This letter makes for some very interesting reading:
Office of the Director of National Intelligence: "Today the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a letter between two senior al Qa'ida leaders, Ayman al-Zawahiri and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, that was obtained during counterterrorism operations in Iraq. This lengthy document provides a comprehensive view of al Qa'ida's strategy in Iraq and globally. The letter from al-Zawahiri to al-Zarqawi is dated July 9, 2005. The contents were released only after assurances that no ongoing intelligence or military operations would be affected by making this document public."
From that page you can download a pdf file of the letter
. Some conclusions we draw from reading it:
- The jihad is not going well. Zawahiri mentions many problems and asks for money.
- Iraq is a critical battleground in the war with al-Qaeda and their ilk.
- The only chance the jihadis have is a "cut and run" policy from the US, and the MSM and the "anti-war movement" are the jihadis' best offense.
- Zawahiri speaks to Zarqawi not as a commander, but suggesting and trying to persuade. Apparently, Zarqawi's "obedience" to bin Laden et al. is more formal than strict.
- Zarqawi's attacks on civilian Muslims are dividing Muslims and Zawahiri doesn't like it.
- Zarqawi's attacks on Shias are problematic with Iran as well, and Iran has more than 100 al-Qaeda in captivity.
- Videotaped beheadings are alienating sympathetic Muslims and are counterproductive. Zawahiri suggests just shooting the hostages instead.
- Zarqawi's group has little popular support in Iraq. Problems are mentioned due to the lack of Iraqis in the leadership. He's urged to attend to politics as well as killing.
- US withdrawl would not end the war. The destruction of Israel and conquest of neighboring, secular states are other objectives toward the establishment of an Islamic "caliphate" over the entire Muslim world.
- Zawahiri has little information about the details of Zarqawi's situation, not surprisingly, and desperately wants some.
- Zawahiri saw first hand how little real support the Taliban had in Afghanistan, and he hopes to avoid repeating the same mistakes. (Gee. How could a ruthless, murderous theocracy become unpopular?)
- An elected, constitutional government will be deadly for Zarqawi and friends.
Update 10/13: OpinionJournal has a nearly identical view of the implications of the letter
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