In addition to his faltering grip on al Qaeda's franchises, bin Laden's ideology was in jeopardy when the Arab Spring started in the Middle East and North Africa in 2011. Bin Laden called the movement toward more free and open societies in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and elsewhere a "formidable event" in the modern history of Muslims.
He wrote in April 2011 that he intended to use the media to deal with that.
Bin Laden wanted al Qaeda to launch a campaign in the Arab world, he wrote, to incite "people who have not yet revolted and exhort them to rebel against the rulers."
But he also wanted to invest in educating Muslims that they shouldn't settle for "half-solutions," according to the Combating Terrorism Center's analysis.
"Given that the enemies have knowledge of and experience with the Arabs and their history, they have learned that Arabs have dangerous qualities that make them suitable to quickly carry out the call to Jihad," he wrote.
The "enemies" have launched a "destructive media bombardment against Arab culture and their characteristics."
As proof, he offered that the BBC translates its stories in Arabic. He argued that China has more people than the Arab world, so why wouldn't the BBC give top priority to translating stories in Chinese?
"It was possible for the voice of the British Empire to reach 40% of the world's population through just its broadcast, but their primary concern was with destroying the Arabs via the media," he wrote.
Attack of the drones
While he busied himself with crafting a clever media message, bin Laden was also concerned the U.S. drone strikes were hurting al Qaeda in Pakistan.
In October 20, 2010, he wrote, "I am leaning toward getting most of the brothers out of the area."
He continued, "We should leave the cars because they are targeting cars now, but if we leave them, they will start focusing on houses and that would increase the casualties of women and children."
He warned his men that they should "not meet on the road and move in their cars" and noted that "Americans have great accumulative experience in photographer in the area due to the fact that they have been doing it in the area for many years."
It's best to stick to rougher, more mountainous terrain that has rivers and trees, because those areas are harder to surveil, he wrote.
He reminded his followers to move "when the clouds are heavy." Concerned about the group's finances, he also urged them to discard bags that carry money in case the bags were carrying chips that might disclose the user's whereabouts.
He gave one more piece of advice: Don't speak on the phone or through the Internet.
It's best, he said, to communicate by letters.