Wednesday, October 12, 2005

What Zawahiri's Letter Tells Us

I was going to review the letter today and make a similar post, but I find that centcom has been good enough to do it first.

I will add commentary later this evening, but I suggest that you read this brief, but enlightening analysis of the letter that goes beyond "Zawahiri said to stop killing the Shia and send money".

Zawahiri, who previously termed democracy heretical, is willing to exploit the political process unfolding in Iraq to advance the group’s goals. Zawahiri is advocating a modified strategy in an attempt to expand the group’s Sunni support base in Iraq . It is tacit acknowledgement that the political process unfolding in Iraq appeals to average Iraqis. Zarqawi’s recent pronouncements for all-out war against the Shia and recent rhetoric against Sunnis supporting the government and coalition stirred concerns among his advisers and allies and already have prompted Zarqawi to quickly adjust his rhetoric and some tactics.

o Quote: “We don’t want to repeat the mistake of the Taliban, who restricted participation in governance to the students and the people of Kandahar alone. They did not have any representation for the Afghan people in their ruling regime, so the result was that the Afghan people disengaged themselves from them.”

o Quote: “I stress again to you and to all your brothers the need to direct the political action equally with the military action, by the alliance, cooperation and gathering of all leaders of opinion and influence in the Iraqi arena. . . . [Y]ou and your brothers must strive to have around you circles of support, assistance, and cooperation, and through them, to advance until you become a consensus, entity, organization, or association that represents all the honorable people and the loyal folks in Iraq .”

Zarqawi, for the second time, rejected Zawahiri's suggestion concerning the Shia in a recent audio produced after the letter was received. It's the second time because he rejected the same suggestion earlier this year after the massive attack which killed so many children.

Centcom points out the isolation of the Al Qaida leadership:

Quote: “Likewise I would like you to inform us about the Iraqi situation in general and the situation of the Mujahidin in particular in [sufficient] detail. . . . At the least, we should know as much as the enemy knows.”

There is one other important point that Centcom does not allude to. Basically, in the same letter, Zawahiri notes twice that, if he were able, he would come to Iraq and see for himself.

Those of us who have worked in the business field know that the boss doesn't come to your branch to look over operations unless it is going very good and he wants to copy it or it is going very bad and he wants a first hand look and a face to face with you. In this case, given the other particulars of the letter, it seems that Zawahiri is concerned that it is going very badly in Iraq for the mujihadeen. We know this of course because we know how many of the Iraq AQ leadership has been captured and we've captured several letters between the groups complaining of the tactics and leadership.

I'll provide some additional thoughts in the near future. In the meantime, read the rest of Centcom's basic analysis.

Security Watchtower

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