15.10.05

Fundamentalist or Radical? The al-Zawahiri letter

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. intelligence officials who released a letter purporting to be from an al Qaeda leader to insurgency leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi this week said on Friday they could not account for a passage that has raised doubts about the document's authenticity.

Letter from al-Zawahiri to al-Zarqawi. October 11, 2005. ODNI News Release No. 2-05
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.
The document has not been edited in any way and is released in its entirety in both the Arabic and English translated forms. The United States Government has the highest confidence in the letter's authenticity.
Al-Zawahiri's letter offers a strategic vision for al Qa'ida's direction for Iraq and beyond, and portraysal Qa'ida's senior leadership's isolation and dependence.
Among the letter's highlights are discussions indicating:
* The centrality of the war in Iraq for the global jihad. * From al Qa'ida's point of view, the war does not end with an American departure. * An acknowledgment of the appeal of democracy to the Iraqis. * The strategic vision of inevitable conflict, with a tacit recognition of current political dynamics in Iraq; with a call by al-Zawahiri for political action equal to military action. * The need to maintain popular support at least until jihadist rule has been established. * Admission that more than half the struggle is taking place "in the battlefield of the media."

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