In a rambling statement days before the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, Osama bin Laden said the Bush administration and the Iraqi government have failed to spread freedom in Iraq and, instead, have plunged the country into civil war.
A U.S. intelligence official said bin Laden made no overt threats in the 25-30 minute videotape and did not mention any forthcoming attacks.
The official said the CIA and other agencies have the tape and are doing technical and content analyses. The video contains the first images of bin Laden in three years. Experts noted that he appears to have dyed his beard, which had been gray.
According to a transcript obtained by ABC News, bin Laden also talked about the growing debate in the U.S. about the war and drew attention to the fact that Democrats have not been able to bring the troops home.
The terrorist leader said there are only two ways to stop the war in Iraq. "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," bin Laden said, according to the transcript.
"The second solution is from your side," he said, lapsing into a diatribe against corporate greed and ending in an invitation to convert to Islam.
"I invite you to embrace Islam," he said. "It will also achieve your desire to stop the war as a consequence, because as soon as the warmongering 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."
Bin Laden was critical of the Bush administration and compares the administration's actions to those made by leaders of the old Soviet Union, who did not acknowledge losses in Afghanistan decades ago.
The videotape contains a reference to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, which is an indication that it was recorded after the French elections in May.
He also mentioned a book by CIA veteran Michael Scheuer, saying, "If you want to understand what's going on and if you would like to get to know some of the reasons for your losing the war against us, then read the book of Michael Scheuer."