Posted by Turkish delight from 64-66-216-145.stkn.bigvalley.net (188.8.131.52) on Sunday, March 24, 2002 at 0:14AM :
By Chris Floyd
MECCA, March 22, 2005 -- President Osama B. Laden today called for a "regime change" in the United States, saying the military dictatorship led by unelected strongman George Walker Bush "is an ever-present threat to world peace."
Speaking in Mecca at a rally marking his first year in power, the Saudi president said that "issues of national sovereignty are beside the point when the civilized world is faced with the possibility of untold carnage. Bush has long been developing weapons of mass destruction. He has announced his willingness to use them. He refuses to abide by international treaties to curtail these tools of evil. I will not wait on events while dangers gather. We must act."
Laden said the "last straw" was the Bush regime's refusal to allow United Nations inspectors into the United States. Saudi Arabia and its allies have demanded that the United States give international inspectors a free hand throughout the country, with access to all military installations, government offices, businesses and private homes, including the White House.
In response, Commander Bush -- as he has been known since declaring martial law shortly before the 2004 U.S. elections -- said he "will never surrender the sovereignty of the great American people" and called on the nation to "gird yourself for war."
Bush once again denounced the sanctions imposed on the United States by the Saudi-led coalition, which cut off all oil shipments to America and blockaded its ports to prevent other nations from trading with the Bush regime. The resulting economic collapse has led to thousands of deaths from disease, starvation and neglect, say some analysts. "This is blackmail, pure and simple, and our children are dying from it," said Bush.
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Saudi officials dismissed the casualty claims as "rank propaganda," but added that any such deaths are the responsibility of the Bush regime itself. "It's up to Bush to meet our just demands, eliminate his weapons of mass destruction, and open his country to international supervision," said Khalil Pow-El, the Saudi foreign minister. "It's his call."
Pow-El said Saudi Arabia will continue to enforce the sanctions with regular bombing raids in the "no-fly zones" it has established over Florida, New York, Texas and California. He brushed aside American claims that hundreds of civilians have been killed in these airstrikes. "There may have been a few inadvertent casualties," Pow-El said. "But that's because Bush continues to put military installations near civilian population centers. The blood's on his hands, not ours."
In his speech yesterday, President Laden called for even tougher action. "We're moving on to the next phase in the war on terror," he told the cheering crowds. "I do not say when we will strike. I do not say how we will strike. But make no mistake: this evil will not stand. We will deal with Mr. Bush."
Laden's aggressive stance has drawn some muted criticism at home. A few dissidents say he is using the "permanent war" against "worldwide American terrorism" to legitimize his own hold on power after taking office in a disputed election last year.
After the royal family abdicated during the turmoil unleashed by the Second Gulf War, Laden ran for the presidency of the newly established Union of Saudi Arabia (U.S.A.). Although he finished second in the national balloting, Laden was awarded the office in a controversial split decision by the Saudi High Court. Several of the judges had political and financial connections to Laden and his influential family.
Early in his term, Laden saw his poll ratings decline as he failed to grapple with the country's deep-seated economic problems, focusing instead on pushing an agenda of religious conservatism and tax breaks for his wealthy backers in the oil industry. His presidency was transformed last autumn, however, when an alleged CIA covert operation against oil fields outside Riyadh resulted in more than 3,000 civilian deaths.
Laden's popularity soared as the nation rallied around the government following the attack. In a ringing speech at the Dome of the Rock, Laden denounced the "evildoers" who "hate our way of life" and vowed to "bring them to justice, dead or alive." The Saudi Congress immediately passed the U.S.A. Patriot Act, giving Laden sweeping emergency powers to launch military action anywhere in the world and to crack down on suspected terrorists and "terrorist sympathizers" at home.
Some Saudi allies, including New Kurdistan (formerly northern Iraq), Greater Kuwait (which annexed southern Iraq) and the Iranian Empire (which incorporated Baghdad and central Iraq after the Second Gulf War), urged caution in pursing an enforced "regime change" in the United States.
"We all want to ease the danger posed by Bush's weapons of mass destruction," said a top Iranian diplomat, who asked not be identified. "But we are uneasy with the notion that a powerful nation can simply attack any country it dislikes or fears or finds inconvenient and replace its leadership. Especially in the absence of any direct threat or aggressive action by the targeted country.
"What's more, it seems that President Laden's moral outrage is a bit selective," the official continued. "For example, China has a vast arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, and a very harsh, aggressive regime to boot -- but you don't see Laden and the U.S.A. getting ready to bomb Beijing. No, I'm afraid this 'regime change' rhetoric is just the same old trick we've seen throughout history: Using fancy words to get ordinary people to kill and die for the twisted ambitions of their leaders."
-- Turkish delight
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