According to Walid Phares atThe Counterterrorism Blog who summarizes the ten main points made in the audiotape; point number three is:
Sudan: The Bashir Government is failing in stopping the Crusader War in Sudan. The Crusaders (Britain) has pushed the southerners (Blacks) to separate. The US has armed them and is supporting them. And now, because of tribal tensions in Darfour, the Crusaders are planning on intervening there. We are calling on the Jihadists to fight them in Darfour and Southern Sudan.
Apparently, there was no mention made of Iraq. Tigerhawk goes on to suggest that Darfur is Bin Laden's little way of "changing the subject."
But, let's not underestimate the guy. He and Zawahiri have been capable of thinking long-range and strategically to achieve their objectives. Instead, let's consider the possibility that by bringing up Darfur, which has practically fallen off the radar of the West by all accounts, even as the slaughter continues there; Bin Laden had a purpose in mind.
Remember, Al Qaeda has a long relationship with Sudan. In 1991, after Bin Laden was expelled from Saudi Arabia, he established headquarters for al-Qaeda in Khartoum, Sudan. It was from here that he took his first actions against American interests; attacking military personnel in Somalia, followed by a number of other terrorist attacks.
In 1994 Sudan—under pressure from Saudi Arabia and the U.S.—expelled bin Laden, who moved his base of operations to Afghanistan under the Taliban.
Afghanistan is lost.
This latest audiotape suggests by its omission of Iraq (which was the centerpiece of Bin Laden's the war on the Crusader two and a half years ago) that the Al Qaeda leader now realizes that Iraq is also lost to him unless he wants to kill lots of fellow Muslims. (NOTE: I give Bin Laden more credit for facing the truth than I give the MSM and the left, who are completely unable to see this reality).
Does Bin Laden expect that Darfur is going to be the next battleground in his jihad against the infidel--or, is he actually hoping that it will? Is this tape, in fact, designed to lure the West to finally taking action in Darfur?
If so, why? What does Bin Laden know about Darfur that we don't; and that makes him think it would be more successful than Iraq has been?
In February, 2006, the UN requested the US:
...to contribute troops to a UN peacekeeping force in Sudan's western Darfur region. The US currently provides logistic support (mostly airlift) to the African Union peacekeeping and monitoring force in Darfur. The European Union, Russia, and to a limited extent China, can provide some airlift, but the US is the only nation with the capability to provide sustained, long-range logistical support to a large force in eastern Chad and western Sudan. By "large force" we mean at least 15,000 to 20,000 troops with supporting helicopters and light armored vehicles.
I don't know the status of that request. But I suspect that Bin Laden is desperate to engage Americans. His entire PR campaign has been losing ground because of Zarqawi's reckless attempts to disrupt Iraq. Zarqawi has certainly been able to kill lots of Muslims and destroy important mosques, but the American death toll has been in decline for some time and Bin Laden knows that if he doesn't kill Americans, then he is in danger of losing his public support--both in the Arab world, and from the anti-American left that supports him.
Is it possible that he has resources (e.g., chemical or biological weapons; and personnel) already established there that have been put into place over the last several years when attention has been focused elsewhere? Is that his ace in the hole with regard to Darfur?
Or, does he see that Darfur would be considered by tpical American sentiments to be a perfect place to intervene militarily as Iraq winds down--a place where we can act out our rescue fantasies and show the world the "do-gooder" qualities that Bin Laden and his ilk consider our weakness?
I'm just asking these questions because it seems psychologically interesting to me that Darfur is centerstage again (quite suddenly from our perspective) in Bin Laden's worldview. I guess what I'm asking is: would we be playing into Bin Laden's gameplan if we intervened in Darfur; i.e., is it a trap?
Austin Bay has more; as does Instapundit.