Friday, October 07, 2005

Letter to Zarqawi

An article by the Washington Post suggests that Al Qaeda has finally realized how disastrous its failure to establish a united front has been in Iraq. (Hat tip, DL.) The Washington Post article is based on captured correspondence between Ayman Zawahiri to Abu Musab Zarqawi and lays out the strategic context of Al Qaeda's efforts in Iraq.

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.

From this basis Zarqawi is reminded that the priority is to expel the United States from Iraq. Only in the second phase will the Shi'ites be put in their place when Al Qaeda establishes "a caliphate over as much of Iraq as possible". In that regard Zawahiri has calls on Zarqawi to tone down his media message of brutality against the Shi'a presumably so that both can focus on driving out the hated Americans. In other words, it is a call for a national united front, which is always an act in two parts: cameraderie in the first followed by betrayal in the second.

...  Zawahiri writes about the need to maintain popular support ... 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.

But the velvet glove only temporarily masks the iron fist. When America is driven from Iraq, Al Qaeda will turn anew on the Shi'a and Kurds and the caliphate will established over all Iraq. Moreover, contrary to the claims of George Galloway and the peace movement, an American withdrawal from Iraq will bring no end to hostilities. A retreating United States will be pursued until it is destroyed.

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.

(Speculation alert) Implicit within Zawarhiri's message is an admission that the insurgency is headed for defeat unless it changes it's policies and thereby its fortunes. Al Qaeda must have viewed with mounting alarm the increasing numbers of Iraqi troops that the US can field against them. The campaigns against the Euphrates and Tigris lines and the seize and hold operations now in progress must be hurting them. Therefore, despite their theological antipathy for the Shi'ites it must have occurred to them that their car bombs, beheadings, outrages and gratuitous murders -- all dutifully reported by a media thinking it might chill American resolve -- were working against them; this brutality was driving the Shia and the Kurds into American arms. And now Zawahiri admits this policy may be leading to their defeat.

It is tempting to thank all those who have made this possible, beginning with those who believed that playing up the insurgency's gruesome work on the front pages would project the 'helplessness' of America and contrast it's impotence with the puissance of Abu Musab Zarqawis 'freedom fighters'. Mention should go to everyone who argued that 'insurgent losses did not matter'; that body counts were irrelevant when following the development of an insurgency. Finally, a special award should be given to everyone who ignored the buildup of Iraqi forces and the establishment of an Iraqi State as being futile and beyond the wit and capability of the US; who believed even recently that only 1 of 3 Iraqi battalions in existence were fighting the insurgency, when in fact there were 100. Perhaps the downside of the insurgency's 'media-combined arms' campaign was that it not only fooled some of the public, but it misled themselves as well.

It is foolish to gloat because the task ahead is still great and fraught with danger. As Zawahiri's message made clear, Iraq is but the first phase in an attempt to create a global caliphate. Today Iraq, tomorrow the World. Where have we heard that before?

60 Comments:

Blogger TmjUtah said...

One has to wonder at the willful disconnect that exists in the minds of the jihadists.

The recognize implicitly that western media is on their side and exploit that fact to the hilt.

Then they attempt to include western media reports in their strategic planning - blithely ignoring the facts on the ground in favor of propaganda that they themselves scripted.

There is no doubt at all in my mind that a key consideration leading to to the timing of 9/11 was the full court media press already in effect against this administration: the homeless were back from Aruba - dropped off the buses in front of the TV cameras on inaugeration day, "selected not elected", broadsides of economic doom, and a general level of disrespect and outright insult from all the Best and Brightest media organs.

An outside observer might have thought we were adrift and helpless; granted, Kossites and other Blues never leave that particular gate anyway...

The strategy defined in your post sounds an awful lot like the recipe for Tiger Soup, to me.

"First, catch a tiger..."

The war can fail. But it won't be at the hands of any jihadis. We'll lose it here, if anywhere.

10/07/2005 07:26:00 PM  
Blogger al fin said...

Building a world caliphate is difficult. A jihadi's work is never done. He makes difficult decisions daily--to behead, to shoot, to bludgeon to death--so many to kill, so little time.

It is best for the budding jihadi to understand that he is not alone. Millions stand at the ready to take up arms against the crusaders. Well, maybe thousands, really, but millions more are standing ready to celebrate the victory.

Stay tuned to Al Jazeera for all the good news.

10/07/2005 07:30:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Why bother with Zawahiri when the British have Sir David Frost planted inside the blessed and righteous Voice of the Resistance?

10/07/2005 07:43:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

A nice touch in Bush's speech the other day about Bin Laden,the rich ideologue sending poor jihadis to die,but not willing to join them.At least Zarqawi is willing to plunge the scimitar into the necks of bound and trussed infidels.
Like all elitists and true believers they think they are above the fray themselves while they manipulate the masses.
Wasn't David Frost an old man in the 70's.He must be about `100 now.Al Jazeera ought to recruit some younger talent.They could stick Maureen Dowd and Katie Couric in burkas and let them interview Gulbuddin Heckmatyr.They'd last about 5 minutes.Maybe let motormouth Chris Matthews deliver the fatwa on friday night .

10/07/2005 08:29:00 PM  
Blogger Sirc_Valence said...

1Jn. 2:11

But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.

10/07/2005 09:46:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

trangbang68 - A nice touch in Bush's speech the other day about Bin Laden,the rich ideologue sending poor jihadis to die,but not willing to join them.

Some parts of Bush's speech were actually pretty good, saying stuff he should have said 4 years ago.

