WASHINGTON -- Shortly before his death, Osama bin Laden recorded a message praising the Middle East protest movements and predicting that revolutions would spread across the region.
"I think that the winds of change will blow over the entire Muslim world, with permission from Allah," bin Laden said in the 12-minute message released online Wednesday.
The message was released as a video, but it contains only an audio track and a photo of the terrorist leader.
Though both bin Laden and the West have generally supported protest movements in Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere, their goals are very different. The West hopes the protests will lead to democratic reforms. Bin Laden and his followers saw many Middle East governments as corrupt and hoped their collapse would lead to government based on their interpretation of Islamic law.
In the recording, Bin Laden accused rulers of building themselves into idols and manipulating the media to stay in power.
"So, what are you waiting for?" he implored listeners. "Save yourselves and your children, because the opportunity is here."
Bin Laden was killed by Navy SEALs in a daring May 2 raid. U.S. intelligence officials were aware that the recording was in the pipeline. The video was released to jihadist websites by al-Qaida's media arm and was obtained and translated by SITE Intelligence Group.
Bin Laden was known to record many of his thoughts, and intelligence officials are poring over the recordings discovered in his Pakistani compound. But it's unclear whether he released any other recordings prior to his death or whether this is the final sermon from the terrorist mastermind.