Osama bin Laden’s latest tape, designed to coincide with the anniversary of 9/11, is being mined for clues as to al Qaeda's robustness. Noting bin Laden’s unnaturally black beard, Newsweek says the leader may have dyed his own to demonstrate vigor, or donned a fake beard, after shaving to obscure his identity in hiding. Time, meanwhile, views the video as bin Laden’s desperate attempt to stay relevant.
“It seems he's either lost his mind, or is the victim of a covert action campaign,” quips the magazine. One Islamic expert tells AFP the dyed beard is a "sign of war." Indeed, despite the video’s lack of specific threats, authorities are on high alert for al Qaeda attacks, reading the video as a kind of "last chance to surrender" warning to the enemy before launching an assault.