Jewish World Review Oct. 25, 2004 / 10 Mar-Cheshvan, 5765
Is Osama bin Laden alive or dead? And if Osama is alive, where is he?
"President Bush knows damn well that (bin Laden) has been dead for quite
some time," said former Navy SEAL Matthew Heidt, echoing the sentiments of
many in the special operations community.
"(Bin Laden) has not been heard from since Tora Bora despite developments in
the Global War on Terror that make it unthinkable for him to remain silent,"
Heidt said in his web log, "Froggy Ruminations."
The last audiotape purportedly from bin Laden (but not authenticated) was
issued on May 7th of this year. But Gregory Djerejian (Belgravia Dispatch),
who shares Heidt's view, notes that the last video tapes from bin Laden were
made public Oct. 19th and Sept. 11th, 2003. There was nothing on those
videotapes which indicates when they were made, and they show a much
healthier bin Laden than the gaunt fellow in the videotape released Dec.
26th, 2001, suggesting they were made before then.
"Does anyone seriously believe that (bin Laden) wouldn't, if he were alive,
be doing his very damnedest to release a tape, soonest, rubbing Bush's nose
in it for not having caught him?" Djerejian asked.
Djerejian notes al Qaida released three tapes between December of 2002 and
April of 2003. None of them featured bin Laden.
Richard Miniter, author of a new book on the war on terror (Shadow War),
thinks bin Laden is alive, and quotes several "senior administration
officials" to that effect. Bin Laden is in Pakistan, or maybe Iran, Miniter
There is a simple explanation for why bin Laden has made no more videotapes.
He and number one aide Ayman al Zawahiri have changed their appearance in
order to avoid detection, and consequently have no desire to show off their
new "look" on television.
If bin Laden has bitten the green weenie, it is more likely because of
kidney failure than from thermobaric bombs at Tora Bora. Bin Laden has an
ailment that requires dialysis three or four times a week, at 4-5 hours a
session. Treatment like this is tough to get in your typical Afghan cave.
This is why I believe that if bin Laden is still alive, he mostly likely is
in Iran. If he were somewhere where he could be sheltered by the state, he
could get the medical care that would be tough to obtain if he were
constantly on the run.
If bin Laden is in Iran, he has lots of company, according to the newspaper
Asharq al Awsat. The Saudi owned London based daily reported July 15th that
nearly 400 members of al Qaida, including 18 of its top leaders, have taken
refuge in Iran, chiefly near the town of Chalous on the Caspian coast, about
60 miles north of Tehran.
There have been many reported sightings of bin Laden in Pakistan,
Afghanistan and Iran (and in Chechnya, Sudan and the Philippines), which is
to be expected when someone has a $25 million price on his head. But bin
Laden probably doesn't look like the bin Laden we knew.
At least some of the sightings may very well have been of doubles, thinks
Dan Darling (Regnum Crucis):
"When Pakistani forces launched a major offensive against al Qaida and its
Pashtun tribal allies in April, they were quite certain they had Ayman al
Zawahiri cornered," Darling said. "They ended up killing the man they
believed to be al Zawahiri who was protected by hundreds of fighters...only
to learn that it was an Uzbek named Thuraya who apparently was serving as al
Zawahiri's body double.
"Who's to say that the "Osama" that any number of U.S. and Pakistani
detainees claim to have seen isn't just another such double? Their
presence...would serve to keep U.S., Pakistani and Afghan forces hunting in
the tribal areas, all the while the real bin Laden was hundreds of miles
If bin Laden is in Iran, it means that the heavy lifting has yet to be done
in the war on terror, and the Axis of Evil is more tightly knit than many
suppose. Chalous, the town where the al Qaeda hierarchy is said to have
taken refuge, is, according to Global Security.Org, "the locale of an
underground nuclear weapons facility staffed by experts from Russia, China
and North Korea."
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington
and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a
deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan
administration. Comment by clicking here.
Jack Kelly Archives
© 2004, Jack Kelly