A 70 minute audiotape message purportedly from Usama bin Laden was posted to a jihadist message board on Thursday, December 16, 2004.
The speaker in the message virulently attacks the Saudi regime for a host of sins, including mismanaging the country, abandoning Islam and allying itself with the United States: ?The regime has gone far beyond all that [e.g., oppressing, stealing] to contradicting the venerable Islam, safeguarding the Blaspheming America and supporting [America] against Muslims.? The speaker takes care to deflect blame away from Al Qaeda, placing it squarely on the Saudi government: ?They claimed that the Mujahideen are responsible for the way things have developed in the Country of Al-Haramain, whereas the clear truth is that the responsibility is borne by the regime that abused the criteria required to maintain safety and [spare] blood, harmony and union, by disobeying Allah Above and committing great sins that subject the Country to Allah?s threat and punishment.? The speaker also warns that fault extends beyond the regime itself: ?Those who are supporting the regime and loyal to it, and those who are neglecting to condemn the forbidden, bear responsibility as well.?
The speaker further accuses the Saudi regime of effectively acting as a puppet of the United States: ?Hence, it is no secret the decision makers in big issues are in America, and what indicates the depth of the Crusaders? control over our Country is the implementation by those agents of the changes imposed by the custodian….? He also condemns the Saudi government for having ?opened [its] bases to the American Forces to invade Iraq, which helped and made it easier for [the Americans] to occupy it,? and for ?wanting to send Arabic and Islamic forces to maintain order in Iraq. This is great treason.?
The speaker does not reserve his vitriol for the Saudi government, but also harshly attacks the ruling regimes of nearby Muslim nations: ?This conflict is partially internal, within the Country, but in its other dimensions, it is a conflict between the international blasphemy accompanied by the apostates, under the leadership of America on one end, and the Islamic Ummah [nation] led by the brigades of the Mujahideen on the other end. These collaborating and oppressive ruling families in the region today are extinguishing every reform movement, imposing on people policies in contradiction with its religion, these are the same families who supported the Crusaders against Muslims a century ago. They are doing all that on behalf of America and its allies, which forms an extension to the previous Crusades against the Islamic world.?
The speaker also directly attacks the United States, decrying its ?intervention in the internal policy? of Saudi Arabia as well as in the country?s ?external affairs.? He particularly rails against American ?interference in changing the curricula? of Saudi (and other countries?) schools ?for the purpose of erasing the character of the Ummah, by westernizing its sons, which is an old project that started decades ago? in Egypt and Yemen. The speaker laments that ?[t]his Crusader interference in changing the curricula is by far the most dangerous interference in our affairs ever, for it is, in brief, a change of the religion, and the religion is a whole entity that cannot be divided.?
The speaker heaps further scorn upon the United States by praising the recent (6 December 2004) attack on the U.S. consulate in Jeddah: ?We pray that Allah rest the souls of the Mujahideen who raided the Consulate of the Americans in Jeddah. How do they [the Americans] want to enjoy peace [safety] when they are diffusing destruction, killing, and ruining our families in Palestine and in Iraq? Those do not deserve safety [peace] anywhere in the world. As for their presence in the Country of Al-Haramain, and in the entire Arabian Peninsula, it is forbidden by the Law.?
Finally, the speaker renews the call for Muslims to repel foreigners from Saudi Arabia?s oil, and seems to implore followers to attack oil targets in Iraq and throughout the Persian Gulf: ?One of the main reasons driving our enemies to take control of our Country, is to steal our oil. Hence, do all you can to stop history?s biggest robbery of the wealth of existing and future generations, taking place through a conspiracy between intruders and collaborators. They are taking the oil at a very cheap price, bearing in mind that the prices of all goods doubled several times, except [the price of] the oil that is the basis of industry…. Keep working, and stand between them and the oil. Focus your operations on the oil, especially in Iraq and in the [Persian] Gulf, as this would mean their death.?
The speaker ominously warns that if the oil wealth of Saudi Arabia is not returned to the people, a revolution will result: ?But you must know that things are out of control now, and that when the people move to demand their rights, they cannot be stopped by the security forces. You must not forget the fate of the Shah of Iran, despite the experience and skill and competence of his security apparatus…. Give back the trusts [wealth] to their people for it is best for you.?
Whether by design or coincidence, the audiotape?s release coincided with anti-government demonstrations taking place the same day in Riyadh and Jeddah. The demonstrations were called by Saad al-Faqih?s London-based Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia (MIRA), although other groups took part in them as well.
A partial translation of the audiotape (omitting some religious and poetic quotations, and paraphrasing other text, as noted) is provided to our Intel Subscription Members.