Between Iraq and a Hard Place

Thursday, October 13, 2005
Zarqawi and Zawahiri hold a conversation across time and mountains on a screen in the sleeping bin laden's head. I'm not sure bin laden was too pleased.

Zawahiri and Zarqawi speak words from their own letters (except editors' words in brackets). Links below.

Narrator: [quotes Austin Bay] The massive American build-up around Iraq serves as a baited trap that Al Qaeda cannot ignore.

Zarqawi: As you know, God favored the [Islamic] nation with jihad on His behalf in the land of Mesopotamia...Among the greatest positive elements of this arena is that it is jihad in the Arab heartland.

Zawahiri: As for the battles that are going on in the far-flung regions of the Islamic world, such as Chechnya, Afghanistan, Kashmir, and Bosnia, they are just the groundwork and the vanguard for the major battles which have begun in the heart of the Islamic world.

Narrator: Jihad!

Zawahiri: The Muslim masses-for many reasons, and this is not the place to discuss it-do not rally except against an outside occupying enemy, especially if the enemy is firstly Jewish, and secondly American.

Narrator: So Iraq is perfect for jihad! What's the goal?

Zawahiri: If our intended goal in this age is the establishment of a caliphate in the manner of the Prophet and if we expect to establish its state predominantly-according to how it appears to us-in the heart of the Islamic world, then your efforts and sacrifices-God permitting-are a large step directly towards that goal.

Zarqawi: we must spare no effort and strive urgently to establish a foothold in this land.

Narrator: Okay, who are we dealing with in Iraq. Who are our friends, our enemies? Who can we work with?

[The Americans] are the most cowardly of God’s creatures.
[the Kurds] have opened their land to the Jews and become their rear base and a Trojan horse for their plans...Islam’s voice has died out among them
[the Shi'a] are the insurmountable obstacle, the lurking snake, the crafty and malicious scorpion, the spying enemy, and the penetrating venom.
[the Sunnis] are more wretched than orphans at the tables of the depraved.
[the Masses] are the silent majority, absent even though present...even if in general they hate the Americans, wish them to vanish and to have their black cloud dissolve. But, despite that, they look forward to a sunny tomorrow, a prosperous future, a carefree life, comfort, and favor. They look ahead to that
day and are thus easy prey for cunning information [media] and political enticement whose hiss rings out.
[the Shaykhs and 'Ulama'] are mostly Sufis doomed to perdition.
[the muslim brothers] have debased the horse, put aside arms, said “no jihad” … and lied.
[the Mujahidin] Most of them have little expertise or experience...The Iraqi brothers still prefer safety and returning to the arms of their wives, where nothing frightens them.
[the immigrant mujahidin] numbers continue to be negligible as compared to the enormity of the expected battle.

Narrator: Oh dear, Zarqawi doesn't trust anybody. Enemies, cowards, and traitors all around. What's a jihadist to do?

Expel the Americans from Iraq.

Narrator: Okay, over to you, Zarqawi, what do you have to say about that?

Zarqawi: [Impossible!] America did not come to leave, and it will not leave no matter how numerous its
wounds become and how much of its blood is spilled.

Narrator: Oh, my. What do you say to that Zawahiri?

Zawahiri: Expel the Americans from Iraq.

Zarqawi: [You said that already! What good will expelling the Americans do?] How can we fight their cousins and their sons and under what pretext after the Americans, who hold the reins of power from their rear bases, pull back? The real sons of this land will decide the matter through experience. Democracy is coming, and there will be no excuse thereafter.

Narrator: So, Zarqawi, if you cannot expel the Americans, what's your plan?

Zarqawi: [T]he only solution is for us to strike the religious, military, and other cadres among the Shi`a with blow after blow until they bend to the Sunnis.

Narrator: Civil war! Great! and awaken those sleeping masses to our cause and against the Americans.

Zarqawi: This matter, with the anticipated awaking of the slumberer and rousing of the sleeper, also includes neutralizing these [Shi`a] people and pulling out their teeth before the inevitable battle, along with the anticipated incitement of the wrath of the people against the Americans, who brought destruction and were
the reason for this miasma.

Narrator: and disabuse those sleeping masses of their dream of a pleasurable future!

Zarqawi: The people must beware of licking the honeycomb and enjoying some of the pleasures from which they were previously deprived, lest they surrender to meekness, stay on the[ir] land, prefer safety,, and turn away from the rattle of swords and the neighing of horses.

Narrator: Yes! We need the sleeping masses on our side. But is it working?

Zawahiri: If we look at the two short-term goals, which are removing the Americans and establishing an Islamic amirate in Iraq, or a caliphate if possible, then, we will see that the strongest weapon which the mujahedeen enjoy - after the help and granting of success by God - is popular support from the Muslim masses in Iraq, and the surrounding Muslim countries.

From the standpoint of not highlighting the doctrinal differences which the masses do not understand, such as this one is Matridi or this one is Ashari or this one is Salafi, and from the standpoint of doing justice to the people, for there may be in the world a heresy or an inadequacy in a side which may have something to give to jihad, fighting, and sacrifice for God.