The foe is an ideology - radical Islam - not the eco-warriers, Pals, abortion clinic bombers, Taurana Mexican Indians, IRA, Tamil Tigers, Zionist Colonists and anyone else employing the tactic of terorism. Or, what is called terrorism, but is legitimate armed resistance to an occupier or a repressive regime that violently suppresses legal non-violent means of address.

He even mentioned using actual strategic war to combat the ideology with diplomacy and money targeting and communications involved as well as military - rather than his usual drivel about "hero troops" eliminating the "evildoers" doing the terra-ist stuff.

The stuff about Binnie being cowardly, rich, sending others to their deaths is the old Bush bilge. Bin Laden was in combat against the Soviets, fought with the Taliban, and was in combat again against the Americans. Supposedly he was wounded at Tora Bora rallying his troops. Dislike the enemy leadership all you want and the Jihadis under them....they are not cowards, nor are they the sort that yell "Go, troops! Rah! Rah!" -as long as they themselves are not involved or inconvenienced in any way with paying for the war or being put in risk by a Draft.

Now who is actually the rich (28 million net worth so far), ideologue (Christian Right, Corporate Crony), who sends young men off to die and is not willing to join them?

At least the guy isn't a pure Chickenhawk, he served in the Guard in his day, but I don't think his tough 2001 era cowboy talk about "cowardly" Binnie is getting any more credibility now than then. And kudos to whoever hit Bush with a cluestick hard enough to get him off his asinine Global War on the Tactic of Terrorism.

10/07/2005 10:12:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

Two things lead me to believe that the terrorists are hurting badly:

1. Bin laden and his right hand man Ayman Zawahiri are supposed to have the support of rich oil princes worth about $85 billion - Zawahiri is asking Abu Musab Zarqawi for money. Hum, Bin Laden and this right hand man may be running low on cash.

"Zawahiri also requests financial support from his ally in Iraq and then asks for more information..." -WP


2. Bin Laden's Zawahiri berates Zarqawi for his brutal beheadings and killing of fellow Muslims but congratulates him on his fine work. That's contradictory. Zarqawi must be angry with him because of his conflicting statements - you can't terrorize people without terrorizing them. Hence, Zarqawi continues to behead civilians (and making more enemies).


"...he [Ayman Zawahiri] 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..." -WP

Well, it's just too darn bad the letter never reached Zarqawi. Now their game plan has gone down the flusher.

10/07/2005 10:29:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I'm thinking that the beheadings and other gruesomenesses are also having an impact on Arab/Muslim audiences.

Everything that Wretchard said about showing American weakness pertains, but about the time you start showing Arab Muslims pictures of their mighty mujahadeen driving car bombs into groups of children, it's suddenly not the Americans who are looking weak any more.

All those pictures of all those dead children, not to mention the blowed up mosques, are making editorial writers in the Middle East use that word "terrorist" which used to be the exclusive enclave of Israel being mean to the Palestinians.

Fatwa's are even being issued. And they are *not* saying, "Go out and blow up some more kids, o mighty religious jihadist."

10/07/2005 10:46:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

tmjutah: (a response)

"Be not of those who forget God, and whom God hath caused to forget their own selves." The Glory of God


When they start smoking the addictive, disjunctive opiate of self-pity mixed with arrogant self-righteousness, the are perforce out of touch with reality!

10/08/2005 01:33:00 AM  
Blogger Rune said...

Here’s another former Al-Jazeera journalist: Yvonne Ridley. Last week the Danish organization Muslims in Dialogue had invited three guests to discuss how to stop the terror. The English journalist Yvonne Ridley was one of them. She converted to Islam after having been taken prisoner by the Taliban. She started the meeting by saying:

"The whole western world have lamented the terror bombing in New York, Madrid and London, but what of the hundreds of thousands of deaths in the Muslim world, victims of western imperialism and war, not a though for them. What of the 500 Muslims, imprisoned in Guantanamo, without rights and subjected to daily torture?"

"What we see now, is the same language being used against Muslims as was used against Jews in Nazigermany. Islam is misunderstood. […] George Bush and Tony Blair are some of the worst criminals, and for me Blair is worse than the Cambodian dictator Pol Pot. There where injustice is law, revolt is the duty of the population."

Asked what she thought of the recent anti-terror laws enacted in Britain:

Yvonne Ridley: "It is lies, lies, lies! They will kill freedom of speech, and it is disgusting they have been voted in."

Question: "Yvonne don’t you think it is problematic that horrible TV-clips from Tjetenia and Iraq is used to recruit terrorists?"

Yvonne Ridley: "We must have them, because we have to see all aspects of the war and of reality. We cannot trust the mainstream media to show us all the horrible things going on in Iraq. Everything with this war is a catastrophe, and the USA has nothing to do in Iraq. You always have to clean your own house before touching somebody’s else"

Question: "But do you think the Iraqis should have been left alone with Saddam’s regime?"

Yvonne Ridley: "It’s all about oil. The USA is just wondering what their oil is doing under Arabic sand!"

Question: "The attack in New York was connected with Muslims. When do we stop playing the victim card and take responsibility for the terror?"

Yvonne Ridley: "Yes, it were Muslims who flew into the Twin Towers, but that doesn’t mean all Muslims are terrorists like not all Christians throws around with nuclear bombs. I am infuriated with the propaganda the west is directing against amongst others, the Taleban, who at least ensured stability in Afghanistan."

Question: "But Yvonne, how on earth can you defend the Taleban, when they wouldn’t even let women attend school?!"

Yvonne Ridley: "You too have fallen for the propaganda! I’m just saying, I’ve been there and much of what you hear isn’t true."

