al Qaeda in Iraq plans come back, document
American intelligence officials said the communique is consistent with the past leadership style of Muhajer, an Egyptian also known as Abu Ayyub al-Masri, who took command of the group after his predecessor, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was killed in a U.S. airstrike in June 2006.
"Zarqawi did a lot of just indiscriminate killing -- it didn't matter when, where, why or how," said one senior intelligence analyst who, like others interviewed for this article, spoke on condition of anonymity under military ground rules. "Masri is more picking his targets and trying to get away from the massive indiscriminate killings, because it created a big black eye for al-Qaeda in Iraq."
The U.S. military says it destroyed much of the leadership of al-Qaeda in Iraq in 2007, killing 2,400 suspected members and capturing 8,800, while pushing the group almost completely out of Baghdad and Anbar province. Although U.S. officials and their Sunni allies caution that al-Qaeda in Iraq remains dangerous and could find ways to regenerate, they assert that the group now is largely a spent force.
"We do not deny the difficulties we are facing right now," said Riyadh al-Ogaidi, a senior leader, or emir, of al-Qaeda in Iraq in the Garma region of eastern Anbar province. "The Americans have not defeated us, but the turnaround of the Sunnis against us had made us lose a lot and suffer very painfully."
'We Made Many Mistakes'
Resting on a blanket in the garden of a squat concrete house in Garma, Ogaidi lamented al-Qaeda in Iraq's reversal of fortunes over the past year.
Ogaidi, 39, once traveled with 20 bodyguards in a four-vehicle convoy. But during the recent interview, he was nearly alone, wearing a white cap on his bald head and a gray dishdasha, or floor-length tunic, to disguise himself as a poor villager.
"We made many mistakes over the past year," including the imposition of a strict interpretation of Islamic law, he told a Washington Post special correspondent. Al-Qaeda in Iraq followers broke the fingers of men who smoked, whipped those who imbibed alcohol and banned shops from selling shampoo bottles that displayed images of women -- actions that turned Sunnis against the group.
Lehebi, 47, whose nom de guerre is Abu Khalid al-Dulaimi, said the group's main focus now was to attack bridges, oil pipelines and telephone towers, as well as U.S. troops and their Sunni allies.
Some members of al-Qaeda in Iraq blame Muhajer, the group's leader, for their current predicament. Ogaidi said Zarqawi traveled constantly around the country to visit senior leaders and ensure that wounded fighters received compensation from the group. But he said Muhajer is rarely seen and doesn't take care of members such as Rafid, whose leg was amputated after an attack in the Garma region. Rafid now sits at home, hungry and unable to work, Ogaidi said.
"Everyone would be scared of Zarqawi as a tough leader," he said. "Whereas Muhajer has now failed in imposing his personality on the organization. He is mild-mannered and weak."
The emir said potential suicide bombers were told by coordinators on the border that they could choose a suicide mission, which would kill 20 to 30 U.S.-led troops or their supporters, the letter says.
Yet a would-be bomber would then wait in the desert for months. "At the end he will be asked to do a small operation, such as murdering someone or blowing up a police car," the emir wrote. The foreigners would then become discouraged, he said, and return to their home countries.
The letter, which referred to the situation in Anbar as an "exceptional crisis," was found in an al-Qaeda in Iraq safe house in Samarra, about 65 miles north of Baghdad, along with a half-dozen hard drives, thumb drives and more than 100 CDs and DVDs of material from the group, U.S. officials said. The authenticity of the document could not be independently confirmed.
In the letter, the emir said the difficulty in assigning tasks to potential suicide bombers was caused by increases in U.S. military operations and the formation of U.S.-backed Sunni tribal groups, known as Awakening councils, to fight against al-Qaeda in Iraq.
"We found ourselves in a circle not being able to move, organize or conduct our operations," he wrote. "There was a total collapse in the security structure of the organization."
At a checkpoint just south of Fallujah, Nadim Kaffi, a 44-year-old Awakening member, said al-Qaeda in Iraq was not nearly as close to the people as the Awakening councils.
"Al-Qaeda is almost done and finished. It no longer scares anyone," he said. "It is like an old man on the verge of his grave."
A Washington Post special correspondent in Anbar province contributed to this report.
More at SOURCE:
An Al Qaida Diary Of Despair
Of course after aQ is back on top they can start breaking fingers and killing Moslem's, women, children bombing Mosques and market places again.