Osama Bin Laden is back.
The CIA has confirmed that a voice on a tape released earlier today,
claiming preparation for an al-Qaeda attack on the US, is that of Bin
Laden, reports Al-Jazeera.
The Qatar-based TV network originally broadcast the tape, in which Bin
Laden makes the threat – but also offers a conditional truce to the US
and its allies.

BBC has the full text
of the tape, in which Bin Laden says: “We do not object to a long-term
truce with you on the basis of fair conditions that we respect. We are
a nation, for which God has disallowed treachery and lying. In this
truce, both parties will enjoy security and stability and we will build
Iraq and Afghanistan, which were destroyed by the war. There is no
defect in this solution other than preventing the flow of hundreds of
billions to the influential people and war merchants in America, who
supported Bush’s election campaign with billions of dollars.”

But the US has already rejected the truce offer: “We do not negotiate with terrorists,” said a White House spokesman. “We put them out of business.”

The
tape is Bin Laden’s first public communication since December 2004, and
Al-Jazeera says the tape was most likely recorded in December last
year. The reappearance of the al-Qaeda leader comes at a time when
rumours were circulating about Bin Laden’s possible death. What this
tape proves is two-fold, comments Michael Scheuer, former head of the
CIA’s Bin Laden unit in The Christian Science Monitor.
Firstly, “he’s not dead. And despite all the things we say about him
being isolated and alone, he can clearly dominate the international
media when he wants to.”

Writes Robert Fisk inThe Independent:
“It’s the same old story: Osama bin Laden talks to us from the mouth of
a cave, from within a cave, from a basement perhaps, from a tape almost
certainly recorded down a telephone line from far away.”