Al-Qaeda in Iraq admits that they are in dire straits.
In an interview with a reporter from the Qatari daily Al-‘Arab the Al-Qaeda leader in Northern Iraq says that indiscriminate killing has hurt the organization (no kidding!). He also warned that a major attack was being planned for the 5th Anniversary of the Iraq War- March 20, 2003.
We Have Been Forced to Withdraw from Several Cities
Asked about Al-Qaeda’s position in Iraq, with reference to the U.S. announcement that it had been paralyzed, Al-Jaza’iri replied: “[The Islamic Republic of Iraq] is alive, striking, bombing, and planning to attack various military targets belonging to the Crusaders and to betrayers of Islam, i.e. the Shi’ites and Kurds who have joined the occupier…
“It is true that we have lost several cities and have been forced to withdraw from others, after a large number of [Sunni] tribal leaders betrayed Islam and when their tribe members joined forces against us. However, we are still fighting, and the ‘paralysis’ mentioned by the Crusaders is true only for some of the regions. [Besides,] it is common knowledge that any war always involves advance and retreat, so that [even] in those regions I wouldn’t call our position ‘paralysis,’ but rather ‘the [changing] conditions of the war.'”
Al-Jaza’iri added: “…I do not want to paint a false picture: Our position is very difficult, but we are fighting, and will continue to do so…”
Reasons for the Decrease in Al-Qaeda’s Popularity
Asked about possible reasons for the decrease in Al-Qaeda’s popularity, Al-Jaza’iri said that indiscriminately murdering civilians had been a mistake that had “harmed the organization’s reputation.”
He stated: “In the Al-Anbar [district], for example, Sunni Iraqis voluntarily enlisted for jihad activity not because [they believed in] it, but because they hated the Americans and [wished] to take revenge on them and on the betrayers of Islam. Some were motivated by financial considerations, and got carried away with murdering and executing futile attacks, which killed a lot of unfortunate individuals.
“Neither can I ignore the U.S. and Iraqi intelligence apparatuses, or the media, which caters [to the Americans] and which has accused us of carrying out attacks in which we had no part – such as the attack at the Al-Habbaniyah mosque west of Al-Faluja, or the [attacks] in Al-Faluja and Al-Ramadi, where lethal chlorine gas was used. The killing of the Crusaders and of the tribal leaders who collaborated with the betrayers of Islam should have been carried out more intelligently.”
The Next Few Months Will Prove Decisive
On the change in Al-Qaeda’s strategy and the continuation of attacks, Al-Jaza’iri said: “It is clear that the strategy [of capturing cities and turning them into Al-Qaeda bases] has failed, so today we are fighting a guerilla war, or, as some call it, ‘street fighting.’ The efficacy of this [strategy] has been proven in various contexts. We have been instructed to focus our attacks on targets that are strategically and morally important to our enemies, on the eve of the U.S. election campaign.”
He continued: “…It is the type of attacks and the way they are planned that will be changed. Accordingly, we will be focusing on operations that cause the maximum pain and bewilderment to the enemy. This [shift] will open a new page in the fighting, which you will notice on the fifth anniversary of the occupation of Iraq…”
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Hat Tip American Freedom
Air Force Gen. Gene Renuart, chief of the U.S. Northern Command also told reporters today that Al-Qaeda is planning a spectacular attack on the United States.
In related news… Al-Qaeda online supporters are furious that the Taliban expressed solidarity with Shiite Iran.