Meaningful operational signal or mindless zombie chanting? You never can tell. The story reminded me that I’ve seen him do this once before — sort of. Click here, skip ahead in the video to about a third of the way through, and look for where he says AQ has formed an alliance with the Algerian Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat. He repeats the blessing three times, although that makes more sense in context than the line the Blotter is worried about. The full translation of the relevant passage via Laura Mansfield:
If you help him not, Allah helped him when those who disbelieve drove him out, the second of two; when they both were in the cave, when he said to his companion, ‘Don’t worry. Allah is with us.’ Then Allah sent down His reassuring tranquility upon him and supported him with hosts you did not see, and made the word of those who disbelieved the nethermost, while Allah’s word became the uppermost. Allah is Mighty, Wise. Go forth [whether equipped] lightly or heavily, and strive and struggle with your goods and your persons in the cause of Allah. That is best for you, if you but knew.” (9:38-41)
Have I not conveyed? O Allah, be my witness. Have I not conveyed? O Allah, be my witness. Have I not conveyed? O Allah, be my witness.
The feds are looking at the last part. The Blotter, evidently incapable of doing a google search, doesn’t mention who or what he’s quoting. It’s from Mohammed’s last sermon, the suspicion, presumably, being that any cell that’s here or on the way should wait for a tape that references that speech as some sort of cue. Given the terror jitters both here and abroad and the reports of a cell on its way here, the concern is understandable.
Incidentally, the Senate upped the bounty on Osama today to $50 million. The vote was 87-1, with Republican Jim Bunning the lone dissenter. I like his reasoning. The left emphatically does not. Exit question: The Blotter notes that Zawahiri might have used a VOIP program — a technology not traditionally associated with caves — to make his latest tape. This AP piece also notes the unlikely speed with which he’s able to churn out material nowadays. Anyone want to guess where he’s living nowadays? You know what my prediction is.
Update: 12,000 Pakistani troops are on their way to the tribal areas. Does Ayman have a date with destiny?
Update: The new Taliban commander, who also presided over that suicide bomber graduation ceremony, promises that the new attacks will dwarf the London bombings.