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2/10/04 - AL QAIDA TARGETS IRAQ - 2004-02-11


A recently intercepted letter reveals that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a terrorist affiliated with al-Qaida, knows the terrorists are facing defeat in Iraq. In desperation, al-Zarqawi hoped to prevent defeat by igniting religious war between Iraqi Shiites and Sunnis. His plan was detailed in a seventeen-page document captured by Coalition authorities in a raid on an al-Qaida safe house in Baghdad. The document was on a CD, which was to be taken to Afghanistan and delivered to top al-Qaida leaders. But the courier was arrested in Iraq.

U.S. General Mark Kimmitt, deputy director of military operations for Iraq, says the captured document sheds much light on the shadowy terrorist network:

"We are persuaded that Zarqawi was the author of this letter. . . . This gives us more and more evidence that al-Qaida is in fact conducting operations or people who would like to work with al-Qaida are operating inside this country."

Zarqawi tells his al-Qaida overlords that suicide bombings and other acts of terror are not working. "I have completed twenty-five of these [terrorist] operations, some of them against the Shias and their leaders, the Americans and [Iraqi] police and coalition forces," writes Zarqawi. "America," he says, "has no intention of leaving" before completing its mission. As for the Iraqi people, Zarqawi tells al-Qaida leaders, "they will not allow you to make their home a base for operations or a safe house."

Zarqawi proposes that al-Qaida step up terrorist attacks on the Shiite Muslims and their leaders in order to provoke retaliation against Sunnis in Iraq. The sectarian war, he says, must begin before the transfer of sovereignty to a democratic government in Iraq in June. After this, he says, al-Qaida "will have no pretexts," for its campaign of fomenting civil war in Iraq.

"Our enemy is growing stronger day after day," says Zarqawi. He refers to a democratic Iraq and its coalition allies. And for once, he is right.

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