Al Qaeda’s Plans

The Washington Post is running an article today in which it relates the details of a letter from Osama Bin Laden’s boy Ayman Zawahiri to Abu Musab Zarqawi.

The letter is from this past July and provides some interesting and noteworthy information. Let’s look at the pieces of the article.

“But the letter, described by one senior administration official as a “treatise” from Ayman Zawahiri, also warns Abu Musab Zarqawi against alienating the Islamic world, and virtually reprimands the Iraqi branch of al Qaeda for beheading hostages and then distributing videotapes, officials said.”

These are not stupid people. It appears to me that they have some concerns about alienating the Muslim world. We are going to need their help, so I have to admit that I am not happy about their recognition of this, but so be it.

The letter then supplies an outline of their goals:

“The letter of instructions and requests outlines a four-stage plan, according to officials: First, expel American forces from Iraq. Second, establish a caliphate over as much of Iraq as possible. Third, extend the jihad to neighboring countries, with specific reference to Egypt and the Levant — a term that describes Syria and Lebanon. And finally, war against Israel.”

None of this surprises me. I am not saying this in a “I told you so” tone of voice, but the information has been out there and is part of why I said I was concerned in the post I wrote about Bush’s speech yesterday.

The letter was very specific about the role of Iraq. I for one would be quite interested in seeing a direct translation of it.

“U.S. officials say they were struck by the letter’s emphasis on the centrality of Iraq to al Qaeda’s long-term mission. One of the two excerpts provided by officials quotes Zawahiri, a former doctor from Egypt, telling his Jordanian-born ally, “I want to be the first to congratulate you for what God has blessed you with in terms of fighting in the heart of the Islamic world, which was formerly the field for major battles in Islam’s history, and what is now the place for the greatest battle of Islam in this era.”

It also spelled out that withdrawing our troops from Iraq is not going to be the end of the battle. It also gave an indication of some bickering about how to go about things.

“But bin Laden’s deputy also purportedly makes clear that the war would not end with an American withdrawal and that anything other than religious rule in Iraq would be dangerous.

“And it is that the Mujaheddin must not have their mission end with the expulsion of the Americans from Iraq, and then lay down their weapons, and silence the fighting zeal. We will return to having the secularists and traitors holding sway over us,” the letter reportedly says.”

More on the differing opinions here, as well as more comments on maintaining relations in the Muslim world.

“In one indication of tensions between the al Qaeda leadership and its Iraqi division, U.S. officials said, Zawahiri writes about the need to maintain popular support. He is critical of Shiite Muslims and says a clash between the Sunni-dominated movement and the Shiite sect is inevitable, officials said, but he rebukes the leader of Iraq’s insurgency for its brutal tactics — noting that hostages can just as effectively be killed with bullets rather than by beheading, officials said.

The letter may indicate al Qaeda’s recognition of Muslim public opinion, said one Middle East scholar.

“If the letter’s true, it’s new because they haven’t shown any particular avoidance of certain ruthless tactics. It says to me they are concerned about the way they are being perceived in the Muslim world,” said Shibley Telhami of the Brookings Institution and the University of Maryland.

“The vast majority of people in the Arab world sympathize with al Qaeda only because it champions their issues and speaks their language and it’s seemingly effective against their enemies. But most would not want al Qaeda to be the rulers. They would be repulsed to have someone like Zarqawi, who is beheading people, to head their government,” he said.

Zarqawi appears not to have heeded the message, because insurgents have continued the beheadings, including two this week.”

This last paragraph is of exceptional importance as it reaffirms what the long term goal of AQ is and why it is so important that we recognize this as being a battle of ideology and not solely about oil or territory.

“Bin Laden’s deputy has spoken before about the broad plans for the al Qaeda movement. In a book smuggled out of Afghanistan in December 2001, Zawahiri said the goal of jihad is to establish a religious state throughout the Islamic world and “reinstate its fallen caliphate and regain its lost glory.”

The long term goal for the West has got to be finding a way to marginalize AQ so that its philosophy is not considered to be important and or significant. We have to find opportunities to provide a safe and secure platform for moderates to use, that is assuming there are real moderate voices in the Muslim world. This is a hope of mine, but I am not convinced yet that these people exist.

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  1. soccerdad October 9, 2005 at 5:59 pm

    Just to shake things up a bit … I wonder who has killed more people in their quest for world dominance. Us? or Them?

    I realize that our quest for world dominance is, from our point of view, guided by goodness and charity. But, if you look at things from others’ perspectives, it might not seem quite so.

    What I find interesting about some of the comments about politics in this country … i.e., they are too divisive … is that divisiveness causes just as many problems on the world stage, as well. Maybe we should all be a little more cooperative internationally, also, and not so divisive.

  2. Jack's Shack October 9, 2005 at 7:00 am

    Hi ZS,

    Some things don’t make sense to anyone.


    I hope that we find some mods.


    I’ll be interested to see what you come up with.

  3. Stephen (aka Q) October 8, 2005 at 8:17 pm

    Jack, this is the second time in recent days I have wondered if I was wrong in my conclusions about Iraq.

    I’m still mulling it over. I’ll probably post my thoughts on the subject soon.

    Thanks for providing this information.

  4. LiquiDiamonds October 8, 2005 at 12:00 am

    it is only when the Moderate Islamists finally have had enough of their religion being hi-jacked, then we will see some change in the Arab nations and the lessening of Islamic radical fools.

    I have never seen AQ’s goal as religious…I’ve seen it as a cache of in humans who want something…my guess it control over oil fields in the oil rich Arab nations. Once they have that they can do as they wish, can’t they…or can they?

    I have always felt that Zarqawi was clammoring for recognition, and using Usama Bin Bozo as a tool to get the power… he won’t “behave” as he has been instructed…In-fighting bewtween AQ should be encouraged, so that they eat themselves alive…i only wish I was there to watch it..

  5. Zoe Strickman October 7, 2005 at 5:27 pm

    I’m reading… It’s sad to see that they’re still at it. Don’t they have anything better to do… like learn the Koran or something? Sorry if this comment seems ignorant, it is just that this whole thing bothers me. -Zoe

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