From the caves of Tora Bora to the Sea of Japan.
Frustrated at Japan’s support for the U.S.-led war on terror, al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden once contemplated sabotaging the Japanese economy by attacking oil tankers headed to Japan, a former member of the terrorist group told Kyodo News in a recent interview.
If true, bin Laden’s remarks, made while he was hiding in Tora Bora mountains of eastern Afghanistan in November 2001, would indicate that Japan’s decision to support the United States in the war on terror put it squarely on the al-Qaida leader’s hit list.
The former member, a Saudi Arabian citizen who refused to be named, joined al-Qaida in 1997 and was appointed as one of bin Laden’s guards after the latter escaped to Tora Bora in November 2001 amid intense U.S. military activity aimed at killing or capturing the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks earlier that year.
During their struggle to survive in the rugged mountains, a close aide to bin Laden told the source that “the Sheikh” was frustrated with Japan’s political stance.
If he had tried it, attacking Japan would have been the second most counterproductive move he could have made (the first being attacking us on 9-11). Japan would probably have accelerated changing its constitution to allow itself to arm up, both to protect its tankers and go after bin Laden directly. And Iran, which is Japan’s third largest oil supplier, might have joined the fray out of sheer economic motivation.
On second thought, it’s too bad that either he couldn’t attempt the attacks or some cooler head talked him out of it. The war might be over by now if he had, and Japan would be able to handle North Korea all by itself.