Zarqawi Document May Shed Light on State of Insurgency

Jun 15, 2006 6:26pm

If authentic, a document among the "huge treasure" of records found in the wake of Abu Musab al Zarqawi’s death, suggest the U.S. strategy in Iraq is working extremely well in almost every respect. But there are questions being raised about its authenticity.  Iraq’s National Security Adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie produced the document this morning in Baghdad, saying it was found on a computer disk in Zarqawi’s pants. "We have confiscated a very important document," he said. Reporters were provided with a three-page English translation. The document describes "the current bleak situation" and says, "Time is now beginning to be of service to the American forces and harmful to the resistance." "Their assessment is that they are doing remarkably poorly and that we’re doing far better than many people assume the United States and the Iraqi government are doing," said Bruce Hoffman, who holds the RAND Corporate Chair in Counterterrorism and Counterinsurgency.  The document cites the improved Iraqi national guard, massive arrest operations, a crackdown on financial contributions, as reasons for the crisis. And the document suggests the answer is "to entangle the American forces into another war" with Iran. "In essence, their strategy is to create another Iraq, to enmesh the United States in another struggle, in another conflict, that will divert our attention, that will divert our military resources, that they hope will give them the breathing space to regroup so they can carry on the struggle," says Hoffman.  Iraqi officials said there was no question of the document’s authenticity. "Well, if I find something in your pockets, then that’s authentic, isn’t it?" al-Rubaie said. But U.S. officials said the document was not, in fact, found on or near Zarqawi’s body but in a raid three weeks earlier on other targets. "But as far an analysis, we haven’t done it yet," U.S. Major General William Caldwell said. And the English translation was devoid of the usual elaborate phrasing and religious references typical of previous al Qaeda and Zarqawi communications. "This letter clearly stands out in its language from all the letters that we know Zarqawi has written or has received," Alexis Debat, Senior Fellow at the Nixon Center and an ABC News consultant, said.

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