October 2, 2006


Letter Gives Glimpse of Al-Qaeda's Leadership: Letter Shows Worry Over Iraq Infighting (Karen DeYoung, October 2, 2006, Washington Post)

Six months before the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in June, a senior al-Qaeda figure warned him in a letter that he risked removal as al-Qaeda's leader in Iraq if he continued to alienate Sunni tribal and religious leaders and rival insurgent groups. [...]

The letter, the first document to emerge from what the military described as a "treasure trove" of information uncovered from Iraqi safe houses at the time of Zarqawi's death, provides new details of a debilitated al-Qaeda leadership-in-hiding, locating it in Waziristan.

"I am with them," Atiyah writes Zarqawi of the high command, "and they have some comments about some of your circumstances."

Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, said on a visit to the United States last week that he believes bin Laden and his top lieutenants are on the Afghan side of the border. U.S. military and intelligence officials have long believed that the al-Qaeda leadership is hiding in one of the tribal provinces on the Pakistani side of the border, and Atiyah's letter, if accurate, would confirm their location at the time it was written.

Atiyah bemoans the difficulty of direct communications between Waziristan and Iraq and suggests that it is easier for Zarqawi to send a trusted representative to Pakistan than the other way around. The "brothers," he writes, "wish that they had a way to talk to you and advise you, and to guide and instruct you; however, they too are occupied with vicious enemies here.

"They are also weak," he continued, "and we ask God that He strengthen them and mend their fractures. They have many of their own problems, but they are people of reason, experience and sound, beneficial knowledge. . . . This letter represents the majority of, and a synopsis of, what the brothers want to say to you."

Imagine what things would be like if al Qaeda weren't "winning"?

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 2, 2006 8:21 AM

"wish that they had a way to talk to you and advise you" I wonder why they are not using their cell phones and satellite phones. Just wondering.

Posted by: ic at October 2, 2006 2:59 PM

Carrier pigeons can't be bugged.

Posted by: erp at October 2, 2006 6:44 PM