- The U.S.-government released Osama bin Laden videotape
was dismissed as unconvincing propaganda in many parts of the Arab world,
with some blasting it as a complete fabrication.
- Only in a few Arab countries did government officials
and citizens view the video as evidence of bin Laden's active role in
the Sept. 11 terrorist strikes.
- Viewers throughout the Mideast were able to see the videotape
on both Al-Jazeera and CNN. And while state-run Arab networks didn't air
the video, commentators angrily denounced it and questioned its authenticity.
- Part of the problem was the poor sound quality of the
footage and the reliance on U.S. translations, Arab commentators said.
- Egyptian stockbroker Sherif Abdelkhalek questioned whether
bin Laden actually appeared.
- "I don't know if it's bin Laden or not," he
said. "This is not evidence for [the] U.S. to say bin Laden did this.
The tape was not clear . . . the voice of all the sentences bin Laden
said did not sound the same."
- Abdul Latif Arabiat, head of Jordan's Islamic Action
Front - considered a "mainstream" party - called the footage
- "Do Americans really think the world is that stupid
to think that they would believe that this tape is evidence?" he
- "Of course, it is fabricated," said Dia'a Rashwan,
a Cairo-based expert on Islamic movements.
- "If this is the kind of evidence that America has,
then the blood of thousands who died and were injured in Afghanistan is
on [President] Bush's head."
- In Bahrain, a viewer who accepted the video as real shrugged
off its significance, claiming, "It only adds that bin Laden was aware
of the incident but not necessarily that he had planned it."
- Among the few Mideast officials to welcome the tape as
evidence of bin Laden's involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks were leaders
of the United Arab Emirates, a U.S. ally.
- "There is no doubt in my mind that bin Laden was
behind those operations," said the country's information minister,
Sheik Abdullah bin Zaid al-Nahayan.
- He added, "We, Arabs and Muslims, should punish
them for offending Islam, Muslims and Arabs."
- In Israel, a spokesman for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
said the tape provided "unequivocally incriminating evidence"
against al Qaeda. "You could just see the sinister plot that was
concocted there and the glee of these people."