March 19, 2004


Ayman al-Zawahiri is currently the focus of considerable attention:

Pakistani troops are preparing an assault on a brigade of al-Qaeda militants believed to be protecting Osama bin-Laden's right-hand man, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Up to 200 al-Qaeda fighters have been surrounded by the Pakistani army in an overnight gunbattle that stretched across a 30km area on the Afghan border.

The troops have been backed by helicopter gunships but there are reports they are planning an air assault at daybreak in the region, around 12.30pm AEDT.

"We are pounding the area with mortars and artillery to soften the stiff resistance before making a final push in the next few hours," a security official said.

If they take him alive, maybe we could get some answers:

When we ask al-Qaida and its henchmen why they hate us, their story keeps changing.

In 1998, Osama bin Laden ordered all Muslims to wage war on the allies of America, which had sinned by having bases in Saudi Arabia and backing the Jews of Israel.

In 2001, he condemned us because we'd sent "Crusader Australian forces ... to separate East Timor, which is part of the Islamic world".

In 2002, the chief plotter of the Bali bombing, Imam Samudra, said that while he'd killed 88 of us because of East Timor, he'd also expected his victims to be Americans instead -- but "Australians, Americans, whatever -- they are all white people".

In 2003, Bali bomber Amrozi said what was evil about Australians was that "they take our people to bars".

And now bin Laden says he hates us because we've since freed Afghanistan and toppled Saddam.

Itís almost as if they just, you know, hate us.

UPDATE. Hit the archives and scroll down for lotsa extra recent posts and a feast of lively comments.

Posted by Tim Blair at March 19, 2004 12:00 PM

Itís almost as if they just, you know, hate us.

Then it's pretty pointless trying to vote in a way that "sends them a message", don't you think?

Posted by: Mork at March 19, 2004 at 12:28 PM

Oh my god, that's the greatest title ever. I've got tears coming out...

Posted by: Aaron at March 19, 2004 at 12:30 PM

Mork: Then it's pretty pointless trying to vote in a way that "sends them a message", don't you think?

Yes, if the message is "Please don't hurt us". No, if the "message" is delivered by F-18.

Posted by: gek at March 19, 2004 at 12:40 PM

Yep, they hate us all right. And anybody who stands in the way of a greater Islamic kingdom.

Just look at the original grievance - American support for Israel.

Its just not fair - all they want to do is wipe out the Jews ! Oh well, lets wipe out the infidels who stand in our way.

Posted by: Jono at March 19, 2004 at 12:46 PM

As GW said shortly after 9/11, these guys hate our freedoms. The ideological father of islamic terror, Sayyid Qutb -- a hero of Zawahiri's who had attended college in the US -- put it most eloquently: The American was primitive, in his sexual pursuits and in his art as well. "Jazz is his preferred music, and it is created by Negroes to satisfy their love of noise and to whet their sexual desires."

The doctor is in (the crosshairs?)

Posted by: Sissy Willis at March 19, 2004 at 12:53 PM

A simple Consept that even you mite grasp,Mork. Your neighbour is male,burglars have to choose between him and you(a metrosexual) the burglars chose you. This does not mean they wouldn't like to rob his home they just find you the metrosexual an easier target.

Posted by: Gary at March 19, 2004 at 12:53 PM

Gary, have you given up making sense for Lent?

Posted by: Mork at March 19, 2004 at 01:01 PM

Mork's right. Voting to "send messages" to terrorists is dumb. Jihadis can and will spin a win, loss or tie as proof that now's the time to sign up, and/or send jihad money. (Allah needs your money! But make the check out to me.) Vote for whoever will send terrorists the message that you want to send terrorists.

Posted by: Screamapiller at March 19, 2004 at 01:07 PM

Hmm,imagine if $87b had been spent on capturing Usama and eliminating AQ,
sorry they captured him Iraq.

Posted by: Homer Paxton at March 19, 2004 at 01:12 PM

This is such good news that I just cracked one through the covers.

Posted by: Imran Khan at March 19, 2004 at 01:28 PM

Why are you in bed at this hour?

Posted by: Mork at March 19, 2004 at 01:29 PM

Because Jemima is too!


Posted by: Imran Khan at March 19, 2004 at 01:36 PM

My bed has blown up like one of those huge Pakistani Marquees.

PS - Jemmima looks great in a burqua.

Posted by: Imran Khan at March 19, 2004 at 01:56 PM

I would imagine so. If only you can get her to keep her mouth shut.

