BIN LADEN ALREADY DEAD?
by Joe Duarte, MD
Joe-Duarte.com & IntelligentForecasts.com
July 18, 2007
Osama bin Laden may be dead or of little use, rendering the original Al-Qaeda as a group that "likely lacks the ability to strike in any strategically meaningful way," according to intelligence web site Stratfor.com
In a startling analysis, the usually cautious Stratfor.com, on 7-17, uses the following logic.
The latest Al-Qaeda tape, released July 14, has the news media buzzing about "al Qaeda's strength in general, and of bin Laden's vitality in particular." Yet, according to Stratfor's analysis, the clip of bin Laden speaking about martyrdom is old, and pieces from the same film have been used before.
In fact, Stratfor notes the following: "judging from the camera angle, the clothing and what appears in the video's background, the tape is more than five years old and was filmed on the same reel used to assemble a video released in May 2002. That means it has been more than a year since al Qaeda released any evidence indicating bin Laden is still alive, and roughly five years since the apex leadership of al Qaeda has been conclusively linked to any attack outside the Middle East or South Asia."
In other words, if you follow Stratfor's analysis: "barring a secret plan that, for some as-yet-undisclosed reason, necessitates hiding in Pakistani caves for years, bin Laden is either dead or incapacitated to the point that he cannot speak -- or his condition is such that his handlers prefer he does not."
Stratfor continues along a very contrarian line, suggesting that the war against Al-Qaeda is now all but finished, and that the U.S. is now fighting another war, that against Iran.
Offering an interesting take on this side of the coin, the argument continues: "The United States is looking for a way out of the war that does not upend its national interests -- something with which the average American is very familiar. But what most Americans do not realize is that, while Tehran is certainly pleased with this U.S. angst, the Iranians are not exactly doing line dances."
Along these lines, Stratfor suggests that the U.S. will leave Iraq, but will do so along lines that leave Iraq under U.S. influence, and is now trying to set up the situation so that Iran is at the very least stalemated. And that means putting the Sunnis back in power, which is why the U.S. and key Sunni groups have aligned to fight Al-Qaeda and other jihadists.
And here is a very interesting twist: "the Shia make up roughly 60 percent of the Iraqi population, with the Sunnis comprising only 20 percent, but chew on this: The Shia have never ruled Iraq. Ever. It has always been under Sunni domination. Iran is well aware that its position rests on a population that has never once delivered. And of course, the Saudis have an interest in this mess as well, because both the Iranians and the Americans stand ready to pour oil on Iraq's flames if they fail to get their way. Their influence over many jihadists guarantees them a seat at the table. Ergo, U.S.-Iranian negotiations with a Saudi twist."
Furthermore, some events that suggest that tensions are flaring between countries in the region, are getting almost no U.S. coverage such as these: On Monday "Iraqi National Security Adviser Muwaffaq al-Rubaie -- who, despite his nationality, is an Iranian ally -- told Al Arabiya television that nearly half of all foreign fighters detained in Iraq are, in fact, Saudis. Separately, Hussain Shariatmadari, president of the state-owned Kayhan media group, recently slipped and called the Gulf country of Bahrain -- a small archipelago off the Saudi coast -- "a province of Iran," while Iraqi Shiite daily Al-Bayyinah al-Jadidah accused Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan of writing checks to Sunni militants."
Stratfor suggests that this is all part of a process that will lead to the next stage of the conflict, agreement or escalation.
Stratfor.com is putting forth a unique article based on its conclusion that the U.S. has already won the war against bin Laden's Al-Qaeda.
At this point in time, it seems far fetched, unless you consider the fact that bin Laden's Al-Qaeda has not had a direct success, since 9-11.
If Stratfor is correct, then, the next issue is what happens in Iraq, and what we're seeing now, the escalation of tensions in the region, and a continuation of violence in parts of Iraq, is part of what could be a climactic process, either an end of the war, or the move toward a total loss of control of the area and all out war between the U.S. and Iran.
Which brings us to two final points put forth by Stratfor:
One is this: "Think of the negotiations over Iraq like buying a used car. For the salesman to get the highest price, he has to convince the potential buyer that he really does not need the sale. For the buyer, the same logic holds true. He must convince the salesman he can just walk away."
And the corollary: "The trick is telling the difference between war rhetoric that precedes a settlement and war rhetoric that precedes, well, a war. After all, sometimes negotiations fail. And since Iraq will certainly catch fire should one side not get what it wants, imagine the heat should both sides feel put out."
© 2007 Joe Duarte, M.D.
Dr. Duarte's Bio and Archive
Joe Duarte, M.D.
Joe Duarte M.D. is founder and Editor in Chief of Joe-Duarte.com. Dr. Joe Duarte's Daily Market I.Q. is a premium service that provides daily intelligence, trading strategies, and technical analysis at www.joe-duarte.com. Duarte offers free analysis and news coverage at www.intelligentforecasts.com . Dr. Duarte is a board certified anesthesiologist, a registered investment advisor, and President of River Willow Capital Management. He is author of "Successful Energy Sector Investing" and "Successful Biotech Investing" (Prima/Random House). Duarte's analysis appears regularly in major outlets including CBS MarketWatch and Investor's Business Daily.