Robert Fisk, legendary middle-east reporter for The Independent, London, on Friday wrote in his latest column that that it is almost certainly terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden on the audiotape threatening more attacks on America and offering a truce if the US pulls out of Iraq and Afghanistan.
He writes that the tape broadcast over al-Jazeera television channel, 'was a reminder that security - not sickness - decides his method of communication.' He was referring to the fact that the al Qaeda leader had sent an audiotape and not a video.
He calls the truce offer part of a game. 'Bin Laden has no intention of calling an end to his own war and nor has George Bush and nor has [British Prime Minister] Tony Blair. The Bin Laden offer, almost certainly, is intended to be rejected. He wants Bush and Blair to refuse it,' he writes.
- External Link: Robert Fisk's home page
In a hard-hitting critique, he writes, 'It is as if both 'sides' in this conflict live on illusions. Messrs Bush and Blair keep telling us things in Iraq are getting better, when we all know that they are getting worse. Anarchy has seized that entire country. American bodies coming home to the United States? Just don't let the press take photographs of the coffins. Bombs in London? Nothing to do with Iraq, Blair haplessly told us last July of US President George W Bush's policy in the middle-east.'
He is also critical of the West's stand against Iran nuclear programme. He says that the real rogue country in this regard is Pakistan. 'Raise the stakes on Iran by claiming that it intends to make nuclear weapons. And why Iran? Why not that infinitely more unstable Islamic state called Pakistan, which has nuclear weapons? Because its dictator, President General (Pervez) Musharraf is on our side,' Fisk, who has covered the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, says.
The writer, a vocal critic of the policies of Bush and Blair, concludes saying that the people in the middle-east just want justice and freedom. 'They would also like another kind of freedom - freedom from us. And this, it seems, we are not going to give them. So the war goes on. Stand by for more audio tapes, and more threats, and more death.'