New Bin Laden Tape: Who Cares?

Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is losing relevancy, experts say.

ByABC News
May 16, 2008, 8:57 AM

May 16, 2008— -- Isolated and in hiding, Osama bin Laden's taped messages no longer have the power to send shivers through the Western world.

The release overnight of his third audiotape message of 2008, timed to the 60th anniversary celebration of the founding of Israel, provided proof the al Qaeda leader is alive but also showed his desperate attempt to remain relevant.

"He's definitely found himself on the back burner," said former FBI agent Brad Garrett, an ABC News consultant. "It's a case of measured irrelevance. We used to do back flips when one of his tapes would arrive but no longer," Garrett said.

Apparently tailoring his message to the mainstream Muslim world, bin Laden defined the issue of Israel and Palestine as "the most important reason of the conflict between our civilization and yours."

In the late 1990s, bin Laden defined the presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia as the principal reason for his jihad against the West.

The plight of Palestinians remains the major grievance shared by a majority of people across the Islamic world, and bin Laden seems eager to retake center stage by championing the issue.

In a voice that seemed robust and calm, bin Laden says, "We will not give up any tiny piece of Palestine, God willing, as long as there is one true Muslim left on earth."

Unlike his No. 2 man, Ayman al Zawahri, bin Laden avoided criticizing Hamas.

In an apparent reference to President Bush, bin Laden said, "In our time now, the real terrorism and armed robbery is done by the leader of the strongest military power humanity has ever known."

"It seems just more of the same," said ABC News consultant Garrett. "He has an opinion, sure, but nothing he says surprises anyone anymore."

The authenticity of the tape was not immediately confirmed by U.S. officials, but people familiar with bin Laden's voice said there was no doubt it was his.

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