What can be said when when western journalists and politicians are more at ease with Islamic decapitation and torture snuff movies than the Al Quaeda.

Yvonne Ridley: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yvonne_Ridley

10/08/2005 04:36:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Perhaps the most astonishing aspect of Zawahari's letter is the reported statement that Al-Quada is running a bit short this month and could Zarqawi a slip them a few bucks. This indicates not merely a serious tactical problem but a huge strategic one.
Recall that then the Axis lost WWII they lost it big time, every where, and in every way. They had Allied bombers roming freely over their capital cities, ground troops desperately looking for the best escape, and subs running for their lives thousands of miles away.
When it end comes, it comes fast,hard, and completely.

10/08/2005 04:39:00 AM  
Blogger mjr said...

nahncee wrote:
...you start showing Arab Muslims pictures of their mighty mujahadeen driving car bombs into groups of children, it's suddenly not the Americans who are looking weak any more.

I'm sure many Belmont readers have seen it, but if not, check out michaelyon.blogspot.com to see how the US looks regarding Iraqi children

10/08/2005 05:06:00 AM  
Blogger kstagger said...

The willful disconnect comes from their innate fatalism. It's not a dark germanic fatalism that gripped the Nazis towards the end, but more primitive than that. It's the fatalism of 7th Century thought where God (Allah) moves the levers behind the curtain. They are confident in their own success, even with their multiple losses.

It's difficult to imagine their mindset, being raised with Western ideas of warfare, but the Islamic Fascists will have their dream of the Caliphate until the last breath.

10/08/2005 05:07:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Anyone hear of a reply by Zarqawi to the letter? Supposedly it is in the form of an audiotape. It appears that he may have read the letter in the media and is responding to that. Aside from the fact that this is an interesting mode of communication -(is the next step exchanges in the letters section of Playboy?) - the reply says that in regards to killing innocents "Islam does not recognize a difference between civillins and combatants."
Well, gee, old man, we sort of figured that out - but how does that respond to the concern over killing of all of those Shiites?
Anyone else get any more details of the "Zarqawi response?"

10/08/2005 05:27:00 AM  
Blogger Dr. Sanity said...

I've posted on the parallels between Zawahiri's Strategic Plan and the "unofficial" strategic plan of the Left and antiwar protesters. link. As Wretchard said, where have we heard this before?

10/08/2005 05:39:00 AM  
Blogger Rune said...

"Shiite Muslim" is an oxymoron as far as Zarqawi is concerned.

Not that that particular point makes any difference for the rest of non-Muslims. One often hear Muslims critizising Muslim terrorists on the grounds that they harm other Muslim and tarnish Islam. Both true of course. But just that is at the root of the trouble with Islam; this disregard for everything not-Muslim. And we should never buy into or help legitimize their would view where Muslims are worth more than the rest of humanity.

Zarqawi is a disgusting terrorists, not because he kills Muslims. But because he kills humans.

10/08/2005 05:43:00 AM  
Blogger raymondshaw said...

At 4:39 Am, rwe said,

When it(the) end comes, it comes fast,hard, and completely.

I think that's called- fu¢k with the bull, & get the horns.

10/08/2005 05:59:00 AM  
Blogger newc said...

Zarqawi and his buddies get horns.

10/08/2005 06:04:00 AM  
Blogger gmat said...

A lot of good info, as usual, but the most important comment was this:

"It is foolish to gloat..."

Hubris, back in the puzzle palace on the Potomac, will kill more Americans than the jihadists and evil-leftist-media put together.

10/08/2005 06:20:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

The letter makes several things clear.

1) AQ is hurting enough in Iraq to be willing to change its tactics. Obviously due to the combat losses but evidently due to the Muslim reaction to their butchery.

2) They are patient. Much more so than are we. Knowing full well that no matter how many young jihadis die for their cause, new generations and half generations of their willing minions are being redied in the madrasses of Pakistan and Iran.

3) They still have a chain of command in place. Nothing like the structured environment of western armies but authority from top to botom nonetheless.

They know they are down but not out. This is evidence enough to me that they have enough wherewithall to change tactics and become a more dangerous enemy.

10/08/2005 06:29:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

They still have a chain of command in place.

Again, read Michael Yon's latest on what happens to the "chain of command" for terrorists in Iraq. Essentially you have a chain with links of bin Laden, Zawahiri and Zarqawi on one end, and an ever-shortening set of links at the other end.

Or replace that chain image with one of a snake, and we've been cutting off the tail and inching our way up to the head of the snake, killing off terrorist by terrorist. To me, that snake should be thrashing and bleeding mightily by now, as we get closer and closer to the head.
* * *
Hubris, back in the puzzle palace on the Potomac, will kill more Americans than the jihadists and evil-leftist-media put together.

At what point is it permissible to feel cautious optimism? Never, lest it be named "gloating"?

10/08/2005 08:54:00 AM  
Blogger gmat said...

--At what point is it permissible to feel cautious optimism? Never, lest it be named "gloating"?--

Nice try. For instructional purposes, that's called a strawman.

There's an unmistakable difference between cautious optimism, and hubris (with its associated behavior, gloating).

10/08/2005 09:43:00 AM  
Blogger ricksamerican said...

