Osama bin Laden apparently supported the revolts which spread across the Arab world this spring, according to an audio message found at his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, according to a U.S. government official.
(Photo: REUTERS / Pentagon)
Osama bin Laden is shown in this video frame grab released by the U.S. Pentagon May 7, 2011. Five videos were found in bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan after U.S. Navy Seals stormed the compound and killed bin Laden. The compound in Pakistan where U.S. forces killed bin Laden was an “active command and control center” where the al Qaeda leader remained in strategic and operational control of the organization, a senior U.S. intelligence official said on May 7.
CNN reported that the unreleased audio message was recorded in late April, just prior to his death, and long after the regimes in Egypt and Tunisia toppled; and unrest wracked Libya, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain.
The U.S. official described it as “puzzling” that the notorious terror chief would “suddenly join the bandwagon on the uprisings,” well after they erupted and omit some key nations.
This is particularly odd given that bin Laden hated Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi.
“Why not try to inspire AQIM?,” said the official, referring to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
Interestingly, while Al Qaeda has not been heavily involved in the uprisings in the Middle East, leaders like Gaddafi and Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen have blamed the group for fomenting the unrest.
Meanwhile, US senior officials have repeatedly stated that the Arab revolts have undermined al-Qaeda since they largely eschew fundamentalism and seek democracy.
May 13, 2011 7:39 PM EDT