Narrator: I see. The muslim masses don't understand the nuanced doctrinal differences in Islam and when it comes to Holy War, all fight together.

Zawahiri: The ulema among the general public are, as well, the symbol of Islam and its emblem. Their disparagement may lead to the general public deeming religion and its adherents as being unimportant. This is a greater injury than the benefit of criticizing a theologian on a heresy or an issue.

Narrator: So lay off the Shi'a?

Zawahiri: We must repeat what we mentioned previously, that the majority of Muslims don't comprehend this and possibly could not even imagine it. For that reason, many of your Muslim admirers amongst the common folk are wondering about your attacks on the Shia. The sharpness of this questioning increases when the attacks are on one of their mosques, and it increases more when the attacks are on the mausoleum of Imam Ali Bin Abi Talib, may God honor him. My opinion is that this matter won't be acceptable to the Muslim populace however much you have tried to explain it, and aversion to this will continue.

Narrator: So, if you can't slaughter the Shi'a, what can you do?

Zarqawi: We pack our bags and search for another land, as is the sad, recurrent story in the arenas of jihad, because our enemy is growing stronger and his intelligence data are increasing day by day.

Narrator: No! No! There must be another way. What say you, Zawahiri?

Zawahiri: The matter of preparing for the aftermath of the exit of the Americans: The Americans will exit soon, God willing, and the establishment of a governing authority-as soon as the country is freed from the Americans-does not depend on force alone. Indeed, it's imperative that, in addition to force, there be an
appeasement of Muslims and asharing with them in governance and in the Shura council and in promulgating what is allowed and what is not allowed. In my view-which I continue to reiterate is limited and has a distant perspective upon the events-this must be achieved through the people of the Shura and who
possess authority to determine issues and make them binding, and who are endowed with the qualifications for working in Sharia law. They would be elected by the people of the country to represent them and overlook the work of the authorities in accordance with the rules of the glorious Sharia. And it doesn't appear that the Mujahedeen, much less the al-Qaida in the Land of Two Rivers, will lay claim to governance without the Iraqi people. Not to mention that that would be in contravention of the Shura methodology. That is
not practical in my opinion.

Narrator: Wow, that's a mouthful. But brilliant! Join the political process and let the Iraqi people elect you!

Zarqawi: [Well, we have the foreign mujahidin to help us, but...] We know that the convoys of good are many, that the march of jihad continues, and that only confusion over the banner and a muffled reality keep many of them from [answering] the call to battle. What prevents us from [calling] a general alert is that the country has no mountains in which we can take refuge and no forests in whose thickets we can hide. Our backs are exposed and our movements compromised. Eyes are everywhere. The enemy is before us and the
sea is behind us.

Narrator: Oy vey! And the masses are not with us. We're doomed.

Yes, they are doomed. We are winning in Iraq!
Austin Bay quote found here:
Zarqawi letter captured in 2004:
Zawahiri letter in PDF format:
Zawahiri letter in HTML format:


truepeers said...

Somethign tells me that if the Jihadis had more narrators and more stories they'd be more powerful though less Jihadist. Quite the tease, Syl.

terrye said...

Very good.

I think we are winning too.

I regret every death.

Too bad Zarqawi can not be the one to die instead of an American soldier or an Iraqi whose only crime was to be in the wrong place at the wrong time

Syl said...

This got way too long.

I had read Zarqawi's letter before, but, wow, it never struck me what a whiner he is.

I must say I'm somewhat pleased Zawahiri is still alive to watch the Americans throw his movement into turmoil, and for him to see Zarqawi screw up so badly in Iraq.

Whether one is for or against the war in Iraq, pro or anti-American, one cannot miss the slaughter and cruelty of the jihadis in Iraq. Iraq is not only the central battle, it is the central focus of the world's eyes.

If the jihadis can't win in the Arab heartland, what's the point? They will never get their caliphate.

MeaninglessHotAir said...

They will never get their caliphate.

I never had any doubt about that.

Killing a lot of people is one thing. Running an empire is quite another.

The question for me has always been how many people have to die before they become convinced.

Rick Ballard said...


It's definitely not too long. It's an excellent piece, perhaps lending itself to the 'continued' format that Trueppers used in his China piece.

I agree wholeheartedly that we are winning in the sense that the battle goals for Iraq will be achieved within the established time frame. I keep trying to imagine a culmination to the entire conflict that would lend itself to the term 'win' and to the point in time when such an assertion will be irrebuttable.

We 'won' the cold war, yet our universities teem with tenured idiots professing the tenets of, if not communism, a form of Hegelian historicism that would be barred from intermarriage with communism on the basis of incest. We won, the war is over, yet the battle continues. I tend to think that the war with Islamofascism will have a similiar outcome.

Knucklehead said...


That was a whole lot of fun (and surely a ton of work).

What prevents us from [calling] a general alert is that the country has no mountains in which we can take refuge and no forests in whose thickets we can hide.

May we then suggest they climb back under the rocks they slithered out from beneath in the first place? That would simplify and accelerate the training of indigenous forces. Forget the mountains and forests and thickets, Buddy, and just turn over the rocks and blast whatever starts crawling or slithering.