I asked this question once before, in my old blog, but I'm thinking it is more true now than before.
Osama bin Laden has released two new audio tapes in the last week. He still seems to be badly wrapped around the axle about the Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed. My question is whether Osama is spun up about the actual Danish cartoons depicting Mohammed, or the faked versions distributed in the middle east by other radical Saudi clerics to inflame other Islamists?
Regardless, much of the analysis of the audio tape revolves around the notion that Osama is warning of an impending attack in Europe, in retaliation for the cartoons. ("You drew a picture of a guy who lived 1500 years ago, so we're going to blow you up" - is there any wonder this guy has jumped the shark??)
But Doug Farah makes the good point that if Osama now doesn't blow up some Europeans, he's done nothing but further undermine his credibility. He also points out that bin Laden is still trying to inflame more ecumenical or diverse congregations of monotheists by referring to blasphemous images of other prophets. Maybe Osama will let us know how that works out for him. I am not holding my breath for enraged Anglicans to take to the streets of London over graven images of Thomas Becket.
In Osama's second tape, he exorts his faithful to renew their efforts to defeat the infidels, as well as the faithful Muslim government of Iraq. My impression is that message has mostly lost its appeal among normal, non-homicidal-lunatic adherents of Islam in the Land of the Two Rivers.
He's also still trying to associate himself with the Arab-Israeli conflict, probably because he knows that theme resonates with most Muslims. But the endless "make war not peace" message is probably getting kind of old in a region that has seen even more than its usual quota of war in recent years. Everybody (well everybody except Osama, maybe) gets tired of war after a while, so I have a feeling that Osama's most recent message attacking the Palestinians for trying to make some limited peace with Israel.
So my extremely sophisticated analysis is that, as radical Islamist mass murderers go, Osama bin Laden may have jumped the shark. If he doesn't do something splashy to re-ignite his career as a bloodthirsty terrorist mastermind, people are just going to stop caring about him.