sites for being particularly generous in referring to my work as “always interesting”.)
Sunday, December 30, 2007
BIN LADEN ATTACKS HIZBULLAH
One surprising aspect of the 56-minute diatribe posted yesterday evening by Osama Bin Laden on the internet is that he criticized al-Qaeda’s fellow terrorist group, Hizbullah.
Bin Laden said that he is angry with Hizbullah for accepting the deployment of United Nations forces in south Lebanon after its war with Israel in 2006.
He said the U.N. force was there to “protect the Jews,” which to Bin Laden is obviously unacceptable.
But while al-Qaeda, which is a Sunni group, may have its theological differences with Hizbullah, a Shia group, Bin Laden can in fact rest assured that they have both made explicit that one of their goals is killing Jews and wiping out Israel.
Monday, December 17, 2007
THE AL-QAEDA INTERNET COMMENT BOARD IS NOW OPEN
Zawahri joins the blogosphere. According to this ABC News report, he is “just like any other blogger”.
ABC News (America)
By Rehab El-Buri
December 17, 2007
Expanding its use of the internet, al Qaeda now is asking that online users submit their questions – even “hostile” ones – to its No. 2 man, Ayman al Zawahri.
And like any other blogger, Zawahri says he is prepared to engage. He made the offer on a video posted on a jihadist Web site Sunday touting Britain’s withdrawal from Basra as a success for insurgents there.
The almost two-hour long video features Ayman al Zawahri answering questions in front of book-lined shelves from an off-camera interviewer with intermittent video clips. When the interviewer asked which is the most important field al Qaeda fighters are wrestling with, Zawahri answered, “Iraq is the most important of these fields.” Zawahri describes the state of resistance fighting in Iraq as “excellent.”
At the end of the video, entitled “A Review of Events,” a written message invites individuals, organizations and media outlets to submit questions for Zawahri to answer one month from his video’s release. The message solicits all questions, “whether they be friendly or hostile.”
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
OSAMA APPARENTLY STAYING IN CAVE, OFF LINE
Following up the post yesterday (above) about al-Qaeda’s No. 2 Ayman al Zawahri becoming a blogger, it seems his boss Osama Bin Laden is still in hiding and may not want to join the blogosphere for fear his location may be revealed:
Musharraf: Laden is hiding in Bajaur area of Afghanistan
Punjab Newsline Network
December 17, 2007
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf today asserted that the well known terrorist and al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden is hiding in the Bajaur area of Afghanistan.
Interacting with the media Musharraf said that he could be in the area that borders Pakistan’s Bajaur tribal agency and Afghanistan’s Kunar province.
Responding to, whether Pakistan can contain the threat from the extremists, Musharraf said “We are combating it, and I think we are on the winning side.”
When asked whether the U.S. had abandoned him, Musharraf said, “I have nothing against President Bush. I think he has been most supportive; he has been a very sincere friend. I must say he understands fully the Pakistan environment. He understands why I had to act and what I’m facing.”
Sunday, December 23, 2007
TELEVISION IS SINFUL AND UN-ISLAMIC, SAYS NEW FATWA
Al-Qaeda and other extremist Islamic groups regularly produce videos and even risk exposing their whereabouts, so eager are they to deliver them to be shown on TV channels such as al-Jazeera. But on the other hand, TV is now apparently haram:
Television is sinful and un-Islamic, says new fatwa
December 20, 2007
On the one hand, al-Qaeda and other extremist Islamic groups regularly produce videos and even risk exposing their whereabouts so eager are they to deliver them to be shown on TV channels such as al-Jazeera. On the other hand, TV is, apparently, haram:
A radical Islamic seminary in Uttar Pradesh has issued a fatwa against Muslims watching television, calling the device “haram (sinful)”. The fatwa was issued by the Dar-ul Uloom in Deoband, near Muzaffarnagar, in response to a madarsa teacher’s plea to clarify whether watching Islamic channels and televised debates on religious issues was right.
The teacher, a resident of Saharanpur, had asked whether watching an Islamic TV channel showing a debate on religious topics was right or wrong. Dar-ul Uloom took the stand that in the due course of watching television, people inevitably browse through channels that show “immoral” and “vulgar” programs.
KUWAITI PAPER: IRAN EXPORTING AIDS VIRUS TO IRAQ
According to this report, the Kuwaiti newspaper as-Siyasah claims that Iran is exporting the AIDS virus to Iraq.