The letter suggests that Zarqawi is in an almost unresolvable dilemma. To win he must demoralize the US public, but his forces cannot withstand direct engagement with US/ISF troops--they simply get slaughtered. Therefore he strikes soft targets of opportuntiy--almost entirely civilian, which alienates the population and makes them willing to sell him and his jehadis to the Americans--more safe houses bombed, leadership killed, bomb factories and weapons caches discovered and destroyed. Now comes Zawahiri advising Z-man to stop terrorizing civilians--btw there is not a simple divide between Sunni and Shia in Iraq, they are intermarried, inter-related economically and socially, according to Iraq the Model--and many Sunnis have died at Z-man's hands--. If Z-man stops terrorizing civilians, and can't confront regular troops, how does he win? It's too late to cosy up to the Shias--how stupid does Zawahiri think they are? Mindboggling isn't it? Meanwhile, they need to be worried about a nuclear Iran claiming ascendancy in the Muslim world. Iran, for all its present support of the so-called insurgency--as a matter of ultimately futhering its own self-interest of exporting its own brand of Islamic theocracy--I am sure would like to squash the Wahhabi AQ creeps like a bugs. "Who you calling an infidel, Osama?" POW! I don't think the Iranians would stand for a Sunni Caliphate calling the shots for Islam. Do you?

10/08/2005 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Enscout, (0629)

1) AQ is hurting enough in Iraq to be willing to change its tactics. Obviously due to the combat losses but evidently due to the Muslim reaction to their butchery.

It will be difficult to change the dynamics in Iraq. The only opportunity that I can see is in the Iraq/Iran border region where the Brit have been playing the ‘soft’ hand. I think that the Brits are changing tactics as I write. I do not think al-Zarqawi has much influence in that region.

2) They are patient. Much more so than are we. Knowing full well that no matter how many young jihadis die for their cause, new generations and half generations of their willing minions are being redied in the madrasses of Pakistan and Iran.

We have been patient for 4 ½ years. President Bush is a doggedly patient man – see the caterwauling about the Supreme Court nomination. See the effect the caterwauling of the 2004 election had on our activities – minimal at best. See the recent polling in the Middle East. Note that our valiant and brilliant enemy has WRITTEN into his enemy list the nation states that support his terror campaign. That was a terrible mistake.

3) They still have a chain of command in place. Nothing like the structured environment of western armies but authority from top to bottom nonetheless.

The fact that we apparently got the message and al-Zarqawi didn’t signifies a rather weak chain of command. Zarqawi’s response via media outlets demonstrates the same. The fact that Zawahiri is asking for support and information likewise points to something.

To those who seem to think this is a realpolitik conflict, and thus we will bail out ASAP and leave the region to strong men with a gangster mentality please note: We have been in the fight for 4 ½ years. Zarqawi has no influence in the north or south or east of Baghdad. His influence is rapidly degrading in the riverine region to the west of Baghdad. His bosses have just placed a long term challenge to his regional state sponsor. And, the Iraqi government – with a military trained by the best martial force in the world – is threatening that same state sponsor with repercussions. And, oil exports are now consistent and to levels approaching pre-1991 levels. And, most importantly, Zarqawi is being heavily out-recruited mano-i-mano.

The Fat Lady is singing.

Unlike most leaders, President Bush will press the effort of eradicating al-Zarqawi’s structure completely. There will be nothing left of it. At that point, with a battle trained Iraqi military, do you find Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and the southern ‘insurgents’ to be the strong horse? I would hate to be them. You have to know when you are winning so you can start planning your next battle in the Global War on Terror.

10/08/2005 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Enscoute, They are patient.
Well, good, let them be as patient as they want to be, but bureaucracies are nothing if not endlessly patient. Remember we’ve fought a Cold War that lasted nearly 50 years with quite remarkable consistency; patience or no, the US can sustain a remarkable effort almost indefinitely.

10/08/2005 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger romanesq said...

Bravo Rikard! Bravo. Now how much of this obvious conclusion will be drawn in the main stream media.
Not much is my guess. In fact, I think tomorrow we'll have more limp ass Democrats talking about the reduction in Iraqi fighting capability.

They may not deal with reality well, but staying on the message to hurt the President, that they have in spades.

10/08/2005 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger Sophia Phoster said...

POW! I don't think the Iranians would stand for a Sunni Caliphate calling the shots for Islam.

I think that one of the reasons that Saddam was not taken down in GWI and why the Saudis don't get the back of the hand today is to keep the Sunni v. Shia rivalry for Islamic hegemony alive. It's not the perfect outcome because neither the mullahs nor the Wahabbi clerics are desireable in absolute terms but better to have them at each other's throats than at ours.

10/08/2005 11:00:00 AM  
Blogger Sophia Phoster said...

I propose that the State of Vermont be established as a Willing Victims Free Fire Zone. We can populate it with MoveOn.org's mailing list and the entire staff of CNN and the NYT. The explode-a-dopes get nice, soft, easy targets they excel at and the Deaniacs get to revel in the victimhood they so much admire. We get to see and read real news without all the whining. A win-win-win. Maybe in 2009.

10/08/2005 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger jws said...

Assuming this letter is real and not psychological warfare.

Timing is too convient: 1. bird flu 2. Bush terror speech 3. NY subway threat. 4. terrorist letter.

All but the first ^^ broke the same day.

We're smarter than this, aren't we?

10/08/2005 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger JB said...

jws: you forgot Karl Rove, Tom Delay, Bill Frist, and Harriet Miers (*eye roll*)

Your tinfoil hat may need an adjustment.

10/08/2005 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger jws said...

^^ edit ^^

oops, misstyped "convenient"

10/08/2005 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger jws said...

JB = This has nothing to do with my politics, which happen to be conservative. It's just common sense. Of course it's possible it's just a coincidence. Sure.

10/08/2005 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger jws said...

The linked article places the date of the letter's writing in July.

Can anyone point to the date we intercepted it?

10/08/2005 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger Boghie said...

