Zawahiri Letter Shows Iraq’s Importance to al-Qaeda’s Jihad
October 07, 2005
First, the letter shows the al-Qaeda leadership’s increasing sensitivity to public opinion. Zawahiri writes of the importance of popular support for al-Qaeda, and rebukes Zawahiri for the Iraq insurgency’s “brutal tactics — noting that hostages can just as effectively be killed with bullets rather than by beheading.” I’ve written before (most recently in the Weekly Standard) of al-Qaeda’s increased efforts to tailor their message to appeasement-minded Westerners. Apparently, Zawahiri has also given some thought to how he can bolster al-Qaeda’s image in the Muslim world.
Second, the letter shows Iraq’s current importance to al-Qaeda’s jihad.
(Speculation alert) Implicit within Zawarhiri’s message is an admission that the insurgency is headed for defeat unless it changes it’s policies and thereby its fortunes. Al Qaeda must have viewed with mounting alarm the increasing numbers of Iraqi troops that the US can field against them. The campaigns against the Euphrates and Tigris lines and the seize and hold operations now in progress must be hurting them. Therefore, despite their theological antipathy for the Shi’ites it must have occurred to them that their car bombs, beheadings, outrages and gratuitous murders — all dutifully reported by a media thinking it might chill American resolve — were working against them; this brutality was driving the Shia and the Kurds into American arms. And now Zawahiri admits this policy may be leading to their defeat.
Seized Letter Outlines Al Qaeda Goals in Iraq
By Susan B. Glasser and Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, October 12, 2005; A13
Al Qaeda’s top deputy urged the leader of his Iraq branch in July to prepare for the inevitable U.S. withdrawal by carrying out political as well as military actions, and he lectured him that he risked being shunned by an Islamic world angered over his gruesome and not “palatable” killings of fellow Muslims, according to an intercepted letter released yesterday by the U.S. government.
The 6,000-word letter from Osama bin Laden’s chief lieutenant, Ayman Zawahiri, to Iraqi insurgent leader Abu Musab Zarqawi amounts to a detailed portrait of al Qaeda’s long-term goals in Iraq and the Middle East, and includes a striking critique of how Zarqawi has gone about waging his war against not only U.S. troops but also Iraqi civilians. The letter was posted yesterday on the Web site of Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte — http://www.dni.gov — after senior intelligence officials released excerpts of it last week.
…we are in a battle, and that more than half of this battle is taking place in the battlefield of the media…
Obviously Iraq is far from the senseless quagmire the Sheehanistas, Codepinkos, and miscellaneous naysayers argue it is. We’re fighting al Qaeda there. They know they can use the media to undermine us. They’re counting on a repeat of Vietnam. Woe to the pacifists, Crusader withdrawal won’t satisfy the Jihadis because the true goal of the Jihad is to restore the Caliphate.
P.S. Methinks the Jihadis doth protest too much.