In your letter you said you didnâ€™t love me
You said youâ€™re gonna leave me
But you couldâ€™ve said it better
Oh in your letter, you said you couldnâ€™t face me
You said you could replace me
But you couldâ€™ve said it better
Well, yes, aspects of a released letter from al Queda’s second-string quarterback Ayman al-Zawahiri to Triple-A Iraq League QB Abu al-Zarqawi indeed could be considered chilling … given the big “if” that the anti-war factions in the West get their way and the U.S. bails before the mission of an established democratic Iraq is actually accomplished.
Senior U.S. intelligence officials call a letter from al Qaeda’s No. 2 man to its leader in Iraq “chilling” because of how “calm, clear and well argued” it is in urging preparation for a U.S. departure from Iraq.
According to a translation of the 6,300-word letter provided by the U.S. government, Ayman al-Zawahiri predicts “the Americans will exit soon” from Iraq and says “things may develop faster than we imagine.”
The letter outlines a four-stage plan to expand the war in Iraq: Expel U.S. forces, establish an Islamic authority, take the fight to Iraq’s secular neighbors and battle with Israel — “because Israel was established only to challenge any new Islamic entity.”
The letter says: “We must be ready starting now, before events overtake us, and before we are surprised by the conspiracies of the Americans and the United Nations and their plans to fill the void behind them.”
First, yes, we are still feeling the repercussions of our tail-between-the-legs withdrawals from Viet Nam and Somalia. The lesson learned by the world and the radical Islamist jihadists in particular: bloody the Americans and they will falter, wilt and betray their own ideals.
Second, there are no “conspiracies” about what we hope to leave behind us in Iraq. Our plans are quite transparent and disgusting to the radical Islamists — we simply hope to inject a virus into the Middle East and the heart of the sprawling Islamic world. That virus? Liberty and self-determination, the opportunity to build a better life for one’s self and one’s family, notions that are an anathema to we-are-victims-kill-the-oppressors feeding trough from which the Jihadists, and arguably most of the current ruling Arab governments, gather their sustenence.
That said, there is much hope in this letter, as the Jihadist Zawahiri seems to be almost as concerned about losing the media war as I have been. I still feel that our media has been far too beneficial to our enemy’s cause, but it is interesting to note that the bad guys are concerned about hearts and minds and especially throats. Oh yeah, other Muslim targets also may be problematic for the bastards’ cause.
“I say to you: that we are in a battle, and that more than half of this battle is taking place in the battlefield of the media,” al-Zawahiri writes.
“The Muslim populace who love and support you will never find palatable … the scenes of slaughtering the hostages,” he warns al-Zarqawi, self-proclaimed leader of al Qaeda in Iraq.
Al-Zawahiri also criticizes al-Zarqawi’s attacks on Shiites and reminds him that Shiite Iran is holding more than 100 al Qaeda prisoners — many of them leaders such as Saif al-Adel and Osama bin Laden’s son, Saad.
“Is the opening of another front now in addition to the front against the Americans and the government a wise decision?” al-Zawahiri asks. “Or does this conflict with Shia lift the burden from the Americans by diverting the mujahedeen to the Shia, while the Americans continue to control matters from afar?”
The U.S. strongly vouches for the authenticity of the letter, and some have interesting ways of characterizing the document.
A senior U.S. intelligence official said he was “absolutely confident” the letter is genuine.
This official described the letter’s language as that of “an al Qaeda elder to an occasionally hotheaded field commander” — language, sources said, that President Bush had seen before he delivered a speech on the war on terror last week.
“It is cowardice that seeks to kill children and the elderly with car bombs and cuts the throat of a bound captive and targets worshippers leaving a mosque,” President Bush said October 6.
Nice retort by the president — just the sort of tone to counter current terror tactics in Iraq. I find the elder-field commander analogy interesting. Make no mistake, Zawahiri and Zarqawi ain’t no Eisenhower and Patton. After all, recall any stories of General Patton trying to mooch a few bucks off ol’ Dwight David?
Dated two days after the London terror attacks of July 7, the letter makes no mention of those attacks and pleads for more information, suggesting al-Zawahiri is feeling cut off.
He describes difficulties he and al Qaeda are facing more than a dozen times; says the real danger to him comes from Pakistani army operations in the tribal areas; and asks al-Zarqawi whether he could spare a “hundred thousand” dollars.
We absolutely must stay the course, as the enemy is obviously in disagreement over tactics and disarray over resources.
Meanwhile, this piece looks at the letter and sees a potentially more ominous note for al Queda.
There are signs of tension within the al-Qaida leadership, and between them and their followers in Iraq, says a reporter who has followed the movement closely.
“I think there’s something going on between (al-Qaida leader Osama) bin Laden and (his deputy Ayman al-)Zawahiri. I think Zawahiri is not absolutely happy with what’s going on. I would even go as far as suggesting that maybe Zawahiri doesn’t really know where bin Laden is,” said Yosri Fouda, investigative reporter for the Arabic-language al-Jazeera television network.
“He was rather concerned about his own constituency, his own supporters,” commented Foudra of Zawahiri’s letter.