Al-Qaeda: Iraq Occupation Essential for Jihad

by | Oct 6, 2006 | Stress Blog | 2 comments

How al Qaeda views a long Iraq war

A letter found in Iraq shows that the group sees the war as a boon for its cause.
By Dan Murphy

In appearances across the US, President Bush has been campaigning against withdrawing troops from Iraq, arguing that to leave now would hand a historic victory to al Qaeda and inspire new generations of jihadists to attack the US.

But a letter that has been translated and released by the US military indicates that Al Qaeda itself sees the continued American presence in Iraq as a boon for the terror network, which has recently shown signs of expanding into the Palestinian territories and North Africa.

“The most important thing is that the jihad continues with steadfastness … indeed, prolonging the war is in our interest,” says the writer, who goes by the name Atiyah. The letter, released last week, was recovered in the rubble of the Iraqi house where Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, former leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, was killed by a US bomb in June.

If the letter is accurate, it provides a window into the group’s strategic thinking on Iraq that differs starkly from the one the Bush administration has been expressing publicly a view the president reiterated Wednesday when he said that Al Qaeda believes that “America is weak, and if they can kill enough innocent people we’ll retreat. That’s precisely what they want.”

While the letter was released only recently, Atiyah, thought to be a senior Al Qaeda leader whose full name Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, apparently wrote it last December from the Pakistani region of Waziristan. It has surfaced among a flurry of other communiqu

Listen to The Scott Horton Show