JWS (1114),

The neocons could have leaked the letter in July when:

1. Plamegate was in a media driven full throat yell.

2. Iraq was defined as aQRD, Iraq - the new al Qaeda Recruit Depot, Iraq modeled after those who trained the illiterate, uneducated, misery class back door draftees that populate the Marine Corps.

3. Cindy Sheehan started her rant

http://boghieonyoursix.blogspot.com/2005_07_01_boghieonyoursix_archive.html

or August when BusHitler

1. was sneaking in John Roberts as chief priest of the Society of Robes

2. Cindy Sheehan kept up with her rant.

http://boghieonyoursix.blogspot.com/2005_08_01_boghieonyoursix_archive.html

Maybe the leak was a leak.

By the way, for the tin foil hat brigade out there:

Does anybody know how many days after 9/11/2001 December 31,2005 is. Yup, thats right 1571. Try googling Islam and 1571 (or 912 - if they got the timing a bit off). Big days in Islamic history. 1571 is the battle of Lepanto, 912 is when the Caliphate of Cordoba was initiated). Can't really find anything else. This week would be the years when Spain started pushing the Moors out. Just to get that hat tuned, you see.

Ooooh, Ahhhh

10/08/2005 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger jws said...

boghie - So, how could they have leaked it in July if we didn't intercept it or capture it until late August? Your logic is running amuck here.

Secondly, "leaking" would hardly be the appropriate word here, since the government and/or military has full right to release this information whenever it suits them.

Thirdly, you must be willing to consider:

1. The letter is real, and we picked the day of the President's speach to release it. Nothing wrong with this, and the fact that it helps the White House is an added bonus. It's no crime.

2. The letter is BS. It's psychological warefare directly sqarely at the Iraqi insurgents AND those opposing the war effort AND those doubting the President's handling thereof. There is nothing wrong with doing this - it's how you demoralize your enemies and win wars.

The point is, before we run headlong into dissecting this letter as Gospel Truth, we might want to use a little bit of critical thinking. No tin foil hat required, thank you very much.

I'm still waiting to hear when we intercepted this letter. Surely it wasn't written in July and then they just waited a few months to put it in the Iraqi terrorist mail box for delivery. We had to have intercepted it just after it was written and sent.

So the question stands. When did we intercept the letter. When did we decide to release it to the public and who made that decision? If no one can answer these questions with facts, then why is that?

10/08/2005 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

c4 spews..

Zionist Colonists.....

mr c4, let me ask you this, since you yourself claim the jews from the arab world are so very close ro the dna of the so called pali's, dont JEWS have a right to live in Israel? or even disputed Hebron or Jerusalem?

If they dont, tell me, are you, an colonist yourself living off the blood of other's land? why are ONLY arabs allowed to live in the west bank? why are they allowed to have a NO jews policy on the lands which are 1000 times as large...

Doesnt your Juden Free attitude really say your against JEWS living in historic Israel? BTW Israel that WAS a country for 1200 years? Tell us wise C4, why should JEWS not be allowed to "REsettled" their historic lands?

Tell us oh wise C4, why are Jews that want to see a Israel be a jewish state be zionist coloniers, when arabs have 21 islamic states, not to mention the other 101 islamic countries? And yes oh wise c4, dont peddle the JEW only crap, israel is 25 % islamic. Israel has arabs in the knesset and arabs do vote and own land, unlike your bud's the arab world.

Is it really possublke that you have quite a double standard?

Is it possible that no matter how much land israel gives to your pals the palestinians, you will still see israel as a "imperial colony", and if that is the case, why should you and your family be allowed to live anywhere in the USA?

Your term "zionist colonists" is insulting, if jews are colonists in Israel, you my friend are a common land stealing thief, at least Israel and the Jews have thousands of years of history on that land, you are just a recent crook... and to end, if jews are "zionist colonists" then arabs must be colonist too... just ask the berbers, the coptics and the kurds, or that doesnt matter to you, since all you do is want to hate Jews...

c4, happy new year! this makes 3000+ years (can you count that high?) in historic ISRAEL OF JEWS..

remember

Jesus aint no stinking pali..

King David was no stinking pali..

King Solomon was no sticking pali,

I guess they were all Zionist Colonists.....

10/08/2005 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

JWS,

I got out of hand and apologize. I didn’t get the chance to read some of the follow-up. Sometimes my smarmy attitude gets the best of me, and I get into similar debates with all types far too frequently.

I was actually just stating that the letter could have been distributed whenever it was found and folks could have come up with a viable conspiracy as to the timing. I was at a speech in San Diego during which the letter could have been used effectively by the administration. The administration should have waited till the magic 2000 fatality day hit before presenting the letter if politics was a goal. They could have bopped the idotarians at the International ANSWER Peace Rally. I just don’t think this administration works that way in general.

As far as its accuracy...

How 'effective' has Zarqawi been in the run-up to the Constitution ratification in comparison to the January elections. I would say that he has not approached the scope and violence he committed in the month before the election. I would say that with all the captures and kills from the ‘River War’ that it is likely some schlump was carrying this bleating from higher command.

We can never guarantee. We should never completely trust our government. And it might be important for our government to misdirect our enemy using the media. But, based on the events subsequent to January 20th it does appear that things are moving smartly to victory.

10/08/2005 12:47:00 PM  
Blogger gmat said...

I would guess the info about the Zawahiri letter was released to coincide with Bush's most recent speech, since it serves to reinforce several points of the speech ie, Iraq as central theater of WOT; loss of which will lead to spread of radical islamist control throughout ME; overarching ambition of a caliphate from Quantico to Koza (or whatever).

