Al-Qaeda in Iraq faces an “extraordinary crisis”. Last year's mass defection of ordinary Sunnis from al-Qaeda to the US military “created panic, fear and the unwillingness to fight”. The terrorist group's security structure suffered “total collapse”.(via Conservative Grapevine)
These are the words not of al-Qaeda's enemies but of one of its own leaders in Anbar province — once the group's stronghold. They were set down last summer in a 39-page letter seized during a US raid on an al-Qaeda base near Samarra in November.
The US military released extracts from that letter yesterday along with a second seized in another November raid that is almost as startling.
That second document is a bitter 16-page testament written last October by a local al-Qaeda leader near Balad, north of Baghdad. “I am Abu-Tariq, emir of the al-Layin and al-Mashahdah sector,” the author begins. He goes on to describe how his force of 600 shrank to fewer than 20.
“We were mistreated, cheated and betrayed by some of our brothers,” he says. “Those people were nothing but hypocrites, liars and traitors and were waiting for the right moment to switch sides with whoever pays them most.”
Assuming the two documents are authentic — and the US military insists that they are — they provide a rare insight into an organisation thrown into turmoil by the rise of the Awakening movement. More than 80,000 Sunnis have joined the tribal groups of “concerned local citizens” [CLCs] that have helped to eject al-Qaeda from swaths of western and northern Iraq, including much of Baghdad. . .
The Anbar letter conceded that the “crusaders” — Americans — had gained the upper hand by persuading ordinary Sunnis that al-Qaeda was responsible for their suffering and by exploiting their poverty to entice them into the security forces. Al-Qaeda's “Islamic State of Iraq is faced with an extraordinary crisis, especially in al-Anbar”, the unnamed emir admitted.
In an apparent reference to al-Qaeda's brutal tactics, he said of the Americans and their Sunni allies: “We helped them to unite against us . . . The Americans and the apostates launched their campaigns against us and we found ourselves in a circle not being able to move, organise or conduct our operations.”
He said of the loss of Anbar province: “This created weakness and psychological defeat. This also created panic, fear and the unwillingness to fight. The morale of the fighters went down . . . There was a total collapse in the security structure of the organisation.” The emir complained that the supply of foreign fighters had dwindled and that they found it increasingly hard to operate inside Iraq because they could not blend in. Foreign suicide bombers determined to kill “not less than 20 or 30 infidels” grew disillusioned because they were kept hanging about and only given small operations. Some gave up and went home.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
As reported in The Times (London) February 11th: