A purported new video of Osama bin Laden shows the al-Qaeda leaderurging Americans to convert to Islam to stop the Iraq war, but the video does not contain any overt threat ahead of the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11attacks.
Thevideotape's authenticity has not yet been confirmed, but media organizations have quoted unnamed U.S. officials assayingitappeared to have been made as recently as this summer.
In a soft voice, and measured tone,the manpurported to bebin Laden delivers a wandering 30-minutetirade against democracy, capitalism and Western political leaders.
Hespecifically refers to U.S.President George W. Bush,the Democraticvictory in U.S. Congress, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who was elected in May, and newBritishPrime Minister Gordon Brown, who took office in June.
The video shows bin Laden seated as he talks, wearing a white robe and turban and beige cloak. His trimmed beard is shorter than in his last video, issued in 2004, and was fully black. In past videos, bin Laden's beard had turned nearly entirely grey.
In the video, he mentions the Sept. 11 attacks several times and praises the 19 hijackers' actions on the United States as able to "change the direction of its compass."
"Since the 11th, many of America's policies have come under the influence of the Mujahedeen," bin Laden says, according to transcripts obtained by media organizations. "And as a result, the people discovered the truth about it; its reputation worsened, its prestige was broken globally and it was bled dry economically."
Speaking Saturdayfrom the APEC Summit inSydney, Australia,Bush called the video areminder of "the dangerous world in which we live."
"It's important that we show resolve and determination to protect ourselves, deny al-Qaeda safe havens,"the U.S. presidentsaid.
'Two solutions' to end Iraq war, tape says
In the video,bin Laden tells Americans they have two choices if they want the war in Iraq to end.
"There are two solutions to stopping it. One is from our side, and it is to escalate the fighting and killing against you. This is our duty, and our brothers are carrying it out," the transcript quotes bin Laden as saying.
"The second solution is from your side," he said. "I invite you to embrace Islam."
"It will also achieve your desire to stop the war as a consequence, because as soon as the war-mongering owners of the major corporations realize that you have lost confidence in your democratic system and have begun to look for an alternative, and this alternative is Islam, they will run after you to please you and achieve what you want to steer you away from Islam," he said.
The al-Qaeda leader has not appeared in new video footage since October 2004, and has not put out a new audiotape in more than a year.
It comes a day after intelligence groups monitoring a website used by Islamic militants said thesite promisedthefirst new video ofbin Ladenin nearly three years to mark the sixth anniversary ofthe Sept. 11 attacks.