Report: Bin Laden Dying

Jeff Quinton passes on a television report that Osama bin Laden is dying:

John Loftus on Fox News this morning reported that Osama Bin Laden may be dying of renal failure after an unsuccessful surgery in April.

Loftus also reports that intelligence officials told him after 9/11/2002 that Bin Laden would not be making any new videotapes because the Saudi-donated dialysis machine that Bin Laden had been using caused liver failure and jaundice (Loftus thinks the Saudis may have done this on purpose.)

This is interesting, although such reports have come and gone every few months since 9/11. I’m a bit skeptical. If we can’t locate the man, it’s doubtful we know the condition of his kidneys. And why would he be using a dialysis machine donated by the Saudis, his sworn enemies?

Loftus also speculates that Ayman Al Zawahiri has been running al Qaeda since late 2001 and that the Iranians have been the principal funding source for AQ recently.

On these points, the evidence is mixed. In Imperial Hubris, which I read over the weekend, “Anonymous” sneers at the charge that Al Zawahiri has been running al Qaeda and thinks that rumor–which is longstanding–is merely a futile attempt to discredit bin Laden. I don’t at all doubt that Iran is donating substantial funds to al Qaeda, as it has been at the center of the Islamist movement for 25 years, but it’s rather clear that al Qaeda has a sufficiently wide support base among individual Muslims to sustain operations indefinitely with or without state sponsorship.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Jeff says:

    Should’ve made it clearer – according to Loftus, the Saudis donated 2 to Pakistan – one is the one OBL is using and it’s intentionally defective and the other is the one he reportedly used on 9/10/01.

  2. Paul says:

    And why would he be using a dialysis machine donated by the Saudis, his sworn enemies?

    Lemme say this… While I agree with your analysis in general, never assume anyone in that region will act in any way rationally or predictably. Politics makes strange bedfellows in this country… Over there it is a whole new level.

  3. Jeff says:

    After reading Charlie Wilson’s War a couple of weeks ago I totally agree. Some of the arms deals mentioned in that book are mind-boggling – especially the Israelis selling arms to Pakistan for the Mujahideen in Afghanistan.

  4. Ali says:

    I’ve also read Imperial Hubris, and agree with the analysis that al Qaeda is up and running. Why else would we still be at high threat levels? OBL, according to the book, is way more than the US thinks he is to the organization.