The headline here may say one thing, but the real story is in the context of preparing the world world an Israeli cum U.S. attack on Iran:
BIN LADEN APPOINTS SON AS HIS SUCCESSOR
by Gordon Thomas
Osama bin Laden has appointed his eldest son, Saad, as his successor – and ordered him to concentrate on attacks on British and US targets.
The news forced Eliza Manningham-Buller, head of MI5, to use her second only public speech to warn that al-Qaeda was now a more potent force than ever – and that its reign of terror against Britain could “last five years or longer”.
And in Washington, CIA director George Tenet, told senior agency counter-terrorism officers that the emergence of Saad bin Laden as al-Qaeda’s next leader was a “most serious development”.
The decision of Osama bin Laden to hand over the running of its Jihad, holy war, against the West, is seen by MI6 and CIA analysts to indicate bin Laden is physically more ill than his last video appearance suggested.
Saad bin Laden is now “a prime target, dead or alive” in President Bush’s war against terrorism. The 26 year-old has been linked to last week’s killing of American personnel in Gaza.
The CIA believe that the bombing was planned during a meeting in Tehran two weeks ago between Saad and leaders of Hezbollah.
Israel also insists that the terror group has links to Yasser Arafat and that he is “guilty by association” of last week’s bombing.
Details of Saad bin Laden’s appointment were picked up by the GCHQ listening post on Cyprus last week. They came in a short radio message traced to the mountainous region along the Afghanistan-Iran border. Saad bin Laden is known to have a base there.
The message was from the “Jerusalem Force” – the name bin Laden has now chosen as a reminder he ultimately wants al-Qaeda to parade through the City for All Faiths as its conqueror.
“When that day comes, our son Saad will ride in triumph at the head of our great cause”, the message said.
Intelligence analysts say this is further evidence that Osama bin Laden may not expect to live to witness such an event.
Saad is the son of bin Laden’s first wife and his father’s favourite among the other 23 children he has produced by his five other wives. A CIA profile describes him as “the mirror image of his father, both physically and mentally”.
For the past year, Saad bin Laden has been based in Iran. A founder member of al-Qaeda when he was a teenager, he had served with his father in Afghanistan.
“His readiness to kill was a prerequisite for him to be groomed for leadership”, says the profile.
His connection with Iran has heightened both Israeli and US determination to consider pre-emptive strikes against terror targets in the country.
There are now three Israeli Dolphin-class submarines in the Gulf of Oman each loaded with 24 US Harpoon cruise missiles.
The weapons - with the consent of the Ministry of Defence – were flown from America to the remote tropical island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean last month.
The decision the launch them is entirely in the hands of prime minister Ariel Sharon. But Washington has made it clear that if Israel feels the threat from Iran cannot be ignored, then Israel would be justified in launching its missiles.