I was curious about that speech. The part that jumps out at me is comparing fighting radical islam to the Cold War. You know, like, "My fellow Americans, this is going to take 50 years, so don't be impatient, etc".

Why?

I mean, the reason things dragged out for so long with the Soviets, was we couldn't directly fight them, because of MAD, right? hence, The COLD War.

Certainly that's not the case here. They have no state. The only state sponsor they ever had was Afghan, and only that because we (the US) and Saudi, gave them a buttload of money, then subbed the project out to the Paki secret police.

And whatever states might consider sponsoring them can be easily dissuaded or destroyed. My god, Algeria kicked their ass (oh, it was messy); Egypt ran them out years ago; even 9/11 would have been prevented by merely adequate police work.

So the next time someone comes out with that "long, twilight struggle" bullshit, check your wallet, cause it's about to get lifted.

10/08/2005 01:23:00 PM  
Blogger JB said...

"I was curious about that speech. The part that jumps out at me is comparing fighting radical islam to the Cold War. You know, like, "My fellow Americans, this is going to take 50 years, so don't be impatient, etc"."

Well, this is a nice strawman. You really have to stretch the interpretation of the speech to get "50 years."

A long struggle? Check. Both totalitarian idologies, check. Fifty years? Hardly.

More silly damned-if-they-do-damned-if-they-don't nonsense.

10/08/2005 01:33:00 PM  
Blogger JB said...

idologies=ideologies.

10/08/2005 01:34:00 PM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Gmat, nonsense.
For one, Islamic states already have a bomb, in Pakistan which may be one bullet away from a populist version of Islamism. That alone could make military confrontation with all plausible terrorist havens analogous to the Cold War. If Iran gets a nuclear weapon, considering Iran to be the first Revolutionary Islamic state, by definition a radical islamist state, bingo, confrontation, much less war, is hard or impossibe.

Two, if Iraq works out tomorrow, Iran shuts down their nuke program, Pakistan and Indonesia close their madrassas and Saudi Arabia stops supporting international Wahhabism, you still have not defeated the ideology of radical Islam. The very notion of 'managing' the problem through police work begs the very distinction of a cold war, or constant, perhaps indefinite, skirmishing at the borders in in vital theatres.

10/08/2005 01:43:00 PM  
Blogger gmat said...

jb-

Thanks for clearing that up. What a relief.

When I heard the reference to the Cold War, I thought immediately about earlier references to a "generational struggle", and somehow conflated them. But they're not connected, right? Glad to be wrong on that one.

Vercingetorix

First, I said nothing about "managing the problem [radical islam] through police work". I said competent police work would have prevented 9/11, and I'm comfortable asserting that competent police work is integral to counterterror ops.

Next, Pakistan has a nuke, Iran may get one, but neither case presents the problem of MAD that inhibited confrontation in the Cold War. Sooner or later, some rogue state's nuclear bluff will be called, and detonations will occur. Possessing a nuke will no longer be a "get out of jail free" card.

Third, skirmishing at the borders will always be with us. It's nothing new or peculiar to fighting radical islam.

That's what the snake eaters are for. That kind of constant patrolling of the jungle borders to keep the nutballs in the jungle will be necessary, until the jungle has been paved and air-conditioned. But it's not the same as a peer conflict like the Cold War.

Actually, you don't need all those things to occur, in fact, you don't have to "defeat the ideology of radical islam". You simply have to kill enough of its practitioners, at the same time making arab, and other muslim, regimes understand they are personally accountable for not exporting islamist violence.

10/08/2005 02:25:00 PM  
Blogger jws said...

Boghie - no apology needed, but thanks. As far as our status in Iraq, I hope you are right - for the sake of the future of the world.

As to the letter, probably the most plausable scenario is that, until recently, the Bush White House hasn't cared enough to concern itself with public support for itself and the war effort. Now they're trying from all angles after their recent bout of bad luck. For that I do not fault them - that's just the way it works in politics.

The thing I am most disturbed about (if I can be allowed to put my tin foil hat back on) is the NY subway threat. I find it greatly disturbing that that news broke the same day as the President's speech was given and the Zarqawi letter release to the press. I am further disturbed that it was worrisome enough intel to scramble the NY police, while the feds stroked their collective beards in doubtful thought.

10/08/2005 02:46:00 PM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Whoa, slow down, gmat. The cold war isn't an exact one-to-one match on lots of grounds, one being that nuclear weapons are nearly certainly going to be used where before they were unthinkable, and two being that humanity will likely survive the nuclear exchanges. Plenty of others, as well.

Granted, but at no point can we inflict a strictly military solution on the Arab world even if we doubled the size of our military with all of our proposed goodies and went in aggressively into the Arab world. We can capture no capital, set no terms, issue no laws, kill no regent, and set no bribe to end this conflict.

It's like the Civil War, the first modern war, in which no set-piece battle would be decisive, only setting up the next battle on and on until it ran its course. Now, no military battle can be decisive, just sets the terms for another battle further on, and another, and another. The Cold War was the first 'post-modern' or what-have-you war in which information trumped even industry as being a decisive factor.

They are not wholly similiar but some things are academic; real resolution of this conflict will likely not happen within my lifetime, if ever, and it is at least permissable to learn all the lessons of that past great conflict that may apply to the here and now

10/08/2005 02:47:00 PM  
Blogger gmat said...

vercingetorix (what a handle!)

Military force is part of the solution. A regime which chooses to in any way enable the export of radical islamist violence (either against the US, OR the energy resources of the Gulf) should be killed by the US army. That means the leader and his 1000 closest associates.

