On the other hand, Omar does appear to be a bit of a flake. His partner in this desert bicycle race is new wife, an English woman twice his age who is now on her fifth husband. And it is more of a hoot than a sign of serious politics to see an Osama lookalike in dreadlocks a biker jacket.
There was one fascinating insight into bin Laden thinking in this article. Omar told the Associate Press reporter,
"My father is asking for a truce but I don't think there is any government (that) respects him. At the same time they do not respect him, why everywhere in the world, they want to fight him? There is a contradiction."
If Osama bin Laden thinks that forcing all governments (including his own) to fight him means that they must respect him, then I think we have a window into his tangled mind. And, oddly enough, this might make it truly possible that he would also take our willingness of negotiate as a sign of respect. If that is what it takes to get him to stop murdering people, it is worth a try.