"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)
Friday, October 07, 2005
The United States has obtained a 13-page letter written by Osama bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al Zawahiri, to Abu Musab al Zarqawi in Iraq.
With what one senior official calls "chilling clarity," the letter outlines al Qaeda's strategy for Iraq and beyond, reports CBS News national security correspondent David Martin.
The letter, which was written shortly after the London bombings in July, calls Iraq "the place for the greatest battle of Islam in this era."
Zarqawi is America's most-wanted insurgent in Iraq. Zawahiri, the man most intelligence analysts believe is the brains behind bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist organization, is considered the world's second most wanted man.
As outlined by Zawahiri in the letter, al Qaeda's battle plan calls for driving the Americans out of Iraq, establishing an Islamic regime in as much of the country as possible and then extending the holy war to other Arab countries, including Egypt, Lebanon and Syria.
In the letter, Zawahiri complains to Zarqawi that some of his violent tactics are hurting public support for al Qaeda's cause, particularly the videotaped beheadings of hostages.
"We don't need this," the letter says. "Use a bullet instead."
Sure - beheadings are bad P.R., but crashing planes into skyscrapers is simply "aggressive branding." I'm sure this is exactly what Zawahiri wrote - except that the part where he called Zarqawi "Dude!" was edited for security reasons.