You know, you wouldn't have to do it more than once or twice. For example, right now, if Bush announced that tomorrow the US army was going in to destroy the Assad regime for materially supporting al qaida in Iraq, there would be a coup in Syria, and Assad, or his body, would be delivered to Qaim day after tomorrow.

Condi would sit down with his successor, and tell him that if there was any more cross border bullshit, she would very soon be sitting down with HIS successor, and would keep doing it til they got it right.

Same with Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia. Iran would require a different strategy, but, frankly, it makes more sense to partner with Iran. Let them be the big muslim nuclear counterweight to Israel in the ME. Two things in their favor, they're Shiite, and they're not Arab.

I'm more impatient than you. I think the Cold War encouraged the Defense Establishment to get very sloppy (and rich), to think it has carte blanche, as long as it can keep the citizens convinced that the barbarians are just outside the gates, and only their Uncle can protect them, and it's never going to be over, but that's OK, because it's safe and warm in here, so don't worry, we'll take care of everything, etc.

As Angelo Codevilla once observed, "Then the historian would describe how Cold War notions of practically endless "twilight struggle" fudged the difference between war and peace, and how the ideas associated with such fudging—as well as another legacy of the Cold War, the association of the cause of civil liberties with that of anti- Americanism—made possible George Bush's thus far uncontested claim of effectively permanent war powers."

It's time to hold their feet to the fire.

10/08/2005 03:32:00 PM  
Blogger JB said...

Actually, you don't need all those things to occur, in fact, you don't have to "defeat the ideology of radical islam". You simply have to kill enough of its practitioners, at the same time making arab, and other muslim, regimes understand they are personally accountable for not exporting islamist violence.

And how would that be different, in practical terms? There are still commies around, you know.

Distinction without difference.

10/08/2005 03:35:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/08/2005 03:53:00 PM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Gmat, I'm all for killing jihadis, and the terror masters, but on the other hand, body counts will not be a decisive factor. In fact, at the ends of conflicts one side or both are usually far stronger than they were at the start. Its the details that matter, like Japan without her carriers, Germany without fuel and on. For instance, in 1944, Germany still had not hit full wartime production and their troops were veteran killers with state-of-the-art weaponry. But..well, that's history.

Everything you've mentioned about killing and capturing the flags, I agree with as being necessary, but they are not sufficient to bring the conflict to conclusion.

I'd point out the IRA, which was only effectively disarmed (fingers crossed) when their modus operandi was discredited amongst their supporters. And that's my point; we can defeat the jihad everywhere in every clime and place, and we should, and we can offer up a more humane world for the Arab/Muslim nations, and we should, and we can slam the kleptocrat leaders back in their thrones and make them listen c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y to every word we have to say, but until you discredit the jihad in the eyes of its constituents, there is no end.

And in Iraq they appear well positioned to discredit themselves, and as Hamas goes toe-to-toe with Fatah, we can watch the Palestinians discredit their movement, and as jihadis pour back into their hovels across the middle east, they'll discredit it there as well. But unlike Hannibal, we should need to learn how to 'use' our victories as well as win them. Victory only comes after battle, not from the horror itself.

10/08/2005 03:58:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

What I like about the Neocon's tactics/ strategy is that the whole lexicon is now being re-conquered or taken back from the Commie/ Islamofacist masters of propaganda. Where Cedarfart and the other Commie/ Islamofascists use terminology such as Zionist colonists, Resistance, Occupation, Militants, Jihad, etc., Neocons are using terms such as Democracy, Elections, Citizenship, Constitution, Freedom, etc. One set involves inherently violent and destructive imagery, while the other set involves inherently nonviolent and constructive imagery. It's a subtle nuance if you wish, one that I think works subconsciously. There's a vast, largely unengaged audience watching this conflict in their peripheral, and I think the more Cedarfart and his ilk keep droning about the Imperialist Occupiers versus Democracy, Elections, Constitution, Freedom, the more of an audience they lose to the Neocons.

10/08/2005 04:24:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

I have to agree with RWE:

"Perhaps the most astonishing aspect of Zawahari's letter is the reported statement that Al-Quada is running a bit short this month and could Zarqawi a slip them a few bucks. This indicates not merely a serious tactical problem but a huge strategic one."

[Yes, without the funds, bomb, bullets, body-bomb delivery systems are no going to be obtained.]

NahCee:

"I'm thinking that the beheadings and other gruesomenesses are also having an impact on Arab/Muslim audiences.

Everything that Wretchard said about showing American weakness pertains, but about the time you start showing Arab Muslims pictures of their mighty mujahadeen driving car bombs into groups of children, it's suddenly not the Americans who are looking weak any more.
"

[True, as other posters have commented killing your relative's child puts a damper on the whole suicide bomber's list of fund raisers. "Whoa, did not I just donate $25,000 to that group who killed my niece in Iraq? What a waste if money! Further, my Uncle got his legs blown-off in that same bombing!"].

Rick said:

"The letter suggests that Zarqawi is in an almost unresolvable dilemma. To win he must demoralize the US public, but his forces cannot withstand direct engagement with US/ISF troops--they simply get slaughtered. Therefore he strikes soft targets of opportuntiy--almost entirely civilian, which alienates the population and makes them willing to sell him and his jehadis to the Americans--more safe houses bombed, leadership killed, bomb factories and weapons caches discovered and destroyed. Now comes Zawahiri advising Z-man to stop terrorizing civilians--btw there is not a simple divide between Sunni and Shia in Iraq, they are intermarried, inter-related economically and socially, according to Iraq the Model--and many Sunnis have died at Z-man's hands--. If Z-man stops terrorizing civilians, and can't confront regular troops, how does he win?"

