bin Laden is dead?

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  1. Fmr jarhead
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    1155 GMT -- MIDDLE EAST -- The Islamist Web site operated by the group Manbar as-Sunna Bal Jamaa has reported in an urgent release that Osama bin Laden has died, but it provided no further details. Pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat said, however, that bin Laden supporters doubt the veracity of the report. Egyptian theologist Yassir as-Sirri denied that bin Laden is dead, saying he recently received a videotaped address from bin Laden that soon would be aired on an Arab satellite television network.

    http://www.stratfor.com/products/pr...selected=Situation Reports&sitrep=1&id=247716
     
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    More info from Stratfor.biz

    Al Qaeda: Bin Laden Fading Away?
    April 29, 2005 17 26 GMT

    Summary

    A statement posted April 28 on a jihadist Web site said there are reports that Osama bin Laden has died. However, the message went on to say that he is still alive but could die soon and that Muslims should prepare for his death. Furthermore, the al Qaeda chief is expected to appear soon in a new videotape to be aired by an Arabic news channel. Bin Laden is likely hiding out in Pakistan's northwestern tribal belt, which has seen a great deal of movement by Pakistani and U.S. troops in recent weeks. Fearing that he could be captured soon, bin Laden probably will give his right-hand man, Ayman al-Zawahiri, even more air time than he has received so far.

    Analysis

    Rumors are flying about the possible death of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. The jihadist Web site http://www.islam-minbar.net featured a statement April 28, written in jihadist rhetorical-style language, with a headline that implied bin Laden died. The message then went on to say that he is alive, but could die soon, and Muslims should prepare for that eventuality.

    The statement, though unverified, marks a significant shift in al Qaeda's record. Past al Qaeda statements have said in generic terms that the organization's struggle would continue, even if one of the al Qaeda leaders were to die, and that the jihadist movement is not dependent on bin Laden's life (This was said in light of counterterrorism operations around the world, which took down several top al Qaeda members.) This, however, is the first definitive statement that bin Laden could be approaching his death.

    London-based radical Islamist activist Yasser al-Sirri, who reportedly is close to the al Qaeda movement, said the report of bin Laden's death is baseless and that the al Qaeda chief soon will appear in a new videotape. In this tape, Stratfor believes, bin Laden will lay out what the jihadist network's agenda should be if he is eliminated. Though bin Laden has driven al Qaeda primarily through his charisma and money, al-Zawahiri is known to be the brains behind the jihadist movement. An attack staged when and if al-Zawahiri takes charge of the network would be a message to al-Zawahiri's followers -- and the rest of the world -- that al Qaeda will live on despite the death of its founder.

    As Stratfor said before, al Qaeda has been severely crippled in the Saudi kingdom and has been largely unsuccessful in pulling off a meaningful attack since the March 11 Madrid train bombings. The jihadist movement desperately needs a major attack if the movement is to continue to wage an international campaign, instead of maintaining fragmented regional foci. Assuming such an attack happens under al-Zawahiri's watch, he will firmly establish that bin Laden's death is not a blow to the organization.

    It appears that Stratfor's forecast of a U.S.-sponsored offensive from Afghanistan into northwestern Pakistan to finish off al Qaeda is coming into fruition. Pakistan's northwestern region has seen a great deal of action by U.S. and Pakistani forces in recent weeks. According to U.S. Lt. Gen. David Barno, commanding general of coalition forces in Afghanistan, American instructors have been training Pakistani helicopter pilots in night-vision flying and army commandos in air assault tactics to combat al Qaeda in North Waziristan. Furthermore, Pakistani and U.S. troops participated in a joint military exercise April 23 at a facility at Cherat in northwestern Pakistan, according to a Pakistani army official.

    While U.S. and Pakistani troops close in on bin Laden, the al Qaeda leadership will attempt to preserve itself by trying to pass on the torch to al-Zawahiri, assuming he can evade the U.S. assault. However, the survival of al Qaeda largely will depend on its ability to pull off a meaningful attack.
     

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