Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Zawahiri Spells It Out
The text of a letter, from al-Qaeda #2 man al-Zawahiri to Zarqawi, has been published. The New York Times summarizes it thus: "In it, Mr. Zawahiri told Mr. Zarqawi that the American occupation of Iraq had provided Islamic militants with a historic opportunity to win popular support."
Others have different opinions. John Hinderaker of PowerLine dissects the letter, paragraph by paragraph, and makes a convincing case that the letter is actually the desperate plea of a leader who knows he's losing. (Among other things, Zawahiri pleads with Zarqawi to stop the killing of hostages, and to stop attacking Shia civilians, because that does not help the cause. Zarqawi evidently is not listening.)
Zawahiri also notes his unwitting allies in the Western press. (Mr. Hinderaker comments that he's not surprised the New York Times failed to point this out in the letter. Personally, I'm amazed NYT published it at all.)
Michael Yon has more to say -- a lot more, on this topic among many others. He refers to a letter to Zarqawi from an abu Zayd -- this one is a local leader, apparently reporting to Zarqawi, rather than the reverse -- and it's interesting how he complains incessantly about all the failures that are not his fault! As Mr. Yon says:
Reading this now, where the leader of a failing regime admits to the failure, then blames it on everyone else’s incompetence, it seems a bombastic self-portrait of a drowning man. Or at least of a man who is in over his head.Yon goes on to describe the rapid rate at which Allied forces are capturing terrorist leaders:
I flew away to Qatar, then to the United Arab Emirates, where a message was waiting that Abu Zayd had been tracked down and killed near Mosul. Then, just days later, Zayd’s successor was captured. At this rate, his successor’s successor will probably be killed or captured before he can volunteer for the position. I emailed [Lt. Col.] Kurilla-- who was back home in the states, recovering from his wounds -- and asked for his take on this development. [He said:]Indeed."Did you ever notice that the news always says 'Top Zarqawi Lt or aide arrested'? You would think that the Army is trying to dupe the press or else that there are thousands of Zarqawi Lieutenants. But the fact is, we capture so many of the top leadership that they replace them and we fail to say that this was the replacement cockroach.
Apparently, Abu Fatima took over Al Qaeda leadership in Mosul when Abu Zayd was killed. He was captured on 5 Sept, 12 days after he took over from Abu Zayd. I have none of the details…but it shows once again how effective we are at taking down the leadership. While they will always replace their leaders, you get a far less effective cockroach when the new guys take over.
The new leader does not have the experience and all the tricks of the trade to stay alive or not be caught. They do not have the connections, the skill set etcetera, and because we have taken out so many of the network it leaves only a few remaining. Instead of spreading all of our targeting assets out over the entire network when there were so many at the beginning, we can now focus all the targeting assets on just the few that are left. Hence, the many successes.”
Just remember this, when we hear about what a dismal failure the American effort in Iraq is.
UPDATE: More from Austin Bay (hat tip: Instapundit), here and here. Note this line in particular:
When Al-Qaida's zealots blow up trains in Spain or subways in London, those are attacks of their choosing conducted on "infidel terrain." The genius of the war in Iraq is a brutal but necessary form of strategic judo: It brought the War on Terror into the heart of the Middle East and onto Arab Muslim turf. In Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's theo-fascists have been spilling Arab blood, and Al Jazeera has noticed that, too.In other words, Muslim Arabs are now being forced to see terrorism, close-up and personal, against themselves -- and they don't like it. How will this affect their feelings toward terrorism in general?
(I might add that we're seeing something similar in the Gaza Strip these days. Now that the Israelis have left the Palestinians to their own devices there, the Palestinians are reflexively continuing to demonstrate the brutality -- and terrorist tactics -- that used to be reserved for Israelis... only now Palestinians are the target of Palestinian terrorism. From the sound of it, they don't much like it either.)
For decades now, Muslim Arabs have been indifferent at best, and often downright supportive, of Arab terrorism against others. Now they have no choice but to see it from the recipient's point of view.
Will this reduce the incidence of Arab and Muslim terror in the long run? I don't know... but it'll work a lot better than appeasement ever did!
UPDATE II: This is only tangentially related, but it's something I wanted to quote and preserve (with minor spelling & punctuation editing). As Blackfive says:
At some point, you have to pick sides. Not choosing a side is choosing not to be on our side.
Update: For some reason some lefty bloggers are taking the 'choosing sides' statement to mean 'choosing parties'. It's not about choosing parties - it's about the American media supporting the soldier and the war effort. It's not about the media toeing the line for Rumsfeld - it's about the media telling the truth about the war and not taking their cues from terrorists. It's not about being Right or Left - it's about making sure the soldiers come home to a grateful nation. It's not about Cindy Sheehan - it's about Casey Sheehan. We have thousands of war heroes. Can you name twenty? Ten? Five?
Um, note to those who are not following along - we are at war. Together as Americans, we are at war. Whether you like it or not. Whether you voted for Bush or not. We. Are. At. War.
How about supporting our side for a change?
UPDATE III: more commentary here. Read it, it's a hoot!