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Bin Laden talks about Georgia

By Temuri Kiguradze
Monday, September 28
Georgia’s alliance with the United States was sharply criticised in a released audio message allegedly recorded by Osama Bin Laden, the head of the al-Qaeda terrorist organisation.

The message, which was published on Friday, appeals to the “people of Europe” to “reflect deeply” on the “lesson” provided by the situation in “sister Georgia.” “Its [Georgian] people were bombed and humiliated so they asked for help from America to restore their sovereignty over what had been seized from them, but the latter provided them with nothing but empty words; and after they insisted, American ships finally came not to restore Ossetia and Abkhazia but rather to provide what they had no need for: a few tents and a little food and detergent,” says the message, in reference to the humanitarian assistance NATO vessels delivered to Georgia soon after the Russian-Georgian war.

The message warns European countries against forming an alliance with the US. “An intelligent man doesn't waste his money and sons for a gang of criminals in Washington, and it is a shameful thing for a person to be part of a coalition whose supreme commander has no regard for human life and intentionally bombs villagers from the air,” says the audio recording.

Georgia and the United States signed a charter on strategic partnership in early 2009 which deepens US-Georgian “partnership to the benefit of both nations and expands cooperation across a broad spectrum of mutual priorities.” Georgia has participated in the operation in Iraq, sending coalition forces the fifth largest military division among the allies. It has also been announced that Georgia will send more than 700 hundred soldiers to participate in the international operation in Afghanistan.

The alleged Bin Laden message appeared several days after the Georgian authorities officially confirmed that Tbilisi was conducting negotiations with Washington over the transfer of some Guantanamo Bay detainees to Georgia. The detainees at this base, which is due to be closed by January 2010, are mostly accused of being part of international terrorist operations. The Georgian Government has not made any official comment on the recording.

“Mr Bin Laden is quite an educated man and he should know Georgia’s role in history as the constant defender of Christianity in the region while surrounded by Moslem countries. Even now Georgia has this function, when the factor of radical Islamic movements is a threat in the North Caucasus,” Georgian independent political analyst Soso Tsiskarishvili told The Messenger on September 27. He added that because of this “it’s natural” for Georgia to seek alliances with other countries, “and of course that’s why Georgia became the focus of his [Ben Laden’s] statement.”

The analyst considers that some of Bin Laden’s comments are quite “wise,” referring to criticism of the USA’s role in the August war. “Nobody says our allies should have made a military response to the Russian aggression [in August 2008] but the ostrich pose is unacceptable in this situation,” Tsiskarishvili said.