Wednesday, February 03, 2010

From our US Correspondent: Bin Laden and the environment

"Terrorist ring-leader pretends to care about climate change" shocker

It’s such a relief. Now we know why Bin Laden’s disciples keep hijacking aeroplanes. They’re worried about airline emissions and the deleterious effect that they have on our environment. How could we have been so dumb to think that they were attacking the developed world for being morally vacuous, secular, pluralistic and democratic!

Bin Laden’s TV spot on Al Jazeera was among the most bizarre online viewing last week; more bizarre even than Boris strutting his stuff at a City Hall Christmas Party or President Obama requiring a teleprompter to deliver a speech to a class of eleven year olds in their school. It seems strangely incongruous for Bin Laden to care passionately about climate change – a twenty-first century concern. This afterall, is a man committed to turning the clock back to the eighth century, where men were ruthless warriors, women were chattels and gays and infidels were dead.

Bin Laden has political and financial motives for his latest telly spot; his motives have nothing to do with ice caps melting and polar bears dying. He is trying to appear to make common cause with the left and their pet issue: the environment. This enables American Republicans to label Democrats as friends of Osama in the mid-term elections in November. Anyone who says they care about the environment will be labeled “Bin Laden’s soul mate on carbon” etc. Bin Laden knows this and knows the way politics work – if this happens he expects the American people to elect Republicans, resulting in a far more right of centre Congress. Electing largely anti-regulation Republicans to Congress will halt the development of alternative or renewable energy sources.

Bin Laden is worried about his long term funding. The US reported last week that wind power had increased by 39% in the past year. The US is the only nation on the planet with the capacity to develop affordable alternatives to fossil fuels – if the US carries on in this vein then maybe they could have alternative sources to oil in a decade – who knows?. This terrifies Bin Laden because he needs the US to remain reliant for oil on Arab producing states; the very nations that fund his terrorist activities. Saudi Arabia is the single largest source of money and men for Al Qaeda. For instance, according to the United Nations Security Council Report, “Terrorism Financing: Roots & Trends of Saudi Terrorism Financing” of December 2002, Al Qaeda has collected between $300 million and $500 million in donations since the late 1980s, almost all if from sources inside Saudi Arabia. If the oil money dries up (and the Saudis have done nothing to diversify their single product economy while they’ve been swimming in cash) who will pay for all the detonators and semtex? They’ll be no one to fund the next round of horrifying fireworks in Washington, DC, Madrid, London, New York, Tel Aviv (delete as applicable).

Whether you believe in man made climate change or not – and this post is not about that issue; whether you’re George Will or George Monbiot, don’t let Bin Laden be a factor in your decision – he doesn’t deserve your consideration.

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