[Yes, the old Gordian Knot dilemma. A symbol at first, then a morbid curiosity; then a problem and, then a military solution]

The Gordian knot:

...the knot was an intricate and complex Turkish knot, having no ends exposed...

See: The Knot

...In May 333 B.C. Alexander faced a crucial decision concerning his Persian conquests... Alexander racked his brain for a solution. Finally, in a fit of frustration he asked of his advisors, "What does it matter how I loose it." He drew his sword and, in a single spinning flourish, sliced the Gordian knot open to reveal the ends hidden inside...

See: Alexander

[The sword quickly solved the problem]

10/08/2005 06:44:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Cedarford,I don't like to challenge your no doubt unimpeachable sources,but what I've read Bin Laden was more of a quartermaster in Afghanistan than a fighter other than one battle.Where did you get the heroic Bin Laden Tora Bora story,from the Kerry-Edwards debate talking points?
I agree Bush calling radical Islam the enemy was long overdue,but speaking of tired rhetoric,can we retire "chickenhawk" from the political lexicon?
You're calling Bush a coward sending others to die is laughable after in one post you stated how Clinton was willing to go to war.I guess if the airstrikes over Belgrade are your idea of war or storming Haiti's troubled shores or hanging Delta Force out to dry in Mogadishu is heroic.

10/08/2005 07:12:00 PM  
Blogger JAF said...

Excellent writing Wretchard!

10/08/2005 07:26:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

enscout: "2) They are patient. Much more so than are we. Knowing full well that no matter how many young jihadis die for their cause, new generations and half generations of their willing minions are being redied in the madrasses of Pakistan and Iran."

This is a NEW Day, enscout. The Muslims can no longer afford patience, in an age of widespread, lightning communication.

They have madrassas, but the madrassas are being gutted by internet access to reality elsewhere in the human world.

They have jihadis, but they're being turned toward the Light of Justice by continued exposure to reality, and especially by English/Arabic/Persian-language exposure to the Teachings of The Glory of God, Baha'u'llah.

Zarqawi and Zawahiri are LOSING. Period.

10/08/2005 08:38:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Scuzi: redied = readied

But on second thought, the zealots and jihadi hate-mongers ARE being re-dyed by their exposure to and dealings with Western civilization.

Id skid.

10/08/2005 08:49:00 PM  
Blogger Tilo Reber said...

I don't think that Zawahiri actually said very much that is new or surprising to those of us who have followed Islam and Al Queda. Two points that I heard from other sources about his letter did interest me. The first was that Zawahiri apparently has given up the fight for Afghanistan as lost. The second was that he requested money from Zarquawi. This seems to indicate that the money supply which is being provided by the world's Islamists is now being channeled mostly to Iraq, with little going to Bin Laden or Zawahiri. It also makes me wonder if Bin Laden's personal fortune is running out. Apparently the Jihaddi supporters want to give their money to a guy who is staying in the middle of the fight. And the fight in Iraq is draining all of the resources that the worlds Jihaddis would otherwise wish to use elsewhere. Of course the letter reinfoces the fact that GW has put a knife in the heart of Islam without necessarily having that intent. If Zarquawi looses his war, light will shine into the Arab world. Education, freedom and democracy will spread throughout the middle east and Islam will die forever as a force in the world. That so many in the west cannot see what is at stake in Iraq is bewildering.

10/08/2005 09:38:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

This seems to indicate that the money supply which is being provided by the world's Islamists is now being channeled mostly to Iraq, with little going to Bin Laden or Zawahiri. It also makes me wonder if Bin Laden's personal fortune is running out.

Do we still think bin Laden is actively in the picture and that he approved what Zawahiri wrote? bin Laden isn't mentioned in the letter at all, is he?

It seems to me that other reasons for the request for money might be that bin Laden is out of commission and can't sign for it either because he's dead or because his cave doesn't have a fax machine, and/or that the U.S. and its allies have been successful in shutting down the money pipe through which those funds had been flowing.

10/08/2005 10:49:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Nahncee, Concur Yr Analysis.

Many reasons for requesting working capital... almost all of them GOOD for us and BAD for Zawi the Pinhead and his twin brother, Zarqi the Dog-Faced Boy.

10/09/2005 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger Hanba'al said...

mika
One set involves inherently violent and destructive imagery, while the other set involves inherently nonviolent and constructive imagery. It's a subtle nuance if you wish, one that I think works subconsciously.There's a vast, largely unengaged audience watching this conflict in their peripheral, and I think the more Cedarfart and his ilk keep droning about the Imperialist Occupiers versus Democracy, Elections, Constitution, Freedom, the more of an audience they lose to the Neocons.

Not only they lose audience to the other side, they also get themselves deeper and deeper into the slopy end of the abyss to the point of no return by poisioning themselves with such illogical nonsense self talks.

I know a (was brilliant) economic professor at Havard (no longer there) who got himself in so deep with those anarchists plus his hatred for Clinton driving him into all kinds of conspiracy theories. Listen to him talking then is like listening to a third world illiterate person. Now he couldn't even hold a decent job and I've heard lately that he has moved to Brazil working odd jobs writting for some local news. What a waste.

10/11/2005 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger Mr.Atos said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/13/2005 10:29:00 PM  
Blogger Mr.Atos said...

The first thing that came to mind as I read the transcript, was Lewis' Screwtape Letters, depicting the correspondence between a senior and junior demon on how to secure the ultimate damnation of humanity.

10/13/2005 10:31:00 PM  

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