Posted by: Mork at March 19, 2004 at 02:00 PM

Imran, get off the computer and come and make love to me like a tiiiiiiiigerrrrrrrrrr.

Posted by: Jemima at March 19, 2004 at 03:22 PM

Like a Tiger?

The Lion of Lahore?

I call shenanigans!

Posted by: Mork at March 19, 2004 at 03:38 PM

White people? Doesn't that make the Bali bombing a "hate" crime?

Posted by: S.A. Smith at March 19, 2004 at 04:22 PM

Jono: Osama's primary reason for jihad against the West, and the U.S. in particular, isn't support for Israel, but the basing of troops in Saudi Arabia after the 1st Gulf War, and thereby " desecrating " Islamic holy sites.

It's easy to forget to put this into perspective. The issue that has ignited 13 years of Al Qaeda mass murder was not one that involved the death of a single Muslim (the simple basing of " infidel " troops in Saudi Arabia).

Further, look at the highly selective response from Islamic fundamentalists to attacks on Muslims. Saddam slaughters hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Iranian Muslims, no " jihad " from Osama-types. Saddam invades Kuwait and murders Kuwaiti Muslims. Again, nothing from the Islamofascists. Muslims slaughter Muslims in East Timor. The Australians end the murder, and Bali is the result.

No, the jihadis only declare their holy war when a Western enemy can be identified; Bosnian Serbs, the Russians in Afghanistan, or the Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Why the selectivity? Sounds like good old fashioned racism to me.

Posted by: Mike at March 19, 2004 at 04:30 PM

I'm going to go out on a limb here and send the terrorists a message...

Hey, Amrozi!

I took your women to bars. Then fucked them. And they loved it!

And you know what? Javanese girls aren't even that hot. I just did it to piss you off.

Love from Yobbo

Posted by: Yobbo at March 19, 2004 at 05:00 PM

Yobbo - I think Amrozi already knew that.

Posted by: Mork at March 19, 2004 at 05:15 PM

I love your type Mork!~ Keep bending for Osama!

Posted by: Floral Camper at March 19, 2004 at 06:41 PM

The way to win the war on terror is clear - we need to hate them more than they hate us.

I don't find that at all difficult. I loathe them more than any other group I can think of.

I dont understand why their training camps are not being destroyed. Surely that would 'send a message'?

Posted by: dee at March 19, 2004 at 06:57 PM

Biographical details on al-Zawahiri disclose that he is only 52, which I wouldn't have guessed from his photos . Seems that the troglodytic existence takes its toll. Perhaps all we need to do is keep them surrounded for a few more months and let them die of natural causes.

Posted by: rexie at March 19, 2004 at 07:58 PM

Who does number two work for? for?

(flush, flush)


Posted by: Austin Powers at March 19, 2004 at 10:10 PM

Mike is wrong. The reason OBL hates the West is even MORE daft.

Basically after Saddam invaded Kuwait the Saudi's had two choices...

OBL volunteered the talibans under his influence to "liberate" Kuwait.
America++ offered a proper army.

Now the Saudi's

a) didn't want the talibs running around.
b) didn't think the talibs would be up to it in a conventional war.
c) were woried about Saddam bouncing into Saudi Arabia.

so they unsurprisingly choose the most powerful fighting force in the world.

Like any spoilt little rich kid not invited to the party, OBL felt snubbed and decided the west should pay! Hence his dislike of Saudi's and the West, and sudden "change of heart" over Saddam ("he's fighting the Americans, he must be OK").

Posted by: Rob Read at March 19, 2004 at 10:12 PM

Rob Read: I'm not saying your wrong, but where did that come from? It's new to me, do you have a source? Even if Osama did offer an " army " to liberate Kuwait, that doesn't explain the lack of a guerilla style jihad from him while Saddam was slaughtering his own Muslim citizens prior to Gulf War 1.

Posted by: Mike at March 20, 2004 at 02:01 AM


This Q & A from the Council on Foreign Relations explains what happened between OBL and Saudi Arabia.

Posted by: S.A. Smith at March 20, 2004 at 03:48 AM

Mike, SA Smith is right; it was in the news at the time in the early 90s, and any good review of the history of AlQ or bin Laden will mention it.

As to why OBL did nothing in Iraq back when, well, you don't really believe OBL cares about anything that does not involve infidel Westerners or Jews, do you ?

Posted by: Carl in N.H. at March 20, 2004 at 04:05 AM

Rob, Carl,S.A; Thanks for the knowledge boost!

Posted by: Mike at March 20, 2004 at 08:18 AM