WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Osama bin Laden’s son Omar believes the al Qaeda leader has achieved his aim of humbling the United States but warns his death could unleash “very, very nasty” attacks by militants, Rolling Stone magazine said.
In a rambling interview conducted in part in a Damascus strip club, Omar bin Laden told the magazine that U.S. President Barack Obama was making a mistake by scaling up the U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan.
“It is like adding water to sand, as we say in the Arab world — it only makes the sand heavier,” Rolling Stone quoted bin Laden as saying in the interview that will be on newsstands on Friday.
“If I was in his position, the first thing I would do is make a truce. Then for six months or one year, no fighting, no soldiers. Afghanistan can never be won. It has nothing to do with my father. It is the Afghan people.”
Omar bin Laden shot to his own form of notoriety in 2007 when he married a British woman almost twice his age whom he allegedly met while on a ride to the Giza pyramids in Egypt.
The two have since been denied entry to Qatar, Egypt and Britain, while Spain rejected an asylum request.
Omar describes himself as one of 11 sons of bin Laden and has in the past detailed a bizarre childhood spent in jihadist camps in Sudan and Afghanistan among battle-hardened fighters who tested chemical weapons on puppies, among other things.
He left his father in Afghanistan in 2001 several months before the September 11 attacks on the United States.
Rolling Stone said Omar bin Laden was making a living as a scrap metal merchant in the Saudi city of Jeddah, compared himself to film star Mel Gibson and dreamed of working for the United Nations and meeting Obama and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Bin Laden said his father was overjoyed when U.S. voters elected George W. Bush in 2000, predicting that he was just the kind of president the United States needed — “one who will attack and spend money and break the country.”
Despite the huge amount of money and effort spent hunting for bin Laden, believed by many intelligence analysts to be hiding in tribal areas on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan, Omar bin Laden said he believed the United States was actually lucky that his father had not been killed.
“It is going to be worse when my father dies. The world is going to be very, very nasty then. It is going to be a disaster,” bin Laden said, adding his father had managed to head off more lunatic attack suggestions from his followers.
“My father has a religious goal. He is controlled by the rules of jihad. He only kills if he thinks there is a need.”
And while he has not seen his father in almost a decade, Omar said he did not believe bin Laden would see a need to launch more big attacks.
“He doesn’t need to. As soon as America went to Afghanistan, his plan worked. He has already won,” the magazine quoted him as saying.
Reporting by Andrew Quinn; Editing by John O'Callaghan