Captured Suspect Had Letter for Al Qaeda Leaders
By John D. Banusiewicz
illustrates a calculated effort by foreign terrorists to derail
democracy in Iraq, coalition and Iraqi officials in Baghdad earlier
released a 17-page letter intended for al Qaeda leaders that a
courier was carrying when he was captured last month.
have described and characterized the letter in previous news briefings
this week, but released a transcript in Arabic and a key-point
English translation to reporters at the briefing.
determined that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian believed to
be behind various terrorist acts in Iraq, wrote the letter to
seek help from al Qaeda’s top leadership in stirring up violence
among Iraq’s ethnic groups. This way, they say, he hoped to quash
the country’s progress toward stability and democratic self-government.
today doubled to $10 million the bounty it will pay for information
leading to Zarqawi’s death or capture.
senior spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority, said
the letter lays out a plan for provoking civil war in Iraq. It
warned al Qaeda leaders that foreign fighters will lose their
pretext for waging terror in Iraq if the Iraqi people take effective
control of their country.
the letter also provides a blueprint for how the terror strategy
will fail. "It is very clear it will fail if we continue
to ramp up the number of Iraqis serving in security services,"
he said. "It is very clear that the terror strategy will
fail if America continues to show (the) resolve the coalition
has demonstrated over the past 10 months. And the terror strategy
will fail if we hand over sovereignty to the Iraqi people on June
30, as outlined in the Nov. 15 political agreement."
The fact that
the Zarqawi letter specifically references that time frame, Senor
continued, underscores that elements associated with al Qaeda
feel threatened by the prospect of a sovereign, democratic Iraq.
detail" in the letter, Senor said, is Zarqawi’s frustration
at his inability to find many Iraqi sympathizers, who he wrote
are "as rare as red sulphur."
Gen. Mark Kimmitt, deputy operations director for Combined Joint
Task Force 7, said releasing the letter lays out Zarqawi’s plans
for terror in Iraq for all to see. This, he said, will increase
awareness that foreign terrorists are operating in Iraq and will
encourage vigilance among the Iraqi people Furthermore, it will
enhance the likelihood that Iraqi citizens will recognize terrorists
for what they are and turn them in.
Hamid, current holder of the Iraqi Governing Council’s rotating
presidency, joined Senor and Kimmitt at the coalition headquarters
podium for the briefing. He said the Iraqi people have a message
for the terrorists who in the past two days have targeted Iraqi
army and police recruits with car bombs, killing 100 people.
there be no doubt that we are going ahead with our plans to regain
sovereignty and establish democracy," Hamid said. "Our
determination to proceed with our plans is undiminished. Our people
are united behind us. The (United Nations) and all peace-loving
people are also with us, and these acts of cowardice will not
what the terrorists are trying to do, and that the Iraqi people
won’t let it happen, Hamid said.
Zarqawi is betting on Iraqis fighting each other," he said.
"But this is not going to happen. We are all one nation."
the September assassination of Shiia cleric Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim
as a previous failed attempt to turn Iraqi against Iraqi, perpetrated
in the hope that Shiia Iraqis would blame another ethnic group
and retaliate. "In fact, the people of Iraq were united when
a Shiia leader was assassinated," he said.
intelligence is the "coin of the realm" for precise
operations by coalition military and Iraqi security forces that
kill or capture foreign terrorists and remnants of Saddam Hussein’s
regime. One goal of releasing the Zarqawi letter, he said, is
that with the terror plan and the terrorists’ sinister intents
laid bare, even more information will surface that brings the
country closer to security and stability.