As I noted here at Pajamas Media, the establishment media was giddy last week over a Washington Post article claiming that a post on an al-Qaeda internet forum had “endorsed” John McCain by arguing that another terrorist strike against the U.S. would secure McCain’s victory and drag the U.S. deeper into conflicts in the Islamic world.
On further inspection, however, the forum posting was not an official statement by al-Qaeda. Instead, it proved little more than a desktop jihadist trying to prepare himself for a possible McCain presidency.
But just days before the elections, Reuters reports that a videotape of a sermon by a high-ranking al-Qaeda official has surfaced, calling for George Bush and “his party” to be humiliated:
“O God, humiliate Bush and his party, O Lord of the Worlds, degrade and defy him,” Abu Yahya al-Libi said at the end of sermon marking the Muslim feast of Eid al-Fitr, in a video posted on the Internet.
ABC News reports that there is still hope that bin Laden himself might speak before the election, but the steady assault on the al-Qaeda leadership in Pakistan based on solid intelligence in recent weeks might make that impossible. In the absence of a bin Laden statement this election cycle, al-Libi’s sermon might be all we hear.
As the New York Times observed earlier this year, al-Libi has skyrocketed through the ranks of al-Qaeda to become its chief theological enforcer and a top recruiter. His jihadist status increased dramatically after his dramatic escape from U.S. custody at Bagram Air Base in 2005. Had he been held at Guantanamo Bay, his escape would have been near impossible. However, the Supreme Court would have granted him full habeas corpus rights and some federal judge might have freed him to roam the U.S. unimpeded.
This recent statement by al-Libi calling for the humiliation of President Bush and the GOP is not much of a departure from Osama bin Laden’s 2004 campaign video released the weekend before the election. In that video, bin Laden claimed responsibility for the 9/11 attacks and repeated his intent to attack America. The result was a six-point jump in the polls for Bush.
This time, however, don’t expect the media to report al-Libi’s comments as widely as they did bin Laden’s in 2004, or even as they did with the Washington Post report last week. Too much ink and video tape has been spent by the establishment media on behalf of Barack Obama to let al-Qaeda derail their hopes again for a Democrat in the White House.
Al-Qaeda’s late entry into the campaign signals greater political savvy by the terrorist group. While they still cling bitterly to their strategy of attempting to drain the U.S. economically (a strategy they believe they successfully implemented against the Soviet Union), they clearly understand the perils of another GOP presidency.
The last few years have not been good for al-Qaeda, with many of its top leaders dead at the hands of the U.S. military and the rest on the run. The successful surge in Iraq has drained the stream of jihadist recruits there to a virtual trickle and attacks on U.S. forces are at the lowest levels seen since the beginning of the conflict. Thus, they have not been able to launch any major attack against the U.S. at home or abroad since 9/11. So, bin Laden’s tacit endorsement of John Kerry in 2004 didn’t turn out quite as al-Qaeda had hoped.
In contrast, al-Qaeda flourished under the Clinton administration. They could operate openly and their fundraising, including inside the U.S., went unimpeded. Also, the succession of terrorist attacks during the 1990s went virtually unanswered. And the successful attacks against U.S. troops in Somalia, which were aided by al-Qaeda, vindicated bin Laden’s view that the U.S. could not stomach a real fight against the jihadists.
Regardless of whether bin Laden speaks before the election, terrorists have made their choice for Barack Obama resoundingly clear. Last April, Hamas spokesman Ahmed Yousef (who himself fled the U.S.) gave the Democratic candidate a ringing endorsement during a radio interview with WABC:
We don’t mind — actually we like Mr. Obama. We hope he will (win) the election and I do believe he is like John Kennedy, great man with great principle, and he has a vision to change America to make it in a position to lead the world community but not with domination and arrogance.
And not more than a week ago, Ali Larijani, the new Iranian parliamentary speaker who is close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, indicated that the Axis of Evil member sees Barack Obama as a man that the terrorist-sponsoring state could deal with by saying that Obama was “more rational” than John McCain. Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, and Muommar Qaddafi have also expressed their support for the “The One.”
What we see is consistent support by terrorist groups, rogue nations, and the rest of America’s enemies. They are pulling for an Obama victory and a spectacular defeat for McCain and the Republicans.
On Tuesday, Americans will decide whether to realize their hopes and dreams. The rest of the world watches and waits.