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Another bin Laden Tape Surfaces

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posted on Feb, 17 2003 @ 10:06 AM

Extracts from the 53-minute tape were published in the Saudi-owned Al Hayat newspaper yesterday.

A new audio tape said to be of Osama bin Laden accused America yesterday of plotting to carve up the Middle East after a war against Iraq to create a "Greater Israel". The "foolish" President George W Bush would not stop with an attack on Iraq but would soon strike Egypt, Sudan, Iran and Syria, according to the tape. "This attack is part of a new crusade to prepare the region, after dividing it, for the creation of a Greater Israel," excerpts of the recording read. "This means the whole region will be ruled by Jews."

Yesterday's message said that Mr Bush and Tony Blair were waging a campaign to carve up the Middle East in a similar fashion to the 1916 British-French pact that divided the remnants of the Ottoman Empire.

The rhetoric was as worrying for Arab leaders as for the West. Syria's foreign minister, Farouk al-Shara, told Arab League ministers in Cairo that a war with Iraq would bring disorder that would work to the gain of those who "spread horror and destruction".

His remarks appeared to be a veiled reference to fears in the Arab world that al-Qa'eda would seek to exploit a growing anti-American and anti-British sentiment. Bin Laden has spoken openly of his desire to see the early demise of the ruling parties in both Iraq and Syria, and has also targeted Egypt.

Yesterday's tape also referred directly to Saudi Arabia, whose leaders funded bin Laden's early fighting in Afghanistan but later condemned his extremism. "Saudi Prince Abdullah sold the blood of the martyrs and Palestinian land to satisfy and support America and the Jews," it said. "Arab leaders like him have betrayed God and the Prophet." Several Gulf Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, are letting the United States use bases on their soil in preparation for war against Iraq.

A website, Jihad Forum, said the new message was made on the occasion of the three-day Muslim Eid festival.

An audio tape broadcast last night by Qatar's al-Jazeera television station, also said to be by bin Laden, called the US campaign in Afghanistan a "defeat" marking "the beginning of its end".

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