October 7, 2005


Al Qaeda Tells Ally in Iraq to Strive for Global Goals (DOUGLAS JEHL and THOM SHANKER, October 7, 2005, NY Times)

The second-ranking leader of Al Qaeda has warned the top militant in Iraq that attacks on civilians and videotaped executions committed by his followers threaten to jeopardize the broader extremist cause, a senior United States official said Thursday.

The warning, from Ayman al-Zawahiri to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was spelled out in a 6,000-word letter, dated early in July, that was obtained by American forces conducting counterterrorism operations in Iraq, the official said in a briefing. [...]

The letter represents the first clear indication of concern among Qaeda leaders about the tactics used by Mr. Zarqawi and his followers in Iraq, and how these violent methods might undermine popular support for Al Qaeda's cause.

The letter states that even Mr. Zarqawi's admirers among Muslim commentators had questioned the wisdom of attacks by the predominantly Sunni Arab insurgents against Iraq's majority Shiite population, and it noted that half the battle against the Americans was played out in the media.

In addition, Mr. Zawahiri reminded Mr. Zarqawi that there were other, less grisly methods of killing captives than beheadings, and said execution by gunfire would be sufficient.

Although he urged less violent tactics to establish Al Qaeda's goals in Iraq, Mr. Zawahiri reiterated the disdain previously voiced by the Sunni-dominated terrorist organization against Shiites. He accused the Shiites of cooperating with the enemies of Islam and predicted a collision between Sunnis and Shiites in the Sunni-dominated caliphate he wishes to establish.

There's good reason we're establishing a Shi'ite crescent from the Med to the border of Afghanistan.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 7, 2005 6:11 PM

This is wonderful news, a kinder, gentler Al Qaeda.

Posted by: AllenS [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 7, 2005 6:19 PM
The letter outlines what the official described as a comprehensive and chilling strategic vision for Qaeda. It includes a four-stage battle plan, beginning with the American military's expulsion, followed by the establishment of a militant Islamic caliphate across Iraq before moving to Syria, Lebanon and Egypt.

Compare that to the President's speech yesterday:

Second, the militant network wants to use the vacuum created by an American retreat to gain control of a country, a base from which to launch attacks and conduct their war against non-radical Muslim governments. ... Now they've set their sights on Iraq. ...
... enabling them to overthrow all moderate governments in the region, and establish a radical Islamic empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia.
Our enemy is utterly committed. As Zarqawi has vowed, "We will either achieve victory over the human race or we will pass to the eternal life."

As General Schwarzkopf said during the Gulf War: It is for God to judge, all we have to do is arange the trial date.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at October 7, 2005 8:26 PM

"All your base (qada) is belong to us".

Posted by: ratbert at October 10, 2005 12:42 AM