One quick thing: I'm struck at how quickly so many people are rushing to the conclusion that bin Laden's message "fell on silent ears" or demonstrated his isolation. Based on what evidence? That the Sudanese government and Hamas - both explicitly criticized by al-Qaeda - rejected his statements? That some Arab newspapers - explicitly criticized in the speech - criticized the speech? That the American government said so?
Bin Laden doesn't necessarily care about the same things that Americans do. The full transcript of his speech, as I pointed out yesterday, suggests that the battle to shape identities and to sharpen the frame of a clash of civilizations takes top billing - not Iraq or any of the particular issues (Darfur, Hamas) which are dominating our headlines and op-eds. I'd direct attention back to the whole Danish cartoons episode (as did bin Laden, at great length): it came out of nowhere for most Western and mainstream Arab analysts alike, and incredibly quickly came to dominate the public agenda for weeks and weeks. The potency of that issue, the speed with which it caught on and the intensity with which it was felt, suggests that the project of reshaping Arab/Muslim identities and reframing the politics of meaning is proceeding rather well.... even if bin Laden and al-Qaeda face intense competition in the struggle to assert leadership over the Islamist project.
Maybe bin Laden's rhetoric failed to reach Arab or Muslim audiences, but to conclude that right now is pure wishful thinking. Or else it's spin, which is fine - in a battle of perceptions, of course each side will and should try to control perceptions - but only as long as we understand it for what it is.
(Oh, one other thought: whether or not to intervene in Darfur is a tough question, with good arguments on both sides. Doing so because bin Laden said we shouldn't is... stupid. Doesn't anyone remember bin Laden's November 2004 speech, when he bragged about how it is "easy for us to provoke and bait this administration. All that we have to do is to send two mujahidin to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al-Qaida, in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies"?)