Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Al Zarqawi - plagiarising himself four months on 

A document titled "The text of al-Zarqawi's message to Osama bin Laden about holy war in Iraq" has been published on several Islamic websites, including the ones that have previously carried statements claiming responsibility for terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia and Iraq. The document says in part:

"The space of movement is starting to get smaller... The grip is starting to be tightened on the holy warriors' necks and, with the spread of soldiers and police, the future is becoming frightening... [If we fail to take over Iraq] we will have to leave for another land to uphold the (Islamic) banner, or until God chooses us as martyrs."
The document goes to say, however, that attacks on the Coalition forces as well as Iraqi authorities will be intensified in the coming months, before the Iraqis, described as "the occupier's eye, ear and hand" are "fully in control."

A few questions spring to mind:

1) Has the document been really written by al Zarqawi or under his instructions?

2) If so, does it represent al Qaeda's actual perception of the situation, or is it just a ruse to confuse the authorities?

3) In other words, bearing in mind its somewhat panicky and defeatist tone, why has it been made public?

Curiously, this is not the first letter from al Zarqawi made public recently. Al Qaeda's man in Iraq had in February this year (allegedly) penned another missive, similarly whining and pessimistic in tone (you can read the full version here). In fact, some of the passages and sentiments are almost identical:

"[I]t has been extremely difficult to lodge and keep safe a number of brothers, and also train new recruits...

"The Iraqi troops, police, and agents these are the eyes, ears, and hand of the occupier. With god's permission, we are determined to target them with force in the near future, before their power strengthens.

"[W]e can pack up and leave and look for another land, just like it has happened in so many lands of jihad. Our enemy is growing stronger day after day, and its intelligence information increases. By god, this is suffocation!"
In both documents al Zarqawi claims credit for 25 suicide bombing operations - as if nothing more has happened in the time between the two letters.

It looks like al Zarqawi just keeps repeating himself four months on. And it's not like al Qaeda hasn't had a good run recently, considering all the hostage executions, suicide bombings and the fighting in Fallujah. So why the long face? What's really happening?

Update: What's happening? Well, it seems that the Associated Press has simply published the old al Zarqawi letter without realising it's four months old. Lt Smash had caught onto it too.


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